Obrazy na stronie



God," says


scientiously to keep within the limits of truth, fection is observable in the language which in the remarks which we offer upon the marks out the intercourse of man with God. moral character of mankind ; yet, under this Thus, when the apostle says, “ Be ye reconrestriction, let it be asked, whether there ciled to God,” he refers to feelings of a perdoes not reside in the human heart a lament- sonal kind, which can have no distinct existable indifference and insensibility as to the ence on the part of man towards God. A whole of its intercourse with God ? Would state of enmity, to which reconciliation is any kind-hearted parent be contented to re- opposed, is founded on personal repugnance ceive the sort of cold homage from his child and a sense of injury. Now, between the which he himself offers to his heavenly Father? supreme and invisible Being and man such Does not the absence of the heart stamp a a repugnance is not imaginable. But the character of actual forgetfulness of God even term will be found sufficiently accurate to on the very ceremony of a seeming remem- delineate the hostility of the human mind to brance of him ? “ This people draweth the requirements of the Divine law, and to nigh to me with their lips, but their heart is the loveliness of the Divine perfections. far from me."

“ The carnal mind," says the apostle, on It is to this insensibility that the ministers another occasion, " is enmity against God;" of Jesus Christ are directed to bend their and he explains this enmity when he adds, anxious attention. If they have themselves “not being subject to the law of God, neither received mercy, they are bound by fidelity indeed can it be.” to their God, and by charity to their fellows, The nature of the quarrel is thus defined; to “ reason of temperance, righteousness, and it consists in a repugnance to the Divine and judgment to come.” They are bound law; using the term " law” in the wide sense to invite and to entreat men to awaken of all those communications of truth, purity, from the dreams of sense, and to mercy, and grace, which God has deigned to nect themselves with the hopes and fears make to man. To this law men are reluctant of an approaching eternity,

to yield obedience. The opposition which the apostle Paul, has committed to us we make to the law of conscience, independent word of reconciliation." “ We then," he of its illumination under the fuller blaze of adds, are the ambassadors for Christ, as Christianity, is a direct evidence of this enthough God did beseech you by us : we mity towards God. For what is the import pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled of this resistance to the dictates of conto God.” Weak, then, and unworthy as may science ? What is it but the expression be the hands entrusted with this ministra- of our preference of our own desires to tion, the subjects and the results of that the commands of God? And this preferministration are inconceivably momentous. ence actually exists, and constantly exists, The influence of this fleeting half hour may in every unconverted mind. This is the be felt even through the periods of eternity. source of all the irreligion and immorality The Gospel at this moment is nothing less which are visible in the world. Since the than a message from God to our souls; and fall of Adam, self is despotic in the human our attention or neglect may stand in solemn heart; and though its actings are circumconnexion either with an immortality of sor- scribed by conscience, by human laws, by row or of joy. The expressions of the the frame-work of human society, and by the apostle indicate the existence of a state of alarm connected with the anticipations of enmity on the part of man towards God. eternity, yet, except it be dethroned by the The terms, “ We beseech


ye recon- potent arm of Divine grace, it maintains its ciled to God,” imply that a quarrel existed, constant sway over the heart of man. This but a quarrel which was capable of recon- opposition of the heart to God has, however, ciliation. It seems impossible to describe become most visible under the light and inthe relations which are established between Auence of Christianity. It might be thought, God and his creatures, except by the imper- that a revelation from God to man would fect medium of those communications which have been received with eager attention, and exist among themselves. Hence a continual have been embraced with ardent gratitude. reference is made in the Scriptures to human | It might have been supposed, that amidst the passions in conjunction with the Divine pro- admitted ignorance, sufferings, and perturceedings. God is said “ to repent," and to bations of the world, the voice of knowledge, be " angry;" to relent, or to retain his of mercy, and of peace, would have been wrath. But it is very evident that these heard with inexpressible emotions of satisterms cannot be interpreted in the exact faction. It might have been supposed, that sense in which we use them; yet they are amidst the havoc and dreariness of death, a sufficiently accurate for every purpose for promise of " resurrection and of life" would which they are employed. The same imper- have been hailed with transports of delight. But how wonderfully different has been the highest degree remarkable. There is no reception of Christianity in the world! Men parallel to it on earth. Never did the heart have dealt by Christianity exactly as they of a paternal monarch address a revolted subhad previously dealt by conscience. They ject, -yea, never did the bosom of a mother's have resisted the former upon the same tenderness address a reluctant child with the grounds as they had resisted the latter. In energy of compassion exhibited in the Gosboth cases they prefer the gratification of pel. Men may have heard of this comtheir own wishes to the commands of God. passion till its sounds may pall upon the In both cases they manifest a repugnance to ear, and even irritate the soul ; but, neverhis requirements ; they feel uneasy under his theless, it is a compassion which sheds an yoke ; they rebel against his government; actual brightness over the celestial world, they resist his estimate of good and evil ; and which, in defiance of human contempt they overlook the extent of his condescen- and scorn, will rescue from the depths of sion; and they disbelieve his assertions as to moral misery innumerable multitudes of the ultimate tendencies of virtue and vice. earth. We then are ambassadors for This is the enmity of man against God, to Christ, as though God did beseech you by which every page of Scripture, to which the us : we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye recollective voices of history, to which the ob- conciled to God : for he hath made Him to servation of daily facts, to which the corrupt be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might murmurings of the heart, bear their strong be made the righteousness of God in him." and unfaltering testimony; and this testi- In other words; we come to you in order mony is always more or less strong accord- to invite you, by the exhibition of the Divine ing to the force with which the light of truth love, to part with your reluctance to God's beams in upon human society.


service, and to conform yourselves to God's The knowledge of God, where it does not wishes. He is the moral Governor of the convert, seems to embitter the heart; and world, and every knee must ultimately bow to wherever the tide of celestial light has been his sceptre. The heart must humbly and the brightest, it has uniformly discovered in gratefully bend, or it must one day break. a corresponding degree the deformity of The sinner must accept mercy, or he must human practice. Never was human depra-encounter justice. We address you on the vity so horribly exhibited as at the cross of behalf of Christ; we tell you that God is too Jesus Christ, and in the succeeding conflicts pure to connive at sin, but too kind to conof early Christianity with Paganism; in the template unmoved the eternal wretchedness struggle of Protestantism at the time of the of the offender. He has exposed his own Reformation, and in the bitterness of con- Son to the infliction of shame and torture, troversy against revived religion in our own that the just sanction of his violated law may times, we find undeniable proof, that, in

ich you. He implores you to forego strange ignorance of his true interests, man, the undue gratifications of sense--the injuin this mitigated sense, hates his God, and rious pleasures of pride-the vain enjoycannot be reconciled to his requirements — ments of ambition,--and rather to contemthat he cannot stamp the seal of approbation plate his favour as the source of your subupon God's administration of the world! stantial blessedness. We beseech you even Yet this enmity is most unreasonable and by the mercies of God, and by the eternal most destructive; this quarrel is with a welfare of your souls, to accept the feeting man's own happiness; this enmity can only moment of conciliation, and receive peace bring down upon its possessor the darkness with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." of a moral destruction, when the great Judge Such is the import of the apostle's address of quick and dead, by a summary process,

to the Corinthian Church. But what is the will terminate the controversy, even where, connexion of this address with ourselves? from the indestructible principles of evil, What resemblance does our moral condition there must be “ weeping, and wailing, and bear to that of the Corinthians ? gnashing of teeth."

The character of man is in truth the same, But, ere this period arrives, mercy and as to its essential features, in every age : the clemency strive and reason with men. This lights of philosophy and of human science Christianity, which meets so rude a recep- gleam upon the surface of our nature : civition, is still a proclamation of inconceivable lisation may embellish manners, but it does kindness, and invites, with reiterated entrea- not renew the heart. It has no power to link ties, a dying world to turn to the stronghold again the golden chain of holy love around provided against its miseries, and, by the the human soul. Nay, even the indirect influlove of Christ, urges the work, tardy thoughence of Christianity, though it may augment it be, of reconciliation with God. The lan- considerably the softness of our habits, and guage of this ambassage of peace is in the raise the tone of our morality, yet leaves




the heart what it found it, cold, earthly, and to the power of his grace. In every age and estranged from God. Hence it is by there have been those who, enlightened by no means an irrelevant question to be put to the beams of heaven, have perceived their our own souls,---- Am I, or am I not, recon- own infinite wretchedness, and the complete ciled to God? I may be called a Christian-I adaptation of the redemption that is in Jesus may pass through the forms of religion-I Christ to their hitherto-unsatisfied wants. may even be an advocate for its evidences : Oh! how unspeakably precious have the docbut am I reconciled to God? Have I no trines of the cross proved to such minds ! quarrel with his wishes--no cold-heartedness What rest, what peace, what confidence, what towards his promises-no reluctance to his joy, have such found in the love, and grace, method of salvation ? Have I a growing con- and atonement of their Divine Redeemer ! formity with the principles of his moral go- | How gladly have they met the world's scorn vernment ? or do I contravene them daily by for the sake of their blessed Master's love! the habits of my life? Have I a willingness That scorn they have repaid with the tears to come humbly to his mercy-seat as a cri- and with the prayers of charity; and in the minal and as an ingrate ? and am I too happy present tranquillity of their souls they have to be indebted to his grace and love for my received the earnest of an inheritance which salvation, to find fault with a system which is at once incorruptible and undefiled; an leaves me nothing wherein to elevate

inheritance placed beyond the reach of conpretensions? Do I know Jesus Christ as the tempt or of assault

, in those higher and better friend and Saviour of my soul? and am I regions, “where the wicked cease from trouliving by faith upon his merits and his power ? bling, and the weary are at rest.” Oh! am I in deed and in truth obedient to But O, my brethren, are our sympathies his will, and sanctified by his Spirit ? Am I in accordance with theirs? Do we perceive loyal to his cause, and eager to testify my the necessity for the death of Christ in the attachment to his authority? Do my affec- perception of our own guilt and demerit ? tions cling round the objects dear and va- Do we behold a hidden loveliness in the exluable in his esteem? Are his word and his bibition of the Divine perfections in the truth my lamp and my guide through the atonement of our Lord ? Do we recognise rugged path of this wilderness world? And with wonder and praise the inconceivable am I habitually anticipating the eternity of clemency, tenderness, and grace, which beam bliss which his presence will at length en- forth on the part of God to us in this sasure to my soul ?" If these questions are un- crifice? Do we cling with gratitude to the interesting, or if they are negatived by the hope of righteousness by faith? Do we rely voice of candour within my bosom, can I for eternal felicity upon Christ's mediation call myself a Christian-can I be said to be and intercession? “ Not having seen him, do reconciled to God? Is not my heart rather we love him? and though now we see him estranged and averse from his law? And not, yet believing, do we sometimes rejoice in does not that terrible controversy which he him with joy unspeakable and full of glory?" maintains with sinners remain undecided in Oh! breathes there around the altar of his my case? and am I not exposed to the fear- mercy an air of inexpressible kindness, which ful infliction of whatever may be the ultimate finds direct access to our hearts—which conpenalties of evil?

nects with his friendship and approbation Would to God we were always disposed every generous emotion of our bosoms? If to deal honestly with ourselves; but we hold thus influenced, we may rest assured that all fast oftentimes our saddest delusions, and is well and peaceful in our relations with cling to our very sorrows with a deliberate time and with eternity. To us belong the resolution worthy of a better cause. Nor promises of safety and of happiness. No can any power short of the power of God weapon formed against us shall ultimately awaken us from the security and indifference prosper-no sorrow shall ultimately injureof sin. It is the work of God to create anew no vicissitude of circumstances shall ultithe human heart, and to bring back a right mately destroy our peace. Amidst the despirit within us. The conversion of the heart solations of the world-amidst the breaking to God by the direct influence of the Holy up of all human connexions—even in the Spirit, may, by the worldly, be esteemed a entrance of our spirits into the world beyond doctrine enthusiastic and dangerous; never- the grave-under all possible varieties of theless, it is the doctrine of the Bible, and, condition,-our path is one of security and in very truth, it is a doctrine interwoven of gladness. We are reconciled to God-we practically with the whole history of Chris- are bought with the blood of Jesus Christtian communities.

we are interested in the everlasting decree, In every age, however, God has raised up “ Because I live, ye shall live also.” some witnesses to the fidelity of his promises,

vah himself; of whom, under these interchangeable EVIDENCE OF THE TRUTH OF CHRISTI

titles, glorious appearances to "holy men of old" ANITY DERIVED FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT.

were not unfrequent, has been the opinion of the an

cient Jewish Church, of the primitive Christian fathers, Perhaps the most numerous and the most powerful and of many among the most eminent modern divines. class of evidence for the Deity of Christ is to be found Remarkable examples of the Word thus anticipating in passages of the New Testament, which either repeat his incarnate manifestation may be found by the inor refer to others in the Old: of which class every quiring student in these among other passages : evidence acquires a reduplicated force, and possesses Gen. xvi. 10, 13; xviii. 2, 22; xix. 1; xxxii. 24, 28, besides the immense advantage of an application and 30; xlviii. 15, 16; Exod. iii. 2, 4; xiii, 21; xiv. 19; comment, not precarious and doubtful, but made by xxiii. 20, 21; xxxiii. 2, 14; Judg. vi. 12, 14; xiii. 18, an interpreter who could not err. The apostles, ad- 22; Isa. Ixiii. 9; Hos. xii. 3, 4. On this principle of dressing principally Jews, appropriately asserted the interpretation, we are assured, by an inspired expoDeity of Christ in the prescriptive language of the sitor, that the Israelites tempted Christ in the wilderprophets, and thus delicately engrafted this amazing ness (1 Cor. x. 9); that the Spirit of Christ testified mystery on the faith already received; at the same in the prophets (1 Pet. i. 11); and that it was the time exhibiting the indissoluble connexion between glory of Christ which Isaiah beheld when he beheld the two dispensations. No part of holy writ presents (as he declares) the Lord on his throne, adored as more magnificent descriptions of Jehovah than those Jehovah by the seraphim (Isa. vi. 1, &c. compared chapters of Isaiah in which Jehovah is at once the with John, xii. 41). Such passages, attentively conspeaker and the subject. No standard of Deity can sidered, must be allowed to afford confirmation to the be more exact and severe, by which to prove the pre- doctrine, not merely of the pre-existence, but of the tensions of Jesus Christ. In three passages of those self-existence and eternity of Him, who, from the bechapters, Jehovah proclaims, in the tone of unap- ginning, presented himself to human sense under proachable majesty,—" I am the First, I am the Last.”

such sacred and incommunicable names. In three corresponding passages of the Apocalypse, Thus a perfect consistency pervades the whole sysJesus Christ assumes, with additional emphasis, the tem of revelation; one and the same almighty Architect same title : “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the both planned and executed the physical and moral beginning and the end, the first and the last.” A de- structure of our nature ; nor can the mind of man conscription of eternal existence, at once more simple and ceive an idea more magnificent and awful than that of more complete, it is not easy to conceive. None can be the Divine Being descending from his state of glory, prior to the “ First,” as none can be posterior to the and taking upon him a form of flesh, in order to repair “ Last." It has been disputed whether one of the the desolations of ages, and restore perfect order ascriptions in the opening chapter (ver. 8) belongs among the works of God. On this ground, it is perto the Father, or to Jesus Christ; and perhaps the fectly natural and just that the apostles should, withquestion is not either easy or important to be deter- out reserve or explanation, transfer to Jesus Christ in mined. Suppose, however, that ascription to belong the New Testament passages appropriated to Jehovah to the Father ; yet that the same or equivalent titles in the Old : of which practice, sufficient specimen should be repeated on subsequent occasions, in a con- occurs in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Henexion which demonstrates that they belong to Jesus brews. Christ, is itself a volume of evidence for his Deity; and in effect rather strengthens than impairs the argument of one nature and common attributes, ascribed

LITURGICAL HINTS.-No. XV. to the Lord God and to the Lord Christ. “ The Be

“Understandest thou what thou readest?"-Acts, viji. 30. ginning," as a title frequently applied to Jesus Christ,

Fourth SUNDAY IN LENT. is evidently to be understood in the most comprehen- The following is the translation of the Latin original sive and magnificent import: “ the beginning of the of the Collect, as found in the Sacramentary of Grecreation of God” (Rev. iii. 14); the first cause, the gory :-" Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that

we who by the desert of our actions are afflicted, by original principle of the created universe, whether

the comfort of thy grace may be revived." This colmaterial or spiritual: “ the Alpha, the First;" and,

lect is “ a prayer for deliverance from judgments;" and thus understood, this unimpartible title evidently in- consists of two parts. The first is a confession of our volves the eternal self-existence of its divine pos- having deserved God's displeasure, contained in those sessor (compare Col. i. 18; Rev. xxi. 6; xxii. 13). words, “Grant that we, who for our evil deeds do It was a term established among the Greek philoso

worthily deserve to be punished.” A deep conviction

of sin's demerit must exist before we can apply for phers to denote the efficient principle of things. In this connexion may be mentioned the appear

pardon. “Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright

are thy judgments," was the confession of the Psalmist. ances of Jesus Christ under the patriarchal and legal In like manner speaks Nehemiah : “ Thou art just in dispensations; accompanied, as in many instances all that is brought upon us ; for thou hast done right, those appearances were, by names expressive of self

but we have done wickedly.” Ezra, too, makes the

like acknowledgment : “ After all that is come upon existence and Deity. That the Son of God was the

us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing person sometimes called the Presence, sometimes the

that thou, our God, hast punished us less than our iniAngel of Jehovah, sometimes God, sometimes Jeho- quities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance

as this ; should we again break thy commandments, * From “ Attributes of Deity, the Attributes of Jesus Christ.” wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hadst By the Rev. Thonias Gripfield, M.A. Hatchards.

consumed us ?" It is in this same consciousness of We are


our natural wickedness, and consequent exposure to

five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes. This is the wrath of God, that, whilst in another place of our the only passage in our Lord's life that is recorded by liturgy we pray God to “ turn away from us all those all the four evangelists. It is scarcely possible to evils" which we feel or fear, we yet confess that we imagine a more wonderful proof of the creative power have “ most righteously deserved” them.

of Christ than was here displayed. The loaves were bound to “bear the indignation of the Lord, because of the small kind common in the country, and the fishes we have sinned against him.” In the second part of were small ; and yet, after the five thousand were fed, this collect, we pray to be delivered from the conse- twelve times as much at least remained as they at quences that we have deserved. And we have every en- first sat down to. All the circumstances, too, of this couragement in Scripture for believing that we shall miracle were such as confirm its reality. The country be delivered. “ O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; that Christ was in is stated - it was "over the sea of but in me is thy help” (Hos. xiii. 9). “Comfort ye, Galilee :” the company that he was attended with was comfort ye, my people, saith your God : speak ye a great multitude :” 'the spot where Jesus stationed comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her himself was on a "mountain,” where he might be warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned ; the more conveniently seen and heard by the multifor she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all tude that followed him. There are several instructive her sins" (Is. xl. 1, 2). To be so comforted by God's circumstances in this narrative that might be dwelt pardoning grace is, indeed, to be relieved of an op- upon, among which we should not fail to notice our pressive weight; for sin, when seen in its true light, Lord's "giving thanks" before he distributed the food is felt to be a “sore burden, too heavy for us to bear.” to the hungry multitude. Every creature of God is “ The remembrance of it is grievous unto us, the bur- good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with den of it is intolerable.” Lightness of conscience thanksgiving of them that believe and know the truth." and lightness of heart follow immediately when this It is heathenish to sit down to partake of God's bounty burden is lifted off from us. No consolation so rich without a special act of acknowledgment; and this and sweet as this can be conceived by the human should be performed reverently and seriously ; for it is heart: and it is felt in all its delightful fulness, when as much an offering of prayer as any other that we our “hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience" by perform. We cannot but remark, also, the influence the blood of the atonement, and when the “Comforter,'' this miracle had upon the people who tasted the who is the Holy Ghost, communicates that peace which benefit of it. " They said, This is of a truth that he is privileged to bestow upon the pardoned offender. prophet that should come into the world ;” but “ many The deservings of sin, and the pardoning consolations of who were convinced he was that prophet, yet did not God, which are the two parts of this collect, are beau- cordially receive his doctrine, for they did not continue tifully united by the prophet Isaiah : “ For the in it. Such a wretched incoherence and inconsistency iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote is there between the faculties of the corrupt unsanctibim : I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on fied soul, that it is possible for men to acknowledge frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his that Christ is that prophet, and yet to turn a deaf ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and car to him." restore comfort unto him and to his mourners." In the EpiSTLE we have the history of Isaac and

THE EARTHLY AND THE IIEAVENLY Ishmael, introduced by St. Paul to illustrate the difference between those who rested on Christ only, and

JERUSALEM.* those who trusted in the law. Those two sons of It is in vain, brethren, that we endeavour to compreAbraham were born the one of a bond-maid, the other

hend the glory and happiness of the future habitation of a free-woman. These things are an allegory,

of the redeemed. The earthly Jerusalem was a splenwherein, beside the literal and historical sense of the words, the Spirit of God intends to typify the two dif- did city, beautiful for situation, and the joy of the ferent dispensations of the covenant. « The former, whole earth was Mount Zion; but even in the height Agar (by which name Mount Sinai, in Arabia, was

of her greatness, when the glory of the Lord rested on then called), gendereth to bondage;" in comparison

her tabernacle, when peace was within her walls, and with the Gospel-state, was a dispensation of bondage; prosperity within her palaces, she afforded but a poor and justly represents (says the apostle) which now is,” or the present state of the Jews, who,

emblem of the heavenly Zion. At the period, howpersisting in their unbelief, and adhering to that cove- ever, to which the words of the prophet primarily nant, are still in bondage with their children. But the relate, the contrast was peculiarly striking. The Zion, other, Sarah, prefigured " Jerusalem which is above,"

to which the liberated Jews so joyfully returned after or the state of Christians under the new and better

their captivity in Babylon, was a wilderness, and Jedispensation of the covenant, which is free both from the curse of the moral and the bondage of the cere

rusalem a desolation. The holy and beautiful house, monial law, and is “the mother of us all;" a state into where their fathers worshipped, was burnt up with which all, both Jews and Gentiles, are admitted, upon fire, and all their pleasant things were laid waste. their believing in Christ. The prophet Isaiah refers And even when they had succeeded, after years of toil to this enlarged liberty of the Church under the Gos

and difficulty, in again raising its walls, their joy was pel : " Rejoice, thou barren,” &c. Now, all Christians, * as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Though embittered by a remembrance of the superior glory of not the natural, yet are they the spiritual, seed of their former temple, and their peace was incessantly Abraham : they have, by possessing Abraham's faith, disturbed by the attacks of their enemies. And where a title to the inheritance — they are interested in its

is Jerusalem now? Where is its temple ? Not a blessings. They would meet with opposition, for this

stone remains of either, which has not been cast is pointed to in the type ; but the Scripture was to be their comfort in their trouble ; for they should down. And where are the people who founded them, be persecuted, yet their persecutors were doomed to and dwelt in them, and loved them so well? Wansink and perish ; but Christianity shall flourish and dering as outcasts on the face of the earth, scorned endure for ever. It is an animating thought, that ours

by men, and rejected by God. As for their country, is not the hope that " decayeth and waxeth old,” but

it is desolate ; strangers devour it in their presence, that which lasts ; for “ we are not children of the

and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers. bond-woman, but of the free." The GOSPEL recounts the miracle of Christ's feeding

• From the Rev. C. Bradley.

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