« PoprzedniaDalej »
cused the apostle Paul of being a ringleader of the sect of heretics called Nazarenes. Acts xxiv. 5. We have also the testimony of Epiphanius to this point, who says that there was not only a sect of heretics called Nazarenes, but that the orthodox Christians also bore that name. Havre, 3 xoriavo Naåeeae, tors www.wrw, exaxovoro. Tom. ii. haer. 29. p. 117. And this, by the way, serves to detect the inaccuracy (not to call it by a more appropriate name) of Dr. Priestley, who endeavours to make us believe that because the sect of Nazarenes among the Jews, denied the divinity of Christ, therefore Christians who were called Nazarenes also did. To this very day Christians are called Enx), notzerim, by the Jews. Now this term was used as a reproachful designation of the followers of Christ—the despised Galilean—Jesus of Nazareth. Similar with this, was the reproachful term Galilean, which was bestowed on them, and which was used by Julian the apostate, when struggling with death. Taxixate; avaøaxarriag. All these things prove that the term Nazarene was originally bestowed on Christ, and afterwards on his followers, as a term of reproach; which circumstance alone would be sufficient to justify the mode of the evangelist's allusion, without reference to the reason or meaning of the term. Seeing, therefore, that when the evangelists wrote, there were none of the present conveniences for quoting from the scriptures, there could not possibly have been found a better way to refer to the description which the prophets in general have given of Christ's humble condition, than to adopt such terms as most emphatically proved its verification. Wherefore we conclude, that the evangelist, who had been citing predictions concerning Christ, and showing their accomplishment, in this passage, by the use of terms, and in allusion to circumstances that were most remarkable in the humble condition of the Saviour, designed to represent the verification of all the prophecies which relate to his humiliation. v. 9.
CURSORY REMARKS ON THE BENEFITS OF AFFLICTION.
By A LAYMAN.
2. If affliction is calculated to check the intemperance of passion, it serves also to recall us from the path of vice or folly— if we have had the misfortune to err.—When we have long enjoyed uninterrupted prosperity—when no cloud has for a succession of years darkened the sunshine of life—when no loss of beloved friends or relatives—no sudden change of fortune—no loss of character from unfounded slander, has harrowed our peace or thrown a gloom over our minds—we sink into a state of quietude—we resemble a stagnant pool—which no wholesome breeze has found—no storm has agitated, and which has grown putrid from inaction. In circumstances like these, piety becomes lukewarm—and charity almost extinct. Vice glides imperceptibly into the heart. At first it is admitted with repugnance—afterwards, with less reluctance—and finally without shame or severe remorse. We fall from one precipice to another, and are brought, perhaps, to the very brink of irremediable ruin. Too many examples justify these reflections. David having obtained the quiet possession of a throne, which it cost him many struggles to acquire, became enervated. His virtue could not resist the seductions of prosperity. Pride seized on his heart. He numbered Israel. The sight of the beautiful Bathsheba inflamed his passions, and proved the source of atrocious criminality and of bitter remorse. This first crime led to another still more enormous. Adultery was followed by murder—and the heart that had been warmed by the most elevated devotion, became the residence of impure desires and unchastened passion. It was necessary that the thunders of heaven should utter their voice—that the chastening hand of God should strike the royal offender—that a prophet from God should denounce against him the judgments of heaven, to awaken his sleeping conscience, and recall him from his criminal wanderings. Ah! how necessary—how useful are afflictions under such sad circumstances. Of all the means that could be resorted to, this, perhaps, is the only one, though painful, yet the most efficacious, to restore the erring heart—to preserve the flame of virtue from extinction, and awaken the soul to a sense of its imminent danger. The charm is then dissolved—the bandage falls—the vision becomes clear—the soul perceives the precipice on which it stands—it returns to God—it implores his mercy, and once more gains the path of virtue and true happiness. 3. Again—afflictions teach us to know ourselves—they display clearly before our eyes, faults that, without their aid, we should never have discovered; and with the discovery, lead to their correction. We are too prone to self-flattery—self-love blinds us. We conceal our true character from our own view. Very few persons know themselves thoroughly. The greater part of our faults escape our notice. We cannot, or will not, see them, because the view is calculated to mortify our pride. Thus we take pleasure in deceiving ourselves, and we persevere in this course, till a change of circumstances discloses to us our true character. We sometimes are led to contemplate the prosperity we enjoy as a proof of the peculiar favour of God in thus distinguishing us from the mass of mankind. But this delusion vanishes when we experience some heavy misfortune, and the hand of God lies heavy on us. It is then natural to inquire into the source of the evil which we feel. We examine our lives attentively—we enter into the very recesses of our hearts, and we discover a thousand faults which till now were concealed beneath an impenetrable veil. Alas, how humbling is the view. How important, however, to the sincere, although imperfect Christian. I wish, he says, I wish to be improved by the chastisements of my heavenly Father—I wish my heart to be purified from those unholy desires, from those worldly attachments which I have so long and so blindly cherished—and that the thick veil which has hitherto obscured my moral vision may fall from my eyes. To be convinced of my pride, it was necessary that I should be humbled. I have perhaps defamed my neighbour without imagining that I was guilty of slander. God has permitted me myself to become the object of cruel defamation. I have learnt by the misfortunes which I have experienced, and the indigence to which I have been reduced, to feel for the sufferings of others in less easy circumstances; and I have been cured of a hardness of heart of which I had previously no apprehension. Such is the natural fruit of affliction in a heart of true piety. 4. Finally, the effect of affliction is to wean us from the world —to fill our hearts with the hope of heaven, and with an ardent desire to “be with Christ.” This is one of the happiest effects it produces—it is the main tendency of all the afflictions which believers experience in this state of trial. It is painful, indeed, to suffer the loss of health—to lead a life of infirmity, of pain and dejection; but should this be the will of God, it should render the world less desirable, and the prospects of heaven more cheering to the bosom. The more painful our course through the world, the more delightful will it be to reach the goal, and the less shall we dread the approaches of death. How welcome will be that messenger who will put a period to our sufferings, and introduce the soul to a blessed inheritance, where sin and sorrow will for ever cease. It is painful to endure the depression of poverty—its privations—its struggles and embarrassments. But as there is no reproach attending virtuous poverty, this state should teach us the importance of entire resignation to the will of God; and should reconcile us to our departure from life. It should make us rejoice in our removal to a better world—where want, and anxiety, and suffering, will be exchanged for perfect enjoyment, and exemption from every pain. It is painful to be betrayed by a friend in whom we have confided—to be abandoned by a relative on whom we have relied for assistance or protection. One then feels by severe experience, the vanity—the nothingness of the world; as a source of real happiness, the sufferer then feels how little dependence is to be placed on frail creatures like ourselves; and the folly of leaning for support on an “arm of flesh.” Unhappy is the man who places his chief trust in man. “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie.” My soul wait thou only on God, “for my expectation is from him.” “He only is my rock and my salvation. He is my defence. I shall not be moved.” Finally, it is truly distressing to lose a kind and affectionate parent—a tenderly beloved child—a fond and faithful partner— a sincere and devoted friend. Alas! of all the afflictions in life, these are the wounds which inflict the keenest anguish—which leave the most durable impressions on the heart. Other griefs may be soothed by a change of circumstances—by the exertion of fortitude—by the sympathy of friends. But the loss of beloved friends, who were dear to our bosoms as life itself, is a source of grief which we do not wish to have speedily dried up. We love to indulge the mournful recollection—we love to tear open the wounds which time may have partially healed, and to dwell on the melancholy circumstances attending the last hours of a beloved object, till the eye swims in tears, and the heart is ready to break with sorrow. But we are not permitted to sorrow as those who have no hope. While the believer's streaming eye is raised to heaven, he is enabled to say, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” It is good for me to be afflicted; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. “Lord, whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that my heart desires besides thee.” The loss of beloved friends serves but to loosen the ties that bind the believer in Jesus to the present world. Instead of immediately mourning their departure, he endeavours to imitate their virtues; and triumphs in the hope of soon joining them in a better world, where sorrow and separation will for ever be unknown. Thus it is that all the afflictions of life tend directly to check the unruly passions of the human heart—to recall the wandering Christian to the path of duty—to impress a knowledge of our true character—to wean us from the present world—and to make heaven an object of fervent desire and constant pursuit. What then is the improvement we should draw from this subject? To impenitent and obdurate sinners it shows the accumulated wretchedness which is their portion under the calamities of the present life. They drink the bitter cup of adversity without any alleviating ingredient—they see no kind Father in
heaven correcting them only for their good—and, amidst their severest sufferings, imparting the most gracious consolations. To the true believer the case is widely different. He knows that all things, afflictions as well as joys, losses, and sufferings, as well as prosperity, all contribute to his real welfare. He feels himself but a pilgrim and sojourner here below ; but he knows that he has a sure and blessed inheritance above, where no tear will ever fall, no sorrow corrode his peace; but where his hap
piness will be commensurate with the existence of his soul. *
Lines on the Death of Mr. James B. Turner, late of the Theological Seminary, at Princeton, M. J.
BY A FELLOW student.
The minstrel's grief, if e'er the humble tale
- The name of sterling worth; but ah! he's gone,
Beneath the willow, where the stream doth toil
His was the modesty of souls refined;
But death was in the path, nor is it wise
O youth beloved!, how withering was the blast,