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193 gression ?-Where would be the equity to pass by the rest, and punish only Canaan for what Ham had done ? Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?
To God we are not to ascribe the imperfections of men-nor to think that anger or revenge dwells with the Holy One of Is. rael. Neither ought we to ascribe the epithet of prescience to him before whom all things are present, which in the language of men are said to be past, present or to come.
Prescience implies a knowledge of things before they actually come to pass, and of consequence a certain degree of imperfection ;-—but to Him who inhabiteth the eternity--whose existence is not measured by time as that of men and angels is--to Him whose eye seeth from the one end of heaven to the other; from the moment of creation to the consummation of all things; no action appears prior to another in point of time, all men and the thoughts of their hearts are equally present, equally visible, and that not from any necessity or predestination, but as a pure act of omniscience.
The curse, therefore, denounced against Canaan, is a prophet. ic declaration of what his future conduct would bring upon him. Nor is this declaration of incurred malediction to be understood so properly of Canaan as of his descendants to the latest posterity. It is thinking meanly, and unworthily of the antient prophecies, to limit their intention to particular persons : We must affix a larger meaning, and understand them as comprehending.whole nations. And thus, another and more extensive scene of the divine dispensations will be opened. The curse of Canaan, and the promise of blessing to Shem and Japhet must extend io their whole race ; as the prophecies concerning Ishmael, Esau, Jacob and the twelve Patriarchs were not so properly verified in themselves as in their posterity, and thither we must look for their full completion.
The curse, therefore, predicted against Canaan, was properly against the Canaanites, and God commissioned Noah prophetically to declare the misery which their more than ordinary ini. quities would deserve. And this account of the prediction of the Patriarch was recorded by Moses, to be an encouragement to the Israelites, in their expedition against a people who, with their ancestors for many generations had by their impiety and abominations forfeited the divine protection, and had rendered themselves the objects of punishment.
This evidently is the meaning of the prophecy :-let us next attend to its completion. The Canaanites were an exceedingly wicked people : witness the sin and punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain ;--and as to the other inhabitants of the promised land, God had patience with themand did not visit them in his displeasure 'till their iniquity was full. Gen. xv. 16.—They were not only idolaters, but guilty of the very worst sort of icíolatry :--burning even their sons and their daughters to their Gods. Deut. xii. v. 31.
An evangelical Hymn for Advent. Their religion was bad-their morality, if possible, was
Read only Levit. 18. and 20, and you will find, that era ery species of iniquity was common among them.
And was not a curse deservedly entailed upon such a nation as this ?-It was not for their own righteousness, that the Lord brought the Israelites in to possess their land; but for the wickedness of those nations did the Lord drive them out. Deut. ix. v. 4. And he would have driven out the Israelites in like manner for the very same abominations.--See Levit. xviii. v. 14, &c.
[To to be concluded in the next number.]
ÏOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAĞAZINE. URING the season of Advent particularly, the Church, like the Virgin is tuned to the melody of the saints, and her organ to accompany the voice of those who rejoice in God their Saviour. It well becometh the redeemed of the Lord to rejoice in God their Saviour, sing psalıns in honor of his name and make his praise to be glorious. In praising God the primitive Christians were our pattern-and their hymns were truly the songs of Zion. Knowing that it was equally necessary that their praises should accord with the mind of God, as well as their prayers, they composed their hymns frony the holy scriptures, and celebrated the praises of their Triune-God, in words dictated by the Holy Spirit. Trusting that it will be acceptable to our readers to know the manner of the primitive acts of divine praise, we here present them, with two specimens, selected verbatim from the holy scriptures.
AN EVANGELICAL HYMN FOR ADVENT,
be chanted as the Venite exultemus.
Let them also that hate him fiee be-fore hine.
AN EVANGELICAL HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS,
Which may be chanted as the Cantate Domino.
On the celebration of Christmas day.
The glory as of the only begotten of the FA-THER;
ST. LUKE 1. v. 68.--Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited:
and redeemed his people..
Behold fulfill'd his solemn word!
DO X0 L () G Y.
ON THE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS DAY:
S the season fast approacheth, when we are called upon by the Church, per to communicate to our readers, some of those reasons which the learned Selden has offered to prove, that the twenty-fifth of December is the riglit day set apart for that purpose, and that it was so appropriated by the Apostles
"Some indeed, (and those not. a few among the learned) have doubted of the just time of the birth of our Saviour, which, while they doubt, they offer !lie inore occasion to others to question and impugn the celebration of it, as it is now settled in the Church. But for myself here, as I was far from questioning the duty of it, so was I also from doubting of the right celebration of it, on the very day of December, whereon it is 1:0w kept. And to make clear my mind bere, I shall now more largely declare the certainty of that feast, us
On the celebration of Christmas dary. it is at this day observed, even from the eldest of the Christian limes, and Apostolical tradition, received even from the practice of his Disciples.”
SELDEN. This circumstance being well known to those conversant in Ecclesiastical history, should also be explained to such as are not, they having an equal right to be well informed in "all things relating to the common salvation,” which is indeed the only way to avoid schism, and adhere to the truth, by following the Apostles' advice, of being able to give a reason of their hope.
SELDEN having been raiiked among "those who doubted,” occasioned his writing his THEANTHROPOS, or God made man, a tract proning ihe nativity of our Saviour to be on the 25th of December, which is divided into seven sections : viz. 1. The authority of keeping this day. 2. More particular proofs of it. 3. It was so received from the Fathers, ` 4. Express testimonies from historians and general use. 5. The common reasons urged, erroneous. 6. Objections answered : and, 7. Opinions respecting it. And as the tract has now become too scarce to be commonly perused, an extract of some passages respecting this important matter of fact, may not be unacceptable." in p. 2. he disclaims the unjust imputation ; " as it I had purposely called in question,” says he, “ the celebration of that sacred day, which is, as St. Chrysostom calls it,t the main fort of all happiness, and the fountain and root of all the good that we enjoy; and to call it in question, as if I supposed,” he indignantly adds, "" it were observed at the time reithout sufficient ground, and as if I were too inclining to the part of the hot-brained and disturbing puritans, which impiously deny the keeping of a day as an anniversary feast consecrated by the birth of our Saviour: from which my conscience was ever, and is most clearly free." At p. 7. he observes that St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom; St. Austin and others, “ have many sermons appropriated to the celebration of this day, and they frequently tell the people confidently, that the birth of our Saviour ras on THE 25th of DECEMBER, or the 8 kalends of January”-and “ the birth of St. John on the 8 kalends of July, or 24th June." "On our Saviour's birth day, the days begin to lengthen, and on St. Jolin's, to shorten." P. 9. “ The eastern Church received it froin the western." P. 10. “ St. Chrysostom says. I being instructed from learned men of the western Church, it was then (anothen kai pro polon paradotheisa eto:) of antient time, and delivered in the Church many years before,"_even of equal age with the more antient feast days which they liad received, well known from antient time.”—St. Augustine also expressly says,g that the birth was upon this day, sic tradit Ecclesia which denotes great antiquity eren in his time.”—P. 11. And he expressly says, li " St. John Baptist's day was received by like tradition.” And tracing backwards in the time of Constantine, and the first general council of Nice, held in 325, “this feast was kept on the 25th nf December, AS NOW IT is, and then from antienter time, against such as supposed it no older.” P. 21. “ Before the council of Nice, held in 325, this feast was established in the western Church by the general testimony of the Fathers.” P. 25. “ It rests firm, therefore, that whensoever it was first instituted for anniversary celebration, it was in such an age as had the supposition of the winter solstice, being on the 25th day of December, yet retained in the Church.". P. 29. “ The like is allirmed of the Apostolical Tradition of the uniform celebration of Easter, by Ceolfrid, in his Epistle to Naitan, King of the Picts. P. 30. It follows, therefore, that cren from the beginning, that is, FROM THE APOSTLES' TIMES, tne same spring equinox was received in the Church, i. e. the 2 ist or 22d of March, as was afterward, and that it was thence established on the 21st by the council of Nice, and that by consequence, in those times, of the Apostles, the formerly received equinox was altered from the 25th to the 22d, or 21st, and also, (as of necessity it follows) the same winter solstice from the 25th of December, to near about the 21st or 22d of the
* Vide' THEANTHROPOS, or God made man, a tract proving the nativity of our Saviour to be on the 25th of December, by John SELDEN, that eminently learned Antiquary, late of the Inner Temple, London, 1661. t'iom. 7. Edit. Saviliana. p. 375. Jog. ia.
Serm. dict. item in hom. 34. iom. 2. edict. Basil, And in Serm. 27 de nat. Jo. Baptist, eodem tom.
g Enarrat in Psalm 132. || Serm. de sanct. 4.
On the celebration of Christmas day.
197 same month. Whence also it is to be calculated, that this feast day was receited as to be kept ON THE 25th DAY EVEN BEFORE THE APOSTLES' TIMES, AND THAT AMONG THE DISCIPLES OF OUR SAVIOUR, WHILE HE WAS YET ON EARTH; that is, while in common reputation the 25th day of December was taken for the winter solstice," P. 31. “ It being commonly received out of the account and kalendar of the Gentiles, that the 25th day of December, was the solstice, and that ON THE SAME DAY our Saviour was born, it grew familiar it seems, and so was delivered down to those fathers, that the birth day was on the very winter solstice, which they so often inculcate.” P. 33. " Many years before the council of Nice, i. e. under Dioclesian, this feast was ihus celebrated.” P. 35. “ Among St. Chrysostom's works in Latin, one Homily is, de nativitate Domini (Edit. Basil, tom. 2. hom. 39.) wherein he confidently, as elser kere teaches, that this day of December is the just day of that birth, and for his authority brings no less than St. Peter's testimony ; Petrus, are the words, QUI HIC FUIT CUM JOH. QUI HIC FUIT JAC. Nos IN OCCIDENTE DOCUIT,”-referring to what he had before noted in his oration on this subject, and where he says (Edit. Savil. tom. 5. p. 512.) such as defended this day, said it was (Palaia kai archaia, kaianöthen tois apo Thrakes mechri Gadeiron oi kousi katacēlos kai opsisēmos,) very entient and from old time knotun, and famous from Thrace to Cadis, thut is, the whole western Church. To these may be added Euodius whom Nicephorus calls the successor of the Apostles, and it is delivered (Suid. in verb. Nazaraios & Christianos), that it was orduined by St. Peter himself in Antioch ; that we may so distinguish him from the other Euodius Bp. of Uzalis, (Cujus nomini ascribuntur opera aliquot ad. fin. tom. 10. D. Aug. subjuncta edit. Lovaniensi) in St. Augustine's time: he in one Epist. touching the times of the passion of our Saviour, of St. Stephen's Martyrdom, of the death of the B. Virgin, and the like, says expressly of her (as the Latin is in Languis's Nicephorus Eccles. Hist. 1. 2. c. 3.) Peperit autem inundi ipsius lucem, annum agens quindecimum 25th die mensis Decembris.” 25th DIE MENSIS DECEMBRIS!" and p. 36. likewise in an old Greek author (the book being written about the time of Pope Honorius 1st) in the library of St. Marks in Florence, express testimony is Apostolos memoriæ prodidisse Christum er Virgine natum Bethlema 25th Decembris, as Albertus Widemonstadius of his own sight, witnesseth, and to these may be added Cedren, Orosius and some. antient MSS. Pusti cited by Cuspinian upon Cassiodore, and other authorities," – strengthened also by St. Chrysostom, where he says (Tom. 5 edit. Savil. fol. 512) expressly, that in public records kept at Roine in his age, the exact time of the description under Cyrenius, spoken of by St. Luke, (which could not but be a special character of the tiine of our Saviour's birth) was expressed ; and then he goes on (ibid. p. 513.) doubt not for we have received the day (para tōn akribās tauta eidoton,) from those who accurately know these things, and dwell at Rome, and thut they (anāthen kai ek palaias paradoseos autēn spitelountes nun autēs hemin tên gnosin,) i. e. having from antient time and old tradition celebrated it, hare now also sent us the knowledge of it. This is likewise confirined by an old barbarous translation of what was taken out of Africanus and Eusebius, and published in the noble Scaliger's Thesaurus Temporum, where the words are Aug. et Sylvano Coss Dominus noster Jesus Christus natus est sub Augusto 8 calendas Januarii : and then in ipsa die in qua natus est pastores viderunt stellain, chuac 28, which should rather be 29, for so agrees the 25th of December, to that of the Egyptian choiac, which the author ineans. Prudentius also." P. 38. “ And of later times the authorities are infinite." All these testimonies. “ enough manifest the ANTIQUITY and CERTAINTY of the antient feast day, according
as we now obserce it, and that even from the age wherein it first brouglit forth the redemption of mankind. And to these we may add, the consent of Christian Churches ever since about those 400 years," and as St. Chrysostom expressly saith (kath hekaston etos spididõsi kai lamproteron ginetai,) every year it increased and grew more famous. P. 39. “ And about 100 years atter Chrysostom it was expressly ordained by the Emperor Justin, (if Nicephorus Calistus Hist. Eccles. I. 17. c. 28, deceive me not,) that in every place in the Christian world it should be thus observed. And according to this are the kalendars and books of divirre service, not only of the western, which are every where common, but of the eastern Churches also : in the menology