« PoprzedniaDalej »
sf we want maxims of wisdom, or have a taste for the laconic style “how” copiously may our wants be supplied, and how delicately our taste gratified especially in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and some of the minor prophets. H. are the most sage lessons adapted to every circumstance of life, formed upon the cyperience of preceding ages, and perfected by the unerring SPIRIT of inspiration;–these delivered with such remarkable conciseness, that one might venture to say, “every word is a sentence;” at least every sentence may be called an apophthegm, sparkling with brightness of thought, like a profusion of gents—each containing, in a very small compass, a value immense and incalculable—all heaped up with a confused magnificence, above all order.
If we look for strength of reasoning, and the warmth of exhortation, the insinuating arts of genteel address, or the manly boldness of impartial reproof; all the thunder of the orator, without any of his ostentation; all the politeness of the courtier, without any of his flattery ;-let us have recourse to the Acts of the Apostles, and to the Epistles of St. Paul. These are a specimen, or rather, these are the standard of them all. - . Are you fond of pastoral in all its graces?—Never have we seen such exquisite touches of rural painting, or such pleasing images of endeared affection, as in Solomon's Song of Songs. All the brilliant and amiable appearances in nature are employed to delineate the tenderness of his heart, who is love itself; to pourtray the beauty of his person, who “ is altogether lovely and’ the chief among ten thousand;” and to describe the happiness of those souls, “ whose fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Another recommendation of the holy Scriptures is, that they afford the most awful and at the same time the most amiable manifestations of the GoD HEAD, FATHRR, SoN, and Ho LY GHost. His glory shines, and his goodness: smiles in those divine pages, with unparalleled lustre. Here we have the most ample and satisfactory information concerning our own state; the origin: of evil is traced ; the cause of all our misery discovered, and the remedy, the infallible remedy, both clearly shewn, and freely offered. The merits and, atonement of the GoD-MAN Jesus, lay a firm foundation for all our hopes; whilst gratitude for his unmerited love suggests the most endearing incitements’ to every duty. Morality in all its branches is delineated on the sacred page; placed upon its proper basis, and raised to its highest elevation. The SPIRIT" of GoD is promised, to enlighten the darkness of our understandings, and to. strengthen our weak and imperfect wills. What an ample provision is made. by these blessed books for our spiritual wants! and in this respect, how indisputable is their superiority over all other compositions ! [To-be continued.]
WHY does the Churchman so frequently use the words “Let us pray” in the Liturgy
Answer.--It is not in our power to prevent distractions, interruption and avocation of thought, even in our most solemn addresses to God; while the soul is immersed in matter, it will sometimes be too languid to raise its thoughts er too volatile to fix them steadily upon God. This is our frailty, our misfortune; but not to be imputed to us as a sin, provided we strive against it; and when we have done all we can, we have done all we ought. Therefore, as soon as we enter the sanctuary, we should beg the assistance of the Holy Spirit, that our thoughts may be fixed; that we may be collected in ourselves; and serve God with that undivided attention, which is due from a creature to his Creator; as knowing that it is absurd to expect that God will hear us, when we really do not hear ourselves; which is the case, when our lips move meghanically, but our minds are absent or inattentive. It was with this view that in the antient Greek Liturgies, the deacon was ordered to cry aloud, Let us. prayferrently;-and again sometime after, let us pray more jercently. And it would be our wisdom to make the proper use of that exhortatory admonition, let us pray, which occurs so frequently, in our Liturgy, and which was inserted with the design, of rallying our undisciplined thoughts, recalling our straggling ideas, and of putting us in mind, that we ought to pray with an affectionate application.
Remarks on Acts. $9
reMARKS ON ACTs, CHAPTER XIII, verse 4s.
ARIOUS explanations of this text have been given, but none of them is so natural and easy as that of the great and good Archbishop Sharp. “What, says that pious and learned o: is the meaning of the Apos.**tle's words—“As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”—l answer; ** the whole depends upon the translation of one word, (and that is tetagmenoi) ** which we render ordained: but our translators, if they had pleased, might have * pitched upon three or four other words that would have better expressed the ..** signification of it, and haye cleared the sease beyond all exception. This ** word, if you will consult the usage of it in authors, cannot be more natur“ally rendered, than by the words, fitted, or prepared, or set in order, or “ disposed for. "Iake now any one of these renderings, and it will fully hit * the sense of the text, and avoid all those absurdities that I have been speak“ing of . The case before us is this; the Jews put away the gospel from them, * and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. The Gentiles on the con“trary, glorified God because eternal life was offered to them; and accord... “ o: as St. Luke tells us, as many of them as had fitted and prepared them“selves, or were set in order, or disposed for eternal life, did, upon St. Paul's . . preaching, believe the gospel, and become Christians. If you remember, “in the 9th of . Luke, our Saviour speaks of some persons who were not “fit for the kingdom of God; and such would not believe in him. But now “these people were fit for the kingdom of God, and therefore they did em“brace the gospel as soon as they heard it.” This, I presume to say, is a natural and easy exposition of the text, and it exeludes theidea of any eternal decree of God concerning particular men'ssalvation.
- —os: * * REMARKS ON ACTS, CHAPTER XIII, Veese 46. Lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
TH: Jews admitted Gentiles into their Synagogues, but the Gentile proselytes had their appropriate place, and did not mix with the Jews. The
E.g. before us affords, sufficient evidence of such a local separation. It is said, verse 42. “And when the Jews were gone out, the Gentiles besought “that these words (or this doctrine) might be preached to them the next Sab“bath.” The Jewish part of the audience, therefore, went out first, before
the Gentiles stirred; and St. Paul seems to have directed not only the subject
matter of his discourse, but also his face and gestures, at first to the Jewish art of the assembly, verse 16. Then Paul stood up and beckoning with the nd, or moving his hand toward them, as particularly bespeaking their attention, said, men of Israel, even ye that fear God, give audience. Now, as the whole of the discourse was remarkably appropriate to the Jews, so probably were the posture and motion of the Apostle's body and eyes, whilst he deliv*red it ; which may with equal reason be supposed to have been the case in pronouncing the former part of his next discourse on the following Sabbath, and which rendered that sudden alteration of his attitude, the more emphatical and striking;-“Lo we turn to the Gentiles "-This graceful, and oportune turn of gesture as well as of discourse, had, by the grace of God, the desired effect. The whole Gentile part of the audience were enraptured with the Apostle's declaration, and accordingly all who were present embraced the doctrine of eternal life, of which the Jews had shewn themselves unworthy, by putting it from them, contradicting and blaspheming –as many as (tetag: menoi) were ranged together, viz. on the Gentise side of the synagogue, which was very crowded, ver. 44, 45. believed in the doctrine that was unto life eternal.
—-mos THE NECESSITY OF RETIREMENT. O THAT dissipation of thought, which our conversing much with the w world occasions ! To retrieve ourselves from this ill effect, it is highly expedient to withdraw from company, and to converse much with what we above all things love, and yet above all things late to converse with—ourselves: —to habituate our minds to recollection, and to fix them on the greatest and Imost interesting of objects. - o
£9 . . 4. Fable. - **
Honour, profit and pleasure are the three idols, foyhich men of the world bow. Avoid them, Ö'Christián, go from them o: shut the door, and as the Psalmist speaks, commune with thine’oton heart in thy chamber, and he still. There, the busy swarm of vain images that beset us"gut of doors, find no admission :-there, as no turbulent passions can enter, so all animosities are excluded or forgotten; and all competitions cease. There the vanities and vexations of this world are forbidden to enter, and the considerations of
N a summer's evening, a shepherd from a rising eminence beheld the adjacent sea;--the winds were bushed, the waves had lost their motion, and presented a surface smooth as that of a molten looking-glass. "At a ; distance, he perceived boats and vessels of various size and sail, which seeme: 2. in perfect security, to sport; tıpon the ocean. Strück ... "...of novelty of the appearance, he forgot the pleasures of a rural Hise, forgöt’ asl that he had heard of the dangerous and deceitful ocean ; he exchanged his #lock for merchandize, and trusted himself and his treasure to an untried'ei ment. Scarcely was he embarked before he repented of his rashness. A sudden storm arose—the sea no longer serene, but like a tyger roused from slee assumed the appearance of au enraged enemy, and threatened him with death in every wave. He lost his bark; he lost his goods; and hoping even'against hope with the utmest exertions he escaped a watery grave, once more to tread on the dry land. Miade wiser by thisförtune, he gladly returned to the pastoral life, and found safety and peace in the society of his flock. ‘The next time he saw the sea, it was again smooth and silent as befoie; "but he beheld it without emotion. It is in vain, says he, to think of deceiving me again; I have no mind to suffer a second shipwreck : N. - o , , , HAPPY are they whom divine grace leads to make a like reflection upon
REFLECTIO their former errors Sinful pleasures appear engaging at a distance, but at last “they bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.” . Temptations ; he d
been presented to us, in all their bewitching charms; they have resembled sea when calm, unruffled by no breath of air; without suspicion we yiel le
to the ailurement, quitted our safety, and daringly launched into the darigerous and deceitful deep Transient was temptation's smile, ocean soon began to frown and toss his waves on high, and we found ourselves instantly surrounded with storms and tempests." Then, when all our art was baffled, our rudder broken, our sails torn, our anchor lost, and all human hopes of safety taken away, what have been our thoughts? 'Did we not bemoan our folly? Were we not willing to part with all, to count our greatest gain but loss, if w could but escape with life and reach some friendly port? o the Lord hear our prayer? Has he sent his word and saved us, and brought us into the desired haven? Let us then keep in mind our past experience. May we so
commit ourselves to those faithless seas, which have occasioned us so muc trouble and danger, “for the end of them is death.” * . . . . * * * * * * ** * . .” Seduc’d by sin to quit my ease, And trust my life to stormy seas; I long by winds and waves was toss'd, And ev'ry view of safety lost. . . . .
Recover'd by Divine command,
Agaff some artful bait presents,
But Oh forbid it, gracious Lord
THE establishment of Christianity among mankind is the greatest of all miracles. "In spite of all the power of Rome; in spite of all the passions, interests, and prejudices of so many nations; so many philosophers; so many gifferent religions; twelve poor fishermen, without art, without eloquence, without power, published and spread their doctrine throughout the world.-in spite of a persecution for three centuries, which seemed every moment ready ofo extinguish it; inspite of continued and innumerable martyrdoms of persons of all conditions and countries; the truth at length triumphs over error ac: cording to the predictious both of the old and new law. Let any one shew some other religion, which has the same marks of a divine protection. . . " A powerful conqueror may establish by his arms, the belief of a religion, which flatters the sensuality of men. A wise legislator may gain himself atten: o and respect by the usefulness of his laws. A sect in credit and supported y the civil power, may abuse the credulity of the people. All this is possible. But what could victorious, learned, and superstitious nations see, to induce them so readily to believe in Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour, who promised them nothing in this world but persecutions and sufferings; who propo§ed to them the practice of a morality, to which all darling passions must be sacrificed: Is not the conversion of the World to such a religion, a greater and #. credible miracle than even the greatest of those which some refuse to believe 2 " . . - - - - v
nor the ciiu RCH MAN's MAGAZINE. -
- • - - - Continued from No. 3. page 43.
P.—Rev. Sir, I hope you are at leisure, as I have come again to converse with you upon the subject of the Holy Eucharist. C.—I am at leisure at present, and shall gladly discourse with you, on a subject so important, that the Church pronounces it the most solemn part of public worship. . . - - - - - P-I have long meditated on the holy eucharist, and confess my difficulties: one is, whether our Lord offered himself for us, at the time of his instituting the holy communion, or when he was on the cross. . . . ... C.—The primitive Christians believed that the oblation of the body of Christ for the redemption of mankind commenced in mediately after eating his last Passover, and was progressive, ’till he said, “this is my body, this is my blood, which is given for you,” over the bread and wine. The propitiation was then offered under the symbols of bread and wine,
P.—I thank you, sir, my question is answered entirely to my satisfaction: now
be so good as to explain to me the nature and design of the eucharistic sacrifice. C.—When the eucharist is celebrated according to Christ's institution, it is a solemn memorial or representation of Christ's sacrifies offered to God the Father, in order to procure for us the benefits of that sacrifice. When the bishop or priest, to shew the authority by which he acts, recites the words of institution, and pronounces Christ's powerful words, this is my body, this is my blood, over the bread and wine, they become authoritative representatives, or symbols of Christ's crucified body, and of his blood that was shed. P.—So then, sir, the priests under the gospel offer sacrifice as well as those under the law. - - - - . . .* C.—Yes, sir, the legal sacrifices were sanguinary; but under the gospel they are unbloody. The bread and wine, by the powerful words of Christ, “ this is my body, this is my blood,” are made authoritative representatives of his body and blood offered for us, and put into a capacity of being oilered to God as the great Christian sacrifice. P-With pleasure, I observe sir, how the subject goes on to expand, and sonfess that all this is very intelligible;—pray proceed. ------ .
52 A Dialogue between a clergyman, and his Parishioner.
C.—Then the priest makes a solemn oblation of the appointed symbols, which is the highest and most proper act of Christian worship. With this ob. Iation God is well pleased, because it is offered by his Son's authority and command. The j and wine are not consumed by fire from heaven, nor b the fire of an altar, as the Levitical sacrifices were, but suffered to continue in our sight; or in other words, God returns them to us to feast upon, that we may thereby partake of all the benefits of our Saviour's death and passion. ...
P.—I understand all this; but confess that I have some fears, lest this doc
trine lean toward transubstantiation. “
C.—You will have no reason to be afraid that the primitive doctrines of the eucharist favour transubstantiation, when I shall have conducted you a few steps farther in the illustration of them.—Please, sir, to observe, that the bread . wine remain bread and wine after the prayer of invocation. The Holy Spirit is invoked neither to transubstantiate nor to consubstantiate, but to sa NcTify them; to change them in their qualities, not in their substance. And thus they are made, not the hatural, but the sacramental body and blood :— they are bread and wine by nature, the body and blood of Christ, in mystery and signification: they are bread and wine to our senses, the body and blood of Christ to our understanding and faith: they are bread and wine in themselves, the body and blood of Christ in power and effect. - - *
P.—I see clearly how all this is, and that my fears of transubstantiation were
roundless : as to consubstantiation we seldom hear that word mentioned, but if I have any correct ideas of its meaning, it is as remote from the primitive doctrine of the eucharist, as the so much condemned Popish word transubstantiation is. - : - -w C.—The doctrine of transubstantiation was invented in the o of the sixth century: consubstantiation was a device of Luther, whereby he thought to mend the matter. We may try as many ways as we please to purify truth from error, but no way is certain, but that prescribed by the prophet, “ stand “in the head of the ways and see, and enquire for the old path, and walk “therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” . . - . . P.—True sir; the man who desires to drink the water pure, must draw it from the fountain; but alas ! “ the well is deep” to many, and they “ have nothing to draw with.”—The holy communion is, I fear, so generally little understood, that by far the major part of people absent themselves from it; every one has some favourite excuse. - C.—Yes, sir; our Saviour's words are daily verified,—“ye will not come to me that ye might have life;”—how many turn away in a rage upon being told, “unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you ?” - - P.—I firmly believe that it is necessary to receive the holy communion as often as opportunity offers, because it is our spiritual nourishment, without which the soul must be in a weak and languishing condition. -C.—If the health of the soul were in our eyes as precious as that of the body, we would give a similar attention to its preservation and maintenance; but unhappily we attend to the things of time with so much ardency of affection that the things of eternity are little regarded. To pamper the body, no expense is spared, and invitations to social entertainments are duly complied with ;-but to the voice of the Church, inviting her careless children to eat of her “dainties and drink her choicest wine,” to feast on the “ communion of the body and blood” of her Redeemer, little attention is paid. What is courtesy toward man a virtue, and disrespect toward God free from censure ?—At first the deceiver seduced men, by persuading them to eat what God had forbidden—since, he has carried on the same destroying scheme, by persuading them to contemn what God hath commanded to be eaten. Surely men would not so readily yield up their best interests into the destroyer's hands, if they more maturely “ considered the things that belong to their temporal and eternal peace ;”—if they considered aright the “communion of the body and blood of Christ,” and knew that it conveys all the benefits of his natural body and blood to those who worthily receive it; the chief of which are, the pardon of their past sins; fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit; and a principle of immor. *al life to their bodies, as well as to their souls. - • **