Obrazy na stronie

certainty, unless it was because his heart did not yet confide with simple honest faith upon the testimony of God, and, consequently, had not embraced as its own the promise of the King of kings?

I reproached him in these words: Man of little faith, wherefore do you still doubt? and what do you expect to support your soul, and to enable you to rejoice in the near prospect of seeing your God?

But, replied he with embarrassment, wherein do I want faith? Have I not confessed, according to my belief, that Jesus Christ is the Saviour; yes, that all-sufficient Saviour who has redeemed for ever those for whom he died upon this cross? In what, then, am I unbelieving?

In this, I replied affectionately, but firmly, that you doubt the truth of this declaration of God,-he who believeth in Jesus is saved; that God justifies him, pardons all his sins, and that he hath everlasting life.

I have not the shadow of a doubt of this, he replied in a decided tone. I assure you I believe it as sincerely as I do the very existence of Christ. Well, said I then, dwelling upon every word as I uttered it, Since God tells you, you who believe in the name of his Son, that you are justified, and that you have life, why do you reply that you hope it is so? If God affirms it, ought you to say, It may be?

But, my dear sir, replied the old man, does God really declare this? Does he really say that whosoever believeth in Jesus is accounted just before God?

Certainly, I replied; for that is the testimony which God has given us concerning his Son. He declares, as we have seen, that this only and perfect Saviour hath redeemed-not will redeem, but hath redeemed-for ever, those sinners for whom he was offered upon the cross; and he declares by the same testimony, that whoso believeth in Jesus" is justified," and shall not come into condemnation." If, then, a man can be assured, by examining himself, that he renounces self-justification, and that he confides in Jesus Christ, and in the sacrifice which he has accomplished upon the



God, who hears me, interrupted the old man, holding up his joined hands, knows that I perceive my error; that I have no longer any idea of meriting salvation; and that I believe sincerely in the sacrifice and in the perfect merits of the Saviour who was nailed upon this wood, and who is risen again.

God, who hears me also, I continued with joy, says then, and declares, that he who thus believeth on the name of the Lord Jesus should know that he is justified by faith, and that he hath eternal life.


The Old Man becomes conscious of his Unbelief.

What have I been doing here below for seventy-six years, exclaimed the old man with an expression of self-conviction, that I have remained ignorant of this love of God towards me! For although it has only been made known to me to-day, it was manifested for me when Jesus took my debt upon himself, and paid it with his own blood upon this cross. I was then beloved by him, and my ransom was already paid, when I was living as a madman, according to the course of this world, and cared neither for God nor for his Son Jesus Christ. Yes, I was then the object of his grace. What do I say? It was my portion, according to his purpose and will, when I was fatiguing myself under the burden of my vain practices! Oh, sir, what a day is this for my soul! Blessed for ever be our meeting at the foot of this cross!

Traveller. To that merciful God and Father who prepared for us this interview and pleasant repose, be all the praise. It is his grace which

directed our conversation to his unchangeable love in Jesus Christ; and it is his Spirit which has given to me, his feeble disciple, to bear some testimony to his sacrifice on the cross, and to you, whom he called long since, to hear and receive the truth. Without doubt it has often before sounded in your ears, but it found them heavy, through ignorance and unbelief, and

Old Man. Yes, through unbelief, my dear sir. Now I am no longer deceived, and I see clearly that it has been through pride and hardness of heart that I have until this day rejected the grace of God in Christ. I refused to humble myself, and I wished to do something towards the acquisition of this magnificent pardon. Such was the root of the evil; and I confess it, in the presence of that mighty Saviour whom I now adore as my Redeemer and my God. Yes, I believe, for he says it: Jesus is my Saviour.

Your Saviour? I added, alluding to the sense in which he had formerly used this delightful word.

Yes, my Saviour, replied he, understanding me; and no longer my aid. No, I no longer believe by halves, but my soul reposes at the foot of the cross, in believing in him with sincerity, in believing in him with my whole heart, and in believing his promise also.

Of what cross are you speaking? I then asked him. Do you mean these pieces of wood which I now touch, or the sacrifice itself, and the oblation of the Son of God?


The true Cross is not that which can be touched by the Hand.

This cross, replied the old man, rising, and leaning his hand against the wood, is no longer any thing to me but a memorial. If it has been an idol, it is now no longer so. The Lord Jesus has himself dispelled this error, this illusion, in which my heart delighted: my faith now looks beyond this sign, which worms consume. It is to Jesus, it is to that perfect Saviour whom the Father hath given us, and who upon a cross—yes, upon a cross such as this-redeemed his church, that my soul looks; and my heart is cleansed by his blood, through faith in his holy name.

That is why, continued I, also standing, you should fearlessly and freely lay hold of that grace which the Father hath offered us in his wellbeloved Son. I entreat you no longer to look back to your manner of life and your doings. God says that his children are made complete in Jesus: what should you have to do, then, with ceremonies and observances? Do you still expect by them to blot out your sins?

No, no, said the old man, striking his stick upon the ground; no more of such unbelief. No, I will no more dishonour the sacrifice of the Saviour, by substituting for it, in the least degree, either my works or my prayers. I have followed the dictates of my pride long enough it is time for me to be led by my God.


Nothing but the Word of God can make known the true Cross of the Saviour. Take then the word, my dear sir, I said to him earnestly, and derive from it your support. On this subject believe a poor sinner, who, after having wandered like yourself, and a long time also, in unbelief, found in the Book of God, light, strength, and consolation: approach this same treasure, and draw from it for yourself heavenly riches. You must perceive that the Lord did not cause his holy word to be written, and ordain that it should be multiplied into all languages, that man might hide it, or keep it sealed up: therefore, what would you be doing, if, because you had avoided it during the days of your error, you should still delay to

read and search it, and so to drink at the living fountain pure and inexhaustible peace and holiness? Would not this be on your part a fresh contempt of the mercy of the Highest, and new resistance of the Holy Spirit, who has dictated the Bible, and who has just opened it before you, saying, Believe and possess?

I thank you for your solicitude, replied the old man, taking one of my hands, which he pressed affectionately, and I receive this exhortation as if God had himself addressed it to me. Yes, I have not known the value of the word of God, and I have substituted for it, both externally and spiritually, books and instructions which have hidden it from me, and even removed me from it. Thus I have neither understood the love of God, nor what interest I had in it, and I have only followed lights which have bewildered me. I will, then, from this day forth read and study this word, which contains my title to an eternal inheritance, and the commandments of my Saviour and Father. I assure you I rejoice to open and search this treasure.

Ah! may the Spirit of God enrich you with all its blessings! added I, prayerfully; for it is He alone who disposes our heart to receive and follow this true light. May He, then, be your supreme teacher, and guide in this study! He can neither deceive nor mislead you. Be, then, faithful and of upright heart, not fearing to hear and believe all that God shall reveal to you, and not hesitating to maintain the path which His word shall point out. In fine, dear sir, it will be better for your soul to have listened to the Lord than to have been the disciple of men; and His declarations will trace for you a road safer than that in which you would walk after the traditions of others, sinners as weak and erring as yourself.

Old Man. Do I not already see this? Do I not find in my soul at this moment an indisputable proof of the authority of the word of God over the most inveterate opinions, habits, and practices? Is the change which has taken place within me, and which I cannot deny, a trifle; or is it not rather the work of God himself, of his all-powerful truth? Is it not His word which has humbled me before the Lord Jesus, and which, causing me to despise what I regarded as my title to salvation, has enabled me to find peace in a promise which before appeared to me very weak and entirely insufficient?

Traveller. What will it be, then, when the Holy Spirit, leading you into all truth, shall have more and more freed you from the yoke and fetters which have detained you far from the grace of God, and, consequently, from all true freedom? Ah! you will then know what it is to approach death and eternity, not in following traditions or uncertain expectations, but in having your steps established on a road where may be discerned the traces of your Redeemer and King.

Old Man. May He then speak to me and instruct me! What should be the desire of my soul, but to be kept near to Him who is about shortly to deliver it from this weak and decayed body? For, as you see, dear sir, I am already bent down towards the earth which contains the dust of my forefathers.

Traveller, with respect and affection. Let me then once more, and before we separate, probably for ever here below, understand what is your assurance before God, and what will be your firm expectation when He shall summon you to pass into eternity.


The Traveller and the old Man embrace one another before the true Cross. The confession of my faith, replied the old man, with a serene countenance, is now as easy as it is sincere. Receive it, then, from my mouth,

and in the presence of our beneficent Creator. "If the Almighty had not given his Son as the Saviour of the world, my soul would have justly suffered condemnation, which it could not by any works have escaped; but since God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,' as I am sure in my heart that I do believe in this holy Son of God, I am also sure that I shall not perish, but shall have eternal life; for it is God who says it."

Hereupon this dear, this venerable old man encircled me in his trembling arms, saying with affection, I press you to my heart, because you are my brother in Christ, as well as my friend and benefactor; for it is you who this day, by the word of our God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, have turned me from the worship of a material cross, and have conducted me to the Cross of the Son of God."


To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

WILL any of your learned correspondents resolve the following doubt? Mr. Jones of Nayland states that the passage in verse 12 of Titus i. "The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies," is a verse of Callimachus-namely,

Κρητες αει ψευται, κακα θηρια, γατερες αργαι : while Dr. Adam Clarke (Life, vol. iii.) says the extract is from Epimenides. Now, on referring to Callimachus I find no such line thoughout my edition (of Paris, 1675) although there is a verse beginning, Kontes aɛɩ Evsaι, but concluding altogether differently. I do not possess the author mentioned by Dr. Clarke. I shall be obliged by any one setting this

matter at rest.

J. P.



To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

I HAVE been much interested in the remarks which have appeared in your pages relative to a comprehension with the Dissenters; that is to say—for no true Churchman or friend of the Gospel would wish to go furtherwith all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. But it requires to be defined, as a preliminary in the investigation, with what classes of Dissenters we may reasonably and scripturally hope for a comprehension, and with what classes it would be neither desirable nor practicable. Perhaps some of your correspondents, who have considered the practical details of this question, would oblige your readers with the result of their investigation. It is obvious that with Arians and Socinians, as well as with the whole body of extravagants-from the followers of Southcote and Swedenborg to those of Mr. Irving-there could be no Scriptural basis of agreement: nor could it be expected that the Church of England should give up infant baptism, to please the Antipædo-baptists; or both sacraments and a stated ministry, to please the Society of Friends; or add five new sacraments, with the adoration of saints, the absurdity of transubstantiation, and various other pravities of doctrine and ritual, to please the Papist.

These and other exceptions would make a sweeping deduction from every scriptural plan of reconciliation; for it is perfectly clear that the

seceders on these questions would not merge their peculiar opinions with a view to a general comprehension. There remains, however, a very large class of Dissenters, and quasi Dissenters, including in fact the whole body of religious men among them, who agree with the Church of England in almost every one of its doctrinal articles, and who might probably be conciliated by no unreasonable concessions-except in those instances in which individuals have persuaded themselves of the duty of dissenting from every church, however pure, which partakes of the character of a national establishment. The two classes of persons chiefly to be expected, and to be wished, to gather in, are the Calvinistic Dissenters and the Wesleyan Methodists, for these include the great body of pious seceders; and it is an important object of inquiry to ascertain what particular reforms or modifications, which it might be right to make, would probably embrace these two main divisions of the dissenting community. If some of their own body would assist in the investigation, it would greatly facilitate the object. To every true follower of the Son of God most dear is the prayer of his Divine Master, that they all may be one: as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us ;" and most impressive the reason given for it," that the world may know that Thou hast sent me." B. X.

[ocr errors]


For the Christian Observer.

In our papers upon the connexion between Christianity and civil government in the United States we mentioned a very interesting and valuable document, which we lately received from America, in which the question is considered with much seriousness and "meekness of wisdom." We allude to a Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and Members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, from their Bishops assembled in General Convention. We shall now furnish our readers with some passages from this remarkable document, the general tenor of which, we rejoice to state, exhibits an extensive increase of piety and zeal in the American Protestant Episcopal Church, and particularly the wide diffusion of a missionary spirit among its members.

After noticing various matters connected with the state of their communion-and, among others, the late revision of the Canons, and the appointment of a committee to make a selection of psalms and hymns for public worship-the Address proceeds to notice the relation in which the Right Reverend Prelates consider their church as standing to the civil government of their country and to the world at large.

In relation to the first of these, the following is the official authoritative view of this Right Reverend assembly. We quote the whole of this portion of the Address, as shewing the views entertained on the question by religious men in the United States unconnected with an established church, and disapproving of such an institution. Let those Dissenters and others in England who so loudly appeal to the case of the United States, impartially weigh this document; and they will find, that, though America does not do all that we think she ought to do for the maintenance and growth of Christianity in her borders, yet she has not cast off all national recognition of religion; and the religious members of her community are far from adopting the principles which of late have made such progress in certain quarters in England. We may add also, that some of the remarks of the American bishops are not unworthy of the consideration of those of our clergy and lay members of the Church, who allow their political hosti

« PoprzedniaDalej »