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wishes for information on a passage in the 27th chapter of St. Matthew, verses 52, 53-" And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

He inquires, what became of these persons, as it does not seem that they continued in the city? Though the sacred historian has given us no light upon this question, we may, however, venture to hazard an opinion upon it, if our conjectures be not contrary to reason and Scripture. The Evangelist speaks of these persons as saints. We may therefore safely conclude, that our merciful Father would not have raised them to life, on that happy occasion, to subject them again to the temptations and trials of this sinful world, and to undergo the pains of a second death. It is most probable that they were received up into heaven, like our blessed Saviour, though not with the same circumstances of majesty and glory. Enoch and Elijah had before been translated in the flesh to the regions of immortality, and the resurrection of these saints was but an anticipation of that event, which shall happen to the whole human race in the last great day of the world. It, doubtless, was intended as a farther proof to the Jews, that the same Power, which bad raised from the dead the Son of God, would, in like manner, raise the fallen children of Adam from the gloomy mansions of the grave.


To the Editor of the Christian Observer. YOUR Correspondent, signed ACA DEMICUS, is informed, that the colJection of Hebrew MSS. (viz. that of Dr. Buchanan) referred to, in his paper for last month, page 79, does not contain any Hebrew copy of the book of Ezra. There are, indeed, Syriac copies of that book in the above collection, which may be

consulted; but I very much doubt whether the quotation from Justin Martyr, noticed by your correspondent, has, or ever had, any place in the canonical text of the Hebrew or Greek. The 6th chapter of Ezra contains twenty-two verses, of which the first eighteen in the original are in Chaldaic, the remaining verses are in Hebrew, and record the celebration of the first Passover since the return of the Jews from Babylon, and their Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks. The same transactions are recorded, and nearly in the same words, in the Apocrypha, 1 Esdras, ch. vii.; but in neither of these parallel passages is Ezra mentioned, only that such things were done by the children of Isruel; nor are any words spoken by Ezra recorded on these occasions in either passage. Neither the present Hebrew nor Greek copies of this book, therefore, are found to support the assertion of Justin. I have looked into Dr. Kennicott's Dissertations, but find no notice of any such corruption of the Hebrew text; so that, in my humble opinion, it has been a gloss in the margin, or comment of some Greek copy, afterwards taken into the text, but which was never admitted into the public canonical text. It would be altogether unjust to charge the Jews with expuuging so important a testimony of the Saviour without proof, as no Hebrew copy, with which we are acquainted, is known to give the least countenance to the suspicion; but, on the contrary, there is every ground to suppose that not many years before Justin Martyr, there were some corrupt and vitiated copies in the Greek tongue, as those by Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. Aquila made his version about A. D. 130; and he, who from paganism had embraced Christianity, now became a Jew. Theodotion judaized; and Symmachus was a renegado from the Samaritans, Their mischief, whatever they did, must have principally operated in the translating of the Hebrew into

they will be scarcely less so to any other description of trouble.

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To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I KNOW not whether it is that your correspondents enjoy a greater share of prosperity than the generality of mankind, or that they are, at least, more than commonly exempt from the storms and trials of life: to whatever cause the phenomenon may be attributed, certain it is, that the subject of affliction has but seldom occupied a place in your truly valuable work. Traces, indeed, of that trouble to which man is born "as the sparks fly upward," frequently appear in every one of your volumes. Your obituary has often recorded the breaches which death has made in every class of the community, and occasionally testified the excellences of deceased Christians, and the sorrows of survivors over departed worth; but rarely has the mourner been directed to those sources of instruction and consolation which religion so abundantly affords. I cannot, how ever, but think, that many of your readers, who, during the course of your most useful labours, may have tasted of the cup of affliction, must have wished that your pages had more frequently adverted to that painful but interesting subject. Allow me, therefore, to suggest a few hints upon it; which, as they will be the result of some degree of experimental knowledge, may, perhaps, on that account, be not altogether unworthy of attention. If they should appear to be more immediately applicable to the sorrow occasioned by the loss of friends,

Affliction, like death, commonly meets us unexpectedly. We talk, indeed, of our liability to calamities of every kind, like mariners in fair weather, of the possibility of storms and shipwreck; but, like them, we scarcely believe that these evils will actually overtake ourselves, though we are perpetually hearing of them with respect to others, and perhaps witnessing the scattered fragments of their happiness around us. Rarely does any one, in this point, derive wisdom or caution from the example of others. We commonly think, like the secure and short-sighted Psalmist, that our mountain is too strong to be moved, our happiness too well founded, and too watchfully guarded, to be easily shaken or destroyed, till an arrow is suddenly discharged from a quarter, perhaps, where we deemed ourselves most free from alarm, by which we are wounded and fall. There are, doubtless, some Christians who are so habitually sober and vigilant, that afflictions, when they arrive, do not thus take them by surprise; but few, I believe, ever become so but by discipline; by means of trouble which has, at some period of their lives, assailed them unawares. fore the instruction thus received by Adversity, we, for the most part, listen to the flattering tale of Hope, that sorrow shall never very deeply shade our brow; that joy shall ever be ours. But we are, at length, painfully undeceived; and our surprise and alarm are proportioned to our previous peace and security. How frequently have the fairest prospects been thus unexpectedly obscured, the brightest hopes disappointed, the apparently firmest basis of human happiness destroyed! Calamities-the bare idea of which, when occasionally presented, in the midst of present freedom even from the prospect of their approach, by that busy imagination which delights in picturing scenes of fancied sorrow as well as joy, has made us shrink with


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apprehension--have suddenly been realised, and left the mournful subject of them dismayed and overwhelmed by the unexpected pressure. Certainly no one ought to be thus unprepared for affliction, nor thus astonished at its arrival; and when we are só, it is, doubtless, a proof that we have forgotten our condition, our deserts, and our.necessities as guilty, corrupt, and dying creatures. I shall not, how ever, stay to point out that which the observation and experience of every day may teach us our various and perpetual liability to affliction or to expostulate with those who are guilty of the folly and inconsistency of forgetting it. But suppose that the trial, which of all others we have, perhaps, most dreaded, has actually overtaken us; that "the thing" which, like Job, we greatly feared," has come upon us. Thus visited, then, by affliction, how shall we regard it; whither shall we look for relief; how shall we conduct ourselves under it? Not to feel the chastizing hand of God, and that deeply, in proportion to the weight of the blow which is inflicted, would argue a degree of stoical indifference wholly inconsistent with the Christian character, and subversive of the very design with which affliction is sent. Let those who are disposed either to think lightly of trouble when at a distance, or to brave it when actually arrived, listen to the following striking admonition of a late eminent prelate of our Church, and learn from it a better wisdom than his own. "Say not," says this energetic writer, "that affliction is not an evil: say that it is to be borne with humility, as the punishment of sin; to be endured with fortitude, as the instrument of good; to be accepted with thankfulness, as the discipline of God, whereby he trains his sons to virtue, and fits the virtuous for glory: but confess that it is that which the most perfect natures do the most abhor; that which it is the wisdom of

man, with due submission to the dispensations of Providence, to shun*."

This epitome of the views with which affliction ought to be regarded, is obviously derived from that remarkable passage in the twelfth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the substance of which is comprised in the two following verses :-" My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unto them which are exercised thereby." To point out some of the more eminent and valuable of these fruits of sanctified affliction is my principal design in addressing you. I say of sanctified affliction, for it is of the utmost importance to observe, that to this alone do the preceding and all other similar declarations of Scripture refer. Affliction does not in itself possess any power to produce such salutary effects. It is, like every thing else, merely an instrument in the hands of God, which is frequently used for the sole purpose of punishment, and is sometimes the occasion of aggravated guilt and misery. It is with divine as with human chastisement, that the disposition of the subject renders it either beneficial or otherwise; with this important difference, that as to the former, it is owing to the special influence of Him who inflicts it, that the disposition to profit by the correcting dispensation is produced. Without this, chastisement would be received by all, as it is by the wicked and impenitent, with the sullenness and obstinacy of a froward slave, under the lash of an incensed master; but with this peculiar blessing, it is submitted to with the meek and ingenuous feelings of a dutiful though offending child towards a displeased yet re Bishop Horsley's Sermons, vol. ii. p.148

vered parent. It is to children, therefore, whether then first partakers of the filial spirit, or visited as having already received it, that affliction is sanctified, and rendered ultimately beneficial. Having premised thus much, I would now proceed to observe, in the first place,

1. That affliction thus under the sanctifying direction of the Father of mercies, is productive of most important benefit, by the views which it is the means of exciting concerning sin. Trouble of any kind is commonly associated in the human mind with some idea of misconduct. "We are verily guilty concerning our brother," was the united feeling of Joseph's brethren, when first imprisoned by the unknown governor of Egypt; "therefore is this distress come upon us." And even with the children of God, the first impression of calamity is generally connected with the conviction of sin, and the desert of punishment. Who that has been afflicted does not recollect the force with which this painful feeling pressed upon his mind, and the almost involuntary emotion with which he uttered the confession of the Royal Penitent, I have sinned against the Lord." There is in this something far more than a mere general conviction of guilt as a sinful and corrupt creature, something special and particular in the recollections to which this impression gives rise. In the case either of the careless nominal Christian, or of the backslider, the voice of God is as it were heard, in awakening afflictions, addressing him in the words of the Psalmist, "These things," of which thy conscience is the accusing witness, "hast thou done, and I kept silence," for a time," and thou. thoughtest," or wert beginning to think," that I was altogether such an one as thyself," regardless of evil, and unwilling to punish it; "but I will reprove thee" by this calamity," and set them in order before thee," in somewhat of that convincing and alarming light, in which they have ever CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 124.

been in the sight of my countenance. Many examples of this kind occur in Scripture, to which those who are conversant with it will readily recur, and few perhaps will be at a loss for instances of a more personal nature. In some cases, both public and pri vate, there is so marked a correspondence between the sin and its visitation by affliction, that the eye of the mind, purged of its temporary blindness by the heavenly Physician, cannot fail, however painfully, to perceive it, and the lips, thus opened to confession, to exclaim with Da vid, " Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgments!" It is true, that in the progress of the real Christian's views and feelings in affliction, this sad association of guilt and punishment will be gradually softened, and succeeded by more cheering and, in some cases, by more just apprehensions concerning the Divine proceedings. But the effect of affliction will still be a deeper conviction both of the evil of sin in general, and of his own particular transgressions. He will, indeed, if he be a true believer in Christ, feel most keenly the ingratitude and baseness of sin; but he will also feel, with a force to which he was before a stranger, its folly and malignity, its bitterness and misery; that it is that which has hidden or snatched good things from himwhich separates between him and his God, which disturbs and poisons all created good. And what are the practical lessons which he whose mind has been thus opened to instruction learns from such dispensations? He perceives, in a clearer and more convincing point of view, the holy character, and the moral government of God. He acquires a more vivid hatred and dread of sin. He stands in awe of the Divine judgments. He watches more carefully against temptation:-he fears even the approach, the occasion, and the appearance of evil. He saith unto God, I have borne chastisement —I will sin no more." Experience and dispositions such as these are 2 E

well purchased at the expense of affliction; and the consciousness of having obtained them tends to console the sufferer amidst all his trouble. This, however, is but a part of that peaceful fruit which is the result of sanctified affliction.

3. Humility will prepare the way for thankfulness, which is another of the excellent fruits of sanctified affliction. Have you lost much of what constituted your earthly happiness? Have you been deprived of the support, the delight, or the comfort of your life? Are you suffering from privations of any kind, or from trials which are continually recurring amidst the circumstances in which you dwell? Yet think of the multiplied blessings which still surround you-blessings, even of a temporal nature, of which you are confessedly unworthy-which you have, perhaps, long under-valued; which the removal or the withholding of something overprized has at length taught you to esteem aright. It sometimes pleases the Almighty to pour upon us a profusion of bounties, which pride, or the inordinate desire of blessings yet denied, leads us to neglect, and comparatively to despise. In such a case, is it not just, by diminishing the store which has been thus unthankfully received, emphatically to convince us of our ingratitude and folly; and is it not merciful to teach us, even by this severe lesson, the value of what had once been bestowed, and of that which still remains? The Sybil demanded as much for her diminished records as for her perfect collection. From us, also, is the same tribute of gratitude expected for blessings which are spared, as for a previously fuller cup; and if we are disposed to regard with more tender affection our lessened portion, to cherish it with greater and more Christian care, to be more devoutly thankful for it, and really to derive more genuine happiness from it than we knew before, we may surely account this a peculiar blessing; and even in this sense say, It is good for me that I have been afflicted."

2. Increased humility is another of its effects, and one of the most valuable and important. This is, indeed, closely connected with the conviction of sin. He, whose comforts or whose hopes have been laid prostrate by the afflicting hand of God, cannot, if he be under the Divine teaching and guidance, be disposed to indulge pride, or a high conceit of his own merit. The blow which has levelled or reduced the one, has at the same time brought down every towering imagination of the other. Can he whom the providence of God has led into the valley of Humiliation, continue to swell with fancied excellence, and to think more highly of himself than he ought to think? Surely he will humble himself under the mighty hand of God, and will learn to think more soberly and more justly. He will feel that, so far from deserving any thing at the hand of God, he is unworthy of the least of all his mercies -that instead of pretending that he of all others should be exempt from trouble, it is only of the Lord's mercies that he is not utterly consumed. This was evidently the impression made on the mind of Job by the visitations of the Almighty-and it will be manifest not only in the dispositions of the heart towards God, but in the temper, the language, and the conduct towards men. An afflicted yet proud Christian is indeed a lamentable sight. "Lord, I am not high-minded-I have no proud looks," or imaginations, should not only be the expression of the humbled believer's" consciousness, but be visible in his whole deportment; and wherever this is really experienced and manifested, the storm of affliction will cease to be overwhelming, and will be gradually succeeded by serenity and peace.

But why do I speak of thankfulness merely for temporal blessings? However they may have been diminished, or whatever may yet be denied, are there not blessings of

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