« PoprzedniaDalej »
lent for the experience of the ve. The troubles of the wicked are nerable grandsire ; but he has seen like a living lion, whose roaring is fit to communicate knowledge as the harbinger of destruction; but he does light, by a gradation from the troubles of the righteous are the faintest dawn to the effulgence like a dead lion, with honey in his of noon-day. So it is also with carcase. the communication of divine grace. Of some of the wicked, indeed, God could, in one instant, purify it may be said, “ They are not in the soul from every vestige of apos- trouble as other men,” Ps. lxxiii. 5. tate nature, and make it as spotless But the Psalmist, with all his chasas the holy angels, and thus fit it tisement, saw no reason for envyfor an immediate transition from ing them when he repaired to the earth to heaven. But he has been sanctuary of God. For “then,” pleased to employ a series of said he, “ understood I their end.” means; and, in his wisdom, re- Such an awful exemption, therequires his people to sojourn for a fore, no Christian in his right limited period as pilgrims in a wil- senses will desire. In short, this derness, in order to put them to world is like a new-ploughed field, the proof. Such a proof, iudeed, on which fallen rain has frozen. is not necessary for God's own in- The path of safety is not the formation, but it evinces to men smooth path, untouched by the and angels what is unspeakably plough; but the man who holds on important, and what will ulti- his way is he who is pursuing his mately issue in the most happy course over the furrows. The and grateful feelings of the believer rougher path, therefore, is that through the countless ages of eter- which our Lord has designed for nity.
his disciples. He shewed that So great, however, is the dark- though his church was built on a ness in which the Christian's mind rock, it was nevertheless destined is sometimes enveloped, that the to be rudely assailed by storms and very things that will cause his tempests. “In the world,” said loudest songs in another world, he to his disciples, “ye shall have bring him the nearest to despair in tribulation.”
Nor is there any this. Surely Jacob will never for- reason to expect a freedom from get that state of despondency in trials, even in the Millennium. For which he said, “ All these things if the Christians of that happy are against me;" though, at the period are to be as holy as other same time, those very things were Christians, there will be the same pre-eminently working together for reason for our heavenly Parent's his good.
adopting the plan of our earthly In this rebellious province of parents. “For," says the apostle, God's dominions, trouble succeeds "they verily for a few days chastrouble as spark succeeds spark tened us after their own pleasure ; from a blazing fire. Yes, as Eli- but he for our profit, that we might phaz once said, “Man is born to be partakers of his holiness.” Heb. trouble as the sparks fly upward;” xii. 10. In all ages of the world, and to the ungodly, all these sparks therefore, “whom the Lord loveth are so many indications of the con- he chasteneth.' solidated fiery element in which In every trial the Christian has they must burn for ever and ever. to sustain, there is a specific end it But with regard to the righteous, is to answer; and on this end the trials are blessings in disguise. nature of the trial depends. Sometimes a trial is sent as an antidote count, it is nearer the truth to say, to some existing sin. Thus in that he who is tried the most is the David's numbering the people for man whom God designs to honour military service there was a great the most. Thus Job's signal trials sin. For as a king's armies were were sent to prepare him for signal the criterion of his glory in the honours. For in this world Job's estimation of contemporary nations, personal afflictions prepared him a vain-glorious display of numbers to enjoy and appreciate a hundred was the great temptation that pro- and forty years of health, and the mised so much to the tempter. loss of children that caused him Nor was David's sin, in this case, many anxious fears, prepared him to be cured by private trials. His to appreciate a new and lovelier procedure had been public from family, in which he was to have Dan to Beersheba ; and God's son for son, and daughter for chastisement was to be as public daughter, according to the number as the offence. Nor can pride and he had lost. The loss of his provain-glory be cured, but by the perty, too, prepared him for inmortification of pride and vain- creased and sanctified prosperity ; glory. For the cure of David's a prosperity in which the interposin, therefore, the appropriate an- sition of Providence was so sigtidote was a trial that would abase nally written in legible characters, him as níuch in the eyes of neigh- as to be known and read by all bouring nations, as he had unrigh- men. For the exact doubling of teously endeavoured to exalt him- the numbers of his sheep, of his self. As to those who fell victims camels, of his oxen, and of his sheto the wasting pestilence, God's asses, was like the united voice of procedure was as strictly just as the heavenly host, proclaiming in all other pestilences; and if any from pole to pole, “ This is the of the godly were assailed by it, it man whom God delighteth to howas to them a positive blessing. nour.” For, from the volume of inspiration Nor can we conceive of Job's we learn, that “all things work protracted life being less useful together for good to them that love than it was honourable; and though God, to them who are the called he has long been dead, he yet according to his purpose.” Rom. speaketh to the edification of the viii. 28.
church of God, and will hereafter In David's trial, and in its bene- speak to the edification of millions ficial results, we see a verification yet unborn. The present generaof his own words : “ Before I was tion of believers, too, will soon afflicted I went astray; but now have the happiness of seeing, that have I kept thy word.” Ps. cxix. even now Job is ineffably blessed 67. We must not, however, infer among the spirits of just men made from David's case, that he who is perfect. But when the Redeemer, afflicted the most has sinned the of whom he spoke, shall stand at most. For one of the men whose the latter day within the precincts trials have been the most signal of this lower world, not only Job, was Joh, of whom God himself but the whole assembled universe, said, “ There is none like him on will see that it was good for him the earth, a perfect and an upright that he was afflicted. For, in man, one that feareth God and 2 Cor. iv. 17. the Apostle Paul, avoideth evil.” Job i. 8. In short, speaking of himself and other taking both worlds into the ac- believers, uses these memorable
words: “ Our light affliction, effect without a visible cause ?" which is but for a moment, work- Ah! could the disconsolate beeth for us a far more exceeding liever have his eyes opened, like and eternal weight of glory.” To the young man who accompanied the same purport, too, is the lan- Elisha, he would perhaps see wonguage of Peter: "For a season,” ders. He might possibly descry says he, “if need be, ye are in hea- the charioteers and horsemen of viness through manifold tempta- the prince of darkness, and bear tions, that the trial of your faith, their leader crying, " To arms! to being much more precious than of arms! I will pursue! I will overgold that perisheth, though it be take! My hand shall destroy !" tried with fire, might be found unto But though the great calumniator praise, and honour, and glory, at would thus destroy all usefulness the appearing of Jesus Christ."-- if he could, every good man may 1 Pet. i. 6, 7.
" The Lord is my In another point of comparison, helper;" and knowing that he reit may be said, that he who is the lies on a Divine Saviour, whom the most tried is he whom God designs angels obey, he may exclaim, with to make the most useful; and, in a joyful expectation of deliverance, some cases, trials are the necessary “ There are more for us than there companions of gifts, in order to are against us." secure the usefulness of their pos- In such a man's case, therefore,
For so tenacious is pride the history of Joseph speaks voof its old habitation, that even the lumes. Whose character ever usefulness of Paul was in danger stood fairer than his in the sight of from “ visions and revelations of God ? and yet how peculiarly trythe Lord.” Thus the Apostle him-ing was the unjust reproach that self says, “Lest I should be ex-seemed to have irretrievably rualted above measure, through the ined it! Thus the best young abundance of the revelations, there man in Egypt was imprisoned and was given to me a thorn in the flesh, calumniated as one of the worst, the messenger of Satan to buffet and, as far as the justification of me, lest I should be exalted above his character was concerned, measure.” 2 Cor. xii. 7.
vidence seemed as silent as death. But perhaps some one may say, But to all the Christian's trials there « None of these cases apply to me.
are prescribed limits.
“ God is I am conscious of integrity in the faithful,” says Paul, “and will sight of God; but there is a gene- not suffer you to be tempted (or ration whose teeth are as swords, tried) above that ye are able, but and their jaw-teeth as knives; and will with the temptation (or trial) from unmerited reproach my use- make a way to escape, that ye may fulness is ruined.” If, however, be able to bear it.” i Cor. the Christian is really suffering When Joseph's trial, therefore, had wrongfully, let him not despond. reached the line of demarcation, it His case is in good hands; and the was impossible for all the host of main points he has to attend to, rebel angels to perpetuate the reare to preserve his integrity, and proach. For, lo! when all the into commit his cause to Him that habitants of the earth would have judgeth righteously. “But why,” been unequal to the task of vindi
are these attacks so cating Joseph, a Friend appears, simultaneous without concert, and before whom the millions of manwhy is there so conspicuous an kind are but as grasshoppers. Be
fore such a vindicator, suffering fruit be in the vines; the labour of innocence was at once redressed; the olive shall fail, and the field and all intelligent beings who had shall yield no meat; the flocks heard the reproach, were for ever shall be cut off from the fold, and convinced of its fallacy and injus- there shall be no herd in the stalls; tice.
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I An abundant compensation, too, will joy in the God of my salvaawaits the 'suffering Christian. tion.” Hab. iii. 17, 18. Thus as Joseph had suffered in his Let the believer, then, imitate character, that was the point in the importunity of Jacob in supwhich God was afterwards pleased plications, and the firmness of remarkably to favour him: and Daniel in the worship of his God. thus was he “made glad accord- In these days of light and liberty, ing to the days wherein he had we are not called to face death as been afflicted, and the years where- Daniel was; but if days of marin he had seen evil.” Then, ac- tyrdom were to return, they would cording to his prophetic dream, he make sad confusion among us, if saw “eleven stars doing obeisance we do not even now cultivate a to him” (Gen. xxxvii. 9.); and the martyr's spirit. “He that will be Egyptians themselves exclaimed to my disciple,” says the Saviour, the crowds before him, " Bow the “ must take
cross and folknee! bow the knee !" Yea, fo- low me.” In this way, Christians reign nations came from afar, and of
with did honour to him who was so well holy confidence, expect in minor prepared to receive it, by regard- trials the presence of Him who ing it, not as the mere breath of cheered martyrs, amidst devouring mortals, but as a peculiar gift of flames and the scoffs of their eneGod.
mies. Such then being the aspect of In all cases, then, the faithful the Christian's trials, he may re- followers of the Lamb may boldly joice in tribulation. Thus when say, “ God is our refuge and God said to Paul, “ My grace is strength, a very present help in sufficient for thee, it was enough. trouble. Therefore will not we “ Therefore,” says Paul, “ I take fear, though the earth be removed, pleasure in (sinless) infirmities, in and though the mountains be carreproaches, in necessities, in per- ried into the midst of the sea." secutions, in distresses, for Christ's Ps. xlvi. 1, 2. sake; for when I am weak, then
J. F. am I strong.” 2 Cor. xii. 10. Thus Stratford, Essex. also other Apostles of Christ“ departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were
HORÆ EVANGELIC.E. counted worthy to suffer shame (Continued from p. 13.) for his name. ." Acts v. 41. Nor
THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW. are there any reasons why Chris
No, II.-Chap. xi. 2–6. tians of the present day should not have the same confidence in God “ Now when Joho had heard in the as ancient Christians had. Under prison the works of Christ, he sent the solace afforded by the Gospel, two of his disciples, and said the Christian may say with holy unto him, Art thou he that should boldness, “ Although the fig-tree come, or do we look for another? shall not blossom, neither shall Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those ye do hear and see;" which imthings which ye do hear and see: plies that they had previously inthe blind receive their sight, and formed him respecting those mirathe lame walk, the lepers are culous works performed by Jesus. cleansed, and the deaf hear, the Now this is precisely what St. Luke dead are raised
up, and the poor relates. While St. Matthew is have the Gospel preached to them. content with stating generally, that And blessed is he, whosoever shall “ John had heard in the prison the not be offended in me.”
works of Christ,” without mentionOur Lord, in reply to this in- ing the bearers of these reports to quiry of the Baptist, appeals to the holy man ; St. Luke, having the knowledge which the two dis-related the miraculous resurrection ciples possessed of the stupendous of the widow's son, and the effect miracles he wrought in attestation which this stupendous event proof his divine mission. It is not, duced on the minds of the people, however, immediately apparent, expressly affirms, that “the diswhether he refers to their previous ciples of John shewed him of all opportunities of acquiring such a these things.” (Luke vii. 18.) knowledge, or to some present
That these coincidences are as display of his divine power; though undesigned as they are minute and from the use of the present tense, striking, will be apparent, we imathe latter appears the more pro- gine, from the slightest inspection bable.-" Go and shew John again of the accounts of the two Evanthose things which YE DO HEAR gelists. The different connection and SEE” (& Kovete kỳ BMérete). Ac- in which the relation is introduced, cordingly, St. Luke informs us, and the variations in the language that “in the same hour (in which and in the number and choice of they were sent) he cured many of circumstances, totally preclude the their infirmities and plagues, and slightest suspicion that either of of evil spirits; and unto many that the sacred writers borrowed from were blind he gave sight.” (Luke each other, or wrote in concert, vii. 21.) Here St. Luke says no- and must lead to the conclusion, thing of the dead being raised; that they wrote from their own but this is fully accounted for, and knowledge of the fact which they amply compensated, by his plac- lay before us. Further, St. Luke, ing this transaction immediately had he seen St. Matthew's Gospel, after the raising of the widow's son at Nain (Luke vii. 11–19.); an all suspicion of design, by the circumstance event to which our Lord doubtless that the word “ again” is united with, or alluded, and with which the dis- implied in, the verb shew;" å tayyétate, ciples of John were well acquaint- “shew again,” being composed of a trò, ed, as will presently appear from from, by, back, again, &c. ,(as in åtodidaper, another minute coincidence be- and ayyéaxw, to tell, shew.
to give back, render, & nonabisnui, to restore,)
That this is the tween these Evangelists. St. Mat- real meaning of the word in this passage, thew, in reporting the reply of our appears not only from the circumstance ad Saviour to the inquiry of the Bap- also from its being rendered in the Vulgate,
duced above, and from its etymology, but tist, says, that "Jesus answered
Beza, aud Montanus by renunciate, and “shew and said unto them, Go and shew again,” by our own venerable translators. John AGAIN* those things which To render this perfectly intelligible to the
mere English reader, it will only be neces
sary to observe, that it is precisely the same * This coincidence is rendered the more as if we should employ for the words shew, remarkable, and the further removed from or tell again, the compounds re-show, re-tell.