Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

God. It is absolutely necessary that a sinner be taught this before he has a sense of his own vileness. Only the Holy Ghost can teach a sinner this. And what is the effect of being thus taught? Humbled in the dust, and crying unto the Lord for mercy. And then, God's dwelling-place was typical of God's merciful character. Mark again what is said in Exodus xxv. 20, 21. Now the mercy seat was placed above on the ark, and, if the Lord dwelt between the cherubims which covered the mercy seat, what was the lesson taught to the Old Testament saints ? That the mercy of the Lord rose above all their sins. The ark contained the law, according to which no flesh could be justified. But the Lord dwelleth between the cherubims, and the cherubs covered the mercy seat with their wings teaching typically God's merciful character. Now, this character God has ever revealed to the Church. God's people are called “vessels of mercy.Why? Because God bestows His covenant mercy upon them. We must distinguish between universal mercy and covenant mercy. The former God bestows upon all His moral creatures, or He would not allow them as transgressors to live. He causes His sun to shine, and His rain to descend upon the evil as well as on the good. This is a display of universal mercy. But that which He bestows upon the people of His grace is covenant mercy. Why so called ? Because God, engaged in covenant with His eternal Son, to make them the monuments of free mercy, in redeeming and saving them as a work of free and sovereign grace. This merciful character God reveals to convinced sinners when He reveals Christ in His blood and righteousness, and Christ speaks in the Gospel words of pardon and peace : all the Lord's dealings with a sinner from the time He quickens him into life are to prove that He is merciful. He delighteth in mercy. And then God's dwelling-place between the cherubims was typical of His gracious character. When Adam sinned, “the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him furth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.' The tree of life seems to be typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Tree of Life, “the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations;" and God guarding the tree of life by the cherubims indicated that, according to the covenant of grace sealed by Christ, fallen man, dead in trespasses and sins, could not attain to spiritual eternal life. It must be an act of free grace, as Christ says, “I give unto my sheep eternal life : they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”

Now, God dwelling between the cherubims was typical of His gracious character. There,” said God to His ancient Church, "" will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims.” This mercy seat typified Christ, and Christ is the sinner's mercy seat; and God meets with poor sinners who come to Christ, and all who come to Christ by the drawing power of the Eternal Father (for none else do come to Christ) are made to know God's gracious character-gracious in blotting out their sins and remembering them no more against them for ever; gracious in granting the Holy Ghost, the Comforter and Sealer of the people of God; gracious in all His dealings with their souls. Now it was very comforting to the Old Testament saints to be able to address the Lord God of Israel as Asaph did, “Thou

:

that dwellest between the cherubims." Why? Because the fact of His dwelling between the cherubims reminded them of God's gracious character. The New Testament saints have no need to be taught this blessed truth typically; we have an everlasting proof that God is gracious to His people in the gift of His Eternal Son. His sufferings and death are a proof that He is gracious; the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Quickener and Sealer of the saints, is a proof that He is gracious; the blessings of the Gospel, even the blessings of the everlasting covenant, freely bestowed upon sinners, are a proof that He is gracious.

And then God's dwelling-place was typical of His condescension: “I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony,” said God to Israel. This mercy seat, as we have already said, was a type of Christ; and all who come to the sinner's mercy seat God communes with, for wherever Christ is God dwells. Now what is the experience of the true Christian united to Christ, and living by faith on Christ, and His finished salvation work? Why, that he does commune with God through Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. His language is that of all the redeemed family: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." Christ says, “If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my

Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” All this proves the condescension of God, and all this was typified by God dwelling between the cherubims. It is a blessed truth in the experience of God's people that He condescends to commune with them; and what is the medium of communion ? The sinner's mercyseat (Christ); and Christ needs no cherubims to indicate the Divine presence, “ for in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims.” Who is He? The Lord Jesus Christ: He dwelt there under the Old Testament. What for? To commune with His people. This was a display of His condescension : but greater still was the condescension when He took our nature and came to our low platform, and humbled and humbled “and humbled himself until He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Now, the request which the Psalmist made to Him that dwelt between the cherubims was, Shine forth.He wanted the Lord to appear in behalf of Israel, and scatter their enemies; and, therefore, in appealing to Him as dwelling between the cherubims, he appealed to His covenant character. Now the Christian in distress often wants the Lord to appear for him, and, therefore, how expressive is the request “ Shine forth"! It is a very common request of God's family. It is the request, the cry, of the sheep to the Shepherd; the latter part of the verse, therefore, is the same substantially as the former: “Give ear, 0 Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, give ear.” Here is the sheep crying to the Shepherd. And, by way of urging his prayer on another ground, the Psalmist appeals to God's covenant character and says, " Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Now, in your respect the Lord Jesus shines forth. In respect to His person,

His
power,

His truth, and His love, He shines forth in the splendour of His person. If we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, there is n one so precious to us as the Lord ; above all earthly things and persons, Christ is most precious. “He is the chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely one

to the soul. In time of darkness or distress, what is our request? Why,“shine forth." In what respect do we want the Lord to shine forth ? In respect to the

[ocr errors]

splendour of His person. We want Jesus to reveal Himself in His gracious person, to ride forth in His Gospel chariot, and say to our castdown soul, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." How expressive, therefore, to a poor sinner sitting in darkness, tried and tempted, is the prayer, “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” And then the Lord Jesus shines forth in respect to the splendour of His power: all Christ's people are dependent upon

the
power

of the Lord Jesus. As members of Christ's body, they can do nothing without Him. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me," and Christ says, "My strength is made perfect in weakness." Do not the people of God often feel their weak

” ness ? What is their request at such times? “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” In what respect ? In respect to the splendour of Thy power-Thy strengthening power, which Thou dost grant to the members of Thy body-Thy subduing power, by which Thou dost subdue the power of sin and the working of the carnal mind-Thy healing power, by which Thou dost prove Thyself to be the great Healer of every spiritual disease.

The Lord Jesus also shines forth in the splendour of Gospel truth. What is the effect of Gospel truth shining in upon the mind of the Christian ? “Yo shall know the truth,” says Jesus,

66 and the truth shall make you free.” There are times when there are doubts and misgivings respecting our safety, whether we shall continue, and then we see some who bring disgrace upon the Christian name. At such times, what is our request ? It is expressed by Asaph, “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” In what respect? In respect to the splendour of Gospel truth. When it thus shines we are made to see that it does not rest with ourselves whether we continue in the way of life, but with the sovereign will and power of the three-one God. The language of all in whom it hath shone forth in respect to the splendour of Gospel truth is, “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;" and then the Lord Jesus shines forth in respect to the splendour of His lovewhen the Christian's heart is cold and dead, and this is often the case to his sorrow—when he has no taste or relish for the word of God, and also he often finds that this too is the case, When he is in such a condition, what is his request ? Asaph expresses it in the words "Shine forth.' In what respect? In respect to the splendour of Thy love—Thy bleeding dying love; and say to me, “O Jesus, as Thou hast said in times past, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.'" Thou that dwellest,” &c. The Christian needs Christ to “shine forth ;” only in the light of Christ can he live. If deprived of that light, he walks in darkness, and then he cries unto the Lord. But how cheering to know that not one of the Lord's people cries to Him in vain. He

may

in wisdom see fit to delay answering the cry. Yet in His own time and in His own way He will answer. The Lord keeps them dependents. It is well that He does. If He did not they would not cry unto Him. It is when we feel independent that we wax fat, like Jeshurun of old, and kick, and we forget Him that begat us; we lose sight of the rock whence we were hewn, and the hole of the pit from whence we were digged; and, therefore, it is good for the people of God to be afflicted—to be in distress; then, and only then, do they cry

to the Lord their Shepherd, only then are they led to use such arguments as did Asaph. He first appealed to the Lord's character as the Shepherd of Israel, and, as one in earnest, he cries, "Give ear." He next appeals to His leading Joseph like a flock, as though in reminding the Lord of this fact he would gain His ear; and, as though he would not take “nay" for an answer, he appeals to His covenant character, and says, “Thou that dwellest between the cherubims shine forth.” Thus God's people are a crying people. They always have been, and always will be, and, if stirred up to cry to the Lord, they will not, they cannot rest, till the Lord graciously answer; and, oh, how cheering to think that the seed of Jacob do not cry unto the Lord in vain ! Tyldesley, Manchester.

JAMES JOHN EASTMEAD.

Rebiews and Notices of Books. .

a

in our

Apostolic Ordination. A Tract for the Times. By G. D. London:

Marlborough. This pamphlet furnishes a very manifest example of a man with a bad case to support, and of a bad manner of supporting it. The writer has the temerity to rush into print, without maturing either his mind or his principles on the subjects respecting which he is writing; for he is equally wrong in his facts and in his principles, as we shall prove

limited space.

1. He tells us that “ Bishop Colenso has the power to consecrate other bishops and ordain to the ministry." * Now, if the writer knew anything at all about the actual ecclesiastical operations of the Church of which he writes in the important year of 1868, when the Colenso case was before Convocation, he would have known that Dr. Colenso (once a Bishop of Natal) “was deposed of his spiritual office by the Church, acting through her recog: nized tribunals (Convocation and Synods], and by that he was separated and excommunicated from the communion of the Church, according to the Canons of the Church." Accordingly Dr. Colenso has no power either to consecrate or to ordain, as this writer assumes. Again: this gross defamer of the English Church, writing under the initials G. D., talks in this way about ordination in the English Church : “ Testimonials as to a regular life are produced, which are usually a form only of a very worthless and partial character.” Here is a series of blunders. (1) Testimonials for ordination are not testimonials of a regular life, but of a godly and Christian life. It is clear that the writer has never seen a copy

of the authorized Letters Testimonial to a bishop, which a candidate for holy orders must present, otherwise he would not have made a blunder so stupid. (2) He tells us that they are "usually a form only." This im

. plies that the bishop requiring evidence of a holy life accepts that which is not evidence, and so far is a hypocrite, for professing to accept what he does not in reality accept; further, it implies that the three clergymen beneficed in the diocese who sign their names in evidence of their knowledge of the candidate's fit and holy state for ordination, are either all or in part givers of false testimony, as they give a form without the reality of the required evidence. Are the bishops and the clergy usually such hypocrites as to recommend and to accept unworthy men for the ministry? Our

[ocr errors]

view is this, that usually, and as a general rule, good men are recommended honestly by good conscientious men, who sign the testimonials, and such are accepted as candidates by our bishops; but that occasionally (and this is quite an exception), a bad man is admitted in the Church by testimonials from men who are either not honest or have themselves been deceived in the candidate. (3) He tells us that the testimonials are of “very partial and worthless character." Nothing can be more untrue, as asserted of these testimonials, in which the signers pledge themselves to a perfect knowledge of the candidate for three years, and to opportunities of judging him, and to his godly life. Nay, the testimonials are those of three men, not of one; they are negative as well as positive; they declare not only that, for all that is known by the signers, the candidate is a good man, but they declare that the signers have never heard anything against the man.

We defy this flippant defamer to draw up any document of evidence of character that so completely protects the Church against the intrusion of bad and unfit men; the testimonials are exhaustive, and yet are they called "partial ;" they are valuable safeguards, and yet they are styled worthless.

Next, we are told “it would be considered impertinent and out of place to seek for any proof of conversion in a candidate for the ministry before ordaining him." We reply that the testimonials give all the evidence a bishop can expect; and, secondly, that the archdeacon who presents the candidate for ordination declares that “I have inquired of [i.e. respecting] them, and also examined them, and think them so to be;" and lastly, the bishop thus interrogates them in the church before ordination: “Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministration, to serve God for the promoting of His glory, and the edifying of His people ? Answer.-I trust

With these facts before us, we may judge of the blundering assertion that episcopal ordination only secures a certain amount of scholastic attainment for the exercise of the ministry," evidently to the exclusion of piety and character. Again : in one portion of the pamphlet it is implied that the bishops have no special or personal duty beyond presbyters ; then in the latter part it is asserted to be their distinctive office “ to guard the truth.” Such is the beautiful consistency of this writer.

The question of episcopacy is readily disposed of. The common objection to the apostles being taken as the predecessors of the bishops, is that the apostleship was a temporary institution, and endowed with the temporary power of working of miracles. But what becomes of this reasoning when we find that the same power of working miracles was given to those who believed, as we read in St. Mark. xvi. 17: “And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues,' &c. Again: ecclesiastical history, as well as Scripture, confirms us in this view, that the apostles towards the close of their respective careers appointed bishops as their successors, as Paul did Titus in Crete, to set things in order, and to ordain presbyters in every city. A New and Revised Edition of " Hore Poeticæ." By the Rev. JOHN CULLEN.

London: William Macintosh, 24, Paternoster Row. We can highly recommend this little work to all lovers of true poetry combined with sound sentiment. Some of Mr. Cullen's ideas are really beautiful. He is a great lover of nature, and looks up from it to nature's

80."

« PoprzedniaDalej »