Obrazy na stronie


world, that he gave his only begot- sins of the whole world;" i. e. of ten son," &c. Sometimes also this the Gentiles also. This phraseoloterm means the Gentiles. Rom. xi. gy and its correct application, were 12. " If the fall of them (the Jews) | perfectly familiar to a Jew, and be the riches of the world;" that is, could not be misunderstood; viz. if the fall of the Jews be the occa- that Jesus is the only saviour of all sion of an abundant exhibition of the elect of God, throughout the grace in the call of the Gentile whole world, whether they be Jews world.

or Gentiles. Any farther extension We have already stated, that the of its application is inconsistent phrases all the world, and the whole with the general analogy of scripworld, are frequently taken in a ture.

S. B. W. very circumscribed and restricted

(To be continued.) sense. For example, Luke ii. 1. “ There went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” This could mean ON BRINGING BIBLES TO CHURCH. nothing more than the Roman em- Protestant Christians generally pire. In Rev. xiii. 3. we are told profess to esteem it one of the greatthat « all the world wondered after est blessings of the reformation, that the beast,” while at the same time, they are permitted the use of the there was a society of men, with holy scriptures, and allowed to try whom this same beast and his de- the doctrines of their teachers by luded votaries had waged a war of that infallible rule. But were we extermination. But in the case un- to judge of their sentiments by the der consideration, we have the ex- manner in which they employ this tent of the meaning of the word privilege, we should be apt to conworld, rendered sufficiently defi- clude that they do not really value nite, by the phraseology of the con- it so highly as they pretend. For, text in the preceding verse.

from the manner in which they prohave an advocate with the Father, ceed in regard to the use of the BiJesus Christ the righteous: and he ble, we should infer that they either is the propitiation for our sins." now repose implicit confidence in Now, as the advocacy is founded on the fidelity of their public instructhe propitiation, it would be absurd ters, or that they do not consider it to suppose that the former should

a matter worthy of their attention be less extensive than the latter. to know whether the texts from But the advocacy does not extend which their preachers address them to all men. John xvii. 9. Jesus be in the sacred volume or not. says, “I pray not for the world.” We are led to this conclusion How then should the propitiation from the scarcity of Bibles which be for the whole world, in its abso- appears in our churches on Sabbath. lute and unmodified acceptation ? If Christians of the Presbyterian deBut the plain and obvious meaning nomination bring to church a psalm of the text may be clearly ascertain- book, they seem to think that they ed, by attending to the following cir. have along with them the only book cumstances. The apostle John was a that is necessary in the public worJew, and writes to Jews. Agreeably || ship of the sanctuary. They imato the usual manner of speech among | gine, or at least

gine, or at least appear to imagine, the Jews, in reference to the Gen- that the large Bible from which the tiles, he distinguishes them by the clergyman reads his text, is the only customary designations. He there- Bible that is required in the house fore says of our Lord, “ He is the of God. Hence, we believe, that propitiation for our sins; and not clergymen might, in many instances, for our sins only, but also for the read their texts from the apocrypha,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

talmud, or alcoran-did they only contents of God's holy word. To seem to read them from a large accomplish this was one great obbook, marked on the back, Holy ject which Jesus Christ had in view Biblewithout being detected by in appointing a standing ministry many of their hearers. But this in his church. To the poor the Sacould not be done without detec- viour himself preached the gospeltion, did all, who are able to read, and he certainly intended that this bring Bibles to church, and examine useful class of our fellow creatures the text when the preacher an- should be countenanced and innounces it to the congregation. structed by his succeeding apostles

Were this practice pursued, it and ministers. might be the means perhaps of re- To the poor then the gospel is not storing that useful method of in- preached, when clergymen deliver struction called lecturing, which, to their people only elegant and elawe are sorry to observe, has become borate harangues-in which perhaps in our churches almost entirely ob- the poor feel but little interest solete. This plan of expounding the and neglect to unfold' to them, in scriptures has, in these days, we un- plain and simple language, the ediderstand, become rather unpopular; fying doctrines and precepts of the and therefore preachers, conform- volume of revelation. The manner, ing perhaps too much to the fashion therefore, pursued at present, by of the times, have deemed it pru- many pastors, may gratify some of dent to lay it aside. On the hearers their hearers: but it must have a then the restoration of this excellent tendency to leave the major part of method of teaching biblical religion, them in ignorance respecting the must be considered as in a great

truths of that word which was given measure depending. If they will to man, " to be a light to his feet be so condescending therefore as and a lamp to his path." to bring their Bibles with them to Is it not then the duty of all inchurch,

and request those who pre- fluential characters, in the Presbyside over them in holy things, to ex- terian church, to endeavour by their plain to them, in their discourses, example and authority to bring again more fully than they now do, the into fashion the now obsolete

pracsacred oracles of truth, the clergy tice of publicly expounding the would no doubt rejoice to unfold scriptures? We are certain that all, to them those invaluable treasures who are really friendly to the diffuwhich these sacred oracles contain. sion of the truth as it is in Jesus, This practice, we are certain, if will strive to restore this practice. wisely pursued, would have the hap- All those then who wish the

pracpiest tendency, under the blessing tice of judicious lecturing* restored, of God, to diffuse throughout our should encourage their clergymen churches the light of heavenly wis- to the adoption of it by bringing dom.

their Bibles to church, and thus inA great many of those who at- dicating a thirst after the knowtend upon public worship in our ledge of divine things. If those of churches, have not time, on account influence would thus show a desire of their other pressing avocations, to study the sacred volume closely. * By judiciou8 lecturing we mean, not If they read it at all, they read it

that the clergyman, who lectures, should

endeavour to obtain among his hearers over in haste, and carelessly; and the name of learned, by continually find. often do not, in consequence, un- ing fault with our English translation of derstand very well what they read. the scriptures; but should simply aim, Hence the great necessity of adopt

without shaking their confidence in their

English Bibles, to open up to the view of ing some method of rendering such

his people the treasures of divine wisdom persons acquainted with the sacred

which the scriptures contain.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ple the

[ocr errors]

to have the doctrines of the gospel | mination to promote as much as in explained and enforced, we have no their power the public reading and doubt but that this method of in- || expounding of the scriptures ? Let struction would become, in our us not then, in these days of light, churches, fashionable; and that through carelessness, with the Bible much valuable information would, in our hand, permit errors and corin consequence, by judicious di- ruptions to spread their baneful invines, be communicated to their fluence among us.

Let the Preshearers—which they have no op- byterians of these days especially portunity of doing at present, on imitate their worthy ancestors, by account of the sermonizing system bringing along with them their Bithat is pursued.

bles with their psalm books to Were this practice of lecturing church—that they may show therethen restored, it might, under Pro- by that they really have a wish to vidence, by diffusing among the peo

know the mind of God and to learn pure doctrines of unadulte- whether their preachers do truly and rated truth, be the means of pre- faithfully speak according to the venting, in a great measure, the oracles of truth. Let them request dissemination of noxious errors. their pastors to explain those parts For, by lecturing, both preachers

of the Bible which may appear to and people would naturally become their minds dark-that they may

be better acquainted with the contents enabled to obtain clear and distinct

views of God's revealed will and consequence, be less apt, than they be aided, in consequence, in cultinow are, to embrace those specious vating that faith and practising those human inventions which


the. duties which God commands them ological system-makers have substi- to cultivate and to practise. tuted for the more simple and, per:

T. G. M'I. haps to some, less attractive doctrines of Christianity. For we find that wherever the true doctrines of the Bible are well understood and

ON THE NATURE OF SIN. taught, there, the progress of theo- In the essay on the nature of virlogical error is slow. But, on the tue in your last number, we atcontrary, where the Bible is little tempted to show that all virtue or read and little studied, there we holiness, cannot be resolved into find that errors and corruptions any one class of exercises, or disgrow rapidly and take deep and position of mind; and in particular, permanent root. It was during the that the theory which makes all hoconcealment of the sacred volume, liness to consist in disinterested bethat Roman Catholic errors and su- nevolence, or as it is sometimes experstitions spread so widely and pressed, in love to being in general, took such a firm hold of the hearts


and consciences of men

. What has is it is a part of the same system of

happened may yet happen--and opinions, that all sin consists in should the Bible be voluntarily re

self-love. This is a natural conselinquished by Protestant Christians, quence of the doctrine, that all virthe same effect may be now expe- tue consists in love to universal berienced in regard to the propaga- ing. If, therefore, the latter opinion tion of error, which was felt by man- has been proved to be erroneous, kind when the perusal of the Bible the former will, perhaps, be abanwas denied to them by a crafty and doned without much reluctance. corrupt priesthood. Should not Self-love and selfishness, though this consideration, therefore, prompt sometimes confounded, ought to be Protestant Christians of every deno- || distinguished from each other. Self

love is a desire of life and happi- || petite for happiness, and no more ness, and a regard for our own good morally good or evil than hunger or qualities and actions.

thirst, or any other natural appeLike every other principle of our tite; but it becomes holy or unholy nature, when exercised in subordi- according as it seeks its gratificanation to the divine glory, and in tion in knowing, loving, glorifying, obedience to the divine law, it is

and enjoying God, and in doing virtuous. It is an essential part of good; or in obtaining and enjoying the human constitution. Indeed it the creature.” is impossible for us to conceive of Writers, not unfrequently, amuse an intelligent being entirely divest- themselves and their readers, by ed of it. Self-love is not in its own employing words, which have no nature sinful. It exists in the angels definite signification. That every in heaven, and in glorified spirits. man loves himself, desires his own It existed in Adam before the fall. happiness, and seeks what he supBut when it becomes inordinate; poses will promote it, are truths or when it seeks enjoyment in un- perfectly plain to every one. But lawful objects, instead of seeking it those who employ such language as in the great fountain of life and the following; that the sinner loves blessedness; or when it is permit- himself because he is himself; and ted to supersede the operation of that the saint loves himself because some other principle of action, re- the good of the whole requires that quired by the divine law; it is then he should love himself, as a part of sinful, and is then properly called universal being ; do not seem to exselfishness.

press any thing that is rational or Self-love, in those who are re. intelligible. Self-love, as already generated by the spirit of God, is remarked, is an original, and ultinot a principle radically different mate law of our nature. It discovers from self-love in those who are not itself as a powerful principle of regenerated. It is the same great action when our faculties are first law of sensitive and rational nature called into exercise. in both. But in the former it has It consequently cannot be the ef« received a new direction, and is fect of reasoning or reflection; nor exercised in a new manner.” It can it receive any modification from seeks gratification in knowing, serv- abstract speculations upon the proing, and glorifying God; and in the priety, in the nature and fitness of pursuit and enjoyment of those ob- things, of a person's loving himself, jects which he has made lawful. It either as himself, or as a part of beis restrained from inordinate indul- ing in general. To such speculagence; nor is it permitted to super- tions, the far greater part of mansede those other affections and ex- kind are utterly incompetent; but ercises which God has enjoined. all men love themselves. The fact

Selfishness is, therefore, merely is, no previous considerations are the abuse of self-love, and ought not requisite to induce men to love to be confounded with it. • By themselves; or to show the reasonselfishness,” says Dr. Scott, “I ableness of exercising this affection. mean foolish, apostate, carnal self- All men are compelled to love themlove; and had Dr. Hopkins used selves by the constitution of their this word only, my trouble would nature. This is an ultimate fact of have been spared. But I contend, which no further explanation can be that love of one's self even as one's given. self, is not radically evil, but exist- “ Dr. Hopkins' distinction," reed in man as God at first made him; marks the learned and grave author as indeed it must in


creature, already quoted, “between loving holy or unholy. It is the mere ap- self as self, and the love of our

[ocr errors]

from a part.

selves, is too nice for my dull facul. ing there is no dispute between us. ties. In short, I cannot but think But what becomes of your imporafter all, that we ought to love our- tant discovery? You take the liberselves as ourselves, and I can form ty of departing from the common no idea of any other way of loving and established meaning of words, ourselves.”

and then you advance what appears We sometimes meet with theories to be a most absurd paradox, whilst which bear the aspect of novelty and in fact you mean nothing different paradox; but when we examine them from the common notions of manmore closely, we find that nothing kind. is intended, different from the com- Suppose a person should eagerly mon apprehensions of mankind. contend that a part is equal to the The whole singularity consists in a whole; every one, who heard the gross abuse of language.

assertion, would tell him that it was It was a favourite doctrine of Mr. absurd, and contradictory to the Hume, that reason should in all primary laws of human belief. You cases be subservient to the passions. misinterpret my meaning, he cries, This would no doubt appear to be a wish you to understand that by very pernicious opinion. But when the whole I mean nothing different we inquire into the meaning which he attaches to reason and passion, The two cases are parallel. There the greater part of his singularity is nothing new or remarkable in is found to consist in a departure either, except a gross abuse of lanfrom the common meaning of those guage. With such persons, the dewords. For, under the word pas- claration that all sin consists in sion he includes the most important self-love amounts to nothing. They part of what has, in all languages, are determined, at all events, to exbeen denominated reason; and he tend the meaning of the word until makes the least important part of it includes all sins whatever; and l'eason to be the whole; and by this then they gravely advance it as a unwarrantable liberty in the use of very important truth, that all sin language, he is enabled to bestow consists in self-love. some degree of plausibility on his There are others, however, who novel paradox.

adopt that mode of speaking, which We have reason to believe, that we are at present considering; many who strenuously contend that whose peculiarity cannot be reall sin consists in self-love or self- solved into a mere unusual and arishness, using these words as of the bitrary signification of words. same signification, in reality mean These writers, using the words nothing different from the common self-love and selfishness as synonyopinions of men. One writer at- mous; and defining self-love to be tempts to convince us that self-love an ultimate and chief regard to is the sum and essence of all sin. one's own private personal happiWe reply, that the scriptures evi- ness," display the utmost zeal and dently make a distinction between ingenuity in attempting to prove, sinful self-love, and the love of the that self-love is the sum and essence world; and that this distinction is of all sin. plainly recognised in the common Without entering into a detailed language and opinions of men, and examination of this theory, the foleven by our own consciousness. Oh, lowing arguments are believed to be you mistake my meaning, says he, sufficient to prove it inconsistent “When I speak of supreme love to with the most unquestionable truths. the world, I mean nothing different 1. It is inconsistent with the docfrom supreme self-love." Do you trine of natural depravity, as held not indeed? If this be your mean- by the church of God in all ages.

« PoprzedniaDalej »