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If we want maxims of wisdom, or have a taste for the laconic style : hon copiously may our wants be supplied, and how delicately our taste gratified ! especially in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and some of the minor prophets. Here are the niost sage lessons adapted to every circumstance of life, formed upon the experience of preceding ages, and perfected by the unerring Spirit of inspiration ;--these delivered with such remarkable conciseness, that one might venture to say, every word is a sentence ;" at least every sentence şay be called an apophthegm, sparkling with brightness of thought, like a profusion of gents--each containing, in a very small compass, a value immense and incalculable--all heaped up with a confused magnificence, above all order.
11 we look for strength of reasoning, and the warmth of exhortation, the insinuating arts of genteel address, or the manly boldness of impartial reproof; all the thunder of the orator, without any of his ostentation; all the politeness of the courtier, without any of his flattery ;- let us have recourse to the Acts of the Apostles, and to the Epistles of St. Paul. These are a specimen, or rather, these are the standard of them all.
Are you fond of pastoral in all its graces ?-Never have we seen such exo quisite touches of rural painting, or such pleasing images of endeared affection, as in Solomon's Song of Songs. All the brilliant and amiable appears ances in nature are employed to delineate the tenderness of his heart, who is koce itself; to pourtray the beauty of his person, who is altogether lovely and the chief among ten thousand ;" and to describe tire happiness, of those souls, • whose fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”:
Another recommendation of the holy Scriptures is, that they afford the most awful and at the same time the most amiable manifestations of the GOD HEAD, FATHER, Son, and Holy Ghost. His glory shines, and his goodness* smiles in those divine pages, with unparalleled lustre: Here we have the most ample and satisfactory information concerning our own state; the origin of evil is traced; the cause of all our misery discovered, and the remedy, the infallible remedy, both clearly shewn, and freely offered. The merits andatonement of the GOD-MAN JEsus, lay a firm foundation for all our hopes ; whilst gratitude for his unmerited love suggests the most endearing incitements to every duty. Morality in all its branches is delineated on the sacred page ; placed upon
proper basis, and raised to its highest elevation. The SPIRIT of God is promised, to enlighten the darkness of our understandings, and to strengthen our weak and imperfect wills. What an ample provision is made by these blessed books for our spiritual wants! and in this respect, how indisputable is their superiority, over all other compositions ! [To be continued.]
A QUERE. HY does the Churckman so frequently use the words " Let us pray'in V the Liturgy ?
Answer. It is not in our power to prevent distractions, interruption and avocation of thought, even in our most solemn addresses to God; while the soul is immersed in matter, it will sometimes be tao languid to raise its thoughts or too volatile to fix them steadily upon God. This is our frailty, our misfore tune; but not to be imputed to us as a sin, provided we strive against it; and when we have done all we can, we have done all we ought. Therefore, as soon as we enter the sanctuary, we should beg the assistance of the Holy Spirit, that our thoughts may be fixed; that we may be collected in ourselves ; and serve God with that undivided attention, which is due from a creature to his Creator ; as knowing that it is absurd to expect that God will hear us, when we really do not hear ourselves; which is the case, when our lips move me chanically, but our minds are absent or inattentive. It was with this view that in the ancient Greek Liturgies, the deacon was ordered to cry aloud, Let us pray ferrently ;-—and again sometime after, let us pray more fervently. And it would be our wisdom to make the proper use of that exhortatory admonition, let us pray, which occurs so frequently in our Liturgy, and which was inserted with the design, of rallying our undisciplined thoughts, recalling our straggling ideas, and of putting us in mind, that we ought to pray with an affectionate application..
Remarks on Acts.
As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.,
CARIOUS explanations of this text have been given, but none of them is
so natural and easy as that of the great and good Archbishop Sharp. “ What, says that pious and learned preláte, is the meaning of the Apos** tle's words. As nuany as were ordained to eternal life believed.”—1 answer; “ the whole depends upon the translation of one word, (and that is tetag menni, ** which we render orduined: but our translators, if they had pleased, might have
pitched upon three or four other words that would have better expressed the
signification of it, and haye cleared the sense beyond all exception. This “ word, if you will consult the usage of it in authors, cannot be more natur
ally rendered, than by the words, fitted, or prepared, or set in order, or
disposed for. 'Iake now any one of these renderings, and it will fully hit “the sense of the text, and avoid all those absurdities that I have been speakie
ing of. The case before us is this, the Jews put away the gospel from them, “ and judged" themselves unworthy of eternal life. The Gentiles on the con
trary, glorified God because eternal life was offered to them; and accord
ingly, as St. Luke tells us, as many of them as had fitted and prepared them“ selves, or were set in order, or disposed for eternal life, did, upon St. Paul's
preaching, believe the gospel, and become Christians. If you remember, in the 9th of St. Luke, our Saviour speaks of some persons who were not
fit for the kingdom of God; and such would not believe in him. But now “ these people were fit for the kingdom of God, and therefore they did 'em“ brace the gospel as soon as they heard it.”
This, I presume to say, is a natural and easy exposition of the text, and it excludes the idea of any eternal decree of God concerning particular men's salvation.
REMARKS ON ACTS, CHAPTER XIII, VERSE 46.
Lo, we turn to the Gentiles. THE Jews admitted Gentiles into their Synagogues, but the Gentile prose.
lytes had their appropriate place, and did not mix with the Jews. The passage before us'affords, sufficient evidence of such a local separation. It is Said, verse 42. “And when the Jews were gone out, the Gentiles besought *" that these words (or this doctrine) might be preached to them the next Sab" bath.” The Jewish part of the audience, therefore, went out first, before the Gentiles stirred; and St. Paul seems to have directed not only the subject matter of his discourse, but also his face and gestures, at first to the Jewish part of the assembly, verse 16. Then Paul stood up and beckoning with the ħand, or moving his hand toward them, as particularly 'bespeaking their altention, said, men of Israel, even ye that fear God, gire audience. Now, as the whole of the discourse was remarkably appropriate to the Jews, so probably were the posture and motion of the Apostle's body and eyes, whilst he delivered it ; which may with equal reason be supposed to have been the case ia pronouncing the former part of his next discourse on the following Sabbath, and which rendered that sudden alteration of his attitude, the moie emphatical and striking ;="Lo! we turn to the Gentiles :"-This graceful, and opportune turn of gesture as well as of discourse, nad, by the grace of God, the desired effect. The whole Gentile part of the audience were enraptured with the Apostle's declaration, and accordingly all who were present einbraced the doctrine of eternal life, of which the Jews had shewn themselves unworthy, þy putting it from them, contradicting and blaspheming ;-as many as (tetaga nienoi) were ranged together, viz. on the Gentile side of the synagogue, which was very crowded, ver. 14, 45. believed in the doctrine that was unto life eternal.
THE NECESSITY OF RETIREMENT. O THAT dissipation of thought, which our conversing much with the
world occasions ! To retrieve ourselves from this ill effect, it is highly expedient to withdraw from company, and to converse much with what we above all things love, and yet above all things hate to converse with ourseltes : -to habituate our minds to recollection, and to fix them on the greatest and most interesting of objects.
jo periect scurty, to sport upon the ocean. "Struck sail, which seemned,
4 Fuble. Honour, profit and pleasure are the three idols, to which men of the world bow. Avoid them, o Christian, go from them into privacy, shut the door, and as the pealmist speaks, commune with thine otun heart in thy chamber, and be stiil. There, the busy swarm of vain images that beset us out of doors, find no adinission ;-here, as no turbulent passions can enter, so all animosities are excluded or forgotten; and all competitions cease. There the vanities and rexations of this worid are forbidden to enter, and the considerations of the world io come find an bearty welcome.
ad aceat weathe winds were hushed, the waves had lost their motion, ad prestated 3 surface smooth as that of a inolten looking-glass! At a little distancme pescerved boats and vessels of various size and noset of the appearance, he forgot the pleasures of a rural life, forgot all to, se hari beard of the dangerous and deceitful ocean; he exchanged his Hockta: rerchandize, and trusted himself and his treasure to an untried ele ment. Scarcely was he embarked before he repented of his rashness. A sudden storm arbie-the sta no longer serene, but like a tyger roused" from sleep, assumed the appearance of an enraged enemy; and threatened him with death ... eiery rare. fle lost his bark; be lost his goods ; *and hóping even against hope with the utmost exertions he escaped a watery grave, once more to tread on ihe dry land. Viace wiser bx misfortune, be gladly returned to the pastor ral liie, a id found satety and peace in the society of his pock. The 'next time he saw the sea, it was again smooth and silent as before ; "but he beheld it without emotion. It is in vain, says he, to think of deceiving me again"; I have no mind to suiler a second shipwreck!
REFLECTION. HIPPY are they whom divine grace leads to make a like reflection upon their former error! Suntui pleasures appear engaging at a distance, but at last “they bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.” Temptations have been presented to us, in all their bewitching charms; they have resembled the sea when calm, unruffled by no breath of air; without suspicion we yielded to the allurernent, quitted our safety, and daringly launched into the dangerous and deceitrul deep! Transient was temptation's smile, ocean soon began to frown and toss his waves on high, and we found ourselves instantly surrounded with storms and tempests. Then, when all our art was baitsed, our rudder breken, our sails torn, our anchor lost, and all human hopes of safety taken away, what have been our thoughts ? Did we not bemoan our folly? Were we not willing to part with all, to count our greatest gain but loss, if we could but escape with lile and reach some friendly port? Has the Lord heard our prayer? Ilas he sent his word and saved us, and brought us into the de: sired haven? Let us then keep in mind our past experience. May we never rommit ourselves to those faithless seas, 'which have occasioned us so much trouble and danger, “ for the end of them is death:”
Seduc'd by sin to quit my ease,
Recover'd' by Divine command,
Again some artful bait presents,
But Oh! fortid it, gracious Lord !
Dialogue between a Clergyman, and his Parishioner.
THE establishment of Christianity among mankind is the greatest of all interests, and prejudices of so many nations ; so many phílosophers ; so many different religions; twelve poor fishermen, without art, without eloquence, without power, published and spread their doctrine throughout the world. In spite of a persecution for three centuries, which seemed every moment ready to extinguish it; in spite of continued and innumerable martyrdoms of persons of all conditions and countries; the truth at length' triumphs over error ac cording to the predictions both of the old and new law. Let any one shew some other religion, which has the same marks of a divine protection.
A powerful conqueror may establish by his arms, the belief of a religion, which hatters the sensuality of men. A wise legislator may gain himself attention and respect by the usefulness of his laws. A sect in creuit and supported by tie civil power, may abuse the credulity of the people. All this is possible. But what could victorious, learned, and superstitious nations see, to induce them so readily to believe in Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour, who promised them nothing in this world but persecutions and susterings; who proposed to them the practice of a worality, to which all darling passions must be sacrificed? Is not the conversion of the worly to such a religion, a greater and more credible miracle than even the greatest of those which some refuse to believe ?
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
Continued from No. 3. page 43. P.-Rev. Sir, I hope you are at leisure, as I have come again to converse with you upon the subject of the Holy Eucharist.
C.-I am at leisure at present, and shall gladly discourse with you, on a subject so important, that the Church pronounces it the most solemn part of public worship.
.--I have long meditated on the holy eucharist, and confess my difficulties : one is, whether our Lord offered himself for us, at the time of his instituting the holy communion, or when he was on the cross.
C.--The primitive Christians believed that the oblation of the body of Christ for the redemption of mankind commenced immediately after eating his last passover, and was progressive, 'till he said, " this is my body; this is my blood, which is given for you," over the bread and wine. The propitiation was then offered under the symbols of- bread and wine.
P.-I thank you, sir, my question is answered entirely to my satisfaction: now be so good as to explain to me the nature and design of the eucharistic sacrifice.
C.-When the eucharist is celebrated according to Christ's institution, it is a solemn memorial or representation of Christ's sacrifce offered to God the Father, in order to procure for us the benefits of that sacrifice. When the bishop or priest, to shew the authority by which he acts, recites the words of institution, and pronounces Christ's powerful words, this is my body, this is my blood, over the bread and wine, they become authoritative representatives, or syrıbols of Christ's crucified body, and of his blood that was shed.
P.-So then, sir, the priests under the gospel offer sacrifice as well as those under the law, : C.-Yes, sir, the legal sacrifices were sanguinary ; but under the gospel they are unbloody, The bread and wine, by the powerful words of Christ, “ this is niy body, this is my blood,” are made auihoritative representatives of his body and blood offered for us, and put into a capacity of being offered to God as the great Christian sacrifice.
P.-With pleasure, 1 observe sir, how the subject goes on to expand, and confess that all this is very intelligible ;-pray proceed.
A Dialogue between a Clergyman, and his Parishioner. C.—Then the priest makes a solemn oblation of the appointed symbals, which is the highest and most proper act of Christian worship. With this obé lation God is well pleased, because it is offered by his Son's authority and com- 1 mand. The bread and wine are not consumed by fire from heaven, nor by you the fire of an altar, as the Levitical sacrifices were, but suffered to continue in a our sight; or in other words, God returns them to us to feast upon, that we may thereby, partake of all the benefits of our Saviour's death and passion.
P.--I understand all this.; bat confess that I have some fears, lest this doctrine lean toward transubstantiation.
C.-You will have no reason to be afraid that the primitive doctrines of the eucharist favour transubstantiation, when I shall have conducted you a few steps farther in the illustration of them. Please, sir, to observe, that the bread and wine remain bread and wine after the prayer of invocation. The Holy Spirit is invoked neither to transubstantiate nor to consubstantiate, but to sanc Tipy them; to change them in their qualities, not in their substance. And thus they are made, Rot the natural, but the sacramental body and blood :they are bread and wine by nature, the body and blood of Christ, in mystery and signification : they are bread and wine to our senses, the body and blood of Christ to our understanding and faith: they' are bread and wine in themselves, the body and blood of Christ in power and effect.
P.-1 see clearly bow all this is, and that my fears of transubstantiation were groundless : as to consubstantiation we seldom hear that word mentioned, but if I have any correct ideas of its meaning, it is as remote from the primitive doctrine of the eucharist, as the so much condemned Popish word transubstantiation is.
C.-The doctrine of transubstantiation was invented in the beginning of the sixth century : consubstantiation was a device of Luther, whereby he thought to mend the matter. We may try as many ways as we please to purify truth from error, but no way is certain, but that prescribed by the prophet,
i stand " in the head of the ways and see, and enquire for the old path, and walk
therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
P.-True sir; the man who desires to drink the water pure, must draw it from the fountain ; but alas ! “ the well is deep" to many, and they,
" have nothing to draw with.”—The holy communion is, I fear, so generally little' understood, that by far the major part of people absent themselves from it ; every one has some favourite excuse.
C.--Yes, sir; our Saviour's words are daily verified,-—" ye will not come to me that ye might have life ;"-how many turn away in a rage upon being tuld, “ unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you!
!" P.-- I'firmly believe that it is necessary to receive the holy communion as often as opportunity offers, because it is our spiritual nourishment, without which the soul must be in a weak and languishing condition.
C.-If the health of the soul were in our eyes as precious as that of the body, we would give a similar attention to its preservation and maintenance; but unhappily we attend to the things of time with so much ardency of affection that the things of eternity are little regarded. To pamper the body, no expense is spared, and invitations to social entertainments are duly complied with; but to the voice of the Church, inviting her careless children to eat of her “ dainties and drink her choicest wine,” to feast on the “ communion of the body and blood” of her Redeemer, little attention is paid. What! is courtesy toward man a virtue, and disrespect toward God free from censure ?--At first the deceiver seduced men, by persuading them to eat what God had forbidden-since, he has carried on the same destroying scheme, by persuading them to conteinn what God hath commanded to be eaten. Surely men would not so readily yield up their best interests into the destroyer's hands, if they more maturely « considered the things that belong to their temporal and eternal peace ;"_if they considered gright the “ communion of the body and blood of Christ,” and knew that it conveys all the benefits of his natural body and blood to those who worthily receive it; the chief of which are, the pardon of their past sins ; fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit; and a principle of immor. tal life to their bodies, as well as to their souls.