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the recompence of the reward." Contrasting, like the Apostle Paul, the things which are seen with the things which are not seen, he inferred the infinite superiority of the latter over the former, from the consideration that these are temporal, but those eternal. Knowing that the time of our sojourning upon earth is short, he arrived practically at the conclusion of the same Apostle; "It remaineth, that they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy as though they possessed not; and they that use this world as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away." Did he make sacrifices? These very sacrifices were eventually gain; for he sacrificed those snares and temptations and corrupt desires which might have proved the ruin of his soul. Did he incur affliction and reproach for the cause of Christ? This was gain also: for, in the first place, the burden which he bore was truly honourable; he suffered not as an evil-doer, but in the best of causes he was persecuted for righteousness sake; and of such our Lord has said, "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." Like the Apostles, therefore, he might well rejoice that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ." "If ye be reproached," says St. Peter," for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." And, again, as the afflictions which he incurred for his piety were truly honourable, so also were they conducive to his spiritual benefit; for "we glory in tribulations," says St. Paul, because "tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." Though "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, neverthe

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less afterward it yieldeth the peace. able fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby." Again; he might the more willingly welcome the afflictions which should befal him, considering how greatly they would be lightened by the testimony of a good conscience, the approbation of God, and the supporting influences of the Holy Spirit. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us," says the Apostle, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." Another reason for his preference was, as already intimated, the shortlived nature of worldly troubles and worldly joys. The pleasures of sin, he knew were but for a season; they would soon be over, and leave behind them for ever a sting that cannot be extracted, a worm that never dies. He knew, also, that the reproach and afflictions which he should suffer were equally transient ; but not so "the recompence of the reward;" that was not only unspeakably great in value, but eternal in duration. Like the Apostle, he had learned that the afflictions which "the people of God" may be called upon to endure for the cause of their Saviour are but light and momentary, while they work out "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Even should he fall a martyr in the cause of truth and for the testimony of his conscience, he would have no reason in the end to regret his choice; for the recompence of the reward, a crown eternal of glory in the heavens, would far overbalance every earthly loss or suffering.

"Whosoever," said our Saviour," shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel's, shall save it;' for "there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come life eternal." If we suffer with Christ-that is for Christ and like

Christ, in his cause and with his spirit -we shall reign with him; if we unite ourselves to "the people of God"—that is, to the faithful in Christ Jesus in the season of their earthly affliction, we shall partake for ever of their reward in that blessed world "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

These powerful reasons, if seriously reflected upon, will shew that there was ample cause for the choice which Moses made. But still it may be asked, Why then is it, if these things be so, that the great majority of mankind do not follow his example? Why do not all, to whom the record of the will of God is sent, make it the constant rule of their life? Why do they not prefer light to darkness, eternity to time, and heaven to hell? Why, when they know that the end of their present pursuits is death, but that the gift of God is everlasting life, do they not make a right choice between the service of the world and the service of their Creator? Why, when they cannot deny that the time of their probation upon earth is short and uncertain, are they content to build all their hopes upon a sandy foundation instead of choosing that better portion which can never be taken from them? Why do they not gladly lay hold of the hope set before them in the Gospel? Why do they not repair to a crucified Saviour for the pardon of their sins, and devote themselves to his blessed service? Have they more to give up, or more to endure, than had Moses? or do they seriously think that the glories of heaven are of little value; and that the passing events of the present scene are all that deserve their consideration as rational, accountable, and immortal beings?

3. In replying to these questions we arrive at our third point of inquiry-namely, as to the principle which influenced Moses in coming to this decision and adhering to it. The Apostle informs us that this principle was "faith." He beCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 309.

lieved what he professed, and his belief shewed itself practically in his conduct. Thousands will admit, in words, all that has been stated respecting the value and necessity of religion, who do not thus "believe with the heart unto righteousness." They have not brought nigh to their minds, by serious reflection, the importance of the stake at issue. The blindness of their understandings, and their love of the present evil world, prevent their truly estimating the value of that recompence of reward which God has promised to all who love and obey him. They do not practically believe that reward to be so valuable or desirable as the Bible describes it to be; or, at least, there are other things which in their heart they love better. Their affections are so widely alienated from God, that they do not really esteem the service of God, or the reproach of Christ, to be greater riches than any earthly acquisition. In a word, they have not that firm and abiding persuasion, respecting those things which God has declared in his word, which the Apostle is describing in the chapter from which our text is taken. Their professed faith has never become to them, according to the definition already cited, "the substance of things hoped for, or the evidence of things not seen:" it has never brought the value of the soul, or the rewards of eternity, so powerfully before them, as to eclipse for ever the vanities and pursuits of a sinful and unsatisfying world. They have not the principle which caused Enoch to "walk with God," and "to please him;" which led Ncah, believing the certainty, of the threatened judgment, to take shelter in the appointed ark; which made Abraham, in obedience to the Divine command, come out from a sinful land, and, in dependence upon the promise of God, seek a better country, even a hea venly; which induced him to perform the command of God even under the most painful circum3Z

stances, knowing that, sooner than the promise of God should be broken, his son Isaac, should be miraculously raised from the dead; which caused Moses to make the choice in our text; and which actuated all the other "cloud of witnesses," the triumphs of whose faith are recorded in the chapter before

us.

Let, then, our earnest prayer be, that God would strengthen our faith; that, truly believing what he has revealed-believing our own sinfulness, our need of salvation, the infinite mercy of God in Christ, the necessity of true conversion of heart to Him through the influences of the Holy Spirit, the shortness of time, the vanity of the world, the unspeakable importance of eternity, the joys of heaven, and the terrors of hell-we may lay these things to heart, and be influenced by them to "give diligence to make our calling and election sure." Animated by this holy principle, let us "lay aside every weight" and "the sin which doth so easily beset us; and let us "run with patience the race that is set before us," incited, not only by mortal examples, but looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured (for us) the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," where he ever liveth to make intercession for us;" pitying our infirmities, supporting us under our afflictions, pardoning our offences, justifying us by his merits, and cleansing us by his blood.

66

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

THE more critically the occasional ambiguities, or even apparent contradictions, of Scripture are examined, the more triumphant appears the argument for the Divine authority of that inestimable volume. There are very few discrepancies, even in

names, dates, or the minute circumstances of events, which are not capable of being satisfactorily reconciled to the understanding of every intelligent and candid critic. There is, however, some danger of allowing the laudable wish of solving apparent difficulties to betray the student into rash criticisms, the ultimate application of which to the sacred canon would be far more injurious than the supposed difficulties which they were adduced to remove. The German school of theology furnishes direful proof of this; and our own biblical literature is not wholly free from a similar fault.

Among other hypotheses for explaining certain passages of the New Testament, the application of the principle maintained in the learned, but most unsound and injudicious, publication entitled Palæoromaica, has of late been occasionally resorted to. (See an account of Palæoromaica in the Christian Observer for 1823, p. 74.) At a late meeting of the Royal Society of Literature, Mr. Granville Penn endeavoured, on the leading principle maintained in that work, to reconcile Acts i. 18 with Matt. xxvii. 5. His paper was entitled, "Indication of an insititious Latin term in the Hellenistic Greek, inveterately mistaken for a genuine Greek word." The word referred to is λaknoɛ, which occurs in St. Peter's account of the suicide of Judas, in the Acts of the Apostles: Πρηνης γενομενος ἐλακησε μεσος: Eng. Trans. "falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst. In St. Matthew's Gospel, the word used to express the same act is ἀπηγξατο, "he hanged himself." Mr. Penn contends, that λakŋoe is not, as has generally been supposed, derived from the same theme as λakɛ, Eλake, λakɛly, found, in classical writers, with the signification of sonare, sonitum dare, cum strepitu rumpi; but that it is an inflection of Aake-a rendering, in Greek letters, of the Latin verb laqueo, to "halter,"

or "ensnare;" used, like many Latin verbs, in the active voice, but with a passive or reflective sense -that is, laqueatus est, or laqueavit se. And, by further adverting to the peculiar manner in which the traitor appears to have accomplished his death-namely, by throwing himself headlong from a great height, and being suddenly caught midway (perds) in the noose--he considers that the periphrastic language of St. Peter, and the single expression of St. Matthew, may be reconciled, as identically descriptive of the same act.

Such an amalgamation of a Latin into a Greek word seems highly improbable; nor is it necessary for reconciling the passages, which, in truth, exhibit no direct discrepancy. The solution offered by the majo. rity of commentators is surely sufficient: he suspended himself; but, the support failing, or the body becoming decomposed, he was precipitated to the ground, and "burst asunder in the midst." Why, with so easy a solution, adopt an hypothesis the bearing of which is to maintain that the original New Testament was written, not in Greek, but Latin?—an absurdity to which the ingenious author of Palæoromaica has happily made few converts.

A. M.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

Ir there is any feeling chiefly predominant in the soul of a true Christian, it is a sense of his own sin and misery in the sight of God; and the impression of this will ever be so strong, where there is true tenderness of conscience, that the most holy man will not think inappropriate to himself the confession of the Apostle, "I am the chief of sinners." Dr. Johnson, on his death-bed, most truly and scripturally remarked, in reference to himself, when his friend Sir J. Hawkins would have urged him to rely on his own merits, and represented

to him the excellence of his writings and the morality of his life: "Sir, every man knows his own sins, and, what grace he has resisted; but to those of others, and the circumstances under which they were committed, he is a stranger. He is therefore to look upon himself as the greatest sinner that he knows of;" adding, with much earnestness, "Shall I, who have been a teacher of others, be myself a cast-away?"-"The Apostle Paul,” justly remarks Dr. Whitby, who will not be accused of Calvinistic propensities, "does not say, I was the chief of sinners, but, I am; because, even when sin is pardoned, we ought to have the prospect of it still before our eyes, to keep us humble, and sensible of the great grace of God towards us." In this sentiment every sincere Christian will assuredly concur.

I have been led to the above remarks by perusing, in the American edition of Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly's Bible, a most singular and exceptionable comment, as it appears to me, of Dr. Waterland's upon the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. If any passage of the word of God more forcibly than another prohibits selfflattering comparisons between ourselves and others, it is surely this striking parable; and Waterland himself, as quoted by Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly, justly remarks on it: "What right had he to come before God with accusations in his mouth against other men; perhaps injurious and false, most certainly foreign and impertinent? The sins or failings of other men were no concern of his in his prayers: but self-accusation, or self-humiliation, should rather have come from him in addressing an offended God. He dwelt only on his own imaginary perfections, and threw a veil over his sins. His self-flattery prompted him to magnify his own services, taking a false estimate of himself from an ill-natured comparison, which could serve only to

deceive him, not in the least to justify him. For, what if others were really worse than he, in some respects; how would it follow that he was better than they upon the whole; still less, that he had any just pretence for boasting before God?" All this is very good, and Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly had the discretion to stop here. But, in the American edition, the Right Reverend editor, Bishop Hobart, has added the following continuation of Waterland's note:-" Not that we are hereby totally prohibited forming comparisons between ourselves and others; for, how is it possible altogether to avoid it? Neither is there any thing amiss in endeavouring to go beyond many, in our religious advances, or in believing that we do so, when we have grounds sufficient for it: neither is it necessary for an humble man to think himself worse than he really is, or to condemn himself as the

vilest of sinners, and the like: he may be allowed to think justly, and according to truth, as well with respect to himself, as with respect to other persons; for nothing unreasonable or untrue can be expected of us, or be well-pleasing to God."

Whether St. Paul and Dr. Johnson, or the Pharisee and Dr. Waterland, were right, I leave the Christian reader to judge; only adding, that, though no true penitent will hypocritically pretend to confess crimes which he has not committed, yet that the danger of self-righteousness is what our Lord clearly intended to point out; and that nothing can impugn the spirit of the parable more, than to tell men that " it is not necessary to condemn themselves as the vilest of sinners, and the like." I do not plead for this particular phrase; but the sentiment, at least, is not inappropriate to the feelings of every truly humble and devout mind.

CLERICUS.

MISCELLANEOUS.

For the Christian Observer.

NEW ACT FOR ENCOURAGING THE BUILDING OF CHURCHES.

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TOWARDS the close of the late session of Parliament, an Act passed the legislature, which, though it consists of less than two pages, contains a paragraph of very great importance, as respects the building of new churches. The difficulties which have attended the voluntary erection of churches by pious and benevolent individuals, have, till of late years, been almost insuperable; and though, since the appointment of the church-building commission, greater facilities have been afforded than before, both to individuals and to parishes-in consequence of which many churches and chapels have been erected in various populous districts-still the impediments were

in many cases considerable, especially as respected the nomination of the minister. On this important point the Act recently passed contains the following clause :—

"When any person or persons shall, to the satisfaction of the said commissioners, endow any chapel built or hereafter to be built by such person or persons, with some permanent provision in land or monies in the funds, exclusively, or in addition to the pew rents or other profits arising from the said chapel, such endowment to be settled and assured as the said commissioners shall authorize and direct, it shall be lawful for the said commissioners to declare that the right of nominating a minister to the said chapel shall for ever thereafter be in the person or persons building and endowing the said chapel, his, her, or

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