« PreviousContinue »
herself ready: and to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, pure and bright: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." This allegorical celebration includes an implied and just estimate of the all-purifying virtue of “the blood of the Lamb.” And the truth which is emblematically represented is, that the then state and character of “the Church of the firstborn, en ed in the heavens,” shall be as perfect in moral purity, as beauteous in holiness, and as brilliant in righteousness, as are the celestial saints, the holy angels; who, from the hour of their creation have ever had their standing in the approving presence of THE DIVINE HOLINESS.
The term "saints," as designating the ransomed and regenerate from among mon, is a terrestrial title rather than a celestial. Their saintship, as signifying that they are chosen and set apart for God, has its sphere and history on the earth. Their filial relation to God, as having been begotten of Him, is a higher and nearer relation to Him than is that of their saintship. And relative to their celestial destiny and reserved inheritance, the title of “saints” is merged in that of “the sons of God.” And when the Lord Jesus shall descend from the heavens with ten thousands of His saints, the holy angels ; then will He fulfill to all who believe in Him that special promise to them which He made when on the earth, saying, “I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be also.” Even so, come Lord Jesus. Mannamead, Plymouth.
W. MORRIS, M.D.
ON MIRACLE. THERE is some reason to believe, that not the least influential of the
motives to the adoption of the allegorical scheme, in connection with the subject of unfulfilled prophecy, on the part of so many in the present day, is to be found in the fact (which cannot be gainsaid) that the literal acceptation of it, for which we contend, necessarily involves the restoration of miracle, and supernatural interference with the present order of things. This, though not always avowed, has, doubtless, had a large share in bringing about the now usual method of (socalled) interpretation of unfulfilled prophecy. It seems to be deemed quite sufficient objection to the literal scheme that it implies the restoration in question; the professing Church having long lost sight of the truth on the subject, and adopted the unfounded position, that miracles having been introduced by God, for facilitating the propagation of the Gospel in the infancy of Christianity, they were no longer necessary when that object had been so far attained that the truth might be fairly expected to make its further way through means of the impetus imparted to it by the supernatural influence in question, as manifested in the accompaniments and results of the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit in power, and was therefore then withdrawn.
To such as are wedded to this view of the matter, it is no wonder that the literal scheme should appear unfounded ; for so full is all unfulfilled prophecy, when accepted literally, of miraculous intervention
and supernatural interference with the established order of things, that in this fact they find, as they conceive, a justification of their favourite mode of construing its predictions. But all this is mere gratuitous assumption, a simple begging of the question. They set out by assuming that the reasons assigned by them for the employment of miracle in the days of the Church's infancy are correct. They pronounce so dogmatically, and with, as it were, such ex-cathedrâ decision, that it does not seem to have ever occurred to them that they could possibly be mistaken respecting it, or that there could be room for a question upon it. They then assume that the reasons assigned by them for its withdrawal are the true ones. And then, to complete the series, they assume that such intervention shall never be restored, on the ground of their assumption of the non-existence of any necessity why it should be.
That one and all of these assumptions are not merely baseless, but plainly anti-Scriptural, an unprejudiced appeal to the Word of God will show. For example, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit, in the extraordinary sense then imparted, was given to (Acts i. 13, 14 ; ii. 1, 4), who are yet forbidden to teach. was given in the same sense to the Apostle James, and the various members of the Church of Jerusalem. It was imparted to the members of the Corinthian Church, who were never engaged as missionaries, and therefore did not require it to enable them to teach others; the Apostle instructing them to exercise it when one having the distinct gift of interpretation was present, though in this case it would not have been necessary for the purpose of enabling them to teach, as the language of the country was understood by all with whom they could have come in contact. And lastly, Paul himself was endowed with it, though his knowledge of languages, as an educated man, would have enabled him to address intelligibly any people he ever visited.
Has God anywhere in His Word, either assigned such object to miraculous intervention, or limited its exercise to primitive Christian times, or given reason to believe that it shall never be restored ? Most certainly not. There is not, from beginning to end of the Sacred Volume, the least intimation of any such thing, or most remote hint of what could be inistaken for it. The truth is, that because the operation of miracle has now been, in point of fact, so long suspended, and supernatural interference with the present order of things withdrawn, people have too easily, and perhaps at first insensibly, glided into acquiescence in opinions which have no claim to their assent; as being not merely destitute of any Scriptural authority, but most plainly opposed to all teaching of the Word of God on the subject.
It would seem to be little short of the old error of " limiting the Holy One of Israel,” to assume, as the above notion does, that God was tied down, so to say, to the employment of miracles, in the execution of His purpose of love, to impart the “light” of Divine truth to those who had been su long involved in spiritual “darkness” and the "shadow of death.” Shall we be told, and expected to believe, that He was obliged by the necessities of the case to have recourse to miracle, in order to the accomplishment of His purpose of love ? Could He not, had He 80 willed it, have attained His object with equal facility by issuing His simple fiat, as when, in the exercise of His Omnipotence, He said, with reference to the physical world, “Let there be light, and there was light?” Or, could He not, had He so desired, have rendered the ordinary ministration of the Word, which has now been so long the appointed channel of Divine influence, in the work of conviction and conversion, effectual to the accomplishment of that gracious purpose. Of course He could have employed these, or any other means He pleased, and His blessing resting on His own appointment would have rendered any of them equally successful with that He designed to use. He was, then, evidently not tied down to the adoption of miracle in order to secure the end He had in view, which was equally within His reach by other means. We must, therefore, look elsewhere for the philosophy of His recourse to it at the particular period in question.
It may be useful, in the way of removing impediments to the comprehension of the matter, to inquire whether miracle be, as seems to be so generally imagined, a departure from God's ordinary mode of intercourse with His people ; or, whether it be not rather His normal rule of proceeding in His dealings with them, the suspension of supernatural agency for the last nearly two thousand years forming the exception to the rule. The latter we believe to be the case; and that so evidently, that it cannot be necessary to establish this position by Scriptural examples, which must occur, in almost endless variety, to all who will but revolve in their minds the history of the Church, from the period of the formation of its nucleus, on the calling out of a particular family from among all the nations of the earth to be “a peculiar people” to the Lord, down to the time of the “ casting off” of that people “ for a season.” As it is only through that people that He has had any intercourse with earth since their call, or revealed His will to its inhabitants; so, on their temporary rejection, He suspended that intercourse ; so, with their predicted restoration and conversion, when the thread of their history shall have been again taken up, miraculous intervention shall again become, so to speak, the order of the day, in accordance with the repeated, express, and unmistakeable predictions of the “sure word of prophecy;" the plain and multiplied teaching of which is to the effect that the present is simply a parenthetic dispensation, occupying the interval of time included between the casting away and the receiving again of Israel, which events thus form its limits. With their temporary loss of the Divine favour commenced the suspension of God's normal mode of intercourse with the world; and with their predicted restoration to that favour, that mode sball be resumed.
The recognition of this point, then, will be found to clear the way to the understanding of a large proportion of the “sure word of prophecy " as yet unfulfilled ; which must, otherwise, necessarily remain as a dead letter, or be perverted from its true signification in vain attempts to reconcile its predictions on allegorical principles with one or other of the various conflicting theories which compete for the public favour. Some further remarks on this subject I hope to offer in a future number.
J. ConeyGHAM McCAUSLAND.
GOD IS LOVE.
The blended tribute of ten thousand flowers,
That form these gay, though solitary bowers !
Why bursts such melody from tree and bush,
The overflowing of each songster's heart,
Awhile to listen, but would take its part?
Why leaps the streamlet down the mountain's side,
Hastening so swiftly to the vale beneath,
Where the hot sun has left a faded wreath ;
In starry heavens, at the midnight hour,
In ever-varying hues at morning's dawn,
In forest, river, lake, rock, hill, and lawn,
JEWISH OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIAN TRUTHS. MONG a host of the most unreasonable objections our unbelieving
Jewish brethren are wont to raise against the Gospel message, which the missionary is privileged to take right into their dwellings, one not seldom hears also this fair query: “ How can a Jew become a Christian ?" And the respective words, “ Jew” and “ Christian are often so emphasised as if the inquirer meant, “ What! a Jew, a son of Abraham, a worshipper of, and believer in the the true God—whom he loves with his whole heart and soul—to become an abject heathen, & worshipper of dumb idols, the making of his own hands ? ” “ No; for this a Jew cannot, and dare not sell his birthright." And who will blame the Jew for scorning such an offer ?
But if we can prove to the so-called Jew—for we deny that the modern synagogue-worshipper is acting in accordance with the teaching of the Jewish prophets—that Christianity, which he rejects, is the development of Judaism, or Judaism perfected, that “the Law was the shell and the Gospel is the kernel ;” and, that therefore, we who accept the glad tidings are the true disciples of the patriarchs and the holy seers, then shall we have shown to our deluded brethren that, not only can a Jew become a Christian, but that the thoughtful Jew cannot help becoming a Christian. And now, what is meant by becoming a Christian, and what does the word Christian denote ?
In the Holy Scriptures we find recorded the divers names or appellations by which the descendants of the patriarchs (beginning with Abraham) were designated, viz., Hebrews, Israelites, Jews. Now, was the name Israelite, or Jew, subsequently given to the Hebrews metamorphic ? Did it imply that those Hebrew individuals had, with their changed names, also changed their faith, their hopes; or, that they had ceased to be the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Was it not rather that those names were solely the indications of the remarkable vicissitudes in the history of our nation? No one will deny that the latter is the correct view. How much less, then, does a Jew cease to be a son of Abraham when he leaves the dumb idols of the Talmud, and returns to the teaching of the Word of God itself ? Therefrom be learns that all the glorious promises that shine forth from the blessed Volume, centre in the adorable person of Messiah. And this we have done. We have returned to the “ fountain of living water," leaving behind us for ever " the broken cisterns (of Rabbinism) that can hold no water.” And hence it is that believers in the predicted Messiah (whose day “Abraham saw and was glad "), are called Christians—i.e., Messiahns—a name indicative of their entire consecration * to God. And it is under this Messianic, or Christian dispensation alone that the Rabbinic walls of partition between Jew and Gentile are fast crumbling into dust; walls which were otherwise towering so high, that according to the despotic dictum of the proud Talmud, the Gentiles were thereby, not only precluded from the blissful future, but also from the light itself, which God's Word † held out to them as co-heirs with us.
In becoming Christians, therefore, we by no means become Gentilised, any more than Gentiles by accepting the Messiah of the old Testament become Judaised. But on the contrary, we become yet in a higher sense the children of faithful Abraham; and, consequent upon that we enjoy the blessings, in which our believing Gentile brethren richly participate (Isa. xi. 10). And ours is “the new name," by which the redeemed of the Lord were to be called (Isa. Ixii. 2).
It is just because our Jewish brethren are guided by the Rabbis rather than by the Word of God, that they persecute those of their own nation who choose to make the Bible as "a lamp to their feet,” and as "a light on their path."
* As both the Hebrew Meshiâch and the equivalent Greek Christos denote.
| That Word which was never suffered to be translated by our Jewish nation for the benefit of the Gentile world, is now diffused in more than 150 languages and dialects through the instrumentality of believing Gentiles ! And many a copy of that precious Book falls into Jewish hands.