« PreviousContinue »
The head, the hands, the feet,
Of toil the welcome close:
And from the toil of sin repose. Now, weary limbs, go spread Yourselves loose o'er the bed
Your languor longs to press; The time will come when they For thee on earth will lay
A bed more hard than this, and less.
Protect them by Thy love,
Oh, watchful Eye of Israel!
Thy timid young one there:
“This child to injurenoneshall dare.'
May God beside you stand,
Mine eyes for sleep prepare;
Do soul and body dwell?
TRUTH; ITS POWER AND IMPORTANCE.
(Continued from page 482.)
BEFORE entering upon the practical shown to be in accordance with it; application of the principles for- but which has, therefore, to be merly laid down, it is worth while sustained by the false and utterly to glance at one portion of that unwarrantable assumption, that community, which is usually called there is an indefinite, but very the Christian world. That large convenient quantity, of recondite and wide-spread politico-ecclesi- inspiration in the bosom of the astical power, called by themselves church, ready to advance and sancCatholic, by the indiscriminate tion any new view or opinion that crowd, Roman Catholic, and by circumstances might call for ; and mën precise in the use of language, by the solemn decrees of a council Romanist or Papist, stands in a which, in the face of the rising very peculiar and anomalous rela- reformation, deliberated for a series tion to the written word, the of years, they have committed themrevealed truth, of God. That po- selves irretrievably to these errors. sition which they have most deli- We say irretrievably, because they berately assumed, they have fenced are, as a body, so deeply and desround with every sophistical artifice perately committed, that an a. of which it is capable ; but it is, bandonment of their complicated after all, neither more nor less than scheme of doctrine must involve the än attitude of hostility to the object, real destruction of their vital systhe substance, and the authoritative tem. To recede from their artificial testimony of the inspired volume. and dishonest system, would be to They have adopted a system of doc- denude themselves of all their petrine which, by their own admis- culiarity, pomp, power, and presion, cannot be brought fully out tension, and to fall back undistinof the text of Holy Scripture, or guished into the universal Church.
In the ages before printing was remained but to choose one of two invented, and when copies of the courses ; either to submit to the Scriptures could only be multiplied divine authority of the book, or to at the great expence of labour and proscribe it. And in obstinate pertime which writing required, it was sistency in error, or in fatal delupossible for the Romanists to keep sion, they chose the latter. their position undisputed, except They have evidently regarded the by a few retired students and clergy, record of divine truth as a witness who had access to the manuscript against them. They have used volume; and who might be silenced their utmost ingenuity to pervert by intimidation, preferment, or it, and turn off the keenness of its death. In that Iong period of edge; but manifestly regarding the darkness occasional flashes of divine book as the vital enemy of their light appeared; in that long reign policy and their teaching, they have of ecclesiastical tyranny, occasional done all that could be done to supstruggles of common sense, enlight- press it. This was a difficult task, ened by revelation, occurred. But because a direct condemnation of it was only when, in the providence the Scriptures would have been a of God, the art of printing was palpably antichristian act; it would called forth, and the countless mul- have set the Romish system in tiplication of copies of the Holy avowed contradiction to the source Scriptures became inevitable, that from which it would be supposed the key of the Romanist position to originate; and therefore a course was effectually assailed. Then tra- had to be adopted which would be ditionary doctrines and supersti- effectual to suppress the general tions stood confronted with the spread of the printed Scriptures, written mind of God. The Author while did not appear directly to of inspired Scripture and the Church condemn them. The line of policy of Rome were manifestly at issue. chosen, was to call in question the It was quite impossible to find the wisdom of a general spread and Romish system on the face of the study of the Scriptures; to found record. It was as impossible, for a on that assumption, the rule of fair and honorable mind, not to see limiting, by authority, the reading that the direct testimony of the writ- of the Scriptures, and of allowing ten word was an unequivocal con- it to take place only by a written demnation of the leading features of license; and then as a general custheir system, and that the prophetic tom to withhold the license! This portion of that sacred book drew was the wary course chosen by the with exquisite accuracy the leading Council of Trent. The 4th rule features of their scheme, as the of the Index affirms “ that more inlineaments of a great apostacy jury than good would arise from which should for a time prevail in reading the Holy Bible; that conthe earth. So that to an impartial sequently the permission to read mind the Papal system, as opposed must be granted by a written fato the printed Bible, stood out in culty ; and that whosoever shall bold relief, as a system of unscrip- have or read the Bible without that tural error, and superstition, and of faculty shall be refused absolution practical impurity, which the writ- of his sins till he deliver it up. ten truth of God had by anticipa- This rule has been repeatedly aption most distinctly and solemnly proved of by the Pope; and there condemned. In the face, therefore, is no point of Papal practice that of the published Scriptures, there has been more clearly, resolutely, and repeatedly affirmed. It has fallen and ignorant world, sent told also for its objects; for when forth his written word to be a perDr. Murray of Ireland, in giving manent and infallible testimony evidence before Parliament, was from Him to mankind. “ Thy asked, Have the Scriptures any word is a lamp unto my feet, and a practical circulation in the vulgar light unto my paths.” “O send out language in Spain? he replied, thy light and thy truth, let them “They had not then,” i. e. when he lead me and bring me to thy holy was residing there. And in the same hill.” And here is a community way Dr. Doyle, who was educated which professes to be exclusively in Portugal, when asked, “Did you the church of Christ, which has ever see in Portugal any translation adopted a system of seductive suinto the vulgar tongue, whether al- perstitions and of priestly dominalowed or not ? answered, No, I did tion over the passions and connot.” The wily measure has suc- sciences of men, but which unable ceeded. The approach of the writ- to maintain themselves and their ten word to the private Christian in delusive inventions in the light, or Popish countries is completely sup- by the light of Scripture, have pressed. And when also the people consequently withdrawn that light come in contact with Protestant from the people. As far as their influence, which might induce them influence extends, God's illuminatto read the Scriptures, the most ing and saving truth, and the hustringent measures are adopted. man heart are severed! The interDr. Doyle was at the same time course of men with God through asked, Would
of the written word is stayed. A the peasantry of Ireland who might seeming phase of Christianity, but persevere in reading the Scriptures without any renewing saving powin the authorized version to be er, may make progress in the earth, received to the sacrament ?” he just as far as the repression of answered, “No; I certainly would God's gracious message is sucnot.” Should
think it im- cessful ; but precisely to the extent proper for such an individual to
of its success is the increase of the bury the word of God?” “I should kingdom of God prevented, and be highly amused with such a pro- the testimony of truth to pardonceeding.' “Would you think him ing and renewing mercy within highly deserving of approbation?" man's sad heart is suppressed! A “ I would reward the man.” Dr.
weary and broken-hearted world is Doyle had previously said, “Though left without its comforter. the authorized version has many This is the acmé of Romish rebelerrors, I consider it one of the no- lion. Whatever had been their blest of works-one of the ablest doctrinal or practical errors,
had translations that has ever been
pro- they held up by the side of them the duced.” And yet sooner than a witness of the Spirit to the truth man should read it, he would re- in the written word, man might ward him for burying it; nay, if have compared and judged, and the he did read it, he would refnse him existing error might have righted the sacrament at a dying hour! itself. The appointed remedy for
Now this is not a matter of all error would have had full mere dry controversy about a sub- and fair play. They played ordinate point. It is desirable to however a deeper game. They hid exhibit this awful apostacy in its the light under the tiara. They true light. God has in pity to a assumed an authority for repressing the revelation which Almighty possible, then it will be seen—acmercy had sent forth. They kept cording to the strong testimony of back the record of the true pardon, those priests who have lately fled that they might sell a lying absolu- from the Romish communion* tion, which would be of no avail in that the enemies of inspired truth the day of judgment.
were not and could not be holy, It is scarcely possible to take too any more than the human body strong a view of the sin of the could continue incorrupt without Romanist authorities in their per- the life of the soul in it; that, like severing adherence to this impious the abettors of tradition in the policy. For the sake of veiling Jewish church, they might enlarge the evil character of their chief the borders of their garments and superstition, they place themselves make broad their phylacteries, and as a barrier between man and the cleanse the outside of the cup, and means of remedial teaching, which pay tithe of mint, and anise, and the Almighty God has adopted. cummine ; but that like them also, They know that their system of de- they were inevitably and necesmonolatry and of idolatry is directly sarily, as the result of their pos condemned by the volume of in- tion of hostility to truth, whited spired instruction: and conscious sepulchres," appearing beautiful that they cannot face the reproof of unto men, but within full of dead its pages, they treat them as the men's bones and of all uncleanKing of Judah did the written pro- ness — full of hypocrisy and ini. phecies of Jeremiah--they cut the quity. This may sound to many roll in pieces with a penknife, and uncharitable; but we arrive at that cast it into the fire upon the hearth: sad conclusion, by a fair and reaand “yet they are not afraid !” sonable channel ; and if so—if we If the view which we have taken have fairly described the real chaof the divine record be the true one racter of the Romanist position, -and as to the main features of it then, the more awfully uncharitable some of the Romanist documents the charge may at first appear,
the on the subject of the Scripture more awfully serious it is. The admit that it is—what a tremen.. amount of their guilt is that which dous developement of guilt there charity trembles to utter. It is not will be, by and bye, as to this hos- a mis-reading, or a perversion, or tility to and suppression of the corruption of the word of God; divine message! And if it be true, but it is an apostacy from the mesthat the purpose of God, according sage itself, and from its appointed to the prayer of the blessed Re- dominion. It is a conspiracy adeemer, is to sanctify men by this gainst the living power and mercy word of truth, how sure it is that of the message of grace and life they who have been prominent and from God to man. Oh ! let them earnest in the suppression of that look to it! Is not my word a word, and in the hindering of its fire, and a hammer that breaketh testimony, and of its agency on the the rock in pieces ?” “Whosoever hearts of men, will be themselves falleth on this stone shall be broken, found unsanctified. When the but on whomsoever it shall fall it garb of a priestly and sanctimo- shall grind him to powder.” nious disguise shall be stripped off, But to return. We have shown and each one shall appear in his that in the very nature of things, true moral character before that
the true meaning of God's revealed Judge, where deception is no longer * See M. Maurette's Advice to Rome.
will may be known, and ought to be to apply himself to that work with known. It is the gracious privilege diligence. The facilities for inter, of men, that they may know the pretation are as much a matter of mind of the great invisible God. providential overrulingand arrangeIt is in the Scriptures; contained ment as are the inditing and the there in a series of statements, preservation of the text itself. We precepts, facts, and inferences from must believe this. We cannot but them ; just as much as the mean- believe that all that is necessary to ing of any other book is contained perceive and understand that, which in the whole mass of sentences the Author of reyelation intended strung together; only with this to be understood, has been providadvantage, that the infinite wisdom ed. The material for a proper of God's eternal Spirit, has in this criticism, both for the correcting instance dictated the very language: and clearing the text, and also for _"holy men of God spake as they expounding it, is around us and were moved by the Holy Ghost," within our grasp; it is within the and has absolutely chosen the best grasp of a proper and diligent study. of all channels by which such a And when we look at the Hercugiven amount of divine truth would lean labours of such men as Wetbe most properly conveyed to the stein and Mill and Kennicott, human mind.
Walton and Castell and Trommius, Then as to the mode of ascer- of Buxtorf and Schleusner and taining the true meaning of Holy Griesbach—books that are in these Scripture; there are two points days so little touched, that the worthy of most serious notice. In very dust on them is become obsothe first place, the meaning of any lete—men and ministers who arrobook is in the plain, grammatical gate to themselves a character for sense of its several sentences right learning, may well blush for the ly interpreted, balanced, and com- amount of their own critical readpared; so that at the outset, the ing of the sacred writers. reading of the Holy Scripture is as A very large portion of mankind, much a matter of scholarship and of however, must unavoidably read accurate reading and exegesis as the Holy Scriptures only in a verany other book, such as the
poems sion rendered into their own mother of Homer, the treatises of Aristotle, tongue; and here, doubtless, we or the terms of Magna Charta. see much of the good providence
We draw a distinctive line be- of the Author of revelation in guidtween the student of the original ing the minds of men to intelligidocument, and the plain reader of ble versions of the Word. But a popular version. Passing for a there is a duty which has not been moment from the one, we say that properly fulfilled; and whịch would the deliberate and true interpreta- have been better fulfilled in
propora tion of the original is no light mat- tion to any measure of increased ter. It is a duty solemnly enjoined sense of the responsibility lying in on the scholars of the Christian this respect upon the Church of Church. The educated man, and, God. They who believe-as all above all, the educated minister, the reformed Churches do—that whose advantages in life have given “Holy Scripture contains all things him the opportunity of acquiring necessary to salvation”—who vinfacilities for investigating each sa- dicate the right of every private cred page with deep and learned Christian to read Holy Scripture criticism, is most solemnly bound for himself, and who do therefore