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ON THE ABUSE OF “ THE SENTENCE OF GOD'S
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I should be much obliged to some experienced clergyman or lay Christian, to inform me through the medium of your pages, what is the most proper method of dealing with irreligious persons who attempt to justify or to mitigate their neglect of God and their souls, by a species of fatalism grounded upon perverted views of human impotence and Divine predestination. Such characters, to my knowledge, are not uncommon, especially among young persons who have been early accustomed to listen to doctrinal controversies, while their affections are devoted to worldly objects. They argue thus: “I wish I was what I know I ought to be: I feel that I am a sinner ; but I cannot change my own heart : God must do that: it is useless to pray or strive ; I must wait till he works in me; and in the mean time it would be but hypocrisy in me to pretend to religion, or to say that I do not prefer what I admit to be the vanities of the present world ; and as to breaking off a few things that are wrong, it would be but an outward reformation, and not true conversion.” I do not pause to say how absurd is such reasoning; or to inquire whether it may not sometimes arise from incorrect statements of Scriptural truth, by which the doctrines of grace are so set forth as to lead men to neglect the means of salvation, rather than diligently to use them. But as the case does, to my knowledge, exist, and I believe more frequently than is obvious, the question is, What is the way in which it ought to be treated ? how are we to guard against unsound inferences while maintaining sound doctrine? how set forth free justification through Christ, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and the sinfulness of all works done “ before the grace of God," and yet urge prayer, striving, and those other means of grace, which the objector, whether weakly or wilfully, says he is not yet in a condition to employ with acceptance. If any of your readers have had experience in this matter, and have, by the Divine blessing, been successful in sweeping away this refuge of lies ” in any instance, I should be greatly obliged by their communicating the result of their experience.
NOTE ON ACTS xix. 24.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Your correspondent E. F. in your Number for August, p. 524, though he has elaborately discussed W. B. T.'s inquiry (p. 451), respecting adult Baptism, hardly gives due weight to the interpretation suggested by W.B. T.'s friend for the passage Acts xix. 2–4. The passage has an important bearing on several other questions : and that interpretation is not only allowed by our own translation, but is absolutely demanded, as it appears to me, by the original. The well-known idiom of the Greek language, which requires jev' to be followed by • de,' shews that same speaker who said 'Iwavvns per ¿Cartie (verse 4), said also akvoartes d, &c. If this be so, the passage, instead of favouring the idea that John's disciples were re-baptized, goes far towards proving that their baptism was essentially the same as ours.
I have not in the course of my own reading met with this criticism any where but in Baxter's Reformed Pastor; and I am only sorry I cannot refer to the passage itself, as your readers will be glad to connect his great name with so neat a solution of the difficulty.
LATIN DEVOTIONAL RHYMES.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
Tecum pati, tecum flere,
Tecum semper congaudere.
O Majestas infinita,
Amor noster, Spes, et Vita,
Fac nos dignos te videre,
Tecum semper permanere.
Ut videntes et fruentes,
Jubilemus et cantemus,
In beata cæli vita,
Amen! Jesu, fiat ita.
METRICAL SKETCHES ON THE FESTIVALS, BY
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. HAPPENING to turn on Michaelmas-day to the Bishop of Down's “ Biographical Notices of the Apostles and Evangelists, and other Saints, I thought the following verses on the festival of that day so beautiful, that I transcribed them; and I shall be glad to see them inserted in your miscellany, for the perusal of your readers. The book being in my hands, I send you another of the Right Reverend author's metrical sketches, that for the festival of St. Simon and St. Jude, celebrated on the twentyeighth of the present month October. Also, as your Number comes out on All-Saints day, the first of November, I add that also, though it is not equal in poetry to the first or second ; and in one or two lines the metre has marred the theology, as in stanza six, which would seem to confine the atonement of Christ to the “ saints," instead of its being universal, contrary to Bishop Mant's known sentiment. The last line of the fourth stanza runs,
“ who serve him best below,” which I have mended in sentiment, though not in versification, by substituting " here below.”
THE HOLY ANGELS.
Lord of the earth and sky,
Whom rapt Isaiah view'd,
As round thy throne they stood,
“ O holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts,
Lord of the earth and sky,
Whether thou sitt'st on high,
Still on thy royal state
Attendant spirits wait,
Where'er thou art, thine angel hosts are there,
All glorious was the array,
When, on Creation's day,
To see so fair a place
For man's intended race,
Together sang the stars of morning bright,
All glorious was the array,
When Thou, on Israel's day,
Ten thousand saints around,
(While peal’d the trumpet's sound,)
No human breath that pealing trumpet blew,
And glorious was the array,
When, on redemption's day,
To Bethlehem's nightly fold
The news thy angel told,
Glory they sang for God's redeeming grace,
But yet another day
Demands that bright array,
Thy holy angels then
Shall call the tribes of men
“ To judgment,” hark, a shout proclaims abroad!
Blest beyond thought are they,
Whom, on that dreadful day,
Mix'd with a countless band
Of angels they shall stand,
“ Worthy is He, the great, the good I AM,
Lord of the earth and sky,
Whose angel hosts on high
O grant us to fulfil
On earth thy sovereign will,
That striving now to serve thee, ev'n as they,
ST. SIMON AND ST. JUDE'S DAY. SAVIOUR, who, exalted high
Offspring of the Virgin's womb; In thy Father's majesty,
By the light, thro' midnight gloom Yet vouchsaf'st thyself to shew Bursting on the shepherds' gaze; To thy faithful flock below;
By the angels' song of praise; Foretaste of that blissful sight,
By the leading of the star, When array'd in glorious light,
The eastern sages' guide from far ; Beaming with paternal grace,
By their gifts, with worship meet They shall see thee face to face : Offer'd at thy infant feet : Saviour, tho' this earthy shroud
Lord, thy presence let me see ; Now my mortal vision cloud,
Manifest thyself to me! Still thy presence let me see ;
Son of Man, to thee I cry! Manifest thyself to me!
By thy holy infancy; Son of God, to thee I cry!
By the rite, when first began By the holy mystery
Thy keeping of the law for man; Of thy dwelling here on earth;
By thy early duty vow'd, By thy pure and holy birth,
A firstborn, in the house of God; By the wisdom past thine age,
Lord, thy presence let me see ;
Man of Sorrows, hear me cry!
By thy great humility; Lord, thy presence let me see ;
By thy meekly bowed head; Manifest thyself to me!
By thy gentle spirit fled Jesus, Saviour, hear me cry!
To the mansions of the dead; By thy lowly piety;
By the wound, whence issuing flow'd By the hallowed water shed
Water mingled with thy blood; Duly on thy righteous head;
By thy breathless body laid By thy fasting, lone and long,
In the rock's sepulchral shade, Borne the savage beasts among,
Where man ne'er before repos'd, In the desert's solitude ;
Straitly watch’d, securely clos'd : By the tempter's wiles subdued ;
Lord, thy presence let me see ; By thy triple conquest won ;
Manifest thyself to me! Proofs of God's beloved Son:
Prince of Life, to thee I cry! Lord, thy presence let me see ;
By thy glorious majesty ; Manifest thyself to me.
By the earthquake's powerful shock; Christ, Anointed, hear me cry!
By the opening of the rock ; By thy awful ministry;
By thy triumph o'er the grave, By thy works with mercy fraught, Meek to suffer, strong to save; Wisely plann'd, and greatly wrought; By the serpent's bruised head; By thy lessons, just and sure,
By thy captors captive led ; Doctrines true, and precepts pure ; By thy re-ascent to heaven ; By the lore thy actions teach,
By thy Holy Spirit given, Sinless life, and guileless speech; When on thy Apostles came By the signs, with grace endued,
Rushing wind, and tongues of flame : The cleansing font, the heavenly food : Lord, thy presence let me see; Lord, thy presence let me see;
Manifest thyself to me! Manifest thyself to me!
Lord of Glory, God most high, Lamb of God, to thee I cry!
Man exalted to the sky, By thy bitter agony;
God and man, to thee I cry!
With thy love my bosom fill;
Grant me, what thou bidd'st, to do ; By thy form, of beauty spoil'd,
What thou proffer’st, to pursue : In the robe of scorn array'd,
So may He, the Sire above, Taunted, mock’d, revild, betray'd, Guard me with a parent's love! Smitten, bound, with scourges torn, So may He, the Spirit blest, Griding nails, and platted thorn;
Whisper comfort, hope, and rest! By thy lip all parch'd and dry;
So mayst Thou, my Saviour, come, By thy loud desponding cry;
Make this froward heart thy home, By thy spirit's parting groan;
And manifest thyself to me By thy pangs to us unknown,
In the triune Deity! Felt by Thee, and Thee alone :
“The spirits of just men made perfect." There is a dwelling- house above ;
The friends of peace shall know. Thither to meet the God of love
There is a kingdom in the sky. The poor in spirit go.
Where they shall reign with God on high, There is a paradise of rest;
Who serve him here below.
Now pause, and view the votaries o'er,
Who faithful to the Saviour's lore, There is a goodly heritage,
The Saviour's blessing seek. Where earthly passions cease to rage; The poor in spirit lead the train, The meek that haven gain.
Then they who mourn their inward stain, There is a board, where they who pine
The merciful, the meek :
And here the pure in heart; and here, There is a voice to mercy true;
Who long for righteousness, appear ; To them, who mercy's path pursue,
And they who peace ensue ; That voice shall bliss impart.
And they who cast on God their cares, There is a sight from man conceal'd;
Nor heed what earthly lot is theirs, That sight, the face of God reveald,
If they his will can do. Shall bliss the pure in heart.
These are the saints, the holy ones, There is a name, in heav'n bestow'd; For whom the Saviour's blood atones; That name, which hails them sons of God, Who, by his Spirit seald,
His call with willing mind obey;
Those spirits just unite In whom the Father will display
With thy celestial angel train : The bliss to be reveal'd.
Cleans'd by the Lamb no spots remain,
No speck of earthly mould, to stain
Their robes of dazzling white.
No sounds of woe their joy molest:
No sense of pain disturbs their rest : That death be welcom'd as a birth
No grief is felt within : To life and bliss in heaven!
But God has wiped away the tear
From every face, and keeps them clear There, wearing crowns and holding palms, From anxious doubt, and startling fear, In " hymns devout and holy psalms" From sorrow as from sin.
ON THE CHARACTER OF GALLIO.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Permit me to open the inquiry, What sort of a man was Gallio, of whom mention was made in Acts xviii. as the deputy or proconsul of Asia. The matter is of no great importance in itself ; but, as it affects the moral application of a passage in Sacred History, it may be worth consideration. The term Gallionism is currently used to express that indifference to the truths of religion which is the result of philosophy falsely so called ; and the origin of the term seemed sufficiently explained by the conduct of that officer on the occasion recorded by St. Luke. But this opinion is opposed to the estimate of Gallio's character, as given by some of the commentators ; as for instance, Dr. Doddridge, in his Family Expositor. Mr. Horne, likewise, in his Introduction (vol. i. p. 194. 5th edition), agreeing with Doddridge, in substance, says,-“ Luke gives an honourable character to Gallio for justice, impartiality, prudence, and mildness of disposition; and this account is confirmed by Gallio's brother, the celebrated philosopher Seneca, who represents him as a man of great wit and good sense, of a sweet and gentle disposition, and of much generosity and virtue.” In a note on this place, Mr. Horne quotes the following expressions of Seneca :-“ Solebam tibi dicere, Gallionem fratrem meum, (quem nemo non parum amat, etiam qui amare plus non potest,) alia vitia non nôsse, hoc etiam, (i. e. adulationem) odisse. . . Nemo enim mortalium uni tam dulcis est quam hic omnibus. . . Hoc quoque loco blanditiis tuis restitit, ut exclamares invenisse te inexpugnabilem virum adversus insidias quas nemo non in sinum recipit.” L. Ann. Seneca Natural. Quæst. lib. iv. in præf.
I cannot discover in these passages any thing of Gallio's “ great wit, good sense, generosity,” or see in what manner they confirm the character said to be given of him by St. Luke for “ justice, impartiality, and prudence,” unless his possession of these good qualities may be inferred from his aversion to flattery. If Seneca says nowhere else more in praise of his brother than appears in these quotations, his authority seems to have been referred to rather hastily.
If such be my impression with regard to the “confirmation strong” from the testimony of Seneca, I am still less satisfied with the alleged “ proofs of Holy Writ.” The historian St. Luke gives no formal “ character” of him at all: he expresses neither praise nor censure of his conduct; and his whole account of him is comprised in a simple statement of facts unaccompanied by comment of any kind. Were I to form an unhesitating judgment from my own view of the evidence, my conclusions would materially differ from that of Mr. Horne. I see little justice in a governor's withholding his protection from a subject, when exposed to the brutal fury of a mob. I see little impartiality in listening to the