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God createth sin, no more does any other passage of Scripture. Evil in the above passage means calamity, trouble; and God createth trouble that men may fear him, and walk in the right way to happiness.

In Mark iv, 11, 12, it is said that “Christ spoke in parables to the people, that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand ; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” How do you explain this passage ?

B. B. Answer. The Bible teaches us in several places, that God treats men according as they use or abuse his gifts. If they improve the first talent, he gives them a second; if they do not improve it, he takes it away. If men believe when God first gives evidence, he gives them more evidence, that their faith may be strengthened ; if they attend when he speaks, he speaks again, that they may understand still more. But if men will not understand, he withdraws the light they had ; and if they will not believe, he sends them delusions, that they may believe a lie. In short, if men will not do what is right when God calls them; if they resist conviction, and shut their eyes against the light, God gives them over to a reprobate, an undiscerning mind. He pours on them the spirit of blindness, he hardens their heart, he seals them to destruction, he appoints them to wrath, and he passes his decree, that they shall die in their sins.

There are very many passages, both in the Old and New Testaments, that teach us this awful doctrine. In the Old Testainent God is represented as hardening the heart of Pharaoh, as pouring the spirit of slumber and deep sleep upon his rebellious people, as sending lying spirits forth to deceive an ungodly prince, as causing a famine of his word, and as saying to his prophets, in reference to obstinate sinners, “ Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone.” In the New Testament Christ says, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not, (are in helpless ignorance) might see; and that they which see, (know their duty and will not do it). might be made blind." John ix, 39. He told certain Jews that they should die in their sins, that their

doom was fixed, because they had sinned against the clearest light, and the fullest evidence. He taught repeatedly, that to him that is faithful in little, more shall be given, but that from him that is unfaithful, shall be taken away

that which he hath. It is the same doctrine that is taught in the passage before us.

The persons to whom Christ refers appear to have been such as had abused the light they had received ; and had been given up to blindness on that account. Hence in the 23d, 24th, and 25th verses of this same chapter, the Redeemer speaks as follows :- -“ If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear. And he saith unto them, take heed what ye hear : for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you : and unto you that hear, shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given : and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”

This is an awful doctrine, and it cannot be too seriously thought upon by my young readers. Every day's use or abuse of your privileges brings on you a blessing

Jf you shut your eyes upon the light, God will blind you; if you receive and obey the light, he will shed it around you more copiously. The Lord grant you may be faithful stewards of his mercies, that you may rejoice in his favour all your days,

DEAR BROTHER,
You will oblige some young friends of mine if

you

will explain the 18th, 19th, and 20th verses of the 2nd chapter of 1. Peter.-Yours respectfully,

J. B. The passage referred to is as follows :-“For Christ also hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Answer. The words sometime and once, in this passage, mean formerly, or in ancient times. The meaning of

or a curse.

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the passage will be best explained by the following paraphrase—“Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which Spirit also he went and preached, by Noah, unto the spirits now in prison; which formerly were disobedient, when in ancient times the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, all the time the ark was a preparing.” The meaning is not that Christ went into the prison of despair, to preach to the antedeluvian sinners, but that formerly he went, and by means of Noah preached to the sinners of the old world, (whose spirits are now in prison) all the time that Noah was building the ark. As God now preaches to us by Jesus Christ, so did he formerly preach to the old world by Noah. And as formerly those only escaped who entered the ark, so now those only will be saved that enter the church. He therefore calls on all to put away all evil, and live only to God, that they may be saved.

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DEAR FRIEND, How do you reconcile the two passages in the 4th and 5th verses of the 26th chapter of Proverbs ?

« Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”—Yours respectfully,

HUGH HAIGH. Answer. I consider the meaning of the two verses to be simply this. You must not think to treat all foolish people in the same manner, nor must you treat the same foolish man in the same way at all times. You must consider the character of the man, the disposition by which he is actuated, and the circumstances in which he is placed, and frame your answer accordingly. Sometimes you must not answer a fool at all, at others you must answer him in his own style, and at other times you must answer him differently. The two proverbs are simply meant to teach us, that in answering foolish men, we must be careful, and not speak at random.

Published by I. Davis, 22, Grosvenor-street, Stalybridge ; Bancks and Co., Exchange-street'; Heywood, Oldham-street, Manchester ; R. Groombridge, 6, Panyer Alley, Paternoster Row, London; and may be had of all Booksellers.

[CAVB and SEVBR, Printers, Manchester. ]

EVANGELICAL REFORMER,

AND YOUNG MAN'S GUIDE.

BY JOSEPH

BARKER.

Published every Saturday.-Price One Penny, or in Monthly

Parts, price Five-pence.

No. 31.

SATURDAY, JULY 28, 1838.

VOL. I.

EVANGELICAL PREACHING, &c. EVANGELIUM is the Latin and Greek word for Gospel, and Evangelical preaching, means Gospel preaching. That kind of preaching, therefore, is most Evangelical, which is most like the preaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ preached the whole Gospel; he was both the Author and Finisher of the Gospel; and whosoever preaches any thing as Gospel which Jesus Christ did not teach, is so far an unevangelical preacher.

When Christ sent forth his Apostles to preach the Gospel, he meant by the Gospel whatever things he himself had taught, whether by his words or by his example; and he meant nothing more. Hence in one place he says, “ Go ye therefore and disciple all nations; teaching them to observe whatsoever things I have commanded you.

The Gospel, in one passage, means exactly the same as Whatsoever things I have commanded you,” in the other. Hence the four histories of Christ's life and teaching are called the Four Gospels; and the Apostles always referred to the teaching of Christ as the foundation of all they taught.

The Apostles explained and illustrated what Christ had taught; they reasoned on his statements, and carried out his general doctrines into particulars, but they added nothing of their own. Christ did not promise to reveal any thing more to his disciples than what he had taught them while on earth, and he promised the Spirit, not to teach them any thing new, but only to bring all things whatsoever he had taught them to their remembrance.

That there were many things which the Apostles understood much better after Christ's ascension than they did before, is very certain : but it is equally certain that they never pretended to a revelation of any new doctrine. They determined to know nothing but Christ, either to Jews or Greeks. Hence in all their sermons and letters we find not the least addition to the system laid down in the histories of the Redeemer. The application of principles is different, and the style of writing and speaking is different; but the system of the Gospels and of the Epistles is the same.

The finest specimen, perhaps, of Evangelical doctrine is in Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and the finest specimens of Evangelical preaching are to be found in Christ's discourses. And those preachers and those writers who most closely follow the example of Christ, are the best and most Evangelical preachers and writers.

I have met with some who speak in such a way about Evangelical doctrine, and Evangelical preaching, as is calculated to lead many persons to imagine that Christ knew nothing about the Gospel, or that he never revealed it till long after he had ascended into heaven. I have been told by one of those persons, that Christ did not preach the Gospel, and that his mode of preaching is not to be followed by us. And there are many who contend that to preach as Christ preached would not be preaching Christ, but preaching the law. And if a minister attempt to imitate the preaching of Christ, these men will speedily call him to account :—" Do you mean to make us all pharisees? Would

you

have us to believe that we are to be saved by works? You are continually talking to us about what we should do, and what we should do; as if we were all under the law. Preach the Gospel, and let us hear no more about do, do, do."

And if you ask them what it is to preach the Gospel, they will tell you it is to preach about the person and offices of Christ, the depravity of human nature, the influence of the Spirit, justification by faith, the sufferings and death of Christ, and the atonement made by

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