Page images

milk without money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me... HEAR, AND YOUR SOUL SHALL LIVE." 1-3. Yet, however free and gracious the invitation-however desirable the blessings in themselves and though nothing stands in the way of their participation but a willing mind; yet such is the preference that men universally give things natural or temporal to those which are spiritual and eternal, that the maxim holds universally true, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life"-or, which is equivalent to it, "No man can come unto me, (such is his moral inability) except the Father which hath sent me draw him. See John v. 40. and vi. 65. And hence we remark,


AMONG the inadvertencies into which ministers of the Gospel have unhappily fallen, there is perhaps no one more common, or unaccountable, than their restriction of the Psalms to the literal David, and his individual experience. I have repeatedly heard esteemed preachers do this; and have wondered that they never seemed to think of their blessed Lord, in their reflections upon this choice part of the divine word. It has been all David, from begintoning to end! and the general experience of the saints: but they have lost sight of what the royal prophet himself says; "The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and his word was in my tongue," 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. and our Lord's testimony; " All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Psalms concerning me." Luke xxiv. 44. This seems the more wonderful, because there are many portions of the Psalms, that must be strangely overstrained to make them applicable to the son of Jesse; particularly the "piercing his hands and feet!" the dislocation of all his joints, and his being " poured out like water," with the "parting of his garments," and "casting lots for his vesture!" in the 22nd Psalm: and giving him "gall and vinegar" in his thirst! in the 69th and many other passages; where our graci

8. Lastly, the sovereign grace of God in bringing men to this enjoyment. "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out," ver. 37.-" It is written in the Prophets, They shall be all taught of God.' Every man, therefore, that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me." ver. 44, 45. Hence the children of Zion sing

[ocr errors]

"Twas the same love that spread the ous Redeemer is so clearly pointed


Which sweetly forc'd us in; Else we had still refus'd to come, And perish'd in our sin."

And thus the whole of our salvation, both in its plan, its execution, and its efficiency, redounds to the glory of sovereign, rich, and free grace-that according as it is written, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord"-for "of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. AMEN."

out, that "he may run that readeth:" and indeed the numerous professions of perfect rectitude, and ardent, and unceasing delight in God, with which David's own Psalms abound, can only be applied to himself in a very qualified sense; and do not appear half so suitable, and beautiful, as when they are referred to the Saviour; then we see a propriety in them, and an importauce, which they evidently do not possess in their application to David only.

Besides the mourning and woe with which the Psalms abound, with the strong cries" for help and deliverance; are surely more suitable also to the " man of sorrows," who dwelt with grief, as we may with an intimate acquaintance! and "who in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers, and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death; and was heard in that he feared." Heb. v.7. Nor should we put away from us the consideration of our dear Lord, in those confessions of sin which are so frequent in the Psalms; though it is these that in all probability are the most stumbling to the interpreters of the Psalms; for although the "Lamb of God," was "without (personal) blemish;" and had no sin of his own to mourn over; yet we should remember, he was "made sin" for us; and Jehovah "caused to meet upon him the iniquities" of all his chosen people: so that he may say with propriety, as our surety and substitute; as in Ps. xl. 12. "Innumerable evils have encompassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up: they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me," &c. Strong as this language undoubt edly is, it is not too strong for the occasion; and it is only to turn our eyes to the garden, and think of the agony, and we shall see its complete accomplishment.

Indeed, as Bishop Horne ob. serves on the Psalms; (preface p. 13.)" When we are taught to consider one verse of a Psalm as spoken by the Messiah, and there is no change of person through the Psalm; what can we conclude, but that he is the speaker through the whole; and if Christ be the speaker of one Psalm; what should hinder, but that another, where the same kind of sense is evidently described, and the same expres

sions used, may be expounded in the same manner." And the famous Dr. Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, says, "There is not a passage of the book of Psalms, in which the pious reader will not find his Saviour, if he reads with a view of finding him: the misapplication of the Psalms to the literal David, has done more mischief than the misapplication of any other parts of scripture among Christians." Yet some of the most esteemed Expositors confine their views to David so very much (except in those parts where they are under an absolute necessity of referring to Christ;) that an undue regard to these may be the reason the Psalms are so misunderstood by many preachers.

It is certainly true that some passages, as those for instance, that you have referred to in Ps. cxix. 67, 176. do not appear proper to apply to Christ; and we should not overstrain them to make them do so; but (if the above is correct) I rather think, that if we knew more of the mind of the Spirit, we should see more of Christ even in such passages, than at first sight we are aware, especially as there are parts of this beautiful Psalm, that evidently apply chiefly to him; and there does not appear to be ny change of speaker through the whole; though I would rather confess ignorance, and pass them over, than torture the holy oracles, as some have done, to make them speak according to their mind; for "what we know not now, we shall know hereafter." John xiii. 7.

The truth appears to be, as a very worthy and highly esteemed Baptist minister in London, whom I well know, once observed, "To read the Psalms with understanding, we should always recollect, that David was a prophet, and an eminent type of our Lord Jesus Christ; and what he wrote, was partly in his own person;-partly

in the person of Christ, and himself: and partly in the person of Christ alone." This appeared to me to be highly judicious; and the more I reflect upon the Psalms, the greater appears to be its propriety and I am fully persuaded, that we shall never be able to understand them properly; or obtain from them the edification they are calculated to afford, except as we keep these sentiments in mind: but if we do this, we shall see that in them, which will deeply affect and delight us upon every perusal. O for the influence of the Holy Spirit, to rest upon our minds, and hearts, whenever we come to consider this inestimable portion of God's holy oracles; that we may be helped to mix faith with it; so shall we "behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord Jesus, and be changed increasingly into the same image, from glory to glory." 2 Cor. CEPHAS.

iii. 18.

Clonmel, County of Tipperary. July 18, 1817.


WEEKLY COMMUNION. Strictures on a paper in the Baptist Magazine for August.

To the Editor of the New Evangelical Magazine.


CASTING an eye over the last number of the Baptist Magazine, I met with an article" On the propriety of worshipping with unbelievers, &c." (See BAPT. MAG. p. 289.) the former part of which gave me considerable satisfaction. It is directed against what, in Ireland, is called "The marked separation scheme" a practice but little known in this country, though it has there, of late years, been stiffly contended for, by Mr. John Walker and some of his friends; and indeed a feeble effort has been made to introduce something of the kind in London, Glasgow and other places, but with so little effect that the scheme appears to be fast losing ground, and 'tis more

than probable that the few who still adhere to it will, at ho dis tant period, entirely relinquish it and be surprised that ever they should have been enamoured of such a whimsical affair.


It is freely admitted that believers are called to separate themselves from the unbelieving world in religious fellowship, 2 Cor. vi. 14, &c. and that promises of unspeakable importance are made to such churches as obey the divine command in this matter. They are enjoined to separate themselves from the fellowship of all heathen idolaters, by whom some of the believing Corinthians were in danger of being entangled, (See 1 Cor. viii. and x.)-also from unbeliev ing Jews, Acts xix. 9, Heb. xiii. 13, 14.-From all false professors and corrupters of Christianity, 2 Tim. iii. 5.-from the corrupt communion of Antichrist, Rev. xviii. 4. and from every national alliance of church and state, all of which are formed to prevent this separation, and to blend the people of God with the world. It is the duty of believers also to withdraw from all societies that are not cemented upon the truth, and by love to one another for its sake, and who disregard the discipline which Christ hath instituted for the purpose of keeping the communion pure, and visibly separate from the world, Matt. xviii. 15-18. 1 Cor. v.

This is the separation which the New Testament enjoins upon the real disciples of Christ; but "the marked separation scheme" carries the matter much farther, and is one of those extravagancies into which some professors are continually running, whose restless minds will not allow them to remain satisfied with the sober me dium of the word of God. This unhappy temper, which is continually prompting men into ex tremes, does incalculable injury to the cause of truth in the world, and it is no uncommon thing 10

though he should hear the truth declared with apostolic purity, he must be careful to keep his seat during the whole time of prayer and singing, lest he himself be supposed to join in the worship of unbelievers! And should he be called to speak the word of life to a promiscuous multitude, he must omit both prayer and singing, and confine himself to a simple statement of the truth!! These are the leading peculiarities of "the marked separation scheme," on which the writer in the Baptist Magazine has animadverted, in my opinion, with considerable force and pertinency.

see persons of this cast, after exhausting their zeal upon things which are aside from the plain rule of the Scripture, at last settling in a total indifference to all religion. According to "the marked separation scheme," it is not sufficient for believers that they follow out the divine law in their separation from the world as it respects their fellowship in the institutions of the gospel; this separation must also be extended to their outward circumstances during the hours of public worship, so that a bar of separation must be placed between the members of the church and those who are not united with them -a practice for which I do not perceive the least foundation in the Bible, but much that militates against it. James ii. 1-4. Is. lxv. 5. Luke xviii. 9-11. Another thing peculiar to this scheme is, their declining to offer up prayers or thanksgivings to God, for the bounties of his Providence and the blessings of his grace, in concert with any who are not acknowledged by themselves as believers. Hence, if the master of a family adopt these sentiments, and neither his wife nor children be of the same mind with himself respecting them, he must discard the stated worship of God in his family, and even the giving thanks to God for the bounties of his Providence, Now this short extract, I though these are moral duties, ob- beg leave to offer a few remarks. ligatory on all men as the creatures In the first place the writer is of God, and from which nothing greatly mistaken when he says that can possibly exempt them. This, Acts xx. 7. is the only text which to be sure, is sufficiently extrava- seems to intimate that the Apostolic gant, but the scheme does not stop churches observed the Lord's suphere! Suppose one who has adopt- per weekly. How strange is it that ed this novel theory, to be called he should have forgot Acts ii. 42. in to visit a fellow-creature upon where the inspired historian, enumehis death bed. If he is not an ad-rating the different branches of vocate for this scheme, though he be his own son, or daughter, or friend, he is not to pray for him in his presence, what ever he may do out of it! If be go to hear the gospel preached by one who is not in the marked separation scheme,"

[ocr errors]

But there is another topic touched upon by that writer, concerning which I am constrained to dif fer from him, and that is the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper. Relative to this ordinance, the writer says, "Though it seems probable from Acts xx. 7. that it was then attended to every first day of the week, yet it is by no means certain, for that is the only passage which seems to intimate it; and it is so far from proving the point, that I am not clear that the words mean any thing more than that they came together at that time to break bread because Paul happened to be present to break it to them." (BAPT. MAG. p. 292. col. 1.) upon

public worship in which the disciples " continued steadfast," carefully places "the breaking of bread" in connection with the apostles' teaching, the prayers, the fellowship, &c. &c. Now if, (as Calvin, Mosheim, and many other

learned men fully admit) the evangelist Luke is here specifying the various ordinances of public worship which were delivered to the churches by the apostles, to be by them statedly observed, then this text proves that the churches continued as statedly to observe the Lord's Supper, as they did either the preaching of the word, or the offering up of prayers.

character! But why is this loose way of talking restricted to the Lord's supper-why is it not also applied to the observance of the Lord's day; to the stated preaching of the gospel, to public prayers, &c. &c.? Is there any thing more binding in the New Testament respecting these latter branches of worship, than the former? What would this writer think of the conBut further; there is something duct of a society that should exceedingly curious in the reason mutually agree to assemble for assigned by this writer for think-public worship only one Lord's ing that this was an extraordinary day in each month, and to assign meeting of the church at Troas- as a reason for it, that "it had and that they had the Lord's Sup- been found by experience, to be per because Paul happened to be not too unfrequent to lead to its present to administer it to them! neglect, or its superstitious reveThis way of talking "would rence, as is the case in certain never have been heard of, but to communities; or too frequently, serve a turn." Who told this as was the case among the Corinwriter that Paul administered the thians." (Bapt. Mag. p. 292.) I ordinance at all, on this occasion? put it fairly to him, 'what estiLuke says nothing about it-he mate would he form of the relimerely says that he "preached to gion of such a people?' And when them," and the probability is that he has answered the question, he he did not break the bread, but will see what (mutatis mutandis) that their own pastor did it. 1 Cor. others ought to think of his strain i. 17. He seems, good man, to of writing concerning the Lord's imagine that the primitive Chris- Supper. tians entertained the same superstitious notions about "the ordinance," which are common among our dissenters of the present day —and that it must have acquired a double sanctity as dispensed by an apostle !

As this is a subject of universal interest to the churches of Christ, I should be glad to see it temperately discussed, in order that the truth may be investigated and ascertained, and with that view, I beg leave to submit to the consiAgain: he thinks "the celebra-deration of the writer in the Baption of the supper was intended tist Magazine, and indeed to all to be regulated by circumstances," your readers, the following propoand that it should be, "as often sition. as it can be made convenient, or "It being admitted on all is judged proper. Every week, if hands, that the primitive churches it may be so, and is desirable; or statedly assembled every first day monthly, as with us"-and that of the week to commemorate the "where Christ has laid no bonds, resurrection of their Lord and and the necessity of the case is Saviour from the dead; what not such as to require it, neither scriptural arguments can be adshould we." This is surely a duced which make it obligatory on strange way of talking about di- us of the present day to copy their vine ordinances; and to suppose example in this respect, that will that Christ has left them to be re-not also make it our duty to par gulated according to men's capri- take of the symbols of his broken cious fancies, is a bold and daring body and shed blood on every impeachment of his legislative Lord's day?"

« PreviousContinue »