« PreviousContinue »
kinsmen according to the flesh. I tiles, but Christ's express com His former aversion to Christ is mand. This sense is much concertainly no proof of this.
firmed by his history in the Acts. Sometime after his conversion he went up to Jerusalem and spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, though they went about to slay him. Acts ix. 29. And after the Lord had said unto him, "Make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me;" yet still he pleads for liberty to persevere in his work, till the Lord said unto him, Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles," ch. xxii. 17-22.
He gives two reasons for his peculiar affection to the Jews; they were his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh; and they had also been highly dig nified and distinguished by God himself with eminent tokens of his favour for many ages, which he proceeds to enumerate as follows.
I have often thought that the word anathema, here rendered accursed, bears the same sense in this passage with the word anathema, which comes from the same root, and is only distinguished from the other by the long instead of the short vowel. Now this word is frequently used in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament for a thing or person devoted or separated, from a common to a sacred purpose, Lev. xxvii. 28. and as the English word devoted applies either to things set apart for a holy use, or destined to destruction so does this word; and which of these senses it bears is easy to determine from the connection. Taking the word then in this latitude, it will be easy to explain this passage. The Jews had strong prejudices against Paul, particularly for his being a zealous preacher of Christ, his mission to the Gentiles, and his receiving them into fellowship without their being circumcised and becoming proselytes to Judaism. They could not endure to hear him relate his mission to the Gentiles, but grew perfectly impatient and frantic, Acts xxii. 22. and considered him as an apostate from the law, and an enemy to his countrymen, preferring the Gentiles to them. The apostle is here shewing the contrary, by express-with the whole nation, whereby ing the great concern he had for they were peculiarly related to their salvation. And as an evi- God, and had answerable prividence of this he adds, "For I leges-and the giving of the law, could (or did) wish myself were which includes all those precepts devoted of Christ for my brethren, which we distinguish into moral, my kinsmen according to the ceremonial, and judicial—and the flesh." As if he should say: It service of God; all things relating was my own earnest desire that to the priesthood, and the ordiI might have had my commissionnances of divine worship-and the from Christ to the Jewish nation, promises, both the promises of whatever I might have suffered earthly blessings, and those also in the prosecution of it; so that which relate to the Messiah. it was no want of affection to them Ver. 5. Whose are the fathers, which made me go to the Gen-being the descendants of the holy
Ver. 4. Who are Israelites, the descendants of Jacob whom God named Israel, and who as a prince prevailed with God for a blessing, Gen. xxxii, 28.-To whom pertaineth the adoption. The whole nation were adopted into the family of God, and are termed his sons, his first-born. Exod. iv. 22, 23.—and the glory, i. e. the emblem of the divine presence among them in the Shechina,-and the covenants, viz. with Abraham and
"What are the means most calculated to promote in Christian ministers that spirituality of mind which in many instances has been attended with so large a portion of ministerial success. ?"
To the Editor of the New Evangelical
A BAPTIST Minister of this
and venerable patriarchs, Abra- | temper: I beg therefore to proham, Isaac, and Jacob, and David pose the following query to the -and of whom as concerning the readers of your Magazine. flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.-He mentions last the greatest honour of all, viz. that the Messiah sprang of them according to the flesh, being a Jew by birth of the seed of Abraham, and of David as was promised. Indeed it appears that it was for the sake of this person, that the posterity of Abraham were separated from the rest of mankind, and had all the other distinguished privileges conferred upon them, which were in general prefigurations of Christ and his kingdom. He came of them according to the flesh, i. e. the human nature, which imports that he had 'another nature; and so it is added, | "who is over all, God blessed for ever." This is clearly expressive of his true Deity. See the like ex- | Bristol. pressions applied to the Creator, Rom. i. 25. and to the Father, 2 Cor. xi. 31. Edinburgh.
To the Editor of the New Evangelical
city who was lately preaching
upon this passage
A Correspondent desires to be informed, through the medium of the New Evangelical Magazine, whether the Village Itineracy is supported solely for the purpose of introducing the Gospel into places that have been previously destitute of it, leaving the people and their future Pastor at liberty to adopt such mode of conducting the worship and administer
the ordinances as to them shall appear most agreeable to the word of God, in conformity with the fundamental was that Institution established for the principle of THE Missionary Society-or purpose of promoting the interests of one particular denomination exclusively?
In Rom. viii. 15, 16. the apostle speaks of the spirit of bondage-the Spirit of adoption-and the witness of the Spirit. The first of these appears to be the common lot of every unbeliever. Is "the
spirit of Adoption," which the apostle seems to contrast with the former, the common privilege of every believer? And wherein consists "the witness of the God bears witness with the believer's own Spirit" or how is it, that the Spirit of spirit, that he is a child of God? A scriptural illustration of this subject would be ceived that very mistaken notions of it are thankfully received, as it is humbly con current in the religious world.
Sermons by the Rev. John Martin, | more than forty years Pastor of the Baptist church, formerly meeting in Grafton-street, Soho, and now in Keppel-street, Bedford Square, London. With a Portrait. Taken in Short Hand, by Thomas Palmer. In 2 vols. 8vo. 550 pages in each, pr. 24s. bds. London. Gale and Fenner, 1817.
Nature had cast him in her finest mould-and his pulpit endowments were of the most exquisite kind. Rich in invention, and with language at command, he could reason or he could ridicule as best suited the purpose of the moment he could indulge the sportiveness of a lively fancy, and the playful sallies of wit, or he could overwhelm the minds of a listening audience with an irresistible torrent of eloquence! At one moment you were charmed with the graces of his simplicity; and anon electrified by his bursts of sublimity. Mr. Martin appears to us to have been as nearly as possible the counterpart of all this! Without a spark of genius, and meagre of invention, contracted in an extraordinary degree in his mental capacity, and with only a very moderate share of learning, his Sermons are unavoidably destitute of all that is fascinating in the pulpit exercises of Mr. Robinson, whom he unhappily adopted for his model. The consequence is, that the very attempt to imitate him frequently serves only to excite one's risibility and too often our disgust. If the discursive flights of Robinson might be compared to the soaring of an Eagle towards heaven, Mr. Martin's attempt to follow him can only tend to remind us of the floundering of a barn door fowl, flapping its wings, and after a clumsy effort to rise into the air, descending again upon the spot whence it vainly attempted to soar.
THE reading of these Sermons forcibly reminded us of a pleasant anecdote respecting their author, which, as it is current among his friends, we see no impropriety in mentioning. He had, on some occasion or other, been listening to a discourse delivered by a junior minister from his own pulpit. At the close of the service a lady of his acquaintance, intending somewhat of a compliment, thus accosted him; Why, Mr. Martin, Mr. (so and so) imitates you in his manner of preaching!" "It may be so, Madam," said Mr. M. "but no man is pleased to have his likeness daub'd!!" Our readers will no doubt expect to know what this anecdote has to do with a review of Mr. Martin's Sermons; and we shall therefore explain that point before we proceed any farther. Even a superficial glance into the volumes before us, cannot fail to impress the reader with a conviction that the preacher was himself a mannerist; yet we are much inclined to doubt whether in this he was original. It never indeed fell to our lot to hear him preach; but we had not read twenty pages of his printed dis- But that none may accuse us of courses, 'ere the idea suggested itself doing injustice to Mr. Martin by reto us-"this is a humble imitation of presenting him as an imitator of Robinson of Cambridge!" and every Robinson, we shall give a specimen subsequent examination of the work of his manner; and we put it fairly to only served to rivet that conviction the consideration of every unprejumore strongly in our minds. We diced reader, who is at all acquainted have called it a "humble" imitation; with the "Village Sermons," whether and such in truth it is a miserable we are not borne out in the charge. daubing after an inimitable original. Almost any one Sermon in the But how indeed should it be other- Volumes before us would furnish an wise? There not only existed a dis-example of what we have hinted at; parity between the artists-but that but we shall select nearly at random, disparity actually amounted to a con- the commencement of the fortieth trust. Whoever has read Mr. Robin- Sermon, founded on Ps. cxix. 15. “I son'a Village Sermons with attention, | know, O Lord, that thy judgments are sannot tail to have perceived that the right; and that thou in faithfulness author was a man of genius, and hast afflicted me." Thus the preacher learning, and unquestionable talent. i proceeds:
"In very early life, the tree of knowledge seemed a very fine, a glorious tree in my sight: but, how many mistakes have I made upon that subject! And, how many are the mistakes which yet abound upon that which we are pleased to call knowledge, in common speech.
"He that hath read the classics; he that hath dipped into mathematical science; he that is versed in history and grammar, and common elocution; he that is apt and ready to solve some knotty question, and versed in the ancient lore of learning, is thought to be a man of knowledge and so he is, compared with the ignorant mass of mankind.
"But what is all this, compared with the knowledge in my text? Knowledge, of which few of the learned, as they are called, have the least acquaintance with at all. [Now comes the imitation.]
"I know." What, David?- what do you know?" I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."
"Fond as I may yet be of other speculations, I would rather, much rather, possess the knowledge of this man in this text, than have the largest acquaintance with the whole circle of the sciences, as it is proudly called.
The apostle doth, in effect, say this, "Whatever I have written for correction, for reproof, for rebuke, is far from my being willing to distress you: for, if I make you sorry, Christians, who in the world is to make me glad?"- Most noble thought! It intimates that if he hath not comfort, and fellowship, and communion with Christians, notwithstanding all their weaknesses and infirmities, he is never to expect it from any other society. For neither men of fortune, men of science, nor men of title, por men of power, merely as such, could ever make his heart glad. Admirable! I protest, if any man, under a profession of religion, can be at home any where but in truly Christian society, and truly christian conversation, I should very much doubt whether he ever partook of the grace of God in truth.
My dear friends: lay this fine thought to your hearts. Do not be shy of your Christian friends. Others may amuse you; tempt you; flatter you; but who will comfort you? Where are you to be at home? where will you unbend the powers of your minds, the longings of your souls, and the rising affections of your hearts? Tell me nothing to the contrary. You cannot do it, if you are Christians; you cannot do it but in truly christian company; and with people called by the mighty grace of God? Others could not do it; how then should we do
"God grant, my friends, you may aspire to such knowledge as this, and be enabled, every one of you to say for yourselves" I know,-I do not conjec-it? ture:" for the word here relates to experimental knowledge-“ I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right."It might be said, it is an easy thing for you so to think, when you see the revolutions of kingdoms, the tottering of thrones, the distresses of some mortals, and the pains of others, that they are all right.-"Yes" -saith he,-" but I have the same persuasion about all my own sorrows; I do know, that, in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me.'
Who does not recognise Robinson's manner in all this?
Take another specimen from Sermon xli. The text is 2 Cor. ii. 7. "Lest, perhaps, such an one be swallowed up of overmuch sorrow.'
Never, as I imagine, did I perceive a more truly Christian spirit, even in St. Paul himself, than on a certain subject, just now, for the first time, remarked by me with weight, while I was reading this chapter to you. I am pleased, I am instructed, I am delighted with the beginning of the chapter. His words are these. "But I determined thus with myself, that I would not come again unto you in heaviness." The reason is astonishing and perhaps just (perhaps just!!) "For if I make you sorry, who is he that shall make me glad, but the same that is made sorry by me?" It is admirable! ¦
Why are we then so fond to scrape(the meanness of the action deserves the meanness of the word)-to scrape acquaintance with people who cannot relish the doctrines of eternal life? Civil, we should be, to every body, but, at home we can never be if we are partakers of the grace of Christ, but where Paul was. Ten thousand quarrels would die; ten thousand excellencies would rise, if we drank into this spirit, &c. &c.
"I wish, my friends, with all my heart, you could consider human life, as a kind of history, or drama, consisting of more acts than one; so that when you read one act, or one scene of human life, you may not take it to be the whole: you may not form all your judgment by any one thing that comes under your notice.
"From the words I have read, I lay down this doctrine, strange as it may seem; but I venture to lay down; and beg your patience; namely, That it is possible there may be overmuch sorrow for sin. The doctrine and instruction I raise from the words, is, that, it is a possible case, with some people in this world, to have, as the text expresseth it, over much sorrow, even for sin against God. I should think that my character will not be so much mistaken, as that I should now plead, to my dear Christian friends here, that I do not mean, by what I have said, that any sorrow of the sons of men can be in equality to the sin committed. No sirs; were ye to weep from morning to
night, were ye to forget your daily food, and be incapable of rest; my notions of sin are so great, I can never be brought to believe that any sorrow, that any thing that mortals have felt, bears (I think I might say) the most distant proportion to one offence against the great God.
"But, if I pursue this doctrine (which I think I shall do with as truly a Christian temper as I have ever possessed in my life) to whom am I to speak? 1 could almost say that the greater part of you, had better take your hats and go out of the meeting; because, I do not believe
that half of you ever overmuch sorrowed.
O! Imitatores! Servum pecus! as our old friend Horace would surely have exclaimed, had he been here: But quitting Mr. Martin's clumsy imitation of Mr. Robinson's colloquial addresses, of which the extracts now produced afford abundant evidence to convince the most sceptical, we shall proceed to examine the Sermons upon the ground of their own intrinsic merit, and without any regard to the circumstance to which we have above adverted.
might refresh their memories now that his public labours are terminated. This is assigned as a reason for the publishing of the volumes before usand we chearfully allow its validity. In them Mr. Martin will continue to live and preach to generations yet unborn-and, as a preacher, his likeness is so faithfully preserved-his manner so happily hit off, that, on those who admire it, the publisher may be confidently pronounced to have conferred a lasting obligation. De We do not happen to be of the numgustibus, indeed, non est disputandum: ber of those who think his manner or style of preaching to possess any excellence, and consequently are no way interested about having a fucsimile of him preserved. But others may be differently minded, and those who are so, will consequently appreciate the labours of Mr. Palmer in furnishing the work before us.
The subjects professedly discussed in these Seventy Sermons are numerous and many of them highly important. Would, we could say that they are handled in a manner, in any tolerable degree, corresponding to their intrinsic importance and excellency; But to affirm that they are would be to do violence to our own convictions. That the preacher now and then surprises "by his singular and striking turns of thought," and that these were "uttered with a dignity and firmness not often seen," we are not disposed to deny; but having admitted this, we have granted to them all the commendation to which they appear to us fairly entitled. We
The volumes comprise Seventy Sermons, not indeed prepared by the author himself for the press, and on that account they certainly are entitled to a degree of indulgence which ought to disarm criticism of its severity: they are said in the Preface to be printed, as taken down in Short-have not, in all the seventy Sermons hand at the moment of delivery; and they certainly bear upon the very face of them, indubitable evidence of their correctness and authenticity, so that even had Mr. Palmer withheld from us the sanction of his own respectable name, such is their internal evidence, that we could not reasonably doubt of their being the genuine productions of Mr. Martin.
met with one that appears to us to rise above mediocrity. It is utterly in vain that we look for any clear, scriptural, masterly statements in them of the distinguishing doctrines of the everlasting Gospel. The mind of the preacher perpetually floats upon the surface of things-his own views and conceptions are generally confused, and his statements conseIt was, we admit, very natural to quently crude and indigested. Professexpect that, in a numerous and re-ing, as he did, an ardent attachment spectable congregation to which the to the doctrines of free and sovereign author had been in the constant prac-grace, the negative merit may certice of preaching for more than forty years, many individuals would be found desirous of having some of his Sermons preserved in print, with which, after hearing them with pleasure as delivered from the pulpit, they
tainly be awarded him, of seldom advancing any thing contrary to the form of sound words-but for a bold and perspicuous exhibition of the doctrine of the cross of Christ-the ground of hope to guilty mortals, and