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SONGS FOR THE SUNDAY SCHOOL No. 3.
O HAPPY LAND.
Do is A. !s:-.f !m :S ! :-.m!r f !m :d !1, :r !d !t, :d !d :-.t,!d :d !t, :—.d !r it, !d :s, !, :), !s, :!s:-.f !m :S !f :-.m!
rf !m :f.r !d it, !t, !d lit, !d 4.0,!d it, !, S.,!, :d !d :1, !s, :f, !m, -!sir !r :-.d!t, :s, !f :-.m!r !m :m !t, :t, !d 2:s, !s, :,!d, :,!1, -, !s, :, !d it, !, :d !, -!
s.f!m :S ! :-.m!r :f !m :fr !d it, !r -!d 2:m !m :-..!d :m!r :-.d !t, :r!d :!,!!, :s, !s, :f, !m,
Where saints and angels dwell,
And all their anthems swell;
On earth has breathed a prayer ;
What joy to them is given,
Their peaceful home is heaven,
O hear us when we pray,
And take our sins away ;
To thy blest service given,
[Paper the Second.] The false light which has led our Millenarian brethren, by strange infatuation, into all their mournful errors, is that which they call literal interpretation. “ Read prophecy,” say they, “ as you would read history."
Our readers will at once perceive that if every form of expression were banished from language but that which is purely literal, its beauty and its grandeur would be gone. It would not retain one half of its present power to elevate the mind, or to affect the heart; and there is no book that abounds so much as the Bible does in the richest imagery, and in figurative language of the boldest sort. Our Saviour himself used such language-not to conceal, but to adorn and to point his meaning. He even expresses surprise that his disciples should have given a literal interpretation to an expression of his own—an expression which was only employed to give the greater force to his instructions, by conveying a beautiful allusion to a process with which they were familiar. “ How is it,” says he, “ that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees ?" “ Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees." In a similar manner in the vision at Patmos, he explains prophetic language :-“ The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, are the angels (or ministers) of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." There is no literal interpretation here.
The Jews adopted “the literal key," and, because their prophets represented the Messiah under the name of king, they expected him to assume the purple and to destroy their oppressors. They put no spiritual meaning to the language. They did not think that the scene of his government was the mind of man, and that his conquering weapons were truths and prayers. The prince of life did proclaim himself their king; but when they saw that he assembled no armies to expel the Romans from the land of their fathers, and invested them with no
political greatness, they vented their malignity in putting him to an open shame. The Jews still expect the Messiah to sway the sceptre of an earthly sovereign, and our friends—the disciples of the personal reign-have the whole nation, “whose hearts are veiled,” agreeing with them in sentiment.
The first disciples of our Lord wandered sometimes, from the feelings and motives proper to simple-hearted piety, through love of “the literal key.” Even on their way to a solemn feast we find them disputing who of them should be greatest. The mother and her sons—even James and John, fresh from the unearthly glories of the transfiguration-approach their Lord to ask a boon: and this one favour which they ask is not a spiritual blessing, but a worldly honour—that one of them should sit on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom! They longed to become ministers of the crown! With a similar feeling another of the disciples said: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom unto Israel ?” Peter too expected to fight. He was prepared for the secular reign He drew his sword, and, in the spirit of earthly ambition and strife, he used it. And although the Prince of Peace had said to them, in language whose clearness no other words could exceed, “My kingdom is not of this world ;" yet were the disciples so enamoured with the fond idea, that, even after his resurrection, they were perplexed about the fact of his having yielded his life to the Roman power. That their expected deliverer should submit himself to the secular authority of that very nation beneath whose iron rule his own people were crushed, was a thing inexplicable according to their literal interpretation of a few favourite prophecies. “We trusted," said they, in the language of disappointment, “ that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” Yes, the first disciples had ideas of this kind, but they were ideas which our Lord corrected-degrading notions which his purity repelled, and which his wisdom thus severely rebuked : “O fools! and slow of heart to believe, &c.”—and again : “ Ye know not what ye
ask.” We hope that this is sufficient to show that a literal interpretation of prophecy is not always the right one, and that it is often directly opposed to the truth, and worthy of strong reprobation. We shall have frequent occasion to expose this unsound method of reasoning. We will only illustrate it briefly here by
a reference to one passage. Let us look at Zechariah xii. 10. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and mourn for him.”
This passage is brought forward by some of our friends to prove the personal appearance of our Lord, and the repentance of the Jews at his coming. It is mingled up with their theory in some such way as this : “When the Jews have been gathered together unconverted to their own land, the Saviour will, presently, make his bodily appearance in the air, and the Jews, with their
eyes of flesh, shall look upon him, and be converted at that sight.” This they regard as the literal and the correct interpretation of the text. But when their minds were bent on being so literal, it surely became them to remember that the Jews did not literally pierce the Saviour. It is only by a figure that they can be said to have done so. It was the Roman soldiers who platted the thorns. It was the Roman hammer that drove the nails. It was the Roman spear that pierced his side. When, in a literal sense, did the Jews pierce him ? How unfortunate is this literal interpretation! If it be said that the Jews consented, and urged his death, then is the ground of “ literal interpretation” forsaken, and the gentiles also must be included, for they did the same.
But let us not smile at these mental wanderings. They are deeply humiliating. Too much of the carnal heart is in them. Let us turn to a more consistent and refreshing view of this delightful text.
• That Jerusalem, exclaims some simple-minded man, whose heart is imbued with the spiritual nature and design of the Saviour's kingdom, “is the “ Jerusalem from above, the mother of us all”—that to which the apostle refers, when he says: “We ARE come to the heavenly Jerusalem.” That spectacle surely is the man of sorrows, the bleeding lamb. Yes, and his grief springs from our sins; for he was wounded for our transgressions. Oh! let us not, by unbelief, crucify him afresh, and by contempt put him to an open shame. That look-it is the look of faith, which fastens the soul on him, and affects the heart with mourning and bitterness. Thus shall both Jew and gentile look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn.
We should not have dwelt so long on this delusive scheme for misinterpreting, did not our Millenarian brethren so pertinaciously adhere to it. In the next article we shall propose to our readers, and briefly illustrate, a few guiding principles, to aid in the reverential study of scripture prophecy.
Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, and the author of most of the epistles in the New Testament, was born at Tarsus, in Cilicia,' a district of Asia Minor, and then forming part of the widely extended Roman empire. The exact time of his birth is not known; but we may with probability reckon that the time of our Lord's coming into the world and it, were not more than about ten years apart. He was an Israelite by both parents, yet inherited the privileges of a Roman citizen. Roman citizenship was not confined to the dwellers in Rome, but was sometimes granted to inhabitants of the provinces.
Paul (whose Hebrew name was Saul) was brought up in the principles and practices of the Pharisees, who were the most popular sect among the Jews, were strict in the observance of the outward acquirements of their law, and were particularly jealous of the traditions of the fathers. When still young he removed, or perhaps, rather was removed by his friends, to the capital of Judea, where he was farther instructed in Judaism under Gamaliel, a doctor of high repute,' and whose instructions, however beneficial they may have been in other respects, doubtless tended to confirm his pupil's Pharisaic prejudices. The Pharisees, who had hated and persecuted our blessed Lord, still hated and persecuted his followers. With their spirit Paul was imbued, and in their practice, in persecuting the christians, he zealously and conscientiously joined. At the death of the first christian martyr he was present, and by keeping the raiment
(1) Acts xxi, 39. (2) Acts vii. 58. (3) Philip. iii. 5. (4) Acts xxii. 28. (5) Acts xxiii, 6; xxvi. 4, 5. (6) Acts xxii. 3. (7) Supposing him to be the same mentioned in Acts v. 34. (8) Acts viii. 1, 3; ix. 1 and following ; xxvi. 9; xxiii. 1,