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concerning the kingdom of God | pain; and this, it appears to me is
and the name of Jesus, believed; and there was great joy in that city. The case of the Eunuch affords no proof that he had been distressed; we are merely told that, on believing, he went on his way rejoicing. Some might object as a proof, the case of Peter's first converts; but I think it possible their distress arose from believing the testimony of Peter concerning the person whom they had crucified; for in replying to their question, the apostle does not command them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but to shew their gratitude by their obedience. When Peter preached to the family of Cornelius and made known to them the united testimony of the Prophets concerning Jesus, that whosoever believed in him should be saved, they believed the word and were made glad thereby. No proof of antecedent concern or rather distress.* If any should say that repentance implies distress-they
shall be referred to this circumstance, which Peter reports to the church at Jerusalem, and was by them answered, "then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." There was repentance or a change of mind without any apparent previous
the first repentance of a sinner,
*It is a very common case in controversy, for writers, in order to avoid one extreme, to run into the contrary, and we fear something of this kind may be imputed to our correspondent in the present instance. We think his remarks in general exceedingly judicious, and can cordially subscribe to their justness. But we would put it fairly to his own consideration whether, in order to oppose the popular jargon respecting previous convictions and a sound law work as pre-requisites to faith in Christ, it be at all necessary to lead, as he seems to do, that the minds of the first converts were, in any instances, divested of all concern or distress? So far from that being the case, we are inclined to doubt whether an unbeliever can be found whose mind is at all times exempt from concern or distress. There is in every man a voice that witnesses for God. Rom. ii. 14, 15.-and the dictates of natural conscience, in defiance of all the pains that are taken to silence its clamours, will, at times, occasion sufficient concern or distress" to make the relief which the gospel brings near to the guilty, most acceptable! Where is the believer that does not know this fact by experience? "If any one doubt" says the venerable Booth, "whether his convictions be genuine, let him remember, that the questions he should ask himself, in order to attain satisfaction, are not, 'How long did I lie under them To what a degree of terror did they proceed? By what means were they wrought?' But Does it stand true in my conscience, that I have sinned and deserve to perish? Is it a fact, that nothing but the grace of God can relieve me?' These are the questions that demand his notice, and a suitable answer solves the query," Booth's Works, Vol. I. p. 88, Note. EDITOR.
I HAVE been often struck with the remarkable expression of Cardinal Wolsey, which he uttered towards the close of his eventful life. When reflecting upon the misappropriation of his time and talents, a little before his dissolution he exclaimed, " Had I served God as diligently as I have served the King, he would not have forsaken me in my grey hairs; but this is the just reward I must receive for my indulgent pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my Prince." How impressive and emphatically was the assertion of "this towering prelate!"
prevail on this important subject. To the Editor of the New Evangelical When the divine instructor conversed with Nicodemus respecting this doctrine, he drew his attention to Himself as the antitype of the brazen serpent; thereby teaching him, that faith in Himself introduces into the kingdom of heaven, and this faith is connected with, or may be called, the new birth, inasmuch as it produces a change in the understanding, the will and the affections of the believing sinner. Dr. Watts has well expressed this sentiment in one of his Hymns, though he contradicted it in his other writings. 'Tis faith that changes all the heart, 'Tis faith that works by love. The word of the truth of the gos-just pel is the seed which produces a spiritual life; "Being born of the It is reasonable to conclude that incorruptible seed, the word of others have experienced similar God, which liveth and abideth reflections, produced by the vitiatfor ever:" and "by this word," ed use of talent, when the prosPaul says, "I have begotten you,pects of eternity have stamped by means of the gospel.' I have a proper estimate upon human thought that the erroneous ideas actions, and distinguished things which prevail on this subject is by their right names. It is much one of those ways by means of to be regretted, that in the present which the god of this world day we have such awful proofs of blinds the minds of those which the prostitution of superior talent believe not, lest the light of the to the cause of unrighteousness. gospel should shine into them-We see those whose powers of and that, by perverting the truth eloquence, erudition, and general he sometimes effects his purpose knowledge, would have qualified of destroying the souls of men, them for the most elevated stations knowing that if he can succeed in in society, sinking into moral this, his captive is secure. But it degradation by their constant is the office of Christ to open opposition to the word of God, blind eyes, to bring out the pris- and by their unwearied efforts oners from the prison house, &c. to bring it into disrepute. The May the efforts which are now reflections of such men, if ever making, to spread the knowledge they are converted by the grace of truth by the dispersion of the of God, and made preachers of scriptures, &c. &c. be also blessed that faith they once laboured to to convey to the minds of men destroy, Gal. i. 23. must be poig"the truth as it is in Jesus." nant indeed. Painful must be the sensations of a good man, when reminded by conscience of his attempts to win the applause of his fellow-creatures at the expence of the divine approbation as well as of the happiness of his own soul. This remark is also ap
Ringwood, Feb. 24, 1817.
plicable to those preachers, who, forgetting the dignity of their subject, their situation in the house of God, the shortness of time, and the value of immortal souls, can descend to ribaldry and nonsense, and to the repetition of frivolous tales for the purpose of exciting the risibility of their auditory. Egregious triflers! How would they bear to hear their master exclaim, in such an assembly, "Give an account of thy stewardship!" If the description was appropriate, which Abraham Booth once gave of a Sermon, when he would have entitled it "DAMNATION A FARCE," it becomes the paramount duty of every Minister of Jesus Christ, to abstain from the very appearance of so flagrant an evil. We have an excellent model in the Apostle Paul, which loses nothing of its effect, by being contrasted with some of the " popular preachers" of the present day. Paul did not wish to amuse his hearers' fancies. He endeavoured to alarm their consciences. He did not desire to gratify their idle curiosity, but to convert their hearts. He did not preach himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. Neither did he wish to draw off the attention of his hearers from the sublime truths he was declaring, to fix it on meretricious ornaments or flowery harangue. When he spoke of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, he needed no well turned periods or polished language to set them off; but, impressed with the due importance of those momentous truths, he entered with such honesty into the relation of facts, that "Felix trembled." Instead of spending near two hours in a Lecture upon "the Government of the tongue," He says, I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." 1 Cor. xiv. 19. In op
position to those whose metaphy sical expressions, and far fetched allusions are beyond the comprehension of the uncultivated poor, he asserts " except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken." 1 Cor. xiv. 9. I have been led to make these desultory remarks in consequence of having heard the most extravagant assertions made upon the most abstruse subjects, but which have been unconnected with the least diffidence, doubt or argument. This appears to me to be a misappropriation of time-a misapplication of talent, and is calculated to do much injury to the church of God. I will give you a specimen or two of what has recently passed under my own observation.
A popular preacher in this city very recently asserted in the face of a large congregation, "That paradoxical as it might appear, yet whenever the phrase SON OF GOD occurred in the New Testament, it referred to Christ's HUMAN NATURE, and that whenever the phrase SON OF MAN occurred it referred to his DIVINE NATURE." "Paradoxical" indeed it did appear to many of his hearers as well as to myself; but fearing that I had mistaken the meaning of Scripture upon this subject, and wishing to have right views of a doctrine so important in the economy of human redemption, I had recourse to "the law and the testimony"-I referred not to creeds or systems, but to "what saith the Scriptures." Your readers with the assistance of a Concordance, can soon find the various texts containing the phrases "Son of God," and "Son of Man." I would therefore only quote the two first passages which are to be found in the New Testament, containing these expressions, Matt. iv. 3. "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that
these stones be made bread.' Matt. viii. 20. "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests: but, the Son of Man" (does it mean his Divine Nature!) "hath not where to lay his head." Surely the Rev. Gentleman's assertion should not have been so positive as it was, unaccompanied by evidence, but more particularly when a comparative view of the passages where these expressions are contained, unvarnished by sophistry, untortured by conjecture, would soon demonstrate the difficulties which are connected with it. To reverse the meaning of the plainest phraseology in the New Testament, and to destroy the order of our ideas, when they arise simply from the evidence of the subject, to make that abstruse which in its relative connection is easy to be understood-requires more acquaintance with the jargon of the schools than falls to the general lot of men, and of which this is a specimen.
that the phrase Son of God means the Human nature, and the Son of Man the Divine Nature, of the same being?* Mirabile dictu, what necessity is there for this perversion of terms; can it answer any good purpose? Is it calculated to increase our respect for that revelation which the God of heaven has placed in our hands, and "which is able to make us wise. unto salvation?" It is presumed that the preacher was not aware of the mischievons tendency of his unwarranted assertion; but he must be told that, in the same proportion as he is popular, he is by many implicitly believed; and therefore his opportunities of doing good or harm are more considerable than those of common men. His "parodoxical" assertion did disturb the minds of several plain men, who believing it to be true, were led to derive inferences by no means favourable to the perspicuity of New Testament phraseology. On the last Sabbath when speaking from Gen. iv. 3-7. he stated it to be his opinion that the Cherubims with the flaming swords in the Garden of Eden, instead of being objects of terror to our first parents, were the em
On the apparent paradox" which constitutes the subject of our correspondent's animadversions, we have a remark or two to offer. That the title Son of God," is inJesus Christ is truly God, it were absurd to stood by the Jews, for they put him to death for blasphemy, because he called himself understood to be "making himself equal with God." John v 18. and x. 33.
tended by the Holy Spirit to teach us, that deny; and it is manifest that it was so under
which they very properly
It has been judiciously asked by this same Minister, when preaching upon the subject of Baptism, "If an Angel from heaven were to drop a Bible in the interior of Africa, among a people capable of understanding its contents, but who were unacquainted with this controversy in the Christian church; after they had read the scriptural account of Baptism, would they (said he) conclude that sprinkling was the mode, and infants the subject of this New Testament ordinance ?" I have often admired the principle of this ques-in the New Testament it is sometimes adopttion, and have applied it to that, as well as other subjects, with some degree of success. I would seriously ask, would these unsophisticated sons of nature be led to draw the same conclusions from reading the New Testament character of Jesus Christ, which this Gentleman has? Can it be sup-are sure that a fondness for such strange conposed that their belief would be ceits is always an indication of a weak judg
But we are not so sure that the other appellation "Son" of Man," never imports any thing more than his human nature for to us it is evident that
ed with an immediate reference to the memo rable prophecy, Dan. vii. 13, 14. See in particular the following texts, John v. 27. Matt. xxv. 31. and xxvi. 64. Rev. i. 7. We, however, agree with the general strain of our correspondent's strictures, and would further add, that in supporting the paradox in question, the preacuer was not original-We ourselves have heard it nearly forty years ago, from persons who were not at all likely to be the inventors of it; so that it has probably been current for ages! This, however, does
not confer upon it the stamp of truth, and we
blems of mercy-that the flaming sword was the ground of hope, and that it turned every way to keep the way open to the tree of life!--He believed it to be deroga tory to the character of God, to conclude that he used the Cherubims with flaming sword, for the sake of intimidating the approach of guilty mortals, when by an exertion of his power, He could strike them to the antipodes of the ground upon which they stood. He thought it unreasonable to suppose that the Cherubims could be objects of terror in the Garden, and emblems of mercy upon the mercy seat. He asserted that there was the strongest presumptive evidence for concluding that Cain and Abel presented their offerings in the presence of these Cherubims with their flaming swords (which were in the shape of a sword or a tougue) and that it was probable the flame did proceed from the sword of the Cherubim-fire the offering of Abel, and burnt it up!!! I cannot think where our minister could derive these conjectures (for they are nothing else.) The scriptural statement given us in the iii. and iv. chapters of Genesis will not serve as premises for any such conclusions; indeed none but a genius of the most fanciful description could have so metamorphosed the unadorned account which Moses has left upon imperishable record.
This was some of the dross which was unfortunately mixed with what would otherwise have been a discourse of very superior excellence; and although positively asserted, yet the proof of the fact had nothing to rest upon but, "the strongest presumptive evidence," the "reasonableness" of it-that it was highly probable" and the preacher" believed" itwhat a rich profusion of evidence is all this, to an inquisitive mind!!! It is a consummation devoutly to be wished, that simplicity of lan
guage as well as of sentiment was more observed in the promulgation of the gospel. Ministers are the last that hear the objections made to their preaching; and the poor are usually the last that give them that information. This is principally occasioned by the distance which is irreligiously preserved by some pastors towards the poor of their flock. If communications were frequent, confidence would be restored. The minister would be considered in a proper light; and the poor man would be encouraged to mention his difficulties, his doubts, his sorrows, and his joys; and with the characteristic confidence of a generous soul, would be disposed to unbosom his thoughts freely and unreservedly to his spiritual friend. The advantages resulting from this happy interchange of Christian friendship would be reciprocal. The pastor would become acquainted with the spiritual dispositions of his brethren; while they would have the opportunity of getting things explained, which when delivered from the pulpit might have appeared obscure.
A minister who was illustrating Ps. xliv. 22," For thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter," am ng other things informed us that the subjects referred to by David, were some of the primitive Martyrs, who were taken out of a house one by one, (as sheep are taken by the butcher to be slaughtered,) and were decapitated by the Roman executioner. Upon asking a poor man what he thought was done to those Christians who were decapitated (as the preacher so repeatedly asserted,) he answered from the simplicity of his heart, that it was to "take their caps off." This is a plain proof of the necessity of preaching" in words easy to be understood." Dr. Collyer, when he last paid us a visit, took an opportunity in one