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prayer not only for themselves, Christ ! Instead of a due con but also for others. They are viction of their constant depen. filled with pious concern for man- dence on God's help, they trust kind. They feel the tenderest in themselves. Lifted up with a pity for perishing sinners, and high opinion of their own wisdom with many sighs and tears cry and goodness, they naturally in to God, that Christ may be form. dulge an uncharitable, overbeared in them the hope of glory. ing, unforgiving spirit towards The same views tend to promote others. And as to devotion, a spirit of love and candour. they are the persons, who, Knowing the plague of their own through the pride of their hearts ;
how far they come countenance, will not seek after short of duty; how strongly God." If they pretend to pray, their remaining corruptions urge they do it as the Pharisees did, them to sin ; and how much with that unhumbled, self-rightthey need the candour and for- eous heart, which is an abomina. bearance of man, and the for- tion in the sight of the Lord. Ini giveness of God, they put away short, they who deny the docall wrath and bitterness, and evil trine now under consideration, or speaking, and become more and are not duly affected with it, are more kind, tender hearted, and hardened through the deceitfulforgiving
ness of sin, and have yet to learn This brief and imperfect state- the first lesson of Christian wis. ment of the practical effects, dom. Let the churches, then, which the serious belief of hu- watch and pray, that they may man depravity produces, directly not be misled by the spirit of shows how hurtful must be the error, which has so extensively effects of denying it. Persons, gone forth, aiming, by various who overlook or deny their de- means, and with awful success, pravity and guilt, exclude repen- to blind the eyes of men to their tance, humility, and faith. How own deplorable corruption and faintly do they acknowledge their guilt, and to harden their hearts obligation to redeeming love! against all the gracious doctrines How little do they feel them- of the everlasting gospel. selves indebted to the blood of
SACRED CRITICISM. On the offence of David, and the people, in his numbering them; and the equity of the frunishment. 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. 1 Chron. xxi.
BY DR. WARD. From several passages in the people, was a sacred action ; as Old Testament, compared with the money was to be applied to each other, it appears, that this the service of the temple. (Exod. census, or numbering of the xxx. 12-16. Num. i. 2, 3. 2
Chron. xxiv. 6.) It was not like people uneasy, and averse to that in other nations, to know submit to the order, the strength of the government ; Besides, it was expressly en. for God was their king in a pecu- joined, that when the people liar manner, and promised to were to be numbered from twen, protect them from their
ty years old and upwards, the mies, and to multiply them as Levites should be excepted, as the stars of the sky, while they being appointed for the service obeyed his laws. David's crime, of the tabernacle. (Num. i. 47.) therefore, seems to have lain in And as they were not called out converting a sacred action to a to war, so they had no share in civil purpose. He was culpable the land of Canaan allotted to both in the thing itself, and the them, when it was conquered by manner of doing it. For where, the other tribes, who were there, as by the rule given to Moses, in fore ordered to give them a numthe
passages referred to above, ber of cities, each tribe out of they were to number the males their portion, which was accord. from twenty years old and up- ingly done. (Num. xv. Josh. xxi.) wards ; David gave orders, that And Josephus assigns that reaall, should be numbered, who son for it, when he says : “ Mowere fit for war, though under ses, because the tribe of Levi that age. (See 2 Sam. xxiv. d. were exempted from war and 1 Chron. xxvii. 23.) This must expeditions, being devoted to have been highly criminal in the service of God, lest being David now in his old age, after needy and destitute of the ne; so many instances of the divine cessaries of life, they should favour expressed towards him. neglect the care of their sacred And as to the people, their of- functions; ordered the Hebrews, fence seems to have consisted in that when, by the will of God, their compliance with that or they possessed the land of Cader. He was culpable in giving naan, they should give to the the order, and they in obeying Levites forty eight large and it. And therefore Joab, who handsome cities, with two thou. was sensible of this, and unwill. sand cubits of land round the ing to execute the command, wall.” But David seems to asks David, Why he would be have ordered them likewise to th cause of trespasses in Israel? be mustered, with a military 1 Chron. xxi. 3. For by that view, which perhaps was an ag: means he reduced them to the gravation of his crime. For it is difficulty of disobeying God, or said, that when Joab, by his comhimself, as their prince. It was mand, numbered the people, doubtless their duty to have they were eleven hundred thouobeyed God; lut we find, as it sand men that drew sword. And generally happens in such cases, it is added ; But Levi and Benjathat the majority at least choose min counted he not among them, to obey their king. However, for the king's word was abominait appears, that Joab was weary ble unto Joab. (1 Chr. xxi. 5,6.) of the office, (1 Chron. xxvii. 23.) So that it looks as if bis orders and did not go through it. Prov- were to count them with the rest, ably be might find many of the Indeed we find them once armed
1808.] Speculative and Practical Religion contrasted. 361
upon an extraordinary occasion, and nights to the study of the which was to guard the temple sacred canon, while their souls at the coronation of Joash king have reaped no practical benefit; of Judah. For at that time they and though the student has risen were grdered to encompass the from his labour, an acute and king round about, every man luminous commentator and critwith his weapons in his hand. ic, yet, if conduct be the test of (2 Chron. xxiii. 7.) But that principle, incapable of exhibiting was in the temple, where the any just claim to the character rest of the people were not per- of a Christian. By what allure. mitted to enter. And besides ment are those speculative ditheir religious functions they vines to whom I advert, inducwere sometimes employed in ed to consume the midnight oil other civil offices. So David, over a book, wherein the essenwhen he was making prepara- tial difference between scientific tions for building the temple, theology and practical religion is appointed six thousand of them so clearly ascertained, and so for officers and judges. (1 Chron. impressively urged on the conxxiii. 4.) Grotius indeed obe science ? Permit me to tran. serves with regard to this fact of scribe an answer to this inquiry, David, that he declared the peo- from the writings of an English ple innocent: Which he seems divine, who fourished in the to have concluded from what seventeenth century. David says, 1 Chron. xxi. 17. “ Sometimes the sinner seek. But it does not appear, from eth his happiness and content in what has been said above, that largeness of knowledge, much they were altogether blameless, learning, and curious specuthough not equally criminal with lation about the nature of the himself. And in such a case, creatures, yea, and about God the equity of a national punish- himself. But perhaps it will be ment is acknowledged by Philo found, that these are near of the and: Josephus, in the passages same nature with sensitive de. cited from them by Grotius. lights. For it is not the excel
lency or goodness of God himself that delighteth them; but the
novelty of the thing, and the agDIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPECU- itation of their own imagination,
LATIVE AND PRACTICAL RE- phantasie, and intellect thereLIGION,
upon, which is naturally desirous
to be actuated, and employed, as It will scarcely be denied, receiving thereby some seeming that some whose names stand addition to its own perfection : foremost on the lists of theologic and that, not as from God, who fame, have been little influenced is the object of their knowledge, by those very truths, which they but as from the mere enlargehave laboured, and frequently ment of knowledge in itself; or, with triumphant success, both to which is far worse, they make elucidate and defend. Such the study of God and divine writers have given their days things which they delight in, buc Vol. III. No. 8.
-362 Speculative and Practical Religion contrasted. [Jan.
subservient to some base inferior are but preparatory to the acts object : and so, though they de- of the will, and so are but imperlight in studying and knowing fect initial acts of the soul, as God, and heaven, and scripture, having a further end than their yet not in God as God, or the own proper object; and therechief good; nor in heaven as fore it is, that philosophers place heaven; nor out of any true no moral habits in the under. saving love to God; but either standing, but all in the will ; for because, as some preachers, they till they come to the will, make a gainful trade of it, by (though they be in a large sense teaching others, or because it is morally good or evil, virtuous an honour to know these things, or vicious, yet) they are but so and be able to discourse of them, in an imperfect kind and sense : and a dishonour to be ignorant: and therefore they call such habor, at best, as I said before, they its only intellectual.” desire to know God, and divine When the Marquis of Rosny truths, out of a delight in the was appointed, by Henry the novelty, and actuating, and nat. Fourth of France, his ambassaural elevation of the understand- dor to the court of London on ing hereby. It is one thing to the death of Queen Elizabeth, delight in knowing, and another the elder Servin presented his to delight in the thing known. son to that nobleman, and begged An ungodly man may delight in that he would use his endeavstudying and knowing several ours to make him a man of axioms or truths concerning some worth and honesty. Young God, but he never delighteth in Servin was a prodigy of genius God himself. So a studious and understanding; and among man desires to know what hell his extraordinary attainments it is, and where, and many truths is recorded, that, “in theology concerning it: but he desireth he was so well skilled, that he not hell itself, nor delighteth in was an excellent preacher, whenit. A godly man desireth to ever he had a mind to exert know the nature and danger of that talent, and an able disputant, sin, and Satan's way, and wiles for and against the reformed rein temptations : but he doth not ligion, indifferently." Yet in therefore desire sin, and temp- this very man, says the illustritation itself.
So a wicked man ous historian,* “ might be found may desire to know the nature all the vices contrary to nature, of grace, and Christ, and glory: honour, religion, and society; the and yet not desire grace, and truth of which he himself evinced Christ, and glory. It is one
with his last breath, for he died thing to terininate a man's de- in the flower of his age, perfectsire and delight in bare know- ly corrupted by his debaucheries, ledge, or the esteem, and self and expired with a glass in his advancement that accrues there. hand, cursing and denying God." by ; and another thing to termi- Is not this anecdote an illusnate it in the thing which we tration, in some measure, of the desire to know, making know- extract ?
(Ch. Obs. ledge but a means to its fruition. The acts of the understanding • Sully's Memoirs, book xvi.
sion, as the ground of our hope The following is a transcript, of pardon, acceptance, and eter
with some slight alterations, of nal life ; yet strongly urges the a short anonymous sketch writ- necessity of moral duties and ten many years ago by the late obedience, but by motives taken Rev. Sir J. Stonehouse, entitled from the gospel and peculiar to « The Faithful and Unfaithful it. He aims to detect the hypMinister contrasted."
ocrite, and expose the formalist;
to convince and awaken the selfTHE FAITHFUL MINISTER. deceiving sinner. Knowing the
terrors of the Lord, he displays He has good ends in view when them in all their force to perhe solicits admission into holy suade men.
He urges every orders. He has a genuine prin- motive that may induce his ciple of love to God and Christ, hearers to search and try themand deep concern for the salva- selves, and he reproves, rebukes, tion of himself and his hearers. and exhorts, faithfully declaring He takes no sinful, indirect, or the whole counsel of God. suspicious methods to get a liv. He represents religion as an ing, but submits himself to Prov- inward, experimental business. idence, and is not eager to enrich He recommends self-examinahimself or his family. He la- tion, secret prayer, constant bours with activity in the vine. watchfulness, and an habitual yard, whatever be his station in sense of God, in order to obtain the church. Godliness is his the help of the Holy Spirit, to gain, and serving Christ the purify the heart, regulate the fruit of his labours, and the end passions, and promote universal of his life.
holiness. He may also be known by his His grand aim is to save souls. doctrine.
He therefore appears deeply seHe insists much on the de- rious, as becomes one who is pravity of human nature, and much in earnest to promote the lays before his hearers their pol. most important object that can lution, guilt, and weakness, in engage the attention of a human order to produce those convic- being ; and in addressing his tions of their misery and danger, hearers from the pulpit, he is which form the foundation of no further solicitous to please genuine conversion.
them, than as he may best edify He insists much on the ne- them. cessity of divine grace, and the The faithful minister may also influence of the Holy Spirit, to be known by the following enlighten the understanding and marks. purify the heart ; and directs He is in labour abundant ; them to pray earnestly for those preaches and catechises diligentblessings which the Lord Jesus ly and earnestly ; performs the is exalted to bestow.
public offices with such gravity, He preaches Christ, his per- seriousness, and fervour of devoson, his offices, his atoning tion, as plainly shew that his blood, his merits and interces- heart is in his work ; and spends