Abbildungen der Seite

there is no just judge, there will be no future punishment. Here both are false, and yet the proposition true.

The thinkable is not the measure of truth or of actuality, nor yet even of the possible. If centaurs should combine, they would prove a terrible enemy. If mermaids were captured, they would make charming singers. Does the fact that we can think a centaur or a mermaid prove or even imply the possibility of the thing itself?

The value and force of the conditional is, therefore, not in the assertion of categorical truth, but to develop the agreement or disagreement between certain related ideas, which ideas may be about the real or the merely thinkable; and yet the assertory judgment expressed is not as to the truth or falsity of the ideas, but the relation between them. The consistency or inconsistency of one thing with another—the possibility or impossibility of one thing in its relation to another.

This view is confirmed by many Scriptural examples. If, therefore, perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec and not be called after the order of Aaron? Heb. vii, 11. What is asserted here? The perfection of the Levitical priesthood ? Surely not; but that the consequent could have no existence except as depending upon or resulting from the antecedent. The assertion of the proposition is the relation between antecedent and consequent.

What would be thought of any one who should argue from this statement of the apostle even the possibility of the perfection of the Levitical priesthood, or that by that priesthood perfection could be obtained? Would he not be denounced as a mere sophister? If so in this case, why not in the one already considered ?

Take another example :-“For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." Heb. iii. 14. What is the assertory judgment here? That we are made partakers of Christ ? No. That we hold fast the beginning of our confidence ? No. Simply the relation between antecedent and consequent. Grant the antecedent, we infer the consequent; if made partakers of Christ, we hold fast the beginning of our confidence. Deny the consequent, we deny the antecedent. One does not exist without the other. Neither is asserted as true alone. Coexistent, both are true.

Again: “For if ye do these things ye shall never fall.” 2 Peter i. 10. What is the point of assertion here? Certainly not that the persons addressed will do the things spoken of, nor that they should or might fall, but what in every other case we have seen to be true,-the connection between the antecedent and consequent. One will follow certainly from the other. Admit the antecedent, we infer the consequent; deny the consequent, we deny the antecedent.


Once more: The passage in Hebrew vi. 4–6 is often quoted as proving the doctrine of falling from grace, and yet it is precisely such a conditional proposition as those we have already examined. The gist of it is—" It is impossible to renew them again

. to repentance if they fall away.” It must follow and be construed by the laws applicable to all conditionals. But an application of these laws will or can bring no result different from what we have already secured. A settled departure from the fundamental truths of the gospel cannot coexist with penitence. This is all that, in our judgment, is asserted; and, unless we are utterly mistaken in the nature and force of conditional propositions, we think that we have established the fact that neither this nor any other proves—nay, that they do not favour—the doctrine of falling from grace.

If the doctrine be true, it must be proved so from other sources. We see nothing in these or any other conditionals which can give it any real authority. It rests, so far as these are concerned, upon mere assumption. A conclusion is drawn from the language of the sacred writer different from what he intended.

Other arguments might be urged against the doctrine; but we have no design to enter upon them in this paper. If our positions are correct, we have shown that there are certain logical difficulties anent the doctrine which will require much vitality in it to surmount.

If we shall be permitted to help any to clearer views of the difficulties attending this doctrine, or relieve any one whose mind may be labouring on the subject, we shall be satisfied. Truth, not mere controversy, is our sincere and earnest aim. ABERCORN.

[ocr errors]


* * *

MARY was dying. She would not see another sun rise. Her short life was almost told, and loving hearts wept at the thought; but she over whom they sorrowed lay upon her pillows, serene, sustained, her pale face lit with a radiant smile. She knew that soon her eyes would close forever to earth's sunlight; but the knowledge brought only peace. Her soul already was pluming its flight, eager to bathe in the pure light of “the Sun of righteousness." “ Mary!” She opened her eyes. “I am glad you spoke, dear father; I was very near going into a sleep,—such a sweet sleep! -though my soul seemed quite at rest." "I wanted to talk a little while with my precious child before she left us ;" and the minister took up the white wasted hand which lay near him. How fondly those slender fingers clasped his own! "I love to hear you talk,

“ father.” “My darling! your days of weariness and suffering are almost over.

Death is very near you; very soon you will be called to cross that river which has been a terror to many.' Is it well

VOL. VI.-N0. 5.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

stay with

you; but

with your soul ?”. “It is peace, father. Oh! there is such a flood

, of peace in my heart !” “And what is the foundation of that

“ peace, Mary?"

“ Christ Jesus,” she answered, softly,“ my precious Redeemer! He has been my corner-stone;' I have built upon him, and now I shall not be ashamed.'" And Christ is near you now?” “Oh! very near. He comforts me, upholds me; he has dressed me in his spotless righteousness, and all through grace. I used to be afraid of death; but now it is better than life. 'Tis 80 sweet to be saved by grace! I would rather die than live. Don't look so sad, dear father. I would like to

you know to depart and be with Christ is far better.” “ Mary, dear lamb of my bosom! Christ, the good Shepherd, will soon take you to a better fold than' my love could ever give you, and I am not sad because you are going to it; but it is hard to part with you.” The minister paused suddenly, and tears fell upon the little hand he held. “If it was God's will, dear, dear father,” said his child, earnestly, “I would love to stay with you. I love you so much; you have taught me so many good and beautiful things. You showed me the way to Christ not only from the pulpit, but in the dear old study, where we had so many sweet talks. "It is hard to part with you; but I am going to my Saviour, and in heaven I shall see my darling mother; and when you follow us, father, and my brothers, too, how sweet it will be !—all saved by grace—all together in heaven! But say a promise' to me, will you not ?" Her father repeated many of “the words of Jesus.” She listened with a peaceful smile. “They are so precious, so comforting! and this one I love: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.' That shows what a mighty, merciful Saviour he is; able and willing to save to the uttermost; my heart leans right upon him. o father! preach Jesus more than ever to the people. I wish they only knew him as I do at this minute."

* * * They knelt round Mary's bed, a calm but tearful group. Her father, still holding her hand, prayed earnestly; it was a prayer of thanksgiving, loving thanks returned from smitten hearts, that the Almighty was dealing so gently with their dying child. They sang, too, but it was with faltering tongues and misty eyes, for well they knew that soon one of their number would be beyond the reach of earthly melodies, gone to sing " the new song" with the white-robed myriads around the throne.

* * * Time went by. The light began to wane, and now a faint sunbeam came through the half-opened shutter. It fell like a golden glory upon the dark hair and white brow of the dying girl, seeming a feeble emblem of the crown of light which awaited her. “Kiss me once more; kiss me, all of you; my eyes are growing so dim I cannot see. Dear father, this must be death; but I am not afraid.

Jesus sits beside me. He will—" but the words died away upon her lips. Then there was silence, and such a silence !! Even the old trees around the manse seemed to stand still in the summer-breeze. And the watchers held their breath. The angel whom we call Death, but who is of a surety to all Christ's children the messenger of life eternal, had crossed the threshold, was in their very midst. Mary opened her eyes, and their gaze seemed bright and far off. Her fingers-now cold, oh, so icy cold-tightened their grasp upon her father's hand. He bent over her and caught the last murmurs of her lips. “Grace reigns ! grace reigns !" the very words with which that good old pilgrim, “Honest," went over the river. Mary moved faintly on her pillows. A sigha long, fluttering sigh,—and then another; the sweet eyes closed serenely; the slender fingers relaxed their grasp and fell heavily upon the coverlet. And there was a deep hush through the room. The “mortal had put on immortality;" the child of earth was now a child of glory. Death, indeed, had come to the manse, but not with terror or gloom; he came as an angel of light.


* * *

THE APOSTOLIC OFFICE. The word Apostle means one sent.” In the New Testament it is used to designate-1. One inferior to another and under his orders. The servant is not greater than his lord ; neither he that is sent (an apostle) greater than he that sent him: John xiii. 16.

2. It is applied to Epaphroditus, Paul's companion in labour and fellow-soldier, whom the church at Philippi sent to minister to the wants of the apostle when he was in prison in Rome: Phil. ii. 25.

3. Our Lord himself is called the Apostle and High-Priest of our profession: Heb. iii. 1.

4. Our Lord named the twelve whom He chose from the whole number of His disciples, apostles.

It is with these last that this article is concerned, and it proposes to point out the properties which the Scriptures make essential to their office.

I. The apostles were the official witnesses for Christ. As such, it was necessary-1. That each one be chosen to the office by Christ himself. For, when Judas fell, the remaining apostles did not consider themselves competent to appoint a successor; but, by lot, referred the matter to Christ after they had prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell : Acts i. 24, 25.

The Apostle Paul was no exception to this rule, for he affirms that he was an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead : Gal. i. 1.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. In order to apostleship, it was necessary to have seen Christ after his resurrection from the dead. This is evident from Peter's sermon at Cesarea.

We are witnesses of all things which he (Jesus of Nazareth) did, both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead : Acts x. 39–41.

Ananias said to Saul, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard : Acts xxii. 14, 15. This promise was fulfilled; for the apostle asks, Am I not an apostle ? am I not free ? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord ? 1 Cor. ix. 1; and affirms, Last of all he was seen of me also: 1 Cor.

XV. 8.

unto you,


[ocr errors]

II. The apostles were inspired of the Holy Ghost.
This gift was promised to them, I have yet many things to say


cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: John xvi. 12, 13; and claimed by them:- When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God: 1 Thess. ii. 13; and necessary to them; for by their teaching all were to be guided:- We are of God,

He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error: 1 John iv. 6.

III. Because the apostles were chosen by Christ himself (not by man) to bear witness of him as a risen Saviour, and made infallible in their teaching by the Holy Ghost. Their mission was suitable to be, and was, in fact, universal. There was no division of territory among them, but a joint occupancy. In a peculiar sense Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles and Peter to the circumcision; and yet Paul wrote an Epistle to the Hebrews, and Peter addressed one of his Epistles to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, and the other to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The extent of their mission and the exercise of their authority were in no way connected with territorial limits. All were to go, and each one, as they had opportunity, into all the earth, because, severally and collectively, they had received from Christ grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations.

IV. With the apostles, then, was God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost: Heb. i. 4.

This proof of the divine mission of the apostles was necessary,

« ZurückWeiter »