Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

66

the assurance is peremptory; the certainty is infallible. We are thus taught how to escape the greatest calamity that can befall the human being. This is an evil of degree; but a fall in any degrees is terrible, by the lowest you will "crucify the Son of God afresh," and by the highest sink into perdition! Hear Paul to the Romans: If ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." How cheering the thought of passing through life in the light of God's countenance, not only without a fall, but without stumbling! So to do is possible; it is binding. All needful help to that end is provided. Reader! does not your heart burn as you think of it? It is possible thus to prosecute your pilgrimage till you reach the gates of the Celestial City,-where an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

July 29, 1847.

CHRIST'S APPEARANCES BEFORE AND AFTER HIS RESURRECTION.

THE theory which Bishop Horsley has maintained, in his Sermons on the Resurrection of Christ, is, that the risen body of our Lord was visible only by miracle; that by a mysterious physics, as he terms it, the change from natural to spiritual, which is wrought on the bodies of the saints by a slow and gradual process, was wrought suddenly on his body, making it incorruptible and therefore invisible; that the change in his manner to his disciples corresponded to this change in his person; and that in contrast to the familiarity and condescension of his humiliated state, as the man Christ Jesus, his demeanour was now reserved and distant, resembling his appearances previous to his incarnation; in short, that "every appearance to his apostles after his resurrection was in truth an appearance of the great God, the maker of heaven and earth, to mortal man." This bold fancy, which borders on the heresy of the Docetæ, who held that Jesus was man in appearance only, is happily as utterly baseless as it is dangerous. The Bishop indeed translates Acts x. 40, the text of his discourses, so as to derive from it support to the fundamental position of his theory, that the body of the Lord was visible by miracle; the words εδιοχεν αυτον εμφανη γενεσθαι, rendered in our Bibleg "showed him openly," he renders " gave him to be visible." But this is not more exact than the other: euoavn does not signify visible, in opposition to invisible, or what cannot be seen, but conspicuous, or manifest, or seen as in the light; in contradistinction from obscure or shadowy, or dubiously seen, and therefore confirms the opposite theory from that which it is adduced to support. But it is maintained, the circumstances of Christ's manifesting himself requires this theory to explain them. Thus,

according to Bishop Horsley's supposition, Jesus, on rising, left the sepulchre before the stone was rolled away from the porch, and in the same way he entered the room where the disciples were assembled, without the door being opened, as if his body was no longer subject to the laws of matter. But these are mere assumptions. They are not so stated by the evangelists. It is just as likely that the angels rolled the stone from the sepulchre, that Jesus might leave it, as that the disciples might enter it; and it is greatly more likely that Christ's own power was exerted to open the doors, which, as the Bishop says, the disciples had barricadoed, than that he entered the room like a spirit without a body. At all events, this notion of his body being thus spiritual and impalpable is irreconcilable with the honesty of the challenge, "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." To say that he came and went suddenly, and was not always instantly recognized, and that therefore he had become essentially spiritualized in the constitution and changed in the appearance of his body, is to account in one way for that which is more safely accounted for in another. In so far as he seemed to be changed in the eyes of the disciples, the cause is expressly declared to be in them, not in him; "their eyes were holden that they should not know him." And if he appears to have vanished suddenly, like a spirit-which, after all, it is not necessary to suppose-it is just as easy to conceive that he became suddenly invisible by miracle as that he was made visible by it. This, indeed, we know he had before done, both at Nazareth, when his townsmen would have thrown him over the brow of the hill, and in the temple, when the Jews took up stones to cast at him, Luke iv. 30; John viii. 59. The Bishop's views of the demeanour of our Lord to his disciples after his resurrection are as injurious to our comfort as these sentiments in regard to his person are dangerous to our faith. Happily, however, the manner of Jesus was not such as he represents it. His visits were rare, but they were not marked by distance or reserve. His Divine majesty does not require them to maintain it. It is in no wise incompatible with profoundest condescension and tenderest sympathy and love to his own. And that he invited his disciples to handle him, &c-that he came among them with the same salutation of peace -that he instructed them assiduously, as before, in the things of his kingdom-that he spake of them by the same endearing designation, "My brethren"-that he was taken from them while he "blessed them," are so many delightful proofs that he retained, and has carried into his glory, the love, and sympathy, and consideration of A BROTHER, Who is still "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh."-Lecture on the Resurrection, by Dr. Henderson, Glasgow.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATIONS. Parable of the Ten Virgins.-MATT. XXV. 1—14. IT appears from the whole narrative that the Jewish nuptial processions took place by night, and by the light of torches or lamps. This is still the prevailing custom in the East, and was in ancient times the same also among the Greeks and Romans. Homer describes (Iliad, xviii.)

"Rites matrimonial solemnized with pomp Of sumptuous banquets. Forth they led the

brides

Each from her chamber, and along the streets
With torches usher'd them, and with the voice
Of hymeneal song, heard all around.
Here striplings danced in circles to the sound
Of pipe and harp, while in the portals stood
Women, admiring all the gallant show."

Cowper.

In this there is scarcely anything which may not be traced in the Jewish ceremonies; even the "striplings dancing to the sound of pipe and harp" illustrates Luke vii. 32, where the children crying to each other in the marketplace, "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced," are generally supposed to allude to the rejoicing nuptial procession. As to the lamps or torches used on such occasions, the Rabbins indicate their form as similar to those used by the "Ishmaelites" or Arabians, and which are thus mentioned by Jarchi: "It was the custom in the land of Ishmael to bring the bride from the house of her father to that of her husband in the night time; and there were about ten staves, upon the top of each of which was a brazen dish, containing rags, oil, and pitch, and this being kindled, formed blazing torches, which were carried before the bride." These are just the same torches which are still employed on similar occasions by the people of Arabia and Egypt.

The custom of conveying the bride with great state to her future home is universal in the East; but the details are modified by the local usages and religions of the different countries, and sometimes there are differences even in the same country. In Syria, Persia, and in India, the bridegroom in person brings home his bride; the Turks more usually devolve this duty on a near relative, and remain at home, to receive the lady on her arrival. We may collect from Scripture and the Rabbinical traditions that the Jews had both usages, but that the former was the most common. Again, in Egypt the bridegroom goes to the mosque when the bride is expected, and returns home in procession after she has arrived. In Western Asia the procession usually walks, if the bride's future house is at no great distance in the same town. The bride then generally walks under a canopy, but when the distance is too great-and, in Central and Eastern Asia, whether the distance be great or small-the bride rides on a mare, mule, ass, or camel, or is carried in a litter or palanquin. Sometimes, when the distance is not great, the bride alone (or the bridegroom also, if present)

rides, and the rest walk, as among the Druses of Lebanon. Much depends on the circumstances of the parties. We think we can collect that the Jews practised nearly all these methods; but that when the bridegroom's residence was near, the bride walked on foot under a canopy. When the bridegroom himself brings home his bride, the former with his friends usually moves in front, sometimes with an interval between the two parties; but they often coalesce, as if for the protection of the bride and her party, and then the bridegroom and bride move near each other, or even, as in India, are borne in the same palanquin. On this point we have not been able to discern clearly the practice of the Jews, but suspect that it varied with circumstances and in the course of the ages which their history embraces. Music usually attends such processions, and often dancing; the Jews certainly had the former, and, as some think, the latter also at least in the time of our Saviour.

3. Have I any scriptural reason to believe that these 3,600 are born again?

4. If only one or two are not, what is my duty? What, if the great majority are not?

The following, from Ward's "View of the Hindoos," contains some points of illustration, although it rather relates to the arrival of the bridegroom to take his bride than to his coming home with her :-" At a marriage, the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampore, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, as if in the very words of Scripture, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.' All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lamps, and were unprepared; but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride, at which place the company entered a large and splendidly-illuminated area before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed upon a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut, and guarded by sepoys. I and others expostulated with the doorkeepers, but in vain. Never was I so struck with our Lord's beautiful parable as at this moment: And the door was shut!' I was exceedingly anxious to be present while the marriage formulas were repeated, but was obliged to depart in disappointment."

C

Lessons by the Way; or, Things to Think On.

QUESTIONS FOR PROFESSING CHRISTIANS.-1. Have I seriously considered the solemn fact, that 3,600 immortal souls pass into eternity each revolving hour?

5. What direct personal effort have I made for their salvation; or have I ever sought, with becoming earnestness, a blessing on the means that are employed to this end?

2. Do I receive it as a truth, that, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ?"

6. What portion of my property do I consecrate; does it correspond to my means and obligations; will it bear the scrutiny of the judgment-day; will it then obtain an approval similar to that of the widow's two mites ?

Christian Friend,-Can you lift your hand to heaven, and call on the Searcher of hearts to

witness that, in these matters, You have done what you could? If not, arise, for this matter belongeth to thee! Take these solemn inquiries to your closet; listen to the teaching of the Spirit, as he speaks in his Word: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." "He that winneth souls is wise." "He that converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death." "If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it, and shall not he render unto every man according to his works ?"

I WILL GIVE NOTHING!-A minister soliciting aid towards his chapel, waited upon an individual distinguished for his wealth and benevolence. Approving the case, he presented to the minister a handsome donation, and turning to his three sons, who had witnessed the transaction, he advised them to imitate his example: "My dear boys," said he, "you have heard the case, now what will you give ?" One said, “I will give all that my pockets will furnish ;" another observed, "I will give half that I have in my purse;" the third sternly remarked, "I will give nothing." Some years after, the minister had occasion to visit the same place, and recollecting the family he had called upon, he inquired into the actual position of the parties. He was informed the generous father was dead; the youth who had cheerfully given all his store was living in affluence; the son who had divided his pocket-money was in comfortable circumstances; but the third-who had indignantly refused to assist, and haughtily declared he would give "nothing," was so reduced as to be supported by the two brothers! "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and-it tendeth to poverty." The above anecdote is a striking illustration of these words of Solomon. Men of property should contribute largely; they should recollect that they are responsible to God for the use they make of their fortune-and he will hereafter call for the account.

HOW TO GET A GOOD PASTOR.-The people in one of the out-parishes in Virginia wrote to Dr. Rice, who was then at the head of the Theological Seminary in Prince Edward, for a mini.ster. They said they wanted a man of first-rate talents, for they had run down considerably, and needed building up. They wanted one who could write well, for some of the young people were very nice about that matter. They wanted one who could visit a good deal, for their former minister had neglected that, and they wanted to bring it up. They wanted a man of very gentlemanly deportment, for some thought a great deal of that. And so they went on describing a perfect minister. The last thing they mentioned was, they gave their minister three hundred and fifty dollars; but if the Doctor would send them such a man as they described, they would raise another fifty dollars, making it four hundred dollars. The Doctor sat down and wrote a reply, telling them they had better forthwith make out a call for old Dr. Dwight in heaven; for he did not know of any one in this world who answered this description. And, as Dr. Dwight had been living so long on spiritual food, he might not need so much for the body, and possibly might live on four hundred dollars.

HOW TO MAKE A GOOD PASTOR.1. Give your pastor your confidence and affections. Let him always feel that he is among friends whom he may safely trust.

2. Consult him freely, and show that you respect his judgment in all important matters pertaining to all the moral and spiritual interests of the flock. Remember that he is the spiritual watchman placed on the walls of Zion in your place, and feels a deep interest in all that pertains to the best good of society.

3. Speak kindly to others of your pastor, and let them see that you respect him, and value his ministrations among you in the Lord.

4. Protect the reputation and good name of your pastor. His character is his capital. Should you ever see the envenomed shafts of calumny pointed at him, let your hearts, like so many encompassing shields, receive them, and your hands extract and break them at your feet. When he is compelled to speak with plainness, and rebuke with all long-suffering, or to vindicate unpopular doctrines, or inculcate unwelcome truths, and you discover in others a disposition to repel them; then stand by him; hold him up with the strength of prayer and the energy of faith-then, instead of falling discomfited before his foes, truth shall accomplish glorious victories.

5. Never interfere with the private or family arrangements of your minister. He has the same rights and responsibilities in reference to his family that other men have. And the people that would pry into his domestic arrangements, or attempt to thwart him in any endeavours to render his situation in this respect more eligible, pleasant, or economical, show two grand defects at least: 1st. A want of good breeding; and 2dly, A narrowness of spirit, which will be apt to render uncomfortable all who have intercourse with them.

6. Be punctual with your minister, and pay him his salary without asking. If any class of men earn the scanty pittance which is generally given them, it is the minister of the gospel, and the salary should be punctually paid. Some contrive to turn off upon the minister, the lame, the halt, and the blind. This discourages and paralyses his efforts, and dishonours God.-Age and Experience.

CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST.-The Rev. John Hyatt was for many years co-pastor with the Rev. Matthew Wilks, of the congregations at the Tabernacle and Tottenham-court Chapel. His venerable colleague, who called upon him a few hours before his death, in a characteristic conversation, said, "Is all right for another world?"

[blocks in formation]

Brated for mathematical skill; I have a problem which I wish you to solve." "What is it?" eagerly asked the young man. The minister replied, with a solemn tone, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The youth endeavoured to shake off the impressions produced, but in vain. In the giddy round of pleasure, in his business and in his studies, the question forcibly returned. It finally resulted in his conversion, and he became an able advocate and preacher of the gospel which he once rejected.

WARNING.-Since, then, no excuse will prevail to keep off the dreadful sentence of judgment, oh! then, let no excuse prevail to keep us from a holy life. Let no excuse keep us from coming to Christ, since no excuse can help us when we come before Christ. When our Saviour invited his guests, they all made excuses-one had bought a farm, and another oxen, and they could not come. Poor excuses! but yet anything is sufficient to reject Christ's invitations. But though men make excuses when Christ invites them, no excuses shall serve the turn when he summons them. The ministers of the gospel, when they knock at men's hearts, and bid them come to Christ, are turned off with very slight answers; but pray, bethink yourselves what excuse, what answer, you will make when an angel shall come into the grave to you, and knock at your coffins, and bid you arise, and come to judgment. It were well for many, if they could then excuse themselves from appearing, or else, at their appearing, excuse themselves from their guilt and condemnation. But no excuse will then be taken. I beseech you, consider that in that day-and that day is coming-nothing will avail you but faith and obedience; and, as you would plead it then, so be persuaded to practise it now.-Hopkins.

THE JEW.-Talk of pedigree, forsooth! tell us of the Talbots, Percys, Howards, and like, mushrooms of yesterday! Show me a Jew, and we will show you a man whose genealogical tree springs from Abraham's bosom, whose family is older than the decalogue, and who bears incontrovertible evidence, in every line of his Oriental countenance, of the authenticity of his descent through myriads of successive generations. You see in him a living argument of the truth of Divine revelation; in him you behold the literal fulfilment of the prophecies; with him you ascend the stream of time, not voyaging by the help of the dim, uncertain, and fallacious light of tradition, but guided by an emanation of the same light which, to his nation, was "a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:" in him you see the representative of the once favoured people of God, to whom, as to the chosen of mankind, he revealed himself their Legislator, Protector, and King; who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You behold him established, as it were, for ever in the pleasant places allotted him; you trace him, by the peculiar mercy of his God, in his transition states from bondage to freedom; and by the innate depravity of his human nature, from prosperity to insolence, ingratitude, and rebellion; following him on, you find him the serf of Rome; you trace him from the smouldering ashes of Jerusalem, an outcast and a wanderer in all lands; the persecutor of Christ, you find him the persecuted of Christians, bearing all things, suffering all things,

strong in the pride of human knowledge, stiffnecked and gainsaying, hoping all things: "For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob."

THE DIVINITY HALL.-The following formulæ of discourses for the direction of the theological students under their inspection, have been unanimously adopted by the Scotch Secession Church. They are most excellent, and may be read with interest by Lay Preachers:

I. Homily.-1. After a brief introduction, state the truth contained in the text in the form of a proposition. 2. Divide the subject into its several parts. 3. Under each general head give a number of particulars, briefly illustrating each, and introducing into the illustration appropriate passages of Scripture. 4. State inferences from the whole subject. 5. Conclude with a practical application. Comprehensiveness of plan with brevity of illustration, and a copious use of Scripture, are understood to be the characteristics of a homily as distinguished from a sermon.

II. Exercise with Additions.-1. Brief introduction, pointing out the connection of the passage with the context. 2. Read the text in the original. 3. Divide the text, and critically examine the more important words in each clause as they stand in the original, taking occasion, if requisite, to quote comments, and vindicate those which appear to exhibit the meaning of the inspired writer. 4. Give the meaning of the passage, as explained, in a short paraphrase. 5. Remove textual difficulties-namely, seeming discrepancies between the text and other passages of Scripture. 6. State the doctrines contained in the text in the form of distinct propositions. 7. Illustrate one of the doctrines by parallel passages of Scripture, and state the reasons or arguments by which it is supported. 8. Deduce inferences from the whole subject.

III. Exegesis.-1. Read the question as prescribed. 2. In order to prevent misconception, state what the question is not, and then what it is. 3. Quote the views which have been held on both sides. 4. State your thesis, and adduce arguments in support of it. 5. State and refute objections. 6. Sum up the argument. Each discourse to be thirty minutes in length.

[blocks in formation]

IV. In the present House of Commons there are about 140 members who are military or naval men, or who have a direct interest in maintaining the war system. Can you wonder that they should vote so large a sum of the people's money for war purposes, when they live by the system? Rational men! think on these things!

V. Remember the words of the Christian Lawgiver: "Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God."

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE STRUGGLE. -We had occasion last year to reprobate the conduct of some friends who had been parties to the institution of a course of lectures on the genius and writings of a certain living author. We have before us a prospectus of a very different description, for a Course of Lectures on Wednesday evenings, which runs as follows:

To Teachers and Adult Scholars in Sundayschools in Manchester and Salford, on the Testimony of History to Nonconformity, and the Progressive Development of its Principles and Influence, since the first age of the Christian era; to be delivered in Chapel-street Chapel, by J. W. MASSIE, D.D.

Subjects: First Lecture-" The Agency and Successful Extension of Christianity in the Three First Centuries."

Second Lecture-"The State of the Church and the Heretics (so called) of the Middle Ages."

MEMOIR OF THE REV. THOMAS HOPLEY, LATE OF HEMEL HEMPSTED, HERTS.

Third Lecture-"The Waldenstan, the Lollard, the Bohemian, and other Precursors of the Reformation."

"THE memory of the just is blessed." One of the designs of religious biography is the instruction and edification of those who read it; by giving a faithful delineation of the character of men eminent for their devotedness to God, we not only embalm their memory, but are often stimulated by their example to greater earnestness in religion. It is more instructive and impressive, as well as more interesting, to see religion thus embodied, than merely to have a theoretical acquaintance with its doctrines and precepts. It has been a source of great regret to many persons who knew the subject of this memoir, that no one has endeavoured to rescue from oblivion the character of one of the most humble, consistent, and devoted Christians of modern times. The writer could not yield to the importunity of a few friends of the deceased to write this short account of him, until he had given up all hope of meeting with a memoir

Fourth Lecture-" The Characteristics and Events of the Reformation in Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Ireland."

Fifth Lecture-" The Puritanic Period of English History; the Scruples, the Struggles, and the Sufferings of Puritan Reformers."

Sixth Lecture-"The Religious Parties and Controversies of England during the Long Parliament, and the Protectorate of Cromwell."

Seventh Lecture-"The Act of Uniformity and its Abettors; the Principles and Hardships of Protestant Nonconformists."

Eighth Lecture-"The State of Nonconformity during the Eighteenth Century in England, and the Progress of Religious Liberty in America."

Biography.

This is a most excellent idea, and cannot fail to be highly useful. It is a sure, short, and easy method of partially instructing and enlightening many a youth who has not been able to read upon the great subject, and an excellent mode of awakening a taste for such inquiries among those who have the opportunity, but lack the disposition. One of our most successful young ministers, Mr. Robinson, of Luton, has worked out the plan excellently. We here intended to give his list of subjects, &c., but have mislaid it. We shall rejoice to hear of the plan being generally pursued.-EDITOR.

written by a member of the denomination to which he belonged.

Thomas Hopley was born at Richmond, Surrey, in November, 1799, and was in early life deprived of his father; but in his surviving parent he found one who, by her maternal excellencies and Christian virtues, was eminently adapted to "train him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." "This pious woman was born at Andover, Hants, in the year 1775, of parents who had descended from a long line of devout Nonconformists, and were themselves distinguished by eminent piety." She was amply rewarded for all her pious care and maternal solicitude, by seeing her son brought, in early life, to give his heart to God.* How many of the best and noblest of our race owe, under God, all their greatness to the instruction and influence of their mothers!

In 1818, he visited his uncle, Dr.

• An account of this excellent woman may be found in the Congregational Magazine for June, 1831.

« ZurückWeiter »