« AnteriorContinuar »
our missionaries have effected. ing throughout the world, far more Contemplate the evil. Think of than missionaries can accomplish. the dilemma. Who, among pro- If forthcoming in sufficient numfessing Christian teachers, is right, bers, it can run up into the interior and who wrong? Where is the of unexplored countries, and spread standard of appeal? In what bal- over heathen towns and villages, ances shall contending pretensions bringing them in many cases to the be weighed? Who sees not at saving knowledge of Christ, and in once the importance of sending others preparing the way of the the word of God into the midst of Lord, and making ready for the these Christian Churches, that the preaching of the Gospel at the faithful servants of Christ may mouth of missionaries. We know stand forth with the Scriptures in from past experience how the Scriptheir hands, and refer their congre- tures by themselves thus work, gations to the law and to the testi- and who can tell to what an extent mony? And who knows not, and their enlarged translation and difis not overwhelmed with joy to fusion may be blessed to the world's know, that the native Christians more extended conversion? under such an influence have stood Then let us work while it is firm to their first teachers, and called to-day, and work in this from the Scriptures refuted the most God-like and legitimate of all errors of Popery. And who can services. Is it possible that we contemplate all this, and be indif. can revert to such considerations, ferent to the vast, the pressing, the and not surmount all our little difindispensable importance of circu. ficulties in seeking to share the lating the Scriptures as fast as pos- privilege of promoting such a blessible in every language under hea- sedness. Ah, who can have his ven? And who will venture to say eye even half open to it, and not that there is any existing instru- tremble to incur the responsibility mentality but one for the purpose? of letting his hands hang down,
There is another point which when they might be up and workI would venture to urge before I ing. close, and that is the importance I say nothing of the real happiof bearing in mind the value of the ness which I feel in common with Bible as a grand instrument of con- many others to be able to meet version. It is not that it is other those who differ from us, on any wise than a dead letter and a savour such occasion, without any comproof death in itself and by itself. mise of principle; I wish at present But it is God's word; and he is to confine myself on higher and pleased to put great honour upon more easily accredited ground. his word, by making it quick and Nor do I think it necessary to ad. powerful and sharper than a two- vert to the more limited objection edged sword. He employs it as which some make to the Bible an instrument of regeneration. Society on the score of its incorrect “By his own will begat he us by translations. I have not failed to the word of truth,” says the apos- have my eye on all that has been tle James. It is not to say to said on this question. I have bewhat an extent the naked word in fore me the list of faulty translathe hands of the Spirit has been tions which have been put together blessed to the conversion of souls, chiefly from the Portuguese; and and it not to say to what an extent really I must say it cannot fail to it may be the instrument of effect prove a matter of much satisfaction
to the Committee of management, that the sum total comes to so very little. Really, after hearing all that was said on this subject in hostile quarters, I could scarcely refrain from laughing outright to see the upshot of the tremendous charges and accusations. It is al. most provoking that good and conscientious men can make their quotations on which they can only say, not that they are directly bad and vicious, but that they are so worded that Papists with their preconceived notions may pervert them for the support of their own falsities. Why, what Scripture, however confessedly pure, will not the prejudiced and unstable wrest?
Would that I could indulge the hope that these few remarks, the result of long observation and thought, might be the means of producing some such effect as I once witnessed on a memorable occasion.
In a tour of Bible Meetings, which I took several years ago, I came with my friend, as the deputation, to a town where, we were previously informed, that, we should meet with great difficulties from the Vicar, one of the first scholars of the day, and a dignitary of the Church; who, after having been, as a young man, zealous in the cause of the Bible Society, had for saken it, and employed his power ful pen in opposition to it. We were courteously received at breakfast by the Vicar; and after much conversation, not of the most hopeful character, he yielded to our entreaties, and went with us to the meeting, not to take a part, or to
be seen on the platform, but merely to hear and to weigh what the speakers had to advance. It was a critical and nervous undertaking to speak under such circumstances especially considering that his decision had probably to be formed by what transpired at the meeting; but, though he had been beset with entreaties that he would not forget how he had pledged himself to Dr. — and to Mr. Prebendary , to stand aloof from the Bible Society, and how decidedly he had written against it, he advanced to the centre of the platform, after we had done speaking, and avowed his approval of, and interest in, every word that had been uttered: and then with peculiar energy and power, he proceeded to observe“We have heard that the priests in Ireland burn the Bible. God forbid, that I should seem even to approxi. mate to such an unhallowed deed as this. We have heard, that the Pope issues his Bulls against the Bible and Bible Societies. God forbid, that I should seem to have any sympathy with Rome. From this day, I pledge myself to support the Bible Society, to the utmost of my power, and may it go forward and prosper.”
It is now more than twenty years since Mr. Prebendary – thus pledged himself, and it was a pledge never broken.
And of all the important steps which this good man has taken through life, I believe this is one of which he will least repent, when he comes to that moment on which the value of Bible truth is best realized.--Ed.
CAIN AND ABEL.
Cain offered to the Lord as a self- nerated into Socinianism. And righteous man. He presented the here at once was recognized the fruits of the earth and other offer distinctive difference between Sociings, as if he were worthy, and nianism and the Church of England. doing God service. Abel offered We, as churchmen, offer up all our to the Lord as a sinner. He prayers through Jesus Christ, the brought the firstlings of his flock. great Mediator and Intercessor; Abel could not venture to approach we, as sinners, have no hopes of a holy God without a sacrifice, their acceptance but through his without the blood of atonement. atonement and merits. And Cain and Abel represented the The Socinian wants no Mediator. whole mass of mankind. They He is worthy to go on in his own were the heads of two classes, into footing into the presence of the which all are divided. There is God of heaven. He prays as a nothing new under the sun. Hu- " disciple of Jesus Christ,” but not man nature is ever the same. All as a guilty, unworthy sinner, dewho profess to be worshipping pending upon the efficacy of his God, are doing it either in Cain's atoning blood. He takes Christ as self-righteousness, or in Abel's a leader or master, but not as a simple dependence on the atoning Mediator. A disciple of Jesus sacrifice.
Christ, and yet failing to glory in These thoughts are suggested nothing but his cross ! But here by a circumstance which occurred is Cain over again, offering his lately under my own observation. fruits of the earth as an unsinning A young man, in his absence from being, not needing sacrifice! Our home, at a watering-place, was blessed Church, on the other hand, tempted from motives of curiosity, compels us to reiterate, again and after having been twice at church, again, our supplications to the to go to a meeting-house in the Lamb of God, that taketh away evening near his lodgings. Having the sins of the world, and will not discerned “ Presbyterian Chapel” suffer us to offer up a single prayer inscribed over the door, I suspected to heaven save through Jesus from what is too well known of Christ, the only way to the Father, most chapels throughout England, as Mediator and Intercessor, himthat all was not sound there. On self God over all, blessed for ever.. asking him what he had heard, I more! What thanks we owe to was confirmed in my suspicions. Our Reformers for their unequivoThe hymns sung had no mention cal stand agatnst Socinianism. of Christ. The sermon, was a dry What would a sinner, incurring moral essay, which any heathen an infinity of guilt because of sin might have given ; and the prayers committed against an infinite Bestruck him as very peculiar, they ing—what would he do without a ended thus : “ All this we ask as divine Saviour to impart to him an disciples of Jesus Christ.” This infinity of merit. But Socinianism at once developed the cloven foot. is a cheerless vapid system. It The sound and evangelical Presby- has nothing in it to meet the wants terianism of former days had dege of an immortal being. I wondered not to hear that the congregation lead to this. It recognises not was scanty and the worshippers man's true condition as a sinner, undevotional.
and without this there can be no There was a loquacious, radical true reverence. The humblest man Member of Parliament with his will be the most reverential man. lady there, and I happened to be But what can we hope from thrown into contact with them the such senators; from one indeed following day, and seldom have I whose laxity of principle and unfallen in with persons pretending godliness is sadly manifest in the to be gentlefolks, more ungodly House of Commons? What need and irreverent in their conversa- we have to pray that God, who has tion; wantonly trifling with the all hearts in his hands, will fill all name of the Supreme Being, almost in authority with his fear and in every sentence, as if he were an love ! equal. Socinianism must naturally
Our interests are the same. Our is this identity of interests! When very life is hid with Christ. If he we profess this title, we avow this lives we must live. If he conquers, union. When we seek this title we must conquer. If he reigns, for others, this is the privilege we we shall reign. Where the head seek, and this the character we is the members must be. They desire them to attain. must partake of its destinies, and O, my readers, seek the exercise rejoice in its enjoyments. So it is and exemplifying of this principle, with the people of Christ. They more constantly and actively in are Christians, having everything yourselves-remember that, being they value, in connection with Christians, your all is in Christ. Christ, and derivative from him. Be anxious for the happiness that This is their conscious, chosen con- comes from him. Be jealous of joy dition. They feel themselves to be which flows from any other source. interested in the same results, and There is an identity of character. pursuing the same ends with their This is real and entire in your relaglorious Lord. Does his cause tion to God. If you are Christians, prosper ?—they are happy. Does you are seen in Christ, and accepted his kingdom appear to languish ?- in him. Justified because he is justhis is a distress to them. The tified. His perfect obedience covers treasures they value and desire, are you, and you receive the crown of with him, and in him. And they this righteousness, which the Lord, are always to be made happy by the righteous Judge, will give you his triumphs. Are we Christians? in his day. This is the foundation This is our condition ; we are dead, of all hope. The believing soul is so far as selfish interests of our made the righteousness of God in own in opposition to Christ, are Christ. His holiness is yours. concerned. And we are alive only You are partakers of his divine to Christ, and in him. How happy nature, and are drawn to him, and
drawn to serve him, from this very There is an identity in spiritual identity, this union in character strength. The branch receives its with him. As you are enlightened sap from the vine. It draws it up more, you will see more fully, and continually, in an unceasing curenjoy more completely, and exhibit rent by night and by day. Thus more entirely, this perfect sanctifi- the Christian draws his life and cation which you have in Christ. strength from Christ. He lives in This identity of character will be constant exercise of faith upon him. exhibited in you, more and more. He lives in the habitual enjoyment Your life and conduct will habitu- of prayer to him ; not only stated, ally show that you have been with occasional prayer, but the constant Jesus, and have learned of him. lifting up of the heart to him. Men will behold in you the marks Thus we are able to conquer and of the Lord Jesus—and his people mature, as we rest upon the Lord will glorify the grace of God in you. Jesus, and learn to lean wholly Try continually to show forth this upon him. Are you Christians ? identity of character. Maintain Manifest this identity more and the spirit and mind which belonged more. I know and experience how to Christ. Be occupied according difficult it is to maintain this simple to its directions. Be amused and faith. So much fear, and unbelief, refreshed under its government. and conscious guilt interposes upon Be connected only according to its the mind, that we find it often very permission. This your title re- hard to repose simply and with joy quires. Are you Christians ? Then, upon Christ. But this is our duty where you are, Christ is. The as well as our privilege. We are members cannot be torn away from thus to live upon Christ, in all the head. You carry him about trials and all conditions. Strive to with you as Christophers [Christ carry out this identity. Be one bearers wherever you go. Go with Christ in your warfare, as nowhere, then, where you cannot well as in your joys. Lean upon ask his presence, and be sure you him without fear: and strive to carry him. Remember always this do it more and more. identity is inseparable from you.
CAUTION FOR THE TIMES.
WHEN all is agitation around her, when the intellect of man is working out new trains of thought, and devising new systems of philosophy, when the sphere of sense is itself expanding, and nature seems to be developing her hidden mysteries,- it is hard for the Church, and still harder for the Christian, to be satisfied with the ancient truth of God, and to rest upon revelation as given once and forever in its completeness. The tempta,
tion is toward developement, — developement of doctrine, or developement of practice, — the one running into rationalism, the other into superstition. In either case it is the worldly spirit creeping into the Church, and manifesting itself, according to the genius of the country, or the age, or the individual, in bold speculation, or ascetic devotion. Whichever may be the shape it takes, it is alike injurious to the power of the