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superfluous; so that we must either acknowledge the utter inefficacy of all that we can do merely of ourselves, to save ourselves, or deny the necessity of his sufferings and death. But though our works must be ineffectual unless they proceed from faith, they are as necessarily the consequence and test of a true and lively faith, as good fruit is the criterion of a good tree, and it is therefore impossible to separate the one from the other."
On what immediately follows the above we have only to remark, that Dr. Butler's reproof may well be applied to two classes of the present day religionists—those who have "zeal without knowledge," and those who pretend to superior knowledge, but are wanting in "temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity."
A Sermon occasioned by the lamented death of the Right Hon. Gemot Canning, by the Rev. Alexander Fletcher, of Finsbury Chapel Preached to his Congregation, on Sunday, August 19,1827.
As an oration on the mystery of divine providence in the government of the world, and, particularly, in raising and removing for wise purposes men of eminence in their day and generation, this may be perused with some pleasure: but contemplating it as the address of a christian minister to the people of his charge, we observe the neglect of the weightier duties of his sacred calling with surprise and regret.
CHAPEL OPENED—On the 17th July, the New Baptist Chapel, at Knowl Hill, near Maidenhead, was opened for public worship, when three Sermons were preached, by Mr. George Comb, of Soho Chapel, Oxford Street, from 1 Cor. i. 18. Mr. William House, of Clement's Lane, from Ps. cvi. 4. Mr. William Coleman, of Colebrook, from Zech. iv. 7.
The services of the day were truly interesting; the Lord's blessing was upon them; the people felt a lively interest in this new cause; and a liberal collection was received at the doors.
A debt of about £230 has been incurred; the people are poor, they lore the truth, rejoicing in a free grace gospel; their minister's labours are very disinterested, and we consider it a case loudly calling for pecuniary assistance.
Mr. Ebbnezer Palmer, Paternoster Row, has in the press an Uniform Edition of the WORKS OF THE ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH REFORMERS, uuder the careful revision of the Rev. Thomas Russell, A.M. Editor of Dr. Owen's Work3. It is intended to publish the First Volume early in December. Also,
THEOLOGICAL ESSAYS, Second Edition, with additions, by the RevIsaac Mann, A. M.
AN ANTIDOTE TO A SPREADING ANTINOMIAN DELUSION, by the late Rev. John Brine.
LYRICAL ESSAYS, on Subjects from History and Imagination, by Charles Swain, Esq.
JUST PUBLISHED.—THE REASONS OFTHE LAWS OFMOSES, from the "More Nevochim" of Maimonides. With Notes, Dissertations, and a Life of the Author. By. James Townley, D. D.
THE EXISTENCE, NATURE, AND MINISTRY OFTHE HOLY ANGELS, briefly considered as an Important Branch of the Christian Religion, contained in the Volumes of Divine Revelation: with Observations on the Spirituality of the Christian Religion, and on that Vitality which abounds in Nature and Providence.
« There are Three that bear record in heaven, the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY
GHOST: and these Three are One." 1 John v. 7.
* Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.* Jude 3.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.J
u A garden inclosed it my sister, my spouse."—Canticles ir. 12.
THE Song of Songs, which is Solomon's, surpasses every mortal strain, because its subject is sublime; and because "a greater than Solomon is here." The contents of this inspired book pertain to Jesus and his bride; and the sweet flowing language in which their mutual loves are set forth, is such as, if viewed and comprehended by faith, will excite the warmest admiration. Throughout this precious volume metaphors from nature are pleasingly interspersed, which are like clusters of myrrh and frankincense, and as beds of spices to the renewed soul. Herein are contained the genuine marks of inspiration, and traces of the Holy Spirit's work. If it be read by the mere eye of sense, the figures with which it abounds will doubtless generate levity and contempt, from their apparent meanness; but when these lively figures are perused by the spiritual eye of faith as referring to the inimitable pattern of perfection, Jesus, and the bride, his church, a beauty will be seen in every page, transcending all description.
The subject matter of the whole is, Christ, and his bride, the church: he their living head, and they the members of his mystical body. In the chapter containing our text, the Redeemer of Israel is exhibiting the graces of his church in terms borrowed from nature, adapted to her finite capacity; and is dilating on the glory, beauty, and comeliness in which he had adorned her, in a way consistent with his grace and wisdom, in the most animated figures, so fitly chosen as to call
Vol. IV.—No. 42. S
forth the admiration of the most indifferent. In what sweet and captivating language does he unbosom his affections and reveal to her his incomparable love! And herein does the superabounding glory of her Lord appear, in his having chosen his bride from among the defiled potsherds of the earth, and exalted her to a palace and a throne. Decked with the precious jewels of his mercy, and mantled with his righteousness, well may she sparkle, and outvie the splendour of a thousand created suns. These are the happy circumstances of the spouse of Jesus; who beholds her in himself as spotless, with ineffable delight; and is enamoured with the comeliness he himself has put upon her; and in an extacy of superlative complacency he expresses his admiration, (contained in the 9th, 10th, and 11th verses) and in the words of our text, which comprehends the whole, he exclaims, "a garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse," &c. The matter contained in this declaration is too ample and full for words to convey an adequate conception of it; at best we see it as through a glass darkly, and but dimly perceive its grandeur.
Let us enquire, First, into the relationship existing, and its antiquity.
Secondly, in what sense the sister and spouse of Christ may be compared to the figurative language—"a garden inclosed."
And here at the very threshold be it premised, that human redemption can add nothing to the glory of God ; for the eternal I AM is ever, and must necessarily ever be a perpetual source of happiness in himself. He needs not the anthems of the heavenly choir, nor the celestial harps or cherubic lays of angelic spirits to hymn his praise, to advance his glory, and increase his felicity. He is a sun amidst the constellations of inferior lights, who borrow their lustre from him, and are all the creation of his heavenly fiat. They serve to display his essential glory, but cannot communicate one particle to his bliss, which is ever boundless, never varying, underived, and full. The creation of man from the dust, and his fall from creature rectitude, develope the glories of his Creator, and exhibit in lively colours the immaculate holiness and righteousness of his character; those glories are infinitely heightened and unfolded by his redemption from the awful state into which he had fallen, through the vicarious sacrifice of an incarnate Jehovah, and the splendour and perfection of his character is more fully revealed; but no event can augment the exalted glory and felicity in which he shines from eternity to eternity.
But for the creation of man, the perfections of deity would have been confined within the sacred abodes of bliss; and but for the immeasurable mercy of his redemption and new creation, all the divine attributes and glories as they centre and shine in the face of Jesus Christ, would have been concealed from mortal view. It is incarnate love which tunes the lyre of the redeemed; it is the vast blessedness completed on Calvary's lovely mount; it is the unspeakable mercies comprehended in a full and free salvation, that wings the love and fires the zeal of every saint; that forms the burden of their song. In absence of this love, praise for redeeming grace would never be resounded. Still the eternal justice of his character would have conspicuously shone in the condemnation of all the human race, and must have been acknowledged throughout never-ending ages. The grand cause of sovereign mercy is resolved into one focus; it is the unveiling his infinite self, in the exhibition of his love, grace, and mercy to the church in Christ. But to proceed—And, first, as to the relationship existing, and its antiquity.
Christ and his church having but one Father, God, the daughter of Zion is the daughter of a King, and sister to Jesus Christ, the Kin" in Zipp. Her mystical Head and Representative being the Son of God, begotten in his human nature by the Holy Ghpst, is the elder Brother of the church, who is a descendant from the $ame source; and she is in consequence really and truly the sister of her gracious Lord.
Her divine Lord having disrobed himself of the princely robes of majesty, and assumed the habiliments of mortality, he betrothed his spouse unto himself in righteousness openly, in the fulness of time, according to the stipulations of the covenant of peace, undertaking tp represent her through evil and good report, and finally to crown her with everlasting favours.
And, with respect to the antiquity of this union, it may be observed that, considered in the purposes of Jehovah, with whorn nothing is future, it existed from everlasting. It is the same in the day of time, as it was in the yesterday of the past, and as it shall Be in the eternity to come. It was before time, and consequently is without date. It is indeed openly manifest in the time state of her being, in the blessed and marvellous union of human nature with the divine; and is openly revealed to his special people, in their calling from the wilderness of sin, and transplanting to a salubrious sojl, more suited to her newly regenerated nature, which is only found within this sacred inclosure, the garden of his graces.
There is an uncommon beauty in this imagery and figure of nature, designed to represent the state and situation in which the sister and spouse of Christ is openly introduced, at her marriage union with her Lord. And as a most fertile and highly cultivated garden, interspersed with romantic scepery, shady walks and bowers, richly overT hung by the bloom of nature, and abounding with refreshing streams, issuing from the ever-flowing springs, which serve to add beauty to the captivating view, and delight tp the fragrant perfumes arising from the variegated flowers; contrasted with the surrounding desert, where are no water springs, no salubrious air and fanning breezes, to exhilirate and cheer the drooping spirits; and where in fact is nothing but dreary darkness, and gloomy midnight reigns solitarily around; serves to shew the infinite superiority and beauty of this cultivated Elysium, above the inhospitable wilderness : so are the blessings with which the garden of grace abounds (only in an infinitely greater degree) calculated to cast the surrounding wild of this perishing world in deeper shades of gloom.
But to proceed to our second enquiry. In what sense may the spouse of Christ be compared to the lovely description—" a garden inclosed?" We may reply, generally and principally from her fairness, comeliness, and beauty, as she stands adorned with the graces of the Spirit, amongst which, those of humility and love beam supereminently conspicuous; and as she appears clad with the vesture of her Redeemer's righteousness, whose image she bears, and whose glory she reflects back to the source from whence it is derived, namely, her royal consort.
A garden is an enclosure set apart for cultivation, either from a barren waste, or a spot of inferior tillage. It is a spot of ground which was once barren, but by the careful skill and wisdom of the husbandman, it becomes furnished with a pleasing variety of trees, plants, and flowers; fountains and gently flowing streams; winding promenades; ceaseless flowing rills, which iff their course produce the murmuring accents of a host; and healthy springs. The gay foliage of the diversified scenery and the expanding lawn ; the velvet carpet on which its owner walks, and the refreshing shades under which he reposes, not unfrequently repays his anxious toil, while the fragrant odour of the flowers and spices, which embalm the air with delicious sweets, tend to render his recreation delightsome. And if his mind be cast into a contemplative mould, the scenes of nature give wings to his meditation on nobler subjects than nature yields, amidst his earthly paradise. Such must have been fair Eden, but infinitely superior to the low designs of men in every successive generation; and in an unmeasured degree beggaring the description of the pen of the wise.
Fenced in from the pageantry of men, and hidden from the rude gaze of mortals, how gratifying to the serious mind must be this seat of contemplation. And yet, in the presence of the King of kings, how heightened are its charms; while, in comparison with him, its beauties fade. Yes, compared with our inimitable Jesus, who is the sun of his plantation, and the glory of his Israel, even the brilliancy of the pink and the carnation lose their modest hue, and the enlivening prospect of animated nature becomes dismantled of its plumes, and retires from sight in comparative insignificance. For while nature's God in the splendour of majestic grandeur unfurls his loveliness and grace to the admiring soul, in the sun-like radiance of captivating delight, every inferior object sinks below the orb of supreme affection and delight, and is cast into more than dusky shades. And oh! how exalted and overwhelming is the grace! the spouse of Christ, who once was wandering in a thorny waste, destitute of every thing lovely, being chosen in Christ before the world began, to be his bride, is, in the fulness of time, called by his grace; impressed with the stamp of his divine image; planted by his hand in the Eden of his grace, by the rivers of his eternal love; and is constantly watered by the dews of his mercy, until she is transplanted into the heavenly Jerusalem above. The power which regenerated, and ushered her immortal spirit into