« AnteriorContinuar »
frequently oberve them give a significant nod, and an approving smile to each other; but when a text happens to contain a precept which enjoins a christian duty, and one, in the neglect of which many of them are conscious they live, a very different feeling is produced; their countenances fall as the countenance of Cain fell, when detected of his foul crime, and like him they are “very wroth.” They appear like guilty persons who are about to hear their condemnation pronounced. You perceive no smile, nor nod of approbation; they do not expect any food from the sermon, nor any thing to encourage and establish their minds. A practical discourse, though it may be founded upon evangelical principles, is as offensive to many professors of religion, as is a doctrinal subject to a proud-minded pharisee, or an experimental subject to a professed infidel. We apprehend that the text just read is one that some of our hearers do not like so well as they do many others, and the reason is, that it condemns them for the neglect of the duty which it urges upon all who profess discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ. The habit of secret prayer is a thousand times better criterion of genuine religion, than is the habit of hearing the gospel preached, and delivering opinions upon the talents and style of preachers. Many persons in the present day hear sermons more for entertainment than for edification; all their religion consists in hearing. Reading, and meditation, and self-examination, and secret prayer, which are among the most important means of religious improvement, are totally neglected by thousands who attend the public ministry of the gospel of Christ. Their religion requires no effort of mind-no selfdenialno sacrifice--they float along with the stream, and flatter themselves that all is well, and doubt not but that heaven is secure.” : The applicability of these remarks to numerous hearers of the gospel, is palpable to every close observer of the materials of which our congregations are compounded. Bold and deserved as is the rebuke, the preacher excels in the commencement of his second discourse, to which we can only refer our readers,
From Sermon V. Exodus xxxii, 18." And he said, I beseech thee shew me thy glory,”—we have great pleasure in taking one paragraph.
" The blessed God did not upbraid Moses with presumption, but graciously said, “Thou canst not see my face and live!" Yet as far as a mind shrouded in mortality could behold his glory, he condescended to indulge his servant. " And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” 0! the amazing condescension and grace of the eternal God! If he does not grant his people all they desire, he favours them with all they can bear in this life. He puts them in the best situation for seeing the clearest displays of his glory that mortality can endure. The rock upon which Moses stood, when Jehovah caused his glory to pass by him, was Christ; and it is only on this elevation that the glory of God can be seen to the consolation and joy of sinful creatures. In the Son, the Father of infinite mercy smiles. In Him, he speaks peace. In him we behold his glory, and live. The glory of God cannot be seen by mortals, but as he is pleased to reveal it to them. If he hide his face, who ihen can behold him ? 'If he conceal from our view his throne and spread his cloud upon it, impervious darkness surrounds him. Three things are necessary to render us capable of perceiving the glory of God :-). Spiritual perception in the understanding. 2. A proper medium between himself and the enlightened mind. 3. God cansing his glory to pass before the eye of the mind.”
We always admire a faithful delineation of the state and character of man by nature,
“ The wolf, and the leopard, and the lion, emblematically represent the ferocious and destructive dispositions of mankind, who are given up by the Almighty to the natural propensities of their depraved and desperately wicked minds. Under the law, those beasts which did not part the hoof and chew the cud, were pronounced unclean, and the Jews were forbidden to feed upon their flesh. The wolf, and the leopard, and the lion, wera ceremonially unclean; and those of mankind whom these creatures represent are morally unclean. An unregenerated and unsanctified man is nothing but “uncleanness.” His whole nature is corrupt-he is “ altogether as an unclean thing ;" he was “shapea in iniquity and conceived in sin.” He is one entire mass of moral pollution. Every faculty of his mind, and every affection of his heart is defiled. He is totally destitute of moral and spiritual excellency; there is not a vestige of original purity in his fallen nature. The flame of holy affection to God, which burned strong and bright in the heart of man in his pristine state, is as completely extinguished in all his natural descendants, as is a burning torch when plunged into the heart of the ocean. The moral taste of the soul is awfully vitiated, and man has no relish for holy enjoyment-no inclination to spiritual exercises In short, every unregenerate man is “ earthly, sensual, and devilish.” In his animal nature he is beastly-in his rational or intellectual nature, he is devilish. O shocking! shocking! exclaims a proud, ignorant, self-righteous pharisee; what horrible doctrine! It is abominable to compare mankind (and mankind in civilized society) to brute beasts, and even to devils ! Hatefully offensive as the doctrine of man's total and universal depravity proves to many persons, we must not blink the doctrine in our preaching. It is not a doctrine of mere human invention, but of divine revelation ; and we are not at libertv to keep back any thing which the inspired scriptures contain, Whatever sacrifice it costs, we inust faithfully “ declare all the counsel of God” to our hearers, knowing that we shall have to confront them “ before the judgment seat of Christ.”
It would be a grateful employ to amplify quotations, but our pages are much too limited to allow of justice being done to publications of an extensive nature which demand our praise. A subsequent sermón, which treats largely of the divinity of Christ, has the following among other excellent observations on the true knowledge of his person and work.
“ It is certain that all our warranted hopes of the forgiveness of sins, of obtaining peace with God, and of eternal salvation, inseparably connect with our possessing consistent ideas of the person and work of the Lord Jesus, Christ: hence, we are sincerely anxious that our hearers should possess and firmly maintain those notions of the Saviour which are taught by the holy scriptures; these testify of Christ; and happy are they who implicitly receive their inerring testimony concerning him. Let us beware of rejecting a doctrine as untrue, merely because it is above the grasp of our imperfect reason. There is very little, if any thing, with which we are daily conversant that we can fully comprehend. Shall we deny the existence of the ocean because we cannot fathom its depth? Shall we become infidels because we cannot unravel the mysteries of revelation? Shall we become atheists because we are unable to comprehend God? Rather let us believe what the scriptures reveal, and adore the mysteries which we are incompetent to develope. If the Redeemer be not divine, as well as human, he has made no atonement; and if there he no atonement made to the justice of God,
where can we, as guilty transgressors, fix our hope of obtaining pardon and salvation ? Remove the doctrine of atonement from the view of a sinner, who is awakened to a sense of his guilt and demerit, and the scene that opens into eternity is cheerless and terrifying, and his remediless ruin appears to be inevitable.”
Having thus given a faint representation of the excellencies of these discourses, we are not disposed to glance with invidiousness at the defects which might be enumerated.
Missionary Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff, Missionary to the
Jews : comprising his Second Visit to Pulestine and Syria, in the years 1823 and 1824. Duncan, Seeley, and Co.
IN the volume before us the religious world is presented with a lengthened statement of the journeyings and labours of Mr. Wolff, for the conversion of the scattered tribes of Israel. It is of a most interesting character throughout, and supplies a lucid description of the continued perverseness of that devoted people, whom God hath given up to a rejection of the truth as it is in Christ, and who still despise Him concerning whom their own prophets spake, by the Holy Ghost given unto them. It also developes the singular qualifications and peculiar habits of the enterprising man who entered almost single-handed on the vast undertaking. No one, who is honest in his concern for the true interests of Zion, can read the volume without intense interest. But we must not behold the expression of our belief, that those who look for the speedy restoration of the Jews will peruse it with mingled emotions of disappointment and grief. If the cup of hope' be not thereby dashed from the lip,' it can yield but a sparing and unrefreshing draught.
We are justified in anticipating that positive, certain, and extensive advantages, will accrue from a free circulation of the holy volume. “My word shall not return unto me void.” Consequently we rejoice, with the society under whose auspices this learned Missionary labours, that “ the word of the Lord,” by his individual exertions, has free course, runs, and shall be glorified. Wherever the thorn' gives place to the fir tree,' and 'the myrtle' supplies the situation of the brier,' there we are assured the wilderness will blossom, and the solitary place send forth the fragrance of a well-cultured garden: the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley will adorn and perfume the desart, and every plant of the great Husbandman's right-hand planting shall be fat and Fourishing, and bring forth much fruit. Yet, from Mr. Wolff's personal ministrations, forming, our judgment by numerous intimations in the journal, we cannot augur the benefits many are disposed to anticipate. His conversations with learned rabbies, and others, which are related in some instances at considerable length, are replete with interest, but partake little of the savour of the knowledge of the name of Christ. The extent of his acquaintance with judaical history is displayed in a variety of erudite and profound reasonings, whose effect is considerably reduced by so sparingly introducing that knowledge which alone maketh wise unto salvation. While the glowing ardour evinced in encountering the stubborn prejudices of those unbelievers meets with a favourable return, in Mr. Wolff's estimation, we can descry therein little less than the revival of the ancient scoffer's interrogation, “ where is the promise of his coming ?” When their attention is directed to the prophecies referring to the advent of Christ, one universal sentiment seems to prevail, that their deliverer will be one who shall redeem them merely from literal captivity, and reinstate them in their lost national privileges.
T'he highly respectable editor has given a well-drawn portrait of Mr. Wolff's character as a missionary, from the pen of Mr. Way, a fellow-labourer for a short period, who returned to England on account of ill health.
“He is so extraordinary a creature, there is no calculating a priori concerning his motions. He appears to me to be a comet without any perihelion, and capable of setting a whole system on fire. When I should have addressed him in Syria, I heard of him at Malta, and when I supposed he was gone to England, he was riding like a ruling angel in the whirlwinds of Antioch, or standing unappalled among the crumbling towers of Aleppo. A man who at Rome calls the Pope' the dust of the earth,' and tells the Jews at Jerusalem, that 'the Gemara is a lie;' who passes his days in disputation, and his nights in digging the Talmud, to whom a floor of brick, is a feather bed, and a box, a bolster; who makes or finds a friend alike in the persecutor of his former or present faith; who can conciliate a pacha, or confute a patriarch; who travels without a guide, speaks without an interpreter, can live without food, and pay without money-forgiving all the insults he meets with, and forgetting all the flattery he receives; who knows little of worldly conduct, and yet accommodates himself to all men, without giving offence to any ; such a man (and such and more is Wolff) must excite no ordinary degree of attention in a country, and among a people, whose monotony of manners and habits has remained undisturbed for centuries.”
The greatest pleasure we have had in going through the volume, was derived from reading an address delivered to several Spanish and Polish Rabbies, p. 49, 50. and a Letter written to the Admiral of the Pasha Muhammed Ali's feet, p. 145–6. We are compelled to relinquish the intention of extracting them.
The Cottage Commentator on the Holy Scriptures: including explana
tory remarks and serious reflection on the contents of the Sacred Volume, fc. and embracing the substance of much valuable matter contained in HENRY, GILL, DODDRIDGE, SCOTT, and other popular and voluminous Commentators. No. I, By Ingram Cobbin, A. M. Author of “ the French Preacher," " the Child's Commentator," fc. Palmer.
FROM the contents of the first number we are induced to believe that the author will supply a valuable addition to the extensive stock
of theology, accessible to the poor, and commensurate with the capacities of the rising generation. Its introduction combines with
the power of utterance, much of that simplicity which form a peculiar trait in the inspired writings, and which has given place, with many, to a high wrought, turgid style, incomprehensible to the vulgar, and too luxuriant for the refined.
Mr. Cobbin - hopes never to forget that CHRIST is the centre of the whole system of sacred truth, the sun that gives light and glory to all its parts.” Of this we are sure: if in the prosecution of the work that · hope' is with godly sincerity exercised, the heavenly beams from the Sun of righteousness, as they converge towards their true centre, will assuredly shed light and glory on his own soul, and cheer and bless the readers of “the Cottage Commentator."
Ears of Wheat : or Sunday Evening Occupation. By the Author
of “the Stable Yard Gallery." Seeley & Co.
The compiler of this excellent and useful manual deserves well of such as are engaged in the study of the scriptures, and especially of those for whose benefit it is chiefly designed.
“ The plan is intended to afford an engagement in Christian families, during a season in which it has frequently been found difficult to combine pleasurable feeling with religious improvement.
“ The evening of a Sunday is frequently dull and wearisome to young persons, from the cessation of pursuits which had occupied their attention during the former part of the day: instead of being regarded as a consecrated opportunity for advancing in the knowledge of Him, “ whom to know is life eternal," it is too often associated with feelings of painful self-denial, weariness, and restraint.”
“ It seems therefore expedient to adopt some measure, which shall interest without fatigue; which is calculated to impress upon the understanding the ideas which have already been received into the memory, by suitable exereise, rather than attempt to increase them by laborious effort to survey the treasures which have been accumulated, and ascertain their value, in reference to individual necessity, rather than to direct the attention to an augmentation of that treasure."
Each section is commenced with an appropriate collect; the subjects are introduced with brevity; and the elucidation is given in the words of inspiration alone. Though small, a considerable degree of labour must have been bestowed on the volume, which is also enlivened by several explanatory notes. It is not a work that will admit of quotation, and we need only add in its praise, and in allusion to its significant title:-- here are distributed large handfuls of good corn, without the admixture of any other grain.