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misled in these respects. Christians, among the different descendants of who are all, in a degree, acquainted Abraham throughout the East. Ya. with the deceitfulness and desperate rious acconnts of thein, more or less wickedness of the heart,' form a very distinct, as of the original form of different estimate of these faithful nar. worship by sacrifice, which tended to rations in the word of God, which are perpetuate them, would be preserved." to them an irrefragable testimony to its Vol. II. p. 3. truth. Such narratives are not to be met with any where else, even in books It is unquestionable that traces whose principles are derived from the of these original predictions existed Scriptures. When we compare with in the second Sybilline Books. The them the biography even of the most en. story of the Sybils themselves, and lightened Christians, the contrast is of the manner in which Tarquin bemanifest and striking." Vol. I. pp.
came possessed of the first books, 197, 198.
is probably fabulous. But however The second volume of Mr. Hal- this may be, the second collection dane's work opens with a chapter of Sybilline verses, made by order
“ The general Expectation of of the Roman sénate, after the dethe Messiah.” By means of the struction of the first by a fire which Old Testament Scriptures, an ex- broke out in the Capitol, unquespectation was very generally excited tionably contained a prediction of that a great King would appear in the
appearance a great monarch. Judea at the period which the pro. This prediction was produced and phecies foretold. Not only was the appealed to by one of the adherents whole nation of Israel possessed of Julius Cæsar, at the time that with this idea, as distinctly appears remarkable person, not contented from various parts of the New Tes, with the power, was ambitious of tament, but it pervaded, more or the title, of king. less, the world at large. Nor is Besides these predictions of the this at all surprising; for, as our Sybilline verses, the contents of the author observes,
Jewish Scriptures were also well “ By means of the Babylonish cap. number of Jews were resident in
known at Rome. A considerable tivity, wbich lasted seventy years,
and from which many of the Jews never re
that city, who, in consequence of țurned, and in consequence of other the various singularities connected changes which that people subsequently with their origin, their existence as experienced, they became scattered all a distinct people, their ritual, worover the world. Wherever they went, ship, and customs, could not fail to they retained their religion, they car. attract attention. The natural conried the Scriptures with them, and read sequence of this would be, an exathem publicly in their synagogues mination of their sacred books, for
. being thus repeated among their Hea which the greatest facility had been then neighbours, became familiar to afforded by the translation of them them, and were received as if they had into a language universally underbeen predictions of their own oracles. stood. By this means also, the ancient tradi. These circumstances satisfactorily tions from the first generations of men, explain the cause of that general from whence some glimmerings of light expectation, which existed at Rome, still remained, began to be revived. of the appearance of a great King, Poets and others,reminded of the golden who should establish universal emage, and adopting the magnificent ideas pire. This expectation had long of Jewish prophecy, foretold that it would be again restored to the world. prevailed in the East, and had its It is not surprising that the early pro: origin there, according to Tacitus, mises concerning the Messiah, and of in the Jewish Scriptures. The use the important change he was to prodace which was made of this expectation, in the world, should have been handed by pretended prodigies, and in vadown among the nations, especially rious other ways, and the different applications of it, according to the ing, in the end, their connexion interest or wishes of those who with the character and religion of made them, Mr. Haldane has exhi- Christ. In adverting to the rejecbited, by a copious induction of tion and death of Christ by the passages from the historians and Jews, he remarks,“ Thus every poets of that age. He closes the idea of collusion was cut off, which chapter with the following para- assuredly would have been pleaded : graph.
had he been unanimously acknow“ Thus the fact of the general expecta. This is a just and very important re
ledged by his own countrymen." tion of the
world, at the time of Christ's mark. In order to be sensible to appearance, of the coming of a great King; that it was uniform, that it was its full force, let us suppose, that, ancient, that it was founded in what was instead of rejecting Jesus, the Jewish believed to be the decree of Heaven, nation had acknowledged him as and contained in the sacerdotal writings; Their Messiah, and used their influthat he who should appear was to come ence to advance his pretensions out of Judea, and that he was to obtain the empire of the world, is established among the other nations of the
world. What reliance, in that case, beyond all doubt. This is a point of
could we place on any account of much importance among the testimonies of the Messiah. It explains the cause him coming from Jewish authority? of Herod's alarm when he sent and slew Suspicion and doubt must have the children at Bethlehem, and shews rested on bis entire history: and the strong reason which incited him to the success and spread of a relithat violent and atrocious deed. It also gion sanctioned and supported by furnisties the reasou of the Emperor a whole people, so far from being Domitian's summoving before him the extraordinary, or furnishing any relations of Jesus Christ, as we shall evidence of its Divine origin, would afterwards see, to inquire if they laid claini to empire. And it proves invin.
seem only the natural result of hucibly, that the predictions which had
man influence and agency. Thus been given concerning the Messiah the charge of collusion might have were sufficiently clear and precise to been urged, and never could have attain the object that was designed by been refuted : and thus that might them; while it for ever confutes the have been ascribed to an arm of opinion entertained by many, wbo, en. flesh, which, as the case now stands, tirely unacquainted with the subject, we are able to hold forth as the and hearing, it may be, of some hasty achievement of the mighty power and unfounded application of the pro- of God. pliecies, have rashly concluded that the
Our author, in a snbsequent part predictions in the Scriptures are completely obscure and unintelligible.”- of this chapter, follows up a very Vol. II. p. 14.
impressive statement concerning the
Divine character, and the circumWe regret that our limits do not stances and salvation of mankind, allow us to advert to the other chap- by some very judicious remarks on ters of this interesting volume. On the subject of faith. the Conclusion, however, which occupies nearly a third of it, we must “ In this salvation," he says, “every make a few remarks.
thing being finished, man cannot,' and It commences with a recapitula- is not required to add any thing to it. tion of the various testimonies to He therefore enters into the enjoyment the Messiah, both before and after of all its blessings by faith. Now his appearance; in which our au.
faith is the substance (or confidence) of thor briefly sketches the history of things hoped for, and the evidence (or the Jewish nation; shewing, as he conviction) of things not seen :' it is
the conviction of the truth or reality of proceeds, how public and bow strik. what is testified, and of what is hoped ing were the various vicissitudes of for; the testimony presenting an object that wonderful people, and mark- of hope. When a truth testified to us
is believed, there are two distinct ope- “ Although justification be solely by rations in the mind. The one is a per- . faith, and till a man be justified he can ception or comprehension of the mean- do nothing acceptable to God; yet froin ing of the declaration made : the other that time good works, in other words, is a persuasion of its truth. A man, on obedience to God, are absolutely neceswhose veracity we, depend, relates to sary. On this the Scriptures insist in as a fact. If we understand what he 'the most peremptory manner; and derelates, we believe him in the complete clare, not only that works will be ap. sense. But if we rely on his veracity, pealed to at last as the proof of justifiyet misunderstand what he testifies, in cation, but that they will also be taken fone sense we believe bim, in another we
as a measure of the reward to be ad. do not. In this way, many of those who judged. They shall be · judged every saw the wonderful works of Jesus be.
man according to their works, and lieved for a while that he was the Mes. .' every man shall receive bis own resiah ; but they had formed an erroneous ward, according to his own labour.' idea of the Messiah, and, therefore, .“ Without holiness, then, no mau shall . when afterwards they understood his see the Lord.'” Vol. II. p. 310. doctrine, they forsook him, being convinced that he was not the Messiah. In the passage of which the above Thus the Jews believed that Moses was · paragraph is the close, good works divinely inspired, and that the Old Tes are set in a true light, and have tament Scriptures were the word of their proper, scriptural place assignGod. They therefore trusted in Moses, ed to them. The proud.pretensions and they thought that in the Scriptures of the deluded Pharisee are disalthey had eternal life. But they mistook lowed, and the worthlessness of his their contents, and what Moses tanght;
own fancied righteousness exposed. and therefore the Lord declares that they did not believe Moses, in whom On the other hand, the true docthey trusted. In the same manner King trine of the grace of God is exhiAgrippa believed the prophets; but in bited, such as it really is, a docthe full and proper sense he did not be trine“ according to godliness." lieve them. And thus Simon Magus and Such a mode of presenting Divine others believed. In the parable of the truth, was never perhaps more neSower, according to the nsual manuer of speaking, all the four descriptions abounding religious profession. It
cessary than in the present day of of persons are represented as believing is not now, as it has been in some But it was only the last description who, strictly speaking, believed: for, in the periods of our history, disreputable explanation of the parable, they only to take a lively interest in religion are represented as understanding the and its concerns.
On the contrary, word. In like manner, mapy, who take . owing to the concurrence of various the name of Christian, believe the Bible causes, to which it is not necessary to be the book of God, and ibey believe here to advert, religion, of a parti. something which they suppose to be its cular kind, and to a certain degree, meaning ; but they misunderstand its has received the stamp of fashion. meaning, and they do not believe it. With. But much of this religion, it is to be
out faith, it is impossible to please God, · Faith forms the union, and is the medium feared, will not bear to be brought
Our Lord of communication, with the upseen Sa.. to its only true test. riour; and except through him there established the test of doctrine, as can be no fellowship between God and well as of character, where he said, a sinner. 'I am the way, the truth, .. by their fruits ye shall know and the life; no man cometh to the Fa. them.” That doctrine is the oppother but by me.' Before this union is site of Christianity which inculformed, there is nothing good or accept.. cates a reliance on good works for able in man in the sight of God.” Vol. acceptance with God: but no less JI. p. 301-303.
spurious is that which does not inThe connexion between faith and culcate them as the necessary fruits good works is distinctly marked of faith, and of that Holy Spirit and strongly insisted on by Mr. ' which is imparted to the believer. Haldane,
The account of Cornelius, with
which we are presented in the Acts near to Jerusalem, and had, it appears, of the Apostles, Mr. Haldane con- intercourse with the people of Israel. ceives has been entirely misunder. He was of good report among all the
nation of the Jews, and it is repeatedly stood by some who have given ex
noted, that he fasted and prayed at the positions of it.
His view of the ninth hour, which was the hoar of offersubject we shall submit to
ing the evening sacrifice, and one of the readers, as at least well worthy of stated hours of prayer. He thus looked consideration.
towards God's holy temple : he wor
shipped God as Enoch, and Noah, and “ The case of Cornelius is sometimes Abraham, and Simeon, and Anna, and adduced to prove that the prayers and all those who waited for the consolation alms of men not addressing God through of Israel. Besides, Cornelius, as we the Gospel, come up for a memorial be. see from Acts'x. -36, ' knew the word fore him; and that persons, who are which God sent to Israel, preaching ignorant of the Gospel, may work righte- peace by Jesus Christ, although it had ousness which is accepted by him. But not been hitherto addressed to the Geń. this proceeds from a mistaken view of tiles. Till Peter went to him, Jesus the passage of Scripture where Corne. had not been preached to them as the lins is spoken of. From the first pro. Messiah. Before this, it was only neces. mise to Adam, the true worshippers of "sary for them to believe in the Messiah God approached him through the Go- to come; but after he did come, and spel, which was first proclaimed to Was proclaimed to Gentiles as well as to Adam: on every other ground they Jews, then it was indispensable that were rejected. " By faith Abel offered they should believe that Jesns was the unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Christ. Accordingly, Cornelius was ipCain, by which he obtained witness that forned by the angel, that the person he was righteous.' The sacrifice of ani. he was directed to send for would tell mals was a representation of the sacri. him words whereby he and all his bouse fice of Christ; and the offering of them should be saved. This does not imply implied a confession of guilt, and a re- that he was not accepted before ; bat liance on that substitution which God now, as God had vouchsafed further would provide. Whoever lost sight of light, and given a further command, it this, was not a spiritual and acceptable was indispensably necessary that he worshipper. By the Mosaic dispensa. should receive and obey it; just as it is tion, and by the spirit of prophecy given necessary for any believer to obey the to Israel, an increase of light was vonch will of God, in any part which he bad safed. Many, through the means thus not known before, as soon as he underafforded, worshipped God in spirit and stands it. Cornelius was a spiritual in truth before the coming of the Mes- worshipper of God under the old dissiah ; and whoever did so, was accept. pensation ; and, like the Ethiopian ed by him: All others, except such as Eunuch, and many others, was waiting retained the knowledge of God through for the Messiah, who, when he should tradition, worshipped a god of their come,' was to tell his people all things,' own imaginatiou. We accordingly find and who was set for the fall and rising that the Apostles addressed the Gentiles agaid of many in Israel, that the thoughts who were converted, as persons who of many hearts might be revealed. All had been formerly without God and in Israel, and others besides, professed without hope. If this be the fact, ac
to be looking and waiting for the Més. cording to the uniform tenor of Scrip- siah; but his appearance was to be ture, and if noexample to the coutrary the touchstone: it would slew' who can be shewn, it remains for those who should abide the day of his coming, and speak of Cornelius as ignorant of the who should stand when be appeared ; promised salvation, to shew that he was
for he should be like a refiner's fire.' 80 : and as the case of one in that situa.
The case of Cornelius, then, forms no tion being notwitbstanding an accepto exception to that universal truth, wbich able worshipper, would be completely the Scriptures declare, of the way in anomalous, it would require very clear which man shall be just with God.” proof. But there is not the shadow of Vol. II. pp. 303–307. proof of this, or any ground on which to ascertain that he did not worship the
In confirmation of these remarks trne God of Israel. Cornelius liged of Mr. Haldane, it might perhaps be alleged, that it appears, from to knowledge; " for they, being the Apostle Peter's address to Cor. ignorant of God's righteousness, nelius and his assembled friends, and going about to establish their that his and their deficiency re- own righteousness, had not subspected mainly the knowledge of mitted themselves to the righteousthe fact that Jesus of Nazareth was ness of God.” The error of these the promised Deliverer; for it is this persons concerning themselves is, which St. Peter seems to have set their supposing that something good forth and pressed upon them. Cor- exists in their hearts, upon which nelius, then, it may be argued, had the grace of God will work, when been, previously to the vision vouch- they shall have done their parts : safed to him, a believer in the pro- and their error concerning the Diinised Messiah ; and through Him vine character and law is, that they it was that his prayers and alms imagine God can, consistently with had gone up for a memorial before his perfections of holiness, justice, God.
and truth, relax and lower the rule Mr. Haldane closes his work with of obedience to their own impersome statements, equally striking fections. In consequence of these and just, concerning the various fundamental mistakes, they take a ways in which persons enjoying the false view of justification. They light of the Gospel may reject the suppose that they must qualify themcounsel of God against themselves. selves for it, and obtain it by some“ By many who take the name of thing which they are enabled to do. Christians," he says, “ it is per- Thus, according to their view of the verted, or abused, or neglected, or subject, they are justified partly in opposed;" and he proceeds to ex- consequence of what they have done plain and illustrate what he com- themselves, and partly on account prehends under these several ex- of what Christ has done ; his obepressions.
dience making up the deficiency of He adverts, first, to a class of per- theirs. This is, he shews, to reverse sons, who, while they imagine that the whole order of the Gospel ; they are Christians, wrest the reli- wbile it is also opposed to the Apogion of Christ to their own destruc- stle's unequivocal declaration, that tion. Their view of Christianity “ if it be by grace, then it is no more is, that, by means of the Saviour of works, otherwise grace is no more whom it presents, all men are brought grace.” into a salvable state ; but that they The class of persons who abuse are left to prepare themselves by the Gospel, he defines to be “ those repentance and reformation, and who profess to receive it, but do not by this means render themselves in walk according to it.” They are
measure worthy of Christ. described in Scripture as having a Thus, on the ground of sincere, form of godliness, but denying the though imperfect, obedience, they power of it; as professing to know make their peace with God: they God, but in works denying him ; do their part, in consequence of as hearers, but not doers of the which God will do his. This very word. "They sit before God," common and fatal error proceeds, says the Prophet, as his people he shews, on a radical mistake of do, and hear his words, but they these persons concerning their own will not do them; for with their character, and concerning the Dic mouth they shew much love, but vine character and law. They re- their heart goeth after their covelsemble the Israelites of old, over ousness.” Such persons probably whose rejection of the Gospel St. labour under some radical mistake Paul so feelingly lamented, while concerning Divine truth, although, he bore them witness that they had in many cases, it may not be possible a zeal of God, but not according for others to discover where it lies CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 248.