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the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." The manifest design of the truth is the purification of the hearts of men, the inspiration of the life of God by faith. St. Peter says, “ Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” And for this purpose Christ gave the revelation, as well as Himself, "that He might sanctify and cleanse” the church "with the washing of water by the word ; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” In the accomplishment of this design is the highest test of the truth, the surest proof that it is from God. And in proportion as it develops itself in this fruit, to the glory and the praise of its adorable Author, will it preserve its purity and integrity, and become impregnable to the malice of fiends and the sophistry of men. Let the church shine in “the beauty of holiness,"—let her "live in the Spirit," and " walk in the light as God is in the light,”—and He will be "a wall of fire round about her, and the glory in the midst of her."
This argument will not commend itself to the judgment of the worldly and the sceptical. But our attempt is not, just now, to convince them. We appeal to those who may be described as "holding faith and a good conscience.” Their belief may be liable to fail or to waver, because of the speculations which are rife, and the subtle potency of that hostile learning which seeks to sap its foundation. “It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace ;" so that it“ be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.” To the study of those who desire to be thus established, and to see the church thus guarded, we commend our argument, in the light of what Christianity is ; of what it designs ; of the way in which it seeks to attain its purpose ; and in the light of some part of its history.
1. Christianity is not a mere system of doctrinal truth ; it is a living, spiritual power. It is truth to be received and obeyed; but it is also a life to be realized, enjoyed, developed. Jesus said, not only, “ I am the Way, and the Truth,” but also, “I am the Life." The body and soul make the man; the doctrine and the life make Christianity. The body is the organ of the soul ; the doctrine is the vehicle of the life. Christianity is a complicated, complete system of truth. There is "a wheel in the middle of a wheel;” truth interlacing truth, teaching interwoven with teaching; “line upon line, precept upon precept;" the whole forming a perfect cordon or chain of inseparable doctrine. "And the spirit of the living creature is in the wheels.” It is a “ body of divinity « fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth ;” and this body is inspired with LIFE. “The Spirit of the living God” is in the truth. Here is His habitation; the outward and expressive proof of His presence; the instrument of His power to quicken, convert, and save the souls of men. That is a partial, inadequate, and unworthy view of our blessed faith, which does not recognise this dualism of constitution, the life of the Spirit in the body of truth. That faultless, matchless frame which God formed
of the dust of the ground,” was not man until He "breathed into it the breath of life.” Then only man became a living soul.” And so the system of Gospel truth, however complete and combined, is not Christianity, without the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. It is no more so than the sheath is the sword, or the sword the arm that wields it. And yet is not our bent to talk and reason as though it were? When we look at the comparative feebleness of Christianity, and the slow progress it seems to make; when we glance furtively at the countless heterogeneous host that cometh against us; when we ponder the probable issues of the contest; do we not too much confine our view to the material and the human? In our reverie of apprehension, do we not discuss the potency of the truth, the strength of its evidences, the skill of its champions, and then, as though it were a mere question of Scripture against science, argument against argument, man against man, moodily conclude that it is impossible for us "with ten thousand” to “meet him that .cometh against us with twenty thousand ?” We forget “the name of the Lord our God." The fact seems holden from us, that “the Spirit of the Lord of hosts" is our essential Life and Hope ; that all calculations which do not embrace an impressive and inspiriting view of His agency rest on narrow perceptions, and do not rise to the height of the argument affecting the ultimate triumph of Christianity. The servant of the prophet Elisha could see nothing but the host which “compassed the city both with horses and chariots." And, too frequently, we, like bim, can see nothing but the strength of our foes, and the weakness of our friends on earth. “Lord,” said the prophet, “I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” It is a fitting prayer on our behalf: for we are too much smitten with blindness as to the Divine spirituality of the faith we profess and preach. We want the pure and strong faith which says,
“God is in the midst of her ; she shall not be moved : God shall help her, and that right early.” “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
There is, however, this consolation for us, if we dare take it,—that what is our weakness, in this respect, is the weakness of our enemies. If our perceptions are too gross, theirs are altogether dark. Wbat we fail to see clearly, and to use to our high advantage, they fail to see at all. To them religion is a mere science, like the sciences of earth, only a little more sublimated. Its text-book is amenable to the same canons of criticism and interpretation as that of the other sciences. Its discoveries or revelations, both in substance and form, are to be tested by the same experimentum crucis. They can see in it nothing supernatural, nothing spiritual, nothing of God. And little wonder. Its nature is "spiritually discerned ; " and they have no spiritual vision. No man can truly and fully know what Christianity is, unless he feel within himself its quickening, sanctifying power. The nature of our religion is taught, “not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” And He will guide into all the truth those only who discard the "foolish questions” of worldly wisdom; who “live in the Spirit,” and “walk after the Spirit.” That
man who has not received the Spirit of Christ may imagine that he knows wbat Christianity is ; but it is a vain imagination. If he sees at all, he sees but "men as trees walking.” The dim outlines of external truth are to him faintly perceptible; but the interior truths of religion, which are of its essence and its glory, he sees not at all. He is in a dream. And “as a dream when one awaketh,” so will be his dull conceptions, when, through the grace of God, he becomes “a new creature in Christ Jesus," and receives the light of the Spirit. And if this is true of such a man,—an orthodox formalist,—how much more evidently true must it be of bim who assumes a hostile attitude, and in the spirit of sceptical criticism is determined to eliminate all he possibly can of truth from the narratives of the Bible, and of the supernatural from its theology! Such a man cannot, surely, expect the Lord of the temple to lead him into the secret place of its mysteries, or crown him with His sanction as a teacher in Israel. Then, moreover, the experience of life is the real test of its character; the development of life, the proof of its vigour. Now Christianity is a lifethe life of God in the soul of man. Can he know its character, who has never realized its life? Can he estimate its power or authority, who has no capacity for its development? No more than we can clearly know on earth what the “spiritual body” is, which we shall wear when “we shall be like Him," and "Bee Him as He is.” Those, then, who write and rail against our faith, labour under a decided disadvantage. They know not the nature, or the strength, of that which they assail. Hence their missiles fall short, or are shattered against the outworks. They do not penetrate the strongholds of Zion. Christianity is invulnerable-impalpable-to their weapons. Worldly scepticism, arrayed against the faith of Christ, is as a sword to cut the air, or divide the flames of fire. This is our hope, our confidence, the spiritual life of the Gospel. O for a firmer faith in this “ word of the Lord which liveth and abideth for ever !” He who made man, body and soul, bas woven the doctrine and inspired the life of Christianity. “What God hath joined together, let ngt man put asuuder.” Let us neither sink into a morbid spiritualism by rejecting the dogmatical character of the Bible, nor fly off into Rationalism by denying the Lord the Spirit of life, and spurning the attraction of His holy presence.
(To be concluded.)
VISIT TO WANDERING ARABS. Tur Rev. John Zeller, son-in-law of Bishop Gobat, and agent of the Church Missionary Society at Nazareth, has succeeded in opening friendly communications with a tribe of Bedouin Arabs. A little north-west of Mount Tabor is Jebel-el-Sich, a hill with the finest air, the finest scenery, and the finest view in Galilee. It is a still greater attraction, however, to the Bedouin chief, Agyle Agah, that it produces, at a certain season, the
most luxuriant pasturage ; and for this reason he had there pitched his camp when he was visited by Mr. Zeller. We quote from that gentleman's narrative in the “Church Missionary Intelligencer :".
We had scarcely seated ourselves and drunk a cup of coffee, when suddenly an immensely tall negro appeared with the Agah's smallest son in his arnis, endeavouring to grasp the feet of the chief, whilst Agyle struggled to push him away with kicks and blows, till the negro at last equally sud. denly made his escape. All were surprised at this singular duel; and I soon learned that the negro, who had committed & crime, appeared as “dacheel ” before Agyle, entreating his mercy and protection, which, according to Arabic custom, cannot be refused if the suppliant has succeeded to enter the room of the women of the man whose mercy he solicits. In this case, however, Agyle was inexorable : for he had sworn to inflict capital punishment on him, and therefore bade him to flee for his life. Not long afterwards Agyle disappeared ; and, as the Bedouins showed signs of great uneasiness, I went outside to see what he was going to do. There I saw him already on his fleetest mare, receiving a spear from the hands of his son. Evidently there was no joking : the moments of the negro's life were counted. I therefore hastened to Agyle, and begged him to spare the negro; but he said, with the greatest composure and politeness, I should not discomfort myself, as he would be back in an instant. But now I took hold of the spear, and said, “For my sake, alight and let him escape : you know you cannot refuse my request, as I am to-day your guest.” This had the desired effect; and I am sure we both enjoyed our meal afterwards uncommonly well.
The hostilities between the Turkish Government and the Bedouins were just then beginning; and when I asked Agyle's opinion about these affairs, he answered laconically, "The Bedouin is a devil; you cannot put him into a sack ;”—which shows that the Bedouins are fully conscious of their own not very gracious qualities.
Some short time after this visit, Mr. Zeller heard that Abdallah Ahmedy, the sheikh of the Beni Sacher, had come with his tribe into the valley of the Jordan. He therefore proceeded to Beisân (Scythopolis) to see him, and was received by the sheikh, and his son Sultan, with their accustomed hospitality :
After supper the Arabs gathered before the tent, and we began to speak of Bedouin life and politics. The sheikh had much to complain about the chicanery of the Turkish Government. They thought they had a right to claim a kind of feudal authority over the country east of the Jordan, and its villages round Irbid, from which place they were accustomed to provide themselves with their stock of grain and oil for their winter-quarters in the desert. Now they had been driven away from there by the Turkish soldiers ; and lately, after they had crossed the Jordan, the Pashaof Acca had taken from them their flocks of sheep and goats. They professed willingness to submit to
any conditions the Government would impose upon them, and to guarantee perfect safety to the property of the peasants, if they would be allowed to feed their flocks during the summer on the uncultivated plains of Syrla, and buy their provisions; for during the summer months it is impossible for them to remain in the Arabian desert, where there is neither a blade of grass nor a drop of water. They laughed at the idea of leading a peaceable life together with other Arab tribes. “How shall a Bedouin get his liveli. hood,” they said, “ without his spear and sword? We have old enemies among the other tribes : if they have taken away our camels, we nust somehow or other regain them, or die from hunger.” Their relation toward agriculturists, and the word of Scripture, “ His hand shall be against everyone," they strikingly illustrated by the following story :-“Our father, Adam," they said, “had three sons. One was a hunter, the other a farmer, and the third a Bedouin, who had received from Adam the camel, to live hy it. However, the camel died, and the Bedouin came to father Adam, and said, 'My camel died; what shall I do now? on what shall I live?' 'Go,' answered Adam,' and live by what you can get from your brethren."" - Another characteristic story is affirmed to have really happened. A Christian farmer, in the plain of Jezreel, had engaged a Bedouin to guard his field of durra, (Indian corn,) and exhorted him to take care of the same, as he had sown it in the sweat of his brow. But when the corn was ripe, the Bedouin carried it all off, leaving nothing to the peasant. The latter remonstrated, but the Bedouin answered, “Is it not written in the book, 'In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread ?' See the perspiration upon me and my horse from endeavouring to gain a bit of bread.” And when the peasant answered that God wants that we should eat our own bread in a rightful way, the other said, " This is an addition of your own, which is not contained in that passage of Scripture.”
In October the Beni Sacher enter the desert south of the Belka, and travel southward toward the Ghof and Hejat, where they provide them. selves with dates, coffee, and butter from the flocks of goats which they possess there. The winter rains collected among the rocks, and in the cis. terns of the desert, supply them during that time with water, and the shrubs of the desert are the food of their camels : the berries of these shrubs are cooked and eaten, and are, together with camels' milk, nearly their only food. A particular tribe of Bedouins, called Ferrarad, eat locusts. Richer Bedouins carry a quantity of flour with them, as well as barley for their horses. The privations they have to undergo during their war expeditions in the desert are incredible. Last year the son of the sheikh had been on such an excursion; from which, after having spent their provisions, they had to make back their way for fifteen days without any other food than the flesh of the dromedaries which they were obliged to kill.
Justice is administered among the Bedouins in a very simple way. Every larger tribe possesses a family, celebrated from ancient times for its wisdom and equity, which decides disputes. The oath is kept sacred, and settles many doubtful questions. Once I witnessed such a case. A Bedouin was