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are all enemies to the church, and endeavoring to destroy it, and therefore he watches over it continually, to guard it against allits enemies. Hence he says, "I the Lord do keep it: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." He appeared to John in vision, as having a sharp two-edged sword, to denote his power and atthority to destroy all the incorrigible enemies of the church; and he threatens to break them with a rod of iron, and to dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. As the great Guardian of the church, he never withdraws his presence from it a single moment.

2. He is perpetually present with his churches in order to instruct them in the knowledge of the gospel. It belongs to him to raise up pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, and the edifying of his spiritual body. While upon earth he appointed special apostles and teachers, and directed them where to go, and how to preach, and engaged to be with them. He still holds -the stars in his right hand, and thrusts forth laborers in his vineyard. He knows that the good of his churches greatly depends upon the ability and fidelity of his ministers. And he still exerts a powerful influence upon the minds of men, in preparing and disposing them to preach the gospel, and in directing them when and how to labor in his vineyard, and in crowning their labors with and pu

Success.

3. He is constantly present with his churches to purge rify them of their errors and delusions. In this respect he was ever present with the seven churches of Asia. He tells them all, "I know your works." While he was constantly walking in the midst of them, he saw how some of them had "left their first love;" how some had fallen into gross errors; how some of them had embraced the doctrines of false teachers; how some had become loose and abandoned in their conduct; and how some of them had become luke-warm, cold, and even dead in duty. To purge and purify them, and restore them to their former life and vigor, and spiritual prosperity, he sent them warnings, reproofs, and threatenings, by his apostle John. And he still resides among all bis churches, and observes all their views, feelings and couduct, in order to purge them from their dross, and tin, and every thing which is offensive to him.

4. Ile is present with all the sincere members of his churches, to direct and assist them in duty, and especially in their duty towards each other. When two or three of them are gathered together in his name, he always meets with them, to guide and assist and encourage them in duty. Paul relied upon the presence and assistance of Christ in all his extraordinary labors and self-denying duties. He says, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." He affords the same presence and assistance to every sincere member of his church, in the performance of duty. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. He takes peculiar care of the weak, the feeble, and the faint-hearted, and gives them that aid and assistance which their peculiar circumstances require.

5. He is always present with all the sincere members of his churches, as their great high priest, to hear their prayers, and to make intercession for them. He feels all their trials, all their burdens and all their afflictions, and is ready to hear all their prayers and supplications for all the comfort and consolation they reed. He presents their prayers as advocate to his Father, and pleads for every blessing which it will be best for them to enjoy. And his Father always hears him. He still acts as mediator between his Father and his sinful, unworthy creatures, which requires his continual presence with his churches.

From the preceding observations, the following inferences, omitting others, may be drawn:

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1. The church is safe. Though the people of God belong to different communities, and are formed into various particular societies, by special covenants, for the purpose of mutual edification; yet they may be considered as constituting one body, called the church, of which Christ is the head, and each individual, of whatever name or nation, is a member. For the protection and perpetuation of this spiritual body, the wisdom, and power, and grace, and faithfulnesss of the Lord Jesus, stand pledged.With this his church, he has promised to be ever present, to enlighten and sanctify and protect it, and by the influences of his holy spirit, to repair its breaches and increase it with perpetual additions of such as shall be saved; so that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.' Between this spiritual body, and any particular visible church, there is no necessary connection. A particular visible church may consist principally of such as belong to the general spiritual church; and it may consist principally of such as belong to the kingdom of the god of this world.And a particular visible church, which once comprised a majority of the cordial friends of Christ, may degenerate, by departing from the truth, neglecting the discipline of Christ's house, and conforming to the customs and manners of the world, so as to become visibly a synagogue of Satan. Christ has not promised his perpetual presence with any particular visible church; and many such churches have, from time to time, become corrupted, and forsaken of Christ, and their 'caudlestick has been removed out of its place.' Thus it happened to the seven once flourishing churches of Asia: and thus it has happened to many churches in modern times. And hence it becomes every visible church of Christ to fear and watch and pray and hold fast and repent. But still, the general spiritual church is never in the least danger. founded on the rock of ages; it is surrounded by a wall of fire;— and no weapon formed against it shall ever be suffered to prosper. In its very infancy, this church withstood principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places.' Like the three worthies in the fiery furnace, it lived and grew amidst ten violent persecutions, and baffled all the arts and arms of the mistress of the world. Though comparatively but a little flock,' yet she had no reason to fear; for her God was her glory and defence,

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and through him, the spiritual weapons of her warfare were mighty. For almost two thousand years, the wit of infidel philosophers, the treachery of false brethren, the fire and faggots of persecutors, and the wiles of the devil, have been combined and exerted all their power to crush and exterminate the feeble and defenceless body of Christ; but all their works have been destroyed, and all their machinations and malice and violence have served to promote its purity and increase its growth. This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes.' Surely, He, who has 'walked in the midst of his golden candlesticks and held the stars in his right hand' is mighty to save,' and has 'all power in heaven and earth.' In his hand, and under the broad shield of his pro- i tection, the church ever has been, and ever will be, safe. To all her friends we may say, 'Ye believe in God; believe also in Christ.' He never has suffered, and he never will suffer, any thing to take place to the ultimate injury of his church, but will so order all events, as to promote her progressive increase and prosperity, till she shall wax great, and fill, and become the joy of the whole earth.

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2. Those who belong to the real church of Christ, are in a safe and happy state. Who these are, is koown to Him whose prerogative it is, to search the hearts and try the reins of the children of men. Many of them, no doubt, belong to particular visible churches; and many, there is reason to apprehend, belong to such churches, who have only a name to live, and whom Christ has never known, as his true disciples. But however men may deceive themselves or one another, the Lord knoweth them that are his,' and will keep them by his mighty power through faith unto salvation.' He protects and blesses his church, by protecting and blessing every individual member of it. He assures them, that he will withhold from them 'no good thing'-nothing best for them on the whole-and that all things shall work together for their good.' They are as safe as the church of which they are members. Nothing can ultimately harm them. And they have present peace in believing in the power and wisdom and goodness and truth of their Divine Redeemer, and amidst all the Jabors and cares and afflictions of life, can trust in his ability and faithfulness to keep that which they have committed to him,' and 'rejoice in hope of the glory of God.'

But on the other hand,

3. The condition of those who are out of the true church, is dangerous and wretched. As they are none of Christs; so they are the servants of Satan. As they are not with Christ, they are against him; and he is against them. His presence, which is a pillar of promise and hope to his people, is a portentous cloud of perplexity and despair to his enemies. All he does to protect and build up his church, tends to bring defeat and disappointment and ruin upon the heads of all who are without its pale. As the church rises, all the world besides must sink. He, who is head over all things to the church, is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as

well as the Lamb of God-He is mighty to destroy as well as to save. He will soon have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and will dash all his enemies in pieces, like a potter's vessel. It deeply concerns all who would escape the deluge of divine wrath which is coming upon the world of the ungodly, to flee into the only ark of safety, the true, spiritual church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

E. T.

For the Hopkinsian Magazine.

EXPOSITION.

PSALM, LI. 5-Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

In this psalm, David confesses his sin, and prays for pardon nd sanctification. The verse before us, is evidently a part of his confession of sin. But viewed in this light, it has appeared to me to present a very serious difficulty. Confession of sin ever unplies an acknowledgement of guilt. A person can be guilty of thal only, in which he is voluntary or active. Why then should Iavid in this penitential psalm, confess, that he was shapen in iniquiy and conceived in sin? He surely could not have been voluntary and active in his own conception and formation. The iniquity and sin, therefore, in which he was shapen and conceived, raust have been those of his parents. Why then should he make confession of this iniquity and sin, in which he could not participate, and of which he could not be conscious?

This difficulty led to a critical examination of the original.This examination, it is thought, has detected a mistake in the rendering of our translators; for which it seems difficult to account, without supposing that they had imbibed the notion, either of the imputation of the parent's sin to his offspring, or of a sinful nature derived from one's parents, which precedes all voluntary exercises.

The word (for it is but one) rendered, I was shapen, is derived from a root (Hôl) which signifies to bring forth, and also to grieve, or uller signs of distress; to fear, tremble, &c. The first I suppose to be the primary sense, and the others figuratively derived from it. This word, in the original, is also in the active voice, expressing what one does, and not what is done to him, and should have been so translated. But as David neither shaped nor brought forth himself, I conclude that the word grieve, or cry, is the one that expresses, in English, the true sense of the original. The meaning of the Psalmist appears to be this: "I uttered my first cry in iniquity," q. d. "At my very birth-as soon as I had

a rational soul-as-soon as I became a moral agent, I committed iniquity. My first moral exercises were evil."

The original word, rendered, did conceive me, is derived from a root (Ihm) which signifies to grow warm; from whence are der rived the figurative senses, to fondle, to cherish. This last is the meaning which the learned Buxtorf affixes to the word, in the verse under consideration. (Fovit me.) But then he adds, for what reason I know not, in ulero conceptum, i. e. before birth. Why is it not much more reasonable to suppose, that David meant to say, that his mother cherished, fondled, or nursed him in sin, after his birth, and during the period of his infancy? Thus understood, there is sense and consistency in the whole passage. David, in the spirit of a true penitent, confesses his own sin, and not the sin of his mother, of which she alone was guilty: he acknowJedges that he had been a sinner even from his birth, and while he was in a state of infancy, as well as in riper years. Thus his confession harmonizes with the inspired declaration, that "man is born as the wild ass's colt," that "the wicked are estranged from the womb," and that "they go astray as soon as they be born."

If this passage has been rightly explained, it is obvious that it acoords with the general tenor of scripture, which teaches that all sin consists in voluntary exercises, and that no one is ever criminal or ever punished for the sins of another; and it is equally obvious, that this passage affords not the least support to the absurd doctrine of imputed sin, or to the strange notion of a sinful nature, which every man is supposed to derive from his parents, before he has a moral exercise of his own, before he is a moral agent, and even before he is born into the world!

Gimel.

LOSS OF THE SOUL.

Remarks upon MATHEW, XVI. 26, extracted from a Review of Rev. Adin Ballou's late Sermon on the text, in the Christian Soldier.

The following, which Mr. B. took for his text, is one, which he admits relates to the future punishment of the wicked: "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" In Luke the same questions are asked in a little different form: "For what is a man advantaged, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose himself or be cast away?" The reader cannot but notice that the soul is here spoken of as liable to be lost. Those to whom this language applies are said to lose themselves or be cast away. Now we maintain, that this language is proper only upon the supposition that the soul is liable to be irrecoverably lost. If, as Mr.

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