« AnteriorContinuar »
trine. As the author, however, appears to taches to the proofs he has adduced as bear. attach no weight or importance to them, we ing upon the great question, it is the do not think they are to be regarded as design of these tracts to discuss, may be detracting from the real value of his little best stated in his own words. After having treatise, which will be read with pleasure by discussed as fully as he could in the limits all who are interested in the attempt to place assigned, the points to which we have the evidences in support of our sacred referred, “ We pretend not,” he says, “ that books and institutions derived from the either severally, or collectively, even, these researches of the traveller and antiquary facts amount to positive proof of the primiwithin the reach of the multitude. Mr. tive institution of the sabbath; for we feel the Jordan confines his attention to the traces danger of claiming morefrom evidence than it of the sabbath to be found in the period is legitimately entitled to, and earnestiy deanterior to the giving of the law on Sinai, precate the risk of enforcing matters of such and presents his readers with those indica- great and momentous concern upon too tions of its existence, establishing his posi- slight a foundation, being convinced that tions by an appeal to the remaining records such a system has too often recoiled upon its and monuments of the ancient world. He object, to its destruction. We do not ask argues that the sabbath must have been the reader, then, to accept what we have known to and observed by the ancients uni- offered as demonstration of the fact, but we versally, on account of the evidences we beg him to bear in mind that the fact of the possess that the seventh day was held sacred, institution of the sabbath in Paradise, as that the division of time into weeks was recorded by Moses in Genesis, has been and received by all nations of which we have is disputed by some who esteem themselves authentic history, and that “the number wise and prudent espositors of scripture, seven was regarded with a mystical and who have obtained some name and fame as superstitious reverence.” That the seventh commentators, whose opinion on the point day was held sacred is proved by the fact | is loudly hailed and re-echoed by many that Cain and Abel brought their offerings worldly-minded and lucre-loving persons, to the Lord at the same time, when there who would use it for their own gain; and were many reasons which we may properly thus it is, that the fact itself requires to be suppose would have prevented Cain from supported and corroborated by all the evidchoosing the same time for worship as ence that we can adduce. It is not, then, his brother, had there not been a day set as positive proof, but as CORROBORATIVE apart for the purpose of devotion ; by the and SUBSTANTIATING evidence, that the account which is given (Exod. xvi.) of the preceding details have been brought before conduct of the Israelites in collecting a the reader ; and we invite him deliberately double portion of manna on the sixth day, to weigh their influence, and to determine without any command from their rulers, and whether our conclusion from it is not equit. by the fact that the earliest records in the able and just." family of Japheth, whose descendants can- Our space will not allow us to notice par. not be supposed to have derived their know. ticularly the third tract in the series. It is ledge of the sabbath from the Jews, show not, however, too much to say of it, that it that the seventh day was held to be boly. is a worthy companion to the other two. It Thus Hesiod and Homer, Callimachus and contains an excellent exposition of the fal. Lucian, speak of it. That time was by the lacy of Paley's argument for the mere Judaical ancients universally divided into weeks of appointment of the sabbath, and concludes seven days is established, by a reference to with a refutation, no less satisfactory than Gen. xxix. 21—30 ; by the institution of the sufficient, of the popular objectious and fal. Passover; by the innumerable indications | lacies upon the subject of sabbath sanctifica. of the practice among the Egyptians, Arabs, tion in general; which, notwithstanding Assyrians, and Indians; and by our own their repeated examination and refutation, names of the days of the week, derived im- are still urged with a pertinacity and dogmediately from our Saxon ancestors. And, gedness which clearly show them to be the lastly, our author shows the reverence last resort of those who would teach us to anciently paid to the number seven, by an regard every day alike." On the whole interesting and ingenious reference, among we cannot but hail with delight the appearother things, to the statements of Herodotus ance of this series of tracts, and we augur respecting the temple of Belus at Babylon, well for the influence they are likely to and those stupendous monuments and ves- exert over the public inind, if they only tiges of the past, the pyramids of Egypt. obtain the extensive circulation they deserve. The inquiry is conducted in such a manner Good must necessarily result from the calm as to show that each of the three great fami- | investigation and able and efficient discussion lies of mankind afford traces of the existence of great subjects; men's minds are roused among themselves of the venerable sabbatic to serious thought and reflection ; that which institution; and the value Mr. Jordan at. I is true, and not that which is only venerable or pleasing, gains the victory; and principle, troduce the following description, from the in almost innumerable instances, takes the pen of Mr. Edwards, of Bala, in which, place of habit. The sabbath is a subject of upon the whole, we are disposed to concur : this kind; good must result from its close “He was not one who concerned himself examination, for we feel assured that the about the word only, but who laboured in more scriptural our views and sound our the word and doctrine. He sailed not principles with respect to it, the more com- amongst the rocks, and between the sand. plete and acceptable to our heavenly Father banks, but ventured into the midst of the will be our sanctification of its hours. We ocean. He did not follow the track of have only to recommend our readers not other navigators, but proceeded to the disonly carefully to peruse these valuable essays covery of unknown lands, and brought home themselves, but to circulate them as widely from the old doctrines new ideas, more pre. as they possibly can.
cious than the mines of Mexico, and more beautiful than the islands of the southern seas. And yet no one was found more un.
affected. There was nothing in his manner Sermons, by the late Rev. David CHARLES, that seemed to say to his brother, ' Sit thou
of Carmarthen. Translated from the there at my footstool.' No assumed dignity Welsh. With a Memoir. By H. Hughes, belonged to him. No one was more acceptWard and Co.
able to his Christian brethren, and no one
was less in his own esteem. In his highest These sermons had no sooner appeared in
flights he sought not to exhibit himself; his Welsh, than they were read with avidity,
object was to bring back from the moun, and spoken of in terms of bigh commenda.
tains of spices substantial fruits for the retion, by several of the first preachers in the vival and consolation of his hearers. His principality. Mr. Rees, author of the
gems were not so remarkable for their outMemoir of Williams, of Wern, pronounced ward polish, as precious in magnitude and them to be " like apples of gold in pictures
sterling quality. They were like of silver,” intimating that, in the delivery of them, the preacher was like one exhibit
* Orient pearls at random strung,' ing a quantity of "pearls” before his hear. and were, in that respect, like the work of ers, of so excellent a quality, as to justify the Creator himself. In listening to him, the expectation, that some would be induced we felt ourselves in the centre of the crea. to “sell all they had, in order to purchase tion of God--the mighty rocks under our them." Such is the obvious meaning of a feet, environed by the everlasting hills, imhighly rhetorical passage ; but, as “ pearls" measurable space extending before us, and are not minerals, the writer should have reaching even to infinitude. Of him we said nothing about “a mine” of them, nor had views of new worlds of thought; and, should he have spoken of " digging them out having seen them, they appeared so plain, gradually," or of “purifying them in the and so near, that we wondered we did not furnace of eloquence.” In speaking of these find them out ourselves.” sermons, and of their author, Christmas The sermons before us have no formal di. Evans said, that “his mode of treating the visions, but in each of them a strict unity deep things of God was so able and inimi- is generally maintained. They consist of table, that many of his sentences might be trains of manly thought, suggested by the taken as texts to preach from," and that text; and yet the text is always explained. “ many smaller caskets might be filled to Often, indeed, the several clauses of the overflowing with his abundant treasure." text are distinctly repeated, and briefly This witness we consider as strictly true ; illustrated. Some may probably conceive and if “ sparks" had ever been known to that these sermons are defective in respect " emanate from a star," and to “ melt the of application, while others may think that frost,"' we should have felt a pleasure in the application is sufficiently intimated, quoting the bold figure of speech employed without being inculcated in a lengthened by this Welsh Demosthenes, in describing peroration. The sermons are twenty in the effect produced by these sermons upon number, and on the following subjects :his own mind. Of the preacher we may, “God our Refuge-The Believer's Choice however, be permitted to speak thus, in a -The Happiness of the Righteous-Selfmanner altogether his own : “We saw him, denial— The Apostle's Choice — Looking like Moses, passing direct between the Piha- unto Jesus - Keeping the Heart - The hiroth of legality, and the Baalzephon of Coming of the Son of Man—The Lord's Antinomianism, led by the fiery pillar of the Death-Who gave himself for us-Christ doctrines of grace, and pursuing his way the Wisdom of God-God's Marvellous through the sea of the merits of Emmanuel, Light-Access unto the Father— The God to the land of promise, bearing the rod of of Peace--God the Father of his People God in his hand." We also venture to in. Christ All and in All-God's Way of Sal. vation—The Kingdom of God in Power- | brought to submit to the way of God in God's Immutable Counsel — The Name of justifying the ungodly: his perceptions and God.” The concluding Memoir is pecu. his judgment are brought to harmonize liarly interesting, and contains a good deal with the will and the institutions of God in of information respecting the ecclesiastical reference to sin and pardon, as revealed in polity of the Calvinistic Methodists in the gospel. No virtue that he possesses Wales, of which body Mr. Charles was a bas any weight in his justification in his distinguished ornament.
own sight, any more than in God's; and if In the preface to this volume we find a all the holiness of saints were conferred passage, which demands the especial atten. upon him, he would still cry, 'I count all tion of our readers, and which we, there. things but dung that I may win Christ, and fore, transcribe, for the consideration of be found in him.' The Christian and the those to whom five shillings, the price of law understand each other well, since the the volume, is no object." The friends of time they stood together before the throne the gospel everywbere have rejoiced at its of God in justification. The law says, Thou abundant success in Wales. The great bast been delivered out of my hand, and I work having been mainly accomplished by ask for nothing more of thee than that I preaching, everything pertaining to the should be honoured ; I have received an mode of treating evangelical doctrine by atonement from thy Surety, but reverence Welsh preachers is naturally an object of is still due to me. The blood of him wbo interest and curiosity with those who, being died on the cross is upon me, and I cannot be strangers to the language, have had little trodden under foot without that blood being opportunity of judging for themselves. But also trodden upon. The understanding befew Welsh sermons have been translated tween us is complete—thou expectest not into English. The present volume will be life of me, and I look for no compensation valued, therefore, as an example, independ. from thee-we both receive from the same ently of its great intrinsic merit. It may be source; thou hast life, and I have satisfac. regarded as a specimen of the instrument- tion and honour. Although these things ality by which the entire character of a na. could not be interchanged between us alone, tion has been changed, and by which Chris. | yet we rejoice on each others behalf. I retian churches have been multiplied to a joice in thy life, and thou rejoicest in my degree unprecedented in any other country honour. There shall be no enmity between in modern times."
us any more: we belong to the same owner Any com tion of our own would
and master, we are both objects of his love now be deemed unnecessary ; but we must-he gave his life a sacrifice to one, and he endeavour to find room for a few of the gave it a sacrifice for thee. "pearls at random strung,” in order to “ The people of God are chosen, not for justify the high opinion entertained by our anything that was in them, but for the pur. Welsh brethren.
pose of bestowing upon them what they had “Righteousness greatly exalts its pos- not. Many things were chosen at the same sessor ; but who is he? The Bible says, time, but all for their sakes. A foundation • There is none righteous, no, not one;' and was chosen, but it was for the edifice; a yet it is full of announcements of good to surety was chosen, but it was for the debt. the righteous. When we see a righteous The people of God are the people of man, it is right to ask who he is, and his love. It was wonderful love, to give the whence he came. He is unjust by nature, greatest gift for them- the Son-the onlybut is made just by the grace of God, and begotten Son! It was love to perform the according to the appointment of God. 'Ye greatest work in them; to make their per. are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, sons children of God, and unite their nature and by the Spirit of our God.' There is to God; to design for them the highest a name that justifies. • This is the name happiness, when they were in the lowest whereby he shall be called, The LORD OUR estate ; and to make them meet for a glori. RightEOUSNESS.' The Spirit of our ous inheritance, even for heaven's highest God' makes the soul to believe in his name, glory. The people of God are the people of and he thereby becomes justified. 'Being his peculiar care. His eye is upon them, justified by faith, we have peace with God, and will not be turned away from them. through our Lord Jesus Christ.' The He provides for them a suitable place on change involved in justification is great and earth. All earth and all heaven are subserwonderful, and its consequences will for vient to the will of God respecting them: ever affect the state and condition of the every law of nature is subject to their intesoul. In the righteousness of Christ the rests. If you would know what sort of believer will stand before God for ever. guide and protector God is, ask the sea, the The justified man becomes just in nature rocks, the fiery furnace, and the lion's den. and disposition. A boly disposition is im- | The saints are the people of God's delight. planted in him, when he is justified. He is They call upon him, and he answers them; he is with them in trouble: he delivers and one, and the churches intrusted to their honours them, and he shows them his salva- care obey the admonitions and exemplify tion. He taketh pleasure in them that the piety recommended in the other, and fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.' unprecedented will be the success and the They are the people of his glory. He is triumphs of the gospel. “The signs of the manifested in them, and by them, to the times," however, as we read them, awaken world. His image is in them, and they fear, quite as much as they inspire hope. spread the knowledge of his name. More There is a kind of preaching becoming of his moral image is seen in the work of his popular which we cannot so well describe Spirit in them, than in all the visible crea. by what it is, as by what it wants; which tion besides. • This people I have formed has more earnestness of manner than of for myself; they shall show forth my praise.' purpose ; which attempts to invest common These must, and do, exhibit, in their walk thoughts with an air of high intellectuality; and conversation, a beauty and a grandeur, and which presents evangelical truths, when with which the magnificence of worldly men, it condescends to give them prominence, in called great, cannot be compared. Such the jargon of a vague philosophy, as foreign beauty belongs to the brothereood,' how to the purity of our Saxon English, as it is ever despicable in the sight of men the indi- unsuited to the simple and sublime docviduals may appear."
trines which it mystifies and obscures. “ The pleasures of sin consist in the sin- And with as little satisfaction can we ful enjoyment of things which God has contemplate the piety which many of the given man for his good. It is not the thing professing Christians of the present day enjoyed that is sinful, but the manner and exemplify in the heart, the family, the circumstances of its enjoyment. Sin is not church, and the world. Many of our in the pleasure, but in the breach of the churches with their pastors seem to be in a Divine law of pleasure. The fruit is God's ; transition state ; and whether it be for good but is it forbidden to you? The pleasure or for evil must depend, under God, upon of eating fruit not forbidden, is not the the wise, judicious, and devout efforts and pleasure of sin. God forbids you even the examples of the apostolic men among us, desire of what he has kindly given to your who perceive the approaching crisis, and neighbour for full enjoyment, namely, his throw all their energies into the conflicting property, consisting of all that is his.' elements to neutralise and counteract the The pleasures he enjoys lawfully, would be tendencies which threaten to make the crisis to you the pleasures of sin. The lawfulness a catastrophe. or the sinfulness of pleasure is in the man- Among the foremost of these we welcome ner of seeking the pleasure, and according the author of the present volume. It is to the circumstances under which you obtain evidently the result of long observation and it. God has given the sabbath, for instance, experience. It abounds not with novelties for delight ;' but the lawfulness of the de. but verities. It is thoroughly adapted to light depends upon the manner in which the religious character of the age, and spares the pleasure is sought. Where he has given neither its foibles nor its faults ; yet does the creature for enjoyment, he has not it breathe only the spirit of kindness ; it is allowed himself to be superseded. He has at once faithful and affectionate. Could made man to enjoy God, and he does not our recommendation have weight, we would deny himself to those who seek him. He that every congregation should present their himself even seeks to become the chief good pastor with a copy of James's “ Earnest of every rational creature.”
Ministry," and procure for themselves as many of Morison's "Christianity in its
Power" as their numbers and circum. CHRISTIANITY in its POWER; or, Piety
stances may seem to require. We do not exemplified in the Heart, the Family, pretend to offer any analysis of the book. the Church, and the World. By John But for the sake of our numerous readers who Morison, D.D., LL.D.
may not have immediate access to the work London : Ward and Co.
itself, we make no apology for introducing "An Earnest Ministry," and “ Chris- the following extracts : tianity in its Power," as illustrated in this • Is there not some reason to apprehend most seasonable and excellent treatise, uni. that meditative piety is at a low ebb with versally prevalent in our churches, would many professed Christians in our day? But indicate the approach, if not the actual how can the soul prosper in religion in the arrival, of the millennium. We regard it as absence of all retirement and devout rea happy coincidence that these works of flection ? It is not to the secular avocations Dr. Morison and Mr. James should be so of life, nor yet to active service in the cause nearly simultaneous in their appearance. of religion, that we must look as a prepaLet “the young ministry” yield to the ration for the more retired exercises of vital instructions and imbibe the spirit of the 1 godliness and heartfelt communion with
God: far rather must we seek to prepare living Head of the church, upon which both ourselves for the duties of uur luwlul call. life and progress must equally depend."ings, and for our work of faith and labour p. 67. of love,' by that secret and meditative re. "If a church is not to be regarded as a tirement which is the strength of every pious prison house, it ought at least to be viewed habit, and the nourishment of every Chris- as a religious home, whither our warmest tian grace.”-p. 11.
preferences are all to be directed, Members " When the head of a family is brought who have no sympathy with this feeling are to Christ, there is hope in Israel,' con- neither in a condition to receive benefit cerning that family. Not, indeed, by any themselves, nor to impart benefit to others. hereditary transmission of religious influ- They may wander abroad, it is true, but ence; but by the blessing of God, vouch- there is no sabbath home for such professafed upon the use of proper means, such sors; they may grieve and afflict their own as prayer, instruction, discipline, and holy pastors, but they will comfort the heart of example, such a family will be placed in a no other servant of Christ; they may new and more favourable position ; its best thoughtlessly forsake the warm fellowships interests will no longer be neglected; its of their own religious communion, but they heathen condition will pass away; and great
will find them nowhere else." and happy changes may be expected to take “ Happily for the cause of vital Chrisplace in it collectively and individually.”- tianity, there are many edifying examples
on which the mind and heart can repose “Can it be fairly doubted, then, that with complacency and delight. There are membership in the visible church is impera- those, and they are in general well-known tively demanded of every disciple of the and appreciated, who feel that they owe a Son of God ? It is not affirmed, that sal- duty and an honour to the man of God,' vation depends on such membership; that who studies, prays, watches, and labours for can only depend upon union to Christ him. their spiritual good. They would not, on self. But in order to Christian consistency, light grounds, grieve or depress him who is to the full expression of Christian obedience, the appointed instrument, in the hand of to the due honouring of Christ before the God, for their comfort. When he is in his world, to the healthy action of our social place to teach, they will be in theirs to and personal Christianity, and to the com- listen to his instructions; they will not risk plete realization of Christian hopes and pri. | the loss of a regular supply of spiritual vileges,-every one who calls •Jesus Lord,' provision for an occasional feast, obtained and who is prepared to say, “Lord, what only at the price of consistency. If they wilt thou have me to do?' must, without are absent from their place in the sanctuary, hesitation or gainsaying, cast in his lot with it will be for some better reason than tbe the people of God, and bear that testimony indulgence of itching ears, and the restless for Christ, for his truth, for his public feeling which deprives them of everything ordinances and appointments, and for his like settled repose. And are such professors cause in the midst of a crooked and per- losers, in the issue, by the course which verse nation, which consists in an open, they pursue? Let any man compare them deliberate, and fearless confession of his with others of a less settled temperament, name.”—p. 64.
and he will be at no loss to determine where We intreat the special and prayerful at- the preponderance both of excellence and tention of all the members of our churches happiness lies. How any one professing to to the following observations, with which regard Christian fellowship as an ordinance we shall conclude our notice of the volume : of God, can wander about from church to
“It is deeply to be deplored, when union church, and yet dream of his being in the to the church is regarded as an end, rather path of duty, is a mystery which it is diffithan a means. We come into the church, cult to solve. It is not merely that such a that, by getting nearer to Christ and his course must deeply afflict the feelings of a people, we may enjoy larger opportunities pastor; but it must tend to the rapid decay of spiritual culture. If, amidst the green of any Christian church; and, as an ex. pastures of the Redeemer's fold, we indicate ample, must be most injurious in its influ. no signs of spiritual growth, we may well ence on the minds of those who are young tremble lest our entrance into that fold has and inexperienced in the Christian life. not been by Christ, the door. Christian What one does, another may do likewise ; progress is the uniform symptom of spiritual, and as evil examples are more pregnant than life; it can never fail except when some good ones, there is reason to look upon spiritnal blight has come over the soul. these spiritual wanderers with a suspicious And what need have all Christ's servants and anxious eye.
Were these habits to for watchfulness, lest they should substitute prevail every church would be disorganised, the duties and forms of the Christian pro. and all the endearments of Christian fellowfession, for that vitul communion with the ship would come to an end."-pp. 69–70.