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THE ANCIENT PEOPLE OF GOD.
more sure, what must the wavering, doubting Israelite
think? Truly we may well say, when hearing the While age after age has passed on, rolling the billows of meaning of this plain truth so turned to suit man's preTime each into his appointed lot, while man, like the in judices, “ that man hath sought out many inventions." sect of a day, has fluttered on his little day, where And we forget if we begin by rejecting this truth we have been those great events fulfilling the prophecies deny the omniscience of God, who has revealed in lanwhich said they should be, have any failed, has one been guage so plain that all who will may read that it shall found to fail, has the great chain once been broken ful be, and if we deny this attribute of the Almighty, we filling the will of the Mighty Mind who inspired it ? may also deny His omnipotence to bring these great
Years have rolled on, empires have crumbled to the events to pass, and every other of His attributes, until at dust, dynasties have ceased to be, nations have been length we arrive at the climax of the infidel, that there buried to rise no more, the crown has fallen from the | is no God. aged head, the oppressor has grasped the much wished Independent of the effects of this upon their own for rule, tyranny has had her short-lived sway, yet where minds, such believers are little aware of its effect upon has the word of prophecy not been verified as these pas those who are concerned with ourselves in the great sed on in the day of Time? where are the mighty con. events to come, and with whom, notwithstanding all querors of the east ? all gone: where the mighty em their tradition, the monstrous doctrines of their Talmud, perors of the west? gone, and all their greatness gone : and their determined blindness, this great truth has ever where the sovereigns of earth's earliest empires ? gone, stood forth with striking prominence; to be united unall gone: vain in their most dazzling splendour, low on der one King, to reign at their ancient city, has ever the highest pinnacle of their greatness ; dust has been been the hope of the people of Israel ; scattered sheep gathered to the dust of earth, and the splendid memen- to be once again gathered under one Shepherd has ever tos of their power have but remained to tell us that man | been a support in the darkest of their days of woe: and has lived, and inan has long since died.
why is the Christian, now that the shade is passing from Yet though earth has returned to that from which it their minds to affirm, that this shall not be, that their was taken, and the mighty revolutions of Time have hope is without foundation, their belief wrongly estabgone their round, no word of prophecy has failed, and lished. from our Saviour himself we learn that no word of pro As to the change under which that state of things phecy shall fail.
shall be is not the point in question, but to be openly Can we wonder then that the people, the chosen peo declared that they shall not be gathered under one ple of God, the people “still beloved for the fathers' King, the righteous Branch of David, and that by Chrissake," look with the mistrust and suspicion upon us as tians who believe in the other prophecies is a painful they do, and upon our belief with incredulity, wonder subject of surprise and awe, surprise at their rejecting ing at our inconsistency and the contradictions we the concluding subjects of prophecy, the summing up affirm; with one hand we offer them the word of pro of all its great and glorious events—and awe at the phecy and tell them to search and think with us; with dreadful increase of that infidel power which is declared the other we present to them our own incredulity to stop in the latter days of the world shall entangle in its er. their believing all, to prevent their believing the whole rors even some of those who appear the most devotedly of it.
opposed to it. Though we may look with horror upon the wicked. And strange, and almost incredible, must it appear ness of the infidel, and be startled at his daring profane- that those who receive one part of Scripture should reness, we are perhaps taking steps to arrive at his state, ject the remainder, often separating the same prophecy, of which when setting out we little think: and what often believing in the first clause, yet rejecting the latthen can the Hebrew people think of us, hearing us ter, though both are dictated by the same great Being, professing Christianity, believing in some parts of its | receiving one part as to be, and the remainder as not to faith, yet rejecting others; receiving Christ as the be fulfilled; as for instance, the words of Jeremiah, upMessiah, yet refusing to believe the predictions that they on which, with other portions of the same word, the Isshall be gathered under Him as their great Head, again raelites have built their hopes of future peace, happia chosen nation under the same great King who has al ness, and exaltation ; " Behold, the days come, saith the ready ruled them.
Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, And yet it is declared, unhesitatingly declared, that and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute this will not be, and by Christians whose practice would judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah lead to the belief that none of the great truths of Chris- shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is tianity were slightly valued by thein, so decidedly avow his name, whereby he shall be called, the Lord our ed by some Christians that even those of the same faith righteousness, And in Isaiah “ The government shall long accustomed to believe that every part of the word be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called of God must be true as His word,-although the finite Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlascapacity of man may not understand all its great mys ting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of teries, and the understanding of man may not be en his government and peace there shall be no end, upon lightened to know the exact times and seasons of the the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, events therein declared-if even they turn to ponder and to establish it with judgment and with justice from over those truths of which they have never had a sha henceforth even for ever :" and yet many, very many, dow of doubt, to make the assurance in their belief still | will believe in the first of these passages, that Judah and Israel shall but enjoy the gospel privileges of the Chris- | individual of earth is not blessed if they will accept the tian, and shall not have a King to reign over them: and benefits arising from our Saviour's death. From the in the latter, that He, of whom the prophecy was writ- Jews, therefore, every nation of the earth, and we conten, is the Mighty God, but that He shall not reign up. sequently among them are blessed, for our Saviour was on the throne of David, to establish it with justice; how a Jew. strange, that while the pride of man will bow to believe And as by Him we receive the full benefits of in the Divinity of Christ and his power to save, that its redemption, so through Hiin we receive every blessing prejudices will not bow to the belief in Hiin as a King which arises to us from lise itself, for what blessing with power to reign.
would life have been to any human creature, if the Independent of the wickedness of such belief is it not immortal spirit was but to live here that it might eter. cruel now, at the present great crisis, when, with the nally dic hereafter; as from Him therefore proceeds termination of their last year terminated the hopes of a the blessing of redemption, so on Him therefore bangs great portion of the Jewish nation as to the appearance every hope of life, peace, and exaltation hereafter, of the Messiah; when the great period predicted by every benefit, every hope, then is derived from One, one of their most esteemed Rabbies many hundred years who, in his human nature, was a Jew. ago as the time when He should come is now closed, and And it may be enquired could He, in whom was when consequently the doubts are still more strong in found no guile, and “in whose mouth was no deceit," their minds either that He has already appeared, and have countenanced the belief of His people on the fulthat the despised Jesus of Nazareth is their long-looked filment of the prophecy of Zechariah,Tell ye the for Messiah; or, that the prophecies, as also the pre daughter of Zion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee," dictions and traditions of their Rabbies—which like when they exclaimed, “Hosanna to the Son of David, those of another faith are held to be of far greater iin blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the portance than the word of God,-must be untrue, and Lord:” would He have countenanced such belief, may all be untrue, for if one is so what ground have would He not rather, were the same scenes to be again they or we for believing all are not, and consequently acted, exclaim to those in our own day who refuse to carrying up the argument arrive at the conclusion that receive Him as a King, and seek to influence the there is no God?
belief of others; would He not probably reply to them Now, inore especially does the belief, and declaration as to the openly professed disbelievers in that day, “I of such belief, in Christians tend to throw a stumbling tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones block in the way of the Hebrew people, even when | would immediately cry out.” they begin to believe, from the fulfilment of so many of Could He, who Truth himself spake but the words their prophecies, that Christ is the Messiah, His divine of Truth ? could He, who suffering froin the malignity nature is one of their greatest difficulties in seeing clear of him, who is described in scripture as “ the father of ly; they can far sooner believe Him to be the Son of Da- | lies ?" could He have permitted even Pilate to have vid than they can the Son of God. Why then should continued in the belief that He was a King if He were We seek to overthrow the first dawnings of their belief not so; still less knowing that belief would lead Pilate by affirming that He is the Son of God, but not the Rigle- to act as he did by proclaining, not alone to the Jewteous Branch of David, that shall reign, and instead of ish, but to the Greek and Roman people assembled at shewing to them that from their prophecies alone, inde. Jerusalem, “This is the King of the Jews,” still less pendent of the New Testament, that we believe He would He have ailowed the error to have been proclaimshall appear again as God, and reign at Jerusalem as ed when death had sealed the costly sacrifice, and when God, and a theocracy again be established, and man, as the hearts of those who had trusted “it had been the Son of David, whose son it is declared shall reign He who should have redeemed Israel," were led to look for ever in " the holy mountain of the Lord :" we place forward for His kingdom of glory? It was impossible. before them difficulties, of which they may well say to He who spake no word but truth could not have counthe Missionaries, and to those interested in their welfare, tenanced error. Therefore as those who will not be6. How can Christians expect us to believe that their lieve this great part of the Christian faith imply an erMessiah is ours, when, in the same prophecies, which ror, either in themselves or in the words of Christ, let you desire to prove to us it is shewn He is, and that llis them ask themselves which becometh inost the state of Divinity is established, you reject the saine prophecies i man: to suppose and believe an error and deceit in the that He shall reign over us, as the Righteous Branch of | Creator and Saviour of the world; or a great want of David in our ancient and beloved city;" and if it is long faith, and great self-deceit in their own blind and prebefore they can discern that under the name of Chris judiced hearts when they refuse to receive Jesus as the tians are those who profane it by their profession, who “King of the Jews.” are openly idolaters, and who are also at heart infidels, October 17, 1839. it is still longer before they can understand why, among conscientious Christians, they should retain a disbelief
SCRIPTURE PORTRAITS. of part of the word of God, and a separation in its pro
No. v. mhecies, which to them, when awakening, appear as clear
THE FIRST ARTIFICERS. the connected as any other portion of the Scriptures. The first artificers of whom we read in the most clude w ungrateful are we to this people; through thein, | ancient, as well as the most authentic and accurate of
ascendants of Abraham, every “nation of the all histories, are recorded as having lived in a very me ...o be blessed,” and what nation, family, or Phil, iii,
early period of the word. In die fourth chapter o
ienesis, we are informed, that “Jubal was the father if we enter our protest against the prevalent idolatry of all such as handle the harp or the organ,” and that of talent. Let it be cultivated in its various branches, subalcain was “an instructer of every artificer in let it be exercised in its various provinces, so long and brass and in iron.” As we view their portraits, we
| so far as its cultivation and its exercise come not into Idmire the inventive faculty, the ingenuity and skill, collision with the high demands of Christian duty ; let he perseverance and success, by which they were it be viewed as subordinate and subsidiary, not as listinguished; but when we reflect that these eminent supreme; let it be the servant of piety, but not it's nen were of the race of Cain, we cannot suppress substitute; much less, einployed as it's resources and 1 sigh.
it's energies are, we too frequentiy behold it, it's adDo, then, it may be asked, children uniforınly mani versary. “One thing is needful;" and for that one thing fest the spirit, adopt the principles, cherish the senti
no brilliancy of genius, no embellishments of education, ments, and tread in the steps of their progenitors ?
no depths of scientific research, no refinements of lite. Have we never known ungodly children of godly rary taste, no facination of eloquence, no “ Concord of parents? And are there, on the other hand, no instances, sweet sounds," whether in music or in poetry, can in which the offspring of irreligious parents, receive, compensate. Suppose a man to shine in any, or in rejoice in, and adorn the gospel of the grace of God?".
all of these departments, suppose hiin to realize all Such instances there are, and, doubtless, always have that we have read of a Crichton: he may be " the been: but of the fact we have certainly no indication adınirable" in the estimation of his fellow men; but if in the sacred narrative that the family of Cain presents he be living without God in the world,” the impartial an illustration. On the contrary, we are led from it voice of truth must pronounce him “ of all men most to infer that the example which Cain had given, shed miserable.” For, let it be remembered that, in proit's contagious and baneful influence even over his portion to the talents bestowed, is the deep and solemn children's children, and thal they exhibited a family responsibility, which the exercise of those talents inlikeness in the strongly marked features of infidelity volves. Even, though not marshalled in hostile array and impiety. For, had there been any illustrious against religion, if they are allowed to divert from it exceptions, any members of the family, of whom, in the attention, and to alienate from it the heart, they will the register which has been preserved of their names, assuredly draw down upon their possessor “a curse, it might have been said, as it was subsequently and not a blessing." recorded of Enoch and Noah, that they “ walked with The root of the evil, against which we would lift up God," have we not reason to think that they would, the voice of faithful warning, and kindle the friendly like these, have been singled out from their fellows, and blaze of the beacon fire, is this: men forget that spoken of in terins, which, however concise, would natural faculties and intellectual endowments are not leave us no room to question their being distinctly less the gifts of the most High God, than ore the pointed out as inodels for our initation ?
spiritual qualities of faith, hope, love, and all the gifis, Of the disunion between piely and talent, which graces, and fruits of the Spirit, There may be a ineaappears to have existed in the case of the first artiticers, sureless distance between the value of one order of the instances have unhappily been in every age too gifts, and that of the other; but all are from God. He numerous: in none more than our own. And as it who imparted to Bezaleel and Aboliab their mechanical is an age, remarkable for it's idolatry of talent; in ingenuity and skill, for the especial purpose of conwhich it appears to be an extensively prevailing structing the tabernacle, with it's sacred appendages, sentiinent, that the cultivation of' :he intellect may be who “ filled" them " with the Spirit of God in wis. allowed to supersede the cultivation of the heart; that “dom and in knowledge, and in all manner of workman. infidelity in principle, and inpiety in practice, are "ship, to devise cunning works, to work in golii, and in lightly to be regarded, if associated with exuberance of “silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones 1o set genius, splendour of eloquence, inventive ingenuity, , “ them, and in carving of timber to work in all man. "hterary or scientific pre-eminence, it cannot be justly “ner of workinanship," bestowed upon Jubal and Tubaldeemed unseasonable, and it may, under the divine cain those faculties, by which the one was enabled to blessing, be not unprofitable, to offer a few remarks become the father and founder of musical science, the upon the subject.
inventor of musical instruments, and the other an Nothing could be inore uncandid or unreasonable instructer of every artificer in brass and iron. Of neia than to argue that the disunion, so frequently witnessed, ther of the objects, in the accomplishinent of which between talent and piety, is inevitable. And were the inventive faculty with which God had endowed We disposed to advance such an argument, it would at them, was developed and exerted, would we speak in once be refuted by the fact, that there are now, as there | disparaging terms, because, like every thing else in a have been before, men eminent for genius, for intellec- ! world of fallen creatures, they have been, and often tual cultivation, for literary and scientific attainments, are perverted and prostituted to pernicious purposes Who arc" not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” are by human depravity. If music has lent it's fascination actuated by it's principles, animated by it's hopes, to the song of the voluptuary, and ministered fuel soothed and supported by its consolatious, afford tri to the fire of licentious passion, has it not innocently Emphant evidence of it's efficacy, and abound in it's beguiled the mind of many a care, southed it in inany Fich, and varied, and lovely fruit.
an hour of depression, and aided it's tight, in the soLet it not, then, for a moment be supposed that we lemın services of the sanctuary, froin earth to heaven? look with an unfriendly eye on the exercise of talent, | To condenm this science because of it's abuse, would be as unjust, as to pronounce a censure upon the art of ment a little girl came in who often went on meswhich Tubalcain was the inventor, and to which we sages for Esther, and without a moment's further are indebted for so many of the comforts and conve thought, she pulled out the crown piece she had niences of life, because it has often been employed in treasured, and resolved that Walters should not go the fabrication of engines and implements of war, without his “bit of roast;" though she was unable to bloodshed, and death. But when in the gifts of God leave the house, she gave the girl full directions the giver himself is wholly and awfully forgotten; when, and despatched ber to market. instead of being exercised, with humble and grateful | Esther had arisen that morning with a quiet and recognition of the hand which bestowed them, to his happy persuasion, that not only all would go righ glory, they tend only to blind the mind and steel the through the day, but that its course would be market heart against him; when they elevate their possessor to by some blessing of Providence. She had lain dowd a lofty pinnacle in his own estimation, and render him to at night with a mind at peace, trusting in God and others, as well as to himself, an object of idolatrous desiring to submit to bis blessed will; a better unadmiration; when, dazzled by their brilliancy, men derstanding had been established between her and view them with fond complacency, and hail them her busband, and sweet mutual confidence and symwith rapturous applause, though there may be in the
pathy restored : so it was natural she should awake individual who possesses them 3 total absence of moral
with happy feelings; but to this happy state of mind worth and religious principle; when, in a word, talent
was added a little, a very little of excited feeling; appears to be regarded as infinitely more important
it was unusual with her, but it was under the infla. than piety, we would, speaking was the oracles of
ence of this, she acted in so hastily sending ber God," remind our readers that it is not talent but
little savings for the “ bit of roast," a temporary godliness, which " is profitable unto all things, having
indulgence at best; and she did not with her cuspromise of the life that now is, and of that which is to
tomary caution reflect that it might be required for “come.”
something more absolutely needful. She pleased
herself in preparing a surprise for her husband, The Bookseller of Allerton, or Practical Piety when he should see his roast meat and pudding (Continued from page 153.)
ready as usual.
She was just setting about the preparation for the Now, as religious people, their feelings in this in. latter, when the sound of steps running up to the stance might have changed, but the practice was not door drew her attention, and the voice of a child so blamable in their case, for it never detained | crying bitterly rather alarmed her; the little girl Esther or any one else from Church. This is seldom burst in, and sobbing violently, cried out that she the case, but the sermon was so short, and the ser.
had lost the crown piece. vice at rather an early hour, that Walters usually Esther was silent for a moment; a fear of the strolled into the fields while most persons were at
child's truth crossed her mind, but she knew the dinner, and Esther by the aid of her oven had all often fatal effect of a charge, or even the apparent susready for him in good time.
picion of falsehood or dishonesty. She checked her Latterly, however, both Walters and his wife ap own feelings and temper; and drawing the girl peared as many persons do, who are beginning to towards ber enquired how she had lost it. She had “go down in the world,” they were careless of many helped another girl to carry a basket, she said, and little' comforts and enjoyments they had formerly and in order to do so put the money in her bosom, been tenacious of, and Esther bad scarcely noticed and when she looked for it, it was gone. that Walters had gone without his " bit of roast," Esther took another way than accusation to elicit for the few last Sundays.
the truth; she knew the child's feelings could not be It had been his practice on Saturday morning to hardened, and that her own manner in this occa. hand her the money to procure it, and during her sion would convict or clear her. She told her how confinement he was obliged to take this office on grieved she was, how she had lost what she wanted himself, and on her recovery made some excuse for both for the baby and the husband, she had been so not returning to his former habit. The true cause happy in making ready for the morrow, but now of this change now occurred to Esther, and she they must go without their dinner, for she had no thought this prudent self denial was a real sacrifice more money to spend. The girl's cobs redoubled on her husband's part. Esther had been very frugal at the picture she drew, and clinging to Esther she in her expenditure while she was ill, and bad saved cried, “Oh, Mrs. Walters you shall have all my some shillings which were appropriated by her hus dinner, I will not touch a bit, I will bring it over band to the purchase of any little indulgences she to you myself, and ask mother to give you some might require. This money she laid safely by, and more; she will be angry with me I am sure for intended to expend it in getting some additional losing the money, but that is no matter.” dresses for her infant; but this day she reflected on Esther kissed her, told her she did not wish to the impropriety of spending money on the child, have anything said about it, she would make out while her husband's comforts were neglected, and something for Walters and not care about the dine colored at the recollection of the pretty cap with ner herself, and with some exhortations to greater which she had before pleased her funcy. At this mo. | carefulness, dismissed the unfortunate messenger.
Wben she had gone, Esther sat down leaving the when she got home why she laid out her money, with table covered with what she had been preparing, us, instead of spending it, as I fear she generally and feeling a check put to all her activity, and a does, in a worse way.” blank left in her mind. This might seem a very « Yes Esther, you are right, it would he un. little trial to one who was unacquainted with similar thankful not to look back to this day and feel that little things, yet Esther did not feel the same He has heard our prayers." pleasant and full acquiscence in the will of God, and “Ab! but my crown !” thought Esther, "is the dispensations of Providence, with which she had | not this a contradiction ?" she was silent, for she risen in the morning; in which she had been so could not with her whole heart assent to what was persuaded that all would go well, she had made no said, but the idea of concealment made her more preparation for the contrary. She thought they uneasy. Walters went back to the shop, and she should receive an answer to their prayers of the sat with her infant on her lap musing on what had preceding night, but she did not regulate her con. passed. While she thought, that text which has duct in the way to meet that answer. "In the way been for the comfort of many a perplexed and of Thy judgements have we waited for 'Thee, Oh, believing heart, came to her mind" All things Lord," says the prophet. The persuasion that God shall work together for good to them that love will supply future wants, should not lead to preseut | God," and by the help of this she was soon able to extravagance, nor the fruits of saving at one time, see clearer how to reconcile the apparent contradicbe applied to additional expenditure at another. tion in the dealings of Providence, that day with
All this was not yet clear to Esther, she felt she regard to them. had done wrong and she regretted it, but her regret Walters bad less reliance on that overruling Prowas chiefly produced by the loss of the crown; had vidence than she had; bis faith required to be the articles it was to purchase come home she pro strengthened; but though his faith was less, his conbably would not bave felt her error. The events of sistency in respect to it was greater; for having asked the day appeared likely now to be the very reverse the Divine direction and blessing, he waited at his of what she had anticipated. All Esther's activity post, in the line of his calling, desirous of knowing was suddenly stopped, and she felt unwilling to set what he ought to do, and was thus ready to receive in about anything.
the course of common events an answer suited to his During this same day, bowever, a circumstance of circumstances. Esther on the, other hand had an a different nature occurred to Walters, who endea undefined idea that something would be done for vouring to bring his mind into a state of submission them, and instead of continuing in the way to meet and reliance upon Divine Providence, had been the expected good, she had gone quite out of the anxiously employed in devising plans whereby he way, and been led into a basty and uncalled for act. might still more retrench his small expences, or en She required the chastisement, to teach ber watchcrease his means of meeting them; and it so oc fulness and self-distrust; her husband required the curred that the wife of the man who first found out mercy, to increase his trust and encourage bis patient that he bad lost his senses, and spread the report of bis continuance in well-doing: she owned this in her burning his books, came into the shop after a long heart, and resolved to confess all to Walters. absence, and asked for some articles which Walters After this, however, a greater time of trial, than did not sell, but immediately thought he might they had ever known, was experienced by Walters begin to sell; and besides imparting to him this and his wifo, not heavy, unexpected calamities, but idea, sbe actually laid out more shillings in his shop, a daily pressure of anxious care; a low depressed than she had ever spent at one time there, even state from which no relief appeared, a gloom over when they were the best friends.
their prospects that was seldom lightened. They Walters hastened to his wife with this intelli. had nothing to do, and felt an increasing demand gence, and added
in their exertions; to be in debt was the very horror “I begin to think, my dear, that I have been of poor Walters, yet he was often reduced to his wrong in not believing that God directs the little last shilling, his last penny, and though some casual affairs of life as well as the great; I never did think relief always came, the suffering was still felt. The so till now, butit is strange that just after I bad asked man was stricken down, hope seemed exhausted. Him, as I did last night and this morning, to under Esther had been sadly tied to the house, and deprived take for me and mine, the person in the whole of otherexertion ly nursing her infant; at length it neighbourhood who were most against us, and was of age to do without her constant care, until treated us the worst, should come and buy so much that time she had only to exercise patience, to wait from me, and even things she used not to get and hope, but as soon as she could confide it to the before."
care of the little girl, who lost the crown, under the “ Yes, William, I am sure the hearts of all men superintendance of the father, she resolved to seek are at His disposal; don't you remember that the some employment as a workwoman. Ravens brought food and meat day by day to This time of trial was needful for Esther, she Elijah ? I had a pet Raven once, and know what had now ceased to expect any uncommon interposiravenous creatures they are, sure I am they would tion of Providence, and to expect the blessing of never have given Elijah a single bit if they could have God only in a regular course of events, and in the helped ; and perhaps poor Mrs. J could not telj' pursuance of whatsoever their hand found to do for