Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

precision, and accurate reasoning, that cannot fail to give satisfaction to every unprejudiced inquirer, who is desirous to become acquainted with that important article of our holy religion. Howe's Living Temple, and Owen on the Spirit, will afford an ample field of discussion on the operations and sanctification of the Spirit ; and it ought ever to be remembered that the errors, corruptions, and superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church never can be sufficiently understood, unless a solid foundation has been laid in a minute investigation of the person, influence, and work of the Holy Ghost, as a comforter, witness, guide, and instructor.

The works of the Rev. Mr. Dickenson of America, and of Mr. Frazer merit the close perusal of sueh as are desirous to make themselves acquainted with Paul's views in the serenth chapter, which were understood by Luther, Zwingle, and the other leading reformers in the sense given by Calvin and Augustine. Mr. Burkitt, in his Exposition of the New Testament, has some valuable practical observations on this chapter.

The eighth chapter has, in all ages of the Christian church, afforded comfort to the afflicted, strength to the weak, joy to the sorrowful, confidence to the desponding, and triumph to the Christian confiding in the Captain of his salvation. Calvin had nearly the same view of a new heaven and a new earth, which Dr. Chalmers has given in one of his sermons. By limiting the sense of our being conformed to the image of Christ to the trials and suf

* Did not our gracious Redeemer wish to prevent us from dwelling on locality with respect to heaven, when he tells us, in regard to one of our dearest earthly relations, we shall be like angels? Can any good be expected to arise from such opinions concerning another world, as induce us to institute a comparison between it and the present? Has not this been the cause of many errors in the Christian world? Is it not the great object of the gospel to spiritualize our minds, CALVIN'S COMMENTARY.

629

ferings of the believer in this world, Calvin shows his freedom from a desire to support any pre-conceived opinion by wresting the Scripture to serve a purpose. The quotations, which I have given from Peter Martyr, clearly prove that Calvin's opinions on the subject of election and reprobation were entertained by this distinguished divine, who assisted in the English reformation. St. Paul's prophetic view, that the gospel would be rejected by the Jews until the fulness of the gentiles should come in, has been thus far verified. He points also to the awful declension from primitive Christianity, which has taken place at Rome itself, and thus afforded, not only the strongest warning to that city, but to all the gentiles, of the necessity of making the word of God alone the standard of our faith in doctrine, discipline, and manners. When shall we behold all Protestants labouring as much to convert the Jews as Paul himself, alone and single-handed, did to Christianize the heathen world?

Calvin's observations on the five last chapters afford a clear proof of his excellence as a moral commentator; and how vain all those objections are which have been adduced against the morality of the system established by the first reformers. These doctrines, and these alone, are calculated to give peace to the conscience, to enlarge our views of the divine character and economy, to enable us to gain a victory and triumph over ourselves, and to open for us a scene of endless joy in a world beyond the grave. The bold, unflinching preaching of these opinions has carried light, and truth, and happiness, and peace, to the remotest regions of the globe.

when they dwell on the nature, characters, happiness, and joys of the ransomed in endless glory? Does not the undefined state of heaven, as represented in Scripture, contribute to add to the evidence of the gospel, when it is contrasted with an heathen Elysium, or a Mahometan paradise ?

Immorality the most abandoned, polytheism the most awful, superstition the most gross, and ignorance the most stupid, have, by the proclaiming of these truths, been changed to knowledge, virtue, the fear and love of God, the Saviour, Redeemer, Preserver, and Creator of the world.

Salmasius, one of the most learned men of any age, was, on his death-bed, desirous to have his life lengthened for a single year, that he might devote it to the study of the Psalms, and of St. Paul's epistles. This distinguished scholar then found, that all his learning could avail nothing, when the king of terrors, staring him in the face, held him in his last and final embrace; and he bequeathed to the most ignorant scholar one valuable lesson-to seek for a conquest over death and the grave, by studying, under the guidance of the Spirit, the records of the King of heaven and earth.* The precepts and the promises of David are useful for our direction, support, and comfort, in the duties, joys, sufferings, and afflictions of time ; and his hosannas and hallelujahs form the best and most delightful preparations for heaven. Paul, while he points out the depth, extent, and inveterate malignity of our corruptions, leads us to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, that we may fight the fight of faith under the banners of our Redeemer, and by obtaining a conquest over ourselves, the world, and the devil, may be ready, after finishing our course with patience, love, and joy, to receive a crown incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading. Thus a preparation will be made for that kingdom, where we shall see God as he is, be like him, and enjoy him for ever.

* The very busiest of mortals has no cause to complain of the size of the divine volume, since by reading three chapters each day of the week, and five on the sabbath, the whole may be completed in one year. The Psalms, and all the New Testament, except three chapters, will be finished by reading one chapter daily, and two each Sabbath.

NOTES

TO THE

LIFE OF CALVIN.

(a) Mathurin Cordier, Cordery, or Corderius, was distinguished for his piety, learning, and probity. Few men, in any age, were more successful or indefatigable teachers than he was ; and he invariably laboured to combine true religion and morality with the improvement of the understanding. He was born 1479, and died at Geneva, September 8, 1564. He studied divinity for some time at Paris, about 1528 ; and was indebted, under Providence, to Robert Stephens, for a complete emancipation from the errors and superstitions of Popery. He spent upwards of fifty years in teaching, at Paris, Nevers, Bourdeaux, Geneva, whence he was banished the same year with Calvin, at Neuchatel, Lausanne, where they wished to have placed him at the head of the college ; but the inhabitants of Neuchatel, where he then taught, would not part with him. He concluded his laborious career of teaching in Geneva, and taught the sixth form till within three or four days of his death, aged eighty-five. He taught according to the monitorial system, and educated 600 boys with more order and silence than are observed by most teachers who have only thirty or forty. The reformers displayed an inde. fatigable zeal for promoting education, and never failed to make it serve as an handmaid to religion. What an awful declension has taken place in this respect among the Protestants of the nineteenth century! Something is doing, and has already been done for the religious education of the lower classes, while the middling and the higher are frequently altogether neglected in this most important branch of instruction. We trust the time is not distant when every good classical school will pay so much attention to the Old and New Testament, even in some of the higher departments of biblical criticisms, as to compel all our colleges to assume a more distinguished stand in one of the most important branches of literature. What a disgrace that Britain should be so much surpassed by Germany in this truly useful study! Shall we not be roused by our American descendants ?*

Calvin, in 1550, dedicated to Cordier his Commentary on the first epistle to the Thessalonians, and acknowledged him. self indebted to this admirable Latin grammarian for all his future skill in that language. “I take this opportunity," he writes, “ to testify to posterity, that, if they derive any benefit from my writings, they must in a great measure acknowledge it to have flowed from your instructions." The system of education in the High School of Edinburgh, which has been adopted with so much success nearly all over Scotland, appears very much to resemble in its general arrangement what was followed by Cordier.

His colloquies, long continued even in Britain, the first stepping-stone in the ascent to the temple of learning; and Dr. Reynolds recommends them, as useful in assisting to ena. ble classical scholars to speak Latin, in which we have been so much surpassed by our continental neighbours.

I look back with delight to the time when I began the study of Cordery under one of the most affectionate of tutors and friends, the Rev. Mr. Hair of Torpenhow, Cumberland, whose attainments, as a sound classical scholar, were of no ordinary character. I spent four years of very great happiness under his truly parental roof. A striking humility, and the most' unassuming manners, distinguished every part of his conduct. Gentleness was his chief means for conveying knowledge, and the plan of severity never once entered his mind. He was curate of the present bishop of Bath and Wells, who afterwards promoted him to Hayton. Mr. Hair was much beloved by his parishioners, in spite of the collection of tithes, which have contributed more than any other cause to secularize our clergy, to create discord between them and their flocks, to paralyze the exertions of the farmers and the peasantry—“ their country's pride"—to augment the number, add to the influence, and strengthen the power of the dissenters. From Bishop Hall, to whom I was intro. duced by my instructor in English, the Rev. Mr. Parsable, in consequence of the bishop being a school-fellow with Mr. Hair, and of his high opinion of Mr. Parsable, I experienced at Dublin all the attention, watchfulness, and care of a parent. I enjoyed the use of his library, and he directed my studies. Few men displayed a greater sense of principle, or a stronger

• Professor Stuart's Critical Remarks on the Epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews are truly valuable.

« AnteriorContinuar »