« AnteriorContinuar »
have nothing to do, but to pray reign Bible Society ? In reference to that God would direct and over the ministry, as employed for the salrule them all to his own glory in vation of the heathen world, it will the present and everlasting good of be found, that probably from six to mankind; and to avail ourselves of to seven hundred missionaries, a every opportunity of prosecuting great portion of whom were married, qur great work, which he opens for have left their respective homes, in us by the counsels and measures Christian lands, since the awak of the rulers of nations. And this ening which we witness, in order to is a fit subject for our watchful preach among the Gentiles the notice as Christians; and will be unsearchable riches of Christ.” found to furnish continual cause to Nearly half a million of money adore the wisdom and goodness of has been spent by Christians, withGod, who maketh men that “ mean in the last year of which the acnot so as he means,"' to be the in- counts have reached us, in the struments of his most holy and gra- direct work of advancing the kingcious will.
dom of Christ : about a sixth part It is an animating object for the of this sum has been supplied by Christian, to see the nations agi- American Christians, the other fivetated with unwonted feelings, under sixths by this country. the influence of principles which These facts are undoubtedly very are rooting up inveterate prejudices, encouraging, as contrasted with the and demolishing the bulwarks of apathy of earlier days, and consisuperstition throughout the world, dered as pledges and earnests of It is an animating object for the more enlarged zeal and of far Christian, to witness the vast move. greater liberality. But have we all ment of men's minds toward the done our duty in respect of the acquisition of knowledge. Because, calls for Christian exertion in our though he knows these things to be day? Very few, I fear, can truly full of danger, from the depravity say this. Our exertions are great, of man and the malice and power compared with the past exertions of the enemy, yet he knows that he of Christians ; but they are little who is “God over all, blessed for indeed, compared-not with what ever," has ordained this state of ex- the whole so-called Christian church citement and exertion, and is di- might do---but with what the real recting it to his own ends.
members of the church of Christ In respect of the exertions of this might do, and therefore ought to do. day, more particularly as connected It is a serious question, which with religion, look at those three every Christian should put to his mighty engines -- education, the conscience, whether, in respect of press, and the ministry.
money, and time, and heart, his exA system of education by mutual ertions are what they might be. instruction, has been discovered and Is nothing needlessly and improperfected in this favoured land, perly given to the show and embel. which is actually proved to be ade- lishments of life? Nothing to the quate, at an expense within reach, indulgences of life? Do I find to the instruction of every human means to spend for God but the being! And, for the press, who legal tithe of my substance ? Shall can adequately estimate its power! the Jew bring to the temple his And who can duly appreciate the willing offerings to a far greater actual use which has been made of extent than his mere tithe; and that power, in the single instance shall those, who are exalted to the of the five million copies of the privileges of the kingdom of God Scriptures, or parts of the Scrip- their Saviour, withhold from his tures, which have been put into service any talent which he has circulation by the British and Fo- bestowed in order that they may
use it for him? And where but a them; but they cannot seriously
glory of this concord: but, doubtAnd how can any young person
less, there was a secret indulgence manifest love to the Saviour more of self-complacency which displeasacceptably to him, than by cherish- ed him. ing love to the cause of that Saviour And in the noble society, which in the breasts of ten, or twenty, or most strikingly illustrated Christian thirty persons, who will give if ask- harmony and concord, and which ed? Let me press this subject on' spoke most loudly its own praise on the young. Never will you repent that ground, there the mischief besuch a course of zealous, prudent, gan ! But it does not stop there! and persevering devotedness to The spirit of division seems to be your Saviour. It will afford num- let loose! The days of Corinth berless opportunities of doing good seem fast returning! “ When we to others, and of cherishing the come together, every one hath a best feelings of a Christian in your doctrine, hath a revelation, hath an own souls; while you will render interpretation." The rule of duty steady and efficient support to those is in danger of changing its nature. who by their counsels and their Plain commands are in danger of labours are seeking the salvation of giving way to "private interpretathe world.
tion.' That most salutary rule of In other ways, many may find our church, in which I am sure our time, if prompted by ardent love to friends of other denominations will Christ, to assist in the exertions of cordially join, that most salutary these days. Above all, then, let rule of interpretation, is in danger us pray for this ardent love. It is in of being forsaken—" In our doings, the surrender of the heart to God in that will of God is to be followed which we all fail. This day, how. which we have expressly declared ever, of excitement and exertion, unto us in the word of God.” is a day of increasing difficulties. What, then, are the duties of
And whence do these difficulties this day of difficulties and dangers ? arise ? Are the heathen roused into I would sum up all in one word, opposition? No! They cry, “Come Self-controul. Let us labour and over and help us." The very Jews pray that we may rise to the full are becoming eager for knowledge ! spirit of our day, and devote ourAre the means less efficient? No! selves and our all to aid its exerAre the means withheld? No! tions; but let us remember, that They might indeed be more abun- by the grace of God its peculiar dant, they ought to be more abun. dangers are to be avoided, and its dant, and they will be more abun- peculiar difficulties to be surmountdant. This is not the source of our ed, by cherishing an humble, subdifficulties. Are, then, our outward dued, patient, watchful, and deenemies permitted to thwart and pendent spirit; “ swift to hear, oppress us? No! They seem to slow to speak, slow to wrath." be thrown back for a season : we If time would allow, I would enhear them, indeed, and we feel large on two other signs of these
eventful times. This is a day of en- human judgments on that will of couraging success, and a day of ar- God which is yet to be accomplished. dent and well-grounded expectation. The whole structure of prophecy
In respect of success, it may be is such as to strengthen and chefairly concluded, I think, from the rish the graces of the Christian, history of inissionary and Christian if he rightly use the prophetical labours, that success has been word. While it may awaken and granted, as the general rule of the maintain, taken in connexion with Divine government, in proportion the government of the world, the to the plenitude of the means. I eager attention and persevering know no instance in which success study of the most able and learned has not been proportioned to the men, it will serve to keep them vigour, perseverance, wisdom, and humble and teachable before God piety of the means that have been and man: and while prophecy, thus employed. It may please God, used, will supply perpetual incenindeed, to remove his servants by tives to duty, duty will continue sickness or death : this has been to be grounded on the plain comseverely felt by us in our West- mand. And, to the mass of ChrisAfrica mission. Herein we must tians, prophecy is of distinguished bow to His sovereign will : and benefit, if rightly used. While the though he can save by few as well as application of numberless particular by many, yet it is not in the usual prophecies must be at present hidorder of his dealings that he should den from them, yet the prophetical do so; and we must yield there. word is so written as to raise and fore, to his holy will, if the success elevate the soul to God, to enlarge diminish with the means. Nor does the desires of the Christian, to he always give success proportioned awaken increasing interest in the to the means : for, though that ap- kingdom of his Lord, and pears to be the general rule of his strengthen his faith and trust in government, he sees fit to hide pride God. My earnest counsel, therefrom man, by sometimes shewing the fore, to all, would be, Study the inefficacy of all means. But every prophecies for the confirmation of thing loudly demands at our hands as your hopes, and the awakening of our duty, in respect of hoped-for and high and holy expectations of those desired success, to multiply to the times of glory which are coming utmost the best means, in a spirit on the world. But study them with of entire and absolute dependence humility and prayer, according to by faith and in prayer on the Holy the means and opportunities afSpirit, who worketh all in all ! forded you, in due proportion to
I will only add, that we live in other parts of the sacred word, and a day of ardent and well-grounded for that holy and elevating end for hopes and expectations.
which they were designed.
J. P. The providence of God concurs with his word to awaken the most ardent hopes of the Christian. These hopes do not depend on his Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. understanding the application of particular prophecies. Let men of I PROPOSE to affix to the word piety, knowledge, and leisure, ap- “ kings" in the 16th verse of Isa. vii. ply themselves with modesty to the the meaning of “series or successions diligent study of the prophetical of kings." Some of the commentaword ; and let there be a friendly tors notice, or rather refer to, an ac. interchange of opinions and views complishment of the prophecy taken on these subjects : dogmatism, and in this sense (Scott' in loco): and intolerance, and presumption, are it is, I believe, universally admitted never more out of place, than in that the word has this meaning in
the Books of Daniel and Revelations. bear a son, which of necessity im-
a second order of succession in the It appears, from the first nine sixteenth verse, and more plainly, verses, that there was a combination I think, declared in verse 17 : to remove the descendants of David “ The Lord shall bring upon thee, from the throne of Judah, and, as and upon thy people, and upon thy some commentators have intimated father's house, days that have not (Scott, on ver. 14), to destroy the come from the day that Ephraim family altogether, Under these departed from Judah;" that is, from circumstances, what could be a the day on which a great part of the stronger assurance to the house of kingdom was reft from the grandson David, that the lineage should con- of David. I think nothing can be tinue in spite of these machinations, more natural, than to understand than the declaration, that a virgin these words of the seventeenth verse of this familyt should conceive and as a prediction of the removal of the
house of David from the kingdom In Isaiah xix. 4, the word kings is entirely, by the agency afterwards taken by Scott to mean series of kings, mentioned, namely, that of the king And perhaps the same word, in Hosea of Assyria: and I think that the reBat this is doubtful, as the plural in ference to the revolt of the ten tribes Hebrew is frequently used (it is said) as might well cause the descendants of implying, not plurality, but excellence or David to apprehend that they would superiority:
be excluded from the throne of +. I think it is the meaning that the Judah, as they had been from that virgin should be of the family of David ; but this is of no consequence.' It appears of Israel, by another family. from our translation, that the sign to be In the following verses, to the given, was not the prophecy, but the event. end of the chapter, is described the As the event was to be a sign to the house of David, it seems to me to require that terrible devastation of the land of some of David's descendants should wit- Judah, in consequence of the inness it. This includes a promise of the vasion of it by the Assyrians ; by continuance of the family of David, which which it appears, that the overthrow is all that I consider as of importance. But why should it then be a sign to this family of the power of the descendants of more than to other families of which there David would be a judgment from might be individuals witnessing it? I ad. God, bringing with it great suffermit that the answer," because God had ings upon all the people
of the land. appointed it to be a sign in the
one case. And if we find an intimation that sidered as sufficient. Yet I think we give the end of the second series of kings the prophecy no undue importance, if we should not be accompanied by any believe that the virgin should be descended such calamities, then the denunciafrom David, because thus the event foretold would be more emphatically and tion against the house of David will peculiarly a sign to the house of David. have no small additional force.
I hope to shew that there is such stroyed the scheme of interpretation an intimation of the manner in which now offered. It seems, however, to the second series of kings should make no difference. It may be terminate, in the fifteenth and six. observed, that the meaning of the teenth verses ; and, also, that these word in question is chiefly of imtwo verses unite the parts of the portance as indicating what land it prophecy, and determine the four. is whose kings are the subject of the teenth verse to be a prediction of prophecy. Now I submit, that this the birth of Jesus Christ, as direct land is still Judah. It was Judab and striking as the application of it which Abaz was vexing. It is to that event by the Evangelist. plain, from the first nine verses of
I consider the words, “ the land this chapter, that Abaz was not about which thou art so solicitous” vexing Israel or Syria by any hos. (this is an old way of translating the tilities; for the confederacy of these Hebrew-see Scott's note), to mean states against him had caused the land of Judah only. They can- such apprehension (verse 2; and not mean the land of Syria and the see 2 Kings xvi. ; 2 Chron. xxviii.) land of Israel, for these countries in Judæa, as could not have been had never been one state. Nor do excited if Ahaz had been in a I think probable the interpretation condition to act on the offensive which makes the words mean the against his enemies. And in what kingdoms of Judah and Israel; for way but in war could Ahaz vex the then the word translated “ solici- land of Israel or of Syria ? As Judah, tous" must have two meanings- Syria, and Israel, were the only naone, referring to Judæa, implying a tions to which the prophecy could solicitude arising from regard and apply, Judah must of course be the good-will ; another, referring to land referred to. And the use of Israel, implying a solicitude pro- the word “ vexest," seems to me exceeding from ill-will and fear. actly the same as the expression of Therefore, if we can find a way of Elijah, “ I have not troubled Israel, understanding the prophecy which but thou (that is, the king of Israel, affixes a definite sense to every hast troubled Israel) and thy father's part of it, and refers the whole to house.” The idea is the same in the land of Judæa, it will be far the two cases. better than these old interpretations. I understand the fifteenth verse to And if we take “ kings” to denote signify, that there should be peace
successions of kings,” it is plain from the birth of the child until he that we cannot suppose the king- should know how to refuse the evil dom of Israel to be at all alluded to. and choose the good. The words And, on the other hand, if we think " butter and honey shall he eat," the land of Israel is not alluded to, are frequently thought to denote I do not see how we can understand peace *; but no one has suggested the word “ kings.” in the sixteenth a satisfactory reason why the cirverse otherwise than as above pro- cumstance of the existence of peace posed.
should be made an object of so It has been suggested, by one of much importance in the prophecy. the very best Hebrew scholars in The duration of peace is frequently the country, that the proper trang. supposed to be predicted untilt lation is, “ the land which thou the child should attain a certain vexest (might we take it, * The land age. By the words “ until he shall which thou art vering?') shall be forsaken," &c. On the authority of * Lowth considers that peace is dethe critic who made this remark, I noted, because butter and honey, which have adopted the translation which
are the common articles of food of chilhe recommends, and would have dren in the East, cannot be obtained in
plenty in time of war.-Scott's Note. adopted it if it had completely de. + Scott's Note.