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who are much more vain than others. It is the study of a flatterer to find out this weak side of a man, and to avail himself of it : but good men are incapable of such conduct. If they see another coretous of praise, they will commonly withbold it, and that for the good of the party. It is true, I have seen the vanity of a man reproved by a coinpliance with bis wishes, giving bim what he was desirous of, and that in full measure, as it were, pressed down. He did not seem to be aware thai he had thirsted for the delicious draft till the cup was handed to him ; the appearance of which covered him with confusion. But this kind of ironical praise is a delicate weapon, and requires a quick sensibility in the person who receives the aildress, as well as in him who gives it. It is, however, hardly consistent with the modesty, gentleness, and benevolence of Christianity.
When two or more persons of a vain mind become acquainted, it may be expected they will deal largely in compliments; playing into each other's bands : where this is the case, there is great dan. ger of the blind leading the blind till they both fall into the ditch.
To a wise and humble man, just condemnation is encouraging ; but praise beyond desert is an affliction. His mind, sanctified by the grace of God, serves as a refiner to separate the one from the other ; justly appreciating what is said to him, he receives what is proper, and repels what is improper. Thus it may be, we are to understand the words of Solomon : As the fining-pot for silver, and the furnace for gold, so is a man to his praise. :
The scriptures never address themselves to the corrupt propensities of the mind, but to its original powers ; or, to use the language of the ingenious Bunyan, they have nothing to say to the Diabolians, but to the ancient inhabitants of the town of Mansoul.” Men address themselves to our vanity; God to our emula. tion. If we follow this example, we are safe. ..
The occasion of all these reflections, Mr. Editor, was my find. ing the other day, among a number of old loose papers, the following tale which carries in it the marks of being a true one; and with which I shall conclude this paper :-“ A young minister, (whom I shall call Eutychus,) was possessed of talents somewhat
above mediocrity ; his delivery was also reckoned agreeable. He was told by one of his admirers in an evening's conversation, how: much his sermons excelled those of the generality of preachers. Alas, the same thought had occurred to himself! Hence he easily assented to it, and entered freely into conversation on the subject. On retiring to rest, he endeavoured first to commit himself to the divine protection. It was there, while on his knees, that he first felt his folly. Overwhelmed with shame and confusion before God, he was silent ; seeming to himself a beast before him. At the same time, a passage in the Acts of the Apostles, flashed like ligbtning in his mind : And they shouted and said, It is the voice of a God, and not of a man. ..... And he was eaten of worms, because he gave not God the glory. There seemed to him a considerable analogy between his cage and that of Herod. Herod was flattered and idolized his heart was in unison with the flatteryhe consented to be an idol, and gave not God the glory–for this he was smitten by an angel of God, his glory blasted, and his life terminated by an humiliating disease. I also have been flattered, (said Eutychus,) and have inbaled the incense. I have consented to be an idol, and have not given God the glory. God, I am afraid, will blast my future life and ministry, as he justly may, and cause me to end my days in degradation and disgrace! About the same time, these words also occurred to him. Woe to the idol shepherd ...... his arm shall be dried up, and his right eye shall be darkened! He could not pray !-Groaning over the words of David, Oh Lord, thou knowest my foolishness, and my sin is not hid from thee, he retired to rest. The next morning, the same subject awoke with him. He confessed, and again bemoaned his sin: entreated forgiveness for Christ's sake, and that his future spirituality might not be blasted. Cast me not away from thy presence, said he, take not thy Holy Spirit from me! But he could not recover any thing like freedom with God. The thought occurred to him, of requesting one of his most intimate friends to pray for him : but this only occasioned a comparison of himself with Simon the sorcerer, who importuned Peter, saying, Pray to the Lord for me, that none of these things come upon me.
In short, the temptation into which he had fallen, not only polluted his mind, and marred his peace, but rendered him for some time wretched in the exercise of his ministry.
Let bearers take heed, while they give due honour and encour agement to ministers, not to idolize them: and let ministers take heed, that they do not receive, and still more that they do not court, applause.
SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS RECONCILED.
It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.-Gen. vi. 6.
The Lord is not a man that he should repent.--1 Sam. XV. 29.
The seeming contradiction in these passages arises from the same term being used in the one metaphorically, and in the other literally. It is literally true, that repentance is not predicable of the divine nature, inasmuch as it implies mutability, and imperfection in knowledge and wisdom, neither of which can be applied to the infinitely blessed God. But in order to address himself impressively to us, be frequently personates a creature, or speaks to us after the manner of men. It may be doubted whether the dis pleasure of God against the wickedness of men could have been fully expressed in literal terms, or with any thing like the effect produced by metaphorical language. To evince this, I shall take the liberty to introduce a few brief expository notes which I have by me, on the six preceding verses in Genesis :- This chapter gives us an account of the corruption which preceded the dood, and which moved an infinitely good and merciful Being to bring it upon the earth. We may notice,
1. The occasion of this corruption ; viz. the increase of popu. lation : it was when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, that they began to corrupt one another. Population is itself a good : but it often becomes the occasion of evil; because men, when numbers of them assemble together, excite and provoke one another to sin. Hence it 'is that sin commonly grows rankest in populous places. We are originally made to be helpers of one another : but sin perverts the course of things, and renders us tempters of one another. We draw and are drawn into innume. rable evils. Oh, draw me not with the workers of iniquity!
2. The first step towards this corrupt state of things was, the mixing of the church and the world in marriages. The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all whom they chose. The sons of God were those of the family of Seth, of whom we read lately, that they called upon the name of the Lord. (iv. 16 ) The daughters of men were of the race of Cain, whose parents having gone forth from the presence of the Lord, or turned their back on religion, were a kind of atheists. This was a conjunction between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent; which must needs be unnatural and mischiev. ous. The object of a good man's choice should be a help-meet. We need to be helped in our way to heaven, and not hindered and corrupted. Hence God forbade all soch alliances with idolaters (Deut. vii, 3, 4.): and hence also Christian marriages were limited to those only in the Lord. (1 Cor. vii. 39.) The examples which we have seen of the contrary, have fully justified these restrictions by their lamentable effects. They corrupt and ruin many a promising character ; and we see by this bistory, that they were the first cause of the ruin of a world!
3. The great offence which God took at this conduct, and what grew out of it. The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. Had the sons of God kept themselves to them. selves, and preserved their purity, God, it may be supposed, would have spared the world for their sakes : but they mingled
together and became one people. This he considered as a heinous
4. Observe the fruits of these unlawful mixtures; a sort of mopstrous beings, whose figures were but emblems of their minds. They seem to have been fierce and cruel men. The word giant signifies fellers, or men who caused others to fall before them like trees before an axe. So far as respects character, this was the natural effect of such intermarriages : family religion is subverted; and the fear of God has a greater connexion with a proper regard to man than many are willing to allow.
5. Observe the estimate which God makes of things. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Such is the case when the church is gone and lost in the world. There were some hopeful appearances when the sons of God began to call upon the name of the Lord: but now, a very few excepted, they are all gone. What a picture is here given of wbat