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Amen.' With these words she closed her eyes, and seemed to all present to be yielding up her last i. and thus she continued for some time, her pulse being quite gone. But in a little time she opened her eyes again, and with an air, as it seemed, of joy and wonder, she
continued looking upwards with a 7 in his infinite mercy
fixed gaze for near half an hour. By degrees she let her eyes fall, shut them, and yielded up her last breath. Those who were present were not a little affected both with her last words and her last looks, which they all beheld with silent admiration; and they were led to think that God had been pleased to grant her the desire of her heart, some special mark of his favour, in her passing out of this world, and that she was entered into the joy of her Lord.” From the funeral sermon which was preached on the occasion of this lady's death, I shall extract a few concluding observations. “Adored be the infinite mercy and goodness of God for this fresh instance of a sinner who hath caused joy in heaven by true penitence. She was a great ornament to her family, sex, and country; a virtuous woman, whose price was far above . riches;– the heart of whose husband might trust in her;—who looked well to the ways of her houshold, and ate not the bread of idleness;– whose children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her;--who was not vain of her favour, which is deceitful, and beauty, which is vain; but truly feared the Lord, and therefore ought to be praised;—but who, especially in her latter years, and in the last days of her o, gave such evidences of a truly penitent spirit. She then felt the difference between that virtue which has a vain shew in the world, and yet is founded too much on selflove and self-seeking; and that which is founded on a deep and true humility, divine love, and self-contempt;—between a heart divided between God and the world, and a
heart wholly devoted unto God. How much did she abhor herself! How profoundly penitent was she for her sins! How was her heart totally weaned from this world, and wholly resigned unto God! How ardent were the breathings of her soul to him . How humble was her hope How often did she say, ‘I will cast myself at his feet: if I perish, I will perish there!’ And what an earnest had we of her blessed acceptance with her heavenly Father and Redeemer, in her last joyful and rapturous breathing out of her spirit into the hands of her heavenly Father. O may we be stirred up to follow such a blessed example of true penitence! May the children trace this path of their excellent mother! May they ever remember and practise her last dying counsel ! May her widowed husband give joy to her spirit, by being united to her in this spirit of true penitence! And may we all forsake our evil ways and unrighteous thoughts, and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon us; even to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Amen.”
To the Editor of the Christian observer.
If the following interpretation of
parts, constituting its perfection, signified by all the tribes of Israel engraven on these stones, and, as it were, enshrined in their glory. Further, this glory and perfection was borne on the heart and on the shoulders of the High Priest, in the ephod, and in the breast-plate,which were not to be separated from each other (chap. xxviii. 28). Inquiry is said, 1 Sam. xxiii. 9, and xxx. 7, to be by the ephod; which privilege of inquiry (denominated 1 Sam. xxviii. 6, by Urim), appears from Num. xxvii. 21, to be allowed only to the person who, during the theocracy in Israel, was the deputed vicegerent of God; and it was, in a limited degree, the continuation of that special favour enjoyed by Moses, of familiar converse with Jehovah: for the answers to the inquiries by Urim (i. e. of the high priest, wearing the breast-plate and ephod), seem to have been made in an audible voice. Again, in Lev. viii. where every part of Aaron's dress is particularized, it is observable, that the twelve stones are not mentioned ; but it is said that Moses put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim: and in Exod. xxxix. where every article likewise is distinctly specified, and the stones accurately described, the Urim and Thummim are not mentioned; which led Bishop Patrick to think they were one and the same ; and he says, that Josephus and the Talmudic doctors were of the same opinion. I also conclude, that the circumstance of the breast-plate (or rather breast-piece, for it was made of fine linea embroidered), being doubled, indicates, that the engraved stones (which formed a jewel, not larger than a small miniature picture), were placed within, i.e. between the fold; so that it might properly be said, Lev. viii. 8, he put in the
breast-piece the Urim and Thum
mim. Compare Exod. xxxix. 10. If this was the fact, then that which represented the glory of the church was hidden, or veiled, like all the other representative glories of this
dispensation. If the robe of the ephod was (as its Hebrew name imports) the upper garment, then the engraved stones on the shoulders were also covered. It should be considered, that though these garments were made for glory and beauty, yet that they were scarcely seen by the people. The high priest wore them only when he ministered in the holy places (but not when he entered the most holy), and the people could only view him as they worshipped before the gate of the court where the brazen altar stood, i. e. the court of the priests. And it may be added, as every thing pertaining to the tabernacle and priesthood was typical of spiritual and heavenly things, it is congruous to understand the Urim and Thummim as being of the same kind; and this point, viz. that they were of material workmanship, would be decided, if the added clause in the Samaritan text be admitted as genuine : “Thou shalt make the Urim and the Thummim.” But what I consider as the argument chiefly deserving attention is the following. It is generally agreed that the inquiry by Urim ceased about the time of Solomon. The building of the temple, honoured with special marks of Divine approbation, can never be assigned as the cause of the withdrawment of such a privilege. But the defection of the Ten Tribes in the subsequent reign surnishes a susficient solution of this matter; since it is evident the high priest could not bear the names of the ten revolted and apostate tribes on his heart or on his shoulders, as a memorial before Jehovah. At the return of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, from the captivity in Babylon, great pains were taken to inquire into, and regulate, the genealogies, especially those of the family of Aaron; and some priests were necessarily suspended from their sacred functions through defect of proper documents to prove their pedigree. Upon this occasion, Nehemiah (chap. vii. 5, 6) said unto
them, that “they should not eat of the most holy things till there stood wp a priest with Urim and Thummim;” q. d. their title to the priesthood could not be ascertained but by an appeal to the sacred oracle, which the high priest, wearing the complete ephod and breast-plate, was alone authorized to make : from which it may be inferred, he did not then wear it; for this passage proves the privilege of inquiry by Urim was no longer vouchsafed, and also that its restoration was hoped for. Now it is certain the re-union of all the tribes of Israel was the subject of several prophecies which yet remain to be accomplished. (See Jer. xxxi. 1, 18, 20; Zech. ix. 10, 13; chap. x. 6. I agree with Mr. Mede, that there are strong internal proofs that the six last chapters inserted in Zechariah belong to Jeremiah, or to his time.) And if this event was, as I suppose, essential to the enjoyment of this favour, it holds forth to us most impressive information concerning the necessity of union, as constituting the persection of the church, in order to the full participation of that light of truth, and freedom of access to God, which are its happiness and its glory. As the human body, when deprived of a single member, is thereby, though possessing life, yet impeded in some of its functions; so, whilst the church, through disunion, remains imperfect, the disunited parts, though living, all suffer a partial withdrawment of Divine communication, by reason of their divided state. God did not fill the Mosaic tabernacle, or the temple of Solomon, with his glory, till the whole was complete, by every part being united to each other, and every utensil and vestment prepared according to Divine command: and perhaps the reason why the second temple was not honoured at its consecration with the cloud of glory, may be sought for in the dispersed state of the tribes; during which state, the high priest could not bear their names in memorial before
Jehovah; nor could he, on the solemn day of yearly expiation, offer sacrifices for the house of Israel, collectively considered. I think this view casts some light on Deut. xxxiii. 8. “And of Levi he said, Thy Thummim and thy Urim shall be with thy Holy One” (thy bountiful, gracious One, as in Ps. xvi. 10): even Him who will be the High Priest of good things to come, in a greater and more perfect tabernacle, by whom Gentiles, as well as Jews, may have access by one Spirit unto the Father, and be made perfect by becoming one. John xvii. 23. It is observable, that in this text, Thummim is placed before Urim. so PATER. --
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
IN your former volume, p. 539, a correspondent, who signs herself MAR1A, proposes an inquiry respecting the probable import of Jacob's request to Esau, in Gen. xxv. 31. The chief difficulty which presents itself, on the examination of this transaction and its consequences, seeins to arise from the diversified nature of the blessings conveyed by the birth-right. That the birth-right was, in some respects, a transferable property, the transaction itself sufficiently proves; and of this Jacob must, at the time, have been aware. Yet it appears, from the account given in chap. xxvii. that Isaac was far from considering himself bound,
Jacob's action. Esau displayed a “profane” contempt for the divine and the prophetic blessings which were naturally entailed upon the primogeniture. To substantiate these charges, we must recollect what those advantages were, which the one coveted, and the other “despised.”—It has, indeed, been supposed (as your correspondent suggests), that “ the honour of being progenitor of the Messiah was included in the birth-right;" but of this there seems no sufficient evidence, either in the way of promise, or of fact. It is, however, unquestionable, that the first-born possessed an authority over the rest of the family, as is expressed in the words of the Most High to Cain, Gen. iv. 7; and signified by “the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power,” Gen. xlix. 3; according to which he succeeded the father in the government of the family, or kingdom, 2 Chron. xxi. 3. He had likewise a double portion of the paternal inheritance (see Deut. xxi. 17, and l Chron. v. 1.) It is probable that these were the principal advantages which Jacob, by his unnatural and arbitrary conduct, aimed to secure, especially as confirmed by the paternal benediction. It may be urged, that his purpose of selfaggrandisement was by no means realised in the event, since, so far from possessing the dominion over Esau, he was soon obliged to flee from before his face, and, in process of time, to approach him with the most solicitous indications of inferiority and submission. This is true. But it is to be observed, that the ascendancy of Jacob took place, not so much immediately as progressively; not so much in his own person or family, as in his remote descendants. Among them, the divine declaration made to Rebekah, “ The elder shall serve the younger,” was for ages, and is to this day, remarkably verified. For though, according to the prophecy in chap. xxviii. 39, 40, Edom, the posterity of Esau, for a time enjoyed fertility, victory, and
other advantages, “yet at length,” says Bishop Newton, “David imposed the yoke, which was very galling to the Edomites from the first ; and towards the end of Solomon's reign, Hadad, the Edomite, of the blood royal, who had been carried into Egypt from his childhood, returned into his own country, and raised some disturbances, 1 Kings xi. but was not able to recover his throne, his subjects being overawed by the garrisons which David had placed among them; but in the reign of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king, 2 Kings viii. 20–22. Jehoram made some attempts to subdue them again, but could not prevail. We find that the nation of the Edomites has, at several times, been conquered by, and made tributary to, the Jews, but never the Jews to the Edomites. And where is the name or nation now * They were swallowed up and lost, partly among the Nabathean Arabs, and partly among the Jews; and the very name, as Dr. Prideaux has observed, was abolished and disused about the end of the first century of the Christian era.” There were, moreover, certain religious or spiritual privileges connected with the birth-right, the contempt and easy sacrifice of which by Esau has brought on him the severe reprobation of the apostle in Heb. xii. 16. These seem chiefly to have consisted in the right to the domestic priesthood, and to the inheritance of the prophetic blessing. The former was, probably, exercised on occasion of the father's absence, sickness, or death (see Deut. viii. 16, 17, &c.) The latter, as having respect, not merely to temporal prosperity, but also to the setting up of God's kingdom; to the coming of the Messiah; or, in other words, to all those great things included in the covenant with Abraham ; could not be slighted without the greatest profaneness and impiety. Nor could any truly good man have been in
different to the honour of being, as the first-born of a righteous household, even typical of Him who is “ the first born among many brethren.” Unhappy Esau ! how bitter, yet how unavailing was thy remorse! For a sensual, a momentary tification, how dreadful, yet how eserved, was thy doom! “This,” says Bishop Hall, “was the dearest dish that was ever purchased, except the forbidden fruit.” And “what is a man profited if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?” . A. B
FAMILY settMons. No. XXXIX.
Luke xv. 7.—“ I say unto you likewise, joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
“The words of the wise,” says the Wise Man, “are as goads” (fitted to rouse the heart), and as “nails” (to fix divine truths there), fastened by the masters (the guides) of assemblies. One, indeed, is our Master, the Lord from heaven ; and that we might hear his words, and be instructed in his Father's will, he clothed himself with our nature. When we reflect that he is truth itself, and cannot lie, and that his boundless love made him come to seek and save us who were lost; we ought especially to weigh his words, and let them sink into our hearts. Now it is He who tells us, that “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Joy is that which all men seek after, and therefore it is a subject which must be interesting to all. But, alas ! the joy which most men seek, is that which arises from pleasing their sensual appetites, or gratifying their malignant passions; a joy which has in it nothing solid, but must, sooner or later, end in sorrow and anguish. It is the joy of fools. Solomon, who applied himself to find out the utmost happiness which the world was capable of atfording, and who withheld his heart from no worldly joy, found all to be
vanity and vexation of spirit. It is to turn us from this vain pursuit after empty joy, that God calls us. by the messages of his grace and the visitations of his providence, to recollection and penitential sorrow. And they who obey that call, though they may sow in tears, yet shall reap in joy. Nay, there shal! be joy in heaven over them. Heaven is the region and centre of joy, as the sun is of light. There is the kingdom of God; a kingdom of pure love and solid joy ; a kingdom of such true and essential joy, that it is called “ the joy of the Lord.” “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” “In his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Thence, all sorrow and sighing flee away. There, the constant employment of angels and saints is hallelujahs and joyful songs of praise “to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.” We find, at the birth of our Saviour, a multitude of the heavenly host coming down thence to “praise God, and to give glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” And a measure of the same joy we may suppose to be excited by every event which tends to the glory of God, and the good of man. In the text we hear of joy being caused in heaven by what passes on earth. In heaven, there is joy over even one sinner that repenteth. Over a sinner! a creature that has despised his Creator; a subject who has rebelled against his supreme Lord and King; a son who has been disobedient to his heavenly Father; an indigent wretch, whe has been guilty of base ingratitude to his most bountiful Benefactor, from whom he has received his being and all he possesses; a bondslave, who has contemned his Redeenier; one also who has obstinately persisted in his wickedness, notwithstanding all the Divine calls and warnings, so that no less than Infinite Patience could have borne with him:—that there should be