« AnteriorContinuar »
after the second advent-but to accom | sionaries abroad. Say we not well, that plish, instrumentally, the actual “dis- the pre-millennial theory paralyses mis. cipleship of all nations," to baptize them sionary effort by paralysing missionary when gathered in, and to train them up expectation ? as professed Christians in the know. To the same effect, Mr. H. Bonar. ledge and obedience of the truth, for “Do I paralyse effort (be asks) when glory -- all before his second coming I say, “Work while it is day, for the In the doing of this, He promises to be night cometh when no man can work?** with them-not merely to stand by them | No, I reply, not when you say " work;" while preaching a rejected gospel, and but when you teach the workınan na to note their fidelity, but clearly to to expect the promised result, then you prosper the work of their hands unto
paralyse effort. the actual evangelization of the world I cannot illustrate this better, nor at large, before his coming. “ Those more effectually show the bearings of (says Mr. Bonar) that deny the pre the pre-millennial theory upon mission millennial coming . . . . have led them. ary work, than by quoring a passage in selves and others to expect that at this which Mr. H. Bonar administers a lofty present time, in this dispensation that and imposing rebuke to the late excel: precedes the Lord's coming, the preach | lent Dr. Bogue of Gosport, one of the ing of the gospel is to be followed up original founders of the London Miswith national conversions, or at least sionary Society, the wonderful success conversion and reformation in the dense of which in the South Seas and else masses of the world's population." No, where filled bis soul with burning debrother, we have not “led ourselves ;" | sires for the universal triumph of the but thy Master and ours—who tremble, gospel, and joyous anticipations of the as we doubt not thou dost, at the Word
near approach of that consummation. of the Lord-hath constrained us to True, he lived not to see some things believe that not “the few elect,” as con which we have witnessed, and which tradistinguished from the world at large, would probably have modified his ladbut that very world at large, is to be
guage; the revived missionary zeal, 100, gained over to Christ, in the only sense
of the church, then in the warmth of in which the world at large ever will be
its first love, would naturally be esti: Christ's "in this dispensation that pre
mated at more than its real value. But cedes the Lord's coming."
for myself, I am willing to underlie the But what I wish specially to note, is
castigation administered to that rene the connexion between the present exer
rated servant of Christ-now, indeed, cise of the work of the ministry--at beyond its reach-for wbat is extracted home by pastors, and abroar! by mission.
by Mr Bonar from his “Discourses on aries- and this evangelization of all na
the Millennium." tions as the result. To expect this result, in the believing and prayerful use of
“Of what use would it be," asks Mr. H.
Bonar, " to cheat or dazzle men by sach the prescribed means, is nothing else but
rhetoric as the following (from Dr. Bogue)? to rely on Christ's word of promise ; and _* Was there ever a period in the history at to expect it in the "present" use of the our world in which so many vistas of gluriones means, or “ in this dispensation that
hope opened to mankind as at the present
moment ? Let the siege which has so ausțiprecedes the Lord's coming," is merely
ciously commenced upon the forces of the to presume that the Lord means what enemy, be kept up with ever-growing skill he says. Yet this is what Mr. Bonar and determination; let existing advantages be ventures to call “a vain" and "visionary
seized upon with a resolution worthy of the hope," "dazzling the church at home,"
cause ; let the armies of the living God
muster their whole strength, and go forth 10 and fitted only to “dishearten" mis- the help of the Lord against the mighty, and
ere long the cimp of the enemy shall be seized universal prevalence of true religion with sudden overwhelming dread; the legions (says Mr. Brooks), hereafter to be enof darkness shall flee apace, and the conquest of a world shall be given to the saints of the
joyed, is not to be effected by any inMost High.' Well spoken! But what if it creased impetus given to the present be all a dream! Go forth (fond theorist!) means of evangelizing the nations, but from the study or the pulpit, and look on
by a stupeudous display of the Divine Europe now. Is there aught .... in the turbid swelling of the great deluge of European
truth upon all the apostate and unatheism on which to build such 'glorious godly"- as if judgments would do what hopes ?'" &c.*
"the gospel had failed to accomplish” Where, I desire to ask, is the “cheat"
—"evangelize the nations.” Let Mr.
H. Bonar rebuke this view of the judg. practised by Dr. Boglie? Is it in assuring his readers that “ let the siege sn
ments of God. “We look (says he) auspiciously commenced upon the forces
upon the judgments, at the Lord's of the enemy, be kept up with ever-grolo
coming, in the same light (though difing skill and determination"—that “let
fering in degree) as we do upon any
judgment of God's hand. ..... He existing advantages be seized upon with a resolution worthy of the cause"- that
may use these awful calamities just as "let the armies of the living God muster
he now uses afflictions, but the power their whole strength, and go forth to the
and the glory are bis alone."* Mr. help of the Lord against the mighty;"
Brooks, indeed, would not deny that
the power and glory of conversion, in and then, "ere long"-Dr Bogue does
every caso, belong to God; but by con. not presume to say how long, but were
trasting judgments with a preached long," or as the apostle says about
gospel, he makes the instrumentality Christ's coming, “yet a little while"
that will be employed in converting "the camp of the enemy shall tremble
" the nations," something different from and flee, and the world be given to
what is now employed in every case of the saints of the Most High ?” Is this
conversion. the “cheat?" For myself, I believe it
3. A word or two on the effusion of most profoundlv; and if, with such
the Spirit, in virtue of which those exviews, Mr. Bonar asks, "Do I paralyse
teusive conquests of the nations to effort ?" I answer—Yes. Not only does
Christ are to be brought about. We the Lord's commission authorise the
should like to hear more about this. I expectation that all nations shall be
do not for a moment doubt that those evangelized "at the present time-in
whose writings I am now examining this dispensation that precedes the
are at one with me in expecting such Lord's coming”—but the very expecta
effusion. But do they believe that it tion of this result from the preaching of
may come “at this present time-in the gospel will be a prime and indis.
this dispensation that precedes the pensable element of success; and there.
Lord's coming?" We, believing that fore it is to paralyse effort to calumniate
the “discipling of all nations" is to be such expectations, and let those who
effected, as the Lord himself assures us, talk of “cheating and dazzling men"
before he comes - of course look for with “visionary hopes," have a care at
those copious showers of the Spirit whose door their charges ultimately lie.
which alone can make the Word effica2. On the judgments which are to
cious to do it. They-believing that usher in the millennium I have nothing
the conversion of the nations is not to to say, except to notice the false position
be till after the Lord come-of course assigned to them in such statements as
do not look for the Spirit to effect it by the following, already quoted :-" The
he | any preaching of the Gospel that is, or * Coming and Kingdom, &c., pp. 152, 153.
* Coming and Kingdom, pp. 51, 52.
can be now set on foot. And is not this 1 for converting sinners, and perfecting to “paralyse effort ?"
saints, and advancing the Redeemer's 4. I will not dwell upon the convert kingdom in the world—so they are all ing efficacy ascribed to Christ's personal that we are taught to ascribe the glories appearing ; because, though such pas of the latter day to. And quite enough. sages as, “They shall look on me whom That these spiritual glories are not nor they have pierced ” —“ Behold, he | irradiating the world—that they have cometh with clouds, and every eye shall not long ago chased away the darkness see him," are frequently referred to in with which the usurping “god of this proof of this, there seems a general disc world" has been permitted to cover itposition to admit that it is the Word | is owing to no defect in the present reand the Spirit to which even these men sources of the church, and of the econony will owe their conversion, just as now; | under which it is placed. That more and, consequently, that the very sight fidelity on the church's part would have of Christ in person will only be one of hastened the predicted consummation, the means by which such conversion is language which we are fully verwill be aided, like other striking events, ranted in using. But He to whom though none will be so striking as this. | “are known all his works from the beStrange, indeed, that when Christ | ginning of the world,” has ordered the “cometh in his own glory, and in the "times and the seasons" in such mysglory of the Father and of the holy | terious correspondence with the faithangels"-when he "cometh with clouds, lessness of his church, as to bring out, and every eye shall see Him"—that the in affecting relief, his own sole glory in most stupendous, bright, and awful of the long-promised subjugation of the all events should just rank amongst the world to Christ, and the utter worthlessmeans by which men at the millennium ness of his people as the instruments of are to be converted!
it. With a view to this, he suffers the Some look to the revival of miracles church to lie for ages in ignoble ease, as one great means of the rapid con- in pitiful leanness, in a state of carversions which are to signalise the latter nality wbich at once blights its fruits, day. But in vain. As we do not need poisons its streams, and rends it in them, so the soul, in a healthy state, pieces;-while the world, all umpitied, does not desire them. The church is in lies powerless in the enemy's hand, and its manhood, and miracles are for its | its dark places are full of the habita. infancy.* Souls that have felt the tions of cruelty. But when “the time Saviour's grace know right well its to favour Zion comes, even the set matchless power. After their own con time," it will be seen that it needed but version, they can never doubt its con the agencies of this present dispensation verting efficacy on any scale that may to be brought into full play to accombe required. The Spirit in the handplish all that is promised; and then will of Christ, and the Word in the hand of it appear what a mine of wealth, and the Spirit, as they are the present agency what a magazine of power for the spi* The Scripture doctrine of physical, as contrasted
| ritual discovery of a diseased world, with moral miracles, deducible from such passages were in possession of the church's as John iv. 48, 49, compared with chapter xx. 29; John xiv. 12; i. 50, 51, and Luke xvi. 27-31, sug | Head, and were all along the dowry gests a line of thought quite adverse to any expectation of physical manifestations, such as floats
of his people. The heart delights to loosely in the minds of not a few whose apprehen
dwell on this prospect. It desires to sions in every other respect are thoroughly Scriptural. The above passages indicate that such mani see what Christ can do by his Word Sestations are suited, as they were granted, to an inferior and infantile condition of the church; while
and Spirit. When by these he does the absence not only of the manifestations themselves, but of all desire for them, is characteristic of
all they are competent to when they the church's manhood,
have exhausted their ability, and the
work stands still for want of something | slumbers, awing their spirits, and conelse-then we may be reconciled to new | straining their attention to long-demethods, and may look out for a new spised truths :—these and other such dispensation. But while any such things, in connexion with direct and thought is infinitely disparaging to the copious effusions of the Spirit, the heart blessed Spirit, and to the word of his delights to think of as destined to effect power, there is a satisfaction unspeak that universal submission to the sceptre able in anticipating the endless ways in of Christ which is to characterise the which the Spirit may get himself re- latter day. It feels this to be vastly nown, by what he will yet do in and by more satisfactory and attractive as a the church :-how under His mighty | prospect, and far more in accordance working the instrumentalities for spread with the whole tenor of Scripture, than ing the gospel may be seen indefinitely any rude interposition of visible mani. multiplying; all the missionary prin festations — any interruption of the ciple and energy of a church, quickened magnificent operation of God's ordinary from the base torpor of ages previous, laws of working, by immediate and evolving themselves even to their own short-hand methods of obtaining the astonishment; majestic steps in Pro result. vidence startling men from their stupid
DO YOU PRAY IN SECRET? I know not how it is with the reader, | ward thee openly.” He read this, but but I know that many persons are not he gave no heed to it. During all this in the habit of secret prayer. They period he asked nothing, though he have no closet, no place of retirement received much. God did not neglect to which they daily resort, and where, him, though he neglected God; and as when they have shut the door, they he prayed none, so he praised none. pray to their Father which is in secret, Sometimes, indeed, he said, “Thank and in solitude seek the society of God. God!" but it was said in so much I am acquainted with one who for thoughtlessness, that it was downright many years neglected this duty, which | profaneness, rather than praise. It is all religions recognise, and which even | true, that at that time he would never nature teaches. Sometimes he read allow that he was ungrateful; but he the Bible, and no part of it oftener than was, and now he sees that he was. Ho the sermon on the mount. Of course | lived, and moved, and had his being in he must have frequently read those God, and yet was without God in the words of the great Teacher, in which, world. Many and precious were the taking it for granted that his hearer thoughts of God towards him, but in all prays, he tells him what he should do his thoughts God was not. Not even when he prays: “But thou, when thou when he was in trouble did he ask, prayest, enter into thy closet;" (the “Where is God my Maker ?" I wonder person is supposed to have some place | the Lord had not become weary of be: called his closet, to which he is accus. stowing his bounty on such an one. It tomed to retire for prayer ;) “and when is because he is the Lord, and changes thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy not. But for that, the person of whom Father which is in secret; and thy I speak would have been consumed Father which seeth in secret shall re. long ago. There is nothing he admires VOL. XXVII.
more than the long-suffering of God | nature, yet in his invitations, his towards him, and he hopes to spend , promises, and his past acts of upsoeternity in admiring it, and exchanging | licited kindness, they have all the thoughts with his fellow-redeemed on could desire. Nor is it that they have this and kindred subjects.
no need of God. Never one of the He supposes that he is not the only | prayerless will say that. They all know one who has neglected secret prayer. what would become of them but for He fears that this neglect is even now that overlooking eye, and that supplythe habit of many. They are shy of ing hand, and that supporting arm. God I know not why they should be. And do they not know that God has a He is doing every thing to woo and heart too -that he can love with all the win them, and to secure their con: fervour of a friend? And can they fidence. So much has be done, that not imagine that in the interchange of he asks (and I cannot answer) what he affection between God and the son of could have done more? He waits on man there may, and indeed must be, his throne of grace to be gracious to ineffable delight? And who that looks them, but they come not near to him. but a little way forward, does not perHe even calls to them to come to him, ceive an exigency when, in the utter using too the language of most affec inadequacy of earthly and human retionate address: “Son, my son;" but sources for comfort, he will want "the they respond not, “ Abba, Father.” It consolations of God?" is strange they should treat this Father Ah, it is a sad as well as strange so. They treat no other father so. thing, that so many enter no closet! What child does not, in the morping, seek daily no retirement, either in their salute his father? and what father does houses or elsewhere, where they may be not expect the salutation of each child a little while alone with God; where as they come into his presence ? Oh, they may look up and meet the light of yes, we love our father who is on earth ; his countenance as he looks down on and we remember with gratitude the them; where they may confess their favours he does us. And does the sins, and receive assurance of his par Father of our spirits, the giver of every doning love; where they may thank good gift, deserve no daily notice from him for mercies past, and humbly ask us, no affectionate salutation, no grate. for more ; where they may take coursel ful recognition of indebtedness to him? of him, tell him of their griefs, and I am certain he expects it, for he says, have their tears wiped away, and with “A son honoureth his father: if then I him leave the weighty burden of their be a father, where is mine honour ?" | cares. He claims to be a Father; and oh, how I know not whether this excites more well he has established that claim ! | my grief or my wonder. I am not so Truly he is a Father, and “like as a much surprised that men should be father pitieth his children, so the Lord glect a manifest duty, but when I think pitieth" his. And to the compassion, what a privilege it is, what a happiness, of the father be adds the tender care | what an honour, to be on terms of in. and untiring mindfulness of the mother. timacy and in babits of intercourse “ Can a woman," he asks, “ forget her with God, it amazes me that they should sucking child ?" She may, be says, but forego it. How will such reflect upon He will not. How strange is it that | themselves hereafter — how execrate men will not go to the closet, to meet their folly! How will they wonder and to pray to such a Father!
that they could have deliberately done Surely it is not for want of encourage their souls such a wrong! Then it ment. If they have it not in his very will be too late to redress the wrong!