« AnteriorContinuar »
They sought not the Lord while he | But the practice of Christ points to might be found they called not upon another closet besides that of the heart. him while he was near. Yea, though and here, surely, we must " follow his he called, they refused. Now they may steps." He selected the still morning, call, but he will not answer If any and sought out the solitary place for one who is living in the neglect of secret prayer. May we be less attentive to prayer shall read this, will he not be the circumstances of time and place ? persuaded to commence the practice Jesus, even in his most retired interthe very day he reads it-ay, that course with his father, used his voice. same hour, if it be possible? If it be | That prayer, “ Let this cup pass from not convenient, let him make it con me," was vocal — and that petition, venient. Let other things give way for “God be merciful to me a sinner," was this, rather than this for anything. expressed in words. Shall we reserve Can he think his heart right in the the voice exclusively for our intercourse sight of God, or bis condition safe in with men, and not with it also sup). prospect of eternity, while he neglects | plicate and bless God? praver? How dare he live without | Is any one inquiring after truth? prayer? Without it can he have | What place more appropriate for askcourage to die? At the mercy-seat of | ing “What is truth,” than the closet ? God we may decline to appear, but Who so likely to be taught of God as before his judgment seat we must all they who ask of God? Some men carry stand. How a frequent access to the that question to the Bible, and press it first wonld prepare us for final arraign- | there, as indeed they should; but they ment at the other ! How it would carry it not to the throne of grace, and familiarise us with the presence of press it there also. They read to know God! How it would serve to break what truth is, but do not pray to the shock of the entrance into eternity! I know it.
Does any one, who is not in the | Oh, how an hour in the morning, habitual and daily practice of secret spent with God, prepares us pleasantly derotion, pretend to be a Christian ? and profitably to pass the other hours It is but pretence. He may believe of the day with men; and at night, the creed of the Christian, but certainly what so composing as communion with he does not pursue the practice nor God! In resigning ourselves into the possess the spirit of the Christian. arms of sleep-that image of death, Breathing is essential to living, and what security like that of prayer! It prayer is the Christian's vital breath.
engages Him who never slumbers nor Does he walk with God who never con sleeps, to watch over us. verses with him?
Has any one become remiss in secret Some spiritualise the direction of devotiou? What! tired of God? Christ, making the closet to mean the weary of communion with him? How beart, and the duty of private devotion sad the state of such a soul!Dr. Nevins, to be discharged in mental prayer only, late of Baltimore. without the aid of outward retirement.
DO YOU PRÁY IN YOUR FAMILY?
There are families that call not on the name of the Lord. Nor is it a new thing. There were such so long ago as
when Jeremiah lived. He takes notice of them. He has a prayer about them. It seems he was divinely inspired to call
down the indignation of the Lord upon resolve that his house should serve the such families. “Pour out thy fury,” | Lord, and not join with them in suphe says, “upon the families that call plication for the grace to serve him! not on thy name.” I should not like That is not at all likely. to have been a member of one of those Now I would ask if it is not proper families; and much less the head of and right that every head of a family one of them. It must have been very should adopt the resolution of him offensive to the Lord that there were who said, “As for me and my house, families in which he was not acknow. | we will serve the Lord ?" But can ledged and worshipped. And if there there be religion in a house without were such families among the heathen prayer? Is there not inconsistency in nations that offended him, how much saying, “I and my family will serve more must it have displeased him that God, but we will have no family altar there should be such families even nor offering ?” Is not prayer an among his people Israel! families that essential part of the service of God? did not in the family capacity invoke I wonder if any one ever lived who him ! I do not know why it should be supposed that family prayer was not less offensive now. I do not believe it more pleasing to God than the omission is. Families are now under as great of it. I wonder if the practice of obligations to God as ever they were. family prayer ever distressed any con
Some persons ask why we insist on science. The omission of it has family prayer as a duty. They say we troubled many. cannot produce any precept enjoining It is admitted, I believe, to be the it. That is true enough. But I wonder will of God that we should pray to him if that is not a duty, the omission of socially. The Lord's prayer was conwhich is the subject of prophetic de- structed for social use. The disciples punciation. I wonder if that is not by were directed to use it when they implication commanded, the neglect of | should pray together: and it is accordwhich brings down the wrath of God | ingly in the plural number : not my on those guilty of the neglect. There Father, but “our Father.” Now, is are some things so manifestly reason: God to be socially worshipped, and yet able, and of such self-evident obligation, not worshipped in that first, most perthat they need no law expressly enjoin. manent, and most interesting form of ing them. It is not necessary that they society—the form of society instituted should be taught in so many words. by God himself-the family? Is that
But if we have no express precept to be believed! But the Lord's prayer on the subject, we have pretty good seems not only intended for social, but examples in favour of it. I suspect, daily use. “Give us this day our daily Abraham, who was so careful to instruct bread," is one of its petitions. It does his household in the way of the Lord, not contemplate the morrow. It asks did not neglect to pray with them. supplies but for one day. Now if, as And David, I am quite confident, it appears from this reasoning, social prayed in his family. It is said of prayer should be daily, where but in him, on one occasion, that “he re. | the family, the society which is abiding, turned to bless his household.” No and which a single roof covers, can it doubt there were both prayer and with propriety be daily? Should there praise in that family. Certainly Joshua be public religious services daily, or must have prayed in his house. How daily prayer-meetings for this purpose ? otherwise could he have fulfilled his Then, how suitable it is that those who resolution that his house as well as together share their daily bread, should himself should serve the Lord? What! | together daily ask it!
How reasonable and comely is house. | the obligation of family prayer. I hold religion-family worship! Com judge so from the trouble many are at mon blessings, such as families daily | to apologise for the neglect. It tries share, call for common thanksgivings. them not a little to satisfy even themCommon wants, such as families to: selves with an excuse. The usual plea gether feel, call for common suppli- is inability. They have not the gift, cations. Is it not fit that families, in they say. What gift? Can they not retiring to rest at night, should to collect their family together night and gether commit themselves to the Divine morning? Have they not so much keeping; and in the morning unite in authority in their own house as that? praising the Lord for having been their And then can they not read a portion protector? It is a clear case, it seems l of Scripture to them; and kneeling to me. Besides, fathers are directed to down, express their common desires to bring up their children “in the nurture | God? The beginning of almost every and admonition of the Lord.” But good habit is difficult. The most of can they do this while they pray not those who make this apology, presume with them and for them? I do not on their inability. They say they canknow how we are to comply with the not, before they have tried. But until apostolical exhortation to pray “every: they have tried, they do not know where," unless we pray in the family, whether they can or not. What if as well as under other circumstances. some have tried once and failed? One
Is any one in doubt whether the failure should not dishearten them, nor practice or omission of family prayer two, nor even twenty. Besides, how will be the more pleasing subject of do those who presume on their inability retrospect from the dying bed, or the to conduct family worship, know what eternal world ? Parents should not assistance they might receive from God, forget, that presently will come the if they were to make an humble and long deferred and greatly dreaded sea faithful experiment ? son of taking the last look, and the | If any one shall condescend to read last leave of those whom their decease this, who does not pray in his family, is to make orphans. Oh, then, what a I advise him to commence immediately. sweet thought it will be to enter into He knows that he will never be sorry the dying meditation, that they have for it, if he does; but he is not so been in the daily habit of bowing down sure that he may not be sorry for it if with their children in prayer, and com- | he does not. If there were no other mending them to the care and grace of reason in favour of the practice, this their heavenly Father, and that they alone would be sufficient. I think it may now indulge the confident hope is Jay, who says that a family witliout that he will infinitely more than supply | prayer is like a house without a roofthe paternal place which they are to it has no protection. Who would like leave vacant.
to live in such a house?-Dr. Nevins, But what need of more argument? late of Baltimore. I suspect everybody secretly admits
Review of Religious Publications.
An INTRODUCTION to the New TESTAMENT;
containing an Examination of the most important Question relating to the Authority, Interpretation, and Integrity of the Canonical Books, with Reference to the latest Inquiries. By SAMUEL DAVIDSON, D.D. of the Uni
versity of Halle, and LL.D. Vol. II. The Acts of the Apostles to the Second Epistie to the Thessalonians. 8vo. pp. 496.
Samuel Bagster and Sons. We have, at some inconvenience to ourselves, prepared an early notice of the second
volume of Dr. Davidson's Introduction to the his erring and sinful creatures; or even in an New Testament, because we are of opinion endeavour to fritter away the evidence of that so valuable a trea ure cannot be too books which will be an imperishable mondsoon in the hands of those who take interest ment of the truth and gooduess of the Divine in the higher departments of our Biblical Being literature ; - more especially at a time when With regard to the second clase, viz, those theories are being propagated in this country who have laboured, with vast ingenuity, to subversive of the Divine authority of the prove that the gospel is mythic, and not inspired writings. In proportion as those strictly historical, we take our standing on who advocate these theories are anxious to two immoveable rocks, and make battle ujon forego historical inquiry, and to throw the them as earnest and believing men are enintelligent and thinking portions of the com titled to do. We call on them to disprove the munity upon what they term the intuitive facts of the Old and New Testament Suripe consciousness of the human mind, in the tures; to convince us, upon reasonable pre same proportion must enlightened Biblical mises, that the persons and events there scholars urge the historical evidences of the referred to never had any actual existence; New Testament, as the only sure basis of the - but, if they fail to do this,--and tail they truths which have come to us in the form of must, we demand for the inspired books the an express revelation from the Author of our sa ne treatment as any other books, aut in. being. We must be thoroughly aware of the spired, would be entitled to, viz., that they tendencies of the present age, if we are to should be subjected to the same laws of meet them effectually, ani to rebut the for general criticism which they would realise at midable evils with which they are fraught. the hands of all fair, honest, and conspttent At one time, we have all the appliances of a Where the books profess to be history, perverted scholarship enlisted against the let them be regarded as history;-where they historical validity of the sacred canon;-at contain po try, allegory, or parable, let them another, we have the facts of the gospels be dealt with its such;-and where they anthemselves converted into a sort of grand nounce great doctrinal principles of the Divine myth, - replete, indeed, with lofty morality government, let their obvious import be adand Divine inculcations, but no longer to be mitted and embraced; but let not a mistaken interpreted upon settled principles of critical leariing claim to apply principles to the exegesis, or to be regarded as veritable nar interpretation of the Bible, and especially to ratives of personal hi-tory and actual events; the facts connected with the life, and teach- at another, we are cautioned to beware of ing, and acts of Jesus Christ, which would be the whole field of historical inquiry, and are discarded by all honest and upright men, in cou! selled by those who profess to be our dealing with any other book which has come teachers, par excellence, to yield ourselves up down from a reinote antiquity. to the impressions of our inward conscious We may be too sell.contident, perhaps; but
after having taken pains to understand what The first class of these antagonists, we Strauss and his party would have us beli te, would meet in the field of open and honour we are satisfied that, before these reasonable able controversy, to prove to them, and to the canons of criticismı, his whole system, if a world at large, that the cause may not be mere vagary of the imagination can be diguimaterially vulnerated by their weapons, or fied with the name of system, would crumble any others that can be brought tù bear against to pieces, and be scattered as before the it. It is absolutely astounding that, with all wind. learning and all the obvious wrong bias which The third class, who would supplant hishave been put forth to damage the canon tory, and even inspiration itself,--at least as both of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, it has ever been defined by theologians of it never stood on a firmer basis than it does sound reputation,- by resolving the entire at the present moment. We could almost phenomena of religion into a sort of spiritual forgive the efforts of Germany to inflict a pietism, depending upon the intuitive condeadly injury upon the historical evidence of sciousness of the human mind, we regard as the Christian books, for the sati-factory and more specious, but not less injurious, than the glorious results which a sanctified and com other theories already named. This fulacy petent scholarship has brought forth to the lies in the strange assumption, that there may light. Yet we dare not commend that learn be an internal consciousness of the religion of ing which gives currency to its immature Christ, in the absence of Sts objective truth. and rash conclusions, where the truth of God It is not that we would have less spiritualism and the happiness of man are so vitally con than Mr. Newman and others contend for cerned. Better that some of these men had but that we would trace all genuine spiritual. never been born than that they should have ism to the truths of the gospel, as expounded squandered their literary resources in a vain and applied by the Spirit of Christ. All attempt to show that God has not spoken to other spiritualism, which has not its founda
tion in the objective truth of God's Word, we As it would be impossible to attempt anypronounce to be a thing foreign to the spirit thing like an analysis of a work embracing ualism of the Bible.
such a vast range of subject, we shall content But to all these forms of error we would ourselves by supplying our readers with a oppose the historical evidence of the written lenythened extract, relating to the Inspiration Word. It has driven the gross intidelity of of Paul, which will show how laboriously, as the last age from the tield, and it will, as well as soundly, the author works out his skilfully employed, effect the saine result in conclusions. reference to all the minor forms of scepticism “ A full examination of the subject is now afloat in our day.
counected with another point, viz., when the With this conviction, every day gathering gospel' was communicated to Paul? We strength, we hail the labours of such men know, from his own words, that the gospel he as Professor Davidson, who have addressed preached was not after ment. He neither themselves, on sound principles, to the vast received it of man,' neither was he taught it, range of questions connected with the trans but by the revelation of Jesus Christ,' (Galat. mission of the sacred books.
i. 11, 12.) In his second volume of Introduction to the “ Three aspects of the subject have been New Testainent, Dr. Davidson has “endea presented. voured," as he informs us, to keep steadily " Some think that his illumination was in view the same principles and object which completed on the way to Damascus, by the were followed in examining the gospels. He direct interview he had with Christ at that has ained at writing what is properly meant tiine. Thus it is not looked on as a gradual by Introduction, looking at those recent in process, but as a revelation given fully and vestigations which tho books of the New at once. The gospel he preached was divinely Testament have received from numerous in communicated at the time of his couversion. quirers and critics.” If, in prosecuting his * Others regard his knowledge of the important labour, he has introduced the gospel as a thing which was not communinames of some men to the knowledge of the cated to him fully and at once. They think English reader who were but little heard of that new and higher disclosures were made before in this country, it has been either to to him from time to time, according as there throw valuable lighi upon particular books of was need. At tirst, he received by inspiration the New Testament, or to demonstrate the the substance or foundation of the gospel le untenableness of the opinions and statements preached. He obtained the fundamentals of which have proceeded from the pens of such Christian doctrine by immediate revelation in writers. In either case, we are indebted to Arabia; but they were enlarged by other our learned friend - in the former case, as a supernatural disclosures. Those who take matter of course, and in the latter no less so, this view of the subject generally believe as we are thus fore-arıned against the gather Arabia to have been the locality in which ing storm which is surely coming upon us, but the foundation of what he afterwards terms from which we will not shrink, in the con hi, gospel was laid. sciousness of a well-authenticated historical The subject may be viewed in another Christianity. It would be dificult to convey light. The central idea, viz., that Jesus is to our readers an adequate idea of the extra the true Messiah of the gospel, may have been ordinary labour put forth by Dr. Davidson imparted at the time of his conversion; while upon the voluine before us.
He has spared successive revelations in Arabia, in connexion no pains to make it it complete repository of with solitary meditation, led him into the the most valuable iuformation on the books entire doctrinal creed which he afterwards of the New Testament which has hitherto preached. There the gospel, in the full combeen supplied from English, American, or pass and clearness belonging to his subsequent oriental sources. Great discretion, too, has disclosures of it, received a permanent lodgbeen exercised in the use of inaterials; marked ment in his mind. There his doctrinal creed candour in dealing with opponents; and strong was perfectly formed. attachinent to the orthodox and settled in “A glance at these different views must religious opinion. To those who wish to suffice on the present occasion. become acquainted with the powerful current “1. This opinion is perhaps the most comof evidence by which the authenticity and
It is apparently countenanced by inspiration of every separate book of the New Gal. i. 16: 'when it pleased God to rereal his Testameut is sustained, Dr. David-on's labours Sun in me,' &c. But the words in question will be an inestim:ble boon. Ministers, in are no proot of its truth, unless they be inparticular, will tind this Introduction to the terpreted as synonymous with,. for neitlier New Testament to be a very precious addition received it (the gospel) of man, neither was I to their libraries, and should inake almost any taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus sacritice rather than not possess themselves of Christ, (ver. 12). It is not probable that the work.
both express the saine idea. The twelfth