« AnteriorContinuar »
And how frequently, my brethren, do we perceive minds skilled in the investigation of science, accurate in the discrimination of character, and quicksighted in the detection of the errors of others, yet utterly blind to their own follies and vices, and viewing every thing connected with themselves through a false and distorted medium. Our moral constitution, corrupted as it is, still prevents us from contemplating, calmly and steadily, our own sins, in all their magnitude and atrocity. We quickly turn away from the appalling vision, we strive to discover alleviations of our guilt, or excuses for having wandered from the path of virtue; acute and perverted is the ingenuity of self-deceit. The man of the world lowers the standard of Christian morals, denies the obligation of the difficult, yet exalted qualities of selfdenial, superiority to the objects of sense, meekness, forgiveness of injuries, and heavenly-mindeiness, which God hath enjoined in his Word; or lie strives completely to cast them into the shade, dwells on the useful actions or deeds of beneficence be has performed, while he examines not into the motives from whence they have emanated; excuses his every error as proceeding from constitutional infirmity, the influence of education, or the power of temptation; and viewing his whole character in the aggregate, he exults in the thought that he is infinitely superior to the majority of those around him, and that, if he is condemned, fearful indeed must be the lot of others. Another class of individuals boldly reject the grand peculisrities of the Christian system; substitute their own works for the righteousness of the Saviour; ibeir acts of devotion for that blood which cleanseth from all sin; their spurious morality for the divine precepts of the religion of Jesus; their own wisdom for that which descendeth from above, and their own strength for that omnipotent power «hich worketh in man to will and to do of God's "cod pleasure. And many who stand high in '•fhat is sometimes termed the religious world, can taik fluently of their frames and feelings, can discuss with considerable ingenuity, and boundless dopaatiim, subjects the most abstruse and mysterious, and on which the wisest and best may often wnscientiously differ; can descant on the merits or demerits of particular ministers, and the wisdom or the folly of certain forms of Church discipline and government, and may both appear and "dually be extremely zealous for what they term the cause of truth, while they habitually neglect the plainest duties of social and domestic life; are '■inland husbands, undutiful wives, careless parents, disobedient children, rigorous masters, or dishonest wants, and seem utterly to neglect the cultivation of all those amiable and benevolent dispositions, which shone with so conspicuous a lustre in the character of that divine teacher, whom they proless to reverence and love. And yet, my brethren, while their conduct is thus defective and guilty, they ma,v be, in a great measure, insensible to their own errors, and may hardly entertain any dread of the judgments of heaven. And this brings me to remark,
IV. That while Saul was, in truth, guilty of a complicated act of disobedience to the will of God, he had yet so completely suppressed the dictates of his conscience that he appears to have possessed no inconsiderable degree of self-complacency, on the review of his own conduct. I do not say that he was entirely convinced that he had acted in an upright and conscientious manner. The circumstance of his imputing the seizing of the spoil altogether to the people, and not to himself, seems to shew that he entertained, at least, a latent doubt of the propriety of the action which he had permitted, if not decidedly commanded or encouraged. Yet still he does not shrink from the sight of the holy Samuel. He meets him with the accents of cheerfulness and joy. He even boasts of his own conduct, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." When Samuel reminds him of his transgression, he strenuously defends himself and his people. Even after the messenger of the Most High had begun to deliver the denunciations of the divine judgments, his mind continues still hardened; no confession of guilt proceeds from his lips; but there is all the firm and undaunted boldness which we naturally look for from conscious innocence alone. And it is not until he is informed that he was to be deprived of his kingdom, that we find him declaring to Samuel, from the influence, probably not of penitence, but of terror, "I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commands of the Lord, and thy words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice."
It is an error, my friends, into which we often fall, to suppose that an irreligious man is always conscious of his real condition, and is consequently the victim of secret gloom and melancholy. It is true that the open profligate, until he is entirely given over to a reprobate mind, cannot bear to survey his own character; avoids the solitary chamber; shuns even the quiet stillness of domestic life, and shrinks from communion with his heart. It is true that he has his hours of deep and poignant remorse, and that even the shaking leaf may inspire him with terror. But not so the man who, though a stranger to true religion, is yet conscious to himself that he is possessed of inflexible integrity; that he is distinguished by high minded and chivalrous honour; that he disdains to utter the language of falsehood and deceit; that he performs many a kind and beneficent action; that he is the object of the warmest affection to his family and friends, and that he is esteemed and respected by all around him. Persuaded of his own excellence in the performance of the second table of the Moral Law, he seldom thinks of the high and holy duties that he owes his God and Saviour; or if he does, he is satisfied with the thought that he is not an unbeliever; that he has been admitted by baptism a member of the Christian Church; that he has received the memorials of redeeming love; that he is not altogether negligent of religious duties, nor completely ungrateful for the divine benefits. The world approves his actions, and he doubts not the soundness of its verdict. He compares Lis conduct with that of many in the circle in which he moves, and he feels his own proud superiority. In affliction, he congratulates himself on the remembrance of what he calls a well-spent life. In death, he looks forward to heaven as the reward of his virtues. It is not unfrequent for the ministers of Religion to behold persons of this description quitting the world with little anxiety, and no dread ; and while they perceive the humble follower of the Lamb, at times afraid to meet the God of purity, and trembling from a sense of his own unworthiness, while he yet cleaves with all his heart to the merits of his Saviour, they sometimes hear the mere moralist confidently expressing his hope and expectation of future blessedness.
Similar is often the case with the proud and self-righteous professor of Christianity. His religion does not indeed curb the influence of unbridled appetite, or the violence of ungoverned passion; it does not inspire that peace of God which passeth all understanding; it does not impart that purity of mind and sanctity of character which is heaven begun upon earth,; nor does it communicate that hope which is full of immortality. Still, in life and in death, he is ready to say to all around, "stand back, for I am holier than thou;" he exults in the extent of his religious knowledge; in the orthodoxy of the opinions he has maintained; the high estimation in which he has been held by the pious and the good; the regularity of'his devotions, and his zealous exertions for the extension of the Church, or sect with which he is connected, or the dissemination of the Gospel in heathen lands. He is amongst the number of those whom God, by the mouth of his prophet, describes as at ease in Zion. He mistakes profession for principle, and the form of godliness for its power; and he goes down to his grave, "saying peace, peace, when there is no peace, and when sudden destruction is ready to come upon him." Well might our Lord declare that the publican and the harlot enter into the kingdom of heaven before the proud Pharisee. The former, though often suppressing religions conviction and impression, and hardening their hearts in scenes of wickedness, yet if once brought to reflection on the bed of sickness, or in the house of mourning, feel that they have no merit to cling to in themselves, and are sometimes led to seek an interest in the love of that Being who came into this world to save even the chief of sinners. But the latter are placed in the miserable condition of the Church of Laodicea. "They say that they are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." But though vain and foolish man may delude himself and others, he cannot deceive God. An hour of solemn retribution is at hand. It sometimes begins in this world, and its awful termination will extend to the mighty ages of eternity. And this leads me to direct your attention,
V. To the signal punishment which was inflicted upon the king of Israel, for his disobe
dience to the divine command. His own heart, we have seen, was filled with pride and vain glory. He probably enjoyed the applauses of his people. He looked forward to distinction and honour, and anticipated many happy days in the land of the living. But the judgment of God often differs from that of man, and while the poor and lowly may be the objects of his regard, those who are highly esteemed in the world, are despised before him. The prophet Samuel is appointed to remind the monarch of his guilt, and to pronounce the sentence of heaven's wrath. "When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointe-i thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and Baid, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken than the fat of Tarns. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel, will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man that he should repent.'' We pursue not the history of this sinful and infatuated individual, but only remark, that the sentence of God was executed upon him in all its jmt and merited severity.
The awful fate of the king of Israel affords» striking and impressive lesson to the man of the world, the mere moralist, or him who halts between two opinions. They may be possessed of many qualities that are dignified and honourable, fair and amiable, pleasing and attractive. They may receive the plaudits of their fellow mortals; they may be hailed as the patriots and benefactors of their country; and even their own consciences, deluded by the specious appearance of virtue without its reality, may approve their conduct, and inspire them with the hope of joys beyond the grave; but the period shall arrive, when their spirits must wing their flight to the invisible world, and appear in the presence of Him who looketh not at the outward appearance, but judgeth the thoughts and intents of the heart. The veil is now removed, the mask is for ever torn away. That morality is utterly unavailing in the records of immortality which springs not from loTe to God. Those acts of piety, or deeds of virtue, are vain and delusive, which were not kindled at the foot of the Saviour's cross, and were not supported by the power of his grace. How empty at that solemn hour will all human distinctions and all worldly glory appear. "Vanity of vanities," will indeed be engraven upon them all.
How tremendous then shall be the doom of the
false and hypocritical professors of Religion! Saul was chosen of God as king of Israel, he entered Dpon life with high professions of piety, and on one occasion we find him even among the prophets of the Lord, yet he died rejected by the Almighty, the fearful monument of his righteous displeasure. And our Saviour tells us of some who shall say to him at the last day, " Have we not prophesied in thy name, in thy name cast out devils and done many wonderful works?" to whom he shall reply, "I never knew you, depart from me, ye workers of iniquity." Yes, my brethren, you may have known what the Gospel is; it may have approved itself to your understanding; it may have commended itself to your conscience; you may have Lad pleasure in hearing it preached ; you may have defended it in your conversation, and you may have perused the writings of many pious authors, who have illustrated and enforced its truths; but if it has not led you to hate sin and love holiness; to live in habitual communion with Christ; to imbibe his spirit; to obey his law, and to submit with patience to his unerring providence ; fhen however confident you may be of your own salvation, and however high your character in the Church of Christ, yet believe me, for I utter the solemn declaration of him who cannot lie, when I tell you that your profession is insincere, that your Religion is unavailing, and that if a saving change is not effected upon your character, you can never enter within the gates of the New Jerusalem. I know that to many these may appear hard sayings. But the only enquiry is, are they true? are they agreeable to the word of God? If they are, it is our highest kindness to make them known to you, ere your doom is fixed and sealed for ever. Go then, my brethren, and commune with your own hearts, and carefully enquire whether you are dealing deceitfully with the Lord, or are presenting before his altar, the cheerful obedience of faith and love. Go, resolved to give your '.thole soul to God, and to consecrate to his service all the energies of your mind, and all the actions <if your life. Go, raising the eye of faith to the cross of your Redeemer, that there you may behold all the attractive loveliness of his character, and all the unsearchable power and riches of his mercy and grace. Go, and with a holy importunity, imnlure that the blessed spirit may descend upon you, may take up his abode in your heart, and bring every thought and desire into captivity to the obedience of Christ. He that asks shall receive, he that seeks shall find, and to him that knocketh it shaJl be opened.
THE STATE OF THE CHURCH IN RUSSIA.
By Thomas Brown, Esq.,
Author of " Reminiscences of an Old Traveller
throughout different parts of Europe."'
As the Church in Russia is at present constituted, its
members compose a peculiar distinct class in the state;
and although their honours and dignities are not here
* Published by John Anderson, junior, Edinburgh.
ditary,'they are held in much respect by the great body of the people, and possess particular privileges, which protect them from the operation of taxes, and personal corporal punishment. All matters connected with the national Church are under the direction and management of the Holy Synod at St. Petersburg, and a subordinate court at Moscow. The Imperial family, the Russians, Cosaks, and a vast majority of the Servians, Lithuanians, Laplanders, Permians, Serjans, Votiaks, Ostiaks, Teptars, Georgians, Kistentsi, Kamptshadals, Greeks, Moldavians, &c, with proselytes from several fixed as well as unsettled tribes, comprehending about thirty-three millions of individuals, profess the Greek Religion.
The whole Russian clergy are divided into two classes, regular and secular. The first have exclusively the privilege of filling the highest dignities in the Church: they are ordained under much stricter vows, and are termed the black clergy, (thshornoe duchovenstvo,~) from their wearing a black robe. The secular clergy have a brown or blue robe, and are denominated the white clergy, (beloi duchovenstvo.)
The Church is divided into eparchies, or (according to the translation) dioceses. Their number is discretionary, and entirely at the will of the sovereign. They are superintended by the following high dignities:—
1. Metropolitans. 2. Archbishops. 3. Bishops. These honours are not necessarily confined to any particular eparchy, but may be conferred according to the pleasure of the sovereign. That of metropolitan is bestowed only on the chiefs of the dioceses having charge of the two capitals, or of those of the former kingdoms, (or tsarstvo,) which are now incorporated with the empire.
In ancient times their number was limited to four. The first classes of the clergy are, under their general denomination, called Archirei, or prelates; next in degree, the Archimandrits and Igumens, or abbots and priors of the monasteries; and in the third class are comprehended the monks, who were either ordained for the priestly office, for the second degree or diaconate, or are mere lay brothers without having taken the vow. The secular clergy, not having taken the vow, can only attain higher dignities in the Church after they have become widowers, and received the tonsure. Their gradations are as follows.
<They are represented in the synod by an upper or head Svastshenic, a rank instituted by Paul I. The next in degree are the Protories, or high priests, who have the general superintendence of cathedrals, or other principal churches. Then Svastshenic, or priest; next the deacons, then the deacons' assistants, and lastly the Ponomart, the lowest class of the secular clergy, whose duties, as a body, are peculiarly laborious.
Some centuries after the first introduction of Christianity into Russia, the influence and power of the patriarch of Constantinople began to decline. Vladimir II. (Monomachus) laid the foundation of the independent authority of the Church in Russia, by enacting, that for the future one of the bishops should be chosen metropolitan of all the Russias. The succeeding great dukes caused these metropolitans to be invested by the Russian bishops themselves ; and on the 22d January 1589, Fedor Vassilievitch gave his people, for the first time, a patriarch of their own, who was consecrated and acknowledged at Moscow by the patriarch of Constantinople. This dignity in the Church continued from 1589 to the 27th November 1/20, when it became vacant by the death of Adrian, and was done away with for the future by Peter I. A sacred council was appointed for a short period, and on the 25th February 1721 the Holy Synod was established, and denominated by Peter "a permanent assembly of the Church," which has continued in activity ever since. This high office, in common with every other, is under the sovereign. On the other hand, all the prelates and inferior branches, as well as every thing connected with the Greek Church, are under the control of the synod. The emperor appoints the members of the synod, and is thus in the strictest sense head of the Church. Among the temporal members, the head of the synod is the only one who has a dissenting vote.
The clergy from time immemorial possessed considerable property in land, of which they had the charge, and enjoyed the revenue arising from it. Catharine I. in 1726, attached a particular office to the synod, for the management of the agricultural concerns of the clergy. Anne confirmed this arrangement in 1736 and 1738. It met, further, with the entire concurrence of Peter III., who, by two ukazes of the 16th February and 20th March 1762, ordered, moreover, that no person should be received into a monastery, either in Great or Little Russia, without the special permission of the sovereign. Catharine II. appointed, in 1763, a particular commission, composed of regular and secular members, to examine into and regulate the property of the Church. The result appeared in an ukaze which was promulgated on the 24th February 1764, by which it was enacted, that the administration of the lands of the clergy in Great Russia, with the slaves attached to them, be given over to a separate and distinct commission for that purpose, and a proportionate assessment made for the behoof of the clergy, on all classes of the community. The church lands, which had for centuries appertained to the clergy, where there were no slaves attached to the soil, as well as their lands in Little Russia, were to remain as before. At present all the branches of the clergy, with a view to the more convenient distribution of their revenues, are divided into seven classes, whose whole income exceeds seven millions of rubles.
Their theological studies are confined to the writings of the Greek fathers, such as Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, &c, and to the works of the Russian divines. Among the last I may mention, Platon, late metropolitan of Moscow, Dmetrius, metropolitan of Rostov, Theophancs, archbishop of Pleskov, and Michael, archbishop of Tshernigov. The Russian clergy, in all essential matters, and in common with the whole of the orthodox Eastern Church, adopt the fundamental points of doctrine which were determined and established at seven oecumenical meetings. Their most symbolical work was first projected in 1642 by the metropolitan of Kiev, and on the following year approved of and signed by the four patriarchs of Constantinople.
Peter I. caused the same to be distributed by the Holy Synod at St. Petersburg in 1722, and which had been done previously in Holland in 1662, and a short time afterwards at Moscow. The peculiar and leading features of this confession are the following: It acknowledges a two-fold ground of faith, Scripture and tradition—it denies the right of the synod to establish new dogmas—it comprehends seven forms of sacrament or mysteries, viz., baptism, chrism, the eucharist, repentance, ordination, marriage, and consecration—it enacts the invocation of angels and saints—the veneration of images and relics, and the sign of the cross to be considered as of blissful effect. This confession contains nothing of the efficacy of extraordinary works, of indigencies, or of purgatory.
The effect of the church music, the imposing grandeur of the high mass, and in general the splendid pomp of the church ceremonies and dresses of the clergy, are well calculated to inspire the simple untutored minds of the people with profound reverence and awe.
The Church is divided into three parts: First, the Sanctum Sanctorum, called the altar, in the middle of which stands the holy tabie. This part of the Church is the east end, so that the congregation always worship with then- faces towards the rising sun. The altar
is separated from the nave by a screen, on which ire pictures of our Saviour, virgin, apostles, and sainu. This screen is called the Jkonostas, in the middle of which are the royal doors, which are opened at different times in the course of the service. The second division is the nave, where the congregation sl»nd. There are no seats, nor any books used. The whole of the service is in the Sclavonian language.
The eparcliies are generally named after the place where the prelate resides, and not after the provir.ee. Catharine II., by an ukaze of the 24th February 17C4, divided all these eparchies, as well as the monasteries and nunneries, into three classes. In the two first s:> placed archbishops and archimandrits over the moni>teries and nunneries, and in the third class bishops aui igumens.
Besides these eparchies, I have to notice the catbolicos of Georgia, and the exarchy in the metropolis of Moldavia.
The monasteries and nunneries are very numerous a Russia; some follow the rules of St. Bazil, others tho* of St. Anthony j they have been, on the whole, less detrimental than in many Catholic countries, where i Pater General could absolve the monks from their allegiance to their sovereign. Since the time of Peter I, pains have been taken to reduce the number of monb and nuns, to improve their condition, and to renda them more useful to the state. The regulation of that monarch required that monastic vows should only be taken at a certain period of life; that the monks should cultivate their own lands, and that they, as well as tee nuns, were to attend on the sick and take charge of the helpless orphans, and, moreover, that previous to withdrawing from the world, the monks should be welt taught in proper seminaries, so that they might, by their zeal and labours, be of advantage to the great body i>i the people. It is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the number of monasteries and nunneries in Russia. Ambrosius, in his work on the Russian hierarchy, mentions, that according to the regulation of the 26th February, 1764, the monasteries and nunneries in Great Russia were also divided into three classes. In the firs: there were fifteen, in the second forty-one, and in the third a hundred monasteries. Of the nunneries there were in the first, four; in the second, eighteen j and in the third, seventeen. Similar establishments were organized in Little Russia, by an ukaze of the 10th April 1786, by which it appears, that in that district there were twenty-nine monasteries and ten nunneries, in White Russia, thirty-one monasteries and four nunneries; and, lastly, in 1797, there appeared to be in thirtj eparcliies, sixty monasteries of the third class. Exclusive of all these, the following Lavra of the Russian Church, or large cloisters or convents, require to be particularly noticed.
1. The Petsherskoi kiev Lavra, whose Ignmea was first installed in 1052.
2. The holy Sergcevski Troitskoi Lavra, at Moscow, whose Igumen was installed 1354.
3. The holy monastery of St. Alexander Nevsky, si St. Petersburg.
Immediately under the cognizance of the Holy Synod are placed the following monasteries, some of which, i* progress of time, have become very considerable.
Aot'osyasAoi, in Moscow.
Voskresenskoi, in the government of Moscow.
Semenovski and Donski, in the same.
Solovetsfti near the White Sea, in the government o. Archangel; and, lastly, the Pekin Svatenskoi, as. the walls of Pekin, uniting the votaries of the east and west empire.
Even before Peter I. a Russian bishop and nine other clergymen, were (as the record testifies,) sent to Dts~ potissimi Monarchae Bogdojensis ac Chinensis Chaxi, whose object was Divinorum peragtndi ertncnivic Christina fidei gratia qfficiorum, (to perform the religious services of the orthodox Christian faith.) The last irchimsndrit was appointed to the Pekin Mission in 1S07, where he has resided since the 10th January 1808. In 1805, the number of churches in all the Russian eparchies, according to a statement now before me, (the accuracy of which I have no reason whatever to hold in question,) was 26,747. This may appear preposterous lo many who have never been in Russia, but in me it tidies no surprise, as I have repeatedly seen, in various para of that country, the church service performed nthout one single person to witness it; and hundreds of these huge unwieldy edifices are built at the sole expense of rich individuals, who probably think that such an offering to the Deity will atone for a life of immoralit; ot dishonesty.
CHRISTIAN TREASURY. Beujits of Affliction—When the mighty Redeemer tones manifestly near, the blessing and comfort of early affliction becomes rich and wonderful. It is bett«, cower, for the most part, that this is not obtain*& TOkoat difficulty and conflict. To prevent the ray and boasting to which our nature is strangely prone, the Lord secretly prepares his own way by cast"is down, md suffering us to hunger, even when refresloif natations of divine love may seem highly necessary and seasonable. But he at length "satiates <w n-earr soul, and replenishes every sorrowful soul." I .Sir you will be apt to charge yourself with want of •uftoeiit earnestness, and of such deep convictions of an as may be requisite; and here, it requires much soil and caution to guide you in that path which leads <" genuine and sure comfort. But I would remark, tut tie excellency of conviction and earnestness does w lie chiefly in the degrees of distress, or vehemence, «father in the spirituality of the views and feelings n tiie soul. You will he safe in putting yourself withal allowed reserve into the hands of "the infinitely r-* and good Spirit of the Lord, that he may show !«tie evil of sin and its consequences, in that man
• and degree which are suitable to your condition. "Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach ir«rs in the way," Psalm xxv. 8, and you will perteie that you are sufficiently convinced, and roused to ■ir<:< concern, when the end is gained in your being oiaOy brought to an explicit and spiritual acceptance '■ tiie great Saviour, and to an humble reliance on ''■'■', and rest in him. It was said on an important oc"""i " If thou belie vest with all thy heart;" and it "wisely said by another, " Lord, I believe, help « mine unbelief." Seek, therefore, with whatever
• ryou can take of sin, original and actual, to come 'sedately to the merciful and faithful High Priest, *">e riches of reconciling and justifying merit, are unactable. Continue seeking and knocking, till you *M such a broad view of the person of Jesus Im«»el, and of his suffering love and merit, as will put 1 itito a nearness and union with him, unspeakably |*> tender, and delightful. And when you reach ■S your situation, though in the midst of trouble, will <»tier to be envied than pitied. "You will rejoice He of the glory of God, and will glory in tribula»also."Rom. v. I would certainly rejoice much "* opening of a clear prospect of your complete rerery to health, but I would rather wish, in the first knee, to see you rendered independent of recovery,
• sure hearing of the voice, " Daughter, be of good *r, thy sins are forgiven thee," and by such expe°« of the power of holiness, and of the burning and Mness of the heavenly presence and love of Christ, Wuld make it appear to require submission and pafce to be willing to live. Then it would be desir
• that you should, live and declare the works of the
Lord, and see his goodness in this world, and that you should invite, counsel, and comfort your young friends and others. But it is highly preferable even to this, with regard to present enjoyment, to be brought away by the rude hand of affliction, into that immediate bright presence of God, and of the Lamb, which at once, and for ever, annihilates sin, suffering, and danger. It becomes us, however, who are unworthy of the least gleam of hope and comfort, to think, with a kind of blushing humility, of being admitted to the heaven of heavens, and to hide ourselves in the splendour of the Sun of Righteousness, while we resign the choice and disposal of what concerneth us, to the author and God of our salvation Lavs.
Christianity.—Natural fancies are like glass, bright but brittle; Christian Religion is like gold, rub it, beat it, melt it, it will endure the test, the touch, the hammer, and still shine more orient. Adams.
Forgivenm through Christ—The soul that looks after it in earnest, must consider what it lost. How light do most men make of pardon 1 What an easy thing is it to be acquainted with it 1 and no very hard matter to obtain it. But to hold communion with God in the blood of his Son, is a thing of a different nature than is once dreamed of by many, who think they know well enough what it is to be pardoned. "God be merciful," is a common saying, and as common to desire he would be so " for Christ's sake." Poor creatures are cast in the mould of such expressions, who know neither God, nor mercy, nor Christ, nor amy thing of the mystery of the Gospel. Others look on the outside of the cross, to see into the mystery of the love of the Father, workingin the blood of the Mediator. To consider, by faith, the groat transaction of divine wisdom, justice, and mercy therein, how few attain unto it. To come unto God by Christ for forgiveness, and therein to behold the law issuing all its threats and curses in his blood and losing its sting, putting an end unto its obligation unto punishment; in the cross to see all sins gathered up in the hands of God's justice, and made to meet on the Mediator; and eternal love springing forth triumphantly from his blood, flourishing into pardon, grace, mercy, forgiveness, this the heart of a sinner can be
enlarged unto only by the Spirit of God Owen.
■ Preparation for Heaven A daily conversation in
Heaven, is the surest forerunner of a constant abode there. The spirit of God, by enabling us hereunto first brings Heaven into the soul, and then conducts the soul to Heaven Abbowsmith.
By William Tennant, Esqitibe,
Author of " Anster Fair," frc.
Prof, of Orien. Lang., University of St. Andrews.
BDTH AND NAOMI.
Time—alter mid-day. Scene—Vale of Sittim, on the. east cf the river Jordan* ,_
Th' Almighty Lord command had given