« AnteriorContinuar »
instruction, without entertaining any fear of his unwillingness to hear you, or to bestow the benefit you desire of him.
Further, the title Friend supposes delight in his presence and friendship. There is nothing more desireable to the friends of Christ, and nothing affords them higher satisfaction, than the pleasure they derive from fellowship with Christ. • When others say, Who will show us any good ? Lord, lift thou upon us the light of thy countenance. In proportion as a friend is beloved, his presence and fellowship will be desired; and there. are few enjoyments that tend more to sweeten human life than the presence and fellowship of an highly esteemed friend. Nay, friendship cannot properly be said to subsist, without a prevailing desire to enjoy familiar conversation, and to impart those expressions of love, or perform those acts of kindness, to which mutual affection will naturally prompt. As no earthly friendship can impart such delight as that which arises from fellowship with Christ, his friends have the greater reason to desire his presence.
• Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon the earth whom I desire besides thee. One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.'
This title Friend supposes a desire to honour Christ, and to do bis will. Where friendship is sincere, the parties will find themselves actuated by a strong desire to please and to honour one another. Each studies his friend's pleasure as much as his own; and not a few cases have occurred, in which great sacrifices have been made for the sake of a friend dearly beloved. The friends of Christ would prove themselves unworthy of the title, and justly forfeit all the pleasure and advantage that arises from his friendship, if they felt no desire to please him, or were not engaged by his love to interest theinselves in promoting his honour. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.'
This title Friend, given to the disciples of Christ, supposes that they take an interest in all his concerns. He who is a friend indeed, and whose practice is regulated by the spirit of friendship, cannot fail to take such a deep interest in the welfare of him whom he loves, as to make all his concerns his own. Such an interest does he take in his prosperity, and so much does he share with him his sorrows in his adversity, that there is nothing that contributes to bis friend's comfort, or ministers to his pain, but produces like sensations in himself; and they are the friends of Christ indeed, who take an interest in his cause, and feel corresponding emotions as it prospers, or as it is opposed among men. They are not indifferent tó the success of religion, but contemplate the progress of the
gospel with heartlelt delight, while they bewail the evils that i, prevail, and the dishonour or the injury which religion may
sustain by the apostacy of unfaithful men. As the true friends of Christ, they take a deep interest in all his concerns,-in his honours they rejoice, in his sufferings they are afflicted; his cause is dear to theni, and they rejoice when it is prosperous among men.
In fine, this title supposes a willingness to submit to suffer: ings for his sake.
The people of Christ will not be backward to endure sufferings for his sake, should it be his pleasure to require of thein such an expression of their regard. For him gladly,' said one of bis apostles,' I suffer the loss of all things; and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. I rejoice in necessities, in distresses, in persecutions, in reproaches for his sake.' That friendship must hang together by a very slender tie, for preserving which, neither of the parties are willing to make any sacrifice; and the sincerity of that friendship to Christ is much to be suspected, that will not admit of suffering for him, - that is shaken by reproach, or gives way to the slightest opposition. The weak, indeed, among his people are easily discouraged; but Death itself cannot destroy that principle of love that reigns in the bosom of every true friend of Christ. Actuated by this love that never faileth,' they can brave dangers, encounter difficulties, endure sufferings, and submit to death for his sake. It is but seldom indeed that Christ requires his friends to bring their love to him to such a severe trial; but should he do so, they have every reason to expect that he will minister to them such encouragement and support as shall enable them to act a part worthy of the character they sustain.
It must be remembered, however, that obedience to him is the true test of friendship. Mere professions of regard do not suffice. If ye love me, keep my commandments. This obedience must be universal. Of this the Psalmist was an eminent example: He had a respect to all God's commandments; and esteemed the words of God's mouth concerning all things to be right;' and this obedience, to prove its sincerity, must be constant. “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Ye have not chosen me; but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should bear much fruit.'
DR. CLARKE ON CALVIN.
To the Editor. Dr. Adam CLARKE in the general Preface to his Comaventary on the Bible, now publishing, has inserted a short ac count of various Expositions of the Sacred Seriptures, which have appeared in the successive ages of the church. Among
the Protestant Expositions, he mentions Calvin's in the following terms:
John Calvin wrote a Commentary on all the Prophets and the Evangelists. His part in the Reformation is well known. In many respects his comments are allowed to be learned and judicious. He was a strenuous advocate for the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith; and for wbat he justly calls decretum horribile, the horrible decree of sovereign, eternal, irrespective reprobation. This opinion, from the manner in which it has been defended by soine and opposed by others, has tended greatly to the disunion of many Christians; and produced every temper but brotherly kindness and charity.'
It is very far from my wish to prejudice any of your readers against Dr. Clarke's Commentary." I doubt not that it will contain very valuable and interesting matter; but I think it is due to the name of Calvin, to take some notice of the above statement.
1. I beg leave to observe that Dr. C. has, perhaps inadvertently, suffered himself to fall into a common mistake respecting Calvin's application of the above phrase. Had Dr. C. allowed himself to examine the Institutes of Calvin, he would have found the words in question applied, not to the decree of reprobation, but to God's permission of the fall of Adam. The
passage stands thus*:Unde factum est ut tot gentes una cum liberis eorum infantibus eternæ morti involveret lapsus Ada absque remedio, nisi quia Deo ita visum est? Hic obmutescere oportet tum dicaces olio, qui linguas. Decretum quidem horribile, fateor : inficiarı tamen nemo poterit quin præsciverit Deus quem exitum esset habiturus homo, antequam ipsum conderet; et ideo præsciverit quia decreto suo sic ordinarat. • Whence is it, I ask, that the fall of Adam should involve so many nations, with their infant offspring, in eternal death, but that it was thus known of God ? On such a subject every tongue ought to be silent. The decree, I acknowledge, is an awful one; yet no man can deny but that God knew, before he created man, what the event would be; and he so foreknew, because he had by his own decree thus ordained.'
2. Even admitting that Calvin had applied the above phrase to the awful subject of reprobation, it seems unworthy of a fair and candid opponent, to render it in English 'horrible decree;' when it is obvious that Calvin designed to convey the notion of awful, or venerable, just as Cicero in pleading the cause of Quinctius, says,' Horribile est causam capitis di vere, horribilinis priore loco dicere.' It is a solemn thing not horrible one) to plead a cause of life and death, - still mo
* Institut. lib. iii. cap. 23. sec. 1.
solemn to open such a cause. Virgil too, talks of the auful anger of Juno, horribiles irast.'
3. Dr. Clarke, in a long note, traces the etymology of the word Elohim (Gen. j. 1.) to the Arabic. Alaha;' which he adds from Wilmet, signifies,' He worshipped, adored, was struck with astonishment, fear, or terror; and hence-he adored with sucred horror and veneration : Cum sacro horrore ac veneratione coluit. Hence Ilahon, fear, veneration; and also the object of religious fear, the Deity, the supreme God, the tremendous Being. What should we think of Dr. C. if, from this etymology, he had told us that God should always be worshipped with horror? — and yet, where is the school-boy who does not see that it would be just as good a translation as the horrible decree?' - Let us learn to do to others as we would that they should do to us.
† Georgics, lib. iii. 152. See Ainsworth in verb,
A CONCISE VIEW OF TIIE PRESENT STATE OF EVANGELICAL RELIGION
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
[Continued from p. 90.] NO. VII.
AFRICA. The sable sons of Afric pass next under our review :-in science, and all the arts of civilized life, exceedingly inferior to the other quarters of the globe. Brutish ignorance, savage manners, and slavery in its worst form, reign throughout. The curse of Ham seems still to rest upon them. Egypt itself, once so famed for wisdom, is sunk to the lowest step of degradation in intellectual attainments, enslaved, oppressed, and torn by factions, the servants of servants, slaves reign over them! Africa, like Asia, is divided by the same strong lines of Heathenism and Mahomedanism, with the small remains of Christianity, which, once so flourishing in Egypt, and through the vast regions stretching along the borders of the Mediterras nean Sea to the Pillars of Hercules, is now nearly extinct; and scarcely a trace remains (like the desolate cities, whose ery ruins have perished) to shew that it ever subsisted. he northern part of Africa is wholly subject to the grand postor: the Moors and Arabs of the desart are bis bigotted ciples. A line drawn from the sources of the Niger to its ction with the river of Egypt (if indeed it be not the same am) will divide generally the Manometan from the Pagan inion. To the nortli, as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the exception of several nations bordering on the At
who continue Heatuzn, the rest are followers of the
false prophet, with an abundant mixture of Pagan superstition. A greater extent of country in Africa is unexplored than in any other part of the world; and much entirely de solate, destitute of water, with moving sands, like the waves of the sea. South of the Niger to the coasts of the Eastern Ocean, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Babelmandel, the Abyssinian empire excepted, and a few nations on the sea-coast towards the east, where the Mahomedan delusion hath made many converts, the great body of the people is in the deepest heathen ignorance and savageness, and almost wild as the beasts, whose empire is yet unmolested by man. In many places a vast population is seen, and everywhere slavery established in its most hateful form. Of these millions of immortal souls, few have ever heard the fame, or seen the glory of Him who came down from heaven to seek and to save that which was lost, without respect to persons or colour, black men or white, bond or free. On account of the burning climate, its unfavourableness to European constitutions, and the difficulty and danger of penetrating into regions so inhospitable, fewer efforts have been hitherto made to communicate the knowledge of salvation to Africa than to any other quarter of the globe; and a smaller number of those who bear the Christian name will here be found, than in the other countries of both the great continents. The following slight sketch will afford some faint lines of the Christianity yet remaining, and the endeavours which have of late been made to enlarge its pale among these most desolate of all the regions of the earth :
In Egypt, a small remnant of the Greek church subsists in the Copts, who have a few churches and monasteries; but with the Christians of every name, whom Commerce collects, or those who in the greater towns have maintained a feeble existence in the Greek church, they can hardly be said to have' a name to live.' Sunk into the lowest state of impotence and degeneracy, from whom apparently no hope of revival remains, and their utter extinction is rather to be ex- , pected.
Except the Spanish town of Ceuta, not a name of Christian is to be found from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean; and Spanish Christianity affords not the least glimpse of hope of the diffusion of the gospel in truth and purity; Along an immense space of the eastern coast, on the Atlantic, under the empire of Morocco, all is bigotry and tyranny in the extreme, and no prospect of amelioration in government or religion.
The Christian nations of Europe have carried their arms for the vilest purposes to the shores of Africa, bordering the Atlantic; and for the purchase of guins, ivory, gold, and above ul, for the hateful merchandize of men, have forined numeraus settlements on the coast; and according to the genius of