Imágenes de páginas

Socrates declared there was no such gipation; and Plato's fair idea might thing as human wisdom. In short, all have been brought into competition were dissatisfied. The wise had a vagne with the doctrines of the Gospel. But desire for a religion which comprehend- in St. Paul is exhibited a portrait which ed great objects, and had noble ends in not only illustrates its Divine truth, but view. The people stood in need of a establishes its moral efficacy; a portrait religion which should bring relief to entirely free from any distortion in the human wants, and consolation to human drawing, from any extravagance in the miseries. . They wanted a simple way, colouring. proportioned to their comprehension; “ It is the representation of a man a short way, proportioned to their struggling with the sins and infirmities leisare; a living way, which should give natural to man; yet habitually triumphlight to the conscience and support to ing over them by that Divine grace the mind; a way founded, not on specu- which had first rescued him from prelation, but evidence, which should carry judice, bigotry, and unbelief. It reconversion to the heart as well as con presents him resisting, not only such viction to the understanding. Such a temptations as are common to men, but religion God was preparing for them surmounting trials to which 10 other in the Gospel of his Son. Christianity man was ever called; furnishing in his was calculated to supply the exigencies whole practice not only an instructor, both of the Greeks and of the barba. but a model ; shewing every where in rians; but the former, though they more his writings, that the same offers, the acknowledged their want, more slowly same supports, the same victories, are welcomed the relief ; while the latter, tendered to every suffering child of though they less felt the one, more mortality,—that the waters of eternal readily accepted the other."-Vol. i. life are not restricted to prophets and pp. 17, 18.

apostles, but are offered freely to every Having in the course of this chap- one that thirsteth, offered without ter demonstrated the necessity of a

money and without price.”—Vol. i.

pp. 45–47. more perfect system of belief and morals; of such a system, in short,

As the character of St. Paul is as the Gospel reveals ; the author chiefly to be traced in the Epistles adverts, in the next, to the historical

which bear his name, our Author writers of the New Testament, and very properly allots the third chap

ter to remarks “on the epistolary

, the fidelity, simplicity, and unstudi writers of the New Testament, and ed consonance, so strikingly mani. particularly St. Paul ;” and there is fested in their several narratives. much ingenuity and pathos in the Their simplicity is beautifully troduced.

manner in which this subject is inillustrated.

The following observations, which “ Can the reader of taste and feeling, close this chapter, satisfactorily who has followed the much-enduring explain the grounds on which st. hero of the Odyssey with growing de Paul is selected as a model and light and increasing sympathy, though recommended as an example :

in a work of fiction, through all his

wanderings, peruse with inferior inte. “ Indeed it seemed necessary, in rest the genuine voyages of the Apostle order to demonstrate that the princi- of the Gentiles over nearly the same ples of Christianity are not unattainable, seas? The fabulous adventurer, once nor its precepts impracticable, that the landed, and safe on the shores of his own New Testament should, in some part, Ithaca, the reader's mind is satisfied ; present to us a full exemplification of for the object of his anxiety is at rest. its doctrines and of its spirit; that they But not so ends the tale of the Christian should, to produce their practical effect, hero.--Who ever closed St. Luke's nar. be embodied in a form purely human, rative of the diversified events of St. for the character of the Founder of its Paul's travels; who ever accompanied religion is deified humanity. Did the him with the interest his history deScriptures present no such exhibition, mands, from the commencement of his infidelity might have availed itself of trials at Damascus to his last deliverthe omission, for the purpose of assert- ance from shipwreck, and left him ing that Christianity was only a bright preaching in his own hired house at Rome,



Post sight of some one very dear to him, Magna Charta is the original, diminish without sorrowing that they should see our reverence for this palladium itself; his face no more, without indulging a this basis of our political security, as wish that the intercourse could have the Gospel is of our moral and spiritual been carried on to the end, though that privileges. · In both cases the derived end were martyrdom.

benefit sends is back to the well-bead “ Such readers, and perhaps only from whence it flows. such, will rejoice to renew their ac- “He who professes to read the holy quaintance with this very chiefcst of the Scriptures for his instruction,' should apostles; not indeed in the communica- recoilcct, whenever he is disposed to be tion of subsequent facts, but of impor captious, that they are written also for tant principles; not in the records of his correction. If we really believe the biographer, but in the doctrines of that Christ speaks to us in the Gospels, the saint. In fact, to the history of we must believe that he speaks to as in Paul in the Sacred Oracles succeed the Episties also. In the one he ad. his Epistles. And these Epistles, as if dresses us in his militant, in the other through design, open with that “ to the in his glorified character. In one, the beloved of God called to be sair.ts” in Divine Instructor speaks to us on earth; that very city, the mention of his resi- in the other, from heaven. The internal dence in which concludes the preceding wisdom, the divinity of the doctrines, parrative.

the accordance both of doctrine and “ Had the Sacred Cannon closedi precept with those delivered by the with the evangelical narrations, had it Saviour himself, the powerful and abid. not been determined in the counsels of ing effects which, for near two thousand Divine Wisdom, that a subsequent por- years they have produced, and are action of inspired Scripture in another tually producing, on the hearts and form, should have been added to the lives of multitudes; the same spirit historical portions, that the Epistles which inspired the writer still ready to should have conveyed to us the results assist the reader, all together forining, of the mission and the death of Christ, to every serious inquirer who reads how immense would have been the dis, them with an humble heart and a docile advantage, and how irreparable the spirit, irrefragable arguments, unimloss! May we presume to add, how peachable evidence, that they possess much less perfect wonld have been our as full a claim to inspiration, and conview of the scheme of Christianity, had sequently have as forcible demand on the New Testament been curtailed of his belief and obedience, as any of the this important portion of religious and less litigated portions of the book of practical instruction.” Vol. i. pp. God.”-Vol. i. pp. 68–70. 48-50.

With the fourth chapter comIn contending for the Epistles mences, what forms the principal against those who represent them subject of the work; and both that as having a tendency to derogate and the sixteen following chapters from the authority of the Gospels, are exclusively devoted to the conour author thus pointedly argues :- sideration of " the character and " To degrade any portion of the reveal pursuit of the object which our

practical writings of St. Paul." In ed will of God is no proof of reverence for Him whose will is revealed. But it author has in view, she has shewn Is preposterous to insinuate, that a re. equal penetration and judgment, , gard for the Epistles is calculated to without affecting any artificial mediminish a regard for the Gospels. thod. She has selected her topics Where else can we find such believing, with a wise discrimination; and sich admiring, such adoring views of handled them with such dexterity, Him whose life the Gospel records? as at once to exhibit the Apostle Where else are we so grounded in that in the loftiest points of view, and love which passeth knowledge? Where else are we so continually taught to be yet never to take him out of that looking unto Jesus? Where else are sphere within which the reader

considers himself to be placed. we so powerfully reminded that there is no other name under heaven by which It is the happy talent of this author we may be saved? We may as well to bring her subject into contact

signed; and in no case was the should be set directly contrary to his exercise of such a talent more need natural propensities, the whole force of ed, than in that which has called his mind and actions be turned in full forth the present remarks. There opposition to his temper, education, is something so elevated, so grand, Society, and habits; that not only his

affections should be diverted into a new so preter human in the character channel, but that his judgment and unof this distinguished Apostle, that it derstanding should sail in the newlywould have appeared, antceclently directed current; that his bigotry should to the execution, difficult, if not be transformed into candour, his fierceimpracticable, to adapt it to general ness into gentleness, his untameable imitation. This task, however, our pride into charity, his intolerance into author has most happily accom

meekness,-can all this be accounted plished. She has displayed the for on any principle inherent in human qualities of her hero in so soft a co

nature, on any principle uninspired by louring, and bas, if we may so speak,

the spirit of God?

“After this instance,--and, blessed be graduated their exercise along such God, the instance, though superior, is a scale of duties, that we grow Tof solitary; the change, though mira. familiar with the character as it is culous in this case, is not less certain is pourtrayed before us, and at once others, -shall the doctrine so exempli. feel ourselves stimulated to imitate fied continue to be the butt of ridicule? qualities exercised in the same cir- While the scoffing infidel virtually puts cumstances with our own.

the renovation of the human heart nearHaving thus stated what has oc- ly on a footing with the Metamorphoses curred to us on a general view of of Ovid, or the transmigrations of

Phythagoras, let not the timid Christian this part of the work, we shall now

be discouraged ; let pot his faith be proceed to examine it more in shaken, though he may find that the detail.

principle to which he has been taught · The first quality of St. Paul, to to trust his eternal happiness, is conwhich our attention is called, is sidered as false by him who has not ex. that which gave direction, and amined into its truth; that the change, purity, and elevation to all the rest, of which the sound believer exhibits so his " faith ;” and this is evinced convincing an evidence, is derided as to bave been, in his own estimation, treated as chimerical by the superficial

absurd by the philosophical sceptie, as in point of fact it is in that of

reasoner, or silently suspected as increevery genuine Christian, " a practi. dible by the decent moralist."-Vol.i. cal principle;" a principle " re- pp. 90–92. ceived into the heart, acknowledged by the understanding, and operating

The “morality' of the Apostle

And it is on the practice.” After tracing its is next considered. operation as regulating, subduing, athrmed (with how much truth, we and transforming the mind, our

need scarcely say), that was there author epforces the truth of what never was a inan who expanded and had been advanced in the following illustrated so fully the doctrines of just and dignified appeal:

grace, so there never was one whose

character and compositions exhibit “ Paul is a wonderful instance of the

a more consistent and high-toned power of this principle. That he should

morality.” be so entirely carried out of his natural character; that he who, by his perse.

Having discriminated with much cuting spirit, courted the favour of the precision between Christian and intolerant Sanhedrim, should be brought worldly morality, our author thus to act in direct opposition to their pre- compendiously and beautifully dejudices, supported by no human protec. scribes the former as it appears in tion, sustained aloue by the grace of the writings of tbis masterly preHim whom he had so stoutly opposed; ceptor:that his confidence in God should rise in proportion to his persecutions from “We have employed the term morality wan; that the whole beat of his soul in compliance with common usage, but,

adopted in the worldly sense, it gives In the two next chapters, which but an imperfect idea of the Apostle's treat of this Apostle's " prudence meaning. His preceptive passages are towards the Jews,” and his “judgencircled with a kind of glory; they ment towards the Pagans,” there are illuminated with a beam from Hea. ven; they proceed from the Spirit of is a rich accumulation of acute reGod, and are produced by faith in Him. mark and eloquent description.

In investigating “ the general There is every where that beautiful Intermixture of motive and action, that principle of St. Paul's writings," union of the cause and the effect, the and in discussing the merits of his faith and its fruits, that uniform ba. " style and genius," (which occupy lance of the principle and the produce, the ninth and tenth chapters), our which render these Epistles an ex- author makes a variety of observahaustless treasury of practical wisdom, tions, which, while they illustrate as well as an imperishable record of the topic to which they are applied, Divine Grace."-Vol. i. p. 117.

suggest many useful hints for corThe following observations in recting the errors both in judgment

and taste which prevail among the the next chapter, on the disin

different classes of Christians. Our terestedness of St. Paul," are

limits oblige us to pass over much equally just and pertinent :

which we should be glad to extract;

but the following passage, as ex« Saint Paul and his associates were the first moral instructors who preach- plaining the general character of St. ed not themselves. Perhaps there is Paul's writings, and exploding the scarcely a more striking proof of the sentiment, to which we before algrandeur of his spirit, than his indif- luded, of their being chiefly local ference to popularity. This is an ele- and temporary, is of so much imvation of character, which not only no portance, that we cannot forbear Pagan sage has reached, but which not exhibiting it at length. every Christian teacher has been found to attain."-Vol. i. p. 122.

“ In regard to Saint Paul's ecclesias. “ Another instance of a human being tical polity, we are aware that some 50 entirely devoid of selfishness, one persons, with a view to lower the gene. who never took his own ease, or advan- ral usefulness of his Epistles, object, tage, or safety, or credit into the ac

that in many instances, especially in count, cannot be found. If he consi- the second to the Corinthians, the Apodered his own sufferings, he considered stle bas limited his instructions to usages them for the sake of his friends. Whe- which relate only to the peculiar conther we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation. The only joy dual person, and that they might bave

cerns of a particular church or indivi. he seemed to derive, when he was been spared in a work meant for gene‘pressed out of measure, above ral edification. strength,' was, that others might be “ But these are not, as some insist, comforted and encouraged by his suf- mere local controversies, obsolete disferings. So also of his consolations ; putes, with which we have no concern, the principal joy which he derived Societies, as well as the individuals of from them was, that others might be whom they are composed, are much the animated by them. This anxiety for same in all periods; and though the the proficiency of his converts, in pre. contentions of the churches which be ference to his own safety; his disposio addressed, might differ something in tion to regard every object in due sub- matter, and much in form and ceremony, jection to the great design of his from those of modern date ; yet the ministry; his humble vigilant care, spirit of division, of animosity, of error, while exulting in the hope of an eter- of opposition, with which all churches nal crown, that he might not himself are more or less infected, will have such be cast away ;-form, in combination a common resemblance in all ages, as with the rest of his conduct, a charac. may make us submit to take a hint or a ter which we must allow has not only caution even from topics which may no superior, but no parallel." - Vol. i. seem foreign to our conceros; and it pp. 127, 128.

adds to the value of Saint Paul's esposa

tnlations, that they may be made in thies of the real heliever will always be some degree applicable to other cases. 'equally #wakened by doctrines which His directions are minute, as well as will equally apply to their conseiences, general, só as scarcely to leave any of by principles which will always have a the incidents of life, or the exigencies reference to their practice, by promises of society, totally unprovided for. which will always carry consolation to

" There are, it is obvious, certain their hearts. By the Christians of all things which refer to particular usages

countries Paul will be considered as a of the general church at its first insti- cosinopolite, and by those of all ages as tution, which no longer exist. There a contemporary. Even when he adare frequent references to the extraor- dresses individnals, his point of view is dinary gifts of the Spirit, and other mankind. He looked to the world as circninstances, which though they have his scene, and to collective man as the now deased, are of great importance actor." Vol. i. pp. 247-252. as connected with its history, and assisting in its first formation ; and the writer

« Tenderness of heart,” and who had neglected to have recorded

“ heavenly-mindedness," are the them would have been blameable, and next qualities to which our authot the Epistles which had not alluded to adverts in the great character them, would have been imperfect. which shie has undertaken to deli

“ While the Apostle made adequate neate; and it is but justice to her to provisions, such as the existing case

say, that she describes them with a required, or rather permitted, he did! not absolutely legislate, as to external sensibility of heart, and an elevation things, for any church; wisely leaving we could present our readers with

of spirit, worthy of the subject. Christianity at liberty to incorporate herself with the laws of any country many passages of exquisite beauty into which she might be introduced; from each of the chapters in which and while the doctrines of the new re.

these qualities are respectively ligion were precise, distinct, and defi. treated, but we shall confine our: nite, its ecclesiastical character was of selves to a single extract from that that generalized nature which would on “heavenly-mindedness." We allow it to mix with any form of national

are aware indeed, that in speaking goveroment. This was a likely means

of “heavenly-mindedness," we lay both to promote its extension, and to prevent it from imbibing a political ourselves open to the charge of entemper, or a spirit of interference with thousiasm from some who • profess the secular concerns of any country,

and call themselves Christians." “ The wonder is, that the work is so Such persons must allow thenlittle local, that it savours so little of selves to be reminded, that to eleAntioch or Jerusalem, of Philippi or vate the soul above the influence of Corinth; but that almost all is of such the body was declared by the wisest general application: relative circum- of the heathens to be the aim and stances did indeed operate, but they the perfection of philosophy. It always operated subordinately. The Epistle to the Ephesians is not marked

was necessary, however, to be better with one local peculiarity. There is instructed than the wisest of the heanot a single deduction to be made from then, to know how to accomplish this the universal applicableness of this desirable end. Heavenly-minded elegant and powerful epitome of the ness expresses what philosophy Gospel.

inculcated, but could not teach; “ Saint Paul belongs not particularly and he is in fact the most consum to the period in which he lived, but is mate philosopher who has learnt equally the property of each successive from Christianity to have biscon sace of beings. Time does not diminish versation in heaven. But to return : their interest in him. He is as fresh to every century as to his own; and the

our author having described the truths be preaches will be as intimately quality under consideration to be connected with that age which shall

- the uniting link between doctriprecede the dissolution of the world, as nal and practical piety," and 10 that in which“ be wrote. The sympa consist “ in an entire consecratiou CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 16L.

2 S

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