Imágenes de páginas

But, passing by these broadly be skilful in the discharge of his marked cases, even the most con- ministerial duties, “ rightly dividscientious minister lias ample rea• ing the word of truth.” It would son to inquire whether the seed be endless to enumerate the various which he sows is of a right quali- ways in which the well-meant dis. ty; whether his doctrines are strict- courses of a pious clergyman may ly scriptural; whether he gives to be defective.' Some have been alevery part of Divine revelation- ready intimated : others are as foldoctrinal, preceptive, hortatory, low he may be too little solicitconsolatory-its just proportion'; ous to probe the hearts of his whether he keeps back any thing; bearers; or he may go beyond the whether he over-states any thing; depths to which ihey can follow or whether in any other particular him; or he may dwell too much in be is acting as an unwise or unfaith- general positions, without reaching sul husbandman, as respect this im- iheir affections, or coming home to portant part of bis labours. It is not their necessities; or he may spend perhaps sufficiently considered by more time in proving that certain some concientious and religious mi- doctrines are true, than in applynisters, how much care, and thought, ing them to the heart and conand patience, are requisite to ascer- science; or he may propound as tain if we may thus keep up the matters of controversy what should allusion, the various kinds of soil rather be taken for granted, and which come under their culture, converted to the purposes of direct and the many minute circumstances instruction; or he may be unable which

may affect the ultimate pro- to throw himself, as it were, into duct. A minister, even though the minds of his hearers, to symanxious for the spiritual welfare of pathize with their feelings, and to his people, may yet be deficient in meet their prejudices. These are clearly exhibiting in his discourses but a few of the many illustrations (some of the doctrines of Divine which might be offered ; and which truth ; or in bringing down those every minister may easily follow up doctrives to practice ; or in discri- as far as they may be applicable to minating the characters, and ascer- his own case. taining the necessities, of differ- But in vain, in the natural world, ent classes of hearers, with a view does a sower sow the best seed, and to adapt the seed to the soil; not on the most prepared soil, unless administering false comfort where the genial influences of heaven, the reproof is requisite, or, on the sun, and air, and moisture, are duly other hand, making the hearts of vouchsafed from the Author of every the righteous sad, whom God hath temporal and spiritual benefit, to not made sad ; but applying his in- promote its vegetation. The pious structions, his admonitions, and husbandman therefore looks up 10 bis consolations, after the model of Him who maketh his suu to shine the sacred Scriptures, and with a upon the just and upon the unjust, just adaptation to the circumstances to afford him these ordinary blessof his people. There is often a ings of his gracious providence. great defect, even among clergymen And shall not ihe Christian labourer of piety, in not studying the hu- in bis Lord's vineyard, look up to man heart, and not taking sufficient his Divine Master for correspondpaios lo suit their discourses to the ing benefits? While he mourns actual wants of their hearers. A

over the inadequate success of his minister has not sown aright merely ministry, should be not ask whebecause he has enounced again and ther he has kept before his eyes again certain fundamental truths with sufficient prominence, his conof Divine revelation; he must dili- 'stant dependence upon God, who gently pray and study, in order to alone can crown his tabours witha

Success; whether he has habitually expiated human transgression; he looked up for the grace

of the Holy had been delivered for our offences, Spirit for himself and the people and raised again for our justificaconmitted to his charge; and whe- tion; and nothing now remained ther he has, both in his preaching but that he should ascend to the and living, worthily honoured that right hand of the Majesty on high, Divine Agent, the supreme Enlight. to claim his promised exaltation, ener, and Comforter, and Sancti- and to confirm and dispense the fier of the human soul? The Holy blessings of his mediatorial kingSpirit is represented in Scripture dom. His ascension consummated as capable of being “ grieved” and the mysterious plan of our redemp“ resisted," and at length “ quench- tion; as the Apostle teaches, ed ;” and will not some, or all, of “Great is the mystery of godliness, these consequences result, not only God was manifest in ihe flesh, juswhere a minister is notoriously care- tified in the spirit, seen of angels, less and unfaithful; but where, preached unto the Gentiles, believthough diligent, he trusts, in self- ed on in the world, received up confidence, to his owo clear state- into glory.” With a view to our ments, and impressive appeals, and spiritual profit, in considering the active labours,

-as if the efficacy passage before us, we shall first were in the means and instrument, make a few remarks on the subject of and not in the grace of that over- our Lord's ascension, and secondruling Power who directs them to ly endeavour to shew wbat improvetheir appointed end.

ment we should derive from it. But, even where the seed is good, I. In considering our Lord's asand the soil is prepared, and the cension, we are naturally led to influences of heaven are favourable, view it in connexion with his prethere still may be faults in the vious sufferings and humiliation. sowing, as respects time, or place, It was only in consequence of these or manner, or various other cir- that he became capable of any excumstances which may affect the altation, in addition to that which future harvest ;-or, to drop the he had enjoyed with his father bemetaphor, there are inany points in fore all worlds. His Divine nature the personal conduct and character could neither be diminished nor of the clergy, even among those exalted : he was from eternity“ in wbo are sincere and pious, wbich the form of God," endued with may greatly impede the success of every possible excellence and pertheir ministerial labours. A few of fection. No addition could be made these will be attempted to be spe- to his power or his wisdom; to his cified in a future paper,

immeasurable happiness, or eternal (To be continued.)

duration But, in mercy to us guilty and perishing sinners, by a

mysterious union, he had assumed FAMILY SERMONS.—No, CLXII. our nature; he had been made in

the likeness of man, and, being Luke xxiv. 51.-And it came to found in fashion as a man, had

pass, while he blessed them, he humbled himself to death, even the was parted from them, and car- death of the cross. The Godhead Tied up into heuden.

could not suffer: but, by means

of his incarnation and mediatorial The text relates to the last action office, he had become subject to of our Lord upon earth. He had pain, and reproach, and death itfulfilled all the objects of his first self; and speaking of him in this advent; he had unfolded his Di- capacity, the Apostle adds, “Therevipe doctrines; he had exbibited fore," that is, precisely on account his own spotless example; he bad of his having gone through the work of his humiliation, “ there should confess that Jesus is Lord, fore God hath highly exalted him.” to the glory of God the Father.” This exaltation commenced on the But his own personal exaltation third day after his crucifixion, that was not the ouly purpose of the hour of his deepest, abasement; Redeemer's triumphant ascension for then he burst the bonds of io heaven, and bis session at the death, and asserted his victory right hand of God. For we learn, over the grave. His triumph thus that it was for us that he thus enbegun, be shewed himself for forly tered within the veil, as the great days as a victor, in the very scenes High Priest of our profession. The of bis late humiliation : when at allitude in which the text describes length the appointed time for his bim, blessing his disciples as he return to bis Father being accom- ascended, well depicted the nature plished, having discoursed with his of the office wbich he was about disciples respecting the affairs of to assume.

He went to prepare bis kiogdom, and given them a com- mansions for his people, that where mand to teach and baprize all na. he is they might be also. He went tions, he led them out to Bethany, also, as the Apostle teaches, as “ a and lifted up his bands and blessed forerunner;" ibus giving his followthem; and while they be held, he ers a pledge of their own ascension was parted from them, and was in due lime, to the same scenes of carried up into heaven. His ex- everlasting enjoyment. He went, altation was now complete. He moreover, to appear was raised to the right hand of sence of God for us ;" bearing our God, as a conqueror returning with names engraven on his breast-plate, the spoils of his great victory. He and pleading his atoning sacrifice bad come from Edom, with dyed for the remission of our sins. He garments from Bozrah, glorious in went also to bestow gifts upon men ; bis apparel, travelling in the great. not merely those special and miraness of his strength, speaking in culous gifts which he shed abroad righteousness, mighty to save." The upon the Apostles on the day of Apostle describes his exaltation to Pentecost, but every spiritual blessþeaven in the most triuinphanting to the end of time, language ; “ God raised him from exalted to be a Prince and a Savithe dead, and set him at his own our, to give repentance and remisright hand in the heavenly places, sion of sins. His characteristic far above all principality, and gift, that which constituted the power, and might, and dominion, great promise of his ministry, -as and every name ibat is named, not his own first advent did of the mi. only in this world, but also in that nistry of those who went before which is to conę; and hath pụt him, and his second advent of the all things under his feet.” Thus ministry of those who bave followed exalted to his throne in heaven, be him,- was the effusion of the Holy was exhibited in his eternal supre- Spirit; a gift which he still conti. ypacy, and invested with a claim to nues to dispense in the ordinary universal adoration; as the same influences of that Divine Agent, Apostle informs us, in the conclu- as the Instructor, the Comforter, sion of the passage from the Epistle and the Sanctifier of his people. to the Philippians already quoted; Every blessing of the new covewhere he says, "God hath highly nant, our repentance, our regeneexalted him, and given bim a nawe ration, our faith, our pardon, our which is above every, name; that peace with God, our progress in at the pame of Jesus every koee holiness, our victory over our spishould bow, of things in heaven, ritual enemies, and our final gloand things in earth, and things un- riticalion, fows from ibis inexder {he earth; and that every longue hąustible fountain.

in the pre

He was

* II. But while by the eye of faith of it for the purposes of spiritual we behold' the rising Saviour thus instruction and consolation. For receiving and dispensing such in- example, in his Epistle to the Heestimable gifts, let us inquire, in brews, he says, " Seeing then that the second place, what spiritual we have a great High Priest that is instruction we ought to learn from passed into the heavens, Jesus the his ascension. To those who wité Son of God, let us hold fast our pressed the miracle recorded in the profession. For we have nof an text, it was said by the angels, “ Ye high priest which cannot be touchmen of Galilee, why stand ye gaze ed with the feeling of our infirmi. ing up into heaven ? this sapie ties; but was in all points tempted Jesus which is taken up from you like as we are, yet without sin. Let into heaven, shall so come, in like us therefore come boldly unto the manner as ye have seen him go into Throne of Grace, that we may ob heaven." They were not to be sa- tain mercy, and find grace to help tisfied with the indulgence of a use- in time of need." And while we less curiosity, or transient admira- thus derive repose and confidence tion, but were to lay to heart the from the consideration of his con. certainty of his second advent; tinued intercession for us in heaven, and, as a proof of their faith, were let it be our object here on earth, to return to Jerusalem, in obedi- to promote the interests of his blessence to his last command, there to ed kingdom. Let us live to his await the promised descent of the glory; let'us exert ourselves for Holy Spirit. And thus, if our re- the extension of his spiritual dofections on tbis stupendous event minion, both in our own hearts and have been confined to barren spe- throughout the world. And, under culations, it may be said to us, Why every circumstance of life, let us stand ye gazing, as it were, into ever keep in mind that this same heaven, to witness this great sight, Jesus shall come again in like mana as though nothing more were neces- ner as he was taken up into heaven; sary than to admit the fact as an let us therefore give diligence to article of belief, without any reó make our calling and election sure, ference to its import and conse- in order that we may be prepared quences. How different the lan- to witness his 'second advent with guage of our church in the collects joy, and not with grief. Yes-he for Ascension-day, and the Sunday shall come again ; he shall come after, where this great event is als for objects of the highest moment; luded to. We are there taught so he shall come as a King, a Judge, a to' 'reflect upon the ascension of Conqueror; he shall come to conCbrist to heaven, that we ourselves summate the purposes of his grace, may, in heart and mind, thither and the requirements of bis justice ; ascend, and with him continually to raise the dead; to judge men dwell; and to pray for the Holy and fallen angels ; to discriminate Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us their characters; to pronounce and to the same place wbither our Sa. execute sentence upon the wicked; viour Christ is gone before. We to receive his children to himself; must turn this great article of our to exalt them body and soul to his creed to a practical account; it everlasting glory ; to be glorified should strengthen our faith, con- in his saints, and admired in them firm our patience, animate our zeal; that love him; and then, having put inspire our hopes, stimulate our down all rule, and all authority vigilance, and raise our affections and power, to deliver up the preto things above, where Christ sit- sent dispensation of his mediatorial teth at the right hand of God. St. kingdom to God, even the Father; Paul frequently adverts to the as- to establish his glorious and eternal cension of Christ, thus making use kingdom, and to introduce a new

[ocr errors]

heaven and a new earth, in which ing which has been given to it by dwelleth righteousness. There may our translators, “ I could wish," I we be for ever with him! There conceive that the conjunction “ ar may we see Him as he is, and ad- would have been inserted, though vance to all eternity in resemblance. I am aware that the imperfect tense to his image, and in the enjoyment has, in some cases, (for example, of his love! And to this end let Acts xxv. 22; 1 Cor. ii. 8; 2 Cor. us be habitually prepared for his xi. 1.) the force of the optative appearance, and give diligence to mood, without that addition. It be found of Him in peace. Amen. is sufficient, however, for my pur

pose, that it has not that force necessarily; and the right meaning

of the passage seems to me to have To the Editor of the ChristianObserver. been obscured by assigning the op

tative meaning to it in the present I AM induced to submit to your instance. I need scarcely add, that readers, whether the following in- the absence of authority for the terpretation of Romans ix. 3. does pointing of the original text, fully not convey a more probable expreso allows of the insertion of the pa. sion of St. Paul's meaning, ihan renthesis which I have proposed ; any other that bas been mentioned and it is in favour of my argument, by your correspondents. I would that no writer abounds more in pasimply place the words “ Hvxoun rentheses than St. Paul. γαρ αυτος έγω ανάθεμα ειναι από

CUMBRIENSIS. 78 Xplotē,” in a parenthesis ; and construe" Ηυχομην” literally did wish,instead of “ I could tothe Editor oftheChristian Observer. wish. The whole passage would then run thus : " I say the truth in Not having yet observed in your Christ, I lie not, my conscience pages a review of Dr. Copleston's also bearing me witness in the Holy treatise on Necessity and PredestiGhost, that I have great heaviness nation, or any extracts from that and continual sorrow in my heart, publication, I take the liberty of (for myself did wish to be ac- sending you the following passage, cursed from Christ,) for my bre- which forcibly points out the nethren, my kinsmen according to cessity of deep humility of heart the flesh," &c. This interpre- for a faithful reception of the Gotation, if warranted, appears 10 me spel, and appears to me calculated to afford a satisfactory solution of to be eminently serviceable to the the difficulty; and nothing surely interests of religion, especially comcould be more natural than that St. ing from the pen of a writer of Paul, when contemplating the mi- such deserved reputation as the sery of bis countrymen, on account learned Provost of Oriel College. of their rejection of the Messiah,

G. should have been led to reflect upon his own former unhappy state; “ It is not by the opposition the the recollection of which was pain- world offers to an innocent and fully calculated to increase that holy life; it is not by the severe heaviness and sorrow of heart which self-denial and oppressive services he felt on their account. I would which the Gospel exacts from us ; submit, whether the construction it is not even by the strict observwhich I have given of " nuxo unv," ance required of moral purity and which is in the preter-imperfect social duties alone, that the path of tense, is not more literally correct life is rendered so narrow, and that than the English version. Had it man is so reluctant to enter upon been intended to convey the mean- it. The difficulty consists not so

« AnteriorContinuar »