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opposition from the Jesuits, was consecrated bishop of Ypres on his birthday 1636. Advanced to this bis honourable station, he endeavoured to adorn it to the utmost, and to perform its various functions. His time was spent as became one appointed not only to rule others, but to display in his life and conversation the power and beauty of the Gospel. His days were devoted to religious instruction, the affairs of his diocese, and deeds of charity and mercy; his nights to study and prayer. It was his earnest desire to reform the abuses too prevalent amongst his clergy; but he was intercepted in his career of usefulness. The plague broke out in Flanders, and was peculiarly fatal in the neighbourhood of Ypres; the inhabitants who were not seized with it fled in the most fearful alarm. The good bishop now testified the soundness of his principles. He ministered most sedulously to the sick and the dying, unappalled and without dismay. He was found ever ready to administer to bodily as well as to spiritual wants. It pleased God that he should himself fall a martyr to the malady. He died, after a very short illness, May 6th, 1638, and was buried in the cathedral of Ypres, his tomb being placed in the centre of the choir, and a monument, with a suitable inscription, erected to his memory.
The character of Jansenius has been thus drawn. "He was a man of remarkably abstemious and ascetic habits. Grace had entirely subdued his naturally warm temper, and had converted the impetuosity of a lion into the patience and gentleness of a lamb. He was a man of primitive integrity, fervent faith, and a solid understanding. His learning was not unworthy comparison with that of the doctors of the Christian Church, and his piety was worthy a successor of the apostles; yet the quality for which he was most peculiarly distinguished was Christian watchfulness and circumspection. His piety attained to its uncommon growth and depth, not so much from any superior brightness of Divine illumination, as by his peculiar assiduity in strictly attending to the light he had. Whilst at Bayonne both himself and M. de St. Cyran had been peculiarly struck with the character of Abraham. This great patriarch had neither the advantages
of the Christian, nor even of the Mosaic institution. The command he received from the Lord was, ' Walk before me, and be thou perfect.' Abraham obeyed the command, and became the father of the faithful, and the friend of God. Owing to a contemplation of this passage, both M. de St. Cyran and Jansenius were peculiarly attentive at all times to entertain a sense of the Divine presence, and to walk as before God. The immense plenitude of spiritual riches which afterwards distinguished these great men, was almost entirely accumulated by a constant watchfulness over their own spirits, and self-denial in what are termed little things.'
"To renew the heart by a thorough conversion from all creatures to the Creator; to enlighten the spiritual understanding by the study, not of human opinions, but of revealed truth,-these were the two grand objects of Jansenius and his friend. These were their motives in studying the works of men whose reputation for sanctity the Church had so long acknowledged. These ends, too, they thought mutually assisted each other. All that knowledge of religious truth which is really spiritually discerned must kindle divine love in the heart; and whenever divine love is kindled in the heart, the spiritual understanding will be open to the perception of divine truth. The word of God never separates genuine spiritual light from genuine spiritual heat. Hence, perhaps, it was, that they adopted their favourite motto, "Unde ardet, unde lucet." They only wished to be shining lights, from the heat by which they were burning lights.
'Perhaps it was the conformity of their minds, as well
See a Tour to Alet and La Grande Chartreuse by Dom. Claude Lancelot, &c., by Mary Ann Skimmelpenninck.
as a similar degree of growth in grace, which led them to view the writings of the Fathers in the same light. However this may be, at that period it was they mutually adopted that system, afterwards so well known under the name of Jansenism. With which of them it originated, would be difficult to decide. By the world it was ascribed to Jansenius, because it was first made public by his commentary on St. Austin." Y.
GOD'S INSPECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED:
BY THE REV. EDW. HANSON, B.A.
1 PET. iii. 12.
"The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
In some few verses preceding the text, St. Peter had been exhorting the Christian converts to be "all of one mind, having compassion one of another;" to love as brethren, to be pitiful and courteous; not to be quarrelling amongst themselves, "rendering evil for evil," and injury for injury, and "railing for railing;" but to follow the advice of Him who said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." He now proceeds to strengthen his exhortations, and to animate them to obedience, from the consideration that God inspects their conduct.
If this consideration could be deeply impressed upon the heart, it alone would be a powerful motive for men to lead a godly and virtuous life, and a strong inducement to abstain from all vicious and immoral courses. For what can be so much desired as the favour of the Almighty, on whom we are entirely dependent; who can dispose of us according to his good pleasure and wisdom;
whose favour is life, and whose loving kindness is better than life?" He can preserve us from all evil, both of body and soul, and make us finally and eternally happy beyond all that we can ask or think; for " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." On the other hand, what is so much to be dreaded as the Almighty's displeasure? If we offend him by disregarding his authority, by transgressing his laws, by presumptuously daring to lead an ungodly and wicked life,-who, or what, can save us from his just anger, or turn from us his fiery indignation? If we do not in words, we do in fact say with Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that we should obey his voice?" or, with the prosperous
wicked of whom Job speaks, "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?" What! if we are thus against him, will he not be against us? and has he not power to "destroy both body and soul in hell?"
These are awful and important truthstruths irrevocable, and which are deducible from the words of the text. By God's help, then, we will endeavour to illustrate their meaning, and from thence draw some inferences for the regulation of our future conduct.
through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, to enable him to "crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts." And to whatever height in holiness he may attain, he does not arrogate to himself the praise, but humbly confesses, with St. Paul, that it is "by the grace of God he is what he is." Of such an one God approves : it is upon such an one that the eyes of the Lord are fixed with approbation and delight. We must not suppose, however, when we read that God's eyes are over the righteous, that he has eyes, ears, and other bodily parts as we have. God is an infinite spirit, diffused through all space, and filling heaven and earth with his presence. Our apostolic Church declares that he is "everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness." But the Scripture writers used these expressions in condescension to our capacities, and to speak after the manner of men, that we might the more easily comprehend them. Thus, "the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous" means God's perfect knowledge of them; there is no action, no word, no thought, of which he is ignorant. Indeed, there is nothing in all nature which is concealed from his knowledge. "The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts;" and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews affirms, "all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
First, then, David declares, and St. Peter quotes his words, "that the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous." But the righteous, who are they? We will endeavour to point out, clearly and distinctly, who they are that are designated by that character. We may see many very respectable people around us, free from those vices and immoralities which disgrace and pollute man, the noblest of God's creation; they may be kind and charitable to their poorer brethren, courteous and friendly to their equals, and civil and obedient to their superiors, yet they may not be righteous: they may attend regularly at the house of God, and constantly partake of his ordinances, -yet they may not have that love to God in their hearts which he demands, nor that faith in Jesus Christ which is requisite for their justification, nor possess the Holy Spirit of Christ; and if they "have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of his." It may only be a desire of standing well in the opinion of their fellow-men, and to be thought what is called decent in religion, which induces them to abstain from vice, and to do all these things; or perhaps they have no disposition, no inclination for those pleasures and pursuits which many similarly situated in life with themselves continually follow. The truly righteous man is not such an one as these. He is one whose whole delight is in the Lord God of his salvation; one who feels his deplorable, and "wretched, and miserable," and lost state by nature; one who is humbled with a sense of his own unworthiness, and with the knowledge that he has no power in himself to save himself; therefore, utterly disclaiming any fancied righteousness of his own, he comes to Christ, acknowledging himself, like St. Paul," the chief of sinners;" he looks for salvation solely through the blood of Jesus, and through his righteousness; and by the help and co-operation of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which he knows has been promised to every one who will ask for it, and which was poured out for that purpose, he endeavours to "walk in all the commandments of the Lord blameless"-to serve God in spirit and in truth, with a pure heart and mind; and in order to do this, he prays God,
The text, however, implies that the righteous are the peculiar objects of his care and attention. As our eyes and thoughts are chiefly turned and fixed upon things which we most esteem, so the eyes of the Lord are particularly directed to the righteous; he views them as worthy of his love. It is true that they are exposed equally like other men to want and to woe, to danger and temptations, to troubles and afflictions; but in all these he watches over them for their good; and if any or all of these misfortunes come upon them, they know that they are sent for some good purpose; and if they will place implicit confidence in him, he will supply their wants, and protect them in danger, and support them in trouble, and with their temptations make a way for them to escape, that they may be able to bear them. Thus he is "a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress; a refuge from the storm, and shadow from the heat;" and we are told that "the Lord careth for the righteous, that he loveth them, and beholdeth the upright with pleasure."
Secondly, "His ears are open unto their prayers." This signifies that he is pleased with the humble and devout addresses of
the righteous. He does not esteem their supplications troublesome, but meets them, as it were, in the house of prayer, or in the secret chamber, on purpose to receive their petitions. Perhaps the suppliant may be pouring out his prayer with a broken and a contrite heart, borne down with the weight of his sin, and mourning as though he could never hope for pardon :-upon him God looks with delight, and will grant him his request, as a father grants the requests of his beloved offspring. Hence, Scripture assures us that "the Lord heareth the prayer of the righteous, and the prayer of the upright is his delight."
We may further remark, that the words of the text imply that prayer is the distinguishing characteristic of the righteous. If we examine into the conduct of those termed in Scripture the righteous, we shall find that they were men of prayer; in them dwelt the spirit of prayer and supplication, and they called upon the name of the Lord continually. Consider the patriarchs and prophets, they
tions by praise and prayer. Look to the Psalms of David, the man after God's own heart, and learn how he prayed for forgiveness, for grace, and for final acceptance. Jesus Christ himself, although he had no need of prayer, constantly attended the public worship of God in the synagogues and in the temple, besides offering up his private prayers; and he appointed "his house to be a house of prayer to all nations." His disciples also went up unto the temple to pray; and when they were persecuted and imprisoned, prayer was made for them unto God without ceasing by the Church, and they were delivered from death by the wonderful interposition of God. Prayer, then, we repeat, is the true mark of a righteous man. But, alas! brethren, men in general are averse to prayer; they cannot bring their proud and stubborn hearts to acknowledge their dependence upon another; they will endeavour to bear their own burdens, rather than call for assistance; they will rest upon the staff of a bruised reed, rather than "by prayers and supplications make their requests known unto God." They perhaps may repeat the beautiful and pathetic confession of our Church they may acknowledge themselves "miserable offenders," and pray, "from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, good Lord, deliver us." But, let me ask, are not these too often repeated without thinking-merely the language of the lips, while the heart is far from them, engaged in other matters? It is not such a prayer that God will listen to and accept. We are by nature lost and perishing creatures, and it is
only by Divine grace that we can be renewed unto holiness; and this grace cannot be obtained without frequent, fervent, sincere prayer. It is certain that God knows our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking, and could, if it seemed good to him, give us all things needful; but in that case he would violate one of his own ruleshe "will be inquired of by his people," before he will impart to them his promised blessings. Prayer is the means by which we commune with God; and whoever desires to live in his love and protection will daily have access unto the throne of grace, there humbly confess his own unworthiness, plead the merits of the divine Saviour, and pray, through him, for pardon and acceptance. What great encouragement has every one to prayer!" Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you," are our blessed Lord's own words. And again: "If men, who are evil, know how to give good gifts unto their children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts unto
Those who delight in wickedness can have no pleasure in communion with God; hence they neglect both public worship and private devotion; or, if they do occasionally join in the congregation of Christians, the service is to them long and tedious. They put on the form of godliness, but where is the power of it? They draw nigh to God with their lips, but where is their heart? They neither worship him in spirit nor in truth. Such persons cannot expect the Divine favour; their worship of God is a solemn mockery; they offer him the sacrifice of fools.
Hence, thirdly, it is said in the text, "the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
But who are those "that do evil," or the wicked? We must not be supposed to mean those only who indulge in gross wickedness. There can be no doubt, in the mind of any thinking person, that God's anger is kindled against the sordid sensualist, the drunkard, the hypocrite, the blasphemer; against those wretched outcasts who profane the Lord's day, and contemn the Lord's house, and despise the Lord's word, and deride the Lord's ministers. These are not alone meant, but also those who are not actually righteous,-the proud formalist; the self-righteous, pharisaical Christian, who has such a high and exalted opinion of himself and his own goodness, as to buoy himself up with the vain belief that he may win heaven by his own works and deservings. Alas, what a delusion! he is even in a worse state than the openly profane: there is some hope that he at some future period may be brought to feel his need of a Saviour, and come to repentance; but there is no hope of him who
imagines he can be his own saviour; "the |
been with them in their homes, and " passed about their beds;" the darkness could not hide them, for "the darkness is no darkness with him; the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and the light to him are both alike."
Is it, then, my brethren, the wish of the Almighty that the wicked should perish? No; for he is a God who delighteth in mercy; and while he is threatening them with eternal punishment, his very bowels yearn towards them to save them. Hear what his own words are by the mouth of his prophet,Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die; and not that he should return from his ways and live?" "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" But though God is merciful, he is also just, and will not be sinned against with impunity; and while he is crying to the wicked, "Turn yourselves, and live ye," he is also declaring, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" "in the trespass that he hath trespassed, and in the sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." We well know with what anguish a tender-hearted and affectionate parent inflicts punishment upon an obstinate and wayward child; the pain which he causes he often feels as intensely, and sometimes more intensely, than the child himself; he will do every thing to reclaim him, before he deserts him. So it is, and ever has been, with God: he tried every method to reclaim his obstinate and rebellious children; and when every other plan failed, he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Such is the offered mercy; such is the covenant of salvation; to every one is this salvation sent; to every one-there is no exception. St. Paul says, "God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He died for all; "as by the offence of one (that is, Adam), judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one (that is, Christ), the free gift came upon all men to justification of life." St. John declares, that "Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "I am the way, the truth, and the life," saith the adorable Jesus; "no man cometh to the Father but by me ;" and
But it farther signifies that God is a strict observer of them. He views them at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. He watches their evil designs, their secret deeds, as well as their public actions; and however they may conceal them from the eyes of the world-however they may deceive men, and, in some cases, even themselves, they cannot deceive God: on the day of judgment he will disclose to them how strictly he has kept account of their conduct. We may meet with the frowns, and fall under the dislike of men, without any just cause. Some may be prejudiced against us through evil report, which accuses us of crimes of which we are not only innocent, but of which we are also ignorant; and it is but too common for the world to be influenced by such" reports without inquiring into their truth, and it is thus set against us unjustly. But these faults and failings of weak man cannot be attributed to Him who says, "I know the things which come into your mind, every one of them." He is the Judge of all the earth; and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If his anger be kindled against us, it is not through prejudice, but because, having tried our very hearts and reins, he sees and knows of a certainty that we are workers of iniquity. Do, then, the workers of iniquity still hope to escape the scrutiny of the all-seeing God? Do they exclaim, "Tush, how doth God see?" or, have they "said in their hearts, there is no God?" Alas, they will find too late that there is a God, and to them he is a consuming fire; that he has not been a God" whosoever cometh to me, I will in no wise afar off, but a God at hand; that he has cast out." But, alas, such is the pride and ever been with them; he has gone forth with wickedness of man, that "they will not come them to their business, and has followed them unto me, that they may have life." If, thereinto the world like their shadow; he has fore, any man perish in his sin, we say that
God is grieved at the heart; that it is against his wish; that he would rather that all men "would turn from their wickedness which they have committed, and do that which is lawful and right, and save their souls alive."
And now, brethren, what inferences can we draw from these considerations ?
If it be true that "the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil," can we not see the folly and madness of continuing in our evil courses? If, in the great and terrible day of the Lord, when the secrets of all hearts shall be open, our actions shall be brought into judgment and adduced as evidences of our state before God, ought we not to strive to have our consciences void of offence both towards God and towards man, that we may be found in Christ "without spot, and blameless?" There is a vague notion in the minds of some, that God will not execute his threatenings upon the wicked; that Christ died for sinners; and therefore, though they continue in sin, all shall be well with them at last. But what saith Goddoth he not say that the wicked shall die; that their sin shall find them out? "Hath he said, and shall he not do it? hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" The evil-doers, the careless sinners, may "think their ways right;" but if God's word be true, "the end of those things is death."
Let me, then, brethren, ask you, do you attend to these things? Is it your endeavour to follow the example of your blessed Saviour," who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth ?" Do you strive to be righteous" in all holy conversation and godliness?" I do not say that any man can be righteous by his own endeavours; but there is assistance promised him, even the help of the Holy Spirit of God, which was purchased on the cross of Calvary by the blood of the Son of God. There is also a robe of righteousness provided for him-the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness; and if he will take hold of this robe by faith, it will be to him as "gold tried in the fire," and a "white raiment wherewith to be clothed." It is only by faith that he can lay hold of Christ's righteousness: "He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abideth on him." Let me then entreat all, brethren, to flee to Christ for salvation, as the only hope set before them. They can have no other foundation for their hope; for "other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;" "there is no other name given
among men under heaven whereby we can be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ." Oh, I pray to God that all of you will consider this, that you will repent, and turn, and go to Christ, who "is a strong tower, into which the righteous may run and be safe." Why will not men consider? Is it not that it interferes with the pleasures and the vanities of the world? "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," these have their attractions; but holiness has charms for few.
Finally, let all impress these important truths on the fleshly tablets of their hearts. Let the proud man, whether proud of his worldly attainments, his riches, or his own fancied righteousness, learn of Jesus, "who was meek and lowly in heart;" and he will find, from his example, that pride cannot exist in the righteous man; that pride is not one of the list of the fruits of the Spirit, but belongs to the opposite list-the works of the flesh; and that these are contrary the one to the other. Let the hypocrite, when he is tempted to make a parade of his outward piety, but is, in truth, like a whited sepulchre-fair without, but within full of corruption-call to mind the words of Job, that "the hope of the hypocrite shall perish." And whenever any of us are tempted to commit any crime which we may suppose hidden from the eyes of man, let us remember that the " eyes of the Lord are over us, and his face is against them that do evil." And let us all bear in mind that, since there are but two divisions-the righteous, and those that do evil,-we must have one or other of these sentences passed upon us in the day of judgment; either, "Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;" or, fearfully different language, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
As soon as man became conscious that he had deeply offended his infinitely pure and omnipotent Creator, from that moment he contemplated him, not as a kind and beneficent parent, but as an angry and omnipotent judge and avenger; and Cain is generally considered by those authors who have written on this subject, to have been the first idolator. Since the fall, the love of God was extinguished in man's evil heart, and was
exchanged for slavish fear, and hatred of that incomprehensible being. We are accordingly informed, that
From "Genuine Christianity contrasted with its Corruptions, with Idolatry, and with the Religion of Mahomet." By Richard Maddock Hawley, M.D. 12mo, pp 102. Edinburgh, Lindsay and Co.; London, Hamilton, Nisbet. 1839. Whilst we acknowledge this to be a well-written volume, containing much interesting matter, there are some of the author's views to which we cannot assent; as, for instance, that Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, and other heathens, were occasionally under the guidance evangelists, and apostles. of the same Divine Spirit which inspired patriarchs, prophets,