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becomes a creature applying for instruction to the oracles of divine truth. If you had to go to some inspired man, to tell you the mind and the will of God, with what reverence would you approach that living oracle! Why, then, are you not affected with awe and reverence when you approach the inspired book, the holy Scriptures, the living oracles of God? We ought never to read our Bibles without lifting up at least a secret prayer for divine teaching, that we may understand the word, and receive it with pure affection. To those, then, who are familiar with the letter of the holy Scriptures, but have not been brought under the saving power of the word, I would say, begin this day to read the Scriptures after a new manner; read them devoutly, read them prayerfully, read them diligently, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Search the Scriptures as for life; and, as the great clew to a profitable search, read every page as having reference to Him who is " the way, the truth, and the life."
Young people! oh, begin to read the Scriptures now in your early days, like Timothy, whose happiness it was, that from a child he had known the holy Scriptures, which were able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. Would you be made wise unto salvation? Search the Scriptures; and search them especially as leading you to Christ.
And, oh if there are any here who are no longer young, but on whom perhaps the clouds of evening are fast closing in, but who know little of their Bibles, I would entreat such no longer to delay, no longer to neglect that which should have been the chief study of all their days. What a piteous sight one sometimes meets with an old sinner, on the verge of eternity, deaf and cannot hear,-blind, or almost so, and cannot read,-the inlets of knowledge closed, the senses fast barred against the entrance of Gospel light! What a fearful monument is such a person of God's righteous judgments upon those who refuse. to profit by the means of grace when possessed-who, having ears, hear not; having eyes, see not!
May the Lord give us all grace to employ our faculties whilst yet we possess them, in seeking that knowledge, which being once treasured up in our hearts, will never fail us. "Thy word," said David, "have I hid within my heart." There let us seek to have God's blessed word safely lodged, not only impressed on our memories, but hid within our hearts; and then it will become in us the seed of a new and incorruptible life.
And may the prayer which the Church puts into our lips at this season be the unfeigned prayer of every heart,-that the "blessed
Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, may give us grace so to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of his holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which he has given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." Amen.
ON THE LOVE OF GOD.*
THE love of God, shed abroad in the heart, is the only solid ground on which we can build the hope that we ciples independent of the general and just admission, are justified in his sight. And this I argue on printhat a sense of pardon freely granted cannot fail to call forth gratitude, and thus to raise the affections it is the whole truth. There are, in my opinion, still This truth I fully grant; but I deny that deeper grounds on which it can be proved that reconciliation with, and the love of God, are indissolubly
When peace is made between two contending parties, the effects which follow must always bear a strict relation to the terms on which the parties stood before hostilities commenced. When strangers, or persons previously indifferent, fall out, and when, in any such instance, the grounds of quarrel are removed, no further benefit can be expected, than that mutual annoyance and provocations should cease. The parties either separate and meet no more, or they return, on both sides, to that state of indifference in which they had been used to live. But if, unhappily, offences come, or jealousies arise, where harmony and love previously existed, here the work of reconciliation is twice blessed, and the "peacemakers," with double emphasis, "called the children of God." Who, that ever has suspected, yet strongly loved-who, that ever felt the pang of being at enmity where he once "had garnered up his heart," can need be told with what glad associations peace revisits the soul? It is, in such a case, impossible that a cessation of hostilities can take place without the return of the heart to all, nay, to
more than its former tenderness.
And thus it must be at the reconciliation of a soul to God. Between these parties an ainity and friendship, as old as the creation of man, originally subsisted. The apostacy of the soul from God, though in one sense it may be termed its natural state, is, nevertheless, a disorder superinduced upon its primitive constitution. Man was, in his first estate, designed and formed for God. The only happiness of which he is capable, is a happiness which flows from, and which constitutes him a partaker of, the Divine force of sin, and held down in chains to the service of a usurper, all his native aspirations remind him of his true allegiance, and all his miseries evince that he is out of his right place, and that all the foundations of his being are out of course.
Severed as he is from God by the extrinsic
The fall of man is, in its very essence, the loss of God; the loss of that food which alone can fill the soul; the loss of that rest, out of which it can find no repose. The great purpose, then, for which a Saviour came down from on high, was to heal the breach, and
slay the enmity which separates man from God. The same great sacrifice which satisfied the justice of heaven, holds out a signal to repentant sinners, that they may now draw nigh. If we obey that signal, we are justified by faith, and have peace with God. The barriers are then removed, the intervening clouds are dissipated, and God and man return to their ancient amity. The sun shines forth, as in times of old, to
From the Rev. II. Woodward.
gladden the soul, and warm it with its beams. The restless dreams of man's apostacy are over, and the days of his mourning are ended. The spiritual nature, rectified and restored, is again obedient to its fundamental law; and man fulfils the first and great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and mind, and soul, and strength."
Such are the grounds on which I argue, that a state of justification must imply a state of filial love. physical necessity can bind cause and effect more indissolubly together. And as water, when freed from accidental hinderances, returns with unfailing tendency to its own level, and as the liberated stream unerringly obeys that law which points it to the ocean; so does the human soul, when the barriers of its condemnation are broken down, rush, as it were, to the passage which it now finds open, and fill, with the whole tide of its affections, those channels which lead to God.
The love of self, and the love of God, are principles deeply and inseparably associated together in the human soul. For, in spite of the general prejudice which runs against the former, there is, beyond doubt, a true and genuine self-love, which lies at the root, and forms the spring of all our aspirations after good. It is distinguishable from selfishness by the broadest lines of separation.
ATTIRE. "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning, &c.; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter iii. 3, 4). A subject which has engaged the pen of a prophet (Isa. iii. 18, &c.) and two apostles (1 Peter iii. and 1 Tim. ii. 9), cannot be deemed of too little importance for self-inquiry. Each has noticed particular fashions, but these probably only became the subject of animadversion because they were carried to excess, or accompanied by affectation or levity of conduct. There is a propriety of appearance, which it behoves all to study, as it concerns rank, age, station, and fortune, and unless these things are considered, there is danger of becoming ridiculous, or of incurring debts which may cause much regret and difficulty, and greatly affect the comfort and welfare of relations or dependents. Fashion, however, is not to be contemned; it has its various uses, and consequently should be complied with in moderation: if carried to excess, it is not always consistent with true delicacy, and seldom with good taste. Fashion can never justify immodest attire; and those females who, by an indecent exposure of their persons, excite unlawful desires in the other sex, must be amenable to that tribunal where all motives and actions are weighed. It does not speak in favour of modern times, that the distinctions in dress formerly adopted are very generally cast aside. The Scriptures speak of grey hairs as honourable, and call on youth to reverence them (Prov. xvi. 31, and xx. 19); shall we be surprised, then, if respect should cease, when that which was to excite it is no longer seen? To what must the dread of appearing old be attributed? The aged would do well to ask themselves the question. Should it be found that it is from a wish to share in the idle pleasures of life without censure, surely such a motive is unworthy the disciples of Him who has triumphed over the grave, and disarmed death of its terrors. Ought not the divine goodness to be rather adored, which has provided that bodily decay shall gently advance, and give notice of approaching dissolution, in order that the thoughts may be withdrawn from the cares and pleasures of this life, and be more fixed on spiritual objects? Even should the motive be merely to appear more comely by a youthful dress, it may be doubted whether the intention is insured. A close, quiet, sober, dress forms a pleasing accompaniment to an elderly face; and where the dispositions have been good, its lines will generally fall into an agreeable expression, and form a distinct sort of beauty which is very attractive, and which painters have thought worthy of their pencil. The aged are certainly entitled to independence, and may adopt any mode of attire which they find most easy and convenient, without being exposed to the charge of affected singularity; and where neatness and cleanliness are preserved, every one must approve a dress in which vanity has no part, and which shews the mind to be intent on better things. Good sense will always dictate, that as close a conformity with established usage should be preserved as is consistent with comfort and propriety. Though a still closer attention to fashion may be expected of the young, they will never be esteemed for making sacrifices to it inconsistent with duty. They must not give up all their time to altering and changing the form of their attire, or to ornamental needlework, to the neglect of their minds; nor ought they, by lavishing too much expense on their dress, to cut short the means of doing good. Religion is the surest and safest guide; it will teach its votaries so to conduct themselves, that happiness, I
Selfishness is, in its essence, delusive; it is the substitution of another object for that very self from which it derives its name. All its anxieties are about the body, or about the circumstances which affect the body. To be rich or great, to steep in sensuality, or shine in the eyes of men-these are the prizes which the selfish man keeps in view. This is the competition in which he takes every mean advantage, and would appropriate, if he were able, every thing to himself, or rather to what, in his delirium, he takes to be himself: for, wonderful to say, about true self-about that which is really and essentially one's self-about his soul; about that in which his true identity and higher nature consist; about that of which the body is but the changeable and perishable habitation; about this soul, and its concerns, he is utterly regardless; nay, he makes a free-will offering of them all to the idol of his insanity.
But self-love is, on the contrary, the recovery of the soul from this aberration. It is the state in which the prodigal is described, "when he came to himself." It is the right understanding of those awful inquiries, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" "What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?" The truth is, that if a man love not himself, he must be reckless of his own salvation; for what signifies to him the weal or woe of a being for whom he does not care? It would indeed be mere waste of time to argue against a madness still more outrageous than that already noticed, were it not that in the abandonment of self-love there is a superficial shew of generosity and devotedness which leads men to admire it, without well knowing what they mean. They have a notion that the love of God with all the heart implies that every other affection should be lost in that one absorbing passion. But this is altogether misconception. The love of God is not so much the complacential view of any outward exhibition of moral excellence, as the centering of the soul in the bosom of an object competent to satisfy its deepest thirst for happiness. To love God, is to dwell in God, to receive of his fulness, and to be a partaker of the divine nature. Between the love of God, thus understood, and the love of self, there is, consequently, no rivalship nor opposition; for, in their very essence, the latter is the desire of happiness, and the former is finding that happiness in God. So far from being opposed, they are inseparably connected; insomuch that if a man love not himself, he cannot love God.
From Mrs. Cornwallis's "Preparation for the Lord's Supper." 3d edit. London, Hayward and Moore: 1839.
might add, beauty and elegance, will be promoted by attention to its rules. It has been remarked, that we have no cause to set any great value upon dress, since it is an evidence of lost innocence. How should this idea operate to render all watchful and apprehensive, lest the very badge of woman's transgression should be made instrumental to her further disgrace!
FAITH.-We must be content to be learners, not discoverers, in the school of faith; receiving a revelation, not reasoning out conclusions: and this temper we cannot maintain, unless we come into God's presence remembering that, so far only as he gives us to know him, can we know aright; for that we need perfect purity to see him as he is, and that we are compassed about with infirmity. Then only, when the thought of his holiness and our corruption bows us to the earth, shall we receive his teaching with the simplicity of children, fixing on the ground those eyes which were ready to gaze too rashly at the wonders of his presence, and be ready indeed to put off our shoes from our feet, feeling that the place whereon we stand is holy ground.-Rev. S. Wilberforce.
GOD'S PEOPLE.-God, intending to shew that he could form a holy people of invisible sanctity, and conduct them to eternal glory, bestowed temporal blessings, as he intended to dispense spiritual blessings, that men might judge, by what he performed with visible objects, of his power over invisible things. He saved his chosen people from the deluge in the person of Noah; he caused them to spring from Abraham; he redeemed them from their enemies, and gave them rest in the promised land. The design of God was not simply to save from the deluge, and to raise from the stock of Abraham a whole people, in order to bring them into a fruitful land; but as nature is an image of grace, so these visible miracles were images of those invisible ones which he intended to perform.-Pascal.
TRIUMPH OF THE GOSPEL.*
A thousand isles still teem with barbarous life,
From "Polynesia, or Missionary Toils and Triumphs in the South Seas." Snow, 1839.-The profits of this little work are, we understand, to be given to missionary societies.-ED.
LINES Written on seeing a clear Spring near a Friend's in Hampshire, which supplied all the Neighbourhood with Water,
GENTLE reader, see in me
An emblem of true charity;
That while my bounty I bestow,
I'm neither heard, nor seen to flow;
And I have fresh supplies from heaven For every cup of water given.
MISSIONARY DISCOURAGEMENT.- As we have no reason to hope that God will bless the labours of an unfaithful servant, neither have we reason to expect that the efforts of the diligent and faithful missionary will in all cases be attended with success. Hinderances may arise from the impenetrable ignorance, the corruption and wickedness of the heathen, and from the moral sense having become dormant; there may be many circumstances, having a bearing upon the progress of the Gospel, of which we can form no judgment; not to mention the inscrutable decrees of the Almighty, who doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. The duty of the missionary is plain-whether he experience visible success or not, he must labour, according to his ability, for the salvation of souls, depending entirely upon the influences of God's Spirit for his success. He is apt to be depressed and ready to sink for want of encouragement: he is also liable to go through a beaten path from a conscientious regard to duty, without being duly anxious about the result of his labours. These are the Scylla and Charybdis on either hand, that beset his path; and it requires much wisdom, and piety, and strong faith, to preserve one's self from falling into the one or other. The case of Babaji and others that we could name are remarkable proofs of the practicability of bringing the Hindu under the benign influence of the Gospel. These are proofs which ought to convince every opponent, that the Gospel has a mighty influence over the dispositions of the worst specimens of human nature they are proofs which ought to shew our modern school of prophets and miracle-mongers, that notwithstanding their uncharitableness, the Lord is still with his Church, and continues to accompany his word with power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. We have candidly acknowledged, that as far as real conversions are concerned, little has been yet effected. We have fairly noted, as far as our knowledge extends, the state of the native Christian Churches. And although some may be disposed to think that a very discouraging picture has been drawn, we are still persuaded that quite as much has been done as was to be expected from the amount of means employed and the character of the Hindus; much more than those who are unacquainted with missionary operations are willing to allow. It would be very easy, were it necessary, to shew, both from sacred and ecclesiastical history, that no great change was ever suddenly brought about in the moral and religious habits of any nation. The remarkable and rapid progress of the Gospel after the day of Pentecost was preceded by the preaching of John the Baptist, the miracles of the Saviour, and the teachings of his disciples; and many circumstances in providence had prepared the minds of men for some great change. The principles of the Reformation, which burst forth in such splendour in Luther's time, were felt and cherished, and were secretly spreading their influence, in many parts of Europe, long before he was born. Why should we expect to see light suddenly spring
out of darkness? Why should we look for order and harmony to arise of a sudden out of confusion? In the plan of redemption God does not so deal with the souls of men, in ordinary cases. There is a seedtime, as well as a harvest, in the missionary field; some must sow with tears, and others who enter into their labours will reap with joy; but the Lord of the harvest will cause "both him that soweth and him that reapeth to rejoice together." India has heretofore had but its sowing-time. The seed of the kingdom has been scattered far and wide. The strong chains of superstition are falling off, and the people are inquiring. The Hindu begins to shew some signs of possessing a conscience susceptible of serious impressions. Many are intellectually convinced of the superior claims of Christianity, and still more expect some great change. These are highly important effects; and those who have been instrumental in bringing them about ought not to be discouraged; for their part of the work is necessary and promotive of the great consummation- the regeneration of India; and their "labour will not be in vain in the Lord."- South India Christian Repository.
IDLENESS.-Idleness is called "the sin of Sodom and her daughters," and indeed is "the burial of a living man;" an idle person being so useless to any purposes of God and man, that he is like one that is dead, unconcerned in the changes and necessities of the world; and he only lives to spend his time, and eat the fruits of the earth: like a vermin or a wolf, when their time comes, they die and perish, and in the meantime do no good; they neither plough nor carry burdens; all that they do either is unprofitable or mischievous. Idleness is the greatest prodigality in the world; it throws away that which is invaluable in its present use, and irreparable when it is past, being to be recovered by no power of art or nature.-Bp. Taylor.
HOW TO KEEP THE LORD'S DAY.-Avoid all servile work, and expend it only in such actions as tend to the sanctifying thereof. God, the great Landlord of all time, hath let out six days in the week to man to farm them; the seventh day he reserves as a demesne in his own hand: if therefore we would have quiet possession, and comfortable use of what God hath leased out to us, let us not encroach on his demesne. Some popish people make a superstitious almanac of the Sunday, by the fairness or foulness thereof guessing at the weather all the week after. But I dare boldly say, that from our well or ill spending of the Lord's day, a probable conjecture may be made how the following week will be employed. Yea, I conceive we are bound, as matters now stand in England, to a stricter observance of the Lord's day than ever before. That a time was due to God's service, no Christian in our kingdoms ever did deny; that the same was weekly dispersed in the Lord's day, holydays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, some have earnestly maintained; seeing, therefore, all the last are very generally neglected, the former must be more strictly observed; it being otherwise impious that our devotions, having a narrower channel, should also carry a shallower stream.-Fuller's Wounded Conscience.
"If it rains on the Sunday before mess,
It will rain all the week more or less."-Popish Rhyme.
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THE STUDY OF PROPHECY.
THERE are few subjects more interesting to the true believer who is led to adore the goodness of Jehovah, as manifested in the blessings of redemption, than the study of those prophecies which distinctly foretell that most important of events, the advent of the Messiah; important, whether we consider the infinity of blessings which have already flowed from his condescension in taking our nature upon him, or carry our thoughts forward to that glorious appearing for which we are commanded to look, when he shall sit a king upon his holy hill of Zion, being made ruler over all his enemies.
The Christian's faith, indeed, rests not on the declaration of the Almighty as to the fulfilment of future events. The incarnation, sufferings, death, the resurrection, ascension of the Redeemer, are historical facts that he believes on evidence the most incontrovertible; still can he not fail to admire the wisdom and goodness of God in revealing from time to time a knowledge of his will, and of those gracious purposes of mercy by which he deigned to deliver man from the bondage of corruption, to repair the ruins of the fall, to overcome death and him that hath the power of death, and to open to believers in his Son the kingdom of heaven, with all its transcendent glories.
In further directing the reader's attention to this most important subject, the study of Scripture prophecy, the consideration of which is peculiarly adapted to a season when the Church calls for reflection on the advent of VOL. VII. NO. CXCVIII.
the Redeemer, it may be well to consider, in the present essay, the importance of the study of prophecy to those who lived before his incarnation.
It may be remarked, that it had a direct tendency to console the people of God amidst the various trials and afflictions that befell them. The true servants of the Most High have, generally speaking, been exposed to privations and sufferings. From the time of Abel, throughout the various ages of the Church, of the Scripture prophecies not a few referred to occurrences that took place during the life-time of the persons to whom they were addressed, or at some period soon after. Thus, distinct predictions were set forth of the deluge, of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, of their wanderings and trials in the desert, their admission to, and occupancy of, the land of Canaan. Others referred to events in the histories of the surrounding nations; as the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites; while the ruin of Israel by the Assyrians, and of Judea by the Babylonians, and their return from captivity, were all foretold, with greater or less distinctness. But he who is at all acquainted with the Old Testament, will readily allow that there is a class of prophecies therein contained totally distinct from those now alluded to,- prophecies referring to the advent of One mighty to save-to save from the power, and guilt, and punishment, of sin.
From the first promise given to the guilty pair in paradise, of the seed of the woman that should bruise the head of the serpent, to that made by the mouth of the prophet Malachi, "of the rising of the Son of Righteousness with healing on his wings," to be
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