Page images
PDF
EPUB

First: The one procureth farour. Favour with their own conscience; favour with society; favour with God. Secondly: The other disfarour. “ It shall come unto him." He shall have what he deserves. The disapprobation of his own conscience the denunciation of society-the frown of God. “Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”—Psa. vii, 14–16.

(No. LXXII.) TRUSTING IN RICHES. “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall."-Prov. xi. 28.

I. HERE IS A COMMON TENDENCY. Nothing is more common than for wealthy men to trust in their wealth; to trust for happiness and honour to worldly possessions. Like the fool in the Gospel they say “ Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years.” (Luke xii. 19-21.) Wealth as an object of trust is, first: Spiritually unsatisfactory. Secondly: Necessarily evanescent. Man's wealth cannot stay long with him.

The connection is very brief.

II. HERE IS A TERRIBLE CATASTROPHE, “SHALL PALL.” “Fall!" First: Whence? From all his hopes. Secondly: Whither ? To disappointment and despair. Thirdly : When ? Whenever moral conviction seizes the soul, whether before or after death. Fourthly: Why? Because wealth was never a fit foundation for the soul. “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength ; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”—Psa. lii. 7.

BOTH.

a miserable grub. Strongly does Paul show the truth of this—“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap

also bountifully,” &c., &c. (2 Cor. ix. 6–11.) III. THE SOCIAL ESTIMATE OF

“He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him ; but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.” First, the people shall curse the avaricious. Who knows the imprecations that fall every day on the head of the avaricious and miserly man? “Hear this, 0 ye that swallow up the needy,” &c. (Amos viii. 4, 6.) Secondly, the peuple shall bless the generous.

Hear Job's experience, “ The blessing of him that was ready to perish, came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.” (Job xxix. 13.) “The truly generous is the truly wise; And he who loves not others lives un

blest."

(No. LXXI.)

GOOD AND EVIL. “ He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him."Prov. xi. 27. The words lead us to look at good and evil in two aspects.

J. As OBJECTS OF PURSUIT.

First: Some pursue good. that diligently seeketh good.” There are those that are industrious in the search and service of goodness. They diligently seek good for themselves and good for society.

Secondly: Some pursue eril. He that seeketh mischief." There are some as industrious in doing evil, as others in doing good; they are always in mischief.

II. AS SOURCES OF DESTINY.

These pursuits bring different results to the soul.

" He

80, 31.

Hence says

(No. LXXIII.)

(No. LXXIV.) PAMILY LIFE.

THE LIFE OF THE GOOD. “IIe that troubleth his own house “The fruit of the righteous is a tree shall inherit the wind : and the fool of life; and he that winneth souls is shall be servant to the wise of heart." wise. Behold, the righteous shall be -Prov. xi, 29.

recompensed in the earth: much more

the wicked and the sinner."-Prov. xi. The words imply three things :I. THAT PEACE SHOULD BE THE

These verses suggest three things GRAND AIM OF ALL THE MEMBERS

in relation to the life of the good OP THE DOMESTIC CIRCLE. It is

on earth. here implied that to trouble the

I. THE INVOLUNTARY INFLUENCE house is an evil. And so it is.

OF A GOOD MAN'S LIFE. Each member should studiously

The fruit endeavour to maintain an un

of a life is the involuntary and broken peace in the family sphere.

regular expression of what the

man is in heart and soul. All Every look, expression, thought, word, calculated to disturb should

actions are not the fruit of life,

inasmuch as man in the exercise be carefully eschewed. What

of his freedom, and indeed even ever storms rage without, there should be serenity within the

by accident, performs actions that, household door.

instead of fully expressing, misIt is implied

represent his life. II. THAT THERE

Christ, “By their fruit,” not by ARE SOME

their action, MEMBERS WHO BREAK THE PEACE

“ye shall know

them." The regular flow of a OF THEIR DOMESTIC CIRCLE. There are some who "trouble" their own

man's general activity is the fruit, house. The ill-natured, impul

and this, in the case of a good sive, false, selfish. These are

man, is a “tree of life.” It is

so for three reasons. domestic troubles. He who breeds

(1) It exfeuds in families creates wars in

presses real life. (2) It commuinan's earthly heaven.

nicatos real life. (3) It nourishes

real life. It is implied, III. Tiat THOSE WHO BREAK

II. THE HIGHEST PURPOSE OF

A GOOD MAN'S LIFE. “He that THE PEACE OF THEIR DOMESTIC

winneth souls is wise." This CIRCLE ARE FOOLS. “ He that troubleth his own house shall in

implies (1) That souls are lost. herit the wind : and the fool shall

(2) That souls may be saved. be servant to the wise of heart."

(3) That souls may be saved by Two things show their folly.

(4) That the man who suoFirst: They get no good by it.

ceeds in saving souls is wise.* " They reap wind." What if

III. THE INEVITABLE

BUTION OF A GOOD MAN'S LIFE. they gratify for a moment their vanity, their selfishness, their

“Behold, the righteous shall be pride by it? Their gratification recompensed in the earth.” The is but wind. Secondly: They get

recompense here is supposed to degradation by it. “The fool shall

refer rather to the suffering he be servant to the wise of heart."

experiences, in consequences of The habitual disturber of the

his remaining imperfections, than family circle soon by his folly

of the blessings he enjoys as a sinks into a base servitude. The

reward for the good that is in loving and the peaceful, by the

him. The sins of good men are wisdom of their conduct, rule him

punished on this earth. The by a dignified despotism, which fills him with mortification.

• See IIOJILIST, series iii., vol. V.,

man.

RETRI

p. 289.

sufferings endured by the good love is brutish. “I have surely here, Solomon uses as an argu- heard Ephraim bemoaning himment for the certainty of the self thus ; Thou hast chastised greater sufferings that must be me, and I was chastised, as a bul. endured by the wicked. “Much lock unaccustomed to the yoke. more the wicked and the sinner.” (Jer. xxxi. 18.) The argument is à fortiori-if Good and evil are here preGod visits the sins of his people sented, here with punishment, much more II. IN RELATION TO DIVINE will He visit the sins of the wicked. JUDGMENT. First, the good secures “ For the time is come that judg- the favour of God.

“A good man ment must begin at the house of obtaineth favour of the Lord." God: and if it first begin at us, Heaven smiles upon the righteous. what shall the end be of them “Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righthat obey not the gospel of God ? teous; with favour wilt thou comAnd if the righteous scarcely be pags him as with a shield.” saved, where shall the ungodly (Psa. v. 12.) To obtain the and the sinner appear ?"

favour of God is the highest object of life.

" Wherefore we

labour, that, whether present or (No. LXXV.)

absent, we may be accepted of

him.” (2 Cor. v. 9.) Secondly, GOOD AND EVIL.

the evil incurs his condemnation. "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof

“A man of wicked devices will he is brutish.

A good man obtaineth condemn." The frown of eternal favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked justice shadows the path of the devices will be condemnn. A man shall not be established by wickedness: but

wicked. “He that believeth not the root of thc righteous shall not be

is condemned already." moved."-Prov. xii. 1-3.

Good and evil are here preGood and evil are presented in sented, three aspects.

III. IN RELATION TO THEIR I. IN RELATION

STANDING. First, the evil have no GENCE. First, the good loves intel- stability. “A man shall not be ligence, " Whoso loveth instruc- established by wickedness.” How tion, loveth knowledge." A truly insecure are the wicked! They good man is a truth-seeker. The are in slippery places. (Psa. constant cry of his soul is for lxxiii. 18.) They live in a house more light. Secondly, the evil whose foundation is sand. Sehates intelligence. “ He that hateth condly, the good are firmly estareproof is brutish." Reproof is a blished. “ The root of the righform of intelligence. It shows to a teous shall not be moved.” “God sinner in the light of great prin- is their refuge and strength," &c. ciples, either the imprudence or Like the monarch of the forest, immorality or both of his con- whose roots strike wide and deep duct. He hates this, and is thus into the heart of the earth, it “brutish.” He who does not stands secure amidst storms that desire to have his faults exposed wreck the fleets of nations and to him in the light of law and level cities in the dust.

TO

INTELLI

Theological Notes and Queries.

OPEN COUNCIL. [The utmost freedom of honest thought is permitted in this department. The reader must therefore use his own discriminating faculties, and the Editor must be allowed to claim freedom from responsibility.]

THE

GREAT PROPITIATION. If our Lord has endured our Article XII.-(Continued.)

punishment_has suffered the just Replicant.-In answer to Querist

consequences of our sins, then No. 16, p. 352, Vol. XVII., and

sin is not forgiven. It has had continued from p. 356, Vol.

its own course, and produced its XIX:

own evil. If at any future time

the sinner were punished, then On some popular Theories of the would the same crime be twice

Atonement of Christ, proposed to punished, which would be unjust. Explain its mode of Operation. If Christ has met for us the deThis theory of the Christian mands of justice, by obeying the atonement does effectively for law and suffering the consemankind what the Hegelian phi- quences of transgression, then is losophy tried in vain to do in an- salvation-freedom from evil and other way. It delivers all men the reward of obedience, no more from the influence of the idea of of grace but of justice. True, a personal God. Guillaume Marr Christ was kind and gracious in said that “the true road to liberty, doing what He did for us, but God equality, and happiness was athe- gives nothing for which He is not ism," or the freeing of the human paid ; therefore is our salvation mind from the restraint imposed an act of grace the part of upon it by a belief in personal Christ, but an act of mere justice responsibility to God; but the on the part of God. debt theory of the work of Christ 5. This theory seems to me to gets rid of all sense of responsi- be a libel on the Divine character. bility, while it retains in its creed It represents God as exacting, not the existence of God as giving; as demanding, not bearticle of belief. Every man, stowing; as punishing, not parfor whom Christ died, owes the doning; as being just, but not Deity neither reverence nor obe- gracious. He shows no favour, dience, nor is he liable to any but requires and gets his due. punishment for sin, as the Atoner Christ suffers and gives, but God by his atonement has paid the demands and has the uttermost whole of his debt - discharged farthing. his obligations, and endured his If, then, God has all He re.. punishment.

quires-no matter who pays Him, 4. According to this theory, whether the original debtor or his there is no such thing as the for- surety, if he be paid—no thanks giveness of sin, or salvation by are due to Him for what He gives grace. If a debt be paid, no or does. If man is saved, no matter how, or by whom, if it be thanks to God, for He was fully paid, it is not forgiven. Payment paid for it by another. All and forgiveness are contradictions. thanks are, therefore, due to this

an

other. St. Paul's triumphant | nothing but a show; for in reality shout of victory must be altered nothing is given without payment from, “Thanks be to God who to the full ! giveth us the victory through our The Bible everywhere speaks Lord Jesus Christ,” to “No thanks of our salvation as being of God's to God, for He gives us no victory grace. God saves by or through -gives us nothing; but thank's Christ, but never on account of to Christ, who purchased our vic- Christ. God is the efficient cause tory for us!”

of our salvation, and Christ is the Such is the nature of this instrumental cause or mediumtheory of the atonement-a the- mediator- of His grace.

The ory which was, alas! identified absolute Deity reaches us in a with the Gospel by the Puritans, special form assumed, and by a and is still thought to be a fair special revelation given-which representation of the truth. But is Christ; so that we owe all we it falls to the ground at every have, or may possess, or be, to point. It requires at the begin- God, who made his love known ning, what the Word of God will to us in the Christ-form-in Christ. not allow, the separation of God According to the Gospel, God and Christ, each being regarded gives us all we have-yes, gires as a distinct conscious being or and forgives all our sins-forperson. The Bible everywhere gives ; but according to the debt shows it to be the duty of all men, theory, God gives nothing, and Christiansand unconverted people, forgives nothing, as everything to obey God, and emphatically which comes through His hand is declares that “the soul that sin- purchased at a full price. neth, it shall die;" but this the- The conclusion of the matter ory is destructive of all moral seems to me to be this: we can obligation. Great prominence is accept either the accuracy of the given in the Scriptures to the Bible, as the Word of God, or doctrine of the forgiveness of sin. the puritanic notion of the AtoneWe pray for forgiveness, accord

ment, as the payment of debt by ing to the examples of pious men, a surety; but to accept both as “Pardon my iniquity, for it is true is impossible. They are great,” and according to the in- diametrically opposed to each struction of the Saviour himself, other, as opposed as light and “Forgive us our trespasses ;" and darkness are.

One inust be rethe Divine Being is repeatedlyjected as untrue, for the one is said to forgive men their sins. destructive of the other. But the debt theory of the work I, for one, would rather sacriof Christ shows that all the fice a theory than sacrifice the Bible's teaching about forgive- Word of God; for the former is ness is but mere empty talk, as the invention of man, the latter God forgives no man a sin, but is is the production of God. fully paid for each by our surety ! The talk about forgiveness is a

GALILEO, B.A. mere show of benevolence and

(To be continued.)

« PreviousContinue »