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louder and louder. But by whom is it echoed and re-echoed? Not by those who are zealous for the conservation of truth, but by those who would have much of it (those parts of it that do not harmonise with their so called advanced views) relegated to the limbo of open questions. But let the Westminster Confession only be tried by the standarıl of God's Word on which it professes to be based, and not by the uncertain, undefined, and undefinable opinions of the men of progress, and we have no fear of the issue. Let the noisy declaimers against it rage and fuam at will, it will at length come out of the fray more than a conqueror. “Great is truth and it will prevail,” and so far from the sincere and faithful friends of truth being moved from the faith or even shaken by such opposition, by it their character is consolidated and rendered intlexible; “just as the tempest which tears up and carries away the tender sapling, only causes the oak on the mountain's brow to strike deeper its fibres and take a firmer grasp of the soil ; or as the blast which extinguishes a taper will only increase the intensity of a powerful fire.” While we thus advocate steadfast adherence to, and the inaintenance of, the unrivalled exhibition of Divine truth as embodied in our grand old Confession, we are not to be understood as saying that we thereby forfeit all right to seek out truth for ourselves. So far from this, we hold that such steadfastness is the sure means of true advancement. Far more likely are we to make progress in religion, and in theological attainments, when we know where we are and whither we are going, than we could possibly be Here we in the position of those who are adrift on the trackless and shoreless sea of human speculation, not knowing where they are, and are carried about by every wind of doctrine.

• We are warned,” says Professor Flint, “ that if we sign the Westminster Confession of Faith we forego our intellectual liberty ; that we pledge ourselves to regard every word and sentence of it as the ultimate truth attainable by the human mind regarding revealed religion ; that we can have no right afterwards to exercise our minds freely on theological subjects, and ought not even to dream of original investigations or original discoveries. Now, most certainly, had I believed anything of this kind, at no period of my life would the Confession of Faith been signed by me. I have signed it because I believed the doctrine of it to be true--a doctrine fairly deducible from God's Word-one that cannot be rejected so long as the Scriptures are accepted as His Word, and because I admitted the right and expediency of the Church having a Confession. I have not signed it because I believed it to be on all points, or any one point, the highest and most perfect expression of divine truth which the human mind can attain. I believe that the doctrine of it will not, and cannot be shown to be false, and that it must, therefore, be accepted by those who would advance further in the way of religious truth. I do not believe that the acceptance of it prevents further advance in regard to any

doctrine which it contains. Those who maintain its acceptance to be incompatible with all-sided and endless progress seem to me to labour under the same curious delusion as would a man who maintained that acceptance of Euclid implied rejection of the differential calculus and quaternions, or that the signing of Newton's Principia in a country or institution, say, where there was a danger of the Ptolemaic system being taught, would be inconsistent with belief in the advance of physical science since the publication of that celebrated work." Such are the sentiments of one whose word is entitled to come with authority. We consider them well calculated to counteract the pernicious views in regard to the Confession that are now being propagated. This is our apology for our somewhat lengthy quotation. We may note, in closing, that the author of these noble sentiments occupies a Theological Chair in connection with that obnoxious Church against which U. P. and Free Church voluntaries are now raging so loudly. Heterodoxy is the current plea for disestablishment. We do not plead in defence of the orthodoxy of the Established Church, but we have ground for affirining that she has got some orthodox Professors in her Divinity Chairs, orthodox ministers in her pulpits, as well as many God-fearing people among her nembers, and nothing more can be said of the two Voluntary Churches who are carrying on the Disestablishment crusade. They are professedly anxious about the purity of the Church, but let them just begin at home with the purging and pruning process.

While there are so many weeds in their own garden they cannot afford to look over the wall to detect and expose the weeds in their neighbour's garden.

(To be continued.)

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THE WICKED OVERTHROWN.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “READINGS IN DANIEL,” &c.

ESTHER vi.-X.
SLEEP,”

,” said Sir Thomas Brown, “is Death's younger brother, and so like him that I never dare trust him without my prayers.”

Even when surrounded by danger, Alexander the Great is said to have generally enjoyed perfect sleep, because over his couch his trusty friend Parmenio watched. Sounder far ought to be the repose of those who lie down under the shadow of Him whose eye never closes, and who needs no slumber to recruit His infinite power. If God is our shield, we may well dismiss anxiety, and yield ourselves to “ tired nature's sweet restorer;" but if still unreconciled to our Father in Jesus, we ought to be startled into consideration as we lay our heads upon the pillow. Who can tell but that, during the night watches, there may steal on us “the sleep that knows no waking ?” and if so, whither shall our disembodied spirits have to wing their flight ?

Full often had Ahasuerus been blessed with refreshing repose on his luxurious couch ; but during the night following the first banquet with the Queen and his favourite courtier, it was impossible to slumber.

“Sleep is no servant of the will :

It has caprices of its own :
When courted most, it lingers still,

When most pursued, 'tis swiftly gone.” For hours the monarch sought to woo its sweet unconsciousness, but in vain. To while away the time till day-dawn, he called for the records of his empire, and ordered them to be read before him. There was a Divine purpose in his wakefulness, and also in the reader's being so guided as to reach by sunrise the close of the chapter, in which were preserved the details of the conspiracy by two of the royal chamberlains to murder their master. To Mordecai had been duly credited the discovery of the plot, and the frustration of the wicked design. "What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this ?” enquired the King. When told that no recompense whatever had been made, he asked who was in the outer court. “Haman," was the reply; and the prime minister was immediately summoned to the royal presence.

Haman had come to court so early in order to obtain permission for the immediate destruction of the Jewish gatekeeper, who had refused to bow before him. Whenever he entered the inner apartment, Ahasuerus abruptly asked, “What shall be done unto the man whom the King delighteth to honour ?” “Nobody but myself,"

" thought Haman, “can be intended ;” and therefore he replied that such an individual should be arrayed in the King's grandest dress—crowned with the royal crown-set upon the King's own charger,—and being thus mounted, one of the noblest princes of the realm should lead the horse through the city, and proclaim, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honour.” To wear the King's apparel, or ride upon his favourite horse, unpermitted and unbidden, was a crime worthy of death. No higher distinction therefore could be conferred than to have the

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use of these enjoined by the monarch himself, while before the man so exalted the noblest of the princes walked as a groom, and announced to all the citizens the dignity of the rider whom he was conducting through the streets.

We may feebly fancy, but words would altogether fail to describe, the bitter mortification of Haman, when ordered to confer all these honours without delay, and with his own hands and by his own lips, on the man whom he hated most in all the world. To question the propriety, however, of the command of his despotic master, even for a moment, was impossible, unless he wished to be decapitated on the spot. Well has Cowper said

“Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence.
The man who leems himself so great
And his importance of such weight,
That all around in all that's done
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation

The foily of his expectation." When the grand ceremonial was over, the gatekeeper, who had been so wonderfully dignified, returned to his comparatively humble post. For personal exaltation he little cared ; but however lowly his duty might be, he sought to ennoble it by the devotion wherewith he discharged its claims. Anything that affected his nation's interests touched him far more tenderly and deeply than if it concerned simply himself. A true patriot, he made the cause of God his own; and that cause was, in his times, wrapped up with the preservation of the Jewish people.

“ That will break a proud man's heart which will not break a humble man's sleep”; and proud Haman was dreadfully crushed by what he had been compelled to do towards the despised son of Abraham. He had to gulp all down, however, till he reached his home, but even there little comfort awaited him. Whether his wife and the friends to whom he related his mishap really detested his imperious and selfish disposition, or whether they were naturally much more plain of speech than pleasant, they told him without reserve that if Mordecai were really a Jew, his own doom was sealed. But yesterday they were stirring him up to plan Mordecai's immediate destruction, and now they quite coolly announced it as their opinion that his own ruin was at hand. Assuredly the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel ; and the prime minister must have been sorely wounded by the exhibition among his nearest and dearest of their utter want of sympathetic feeling. He had not leisure, however, to show how he resented their unfriendliness, for the royal chamberlains

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at that moment appeared to hasten the Agagite to the second banquet given by Queen Esther to Ahasuerus and himself.

Haman must have found it difficult to be calm and agreeable during the repast, though, in more propitious circumstances, it would have been thoroughly enjoyable. As its termination was approaching, the King asked his wife what was her desire that he might have the pleasure of granting it. Briefly but most touchingly the Queen replied—“If I have found favour in thy sight, O King, and if it please the King, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request : for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish : but if we had been sold for bond-men and bond-women, I bad held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the King's damage."

The Monarch was astonished, and exclaimed, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so ?”

“The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman,” was the Queen's reply.

Fierce was the anger of Ahasuerus. Rising instantly from the table, he walked out into the palace garden-a signal that the death of the accused was decreed. He, wretched being, with face pale as death, and every nerve quivering with terror, stood up to plead for his life. In his agonizing supplication, he bent down upon the end of the couch on which the Queen was reclining. At that instant his master returned to the banqueting hall. Observing Haman's position, he cried out, asking if the Agagite meant to dishonour himself too in his dearest earthly relation? The chamberlains in waiting at once understood their master's mind, and threw a cloth over the face of the criminal. As a doomed malefactor, he was no longer worthy to look on the countenance of the Monarch, to whom the story of the erection of the gallows, on which Mordecai was to have been executed, was told without delay. Not till Haman himself had been hanged thereon, did the frown disappear from the face of the King.

The property of the cruel plotter against the Hebrew race was, upon his execution, forfeited to the Crown; and it was all presented to the Queen for ber own private use. As she had informed her husband of the relation in which she stood to Mordecai, he was immediately installed into the vacant office of Prime Minister. In token thereof the royal signet ring, which had been taken from Haman, was handed to him. The decree against the Jews being still in force, measures had to be adopted at once to prevent any evil that might befall. Esther therefore again appeared in the royal presence, and besought the reversal of the terrible edict for the destruction of her kindred. Mordecai was thereupon instructed to issue a new royal

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