« PreviousContinue »
nomy of the world to the exertions and rigid philosophy of the stërnet of virtue, rather than to those of and more intelligent parent! talent, less manifest, when we coul 5. In recommending a due sabi. template the necessities of men. jection of the intellectual to the móThat the human race has produced ral part of our nature, let it not be such splendid rarities as Homer and forgotten that there is a certain Virgil, Tasso and Ariosto, Spenser sense, in which they are one and the and Shakspeare, is beyond all ques- same; and that the inspired pention matter of legitimate boast. men, in extolling wisdom, may in They are an honour to their species. part be conceived as alluding to that Their labours have often soolhed the plain reason, that natural sagacity, pain of distress, charned many a which is common to the scientific weary hour away, and administered and the unleriered. A good man is much delight to cultivated minds. a wise man, in this acceptation of Yet, perhaps, on a large view, the the phrase, because he has manistock of human happiness would fested a sound judgment in the most pot bave been very greatly impaired, interesting of all concerns, and on had such characters never come into a subject on which the learned and existence. Society would have the unlearned are alike competent to sought out different sources of plea- pronounce a wise decision. sore, and would have found them. ferring eternal happiness to earthly But surely the same observation grarification and advantage; what could not be applied with truth to is noble to what is vile and debasing; Moses, Confucius, Socrates, Lycur what he is sure of arraining to what gus, Sulon, Numa, Alfred, Penn, accident may intercept; what is Fenelon, Wilson, Howard, or Han. permanent to what is transiento; way; considering their virtues ab- what confers the highest conceivstractedly from their wisdom. Even able enjoyment to what affords only in ancient mythology, we may dis- inferior and imperfect satisfaction:tinctly trace an acknowledgment in making this wise choice, the poor of this predominance and superior man may say with David, “ I have utility of virtue. The heathens more understanding than all my had, it is true, their thundering teachers, for thy testimonies are my Jove, because superstition is found meditation ; I have understood more ed in terror : but it was because than the ancients, because I keep their corn, and wine, and oil abound. thy precepts.” ed, that altars were erected to Ceres, Not (let us repeat, to avoid being Bacchus, and Minerva. In like misconceived), not that the cultivamanner, the softer sex have had their tion of the intellect, as it respect's Sapphos and their Staels; their human science, is forbidden in the Savignys, their Cravens, and their Gospel of Christ; or that it is not Montagues : but is not the order of even expressly enjoined, when the the world so constituted, that man wise man recommends the getting kind have derived less benefit from of understanding and knowledge. the labours of such writers, ihan Whosoever hath power and opporfrom those of some individual, far tunity ought to iniprove the gift of inferior in capacity, whose very reason, and sedulousty to enlarge name may excite the smile of super. his stock of intelligence, The ciliousness? How many have expe. power thus acquired, if exerted to rienced the soft influence and ami. ihe glory of God, and to the good able example of a mother, to have of the creatures of God, will assubeen infinitely more instrumental in redly not lose its adequate remuneforming their bearts to principle, ration. and promoting their best interests, Let us beware, however, in this than all the intellectual discipline maiter, of deceiviög our own bearis ; CuŘIST, OBSERY. No. 147.
of measuring the approbation of day he ever disregarded and profaned; God by the applauses of men. There and on a Nelson--but I forbear. is a philosophical pride, which of old for the utility and mental strength spoke of elysium, and which still, of these two characters, let a na. in modern times, makes mention of tion's fervent gratitude be poured ; paradise, as invariably the abode of but let them not be removed from the wise, in conjunction with the their proper sphere of fame. And good. And even the higher orders let the moralist be perniitted to of Christians are loo apt, in our own warn the rising votaries of ambition days, to merge the private in the against the dangerous, but, it is to public character; to imagine that be leared, the too prevalent opinion, crimes are absolved by dexterity, that if they can only contrive to andimmoralities lost in the splendour achieve what is splendid and useful, of extraordinary talents, like the the complexion of their morality is spots on the disk of the sun. There of about just as little moment, as is a mixture of gratitude, wonder, the complexion of their countenance and adulation, which, without paus- or the colour of their coat. Surely ing to scrutinize the ordinary moral it is a kind office to remind such heconduct of celebrated men, who roes of the truth, that they may have in their generation performed move on to glory with their Bibles some splendid feat, gazes on them in their hands; ihat they may preas on the eagle that hath towered to pare for a scene where degrees will an height at which the specks in be taken in moral improvement, and her feathers become imperceptible; where honours will be awarded, not enrols them among an army of saints to the bravest, not to the wisest, not and martyrs, with whom many of to the most eloquent, but only to the them will probably never be worthy best. If their mental powers have to mingle; and identifies the immors been exerted in the service of falsetality of their happiness with the hood, of dishonour, of oppression, immortality of their fame.
of injustice; or even if it have been Cæsar, ihe enslaver of his coun directed towards useful and good try ; Cromwell, the murderer of his ends, from the low and selfish mo, king; the Macedonian and the Swe- tives of avarice, love of fame, pride, dish madmen; and the robber, the vanity, voluptuousness, it will heretyrant, the murderer of Ajaccio, after stand them but in little stead, have all, in their day, bad their The deliverer of his country, who stupid and extravagant admirers. bas been the tyrant of his household; Nay, there are professing Christians, the general, who has needlessly sawho, without hesitation, assign crificed lives to bis ambition; the thrones in the Christian heaven to magistrate, who has regulated a dise Anacreon, the debauchee; to Vir- trict in peace, yet could never regu: gil and Horace, the sensualists; to late his own breast; indulge themMichael Angelo, who, it is said, as selves in a most conteniprible and sassinated one pupil, and conceived deplorable vanity, if they hope for an unnatural passion for another ; triumphal columns, or civic crowns, 10 Rafaelle, who died a martyr 10 among the bowers of paradise ; or bis vices; 10 Voltaire, Rousseau, think that even devils will console Hume, who all lived but 10 rithem with the flatteries of men. To dicule and to destroy our dearest them will the well-intentioned rustic hopes. Nay (for I will utter iruth, be preferred, who carried away the whatever may be the cost), bare not palm in no race, who commanded our pulpits resounded with somewhat the applause of no senales, who too fulsome and unqualified eulo- sought reputation at the mouth of giums on a Rossell, who met his no cannon, and whose name was death when violating the Sabbath; a never recorded, save in the register
of his parish. Thus will God once otheit) of doubling down the leaf in more, emphatically, choose the fool- their books of account where debts ish things of this world to confound were paid. This interpretation I the wise. Far belter than volumes had more than forty years ago from of misapplied wisdom, is a single a very eminent and learned divine, good action, springing up from ile who said he collected it from Vitrinheart of plain and honest piety. ga, of whose learning and knowledge “Though I speak with the tongies in divinity (and in the Hebrew espe. of men and of angels, and though I cially) the late Bishop Lowth speaks understand all mysteries and all with the highest respect. Tije knowledge, yet, if I lave not chari- places of Scripture to which I ty"(greater than faith and hope), "I particularly refer, and in which the am become as sounding brass and a word double is so to be understood tinkling cymbal.”
are, Isa. xl. 2; Isa. Ixi. 7; Zech. Even in spiritual wisdom there is ix. 12. In all these, comfort and a spiritual pride and assurance, mercy, not anger or vengance, are against which men should ever stand the subject; and as in the first of vigilantiy on their guard. Nothing these it would argue harshness or so easy as to discourse eloquently, even injustice on the part of God to and to reason clearly, on the theory bave rendered double to the desert of religion; nothing so difficult as of his people's sins, so, considering the practice. “Knowledge pufferh the nature of sin and its infinite evil, up, but charity edifieth.” To correct it should seem impossible so to do. a babit, to controul an inclination, But what supports this conjecture or to calm the temper, to guard the more of interpretation not a little is, thoughts, to take up a cross of self- that in the repetition of the word denial, to make sacrifices of pleasure double in Isa. Ixi. 7, in the latter to duty; these, o Christianity! are part of the verse it is evidently the trophies of thy renown; these translated substantively, the double, the labours thou hast promised to which would seem to refer to the reward.
very mode of interpretation I have J. G. suggested.
I would be far from presuming to offer the above from any authority
or conjecture of my own, or from To the Editor of the Christian Observer. any desire to enter into a controverIf you think it worth a place in sy on the subject; but as thinking it
may be useful, anil to bring it foryour valuable publication, I would ward for the consideration of those offer, through its medium, a few who are more equal to deterniine wa words on the expression DOUBLE, as the case, and hoping it may be for we meet with it in some places in the the benefit and coin fort of those who Old Testament. My reason is, be read the Scriptures with attention cause I apprehend its true meaning and desire of improvement. is not understood, in general, in those places; it being considered adjective
I am, Sir, yours, &c. ly, whereas I conceive it is really a
S. J. substantive, and of material consequence to be considered as such for the due understanding of those pas. If my memory is right, it suggests sages, and the comfort they are de- to me that something on this subject signed to afford. It signifies remis- is treated of in a sermon (or note in sion or forgiveness; and is taken from that sermon) by the Rev. Henry a custom among the ancient inhabi- Venn, preached at the Assizes at rants of eastern countries (Jews and Kingston in Surrey.
EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS Of Christ is the end of the law for righ
teousness to every one that believeth
-Rom. x. 4. (Continued from p. 11.)
Thou hast sinned. I have the keys of hell and of death. I am therefore lost, I answer. If I --Rev. i. 18.
say no, I must have a firm ground
to stand upon, that I may contradict Who can injure us, when we have the Law, and maintain that no. And such a Lord, who has death and how can I do this, since the Scrips every life that opposes us in his
ture says I was born in sin? From band? They threaten us with death; whence then can I bring out that but if they knew all, they would no? In my own bosom certainly rather threaten us with life. It is a shall I not find it, but in Christ. foolish and mean attempt to terrify Thither must I go, in order to overChrist, and Christians who are united
come the Law, and to say, Behold, to him, with such a punishment, he who says no to the Law, has also since they are lords and conquerors
a reason for what he declares : he of the grave. It is as if I would is pure and without sin. This no frighten a man by preparing his gives me also a further benefit. horse and assisting him to ride on it! Though I must confess, when I view But they believe not that Christ is risen from the dead, and is Lord of myself
, that I am a singer, and can the dead and living. With them, but feel therein nothing pure in
not compare myself with the Law, He is yet in the grave, yet in hell,
me, and perceive the wrath of Goil,
yet have I this further to say, His ds ye have therefore received Christ righteousness is mine; I am therefore
Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, no longer in my sins. rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith.—Col. ii. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is 6, 7.
dead, being alone.--James ii. 17.
How many are there now among Secure, false, Christians, who glo- those who praise the Gospel, who ry much of faith, must take heed will not give up the least interest for Jest they deceive themselves with the sake of it, or renounce their cothe rain boast, I have been baptized vetousness and obstinacy? There is and am a Christian, therefore need I
no farmer who will willingly sell his nothing more, &c. But in addition
corn at the market a penny cheaper, to that they must strive, that their though it is reasonable for him to do faith be righuly rooted and grounded, so; but if he can make it a crown and they must examine and prove dearer, he does it most cheerfully. themselves whether it stand fast, And the citizen makes no conscience and can endure the storm and tem- of putting off his beer for ale, if he pesl of terror. Otherwise this boast- can do it, though a man should ing and security will sink under drink himself to death. In like them and disperse as smoke in the
manner is it with all trades and arts; air; and it will avail them nothing each labours to overreach the comthat they trust to it, and think that mon people, and only scrambles, if they have only a spark of grace covets, and injures. God grant that and faith they have enough for sal- the Gospel and conscience may revation. For if they have nothing main where they can! more than such a spark, and they let this lie covered in the ashes, let God is love and he that dwelleth in them fear lest the devil should love, dwelleth in God and God in be there and pour some water on it, him. -1 John iv. 16. and their faith and all be put out We are truly called to the highest together.
aim by this admirable praise and ex.
altation of love, strongly enforced by to obey it arises from God's right to the highest and most perfect exam
our love and service; which obligaple. if a man should describe love tion is strengthened by considering at great length as the most valuable the consequence of not obeying it, and most perfect virtue, it would be viz. God's wrath and curse. The nothing to his saying, God is himself Apostle, therefore, in saying "all love. Indeed, if any one should at have sinned and come short of the tempt to represent and describe God, Glory of God," plainly meant that be would only be able to draw a pic. all men had broken God's law, which ture of a vain, transitory, human lore; they were bound to keep: that they for the Divine Nature is nothing else had come short of his glory, which than a furnace and flame of love ought to have been the end of their Lhat fills heaven and earth. On the conduct ; that they had sinned other hand, if any man would draw against him, and thereby deserved and paint love, he must raise himself his wrath; in short, that they had to the forming of such an image as turned aside from the way of holiness, nothing earthly ever was, nothing which alone leads to happiness, into human, nothing angelic, nothing the ways of sin, which are ways of beavenly, but only God himself. certain misery and destruction.
2. Having, therefore, explained what appears to be the Apostle's
meaning, I would go on to prove, that FAMILY SERMONS, No. LXIII. « all have sinned.” The Bible is very Rom. iii. 23.- For all have sinned world had long'existed, we are told
clear on this point, Before the and come short of the glory of that all flesh had corrupted bis way God.
upon the earth; and that God saw The doctrine of man's sinful and the wickedness of man, that it was lost estate is one of the leading truths great in the earth, and that every of Christianity; and it is only by imagination of the thoughts of his rightly feeling this truth that we are heart was only evil continually.” But brought to place any value on the were men better after the flood had Gospel. It is a doctrine, doubtless, swept away the world of the ungodly? which is very offensive to our pride, By no means. On the contrary, we and which we are therefore very un. find them still represented in the willing to admit: but that is no ar same light. “ The imagination of gument against the doctrine; nay, if man's heart is evil from his youth.” it should be proved, as I think it will, Isaiah complained, « All we like that all men are indeed sinners, then sheep have gone astray. We are all their being ignorant of this fact, or as an unclean thing." And Jeretheir denying it, will only shew the miah declares the human heart to more strongly how much their eyes be “ deceitful above all things, and are blinded, their consciences hard. desperately wicked.” And to come ened, and their minds deceived by to the New Testament, the Apostle sio.
John says, “ If we say that we have 1. The expression “all have sin- no sin, we deceire ourselves, and ned" plainly means, that all men the truth is not in us: we make God bave been guilty of disobeying the a liar, and his word is not in us." commandments of God. “ Sin,” we And again, “ the whole world lieth are lold, " is the transgression of in wickedness." And indeed what the law;" namely, of that law which can be more express han St. Paul's God hath given us, and which, like testimony in the text, which he himself, is holy, and just, and good. repeats in chap. v. ver. 12, " for all The sum of this law is, to love God have sinned." with all our hearts, and our neigh But besides these direct proofs, bour as ourselves. Our obligation many more equally strong might be