Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

it, so the indwelling of the Holy Spirit enriches and adorns the soul, filling it with light, and love, and purity, and joy; changing it from glory to glory, and making it “all glorious within.” Dear reader, art thou in this blessed state ?

QUERY 2.-- WHAT IS MEANT BY BELIEVERS BEING THE EPISTLES

OF CHRIST ?

DEAR SIR,--Will you be so kind as to explain the following ?—“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Cor. iii. 3).

ANSWER. -Here is an allusion to the Jewish law, consisting of two distinct parts—the ten commandments which were written on tables of stone, and the ceremonial law, which was written on skins or parchment. In contrast with both these, the law of the Gospel, which is love to God and man, is written on the human heart by the Holy Spirit, and this love is the fulfilling of the law. The ceremonial law is done away, being superseded by a better dispensation—the Gospel. The moral law is not superseded by the Gospel, yet its holy requirements are dictated by the Holy Spirit within us, that is, are inscribed on the conscience; and not only so, but the Holy Spirit gives us power to obey; and what is more still, the love he inspires in the soul makes obedience our element and delight. Now, this is a far more glorious dispensation than the Jewish one. It has more light, because the meridian of the Gospel is come, and the murky shadows of the old economy have passed away; it has more freedom, because the bondage and the burden of the Jewish rites are done away; it has richer provisions, for whereas the old economy was for one nation, this is for the world; it has more power, for the Holy Ghost in his fulness is given. Hence the apostle might well say that the former, though glorious, had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

But in what respect are believers the epistle of Christ ? In this respect, an epistle is a letter, which, sent from one person to another, or by a monarch through an ambassador to a foreign nation, conveys the sentiments and mind of the writer. So believers, living under the influence of the Holy Spirit, show forth in their holy lives the mind of Christ. Richard Baxter says to

Christians : “ Brethren, our lives are the books which men are reading." Now, if we live under the Spirit's enlightening and sanctifying power, we shall ourselves be a living embodiment, a personal and practical manifestation of the truth, the divinity, the holiness and the power of the Gospel. We become, indeed, witnesses for God, lights in the world, holding forth the word of life, adorning the doctrines of God our Saviour, and showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Dear reader, is your life a good and faithful representation of Christianity ? If so, you are an epistle of Christ. QUERY 3.-WHAT IS MEANT BY SEEING AND HEARING, AND YET

NOT UNDERSTANDING ? DEAR SIR,—In Mark iv. 12 it is said, “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” I shall feel thankful if you will give me an explanation in the JUVENILE INSTRUCTOR.—Yours respectfully,

Thos. F. SMITH. ANSWER.-We are quite sure that God, in giving men eyes, wishes them to see; and in giving them ears, intends them to hear. Yet there are many persons who live as if they neither saw nor heard some things which are very near to them. The drunkard and the profligate sees his own body emaciated, and his health destroyed, by his evil course; yet he continues in his evil course as if he neither saw nor heard any admonition. Sinners live amidst the light of the Gospel, yet close their eyes against its truth, and their ears against its warnings; and it is possible for them to continue sinning against light and knowledge until they become stupid in sin and past feeling; their understanding being blinded, and their conscience seared as with a hot iron. This was the case with many of the Jews in the time of our Lord. They heard his loving voice uttering the most momentous and solemn truths, but they turned a deaf ear to them; they saw him work the most splendid miracles, yet they would not be convinced by them; they even ascribed them to a diabolical agency. Hence our Lord spoke before them in parables, which he explained in private to willing ears and teachable hearts.

Thus the fault was altogether their own; and the blinding of their eyes, the deafening of their ears, and the hardening of their hearts was all their own act. Hence, in a corresponding passage,

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

the act is plainly ascribed to themselves. Read the following, in Matt. xiii. 15, which speaks the same truth and narrates the same facts, but in such language as affords a plain interpretation of Mark iv. 12:" For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Their eyes they have closed. Surely this is plain enough, and what an awful truth it declares ! QUERY 4.-HAD THE SAVIOUR POWER TO TURN REAL STONES

INTO BREAD ?-(Matt. iv. 3.) ANSWER.-If he created the universe from nothing, how could he lack power to turn stones into bread? Did he not turn the rod of Moses into a serpent; and again turn the serpent into a rod ? Did he not in Egypt turn water into blood, and at the marriage feast in Cana turn water into wine ; and did he not feed five thousand and seven thousand with a few loaves and fishes ? If the inquirer believes these marvellous deeds, what difficulty can be have in believing that Jesus was able to turn stones into bread ? Further, did he not turn a man's rib into a living woman ? and is it not said that it was possible for God to turn stones into living men? What difficulty was there, then, in turning stones into bread? See Gen. ii. 21--23, and Matt. iii. 9. QUERY 5.- ON THE NOISE OF STRANGERS AND THE SHADOW OF A

CLOUD. DEAR SIR,— Will you give me your opinion on the following passage of Holy Writ? By doing so, you will greatly oblige :-" Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud : the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low” (Isa. xxv. 5). Plymouth.

THOMAS HEATH, JUN. ANSWER. —We may easily see what is meant by the word strangers," if we observe that the same persons are spoken of as “the terrible ones.” Such were the heathen nations who persecuted and oppressed the Jews. The noise of these terrible ones means their boasting and proud exultation while they were crushing God's people. The tyrannical oppression they exert is compared to the power of the scorching sun upon vegetation, withering it up and reducing the fertile landscape to a scene of desolation. But God

:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

interposes, and by his providence he destroys the power of these oppressors, and delivers his people from their grasp. This is illustrated by a thick cloud obscuring the sun, shadowing the parched land from its heat, and re-fertilizing it with refreshing showers. Then the branch of the terrible ones is brought low; the nations, proudly flourishing like a tall cedar, are destroyed like a broken branch, riven by the lightning from its trunk, and laid in the dust. We see historic facts which have fulfilled the prophecy, in the destruction of the once mighty kingdoms of Nineveh, Egypt, Babylon, Moab, Philistia, and other nations, who once flourished, but are now destroyed; but the Jews, whom they sought to destroy, are still preserved as a distinct race, though scattered over the wide earth. QUERY 6.-HOW ARE THEY WHO ARE SANCTIFIED PERFECTED

FOR EVER? DEAR EDITOR,—Your opinion on the following passage--"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb. x. 14), will greatly oblige, yours, &c.,

J. W. ANSWER.—The text has no reference whatever to the doctrine of " final perseverance,"

grace always in grace.” The apostle is not speaking so much of man's religious experience and personal salvation, as of the two dispensations—the Jewish and the Christian ; the office of the Jewish High Priest, and the office of Jesus, the great High Priest of the New Testament. Between these two there is a striking contrast. The former was the shadow, the latter was the substance; the former was the type, the latter was the antitype. The priests of the former were many; the priest of the latter was one, even Jesus. The sacrifices of the former were many, being daily repeated during many hundred years; the latter sacrifice was only one, that of the cross; and it needed no repetition, because it was perfect of itself. Had the Jewish sacrifices continued unto this day, they could not have completed man's salvation, nor of themselves have atoned for one transgression ; but Jesus, by the one offering of himself, hath finished the great work; it is perfected. Such being the case, and such being the whole drift of the apostle's argument in this chapter, we clearly see the meaning of the words before us. The meaning is this : that we are in a very different and in a very superior condition to that of the Old Testament saints ; for, however often they were cleansed from ceremonial pollution, they had still to perform again and

or

once in

JUVENILE MISSIONARY MEETINGS.

19

again the same sacrificial rites; but when we are once saved by the sacrifice of Christ, we require no other atonement than that which has been made; because the efficacy of that one atonement remains

We may, indeed, through our infirmities and sins, have need to come again to God for pardon; but we need no fresh sacrifice, no new atonement, but simply to believe in the same Saviour; and abiding in him by faith, he will save us to the uttermost.

for ever.

QUERIES ANSWERED BEFORE.

JAMES HAIGH.-On the Sin which is unto Death. See volume of Answers, page 340.

JAMES WHITE.—On David being tempted to Number the People. See volume of Answers, page 87.

S. G.–On the Length of those Days which were before Man was created. See JUVENILE for October, 1868. HIRAM TAYLOR.-How could Nebuchadnezzar kno

that it was the Son of God who was with the Three Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace? See volume of Answers, page 170.

ANON.- Where was Daniel when the Three Faithful Men were condemned to the Fiery Furnace ? See volume of Answers, p. 171.

Juvenile Missionary Department.

JUVENILE MISSIONS, PUDSEY, BRADFORD CIRCUIT.—We held our annual Juvenile Missionary Meeting on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8th, 1868; and a most interesting meeting we had, our spacious schoolroom being crammed nearly to suffocation. Our esteemed brother, Mr. Samuel Lees, was voted to the chair, and gave us an interesting address, afterwards calling upon Mr. J. Raistrick and Mr. R. Garnett, from Bradford, and Messrs. J. Carter, J. Boyes, and J. Pogson, of Pudsey. The following scholars added greatly to the interest of the meeting :-Hannah Birdsal and Mary Schofield, who recited a dialogue entitled “The Missionary Box;" Mary Gaunt, Sarah Hannah Naistrick, Mary Lavinia Sunderland, and Elizabeth Alerton, gave a dialogue called “The Missionary Canvass ;” recitations by James Pogson, jun., and Fred. Sunderland. The following is the financial statement for the year :-Children's cards, £2 Os. 7d. ; surplus of teaparty on Nov. 5th, £1 3s. 6 d.; public collection, £1 14s. 101d. Total, £4 198. This is in advance of last year. JAMES POGSON.

BIRLEY CARR.SHEFFIELD SOUTH CIRCUIT.- We held our first Juvenile Missionary Meeting in 1851, and our second in 1852. But from some cause unexplained the interest died away, and the third

ور

« PreviousContinue »