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common people to believe the Scriptures What do you think of the human being or to disbelieve them-0, says he, to be that would take away the Bible, dash lieve them!
this only cup of consolation from the Then let us view the enemies of the parched lip—that would pull down the Bible, thirdly, with regard to their charity only refuge to which the polluted sinner and compassion. I have not time to prove can escape from the storms of life-that that this earth is the heir of evil, that would deprive him of a resource to which, man is born to trouble as the sparks fly by and by, there will be an entire enjoyupward. The common
to ment, and that gives him the consciouswhich men apply in these cases are mise- ness of present support? What can you rable comforters, and physicians of no think of a man that would do this, while value; yea, they add to the evil; they he knows that he has nothing to substitute are not only vanity, but vexation of spirit. in the room of it, and knows that if the But in the midst of all this disappoint- thing be a delusion, it is a solace which ment, all this dismay, all these distresses, can be obtained in no other way? Christianity comes in among us to heal We, therefore, view these men onoe the broken heart, and to bind up all their more as to their guilt. This may be wounds. It comes and says to the afflict- fairly determined from their doom. We ed, “ In the world ye shall have tribula- do not determine their doom ; this has tion; but be of good cheer, I have been decided by a Being who knows all overcome the world." It says to the things, and who will judge the world in wretched, “ Come unto me, all ye that righteousness. He has said, “ How can labour and are heavy laden, and I will ye escape if ye neglect so great salvagive you rest.” And it has this recom- tion ?" “ He that believeth not shall be mendation—the recommendation of experi- damned.” Against which, as unreasonence: there are thousands that have made able, the infidel protests, and claims that the trial. There is one who can say, the criminal be the judge of the law and turning his eyes upward, “ In the multi- the judge of the judge. “Oh," say some, tude of my thoughts within me thy com- “ we are not accountable for our belief!" forts delight my soul.” Another wipes To which we answer that if we are not his eyes and says, “ Unless thy law had accountable for our belief, we are accountbeen my delight, my soul had almost able for nothing; for all our actions spring dwelt in silence.” Here is a child return- from belief; and infidelity does not arise ing from the funeral of a father, now from want of evidence, but from want of buried in the same grave with his mother; inclination. We may judge of the moral he opens the twenty-seventh Psalm, and disposition of a man from the nature of reads, “When my father and my mother the things he opposes. In proportion as a forsake me, then the Lord will take me man is holy he is adverse to sin: in proup.” Here is a husband dying, and sees portion as a man is sinful he is adverse to his wife and children unprovided for, every thing that is holy. Is the Bible, weeping by him ; but he hears a soft then, not distinguished by holiness? Its voice, " Leave thy fatherless children, I promises are holy; its commands are will keep them alive; and let thy widows holy; it requires holiness of life and trust in me." I one day, at Olney, met heart. Why do men dislike this book? with a good man who had been long deaf. Why do they love darkness rather than He said to me, “ For more than sixteen light? Because their deeds are evil. years I have not enjoyed the pleasure of If the aim and the design of the Scriphearing a single sermon; but I am look- tures be to cleanse us from the filthiness ing forward and looking upward for my of the flesh,“ perfecting holiness in the comfort:
fear of the Lord”-it is easy to deter“ There shall I see, and hear, and know,
mine why a man opposes this: he who All I desired or wished below;
destroys the principle of all good actions And every power find sweet employ,
would destroy, if he could, all good In that eternal world of joy."
actions themselves; and his disposition
says unto God, “Depart from us, we and strife; and some also of good will: desire not the knowledge of thy ways; the one preach Christ of contention, not and cause the IIoly One of Israel to cease sincerely, supposing to add affliction to before us."
my bonds; but the other of love, knowing As there is nothing, therefore, that im- that I am set for the defence of the gosplies so much wickedness, so there is pel. What then ? Notwithstanding, nothing that tends to so much wickedness, every way, whether in pretence or in as the removal of the Scriptures. And truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein this is the design of these men. The do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” The door would then be open to all manner of periods of suffering have been always the iniquity; and every check and restraint most glorious for Christianity; the brebeing removed, temptation would be thren have been united and endeared the always triumphant. If you think them more to each other; the Spirit of glory guilty who would rob a fellow-creature and of God has rested upon them; their of his wealth, what can you think of sufferings have arrested attention and inthose who have robbed their fellow-crea- duced sympathy; the witness of their tures of the unsearchable riches of Christ? sufferings has been found to be impressed, If they are guilty who have ruined their and they have been led to inspire the health, or their reputation, or their busi- principles that would produce such ness, what can we think of those who effects. Therefore the blood of the marwould poison their minds and would de- tyrs was always considered the seed of stroy their souls for ever? And this is the churches; and the more they were their wish—this is their endeavour : and oppressed, the more they multiplied and God will give them credit for their design, grew. Dr. Watts, all poet as he was, and judge them according to their works, said, (and who would not wish to join and according to their wishes—for they with him in the choice !)—“I would ramay be guilty without being successful. ther have been the author of Alleine's This leads us to notice,
Alarm to the unconverted than the writer Lastly, SOME THINGS WHICH SEEM LIKE-of Milton's Paradise Lost;” but that was LY TO INJURE REVELATION, AND Which a prison production. What did the eneYET PROVE ITS ADVANTAGE.
mies of religion get by confining Bunyan In this number we first rank the attacks so many years in jail at Bedford ? There, of the infidel on its divinity. What has almost inspired, he wrote those works been the consequence of all his opposi- which will continue to incommode the tion? What? Why, zeal in its diffusion; powers of darkness to the end of the and able articles brought forth in its world. favour; for inquiry is always friendly to In this number we rank, thirdly, the truth, as darkness and concealment are divisions and parties that have sprung up friendly to error.
among its professors. These have amazIn this number we place, secondly, the ingly alarmed some good men; and in sufferings of its followers by persecution. their lamentations they have added terror Here we have the testimony of an apostle to grief; they have talked of danger, not who suffered as an evil-doer unto bonds; remembering that in a thousand cases but he says the, “ the word of God is not variety is compatible with unity. The bound." And says he to the Philip- differences which subsist amongst all pians, “I would ye should understand, those who hold the head do not affect the that the things which have happened unto oneness of the church; they are only so me have fallen out rather unto the further- many branches which form one tree-so ance of the gospel; so that my bonds in many members which form one body. Christ are manifest in all the palace; and By these they have always proved stimumany of the brethren in the Lord, waxing lations to each other; they have awakened confident by my bonds, are much more and increased emulation and zeal; and bold to speak the word without fear. religion has always been upon the whole Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy la gainer by them. Thus the separation between Paul and Barnabas caused the cases; they have become an effectual gospel to flow into opposite channels, check on each other, and have proved so when otherwise it would have been con- many vouchers of the integrity of the fined to one. The same may be observed Scriptures, and of the copies of the Scripof the difference between Luther and Cal- tures, and have prevented spoliation and vin, and also between Wesley and Whit- expunctuation. field. Thus new opportunities have There is only one thing more ; and that been offered for the display of liberality, is, the failings of its members. It would and candour, and mutual forbearance, seem impossible any good should arise which sameness and uniformity would from these to the cause of the gospel. have made not only needless, but impos- We therefore, say, “ Woe to the world, sible. It has been found far more import because of offences,”—because thereby ant for Christians to love one another, and the way of truth is vainly spoken of; by to exclaim, “ Grace be with all them who these the enemies of the Lord are made love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,” to blaspheme. And, as to such characthan to peep together through the same ters as these, we sometimes wish they key-hole of opinion. And then the differ- would not mingle with our assemblies, or ent parts of the Scripture have also, in that they would come here and get the consequence of these divisions, been pe- benefit which the Bible affords. And culiarly attended to: one party has argued yet what is the fact ? No thanks to for the doctrinal part, another the practi- themselves—even these scandals have cal, another the disciplinarian; and, in been overruled for good. These scandals consequence of these, no part has remained were foretold by the Scriptures; and, unexplored or unheeded.
therefore, they are pledges of their truth; But I am well aware there are some these have shown that the gospel is divine differences of a more important kind. and almighty-because it can bear to be Truth is one and the same in itself; and, betrayed from within as well as assaulted therefore, if men entertain opposite opin- from without. The excommunication of ions on it, they cannot be all right. I do these persons has always strikingly not believe in the harmlessness of error shown the purity of the church, and that and heresy; I'am persuaded they always they cannot bear those that are evil; affect injuriously, not only the welfare, while the true professors have been led, but the safety, of the individual who is by these instances, to fear, and tremble, misled by them. But, if we view these and pray; and ministers have held them things as we now do—if we consider the up as warnings to others, and have said, consequences as they affect Christianity 6 Let him that thinketh he standeth take itself—it is obvious that even these have heed, lest he fall.” Thus the Scripture been overruled for good—that even these, lives through all; and the very things as they have risen up in parties and divi- that seemed likely to destroy or injure it sions, have been a salutary check on each have proved the means of its benefit. other, and that each has prevented the On the ground of this subject, therepossibility of interpolation and expunc- fore, and in conclusion, by way of tion as to the Scriptures. If Trinitarians, improvement, we bring forward three for instance, had been disposed to intro- admonitions. duce passages favourable to their system, The first is, Be persuaded of the stability the Arians would have been sure to have to the cause of revelation. Never let your discovered them, and exposed them. hearts tremble for the ark of God. Give As, on the other hand, had the Arians up your fears—they are 'unworthy or endeavoured to suppress any passages groundless. The church of Christ is not, favourable to the divinity of God our cannot be, in danger. Upon this rock," Saviour, the orthodox would have been says he, “I will build my church.” sure to have detected them, and to de- The unbelief of man shall not make the claim against them. The same may be word of God, says the apostle, of none said of advocates and opponents in all effect. Men may oppose the Bible, they
may burn the Bible, but they cannot de-| thing; and he shows his care of the
that the cause prevailed, and the cause came when you sleep it may keep you, that out of all in triumph. I am persuaded when you awake it may talk with you. this will be the case now.
Be not faith- Pursue it-speak highly of it-recomless, but believe. God shows his govern- mend it to others. And, ment of the world in those confusions Thirdly, Be concerned for the spread and which seem likely to unhinge every | diffusion of it. What can you impart to
any of your fellow-creatures equal to the nents were completely put to flight. As bread and water of eternal life? And the field was to be the world, no private you cannot complain of your want of and sectarian combination could reach the means and encouragement in exertion. grandeur of the design. Comprehension,
This naturally leads me to take notice therefore, and universal co-operation were of the British and Foreign Bible Society, required; and these were obtained. By whose annual meeting we shall presently the simplicity of its merits the institution
But to use the words of the was formed for action and for business, late Mr. Hall, on a similar occasion: “A and accordingly, soon the little one bespeaker can never be so dissatisfied with came a thousand; and the annual report, any thing he can deliver, as when he at- which at first consisted of three or four tempts to commend an institution which, pages, soon became a large octavo volume. by its own merits, is so pre-eminently The example of the metropolis was folexalted above all eulogium.” It is hardly lowed by the cities, and towns, and vilnecessary to remark now, that there was lages, through all the land; and other coune a necessity for such a society: all at the tries soon imitated the example of our first acknowledged the necessity of it own; and auxiliary societies contributed with regard to foreign parts ; but there their aid from the east and from the west, were some who denied the necessity of it from the north and from the south. with regard to the home department, pre- The advantages that resulted it would suming that Bibles were to be found in be needless to enumerate. It did more all, or nearly all, families. But the in- to harmonize the religious world than vestigation served to show the awful state any thing had done before or could have of destitution in which thousands here done. Nothing had occurred as yet were found. I can only mention now the capable of furnishing a ground for all to case of Wales : Bibles in the Welsh lan- stand upon who professed themselves to guage were so scarce that it was no un- be Christians; and I know of nothing common thing for several families to that could have been found by which to possess one Bible as their joint stock; gain the good will of all, except that and so they used it alternately, by the which now struck the minds of a pious week or by the month. Mr. Charles, a few-namely, that as all professed to repious clergyman of the church of Eng- gard the Bible as the book of God, all land, soon made known their wishes, and could unite without compromising their provision was made for them; and I well particular views; unite, not in any eccleremember his saying, that when the peo- siastical or religious object; but unite ple of Bala learned that the first load of only to gain resources for the circulation Bibles and Testaments was coming to- of the Bible, which was to be dispersed wards the place, a multitude of them went without note or comment. I no more forth to meet the vehicle; and, taking out doubt than I do my own existence, that it the horses, they drew it themselves into was God who put this desire into so many the market-place, and there, in a few hearts—that God who, as the Liturgy of hours, they disposed of all the copies. the church of England beautifully exSome kissed them, some pressed them to presses it, is “the author of peace and their bosoms; the children ran home de- lover of concord”-that God who tells us lighted, and the labourers carried them in his word that one of the seven things into the fields in order to read them at which be supremely hates, “ is he that their homely meals to refresh their toils. soweth discord among brethren."
The reception it met with at first was And what danger, what evil could re just that which was to be looked for. It sult from all this? As nothing was to received opposition from the party which be circulated but the word of God, truth is high church in name, but popery in must have been a gainer, and error must spirit; but even this was overruled for have been a loser by such a measure. good ; the opposition not only purified, 'The parties could not engage in these but fanned the holy flame ; and its oppo-l exertions without benefiting themselves.