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before which questions of proof and discipline are to be investigated and set in order for final church action. Can any one suppose hat the Apostle would have taken the precaution to give the rule about the settlement of mere business matters and required that they should be investigated by a few wise men, and not by the whole congregation, and at the same time have leit such questions as are connected with the higher principles of the Christian morality to be themes for debates by the mixed multitude of a church and ques. tions to be decided by the indiscriminate voting of men, women, and children! Or can we conclude that only the more simple and ordinary affairs of church government are entrusted to the Elders, but such weighty and delicate questions as the examination of testimony, the interpretation and application of law, and the adjustment of perplexed and angry differences are to be committed to the raw wisdom of excitable masses, swayed by the unbridled sophistry of wary and unprincipled offenders; and at best, many of them, but babes in the doctrine of Christ! It is to be regretted, that ever such a conception of the divine wisdom entered into the head of pious Christians, much more that it should have, in some cases, been embodied in the practice of churches, and thus allowed to become the means of degrading the kingdom of Christ and trampling under foot the wise and efficient model of church organization delivered to us in the scriptures.
After a member has been thus cut off, the course to be pursued towards him by the church, and the terms and circumstances upon which he may be readmitted, are matters of the highest importance in discipline; but, as we must here notice a few queries that have been sent us, these points must be deferred till another number.
QUERIES ON XVIII. CHAP. OF MATT. 1. “What is trespass” as spoken of in the 18th chapter of Matthew? Is it a generic or a specific term?
2. In the injunction, “Let him be to you as a heathen,” &c., does the word "you” refer to the congregation or the person trespassed against? 3. What is meant by “as a pagan or publican”?
I have spent many anxious days and nights in studying the 18th chapter of Matthew, and long since come to the conclusion that there is no chapter in the New Testament less understood than it. If you can elucidate it, you will doubtless add much to the common stock of religious knowledge and confer a real favor on your breth
AN INQUISITIVE READER. SERIES 111.- - VOL. VI.
1. The term “trespass” is certainly used generically. Under the law, there were both sin-offerings, (chattalb,)and trespass-offerings,(asham.) The former seem to have been for those offences which were committed through ignorance against negative precepts, (Levit. vi. 2-13, 22, 27,) or “things which should not be done.” The latter were appointed for certain offences committed unwittinglythat is, without a knowledge of the facts in the case-as the touching the carcase of things unclean without knowing it; or taking an oath leading to consequences which were not foreseen, (Lev. v. 2, 6;) and five other cases specified:-1st. Sacrilege, (Lev. v. 16.) 2d. Regarding things stolen, &c. (Leviticus vi. 2–7.) 3d. T'he injury against a bondmaid named in Lev. xix. 20-22. 4. The case of the Nazarite as detailed in the 6th chapter of Numbers. And 5th. The offering for the leper as described in Lev. xiv. An examination of these cases will show that while only two of them are for offences against individuals, they include both kinds of private offences. The first is against the rights of property, and the second against the rijhts of person.
Even under the law, then, trespass was a generic term, signifying fault, blame, guilt, and was limited in its import only so far as the qualifying terms of the law required. But our Saviour uses no qualifying words except such as limit the term to individuals, and it must therefore be allowed its full signification. Indeed the Greek word (hamartia) which the Saviour uses, is the common word in the New Testament for sin; and Isaiah in the 53d chapter uses the Hebrew asham with respect to the sacrifice of our Saviour, translated sin-offering. The Saviour, speaking of the sin against the Holy Spirit, says, “All manner of sins,' &c. (pasa hamartia.) Of course this is generic.
The true point of this part of the Saviour's discourse, taken in its entire connexion, seems to have been to teach the great doctrine of forgiveness. Under the law private offences, both against person and property, authorized the exaction of penalties. It ivas eye for eye, tooth for tooth; or a full restoration of the principal and one-fifth added thereto. Instead of this system of penalties, the disciples of Christ are taught the principle of forgiveness, unlimited forgiveness, upon repentance and confession. “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king,” says the Saviour. This was hard doctrine, whereat the Apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our farth.” That this was the real object of our Lord is further evinced by the fact, that the mere forms of procedure prescribed, were such as the Jews were already accustomed to, being the same as employed in the synagogue. The pleadings remain the same, the law, the principle by which the difficulty must be settled, only is changed.
2. The pronoun "you" is "thee” in the common version, which more definitely expresses the number of the original, which is singular. The Saviour keeps up the supposed case—“If thy brother offend against thee,” and is prescribing the rule for the individual throughout. But for the person offended to treat the offender as u heathen and a publiean, and this by the decision of the church, and the church at the same time to treat him as a brother, would be absurd. He must be excluded upon the ground of insubordination to the will of Christ.
3. The highest order of ecclesiastical punishments amongst the Jews was the shemetha or casting out, by which the offender was excluded from all the privileges of the Jewish commonwealth, and no longer treated as a citizen by the rest of the Jews, but regarded as a heathen and a publican. Our Saviour brings the matter to the same result in the discipline of his kingdom, and requires that those who refuse to submit to its laws shall no longer be regarded as members of it, but shall be excluded from its blessings and privia leges.
We hope these responses may prove satisfactory; if not, we are ready still further to lend our aid, as far as we are able to every inquirer after truth. We have other queries on hand, which shall be noticed in due time, the Lord willing.
THE CHRISTIAN'S HOME.
I HAVE 110 resting place on earth, On which to fix my love;
GETHSEMA NE. The student of the classic page delights to linger around those places which have been the scene of noble achievements; and many spots on wave and shore are but other names for the glorious deeds they witnessed. What noble emotions are wakened in his heart at the mention of Thermopylæ’s famed Pass-he beholds the Persian millions rushing with headlong fury upon the Grecian phalanx, which stands firm as the wave-washed rock, at whose base the angry billows beat in vain; he feels something of the spirit by which that noble band were inspired-like them he feels he could conquer or die.
Platea and Marathon are magic words; they stir the heart like a trumpet's call, they give strength to the arm of the warrior when he mee;s the foe; and the courage of the seaman burns with new ardor when he remembers the triumph which freedom gained at Salamis. The Christian, too, hath his classic ground; and, animated by holier feelings, turns to the land hallowed by the feet of Prophets and Apostles, where the Redeemer of man first made known his mission of mercy, and delights to find there many sweet yet solemn resting places for memory.
There is Jerusalem, over which the Saviour shed tears of compassion-Bethlehem, where he was first made known by the star and the angels-Bethany, where dwelt the sisters of the beloved Lazarus—the lake of Galilee, whose angry waters were hushed by his word; and Calvary's summit, where he died for us. But leave we all these, and seek the gentle declivity of Olivet, where, embosomed in vine, stands Gethsemane’s garden; and there, in that scene of sorrow and suffering, with hushed heart and tearful eyes, let us sadly linger.
Let us call to mind that night of grief when the man of sorrows left the noise and confusion of the city to seek its calm retirement, and be alone with God—the moon shone brightly down; but never since creation's dawn had she looked upon a scene like this-a scene which doubtless caused friends to triumph, and angels (if ever they wept) to stand in mute yet tearful wonder.
The meek and sinless sufferer, borne down by the weight of sins, not his own, sinks to the cold damp earth; and while the dews of night are fast falling, in most plaintive accents make his petition to God--the stillness of the night is broken by his bitter groans, while tears and blood attest the bitter agony which wrings his soul, as he prays, “Let that cup pass from me.” Yes, that cup, when pressed to his lips, caused him for a moment to shrink at its bitter
ness; yet, nerving his soul for a final effort, he added, “Not my will, but thine be done,” and for us he drained the cup of sorrow to its dregs.
Sacred Gethsemane! Scene of infinite condescension -of infinite love! To me thou shalt ever be hallowed ground; and while I meditate on the solemn scene which transpired in thee, may my heart be melted into tenderness at the recellection of the Saviour's love, and my eyes overflow with tears for the sorrows he endured for me! And oh! if my life should be marked by sufferings, amid all my sorrows may I imitate the meek sufferer who once knelt in thee! Like him may I pray, Not my will, O God, but thine be done!
SEASONS FOR PRAYER.
For all the varied duties of the day;
Among thy lab’ring fellows, take thy way.
Though hard thou toilest; and thy daily bread
And by a hand almighty thou art fed.
From which thou drinkest, at the hot mid day,
Gives it his blessing—he has heard thee pray.
Think life's brief journey shorter by a day;
And strong in hope, go on, and pray!-still pray!
Giving a glory to the sunless sky;
From earth, and fix them steadfastly on high.
Thy wearied frame to sweet, oblivious sleep,
That God would thee in his protection keep.
The pray'r of faith shall make the tempter flee;
And set thy soul at perfect liberty:
In that dark vale, a friend, whose words of love