Images de page
PDF
ePub

When hourly round my path arise
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

Temptations in each varied guise ;
What were my anguish, my despair

To find them more than I can bear?
TEMPTATION.

Yet more they would be, blessed Lord, God is faithful, who will not suffer you to But for thy strength, thy arm, thy word ;

be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to

Yes, 'tis thy hand supports my form

Amid the sunshine or the storm : escape, that ye may be able to bear it.1 Cor. x. 13.

Thy voice, when sin and strife controul,

Still whispers comfort to my soul : Oh! words of great and gracious power !

Kneeling before thy throne in prayer,
Blest safeguard in temptation's hour!

I learn to trust, submit, and bear.
When all my feeble hopes de part,
This promise cheers my drooping heart.

Away, then, vain and coward tears !
My steps may err, my courage fail,

Away, distrustful, impious fears! And worldly lures my strength assail ;

Let me not rashly dare to say, Yet still it tells me, that the sare

That I am doom'd the tempter's prey. Shall not be more than I can bear.

Although awhile I own his art,

Though frail, though weak my rebel heart, Oft, when I feel disturbing doubt,

The Lord that feeble heart will spare,
Caus'd by a treacherous world without;

Nor try it more than it can bear.
Oft, when I mourn corroding sin,
Deep in a guilty heart within ;

Then deigo, Almighty Guardian, still
Though hard the conflict to sustain,

Thy word of promise to fulfil ; Let me not tremble, or complain ;

I would not crave release from strife, For that blest thought relieves my care,

Or absence from the shares of life, It is not more than I can bear.

But grant that, in temptation's day,

I still may meekly, humbly say, When Pleasure's gay and glittering way

Thanks to my heavenly Father's care, Invites my heedless feet to stray ;

“ I feel not more than I can bear.” When Passion's stormy waves molest

M. A. My aching heart and troubled breast ;

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

A practical Exposition of the Gospels and critically fastidious, to purvey

of St. Matthew and St. Mark, in milk for babes.” the Form of Lectures intended to This the Bishop of Chester has assist the Practice of Domestic In- done, and well done, in the present struction and Devotion. By the volume; the success and popularity Right Reverend J. B. SUMNER, of which, we trust, will induce his D.D., Lord Bishop of Chester. Lordship to follow up his plan, till 8vo. London. 1831.

he has gone through at least the

whole of the New Testament. It is, We take up this familiar exposition perhaps, a little selfish, commercially of Scripture, by the author of “Apo- speaking, to ask for a succession of stolical Preaching," "The Evidences volumes like this, of more than six of Christianity,” and “The Records hundred octavo pages, at the inadeof the Creation,” with something of quate price of nine shillings; but, the same feelings with which Dr. leaving this matter, with due gratiJohnson, in his Life of Dr. Watts, tude, to his Lordship, we feel assured, expresses his admiration of the sim- from the present specimen, that the ple catechisms for children by the design will not languish for want of author of elaborate dissertations on public favour. We have tried the logic and the science of the mind. volume by the best test, having Such publications indicate that a witnessed its use for several months writer is both mentally able and mo- in families, with the general and inrally willing to stoop-if, indeed, creasing suffrages and edification of stooping it be—to turn aside from all their members. It were supergrappling with the higher orders of fluous to say, that it is Scriptural in intellect, to converse with the poor doctrine ; devout in spirit ; based and ignorant; and, after supplying upon solid, though not obtruded, the mental appetite of the learned Biblical criticism; and replete with judicious remarks and edifying expo- many of their hands, and familiar to sition and application ; because for their households. all this the much-respected name of The following is Lecture XVIII., the Right Reverend author is by entitled, “ Obedience the Evidence anticipation an adequate guarantee. of Faith ;” from Matt. vii. 21—29. From his Lordship’s pen no person

“ The sayings of our Lord in the prewould expect any thing but what is ceding discourse have been intended to sound and useful ; designed to pro- display the nature of true righteousness, mote the glory of God and the in- both towards God and man; and to construction and salvation of mankind. demn the defective views which had The main point, therefore, for inquiry firming, that no standard, short of that

hitherto prevailed. He concludes by afis, whether it is adapted for its par- which he had set up, could be allowed to ticular purpose.

Is it sufficiently his disciples, or prove any man to be one plain and simple for family reading of them :- Not every one that saith unto While it interests and instructs the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the

me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the master and mistress of the family, will of my Father which is in heaven :" will it keep up the attention of the that will which he had been enforcing and children, and prevent the cook and explaining. And he closes all by a com

parison. footman falling asleep? And will all “ The similitude in this passage is every parties rise improved and instructed, way exact. Men build a house, looking and see the book opened the next time to future time. And they look to future without a shudder? We may ho- time when they take the yoke of Christ nestly answer in the affirmative; and health and in strength; but they look to

upon them. They are in life, nay, in we may add, that it is impossible the time of weakness, and of age, and of seriously to read these Lectures with- death, and of judgment; and against that out becoming acquainted both with season they lay a foundation and provide the

a refuge. way of salvation, and the duties

“ Neither is it enough to lay a slight and privileges of the Christian life. and inadequate foundation, and build what They are not, indeed, professedly they may design to be a refuge. The man doctrinal, except as the passage takes is called wise ' who builds on a sure

foundation, and lays it on a rock.' Will the expositor by the hand, which,

a builder say that, because it is calm though not less truly, is often less weather or low water when he builds, he obviously, in the Gospel of Matthew will neglect his foundation, and place his or Mark, than in the Gospel of St. house on the sandy shore? For a while,

indeed, it might stand ; just as, while a John or the Epistles of St. Paul :

man is well, or prosperous, or busy, he but Christian doctrine is both inter- may feel no alarm, be sensible of no woven throughout, and often directly danger, and find no want of a just title to enlarged upon, and always in con- religious confidence. But the house which nexion with the blessings and the ob- and totters when the

storms arise. All

stood secure while all was calm, rocks ligations of the Christian character. within is hurry, confusion, and alarm. So

The nature of an exposition does is it with the man who heareth these saynot admit of analysis; and a few ings and doeth them not : who has named

the name of Christ, and said unto him cursory extracts would not present Lord, Lord, but has given no signs of a satisfactory view of the work; as faith in his life, nor been zealous to do the chief points of instruction and the will of his Father which is in heaven. application arise incidentally, as sug- dation, which will neither stand in the

Such nominal religion is a sandy foungested by the sacred text, and not hour of death nor in the day of judgment. in the orderly form of a set treatise. It will not stand in the hour of death : That we may not, however, wholly for a man will feel reminded then of what preclude our readers from this mode he had before forgotten, how without of self-explication of the character how the Saviour condemned those who

no man can see the Lord;' and of a book, we shall copy two or called him Master and Lord and did three passages, almost indiscrimi- not the things which he said.' Neither nately; though this, we trust, is will it stand in the day of judgment : for almost a work of supererogation, reply to such as trusted in their church

Christ has himself declared, that he will as the work is doubtless already in to save them, and in their Christian name

6

to save them, and shewed no other signs into the joy of thy Lord.' Those who of being in his faith ;— I never knew you, had prophesied in the name of Christ, ye that work iniquity.'

and cast out devils, and done many won“ Here then is a sufficient reason why derful works, had made more outward we should never be satisfied, as though profession than he can have to shew. Yet

we bad already attained, either were they are rejected; depart from me, ye already perfect;' but should be constantly that work iniquity. pressing onward in the course of obedi- “ Now, therefore, is the time for layence, and sanctification, and fervent zeal. ing a foundation which will stand good Nothing else will avail in the season of at the last. We must not be satisfied, unless trial. An inexperienced person might when we look into ourselves and examine stand by an architect, who was clearing our lives, we have the ' testimony of our away the loose or sandy earth where a conscience,' that it has been our purpose, house was to be built, and was perhaps our prayer, our labour, to be' neither bare laying down arches or driving in piles, at rien nor unfruitful in the knowledge of a great expense of time and trouble ; he our Lord Jesus Christ;' but to add to our might see this, and ask, why so much la- faith virtue, and knowledge, and temperbour should be employed on what is to be ance, and patience, and brotherly kindburied under ground, and to make no part ness, and charity. of the building. The answer is-were “ Observe, however, that there is nowe to build without a foundation, or not thing in this to contradict the general to make that foundation deep and strong, language of the Gospel; nothing to imply the house ight endure for a while ; but that a man's own righteousness is to be when the wintry storms arise, and the the ground of his contidence. This would swelling stream beats vehemently against indeed be to build our house upon the sand. it, that is, at the very season when you By grace we are saved; not of works, lest most need a safe and comfortable shelter, any man should boast.' But the truth here you would be forced to leave it, and go declared, is another truth, no less to be inelsewhere for security.

sisted on, that the practice of a Christian “ So it is with regard to the state of must be as peculiar as his faith ; that the the heart before God. While we are faith in which he professes to live, must employed in the active concerns of life, shine in his actions, must speak in his and engaged in the daily business which words, must breathe in his spirit and temoccupies our minds, a slight stay is enough per. Then, though the floods may come, for a man; he sees himself better than and the winds blow, and the stream beat others, he sees others worse than himself; against your house, it shall not be shaken; he performs some religious duties, he does for it is founded upon a rock. For not often fall into very gross sins; so he * though your earthly habitation be dislulls his conscience, and contents himself solved, you have a habitation secured for with a general hope that there is no need you in the heavens, whose builder and of more thought or more fear; he trusts maker is God; where no storms shall that he is within the Christian covenant, rage, no tempests ever threaten; but all and that God will receive him into his shall be perpetual calm and sunshine, in kingdom.

the presence of God and of the Lamb." « But the storm comes at some time or pp. 90–95. other; the tempest of affliction, or of sickness, or of approaching death. This is We feel, in quoting this detached the trial of religion, for it is against this exposition, the inconvenience to trial that religion is to prepare you. And which we have animadverted, of exthen the man who has made no more than a nominal profession of faith in Christ, hibiting a brick as a specimen of a and has never laboured to adorn his Sa- house; as this particular passage does viour's doctrine by a pure and holy conversation, by resisting the sin of his heart, dation on which the superstructure

not explicitly state what is the founby . abounding in the work of the Lord ;' he feels that this is no time for deceiving of a holy life is to be erected. Yet his own soul, as he may have done hither- we need not say that this most imto, by vain words. He feels that a merely portant point is dwelt upon in very outward profession was not the faith intended by the command, · Take my yoke many parts of the volume, and runs upon you, and learn of me;'

that it was throughout its tissue. Thus in the no merely outward profession which Paul very first lecture we read : was making, when he brought under his body, and kept it in subjection;' that out

“ The word Jesus was a name in frequent ward profession is not the faith required

use among the Jews, and simply means a by St. James, who insists that we shew saviour. It was given to the Son now our faith by our works ;' that it is not born into the world, because it described outward profession which will be recom

the character which he should bear and the pensed by the blessed words, “ Well done, office which he should perform. To save ibou good and faithful servant, enter thou his people from their sins is mentioned as CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 354.

2 2

ment.

the purpose of his great undertaking, and the great importance of an orderly of his long expected coming.

" It is assumed, then, that this was what and copious perusal of the Scriptures, the world most wanted, and ought to be taking them in large masses ; not most grateful for. And we know it was merely selecting a favourite verse so: Scripture acquaints us, that ‘in Adam

or sentence as a thesis, but followall died;' that by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin ;' and ing them up chapter by chapter, and so death passed upon all men, for that all book by book; and so frequently, have sinned' (Rom. v. 12, &c.) Since, and in such considerable portions, therefore, “judgment had come upon all

as never, in reading one part, to men to condemnation,' what the world required was a deliverer from that judg- be very far from another; never to

Jesus came to be such a deliverer: incur the danger of sliding into re-not in the sense in which Moses or ligious mannerism; but going from Joshua were deliverers; but in a sense as different as his birth was different from from the Gospels to the Epistles ;

the Epistles to the Gospels, and theirs : he came “to give his life a ransom for many; ' to suffer once for sins, the from the Psalms to the Prophets, Just for the unjust, that he might bring us and the Prophets to the Psalms ; to God' (1 Pet. iii. 18). « But the world required something from Revelations to Genesis ; with

from Genesis to Revelations, and more ;-required to be delivered not only from the fatal consequences of sin, but from the last harmony still ringing in sin itself. This too is a part of the sal- our ear, with the traces of the last vation brought by Jesus. It was for this

exhibited heavenly landscape still salvation that St. Paul gave thanks to God :-After lamenting the natural state

impressed upon the eye, and the of man,--that · in him (that is, in his flesh) blessed instructions of the part we dwelleth no good thing: for the good that have just shut fresh in our memory he would he does not, but the evil which

and warm in our hearts, while we he would not, that he does '-he. thanks God,' who has delivered him · from the are opening a successive page. With body of this death through Jesus Christ this view we question not that our Lord' (Rom. vii. 18–25). To this

a family in six or twelve months power he trusted, saying, ' I can do all would gain a far riper knowledge of things through Christ that strengtheneth

Christian truth by going through a me' (Phil. iv. 13). For he had been assured, and believed the promise, My course of reading such as that before grace is sufficient for thee' (2 Cor. xii. 9).

us, grounded on the successive text “Such is the fulfilment of that gracious of the Divine word, than by fitpurpose announced in the name of Jesus : he saves bis people from their sins: he and-start expositions, each intended saves them from the guilt of sin by his to comprise a summary of sacred blood; and by the power of his Holy truth. The all-wise Inditer of the Spirit' he saves them from the dominion Scriptures could, if he had seen fit, of sin.” pp. 3-5.

have made every chapter as it were a Hei again the way in which this little sermon; an epitome of the fall salvation becomes personally ap- of man, his guilt and wretchedness, plied, with such important and inse- the atonement, the need of regeneparable topics as justification by faith ration and newness of life, with the and adoption into the household of doctrine of the Holy Spirits influGod, are notspecifically touched upon; ence, the life of faith, and progresbut they occur elsewhere, where the sive sanctification. But this was passage to be unfolded draws them not the plan which he has seen fit out. And this is one, either of the to pursue; and though in detached conveniences or the inconveniences, sermons, catechisms, and set treatises, as the reader may think it right to this method may be often the best, designate it, of a consecutive perusal yet in large and oft-repeated private of the Divine word : for holy writ or family reading, the word of God is not penned in regular systematic exactly as it stands before us with its order ; it is not a logical treatise : variety of topics, its narratives, its God knew better what was in man prophecies, its promises, its parables, than to deliver his message to him its descriptions, its doctrines, its in a dialectic form. And hence practical exhortations, its poetical,

66

historical, and didactic portiones, is įsting, that you do not make that debt the best system of instruction. Some larger? Will not the debt still remain points may be passed over for a time;

that was originally contracted? So that,

do all we can, we are like the servant in but they will recur again and again the parable, and have nothing at all to in their place and order and relative pay. magnitude ; and the largeness of

“ What then have we to allege in our God's word thus be substituted for

own behalf, why judgment should be stay

ed? That God may not deal with us after the littleness of man's comment. our sins, nor reward us according to our This does not derogate from the iniquities? We can indeed do nothing, importance of elementary instruc

but fall down and worship God, and betion, and the frequent inculcation

seech him to have patience with us :: we

can but implore the Redeemer, that as we and application of the more promi- on our parts have nothing at all to pay, nent points; but it prevents our con- he will pay all for us; will discharge our cocting a human system, and giving

debt, will let his life be our ransom." pp.

246, 247. only our own partial conclusions instead of the integrity of God's holy

Faith and works are set forth as word:

follows, from Matt. xxv. 41-46:The following is a note on re

In the description here given us of newal of heart, from Matt. xv. 19, 20: ed, not because they had works indepen

the judgment day, the one class is accept“out of the heart proceed evil dently of faith, but because their faith in thoughts,” &c.

the Redeemer “wrought with their works, “ To effect that renewal, Christ came

and by works was their faith made perinto the world : and he does effect it, in

fect.'' While the other class is rejected, all who receive him.' · The Spirit of

not because they had no works to jusGod dwells in them,'' leads' them, guides tify and save them : (for what would be them into all truth.' They have still a

the hope of any man, if he trusted to be heart from which those evils would proceed saved or justified by any thing he had which defile a man: the corruption of done or can do ?) but because their connature remains even in them that are re

duct had shown, that they had no real generate. But they mortify the deeds

faith in him whom they had been used to of the body, through the Spirit;' they call by the name of Lord and Saviour. keep down the risings of envy, and pride, dead, so faith without works is dead also.'”

• For as the body without the spirit is and jealousy; they set their affections on things above;' they cultivate those better p. 354. principles, and they show the fruits of

The love of Christ is thus exemthose better principles by which it is seen plified, from Matt. xxvi. 30—44: that · if any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature;': old things are passed shows the extent of Christ's love.

“ The suffering which is here recorded,

Had away;' that is, things that are natural to his heart , and would be allowed in his rightly known the greatness of that mercy

he suffered less, we should not have practice, if he were left to himself, are exchanged for higher desires and heavenly

which he exercised towards mankind. It views. And thus they are gradually pre- rich in the fulness of heavenly joy, he

was much, indeed, that when he was pared to leave a state of being, in which should become poor,' for man's sake, after all, so much remains that is polluted, and descend to a world like ours,

But vile, and unsatisfactory: and to begin a glorified state of spirit, and soul, and

that he should place himself under the body,' in which nothing shall enter that which bis disciples are delivered, is a degree

fierceness of that Divine wrath, from defileth, or worketh abomination.'” pp. 203, 204.

of love which passes all understanding.'

One return he requires of us : The freedom of our pardon is thus turn we can attempt to make our gradescribed, from the parable of the ser- titude ; gratitude which is to be shown by

• Because we thus vant who had nothing to pay (Matt. obedience to his will. xviii.):

judge; that if one died for all, then were

all dead; and that he died for all, that “ And as all are alike in this, that they they which live should not henceforth cannot say they have no sin; so all are alike in this also, that they have nothing died for them. This is the principle of

live unto themselves, but unto him which at all to pay. For what can they do? Repent of having sinned? That they may

the Christian's practice; and this prinwell do: but will this make void what is ciple ought to receive fresh strength, past? It does not discharge a debt, to la

from every fresh contemplation of that ment that we have incurred it. Or

shall 'precious death, from which our life, our they sin no more? That too must be their real and spiritual life is derived." p. 370. endeavour : but suppose they could accom

The endurance of Christ to the plish it, does it discharge a debt now ex- end in the great work of redemp

one re

« PrécédentContinuer »