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Jesus; and, taking the babe up into his arms, blessed God, and said, “Now, Lord, thou dost dismiss thy servant in peace; for mine eyes have seen the Saviour whom thou hast provided in the sight of all the world--a LUMINARY to enlighten the nations, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.” And looking into the face of his mother Mary, he said, “This child is set for the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and to serve as a mark of contradiction, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Anna the prophetess at this moment came into the temple, a pious widow, of 84 years old, who served God in fasting and prayer night and day. She also glorified God, and spake of the child Jesus to all in Jerusalem who expected redemption.
Olympas. What next do we learn, William, concerning the child Jesus?
Willium. Nothing more till he was about twelve years old, when, having delayed in Jerusalem after the return of his parents from the observance of the feast of the Passover, he was found by them sitting among the Doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions.His parents sought for him three days, during which time he had been thus engaged; and when asked by them why he had left them, he asked the mysterious question, “Did you not know," said he," "hat I should be at my Father's house?".
Olympas. Father's business, is it not, William?
William. In the common Testament it is business, but it is marked as a supplement; and as the question was about place, and not busi. ness, I heard you say that the supplement ought to be house; for that was implied in the form of the sentence. His parents, however, not being able to comprehend his answer, we may be allowed to hesitate about its meaning.
Olympas. That does not follow. The style is plain enough. He certainly spoke of the temple as his Father's house. This was what they did not then comprehend. Tell us, Susan, what is the next event or incident recorded of Jesus?
Susan. We next read of his baptism.
Olympas. Can you tell us the position and character of this river, Susan?
Susan. In my sacred geography I read a good deal about it, but I cannot relate it all.
Olympas. I see your geography is at band: read the description of it that we all may hear it.
Susan. “The river Jordan is a stream about 90 feet broad. The head
of it, as Josephus informs us, is a round lake on Lebanon, called Phiale, which is always full, never increasing nor diminishing. From thence it runs under ground about fifteen miles, and comes out in a deep stream from a cave at a place formerly called Panium, afterwards Cesaria; and passing about fifteen miles through marshes and a dirty lake called Semechonites, it falls into the lake Genezaret, a little below the city Julias. The lake Genazaret is about fifteen miles long, and five or six miles broad. It has several names, being sometimes called Genezeret; sometimes the Sea of Galilee; sometimes the Lake or Sea of Tiberias, from the city Tiberias, the capital of Galilee, which is situate on the western border of the lake. In like manner it gets a name from other cities, and from the countries or regions around it.It lies in a direction nearly north and south. From the south end of it the Jordan rushes out, and entering what is called The Great Plain, is runs from north to south, in a channel about 30 yards or 90 feet wide, at a rate of about two miles in an hour, till it meets and loses itself in the lake Asphaltites; alias, the Dead Sea or Sea of Sodom.
“The great plain between the two lakes is about thirty miles in length, and about fifteen miles wide. Formerly the Jordan overflowed its banks annually, near forty perches on each side. This was over. grown with bushes, and was a harbor for lions and wild beasts, which were forced out when the river rose.
“Modern travellers inform us that the case is now different: by the rapidity of the current the channel is now deepened to at least nine feet; Bo that it contains all the water at the swelling, without overflowing the banks as it formerly did.
"The great plain is bounded by huge bairen mountains, both on the east and west side. Those on the east begin at the city of Julias; where the Jordan enters the lake Genezeret, and stretch southward to the lake Asphaltites. Those on the west side form a continued ridge from Bethsan, or Scythopolis, to the souih end of the lake Asphaltites, which is about 72 miles long and about 20 mlles wide. This ridge on the west side of the great plain and the Asphaltic lake, is what is called the Wilderness; by which term they did not mean a tract absclutely uninhabited and desert, but only in general uncultivated and thinly peopled, such as pasture grounds generally are. The southern part of this ridge is what Matthew calls the hill country of Judea.
“Bethabara, or House of Passage, was near that part of the Jordan where the Israelites, under Joshua, miraculously crossed it into the Jand of Canaan,"
Olympas. Who baptized Jesus in the Jordan, Susan?
Olympas. How many rites were performed on Jesus, William?
William. Three-circumcision, dedication, and baptism. But our school-master tells some of our class that haptism now stands in room of them all;—that in baptism we are circumcised and dedicated both. I cannot comprehend how haptism can be three times as much to us as it was to Jesus. Had he so understood it, I think he would not have deceived the people by keeping up three ordinances as though really different, while in truth they are all one and the same.
Olympas. Circumcision, dedication, and baptism are three distinct ordinances. They indicate and signify very different ideas; and no sacred writer has ever regarded them as occupying the same ground or filling the same place in any institution. But you have in the fact of the circumcision, dedication, and baptism of Jesus, an insurmountable argument against those who teach that the last is a substitute for the first two, Circumcision was a patriarchal institution; dedication, a Jewish, and baptism is a Christian institution. Things that are as distinct as three dispensations should never be confounded, nor identified with one another. Our Lord honored every divine institution in existence at his time, and these three were all in being then, and of divine authority. Let us learn to imitate him in his devotion to the honor of our Father and our God.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES. A FRIEND recently returned from Washington, has said, “Let ne man who wishes to preserve respect for the Representatives of the people, visit the Capital.” The scenes of discourtesy and violence enacted almost daily by men in high station, in the very face of the nation, are most humiliating and lamentable.
The whole social fabric seems to be disordered. In a time of peace, with genial seasons, and a fruitful soil, the entire country is depressed and embarrassed. The elements of discord are every where stirred up:
Men are reckless of conduct and of consequences. It is a day of crime and of rebuke. To the heart of the Christian and the patriot, a day of sadness and anxiety-and the call is to considerațion, humility, and fervent supplication; to withdraw from human confidences, and look on high for help. There is wrath upon the Jand—and unless the Lord return in mercy, to influence our legisla.. tion, our negociations, and our rulers, woe is to us!
"Is there prayer enough offered for our rulers? Are they remembered, as they should be, in the closet, the family, and the sanctuary of God? Great events are before us. Our Union, not improbably, will ere long be dissolved. Its foundations are shaken. We cannot long remain in our present condition, with “Union" inscribed on our banners, and the furies of the pit ranging ad libitum in the halls of our national councils." --Christian Intelligencer.
OWE NO MAN ANY THING. From a sermon on this. text, by Rev. John T. Brooke, Rector of Christ's Church, Cincinnati, we select the following passages:
The debts forbidden by the text, are all those which in themselves violate the law of love, or directly tend to such violation.
Many debts of this general description we may classify after the following manner, viz.-Debts of wilful dishonesty; debts of avari. cious speculation; debts of vanity; and debts of imprudence. Let us amplify each of these divisions; and in doing so, we shall of course be compelled to leave much space to be filled by your own reflections.
1. Debts of wilful dishonesty.—By such we mean pecuniary obligations entered into with no settled intention to discharge them, or without the probable means of satisfying them. To contract a debt with no serious intention of paying it, is a plain infraction of the command. ment, “Thou shalt not steal,”—and the man who does so, deserves to be placed on a footing of moral honesty with the common felon. Nor is it much less dishonest to incur a debt without the probable means of meeting it.
2. Debts of avaricious speculati'.n.-By a speculation, we mean any bargain or contract in which the chances, humanly speaking, are against success, or even where the probabilities are nearly balanced. To procure the endorsement of a neighbor to engage in such a venture, or even risk our own means in it when we are in debt, so as to jeopard the interest of creditors—is wrong. It is a violation of the law of love. It is not doing unto others as he would they should do unto him. For, to hazard the property of another in a speculation without his full knowledge and consent, is as contrary to soạnd principle as it would be to take his funds to a gaming table, and there risk them for our own avaricious gain. For all such speculation is but a species of gaming: it produces and fosters the same restless, uneasy, insatiate spirit-a spirit which can in no wise be harmonized with the temper. ate benevolent spirit of the gospel. It is admitted that in all active commerce there must be more or less of risk and consequent loss. But there is a fair line of demarkation between virtuous commerce and vicious speculation, or between judicious investments and hazardous experiments.
3. Debts of vanity — By which we mean debts contracted or maintained for the sake of vain show-or 10 gratify what is called in the Scriptures "the lust of the eye and the pride of life.” How far opulent Christians may indulge themselves in such things as splendid mansions, elegant furniture, and costly apparel, we do not undertake to determine. But hatever may be said of the use of such luxuries by those who have ample means, the use of them by persons of limited resources is clearly indiscreet. And when it either compromises or seriously endangers the interest of creditors, it is an aggravated trespass upon the principle of the text.
4. Debts of imprudence. --By imprudence we do not mean that error in judgment to which the best of men are liable, and which cannot be measured by any moral rule: but error arising from the want of proper care or due consideration. All such inconsiderateness in pecuniary affairs has the nature of sin. But here, under this head, we shall find many “faults which so lean to virtue's side,” that it will be difficult to summon up courage to reprove them. For there are many imprudent debts, proceeding from a generosity of disposition or an impulsive benevolence, which we find it hard to condemn, even where it runs into excess. Obligations of this sort frequently occur in commercial communities where endorsements or suretyships are common. But whenever, by such endorsements, a man seriously endangers the interests of third parties, or even the welfare of his own family, he offends against the rule of the text. We grant that endorsements, surety ships and loans fairly rank among Christian charities, and that they ought not in all cases to be shunned by those who are engaged in worldly affairs. Nay, such obligations are not only among the neighborly reciprocities of life, but they are the vehicles of commerce-active trade could not welt be carried on without them. But when imprudence is made charioteer, there is more danger of driving over the best interests of society than of protecting or promoting them.
P R A Y E R.
PITTSBURG, March 17, 1842. My beloved Brother–Tue following remarks 1 extract from a number of the Episcopal Recorder, on Prayer. Considering them worthy an extensive circulation, as harmonizing with an eminent instance on record in the Living Oracles, lo which I may refer at the close of this, I send them to you for publication in the Harbinger:
God answers prayer; but not always in our way. It is delightful to reflect how many prayers, like clouds of incense, have gone up from the hearts of God's people! Not one of those prayers that have been offered from the ground of the heart, in sincerity and faith, will fail to bring down a divine blessing. Truly does the great Hearer of prayer say, "I never said unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." But God does not always, perhaps not often, take our method in answering prayer. We pray, for instance, for faith, and imagine that it is to descend with a kind of genile illapse into the soul. will be answered. But how? We attempt to lean on this and that earthly prop.
God knocks the staff from under 118. Do we fall? No: for failh is now called into exercise to support us.
Again, we are thinking of sailing to heaven in a calm. God raises a great tempest, and breaks the ship, and losses us into the waves. Do we siok? No: now our faith is called into exercise and saves us.
We pray for charity. God makes us parties in distressing scenes. God suffers us to be wronged, then bids us love. We
pray for humility. God does not overrule some leading infirmity of our heart: we stumble and fall; and in the midst of sorrow and ehame humility is formed.
We pray for happiness, for comfort, for joy. We have already formed our plans of happiness. We have our little paradise around as. We hope we shall not experience those losses and sorrows which we have seen overwhelm others. Suddenly, however, all our earthly