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whose name is extensively in circulation, can never say he has any thing really his own. He cannot therefore apply the apostolic rule to his circumstances. And does not this fact go far to show that such eircumstances were not contemplated by the Spirit of God when he furnished this rule to his people as the standard by which they are to regulate their liberality to the poor of his family.
7. Debt is sinful, because in those places where imprisonment for debt is legal, it is a breach of what is implied in the declaration, “Ye are not your own."
When the disciple of Jesus contracts an obligation the non-fulfilment of which exposes his person to incarceration, he pledges as security what is not his own-places in pawn one of the members of the body of Christ, and alienales so far the blood-bought property of the Son of God; and that, too, for the temporary possession of the merest trifle. The remonstrance of the Apostle, 1 Cor. vi. 19., will apply here as fitly as it does in reference to the conduct he there condemns.
8. The contraction of debt is a step a child of God ought never to take, because there is not a word of counsel or comfort to a debtor in all the word of God. Having become a debtor, he has placed himself so far beyond the guidance of his heavenly Father. The duties he has to discharge in this character he has to discharge in his own strength. Amid the perplexities with which he has surrounded himself he has to be guided by his own wisdom Amid the pains and humiliations incident to the path he has voluntarily chosen, he has to draw comfort from his own resources. On this rugged, cheerless, and dangerous path not a ray comes from the Sun of Righteousness. This is not therefore the way of holiness—the path on which the redeemed of the Lord should walk. In scripture the righteous are spoken of as lenders, never as borrowers. A state of debt is a state of degradation, for it is contained in the curse threatened by Moses to the people of Israel, if they should break the laws of their God. Deut. xxviii. 43. “The stranger that is within thee shall get above thee very high, and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not Jend to him-he shall be the head and thou shalt be the tail." "Render, therefore, to all their due," does not warrant nor sanction, but hastens the discharge of all obligations.
9. The manner in which debt is generally acknowledged in this country leads the believer 10 transgress what is taught in the close of the fourth chapter of the epistle of James. This is done by coming under an obligation unconditionally to perform a specified act at the expiring of a specified time. And this is contrary to the law there given. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is as a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” Arrangements for the future are not absolutely forbidden, but are, according to this text, lawful when made under the provision that their accomplishment shall be consistent with the will of God; but if made irrespective of this, they are thereby declared sinful. An unconditional promise to pay at a distant future period comes under the latter description. Present time is oursfuturity belongs to God alone. When we pledge futurity without acknowledging Him whose alone it is, we invade the divine prerogative.
Lastly, voluntarily to get into debt is foolish as well as sinful. The law of the Lord is both wise and good in this as well as in other things. The man in debt is not the most likely one to get rich in this world. He is at the mercy of circumstances, and is often obliged to make ruinous sacrifices to keep things straight. He who has dealt much as the obligant in Notes and Bonds generally dies poor, if not bankrupt. Notwithstanding all the hard labor and mental anxiety expended during his whole life, it is seldom afforded him at its close to set his house in order and wait the approach of his Master. Rarely do any of the fruits of his industry descend to his family. They have all been gathered by the lender-for him he has spent his time and his strength. Like the animal in the wheel he has wrought hard and long, but made no progress. On the other hand, the man who shuns obligation passes through life in comparative comfort, in usefulness and respectability, and is fitted for the discharge of the duties he owes to his family, the church, and the commonwealth. He is esteemed in all the relations of life, loved and confided in as a friend, and courted in the walks of business. Who rises to the respectable and substantial classes of the community? Seldom the borrower; and if at some period of his life he does appear to have made that height, it is only for a time. The cunning and money.loving Israelite is always a lender-never a borrower.
Debt, or rather credit, which is just the incurring of debt, begets habits of extravagance and profusion, even in those who otherwise would not indulge in them; for amid abundance lightly procured the heart expands and the hand jelaxes. It affords the means to a great part of the vice and dissipation now mourned over by the virtuous patriot as so prevalent in this country. It taxes the saving and indus. ous classes to furnish the means to the idle and profligate.
Debt is bad, and has been followed by disastrous effects. It has blasted many fair promises; cut short usefulness; put genuine principle to an unwarranted test, and caused it to fail: disturbed and scattered churches, separated friends, beggared and broken up families, broken many hearts, destroyed many lives, and now furnishes many inmates to our penitentiaries.
If there is any truth in these remarks, it will not do at all to say wi:h the author of the sermon which suggested them, “that endorsements, suretyships, 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.” In reference to the former we have the opinion of the wise man, given, no doubt, as an advice. “He that hateth suretyship is sure. And in reference to the latter, when given as an act of Christian charity, we have the direction of our Lord himself, who says we are to do it "hoping for nothing again." If we can do it on this footing, we may; if not, we should abstain. By. those who are engaged in worldly affairs,” I suppose the author means those who are engaged in business as it is generally conducted These, I hope it has been shown, are the very last who should plunge farther into endorsements and surety ships. As to loans, they are more ready to receive than to give. But for a man who himself is
under obligations to others for value received to as great an amount as he can well support, to undertake more as an act of Christian charity 10 support his tottering brother, is to give away what is not his own is to place the property of others in greater jeopardy than they ever contemplated; and therefore should be characterized as an act of injustice as well as inconsiderate benevolence. It is those who are not Gengaged in worldly affairs," and therefore fresh and free, who should dip a little into "endorsements, suretyships, and loans as fairly ranked among Christian charities," and then they would be able to speak to their brethren from their own experience of the sweetness, if
any, of such expressions of love. But for those who have never tasted, to hand over all the good arising from such Christian charities to those who have already their own share at least, does appear as rather equivocal disinterestedness.
In obeying the precept, “Owe no man any thing," the people of God do not forego any advantage. It is the counsel of a kind and wise friend, guarding them against evil. For debt, in nine cases out of ten, ultimately sends a man back instead of forward in society, So that, as I have already said, even on worldly principles, it is bad policy. If we wish to better our circumstances in life, we should seek to do so in a likely and lawful way. Industry and hearty application to our worldly business, is duty-slackness and indolenco are no marks of Christian character. We are to be diligent in business, active and energetic in spirit, serving the Lord. It is not sinful to lay up in certain circumstances: for there are certain seasons in life, as there are seasons in the year, when we have to provide for the future. The young man, in prosecuting diligently his worldly calling, can lawfully contemplate the enjoyinents of his own family circle; and the husband father, in the prime of life, can lawfully look forward to the time when, in the course of nature, his bodily vigor shall become impaired and he be less able to provide for the increased wants of himself and those dependant on him.
The above remarks have a special reference to pecuniary obliga. tions, but the same independence of mind is to govern our conduct in all the relations of life. There we are to seek 10 discharge every obli- . gation. Diversity is seen in the giits which God bestows on his people, both as to kind and measure. And by this wise and benevojent arrangement an opportunity is afforded to every one of them to serve his brother in some way. In enjoying the benefits arising from the diligent and faithful exercise of these various talents on the part of our brethren, we are to be governed by the pricept, “Owe no man any
Not that we are to refuse the benefits which we may thus have it in rur power to enjoy, or not to feel the obligation by thinking that our brethren have only done what was their duty to do. But we are to receive the benefit gratefully, as a favor conferred by them, and seek to discharge the obligation by letting them in their turn enjoy the benefit resulting from the exercise and improvement of the talent our common Father may have seen meet to bestow on us. Thus the faithful discharge of duty on the part of one, will lead to the same on the part of many. The conferring of good on the part of one, will lead to the same blessed result on the part of many; and love, gratitude, and good will, will be made to swell and flow richly throughout the body. This is for the body to edify itself in love.
This principle of feeling and discharging obligation is recognized and enforced in various parts of the word of God. Thus children are to render their parents love, gratitude, and obedience, as a return for the tender interest, care, and support rendered to them by their parents. Thus the brethren are to know those that are over them in the Lord, and to esteem them highly in love on account of their labor; and he that is taught in the word is to make common property with the teacher of the good things which he has to bestow. This is the principle on which the Apostle specially recommends Phebe to the kind attention of the brethren at Rome For she hath been a succorer of many and of myself also." And when reflecting on the recent and on the many proofs of the affection and high regard felt towards him by the believers in Philippi, and aware of his own inability in his then cir. cumstances to repay their kindness, he turns his mind to the inexhaust. ible riches and boundless liberality of his God, and in the fulness of his heart assures them that in return his God would supply all their need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And we see the same hallowed principle influencing his mind when about to leave this world; and unable himself to discharge the obligation he felt himself under to his friend Onesiphorous for the indefatigable and seasonable kindness he had shown him in Rome, he supplicates from his Lord the richest blessings in his behalf. This heavenly and noble principle is seen in the reward bestowed on the Saviour as a recompence for his humiliation, sufferings, and death, and in the bestowment of the reward which he will give at last to all those who have shown kindness to his people, as done to himself. A desire to obey this procept is not pride, but true independence of mind-the effect of the high and holy principles and lessons of the gospel of Christ, and calculated to diffuse contentment, peace, happiness, and blessing wherever it is cherished and abounds.
D. L. New York, May, 1842.
THE COMING OF THE LORD-No. XVII. In our usual manner we have laid before our readers an impartial, and, I think, a tolerably full view of the various theories and speeulations upon the Second Advent, as well as some other interpretations of prophecy concerning matters about to take place in the earth ere many years shall have run their rounds. Since my last essay on the subject the alarmist has made his full-orbed appearance in our hemisphere, and has favored me with the two first trumpets of his series of alarms on this transcendant theme. I have only, as yet, hastily glanced over some sixty octavo pages to see if the courageous Layman had stricken out any new spark on the subject of his former speculations. As yet, indeed, if there be any thing new, I have not had the good fortune to perceive it.
Messrs. Miller, M.Corkle, and others with them, are persons, or rather characters, for whom I entertain a very special and sincere regard. They are, I believe, good, sincere, and in many points, remarkably intelligent men. They are men, too, especially my brother M.Corkle, of a vigorous mental constitution, bold and daring, because independent spirits-reckless of any obloquy which might be entailed upon their reputation from the charge of having been false prophets, even so far as misinterpretation might secure that character.
I have, indeed, an insuperable objection to their manner of setting forth their views, as much as I have to some of the views which they have set forth. They display the confidence and the assurance of a certainty in their own reasonings and conclusions, not only in the inverse ratio of the evidence adduced, but bordering upon an infallibi. lity incompatible at least with the Protestantism of Martin Luther.
The premises on which Mr. Miller mainly rests his confident assertions concerning the events of 1843, are his interpretations of Daniel's 2300 days and his Bible chronology; at least so it appears to me. With him this is the year of the world 5999, and conseqnently 1843 of the Christian era is the 6000th year since the creation. Between : him, then, and the chronology of Bede, Usher, Newton, and all the Protestant world, there is a discrepancy of one hundred and fifty-seven years. These years he makes up in part by conjecture, and in part by an induction of Old Testament events and dates, squaring them off to the answer in his prophetic arithmetic to the question, When comes the Lord? whose answer with him is, In 1843. To his Bible chronology I have several objections mostly comprehended under two heads. He makes the lives of more than 60 persons in succession to have been just so many years, neither a day more nor a day less. In all this there may be half as many years of error as there are persons that lived. That sixty or seventy fathers and sons should have lived exactly 80 many years, neither a day less nor more, no man of reflection can believe; and yet this hypothesis is essential to the coming of the Lord in 1813, so far as the alleged age of the world is concerned.
In the second place, his Bible chronology is not the only Bible chronology, because there is a Samaritan, a Greek, and a Hebrew chronology, especially of the two latter, that differ from themselves as they do from one another. The world is now according to the Samaritan, 6542 years old, according io the Greek,
5843 * This sum is made up of such documents as Mr. Miller himself admits to he biblical down to the 4th year of king Solomon, and from that period to the coming of the Mes siah I take his own dnia. The documents are