« PredošláPokračovať »
that I had a respect for religion in to such a heavenly consummation. the abstract, and for its ordinances, Who could have thought it likely but that I was satisfied with the that a girl of sixteen, one of the form without the power of godliness. loveliest of the daughters of Adam, I was really provoked, accused her whom I had known from a child the of presumption, and heaped all gayest of the gay, and who had bemanner of charges upon her. She come serious but about six weeks never attempted to retort, nor lost, before,—who would have thought, for a moment, her temper; but I say, that this youthful convert assured me that she had foreseen all should have been the instrument of this storm, and willingly incurred it first directing my mind to the most in the hope that I might at all important truths; and that I should events be shaken from indifference; have been thus led, after five years' adding, that she was far from wish- anxiety and investigation, in spite ing me to adopt, what I called, her of all my prejudices, to the full notions on the subject : she merely admission of those very sentiments wished me to satisfy myself from which she so earnestly pressed upon the word of God that my hope of me, and in which alone I have found heaven was rightly placed ; and she comfort under affliction, and peace assured me, that all my conversation in the prospect of death?" with her would never lead to this The youngest and feeblest Chrisend. She said very impressively, tian may, from this incident, derive • My dear Mr. Martyr, we are encouragement to attempt, with nearly connected: we have lived for Christian meekness and prudence, some years happy in each other's being useful to all within his influacquaintance, and on terms of the ence; while the long time, devoted most affectionate intercourse. You by the subject of this memoir to the and my dear sister are now taking investigation of Divine truth, will your leave of us, never, I fear, to shew after what mature deliberations meet again in this world. Will you his religious opinions were adopted, make me one parting promise? that and, in proportion to his diligence, is, not to trust flesh and blood on sincerity, and soundness of underthis important point! Trust not to standing, what importance deserves the word of man, but seek that to be attached to them. wisdom which can alone make you The extensive reductions in all wise unto salvation, and which is our naval establishments rendering only to be found in the holy Scrip- it extremely difficult to obtain emtures: pray for the teaching of the ployment, Mr. Martyr continued on Holy Spirit, which is promised to half-pay for months, and even years, all who ask it; and, rely upon it, after his return from America. Nayour labour will not be in vain in turally of a weak constitution, and the Lord.""
having within him the seeds of a After urging various appropriate disorder which eventually baffled and heart-searching inquiries, she the highest medical skill, he was continued; “. The first of my ques- also peculiarly affected in body by tions can easily be answered,—Do any mental anxiety or affliction. you feel at this moment prepared to This was, indeed, scarcely less apdie? I know you do not,' she added; parent in what concerned others, and I knew so too. She then pressed than in things relating immediately again and again that I would com- to himself. It is not surprising, mence that inquiry which I have therefore, if, with feelings thus alive since carried on. And here letto emotion, the thoughts of his situme praise the Lord that I have been ation, without employment, or rebrought to a knowledge of his word, sources for the support of an in-. and this by a medium that in the creasing family, or any prospect of outset seemed so little likely to lead. being able to provide for them in
66 of a
case of his death, were sufficient to “ Then pressed upon my mind produce in a body already debili- the conviction, that to secure a pertated a serious and alarming ill. sonal interest in the great Sacrifice, ness. His physicians recommending to secure my own adoption into change of air, he removed, with his the general family of God, religion family, in August 1820, to Exeter, must become a personal thing with where, by the blessing of God on me. I could not, it is true, accuse the skill and kindness of his medical myself very recently of any serious attendant, and the tender and un- crimes; but when I carefully rewearied exertions of his devoted viewed my whole past life, and wife, he so far recovered as to be traced the spirituality and extent of able to return to his mother's house the law of God, from how few of at Greenwich in the course of the the long black catalogue of transensuing spring. By the following gressions could I escape judgment ? abridged extract from a letter to a It was then that, burdened with near relation, written on the occasion the weight of what the word of of a death in his family, only a few God loudly designated as sins, I months before his own, it appears was led in spirit and in truth to that the deep and lasting religious adopt the general confession of our impressions by which the latter church service. I felt that I had erred years of his life were so eminently and strayed from God's ways; that characterized, were formed princi- I had left undone those things which pally during this illness.
I ought to have done; and that I had “ The death,” he says,
done those things which I ought not near relation always rings loudly in to have done, and that there was no my ear the mandate, Watch: be spiritual health in me: and I could ye also ready; for in such an hour have no doubt as to what my ultias ye tẶink not of, your soul may be mate end must be, unless some required of you.' I do hope, I do means of escape could be discovered believe, I have no doubt, that I am from the heavy condemnation that ready. The assurance, though not awaited me. When I looked at myalways equally strong, affords me a self, I was dismayed. I attempted constant composure. After stating to ease my conscience by striking that he had now enjoyed this tran- a balance between my supposed quil hope for about five years, good works and my sins; but, I he proceeds to detail the process thank God, a death-knell to this through which he obtained it. “I delusive system was struck by the knew," he says, “ at least I had heart-searching law of God, and its been told, and I did not disbelieve denunciation, Cursed are all they it, that the oblation of Christ once that continue not in all things to do offered had been received as a pro- them.' I could find nothing in the pitiation for the sins of the whole Bible to support such a system; and world; and that it was sufficient to by the holy law of God, I felt myaccomplish such a general redemp- self a perishing sinner. tion I could not doubt; yet I had “ In such a dilemma, with what but to look into the world, and into healing did the Gospel of our blessed my Bible, to satisfy me, that, al. Saviour light upon my troubled though sufficient, it was not effec- conscience! what balm did my altual, or efficient to that end; for, if most broken heart receive, in the asso, all mankind in a mass, saints surances of our Redeemer, « Those and sinners, were equally safe, and who come unto me, I will in no when this life should cease, the joys wise cast out.'Come unto me, all of heaven would be equally the pro- ye that labour and are heavy laden, perty of the humble sincere Chris- and I will give you rest.' — Whosotian, and of the impenitent infidel ever believeth in me shall not perish and sinner.
but have everlasting life,' and pumerous others equally encouraging. ments and the holy principles of the I read the Scriptures daily; and I Gospel were blended in his mind. prayed God to give me an under- " We know that the Son of God standing that I might spiritually has ascended into heaven, and sits discern the truths which they con- at the right hand of God, in the tained, and which were essential to character of a Mediator and Advo. my salvation. God had promised cate for those who trust their cause (and He is not a man that he should entirely to his keeping ; and what lie, or the Son of man that he should has the humble minded Christian to repent) that He would be known fear? Nothing, but the fear of ofof them that sought Him—that He fending God! I know my sinfulwould give the Holy Spirit to those ness; but I am trusting exclusively that asked Him. I felt that I needed for pardon to the merits and death wisdom; but I knew that St. James of
Redeemer. If I am endeahad said, “If any man lack wisdom, vouring (and I trust I am] to walk let him ask of God, who giveth closely with my God, and to live in liberally and upbraideth not, and it love and charity with all mankind, shall be given him. Hence, I not I feel, after I have done all, that I only prayed for wisdom while I
am a very unprofitable servant; and searched the Scriptures, but I did if Satan ever tempts me to look to it with a confidence that I should myself as deserving something good receive it, for God had promised; at the hands of God, it is then that and hence too I prayed for the I am most in danger ;-then my inspiration of his Holy Spirit, that comfort is at its lowest ebb. But I might more perfectly love Him, when I approach God, as a penitent and more worthily magnify his holy sinner, asking for spiritual blessings name for Jesus Christ's sake.” for the sake of Jesus Christ, then
He proceeds to mention the in- do I know that there will be no tense interest which, in this state of refusal ; for God has pledged himmind, he began to feel in “ self to receive all who come to Him beautiful church liturgy," He had through Christ ; and Christ on his never prayed before in the same part has fulfilled and set his seal He was now enabled to
to the covenant by his death and place all his confidence in the merits resurrection.
How complete then of his Redeemer; and “ I really is the Christian dispensation! It is felt,” he says, “ the desire to sing this fulness—this all-sufficiency, unto the Lord, and heartily to re- that emboldens me; and having joice in the strength of my salva- this joy and rejoicing in my heart tion." The atonement of Christ, his oh! what manner of person should all-perfect sacrifice, his merits, his I be!" righteousness, and his intercession,
(To be continued.) now afforded him the highest repose and joy, and were attended with the most happy practical effects in their influence upon his heart Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. and deportment. His trust in God, COMMENTATORs differ considerafirm as it was, had, as it ever must bly in their explanation of the achave when well-grounded, the very count of the creation ; and their opposite tendency to that of render- several attempts to preserve what ing him presumptuous, or making appears to them the literal meanhim think lightly of the evil or the ing of the sacred text, when coldanger of sin. The following pas- lected into one point of view, insage which follows those already volve many difficulties and concited, shews in how truly scriptural tradictions, such as the following: and intimate a manner the hopes God created all things, the angels and the warnings, the encourage and their residence, the material
world, also, the skies, and all the earth was covered by the waters of heavenly bodies, the earth, and its the ocean, and was destitute of all atmosphere, and the matter of that could inhabit or adorn it. The which they were composed, on the atmosphere was so loaded with first day. The angels, however, clouds, obscured by fogs, and dar. and the heaven they inhabit, were kened by rain, that the light of the created long before the material sun, moon, and stars could not world. The stars of other systems penetrate to its surface; and, to a may also have existed before the being placed where man was desbodies of the solar system. A tined to reside, the day and the chaos of elements was first made, night would have been both alike. for the firmament, or expanse, (that Time now commenced on this stais, the earth's atmosphere, or the tion, from the period when the Holy utmost bounds of the visible crea- Spirit caused a great commotion on tion,) was formed on the second the surface of the inundated globe, day, and the land and water on which I assume to have taken place the third. Again, though light and at noon, and by the instrumentality darkness, day and night, had been of the wind, the effects of which separated, and named, on the first on the atmosphere, and on the day, yet the sun, moon, and stars, waters, would produce the appear. were not created (though intended ances recorded by the inspired penexpressly for the same purpose) man. Thus we are informed, verses till the fourth day. These, and 3–5, that God willed that there similar contradictions, have induced should be light; and accordingly, me to prefer a different theory from the clouds being partially removed that which the generality of modern by the wind, the fog clearing, and annotators have (as I think) erro- the rain beginning to abate, the light neously adopted. Happy, indeed, of day became visible. From noon, is it, that the knowledge of such therefore, to the next noon, was subjects is not essential for the sal- the first day of the new world ; and vation of any: the way-faring man so of the other succeeding days. We may pass by without noticing them are next told, verses 6–8, that God on his road towards heaven, whilst willed that the clouds above should all that really concerns himself he no longer mingle their torrents may discern written in the most with the face of the deep : the wind, legible characters. But to those therefore, continuing, rendered the who have time and taste for the in- atmosphere still more absorbent ; vestigation of general truth, the the rain ceased; and the atmossubject cannot but be interesting. phere, though still clouded, was I shall therefore proceed to submit rendered fit for its future inhabitfor consideration an explanation, ants. We next learn, verses 9-which appears to me to be the true 13, that, the great deep subsiding one, of the general meaning of the and collecting into seas, the mounMosaic account of the creation con- tains and the dry land appeared, an tained in the first nineteen verses effect resulting from the continued of the Book of Genesis ; and shall operation of the wind. The creathen endeavour to fortify the theory tion of the herbs, plants, and trees, by argument, by human authorities, (probably in full perfection,) on the and by quotations from the holy third day can be attributed to no Scriptures.
natural cause; but, lastly, the wind, The first verse, then, I consider by dispelling the clouds on the to be introductory, asserting ge- fourth day, ver. 14-19, caused the nerally, that God was the Creator sun, moon, and stars to become of all things, whenever or however visible. they were made. The second verse I now proceed to anticipate and informs us of a period when our reply to certain objections which may be made to the foregoing ex- sung and shouted the praises of position. Why, it may be asked, is God probably at the termination the first verse called introductory? of each day's operations, reckoning For the same reason that a late from noon to noon, which accounts revered commentator calls it a sum- for the mention of morning rather mary of what follows; that is, to than of evening stars. avoid the contradictions already If, then, the angels were probanoticed, which result from the more bly, and the stars possibly, created literal interpretation. It does not long before the first day, why not seem probable that the angels who also the sun, moon, planets, and “ kept not their first estate,” (Jude other bodies of our solar system? vi.) should have fallen, and “left Why not the earth, inhabited, as, their own habitation,” between the from the fossil remains, it seems time of their creation on the first to have been, by animals day, and the fall of man, which though not by man? It was then, period (though unknown) is ge- perhaps, covered with forests, which, nerally supposed to have been short. after certain deluges, were convertJerome, and many of the commen- ed, by slow chemical processes, into tators, accordingly acknowledge, veins of coal, for the use of the that angels, and the heaven they future inhabitant. Thus the numeinhabit, were made long before the rous universal floods which philosofirst day. And they are supported phers think they have discovered, by the thirty-eighth chapter of Job, may all have been preparatory to the where the Lord addresses him out dominion of mankind. The author of of the whirlwind ; and particularly the Pentateuch was not commisat the seventh verse, which speaks sioned to reveal any such facts, but of the morning stars singing toge- to give an account of the manner in ther, when the foundations of the which the first residence of man was earth were laid, and all the sons of formed. The explanation I have God shouted for joy. It might suggested views it as covered with therefore be a question, if any thing waters, and an obscured atmosphere, existed before the first day, whence at the commencement of the Mosaic did it derive its being ? The intro- creation, rather than that this atductory verse meets this with the mosphere and these waters were answer, It was God who made all literally created on the second and things, at whatever period they third days. Those who hold the were created. He not only repro- contrary are obliged to have reduced them as he saw fit, but he course to a chaos of elements for created the matter of which they which I see no Scriptural authority. were originally formed, out of no- The tradition of a chaos, indeed, thing. (Heb. xi. 3.) But what were existed among many ancient nations, the morning stars spoken of in the as the Egyptians and Chinese. Orpassage already quoted from Job ? pheus, Hesiod, and Ovid allude to Several commentators seem inclined it. But they seem to mean, not a to believe that they were really the chaos of elements, but rather such a fixed stars, now universally sup- chaos as I have described. The posed to be the suns of other sys. Brahmins, Hesiod, Thales, and tems. Others think they were titles Aristotle, held that all things were given to angels ; our Lord Jesus formed from water; or that the Christ himself being in one place great deep was the first thing creatcalled “the Morning Star,” (Rev. ed. In the xxxviiith chapter of Job, xxii. 16.) I think it possible, how- verse 8, it is called the sea; and the ever, that stars were literally meant ; clouded atmosphere and the thick and that they are said in a poetical darkness, verse 9, are made its language not unfrequent in Scrip- “swaddling band." Verses 10 and ture, (as Isaiah xliv. 23,) to have 11 describe its retiring to the cavi