« VorigeDoorgaan »
his inability to reconcile the doctrines he was taught
THE FEUDAL SYSTEM. with his honest convictions of divine truth, as he found
it in the Scriptures. le entered into disputations with LET those who recall with impassioned fondness the his teachers, who, unable to reply to his objections, days of the bard and the baron, dream on of feudal
fealty and chivalrous devotion to the altar and the referred him simpliciter to the decrees of the Council throne. Thanks be to God, those days will not re, of Trent, as containing the rules, at least, of his obe turn. Then religion was hypocrisy in the teacher dience, if not of his belief. His reading was narrowly and superstition in the taught : then every church watched, and his studies were all directed to the one
had its idols, and images took the place of God: end-producing a passive acquiescence
in the doctrines the schools, and all theology to the legends of the
then all learning was confined to the logomachy of of the Church. As he himself says: “The clergy train
cloister; the Bible was forgotten; the Gospel was the young plant according to their narrow opinions, unknown; the pardon of sin was bought by money; and water it with the stream of the Tiber, that it may and the favour of God was sought in the persecution bring forth Roman fruit." The effect of all this was,
of his saints. Then the rich man was a despot, and that he was induced to continue a Catholic priest,
the poor man a slave. The devotion of the vassals to whom he still considered as a superior being, elevated
their lord was an unprincipled readiness to trample
on the rights and destroy the happiness of all against above the frailties and weakness of other men. Yet whom he chose to lead them. Then judges were still his mind was ill at ease, and he could not fail to bribed, juries browbeaten, and parliaments silenced
! see that he was far from resting securely on the sys or suspended. The monarch trod upon the neeks of tem to which he outwardly belonged. He became his subjects, and the priest upon the neck of the vicar in the Cathedral of Posen, where he saw more
monarch. Then the business of life was war, and its
recreation drunkenness. There was no religion, no fully the abuses of the system. Notwithstanding the liberty, no literature, and no retinement. Thanks be to vast crowd of priests, he saw thousands who were God, those days will not return. Let others be wedded longing for the Word of God, and yet perishing for to the past; we live in the past, the present, and the lack of knowledge. He now began to call in question, future. . . But while, like the Utilitarian, we successively, the sanctity of the priestly office-the
are eagerly anticipating the future, not like him are adoration of saints—the confessional—the celibacy of
we speculating on the perfectibility of the race in the
exclusion of religious influences. Our present pros the clergy—the worship of images—the use of the perity has been derived, not from philosophy, but Latin language in devotion--and, last of all, the from religion. It is the Gospel which has won the supremacy of the Pope. It is exceedingly instructive battles of our liberty, which has given the nation a to watch the gradual dawning of light on his mind, capacity to enjoy it, and which has made it safe and and the increasing insight which he obtained into stable. By the Gospel, therefore, still must our own the true character of the system, by his continued and prosperity be completed, and that of less happy
nations be secured. It is not the spirit of Infidelity. prayerful study of God's Holy Word. It needed
but the Book of God, which threatens the pagodas of no outward aid from man--no communing even with China and the mosques of Constantinople. It is not others situated like himself. The work went on the sagacity of statesmen, but the doctrine of the quietly in the privacy of his own soul; and, by the cross, which must save the world. Before that, all blessing of the Spirit, that very Bible which the
forms of superstition, all modes of tyranny, all poChurch claims the exclusive privilege of interpreting, blessings of England will be the inheritance of the
pular debasement must give way: and more than the was the means of leading his mind into the truth; and nations; because the nations will be the inheritance thus he was brought, at length, to see that the whole of Christ.-- Voel. system of that Church which professes to be the sole repositary and vehicle of God's truth to man, was, in
A SABBATH IN THE MOUNTAINS. reality, a refuge of lies. We have only to state, further, that in his case, the main accusation which he
Did you ever sleep near the base of a
mountain in July, and wake in the morning at halfbrings against the Church was substantially the same
past three, and hear the birls that swarm the forest as Luther's, namely, that of substituting other me that covers it sing? There is nothing like it in the diators between God and man than the man Christ wide world! Sleeping thus in Housatonicville, a Jesus—of subverting the ground of a sinner's accep
little parish that has lately organized itself, and tance with God by a multitude of human inventions. suddenly risen into a thrifty, noble Church, I was It was in the light of this central doctrine that he awakened one morning by such a chaos of harmony
(if I may use the paradoxical expression) from the seems to have been led to detect the hollowness of great mountain that fairly leaned over me, that I lay their traditions and ceremonies, and, at last (see perfectly entranced. First came the clear, loud carol the quotation alluded to in last page), to give utter
of the robin, and then the shrill note of the piper, ance to his indignant invective against a system as
and last of all the almost ten thousand varied intona
tions of the countless smaller birds that swarm our dishonouring to God as ruinous to man.
fields and forests, And they were all singing at After quoting a number of passages of Scripture, once, and singing at the top of their voices; indeed, to the effect that salvation is only to be found by apparently singing on a race; pouring forth such faith in Christ, he says in his address to the Schnei- rapid and ravishing sounds, ringing and echoing demühl congregation: “Weagain declare the Romish through the clear morning air, that the valley seemed doctrine of the remission of sins as repugnant to fairly beside itself with the endless, overflowing God's Word; and, as such, we utterly renounce it. melody; We cling rather to Jesus Christ, and him crucified, spot! The throng of worshippers have departed
And how sweet a Sabbath evening is, in this quiet in full assurance of his divinity, and humbly implore from the temple of God, the echoes of prayer and the forgiveness of our sins from God our heavenly praise have died away, and it stands with a solemn Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
and half-mournful air in the departing sunlight.
COMMON MAXIMS IMPROVED.
The Housatonic, that flows “ fast by it,” keeps up The first time he met his former friend after this its steady chant, and here and there a bird from the
great change, the clergyman said to him : “ Well, my mountain sends forth its strain; but all else is still and tranquil, as a Sabbath evening ever should be.
dear sir, and what do you think now of the doctrine Surrendering my heart to the intiuence pf such a
of the resurrection?” “Oh, sir," said he “two scene, and the feelings of such an hour, I have sat words from Paul conquered me: 'Thou fool!' Do and watched the sunlight creep up the mountain ere you see this Bible (taking up a beautiful copy of the it leaves the world. Half an hour ago, the valley Scriptures, fastened with a silver clasp), and will you bade it good night, and is already gathering its dark read the words upon the clasp that shuts it?” The mantle around it; but look how the golden light goes clergyman read, deeply engraven on the silver clasp, up and up over the sleeping forest. There, it has just left that huge rock which but a moment before
“ Thou fool!” “ There," said his friend, "are the seemed pointed with gold, a black, savage frown on
words that conquered me; it was no argument, no the forehead of the mountain; and now it has stoop- reasoning, no satisfying my objections, but God coned over that bold upland swell; and now it seems to vincing me that I was a fool; and thenceforward I gallop up the steep crest; and now lingers a moment determined I would have my Bible clasped with those on the tallest tree tops; and lo! it has vanished from the sight. How like the lights of Eden, before the words, "Thou fool!' and never again would come to entrance of sin, did that retreating glory flee before the consideration of its sacred mysteries, but through the encroaching shades of night! A moment, the their mediuin. I will remember that I am a fool, stern old mountain seems to stand mournful and and God only is wise." lonely in its desertion, and then begins to nod on its huge bed for its evening nap, and night embraces is the way to come to God's Word. Let every man
How striking, how affecting was this! Ah! this the world. The Sabbath is ended—the day of strange and mysterious ceremonies is over, and man lies down put this clasp upon his Bible, “Thou fool!” and in the hand of his Creator to sleep.—Headley.
let him enter it, to sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn of him, just as a little child, remembering the saying
of David : “ The entrance of thy words giveth light; THE DEATH-BED.
it giveth understanding unto the simple."-American
Periodical. We watched her breathing through the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
COMMON MAXIMS IMPROVED.
WERE men but as wise for eternity as they are for So silently we seemed to speak,
time, and did they spiritually improve their natural
principles for their souls as they do naturally for So slowly moved about,
their bodies and estates, what precious Christians As we had lent her half our powers
might men be! For instance:To eke her being out.
1. To believe good news well founded. Why then
is not the Gospel believed, which is the best news, Our very hopes belied our fears-
and best grounded news in the world ? Our fears our hopes belied; We thought her dying when she slept,
2. To love what is lovely, and that most rrhich is most
lovely. Why then is not Christ the beloved of men's And sleeping when she died.
souls, seeing he is altogether lovely? For when the morn came, dim and sad,
3. To fear that which will hurt them. Why then And chill with early showers,
are not men afraid of sin, seeing nothing is so hurtful
to them as sin ? Her quiet eyelids closed-she had Another morn than ours !
4. Nol to trust a known deceiver. Why then do ANON.
men trust Sutan, the old serpent, the deceiver of the world ?--the world, and its deceitful riches ?-their own
hearts, which are deceitful above all things? « THOU FOOL."
5. To lay up for old age. Why then do not men lay A Man of intelligence, but of a very sceptical turn of up for eternity treasures of faith and good works, mind, had had many conversations with his clergy- against the day of death and judgment ? man, and was always stumbling at the doctrine of 6. He that will give most shall have it. Why then the resurrection, as a vexation and plague to his
do not men give their love and service to God Doth reason. He stumbled at that stumbling-block, being not he bid most ? disobedient. His clerical friend did not succeed in 7. Toke warning by others' harms. Why do not reducing his scepticism; the swelling proceeded not
men take heed of sinning from the sufferings and
torments which others undergo for sinning! 80 much from particular difficulties and incredibilities in the mystery before him, as from a proud, self 8. To have something to show ander men's hands, relying dependence, not upon God, but upon his own
because they are mortal. Why then will not men
have something to show under God's hand for their At length for a long time they were separated. Security to salvation, seeing, not God, but they are
mortal? The clergyman did not meet the sceptic for years.
Ah! if men did but walk by their own rules, and Meanwhile the grace of God came into his heart, improve their own principles, what a help would it and he was converted, and became as a little child. be to godliness! But, alas! God may complain of All his scepticism departed, and now he listened only us, as of his people of old : “My people do not conto God.
sider.”—Canaan's Florcings; or, Milk and Honey.
cellent above all others ? Is it for their birth, breed Daily Bread.
ing, or learning, or riches, or greatness, or honour?
No, no, it is for none of these; but if you would know FRIDAY.
the reason, it is because Christ is formed in then* What shall a man give in exchange for his soul!
they have the new name, the new nature, the new MARK viii. 37.
heart, the new spirit. Christ hath made every be Vain his ambition, noise, and showVain are the cares which rack his mind;
liever a king. It is Christ's beauty that makes us best He heaps up treasures mix'd with woe,
tiful—it is his righteousness that makes us righteou. And dies, and leaves them all behind.
-Dyer. Men may meet with losses, which yet they may
TUESDAY. otherwise recover, or may have something else that “I wish abore all things that thou mayest prosper and be is may countervail them ; but not only nothing can
health, even as thy soul prospereth," -3 JOHN % countervail this loss—no more than dross and dung
Pain, and sickness, at thy word
And sin, and sorrow flies; can [countervail] jewels of the greatest price; but
Speak to me, Almighty Lord, if thou dost once lose thy soul, nothing can retrieve
And bid my spirit rise ; or regain it. In this case, it is not allowed to sin
Bid me bear the hallowed cross, twice; if thou once losest thy soul in this life, there
Which thou, my Lord, hast borne before;
Walk in all thy righteous laws, is no means hereafter whereby thou mayest recover it;
And go and sin no more. but as the tree falls, so it lieth. Thou that readest
Get thy heart more affected with spiritual losses, this!
upon this moment (for aught either you or I and then thy soul will be less afflicted with those know) depends thy eternity, “Is there," as Bernard temporal losses that thou mournest under. Hast asks, ' another Christ? or do you think that he will thou lost nothing of that presence of God that once be crucified again for thy soul ! " Vinke.
thou hadst with thy spirit ? Hast thou lost none of
those warnings, meltings, quickenings, and clearings SATURDAY
that once thou hadet? Hast thou lost nothing of thy "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."-Ps. xiv.l.
communion with God, nor of the joys of the Spirit, Did men believe there was a God, How could they live in peace,
nor of that peace of conscience that once thou eWhen he has threatened against sin
joyedst? Hast thou lost none of that ground that Wrath which will never cease ?
once thou hadst got upon sin, Satan, and the world? Did men believe there were another world, and · Hast thou lost nothing of that holy vigour, and hea that they must be called to a strict reckoning for all venly heat, that once thou hadst in thy heart? If their actions, and be doomed to an everlasting death thou hast not, why dost thou complain of this or that for their wicked deeds, they durst not, they could not, temporal loss ? For what is this, but to complain of do those acts which should make them eternally the loss of thy purse, when thy gold is safe? If thou miserable. Let me say to the most desperate ruffian : art a loser in spirituals, why dost thou not rather “There is poison in this cup; drink this draught, and complain that thou hast lost thy God, than that thou thou diest;" he would have the wit to keep his lips hast lost thy gold ? and that thou hast lost thy Christ, close, and cast the potion to the ground. Were it than that thou hast lost thy husband ?-Brookes. not for their infidelity, so would men do, to the most plausible but deadly offers of sin. O Lord, since I
WEDNESDAY. know thy righteous judgments, teach me to tremble * Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me."-Ps. 1 23. at them; restrain thou my feet from every evil way; Thy single arm, Almighty Lord, and teach me go to walk, as one that looks every
To us the great salvation broughthour to appear before thy just and dreadful tribunal.
Thy Word, thy all-creating Word, -Hall.
That spake at first the world from nought.
For this the saints lift up their voice, SABBATH. " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day."-Rev. i. 10.
And ceaseless praise to thee is given ;
For this the hosts above rejoice-
We raise the happiness of heaven ;
For this (no longer sons of night)
To thee our thankful hearts we give
To thce, who callidst us into lightO Christian, consider what a sin it is to forget God,
To thee we die, to thee we live. especially on his own day. If we ought to spend every day in the fear of God, much more
the Sabbath-day: - Philip tlenry.
Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better. What ingratitude is it to forget him this day, who
THURSDAY. minded us when we could not mind ourselves!' The
"Draw water out of the wells of salvation."- Isa. xii, 3. love of God in Christ should swallow up all our
Believers, ye shall draw with joy thoughts this day. When we seriously consider what
Water from Salvation's well; Christ hath done for his people, one might think
Praise shall your glad tongues employ, that Christ would never be one whole hour together
While his streaming grace ye fcel. out of their minds, but that they should carry him What are the wells of salvation but God, and up and down in their thoughts and desires; that they Jesus Christ, and his Spirit, and the graces of the should lie down with thoughts of Christ at night, and Spirit, and the ordinances of God? These are the have him like a "bundle of myrrh lying all night wells of salvation. If you bring but little buckets
, roa betwixt their breasts”-that is, in their hearts-and, will get but little water; if you bring large buckets
, when they awake, “they should be still with him;" you will get a large supply of water. If you bring that their very dreams in the night should be sweet but little faith, you will receive but little from Christ; visions of Christ; and all their words should savour of but if you bring a strong faith a large and strong him.- Willison.
bucket – how much refreshing and soul satisfaction
might you receive !-Nalton. • The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.”—
PROV. xii. 26.
, The blessing of God's chosen race,
Windsor Street, and Published by him at 2, Hunter The wisdom coming from above,
Square. London: R. GROOMBRIDGE & Sons. Glasgow: The faith that sweetly works by love.
J. R. M'NAIR & Co.; and to be had of any Bookseller | What is the reason, beloved, that the saints are ex throughout the Kingdom.
THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
THE CURE OF AN EVIL CONSCIENCE.
BY THE REV. JONATHAN R. ANDERSON, GLASGOW.
To speak of a remedy supposes a disease, and | lopping off some branches of the upas tree, until the disease is known the remedy cannot to change its nature, and render it as wholebe applied. The Gospel makes known a cure some as it is pestiferous. To those who are for an evil conscience; but it is very generally awakened by the Spirit of God to a true sense slighted, just because the disease is seldom felt of what they are as sinners, this becomes very and little dreaded. By those, however, who manifest; for whatever be the trouble which have so much spiritual discernment as to per- they feel, their attention is mainly directed to ceive, and so much spiritual sensibility as to the offence which they have committed. The feel
, what this disease is, the remedy which has language they employ is : Against thee, thee been provided will be highly prized and eagerly only, have I sinned, and in thy sight done evil.” accepted; for an evil conscience is the heaviest The troubles of an evil conscience are hence affliction with which, in the present life, a man seen to arise from an apprehension of Jehovah's can be visited. “The spirit of a man may displeasure with sin, and his wrath against it. bear his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who The conscience has not done its duty—it is can bear?”
evidently not savingly enlightened—it is not The conscience is set in the soul to be at acting under the direction of the Spirit of God, once the governor and judge of our moral if it has not shown to the transgressor that the actions. In holding this twofold office, how. secret of all its opposition to him, and condemever, it stands in subordination to the supreme nation of his conduct, is the respect which it has Lord of the conscience—the living and true to the purity and excellence of the Most High, God. In his name the conscience ought to act, and the authority of his holy, just, and good according to his law ought it to decide, and for law. To some it seems as if conscience poshis glory ought it to exercise its functions. If, sesses an inherent and independent power, therefore, a man acts agreeably to the divine which it wields according to will, and to which will, his conscience, which must, in its charac- all the faculties of the soul and all the affecter of ruler, have dictated this course, ought, in tions of the heart ouglît to bow in meek subits capacity of judge, to affix a sentence of mission. But this is a capital error. The conapprobation to his conduct. But if, on the science is but a vicegerent; it acts under comcontrary, he transgresses the law of God, as mission from the Holy One; and in all its the conscience, if faithful, will remonstrate decisions there must be clear and palpable with him ere the deed is done, so will it lift up reference to the righteous Judge of heaven and its voice and condemn it when, in spite of its earth. In thus proceeding against a man who warnings, it has been committed. Now, a man has broken the divine law, the conscience has an evil conscience when, in consequence of shows him that, as it is against God his offence some breach of the divine law, he is condemned, has been committed, so it is to his wrath that and looks with terror to the certain execution he is exposed, and from it he has everything to of the sentence which has been passed upon fear. For “the wrath of God is revealed from him. The man himself is guilty; he has done heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodwhat is evil; and his conscience, which is the liness of men;" and, therefore, “cursed is index of his state, and the exponent of his every one that continueth not in all things conduct, is said to be evil. The view which it which are written in the book of the law to do takes of the case may be correct, and the them.” judgment which it pronounces may be righ A feeling of terror is thus awakened in the teous; and in one sense the conscience may be conscience, and that, too, of a very peculiar called good, because it acts faithfully in what it kind; for if the man be truly enlightened, he does; but, in another sense, and according to must perceive and acknowledge that God is the explanation which has been given, it is said just in setting himself against those that have to be an eril conscience.
risen up against him. In merely natural conNow, it is plain that the origin of the evil is victions of guilt, and under the influence of to be found in the sin which has been com- slavish fear, there mingles no such spiritual mitted, and the guilt which is thereby incurred element. The heart may be deeply agitated in the sight of God. The trouble that arises in with terror, but it is a terror which could be the soul, and the misery which is thus expe- allayed by the simple removal from danger;
are only the bitter fruits of the unlaw- but in the case which we suppose—where the ful deed that has been perpetrated; and, there. fear arises from a view of Jehovah's holy fore, any cure that should be directed 'merely displeasure—this would not suffice to give reto the removal of the disquietude, while it left lief. For whatever become of the creature, the the sin untouched, were as ineffectual as the holiness of divine wrath remains; and if he fee No. 34.
October 17, 1845.
that he is the object of it, he must be miser “He shall receive of mine, and shall show it able, until, by some suitable means, he can be unto you." made as much the object of divine, holy com The medium by which the blood of Christ is placency as he now is the object of divine, holy applied to the conscience is faith—a principle wrath. “ If then their uncircumcised hearts of divine operation, and for the bestowinent of be humbled, and they then accept the punish- which men are indebted to the grace of God: ment of their iniquity."
“ By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that The remarks which have been made on an not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." lo evil conscience point out the nature of the cure the exercise of this principle, the soul apprewhich will prove effectual in removing it; for hends the glory of the person of Him who if sin be the origin of the disease, then to this stands in the room of the guilty; and this is the point must the remedy be directed. We primary, the essential acting of true faith. To accordingly find that this is precisely the the man who had received sight, our Lord put character of the cure which is set before us in the question : “Dost thou believe in the Son the Word of the truth of the Gospel. The of God?” The man inquired: “Who is be, wrath of God is provoked by the transgressor Lord, that I may believe on him ?” Jesus of his law; and such is the nature of divine answered: “I that speak unto thee am he." justice, that unless the demands which it makes The man exclaimed : “ Lord, I believe," and be satisfied, there can be no favour shown to worshipped him. The soul, further, receives the guilty. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ ap- him as the divinely appointed surety, and, in peared in the character of the substitute of this character, contemplates and admires him sinners; he had laid upon him the iniquity of in his whole work of obedience unto death. those in whose room le stood; he bore the In the survey which a believer takes of the curse which was due to what they had com. agency of the Redeemer, he is conducted to mitted; and obtained at the hand of retributive the language prepared for him by the prophet, justice a sentence of acceptance which re- and making it his own, he says : “We all, like sponded to his dying words : "It is finished.” sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every We hence find the Apostle Paul reasoning: one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the upon him the iniquity of us all.” He who is ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanc under the influence of true faith looks atten. tifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much tively into those solemn transactions in which more shall the blood of Christ, who through divine justice exacted and received atonemeni the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot from the glorious Surety of his guilty people; unto God, purge the conscience from dead and observes that vengeance is taken-unworks to serve the living God?"
sparingly taken—upon the sin which troubles To render the provision available to the cure his conscience, and provokes the curse of God. of an evil conscience, it must obviously be lle sees satisfactory evidence of this fact in applied. A medicine may possess a sovereign the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice which virtue to heal those that are diseased; but if it was offered to him by the Lord Christ; and, in remain in the laboratory of the apothecary, or this view, rests with peculiar delight upon the stand unused by the bed of the sick, its virtue testimony which he hears from the excellent will not be felt-its healing properties will not Glory : " This is my beloved Son, in whom I be experienced. In like manner, the blood of am well pleased.” By this means the conscience Christ may be shed; the glad tidings may be is quieted, just because faith discovers that the published; and, in their own tongue, men may Lord of the conscience is reconciled; and leans read and hear the wonderful works of divine upon the testimony of his own Word, that grace; but, if this be all, they must remain in “God is just, and justifies the ungodly who their sins, and under the power of an evil believe in Jesus.” conscience. The grace which has provided To the sinful children of men is this cure the remedy must apply it to the soul; for it open; for all who accept of it, it is sufficient. were as reasonable to maintain that men can The truth of these assertions is made manifest purchase redemption, as to pretend that they from the terms of the calls and offers of the can apply that which is purchased. We allow | Gospel; and it is with these men have to do
that to divine, sovereign grace belongs the glory when seeking rest to their troubled hearts, and 1. of the plan and the purchase of redemption. peace to their awakened consciences. The
But why concede a part, and not admit the questions, Is there an atonement made! is it whole ? why own that grace begins,
and deny one which has been accepted of God ? is it suf; that it completes ? why should God have the ficient for one so guilty and miserable as I am! honour of the commencement, and man the is it free to me to accept of it ?-all these are credit of the conclusion of the work? We directly met and completely answered in the have already seen that solid convictions of invitations of the Gospel; for “ whosoever will guilt are from the Spirit of God; and in these may come, and take of the water of life freely." do we see the steps that are taken towards the "lle that believeth on the Son hath everlasting application of the blood of Christ as the cure-. life, and shall not come into condemnation, but the only effectual cure of an evil conscience: 1 is passed from death unto life.”