« VorigeDoorgaan »
lions of those who profess Romanism repetitions, Rome mingles works of that we call its distinguishing tenets living sinners, so-called merits of dead poison, and that of the deadliest kind. saints, and prayers of apostles and A system which, while it assumes evangelists of old, with those of its to work out the mind and will of own canonized army of men and woGod, yet authoritatively decrees and men famous, or infamous, for their teaches what is in direct opposition devotion to its Church. to the very revelation of God, which For the precious balms and cordials even Rome itself possesses and ac- of the Gospel, the wine, the milk, knowledges, cannot but be pronounced the honey, and the oil of joy for poisonous to the souls of men. As mourning;—for these, and all other was said in an article in the last num- consolations, bought without money ber, the Rhemish Testament, taken and without price, Rome substitutes apart from the falsifying glosses and the entire shifting of the moral recomments of its false interpreters, sponsibility of its worshippers upon serves but to convict the Romish priests and priestly services,-its imChurch of turning the truth of God pure confessional, its absolution, its into a lie. By the text, even of that round of gorgeous public rites, its version, Rome is condemned; and, private masses, its highly romantic were the Romanist allowed its unre- and too often sensual books, its mostricted and unpolluted perusal, the nasteries and convents, professed relight of that book would serve to scat- treats from the world, but too freter the darkness with which Rome quently worlds of iniquity within has covered the Gospel.
themselves. It were easy to tell of the precious The pages of this magazine need medicines, healing balms, and refresh- not be taken up with the repetition of ing cordials, which the word of God the many poisonous doctrines and affords for every sin, for every wound, practices of Rome. The grand error and for every sorrow;-it were a dark which our statesmen,—and the men and melancholy tale to contrast with who pride themselves upon being them those inventions of Rome which liberal and enlightened,-fall into, is act as poisonous drugs, intoxicating in treating Rome and its system as draughts, and opiates for the soul. one among the many sects of real Christ the Great Physician, Rome su- Christianity. Could we once get these persedes, and practically despises, by men to sit down with unprejudiced setting a far higher value on the person and unpolitical feelings, to examine and work of His blessed, but human into the reality and true character of mother, Mary. With a sad mockery the Roman communion,-in its creed, of that atonement He once for all its ceremonials, its past and present offered for the sins of man, Rome, by history,—they must either give their the hands of its priests, impiously voices for the suppression, or at least pretends to change the wafer and the the total discouragement of so monwine into Christ's body and blood, strous and mischievous a system. and then continually offers Him upon To allow the existence and workits altars, as an ever-fresh sacrifice for ing of a Church so hostile to true quick and dead. With this false atone Christianity, and so disastrous in its ment, and with its vain and wicked very nature to free government and social harmony, is no slight stretch of ends against us, and we have therethat charity and toleration which it is fore the more abundant need for ferthe glory of England to maintain; but vent prayer that God may make us it is not only a palpable abuse of those valiant for His truth, united in one qualities, but a suicidal act, and a sin holy band, merging all minor differof the deepest character, for our coun- ences in the common defence of Protry to foster and pay for the more testant faith, and that we may have perfect development of a system at poured out upon us the largest meaenmity with God and man.
sures of that wisdom which shall As a first step, then, to purge our- guide us aright in all our moveselves from this inconsistency, May- ments. nooth must no longer receive a shil- In Ireland itself a mighty work has ling from the funds of the United commenced,--a work which, if God Kingdom. Whatever reasons of po- vouchsafes to continue His blessing, litical expediency led to the first be- bids fair to change the features of stowal of the grant have ceased to that hitherto unhappy country's hisexist, and the hopes which were held tory. Surely, no Protestant governout as infallible consequences from ment will so stultify the efforts of a such a national provision for the edu- Protestant people, and so move the cation of the Romish priesthood, have just indignation of God, as to continue been scattered to the winds. As far a grant towards that Maynooth which as regards any gaining over of that sends forth its agents provided with priesthood to the support of order and the very weapons wherewith to fight the strengthening of the hands of au- against the faith with which we can thority, all has been the reverse. But alone hope successfully to regenerate what marvel! we have sown to the Ireland. wind and reaped the whirlwind. And Should Ireland be rescued from the as to that much abused term religion, degrading yoke of Popery, and should we must have made Romànists mock its sons and daughters embrace, in all and triumph over our own faith, when godly sincerity, the faith of her far we could with one hand protest against happier sister England, statesmen Romanism, and yet with the other will witness with wonder, and we pay,--and that largely,--for its more trust with humble gratitude, such a perfect and extensive propagation. change in its religious, political, and
In dealing, however, with May- social condition, as shall cause them nooth, and with every other question to look back with shame and humiliaaffecting Romanists, it will be neces- tion upon the almost countless measary that Protestants be firm, united, sures of alternate coercion and conand cautious. We have to do with ciliation with which they have vainly an ancient enemy, which combines sought to rule a country ever bleeding these three qualities in a manner the and struggling in the throes of domost perfectly adapted to secure its mestic discord and misery.
“TAKE HEED WHAT YE HEAR.” No. 3. -THE LEADING CHARACTERISTIC OF SCRIPTURE TRUTH. We have lately considered the main minally inconsistent, and that if he is features of evidence for the inspiration yet unsaved, and ultimately ruined of Scripture, and consequently the for ever, the fault is entirely his wisdom and the duty of our assembling to hear instruction grounded The next point to which we come, upon, or drawn from the Scriptures. is the substance of the statement We have noticed, also, the several made in the revealed word: What is strong natural reasons which operate the leading truth, the characteristic powerfully upon the human mind, to
message, which it sets before us, and lead man to seek for more accurate to which we are called to give heed? and satisfactory knowledge of God, And to this a very plain answer may and of his future destiny, than he na- be given, in the words of the book turally possesses; and we endeavoured itself. The beloved disciple John, to shew that the consciousness of our who appears to have entered most being afflicted, dissatisfied, sinful, and deeply into his Master's views and dying, does, when rightly viewed, press spirit, says, “This is the record, that strongly upon us the necessity of seek- God hath given to us eternal life, and ing for help, instruction, and com- this life is in His Son." By which he fort; and that in many cases these evidently means that this is the sum strong natural impressions, combining and substance of the testimony of rewith the general conviction of the in- velation, the real object of its being spiration of Scripture, do appear to made; that, though it may contain operate as ample reasons for our re- much subordinate matter, yet, that gular and diligent attendance upon this is the grand truth it was to make the ordinances of christian instruc- known,—that God had) provided for tion. They do so operate with many; the children of sin, and sorrow, and and we doubt not that if these con- death, in this world, the gift of eternal victions, combined with the evidence life. He speaks of it also as “the witfor the Scripture's being a revelation ness of God, which He hath testified from God, were honestly attended to; of His Son;" “the record that God if men regarded them as they know gave of His Son.” And in the Book they ought, they would be the means of the Revelation, St. John relates the of leading all seriously to consider the fact of an angel from heaven calling offer of mercy in the preached Gos- it “the testimony of Jesus,” and adpel, or they would condemn every vancing this general principle reman, who did not so consider, out of specting Christ, that “the spirit of his own mouth. The reasons are so prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” simple, so strong, and so convincing, An examination, then, of this plain that every nominal Christian, who is and simple passage, will lead us at careless, negligent, and unbelieving, once to consider the substance of has a record lodged in his conscience, scriptural truth: “God hath given if he would but read it, that he is cri- to us eternal life, and that life is in His Son." And a comparison of the proper views of the scriptural idea of terms here used will make the mean- eternal life; for to some men religious ing of the passage very distinct. service,—the occupying of the mind Consider,
of the creature with his Maker's ex1. The blessing here mentioned. cellencies and glory,—would be so 2. In what way is this blessing contrary to their habits and desires, made accessible to us?
that eternity would be to them irk3. How it is offered to us.
some indeed. If the habits of mind in
it were to be regulated by Divine First. The blessing spoken of in purity, and the great object of conthe record,—"eternal life.” Now this templation were a holy God, they term is in the first place very evi- would rather not be there. But some dently used in the record to designate faint notion of the nature of eternal a never-ending state of happiness be- joy may be formed even by such men yond this world. That we die and from analogy. Did we ever feel joy pass away here, is one of the over- in the contemplation of the natural whelming distresses of man. He looks world, as the work of a wise Archiwith cheerless gloom at the grave; he tect? Did we ever so consider the first recoils from the thought either of an- principles on which the fabric of nanihilation at death, or of the uncer- ture is built? Did we ever look with tainty of his lot beyond; he dare not wonder and delight at the powers of face the probability either of total de- the human mind? Did we ever feel struction, or of a visitation of judg- that a full expansion of its capacities ment when God will call him to ac- to a comprehension of all the works count. But whatever be the natural of God, ar.d all their mysteries, would speculations and doubts of the mind, be unspeakably delightful ? This, the revelation draws aside the veil, then, may give a faint apprehension and declares a heaven of glory, of of eternal joys; for, surely, however unclouded felicity,-a heaven where we may now be biassed and prejudiced God is made known in all His fulness against the subject, yet the moral naof excellency and glory, as the joy of ture of God must be His highest digHis rational and moral creatures, and nity, and consequently the knowledge the source from which infinite delight and study of that must be the highest is imparted; that He who made the grade of science; and if it would be worlds, and all the intelligences that delightful to trace the wonders of inhabit them, will open to the minds God's creation, and the mysteries of of men, hitherto repressed and kept His providence, it must be much more in comparative ignorance, the joy of gratifying still to have the eye of the communion with Him to the whole mind reverentially opened on the faextent of the capacity of the creature; thomless deep of infinite goodness; so that we may be filled with the ful- and to know God in these respects, ness of God, --so that we may know as as we k now, appreciate, and delight we are known. Of course, to enter fully in the moral characteristics of a into the idea of the happiness of such friend. And this is one of the leada state, there needs a moral bias to- ing features of the scriptural notion wards the goodness of the great God; of eternal life. The manifest distance and without this, men will never have between God and the soul of man,-
which is the consequence, and partly commenced which has its essential the punishment, of sin,-is to be re- character in the love and service of moved. God is to be made known God, and the holy influence of His with all that fulness which we can Spirit. So says St. John,(1,v.18-20:) even now conceive of as possible, “We know that whosoever is born of though we do not realize it; and with God sinneth not; but he that is bethat knowledge of God to which we gotten of God keepeth himself, and are to be elevated, we are to enjoy all that wicked one toucheth him not. the delights of holiness and perfection And we know that we are of God, which are essentially connected with and the whole world lieth in wickedsuch a state of reconciliation, and re- And we know that the Son of semblance, and nearness, to the Al God is come, and hath giren us an mighty Being who fills and governs understanding, that we may know all things.
Him that is true, and we are in Him But eternal life is used also in that is true, even in His Son Jesus Scripture in another sense, as mean- Christ. This is the true God, and ing the commencement in this present eternal life.” world of that state of spiritual exist- This, then, is the blessing which ence which is thus to be perfected in the gracious message of God sets bethe other world. So the Saviour says: fore us. It meets the careless, dark, “He that heareth my word, and be- unhappy child of transgression and lieveth on Him that sent me, hath of wrath, looking through his few everlasting life, and shall not come scanty and unsatisfying pleasures tointo condemnation; but is passed from wards their termination in the grave; death unto life.” And the same state and it sets before him the hope of imment is made repeatedly in the sixth mortal happiness, and the present chapter of John. From this passage commencement of it in the actual reit appears that the condemnation of conciliation of the soul to God here; man for sin is the great impediment and the discovery of God as a Friend to the eternal happiness of the im- and Father, reconciled even here, and mortal soul; but that the provision of shewing to the believing soul the light grace in Jesus Christ meets this diffi- of His countenance : so that even culty, by removing the guilt of sin, here, though in a subordinate degree, and reconciling the soul, and bring- he realizes a state of favour with God ing it into a state of favour with God; which nothing has power to interrupt. and then, as the bar to eternal life is The error and defect of his nature removed, and the soul has commenced has been remedied, and his soul is at upon a state of reconciliation to, and peace, as it is written,—“Being therepeace with God; therefore, in fact, fore justified by faith we have peace eternal life, ,-a life which has no sea- with God.” The burden of conscious son for break and interruption in it, - guilt is removed; the oppressive dread is begun. And, though the remainder of God as an angry God is taken of this present life has to be passed away; the fear of death is met by the over, and some trials are yet to be promise of eternal happiness beyond endured, and though the separation it; and we rest with composure in the of the body and soul take place at hands of Omnipotence, as knowing natural death, yet, that existence has that God is love,—that He will order