« VorigeDoorgaan »
such sins, he need not give himself up to despair. The humble confession of our sins, the earnest prayer for Divine help to enable us not again to fall will avail to secure us pardon and to obtain for us the help we need. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to clease us from all unrighteousness" (1 John i. 9). The Lord will forgive, because He is faithful, and never forsakes those who truly desire to seek and to serve Him; because He will not break His promises of help and guidance; because He is a friend that cleaveth closer than a brother. He will forgive us because
He is just; because He knows that the inmost bent and purpose of our wills is to serve Him; and because He knows the weakness of our strength, and the terrible might of the temptations which beset us. He asks no more from us than He knows we can render. He knows that the pilgrimage towards heaven is a pilgrimage of many steps, in which all have faltered, in which all must falter, save He only who was altogether righteous. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows that some such falls were necessary unto us in order to teach us humility, and full dependence upon Him alone. In order that he may truly eradicate the deepseated evils of our hearts-in order "to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"—it may be that it is needful for us to be permitted to feel the remorse caused by our failures, and the deeper penitence produced in us by actual experience of our frailty, nothingness, and
The knowledge of God's readiness to pardon is not an encouragement to sin. On the contrary, it is an encouragement to repentance that so we may become cleansed from all sin. The gracious promises of the Word were designed to preserve the soul from the devils of spiritual despair. "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin" (Ps. xxxii. 5). "The steps of a good man are ordered by tthe Lord: and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand" (Ps. xxxvii. 23, 24). All, alas! have sometimes gone aside from the narrow way, fainted in the race, turned back in the fight, been galled by the darts of the enemy. Let them not despair! Not all at once can the desert blossom as the There will be some failures, some blights, some unfruitful seeds and infertile spots, before the full conquest is realized of fertility over barrenness, of beauty over desolation.
There is only one thing more spiritually unhealthy than a morbid disposition to mope over our sinfulness, to go about mourning all our days, to be always thinking of the devils we cherish; and that is to be altogether careless about our spiritual state. If the physical correspondence of the former state is intense nervous irritability; insensibility, paralysis, is the correspondent of the latter. Just as physical health is the due mean between these two states, so spiritual health correspondently is the just balance between them.
It is not well to be constantly conscious that we have nerves: it is the presage of death when the nerves cease to act. The one state is the having of more vital force than we can utilize: the other is having less than we need. Of the two states, the former is the best. Who would hesitate in choosing between a conscience disproportionately tender, or a conscience disproportionately hard? The misfortune of of the world is that the tendency to hardness of heart is far more active and potent than the contrary. All can be hard without encouragement, while all need stimulating to penitence. The Word, which is so wisely adapted to all the states of men, is full of exhortations to deep feelings of sorrow for sin, of distress because of sin, of resolutions to shun all evils as sin; but it says very little indeed about the dangers of too much, or too deep, or too active, feelings of this sort. Having regard to the present states of man, the danger is not very serious. We have much greater reason to beware of shallow and transient states of feeling, than to beware of states of feeling which are too deep or too permanent. The truly Christian men and women are they who most humbly, most watchfully, most prayerfully, and continually seek "to shun all evil because it is a sin against God."
AN ADDRESS TO AGITATORS.
(Written on the occasion of the Rev. Dr. Bayley's visit to Horncastle, Feb. 1869.)
ALL hail, ye men who agitate
And battle for the right;
And weigh the dogmas, proofs, and laws
And persecute you too;
But the great Father calls you forth,
All hail, ye men who agitate
With feelings strong and deep,
Who rouse the zealots of the land,
And nobly struggle for the Truth!
All hail, ye men who agitate!
Our moral atmosphere
Needs stormy winds and thunder-claps
From miasma to clear.
Mind stagnates 'neath the summer's soft And enervating ray,
And needs the rude and bracing breeze Of winter's angry day.
But while you throw your thunderbolts,
Be careful lest your lightning's glare
All hail, ye men who agitate,
And scour our mental rust;
Who tear the cobwebs from our brains,
And sweep away the dust;
Who throw the healthy breeze of truth
On error's mould and blight,
And through the optics of the soul
Shoot startling rays of light!
The world will dub you demagogues,
But the Great Father calls you forth,
And gives you work to do.
Fulletby, Horncastle, February, 1869.
LIGHT ON THE LAST THINGS.
By WILLIAM B. HAYDEN. New York: Published by the General Convention. 1869.
THOSE who are familiar with the other writings of this author are aware that his great strength lies in a thorough acquaintance with the literal sense of the Word; not merely with the letter itself, but also with the less obvious truths which are involved by the literal expressions of Scripture. An acquaintance with this aspect of the Divine Word can only be made by reflection and study, it is to a large extent the result of experience, and all students of the Book of Life will be grateful to Mr. Hayden for many presentations of Scripture in his work on the Last Things, which are new. An illustration of this is contained in the chapter on Hades, which the author shews to be the scriptural name of the intermediate world of the departed :—
"Let us now read the opening passage of the 20th chapter of the Book of Revelation: 'And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him.'
I suppose we have all read this passage before a great many times, as we do many others, without reflecting much on its import, or getting a full idea of what its statements really imply. Let us call to mind the circumstances in which these words were spoken. There stood the apostle John, 'in the spirit,' seeing as to his spirit, in a state of holy vision, with his spiritual senses opened, looking out into the other world, witnessing occurrences taking place there. How do we know that he was not then looking into heaven nor into hell, but into a middle region in that world which is between them? We answer, because the passage itself distinctly declares it. Let us read it again: 'And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.' We see at once that the angel could not then have been in heaven, for John distinctly declares that he had just come down out of heaven. Heaven was above them both, as the two stood there, the one beholding the other.
"How do we know that the scene which the apostle then saw enacted was not in hell either? We answer again, because the declaration is equally clear with
hold on the dragon, bound him
Did he leave him there, in that
respect to that point. It says that the angel laid with his chain, and-what did he do with him? part of the spiritnal world in which the angel was then standing, and into which John was looking? No, obviously not. He cast him forth out of that world down into another, which was beneath, or below them, even into the bottomless pit,' in other words, into Gehenna, or hell, the lake of fire.
'Here, then, we have that middle world of the departed set before us, in the letter of the Word of God, as plainly as it is possible to describe anything in the world, and in accordance with what we have already mentioned, that that region is constantly represented as being on a general level with our earth, in close contact with it, and readily visible from it, as soon as any one's spiritual sight is opened to behold such objects."-pp. 55-57.
We cannot afford space for any more extracts, but the above will convey an excellent idea of the peculiarities of Mr. Hayden's style and treatment. The reader will observe that the author thoroughly makes out his point, and this is the more convincing because it is most likely that every reader of scripture, in going over the passage quoted from the Revelation, receives into his mind unconsciously, an impression of a third and intermediate world. But the idea lies quiescent in his mind, until it is drawn out and set plainly before his eyes, by some one who has grasped the real meaning of what is involved in the description. The whole of Mr. Hayden's disquisition in the two chapters on the "Sheol" of the Old Testament and "Hades" of the New Testament, is very interesting, and we think it will be new even to New Churchman to find that the world of spirits is so directly referred to throughout the whole of the sacred Scriptures.
T› give a general idea of the scope of the work we may mention some of the other subjects treated of; such as, seership; judgment; scriptural history of the spiritual world; the Lord's work there; the stability of the physical earth; the "second coming;" scientific confirmation; the New Jerusalem. The book is divided into short chapters, easy to read, and is got up in a style uniform with the Rev. Chauncey Giles' beautiful work on the "Nature of Spirit." It is elegantly and serviceably bound, and should find a place in every New Churchman's library.
THE WELCOME: A Book of Hymns, Songs, and Lessons, for the Children of the New Church. New York: Published by the General Convention of the New Jerusalem. 1869.
THE preface of this little book informs us that it " is designed to meet the wants felt in many Sunday-schools of having, instead of an accumu