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Her sons, in foreign land that died,
They sat them down in silence there,
“ Turn ye, my daughters ! turn again!
This said, the aged mother shed
Her daughters, weeping at her side,
Then Ruth arose-then Orphah rose,
“O mother, ask me not to part From thee, so lorn and sick of heart; Entreat me not that I should be Estrang'd from following after thee! When I receiv'd from thy glad hand My husband in any father's land, His I became; now thou to ine As husband art,-and dear as he! Then do not press me to betray That love, and turn from thee away. Two sisters are we, lone and sad; Two mothers have we to make glad; My sister shall return to find And comfort her I left behind : For me !-- wherever thou shalt go, I too will follow thee not slow; Where'er thou shalt thy dwelling make, I too will mine abode uptake,Attendant ever, I will be Thy comforter, to cherish thee; At morn, to rear thy pillow'd head Gently from slumber on thy bed; At noon, sweet solace to prepare, And tend thy tottering steps with care; At eve, fresh service to employ, And lead thee to thy couch in joy. Thy couch, thy cottage, shall be mine, One joy, one grief, our souls shall join! Thy God shall be my God; to me Thy people shall my people be: And where thou diest I will die, And there beside thee buried lie ;O mother, ask me not to part From thee, thus lorn and sick of heart!”
She spoke ;-her mother then forbore T entreat her from her purpose more; The elder sister took her way To Moab's land, her place of stay; The younger with her mother went With gentle footsteps westward bent, Till reach'd they Bethlehem's green ascent.
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generosity diminishes the amount of his obligaBY THE Rev. JOHN MACFARLANE,
tion. The appointment of Faith therefore, as the
way by which we are introduced to the blessings Minister of Collessie.
of the Gospel, is admirably adapted to induce that An attempt to be independent of God, seems to humble and dependent spirit
, which is itself an have been the cause of man's fall. To induce a essential part of our salvation. dependent spirit is one of the principal designs of This fundamental quality of Christian character, the revelation that makes known the means of his is usually called Faith in Christ
, and very properly recovery. Every creature, from the very law of so, because he is the special object towards whom its being, holds whatever it possesses and enjoys, it is exercised. But it comprehends a belief of by the favour of the Creator. And it should seem the whole record that has been given us upon
every intelligent creature that has retained authority of God. Just as the expressions, the its innocence, not only admits the existence, but cross of Christ, or Christ crucified, by an allusion rejoices in the consciousness of its unceasing obli- to the leading and peculiar doctrine of the Gosgations to divine goodness. It is not the least con- pel, are intended to include the whole, so Faith in clusive, therefore, of the evidences of our apostacy, Christ implies the belief of all the great truths that we should not only desire to be, but actually ima- which have a reference to the salvation of man gine that we are “as gods, knowing good and evil ;" through a mediator. that we should naturally dislike the idea of being Of this saving Faith, it may be remarked, in the indebted to a higher power, for every good quality first place, that it is the gift of God. This conthat can adorn our nature, and for every enjoy- "stitutes an essential point of difference between ment that can bless our lives.
saving Faith, and the simple belief of an undoubtBut the very language employed to denote the ed fact. It requires no supernatural operation updispositions that distinguish the believer, reminds on my mind to induce the belief that I am a morhim to whom he owes them all. The qualities he tal creature, but a divine influence can alone inpossesses are denominated graces, a word that re- duce the belief that I am a fallen and ruined fers them to a divine operation. Grace means creature. Wherein does the difference consist ? favour. It is the term hy which the unmerited Not in the manner of believing, but in the nature goodness and compassion of God to our fallen race, of the truths believed. There are not two ways is usually expressed.
By a very natural extension in which we can believe. But we cannot believe of its meaning, it is made use of to mark the ex- what we do not know. Now, in regard to the first istence of whatever good quality has been intro- of these statements, namely, that I am a mortal duced into the human breast. By such a form of creature, I can fully comprehend the proposition. expression the Christian is taught to view every I witness the universal operation of a law, that virtue he possesses, as the gift of him “who giveth consigos to death every living being upon earth. I unto all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” feel that the seeds of mortality are in my frame,
Faith lies at the foundation of all the other and, with an assurance as complete as that I live, graces of the Christian life, and is the source whence I know that I must die. But in the other truth,
Besides being the gift of God, namely, that I am a sinful and ruined creature, and as such, excluding the idea of personal merit there are many particulars involved, which I must in its possessor, it is a gift of such a kind, that its apprehend, before it can be said to be the object of possession, in the highest degree, can never be the my faith. I must have some adequate perception subject of self-estimation. The man who believes, of the nature of the law, of which sin is the upon undoubted evidence, that he is labouring transgression, and death the penalty. I must be under a grievous malady, can never value himself aware of my obligations to keep that law. I must on account of that belief; nor can he who is perceive that I have failed to do so; that the dedeeply indebted to a generous benefactor, ever gradation of my spiritual nature
, and my liability imagine that the consciousness of his friends to death, in all its latitude of meaning, is the nes
they all proceed.
cessary consequence of sin. All this I must know, I lay open, in prospect, the gates of paradise to not only as a matter of testimony, but of expe- those against whom they must be shut for ever. rience, for the subject is of a kind that addresses But the appointment of Faith as the means by itself to my personal consciousness, before I can which the righteousness of Christ is conteved to be said to have faith in the truth, that I am a man, for his re-admission to the divine favour, is sinful and ruined creature.
not an appointment of mere will. That which is And hence the necessity of a divine operation the instrument of his justification, becomes the in the production of Faith, not to bring into exist- means of his sanctification. The truths which ence a new faculty of mind, not to give the power are the objects of Faith, are of such a kind, that of using, in a new inanner, the faculties that already the belief of them restores the soul to boliness, exist but to awaken from the sleep in which sin which is just another word for salvation. Hence has lulled the soul, to dispel the cloud of igno- our blessed Saviour prays in behalf of his discirance with which sin has overspread the mind, to ples, “ Sanctify them through thy truth—thy word remove the disinclination to embrace the truth is truth.” To those who have misapprehended the with which sin has invested the heart. Without nature of the salvation which the Gospel provides
, that holy and quickening influence, there may be and our condition requires, it has ever appeared a general belief of Scripture facts, and a general unaccountable, that the possession of Faith should acquiescence in Scripture doctrines, as matters of be represented as primarily and indispensably retestimony and of opinion, but not as matters of quisite to secure its blessings. But when it is real knowledge and conviction. To open the eye considered that the great system of truth, of of the mind to the perception of the truth con- which Christ is the foundation and topmost stone, cerning our state, and the means of deliverance is that, the knowledge and belief of which is the from it, which is essential to the existence of sav- means of restoring the soul to the possession of irg Faith, is the special work of the Holy Spirit. spiritual excellence --when we remember, that the
As Faith is the gift of God, so is it a necessary Gospel of Christ is the instrument by which the gift. It has pleased God, who, it will be allowed, heart is melted into godly sorrow, and inspired may dispense his own favours as he may appoint, with love to God, and moulded into an assimilato limit the blessings of the Christian atonement tion to the pattern of all goodness, the necessity to those who believe. While the merit of that of Faith must vowerfully appear. It arises
, indeed, atonement is infinite, it is rendered available for from the very nature of the case ; for what can the salvation of those only who exercise Faith in the effect of the most solemn and affecting stateit. Among the numerous passages of Scripture, ments be upon those who disbelieve them? The illustrative of this truth, which must occur to the faith of the Gospel is not an assent to truth, which Christian reader, none are more conclusive than the has no practical and purifying tendency ; but a words of our blessed Redeemer himself, when in belief of truth, which, as soon as it is believed, structing an inquirer in the nature of the Reli- forms in the soul all the qualities which shall spring gion which he came to introduce, “ He that be- up to eternal life. lieveth is not condemned, but he that believeth Of this essential principle of the divine life it not, is condemned already, because he hath not be- is further to be observed, that it may be possessed lieved in the name of the only begotten Son of in different degrees. It has indeed been held as God.” Although we would not say of Faith, that an opinion, that Faith, being a simple act of the it is a condition of our pardon and acceptance, if mind,—an acquiescence in the divine testimony – that expression may be objected to, as savouring if it exist at all, it must be complete. Without
, somewhat of previous qualification upon the part however, entering into the minute and subtle disof the recipient of a free gift ; it may be truly said, tinctions which this question involves, the intithat it is the only channel through which pardon mations of Scripture upon this subject are sutiflows to man; that by the express appointment of ciently express and satisfactory. God, it is indispensable to our present acceptance, Abraham, that he was “strong in the faith.” An and to our future well-being ; that destitute, of apostle alludes to some of the saints in New Tesit, we are left under the penalty of a broken law, tament times, as being " weak in faith.” Our and involved in the additional guilt of presump- blessed Lord admonishes his disciples in such lantuously rejecting an offered deliverance. They guage as this, “() ye of little faith." And these who, notwithstanding the express and unequivocal disciples address this prayer to their Master, declarations of the word of truth upon this sub- “ Lord, increase our faith.” Such expressions can ject, would profess to be too charitable to suppose leave no doubt in the mind that takes its views that such importance will at last be attached to the from the unerring standard of inspiration, that the possession of Faith ; who, from a morbid sensibi- Faith of the Gospel may be possessed in different lity, or an over-weening conceit of their superior degrees, and that we may grow in it as in every judgment, as more liberal and enlightened than the other Christian attainment. contracted views of the Bible, would take leave to ted, that wherever true Faith really exists, there surmise, or more boldly to avow, that the absence will, in every case, be a full, and therefore an of this quality will not be a sufficient ground for equal, reliance upon the divine testimony ; but it exclusion from heaven; they impiously dare, not is not difficult to perceive, that divine truth may with the hand of charity, but of presumption, to be better known, more frequently present to the
We read of
It is readily admitmind, and more influential upon the feelings and thrown out of his charge by persecution.
The place conduct of one individual than of another, and
where I heard him was in the hall of Killechan, when
he lectured on the 129th Psalm. Then and there I even of the same individual at different times.
fell in love with the Word and ordinances of God, and What believer has not felt, that at certain seasons,
have, through grace and under several tribulations, adexternal temptations were apt to prevail, and hered to the purity of doctrine, discipline, government worldly and self-righteous thoughts to arise with- and worship, which is now established in the Church in him, from the want of a full and realizing view of Scotland. After my heart was thus disposed seof the truths of religion, or in other words, from
riously to work out my own salvation, I fell under the weakness of his Faith? As in a sound and great discouragement, tirst, because of my ignorance, vigorous bodily constitution all the parts grow rience.
and, secondly, because of my want of Christian expe
As to the first, the Lord made me hope it together, so as to promote the strength and sym- would be cured ; and the word on which he caused me metry of the whole, so the increase of each of the to hope was, “ Yca, if thou criest after knowledge, and graces of the Christian life will correspond with liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest the growth of the rest. Our faith will become her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasure ; more extensive in its range of objects, in propor- find the knowledge of God.”—Prov. ii. 3—5.
then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and
He tion as our views of Divine truth become more bore this word on my mind, and I took it as the accurate and enlarged. As the existence of pre- ground of my sure hope ; and I must own, to his glory, judice, and the love of sin, are the greatest ob- that he has sent his word and healed me of this plague stacles to the reception of the truth, so the strength in a competent measure. As to my discouragement of our faith will advance with our progressive ad for want of experience, the Lord brought to my mind vancement in holiness.
the words of Hosea,-- Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord : his going forth is pre
pared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as JOHN STEVENSON, AN AYRSHIRE CHRISTIAN OF the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.'THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.
Hos. vi. 3. And from this I was made to hope, that
the Lord would, in due time, acquaint me with the exNo. I.
perience I wanted, and grant me especially an experiCOMMUNICATED BY THE Rev. DUNCAN MACFARLAN, mental knowledge of himself. And I own, to his praise,
that he has been as good as his word. Minister of Renfrew.
“ On the back of this, I was violently assaulted with The following memorial, which contains a characteristic atheistical thoughts of God, and so far oppressed with sample of the practical Christianity of our pious fore them, that my bodily strength became impaired therefatbers, is conceived and expressed in language still fami- by to a great degree. At that time I was ignorant of liar to the great bulk of the people, and all its state- Satan's devices, and too closely kept the devil's secrets, ments are duly authenticated. In proof of this last by not unfolding my distressed case to some Christian property, we shall here subjoin the original attestation friend. But this I always found, that these unworthy prefixed to the entire narrative when first published:- thoughts of God filled me with horror, and I neither
What you have in the sheets I sent, I wrote from his allowed them nor entertained them. But, at the time, papers, and from his mouth. Many ministers in Car- I could not discern that they were Satan's fiery darts, rick, and eminent Christians, have frequently heard but charged them on myself, which increased my trouhim tell the matters of fact' which you have before ble. However, it pleased the merciful God to rebuke you, He was the most eminently pious man I ever the tempter, by making the divine perceptions shine in knew, adorned with all the Christian graces and vir- on my soul, while I was gazing on that wonderful part tues.
His life was a life of prayer, meditation, and of creation—the sea. And he gradually manifested holiness. He was a good husband, one of the best himself to me more and more, when viewing his works, parents, a kind neighbour, a choice Christian friend. till at length I saw his glorious being and perfections He excelled in meekness, modesty, and sympathy; shine forth brightly even in a drink of water with shined in every station and relation wherein God placed which I refreshed myself, and afterwards in every pile him. And, in a word, he was one of the most know- of grass and every flower in the field, till I was thus ing, judicious, solid, devout Christians I ever was ac- made firmly to believe that he is, and that he is the requainted with. I appeal to all the ministers and Chris- warder of them that diligently seek him. This happy tians in Carrick for the truth of the above character, outgate from the fearful pit and miry clay, filled my and for the matters of fact contained in this tract. soul with great joy and delight; and long after, I was (Signed) “ WM. CUPPLES, Minister."
enabled to read God in all his creatures, with great sa" Kirkoswald, 20th May 1729."
tisfaction.* “ MY DEAR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, • It may be interesting to some, to compare with this a similar Knowing that I must shortly put off this tabernacle, experience of the great Edwards, who, though eminent in the pos.
session of intellectual gifts, was, nevertheless, dependent for such and being fully persuaded of the reality that is in Reli
views of God and his works, on the same divine teacher with this gion, and that godliness is great gain, I cannot but leave Ayrshire peasant. " Not long after I first began to experience
these things, I gave an account to my father of some things that some testimony behind me, of my real concern for your had passed in my mind. I was pretty much affected by the disnever-dying souls, which I choose to commit to writ- course we had together. And when the discourse was ended, I ing, that, when I am gathered to my fathers, ye may at
walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my father's pasture, for
contemplation. And as I was walking there, and looked up on the your leisure read what God has done for my soul, and sky and clouds, there came into iny mind a sweet sense of the glo; may be thence encouraged to set your hope in God. I
rious majesty and grace of God, that I knew not how to express. !
seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunction-majesty and shall, in the first place, give you an account of some meekness joined together. It was a sweet, and gentle, and holy exercises of soul I have met with in my pilgrimage.
majesty, and also a majestic meekness; an awful sweetness; a high,
and great, and holy gentleness. After this, my sense of divine " The first time I found my heart sensibly engaged things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and to the good word and way of the Lord, was in the days bring was altered: "There seemed
to be, as it'were, a calm sweet of my youth, when there was little or no open vision, because faithful pastors were driven into corners. The excelleney, his wisdom, his purity and love seemed to appear in
every thing; in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue Lord, in his providence, brought me to hear Mr Thomas
sky, in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water and all nature, which Kennedy, once minister in Lasswade, but at tbis time used greatly to fix my mind, I often used to sit and view the moon
“ After a considerable time_1678_I heard Mr John whose faithfulness and mercy endure to all generaCunningham, in the churchyard of Kirkmichael, preach- tions?' ing on—' Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as “ Though, after this sensible and sweet covenanting though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in with God, on the Hill of Craigdow, I always studied Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.'--2 Cor. v. to improve this covenant relation with God, according 20. What he mainly insisted on was, that, by nature, to my various conditions, temptations, necessities, and we are in a state of enmity against God, and had need distresses, yet the most memorable time of my renew. to be reconciled to him. When he opened up this state ing this covenant was at Craigdarroch in Nithsdale, in of enmity against God, I was filled with fear, that I the year 1686, where, in secret prayer, the Lord diswas still in that state; yea, I was persuaded and con- posed me to do so, and wonderfully condescended to vinced in my apprehension that I was so. I was made | bring me, as it were, nigh to his seat, and filled my to see clearly the evil and danger of being in such a mouth with arguments ; allowing me to plead with him state; and the answer of the Almighty stuck fast in as a man does with a reconciled friend. There, I was me, I concluding that I was one of the unwise sons helped with great enlargement, to renew and adhere to that had stuck long in the place of the breaking forth the everlasting covenant; and there the kind God maof children, and had not got fully out of the state of nifested himself to me otherwise than to the world. nature. When he came to apply his doctrine, he ex- And I may say, that truly my fellowship was with the horted all to come out of this state of enmity, and ex- Father and his Son Jesus Christ, in as sensible a way, postulated seriously with us, in order to enforce the and eminent a degree, as ever I met with, before or exhortation. Both doctrine and application had great since, although many times he has been kind to my weight with me, and made me go away, longing to be soul." reconciled to God, and resolved never to be easy till [In his after experience he had many changes, and it were so. After this, and on the 12th of August of was sometimes in very deep distress. But we shall the same year, I heard Mr John Welsh, on Craigdow add only one other extract, as farther illustrative of the Hill, who preached on the same text, but insisted chief. inward exercise of his mind.] ly on—' We beseech you, be ye reconciled to God.' “Some time after this, our minister not being able to In speaking to these words, the Lord helped his servant, preach, I went to Girvan on the Sabbath, to hear Mr not only to shew what it was to be reconciled to God, Stewart, and as he closed his forenoon sermon, Satan but also earnestly to press reconciliation, and to make stood at my right hand to resist me, and charged me a free, full, and pressing offer of glorious Christ, as with my filthy garments, setting all my sins and the Mediator and the great peacemaker, who was to make plagues of iny heart before me. Between sermons I up the breach, and bring about this much needed recon- retired to the fields, to think on a text of Scripture ciliation. Being fully convinced how greatly I needed which came to my mind, and suited my case. The this reconciliation and days-man, who is the only way words were these, “If we say that we have no sin, wè to the Father, with all my heart and soul did I cor- deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we dially and cheerfully make the offer welcome; and, confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our without known guile, I did accept of and receive glo- sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – rious Christ, on his own terms, and in all his media- 1 John i. 8. 9. From this I saw that it was most contorial oflices; and I did give myself away to the Lord sistent with the faithfulness and justice of God, to forin a personal and perpetual covenant, never to be for- give his people their sins, and that he was by these gotten ; accepting of God for my Lord and my God, attributes engaged to do so. Wherefore I concluded, and resolving, that though strange lords had had do that though I was very guilty, yet God was just ard minion over me, yet henceforth, I would be called only faithful to forgive his people's sins. On this it was by his name, whom I had thus avouched for my only gested, that he was indeed faithful forgive sin, God and Lord. Upon this I took the heavens, earth, but it was only his people’s sin ; and I was desired to and sun that was shining upon us, as also the ambas- shew, by Scripture marks, that I was one of them. I sador that made the offer, the clerk that raised the owned the truth of this suggestion, and endeavoured to psalms, to witness in the great judgment day, that I read my evidences of grace. But alas! the enemy had had uprightly and cheerfully entered into this ever- taken me at a catch; for the cloud I was under was lasting marriage covenant, and resolved, through grace, so great that I could not see to read my character. to be stedfasť in his covenant till death. After this Nevertheless, I was sure of one mark, namely, that I my soul was filled with joy and peace in believing. loved the brethren, even all who bore God's image. It was a joy unspeakable and full of glory, I having But it was again suggested, that one swallow did not now got good hope through grace, that though he was make summer, and that one mark did not prove me & angry, yet now his anger was turned away, and he had real Christian. This so confounded me, that the enemy become my salvation. I rejoiced in the thought of my was permitted to rejoice over me, and trample new relationship to God the Saviour, and felt the ra- and hope, for three full weeks; whereupon I resolved vishing sweetness of a reconciled state'; and went away that I would no longer keep the devil's secrets, but firmly resolving, that I would walk all my days in the would open my case to some of God's messengers, exercise of humility and repentance ; that I would fear if happily I might find an interpreter, one among a thouthe Lord and remember his goodness, in having conde- sand, that could shew unto man his uprightness. To scended to stoop so low as to pardon a rebel, and be my own minister I could not go, for he was himself in reconciled and pacified towards me, after all I had trouble at the time. Therefore, I went to Mr Stewart done. And all my bones do even now cry out, “Who and opened my case to him. But comfort found 1 none ; is a God like unto thee, a God keeping covenant, and for the comforter that should and only could relieve to for a long time; and so, in the daytime, spent much time in view- soul, was yet far from me. Having taken my leave of ing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these Mr Stewart, Satan assured me that I was acting with things; in the meantiine singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce any thing
the basest hypocrisy; saying I was in distress, when among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and there was no such thing, and that I bad not lied to man lightning. Formerly, nothing had been so terrible to me. to be a person uncommonly terrified with thunder, and it used to
only, but also to the Holy Ghost. This new accusa, strike me with terror when I saw a thunder-storm rising. But now, tion greatly perplexed me; being on the Thursday, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God at the first appcarance of a thunder-storm, and used to take an opportunity at such times,
was sorely buffeted till the following Sabbath, when, to fix myself to view the clouds and see the lightnings play, and hear early in the morning, Scripture marks of my interest in the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder, which oftentimes was exceeding entertaining ; leading me to sweet contemplations of
Christ did throng into my mind, with great sweetness my great and glorious God.".
and power. I was now able to read my evidences, and