with deep concern, whether this circumstance may that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart not more probably be owing to thy unwarrantable faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and compliance with the maxims and manners of the my portion for ever.” Such were the sentiments worlil, and to thy want of conformity to the char- of man in his original dignity and glory. He was acter and example of the blessed Redeemer, than made for the enjoyment of God; and the enjoy. to any change of sentiments in ungolly men. of ment of God constituted his supreme selicity, as this, however, rest assured, that the spirit of the the image of God constituted the perfection oi world has always been in opposition to the spirit his nature. Upon the fatal apostacy of man, he of the Gospel, and will always continue to be so; lost this image, and forfeited every claim to this and that the same spirit which persecuted the enjoyment: the affections, of consequence, have meek and holy Jesus when on earth, will again received a wrong direction, and have since wallpersecute his image in thy person, if thou shalt dered from one object to anoiher in quest of hapbe found truly to bear that image. It is very piness, without ever being able to find it here betrue, if thou art satisfied with this world as a por- low. But when, by the faith which is in Christ tion, and content to follow the course of the Jesus, the soul is restored to the favour of God, world, with heedless security, thou mayest be al sanctified by his Spirit, and transformed into his lowed to pass on unmolested and unnoticed. But image, then the affections return to God as their if thou hast been warned of the danger of such a proper object, and the soul rests upon him with course; is thou hast been admonished that the supreme coinplacency and delight. Such a mau end thereof is death; if thou hast been persuaded may be deprived of riches, and honours, and to turn thy back upon the world, to flee from the friends, and other earthly comforts, but his soul wrath to come, and to press forward in an oppo- was not set upon these as a portion: the object of site direction, towards the mark for the prize of his happiness is in heaven, and infinitely above the high cailing of God in Christ Jesus; in that the vicissitudes of time and sense; therefore, bis case, expect with certainty, to meet with many an happiness is secure.

Such a man may be even angry countenance, with many an ungracious troubled on every side, yet is he not distressed; thrust, and sometimes even with a partial over- he may be perplexed, but he is not in despair ; ke throw.

may be persecuted, but he will not be forsaken; Let not the humble followers of Jesus, how- and when the Lord lifts up the light of his counever, be discouraged by the prospect of these for- tenance upon him, lie puts gladness in his heart

, milable trials; for however numerous and power- more than in the time when the corn and wine of ful their enemies may be, yet greater is He that his persecutors are increased. This naturally leads is for them, than all that can be against them; me to observe that, however great and complicated their sufferings, As the object, so is also the nature, of the proportionally rich and abundant will be their con- Christian's happiness, such as to justify the assolations.

sertion, that he is happy in the midst of external II. To shew that real Christians are happy sufferings. By the nature, I do not mean the pereven in the midst of their present sufferings. "If manency or stability of the Christian's happiness, ye suffer for righteousness' sake,” says the apostle, but the quality of those pleasures, in which his

happy are ye." And the truth of the assertion chief happiness may be said to consist. These will abundantly appear, if we consider the object, pleasures are not of a carnal, but of a spiritual the nature, and the foundation of the Christian's nature; they operate not merely on the animal happiness. In the opinion of the world, happi- spirits, or the external senses, but have their seat ness is supposed only, and always, to arise from in the soul, the nobler part of man. In short, the possession of those objects on which the men they arise from a sense of the pardon of sin, and of the world set the highest value, whether riches, of peace with an offended God, from the sanctior honour, or power, or friends ; and he who las fying influences of the Holy Spirit, and the joysecured, or who possesses, the greatest share of ful anticipations of immortal glory. When these these, is generally styled the happiest man. But are the attainments of the Christian, with what how incapable are such objects of conferring cheerful resignation will he receive the salutary substantial happiness on à rational, immortal chastisements of his Heavenly Father ! with what soul! how disproportioned to its immense de transcendent dignity will he look down on the sires! how ill adapted to its eternal duration! impotent rage of his malicious enemies! with how precarious the tenure by which they are what calın composure will he expect the issue af secured! how liable to disappointment, to vexa- his Father's will! With such transporting views tion, to wretchedness, is every man who sets his he will exult on a bed of sickness, and triumph heart upon them!

at the prospect of dissolution. Not so the Christian. His happiness is placed Bear testimony, you who have tasted that the beyond the reach of accident, and the fear of Lord is gracious, with what complete indifference change ; for it is fixed upon God: a God recon- you have viewed this poor world, in comparison ciled through Jesus Christ is the supreme ohject with his favour! Bear testimony, in those happy of his happiness and desire. Thou art my por-moments, when, in the confidence of a lively tion,” does he say, “ O Lord.” “ Whom have I faith, in the ardour of unfeigned love, and with in heaven but thee; and there is none upon earth the fervour of pure devotion, you have been pera

This leads me,


[ocr errors]

mitted to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus Christ. Such is the foundation of the beJesus; as members of his spiritual body, to call liever's happiness. Justly, then, does the apostle God, Father ; to realise and to appropriate the say to these early converts, “ If ye suffer for benefits of the Redeemer's purchase ; and in the righteousness' sake, happy are ye.” Nor is the present circumstances of his grace, to anticipate privilege peculiar to them, but equally the portion the joys of his promised salvation. Bear testi- of every sincere believer of the present day, who, mony how, in such happy moments, the pleasures in the triumphant language of the Psalmist, may and the pursuits, the hopes and the fears, the suf- exclaim, “ God is our refuge and strength, a very ferings and enjoyments, of a present world, have present help in trouble: Therefore will not we vanished from before you. On such occasions, fear, though the earth be removed, and though have you feared the opposition of ungodly men ? the mountains be carried into the midst of the has the scorn of the profane appeared formidable sea." “ Cast not away therefore your confidence, to your view ? have you been overwhelmed by which hath great recoinpense of reward.” Fear the heaviest afflictions? or has death itself been not amid surrounding and persecuting enemies ; considered as an object of dismay ? On the con- only believe, and you shall see the salvation of trary, have you not been enabled to say with the the Lord,-a salvation which will be inconceivapostle, “ We are persuaded, that neither death, ably enhanced by the recollection of your present nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, sufferings. nor things present, nor things to come, nor height,

From what has been said, we may learn, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able 1. That the sufferings of real Christians in this to separate us from the love of God, which is in life, so far from being tokens of the divine disChrist Jesus our Lord.” Few real Christians, pleasure, are merely temporary trials, intended to perhaps, there are, who have not enjoyed such promote their ultimate happiness,—that they suffer happy seasons, during some period of their spi- only by the will of God, and that they are happy ritual life. Bear testimony, then, to the conde- even when they suffer. Nor is the doctrine illusscending goodness of the Lord; pray that he may trated above a solitary proof of this comfortable * maintain what he has wrought for you; and let truth. Abundant additional evidence will be found

the humility, and holiness, and active usefulness to arise froin the character of God, from the deof your lives, exhibit evidence of the grateful clarations of Scripture, and from the experience of sentiments of your hearts.

believers in all ages. But alas ! may some humble Christian exclaim, In contemplating the divine character, it is the such was once my joyful experience; and “ I said inestimable privilege of Christians, to be directed in my prosperity, I shall never be moved." But by a species of information on which the mind how much otherwise is it now! “ Behold (now) rests with perfect and pleasing satisfaction. UnI go forward, but he is not there ; and backward, like the irreverent and incoherent dreams of heabut I cannot perceive him : on the left hand, then philosophy, which represented the Deity as a where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he weak and capricious being, who scattered benefits lideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot and miseries with a partial or indiscriminating hand, see him.” And when I commune with my heart, or as a being too great, too indolent, or too much I am ready to say with the Psalmist, “ Will the engrossed by pleasure, to take any concern in the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable affairs of mortals, the sacred oracles lead us to no more ? Is his merey clean gone for ever? doth view God as a being possessed indeed of infinite his promise fail for evermore ?”. Are these thy majesty and glory, but at the same time, of the feelings, O sincere believer ? yet be not overmuch most diffusive benevolence and condescending cast down by this afflicting dispensation; but con- goodness ; humbling himself to behold the things template, for thy comfort, the foundation of the that are done in heaven and on earth,-as superChristian's happiness.

intending and arranging the affairs of this world, Did the ultimate happiness or salvation of be- so that not even a sparrow falleth to the ground lievers depend on any temporary frame or feeling without him,—as possessed of infinite knowledge, of their own minds, it is very certain that many so that he searcheth the hearts, and trieth the of the most eminent saints on earth might often reins of the children of men,-as of purer eyes ne pronounced of all men the most miserable. than to behold evil,—and as angry with the wicked No! the Christian's happiness rests not on so every day,--as possessed of infinite wisdom, and incomfortable a foundation : it is founded on the undeviating justice, to regulate his conduct, and mmovable basis of the eternal purposes and love of irresistible power, to execute his purposes.f God; and this constitutes at once its security and as so loving the children of men, as to give nd perfection. His people were chosen by him his own Son to be the propitiation for their sins.

Christ before the foundation of the world, Now, if under the administration of so wise, so at they might be holy, and without blame be-just, so powerful and gracious a being, it really ore him in love. They are elect according to happens that the comparatively pure and upright ne foreknowledge of God the Father. They are, as we have seen, subjected to equal, or to e kept by the power of God through faith unto greater sufferings than the openly profane, it must lvation. And he who has begun a good work happen, either that all mankind are equally the

them, will assuredly perform it unto the day of objects of the divine displeasure, or that the sufferings of those whom God regards with com- | cried, “ Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ve placency, are intended for their good. The will take Benjamin away; all these things are former conclusion no Christian can admit, and against me," was at that moment the object of therefore, the latter follows by unavoidable conse- God's peculiar care ; and could his faith have

peo quence.

netrated through the veil of a little time and space

, But in order still more to increase the comfort he would have seen that Joseph was still alive and of believers, the Lord has been pleased to add to well ; that Simeon and Benjamin were soon to the unquestionable deductions of reason, the clear meet him in happiness and comfort ; and that he and repeated declarations of Revelation. Thus, himself, and his whole family, were, by means of he says to his ancient people :—“ Thou shall also these perplexing circumstances, to be remored consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth from famine, and threatened extinction, to ease. his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." tranquillity and plenty. But time would fail me Again, says the inspired author of the book of to enumerate the instances in which the sufferings Proverbs,—“ Whom the Lord loveth, he cor- of the ancient saints were made the means of conrecteth, even as a father the son in whom he de- veying to them the most substantial benefits. lighteth." And again, in the book of Job,— Even in the present time, I trust that there are “ Behold, happy is the man whom the Lord cor- many—yea, that there are now hearing me not a recteth, therefore, despise not thou the chastening few sincere, but humble Christians, who can set of the Almighty; for he maketh sore, and bind their seal to the truth of this cheering doctrine. eth up ; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. from their own joyful experience; I trust that He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in seven there are many who, in the review of their pasi there shall no evil touch thee.". In like manner, lives, and even in the midst of present sufferings says the Apostle Paul,—“ Our light affliction, can lay their hand upon their breast, and 195 which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far with the holy Psalmist, “ It is good for me tha: Í more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” have been afflicted.” Which leads me to observe, And the Apostle James,—“Blessed is the man that that, endureth temptation : for when he is tried, he shall 2. From what has been said, we may learn : receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath form a proper estimate of our own character, from promised to them that love him.”

the influence of sufferings on our temper and eurSuch gracious declarations from the mouth of duct. The Lord does nothing in vain. In a God, who cannot lie, ought, it should be ima- especial manner, he “ doth not afflict willingh, gined, to satisfy the minds of the most timid nor grieve the children of men.” If he prunes Christians. But that their consolation and joy the branches of his vine, it is that they may bring might be complete, another species of evidence is forth more fruit; and if Christians are called to mercifully afforded : and the testimony of expe- endure afflictions, it is that they may learn to sanerience and of sense is superadded to that of rea- tify the Lord God in their hearts. Let us thea son and of faith. When the alarming mandate examine ourselves with deep concern on this insounded in the ears of Abraham—“ Take now teresting subject. Few there are amongst us u to thy son, thine only son Isaar, whom thou lovest, have not, at some period of our lives, been visitri and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer by sufferings. What effects, then, have these prohim there for a burnt-offering, upon one of the duced upon our temper and conduct? Hare the mountains which I shall tell thee of;" how must rendered us more humble in the sight of God, the feelings of the parent have struggled with the more meek, more patient, more resigned—more faith of the believer !—how must the dictates of grateful for the blessings which he has yet contireason and of sense have revolted against the au- nued with us, especially for his unspeakable gif, thority even of the divine command! But in the the Lord Jesus Christ? Have they served to issue of the conflict, how glorious was his reward ! wean our hearts from an immoderate attachment —the son whom he had sacrificed in the resolu- to the things of this world—to convince us thi

: tion and purpose of his mind, was restored alive this is not our rest—and to persuade us to buả to his embraces—a seed innumerable as the stars for a better country, that is, an heavenly? Have of heaven was promised to his obedience—and he they made us more circumspect in our condut, obtained the honourable appellation of father of more holy in our hearts, and more devoted to God? the faithful. When Joseph was sold as a slave in our whole man? If they have produced these, into a foreign country, and lay iinmured, for eight and other similar effects, let us give God the glory

, long years, in all the horrors of a dungeon, was it and implore the continuance of his favour, that because his God had cast him off for ever? No; we may still more and more advance towards pero the Lord was with him still, and in due time raised fection—that, forgetting the things which are dehim up to be the chief governor over all the land hind, and reaching forth unto those things which of Egypt, the saviour of that mighty nation, and are before, we may press towards the mark, far the happy preserver of his father's family, and the prize of the high calling of God in Christ even of the Church of God. In like manner, his Jesus. If they have not produced in us soch father Jacob, when, by the pressure of reiterated effects as these-if, on the contrary, they have atlictions, his mind was sunk into a gloomy de- tended to sour our temper, to give an asperity and spondency, and in the bitterness of his soul he harshness to our manners, and to make us mur.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


mur and repine at the dispensations of Providence, floor; or, where there is a gallery, it is exclusively aplet us take heed lest we be like that earth which, propriated to their use; but, whatever be their station, bearing thorns and briers, is rejected, and is nigh

they are screened from the observation of the men by a

wooden lattice. tinto cursing ; whose end is to be burned.

' Every synagogue has a chassan, or reader and

chanter; one or more clerks for the inanagement of A DESCRIPTION OF JEWISH SYNAGOGUES. pecuniary and other matters; and one or more persons

whose duty it is to keep the place clean and in good TRE. "To constitute a congregation for the performance of order, to trim the lamps, light the candles, open and

: public worship, requires, according to the decisions of shut the doors, keep the keys, and attend at all times

the rabbies, at least ten men who have passed the 13th of prayer. These persons receive salaries out of the Thai year of their age. In all places in which this or a larger public stock of the synagogue to which they belong.

number of Jews can be statedly assembled, they pro- There are also wardens appointed; who form a kind of cure a synagogue.

For a small congregation they con- committee of elders, to superintend and direct the finan. tent themselves with a hired room, but where they are cial, eleemosynary, and other general business of the 9. numerous they often erect a large and respectable build-congregation. che ing for the purpose.

Folding and unfolding the law, bearing it in proThey prefer the highest ground that can be obtain- cession through the synagogue, elevating it on the al. ed in a convenient situation, and suffer no Jew to build tar to be seen by all the people present, reading cer

dwelling-house in the neighbourhood, of superior or tain lessons on particular days, and other public services, SA" even of equal height. The accommodations are not are performed by various Israelites at different times, con always equally handsome or plain ; but every synagogue

But each of these functions is accounted a high honour, Em is fumished with a suitable number of long forms or and whenever it occurs, the privilege of discharging it Fett: benchies, generally with backs.

Closets and presses

is put up to public auction, and assigned to the best are also provided for keeping books and cloaks. Lamps bidder. One of the clerks of the synagogue acts the

and chandeliers are alfixed and suspended in different part of auctioneer, and the monies arising from these i les

paris, to give light to the whole. Near the door or sales are paid into the general stock."

doors are placed little boxes, to receive voluntary con- “ Indiyiduals who are well versed in the Talmud in tributions for the poor.

easily obtain the title of rabbi; which is little more " Wherever the Jews live, they turn their faces, in than an honorary distinction among their brethren. In prayer, towards the land of Canaan The door, or if every country or large district, the Jews have an offithere be more than one, the principal door of a syna- cer, denominated, in some places, a chief or presiding

gogne is therefore placed at or near the opposite point rabbi, and in others, a chacam. He bears a spiritual 1 of the coinpass.

In this and the neighbouring coun- authority, and, as far as is compatible with the laws of B. tries, all structures for that purpose are built as nearly the country, exercises also a civil jurisdiction. The cast and west as the situation will admit,

principal engine to enforce compliance with his deci1 At the end opposite to the entrance is a closet or sions is the terror inspired by the ecclesiastical censures,

chest, which they call the ark, in allusion to the ark of excommunications, and anathemas which he has power

the covenant in the ancient temple; and in which they to denounce, and the direful effects of which are sup** deposit the book of the law, used in reading the lessons posed to extend beyond the present life. He takes che in the public service. Every copy of the pentateuch cognizance of all cases of adultery, incest, violation of for the use of a synagogue required to be in manu

the Sabbath or any of the fasts or festivals, and apos. seript. The rabbies have furnished their disciples with tacy; of marriages, divorces, and commercial contracts: numerous rules of transcription, which are required to he hears and determines appeals against decisions of be most accurately observed, and a failure in any of inferior rabbies within his district ; decides all difficult which frustrates all the labour. It is to be written questions of the law, and preaches three or four serwith ink made of certain prescribed ingredients, in the mons in a year. To some of these cases fees are at. $qlare character, without points. It is not to be in the tached, and the office is accompanied with a respectturin of modern books, but in a volume or roll, accordable salary. In this country there are two of these ing to the custom of ancient times. The roll consists officers: the Chief Rabbi of 'the German and Polish of long pieces of parchment, sewed together with Jews, and the Chacam of the Spanish and Portuguese thongs cut out of the skin of some clean animal; and Jews. is roiled up from both ends, on two wooden staves.

“ The rabbies have delivered many particular direcFor its preservation it is cased with linen or silk; an- tions which are deemed necessary to be followed, in other silk covering is added as an ornament. The ends attending the synagogue, by all who have a due reveof the staves are more or less ornamented, according to rence for what they call their little sanctuary. But the ability of the owner : some are covered with silver, however exact or scrupulous may be their observance in the shape of pomegranates; some have at the top a of some insignificant punctilios, an extreme want of Coronet of silver, to which little bells are appended. reverence has long been the chief characteristic of what To make such a transcript of the law and present it to

is called their public worship. A century and a half 2 syn.gogue, is deemed a very meritorious service; and ago, one who had often witnessed the services in the lie number of them varies, in different congregations, synagogues of Germany, has recorded that they were according to the number, wealth, generosity, and re

seldom conducted with any order or common decency, puted sanctity of their members.

but generally betrayed the most detestable confusion. “ Near the middle is a desk or altar, formed by a The Italian and Portuguese Jews he has represented as raised platform surrounded by a wooden rail, and gene- maintaining greater decorum. The same remarks are Dally large enough to receive several persons, either applicable in the present day. In the Portuguese syna

ading or sitting. From this place, the law is regu- gogue there is, sometimes at least, an appearance of Hurly read, and lectures or sermons are sometimes de sober attention to the service in which they are proGrered.

Yo benches or scats are admitted between fessedly engaged. The deplorable scene exhibited in Eire aitar and the ark.

* In congregations where any of the members are wealthy, five, " Tlie women are not allowed to mix with the men, ten, fiftcen, twenty pounds, are common prices on these occasions.

I have been informed that, a few years ago, the privilege of reading -ilt a separate part is allotted to them on the same

the book of Jonah on the day of Atonement, in the principal Ger

man synagogue in London, was once purchased for two hundred • From " Modern Judaism." By John Allen. London, 1816. pounds.



the German synagogues cannot be more correctly des. thy Father, which is in secret: and thy Father, which cribed than in the following language of a recent public seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Matt. si. cation :-' The fathers and princes of Israel, on their 17, 18. return from their captivity in Babylon,

wept with a

10. But our Lord seems, even beyond this, to antic. loud voice,' when they compared the dwindled beauty pate a time, when fasting was to become more common of the second temple, with the glory and splendour of in the Christian Church, than it had been during his the first, which they had once seen in all its magnifi- | personal ministry. The disciples of John put to kim

What then would have been the grief and dis- the question, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oti, may of these holy men, had they lived to enter a mo- but thy disciples fast not ? And Jesus said unto them, dern synagogue ! where, instead of the beauty of holi- Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, as long ness, a magnificent service, and a temple filled with as the bridegroorn is with thein ? But the days w... the immediate presence of Jehovah, they should see a come when the bridegroom shall be taken from there, rabble transacting business, making engagements, and and then shall they fast." Matt. ix. 14, 15. walking to and fro in the midst of public prayers ; ll. The bridegroom was taken from them, and it children at their sports; every countenance, with very strict accordance with this saying of our Lord, fasting few exceptions, indicating the utmost irreverence and became much more frequent. That private and per. unconcern; and their chief rabbi sitting by, and seem- sonal fasting became common, is manifest from an ind. ing to care for none of these things ; indeed, to speak dental passage occurring in the First Epistle to the Core without any intentional exaggeration, the modern syna- inthians : “ Defraud ye not one the other, except it he gogue exhibits an appearance of very little more devo- with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to tion than the Stock Exchange, or the public streets of fasting and prayer." vii. 5. That Churchies observe? the metropolis at noon-day.'

fasting we know from what is recorded of the Church of Antioch, when about to send Paul and Barnabas on

a mission to the Gentiles. " As they ministered to the ON FASTING AS A CHRISTIAN DUTY.

Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said separate me Baru PART II.

nabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called

them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and l.. BY THE Rev. DUNCAN MACFARLAN,

their hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts 1" Minister of Renfrew.

2, 3. And respecting cases of ordination, it is saic

that " when they had ordained them elders in every 8. NATIONAL fasting is expressly enjoined in the Church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended Old Testament. Thus, in Joel, “ Sanctify ye a fust, them to the Lord." Acts xiv. 23. call a solemn assembly, gather the elders, and all the 12. We are not aware, indeed, of any instanet i inhabitants of the land, into the house of the Lord your national fasting in the New Testament. The perio“. God, and cry unto the Lord.” i. 14. Again, “ Blow cal fasts of the Jews were doubtless observed by the the trunpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn as- first Christians; but as these were not of Christian c. sembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, gin they are not fair instances. But as we have not the assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that history of any Christian nation, or even of any beatba suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his nation, repenting and humbling themselves before God, chamber, and the bride out of her closet : let the priests as did the Ninevites, the mere absence of such of tiru the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and rence is of no weight against the evidence of both the the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, Old and New Testament on fasting in general, and and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the hea- special evidence of the former in support of nanti then should rule over them: wherefore should they say fasting. And therefore we ought, as we concert, among the people, Where is their God?" ii. 15–17. to admit the doctrine of fasting in general, as aprel

From these examples, occurring as they do in the cable to both dispensations, and to be observed by 3 history of both Jews and Gentiles, it is quite clear that dividuals, churches and nations, as circumstances 123 fasting is not to be resolved into any mere rite, which require. should terminate in Christ; and neither does it belong 13. And here we might at once stop, as having to any one condition or relation of life, but belongs before us the sum of whatever is recorded in Scripture equally to families and individuals, to churches and na- on the subject. It may not, however, be uninterest tions, and may be enforced in either by lawful authority. ing to observe, that as we find fasting going down with The only question, therefore, which remains, is, whether the apostles to the close of their age, so it appears there be any notice of the continued obligation of this among the earliest notices which we have of the Click duty under the New Testament. Now, it will be after their decease. Thus, in the writings of Barnese borne in mind, that as it was thus fully established, and and Hermas, fasting is repeatedly mentioned ; and long practised under the Old, we are not to expect any on at least one occasion, expressly approved. This fest, separate and special appointment under the New. All snith he, “whilst thou dost also observe the conimando that we are warranted to look for, is its occurrence, ments of the Lord, is exceeding good. Thus, theretet, perhaps its approval; and if occasion serve, remarks shalt thou keep it.' Hermas, Sim. v. 3. Fartber inconcerning it.

stances will be found in the works of Origen, Bass 9. And in accordance with this, we find the prac- St. Gregory Nyssen, and St. Ambrose. But beise tice in existence among the Jews during the ministry of the time of these writers, several additional fasts see our Lord; and he even proposes regulations for its ob- to have been instituted, such as fasting at Lent and it

Thus, Anna, the prophetess, “ served God | Fridays. Like the Jews, towards the end of their em with fastings and prayers night and day. The pharisee pensation, after ages added many occasions of fas ir. who went up to the temple to pray along with the pub- and gave perhaps an undue importance to mere aberto lican, took credit to himself for fasting “ twice in the

nence ;

but with this, the authority of fasting, ireek” And Cornelius, at an after period, was fasting served by the apostles, was still adinitted, and made when the vision of the angel was communicated unto virtually the basis of whatever was added. him. And instead of forbidding the continued obser

14. At the Reformation, the ordinance itself had vance of this duty, our Lord expressly lays down rules been so mixed up with these additional and often idxaconcerning it for the use of his disciples. " But thou,

trous observances, that most of the Reformed Churebes when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy expressly renounced the fastings of the Chures of here face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto But while they dealt tius with tre core upt formas


[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »