« VorigeDoorgaan »
What could save Judah and Jerusalem and the house of David from utter destruction; and how would the believing Jews be assured of the salvation of their nation? I say, the believing Jews; whether of the house of David or any other family: for the sign was addressed to faith. To them the Lord would give a sign full of comfort:-a sign which their faith would understand and hold fast. Judah cannot be utterly des. troyed: the house of David cannot be utterly destroyed by these or any other enemies. For the Virgin of the house of David must conceive and bear a Son; even him who will be Immanuel_God with us. The government must be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. « Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from hence. forth even for ever.” Judea is his land : there he must walk among the children of men; there he must preach and teach ; there he must live under the yoke of the law, to fulfil and to glorify it; there he must lay down his life as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Therefore, though the king of Assyria and his hosts, like the waters of the river, strong and many, pass through Judah, and overflow and go over, and reach even to the neck, and fill the breadth of Thy land, 0 Immanuel !-because it is his land, Judah shall not utterly perish. Therefore, “ Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken to pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries : gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken to pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought: speak the word, and it shall not stand : for 'Immanuel '—God-is with us !”
Such was the wonderful and glorious “ sign” which the Lord gave to the house of David, and, through them, to all the people who had faith to receive it :—that no enemy would ever finally prevail against the house of David, and the land and people of Judah, so as utterly to destroy them. Faith would receive this sign, and find it a shield against all fears and all enemies !
Having given this grand and glorious sign, the Lord then, for the immediate comfort of Judah under the threatening attitude of Rezin and Pekah, assures the house of David that, in a very short time, those two kings would perish. He does not give a sign that they would speedily perish; but simply asserts it. Pointing to Shear-jashub, Isaiah exclaims, “ For (or rather 'assuredly, a sense often borne by the Hebrew particle) “before this child” (now, it may be, a year old) “shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good," (and therefore a year
or two hence at furthest, perhaps much sooner,) “ the land" (the united land of Israel and Syria) “ that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.”
How exactly this passage, so interpreted, agrees with other parts of Scripture, especially with Jeremiah xxxi. 22, and the famous passage in St. Matthew, chap. i. 23, need not be pointed out to our readers.
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
Essays on the Bible. By the Author of " Essays on the Church.” London : Seeley and Co. 1868.-During the past year, several applications or suggestions have reached us, urging the expediency of a separate publication of the papers on the Truth and Certainty of Scripture, which have appeared, in the course of the last twelvemonths, in our pages. The friends who have sent as these recommendations will be glad to know that in the volume the title of which we have just given, they will find, for separate use, the whole series of these papers. It will not be expected that we should praise the contents of our own pages ; but there can be no reason why we should not express our conviction that the subject handled in these “Essays on the Bible” lies at the foundation of both of the chief controversies of the present day. In a brief Preface the writer has shown, that both Rationalists and Ritualists are alike unbelievers in the perfectness and infallibility of God's holy word.
Tales from Alsace ; drawn from Old Chronicles. Translated from the German. London: Nisbet and Co. 1868.- All persons who enjoy the Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family will enjoy this book. We suppose that if it has half as many readers as that fascinating story, its sale will be very great. But we must not be understood to assert its equality with the Chronicles. It has not the unity of that story. It is rather a series of short narratives, like the Copsley Annals, connected together by a golden thread, which runs through them all. Thus, in “ The Kaiserberg Doctor and Little Mat,' we have Matthew Zell in his childhood; and in “ The Ministers of the Word” we again meet with Matthew Zell, as a bold and effective preacher in Strasburg Cathedral. In fact, Zell and his admirable wife, Catherine, seem to be great favourites with the writer; and, apparently, they deserve to be so. The book has two merits, not often united. It is as pleasant reading as a good religious romance (of which we have too many now-a-days); but while we read it, we feel that we are enlarging our stock of useful information. Some of the stories read like a chapter in Merle D’Aubigné, and are nearly as much a Reformation history as his volumes. The whole effect of the book is really edifying; while, so attractive is it, that many of the readers, we feel sure, will, when they have finished it, turn back to page one, and begin the stories over again,-enjoy. ing the second reading more than they did the first.
A key to the Knowledge and Use of the Holy Bible. By J. H. Blunt, A.A. London : Rivingtons. 1868.-It is not easy to understand why this book should ever have been written. The author is a scholar, and handles some parts of the subject in a scholarlike manner; but, as a whole, the book is not so good a book as others which are already in common use:-such, for instance, as Mr. Nichols's well-known volume, and Mr. Litton's Guide to the Study of Holy Scripture. We feel interested in the antiquarian portions of the work, the five fac-similes,-and we are much indebted to Mr. Blunt for some valuable tables, which are not found in the other works of which we have spoken ; but still, as a whole, it is a smaller and less complete book than those which are already on sale in most theological libraries. Nor can we quite overlook one manifest and serious fault in Mr. Blunt's production ;-to wit, the indecision and vagueness of the language used on some important questions. Take a single instance. On the Inspiration of Scripture, Mr. Blunt at first appears to speak with firmness and decision. But then we come to the following weak proviso :
“It is possible that errors may have crept in among the truth; but this is another question to be answered by careful inquiry and criticism, Of one thing we may be certain, that when we have found reason to be assured that anything in the Bible has really been revealed by God, or written by men whom He has inspired for the purpose of writing it truly, then we may also be assured that what is so recorded is removed beyond the range of all reasonable doubt, and is absolutely true and certain." (p. 80.)
“ When we are assured that anything has really been revealed by God, then we may be assured that it is true.” Of course we may ;we needed no Mr. Blunt to tell us that. The really important question is, “ Is the Bible—the whole Bible--the word of God ? " And on that point, this passage makes it clear, that Mr. Blunt has only a wavering and uncertain belief.
One other instance may be given, from the 7th chapter, “ The Bible a Guide to our Faith.” At page 118 Mr. Blunt thus shows in what manner it is to be used as a guide :
“The Bible becomes a guide to our faith, through the teaching of the Church. And as the Holy Ghost has been present with the Church to guide her into all truth, according to our Lord's promise, it may be safely assumed that authoritative expositions of Scripture thus given in her formularies of faith and devotion are the truth of God. So also the Holy Ghost is given to the clergy for the purposes of their minis. trations; and in their faithful teaching we may, as a rule, look for the same holy Truth."
This statement, we believe, would be quite satisfactory to Archbishop Manning and to Mr. J. H. Newman. “The teaching of the Church” is, practically, to be our guide ; and we are to believe that we hear God's word when we hear the Church. This, certainly, is not Protestantism, nor was it the faith of the English Reformers.
Vol. 68.--No. 373.
Putting forward views so questionable, we cannot wish Mr. Blunt's volume a large circulation.
Witnessing for Jesus in the Homes of the Poor; a Personal Narrative of Mission Work in New York. Edinburgh : Oliphant and Co. 1868.- This is a better book of the kind than we have seen for a long time. It is a simple, heart-stirring narrative of visits to the poor and to the sick, and of Sabbath schools, the like of which has rarely been given to the world. It is just the sort of book to be put into the hands of beginners in such undertakings; for while there is no attempt to conceal the difficulties and obstacles which beset the path, there is a constant uplifting of the eye to the only real Source of Strength ; and a cheerful looking-forward to the certain close of the strife, and beginning of the “great reward.” We must offer one or two brief extracts, in order to give our readers a just idea of the real character of the book.
"I spoke of the Sunday school; this quickened him. What makes you love the Sunday school so much, Augustine?'
“He looked bewildered. What do you hear about there that is so pleasant!'I asked again.
“His lips quivered a little, as if he wanted to speak, but he did not. • Do you hear about Jesus P'I asked softly.
“Yes, ma'am ;' and he gave me the first really bright look I had seen. I scarcely dared say more, lest I should confuse him again. I turned to the German Bible which lay near by, with a silent prayer for help. Opening rather mechanically, I observed a leaf turned down so as to point to the fourteenth chapter of St. John. Surely, I thought, this is not an accident. ‘Augustine,' I said, turning to him again, who turned down this leaf ?'
" I did,' he answered.
“He looked into my face with some surprise, and answered, “You did.'
" "I did, Augustine ? When did I show it to you?'
". You said that chapter once to my father, and then you told him where it was.'
" • And have you remembered it ever since, Augustine ?'. “ • Yes, ma'am, I read it many times.'
“I turned down a few more leaves in different places, and then shut the book with a sense of relief. O blessed word of God! if thou wilt speak, I will hold my peace.” (p. 193.)
A wandering star, a fanatic, accosts her :“ • But,' he replied, you must use your judgment;-all portions of the Bible are not equally divine. I do not believe that the ecclesiastical council which decided its canonical authority was better able to decide than we are. I reverence the Bible myself; but some parts of it I read as specimens of oriental poetry. I believe my reason is given me to judge by.'
• Stop there, if you please,' I said. “It will not be necessary to say any more. We will each go our way. You shall be led by your reason; I by the word of God.'
" Now, why do you believe it is the word of God ''he asked. «« • I don't believe anything about it-I know.'
** But how? Now, prove to me that your opinions are wiser and Bafer than mine.'
“ • The word of God is not, to me, a matter of opinion; it is the Rock on which I stand.'
"" And you receive every word of it ? 'he asked, a little contemptuously.
" Yes, sir, every word of God is pure. If you could shake my confidence in a single chapter of this Book, I should lose the whole. I have read volumes of evidences, but I don't care much for them. The one overwhelming evidence to me is the instinctive necessity in myself, and in every human being, for just what this Book supplies. No one but God could have known and met that want. I know it is the word of God; I stake my soul upon it. Indeed, I may as well do so; for, take that away, and there is nothing in heaven or earth to rest upon. I am cast away in darkness and doubt, without helm or compass. I should be as lost and as desperate as Satan is. “Thy testimonies are very sure.' "The entrance of thy words giveth light. The word of God is profitable for all things. I am willing to go out of this world into an untried eternity, hanging my eternal interests upon this Book alone. I want nothing besides it. I reject and abominate everything that contradicts it.'
"I paused, half expecting that my opponent would be displeased, but he was not. The believer's trust is sometimes the best evidence. As we parted, he said, 'Your own undemonstrated faith convinces me more than any argument.'” (p. 227.)
A remarkable anecdote is given, but it relates to another person, and involves, therefore, no self-praise on the part of the author :
* * When I was a child in the Sunday school in the old country,' she continued, 'my faithful teacher used to say, 'I have prayed too much for my class for one of them to be lost.' I was a thoughtless girl at the time, and remember wondering at it, and thinking it a very selfconfident remark. She was so sure. 'I shall have them all,' she would say. “I shall say to Christ at the judgment, Here I am, and the class Thou hast given me.' “And were they all converted ?' I asked.
"“Yes; she did not live to see it, but my eyes have seen it-the last of the sixteen gathered into the fold.'” (p. 129.)
A Letter to Archbishop Manning. By Edmund S. Ffoulkes, B.D. London : Hayes. 1868.-A well-known champion of Protestantism, conversing with us, more than a dozen years ago, on the agreliability of converts from Romanism who had been priests of that Church, said, -" The fact is, they have the backbone of their minds broken by a Jesuitical education; and it is nearly impossible for them, afterwards, to stand upright.”
This view of the matter does not hold good of those whom we call “ perverts.” Some of them are, at bottom, honest men, who have been longing for some infallible guide,-some Church which could ensure them places in heaven; and who have, somewhat hastily, preferred the Romish to the English Charch, because the one would promise, unhesitatingly, what the other left contingent upon real faith and repentance.
Mr. Ffoulkes followed Dr. Manning, and left the Church of England for the Church of Rome. But he was then, and is still, an honest and resolute enquirer. His first difficulty, which he ex