« VorigeDoorgaan »
gion, and such abandoned and It was determined, that the fol, violent practices, that our earthly and wickedness of such would have looked like the bab- wretches should be fully exposed. itation not of men, but of devils. The Israelites were used as the Happy for us, that God has in instruments of Providence for terposed. The present state of this purpose. Their destructhe world is bad indeed; but tion might have been effected by without the divine interposition famine or pestilence. In either it had been infinitely worse. case none could have objected. His command has hitherto op- The crime incurred the punishposed, and does still oppose the ment; and must God, to satisfy superfluity of naughtiness. And the capricious humour of the time shall come, when it thoughtless creatures, confine shall bring into existence the himself to this or that instru: new heavens and the new earth, ment? May he not use one nawherein righteousness will dwell. tion to punish another? By do
The moral law requires a so, ing so in this instance was not ber, righteous, and godly life ; an important end answered ? but this law is part of the old With what face could the IsraelTestament ;—that part, in which ites be idolaters, after they inthe morality of the Old Testa ficted death upon the Canaanites ment is summed up, Here the for that same crime? Besides, friends and the enemies of that the Israelites were immediatepart of revelation ought to meet ly under the divine conduct, in investigating its characteris, and had been so for forty tics in a moral view. A candid years, The command given investigation must end in its fa- them was expressly directed
Why then do enemies against a nation that was insay, the Old Testament teaches corrigible. This instance may every thing that is bad? Did guard the nations against idolathey ever read the decalogue ? try, but can never encourage vi. Is it thence they derive their sen- olence and murder, timents ? Surely they read with The failings of some good jaundiced eyes; they judge men, and the crimes which with perverted minds. The fact they committed, are also brought is, they keep clear of the deca, forward in strong colours and the logue. To bring this into view most perverse advantage taken will not answer their ends.- of them. David's behaviour is They find an order in the Old particularly marked, as counteTestament utterly to destroy the nancing barlarity and lust. But inhabitants of Canaan. This are David's crimes recorded with they magnify into an order en- approbation? Did they not torcouraging rapine and blood. ture reflection ? Were they not But it is to be considered that repented of, and publicly confessthere is something peculiar in ed? And were they not visitthat order. The Canaanites ed with divine severity? The were very abandoned sinners, infidel mistakes the scripand particularly infamous for ture, and on his own mistakes įdolatry, by which a standard was grounds the vilest' aspersions. erected against Gad's throne. Such attempts excite our pity
and our indignation. It is in con announcing shoals and vain to think of making an im- rocks. Practise God's compression upon such perverted mandments. Let his law be a minds. Can the deaf adder be light to your feet and a lamp to charmed with the melody of your way.
Meditate thereon music ? Can the lunatic be con- day and night. Avoid the counvinced by sober reasoning? The sel of the ungodly, the way of case of infidel; and scoffers is in the sinner, and the seat of the many instances desperate. It is scornful. Become as little not for them that we unfold the children, yielding yourselves in excellence of God's word, and unreserved and cheerful insist upon its powerful energy. manner to the mercy, protection, If we can satisfy the doubtlul, and guidance of your heavenly and confirm the wavering, a
friend. Then you will be great end is gained.
established in the faith. The But what shall we say of rain, the flood, and the wind those, who vilify the source of shall do you no injury. Your true wisdom ; who contaminate house, founded upon a rock, the waters flowing in a pure shall withstand the severest stream from the throne of God; storm,
PHILOLOGOS. or deter from drinking those who are perishing for thirst? What shall we say of those, whose opposition to Christianity is dis
AN guised under the name of phi.
AGED MINISTER TO A YOUNG lanthropy; whose zeal rises to STUDENT IN DIVINITY. madness ; who confirm by oath
NO. 7. a discovery made known for the My dear Sir, general goods--that the Scrip- I SEE with pleasure that writture is an imposition, contai- ing is easy to you : I hope it ing every thing vile and unwor- will be
on divine thy? Have such men eyes to subjects as any other : And you, sée, or ears to hear, or hearts probably, will have less need of to perceivel? Are not their hearts hints upon method of sermionwaxed gross, and their ears dull izing, than most others. Still it of hearing ? Have they not clos- may be safe to look over what ed their eyes, lest they should has been written on the subject see with their eyes, and hear by several authors. And I with their cars, and be convert: know you will indulge me in a ed, and God should heal them ? few thoughts which are now Tranıpling the pearl under their present with me, whether they feet, they turn with savage fury have or have not met you else. upon those by whom it is held where. in estimation. Such men de Young gentlemen who come serve contempt. Turn with ab- with diffidence to composing horrence from their doctrine, şermons, are apt to be afraid of and leave them with their con- not finding enough to say : And science, and with God.
that fear often occasions their The infatuation of unbelievers continuing too long on the first gives us warning. It is a bea- branch or branches of their text,
and of consequence not doing doubts, examine the original ; justice to the last, and to the im- consult the best cominentators. provement. To avoid this, a With particular care examine scheme of outlines, which looks the connexion; and the occasion, through a whole subject, and as the case may be, on which through the improvement, pro- the words were spoken ; for mises to be useful. It will as- these, in general, are the best sist our thinking faculties. It expositors. Every part should will thus be seen what ideas will be understood; but the ideas, rise naturally under each head; which are most prominent, and what scripture passages, or oth- which were principal in the iner valuable illustrations or en- tention of the sacred writer, forcements, may be introduced should be the leading ideas of with advantage, here or there : the discourse. Generally, the And some adjustment may be impression from the first readmade, in the setting out, of the ing will determine which they proportions of the several parts are: And generally, the expectaof the discourse. Perhaps one tion of sensible hearers, from of the first objects in the arrange- the first reading in public, will ment of a sermon, is to propor- be raised accordingly. tion it justly.
The old distinction of veritas But the prime object, of which rei, and veritas loci,* is a sensi. we must never lose sight, is to ble one, and should always be re. communicate the great truths of membered. The soundest docGod in a manner which will best trine should never be preached commend them, as such, “ to , from a text which does not conevery man's conscience,” and tain it: for truth is dishonoured best impress them according to
when brought in out of place. their nature.
Beside pondering what our Let the text then originate theme contains, it is good to col, the sermon, and dictate, general- lect, as the time will allowy, all ly, all its sentiments. Let this the principal ideas on the same be visible from first to last : For subject, which are scattered here the good effect of a discourse and there through the Scriptures; greatly depends on its both be- whether they go to explain or ing and appearing to be scriptur. illustrate, to confirm or enforce al. If this does not appear, it is it. I am every day more coneither neglected as wanting au- vinced that great use should be thority, or it is received as the made of the concordance, upon word of man, and therefore not every great subject; as likewise to the purposes of religion : for of marginal references:-to com. religion is built upon faith in God, pare scripture with scripture, and not faith in the wisdom of men. so be confirmed in its true mean
Having taken up, then, some ing; to see the harmony of its sacred theme which comes home parts, upon every great subject, to men's bosoms, and their im- and therein a stronger proof of mortal interests ; let us be sure, its great Original ; to see at the in the first place, that we under- same time, the variety of lights sland it correctly. If there are in which the same great truths
• Truth rcal, and the truth in text.
are presented. By this they are .
best : And this interval seems understood the more fully ; and the most proper for reading able you acquire a habit of thinking, and pious authors on the same at once more enlarged, and more subject. I hope that a high escorrect. By this you are soon teem of such will be ever mainrelieved of the anxiety above- tained ; but servility is always to mentioned. You are furnished, be avoided. I wish therefore in the setting out, both with varie that the general plan of discourse ty and abundance of matter, and may be first sketched out; and such as you are sure is of the as many particular ideas as natvery best kind :
-o many affec- urally occur to our own best ting, so many sublime objects contemplations, without any othbrought to view, and all in a man- er leading than that of holy ner perfectly corresponding with Scripture itself. After this let their nature; sentiment, argu. us read at large, as we have tiine, ment, illustration, address, and and with careful attention. Pero turn of thought, all such as, He haps we shall find some of our who knew what was in man, has ideas corrected, valuable additionhimself adapted to impress the al thoughts suggested : possibly consciences and hearts of men. some useful amendments of our How proper is it that we should general plan. Of all let us avail in this way come continually to ourselves. But let all be natthe Holy Oracle, to know what uralized ; and still the sermon we are to say, and in what man- will be our own, and will appear ner! And when together with to be, as all our performances the authority, the majesty, the should. And who knows but impressiveness, of the Scripture this unbiassed and unfettered itself, upon all great subjects, we manner of setting out on a subtake a serious view of the state ject, provided it be humble and of our hearers, old and young,
prayersul too, may carry you inwe are then most likely to un- to some ideas " which great men derstand and feel our subject, have overlooked?" and treat it properly. Let us
Here I must close my paper, not fail, however, to implore the and perhaps may resume the help of the Great Teacher, in subject hereafter. every line of it.
I am, &c. The way is now prepared for
ВЕТА. sketching the outlines of a sermon, according to the hints above given ; arranging the
OBSERVATIONS heads, and the leading thoughts under each, in as natural and lucid
SECOND RESURRECTION; REV. order as we are able. After this, xx, 4-6. it is best of all if some good por- IN adverting to the future tion of time can be taken, before state of the church, it is of we sit down to write, in review. some importance to ascertain, ing those outlines over and over, what is meant by the first res. contemplating the particular ideas urrection. Many, and some of which ought to fillthem upper- them persons of note for haps minuting some of the learning and piety, suppose that
during the thousand years, in any more, than on the second which Satan is to be bound, resurrection. Christ will reign personally and 2. Though it be admitted that visibly upon earth, and that the the book of Revelation is a very newly raised saints and martyrs, figurative and mystical book, which shall be raised at the be- and that it is many times very ginning of the thousand years, difficult to be certain, when the which is the first resurrection, literal sense is the true sense ; will form his principal ministers, yet it is plain, that we cannot and reign with him in glory. understand the second resur
This opinion is principally rection, and the general judggrounded on the literal meaning ment in a figurative sense. But, of Rev. xx. 4-6. “ And I if the first resurrection is to be saw thrones, and they sat upon understood figuratively, so must them, and judgment was given the second. If the first resur. unto them; and I saw the souls rection is to be understood of a of them, that were beheaded, for general revival of religion, then the witness of Jesus, and for the the rest of the dead must mean word of God, and which had not the spiritually dead, or those worshipped the beast, neither his who shall remain unconverted image, neither had received his after the first resurrection. mark in their foreheads, nor in Consequently we must believe their hands; and they lived and that all those, who remain unreigned with Christ a thousand converted, after that first resuryears. But the rest of the dead rection, must remain unconvertlived not again, until the thou- ed, until the end of the thousand sand years were finished. This years, i. e. that all unconverted is the first resurrection. Blessed adults, and all children born durand holy is he, that hath part in ing that period, must die in their the first resurrection ; on such sins. This is justly viewed, as the second death hath no power ; a great absurdity; and, if it be a but they shall be priests of God necessary consequence of the and of Christ, and shall reign opinion that the first resurrecwith him a thousand years.' tion is a spiritual resurrection, In favour of a literal interpreta- certainly the literal meaning tion of this passage I find it urg- of the passage ought to be preed, that the most plain and ob- ferred. vious sense is always to be un- But however this opinion derstood, as the true sense of a may be sanctioned by the names text ; and that, as the literal of many eminent both for learnsense is the most obvious, so it ing and piety ; yet the reasons, ought ever to he esteemed the adduced in support of it, appear true sense, unless in cases, to be more ingenious than solid. where the connexion of the dis- Good reasons may be given, course, and the common use of notwithstanding all that is urged the phrase in other places, show to the contrary, for understandit to be used figuratively. But it ing the resurrection, mentioned is said there is nothing in this in this passage, rather in a figpassage to induce us to put a uratiyef than in a literal sense, figurative meaning on the first, and for believing all circum