« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
the depths of the sea,' and are to be remembered no more for ever.' It is, however, said in a passage already quoted, that God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil; and the disclosure of the sins of the saved may easily be conceived as calculated to serve some important ends, especially the manifestation of the sovereignty and riches of divine grace. This question is by no means one of vital moment. Every man is at liberty to form his own judgment as to the probabilities of the case; but no man is warranted to blame his brother because on such a subject he differs with him in opinion. It is certain, however, whether particular sins are publicly announced or not, the saved will on that day be made to appear to be what they are-redeemed, pardoned, sanctified SINNERS;-men who have earned the wages of sin, but who are to receive eternal life as the gift of God;-men who deserve hell, yet are secured of heaven; men whose garments were originally just as polluted as those of the rest of the race, but who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. It will be as it were proclaimed in the ears of the assembled intelligences of God's creation- These were guilty, depraved, condemned, miserable sinners, but the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed them from all sin,' and He has saved to the uttermost them coming to God by him. They are washed, they are sanctified, they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God,-and grace is to triumph in their salvation, through righteousness unto eternal life."
With the general remarks of the Doctor on the felicity of redeemed souls in the heavenly state we are compelled to conclude our extracts:
"The first remark I wish to fix your attention on here is, that it shall be a state free from all that was imperfect in their preceding states. They shall be free from all the imperfections of their formerly embodied state. The children of the resurrection' shall have no more disorders of body. To many the body here is as a rack to which the soul is bound,-to all it is a clog and a burden. The body we now have is not the body that shall be. That body shall be freed from all the defects of this body, and shall be endowed with glorious qualities which never did, never could, belong to it. It shall be strong, beautiful, active, glorious, incorruptible, incapable of hunger or thirst, or weariness, or pain, or death. Some of the lower of our senses will cease to exist,—and it is probable new capabilities, fitting the soul to receive satisfactions of which at present we have no conception, may be conferred. The saints in the final state will be delivered also from all the uneasiness arising from self-dissatisfaction. Being entirely what God would have them, while feeling their entire obligation to him for making them so, they shall be satisfied with themselves. They shall be entirely pleased with themselves, for they will know that they are entirely pleasing to God. Still further, they will have no painfully importunate or unsatisfied desires. No desire shall be known there but such as shall have its proper and adequate objects. There will be no unreasonable desire; and all reasonable desires shall be abundantly and immediately satisfied. There will be no disappointment-but a perpetual uninterrupted flow of holy desires, pleasurable activity, and satisfying enjoyment. Neither will there be any more doubts and fears respecting their interest in the divine favour, or concerning the security and continuance of their happiness. This is a source of the greatest uneasiness to some good men while here below; but in heaven there shall be no room for doubt or fear, so that, as it has been happily said, they shall have as it were the joy of eternity contracted into each moment, because every moment they shall have a clear and undoubted persuasion that their joys are eternal and immoveable as the throne, as the being of
In fine here, they can no more suffer from the unhappiness of
others. That often forms a large portion of our sufferings here. But in the heavenly world there is no misery to call forth painful sympathy, and so wide is the gulf fixed between them and the world of misery—that the misery of its self-ruined inhabitants can no more interrupt their happiness than it can the happiness of that God to whom, in happiness as well as in holiness, they are as perfectly conformed as their natures and capacities admit. Who,' to borrow the words of another, can conceive the calm of those heavenly regions, where no tempest blows, and the voice of lamentation is never heard,—where no qualms of conscience are ever felt, and not a transient thought disturbs the serenity of the soul, where every reflection is delightful, and all without and all within is happiness?'
"The celestial state shall not only be free from all the imperfections of the present embodied state, but also from all those of the disembodied state. In that state, as we have seen, there is no positive evil-nothing of the nature of suffering; but there is imperfection-there is something wanting, though there is nothing wrong. There is the want of all the advantages which such a spiritual substance as the human soul, originally formed for union with matter, is fitted to derive from a suitable material vehicle. The soul that was unwilling to be unclothed, will be well pleased to be re-clothed, especially knowing as it does that its new garments shall be suitable to its new dignity, as a priest unto God, like-but oh how superior to!-those of Aaronfor glory and for beauty. In a sense in which they could not before, they will be able to contemplate the the human face divine' of Him who loved them, and listen to his voice, into whose lips grace has been poured.' And will there not be, think you, additional enjoyment here? That voice is sweet-that countenance is lovely."
Uncle Tom" in the Free Church; or, an Appeal against the Usurpation of Patronage by the Clergy. By a Free Churchman. Edinburgh: Forbes & Wilson.
We fully expect to hear many things called by the name which has lately been familiar to many thousands of readers, through the medium of Mrs. Stowe's romance. The book-market has some weeks since been deluged with the same; and we expect to see ticketed in the windows of the silkmercers, "Uncle Tom ties," and in those of the bakers, genuine Aunt Phillis cakes." But "Uncle Tom in the Free Church,"-the title struck us as novel. Is there a prototype of "Legree" among her "pastors and masters?" or did "Tom" or "Eliza" give in their testimony in favour of the "movement," the "declaration of independence," or the expediency of saving dollars for the sustentation fund? The secret is, that a wrathful probationer of the Free Church lifts up his indignant voice as to the manner in which he and his brethren have been used, their claims to a division of the central fund conveniently ignored, and themselves left to struggle as best they may. Our author is not satisfied with the "happy family," the "disinterested and noble men" who have done so much,-the great lights who shine in superior purity, the Tanfield "salt,"-beside whom every other body should feel singularly small. Her preachers are not paid for occasional services,-there's the rub; they are not allocated over the country fairly, so under the covering of "Uncle Tom," our author would squeeze a
tear from the eye, or excite emotions of wrath in the mind of a "generous public." The writer seems to have felt this somewhat deeply; hence a home-thrust or two, and a not unamusing glimpse at a few of the arcana of the Free Church.
"If aiming at all at promotion, the aspirant to the holy ministry, we need not say, in prospect of such an occurrence, has been plying every art with all the energy that the hope of a settlement in a charge inspires, to win the favourable opinion of a Rev. D.D., or L.L.D., whose recommendation, alias, Presentation to the living, though it may not be the means of effecting the election of the presentee, gains him at least the privilege of a hearing. Favouritism is thus introduced amongst "brethren;" and the generality of young men are debarred from the mere opportunity of preaching in congregations. And what are the sad consequences! Deceived by the fame of a name, instances might be pointed out where the intrusionist has soon given general dissatisfaction in the congregation. We persist in saying intrusionist, for however high an estimate a clergyman forms of a preacher, to take upon himself the responsibility of declaring that he is suited for a particular congregation, the grand objection that was formerly raised against patronage in the Establishment,-is not only to restore it in another, but we think in its most intolerant form; and knowing, as he does, that from his position, his recommendation comes with all the weight of the presentation of a patron, it is to usurp the functions of the electors in our congregations, and trample on the rights and liberties of the Christian people. For, have clergymen,— who agree with Gillespie in declaring "that for ministers of religion to countenance the exercise of patronage is a notable instance of the art of Hell for ruining souls," not merely given presentations, but personally waited upon the electors, and canvassed in favour of their presentees! But has the intrusionist received a bona fide regular Gospel Call from the people? We unhesitatingly say he has not; nay-and we beg especial attention to this cardinal point-a candidate for the holy ministry cannot, under the present No-system, conscientiously assert or believe that he has received a call in the providence of God to minister amongst the people of a congregation. In confirmation of which affirmation, we shall adduce the sentiments of some of those whom all men delight to honour with the title of "godly and faithful pastors."
"Are the elder brethren to be suffered to deprive the younger brethren in Christ's House of the rights and liberties they possess, of equal, impartial distribution throughout the bounds of the Church,-of a fair and candid hearing in congregations? Are they to be suffered, moreover, in direct opposition to the dying Will and Testament of our common Master, to rob them of the rewards of their hard-earned labours? and entail upon the Church the curse consequent upon the uttering of that terrible "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong: that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work?" Are they to be allowed, without a protesting voice, to exercise lordship over God's heritage,-usurp your own functions, and trample beneath their feet your inalienable rights and dear-bought liberties, viz., unmolested to choose pastors after your own hearts? And cause a late admiring world to point to the Free Church as a laughing-stock and a butt for their scorn,-boasting of liberty, say they, while the chains of the slave clank in their ears, and tyranny sits at ease within the walls of God's house? You may suffer this "natural process" to work; but the iron shackles of despotism will ere long reveal to the world, triumphant over a once Free Church, that she has been led captive at the will of Clerical Patrons. Yes, you may, and debar the youths of godliness and piety from aspiring to the position of ministers at the sacrifice of principle and independence,-rear a class of
hireling clergy,-" dumb dogs,"-that will not, because they cannot, bark, though the enemy come in like a flood on the fold of the Church, and drive forth a new secession desiring relief from clerical patronage and spiritual despotism. Yet again, we say, you may, but the crying and the sighing of the youthful victims of tyranny and selfishness, will arise, notwithstanding, in the ears of their "Elder Brother," who, in righteous displeasure, shall overwhelm their oppressors with shame, and they shall enjoy that liberty wherewith Christ, as "King in his own House," hath made them free. But if, on the other hand, as we fondly anticipate will be the result,—
"Prone to the dust, oppression shall be hurled,
Her name, her nature, wither'd from the world,"
of the Church,—the incubus removed,-" stability and enlargement" may be expected, and the pouring out of the blessing resulting from the performance of a commanded duty, so that there shall not be room to receive it.
"Christian Parents-we ask, in conclusion-have ye sons whom ye have consecrated to the service of God, and when they leave your homes for the "School of the Prophets,”—situated as they are in the centres of wickedness and abomination, where nought scarce meets the eye but scenes of temptation-would you not be desirous that they should find faithful counsellors and friends in the "fathers and brethren" in the ministry? Let your voice then be heard in our Church Courts, pleading for the superintendence of the young aspirants to the holy ministry, until the period when they exchange the position of pupil for that of teachers in congregations. Or, perhaps, your sons have received the sanction of the Church to preach the gospel of Christ to every creature under heaven; and as you chide their indolence, and reproach them for indifference to the advancement of Christ's cause, a weeping heart replies that no patron minister has "blessed him wi' a kirk," or other sphere of labour? Would ye then have Presbyterian parity and equality amongst brethren restored, and hand down your sacred rights unimpaired to posterity? Let not, then, "the fear of man" debar you from pleading on behalf of a scheme of impartial distribution of the young servants of Christ."
We fear that the writer will appeal so far in vain; the people in connection with the Free Church too often acting as if our protesting seceding friends were infallible, and many having left the Church of Scotland, though, beyond a few clap-trap expressions, they could not state the reason why.
Catechism on the Doctrines and Evidences of the Bible, with Notes. By JOHN SCOTT. London: Ward. Edinburgh: Oliphant.
HAVING examined the contents of this treatise, we are glad that it is in our power to give the compiler the meed of approbation, as having been successful in a work of much difficulty, and as having made a valuable addition to the means available for the Christian instruction of the family and the school. We think it may be introduced, with real profit and much interest, to those concerned in the tuition of advanced classes, after they have been grounded in the Shorter Catechism. The topics are well arranged, the questions clearly put, and the answers precise and short, each being supported and illustrated by apposite texts, not only referred to, but quoted at length. There is also a large appendix of valuable notes and illustrations. Amidst the multiplied manuals of this description published from time to time, we can recommend Mr Scott's, if judiciously used by the teacher, as the best that we have seen.
Thoughts on Man, in his Relations to God and to External Nature. London: Pickering, 1852.
THESE "Thoughts on Man" are very good thoughts indeed. We would be sorry to judge otherwise of them; for, upon the whole, as to their substance, they have been the frequent, if not the familiar, thoughts of religious and reflecting men ever since we remember; and it is well known that in this world of ours, the most common things, as air and water, are also among the best. Nevertheless, it seems to us extremely probable that fastidious readers may deem our author's "Thoughts" both insipid and desultory.
Perhaps that author is young in years as well as in literature. If so, he will learn in due time that a poem cannot be made up of "Thoughts" following one another at random, expressed in blank verse, and mechanically divided into six or any other number of books. He is by no means destitute of poetical feeling. A gentle, amiable, devout spirit hovers over his pages. Here and there we are met by an expression or a sentiment which suggests the hope that the young bird is about to soar; but the eagle is still unfledged, and timidly averts his gaze from the sunlight. We could easily quote a few passages which seem to us full of promise. We have not met with one which, for its own sake merely, we deem worth transcribing.
Some of the "Minor Poems," it seems, have been formerly published in religious periodicals. In point of quality, they are not unsuitable companions for the more ambitious thoughts, to which they form an appendix.
Chapel at Larkhall, in connection with the Church of Scotland.
Presbytery of Dundee.-This reverend court met on the 16th December, and proceeded with the Ordination of the Rev. Peter Myles to the charge of St. David's Congregation. The Rev. Mr. Maclean of Liff, Moderator, preached and presided on the occasion.
On Friday, the 17th December, the Presbytery of Glasgow met in Milton Church, when the Rev. Mr. Arthur was inducted to the pastoral charge of that chapel, with all the usual formalities.
East Church, Stirling.-The Rev. Mr. Stuart of Moffat has been elected to this charge by the Magistrates and Town Council.