« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of the Church, and the experience of objects to shake our conviction of the our own souls, confirm this beyond truth of the promise,
" Whatsoever all doubt.
he doeth shall prosper.”
Much, in We may go further than this, and such cases, must be attributed to the say that, generally speaking, all con want of more entire consistency of sistent efforts made by the believer character in him. If the prosperity for his own prosperity in this world, which is promised is made to depend and that of those connected with him, upon the Divine nutrition of the soul will be prospered to their object. We by the word of God, then all and say generally, because we must admit every practical failure to apply to exceptions, even on the ground of that word fully, will tell upon the the sovereignty of God, when He is heart and conduct; and in many cases pleased, for wise and deep-sealed the man will get into error, entanglepurposes, as in the case of Job, to
ment, and disappointment, just bebaffle a man's honest plans for wealth cause he had not, by diligent appliand comfort. And we cautiously use cation to the word and meditation the word consistent,-all consistent upon it, obtained precisely that wisefforts,- because in the human mind
dom, that knowledge of himself, that there is such a criminal readiness to submissive reference to God, and that catch at false encouragements, and practical direction which he might then, in the hour of disappointment, have had, and which would have to throw the blame on the govern steered him through his difficulties. ment of God, rather than on our own How shall he hope to make his way ignorance, worldly-mindedness, or safely through rocks and quicksands presumption. But still we are war to his port, who leaves his compass ranted by many passages of Scripture and his chart behind him? And even to affirm, that a blessing does attend if he takes them with him, and uses honest and industrious effort made in them frequently, yet, if in a critical dependence upon God. The man position he has neglected to obtain who labours prayerfully to occupy
his the proper knowledge, to whom must station in life, and rightly and not his failure be referred, if he strikes presumptuously to use his opportuni
There is this close ties, will generally find the blessing connexion of cause and effect in the of God upon his endeavours. Hun Christian's case. We must not force dreds of such instances can be pointed the promise beyond its original terms. out. While the man of incaution, of If a man delights to meditate on God's dishonest trick and questionable spe word by day and night, then whatso culation, is tossed upon the stormy ever he doth by day or night shall billows of life, and made to feel the prosper; but if he turns aside from wretchedness of living without God that source and channel of preparain the world. And even the success tive blessing, he puts himself out of ful worldling has yet to learn that he the line of the promise, and has no is any thing but prosperous, and that reason to calculate on anything but he has but little blessing in being set failure. If we did but see this as a in slippery places.
reality in the providential dealings of Nor must we suffer the occasional God with our souls, what different failure of the righteous man in his men in practice we should be, and
upon a rock?
how dearly we should cherish our universe into being, and gives to the half-neglected Bibles !
forms of matter their invariable laws: Then, again, many of the apparent He has declared a positive rule of His misfortunes of pious men, are only providential government, That if a apparently so; and it often appears man's “delight is in the law of the that what men at the moment might Lord,” and he meditates in it by day be led to call a disappointment, is one and night, then “whatsoever he doeth of the most prosperous events of life. shall prosper.” The assertion must So, when Jacob said “All these things be taken with the limitations which are against me,” the way was pre we have endeavoured to mark out. paring for years of prosperity and But, granting these, let us ask, Have peace. It is not necessary to that we, or have we not, in our own expeprosperity which is the fulfilment of rience, a practical realization of the the promise, that a man should always truth of this Scripture? Do we trace gain his own end, or realize the pre- this blessing of God upon our way? cise object of his speculation. If his Can we affirm, with certain limitacovenant God and Father watches tions, that with us this is a practical over his way, and directs his well- truth? Can we trace the direct conmeant efforts to the accomplishment nexion between our delight in the of that which is ultimately best for word of God, and the substantial pros
if he guides him through unseen perity of our doings? Do we feel as and unapprehended dangers, and or a child dealing with, and under the ders him necessary and salutary trials, care of a reconciled Father; and that so that he deepens in experience, in a Father's blessing is manifestly hascreases in the knowledge and love of tening us prosperously onward to the God, and brings forth richer and more attainment of the great object of our abundant fruit;—then, although for a being? Are we sensible in its effects, time the storm may gather round, and and in our own convictions, that the obscure the direct connexion between providence of God is kindly and carethe wishes of his heart and the sanc- fully with us, and that the grace of tification of his soul, it may still be God supplies all our spiritual necessaid in truth, “Whatsoever he doeth sities? Do we awake to the feeling, shall prosper.” Every thing that he that the blessing of God is on us, in does, under the guidance of the word, love and in mercy, as His redeemed accomplishes a good purpose; works children? Do we lie down, satisfied together to a good end. And even of His protection for both worlds ? those benevolent or other efforts which If not, then can we explain why it is seem most completely to fail, fill up not so with us? There must be some their respective niches in the great reasons, consistently with the declabuilding of God's providence. ration of the word of God, which go
As professing Christians, let us now to explain why it is not so with us; take a view of the practical use of and, generally speaking, these reathis subject. These are the words of sons are within the individual's reach, Eternal Truth. We regard them as if he will look for them. Either we written with the finger of the Spirit are yet unreconciled to God, and the of God. He who guides the stars in providence of God is directly against their courses; who called this material us, -and then our habits with respect
to the word of His grace will plainly Oh, how willingly would He give and palpably shew us that we are not us strength according to our day, and the characters here spoken of;—or, if make our way to prosper!
“He that we are really believers, and relying spared not His own Son, but delivered upon
grace of God in Christ Jesus, Him up for us all, how shall He not then our disappointments, improvi- with Him also freely give us all dences, and the want of prosperity of things?” Let us, then, never be saour souls, are in strict connexion with tisfied, till we practically realize the habits of neglect towards the word of adoption of sons, and all the fulness God; and our consciences bear testi- of a Father's blessing. In this there mony to the fact. We want life, and is no presumption. There is a sunvigour, and fruitfulness, because we shine in the soul, which is the saint's have not drawn upon the living privilege. There is a multiplied joy, stream. Either case is a very serious which is the legitimate fruit of the
It is bad to be an unforgiven Spirit. There is a practical prosperity, enemy. It is bad to be a careless, security, and happiness, to which we ungrateful, and backsliding child; to are invited, and which follow the right be so negligent of a child's privileges, use of the revealed charter of our that for our souls' sake, the tide of mercies. Till we possess
these things, God's providence must run against
we fall short of that position of priviLet us lay this to heart. Let us lege and blessing, in which the love think of God's love to the souls of His of our heavenly Father and Redeemer people evidenced by the death of His warrants us to stand. Son.
Φωνη τεθνηκότος. .
PRESENT POSITION OF CHRISTENDOM.—THE THREE FROGS.
In Three Parts.
A Gleaning from Elliott's Hora Apocalypticæ.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles, (or signs] which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."-Rev. xvi. 13, 14. By this very remarkable symbol, emanate, but all alike directed and there is evidently intended some most speeded on their course by spirits of extraordinarily rapid, wide spread, hell; and all alike in respect of the and influential diffusion throughout earthly agencies employed to propathe whole Roman, or perhaps rather gate them, resembling frogs, the wellthe whole habitable world, of three known type of vain loquacious talkers several unclean or unholy principles, and agitators, deluding and seducing suited in character to the dragon, the the minds of men. beast, and the false prophet, from The following table will serve to whom respectively they appeared to illustrate the symbols used by the
evangelist, and the things signified As to the first spirit, that of lemoby them.
cratic infidel lawlessness and rebellion, Symbols. Things signified.
--when it had crossed the channel, The Dragon. That old Serpent the
after overthrowing the Bourbons in Devil.
France, and the Dutch dynasty in BelThe Beast or his eighth The Papacy.
gium, can we forget its sudden outbreak head.
as exhibited at the mooting and duThe False Prophet. The generic title of an ring the progress of the Reform Bill ? apostate priesthood.
How the public mind in England was The Three Frogs.
agitated and blindly impelled by it, First, emanating from The spirit of democratic
almost like the herd that the legion the Dragon.
infidel lawlessness and
rebellion. of spirits impelled into the Lake of Second, from the Beast. The spirit of Popery.
Gennesareth; and rank and property, Third, from the False The voice of a modified
Church and State, were alike enProphet.
Papacy. dangered by it, -till the Premier The prophecy intimates that these himself, the ostensible author of the spirits would act with unity of effect, bill, quailed and fell before the temif not of purpose, viz., so as to gather pest. Now the too frequent conthe powers of the world, (just as Ahab junction of the radical and the infidel was seduced by a lying spirit to Ra (the joint characteristics of the spirit moth-gilead,) whether altogether as from the dragon) was both within parantagonists to Christ and His cause, liament and without it, under the or, in part as antagonists, in part falsely assumed appellative of liberal, spectators only, to the coming great marked prominen:ly;" and their inday of conflict
cessant croaking cry, like that of the The rising of each of these spirits frogs from the Stygian pool of the may be dated somewhat earlier than Greek dramatist, heard addressing the year 1830; but in taking a retro itself to the masses, Agitate, Agitate! spective view of events, we will fix – how legislators, and even peers, as upon that year, because about that men infatuated, stood in their places time the signs of the drying up of the in parliament, advising passive resismystic Euphrates became evident, tance to the law; and others, with and also because there occurred cer yet clearer token of the spirit speaktain momentous political changes in ing in them, suggested recourse to France and England, the two most physical force, and even murder : influential powers of western ( hris- how our Church-a Church in its tendom ;-in France that of its second scriptural Articles and Liturgy surely democratic revolution, in England the very pillar and ground of the those of the Roman Catholic Eman- faith-was marked as the special obcipation Act and the Reform Bill, ject of enmity and attack; its prowhereby the issuing forth of the three perty saved with difficulty,—its preunclean spirits (already spawned) in lates insulted, and, even within the a new relationship to each other, was House of Lords itself, admonished to eminently accelerated and helped set their house in order : how the forward.
general mass of the dissenting body Let us especially mark their act was infected with the spirit;t and ings in our own country, because it many dissenting ministers (not of the being the chief asylum of true reli- Socinians only, but even of the more gion, and central point whence the orthodox sects) instead of confining actings for the evangelization of the themselves, like the most illustrious world had for some time previous of their predecessors, to the work of been proceeding, we might almost evangelists at home, and the promoa priori have expected that the dra- tion of evangelic missions abroad, gon would mark it out as, above all became strangely known as political other countries, that, in which it would need that he should exert his • There were some notable exceptions. deepest subtlety and mightiest ener
+ The Wesleyans, at least their leaders, were
an honourable exception; and respectable indi. gies.
viduals amongst other dissenters.
agitators ; latitudinarianized in their as well as its mob orators. There is religious associations, if not their re one which calls itself the Atheist and ligious profession, to an extent such Republican ; as if to illustrate the az to make them seem partizans of fact of the two characters being one infidelity; and with language too in spirit;
;-a journal which speaks of often of the very gall of bitterness having thirty able contributors, and against the English Church. By boasts of all continental Christendon many I am persuaded what was said and a large part of England, as its and done was all under a temporary
There is another, a Sunday infatuation, But this only the more paper called the Weekly Dispatch, of strikingly illustrates the influence on much the same irreligious democratic them of a mighty spirit of delusion. character, and of which the immense Nothing but an hypothesis, like what circulation is notorious; then the the text suggests to us, of the out-going Northern Star, and other such like, of such a spirit over the land, can the organs of the Chartists; and again, account for the phenomenon. “I the Oracle of Reason, and other weekly never said,” are the reported words penny publications; of which the of a man of genius, “I never said character is such, that Mr. Bickerthat the vox populi was the vox Dei. steth expresses his astonishment how It may be, but it may with equal pro Satan could have so dropped the veil, bability be the vox Diaboli. That and openly manifested his spirit of the voice of ten millions of men call- lying and blasphemy. Yet once more ing for the same thing is a spirit, I there is the New Moral World, (if believe ; but whether that be a spirit indeed it still exist) the infamous of heaven or of hell, I can only know organ of the Socialists, the head of by trying the thing called for by the which sect, Robert Owen, was actually prescript of reason and God's will." introduced (the fact as a sign of the So the Reform mania was in his judg- times is not one to be forgotten) by ment a spirit's voice. And tried by England's Prime Minister to Enghis tests (they are scriptural tests) land's maiden Queen; and so this who can doubt whether it was a spirit unclean spirit, like the Egyptian from hell or from heaven?
frogs, was brought even into king's That fearful crisis may for the pre- palaces. sent seem to have passed; and through The same spirit has been abroad God's mercy a reaction has taken on the European Continent. In France, place, especially among the middle the revolutionary secret societies, the classes, in favour of order, of the spirit of its journals, and character of constitution, and of the Church ; whe its most popular literature — alike ther altogether in favour of true reli novels, romances, dramas, poetrygion is a different question to be con all tell the tale too well. And the sidered under another head. But multiplied attempts made on the life the unclean spirit from the dragon's of the French King, or of others of mouth is not silenced. It is still active his family, have been but ebullitions as ever among the lower orders. So of it. The same in Spain, Portugal, cialism and Chartism, the Political and Italy ; intermixed with another Unions, Anti-Corn-Law League, and spirit, of which I have to speak preother such like revolutionary combi- sently, Of the German cognate nations, with their machinery of agi- school of neology, the name of Strauss tation and inflammatory haranguings, will suggest the horrid impieties: and -harangues from which the more Switzerland, and its Genevese Canton than half prompting has not been ex more especially, have been agitated, cluded, even to assassination and mur and in part revolutionized, by the der, suggest thoughts and recollec- republican spirit within it. Nor this tions too clearly proving, that the alone. The unclean spirit from out infidel revolutionary spirit is yet of the mouth of the dragon, as well abroad in our land. It is the age of as the two other, his companions, was Journalism; and the spirit must have apparently to have a wider range his journals and newspaper organs,
than the old Roman earth.