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prepared,' he does not blame the ambition of the brothers, but (if at all) their ignorance. I do not say that unworthier thoughts were not present in their minds; but I cannot join in the sweeping assertions which ascribe to them'a mere selfish and vulgar ambition, as if they were trying to drag down others from their seats and to mount in their stead. I do not think they could have brought that (as they did) under the eye of the meek and lowly One. Ambition there is; but I would venture to call it noble, though as yet untaught in the highest truth; not that soiled and unholy thing, the selfish lust of power or of human admiration-the thirst of fame, which is well-nigh as base as the thirst of gold, but that greatness of mind which the Lord himself creates, and to which he makes appeal, as when he promises his apostles to sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel—when he tells that the faithful servant shall have dominion over many things—or when he says, “If any man serve me, him will my Father honour. We shall not know the Apostle John till we recognise his ' high humility,' his noble ambition to be great, seated by the side of the suffering King in His glory. Were we more Christlike, we should be able to enter more sympathetically into this aspect of his Christianhood. The spirit of simple contentment with lowly things is of Christ's giving (and is one of his most precious gifts)-as in the shepherd-boy in the Valley of Humiliation, who sang
• He that is down needs fear no fall,
He that is low no pride ;
Have God to be his Guide,' but so too is the princely spirit. The one evil thing in high or low is selfishness.”
The excellent author deals with John-the man, the companion of Jesus, the apostle after the ascension, the writer, and the theologian ; giving us also a chapter upon his influence, and an appendix of legends and traditions concerning him, thus furnishing us with a full length portrait of "that disciple whom Jesus loved.” He has evidently chosen a congenial subject, and has such sympathy with the man before him, that he is able to see far into his mind and heart. It is a small matter to recapitulate the mere facts of a great life, but to unveil their secret springs requires a mind in harmony with the person described. One could hardly imagine Luther writing upon John with any great unction, nor would the judgment of Knox be peculiarly appreciative: they could either of them have represented him grandly · as the son of thunder, but the tenderer side of his character would have baffled them. Even to comment upon John's writings is far from easy, he is so simple, and yet so fathomlessly deep, he uses so many of those pregnant monosyllables, so much more expressive than long words. Dr. Culross is a Christian of the Johannean stamp, and hence he is at home with the beloved disciple. He has not fallen into the common mistake of depicting John as a molluscous character, a
“It may be that an action displeases us, which would please us if we knew its true aim and whole extent.”—Letter of Meta Klopstock.
sickly sentimentalist, whose sweetness of disposition was due to the effeminacy of his nature; he has more justly depicted the brave apostle. Upon this point we quote the following :-"Like all men of true, powerful, and loving nature-yea, like the Lamb himself-he is capable of vehement and burning anger. This characteristic shows itselfvery mistakenly indeed, and so as to need rebuke-in his proposal to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritan village that would not receive Jesus. It shows itself also-80 as not to need rebuke-very largely throughout his writings. Nowhere else, save from the lips of Incarnate Mercy, do we find such awful words launched against sin: all the more terrible that they are so very calm, and so evidently proceed from a tender and loving heart.* Because he speaks so much of love, he has frequently been pictured as one of those shrinking and yielding natures, deficient in nerve and stamina, unfit for the battlestrife, that are left at home to comfort the women and children; whereas, in reality, though gentle as a child, he carries in his bosom the germ of all strength and heroism; and the volume and force of his being are as remarkable as its quality. He is not in the least sentimental. Nowhere does he exhibit trace or taint of that false liberality' which bids truth and lie shake hands and be friends, or judicially binds them over to keep the peace; far less of that philosophic breadth' which places Jesus Christ, Zorðaster, Sakya-Mouni, Mahomet (and why not by-and-by Joseph Smith ?) in the same Pantheon. He is full of the grand intolerance of love; incapable of compromise or trace with falsehood, however mighty or loftily throned. If a man come and bring not the doctrine of Christ, whosoever biddeth him God-speed is partaker of his evil deeds. He never puts himself forward in the sight of others, challenging observation, but yet is ever found by his Master's side in the hour of danger, quietlý, and as of course; one of those who willingly offered themselves, and did not turn back in the day of battle. Thus, on the night of the betrayal, he closely follows Jesus from the garden, goes in along with him to the place of trial and judgment, and never for a moment falls away from him. Peter, too, follows, but afar off, and takes his place with the officers and servants, as if he belonged to their company; and there lay his weakness and danger. John goes in with Jesus, quietly, and as a simple matter of course ; and in this very cleaving to the Lord lay his safety. Again, at the crucifixion, he held his station near the cross of his Master all day, a witness of his dreadful sufferings ; exhibiting that rarest form of courage, which so few even of strong men are capable of-the courage to stand still and look upon the sufferings of a beloved friend, protracted and intensifying from hour to hour, which we can do nothing whatever to relieve. Ah, it takes courage of the loftiest order for that!”
That our author is himself by no means undecided in his views, or wishful to gain the cheap honours which are awarded to modern " liberality” is clear enough from many pagsages of this work. Some
*.“ Anger is one of the sinews of the soul. He that wants it hath a maimed mind, and, with Jacob, sinew-shrunk in the hollow of his thigh, must needs halt.'Thonas Fuller,
of the notes are so especially happy on this point, and so accurately hit the nail on the head, that we cannot do better than reproduce them : even when they are quotations they will reveal the man, for the set of an author's thought may be seen as clearly in his quotations as in his original matter. Here are two notes from page 23:
" There is a legitimate place for compromise, but it is not the realm of truth. Take an illustration which keeps clear of all theological complication. One man says, Five times sit are thirty. Another says, Five times six are tweniy-eight. Our liberal friend steps forward and says, Come now, don't fight about it; you must love one another; split the difference, and say, Five times six are twentynine. Even in arithmetical discussions, men should show a right spirit, and not be overbearing or selfish or bitter ; they are all the likelier to arrive at truth in this way; but compromise is po step toward truth-does not even lie on the road to it at all."
“ The vague cloudy men are always talking against intolerance. Why, our very calling is to be very intolerant; intolerant of proved error and known sin. The evil is, that we are not intolerant enough; though, at the same time, we are not benevolent enough. A man, however, must have a clear eye and a large heart, before he has a right to be intolerant, either towards concrete error or concrete sin.”—Colloquia Peripatetica : Dr. John Duncan.—'Thou knowest the serpent cunning of this liberal spirit. It is killing our children ; it hath already slain its tens of thousands; this city is sick unto death, and dying of the mortal wounds which she hath receeived from it.”—Edward Iroing
Another note deals a well-aimed blow at the modern doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God, a dogma which has deluded thousands, and is as deadly an error as ever reeked from the bottomless pit. If all men are sons of God already, there is no need of the new birth, and conversion is a superfluity. One of the theories which have been invented to justify infant baptism required this flattering falsehood to bolster it, and therefore it has been received pretty extenslvely among Congregationalists, to whom we wish grace enough to renounce both the theory and its buttress. Dr. Culross says :—“There is a theologyI hope not growing—which gives the relationship’ in the unqualified New Testament sense, without the birth.' Milton makes the devil say:
• The son of God I also am, or was ;
All men are sons of God,' I think I have met this very reasoning in prose, -only not put in the devil's mouth. If believers are but as Adam was,-if creaturehood is all that lies in John's expression, sons of God,' (then to say the least) the expression is poorer than it looks. As to the doctrines that 'humanity was born again, in the incarnation of the Son of God, I do not find it anywhere in John's writings, nor do I see proof of it in the world's actual condition. “As many as receive him' are sons,'—however scornfully such a doctrine may be talked out of enlightened' and 'intellectual ciroles.”
It is altogether without reserve that we commend the work before us. It is not a bottle of milk for babes, but a portion of meat for men. A half-a-dozen readings will only make it more interesting to those who meditate upon what they read.
We have heard of a gentleman who entered an hotel and ordered a dinner of chops. One chop was brought him with due state, this being considered to be sufficient for a meal. The hungry diner inserted his fork into the lonely portion of flesh, and as he put it upon his plate, he said, “ Yes, this is the sort of thing, bring me a dish of them.” So have we risen from the perusal of many a modern book, feeling that the one or two thoughts which we had obtained were good, but we wanted more of them: no such tantalizing have we undergone while reading this work, but on the contrary, we have had a feast of fat things full of marrow.*
. Coat Story.
EV. DR. DOWLING tells the following instructive story in a recent
number of the Baptist Weekly. He was on a steamer going from Schlosser, three miles above Niagara Falls, to Buffalo. He says : Upon looking around the cabin of the boat, I observed a young man of about twenty-five years of age, dressed in Quaker garb, reclining on a lounge with a respectable-looking, but somewhat careworn old lady, sitting in front of him. The sunken and hollow cheeks of the young man, his thin attenuated fingers, and his frequent, hollow cough, told me that he was in the last stages of consumption.
As I cast a parting glance upon the pale face, my heart warmed towards him, and I thought, perhaps here is an opportunity for usefulness. So, approaching him, I made some allusion, in the mildest possible terms, to his evidently feeble state of health, and ventured to enquire whether he was in the enjoyment of the Christian's hope, which, to one in circumstances like his, " is like an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”
Much to my surprise, he looked up with evident displeasure, and fixing his glassy eyes upon me, inquired what particular right I had to question him?
“I claim no particular right, my friend," I answered, " but seeing a fellowcreature, like yourself, just on the verge of eternity, my conscience would not suffer me to omit the opportunity of asking whether you had a hope beyond the grave, and as a disciple and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, of pointing you to that Saviour who is able to save, even to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him."
Never shall I forget the words, or the tone, or the manner of his reply. Raising himself up on one elbow, and summoning all his strength, he gazed at me for a second or two, scanned me from head to foot, and then exclaimed in a most contemptuous tone, “ Thou a minister of Christ!”
Somewhat surprised, I replied, as soon as my astonishment would permit, that I had the happiness of sustaining the character of a minister of Christ, although an unworthy one; when he exclaimed again with increased emphasis of tone, "Thou ! a minister of Christ !”
Supposing now that the sick man was labouring under some mistake, that perhaps he mistook me for some one else, in whom he might have observed some unbecoming conduct, I turned to a Christian brother who was my travelling companion, and who I saw was as much astonished as myself, and I enquired of my friend whether he had observed in me, since coming on board, anything unbecoming the character of a minister of the gospel; and then, turning to the sick man, I told him if he had, to tell me plainly what it might be, and promised that I would receive his rebuke with meekness.
“ Thou a minister of Christ, indeed,” he again exclaimed, in a somewhat softened tone ; “Didn't Christ wear a seamless garment ?
“Oh," said I, considerably relieved, “it is my coat that is wrong, is it? * We forgot to note that Mr. Elliot Stock is the publisher of Dr. Culross's work.
I'm glad it is nothing worse." I then endeavoured to explain to the young man the kind of garment the Saviour wore, and pointed out to him in my pocket Testament the words of John (xix, 23): “Now, the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout ;” and, therefore, I told him it was entirely different from the coats worn in America. But, failing in my attempt, to satisfy him, I pleasantly took hold of the lapel of his own coat, and passing a finger along one of its seams, I said: “So Christ wore a seamless garment, and you think that I ought to do the same. Now my friend, why don't you imitate him? I perceive that your coat has about as many seams as my own.”
“Ah, well,” said he, somewhat abashed, and now in a subdued tone, “ I .confess I dont innitate Christ as much as I ought."
But, soon after, recovering himself, he pointed to my coat, which by the way, was by no means exquisite in point of style, and said: “Do you think that Christ wore a coat like that? what's the use of those buttons up there, near the collar ? '
Pulling my coat together, I noticed for the first time that there were some buttons there which no button-hole could reach, and said: “Well, now we shall understand each other. Your objection then, is against having buttons, or anything else intended merely for ornament, and not for use. Is that it?"
“ Yea, verily," said he, " and thee must confess, friend, that Jesus Christ would wear no such things as those."
“Well," I replied, “ though I never thought particularly of these buttons before, yet I don't know but I would be willing to cut them off, if that would remove your difficulty." “But first," I added, with a smile which I found it difficult to suppress,
" let me see that you have no useless buttons. Ah, what have we here?” I added, as I put my hand behind him, (for he was now in a sitting posture), and felt the usual buttons at the back of his coat, which certainly could have no corresponding button-holes.
The pour young man now looked considerably ashamed, as he replied in a comparatively humble tone of voice, “Well, I know I ought to imitate Christ better than I do."
I now felt that duty called for a faithful warning to this poor victim of Pharisaic self-righteousness, and therefore tenderly told him of the folly of placing his trust in the wearing of a plain garment, and preached unto him Jesus,
as the Lord our righteousness, whose blood alone could cleanse him, whose robe of righteousness could cover him, and through whom alone, God could be just, and yet “the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."
He then lay down, and I left him to his repose. As I was passing away, I observed his aged mother, who had heard it all, was in tears. Beckoning me to her, she thanked me for my conversation with her son, told me she was herself a Methodist, but that her son had recently adopted the Quaker garb and principles, and since then had appeared to be wholly wrapped up in a conceit of his own righteousness; but she hoped that what I had said to him might be blessed to his soul, and be the means of leading him to trust for salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. “May the Lord grant it!" said I.
“ Amen!” said the aged, weeping mother. The boat had now reached the wharf. I left the boat, and have never seen them since. But who can tell but that I may meet them both in heaven?“ In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, .either this or that."
[We insert this story with no reference to our esteemed friends, the Quakers, - who think far less of garb and phraseology than some suppose, but merely as an instance of the solemn trifling by which men ruin their souls. Small points of doctrine, or of practice, are quibbled over, while the great things of eternity are neglected. Things no more important than buttons are made more of than faith and the new birth. Reader, is this your case ? Till thou art really reconciled. to God by the death of his dear Son, all other matters are as the small dust of the . balance in importance. Be wise, and seek after the ONE THING NEEDFUL.-Ev.]