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thods of pastoral instruction, which this admirable young man had instituted, but which he was permitted barely, to begin. Their wisdom and attractiveness are most striking. The copiousness of knowledge, and the felicity and often originality of illustration, which are shewn in these fragments, would have done honour to the most experienced divine. We find, in particular, the plan of a weekly meeting with the young persons of his congregation, for the purpose of elucidating the difficulties of Scripture ; from which we cannot refrain from taking an extract.
«« The difficulties which are met with in the understanding of the Scriptures, arise from various causes. To point out some of these causes, is the object of the present discourse.
6“ 1. When you take the Scripture into your hands, you will remember that it contains the revelation of God to man; and it may naturally, therefore, be expected to include many things beyond man's understanding, and to discourse of many subjects both novel and mysterious. 2. The greater part of these writings was composed to serve a present purpose; and, unless we enter into that purpose, and are prepared to follow the argument, we must of course fail to comprehend the writer. 3. As these books are of extreme antiquity, they of course refer to customs, facts, persons, places, prejudices, and opinions of antiquity; many of which have long since died and been forgotten. Unless we recal them to mind, the reference will be unintelligible. 4. The books which we are concerned to understand, do not come to us as they were written. Their original languages are not generally understood, and we read them in all the disadvantages of a translation. This translation may be imperfect, or its expressions may have become obsolete, and in some cases the learned authors may have mistaken the sense of their originals.
«« To one or other of these sources, may most of our difficulties be referred.
"“ And I apprehend that any one of such difficulties is, to a common reader, insurmountable. i. If it arise from the profound mysteriousness of the theme, even the largest and most cultivated mind may fail to comprehend it. And much more he who is little accustomed to intellectual exertion. 2. Difficulties which rest in the line of argumentation and proof employed, or in perceiving the end and object of the writer, are not likely to be solved without some illustration and help from others. 3. Allusions, and figurative diction, do absolutely require literary and classical explanation. 4. Obscurities in the English words, or misconceptions of the meaning, from which no man or men can be safe, cannot be remedied but by the aid of superior learning, such as we can only come at by the help of books. On all which accounts, the English reader of the Scriptures must sometimes feel his loss; and without the means of applying to books, he will be helpless. These books are often costly, and often useless to the persons who most need their help- obscurum per obscurius.' Hence the duty of the public teachers of religion giving their atten
tion to clear up, in some measure, the difficulties which the people may find. And hence one instance of the necessity of a standing ministry, to which reference may be had for information.
"" I may now set before you, a few examples of each kind of difficulty already mentioned.
• 1. Difficulties necessarily resulting from the nature of the subject.
The sacred writers, being ivspired to speak of the unseen world, of eternal objects, of the Invisible and Infinite God, are in the situation of Paul after he had been in Paradise: he found himself unable to express what he had seen and heard, so as to make himself understood. 2 Cor. xii. 4. Dan. xii. 8. When they speak of God, it can. not be but that their language should be sublime and obscure, beyond our full comprehension. Exod. iii. 13—15. Does any man understand this ? Job xi. 7, 8. When they speak of the Son of God, hu. man language is not adapted to express the subject, and human understandings cannot fully know it. John i. 1-5. Matt. xi. 27. The being and attributes of the Holy Spirit are beyond our thoughts. John iii. 8. The unseen world-heaven-hell. Rev. xxi. &c. These are things which never can be perfectly understood, at least in this
but still they are more likely to be somewhat illustrated, when we borrow all the light and information which good and wise men, who have diligently studied, can give us.
1. 2. Difficulties which result from the nature of the argumentation.
6. For instance, if we read an answer to some enquiry, we shall have difficulty in understanding the answer, unless we know what the question was. If we read an argument, it will be much more intelligible, if we know what the writer wishes to prove. Now sometimesthis is not so readily discovered. Many examples in the book of Job ix. 22–24 : in the Psalms xl. xlv. xlix: in the Prophets, Isa. xxi: in the Epistles, Rom. iii. 2 Cor. i. 17—23. 1 Thess. iv. 15.
« « We may observe, by the way, from these latter instances, theEpistles of Paul, how little credit is due to those enemies of Christianity, who would have us suppose, that the early believers were weak silly enthusiasts. The letters written to these people shew, that they must have been men of good sense and sound understanding, or they never could have understood them.
6" 3. Difficulties arising from the facts and customs alluded to.
6" Customs. Ps. cviii. 9. Josh. ix. 4. Matt. ix. 17. Acts xxii. 25. Persons. Acts xxiv. 25. Felix and Drusilla. 2 Tim. iv. 16, 17. 1 John ii. 18—22. 2 Ep. 7, 9, Antichrists. Places. Ps. cxxxii. 3. Comp. Deut. iv. 18. Burder's 0. C. p. 124. OPINIONS. Ephes. iii. 5, 6. Matt. xii. 24. Adages. Matt. xxi. 21. 2 Cor. xiii. 2. Burder, p. 277. Matt. xix. 24. Jer. xiii. 29.- Campbell, p. 126.
«« 4. From an imperfect, mistaken, or obsolele translation.
«« IMPERFECT. Gen. xiv. 22. 2 K. ii. 11. Isa. lviii. 13. Boothroyd's Reflections, 31. Isa. xxxii. 20. Ps. xxxvi. 9. Heb. iv. 5. Heb. iii. 4. MISTAKEN. I John iii. 16. OBSOLETE. 2 Cor. viii. 1. 1 Cor. iv. 4. Gen. xlv. 6.
«« It is our consolation to remember, that no one article of our faith stands affected by these difficulties. They leave the foundation of our hope immoveable. The grace of Christian charity depends not on the decision of controverted questions. It is only our knowledge or desire of knowledge, that is hindered or mortified. Knowledge is power. And as the same great author has well said, It was the desire of power in excess that caused the angels to fall; it was the desire of knowledge in excess that caused man to fall; but in CHARITY is no excess, neither can men nor angels come in danger by it." ' pp. 92–97.
Out of the rich remains of this lamented young minister preserved by his Biographer, we shall select a few passages. They exhibit the style of his ordinary discourses, and will enable the reader to form some judgement of what would have been the energy and beauty of his pulpit compositions, had the Providence of Heaven favoured us with his continuance to the maturity of improvement. We take two paragraphs from a Sermon (on 1 Cor. xv. 29. “Else, what shall they do who “ are baptized for the dead ?" &c.) composed during the last year of his academical course.
«« He," the Christian minister, " is the successor of a long array of holy men, now ministering in the eternal temple. He occupies the post, which once the worthies of another age so ably filled. He stands in the place of the departed. Where are the men who taught the Church, through all the night of the Church's dark ages? Where are they who asserted her rights in the day of bigotry, and through the storms of persecution? Where are the worthies of our church, on whose memory the dust of time and veneration has now gathered ? Where is he who first ministered in this place, and taught you the way of immortality ? • Your fathers; where are they? Or the
pro. phets; do they live for ever?' I stand this day in the place of the dead-methinks the baptism of mortality descends upon me as I speak. I feel the tenure upon which I hold this post-it is as if the spirits of the departed were near, standing invisible to behold my actions, and asking me, What do I, thus baptized for the dead; uoless, filled with their spirit, and inspired by their faith, I preach the resurrection of the sleepers and the just judgment of the Son of God! And, my brethren, if at any time we should be seen to assume a tone of boldness, and speak with a freedom unwarranted ; think that we do it under this impression-impute it to that solemn unction from the invisible world, which distils from such meditations as these, and which cannot but impel us to speak as one baptized for the dead.” ,
6 “ There féll lately a Missionary in our Western India, under cir. eumstances so angry and menacing, that his successor must really be * baptized for the dead.' His successor at that post ought to have the courage of a lion. Might a Christian Missionary, wear the armour of Aeshly warfare, he should gird him in a panoply of steel, and teach the Christian faith with the point of the sword; else he Vol. XXVII. N.S.
pp. 121, 2.
will fall before the hatred of the infidels. But since, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,' and the minister of peace may not wear the bright arms of earthly soldiery ; it behoves the bishop of that little flock, to carry in him the soul of a martyr, and to breathe all the courage of an immortal he must not count his life dear-he must bow his neck with the meekness of Jesus Christ to the oppression of the foe-and if you would have, in one word, his office and his qualification, he must be baptized for the dead.' " ,
From a Sermon on 2 John 8, we take another specimen.
6 « Look abroad on the world—expand for once your contracted notions, and forget for one moment your own condition and interests. See you the provinces of the Sun--the fairest spots on this earthly globe, in which beauty and fruitfulness have dwelt from the creation, beneath a cloudless sky? There the sword of Mohammed hath rested in blood, and the religion of Jesus may not lift up her head. See you the empire of past ages—the vastest territory of men ? There superstition hath fettered the mind more firmly than the power of the rulers and there idols rather than God are worshipped. Have you considered the claims of your own fellow-subjects in India—the claims which they have upon your Christian zeal—the claims which they have upon your common humanity? Where, then, is your humanity, and where is your zeal, if some sacrifice is not already made for their deliverance from delusions strong as hell?' How cold are some Christians on such subjects! Look to yourselves, lest ye faib of your reward.' He that soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly.
i« Quiet and rest are not earthly rewards. He that is a Christian is bound to exert himself; and is encouraged by the assurance that rest in the future world is appended as his full reward. Even on earth, happiness springs not from rest, but from action. Every thing around us is unwearied in its motion ;-life and action pervade the whole universe. The heavens and the earth are perpetually in motion. Every being which we see is occupied. Iedolence and inactivity are not the lot of any earthly inhabitant. And the order of pature may not be inverted by any. The privilege of the believer extendsnot to this :-he is destined to action. And, when we see any standing still, after they have confessed the claims of the heathen world upon their zealous exertions, and have known the path of their duty ; we must warn them in the Apostle's language, look to yourselves." Something must be wanting at home, which you will do well to supply-something must be wrong-you are losing the things you have wrought. Beware that you lose not your final reward."
The larger part of this volume consists of nine “ Lectures " on Hebrew Prophecy," which were delivered on Lord's day evenings to Mr. Jefferson's congregation, as the commencement of a course which lie was not permitted to end on earth. The bursts of amplification which the fervour of his piety and bis genius threw forth in the actual delivery, no pen has preserved or could preserve. But these remains are rich : they may be read with delight and profit by the critical biblicist, and by the simple child who has just learned to lisp the praises of Him to whom all the prophets bore witness. Their subjects are,—The Nature and Design of Prophecy.—The Primary Promise of the Messiah. - The Curse of Canaan.- The Promise to Abraham.—The Prophecies of Balaam.-The Prophetic Writings of David.-Predictions concerning Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, and Nineveh.— The Predictions recorded by Daniel. - The Gradual Unfolding of Prophecy. We allow ourselves to copy only one passage, taken almost at random.
• Reflect, too, on the unavailing anguish of the mind which is ever longing after the peace and the reward of the just, without that resolution and energy of faith which might bring them into possession. This lover of gold looked with envy on the people whom God had blessed-and he looked forward with painful longings to their future state. “ Let me die the death of the righteous-let my after state be like his !" —And like him, many men have gone down to the grave, crying out, let me die the death of the righteous, but their death was after all the end of the wicked, who are “ driven away in their wickedness.” And the sorrowful reason for all this, was none other than the entire destitution of every principle which could afford them hope. How else should the man die than sadly and hopelessly, who has lived without hope, and has known his God only as the object of iris rebellions, his provocations, and his guilt.
• We stay not to ask how it came that this sorceror of Mesopotamia should be a Prophet, and endued with the spirit of God-ihough, with sufficient time, that might be a solemn and useful enquiry. But we rather prefer to ask, how comes it, that men who are blest with the living oracles of God, who hear the words of the Almighty, and see in Holy Writ the visions of God, and the powers of the world to come ; how comes it that any such can remain unmoved and unconverted; how can they resist the energy of the gospel of peace, and the resistless terrors of the Lord, and the red lightnings of that judgment day! Say, how is it? You that are living examples of the terrible truth, say how is it, how can it be?-The time is gone, the, night is at hand _« now behold, I go unto my people-come therefore, I will advertise you what shall be in the latter days.” The. heaven cannot receive you, for the star of the Son of Man shall shine upon no man's brow who has not first written there “ Holiness to the Lord.” The earth will reject you, for the very grave shall open and heave you forth to the day. And from the grave must you go to your last “ long home,” a home of darkness, prepared for the evil one and his angels.—That is the end of them that obey not the gospel of God.-One moment stay, while the day yet lingers—haste to the refuge-haste to the hiding place-haste to the Cross-the cross of Calvary
« There, and there only is the power to save;