網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

true, did not himself baptize: that his apostles baptized, is clear from the evangelical history,* and from the narrative of their Acts, as well as from their epistles ; and though Paul declares that he was sent not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, we know, however, from his own statement, that in some instances he really did baptize

- we know that if, in the majority of cases, he forbore to administer the rite, his forbearance arose from a fear, lest he should be said to have : baptized into his own name. Can any exception better prove the rule, to which it is an exception? Paul was sent not so much to baptize as to preach the Gospel. It is a well-known Scriptural idiom“I will have mercy, and not sacrifice"-"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life." +

1 Cor. x. 21: partakers of the Lord's table," i. e: “ of the bread and wine placed on the table, specifically in commemoration of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ:" it is called the Lord's table, because his disciples appropriate it to the use just stated; it is the Lord's, in contradistinction from its being Man's—no man having a right to prescribe terms for admission to it, which our Lord himself has not prescribed. How extremely inadvertent then, and unbecoming, is the language sometimes employed on this plain and important subject !

* John iv. 2.

+ Tertullian on Baptism, C. xiv. Barclay, Apology, &c., Propos. xii., will not admit that Paul baptized " by virtue of his apostolical commission, but rather in condescension to the weakness of the Jewish proselytes.” Paul, however, is silent as to any such condescension, in the instances of Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas: and it will be safer for us to content ourselves with Paul's silence than to acquiesce in Barclay's comment. Robinson (Hist. of Baptism) puts the abused text, “ Christ sent me not to baptize," &c., into the mouth of an English Arminian Dissenting minister, at the private baptism of an infant: but I suspect that the divine, thus introduced, did not understand the passage. The same individual is made to say that infant baptism was received among Christians, through the influence of Augustine, in the fifth century! P. 540. I Christian Reformer, Vol. XIII. p. 253. .

During a journey of the writer of this paper, an extremely singular advertisement met his eye. In one of the largest of the manufacturing towns of the United Kingdom, and so lately as in the beginning of July 1827, the public prints announced a missionary meeting, in the progress of which the communion was to be administered: it was expressly added that the Rev. W. Orme would pre

1 Cor. xii. 29 : " are all teachers ?"...

A plain intimation of the apostle's, that, in the sense in which he uses the word, all cannot, and should not, be public teachers of the Gospel. Still, there remains an obvious and weighty signification, in which it is true that "every man who understands Christianity, may teach it:" he may teach it in his individual sphere, and by his individual example, yet not, necessarily, or imperatively, in public; no woe lies upon him* for not preaching the Gospel there. In matters of far inferior consequence, the knowledge of the skilful teacher must be knowledge superadded to his acquaintance with the topics of which he treats. His capacity of instructing others, demands a certain kind and degree of preparation. Nor can the case of Religion be with propriety excepted. That all the teachers of Christianity should have a highly learned education, is perhaps impracticable. All, however, (to borrow the language of a very competent judge of these subjects, t) should "at least be in possession of so much knowledge as is requisite to profit from the learned industry of others, and to apply to the New Testament those treasures of Grecian and Oriental literature, which their predecessors have presented to their

But a man unacquainted with the Septuagint, and the classic authors, can form no judgment of the critical remarks which have been made on the language of the New Testament; nor determine whether the meaning ascribed to a word be literal or figurative, the sense in which it is usually taken, or only such as extensive reading can ratify by the authority of but two or three examples. He can have no idea of what is called interpretative probability, and is unavoidably exposed to the danger of giving the same credit to a false interpretation, as to the true. In short, he can see only with foreign eyes, and believe on the authority of others; but he can have no conviction himself, a conviction, without which no man should presume to preach the Gospel, even to a country congregation."

Among indispensable preparatives for the province of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

side at the Lord's table.” This, to say the least of it, is lamentably
inadvertent phraseology: and the rest of the notice was, on other
accounts, objectionable. I do not suppose that Mr. 0. could be
aware of his name having been so enaployed.

* I Cor. ix. 16.
+ J. D. Michaelis, Introd., &c., [Transl. 1793,] Vol. I. 181.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

instructing the ignorant, Archdeacon Blackburne* assigns the first place to a careful study of the Scriptures in the original languages in which they were written. “It is to be presupposed," says he, " that every one who aspires to the vocation of a Christian teacher, has laid in a coinpetent measure of the learning necessary for this purpose, in the progress of his education. Be that as it may, it is certain the pursuit and cultivation of it, in the course of our calling, will admit of no intermission, if we mean to make full proof of our ministry. The sacred oracles contain a fund of knowledge, an inexhaustible treasure of wisdom and truth, for some portions of which we shall have daily demands to the latest period of our lives. But of what use will all this be to any man who has not the key, and is thus excluded from availing himself of these stores, upon the various occasions which call for the immediate employment of them?"

Let it not be objected that our Lord's apostles were unlearned men. Paradoxical as it may appear, the fact of their being unlearned, is the very reason why uninspired ministers of the Gospel should, to a certain extent, be learned; why they should be educated. In them, inspiration supplied the place of learning :t in us, learning-or appropriate knowledge acquired by education-must supply the place of inspiration.

Heb. ix. 8: “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while [as] the first tabernacle was yet standing."

By " the way into the holiest of all,” is meant “individual and near access to God.” A part of the following chapter, 19—23, illustrates this clause. Whether the general object and argument of the writer to the Hebrews be regarded, or whether we attend to the particular design and tenor of his reasoning in these two chapters, we shall be sensible that he now compares together the rites of worship

* Works, [1805,] IV. 420. f I Cor. xii. 8.

How justly sarcastic is Jortin's Letter to a Lady! V. Tracts, Vol. II. pp. 34, &c. The followiug sentences, in particular, how impressive! “First you observe that your friend is not a mau of distinguished learning. In this we shall have no dispute.He hath indeed undertaken a work in which a good share of erudition is usually necessary. But inspiration, as we all know, can supply that defect." No irony can be keener.

among the Jews, and the more simple and comprehensive character of Christian worship.

Hallett (Notes, &c., pp. 158, &c.) looks upon the passage as teaching " the comfortable doctrine that when good men die, they do not fall into a state of sleep, and remain therein till the resurrection, but that immediately upon their death, their souls pass into heaven, into the place where our glorified redeemer is, and are truly happy there in the enjoyment of Christ and of God.”

" This passage,” says the ingenious author, "seems to teach this doctrine, because I cannot understand it, but upon the supposition that this doctrine is true." I reply, that such a principle of interpretation is fallacious: whether it be applied to the Scriptures, or to any writings of importance, it cannot safely guide us to a knowledge of their meaning. A given passage may be consistent enough with a previously-formed opinion : such, at least, it may be in the judgment of the advocate of the opinion, and yet when sentences, clauses and words come to be analysed, to be critically examined, and to be compared together with other texts, we shall find that they afford no solid, no independent, support to the favourite article of belief. Was Mr. Hallett's induction complete ? Had he tried other suppositions? What relation has either the general scope of the epistle, or this portion of it, to the doctrine of an intermediate state?

“We have liberty to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ;" since in Christianity no distinction exists between priests and those who are not priests. The sacerdotal order is there unknown. In this and in every respect, the Gospel is highly superior to the Law.

Heb. xii. 27 : “ – those things that are shaken, as of things that are inade.”

The latter clause appears to me elliptical : perhaps it should be filled up thus—"made" [with hands). Or the conjecture may be no less admissible, that the words "by men" should be supplied. I receive the participle as rendered by our translators—made"—not "appointed.” The Jewish state and ritual form the subject : these were on the point of being destroyed, as though they had been the work of Man.

N.

THE SPIRIT'S MYSTERIES, [From “ The Keepsake,” one of the “ Annuals” for 1828, which

exceeds all the rest in the splendour of its embellishments.] The power that dwelleth in sweet sounds to waken Vague yearnings, like the sailor's from the shore, And dim remembrances, whose hue seems taken From some bright former state, our own no more ; Is not this all a mystery? Who shall say Whence are those thoughts, and whither tends their way? The sudden images of vanished things, That o'er the spirit flash, we know not why; Tones from some broken harp's deserted strings, Warm sunset hues of summers long gone by; A rippling wave-the dasbing of an oar, A flower-scent floating past our parents' door; A word-scarce noted in its hour, perchance, Yet back returning with a plaintive tone; A smile—a sunny or a mournful glance, Full of sweet meanings now from

this world flown, Are not these mysteries when to life they start, And press vain spring-showers from the blighted heart? And the far wanderings of the soul in dreams, Calling up shrouded faces from the dead, And with them bringing soft or solemn gleams, Fainiliar objects brightly to o'erspread, And wakening buried love, or joy, or fearThese are Night's mysteries-who shall make them clear? And the strange inborn sense of coming ill, That sometimes whispers to the haunted breast, In a low sighing tone, which nought can still, 'Mid feasts and melodies a secret guest;-Whence doth that murmur come, that shadow fall? Why shakes the spirit thus ?- 'Tis Mystery all ! Darkly we move-we press upon the brink Haply of unseen worlds, and know it not ! Yes ! it may be, that nearer than we think Are those whom Death hath parted from our lot. Fearfully, wondrously, our souls are madeLet us walk humbly on, yet undişmayed !

« 上一頁繼續 »