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whether it be through the rough tide of adversity, or the halcyon sea of prosperity, will seem to you a matter of little moment when the port is gained. Oh! if heaven be your home, you have indeed reason to “rejoice in hope,” for you have “ the promise, both of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” Hope may spread her beautiful pinions through a lofty and unlimited range, for “all things are yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come :” and you possess the sweet assurance, that every event which is hidden as yet within the dark folds of futurity, will be the means of enhancing your happiness and promoting your real welfare. things”—both adverse and pleasant—"shall work together for your good.”
Let your thoughts then of the future be associated with calm and simple confidence in the love of your heavenly Father; for the thoughtful recognition of his tender care will preserve you from despondency on the one hand, and from undue excitement on the other.
“Our ardent fancy still may build
The schemes of future life ;
A sky with tempests rife;
THE BEST REFORM. During the time that great political excitement prevailed in London, when Mr. Pitt was premier, a member of one of the corresponding societies, and a disciple of Paine's, was attracted to Surrey chapel by the excellency of the organ. He heard the word, and the arrow, shot at a venture, entered his heart. He became an eminently devoted Christian, the secretary of one of the leading societies connected with the chapel, and most attached to his beloved minister. His former companions having missed him from their club, called and enquired after him. “My views of reform," said the good man, have undergone a change: I once thought it my duty to try and reform others; now I think that the best plan is to begin reformation at home; and when that work is effectually done, then to try and reform my neighbours.”—Jones's Life of Hill.
Enquiries and Correspondence.
The Kingdom of Heaven taken. Sir,-Will you or one of your correspondents kindly explain St. Matthew xi. 11, 12. An answer from R. C. of Penryn would particularly oblige
The phrase, “ Kingdom of heaven,” refers to the Gospel dispensation. John the Baptist, as a prophet of the Jewish dispensation, was so eminent, that he had no superior; and yet he was inferior to those who were least in the Kingdom of Heaven ; who received greater supplies of the Spirit, and were made acquainted with many important truths of the Gospel which were not revealed even to John himself.
When our Lord says, “ The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence,” &c., He refers to the amazing interest and ardent desire manifested by the multitudes who listened to the preaching of the gospel by Christ and his Apostles. “They pressed upon Him to hear the word of God.” “Jerusalem was filled with His doctrine ;' and so eager were the multitudes to hear him, that, according to Luke, (xix. 48,) they were very attentive, or, in the more expressive language of the Greek text, they “ hung upon his lips.” To take by force, alludes to the manner in which cities were taken : the besiegers pressed upon them with violence, demolished the walls, and captured them. Such was the earnestness of the multitudes that crowded to hear the Saviour's discourses, that when Zaccheus desired to see Him, he could not for the press of people who came to Him from every quarter. (Luke xix. 3.) Penryn.
The Backslider. SIR,—Will you kindly inform one who has been once enlightened, and tasted the heavenly gift, and been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit, and who has fallen away into gross sins, after taking the Sacrament, whether there is any hope ? Can you afford any consolation to,
We can offer no consolation while the sins referred to are persisted in; but the Word of God by no means obliges us to despair, when they are repented of and forsaken.
Our correspondent speaks, we think, too confidently of his former position: is he quite sure that he is not confounding the use of means and ordinances, with actual conversion? His mention of “the sacrament" inclines us to this opinion, and we cannot but suspect that he is in some measure still ignorant of the real nature of Christianity.
In either case his proper course is to leave his sins, to confess and deplore them, and to seek forgiveness through that Saviour who casts out none that come unto God by him.
“ First fruits from the dead." SIR,–Having received a kind reply to a former enquiry, I am encouraged again to apply to you for your opinion on Acts xxvi. 23. What does St. Paul mean by saying that Christ should be the “ first that should rise from the dead;" when it is stated, in Matthew particularly, that at the crucifixion of Christ many of the saints arose, and went into the city, and appeared unto many; besides those restored to life by Christ himself, and those by the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, recorded in the Old Testament.
I am, Sir,
The apostle explains his meaning more fully in 1 Cor. xv. 20, where he says,
“ that Christ became the first fruits of them that slept”- the pledge and earnest of the resurrection of the saints.
If “ Helena” will refer to the passage in Matthew, (ch. xxviii. 53,) she will find that the bodies of the saints referred to, did not come out of their graves until “after his (Christ's) resurrection.”
A vast difference obtains between the resurrection spoken of by St. Paul, and a mere restoration to the common functions of life; the first expression being of much larger import than the second. Doddridge thus paraphrases the text referred to by our correspondent—" the Messiah was the first of those who rose from the dead to an immortal life;" which appears to give the spirit of the former term.
Baptism for the Dead. My Dear Sir,- As every number of your valuable Magazine bears fresh testimony of your willingness to answer the numerous enquiries of your young friends, I am encouraged to request your opinion as to the meaning of the apostle Paul in the following verse — " Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all ? Why are they then baptized for the dead ?” (1 Cor. xv. 29.)
There is no reference in the margin of my Bible at all concerning it, and I am unable to understand how, or for what purpose, any one can be baptized for another if alive, much less for those who have departed this life.
By noticing this in the next number of your Magazine, you will greatly oblige,
Yours very respectfully,
The force of the expression appears to be “baptized in the place of the dead;" the figure, like many others used by St. Paul, (who is on good authority supposed to have been once a soldier,) being a military one. His argument appears to be this —" If the cause of Christ be, as you represent it, a deception, and the doctrines of the gospel fallacious, how do you account for the perpetuity of the church? For no sooner is one soldier of the Cross discomfited or destroyed, than another rushes forward to supply his place, just as the second rank in battle steps forward in the room of those slain in the van.”
Other interpretations of this passage are abundant; but our own opinion is greatly in favor of that given above.
Behaviour in the World. Dear Sir,-In many instances the business of the present day is transacted upon terms dishonorable to the moralist, and much more disgraceful to the professed Christian. Now what course should be pursued by the young Christian placed in a situation where to himself liberty of conscience is permitted, though he sees around him others doing what he firmly believes to be wrong?
Should he remain silent, suffering them to deceive and defraud their fellow-creatures, and then, in private, calmly reason and endeavor to convince them that they are doing wrong, or should he publicly expose them to the disgrace they justly deserve ? But supposing the former course has been adopted, and proves unsuccessful, what must be the remedy? He is called upon not to yield his members as servants unto sin, as instruments unto iniquity;" but if sin be permitted in an establishment, every servant of that establishment has a share in the support of that establishment, consequently he must, if sin be tolerated, himself be chargeable with the guilt of that toleration.
Should he therefore leave that situation, and seek one more congenial to his taste, and more in accordance with the revealed will of God; or, remembering that those around him have immortal souls, should he endeavor to hold the situation, and by his example, gentle argument, and persuasion, and fervent prayer to God, seek to lead them to forsake their sin, to follow holiness in doing to their fellow-creatures as we would they should do to us?
Intreating your notice of the above, should you deem it worthy, as early as possible,
I remain yours,
A CONSTANT READER.
With reference to the first part of this enquiry, we think our Saviour's own rule is sufficiently explicit. Matt. xviii. 15-17.
The remainder of our enquirer's letter does not admit of so definite an answer. He will find some remarks on the subject in our volume for 1840, pp. 345, 375, et seq. We are disposed to allow considerable latitude in such cases, as the more we extend our enquiries, the more we are persuaded that there are very few situations, offices, or appointments in the world, which do not either directly or indirectly minister to some sin or censurable folly. The question should be rather “ What are we?" than - Where are we?”
Total Abstinence. SIR, --Permit me to ask you the following question. Think you that the water which our blessed Saviour turned into wine was an intoxicating, or an innocent, beverage ? The opponents of total abstinence bring this miracle forward as an argument for the use of the highly intoxicating and pernicious beverages of the present day. We leave it to the advocates of strong drink to reflect whether they honor the Saviour of the world, when they assert that he produced for his friends a drink, which if they had gone the least beyond the bounds of moderation, would have degraded them beneath the beasts that perish.
Yours very respectfully,