ePub 版

this subject by the following notice of the Messiah's Kingdom, from the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine :

“The Lord's Anointed One, and his spiritual kingdom, though frequently chosen as subjects of song, by pious minds of true poetic mould, can never become trivial or devoid of interest. Such an overpowering mass of ennobling reflections, varying with the ever-altering circumstances of our world, connect themselves with this sublime theme, as will, to the end of time, render the concomitants of Messiah's reign, in reference both to its early trophies and to its final triumph, highly attractive to the virtuous and benevolent. To the performance of her most "delightful task” Mrs. Bulmer has brought powers of no common order ; a cultivated understanding, a strong but reined imagination, fine taste, poetic feeling, a gifted mind deeply im. bued with the heavenly maxims of an extensive and correct theology, and the whole crowned with a vigorous judgment, capable of arriving at true and satis:actory conclusions on the most difficult points of ecclesiastical history and important maiters in philosophy. In the hands of a lady possessing such rare qualifications as these, “Messiah's kingdom” may be expected to suffer no detriment; and the welleducated reader will be delighted to find his just expectations in every respect' abundantly realized. Good poetry, harmonious versification, sound reflections, ani. mated descriptions, and lofty thinkings diversify and characterize the contents of the volume. The poem is not constructed on the epic model, but, most judiciously, is chiefly didactic and lyrical. Considerable tact was displayed by the early Chris tian poets of modern Europe in their extremely diverse employment of supernatural agency. They perceived that this was the only probable method of conveying no. ble and pious sentiments to the masculine, yet semi-barbarous spirits that flourislied at the chivalrous close of “the middle ages,” and at the equally stirring period of the revival of learning. As the western nations advanced in refinement, and as the poetic art became understood and appreciated, the improvements effected in the celestial and infernal machinery of the tuneful race” are very apparent. Tasso, in accordance with the progressive civilization of his age, was less daring, but more true to human proprieties, than Dante ; and Milton evinced consummate art in engaging the existing sympathies of his warlike contemporaries, by the still more chaste and scientific mode in which he led his embattled angelic hosts to deadly fight. Antiquity, investing with its sacred and enchanting mantle even the most recent of these eminent bards, has consecrated his peculiar use of superhuman auxiliaries ; but on the ensign of immortality, thus conferred, is inscribed the significant warning, “Let no one measure swords with Milton's airy hosts!” The salutary caution has been observed with tolerable strictness, by our countrymen, from the days of the Commonwealth to the present time. We look upon those ancient paraphernalia with nearly the same kind of veneration as that with which we regard our old and richly wrought tapestry: both were suited to the age in which they were fashionable. But now, such is the commendable “march of intellect,” we require to be instructed on sacred subjects as reflecting and contemplative beings, more in love with the “joyous quiet of the skies,” than with the turmoils of mundane strife. As such we are gracefully addressed by Mrs. Bulmer, whose charming strains commence with the happy condition of the first human family anterior to the fall, and, in five books, rivet our attention to the consecutive and gradual developements of the merciful purposes of Heaven respecting lapsed man, till we are greeted, in the sixth book, with the glorious epiphany of “God manifest in the fesh, and dwelling among us.” Then follow, in the seventh and subsequent books, the splendid victories of the cross from the infancy of the Christian Church to our own era. As it is our intention, at the earliest opportunity, 'to present to our readers, in a distinct and more copious review, the sense which we entertain of the various excellencies of this beautiful poem, we cannot do more than bestow upon it, thus promptly, our strong and most hearty recommendation.?

IS THE LAW OF GOD ETERNAL? That we may understand this question, and be able to give it a satisfactory answer, it will be necessary to define what is meant by the terms law and eternal. As to the latter term, eternal, we understand by it that which has neither beginning


nor ending, but something which exists necessarily, either from its own nature, or from its inseparable connection and coexistence with an eternal Being. In this sense that law of God by which He governs His own actions, and which, emanating from his own rature, is the invariable and immutable rule of right, is unques tionably eternal. If, however, the word eternal be restricted in its application simply to being, or personality, then nothing can properly be said to be eternal except God himself. But surely the word is not thus restricted in its meaning. Thus we read of the eternal life of believers, of eternal glory, and eternal truth.

Those properties of any being which may be said to be inherent in that being, as they are coexistent with him, have the same duration of existence with the being himself. Allowing the sun to be the source and centre of light,—the rays which are ernitted from him are coexistent with the sun himself, and shall continue to exist as long as he shall exist.

Thus it is with the law of God. We mean that law which emanates from the nature of God Himself, and of course is coexistent with Him.

Let us now attend to the definition of the term law. Perhaps there is no term used with greater latitude of meaning than this word, law. Every being, thing, and element in the universe, has its law. Thus we speak of the law of God and of angels; the laws of man, and of human nature; the law of sin and death ;' the “ law of our members ;' the law of matter and of spirit; the law of fire, of water, and of the air; the law of the state ; and we distinguish between human and Divine laws. In the sacred Scriptures we read of the moral, ceremonial, and the law of liberty,' and 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.' Perhaps as good a general definition of law as can be given is, that it is that principle by which any being or thing is governed. Thus the law of God's nature is the principle or rule by which He governs his own actions, and which, when expressed as His will, forms.the rule for the government of all His intelligent creatures; this includes the moral law, which is the eternal rule of right. The law of matter and of spirit is the principle by which matter and spirit are respectively governed; and so of all the rest.

Now some laws are only temporary in their existence. Such were all those laws or regulations which related to the mere ceremonial usages of the Israelites. As they originated from the circumstances in which these people were at that time placed, and were only "shadows of good things to come,' when these circumstances ceased to exist, and the 'good things to come,' namely, the Gospel with all its provisions, blessings, and privileges, had arrived, those laws, some of which God Himself pronounced by the Prophet Ezekiel, xx, 25, to be “not good,' ceased to be binding. So, also, all those laws which inhere in, and govern beings which have but a transitory existence, cease with the existence of those beings whom they govern. This is also the case with many human laws. Whenever the circumstances which gave them birth are no more, or whenever the operation of any of those laws shall be found inconvenient, inexpedient, or not to answer their end, they may,

and ought to be abrogated. Respecting all such laws, therefore, it must be said that they are but temporary in their existence.

But in regard to that law which is the immutable rule of right, being founded in the nature and fitness of things, inhering in, and emanating from the nature of God Himself, it may be said with the strictest propriety, that it is eternal. As had no beginning, so it can have no end. As it depended upon no evanescent circumstances for its existence, but is coeval with God Himself, it can no more cease to exist, or to be binding upon God's rational, intelligent beings, than its sacred Author Himself can cease to be.

Let us but suppose that that law which presupposes the infinite purity and loveliliness of God, and which requires mankind to love Him with all the heart, should



either cease to exist or to be binding on man, look at the consequences which would follow. God may cease to be a pure being ; men may refuse to love God, and yet be blameless. The devils, and all wicked men, provided that there be no law prescribing their obedience, are released from their allegiance to God, and may indulge in their rebellion without any fear of punishment; for if the law be repealed, by what rule can they be punished ?

This view of the law is supported by Mr. Wesley. In his Sermon on the Law of God, he says, ' Now this law is an incorruptible picture of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity. It is He, whom in His essence no man hath, or can see, made visible to men and angels. It is the face of God unveiled.' The law of God, (speaking after the manner of men) is a copy of the Eternal Mind, a transcript of the Divine nature : yea, it is the fairest offspring of the everlasting Father, the brightest efflux of His essential wisdom, the visible beauty of the Most High

How different is this moral law, in respect to its origin, nature, and properties, from the ceremonial law of Moses ! The former, being founded in the immutable nature of things, and according with the principles of eternal justice, can never be either repealed or cease to be binding upon His rational and accountable creatures; while the latter, established only for the time being, finally gave place to a more perfect dispensation, which was established by Jesus Christ, “the Mediator of a better covenant. Under the Mosaic dispensation, the sacrifices which were established by Divine appointment, derived all their efficacy from that appointment, because they prefigured and pointed to the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was constituted a Priest for ever over the house of God.

We have made this remark here for the purpose of obviating an objection which we learn has been made against what we stated in our preceding number, that • The victim that was offered in sacrifice was a vicarious offering, accepted instead of the sinner himself.' The objector seems to suppose that we intended to say, that those sacrifices, which were comparatively insignificant in themselves,' were 80 accepted as to do away the necessity of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. How such an inference could be drawn, especially when compared with the whole article on the atonement, we are at a loss to conceive; as such a sentiment was as foreign from our thoughts, and as contradictory to the whole tenor of the article, as is the thought that Socinianism is identical with Christianity. In that part of the article in question, we were endeavoring simply to define the meaning of the word afonement, as used when the Old Testament sacrifices were spoken of, and not to explain the evangelical doctrine of the justification of a sinner before God. This was afterward explained. And after reviewing and solemnly considering what is there said on the atonement, as made by these sacrifices, we can see no cause to alter our opinion. It might, perhaps, have been more clearly and explicitly declared, that those sacrifices, “not possessing any intrinsic value,' or merit‘in themselves,' pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ, whose vicarious death, was the only available sacrifice, of infinite value or merit, to atone for the sins of the world,' and through whose blood alone the penitent sinner was and is pardoned; but we thought, and do still think, that this cardinal truth of Christianity was sufficiently stated, in a subsequent part of the article, to have guarded it from any such exceptions as we are informed have been taken by some individuals. That all who ever were saved from their sins, whether before or after the coming of Jesus Christ, were saved by the merits of Him who once in the end of the world appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,' is a truth which has our most hearty assent. Nor can we perceive how this truth militates against the sentiment expressed in the piece on the atonement, namely, that the sacrifices under the Old Testament dis

[ocr errors]

pensation derived their efficacy, in atoning for the transgressors, from their Divino appointment for this very purpose,' seeing they were established by God for the time being, or as the temporary means of expiating the sins of the people until He should come, who by one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.'

We do not indeed suppose that the Jewish sacrifices purified the consciences of the people from moral defilement, any farther than they served as a means of directing the minds of the worshippers to the perfect sacrifice thereafter to be made by Him who was once offered to bear the sins of many. The Jewish sacrifices were chiefly of a legal character, designed to atone for those sins which would otherwise have cut off the transgressors from the privileges of their sanctuary; and hence they were offered annually, both in behalf of the priests themselves, and the people ; but the offering of Jesus Christ, being infinitely meritorious, is available in a moral point of view, and cleanses our consciences from dead works to serve the living God.' In a word, we consider all the ordinances of God, whether under the old or new covenant, as deriving their efficacy, as means, for the salvation of sinners, from the Lord Jesus Christ, who 'through the eternal Spirit offered Him. self without spot to God ;' and that a hearty belief in His atoning merits is essential, as a condition of our justification before God; and moreover that this faith, working by love, producing all good works, must be persevered in in order to attain everlasting life. Thus the sacrifices of the Israelites were typical of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and, therefore, of themselves, could never make the comers thereunto. perfect; but, when used in obedience to the Divine requirement, and by faith in that great High Priest whom they prefigured, they were the means of atoning for their sins as often as they were offered.


AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY. Seventeenth Annual Report of the American Bible Society, presented May 10, 1833, with an Appendix, containing extracts of correspondence, togethır with a list

of Auxiliary Societies, life directors, and members.

By those who take an interest in the great Bible cause, this report will be read with deep attention and pious gratitude. Following the example of its noble and philanthropic predecessor, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Bible Society is contributing to replenish the world with the pure word of God, and is thus aiding to make the triumphs of the cross of Christ the more complete.

Since its commencement in 1816, it has issued one million five hundred and thirty-three thousand six hundred and sixty-eight copies of Bibles and Testaments, in seven different languages, namely, the English, French, Spanish, German, Welsh, Irish, and Indian. During the seventeenth year of its operations, it has issued "ninety-one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight' copies of Bibles and Testaments. It has expended, during the past year

$86,362 25 Received, during the same period, including a balance of $1,261 77 from last year

86,197 25 Leaving a balance against the society of

165 00 Allowing the amount expended to have been applied for the manufacturing and distributing the Holy Scriptures, together with salaries of travelling and local agents, all of whom are employed in advancing the objects of the society, it will be perceived that each copy of these Scriptures, including Bibles and Testaments, has cost the community nearly one dollar. This result is proved thus :

Number of Bibles and Testaments issued during the last year, 91,168 Amount expended

$86,362 25 According to this calculation, this certainly is an expensive concern to the community.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »