« 上一頁繼續 »
in the Bible, and marked as a doctrine of importance: The only difficulty in the case consists in fixing the true and legitimate sense of the terms which the scriptures use, in treating upon this article. It is hoped that a few observations, with a view to a clear and distinct percep. tion of this subject, will not be wholly unprofitable.
The Calvinistic system, if we understand it, conveys the idea, that such a union subsists between Christ and the elect, that their sins became his, that is, were placed to his account, and made the cause of his suffering and death; and that his perfect righteousness becomes the righteousness of his people, by a similar act of imputation. Some, who have advocated the doctrine of a universal restoration, have entertained the same views as Calvin, of the headship of Christ, and have in fact made this idea the basis of their system. They have differed from Calvin only in this, that he limited the membership of the body to the elect, a comparatively small number, while they have extended it to the whole human family. Mr. Relly, of England, has written considerably in support of this theory; and I is writings evince that he held the union of Christ with human nature, as Calvin viewed it with respect to the elect, and made it the foundation of his theory.
We do not conceive, however, that the scripture terms that express the headship of Christ, require to be interpreted so as to involve the idea of a union between him and us, that should make our transgressions his, and his righteousness ours. Who does not know, that guilt and righteousness are of a personal nature, and of all things least capable of a transfer ? The doctrine of revelation is, that "every man shall die for his own sins ;"not that all men shall die, collectively, for their aggregated sins, assumed by, and visited upor, their righteous head. Who is able to explain the idea of our being benefitted by the righteousness of Christ, unless by its becoming ours personally? Who can see any connexion between our guilt and his sufferings, except so far as a holy and benevolent sympathy is concerned? It is said, that we all sinned in Adam, and that he was “a figure of him that was to come;" and that it is as easy to conceive of our deriving a benefit from the righteousness of the second Adam, as of receiving damage by our relation to the first. We grant this. The cases are similar. But what damage have we received froin our relation to AdamIt is true, a parent may entail misery upon his offspring, who may suffer to the "third and fourth generation," for his folly; but he cannot render them guilty by his acts. Their guilt must result from their own conduct. If they imitate their father, they will certainly incur guilt, but it will be their own individually. In like manner, a parent may, as the representative of his children, entail blessings upon them. If he is virtuous, bis virtue will be advantageous to them, so far as they initate it, but no farther. All of merit that they possess, is in themselves, not from their relation to their father. We think the language of the Bible is explicit on this head. In regard to sin, we are told, that "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” This is perfectly natural. But death is said to have "passed upon all men,” not because one has transgressed, but because "all had sinned.” Let us preserve the parallel : "So by the righteousness of one shall many be made righteous.” The holiness of Jesus, imitated by us, will render us personally holy. Adam and Christ are the heads of human nature, representatively. In the former we behold the weakness, imperfection and sin of our race; in the latter, we contemplate the exalted moral virtue of which man is capable; but we suffer by the one, or are benefitted by the other, as guilty or deserving creatures, entirely as we are imitators of our models.
contemplated. We may add, that what is termed federal representation in Christ, may be understood by considering him as placed at the head of the creation, promulging laws, and establishing a religion, that were to promote and secure the felicity of all rational beings. In this sense, he acted for all; for generations unborn, for human beings to the end of time. He is thus "the head of every man; he is head over all things to the church,” as its precepts, laws, institutions, virtues and graces emanate from him. But it should be remarked, that this view of the doctrine does not exclude the idea of personal acts, nor infringe the idea of individual worthiness or unworthiness, merit or demerit.
THE RAPIDITY WITH WHICH HUMAN LIFE PASSES AWAY.
Our life is short and transitory. This is an incontestible proposition, tho, to judge from the conduct of most people, one would not suppose it a received truth. Let us judge by our own experience : Ought not each step we have taken, from our births to this moment, to have convinced us of the frailty of life? Let us consider only with what swiftness, the days, the weeks, the months and the years have passed, or rather flown away. They were over, even before we perceived it. Let us endeavor to recal them to mind, and to follow them in their rapid flight. Is it possible to give an account of the different eras ? If there had not been in our lives certain very remarkable moments, which made impression on our minds, we should be still less able to recollect the histories of them. How many years of our infancy, devoted to the amusements of youth, which we can say nothing of, but that they are glided away? How many others have passed in the thoughtlessness of youth; during which, misled by our inclinations, and given up to pleasure, we had neither the wish, nor the time, to look into ourselves ? To these years succeeded those of a riper age, more capable of reflection. We then thought it was time to change our way of life, and to act like reasonable men ; bụt the business of the world took possession of us to such a degree, that we had no leisure to reffect on our past lives. Our families increased, and our cares and endeavours to provide for them inereased in proportion. Insensibly the time draws nigh, in which we arrive at old age ; and perhaps, even then, we shall neither have leisure nor force of mind to recollect the past, to reflect upon the period to which we are come, upon what we have done, or neglected to do ; in a word, to consider the purposes for which God placed us in this world. In the mean time, what can insure our ever attaining that advanced age? A thousand accidents break the delicate thread of life, before it comes to its full length. The child just born, falls, and is reduced to dust. The young man who gives the highest hopes, is cut down, in the age of bloom and beauty; a violent illness, and unfortunate accident, lays him in the grave. Dangers and accidents multiply with years : negligence and excess lay the seeds of maladies, and dispose the ibody to catch those that are epidemical. The last age is still more dangerous. In a word, half of those who are born are carried out of the world, and perish in the short
space of their first seventeen years. Behold the concise, but faithful history of life! O may we redeem those days, so short and so important, in learning how to number them, and redeem the time which flies sv swiftly away! Even while we are making these reflections, some moments are flown. What a precious treasure of hour's anıl days should we not lay up, if, from the numberless hours we have to dispose of, we often devoted some of them to so useful a purpose ! Let us think of it seriously; every instant is a portion of life impossible
to recal, but the remembrance of which may be either the source of joy or sorrow. What heavenly enjoyment is it, to be able to look happily on the past, and to say to one's self with truth, “I have lived so many years, during which I have sown a rich seed of good works; I do not wish to begin them again, but I do not regret that they have passed P" We should be able to hold this language, if we fulfilled the end for which life was given us; if we devoted our short space of time to the great interests of eternity.-- Sturm.
EXTRACT FROM THE LIFE OF MURRAY.
From East-Greenwich I proceeded to Pawtucket, de livering my message in their house of worship; and from thence 1 repaired to Providence, where I was re. ceived by those who had before bade me welcome, with continued kindness. Immediately on my arrival, a summons to pass the evening with the Rev. Mr. Snow was presented me; I delayed not to attend him, and I was accompanied by Mr. Binney, a young gentleman of great promise. Mr. Snow's parlor was nearly filled by the members of his church and congregation. A long and solemn pause succeeded the usual ceremonies of introduction ; Mr. Snow at length broke silence by observe ing, "We are, sir, perfectly aware, that by far the greater part of the town are anxious to hear you ; and, as our house is the most convenient, we presume application will be made for its use. But, since you were last here, a few of our members have heard strange reports respecting you, viz. That you believe all mankind will finally be saved ; and that the new birth is not m us, but in Christ. I have, therefore, thought proper to call together several of my church, that they may have an opportunity of speaking to you, and determining whe