ePub 版

of Jesus. Again and again they had caused his heart to burn and tremble within him. They had so raised the whole tone of his being, that he had reached that spiritual eminence which touches Heaven, where angel-harmonies may be overheard, and where he listened to the voice of God, and received the divine command to announce the approaching kingdom. He had descried its coming already, within, in his own heart. He declared to the people that he was only the herald of the king, not the king himself, that there stood one among them, so glorious and exalted, that he himself, highly as they thought of him, “was not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoe." I understand this expression as prompted not by the general idea which, as a Jew, he had formed of the coming Messiah, but by his personal reverence for Jesns whom he knew. And so it was, I conceive, with all the allusions which he makes to him who was to succeed him, and which possess a new force when thus regarded, as prompted by his personal knowledge of Jesus. He had Jesus in his mind. He had felt in his own soul-he knew, the searching, burning power of his illustrious relative, and therefore he said, “ I use only water as a sign and means of inward cleansing, but he that will shortly appear will purify you, penetrating your inmost hearts with a holy spirit and with fire."

John was the last of the Hebrew prophets. “The least in the kingdom of Heaven was greater than he.” The whole mode of his appearance, austere, ascetic, was in accordance with Jewish ways of feeling. Like the prophet Elijah, and all those who, in the ancient days of the nation, aimed at the strictest sanctity, he was clad in the rudest manner, in a garment of camel's hair bound round him with a leathern girdle. His food was the simple and scanty produce of the desert where he appeared. He announced himself in the consecrated language of one of the old prophets. Of those who resorted to him, he required the observance of a rite, already familiar to the Jews, baptism. He imposed fasts upon his disciples. All these things were fitted to arrest the Jewish eye and ear.

And accordingly we read that “all held John to be a prophet.” That teachers of the law and supercilious Pharisees went with the whole country and were baptized by him, acknowledging his authority and confessing their sins, is significant of the congeniality between the appearance of John and Jewish modes of thought.

The difference between John and Him who came after him is obvious in all these things, and it is otherwise marked. From the prison into which he was thrown by Herod, John

sent two of his disciples to inquire of Jesus, who had then appeared publicly, teaching, and working miracles, whether he were the Messiah, or another was to be looked for. It has been thought that the Baptist sent his disciples on this errand for their satisfaction, not his own. But if he had no misgivings himself, he might easily have satisfied his disciples, with whom the authority of their master was supreme.

Had his confidence in Jesus as the Christ been entire, he could not have endured himself, nor would he have suffered his disciples, to put a question to Jesus implying the least dissatisfaction. In implicit faith he would have waited, and enjoined it upon others to wait for Jesus to vindicate his own claims in his own way. He would have perceived all the force of the evidence which Jesus was giving in his works of power and mercy, and in the proclamation of the gospel to the poor; and directed the attention of his disciples to what Jesus was doing, as furnishing decisive attestations to the truth of his pretensions. We are justified therefore, in supposing that John sympathised in a degree with the popular impressions respecting the Messiah's Kingdom and glory. It was no doubt, on account of his defective ideas on this point that Jesus declared that “the least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than he.” And for this reason also, because he looked for the Christ to assume an outward dignity, he became impatient of his own imprisonment, and began to be disturbed because Jesus had done nothing towards his liberation, and no tidings came of such events as should accompany the appearance of the Messiah. It is from the message which he sent to Jesus from prison that we infer the imperfection of his views and pronounce him still only a Hebrew prophet.

Note.-We differ a little from our friend Mr. Furness with respect to the message sent to Jesus by John from prison. We believe it was neither to satisfy his own doubts, nor that of his disciples, that he sent to ask, “ Art thou he that should come ?” (Matt. xi. 3.) For it appears from John i. 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, that John must have certainly known that Jesus was the Christ. The suggestion that it was for the benefit of his disciples, is one of those modern afterthoughts that are quite foreign from the simplicity and directness of ancient manners. The true explanation is to be found in the character of the Baptist, and his idea of the Messiah's office. Mr. Furness justly remarks that “ John sympathized in a degree with the popular impressions respecting the Messiah's kingdom and glory." He wished for one who should overthrow the Roman power, destroy the time-serving Herod, and begin a new reign of righteousness at Jerusalem.

Languishing in prison, his mind fed on these hopes, he anxiously waited till Jesus should take the first steps toward their fulfilment. He could not understand how he

should waste his time in healing a few sick persons, and travelling about in Galilee with a retinue of the poor and diseased. His impatient spirit could bear it no longer. His old call, to rebuke, returned. He who had not scrupled to rebuke Herod, to denounce the hypocrisy of the priests and rulers, ventured even to urge the Messiah to lay aside his apparent lethargy. He sends to him a question which put in equivalent language, shows its own meaning. “ Do you

intend to be our Messiah, or shall we have to seek for another ? "

The context is in beautiful harmony with this. The answer of Jesus, “ Go and tell John what ye have seen—and blessed is he who shall not be offended because of me,” is a gentle reproof to John's impatience, and a lesson to him that works of love, not of POWER, are the true signs of the presence of the Messiah. And the remarks which follow, after John's messengers had gone, are evidently meant to apologise for his rydeness. John was not a reed shaken by the wind, nor a man clothed in soft raiment, and of course politeness and gentleness of manner was not to be expected from him. His mission was a stern and difficult one, which made it necessary that his face should be set as a flint, and hence he might be excused for showing occasional incivility. Men clothed in soft raiment are in King's palaces, and such an one would not have taken them out into the wilderness to see him. This appears to be the connexion of the passage.


1. North American Review. No. 100. July, 1838. The contents of the 100th number of the North American Review are-1. Fifty years of Ohio. This is an admirable article, written by our friend J. H. Perkins, of Cincinnati. It combines original and profound research, with a delightful style of narrative. 2. The second article is on Milton and is highly spoken of. 3. Political Economy. 4. Anglo-Saxon Literature. This is another admirable paper. It is attributed to Professor Longfellow, of Cambridge. It opens a field entirely new to most readers, but full of the richest flowers of genius and taste. The translations are done famously well. The poem on the Grave, one would judge was the source from whence Alfred Tennyson took the idea of his little piece, “Life and Thought have gone away.” 5. An article on McKenney and Hall, in which the Judge is kindly treated, notwithstanding his outrageous and preposterout attack on the N. A. R. in the preface to one of his last published books of scraps about the West. 5. Fashions in Dress. An interesting subject, which we would like to see treated more philosophically. 7. An article upon our friend Dr. Holmes' prize dissertations. Ó. Wendell Holmes has shown that poetry and science can go very well together, and we are glad to see that his being one of best poets in the country has not prevented his being chosen Professor of Anatomy, at Dartmouth.

8. Voyages of the Zeni. 9. Romantic Poetry in Italy. 10. Critical Notices.

We perceive by all our exchange papers that the value of this work is still appreciated. It is a work which should circulate throngh the length and breadth of the whole land, a bulwark and honor of our literature. Its present Editor, Dr. Palfrey, has not only sustained but carried forward the high character which this Oldest American Periodical had before attained.






may be


THIRD bers.

Let every friend to the With this number we

of free and intelligent conclude the third year of the christianity remember, that by Western Messenger, a work com- encouraging our work, he menced with much uncertainty, sending out a missionary to give continued through various diffi- light to those who sit in darkness culties and perplexities, but thus and the shadow of death, and to far as successful as its projectors guide their feet into the ways of had any reason to anticipate. The peace. past year has been one of pecu According to our usual custom liar trial for all kinds of literary in closing a volume, we shall works. The derangement of the issue no number during the next currency affects especially the month. This is to give us time collection of small dues scattered to arrange for the next volume, over a wide extent of country. and also to afford the Editor an We have shared in these losses opportunity of taking a journey. with the rest of our countrymen, Our subscribers lose nothing by but we hope with them for better this however, for they always times.

have twelve numbers for three We return our thanks here to dollars. The next number will our contributors for their valua- be published in November. able, yea, indispensable assistance; to those who have procured INSPIRATION OF

New subscribers for us; to the news- TESTAMENT.–We publish in the papers which have favorably no- present number an article on this ticed us; and to those generally subject by a friend with whose who have expressed a sympathy speculations we do not altogether for the fortunes of the Western agree. We have here only room Messenger.

to indicate our opinions on this We commence a new year with subject in the briefest manner. the determination to merit, as far We may hereafter enlarge upon as in us lies, the continuation of it. the favor hitherto bestowed up 1. The writers of 21 of the

We hope that we shall books of the New Testament still have the company of our were Apostles, and all of them friends who have hitherto kept were of those who received the along with us. We should be Holy Ghost. See the book of extremely sorry to lose from our Acts, passim. lists the name of any individual. 2. One of the especial offices On the contrary, we hope each of the Holy Spirit was to lead one will procure new subscri- the disciples into all truth, i. e.


on us.

all christian truth.

The great

3. That importing a single fundamental truths of christianity Arab has done for New England were written on the heart by the what races have not done for the Holy Spirit. Incorporated with South. their very nature, and a part of

4. That where there are races their life, christianity was not an there is danger of having a breed intellectual perception only, but of light, fleet, but weak horses, a felt reality. This was their in- unfit for severe work of any kind. spiration, and it accompanied All this is not the less concluthem when they acted, when sive that the writer, at the beginthey preached, and when they ning, appears to dissent from our wrote. In it was Life and Life opinion: was the Light of man.

The Evangelists were there “ Your article upon horse rafore something more than merely cing has been going the rounds common observers. Their whole of the newspapers. I do not hearts were filled with the know- agree with you quite in your poledge and love of Christ, and this sition that racing is not necesknowledge and love guided and sary to the attainment, of a good prevented them from any essen- breed of horses, because wheretial error.

I agree with H. E. ever horses are good, there is that there was no special influ- some blood, i. e. some of the Arab ence imparted at the time to strain ; the best horses in the guide their pens, but I would world, ( Arabia and Toorkistan add to what he has said, that excepted, and these seem to be they had a knowledge of the the climates where the horse whole subject altogether differ- comes 10 that perfection natuent and above any common na- rally, which elsewhere can only tural knowledge.

be arrived at by judicious crossing,) are in Old and New Eng

land. In Old England the horse HORSE RACING AGAIN.-We for quick work is a cross of the copy from a private letter the fol- racer with the native; for draught lowing account of the origin of the native horse crossed with the the New England race of horses. Flemish, to give weight; and a The writer of it, as our readers dash of blood to give courage and will see, is very well acquainted wind. Now as we have no nawith the whole subject. It con- tive breed in New England, it is firms our previous opinion, that worth while to trace the origin horse racing is not necessary for of the Vermont and New Hampa good breed of animals. For it shire horses, which are confessshows,

edly so good. The first horses 1. That there can be blood were brought from England by without racing, as in Arabia and the puritans, and were of course New England.

the Old English stock, which 2. That it is judicious cross- at that day had been improved ing and not racing which makes by a cross of the Arabian, for good horses.

both the Charles's patronised

« 上一頁繼續 »