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In the almost general corruption of mankind, there was found one just man who feared and obeyed the Lord, who, by his example and his admonitions, acquired the title given to him by St. Peter, of a “ preacher of righteousness." This man found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and by him he vouchsafed to preserve the human race upon the earth. Noah and his family were saved from the general destruction, and from him was to arise a new generation, who, like the first inhabitants of the earth, were descendants from Adam, and all of one blood; and who were witnesses of God's severe judgment of the rebellious and wicked, that feeling the effects of it, though saved by his mercy, they might fear and love the Lord their God; and, as the chil. dren of one father, unanimously observe his commandments, and be an obedient and happy people. Noah having survived the guilty race who perished in the deluge, his Almighty Deliverer called him and his family forth from the ark, and graciously blessed him and his sons with the blessing of our first parents : “ Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." He then gave them his Divine commands, to be a rule for their conduct, a code which they were to observe as the law of their sovereign Lord; and established his covenant with them and with their posterity; whereby he removed every cause of diffidence and dread, by which the remembrance of the dire catastrophe from which they had been saved might have alarmed their minds and afflicted their hearts. “I will,” saith the Lord, “ establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood ; neither shall there be any more a flood to destroy the earth.” Was it possible to declare more expressly, or to impress more feelingly on the human understanding, that God was their Lawgiver, their Lord, their King; that they were his people; and that on their obedience depended their well-being and happiness?
The children of Noah multiplied and spread on the earth; yet not. withstanding the recent example both of God's judgments and his mercy, as they increased in number they became disobedient; they forgot the covenant of God, and disregarded his laws : ambitious, turbulent, and impatient of submission, they said, “Let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top shall reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Almighty ruined their ambitious plan. He confounded their language, so that they understood not each other, and scattered them abroad upon the earth ; and they left off to build the city. Still as they multiplied and spread, they increased in wickedness; they forsook God, and idolatry spread with them over the earth. The design of God was not, however, to be frustrated. The word of the reign which He had announced from the beginning, by giving man a law as a king to his subjects, shall not be in vain ; it shall not return to him without effect.
Idolatry at length filled the earth; men followed the imaginations of their corrupt hearts, and every thing seemed as if God had relinquished his design, when he revealed himself to Abram, commanding him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father's house, and to go to a strange land; with a promise to make of him a great nation, and not only to bless him and make his name great, but also to make him a blessing, and that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed. Abram, with a willing mind, obeyed the divine call. He believed in God, and at his order, without hesitation, he went out from his country, “not knowing whither he went." Arrived at the land of Canaan, the Lord appeared to him, and said : “ Unto thy seed will I give this land," when as yet he had no children. After divers events and trials, the birth of the child of the promise was foretold; and according to the Divine prediction, Isaac was born, from whose posterity was to spring the Deliverer, in whom the gracious promises of God were to have their full accomplishment, who was to bruise the head of the serpent, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, and to whom should be the gathering of the people.
The family of Abraham by Isaac multiplied according to the Divine promise; and amidst their divers trials and vicissitudes, were always distinguished from all other people, by the tender mercies and watchful providence of the Almighty. In process of time, to avoid the miseries of a famine, Jacob, the chosen son of Isaac, with his family, went down into Egypt, where his son Joseph was under Pharaoh, the ruler of the country. There they multiplied so as to cause alarm and jealousy in the Egyptians; and after the death of Joseph, and of the king under whom they were protected, they were cruelly treated, and reduced to a state of the most bitter bondage. Again, God seemed to have abandoned his design, or to have revoked his promises so often renewed to. Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. But his promises were not forgotten : He saw the sufferings of his people, and raised them up a deliverer. With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, they were brought out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron, who conducted them through the wilderness, where many miracles were wrought in their favour, notwithstanding their frequent ungrateful murmurings and rebellions, and the punishments thereby incurred. There the promise of a Redeemer to restore mankind to the favour of their Creator, who would again be their God, and receive them as his people, were renewed by Moses, and made more plain than they had been heretofore: “ The Lord said unto me, I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” After much disobedience, and many proofs of the severity, and, above all, of the mercy and long-suffering of God, the Israelites arrived at last at the country which he had promised Abraham to give for an inheritance to his posterity, and were established there under the law given by the hand of Moses in the wilderness; by which the descendants of Abraham were kept a separate people, distinguished from all the nations of the earth, for the wisest purposes relative to the promise made to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Conformably thereto, the promise of a Messiah, who should be the representative of God to reign in his name, and to assemble all nations under his government, was renewed by the prophets whom God raised up among his people, with more and more perspicuity as the time of its accomplishment approached. All the prophets (observes St. Peter) from Samuel and those who follow after, as many as have spoken, have foretold all that related to the days of Christ. He was to be the Prince of peace; the good Shepherd; the Saviour of his people; the light of the Gentiles. He was to feed his flock like a shepherd, to gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom: He was to come as the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace : He was to gather the people together, to establish a reign of peace and charity, to form a kingdom wherein all was to be justice, peace, and joy under the influence of the Holy Spirit; and he was to establish it by the most inild and peaceable means; not as the kingdoms of this world are established and maintained, by force and violence. His people were to be made willing in the day of his power; patience and persuasion were to be the only arms to be employed by those who would enlist under his banners. He was to sow the good seed of the word of the kingdom ; to announce the joyful tidings that the reign of his father was near; to invite first the Jews, and by them (if they received him) all nations, to acknowledge him as the Christ of God, and their promised deliverer ; to receive him as the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and to become altogether one obedient and happy people, under one Lord; one flock under one Shepherd.
But if the descendants of Abraham, who had been so long and so carefully prepared through the tender mercies of God, and by his reiterated promises, to receive and obey him ; if they who were the depositaries of his oracles, and whom he had not çeased to instruct, by sending them, from time to time, prophets and wise men to admonish them; if, excepting those few who yet waited with faith for the redemption of Israel, they as a nation refused to hear him; if they rejected and persecuted him; if they carried their disobedience and revolt against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so far as to use violence against his Christ, to lay their sacrilegious hands on his Divine person, to determine his death ; how much more must such resistance and violence be expected from the nations who knew not God, to whom his oracles and his promises had not been revealed ? In that case, what hope remained to the world ? what expectation but that God would, in the severity of his justice, extirpate mankind from the earth ; and make them and their habitation like Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain? But his ways are not our ways ; nor his thoughts our thoughts. He in his mercy had prepared better things for our fallen race. Oh the unspeakable goodness of God! It was pre-ordained and foretold that the promised Messiah should be passible, capable of suffering even unto death. It is of him that the prophet says, “ He is a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” If man carried his rebellious atrocity so far as to attempt against the life of the Christ of God, of the King of kings and Lord of lords, he was to lay down his life to avert the entire destruction of mankind : He was to bear our griefs, and to be wounded for our transgressions, to pour out his soul unto death, and to be numbered with the transgressors, though he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth : the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for himself. Thus he was to be the propitiation for our sins. “ He in his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should live in righteousness, and by his stripes we are healed.” He died that we might live ; that the posterity of Adam might yet exist; that grace and mercy might yet be offered to them in his name, that they might be again invited to become the people of God, to believe and obey with a willing mind, as the sovereign Lord and King, Jesus the beloved Son of God, who in obedience to the will of the Father, gave his life for a sacrifice to redeem them from condemnation and death, and to open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Having thus traced the chain of Divine Providence down to the period of Messiah's advent, I purpose, in another paper, to show that the same unbroken unity of design has been, and will be, visible in the progress of events to the consummation of all things.
(To be continued.)
ON THE STYLE OF CERTAIN CLERICAL ADVERTISEMENTS.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I was not sorry to see some strictures in your pages, upon the style of certain clerical advertisements. In addition to such defects as bad taste, an exacting spirit, and setting up unauthorised standards, whether the sentiments of this or that magazine or individual, I have observed what appeared to me invitations to simony, either direct or disguised. Permit me, however, to repel an absurd insinuation which I have seen in print, that these exceptionable announcements “characterise the evangelical school.” Take the following illustration from the “St. James's Chronicle" for May 21:-“The advertiser offers £100 to any lady or gentleman who can procure him a curacy, or the duties of a chapel ; his views are strictly Scriptural, but not evangelical." Here is an advertiser offering money to any lady or gentleman who can procure him a spiritual office, with an unblushing effrontery, not exceeded by that of a begging-letter impostor; and he thinks it a sufficient guarantee, that his sentiments are not evangelical. It was not requisite for him to make this announcement; and it would be gross injustice to suppose, from this flippant puff, that any body of clergymen would acknowledge a code of doctrine to be Scriptural which is not evangelical. Nor need I add, that no lady or gentleman ” would treat with such an advertiser; or any bishop, ascertaining the facts, license him, if he succeeded in finding some person venal and wicked enough to accept a bribe to procure him “a curacy, or the duties of a chapel." The Church of England is not responsible for such advertisements, though they grievously injure it in popular estimation. Dissenters, however, have no right to cast the first stone, as they are too ready to do; since any person who has money to spare, can buy or build a chapel, and set up himself, or any body he pleases, as the minister ; whereas in the Church of England, even in the case of a legal advowson or presentation, the patron is confined in his choice to those who have passed, or are about to pass, the strict ordeal required, as to life, doctrine, and qualifications for episcopal ordination; and are solemnly set apart for the sacred office. Unhappily it is not the fact, that every ordained person is what he ought to be; but if he be not, much blame rests somewhere; and there is, at least, the guarantee both of private and official responsibility ; whereas, in the other case, there is no guarantee at all; for even a swindler might set up “an interest" if he chose ; and perhaps would do so, if he had talents and plausibility sufficient to make it answer. I should not have written upon this invidious topic, were not such advertisements cited by Dis
senters to our disparagement. If I wished to carry the war into their camp I could quote abundance of Dissenting announcements, quite as exceptionable as the one above noticed; but I merely intended, in these remarks, to blame what is blameable, without comparing it with something else that is blameable also.
ON THE MOTIVES FURNISHED BY THE GOSPEL.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I READ with much interest the paper in your last Number, upon the motives of the early Christians. I am not a young man; and I did not expect to live to see the day when any body of English clergymen would dare to assert, that the most essential doctrines of the Gospel are not to be communicated openly, honestly, and universally, but only with stealthy reserve to certain initiated persons; and that we may be prepared for baptism, and receive it, and shall be thereby justified, and may live and true believers, without ever being made acquainted with the atonement, which ought not to be brought forward “ prominently and explicitly ;" but be reserved as a secret to reward esoterics, who have proved their implicit faith by pledging themselves to believe all that the Church tells them, before they know what it is. To deny the doctrine of justification by faith, (except in its Tridentine, not Pauline or Anglican, sense); to subvert the atonement by making the cross of Christ to mean personal mortification; and sanctification, justification ; and to cast into the shade the expiation of sin by the Redeemer's sufferings and death; is, for aught I can see to the contrary, " to preach another Gospel, which is not another,” but an awful delusion to destroy the true Gospel of Christ.
But I am not about to trouble your readers with my own opinions; but to quote a few sentences from Bishop Horsley, who has strikingly and scripturally shewn what are the motives furnished by the Gospel, and which actuated the early believers in our Lord, till the mysticism engendered by paganism and false philosophy, gave rise to the absurdities of “the discipline of the secret,” and “reserve in communicating Christian knowledge.” Bishop Horsley says:
" The motives which the revealed doctrines furnish, are the only motives the Christian bas to do with, and the only motives by which religious duty can be effectually enforced. I am aware, that it has been very much the fashion, to suppose a great want of capacity in the common people, to be carried any great length in religious knowledge, more than in the abstruse sciences. That the world and all things in it had a Maker; that the Maker of the world made man, and gave him the life which he now enjoys; that he who first gave life, can at any time restore it; that he can punish, in a future life, crimes which he suffers to be committed with impunity in this; some of these first principles of religion the vulgar, it is supposed, may be brought to comprehend. But the peculiar doctrines of revelation ; the trinity of persons in the undivided Godhead; the incarnation of the second Person; the expiation of sin by the Redeemer's sufferings and death; the efficacy of his intercession; the mysterious commmerce of the believer's soul with the Divine Spirit; these things are supposed to be above their reach. If this were really the case, the condition of man would indeed be miserable, and the proffers of mercy in the Gospel, little better than a mockery of their woe; for the consequence would be, that the common people could never be carried beyond the first principles of what is called natural religion."
" Blessed be God! the case is far otherwise. As we have, on the one side, experimental proof of the insignificance of what is called natural religion ; so, on the