« הקודםהמשך »
sentment, to every distracting care, as Abraham said to his attendants, tarry ye here while the lad and I go up to worship.
I proceeded to church under an unusual dejection of mind. I 1 entered the pulpit; a tear of despondence moistened my eye. I had not selected my subject. I opened the Bible. The prophet Isaiah presented a cordial; my bosom glowed; I was myself again. You may find my text in the three last verses of the forty-fifth chapter of our evangelical prophet:
“ I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
“ Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength ; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.”
“In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Need I say that I expatiated upon these passages with immeasurable satisfaction, that they chased from my bosom every gloom, and elevated my soul in thanksgiving to the God of my salvation ?
After the close of the church service I passed the evening with Madam W.: a very respectable circle was collected ; a number of interrogations were successively proposed, and, having a large flow of spirits from the cordial so recently furnished by Isaiah, I endeavoured to return satisfactory answers; and every feature in a num ber of intelligent countenances seemed to assure me they listened joyfully to the sound of the gospel trumpet : until Madam W. observed, “Certainly every one that asketh receiveth, and every one that seeketh findeth."
“ Yes, Madam,” said a stranger, to whom I had not bcen introduced, and he spake with great asperity, and in a manner truly sarcastic, “but we never knew, until we had the happiness of hearing Mr. Murray, that every one receiveth, whether they ask or not; that they find, whether they seek or not."
I turned to this oblique objector, and recollecting that a soft answer turneth away wrath, mildly replied,
No, Sir, nor did the idea you suggest, originate with me. No one ever heard me say, that any individual ever found rest to his soul, until he discovered his misery, and called upon God for mercy; nor shall he find, until he seeks, and with persevering diligence,
the way of life; and, turning to the lady, I added, they are in an error, Madam, who suppose that I ever taught, or thought the unbeliever, or the sinner, could be found in a state of beatification. The only difference between me and my opponents is, I believe « that every eye shall sce, that every tongue shall confess,” and that the knowledge of God is followed by that peace, which passeth understanding. They teach, that millions shall be shut up in darkness through a never ending eternity. I believe that every individual shall in due time be separated from sin, and rendered fit to associate with the denizens of heaven. They believe, that millions of millions shall continue without a period to their heinous offences, to curse God, and their own existence, to the unspeakable gratification of that adversary, who from the beginning hath sought their destruction.
Thus, as God has called into action every effort for their redemption, and as he has sworn that he wills the salvation of every sinner, as his spotless life, and suffering death, has proved ineffectual to snatch the ransomed prey from the almighty prince of darkness, combined with almighty man, he cannot obtain his will, and consequently must remain, worlds without end, unsatisfied.
I have received your letter, and you have my thanks. You ask me from whence proceeds the passion for dress, universally manifested, more or less, by every individual ? I answer, it took place in the garden of Eden. The first discovery, that the pernicious poison infused by the adversary, had become operative, was made in the answer given by our general father, on being questioned by his Creator.
“ And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?
“ And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
If our fallen father, thus on the threshold of error, was rendered unhappy by false shame, it cannot be matter of wonder that his descendants partake his sensations ? But this universal passion may be traced to a good or a bad source. If we consider Adam as stripped of his integrity, and the clothing him in the skins of the first animals, slain perhaps for that purpose, as typical of that robe of righteousness, which the lamb slain from the foundation of the world wrought out for them ; dress becomes an interesting, important and glorious theme: but if it be made use of, as contributing to
create undue pride, it should not be cherished, it should be returned to the author of every evil.
I am not quite satisfied with our friend P He should hold up the light of life, and thus give light to all who are in the house. How can he put the light he has received under a bushel ? But I trust he will not continue thus to conduct. I trust he will do all in his power to spread abroad the savour of that name, which I am asşured must be ever dear to his soul.
Farewell; may God forever bless you.
his letter, my friend, may be termed a letter of fragments ; indeed many, if not all my letters, may be thus characterized. Frequently shifting the scene, I gather only from memory, and time is seldom allowed me, either to be circumstantial, or to methodize ideas.
I preached last evening; it was not my intention to be thus employed; and when it was proposed I objected : after six o'clock, however, I repented, and the bell summoned the multitude. The congregation was large, and attentive, and I dwell with much freedom on the 22d chapter and 18th verse of the book of Genesis. « And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." I endeavoured, in the first place, to point out from Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, who this seed was ; secondly, a few of the innumerable blessings the God of Abraham promised to all the nations of the earth in this seed; and, thirdly, the cause assigned.
In the first place, it was beyond a doubt, if the testimony of Paul were admitted, that Jesus Christ was the seed of which God spake to Abraham ; for, said that well instructed scribe, “ To Abraham and his seed were the promises made, and he saith not unto seeds as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ." The truth being thus fully ascertained, respecting the seed, I proceeded,
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secondly, to enumerate a small part of the blessings God gave to the nations of the earth in this seed. The first blessing recorded, was manifested to our fallen parents in the garden of Eden, when the Lord God gave him to understand that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. The seed spoken of to Adam, and that spoken of to Abraham, was undoubtedly the same, and as the nations of the earth had but one foe, their adversary the Devil, the crushing his head, must, of necessity, be considered as a very singular blessing.
But, secondly, the works of this enemy, had taken place amongst the works of God, and before mankind could be completely blessed, the works of the adversary must be destroyed. To fulfil, therefore, this great promise, made to Abraham, Jesus was manifested in this world, that he might destroy the works of the Devil.
Thirdly, as there can be no happiness without peace, and there can be no peace to the wicked, it is necessary, in order that the nations should be blessed in this seed, that they be purified from all uncleanness of flesh and spirit; to effect this most important purpose, the promised seed shed his precious blood, when he became a sacrifice for sin, and thus cleansed us from all sin, thus put it away by this one sacrifice of his blessed self. To complete the blessedness of the nations which, contaminated by sin, had contracted enmity against God, while God manifested himself angry with the wicked every day, it was expedient that peace should be made, and reconciliation take place.
These mighty blessings the nations obtain in this seed, for he has made peace by the blood of his cross for them that were nigh, and for them that were afar off. It was in this seed, that the Divine Nature reconciled the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses. And, finally, 10 complete the blessedness of the nations, by accomplishing everything contained in this divine grant, these ransomed nations shall be made acquainted with the goodness of their God. They shall all know him, from the least to the greatest: the covering shall be taken from every face, and the veil from every heart. The corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality. The Jews shall be brought in with the fulness of the Gentiles; the earth shall be filled with the knowl. edge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea; every enemy to human nature sliall be destroyed, even to the last, which is death. All tears shall be wiped from all faces, and there shall be no more
pain; the former things shall pass away, and all things shall become new. The beast and the false prophet, that deceived the nations, must be both cast into the lake of fire, and the tabernacle of God must be with men, &c. &c. All this the God of Abraham has bound himself by oath to accomplish. But, lastly, the reason.
“ Because thou hast obeyed my voice." The nations had not obeyed the voice of God, the nations therefore could not obtain these blessings for themselves. The peculiar people of God did not obey the voice of God, therefore the promises could not be unto seeds as of many. No individual among the nations could inherit these blessings, in his own right, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Neither Noah, Daniel, nor Job, could obtain for a single nation, a temporal good; therefore the nations of the earth could not be blessed in them. But, they themselves were blessed, with the nations of which they were a part, in the one seed, for no man can come unto the Father, but by Christ; and it is observable, that even Abraham, could not in his own character, after the most earnest supplications, reverse the sentence passed by his God, upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Yea, it is a fact that his faith failed him in more instances than one, yet was his confidence in God stronger than that of any other mortal: an Apostle tells us it was accounted to him for righteousness, that he was the friend of God; that he staggered not at the promises through unbelief, and his failure on less important occasions may be recorded to manifest that he was in truth a mere man, and although in a variety of instances surpassing the children of men in various excellences, yet still stopping short of perfection.
Thus is our attention turned from the creature to the Creator, thus are we practically taught not to seek the living among the dead, to render devout homage and all adoration to that immaculate Being who only at all times, and upon all occasions, obeyed the voice of God. Thus are we brought to the divine source of every good, to the head of every man, to him, to whom alone it could with pro. priety be said, “because thou hast obeyed my voice."
Just as I had penned the last sentence, I was called off. But you can supply every deficiency. I have passed my morning in searching the scriptures, and in imagining myself, while thus employed, in the midst of my little flock. Yes, I was with them in fancy, and I dwelt with delight upon the countenances of those, whom I know to be winter friends. Now, said my full heart, they are perhaps