« AnteriorContinuar »
1 Tim. iv. 8.–Bodily exercise profiteth little (read a little, apos ólyov, i. e. serves to some purpose, and is useful in its kind, though not to be compared with godliness) but godliness is profitable unto all things.”—(p. 46, note.) -still less for the investigation of 2 Cor. xii. 21, in p. 12, note.
Bearing in mind that tertiary repentance is for grievous sins after baptism; is the reader prepared for the following view of Simon Magus's case, and to find it referred to the second order ?—
“In like manner the repentance, which St. Paul describes as that of his Corinthian converts, with all its true and lively characteristics, what were the circumstances of the case out of which it arose ? Not an act of guilt, much less a course of abandoned life; but an omission of duty; the neglecting to put away from among them that wicked person.' And so, perhaps, though in an aggravated degree, the sin of Simon Magus. That of which he had need to repent was a thought of the heart;' and, as such, was to be met with spiritual exercise. 'Pray God,' says St. Peter, ‘if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."- (p. 7.)
Is the reader at a loss to account for this classification ? It is because Peter says “ pray” instead of bidding him do penance. Hence the sin was not deadly!
We had noted many other passages as requiring "the rod of discipline ;” but for our readers' sake, we will conclude with a glance at the conclusion of the discourse. Here the preacher's 6th Proposition is illustrated by an appeal to the liberality of his congregation, “as constituting part of their penitential discipline." The peroration is too characteristic not to be given at length. Its good taste, and its “evangelical” doctrine, (?) will commend themselves to every judgment; and therefore we will not weaken its impression by a superfluous word :
“ Members of the Church, promoting and propagating her doctrines, it were the grossest inconsistency in us not to practise in our own persons the duties which she prescribes-not to observe all things whatsoever she has appointed ; to omit to pray when she invites us—to disdain to fast when she bids us-to refuse to do alms when she intreats us. The obligation upon us is twofold; as Christians, and Churchmen, we have a duty to perform; as penitents, we have a discipline to undergo. Are we conscious of grievous sins-of wilful disobedience, or forgetfuluess of God-of a wanton, sensual spirit-of covetousness, and worldly lusts, inconsistent with the hopes and calling of one, who confesses that he is a stranger and a pilgrim on the earthwe shall give the more freely; not as a deed of love and charity only, or as an offering and sacrifice to God, but also, when occasion so requires, as an act of corrective justice on ourselves—as condemning and punishing in ourselves the acts and desires, the occasions and incentives of sin, and selfishness, for which we know and confess the wrath of God to be due. So may we judge ourselves that we be not judged of the Lord! So may we chasten ourselves that we be not condemned with the world !"--(pp. 68, 69.)
“We are called upon this day, each according to his ability, to Promote the Knowledge, and to Propagate the Gospel, of Jesus our Saviour. Christ himself stands at the door and begs. His naked and tattered body is our mendicant. As we have pierced it with our sins, so let us now cover it with the robe of charity. Let iis save it, as far as we may, from the sins of others.
We have seen what is the balance of God's truth; let us remember what is the measure of his mercy. As our repentance is, so is our pardon (!) As our sins have been, so should be our repentance. Be not deceived-God is not mocked—for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly. He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."-(pp. 69, 70.)
We now close the book with a single question, Are the disciples of Christ prepared to “call this man master ?” Will the Church of Christ still suffer itself to be “ bewitched” with a worse than Galatian infatuation ?
God forbid !
THE KINGS OF THE EAST: an Exposition of the Prophecies,
determining, from Scripture and from History, the Power for whom the Mystical Euphrates is being “ Dried up. Post 8vo. London: Seeley and Burnside. . 1842.
That these are the days of which the prophet Daniel spoke, when he said, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be “ increased,” is, we apprehend, a matter concerning which our readers will in general entertain little doubt. At least if facts too wonderful to escape observation, may be admitted to stamp the character of any age-certainly the nineteenth century may safely be described as the age of rapid, earnest, and perpetual locomotion ; and of amazing extension of human knowledge.
The “ Travellers' Club” of former days, was limited, we believe, to those who had made “the grand tour," or who had overpassed a corresponding portion of the earth's surface. A Travellers Club of the present day would probably embrace a far larger number of persons, if limited to those who had circumnavigated the globe!
Steam and colonization, united, have multiplied our travellers certainly more than a hundredfold. You now meet a man at Charing-Cross, and exclaim, “Why, I thought you were in New “ Zealand !” “So I was," is the reply,-"the other day; but "some business required me here; so I just came over for a few “weeks, but shall return again on the first of next month.” The next moment the postman hands you a letter, from a friend who parted with you, it seems, only the other day, and who now dates from Madras. The writer expresses a hope that some fine summer, in the course of the next two or three years, you will
turn your holiday-trip eastwards, and give him a meeting under Mount Carmel, or on the Euphrates. But you hesitate ; for a previous promise of the same kind, binds you first to visit Niagara. You therefore revolve in your mind some middle course, by which, if business should lead him towards Canton or Macao, you might arrange for an extension of your trip by crossing the Pacific.
The increase of “knowledge,” however, quite equals the growth of habits of vagrancy. By knowledge, here, we mean, what has been too frequently called “ useful knowledge.” We may deny its claim to this distinction; but that it is knowledge we shall at once admit. At this instant, one discoverer is applying galvanism to the manufacture of metals, especially of silver plate, in such a remarkable process as promises to produce the most splendid specimens of chased and engraved work (chased and engraved heretofore), formed without human hand. Nearly half the previous cost is to be thus saved ; but thousands of workmen will be dismissed to idleness ! Another is, in a parallel line, applying the same power, to produce engravings on copper,—or what we have used to call engravings,—without an engraver! A third finds the excrement of a bird on the coasts of America, which possesses power to double the produce of our fields. Thus, in a vast variety of ways, production seems to be rapidly increasing; and yet we do not see a corresponding increase of human happiness. On the contrary, all things seem getting more and "out of joint.” Means of enjoyment are increased; yet men do not enjoy, but chafe and complain. May we not, then, justly doubt, whether this “knowledge” is really “ useful knowledge.”
A key to this problem is furnished, in another expression used by the prophet in the same chapter. “None of the wicked shall « understand ; but the wise shall understand.” And this sends us at once to Job for a further elucidation ;—who tells “ The fear “ of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is under“ standing.”
This is a period, then, of increased knowledge to all; but of increased understanding also, to those who fear the Lord. “The wise shall understand ;- not truth in general only—but the particular truths which the prophet Daniel did “set his heart to “ understand.” This promise is now fulfilling before our eyes, in the unquestionable openings of divine truth, vouchsafed to many of God's servants who have set themselves to ponder over the
more sure word of prophecy.” We hope that it is in a measure fulfilled in the work before us.
It has long appeared to us that it is granted to all and each of those who prayerfully endeavour to elucidate the prophetic portions
of God's word—to raise a small portion of the curtain which still hides the Divine plan and purpose from our view; while, together with this moderate portion of success, there is joined, in almost every case, much visible failure. We cannot but think that this is the case in the present instance. We hope and believe that the book will do something towards the great whole of sound interpretation; while at the same time we find various things in it, as in all other works on these subjects, with which we cannot agree. The book, however, is of a class, in dealing with which it seems to be our duty rather to analyse and report, than to enter into discussion. And in this spirit we shall now endeavour to deal with the volume.
The main topic which the author proposes to discuss, is fairly stated in his title-page. St. John tells us, that “the sixth angel “poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the
water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the “ east might be prepared.” (Rev. xvi. 12.)
The main questions connected with this prediction evidently are, What power is designated by the river Euphrates? What is meant by the drying up of its water? And who are the "kings of the east,” whose way is thus supernaturally prepared ? On the first of these points the author is not needlessly diffuse; seeing that almost all commentators are agreed as to the sense which attaches to the symbol “Euphrates :"
“ The scene of the vial's operation, is the country watered by the Euphrates. The river is figuratively placed for the people and nations on its banks :-* The waters,' says St. John in the next chapter, at the 15th verse, ' are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.' The same figure is also employed by Isaiah, and for the same countries watered by the Euphrates, chap. viii. 7, 8.--Now therefore behold the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the King of Assyria, and all his glory. And he shall come up over all his banks; and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over ; he shall reach even unto the neck: and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, 0 Immanuel.'
“The river Euphrates, therefore, which rises in the mountains of Armenia and flows nearly 1800 miles through the heart of Asiatic Turkey, pouring its waters into the Persian Gulf, is set by the prophet figuratively for the Turks through whose land it flows.”—(p. 2.)
The next question,—the meaning of the drying-up of the waters of the Euphrates,-is best resolved by a glance at the wondrous dealings of God's providence with this ancient oppressor; once the scourge of God's wrath ; but now unquestionably about to be discarded and cast aside.
The prodigious decline of Turkey is only to be estimated by referring back to its position only twenty years since. The Annual Register of 1820, says, "The Ottoman Empire, by a
long and unwonted good fortune, found itself at this period, “ freed at once from foreign war and domestic rebellion.” Thus, says our author,
“ Peaceful within and without, she appeared to the world, and was respected, as a powerful and mighty nation. Contrast her present condition, distracted by rebellion amongst her provinces, stripped of large portions of her empire, Greece, Egypt, Algeria, Wallachia, Moldavia, and all which she possessed north of the Danube. Unable to defend herself from her own vassal, obliged to ask for aid from her great enemy, the Russian, to protect her capital, and from other nations whom she has for ages regarded as the great enemies of her faith. Her treasury exhausted, her trade and manufactures destroyed; without her wonted tribute from the provinces, and all the sources of wealth dried up; she sits an object of pitiable helplessness amidst the nations."-(pp. 3, 4.)
The public and notable events which have brought this mighty empire into so pitiable a state of decrepitude, are next narrated; the catalogue of which, in brief, is as follows:
In 1820 Ali Pacha and the Albanians declare their independence. In 1821, the Greeks revolt. In 1822, the Prince Royal of Persia defeats the Turks in a great battle. In 1823 and 1824, the Greeks establish their independence. In 1825, the Janizaries revolt; and in 1826, they are exterminated. In 1827, the battle of Navarino destroys the Turkish navy. In 1828, Russia declares war; and in 1829 the Russian army passes the Balkan, and takes Adrianople. The same year Algiers falls into the hands of the French. In 1830, 1831 and 1832, the Pacha of Egypt throws off the yoke, and seizes upon Syria. In 1833, the Russians come to the Sultan's aid, and virtually become his master. Since then, the different powers of Egypt, Russia, and Great Britain, have dealt with Turkey, and especially with Syria, as their battle-field; the Sultan remaining a mere puppet in their hands.
But, much more than wars, other causes were at work, during this whole period, to “ dry up the waters of the Euphrates ;" . in other words—to extinguish the strength and power of the Turks as a nation :
“ Within the last twenty years,' (says Mr. Walsh), ‘Constantinople has lost one half of its population. Two conflagrations happened while I was at Constantinople, and destroyed fifteen thousand houses. The Russian and Greek wars were a constant drain on the Janissaries of the capital. The silent operation of the plague is continually active, though not always alarming; it will be considered no exaggeration to say, that within the period mentioned, from three to four hundred thousand persons have been prematurely swept away in one City of Europe, by causes which were not operating in any other, --conflagration, pestilence, and civil commotion. The Turks, though naturally of a robust and vigorous constitution, addict themselves to such habits as are very unfavourable to population—the births do little more than exceed the ordinary deaths, and cannot supply the waste of casualties. The surrounding country is therefore constantly drained to supply the waste in the capital, which nevertheless exhibits districts nearly depopulated. If