Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

seasons of communion with God, we enjoy nothing here so purely as communion with his people, the fellowship of saints. Repose there will not be periodical - as we understand from the declaration, “there shall be no night there;" and “they rest not, day and night, saying, IIoly, Holy, Iloly;" — but deliverance from all that

' wearies, annoys, or distresses. Now we can say, as to every thing that disturbs us here, “there shall be no more pain in heaven.” We shall be active in thought, in enlarging our mental horizon and our intellectual treasures; active in the affections of our purified natures, and the exercise of our wills. But the body

, will be “a glorious spiritual body," and know no weariness nor disease. Memory, in recalling our earthly history, will but enhance the sense of dependence and indebtedness; conscience there will have a peaceful office. Fear will have no more to do. No selfish interest will mar the intercourse of the redeemed, or for a moment sully the fair image of God in the spirit.

All these views are sustained by declarations of the Scriptures. And they are as definito, at least, as those anticipations of wealth, honor and pleasure, which so animate the world. The imagination may stretch its pinions, and soar to those heavenly heights ; and at its utmost flight it will still be true, that we know but “in part." God hath revealed much to us concerning the state of the blessed ; and yet, it is true, that "it doth not appear what we shall be ;” only “ we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

If, then, we have experienced any degree of communion with God, and with his people, – if the exercise of penitence, love, faith, or gratitude has ever caused us any delight, then we know something of heaven; and we may definitely meditate upon it, until our hearts glow with sacred emotions.

Then it is obvious, that if any true Christian neglects the study of what God has revealed, or frequent meditation upon it, he must expect not to have a very "lively hope.” Faith is the mind's eye and ear, for heavenly scenes and sounds. must be open to catch the radiating light and the beaming glory of the celestial city; the ear must be turned thither to catch “the music of the place."

It is to be feared, however, that there is a want of sufficiently full conviction as to our duty in this matter. Every one admits that he experiences a great loss in not attaining to the “assur

But the eye

ance of hope." But there is more than a personal loss in it. We need to be reminded that there are obligations, as well as privileges, connected with this subject. The influences resulting from our enjoyment of the assurance of hope, would greatly affect the interests of others.

We owe it to God, to our fellow men, and to ourselves, to become as fully prepared for heaven, and as fully assured of that preparedness, as possible. The happiness of a child is the joy of his affectionate parents. There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. And if from repentance he goes on to higher and higher degrees of spiritual life, even to an unwavering hope, it must enl:ance that joy proportionally. Does our low degree of religious principle and emotion, our doubting and gloom, or our insensibility, either glorify or gratify our Father in heaven? No, they must grieve Him. And are we not verily bound to please Him ? Surely no obligation can be higher or stronger. To say we owe it to ourselves, may be but another way of repeat. ing the declaration that we owe it to God. But the obligation to others in this respect is very manifest. We are bound to our neighbor in many things negative, as not to injure him in his health, wealth, or good name. But that is only the inferior part of our duty. We must also, as far as possible, promote his bighest excellence and happiness. Conceive then what an influence one Christian can exert, to elevate the thoughts and feelings of others towards the better state, and to aid them in preparation for it, by having his own views of that state clear and familiar, his personal hope of it strong, his preparation for it manifest, and his consequent joy a perpetual sunshine to himself and all around him ! This is being a “living epistle, known and read of all men." This is being “ the light of the world, the salt of the earth."

The awakened soul seeks to know that he is reconciled to God. Almost every truly regenerated person has persevered in importunate prayer until that end has been attained. It becomes then an important inquiry, Why the same persons do not, in the same way, resolve to “make their calling and election sure?” We believe it may be attributed, in a great degree, to the influence which comes to them from the church ; for it is remarkable, that

1 ; the greater part of the converts of any period do not gather their views from the whole Bible, so much as from the particular class of passages then most in the thoughts and affections of the church. Older Christians and preachers are, therefore, bound to keep the glories of heaven, and its high attractions vividly in the view of younger Christians; and to dwell much in conversation, exposition, and prayer, upon those passages which describe the nature of the heavenly rest, which shew the qualifications for it, and which contain the assurance of it to those who have these qualifications. It would produce a great and blessed change, if this holy theme were more frequent in the meditations and conversation of God's children, as well as in the exhibitions of the pulpit and press.

We would suggest to our fellow pilgrims some practical counsels founded on this subject.

1. Obtain the most clear and comprehensive view of the heavenly state which the Scriptures present. For this purpose, study the Bible with the aid of references. The perusal of Baxter's Saint's Rest, of Howe's Blessedness of the Righteous, and similar works would conduce to the same end.

2. Study the Scriptural grounds of expecting heaven; and apply them prayerfully to your own case.

3. Regard the assurance of hope as attainable through the grace of God; as eminently desirable, as worthy of the greatest sacrifices and efforts it may require; as an actual duty, indifference to which is an evil sign.

4. Seek to promote in others the same desire and purpose.

5. Have specific seasons of prayer alone, and sometimes with others, for the obtaining this blessing, and asking God to bestow it on others. Remember especially ministers in your prayers ; that God may enable them to preach as from amid the very glories of heaven, and with the sweet assurance of their own interest in eternal life.

6. Give Christ the place in your conceptions of Heaven, which he occupies in the Bible descriptions of it. “ To depart and be with Christ,” was the sum of Paul's desires and hopes. The person of Christ was prominent in John's vision of it. That the disciples might be with him, to see the glory which he had with the Father, was the gracious desire, and fervent prayer of the Redeemer.

16

Looking for, and hasting to, the coming of the Lord,” was the characteristic of men whose life“ was hid with Christ in God," -- to whom the future had no glory of which he was not the source. Let the glorified person of Christ be more to you than all the world can give, and all the universe contains.

[ocr errors]

OBSERVATIONS ON MEN, BOOKS, AND THINGS.

Sacred RHETORIC.—Under this name, Professor Ripley, of the Newton Theological Institution, has issued a treatise on “ The Composition and Delivery of Sermons.” Much has been written, and well written, on these subjects, and much that has been useful. But while we would not undervalue the instructions given to young candidates for the pulpit, we are more and more convinced, that, in this great matter of preaching, there is “a grace beyond the reach of art.” The success of some preachers, and the failure of others, which can be referred to no obvious causes, can be explained only on the supposition that it is a special gist. Still, this gift may be greatly improved by cultivation and exercise. Let us be thankful to Professor Ripley for lending his aid to those who seek such improvement. -- It is generally supposed that sermonizing, in our times, is very far in advance of what it used to be. But if it be tested by its effects on the popular mind, this may well be doubted. What living preacher produces such impressions by his oratory as are recorded of Whitefield and Edwards? Or we may go back one hundred years beyond them. It is recorded of Dr. Chaderton, who died in his hundred and third year, and who was one of King James's Bible translators, that in his old age, he was invited to preach while visiting his native county of Lancashire. Having held forth for two full hours, he paused and said: "I will no longer trespass upon your patience.” But the whole congregation cried out with one consent : * For God's sake, go on, go on!" And he accordingly proceeded much longer to their great admiration and delight. Such an incident may well illustrate the following remarks in Coleridge's Literary Remains: “When, after reading the biographies of Walton and his contemporaries, I reflect on the crowded congregations who, with intense eagerness, came to their hour-long and two-hour-long sermons, I cannot but doubt the fact of any true progression, moral or intellectual, in the mind of the many. The tone, the manner, the anticipated sympathies, in the sermons of an age, form the best moral criterion of the character of that age.”

REPUBLICAN CHRISTIANITY. - This is a spirited volume, from the pen of Rev. E. L. Magoon, of Cincinnati. It is one of three or four which he has recently issued in rapid succession. Though bis reading has obviously been immense, and his memory is marvellous, we doubt whether any mind can long continue in such a strain of authorship, without becoming weak and dilute in its effusions at last.

A prosper: ous merchant, retiring from the Canton trade, is said to have had painted upon the pannels of his carriage, at the suggestion of a waggish friend, the picture of a tea-chest, with the motto, " Tu doces,” Thou teachest! What teaching it might furnish beyond a satire on the unconscious millionaire, we know not; unless it be that no quantity of the fragrant leaf can produce more than its proportionate number of cups of the full strength of aromatic infusion. This book, however, has a strong flavor of Young Hyson, and pertains to the VOL. III.

29

“cups that cheer, but not inebriate.” It has three parts, describing, in succession, “the republican character of Jesus Christ,” “the republican constitution of the primitive Church,” and “the republican influence of Christian doctrine." Each of these parts, by logic or fancy, is divided into five chapters, and each of these is subdivided into three sections. Consequently, the reader, if he pleases, can imbibe " the whole in equal proportions. We cannot refrain from expressing some dislike to the phrase, “the republican character of Jesus Christ." It savors a little of the insolent, familiarity of the red republicans of France, who speak of our Lord as the “ Great Democrat ;'' while some of our own cadaverous radicals call him the “ Great Comeouter.” The Saviour is King, — and a King in Zion; and for asserting this claim, he was crucified.

[ocr errors]

66

Man PRIMEVAL. The Rev. Dr. Harris, a celebrated writer on practical religion, and a theological instructor among the Dissenters in England, is now giving forth a series of “contributions to theological science.” Of his former contribution, “ The Preadamite Earth,” we have had occasion to speak in a previous number of this publication. “ Man l'rimeval ” is the second volume in course, and abounds with ingenious and original speculations on the constitution and primitive condition of the human being,” and on the laws of progression in the Divine manifestation by the creation of man. It is a nut for the teeth of such as are fond of metaphysics, and of inquiring into such subjects as sensation, reason, voluntariness, obligation, dependence, and the reasons of things which we see in human nature. For the consolation of such, we quote the following classical passage from Bunyan's vision : “Tben said some at the table, ‘Nuts spoil tender teeth, especially the teeth of children:' which, when Gaius heard, he said:

'Hard texts are nuts, (I will not call them cheaters,)
Whose shells do keep their kernels from the eaters ;
Open the shells, and you shall have the meat ;

They here are brought for you to crack and eas.' Let the men of strong grinders and energetic digestion come to this rich and ample feast.

6

:

HISTORY OF AMERICAN BAPTIST Missions. — The title of this book excites a painful sensation, at the thought that our sectarian differences should be carried out into the holy work of missions, and should label off these sacred enterprizes with the names of division and the shibboleths of party. But it is far better that our Baptist brethren should enter the field under their own distinctive banner, than not to invade it at all. The English Baptists were much in advance of their brethren in tbis country; but the American Baptists, though late, have gone into the business with such zeal, activity, and success, that already this history is called for. It is a well-written and interesting volume, from the pen of Professor Gammell, of Brown University. We take pleasure in referring our readers to the book.

« ÖncekiDevam »