« EdellinenJatka »
and be showed him his great guilt. “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin.” At the same time he assured him, that "the sword shall never depart from thine house,” and that "the child that is born unto thee shall surely die.” 2 Sam. xii. 10, 13, 14. Surely, then, we ought to fear sin, and to fee from it as from the face of a devouring serpent. If we sin, we must certainly suffer. “ Be sure your sin will find you out.”
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
An Extract from Bishop Horsley's Sermons. IT pleased God to commit the first preaching of the Gospel to men whose former occupations and conditions may be supposed to have excluded them from the pursuits and attainments of learning, and from the advantages of education, " that the excellency of the power might be of God, and not of them.” But it is evident that these gifts, with which he was pleased to adorn the two first offices in the Christian Churchi, were to those first preachers instead of education. For the qualities of a penetrating judgment in abstruse questions, and a ready recollection of written knowledge, which the first preachers enjoyed by the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, are, in kind, the very same which men to whom this supernatural assistance is denied may, with God's blessing, acquire in a less degree by long and diligent study. These talents existed unquestionably in the minds of the first preachers, in a degree in which by mere industry of study, they cannot be attained. The apostles were by infinite degrees the best informed of all philosophers; and the prophets of the primitive Church were the soundest of all divines.
But yet the light of inspiration, and the light of learning, however different in degree, (as the difference, indeed, is inexpressible) are, nevertheless, the same in kind; for reason is reason, and knowledge is knowledge, in whatever manner they may be produced, the degree of more and less being the only difference of which the things are capable. As the word of wisdom, therefore, and the word of knowledge, were to the first preachers instead of learning, so in these latter ages, when the Spirit no longer imparts his extraordinary gifts, learning is instead of them.
The importance and necessity of it to a christian preacher, evidently appears from God's miraculous interposition in the first
ages, to infuse learning into the minds of those who, by want of education, were unlearned; for if the attainments of learning were of no importance to the true and effectual preaching of the Gospel, to what purpose did that God who commanded light to spring out of darkness, by an exertion of the same almighty power, light up the lamp of knowledge in the minds of uneducated men ?' The reason of this extraordinary interposition in the early ages was, that for the first promulgation of the Gospel no abilities to be acquired by education was sufficient for the teacher's office. And the reason that this extraordinary interposition hath long since ceased is, that Christianity, having once taken root in the world, those inferior abilities which may be attained by a diligent improvement of our natural talents, are now sufficient for its support. But in all ages, if the objections of infidels are to be confuted ; if the scruples of believers themselves are to be satisfied ; if Moses and the prophets are to be brought to bear witness to Jesus of Nazareth; if the calumnies of the blaspheming Jews are to be repelled, and their misrepresentations of their own books confuted; if we are to be “ready,” that is, if we are to be qualified and prepared “io give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us,” a penetration in abstruse questions, a quickness in philosophical discussion, a critical knowledge of the ancient languages, a familiar acquaintance with the Jewish history, and with all parts of the sacred writings, a sound judgment, a faithful memory, and a prompt elocution, are rare talents, without which the work of an evangelist will be but ill performed. When they are not infused by inspiration, they must be acquired by diligence in study, and fervency in prayer.
They (the apostles) were, perhaps, not knowing in the details of natural philosophy; for the arguments for the being and providence of God, from the visible harmony and order of the universe, is the same by whatever laws its motions may be carried on. They were not physicians or anatomists, because they had the power of curing diseases, and healing wounds, without medicines or art. But they were profound metaphysicians, the best of moralists, well-informed historians, accurate logicians, and excellent in that strain of eloquence which is calculated for the conveyance of instruction, the enforcement of duty, the dissuasion from vice, the conviction of error, and the defence of truth; and whoever pretends to teach without any of these qualifications, hath no countenance from the example of the apostles, who possessed them all in an eminent degree, not from education, but from a higher source. To allege the apostles as instances of illiterate preachers, is of all fallacies the grossest. Originally, perhaps, they were men of little learning-fishermen, tent-makers, excisemen; but when they begun to preach, they were no longer illiterate, they were rendered learned in an instant, withont previous study of their own, by miracle. The gifts which we tind placed, by an apostle himself, at the head of their qualifications, were evidently analogous to the advantages of education. Whatever their previous character had been, the apostles, when they became preachers, became learned. They were of all preachers the most learned. It is, therefore, by proficiency in learning, accompanied with an unreserved submission of the understanding to the revealed word - but it is by learning, not by the want or neglect of it, that any modern teacher may attain to some distant resemblance of those inspired messengers of God. Suffolk.
ON THE FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. In the January number I made a few remarks on various figures of speech used by the sacred writers. I hope my young friends who read the Repository will be induced to search the word of God for themselves, and enrich their minds with all that divine and saving knowledge which such an invaluable treasure is calculated to impart. When figures of speech are well selected and rightly applied, they very much enrich composition, and seize with a firm hold upon the attention of the reader. In public speaking, the effect is increased, the attention is arrested, and truth is brought home to the conscience and the heart with almost irresistible energy. Besides, it is generally the case, that where there is an appropriate figure of speech used, either by an author or a public speaker, the truth which it was designed to illustrate, is better retained in the memory. The Holy Spirit of God, both in the Old and in the New Testament, used figurative language. I do not say that inspiration always implied the inspiration of language, certainly not; nevertheless, very frequently I believe this was the case. lo recording a fact which came under the notice of the sacred writer, it was not necessary to have the inspiration either of thought or of language ; but on many occasions, not only the inspiration of idea, but of language, was indispensable. This remark is fully borne out in the next figure of speech which we shall present to the young reader.
Allegory. An Allegory is a continuation of connected metaphors. The principal difference between an Allegory and a Metaphor is, not only that the former is much longer, but generally much more obscure. A Metaphor almost invariably explains itself, by some words connected with it in their plain and literal meaning : this is not the case with Allegory. Christ says, “I am the vine,” &c. Here the meaning is obvious; but lake Ezek. xvii., 22nd, 23rd, and 24th verses, and the case is very different. And be it remembered, the whole is inspiration. “Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, bave exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.” Let the mind follow the prophet throughout the Allegory, and see the whole passing in review before him. The mountain of Lebanon is seen in the distance, bearing its stately cedars; there is one higher than all the others; from the bigbest branch the Eternal crops off a tender twig, and then bears it to the land of Judea; here he plants it on an eminent mountain; very soon it takes root, spreads out its branches, and brings forth fruit; presently we see the fowls of heaven coming in every direction, and taking shelter in its branches; again we look round, and all the trees of the field are endowed with understanding to know that Jehovah hath done this. What a string of beautiful metaphors is here! all fitting into each other like the stones in the temple of Solomon, forming one complete whole.
In writing a few papers on the figures of Holy Scripture, I did not engage to give an account of their primary application, or to fix and determine their meaning. This would in many cases be very difficult; and, perbaps, in some impossible. The judgments in this chapter seem to refer to Zedekiah and the Jews. The Di. vine Majesty speaks of another kingdom. Perhaps David is “the high cedar," Jesus Christ, David's Lord and David's son, is the “tender twig.” His Church began at Jerusalem, “In the mountain of the height of Israel.”
“Shall bring forth boughs :" perbaps these are the apostles, and evangelists, and teachers of Gospel truth.
Shall bear fruit:" vast numbers shall be converted through their ministry. “All the fowls of the air shall dwell under the shadow of its branches :" all nations shall embrace the Gospel, and trust in Christ for salvation. I do not pretend to say that this is the only application of the Allegory, but it appears to me to be the legitimate one.
There are many Allegories in the Sacred Volume; the above will suffice as an illustration of tbis figure of speech. I might just observe bere, that of all human compositions of an Allegorical character, John Bunyan's Pilgrim stands uneqnaled. It is indeed a most interesting Allegory.
Hyperbole is another figure which is to be met with in the Sacred Volume. This figure represents things as greater or less, as better or worse, than they really are. In 2 Sam. i. 23, David uses this figure of speech, when lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan," Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” David did not mean what he said, but simply that Saul and Jonathan were very swift and very strong.
I think it is very probable that the apostle John uses this figure in the last verse of his Gospel. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." The apostle means, that if all the actions of the Saviour; of a merciful, benevolent, and instructive character, had been written, they would bave required a vast number of books to have contained them. If the language is applied to the wonders of redeeming mercy and grace, then there is no Hyperbole here. If all the fowls of heaven were to shed their feathers, and the mighty ocean were converted into ink, both would be exhausted before the subject of redeeming love could be exhausted. This is an inexhaustible subject, this is an interminable theme.
Irony is a figure of speech which is well known. It implies that the person is speaking contrary to his thoughts, not with a design to deceive, but to give additional force to his arguments or observations. It is very often used by way of raillery ; sometimes as insult and abuse. Christians should be very careful in employing it, lest they lose the spirit of their master. There can be no doubt but Elijah, the prophet, was justified in using it in reference to the prophets of Baal. In 1 Kings xviii. 27, it is thus stated, “ And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” This is the language of Irony, and was calculated to impress the minds of the people with the folly and wickedness of idolatry. Job uses this figure in the twelfth chapter and second verse, where he addresses his friends who professedly came to comfort to him, but who seemed to know little of the providence of God; and, consequently, formed their judgment on very erroneous principles. Job says, “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.” This was strong Irony; and was calculated to lead them to be more careful in coming to a conclusion in reference to the moral position in which their friend stood in the estimation of God. There may be seasons when Christians are almost obliged to adopt this figure; yet there are other plans which, in my opinion, are likely to be more successful in convincing those who oppose themselves. There are to be found, even amongst the professed disciples of Christ, persons so full of themselves, so selfconceited, that if you take the liberty to differ from them even in a very small matter, they are ready to call in question your christian knowledge, if not your christianity itself. The language of Job to these would not be inappropriate. Still I admire the plan of the apostle Paul. He says, when writing to Timothy, in his 2nd Epistle, ii. 23-25, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”
Yours affectionately, Notintone Place.
GENERAL BAPTIST BIOGRAPHY-1700 to 1770.
No. 4.- Isaac Kimber. Isaac Kimber was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, Dec. 1, 1692; and received the rudiments of a learned education from the Rev. Mr. Sloper, then master of a private grammar school in that town. This clergyman was a very worthy man, and excellent tutor. Among his pupils was that excellent prelate, Dr. Butler, bishop of Durham. Under Mr. Sloper he made considerable progress in the Greek and Latin tongues, in which he was much forwarded by the kind aid of Mr. Jones, the pastor of the Baptist Church at Wantage, who taking a particular liking to him, made him bis companion; and in his society he said he spent some of the bappiest moments of his life. Mr. Jones bad a well-chosen library, to which the pupil had free access. On the subject of mathematics our young friend reaped great profit from his conversation. And, perhaps, to his intiinacy with Mr. Jones, may, in a great measure, be ascribed his inclination to the ministry, seconded, indeed, by his parents; and for which he seemed peculiarly designed by his serious, thoughtful temper, which was visible in his earliest youth, and his love of virtue, sobriety, and abhorrence of every thing trifling, vicious, or profane.
With the stock of knowledge he acquired in the country, he went to London, to perfect himself in the languages under professor Ward, of Gresham College, and in academical exercises, of the learned John Eames, F. R. S.; and the Rev. Joseph Burroughs has given ample testimony of the swift progress he made under these excellent instructors.*
After this period he appears to have been patronized by the Hon. Joseph Collett, Esq., late governor of Fort St. George, in the East Indies, and Samuel Collett, his brother. From conversation with these gentlemen his views and sentiments appear to have undergone some change. Previous to this time, to use his own words, he had imbibed some “narrow calvinistical notions,” which he now departed from with openness and ingenuity. It appears Mr. Kimber endured many hardships in setting out in life, and his marrying at the age of twenty-five, before he had gained a settlement, subjected him still more to the humours of oihers. He met with many friends, however, particularly Dr. Hunt, Sir Nathaniel Hodges, Dr. Gale, and others, whose Joss he never mentioned without being melted even to tears. As he did not meet with that encouragement as a minister which he expected, be took to writing, and gave to the world the “Life of Oliver Cromwell,” 8vo. This piece met with a very good reception from the public, and has passed through several editions, universally esteemed for its style and its impartiality; and as the author's name was not made public, it was at first very confidently ascribed to Dr. Gibson, bishop of London. In 1722 appeared a history of England, in 4 vols., 8vo. The third and fourth volumes were entirely written by Mr. Kimber. A large impression of this work was disposed of. A few years afterwards he wrote the life of bishop Beveridge, which is prefixed to the folio edition of his works, of which Mr. K. was the editor.
In !724 he was called to the pastoral charge, in conjuction with Mr. Samuel Acton, over the General Baptist Church at Nantwich, in Cheshire. It was soon found, after bis settlement at Nantwich, that he was not so evangelical in his preaching as was desirable. Mr. Acton, and the congregation at Nantwich, were quite of the old school of General Baptists; and their sentiments were correspon. dent to the confession of 1660. On the other hand, Mr. Kimber did not give that prominency to those vital truths that are essential to ministerial success. He left Nantwich at the latter end of 1727. "The modest cheerfulness of his behaviour during his residence at Nantwich, had so endeared him to most of the principal people there, of all parties and persuasions, that his departure was very much regreited; and, indeed, when he took his leave of the congregation, which he did in a pathetic farewell sermon, most of them wept.”
Upon his return to London, he became morning preacher to his much-loved and learned friend, Dr. John Kinch, in Old Artillery lane; and be now commenced a periodical, called “The Morning Chronicle.” It subsisted from January, 1728, to May, 1732, and then was dropped.
He was visited by a very sore affliction, in his wife being deprived of her reason. This malady had two several stages. For some years it displayed itself in ravings and fury, by which his person was often endangered, and then sunk into an indolent kind of frenzy, which continued all the rest of her life. As they had been a remarkably happy couple, this misfortune lay very heavy upon him, and put him to various and great expenses, even beyond what bis circumstances could well support; but a patient submission to, and firm trust in Providence, enabled him to bear a sad complication of distresses like a man and a christian. His love for her seemed rather increased by this dreadful visitation; and after twenty years and upwards that she continued thus afflicted, her death gave him the most poignant sorrow he ever felt, and in some measure contributed to basten his own.
In the year 1731 he was concerned in a periodical work; and one of the proprietors, a worthy and kind gentleman, inquired into his circumstances, and finding them very narrow, generously offered to make room for bim, as corrector, in his office. With him he continued for two or three years; and then his old master, the learned Dr. John Ward, offered him, in conjunction with the Rev. Edward
* See that gentleman's sermon occasioned by his death, p. 23.