Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

in particular, for serious meditation and inquiry; and without supposing that he has done what needs to be done in this way, if only he has taken his proper part as an individual, his object will have been attained.

With regard to the work itself, it may be desirable to offer an explanation of a few terms which are used in it, and which, because they may be noticed more than others, ought to be properly defined, and fully understood.

In contrasting the yoke of circumcision with that of baptism, it should be known that the burdensome rites of the ceremonial law are understood to have followed the former, and to have rendered it grievous and heavy: while the teaching in the blessed truths of the everlasting Gospel, the proclamation of the free justification of every one that believeth in Jesus, and of salvation being entirely of grace, are understood to have followed and to follow the latter ; and therefore that it is easy and its burden light. So that the contrast stands both in the rites and their respective consequences.

The words ordinance and sacrament are frequently used, and perhaps on some occasions, as if synonymously; but it should be kept in mind, that though the two sacraments are ordinances, there are many ordinances which are not sacraments. For this reason it is to be understood, that by ordinances generally are meant any, or all religious duties and observances, that

were at any time appointed or commanded of the Lord; or of the Church instituted in accordance with, and not contrary to the Word of God; while by the sacraments are exclusively and especially meant, “ Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.”

The term Christian is used with reference to the baptized generally, as contradistinguished from Jews or Heathen. But Christians indeed are distinguished from Christians in name, the one being spiritual, the other but natural. All saints are viewed as sinners still; but all sinners are not viewed, though baptized, at any time as saints. Things which are general in holy observances are not set aside because of special things; and those special things which accompany salvation are held as inviolate, and as ever special, though necessarily connected with those which are general.

A striking passage from an approved author, will be found at p. 226; which, had it been lighted upon earlier, might rather have been introduced in the second part, as confirmative of the view presented and enforced from p. 62 to 95. It may, however, be more satisfactory to the mind, that there should have been given the same view, almost in the same words, from Holy Scripture previously, than if it had met the eye to have been introduced as suggested ; especially as it may now be consulted at the time of reading the other, or a comparison may be made after each has been read in its place.

The subject of the whole book may be said to be one, in three parts ; for although facts, and events, and circumstances, are occasionally introduced ; and publications are sometimes noticed to illustrate and to confirm the positions taken, the great design is pursued throughout, and is none other than the gracious work of God the Spirit; who, according to the love of God the Father, and God the Redeemer, and in his own love, regenerates and sanctifies the children and people of God our Saviour; and with whatever reception it may meet, it is presented in the love of Jesus, which says, in accordance with his testimony, and the testimony of his apostles, that the world which is benefited by the Church can never but injure the Church; and that the Church which benefits the world, can alone continue to do it effectually by her members denying the pretensions of that world to fellowship or union in that peculiar service, which, in Christ's name, she is called to render. And while the truth of the blessed God is sought to be maintained, the good of his people is earnestly desired.

May it please the Father who hath loved us, and the Son who hath redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit who doth sanctify us—three persons and one God to accept the offering, and to grant his abundant grace to the reader,—To Him be the glory, now and everlasting. Amen.

London, May, 1838.

:,: THE CHURCH OF THE LORD.

It is of great moment that the minds of Christians should be enlightened and established on two important questions ; upon which, much has been spoken and written ; and concerning which, it may safely be inferred, many are exceedingly anxious. These, it is intended to discuss, in the use of terms easy to be understood; and, with Scripture proofs which cannot. properly be gainsayed :

WHETHER WE HAVE A RIGHT STANDING IN THE CHURCH OF GOD BEFORE MEN WHO CONSIDER OUR WAYS ? AND, WHETHER WE HAVE ALSO A COMFLETENESS IN CHRIST, IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, WHO KNOWETH OUR HEARTS ? · The FIRST is a question which, in these times, is either overlooked in great measure, or else it is exalted above measure. For this reason it has received our best attention, and it is trusted we shall stand excused when we earnestly desire the equal attention of the reader.

To the Scripture—which contains the Lord's revealed will on this proposition, as on all others which relate to our most holy faith-let us repair.

The tenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians presents many things, which will greatly help us in our inquiry, which were written, even as they

happened, for our use, and for our learning. The Greek word, rúnoi, in the sixth verse, is rendered “ examples;" in the margin, “ figures ;” in the eleventh, “ ensamples;” and in the margin, “ types ;” the Greek is the same in both verses ; and of the four English words used, the last is most like the original, and is, perhaps, most literal in its signification. This, then, should be borne in mind, for it shows that the things which are written concern the “ Church universal," through the whole Christian and Gentile dispensation; and this is rendered still more evident from the plural pronoun “our," which embraces all, as well as from the twelfth verse, which applies the same to each“ wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."

But the force of the warning presented by these words, is only to be rightly apprehended by a reference to the preceding chapter; and as the division of the Epistle into chapters was not to break the Apostle's argument, but only, it may be, to suit the convenience of the reader, it is important that we should preserve, in our reading, an unbroken connexion of the whole.

At the twenty-fourth verse of the ninth chapter, we read thus :-“ Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize ? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that, by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

« EdellinenJatka »