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to God; and you still attend your places of 1 of wilful self-deception, or with the darkworship, where souls are occasionally over ness-causing spirit of worldly lust! Oh, powered by Divine grace, and where many how often has the lightning flashed over a cheering festival is celebrated.
the abyss, on the edge of which you sleep? But whilst I am endeavouring to prove
How frequently has the fire-bell rung in to you that “the acceptable time" still
your ears, and yet your feet are still walkshines upon you, a melancholy feeling steals
ing as before, on the road that leads to the over me, lest that happy period should be
eternal flame? You have received “the already on the wane. But I will say no
grace of God in vain ;” and worse than more; and however inquisitively you may
this could not have happened to you. Oh, look upon me, I conceal no secret, except
awake, even now, from your lethargy. An that of my mysterious grief, --my sorrowful
evening ray, and perhaps a parting one, of foreboding. But “the Lord will provide."
the day of salvation, still falls upon your Suffice it to say, that the present may still
heads. Grace still invites! Oh, “kiss the be called an “accepted time;" but a
Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from more acceptable period has already passed. the way!” Abundant grace has been vouchsafed to you. It would be dreadful if you had received it in vain. I know, alas, respect
“GOOD NIGHT, MOTHER.” ing not a few amongst you, that the drop
Little Willie was a most beautiful child. pings of heavenly dew have fallen only on a Strangers, as they met him in the street, heated stone, and the solar ray of Divine
stopped Sarah, his nurse, to ask his name beneficence , has only met with closed and that of his parents. They called him doors.
"a noble little fellow," but those who knew Yes, you need the apostolic exhortation,
him shewed their appreciation of something “We, then, as workers together with Him,
beyond the wondrous beauty of his infant beseech you, also, that ye receive not the face, for they always called him “ Dear grace of God in vain.” I look upon those
Willie.” amongst you, who saw the stream of bless His bright, fearless eye, and pleasant ing to which I previously alluded, rush past smile, and more than all, his frank heart. them for years together, but their feet toned voice, were sure passports to the alone were moistened by it,-their hearts affections of all. His parents lived in a remained untouched. I fix my eyes on small village on the banks of the Mothers amongst you, who have listened to of which his father was the pastor, and the invitations of ardent love, and to those every body in the whole village, even the sacred and solemn admonitions which, for poor old ladies who lived in the almsyears together, proved a witnessing spirit house behind the hill, and the workmen amongst you; but the inward death, which who toiled all their days down in Mill you brought with you into "the accepted Valley (as the district round the factory time," you also take with you out of it. was called) all knew and loved Willie. God be merciful to you! I think also of Whenever his little green waggon was seen, those who were favoured with being spec being slowly drawn over the smooth grass tators of the rich series of delightful festivals
of the common, you might see one white of adoration and triumph which, at one gate after another open, and some one time, bloomed among us, but whose knees coming out, to wait and see “ Willie" when have never bent before the Lamb. Oh, he went by. Sometimes it was a little girl that they may not for ever remain unbent ! with a flower, which she had just had espeI look likewise upon you who have witnessed cial permission to pick for “ Willie:” someso many wonders of Divine grace and spi times it was a young lady with a new book ritual revivals amongst us, but never vitally for “ Willie" to read: sometimes it was an experienced the reality of that life which is old lady with an apple, or else with somefrom God, nor of union with Jesus. Oh, thing she had been knitting, for “ Willie" how often did the net of Divine truth close or for “ Willie's” mother: sometimes it around you ? but ye rent it, because you was one of the grey-headed old deacons, “ preferred darkness to light.” How often who would stand leaning on his staff, and did the arrow of conviction pierce you ? but look down in the child's placid face, till a you violently wrenched it from your breasts, tear came in his eye, then with a low and healed the wounds with the deadly salve | “God bless that boy," he would turn away.
snowy chrysantheums in the summer and fall. A path beaten and worn by the frequent tread of loving feet, leads to it from the iron gate, and in the long Saturday afternoons, little groups of thoughtless children are seen going thither and standing by the grave. At sunset every Sabbath, a graceful though bending form kneels by the little mound, and leaning upon the firm arm of her husband weeps bitterly. It is Willie's mother, but she always rises more calmly, and sometimes reads aloud with almost a smile, the simple line which is carved upon the white marble stone,“ Good night, Willie."
How many of our hearts are saddened by the ever-present thought of the loved ones who are sleeping ! · Why do we not remember that we have but bid them “ good night ;” and rejoice in the anticipations of the joyous morning greetings which we shall exchange with them in the early light of the sun of immortality ?
But as the little waggon was drawn back again, with its load of gifts, up the hill, and down the lane by the church, at a low brown wicket, half hid by struggling lilac bushes, was ever to be seen one, whose heart year ned for the return of the petted child. This was Willie's mother. With a happy heart and a smiling face, she would meet her first-born and her only, and spatching him from the arms of his nurse, would bear him, and the tokens of love which had been given him, lightly up the carpeted staircase, till she paused at a carved oaken door. Her light tap and Willie's shout were answered by a “right welcome all," in the deep tones of her student husband, whose eye kindled with that pleasure which words cannot tell, as it rested on the two beings which were life, and love, and all to him. Soon Willie would fall asleep from the fatigue of his ride, and they went together to lay him on the little couch, which his father would have placed in one corner of his study, in a corner where the sunlight rested warmly, and near the window, through which looked, in spring, the bright eyes of the cherry blossoms. While he slept, his mother sat beside him and sewed, while her eyes were resting, first on her boy and then on her husband, and her heart was full, more than full, of bliss. Thus was “ Willie” loved.
One night, a cold night in March, a low stified cough from Willie's crib awoke both his parents at the same instant. Almost immediately they stood by his side, and with emotions which can be felt but not described, saw that he was suffering with a severe attack of croup. Medical assistance was soon procured, but it was too late. Willie's little limbs were already cold, and the glaze of death on his bright blue eyes. He could not speak distinctly, and his mind was clouded, but with a seemingly confused idea that he was going to bed at night, and with an expression of perplexity on his pale brow, as if he wondered why he could not pronounce the words he framed, he looked up, smiled, said slowly, “Good night, mother," and died. The graveyard of
M is on the southern side of a hill, on the summit of which waves a forest of pines. The sun lies serenely all day long upon the many hillocks there, and the blue violets grow wild in profusion around. In one corner of the yard is a little grave, on which lilies of the valley bloom in the spring, and white roses and
ALONE WITH GOD. Alone with God: How solemn, how sublime the idea! How tranquilizing! how comforting! how fraught with security and strength! Yet how awful ! “Jacob was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place!” And Peter was bewildered and awe-struck, while he exclaimed, “It is good for us to be here !"
Alone with God! Such is the attitude of the christian in prayer, “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray."
There are heart-sorrows and plagues which the christian could not bear to tell to his most intimate earthly friend. There are fears which we dare not whisper into any mortal ear. There are hopes and joys too vast and glorious to be imparted. But when the christian has hid his face in the bosom of his Father, he can breathe forth all,- for when words fail, he can resort to the language of sighs and groans; for “ He knoweth our thoughts afar off.” “He that searcheth the heart, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." These “groans which cabnot be uttered," are the workings of the interceding Spirit in the heart, The India nite Spirit prompts, the Infinite can alone understand, them. Here there is no fear of betrayal, of contempt, of lack of apprecia
tion and sympathy. For we converse with God, whose name is Love, and who has told us to "pour out our hearts before him."
Wondrous privilege! Does, then, this lowly, mortal, sinful, and suffering state admit of such intercourse with God? Yes ; “ Our communion is with the Father." Thou mayest at any moment, even at this, in the name of Jesus, stand in the very presence of the “ King eternal, immortal, and invisible;” and then make thy requests known unto God,”-sure, yes, absolutely sure, of a gracious hearing and a ready answer. For he hath said, “Call upon me and I will answer thee." “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to thee."
Christian, be often thus alone with God.
for this sweet and holy solitude, though it
THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE. 1 epithet. But wherein does the extrava
gance of verbal Inspiration appear? If To the Editors of “The Church.”
this had been pointed out, good service Gentlemen,
would have been done to the cause of truth. • Deeming the article on Inspira But to fail in this, and apply opprobrious tion, in the September“ Church," unsatis epithets to the deliberately formed, and not factory in several important respects, and offensively expressed opinions, of honest not seeing anything in the October number and competent writers, is ungenerous and expressive of disapproval of it, I venture to mischievous in the extreme. (1) request the insertion of a few strictures, “It is very important to bear in mind chiefly on the first three paragraphs, in a what is the real nature and importance of subsequent number. My object is simply the question, as amongst sincere chris. to shew, that the tone of remark on the tians." verbal theorists is objectionable, and that To bear in mind the real nature and imthe arguments adduced against the verbal portance of every question is at all times theory are untenable. Brief quotations important;(2) and “The Church” is at from those paragraphs will, perhaps, be the liberty to lay before sincere or insincere best basis of the strictures to which I think
christians, believers or infidels, any views they are liable.
of Inspiration it pleases. But it is not at “Having never been able to accept those liberty to take one view of Inspiration, and extravagant views of Inspiration which en then condemn, and treat with contempt, danger, rather than strengthen, the faith of writers who have given evidence in favour reflecting and intelligent christians.”
of another view of Inspiration. Yet this is Extravagant views on any subject, are what “ The Church” of September has .views which are not authorized by evi done, done in defiance of the laws of con. dence. But what views of Inspiration are troversy and the voice of history. Those in this sense extravagant? Those which laws require that that evidence should be exrelate to the complete, or those which re amined, and, if deficient, that its deficiency late to the partial, Inspiration of the Scrip should be clearly set forth; and history's tures? Those which reach only to the voice declares that the chief object of the import of the Divine messages, or those Inspiration controversy has been to estabwhich extend to the terms on which that lish the fact rather than elucidate the naimport depends? The reference to "good | ture of Inspiration, and that the treatises men like Dr. Carson," leaves no doubt of 1 which have been written on its nature have the intended destination of the friendly I been written in order logically to account for the fact rather than curiously to pry | the wonders of animated creation are his into the modus operandi of this instance of natural work ;” but it is not true that the Divine operation.(3) The is of the ques “ evidences” of either of the works are in tion is more important than the how, inas the believer. The perception of the "evi. much as one is an object of faith, and the dences" is in him, but the “evidences" other is not. It is the dictum of “ The
themselves are in the works. This is a Church” that the Bible is the “ word of truism. The evidence of every work is in God, and is a proper object of faith.” the work itself, and not in the believer of But how can faith in this object exist, the work. The faith of every one who if the words of which the Bible is com believes in the Divinity of Scripture rests posed be not, in some sense, the words on something in, that is, belonging to Scripof God? Is it possible to believe any ture, and, in this sense, “on external evi. wor i to be the word of one whose word it dences merely and chiefly.” In this matter is not in any sense? Is it not literary “The Church” is on the wrong trail.(5) aberration to affirm that it is? And is it It is on the wrong trail, too, in reference not literally impossible for "reflecting and
to its reasoning on “the unquestionable fact intelligent christians” to believe the af that the language of the books of the Bible firmation? Why, then, does“ The Church”. is as various as the number of its authors." pu sue a train of remark which inevitably
On what principle of judgment “ The leads to this absurd result, and decry those Church” makes this fact into argument " who contend for the Inspiration of the
against the verbal theory does not appear. very letter of Scripture ?”. Is anything
The books of the Bible are both human else worth contending for? Is not this the
and divine. This is affirmed in the Bible very claim of Scripture ? Does not the
itself. Holy men of God spake as they Divine authority of Scripture depend upon
were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pet.i. 21.) the validity of this claim ? And is it not the
The books of the Bible must therefore posduty of all who recognize that authority to
sess all the characteristics of human writpresent to the world the evidence on which
ings, and also supply evidence that "the it rests? There is no obligation to prove
impetus was divine and controlling" under the permanent Inspiration of the writers
which they were composed. If those chaof Scripture, but there is to prove the
racteristics and this evidence are not apparInspiration of the writings themselves.
ent, there is deception, not otherwise. The With the Inspiration of the writers we
books assume to be both human and divine; have nothing to do, except in relation to
and if they do not supply evidence in subthe Inspiration of their writings; and, for
stantiation of this assumption, they deceive. this purpose, temporary Inspiration will
But the truth of the assumption is abua. an wer quite as well as permanent. The
dantly substantiated, on the one hand, by verbal theory has nothing to do with the
“the exceeding variety of style and lanpermanent, temporary, mechanical, or dic
guage in the sacred writers ;” and, on tation theories. These, and a thousand
the other hand, by the series of stateo:her theories, may be right or wrong for
ments, prophecies, and miracles, the most ought that concerns it. It simply affirms
marvellous and sublime, which they have that there is a sense in which all Scripture
recorded. (6) Why, on the verbal theory, is of God, a sense in which all the words
the language of Scripture should be "of of Scripture may be said to be God's words.
the same character throughout," it is This is fact as well as theory. If it be not
difficult to conceive. It will surely be adfact it is impossible even for the Spirit of
mitted that God could move the sacred God to make men believe that the Bible
writers to write any words which he preis the word of God.”(4) In what way men
ferred, in accordance with their individual “recognize the Divinity of God's word by
literary tastes and habits of mind. If The the Spirit of God dwelling within them”
Church” will not make this admission, it is not stated in Scripture, is not explained is time for its Biblical page to be cast in a in “ The Church," and is not, in its nature,
new mould; and, if it will make it, the explicable on any principle which does not verbal theory is as compatible with the make it external evidence. It is true that diversified style of Scripture as any other “religion, as revealed in the Scriptures, is, theory. (7) to every believer, as manifestly the moral It is hoped that “ The Church," so rework of God as the starry firmament or markable for its acuteness and general
accuracy in the treatment of knotty ques. tions, will be careful to base its future statements on Inspiration upon self-evident truth. The welfare of its numerous juvenile readers especially demands this. They have not all the gift of second sight, and therefore require what is evident at first sight.(8) Although a believer in the verbal theory, I am not prepared to endorse all that has been written in its defence; neither am I insensible to the difficulties with which it is beset; nor do I hold in light esteem the efforts which several eminent writers have made to render its denial consistent with implicit belief in the Divine authority of Holy Scripture. Much that has been set forth as subversive of verbal Inspiration, is not so in reality; while not a little of what its impugners have recorded in support of the Divine authority of the Bible, is valid only on the verbal theory. Pleased with the temper and tendency of the two last paragraphs of the article on which I have animadverted so freely, and hoping that whatever advantages are afforded to one class of theorists will be afforded to another in your valuable periodical,(9) I remain, yours truly,
W. J. STUART.* (1) We mean by "extravagant,” those representations which seem to place Inspiration in the same light as Transubstantiation; such a view of the subject as could, perhaps, be wrenched from certain passages, but which is so opposed to reason, or to the general tenor of Scripture, as to endanger the doctrine itself, with enquiring minds. Dr. Carson's appears to us quite of that class. If his view were essential to Inspiration, we should hardly know how to escape scepticism.
(2), Mr. Stuart is an exemplification of the "importance" of our observation; we have limited our discussion of the subject to good men, and amongst such we are confident that the only discussion is about the mode of Inspiration and not about the fact.
(3) What can Mr. Stuart mean? Can he be ignorant of the names of Coleridge and Carson, with all the intervening theo
ries, not to mention continental writers ? The declamation about "contempt,” defiance of laws of controversy," &c., is not worth an answer.
(4) How to reply in reasonable space to these rambling questions we know not. The “is” of the question we, and all our readers, can well assume. We are not writing for sceptics. The "how" is an object of interest, though no matter of faith. We most fully and unconditionally believe that the Bible is the word of God. Mr. Stuart says that the verbal theory simply asserts that “there is a sense in which all the words of Scripture may be said to be God's words.” Many an infidel, and all Pantheists, would say as much. We say, further, that they are God's words in a supernatural sense, hence supremely authoritative. To represent us as saying that the Bible is “not the word of God in any sense,” is, indeed, “literary (or letterwriting) aberration.” We have affirmed it to be not only in “some sense,” but in the sense which claims implicit obedience, the word of God. There is this necessity for proving "permanent Inspiration,” that if the apostles and evangelists did not enjoy it, as they rarely tell us that they write or speak by Inspiration, we should be at an utter loss to know when they did and when they did not. We do not well see how permanent Inspiration agrees naturally with verbal Inspiration. It would render the speaker a perpetual machine.
(5) If “The Church” is on “the wrong trail,” our blessed Lord must have been so too when he said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John vii. 16, 17; 1 Cor. ii. 12, 14, 15): it is absurd even to argue about any one's possessing an internal witness to the truth of that which had no truth in itself. Every one knows what is meant by the internal evidences of chris
* As we do not intend to continue this discussion beyond the year; and as Editors are expected to reply to a letter of eensure in the same number in which it appears, we append a few remarks on our friend's apimadversions,