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CALVIN'S COMMENTARY ON THE I has a juster perception of the drift and scope
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS. of his author, or shrinks more from interWe have more than once recommended
pretations, plausible perhaps, and more conto our readers the Society which is trans
sonant with the peculiarities of his theology, lating and re-publishing the Commentaries
but not the sense of the passage before him; and other works of Calvin. We have great
(a striking contrast, in this respect, to Macpleasure in now calling their attention to a
knight). “True in itself, but not the single volume of those translations, which
writer's sentiment here,” is an objection
continually alleged by him against an exwe would strongly urge all who can afford dit to procure as a specimen. We feel confi.
position at all strained and forced. As an dent that most of our intelligent and pious
interpreter he is vastly less Calvinistic than readers will not then be content with his
his less competent disciples, whether it be Commentary on the Romans only. Next
in respect to evading the natural meaning to the Gospels, we consider that Epistle in
of passages seemingly opposed to his views, deed to be the most valuable book to the
or in citing irrelevant passages in their
favour. He seemed to bring a reverence to church of God, in the whole Bible. Never has any general revival of religion taken
the word of God which forbade his tamperplace in which this wonderful epistle has
ing with any part, even to make it subserve not occupied a large share of attention, and
a truth contained in another part. been the generator of the profoundest reli 2ndly. The vigour and clearness with gious and christian sentiments. Still Calvin which he both perceived and brought out has powerfully illustrated all of the books the mind of the sacred writer. of Scripture on which he has written. The 3rdly. The devotional tone which runs writer well remembers, twenty years ago, through the whole. Even his critical reameeting by accident (for Calvin's Com sonings impress our mind more devotionally mentaries were little known amongst Dis than formal lessons as deduced by such senters then) with an old, hardly readable, commentators as Hodge and Barnes, not Latin copy of his Commentaries on the to mention the peculiarly dry criticisms of Epistles; and, being struck at a glance with Stuart, much as we prize the labours of the power evinced in them, he took the these excellent men. volume home as a prize, and found it to be As to learning, he was adequately skilled so indeed. Soon after, Tholuck's commen both in Greek and Hebrew, though he never dation of him appeared in this country,“ via paraded it. It partook of the character of America;” more lately, an able article has his age-acquired much more from personal appeared in Kitto's Quarterly Journal, from study than from elaborate grammars and the pen of Mr. Gotch, Classical Tutor of lexicons. The translation before us, which Bristol College ; and, finally, this Society is a very complete one, furnishes, however, has arisen to give, in a thoroughly cheap, a considerable number of notes from more yet handsome form, the invaluable works recent scholars, besides giving both the of this great thinker to all who can afford received version and Calvin's Latin transla£l per annum. In all this we sincerely tion in parallel columns, with a translation rejoice. We rather suspect that the ac of Calvin's version at the end of the volume. quaintance of English Dissenting ministers The Editor has bestowed most commendawith the actual writings of Calvin is but ble pains in making the volume complete dittle. High-Churchmen and Arminians, for a modern reader; and the translation although opposed to his ecclesiastical and itself, so far as we have had leisure to comdoctrinal views, have done their part in pare it with the original, is careful and commending, and even editing, his works, exact, though it is impossible, in a translawhile those who have professed a general tion of Calvin, to reach the vigorous flow accordance with his views have neglected and spirit of the original. him. His great excellence as a commen. A word in conclusion on Calvin's peculiar tator we conceive to be,
views. We suppose the one which the Ist. The naturalness of his interpreta- majority of our readers will deem most tions. No commentator that we know of peculiar is that known as Reprobation. If
they will study Calvin himself, they will see that he held it in a manner by no inears subversive of morality. He simply maintains that we-we men--cannot, and ought not, to seek a higher cause that men are lost than the will of God. He denies that God is the author of sin: he affirms that those who perish receive the due reward of their crimes; but he considers it mere quibbling if men refuse to own that, under an omniscient and omnipotent Governor, “permission” does not in reality differ from * decree." We have not room in this article to discuss the subject. We only mention that we think Calvinists and Arminians both wrong in what they deny. The freedom of the Human Will, and the entireness of Divine Predestination, we hold to be doctrines both of Scriptural i and Natural Theology. The difficulty may
be great, may be insurmountable, of har. monizing the two; but facts are not to be rejected because we think them incompatible. Educational bias, even temperament or age, dispose us to dwell most on one or the other; but we are persuaded that every real, every devout christian admits practically whichever of the two he denies in theory. Humility and prayer dispose the mind to Calvinistic views ; Zeal and effort to Arminian ones. Youth is Arminian, age Calvinistic. Truth is, we apprehend, both an Arminian and a Calvinist. She must abjure consciousness, and therewith all knowledge, sacred and profane, if she did not believe in the freedom of the will. She must obliterate reason, cr consent to be led by it to trace up every event to the great Cause of Causes.
Cales and Sketches.
THE FAMILY ALTAR. • At no time does the family below present to my mind so faithful and striking a type of the family above, as when with one accord they have met in one place, to offer united praise to the Father of mercies. True it is that with this, as every other illustration of life in that better country, much imperfection is mingled. A large share of our devotional exercises consists of confes·sion of sin, and supplication for strength
against the time of temptation; besides which, waudering thoughts and the fatigue of jaded spirits too often mar our worship, and render our solemn service vain. Yet, nevertheless, the family has been repeatedly used by God himself, as an emblem of his triumphant church ; and scarcely could one have been selected which would appeal so forcibly, because so sweetly, to the hearts of all men, in all ages.
I have been led to these remarks, by reviewing some of the occurrences of a varied life, and contemplating the vast power the domestic altar retained over me in my youth, even when far removed from the place of its erection.
The residence of my father was inland, and remote from facilities for acquiring a commercial education. After mature re. flection, my parents consented that I should follow the bent of my own inclination, and seek such advantages in a distant city.
The history of my first year was similar to that of many other ambitious youths. I was acquiring a knowledge of men and manners, but the narration how is not material.
About this time a fit of sickness rendered it necessary for me to seek maternal care, under whose blessed influences health soon returned. The day before I again lest home, to plunge more extensively than I had hitherto done into the whirl of business, I was sitting by my mother, and pouring into her willing ear some account of my cares and annoyances. She heard me patiently, and when I had concluded my story, put her arm around my neck, and, kissing my forehead, said, “My son — my dear son, never think yourself forgotten by us. Your father mentions your name night and morning."
I understood this perfectly. From my earliest infancy I had heard fervent petitions offered at such times for the temporarily absent one, and now as I was going out into the world-perhaps never to returnthe remembrance of this circumstance was a comfort to me. I knew the paths of youth were slippery, for I bad seen sufficient of the world, even in a year, to be well aware of the fact, and in some degree realized the privilege of being so remembered.
Years rolled on-business nearly engrossed the whole of my secular time, but
I never forgot my mother's impressive -speech. Occasionally, anxiety would prevent me from offering more than the merest form of prayer myself --then would I think of my father's earnest petition, offered for me that morning, and in strength, granted in answer to it, rise beside the trial, if not immediately victorious over it! Some. times pleasure would lure, by her siren voice, to a participation in unholy amusements, but the charm was powerless, when I thought of my father's prayer.
I have been young, and now am old, yet those words still ring in my ears, and infuence my conduct. The lips which then supplicated for me have exchanged supplications for everlasting praises; yet, in times of sorrow or perplexity, I feel my mother's lips on my fevered brow, and her words are a cordial to my heart. In times of joy and prosperity I remember them, and they act as a moderating agency to the sanguine restlessness of ambition.
Parents ! throw around the hearts of your children a similar indestructible chain. At the family altar, teach them, by suitable petitions, that you sympathize with them, in their feeble attempts to do right; there, let confession be made for family sins, and grateful praise returned for family mercies; then may you hope for a reunion of your dispersed families, in a better country, even a heavenly.
A very common complaint is, that the prayers are too long. Some brethren, whatever other gifts they may lack, have a remarkable gift of fluency, and can pray by the hour. They are at no loss for topics, and know how to enlarge upon every one of them. If these are exhausted, they can fall back upon themes already introduced, and present continued varieties of the same thought. Some seem to think that they must pray for everything that comes to mind, whether appropriate to the occasion or not; and that it is time enough to stay when nothing else remains to be prayed for. If two persons are to pray in succession, the first will sometimes leave nothing for the second to do, but to utter the same petitions. At times, a brother will appear to be drawing his exercise to a close, and be almost ready to say, Amen, when a new thought will seem to strike his mind, and he will branch out again into a second prayer, longer than the first, and each of them too long for profit. We have known a request to be made for prayer in relation to a particular person, or class, or benevolent object, and scarcely any notice taken of 'it until everything else almost had been remembered, and no time left for a remembrance of the particular object, until every one had become wearied by the service. Some have a particular hobby, and can never engage in social prayer without introducing it, however irrelevant to the occasion.
Prayers are very apt to partake more of the nature of preaching than of praying. There are didactic prayers, doctrinal prayers, argumentative prayers, controversial or polemic prayers, and even hortatory prayers. All this is unprofitable and wearisome. Every one who engages in social prayer should understand that there is no need of going through a system of theology in a single prayer, nor of praying for everything that comes to mind, nor of enlarging upon every particular, nor of going over the same ground again and again, nor of praying as long as he can. That is ordinarily the most acceptable and profitable prayer, which is mainly the breathing of intense desire for some one thing. Such is nature's language. Attention to this matter would greatly reduce the quantity, and vastly improve the quality, of each prayer offered in the social meeting.
The interest of the people in some prayers is greatly marred by the frequent recur
COMMON FAULTS AT PRAYER
MEETINGS. The social prayer-meeting is a source of great spiritual profit to a church, without the influence of which, in ordinary cases, it can hardly be expected to grow in grace. Those christians are generally the most eminent and distinguished for piety, whose habits and feelings lead them to embrace every opportunity of attending the prayermeeting. Of such great value, it is of the last importance that these meetings should be made more attractive than, in many cases, they are. Very much depends on the pastor, or the conductor of the service. But much also depends on the brethren who are called upon to participate in its services. Very frequently much of the interest is destroyed by injudicious prayers. Perhaps a notice of some of the ways in which mistakes are made by those who take part in the prayers of the social meeting, may not be without benefit.
rence of a favourite form of expression. Sometimes a particular name of the Deity is so often introduced as to become very painful to a devout mind. If not taken in vain or irreverently, it is used as a mere expletive, and should be omitted.
There are some who seem to forget altogether the capacity of the room in which they are assembled. Large or small, they always pray with the same quantity of voice. Some pray loud enough in family worship for a cathedral; others again, especially in the commencement of the prayer, speak so very low that not one in ten can hear what they say. Every one who leads in prayer should speak ordinarily just loud enough to be heard by all who are in the room. A low tone of voice is very suitable for the closet, but not for the social meeting; and a loud vociferation may answer for the camp meeting, but is very much out of place in a lecture-room, or parlour. It is a fault of other good brethren, whose voice and manner are very acceptable in personal conversation, that they indulge in a sort of cant as soon as they begin to pray. They put on an entirely different tone, or fall into some disagreeable habit or another, by which the comfort of those who unite with them is sadly impaired.
We might prolong this long list of faults and inadvertencies of good men in prayer, for it is always easy to find fault. But when the great importance of social prayer is considered, and the sweet comfort which might be derived from it, if properly engaged in, our censure of the habits which impair and destroy it will be fully justified. A kindly word of admonition may sometimes correct a grievous fault; and there are but few sensible men who have not, on detecting in themselves some unsuspected foible or deformity, echoed the homely but expressive wish,
“O wad some pow'r the giftie gie us
New York Evangelist.
1 out in all her looks, yet with a countenance :
full of sweetness, and a tear trembling in 2 her eye, and laid beside the rich man's ; note a single penny. The crowd pushed her rudely by. No one noticed or cared for her gift. But Jesus and his angels, who were looking on, accepted it, as far more precious than the rich man's note, and made a record of it to her honour.
You will ask, How came this differencelo
That same morning the rich man had ! said within himself, “What shall I give to ? the collection to-day for foreiga missions ? I must give a five-pound note, for that is what will be expected of me; and I wish my donation to be above all the others.” 1
That same morning the little girl had been reading her Bible, and had seen the story of the love of Jesus, and loved him in return. She thought within herself, “ Jesus did so much for me, oh, what can I do to shew my love to him? There is to be a collection for foreign missions this day, and I have only a penny; but I will give my penny for Jesus' sake, and it may be he will accept it from me, for I love him very much.” The little girl took her penny and laid it on the chair before which she was kneeling, and prayed thus for a blessing:“ Oh, my God, here is a penny which I will give to thee. Take it, Lord, although I am unworthy to give it, and bless it, so that it will do good to the poor heathen.” Then raising from her knees, she took it to the church and gave it.
Reader, bear in mind, it is not what we give, but how we give, that makes the service acceptable. The poor widow's mite was declared more precious than the great man's gold, by Christ, and your single penny will be held of greater value, and perhaps do more good, than many pounds wrongly presented, if only given in the exercise of faith and love.
THE TWO GIVERS. A collection for foreign missions was being made at a church door. Up walked the richest man in the congregation, and laid a five-pound note on the plate. The people admired the gift and praised the giver, but it gave no thrill of joy in heaven. Directly after him there came a little, pale, poor girl, meanly clad, and poverty written
“Our mercies past, when present cares annoy, Should gild our hopes of future peace and joy."
“What makes you think that God will never forsake them that trust in him ?” was asked of an aged christian. “Because he has promised," was the reply." And what makes you think that he will keep his word ?" “ Because he never yet broke it.” Here is encouragement for us all! Here is enough to induce us to cry aloud, “Though he slay me,
get will I trust in him!” The past declares God's faithfulness, the present confirms it, and the future will only make more clear his fidelity and truth. Do you think of the past and future? and is the present made brighter by them?
We judge our earthly friends by what they do, rather than by what they say ; and why not judge our heavenly Friend by the same rule? Ask, then, the question, christian reader, what has God done for thee? or rather what has God not done for thee? Has he not made thee? given thee thy faculties of body, soul, and spirit ? placed thee in a beautiful world ? afforded thee the means of grace and the hope of glory? yea, given his Son to die for thee upon the cross, prepared thee a mansion of
boundless bliss, and put into thy hands his
The past has already been the present, and soon will the future. Hours, days, and years, like riches, make to themselves wings and fly away; let them bear on their wings some record of our love, our gratitude, our joy. Let us so ponder on what is, was, and will be, that the past, the present, and the future, may give praise to the Redeemer, and promote the peace of our own souls.
THE SABBATH QUESTION. were in my power more ably to advocate
the views which I hold to be those taught We had intended this month closing the in the Word of God; but I will refer your already too long continued discussion of readers to the works of Bamfield, Stennett, this question. We have received many
Cornthwaite, &c., in England, and many interesting and able letters, which we have
others in America, who have, and are still
most successfully setting forth the claims of been compelled reluctantly to pass by. We
the Seventh-Day Sabbath in such a light as hope, however, that all our correspondents I think unanswerable. will have found their opinions expressed I would just make a few observations more or less fully already. We defer the upon a passage or two in the article by Mr. close of the discussion for another month,
Owen. He says (after proving that the
day which is now observed amongst most only that we may insert the following
christians is not the "Sabbath which God letter, which expresses the views of a
has commanded” in answer to the queries respectable class of christians,-larger in of T. W. B.), “The only weekly Sabbath America than in England, with which,
God ever appointed is not the first day of the
week, but the seventh.” Then, why is that therefore, many of our readers may like to
day on which God rested from his work of become acquainted. Our own concluding
creation, and gave to our first parents to observations we hope to insert in our next
enjoy, and again enjoined on the children Lumber.
of Israel at Sinai (not as a new law, for he
says, “ Remember the Sabbath day," which To the Editors of “The Church.”
implies that they had known it before, for Dear Sirs,
he refers, in this command, to his own restIt has given me much pleasure ing and hallowing the day), to be now laid to see the subject of the Sabbath introduced aside, and another substituted for it? I into your pages, and I agree with your cor say that no law can, or ever has, set aside respondent T. W. B. in regretting that this the law given at the mountain; our Lord important question is so seldom allowed to never set it aside, for he says, “ Think not come fully before the public. The great that I am come to destroy the law, or the liberality which you always manifest in prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to matters of discussion, and especially in this, fulfil: for verily I say unto you, Till induces me to offer a few remarks on this heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle much controverted subject, and I wish it I shall is nowise pass from the law, till all be