Imatges de pÓgina

The forged traditions of the early life of Jesus abound with miracles, supposed to have been performed by him in childhood, which must have excited universal notice and astonishment: but the records of the Evangelists demonstrate it to have been the purpose of divine wisdom, that the birth and education of Jesus should remain as private as was compatible with requisite proofs of his heavenly origin and authority. Unexceptionable witnesses of his birth were summoned by an host of angels; but it was in circumstances least conducive to publicity. Pious inhabitants of Jerusalem were gratified with evidence of the Messiah's advent; but not so as to excite the jealousy of the Jewish government. These events are related by Luke, who, in immediate connexion with them, mentions the removal of Jesus, with his mother and Joseph, to Nazareth ; but a due attention to the customary style of the Evangelists, will ascertain that this by no means implies the immediate succession of that event. On the contrary, we learn from Matthew, that Jesus remained at least till the entrance on bis second year at Bethlehem, and was then removed only to avoid the vigilant cruelty of Herod, who destroyed all the children of that age in the town and neighbourhood, when disappointed of discovering which of them was the expected Messiah. It is therefore probable that Joseph designed to have brought up Jesus at Bethlehem, as the place whence he might enter on his expected career of glory inost suitably to the descendant and heir of David. But the counsel of God was far different, Jesus was to be stigmatized as the Nazarene; and his parents were constrained to return to their former place of residence, infamous as it was for the bad character of its crowded population, that Jesus inigbt there advance'in wisdom as in stature, and in favour with God and man,' without being suspected to be the Messiah, till the due time arrived when he should ‘shew forth his glory. The single incident that is recorded of his youth by Luke, namely, the attention which his attendance on the Passover, at twelve years of age excited, shews how i-dispensable it was that he should have resided where no one expected a messenger from God to be found. His condition also was such as was best adapted to obviate suspicions of his dignity. He was 'subject to his parents ;' was looked upon as a carpenter's son, and likely to pursue the same humble occupation; and his nearest relations, both male and female, were undistinguished from the common populace of Nazareth. Mark vi. 3.

Very differently was his young kinsman, John, prepared for his office of harbinger to the promised Messiah. Instead of being covered with obscurity and contempt as a Nazarene, from his birth he was distinguished as a Nazarite, devoted to the peculiar service of God, and precluded from common nourishineat and habits. He also, as Jesus did, waxed

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strong in spirit;' but he assumed, very early, that seclusion, abstemiousness, and rigour of manners and appearance, which at that time most attracted the notice, and excited the veneration of the Jews. He was, in all respects, fitted to be

a burning and a shining luminary' in their dark hemisphere, before the Sun of Righteousness should arise, and the day of universal light should dawn. But so far was he from maintaining intercourse with Jesus (though his kinsman as well as his Lord) that a sign from Heaven was requisite to discover to him the person whom he was commissioned to announce as 'the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.'

On this review, will not · Wisdom be justified of her children?' Will not every candid examiner of the Gospel history acknowledge its commencement to be worthy of God? Every step that we may be enabled to advance, with hearts open to truth, will strengthen our conviction that the Scripture is the word of God, and not of man; and may justly constrain us to exclaim, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! His judgments are unsearchably prudent; his ways manifest inexhaustible skill; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things : to whom be glory for ever! Amen.'



It is not wonderful that a man mistakes his way in the dark. If you would have him find his way,–give him light. It is the same in the spiritual world. Ignorance is the leading cause and source of error. When a person has been enlightened by the Spirit of God attending the Scriptures, and unveiling their pure and simple truths, error is discovered and renounced. An instance of this has lately occurred in Ireland, in the case of the Rev. Mr. M. Crowley, who, in searching the Scriptures with a view to refute the Protestant doctrines, has been led froin full unbiassed conviction to embrace them. The same happy effects have uniformly attended a careful impartial study of the word of God. This was remarkably verified in the Reformation from Popery in the sixteenth century. I shall mention a remarkable instance of this from a work lately published * In an act of the Scottish Parliainent, anno 1525, renewed 1535, prohibiting the importation of books containing heretical opinions, and the rehearsing and disputing about them, an exception was made as to clerks in the schools, that they might confute them. In this device the patrons of the Romish church were outwitted;

* M Сrce's Life of Knox.

for a number of these clerks were, by the perusal of the book, and by disputation concerning them, induced to embrace the Protestant tenets.

I need hardly mention that the word of God, in its simplicity, has been, and is the strong hold of Protestants; and an appeal to this is what the abettors of the Papal system chiefly dread. Abiding by this, in dependence on the promise of God, we have nothing to dread from all the attacks of earth and hell. This is the light shining in a dark place;-to) which we do well to take heed.

What an encouragement does this present for the exertions of Bible Societies ! When the Scriptures are spread, the teaching of the Spirit of God shall, in a less or greater degree, attend them. Yes: this heavenly light shall spread, and with it the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth.

Reader, Would you experience benefit from the perusal of the word of God, come to it with child-like dependence on the promised influence of the Spirit of God. Thus shall you be guided in the way of truth. While pride blinds the eyes against the light of truth, a humble and teachable temper leads to the cordial reception of the truth, leading us to the Fountain of Light, in whose light we shall see light clearly. In this way shall we obtain the most comfortable evidence that the Scriptures are the word of God, and shall be led into all truth, under the wise and safe conduct of Him who teacheth us to profit.




To the Editor. It will be readily acknowledged that no praclical subject can be of greater

consequence, especially to young persons, than that of Marriage ; and I believe that those who are acquainted with the character of the late Rev. Mr. Newton, will admit that few have been better qualified to treat of it than that excellent inan. Under these impressions, I am induced to request the insertion of the following Letter. It has indeed lately appeared in more than one of the periodical publications:--a circumstance which, I hope, will not prevent its adınission, but rather recommend it to ,more attention.

It was written to an unknown correspondent, F.F. who requested bis advice ou this interesting subject,

Yours, &c. us


Permit me to call your attention to an evil which I fear is but too prevalent in the religious world, and extends through all the different classes of society: I mean that of being unequally yoked with unbelievers.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable;' but the apostolic precept is, I fear, too little regarded


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by the serious youth of both sexes, in forming the most im portant connection of human life. The evil, I am inclined to think, frequently has its origin in vanity, from a desire to stand well in the estimation of the worldly, when occasionally in their society, and to be thought possessed of sufficient talents and agreeable qualities to counterbalance the usual charge of stupidity, &c. so generally. affixed to the religious character by the thoughtless and the gay. I have found this in former times, Mr. Editor, to be my own case, and derived a complacency from it which now humbles me to think of. Happily, in my in stance, it proceeded no further, but it leaves the heart unguarded at the most dangerous times, and its latent conceptions are sometimes drawn forth with a power that cannot afterwards be. controled; an opening is made for sinful conformity in sentis, ments and customs; the affections are suffered to be captiva. ted by specious qualities, and the unhappy victim is thoughtlessly involved in a situation which must prove fatal to the peace, and often to the eternal interests of the never-dying soul,

• But there is also another cause, which, as it is the more amiable, is not therefore the less dangerous. We set out in our religious career with an eager desire to impart to others the blessing we have received, and with hearts panting to be em. ployed in our Redeemer's service; but we 100 often forget to exainine our abilities for the work. Hence the early efforts of; the young convert are frequently fruitless, and he often en, dangers. his own safety by his injudicious endeavours; he has, perhaps, no access to experienced Christians; or is acquainted only with those who have outlived their first love; or, chilled by repeated failures, are become averse to exertion. At ali times indeed, he is bụt too prone to despise the maxims of pru. dential restraint. He rushes with eager baste into scenes which the boldest Christian cautiously avoids; a remaining fondness for relinquished pleasures secretly lurks, perhaps, in his bosom, and while it tends to mislead his judgment, increases his danger. Attracted by the charms of youthful gaiety and beauty, he sighs that any thing so lovely can be in danger of perdition ! How blest the employment to snatch her as a brand from the burning !- he eagerly watches for a happy moment to sug, gest some serious thought, and so gently hazarded, it meets not with disapprobation; the biassed fancy presages from this and similar experiments, that the interesting female is favourable to religion, and every feeling of the soul becomes irresistibly engaged: Vain then are the remonstrances of Christian friends nip! vain the precepts of heavenly wisdom! but how soon is the flattering spell broken! When the timid suggesą tions of the lover are exchanged for the earnest remonstranees of the husband, and authority is perhaps attempted to be added to argument; when the one begins to sigh for the society of his more serious friends, and the other for her beloved ainuse

ments, then it is too late discovered that no real congeniality of sentiments subsists between them, no flow of soul delights their retired hours, no matual friends enliven the domestic circle. Too late the pious soul discovers he possesses not in the partner of his life'a sympathizing spirit to partake his sorrows or his joys, or, conscious of being aliké encoinpassed with in firmity, to bear with his frailties, and strengthen his declining graces, he cannot expose his pious friends to her ridicule and scorn, he has only to seek support in solitude from a justly of fended God. Equal, if not exceeded, are the sorrows of a pious young woman married to an ungodly inan.

But one bitter ingredient in the cup of woe I have not yet touched on :-you will, no doubt, anticipate me in the mention of their offspring. We, Mr: Editor, well know from experience, that it requires the strictest' union of sentiment in both the

parents to train those in the nurture and admonitio of the Lord, whom (notwithstanding all the endearments by which they twine around our hearts) we cannot but acknowledge are prone to go astray, even from their birth. But what must be the task, what the heart rending fear of a pious parent, who sees a tenderly béloved child encouraged in habits and principles instilled into it, diametrically opposite to the spirit of the gospel ! what the feelings of a mother, compelled either to accompany á darling daughter to the haunts of dissipation, or to suffer her to go to those scenes of dangerous and alluring pleasures!

• Hitherto "we have looked only on one side of the picture : we have contemplated a soul engaged indeed in a most painful and unremitting struggle; but amidst all its dangers and its sufferings, preserving its integrity. But let us look into the faithtul page of history for the conséquence of this sin, and we see a world in ruins! The sons of God beheld the daughters of men, thắt they were fair, and they took thein wives of all which they chose,

** No proselytes were made. The whole world became corrupted and we all know the dreadful judgments which ensued. Oh that our sous would learn wisdom that our daughiers would listen to the voice of instruction! Oh ye who have early enlisted under the banners of your Saviour, you who exčite the brightest hope of the church, why will you blast her expectations? why will you depress the hearts of her friends by throwing yourselves away on the ungodly? Many of you have been éducated with the tenderest care of pious parents ; have been watched over with anxious solicitude; and many tears and prayers have been poured out for you: Oh! why will you defeat their fondest hopes ? why render vain all their labours and their cares? but all of you have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus; all of you are his sole property; give not then yourselves unto his enemies; enter not in the closest league of amity with his foes. Search out then,


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