Imatges de pÓgina

dreary and long? It shall not last for ever; and under the genial in. fluence of vernal sun and vernal shower, the quickened and expanding germ shall spring up into a precious harvest. You may not witness the result while you remain in the flesh; but He who loves the little children shall treasure up the memory of your deeds; and when you shall have gone to your graves, the seed you sowed in tears shall yield abundantly the fruits of righteousness. "God is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love," and "ye shall not lose your reward." The struggle may be hard, but the triumph is certain. However unequal the contest, Jehovah "shall bring forth judgment unto victory."

"Yours is the duty-the event is God's."

Suppose that, through your efforts, only one child should be converted, would not that a thousand times repay you for years of anxiety and exertion? But that child may become a minister of the gospel, and lead hundreds to the foot of the cross; and long after the place of your repose in the dust shall have been forgotten, and your very name shall have passed from the memory of the living, your happy spirit, bending from the battlements of the everlasting city, may witness the fruits of your zeal in the salvation of thousands now unborn. "Go ye, there. fore, into the vineyard ;" "work while it is day," and let the hope of gathering animate you to the toils of tillage!

But there are other arguments. (O that I could speak with a power that should thrill, and a pathos that should melt you!) Have you hitherto regarded the years of youth as a train of fleeting, perishing moments, involving no importance in relation to your children-no responsibility in reference to yourselves? Look into the oracles of God-look into the world of spirits; and you will see the passing hour of infancy assuming the dignity of a commencing eternity. That little boy has begun an endless being; that little girl is setting out on an interminable voyage: father, mother, have you no solicitude about them-no anxiety to give a proper direction to the incipient windings of a stream that is to bear them on for ever? O, hard must be the heart of that parent who does not feel for his immortal offspring! Could you behold your child borne along by the current of a great river to the chasm of the thundering cataract, and not shriek for its deliverance? But this does not amount to even a faint shadow of the danger which threatens these embryos of immortality. You shudder at the guilt of that inhuman wretch, (I will not call him a father,) who, in a fit of intoxication, fires his dwelling, and leaves his infants to perish in the flame; but his crime sinks into insignificance-nay, it whitens into innocence-in comparison of his, who, by neglecting the spiritual interests of his offspring, virtually inflicts upon them death eternal.

What more can I say? (Divine Spepherd, help me to plead for thy perishing lambs!) Behold your little ones on the verge of the fiery lake! Think of that day when Jehovah shall make requisition for blood! Their danger-your responsibility-are increasing every moment. Have you the nerve which shall not tremble, and the soul which shall not quail, when at your hand Justice shall demand the murdered spirit-the spirit of your offspring damned by your delinquency? O, as you love their souls; as you dread the thought of

withering beneath their execration in hell; as you hope to spend an endless life in their society before the throne of God; haste to their rescue, pluck them as brands from the burning, and send them, blessing your name, to the skies. There may parents and children meet and mingle! There may teachers and scholars unite in the blissful employments of an eternal sabbath! There may your unworthy speaker and his beloved audience sing away the memory of their sorrows, "and he that soweth and he that reapeth rejoice together!"

For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.



[Continued from Vol. X., page 383.]

THE argument already advanced respecting the literal gathering of the Jews, from an examination of the prophetic writings, though suffi. ciently cogent of itself, receives, nevertheless, confirmation and additional force from a consideration of the Christian view of the subject. Indeed, it is in this light that the subject ought to be viewed, in order properly to understand it.

We have more than once intimated that the future literal return of the Jews to their own land is not consonant with the genius of the Christian dispensation. It is to this point that we would now more particularly direct attention. In so doing we shall be bound to refer to the Old Testament as well as the New, for it is not in the New Testament alone that we discover the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord." This course is pursued by the writers of the New Testament. They frequently illustrate their doctrine by a reference to the ancient writings of the Jews. Our Saviour himself justified his claims, and proved his positions by a reference to "Moses and the prophets." Then, again, if we would understand and explain the Old Testament we must investigate the New, for "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." When this is done in sincerity and meekness, every apparent disagreement or discrepancy will be removed. The entire Scriptures will present a system of doctrine and duty, in which there is the most perfect unity of design. The gospel is indeed the climax of the argument presented to us in revelation, but every preceding dispensation is essential to its completion, and the climax can only be reached, and the consummation explained by fol lowing the gradations as they severally appear, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Revelation has its phases: the light that shines through each dispensation differs only in degree; it is the same in kind, derived from the same source, and directed to the same end. Through out the whole, that which remaineth is more glorious than that which is done away, 2 Cor. iii, 9-11. There might, therefore, be a pro

priety in saying that the Jewish dispensation was defective; but it was only like the defect of a miniature portrait, which consists in its dimensions, not in its resemblance. The lineaments are correct, they only need extending to be absolutely perfect. That perfection of "the law and the prophets" we have in the gospel of the Son of God. Christ is the end of the law, and to him give all the prophets witness. Even "Abraham saw his day and was glad." This view of the subject is beautifully set forth by the author of "The Great Teacher," whose Christian philosophy is worthy of all admiration.

"Comparative anatomy informs us, not only that animated nature forms an ascending series of beings, beginning with few organs, and increasing in number, complexity, and finish, up to man; but that in some of the earliest and simplest links of the living chain there is traceable a promise, a mute prophecy of all the rest, a rough outline of all that is to follow; that many processes are sketched in the lower animals, the completion of which is reserved for the composition of man. In like manner the entire system of Judaism was one compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentiment of Christianity; in which the great doctrines and virtues, which it is the province of the new dispensation to develop and mature, may be found in the embryos and elements."


The great principle of life and action which we find in man may be discovered in the smallest animalculæ. In man it is perfect, and in him the increasing instinct of the various grades of animals is matured into reason by the God of creation. Thus it is in nature, forming an analogy to revelation; as in one case, so in the other, what was first defective in degree, is afterward, or in another instance, carried out and perfected. What the law could not do," by its ritual observances, God hath done by the perfect atonement of his Son. The peculiar character of the Christian dispensation then, it may be observed, consists in its being divested of the harshness and secularity of Judaism. It retains all that was spiritual, in the Levitical economy and code, or that was calculated to promote individual holi. ness and true morality, while at the same time it rejects all that was merely secular, national, and exclusive. This is the least that can be said of the gospel as a starting point; much more will appear on farther investigation. But it behooves us while we exalt the gospel not unduly to depreciate the law. This we shall do if too much importance be attached to the external and secular portion of the Mosaic economy. This was all along the error of the Jews; by its influence they rejected the Messiah, and continue in spiritual blindness. Now every attentive observer of the Levitical dispensation will have observed that its chief object was the inculcation of holiness in heart and life. The hypothesis of Maimonides respecting the reasons of the laws of Moses is only partially correct. They were, indeed, intended to preserve the knowledge of God, and prevent the practice of idolatry, but this was not all. The language of Ezekiel, as descriptive of the purpose of God in instituting the ordinances and laws of the temple, which he saw in vision, may with propriety be applied here: "Show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep

the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. This is the law of the house; upon the top of the mountain, the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house," Ezek. xliii, 10–12.

Now, if the attention be directed to the splendor of the architecture instead of "the law of the house," the purpose of God will be frustrated. There was undoubtedly a clear reason in the divine Mind for connecting so much of external ceremony and secular appearance with the enforcement of spirituality. Many of these reasons are more obvious to us in the latter days, who have the light of history and experience wherewith to direct our investigations, than they were to those to whom "the law was given by Moses." Nevertheless, the purpose of spiritual edification, and the moral advancement of mankind, were always sufficiently distinct to enable the candid and sincere inquirer to perceive that the paraphernalia of religion were not the substance thereof, and that the essence of the ritual was not that exclusive thing it appeared to be.

It would not be consistent with our design to dwell particularly upon the numerous moral precepts of the Jewish economy. Reference to a few only will suffice for our purpose, and the unity of the scheme of revelation in maintaining holiness of heart, and universal benevolence in practice, will from thence be sufficiently apparent. "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy," Lev. xix, 2; 1 Pet. i, 16. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord," ver. 19; Rom. xii, 9. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might," Deut. vi, 5; xxx, 6; Matt. xxii, 37; Josh. xxii, 5; Mark xii, 30-33. "The Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye, therefore, the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt," Deut. x, 17-19; Matt. v, 43, 44; Exod. xxii, 21; Heb. xiii, 2. These divine precepts harmonize with the character of God, and with each other, and it is not too much to say, that they constitute the spirit of Judaism, as well as the essence of Christianity.

The election of the seed of Abraham as the peculiar people of God's favor, and the consecration of Canaan, as the land of promise, were secondary considerations, and a nullity except as they tended to the conservation of the doctrines of revelation-especially the divine unity, the worship due to God, and the expiatory sacrifice, together with the practical obligations to God and man, evidently founded upon them. The secularity of Judaism was essential to the infantile state of the church and the state of the world at that period. But it will not, therefore, be maintained that that secularity was so interwoven with the system of morals and worship as to render its continuance, or if discontinued, its revival necessary in order to carry on the gracious purposes of God in the salvation of the world. The harshness and apparent selfishness of the system were an addenda, which could be removed with safety when the germ of vitality had arrived at a cer. tain degree of maturity. The law was added because of transgresVOL. XI.-April, 1840.


sions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made, Gal. iii, 19.*

The reference made in some of the above quotations to "the stranger," is worthy of more distinct consideration. A true judgment of this point will divest Judaism of much of its exclusiveness, and exhibit the benevolence of Christianity in its incipient stages. And we may affirm that had the Jews properly appreciated their law of love, and applied the injunctions of benevolence-as they were bound to do -the world would not have mourned over so dire a specimen of bigotry and intolerance as is furnished by the history of that fallen people. Nothing can be more clear and unequivocal than the laws which admitted the stranger to a participation of the privileges and ordinances of the Levitical ritual. As to the exclusion of the Gentiles generally, and the election of the Jews, it is remarked by Watson, "that the distinction, as far as it was a religious one, between the Jew and the Gentile, was one created by the Gentiles themselves, and was not the act of God." They (the Gentiles) had become very generally corrupt and idolatrous, and though the vices of the descendants of Abraham were sufficiently prominent, they were not so fallen and degraded as their neighbors, and there was, therefore, a moral reason for the choice of the Jews, as the conservators of religion. But mark the

"It is true there were many unobliterated traces of God to be found in creation, but these related chiefly to his natural greatness: his moral perfections could only be deduced from his own supernatural disclosures; and these as they existed among the Jews were intentionally imperfect. Truths the most vital wore the form of enigmas; the church was local and limited; the moral law was oppressed and borne down by the ceremonial; the sensible was appealed to more than the intellectual; sight more than faith; sin was only ceremonially atoned for; the eternal future was but dimly seen, and the divine perfections only hinted at. Theirs was an economy which professed not to be day, but only the dawn and promise of day."-Harris's Great Teacher, Am. ed., pp. 134, 135.

+ Some days after the writer had completed this article, and was about to transmit it to the editor, while investigating another theological question, he had occasion to refer to Dr. Leland's View of Deistical Writers, an elaborate work, first published in 1754. As any thing connected with the Jews, almost naturally as well as instantly, arrests our attention, on finding in the index to that work an allusion to some of the topics embraced in this discussion, we secured the opportunity of comparing the views we had entertained and expressed with those of Dr. Leland, particularly in reference to the election of the Jews, and the consecration of Canaan. The writer would not attempt to conceal his satisfaction on perceiving a striking coincidence of thought on these topics. They are introduced by Dr. Leland to prove the consistency and propriety of the Mosaic economy, in opposition to the misrepresentations and absurdities contained in the writings of Mr. Chubb and Lord Bolingbroke. They are introduced in this paper to show that these circumstances were "part and parcel" of that introductory dispensation, and, therefore, inconsistent with the genius of the Christian religion. After this explanation, which may serve to screen us from the shafts and quivers of criticism, no apology will be offered for the introduction of a few confirmatory extracts from the work to which reference has just been made :

"As to God's choosing the people of Israel, they not only proceeded from ancestors eminent for piety and virtue, and pure adorers of the Deity, but may be justly supposed at the time of God's erecting that sacred polity among them to have been, notwithstanding all their faults, more free from idolatry and other

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