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the Board and the Presbyteries equal- . It is not to be overlooked, that ly desirous of administering the fund there will be cases of delicacy and in the spirit of faithfulness and love, difficulty to be considered and dethere is likely to be less occasion of cided; and it is desirable that those discontent in the operation of the one who sit in judgment, should be free Board than in the operation of the from local influences and personal many Presbyteries. .
prepossessions—such influences and II. Our preference is dictated by prepossessions even, as reflect no disa desire to spare the Presbyteries honour on those who are the subjects what might mar their harmony and of them. Suppose that a case, ininterrupt their peace. We rather volved in difficulty, comes before a wonder that Presbyteries should wish Presbytery ; the question arises, to have this matter committed to whether it is a case that calls for them. We feel almost ready to say, supplement,-or what the supplement $. Ye know not what ye ask.” There ought to be. There are certain are cases, even now, in which they queries which a brother would fain are called to interfere with the pe propose, but he is a neighbour, and cuniary matters of the congregations may be reckoned inquisitorial; or under their inspection. We think he may be disposed to object, but he they feel least at home in this de- fears it will be taken as a personal partment; and we rather think they unkindness; or, he braves both of are not supposed to be most successful these—he proposes his questions, and in the management of it. Take the states his objections. What follows ? inquiries instituted when a modera- Offence is taken,--displeasure is extion is applied for, as an example. pressed, -personal dislike is insiHow many cases might be referred to, nuated, — contention is raised, in which the promised stipend is brethren are alienated,—the peace of niggardly—as unworthy of the people the Presbytery is interrupted-the as it is insufficient for the minister ? manse and the pulpit of the minister Yet the congregation carry their whose case was under consideration, point: the Presbytery may give ex- are shut against the questioning and pression to their opinion, but they objecting brother, and all who spoke succumb. We do not inquire whether and voted with him, from that day it be their love of peace, or their un- forward; and the Presbytery learns willingness to seem “greedy of filthy by sad experience, that it were better lucre” that influences them; but the by far that the Synod dispensed its fact is, in many cases they succumb. beneficence by a committee of its own. Now, suppose that the minister of III. Our preference is dictated one of these congregations needs the by a desire to secure the confidence supplement, and that the Presbytery of the church. In the view of is the distributor of it; either they the people generally, the Presbymust now endeavour to bring up the tery is synonymous with a meeting people to their duty, and thus run of ministers. We do not need to be the risks they formerly avoided, instructed that elders, in equal numbesides reflecting on their own former bers with ministers, are members of procedure; or they will forthwith presbytery. But whether from the proceed to supply what is lacking out fact that comparatively few elders are of the common fund. In either case, present, or that still fewer take any the introduction of the subject will active part in the business, the prolead to discussion ; and it will not be ceedings of presbyteries are in popustrange if the discussion should grow lar account reckoned the proceedings keen-if the contention should grow of ministers : and, if the working of sharp.
the scheme be committed to them, the idea will be fostered that it is a In expressing our preference for scheme of ministerial aggrandizement. “ the Board,” we have no reference As it is, there are parties ungenerous to the personal qualifications of the enough to talk of it in this way, and parties who at present compose it. jealous of it on this account. As its The question is not between men but success must be dependent altogether systems. In regard to the existing on the confidence of the people, Board, there has been no charge that plan should be adopted which brought against it; it stands in need will give the amplest guarantee for of no defence of ours : even if it did, the faithful distribution of the fund: it is not at all to our present purpose we should seek to have the steward- to offer it. If the parties at present shipnot only faithful, but unsuspected composing the Board, do not possess And one way of securing this seems the confidence of the Synod, let them to be, to lodge it in the hands of a be dismissed, and replaced by those committee, composed to a great ex- who do. If the number be too large, tent of parties who shall be free from let it be diminished; if it be too small, those influences to which ministers let it be enlarged. If the system, acand co-presbyters are supposed to be cording to which its constitution is peculiarly subject. There may be determined, is not satisfactory, let it some presbyteries where there is a be remodelled. And having secured large number of congregations in a Board of such a character, and so which the supplement is needed; not constituted, as to possess the confito suppose the extreme case of one dence of the Synod ;-entrust it with in which they may be a majority of the working of the whole scheme; if the presbytery. Would it be seemly you would give unity and efficiency to appoint such a presbytery to de- to its operations; if you would concide in this matter? With all respect sult the peace of your presbyteries; for the brethren who compose it, we if you would retain the confidence of say, this is not the way to inspire your people. But if you would have your people with confidence in re- the operations of the scheme to be gard to the distribution of their perfunctory and variegated; if you bounty. We are persuaded that it would have your presbyteries conis likely, if adopted, to prove the verted into scenes of strife and deruin of the scheme. We have al- bate ; if you would destroy the conready had intimation sufficiently dis- fidence of your people, give it into tinct, that to commit it to presby- the hands of the Presbytery. teries would be to diminish confi- We know of no objections to the dence: and we fear that in many system for which we plead, which instances where this would not be may not be met by these two stateavowed, it would be felt; and that ments.-First, the Synod may apwe should find many, by keeping back point its own instruments for disthe money, entering their silent, but pensing the bounty which the church significant protest against the change. places at its disposal; and, secondly, Indeed we believe the very proposal those who dispense the bounty, may of the change is operating injuriously make such inquiries as are necessary on the interests of the scheme: and, to satisfy themselves, and ought to if the discussion is prolonged, we fear make such inquiries as will enable that we shall have to transfer our them to satisfy the donors, that they attention from such questions as, How, are worthy for whom they do these and by whom the fund shall be ad- things. ministered ? to the question, Wherewithal shall we obtain a stipend-sup
HINTS ON THE INTERPRETATION OF PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE
WHICH ARE FREQUENTLY MISINTERPRETED. In one of the speeches of Eliphaz, recorded “Though I walk through the valley of in the book of Job, we find the following the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” words,—“ Behold, he put no trust in his This expression is usually quoted as if servants; and his angels he charged with applicable exclusively to the last hour folly,” (Job iv. 18). In quoting this text of life, when the soul is about to leave it is usual to express it in the present tense this earth for heaven. Thus the figurative (charges for charged), and by this means à expressions “ valley of death,” “ shadow," meaning is given to it which it will not re- and “ Jordan of death,” are used as synóceive, and a sentiment is expressed which nymous. So uniform and general is this is unsupported by Scripture. We are aware interpretation, that were we to apply the that there is not a perfect harmony among phrase to the dangers and trials of the Chriscommentators, ancient and modern, regard- tian life, which is evidently the psalmist's ing either the translation or interpretation meaning, we would be thought in error. of this verse, but we think the meaning ex- The expression “ shadow of death,” is of pressed in the text of our common version frequent occurrence in Scripture. It is also is the correct one; and it is obvious that found in the classical writers; but the Hethe common error arises from inadvertence, brew poets use it in a peculiar sense. In not from any supposed need of a change in Scripture it denotes the thickest darkness. the version. Eliphaz, then, refers to the It is often used in the account of the fact, that God found a portion of his angels calamities which befell the patriarch of unfaithful, that he charged them with folly, Uz; for instance, Job iii. 5, x. 21, 22, xvi. and ejected them from the realms of bliss. 16, xxvi. 17, xxviii. 3, xxxiv. 22, xxxviii. He does not assert that God still charges 17. The valley of the shadow of death is the elect angels with folly, or that any ad- an expression peculiar to David, and ocditional number of them may yet sin, and curs in the 233 Psalm, as above quoted. be cast down to hell.
It was probably suggested by some deep Barnes, indeed, in the introduction to valley, surrounded by thick forests, and his notes on the book of Job, says, that this overhung by high hills, in the mountainous book “furnishes no information ” as to districts around Bethlehem, where he tendwhether the fallen angels “ were originally ed his father's flock ere he was raised to evil, or whether they had apostatized from the throne of Israel. Travellers tell us, a former state of holiness and happiness." that on the north-east side of the town is a This is a mistake, however, and the same deep valley, alleged to be that in which the writer afterwards' admits that it was the angel appeared to the shepherds on the belief of Eliphaz, that “ there had been night of our Saviour's birth, announcing some revolt or apostasy” among the holy this joyous event (Luke ii. 8). In a land angels.
" of hills and valleys, like Palestine, there Matthew Henry guards his interpretation, would probably be many a deep and narrow which is the prevailing one, with the remark passage between two adjacent hills, which that “ angels are intelligences, but finite from its frowning rocks, and the dark shade ones; though not chargeable with iniquity, cast over the traveller by the luxuriant yet with imprudence.” Let it be remember- foliage of the trees that abounded in it, would ed, however, that the sacred writers usually be deemed entitled to the designation, valemploy the word folly as synonymous with ley of the shadow of death.” “ Such names," sin, and such unquestionably is its meaning says Dr Kitto, in his admirable work on here. The holy angels are perfectly pure, Palestine,“ are not uncommonly given to and when we do the will of God ' as the gloomy or dangerous vales.” Mr Buckangels do in heaven," we shall have reached ingham found a place called the valley of perfection. But “God spared not the an death, on the shore of the Mediterranean gels that sinned, but cast them down to Sea, near Mount Carmel. hell,” (2 Peter ii. 4). Let us learn from The beautiful allusion, by the royal the doom of fallen angels to guard against psalmist, to the “ valley of the shadow of the beginnings of sin, which is so hateful to death,” is to be understood with reference God, and so ruinous to the sinner.
to the dangers of the Christian life rather
than death. The phrase is applicable to “ Pride, self-adoring pride! was primal cause.
both, but especially the former. The meanOf all sin past, all pain, all woe to come. Unconquerable pride! first, eldest sin,
ing is excellently expressed by Calvin, thus : Great fountain-head of evil! highest source “ As a sheep, when it wanders through Whence flowed rebellion 'gainst the Omnipotent, rugged deserts and dark valleys, is secured, Whence hate of man to man, and all else ill."
by the mere presence of its shepherd, against In Psalm xxiii. 4, the royal bard says, the assaults of wild beasts and other dan
gers; so does David here testify, that as the beasts of the forest go forth to their often as he is in a situation of danger, he prey. has a sufficient protection in the shepherd In harmony with the explanation we care of God. But now that God, in the have given of this passage, is the view of person of his only begotten Son, has mani John Bunyan. That famous “ dreamer” fested himself as a shepherd in a far clearer conducts his pilgrim through the valley of and nobler manner than he did formerly to the shadow of death, and other subsequent the fathers under the law, we do not suffi- scenes, ere he reaches the Jordan, where he ciently honour his protection, unless, with ends his pilgrimage. eye directed towards it, we walk through Seasons of trial and suffering the people all fears and all dangers.” “To such a of God may expect in this world; but in valley of death-darkness,” says Hengsten the midst of these trials they have often berg, “the corresponding idea in spiritual great spiritual joy—their continuity is inmatters is that of seasons of great trouble, terrupted by seasons of repose; and it is danger, and severe suffering." Amos, “the consoling to reflect, that this variety of herdman of Tekoa," says, that “the Lord sunshine and shade will not always last, turneth the shadow of death into the morn- but will be succeeded by the cloudless sky ing”—(ch. v. 8); a statement which im- of an endless day. The hour when the soul plies that the shadow of death is descrip is about to leave its clay tabernacle is emtive of the darkness of midnight. David, phatically the shadow of death, but its gloom then, compares himself to a sheep wander- is dispelled by the light of the gospel; and ing in a valley enclosed by wood-clad the presence of the Good Shepherd is the hills, amid the darkness of midnight, when believer's security and joy.
THE CONSECRATION OF THE SACRAMENTAL ELEMENTS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE UNITED PRESBY earth has been committed, alone possesses TERTAN MAGAZINE.
the power to consecrate or set apart from SIR,— Allow me to ask you, or any of your a common to a holy sacramental use, and readers, to furnish a satisfactory answer to that he has consecrated, when he instituted the following query—When, and by what the ordinance of the Supper, and which also authority from the word of God, was the applies to that of baptism, so much of the practice of setting apart or consecrating elements as may be used in all time coming, The elements in the ordinances of Baptism and on every occasion; and the great end and the Lord's Supper adopted in the and object of believers in every age is, or Presbyterian Church? The practice I ought to be, to obtain the blessing on the refer to is the following:-Some ministers, outward sign, that they may realize the in what they call the consecration prayer, thing signified, viz. the washing of regenebefore dispensing the ordinance, say, after ration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, having first asked a blessing on the ele- which no consecration by man can impart. ments,-“ We, in the name and by the Mr Editor, you will greatly oblige me, authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the and many others, by giving a place to the alone head of the church, consecrate or set above.
AN OFFICE-BEARER IN THE "apart so much of the elements as may be
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCA. used on this occasion from a common to a holy sacramental use."
[As to the question when the language Now, in the simple institution of the or- referred to was introduced, our correspondinance of the Supper by the great Head dent will find that it is as old as our suborof the Church, who was consecrated a priest dinate standards. See Confession, ch. xxix. for ever, there is nothing to warrant this, § 3. To “set apart” is to apply to a parnor, as far as I can discover, in any part of ticular purpose. The purpose to which holy writ, a delegated power given to sacramental elements are applied is, as ministers of the gospel to use such words. symbols, to represent Christ and his And Paul, in dispensing the ordinance to benefits. This is not the "common the Corinthians, simply refers to the words use” of these elements; but, on the conof institution, and proceeds by imploring a trary, it is a “holy use," or an application blessing on the elements, which we are war- · for a religious purpose of water in baptism, ranted to infer from his quoting the words, and of bread and wine in the Lord's Sup
and when he had given thanks.” Let it bé per. The “authority” by which these sen. understood that it is the use of the words, sible signs are applied to this purpose is, consecrate and set apart, that I condemn. that of the Head of the church, who said,
I believe that the great Head of the “Do this in remembrance of me.” That the Church, to whom all power in heaven and phraseology remarked upon is sometimes
interpreted in a superstitious and hurtful means of salvation, not from any virtue in sense, we fear, is too true. To understand them, or in him that doth administer them, it to mean, that an inherent quality of but only by the blessing of Christ, and the sacredness is imparted to the sensible signs, working of his Spirit in those that by faith is an error half-way to the lying wonder of receive them." “ Consecration,” though transubstantiation. Equally unfounded and in strictness of meaning it signifies no more unscriptural is the notion, that the validity than setting apart to a religious purpose, of the sacraments depends in any degree on is yet, in its sacramental application, so inhuman authority and appointment. Ac veterately associated in many minds with cordingly, in guarding against these errors, semi-Popish and Puseyite notions, that in we are taught, Cat. Larger, 161, Shorter, this connexion it should not be heard in 91, that “ the sacraments become effectual our churches.-Ed.]
APOLOGY FOR TEARS. THE work of grace, though it is above nature, is not against it. The man who tells me not to weep at the grave, insults me, mocks me, and wishes to degrade me. I do weep; I must weep, I cannot help it. God requires me to do so, and has opened a fountain of tears in my nature for that purpose; and it is the silent, pure, unsophisticated testimony of my heart to the excellence of the gift he gave in mercy, and in mercy, no doubt, as well as judgment, has recalled. Without sorrow, we should not improve by his correcting hand. Chastened grief is like the gentle shower, falling first upon the earth to prepare it for the seed, and then upon the seed to prepare it to germinate; though wild, clamorous, passionate sorrow is like the thunder-shower of inundation, that carries away soil and seed together.-J. A. James.
themselves, and for themselves, apart from God; if, instead of leading our hearts to God, they hold them from him; if we are more solicitous to avoid what would endanger their continuance than the continuance of God's favour; if the temporary interruption of their enjoyment affects us more than the loss of the enjoyment of religion and religious privileges; if, upon their removal, we feel forlorn and desolate, as if we had lost our all, or imagine that such would be our state in the event of such a calamity ;-then is it but too plain that these are our idols, and that we are worshipping them.-J. A. James.
CHRISTIAN JOY NECESSARY FOR CHRISTIAN
ACTIVITY. A happy church will be a working church. Nothing great was ever yet achieved under the sun, but by a heart glad and free. It is the joyous mind that aims at great things, expects great things, and accomplishes great things. The apostles and first disciples, though persecuted men, were joyous men. They counted it joy even to fall into divers temptations.-J. A. James.
HOW TO OVERCOME A LONG ACQUIRED
HABIT. In his journal, 6th July 1746, John Wesley observes,—“After talking largely with both the men and women leaders, we agreed it would prevent great expense, as well of health as of time and of money, if the poorer people of our society could be persuaded to leave off drinking of tea. We resolved ourselves to begin, and set the example. I expected some difficulty in breaking off a custom of six-and-twenty years' standing; and, accordingly, the three first days, ached more or less all day long, and I was half asleep from morning to night. The third day, on Wednesday, in the afternoon, my memory failed almost entirely; in the evening I sought my remedy in prayer. On Tuesday morning my headache was gone, my memory was as strong as ever; and I found no inconvenience, but a sensible benefit, in several respects, from that very day to this.”
WHEN RELATIVES BECOME OUR IDOLS. IF we depend upon these dear relations for happiness more than upon God's favour; if, in calculating our possessions, and add ing up the sum-total of our enjoyments, we naturally place them first; if, in felicitating ourselves upon what we have, we turn to these before God; if we dread most the loss of these; if we feel that nothing could make us happy if these were removed; if we go daily and hourly to these alone for gartification; if they are enjoyed solely by
JUVENILE COMMUNICANTS. The Jews, it would appear (Luke ii. 41, 42), took their children, at twelve years of age, to partake of the passover; and well would it be if Christian youth, at twelve or fourteen, under right impressions, and with in