« PreviousContinue »
COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL.
465 know, any other command, not sup- called obedience, itself shows that he posing any sin in the person to whom had no sin of his own to suffer for, it is given, might have been given to for there is no obedience in one sufferAdam as a simple test of obedience, ing the punishment which is due to and all the consequences of his trans- him for his sins. The idea is absurd gressing it, had he done so, would and destitute of meaning, that one on have been the same. But no other whom the law inflicts its sentence is command could be given to the Son obeying a command to suffer ; or that of God to fulfil than that which was there is any righteousness, or any given him ; for no obedience of any thing acceptable to God in such sufferother kind than that which is em- | ings. But the righteousness or obephatically called his “ obedience” dience of Christ consisted in his taand his “ righteousness” in this con- king that suffering upon him which nection, Rom. v. namely, his bearing was not due to him on his own acthe penalty of sin, could have produced count; and therefore we understand the same consequences ? and there- by his righteousness, his sacrifice, his fore it would not have answered the blood, or his death, all these expressend God had in view. If sin had ions being synonymous. never entered into the world, we may 4th. As God threatened a punishsuppose that the Son of God might ment to Adam in case of his disobeby obedience to any command of the dience, so he promised a reward to Father, have obtained a reward for Christ for his obedience. The himself, and even glory for others be- penalty incurred by Adam was death sides himself, if it pleased God it—the reward set before Christ was should be so ; but more than this had dominion over death, and glory at to be accomplished. Man must be God's right hand : and this he has saved out of the condition into which obtained, and is now in possession of. he is come, as subject to death by the 5th. As we have seen that the contransgression of Adam, and then sequences of Adam's transgression, under the wrath of God as a trans- or the judgment which came upon gressor of the law : and the Scrip- him, came also upon all who stand in tures teach us, that salvation both a natural relation to him—that is, from death and from the curse of the upon the whole human race : so the law, could be brought to pass only consequence of Christ's sufferings is by the sufferings of the Son of God, not only the obtaining a reward for (Heb. ii. 10.) It was to this end himself, but for all who are his. Upon that he took part of flesh and blood, this particular we shall enter in our or was made a little lower than the next paper.
A. B. angels, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death : as it is through his resurrec- | INQUIRIES OF A WESLEYAN. tion that we shall be delivered from
(Continued from page 422.) the grave, and he has redeemed us
AN APOLOGY FOR CHARITY. from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. No other command, Is it necessary in this great day of then, could have been laid upon Christian profession, that the sweetest Christ, which would have availed to angel of the light should be defended take away sin ; and therefore it is from suspicion, vindicated from cathat his obedience means especially lúmny, and so recommended that her his bearing sin, or the punishment of entrance may not be unexpected and
That he should be commanded undesired ? Is it by intellectual perto suffer the penalty of sin, and thus spicacity, or by stupid, senseless, inthat his sufferings for sins should be veterate malignity, that the human
mind has discovered evil to be the tion of the superiority of the Scripture consequence of man's manifesting to principle over the narrow, crooked, man the love of God ? Certain it is selfish, and heartless speculations of that nothing is more unfashionable, man. nothing more unpopular, than doing It would be a work of
considgood. To feed the hungry, to clothe erable difficulty to describe wherein the naked, are regarded by many of the current religion of this day cona doubtful, by some as a dangerous sists. We would wish to be underexperiment. This strange state of stood as leaving out of inquiry, for the things, in a considerable degree, has present at least, the means by which been brought about by a certain sys- a knowledge of salvation must be obtem of philosophy, which generated a tained—the way that leads to it, and school of politicians, whose tenets as directing our investigations to what have obtained a very wide ac- it is itself in its essential nature. ceptance.
And, indeed, this distinction is one of But have the Scriptures said noth- considerable importance ; for, had it ing upon this matter ? Have they been more generally attended to, it left it an open question, the settlement would have removed the foundation of which was to rest with the discre- of many errors, and led to a more tion or caprice of man ? “ He that perfect and consistent interpretation hateth his brother, (i.e. is indifferent of the teaching of the New Testament to his brother's spiritual or temporal than what the moderns have in genewelfare) is a murderer, and ye know ral attained unto. that no murderer hath eternal life In illustration of this important abiding in him. Whoso hath this subject, we would state the following world's good, and seeth his brother facts :have need, and shutteth up his bowels 1. True religion consists in loving of compassion from him, how dwell- God. eth the love of God in him ?” (Read 2. God is infinitely blessed, and Mat. xxv. 31-46.) Whosoever shall his happiness incapable of increase or break one of these least command- diminution by any disposition or acts ments, and shall teach men so, shall of men. be called the least in the kingdom of 3. That God requires us to render heaven. How critical, then, must be the love and service we owe to him, the situation and destiny of those to such of our fellow-creatures as may who, standing on the pinnacle of be in circumstances to require our Christian influence, instruct men to kindness. break the great commandment of the 4. That God regards the acts of law! Many that are first shall be kindness and love we do, even to the last, and the last first.
most despised of his disciples, as if But this subject has had the mis- they were done unto himself. fortune to be almost continually mis- 5. That God loves mercy rather stated. The question is—will the uni- than sacrifice-works, deeds, and acversal diffusion of the principle of kind- tions of kindness and loveness and benevolence, the universal than any religioụs forms, ordinances, belief of the Scripture statement, that or observances whatever. it is better to GIVE than to receive, 6. That God takes no delight in have the tendency to create a need- ordinances and observances, when unless dependency upon others, or have connected with the practice of kindany necessarily evil tendency what-ness and benevolence to men. ever ? And the answer which every
7. Where these ordinances are unright-minded man will give to this connected with the holy practices requestion, will be a triumphant asser- / ferred to, God views them not only
without approbation, but with posi
PRELIMINARY tive and intense displeasure.*
DISSERTATIONS ON THE ACTS 8. That the work of mercy and love ought to be recognized in Chris
OF THE APOSTES. tian exertions and in Christian insti
1. THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK. tutions, in proportion to the important position it sustains in the divine
ALL antiquity assigns to Luke, the law, and in the New Testament companion and fellow-labourer of scheme of Christianity. These propositions will, I believe, ble and admirable narrative. Whether
Paul, the authorship of this invaluarecommend themselves to
this Luke was one of the seventy disconscience in the sight of God, and can scarcely be thought capable of ciples, commissioned by the Lord in successful opposition.
person, to announce his approaching Now if we examine the position reign ; whether he was the companion and exertions of the leading churches peared on the way to Emmaus, on of Protestantism, we shall find that the day of his resurrection ; whether religious ordinances, observances, the
he was a Jew or a Gentile by birth ; preaching and established routine of
whether he was the same with Lucius worship, are almost the only things of Cyrene, a prophet of the church of contemplated and provided for by Antioch, whether he was the “ bethese exertions. Need we a stronger loved physician” saluted by Paul in proof that the churches of this day his letter to the Colossians ; or that are very imperfect and inadequate Lucius, the kinsman of Paul, at exponents of the religion of Christ; Rome,' named in the conclusion of and it is certain that their proceed- Paul's letter to the Roman saints, I ings in this most important respect shall not now take time to debate.* are diametrically opposed to the prac- The learned Lardner, Michælis, tice of the original apostolic churches. Horne, and other critics and anti
Religion is not unfrequently exhibited in these days, as having a quarians familiar to many of us, differ
on some of these points, and have work to do with the ignorance, the
collated ancient traditions, opinions, superstition, idolatry, profaneness, and
and inferences concerning them. wickedness of the world. But there
Such disquisitions are foreign to our is another aspect it bears in the word of God, which relates to the misery while some learned men differ on
purpose. It is enough for us that and suffering the world contains.
these matters, they all agree that the God designed the Christian church
author of this book was that Luke, to be the representative of the divine
who, for several years, was travelling character upon the earth--the image companion of Paul, and whom Paul of the divine mercy, love, compassion,
commends to Philemon as one of his benignity. And this aspect of Chris
6 fellow-labourers” in the work of the tianity is the more important, inasmuch as it contains the secret of its that this “ Book of the Acts has been
Lord. Still more satisfactory the fact, moral power, and the means of its uni
uniformly and universally received versal prevalence on the earth.
by the whole Christian church in all (To be continued.)
places and in all ages. It is men* God takes no delight in acts of kindness tioned and quoted by almost every and benevolence to men, unconnected with obedience to all the ordinances of his instituted Christian writer, and its authenticity worship. To be acceptable to Him, theory and and authority universally admitted.” practice must be united. Then are you my friends, when you do whatsoever I command * Col. iv. 14; Rom. xvi. 21; Acts xiii. 1; you, 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3. ED.
2 Tim. iv. 11; Philemon 24.
II. ITS TITLE.
treatise as declared in the beautiful, Like most of the books of the Bible, clear, and concise preface to his methis treatise has no divinely inspired moirs of the author and founder of the title. It has, therefore, been some
But if the drift times called “ THE GOSPEL OF THE
and details of a volume can demonHOLY SPIRIT ;” because it reveals strate the object of its author, then the descent of that divine guest of may we infer that the mission of the the church, monitor of the saints, and Holy Spirit and the calling of all advocate of the Chrisitan
nation into one new association under Chrysostom called it “The Book, the government of the Apostles, THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE RE-divinely commissioned for that purSURRECTION," because it infallibly pose, constitute the peculiar design proves the resurrection of the Lord and effort of the author of this most Jesus Christ from the dead. It is authentic history of the prominent usually called “THE ACTS OF THE proceedings of the two great Apostles APOSTLES ;" but this though a popu
Peter and Paul. lar, is not a correct title. It is not
It is, indeed, a continuation of the strictly true. It is not The Acts of scheme formed by its author, and exTHE APOSTLES ; for only two of the pressed to the honorable and excellent Apostles occupy the particular atten- Theophilus in the introduction to his tion of its author ; nor is it The Acts first book, in the following words :of even two of them. It might with
" It seemed good to me also, having more propriety have been designated had a perfect understanding of all ACTS OF APOSTLES. This, indeed, things from the very first, to write to though correct, is but a meagre title? you, in order, most excellent TheoWith more easy intelligence, and with philus, that you might know the ceras much authority, it might have been tainty of those things in which you called THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE have been instructed.” Now as his CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Still, when a
memoirs of the Messiah consisted of name has been consecrated for
those things which Jesus “ began both
ages, however inapposite or improper, it to do and to teach ;” so his history of will reign for a long time despite of the incipiency of the Christian church every remonstrance. We must then consists of the things which the Aposspeak of it, allude to it, and quote tles“ began to do and teach" under from it under the appellation of Acts the plenary inspiration and direction OF APOSTLES. But in strict propriety
of the Holy Spirit. no one can justly call it The Acts of
This book of apostolic acts and the Apostles.
proceedings is therefore second in importance only to the book of the say
ings and doings of the Lord himself. That Luke intended in this book to It is the only infallible document on set forth in order a narrative of all earth explanatory of the meaning the prominent facts and events con- and importance of the commission nected with the commencement and given to the Apostles with reference progress of the Christian Institution to the erection of a new association under the immediate iufluence of the composed of persons of all nations, Holy Spirit, and administration of kindreds, tongues, and people. It is those special Apostles to whom the the record of the ministration of the Lord exclusively committed the be- Spirit from Mount Zion in Jerusalem, ginning of things, is unquestionably as is the Exodus of Moses a record evident; not merely from an inspec- of the ministration of the Letter from tion and analysis of the book itself, Mount Sinai in Arabia. It is the but also from his manner in his first only authentic, infallible, ecclesiastic
III. ITS OBJECT.
IV. ITS DATE AND PLACE OF
history of the commencement of the the first Pentecost, and details the Christian church, and a perfect de- descent of the Holy Spirit. The velopment and demonstration of what achievements of that day and the the gospel is, as ministered by the commencement of the new adminisHoly Spirit sent down from heaven. tration, with the transactions of the In this point of view its importance Apostles in Jerusalem, down to the cannot be easily exaggerated. martyrdom of Stephen, prepare the
way for a general diffusion of the PUBLICATION.
gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. This volume, containing the history After noting these, his plan is to give of only thirty years of the church,
or of special conspicuity to all persons and the labors of the two most prominent of Christianity beyond the narrow
events connected with the extension Apostles, must have been written in the year 63 or 64 of the Christian compass of the Jewish nation and peo
It could not have been written ple. The conversion of the Ethiopian before Paul was a prisoner in Rome, mission of Peter to Cesarea, are
officer, and of Saul of Tarsus, and the for that event is a portion of the history ; and it could not have been of the Christian kingdom to all nations
specially noted because of the opening written after the two years spent in
on the same continent. After the Rome, for then Paul's history would have been continued to a later period, Zebedee and brother of John, by
martyrdom of James, the son of and the event of his imprisonment Herod Agrippa, he prepares to give would have been stated, as Luke was his coinpanion during these two years. Apostle to the Gentiles, and makes
the travels and labors of Paul as the This history of the commencement of the Christian church commences with
his travels and labors in Asia and Europe
the main burthen of his narthe twenty-ninth year of the Christian
rative. In the whole book of the era, * and ends most probably with the sixty-third or fourth. Aš Luke Acts the descent of the Holy Spirit, seems to have continued with Paul in the erection of the mother church in Rome during his imprisonment,
Jerusalem, and after this the labors Rome most probably was the place in ference to organizing the church and
of Peter and Paul, with special rewhich his narrative was written.
putting things in order, and in ex
tending the gospel throughout all The development of the mission of nations, seem so fully to have occupied the Holy Spirit in the erection and or- the mind of Luke as to have dictated ganization of a Christian community, not only the plan of the narrative, but in pursuance of the promises of the to have confined his attention to the Messiah, engrossed in the commission chief of the Apostles to an almost given to the Apostles, and the order entire exclusion of all other persons in which that commission was to be or events not connected with these executed, being the chief designs of developments. But of these matters this narrative, must have suggested to we shall have occasion to speak more its author a plan of operation in all in detail as we proceed in our notes the details of his volume. That plan on this book. Meanwhile we can is both natural and perspicuous. After only commend the importance of the a very natural exordium and retro- study of this book to all who desire a spect of the interval between the perfect understanding of the origin resurrection and ascension of the and character of the Christian InstiMessiah, he introduces the scenes of tution. * The 29th year of the Christian era is the
Of the New Testament historians 34th of the life of Jesus Christ.
Luke is the most eminent. He gives
V. ITS PLAN.