Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

petent judges, "the most learned man | intensest sway over the city of seven in Europe.”

hills. He saw, and he hated the abo. All this was soon to be sanctified and minations of that “ wicked One," whose consecrated by the grace of God. These coming had been “with all signs and mighty powers were to be set apart to the lying wonders, and with all deceivableservice of the sanctuary, and devoted to ness of unrighteousness." His righteous the glory of the eternal and the spiritual soul was grieved within him over the welfare of mankind. In the morning perversions of truth, the misrepresentaof life he was called away from these tions of the character of God, and the Castalian springs (as a source of satis- mockery of the hopes and wants of faction and happiness) to drink of man which he every where beheld; and “Siloa's brook, that flowed fast by the to combat with these was the resolution oracles of God," and to quench his thirst which he deliberately and prayerfully at the fountain of the water of life, forined. His pen was the instrument which emanates from “ the throne of to be employed. This he could skilfully God and the Lamb." Impressed with a and successfully wield. Perhaps no sense of his own moral and spiritual uninspired mind ever originated, susnecessities, he sought refuge and a sup- tained, or produced, more profound and ply at the Cross of Christ; and soon powerful dissertations on matters of drunk in with wonder and delight the Divine science than did that of this discoveries of the holiness and love of original and extraordinary man. The God as revealed therein. As a Christian, mysteries of the kingdom of heaven it bis progress in grace and knowledge, in was given him to know; and in a comsanctity and love, appears to have been paratively short period he poured forth remarkable, and was equalled only by from his redundant stores volume after his advancement at the same time in all volume, that astonished and delighted the wisdom of earthly origin and re- all the inquirers for truth, and all the pown. Whilst occupied in the earnest lovers of spiritual wisdom, of that day. pursuit of theological studies, and kin. To the study of holy Scripture he was dred investigations, it is distinctly re- habitually and pre-eminently addicted. marked of him, that "he grew in per- His familiar acquaintance with their sonal holiness, and thus prepared his original tongues enabled him “ with joy mind for bis future labours in the cause to draw water out of the wells of salof truth.” God had evidently designed vation,” and to taste it freely and more him to be " a chosen vessel” for his pure at the fountain head. To the service; and thus was he filled, almost explanation and elucidation of sacred to overflowing, with all knowledge, truth his deepest attention was given, human and divine.

and all his treasures were subordinated, It was not to be expected that so so that to Calvin's Commentaries, on bright a star would be eclipsed in the all the portions of Scripture on which darkness of Popery, or that the water he wrote, it is admitted by all, that which flowed through such a conduit later expositors are indebted, and with would freely mingle with the corrupt them, the church of God in the present streams of ecclesiastical tradition and day. At these subordinate fountains human inventions in the worship of of sacred learning and piety most other *God. It was impossible. His mind commentators have been refreshed, and had been illumined with the pure from their fulness supplied. light of the Spirit and word of truth, Whilst all truth comprehended withand it could hold no fellowship with the in the revelation of God, and applicable darkness and errors which brooded to the human mind, was the subject of over the Roman world, and hold their | his assiduous investigation and un

wearied and prayerful pursuit, there | tion of which, he did for the doctrine was one department of it to which he of gracious influence what Luther did was particularly inclined, and habitually for that of justification by faith, estabdevoted, and that was the sovereignty lishing it out of the Scriptures,“ openof Divine grace, and the necessity and ing and alleging" that it must needs reality of its influence in the conversion have been so; defending it from objecand sanctification of the soul of man. tions, vindicating it from all abuses, and This was continually uppermost in his erecting a monument to the glory of thoughts—the predominant topic of his sovereign and efficacious grace in the reflections—and that part of the Divine transformation of the human soul from administration, in reference to our world, its depraved condition, into the nature which commanded and filled him with and likeness of the sons of God. the most profound adoration and love This is not the place, nor would it be at the foot of the eterual throne. With possible within the limits here allowed, him it was a settled truth-an experi- to attempt anything like a definitive exmental fact; a doctrine as consonant planation, or a formal vindication of with the dictates of the soundest philo- this important dogma of moral and resophy as it was agreeable to the all- ligious science. Suffice it to say (in acpervading spirit and express declara- cordance with the design of these brief tions of holy writ; equally in harmony sketches) that to the mind of the illuswith the actual condition of human na- trious Calvin it appeared to occupy a ture, and with the prerogatives and very prominent place in the system of glory of the Almighty. He did not revealed truth and mercy, and in the select and give prominence to this truth moral procedure of the Divine Being in from any caprice of fancy, or from any the execution of the wondrous plan of perverted or partial view, but because salvation. The application of that merhe saw it a conspicuous part of the ciful provision to the soul, the purposes revelation of mercy, in unison with and of eternity, the completion of the work essential to the whole. He viewed it as of Christ, the lapsed condition of our a majestic column in the temple of nature, and the true philosophy of the sacred truth, or as the spacious dome human mind, all seemed, in his estimawhich overhangs and unites the entire tion, to require it. Without it, he structure, illuminating every part with pleaded, (and has he not sufficiently the splendour of its mild and celestial proved ?) that no system of theology rays. Not because others opposed or could be complete, no view of the charneglected it, but because he knew and acter of God be otherwise than partial, felt it to be an indispensable portion of no sufficient provision be made for the the whole counsel of God," and as actual necessities of a sinful world, and requisite to a complete view of the glo- no secure foundation laid for the entire rious scheme of redemption, as it was glory to be ascribed to the riches of reto an adequate provision for the moral deeming love. All these, he thought, and spiritual necessities of mankind. moved in perfect harmony around this Hence he embraced it, preached it, con- one cardinal point, this one centre in tended for it, and wrote those immortal the system of the spiritual universe, works which, in perfect harmony with whilst apart from it, and in the absence apostolic writings, exhibit and illustrate of it, nothing but chaotic darkness and the sovereignty and grace of Jehovah in confusion arose. Not more clearly is it the renovation and sanctification of inscribed in sacred writ, that “the just fallen man. This was the joy of his by faith shall live,” than that the Holy heart; the theme on which he delighted Spirit, in his sovereign and gracious to dwell; and, by his powerful elucida- operations, is the source of all illumina

tion, renovation, and sanctification to all that pertained to the opus operatum the human mind. He that runs may delusions of the apostate hierarchy. The read. The work is of God. The word, at holding up of this torch of truth in the testing it, is gone forth out of his mouth. midst of such darkness, was the sure And however difficult it inay be for way to dissipate the gloom; and not us in our present imperfect state, and more certain was it that Luther's docwith our limited capacities, to reconcile trine of justification by faith would this to some other equally just views of overcome that of works, than that the the Divine character and procedure, or reality of sovereign and efficacious into the perfect freedom and responsibility fluence would put to flight all the fancies of man, so as to comprehend and bar- of inherent, priestly, or sacramental monize the whole, there it stands, the grace. Both Puseyism and Rome are testimony of inspired witnesses, an ex confronted here. They cannot co-opeperienced and acknowledged fact, the rate, nor even co-exist, with it. In the joy of every believer, and the conviction same church, in the same ministry, in of the universal church of God. How the same heart, the two principles canever controverted in times that are past, not dwell. If the one is divine, the or occasionally glanced at by theologi- other is human: if the one is from cal disputants now, it is virtually con- above, the other is from beneath: if the ceded by all. The pen of discussion is one gives God all the glory and man all almost laid aside. The different systems the hope, the other withholds from both begin to converge, and their convergence what is equally their due. On the one is manifestly towards that point on which theory there can be no honour ascribed the great reformer stood, and around to the Supreme, for man does it all; and which the different tribes of the spiritual no relief to the diseased soul-for how Israel begin to gather with harp in can one fallen being impart help to hand. They all devoutly acknowledge another, or the leper make the leprous it as they meet in supplication before whole? Whilst on the other, all the the throne; every individual gives ut- glory is ascribed to the great Physician, terance to it in the voice of petition and whose gratuitous power and skill give importunity there; and as the church hope to the most degenerate and detends towards its millennial state, and praved, and whose prerogative it is to its perfection in glory, will it give louder say, in the exercise of sovereign and chorus to the song for renewing and restorative grace, when all other exsanctifying grace, as well as for redeem- pedients fail, “I will come and heal ing love. “Not unto us, O Lord, not him." unto us, but unto thy name be all the As in Luther, the strong hold which he praise."

bad taken of the doctrine of justification It is easy to perceive that the asser- by faith, and the firm grasp with which tion and establishment of this essential he retained it, was no impediment to doctrine of the " great salvation" was works, but rather uniformly proved itas much an integral part of the Re- self a faith “which worketh by love,” formation, and as much at variance so with Calvin, his sublime and powerwith the Papacy, as anything Luther ful views of the doctrine of Divine grace had done. It laid the axe to another only supplied an impetus to devotion, part of the root of the tree, and was a and a more quickening impulse to every fatal blow from another direction to its work of faith and labour of love. Of growth and ascendancy. The dogma of all the workmen in the great field of sacramental efficacy and priestly grace the Reformation, there was none more it smote, as with an invisible hand, and abundant in labour than he. His days threatened to shatter it to atoms, with and nights were given to the exercises

VOL. XXX.

P

of personal holiness, and to exertions | ciated with his name. Not that it was for the spread of the kingdom of Christ of him, or of any of the fathers, but of in the world. Whilst other men were apostolic men, inspired expounders of sleeping, he was acting : and whilst the truth of God, who "spake and wrote others were reading, he was writing as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." those ponderous folios which contain As in the world of science, so in that of such profound illustrations of the mind religion; as in the economics of nature, and will of God in his word. In public so in those of grace,--one truth for its worship, preaching, lecturing, or aiding elucidation seems to be assigned to one in the administration of the discipline individual, and another to another. of the church, his time, in his much Bacon in philosophy: Newton in astroloved city of Geneva, passed away: nomy: Locke in metaphysics: and and as the period drew near that he Harvey in the circulation of the vital must die, peculiarly holy, humble, de fluid throughout the human frame. vout, and useful, were the expressions So Luther on the ground of a sinner's that escaped his lips. “What!” said justification before God: and Calvin on he to some that admonished him to the source and circulation of spiritual spare himself in his multitudinous la- influence over the whole redeemed bours amidst the infirmities of growing family already " named in heaven." years, "would you have me idle when Not one without the other; for, as with my Lord shall come?” To the syndics the Old and New Testament believers, and magistrates of the city, as they “they without us could not be made stood around him on his bed of lan- perfect,” so with the different portions guishing, he declared, “ As touching the of the church in the present day, not doctrine which you have heard from separate, but together, all harmoniously me, I take God to witness that I have blending their borrowed rays from the not rashly and uncertainly, but purely central “Sun of Righteousness," and and sincerely, taught the word of God so commingled and infused, making up intrusted to me." And when his be the light of the world.” Matt. v. 14. loved Farel wrote to him from a dis. Only let none support a monopoly, or tance to say that he would come and hold the truth in unrighteousness by see him, he dictated the reply, “Fare. holding it apart; but, deriving it from well, my best and sincerest Brother; the celestial altar, light up a kindred and seeing God will have you to outlive flame to warm every heart, and to illume in this world, live mindful of our mine, and to diffuse its ardour throughfriendship, which, as it hath been pro- out the entire fellowship of Jesus Christ. fitable for the church of God here, so No mind, however great and gifted, ever the fruit thereof tarrieth for us in hea- yet discovered the whole truth; nor ven. I would not have you weary your- does any particular section of 'the self for my sake. I hardly draw my household of faith,” exclusively and breath; and I expect daily when it will alone, possess it all. “The Spirit diwholly fail me. It is enough that I live videth to every one severally as He and die to Christ, who is gain to us, will," that all may be instructed and both in life and death."

edified. And with a disposition corSuch was the noble mind, and such responding thereto, each helping the the devout and diligent spirit that illus- other, and communicating to the rest, trated, in the early dawn of the Reform- the speculations of unprofitable controation, and amidst the first beamings of versy would now cease, and the age of its evangelical light in Europe, the devotion and union begin. The waters great doctrine which from that period of the sanctuary would rise higher and to the present has usually been asso- | higher, and spread as they roll and

[ocr errors]

purify, and bear their fructifying waves of the Gentiles did, “ Not I, but the to every land. Hand in hand, and grace of God that was with me," and heart to heart, cemented by one com put forth all the energy of prayer, mon boud of love and dependence, the benevolence, and action, which such & church of the living God would be pre- sentiment is calculated to inspire, will pared for the conquest of the world ; awakened humanity feel the result, the energetic in action, as though all was world demand, and angelic spectators to be done by itself, and strong in its complacently ask, “Who is this that hold of a superior power, as mindful of looketh forth as the morning, fair as the words of Him who said, “ Without the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible me ye can do nothing." And then, as an army with banners ?” to regain when every individual Christian, and and captivate these lost dominions to erery separate tribe of Israel, shall our God, and to his Christ. powerfully feel, and say, as the apostle

C.

MAYNOOTH. Not an hour should be lost by our As Christian patriots we are not responProtestant fellow-countrymen, in peti- sible for success, but only for the use of tioning Parliament for the repeal of the such means as Divine Providence has Act of 1845, for the Endowment of put within our reach. But employing Maynooth ;-an Act which was carried those means, with zeal and earnestness, in opposition to the loudly expressed let us “have faith in God,” that we sentiments of the nation, and which no shall not be suffered to labour in vain. lapse of time can reconcile to the com We have not a particle of doubt that a mon-sense and Christian feeling of this thorough pitched battle, conducted on great Protestant community.

high Christian principles, will lead on It may be calculated upon that, soon to victory. Our statesmen are all in the after Easter, a proposal will be made in hands of God; and they can continue the House of Commons for undoing this to pursue no course, for any length of huge blunder in legislation; and it is time, in this country, in opposition to therefore of the utmost importance that the unequivocally and generally exthere should be a general expression of pressed convictions and demands of our public opinion, from one end of the king. fellow-countrymen. dom to the other, that statesmen may be Let every Parish, and every Nonmade fully acquainted with the settled conforming congregation, hold a public convictions of the people at large, in meeting, well advertised, and send in reference to an Act which does equal their petitions to Parliament, without a violence to National feeling and Bible moment's delay;—and thus let the Legisprinciples.

lature of the country know that, howLet no sincere Protestant sit down, ever much the people of Great Britain in a moody hour, and say, “ What will are divided on religious questions, they avail all our efforts against the short are, at least, one on this, that Popish sighted policy of worldly statesmen ?" PRIESTS SHALL NO LONGER BE EDUCATED The Act cannot stand five years longer, AT THE PUBLIC EXPENSE. if those who disapprove of it in this Why should the Protestants of this country will but persevere in a calm, country pay Roman Catholic Priests to religious, and fearless opposition to it. destroy their best hopes for time and

« FöregåendeFortsätt »