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'night,' the former is visible by means of the 'astronomer's glass' only. Now of the nature and design of Comets, I am unacquainted. I have, however, heard many opinions advanced, some of which I will briefly state.
I-Some think, and I believe Newton is among the number, that Comets are sent to replenish the stars,' to supply their fading lustre and beauty, to replenish their light and glory which they have spent in flooding our world with the sublime grandeur of star light.' Be this as it may, one thing we know, Christ, our bright and morning star,' replenishes the hearts of his people with grace, and supplies them with light and lustre.
II-Some there are who think that Comets are sent to gather up the spirits of the departed,' they look upon them as a kind of vehicle or carriage, in which souls are conveyed to heaven.
III-Others I find look upon Comets as 'signs,' but what they are signs of, few pretend to say; some however look upon them as signs of something very solemn, as dark omens of something more awful, terrible, and alarming than mortals ever heard of; others, I find look upon them as more favourable signs, and hope that Revivals in religion and national peace and prosperity may follow; while some few look upon the present comet as indicative of a sharp winter.'
IV-I find that others look upon Comets as sent to purify the air of its noxious gases; that comets are to the aerial heavens, what the burning mountains, or Volcanos are to the bowels of the earth, a kind of 'Scape Valve,' or safety valve; they look upon the nucleus of the comet as a dense ball of fire travelling in its destined course not yet fully discovered, the tail of which is only the burning gases attracted by the nebulous body, or travelling ball of fire, whose mighty magnectic influence has drawn to itself surrounding impurity to
Many are the conjectures in reference to the STAR that appeared to the wise men,' and conducted the Magi to the place of our Saviour's birth. Some authors suppose that it was a new star,' purposely created to usher in our Saviour's birth, and is therefore, called his star; it being a sign of his birth and a commemoration of his incarnation; this is also thought to be the star which Virgil calls Cæsaries Astrium. One thing, however, is certain, Christ is the 'New Star,' of the New Covenant,' the Mediator of the New Testament, his blood has opened up a new and living way into the holiest which he has consecrated for us. In the second place, others think that this star was nothing more nor nothing less, than the SIGHT or glory which shone round about the shepherds of Bethlehem's plains, at the time of our Saviour's birth. (Luke ii. 2) Thus Lightfoot thinks that this glory, at so great a distance, appeared as a star to the wise men in the east. So Christ is sometimes seen from afar according to the ancient prediction.
Thirdly, some think it was a 'comet,' which the wise men saw, and some are of an opinion that its appearance was 'natural,' while others think that it appeared preternaturally to portend the birth or death of some illustrious persons. And, truly, our Lord's Person as well as Birth, is illustrious in his work of mediation he certainly is famous, eminent, distinguished, and celebrated; for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the goverment shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.' Fourthly, some assert that it was an angel in a luminous body like a star; they come to this conclusion because the star appeared to be rational and intelligent, stopping and going forward; appearing and disappearing, so as to direct the Magi to the place where our Saviour could be found. This reminds me of the angel of Jehovah's presence,' who is with his people in all their afflictions and saves them, (Isa.lxiii. 9). Again, fifthly, some have said that it was the Holy Ghost,' who appeared to the wise men in the form of a star, the same as he appeared at the immersion of Jesus under the form of a 'Dove.' Well, we need the Holy Ghost; also his light, his quickthat others, Calmet for instance, will have it, enings, direction and unction. Lastly, I find that it was a Meteor, a fiery inflamed Meteor, which appeared miraculously and extraordinary in the middle region of the air, and it was taken by them for the star so long foretold by Balaam, Numb. xxiv. 17.
Now, Mr. Editor, I think I will break off, as enough has been said for one month's issue of your periodical; and if this should appear in your next month's issue, I will, God willing, resume the subject again next month, and take my motto 'the Star of Bethlehem,' and what little matter I have to give, I will give in the form of a short sermon, on the sentence at the head of this paper. I will, therefore, sign myself, A TRAVELLER. (To be continued.)
V-Lastly, some look upon Comets as 'electric lights, and suppose them to be void of substance, or at least of any dense body, something like the Ignisfatuus,' of summer nights, a jack-a-lantern above our heads; the will-with-the-wisp of the air. Nevertheless some have told us that comets in their number exceed all other planetary bodies, except "Aerolites:' that they possess the smallest mass; and occupy the largest space of any bodies ir the solar regions; whether they are self-lumin. ous or derive their light from the sun seems to be a doubtful point. Comets again present a striking contrast. Biela's comet, for instance, is very small, and has no tail; while the one observed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1680, had a tail calculated to be sixty millions of miles in length, and the comet of 1744 had six tails.
Many other allusions to comets might be made, and interesting facts recorded, but I judge, Mr. Editor, you would think them not adapted for your columns. So I turn my pen to write of the Eastern Star.' We have seen
Donali's comet. Let us now turn our atten. tion to the Star of Bethlehem,' and here again conflicting opinions perplex us,
EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS.
MY GOOD THEOPHILUS, I now propose to write a few letters to you upon the Seven Seals, we read of in Revelations 5th chap. ter; but as this letter will be merely introductory, I will begin with the 4th chapter of
John was, in God's truth, as all good men now are, too high to be acceptable to a deluded world; but when John was in the Isle of Patmos, the Lord said to him, come up higher!' So that if John were high before he went to the Isle of Patmos, he was higher still when he arrived there; and he found this increase of altitude; this additional ascent up the sides of Mount Zion; this nearer approach to the house not made with hands, be found it good to be thus high; for immediately, saith he, I was in the Spirit. And so by elevation and transformation, he was well fitted for divine revelations. They would, while he was thus placed, be sure to have their full weight with him; whereas, keep him down amidst a routine of mere formalities, eternal realities may then pass by unheeded; but let him be taken up somewhat toward the third heavens, then mortality, and all its sins and cares, are swallowed up of life. Thus, then, in the very opening of this fourth chapter, you have these three things: the door opened in heaven; John brought up to that door; and the transforming power of the Lord's presence. Immediately I was in the spirit.' Nor had John any hand in opening this door, it was opened for him, and to him, but not by bim. He looked!-ab, where did he look? Not to earth-for, alas! all was gloom, desolation, and anguish there; but he looked unto the Lord, and saw a door opened in heaven. And so it is, my good Theophilus, your happy lot to see that by the blood of Jesus a door is opened in heaven; and the truth, and faith therein, are the way thereto.
And the first thing we here meet with, is, one of the best of all things, a door opened in heaven: all earthly doors must with us very soon close, and therefore the one thing need ful is a door opened in heaven; let this door of heaven be shut, and all hope is gone, and we are left in black and eternal despair.
The first entrance of the Israelites upon the promised land, is called the door of hope. Hosea ii. 15. Now the promise of God in Christ Jesus is our door of hope;' whatever promise appears suited to us is our door of hope;' not but that all the promises are suited to us; but we are at different times in different states of experience, and circumstances; and so there are promises suited to all our possible necessities, and these are our door of hope.' That is-we feeling our need of these promises, and being persuaded of them, we by them begin to have hope; and though we see these promises, (as to their fulfilment) as yet afar off, yet they are unto us a 'door of hope.'
Then there is the door of salvation: 'by me, (saith the Lord,) if any man enter in, he shall be saved.' Thus, then, the door of hope, and the door of salvation, bring us to Now you will see that at the end of this the door of heaven; and this door open- 4th chapter, that the purpose of God in the ed in heaven is by the atonement of creation of the world, is the song of adoraChrist reaching to all the demands of law tion: thou hast created all things; and for and justice; and he therefore entered heaven thy pleasure they are, and were created.' by his own blood; and so we have boldness And, thus, before they pass on to salvation to enter into the holy of holies by the blood matters, they recognize the right of the of Jesus; and so a door is opened in heaven. blessed God in the first creation; and there And a door opened in heaven is a door of re- is great propriety in this, because we need velation from heaven, as well as a door of the Lord as a God of Providence; and as entrance into heaven. And hence, said the all these things were by and for the Divine voice to John, 'come up hither, and I will WORD, in whom is all Jehovah's Pleasure: shew thee things which must be hereafter.' our God, having full right in the Here you see, that just where men dishon-creation, in the world, and all things pertain ored John, just there the Lord honored him: ing thereto, we may look with assurance to men cast him out, but the Lord received him; him for the supply of our temporal, as well men cast him down, but the Lord lifted him as for our eternal needs. The throne thereup; men hated him, but the Lord loved fore of God is a throne of government to both him; man would have destroyed him, but worlds: hence, to denote his possession and the Lord preserved him; man did all he command of riches, his appearance is as could to put him to silence, but the Lord hath a jasper and sardine stone. This, then, I made him speak so as to be heard to the end say, means not only the glory of his appearof the world, and to earth's remotest bounds; ance, but indicates the riches he has at commen would have cast him down to hell, but mand; and, therefore, it is that Christ is the Lord lifted him up to heaven; men se- that gift, which is as a precious stone in the parated him from their company, but the eyes of him that hath it; and withersoever Lord took him into his highest counsels, and it turneth it prospereth. The city of God also, is adorned with precious stones; and
into his bosom secrets.
Israel was represented on the High Priest's breastplate by precious stones; so that altogether, it would seem to be this, that as precious stones are distinct from the common pebble, so the people of God, the city of God, and God in covenant, all stand out in distinction, glory, and richness, from everything else; for who is like unto our God?" and what city is like unto the city of God? and what people is like unto the people of God? This throne is said to be set in heaven.' The scene, you will see, is taken from the temple; and perhaps partly also from the tabernacle in the wilderness. This is to shew to us, that as the tabernacle and temple had special reference to the people of God, so the throne here will mean what was there called the mercy seat;' and, hence, to prove this, there is a rainbow round about the throne, in sight, like unto an emerald; thus shewing, not only that he is the God of peace; but also that it shall be seen that he is the God of peace; it shall be seen that Jesus hath made peace by the blood of his cross.
As the Lord's covenant of seed time and harvest was positive; so as we see (Isa. liv.) is the covenant of mercy and peace; and as the rainbow is above the reach of, and independent of men, so it was not in the power of man to make peace with God: Christ alone could; and so it is not in the power of man to break that peace which Christ hath made; it stands independant of man, and into this heavenly reconciliation and peace you are brought. This rainbow is the triumphal arch under which you will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom' of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
these four and twenty orders, and four and twenty chief priests, was one who was called the high priest; the high priest it was who was specially a type of the Great High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. And as these Elders are clothed in white raiment, and have on their heads crowns of gold, so shall all the people of God be holiness unto the Lord,' and be crowned with glory, called a crown of gold because of its purity, preciousness, and beauty.
And as justice and judgement are the habitation of his throne, so there are two orders of truth proceeding from this throne; the one, that of mercy; the other that of threatenings to the adversaries; hence these threatenings are called lightenings, thunderings, and voices. And as there were seven lamps in the Tabernacle, to give light in the holy place, so there is a true tabernacle which God pitched, and not man; and here in the church the Holy Spirit dwells in all the fulness of his ministrations; but mind, it was before the throne that these seven lamps were placed; and so the saving illuminations of the Holy Spirit are sure to lead the soul to a throne of grace. And as there was a brazen sea before the temple, as a type no doubt of the gospel; so here it is called, because of its clearness, a sea of glass; and as Aaron and his sons were to be washed at the door of the Tabernacle, so we have here indicated the washing of regeneration. And as after the first washing Aaron and his sons were, with this clear crystal water, to wash their hands and feet, when they went in to serve in the holy things, so we, after the washing of regeneration, need renewing again and again; for there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not; and these renewings are those mercies of the Lord which keep us from being consumed.
Thus then, my good Theophilus, you have here a door opened in heaven; access thereto; transformation thereby; you have here a throne of grace, a God rich in mercy; also a rainbow token of peace, brotherly representatives; the Holy Spirit, and the fulness of his Ministrations; and a gospel sea clear as crystal; and as far as I can at all see my way clear, I hope to go on as your humble Servant in Christ, though but
A LITTLE ONE.
You see that neither the Lord nor the throne is solitary, here are a people belonging thereto; four and twenty Elders' are intended as secondary representatives of the people of God. Christ is the primary, and also the ultimate representative of the people of God. These Elders, then, I say, are a kind of secondary representatives of the people of God; and if the number, twenty-four, allude to the twelve Patriarchs of the Old Testament, and to the twelve Apostles of the New Testament, then these four and twenty Elders will represent the Old and the New Testament people of God. If this be the allusion, then we must take the blessing of Duet. 33rd, and the Apostolic testimonies of the New Testament to explain the sense in which the four and twenty Elders represent the people of God. Or, as David divided the Levitical service into four and twenty orders, and that each order had its chief priest; then here would be four and twenty chief priests, and these would represent the people of God in their sacrificial consecration to God. Whichever be the
AUSTRALIA. Beside the letters given in another part of this number, we have just received one good spiritual letter from our brother John Bunyan M'Cure, of Geelong; with some excellent gospel verses. Also, a
allusion here, whether to the twelve Patriarchs packet from Mr. Henry Dowling, of Tasmania; and twelve Apostles, or to the four and twenty chief priests, the meaning is substantially and an epistle from North Adelaide. the same; just reminding you that over shall give them early.
dinary narrative is still useful, and circulating
"The Gathering Tempest. Puseyism, and
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
"The Comforter; or, the Holy Spirit in His Glorious Person and Gracious Work." London: Darton and Co., Holborn Hill. (525 pp. 58.)-Those two excellent volumes, God is Love,' and 'A Brother Born for Adversity,' have, for some time, been before the Christian family, in this, and other parts of the civilized world. No books, on themes so grand, on Characters so great and holy, have been more deservedly popular. They are becoming standard works of the present age. With much pleasure, we announce a third volume by the same Author-(on the 'Glorious Personality and Gracious Work of the Third Person in the ever adorable Trinity,) is now in the hands of the Publishers; and we understand large orders for this volume are already given by the leading houses in the publishing market. This is a good sign. It gives us hope that there are yet thousands who desire to honour the Holy Spirit, even as they honour the Father and the Son. Twelve chapters, each on distinct Characters, Offices, and Divine Operations, are here given. Our Ministers, and all teachers of the Truth, must certainly read this volume. It is the time for such a book, and the author has been enabled to do his work faithfully. We believe, in its oppor-block; a happy lover of Christ and His cause; tune advent, and in its soul-enriching con- and is now waiting for a call from his Master tents, the hand of the Lord has been made to be billetted in the ministry where he shall bare for Zion's good. We cannot fully enter please to appoint. into details this month. Praying Johnny; or, the Life and La"The Backwood's Preacher."-This is a re-bours of John Oxtoby. By Harvey Leigh." print of an American volume; published by London: T. King, Sutton-street. This little A. Heylin, 28, Paternoster Row. We have book will give you a fair idea of a minister's commenced a paper from it, entitled 'Peter the life in some of the low and dark corners of Pioneer,' for next month; Peter Cartwright the land. The editor says, 'John Oxtoby was was a lion-like preacher for more than fifty to an extraordinary degree, a successful minWe intend to criticise years; and although he has smitten us poor ister of the gospel.' Baptists rather severely, still, we shall gather Praying Johnny' rather closely in another from him all the good we can: from his life, number. preachers may see what it is to endure hard.
"A Letter to India, descriptive of True Religion." London: Partridge and Co. This is a penny pamphlet written by our respected brother Joseph Flory, late minister of Somersham Baptist Chapel. Good old Benjamin Flory has been known in the land for many years, as a stern, determined, and unflinching defender of the gospel of the New Covenant. We have dearly loved good old Benjamin: but he is now sinking into great age and weakness, This Joseph, his son, is a true chip of the old
"Instauration: A Poem." By R. S. D. London: Partridge & Co. There is great power of mind evinced in the composition of this poem. To highly intellectual spirits it will be a kind of sweet desert.
"Brief History of the Baptist Church in Little Wild Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. From 1691 to 1858; &c. By Christopher Woollacott. London: Houlston & Wright. There is scarcely a religious writer in these days, that can vie with Christopher Woollacott in 'Naratives.' He has the excellent genius of working up all his material to good account: this is patent in all reading circles; and his' Prodigal Pardoned; or, the Soldier's History;' a new tract just issued by the Bap-terest in him, in faithful, intelligent, and tist Tract Society, is another witness that affectionate terms. All who know John Narratives in the hands of Christopher Wooll- Bloomfield-and they are not few-know his acott, are delightfully interesting. The history happy theme is 'The Priesthood of Christ. of Little Wild Street, is a review of the Bap- In this volume you have John Bloomfield at tist Interest in London, for nearly two hun- home, and in much comfort and confidence dred years. It is a good six-penny work; and opening up the beauties and glories of the we know every thinking person in Christendom MASTER he so dearly loves. As an author we will enjoy its perusal. sincerely wish him good speed.
"The Christian's Companion; or, Christ, the Believer's Delight." By John Bloomfield, Minister of the Gospel, at Salem Chapel, Soho. London: Nichols & Son, Milton Steam Press, Strand. In this little volume our highly favored brother talks of Jesus our Saviour, to those who are seeking for a knowledge of in
"Thomas Guy-his Early Days: his Life among the Gipsies: and his Conversion to God." Written by Himself. To which is appended, His Happy and Sudden Deathwith Preface and Remarks by Charles Waters Banks. We are thankful to find this extraor
"The Edinburgh Street Preacher." Being the Extraordinary Life, Conversion_and Death of Robert Flockhart, London: Partridge & Co. An interesting epitome of this extraordinary man's life in 16 closely printed pages for One Penny!
THE WONDERFUL DEALINGS OF GOD,
AS MANIFESTED TO ONE OF THE MOST UNWORTHY OF HIS CHILDREN.
'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; yea, and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.'-Isaiah lxvi. 13.
THIS striking passage has, doubt not, been | darkness, to the glorious light and liberty of the comfort of many an afflicted child of God, the gospel. I was changed. 'Old things had when cast down by reason of his troubles; and passed away: all things were become new.' has proved a firm stronghold to him by the Christ was now exhibited to my wondering eyes blessing of the Holy Spirit, against the face in altogether a new light, as the only but allof the enemy. It is my intention to illustrate sufficient way of salvation; as THE Person by briefly, in the following narrative, as far as whom alone men must and can be saved. My lies in my power, the above sweet portion Bible too, now became endeared to my heart, from the Faithful Promiser,' by setting be- and I wondered why I had not discovered its fore my readers his gentle dealings with me, value and beauty before: but as St. Paul says, the most unworthy of his creatures; and I hope The carnal mind is enmity against God.' that many of his tried ones who have long 'He hath hid these things from the wise and been tossed in the strong furnace of affliction, prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes.' may by his help obtain the like precious faith The natural man receiveth not the things of in this promise, which has in time past been the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness extended to me. unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
It is with feelings of deep thankfulness to my heavenly Father, for his unspeakable mercies, shewn so continually towards me, that I have written the present narrative of my past life; and in doing this, I have attempted to illustrate by it, that there is indeed one above who careth for the righteous, and will ever support them by the arm of his power, when in their deepest distress. I humbly think that after the perusal of my short sketch, the God-fearing reader will be led to exclaim with David and myself' O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.' Ps. cvii. 31,43.
After some months hard struggling with the doubts and fears, suggested by the enemy of souls, I was at length enabled to make a public profession of my attachment to his name, in the ordinance of believer's baptism. I was so strengthened after this by the Holy Spirit, that I walked in the good old way for some years; until at length, in the year 1839, it pleased the dear Lord to lay me upon a bed of affliction. Satan was now permitted to harass me to such a degree, that I was indeed troubled on every side: persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'
In the midst of my sickness, I was removed under the good hand of my Heavenly Father to Great Marlow, a town in Buckinghamshire, to which place I was still followed by satanic power.
Here on one occasion as I lay on my sick bed in the midnight hour, it was first suggested to me by the great adversary, to commit
I was early brought up to attend a Sabbath school; and while there I had some slight convictions that I was a sinner in the sight of God. During this period of my life I was often preserved from many outward sins, by the remembrance of those solemn words-suicide; telling me, I was not fit any longer to live. This suggestion was uppermost in my mind for many months; during which time, my thoughts were continually running upon the manner in which it might best be accomplished. But the Lord, who knoweth how to succour them that are tempted, inasmuch as he was himself tried by the enemy when on earth, in his goodness preserved me, and overturned Satan's favourite scheme. By this time, I was considerably recovered from my bodily affliction, but my soul was still deeply tempest tossed, seeking rest but finding none. During this period, I attended the ministry of the Rev. T. Styles, but still found no relief to my desponding soul.
Thou God seest me.' Afterwards, when in riper years, I attended the ministry of J. H. Hinton, pastor of the Baptist church, then assembling in Hosier-street, Reading, and there my convictions were deepened. Through the providence of God, I was next led to take up my abode in the Borough, London, where I was priviledged to hear the gospel under Dr. Ripon, then of Tooley-street; at which place I was still further convinced that I was a lost sinner, and must inevitably perish, unless I was washed in the precious blood of Christ. About a year after, I was led again by the overuling hand of God, to Reading; where I once more sat under J. H. Hinton. I was at this time twenty-three years of age. One Sabbath afternoon, I was aroused while sitting in the chapel, from my previous spiritual lethargy, by hearing a striking sermon, preached by Mr. H. from those awakening words, Luke xiii. 3. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' After hearing these words, I was, by the Holy Spirit, turned from
At length, after having been subjected by the dear Master, to the fearful influences of satanic power, for the space of eight months, my release was at hand.
Having attended a Thursday evening lecture, from the words, Col. ii. 2, That their hearts might be comforted the words which I had heard, made a deep impression on my