Ashbel Green.

The Christian advocate online

. (page 45 of 93)
Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian advocate → online text (page 45 of 93)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the hidden thines of dishonesty, not
walking \n craftiness, (rt fr«iM«fym,)
nor handling the word of God de^
eeUfttllff {^\uf9Ttq r«f ^ayof r«9 ^t9v\
—but by manifestation of the truta
commending ourselves to every
man's conscience in the sight of
6od."— n«y«0fyi« and i^xunra are
cognates of r«v«v^«f and ItM^, and
whatever meaning we assigjn to one
must necessarily determine the
meaning of the other.

If the text under discussion
therefore contain the apostle's own
words, here is a plain and irre-
concileable contraaiction between
two parts of the same epistle. If
we suppose the apostle to have been
destitute of ^incerity, one woQid
have thought that the keen pene-
tration which qualified him for suc-
cess in crafty scheming, would have
preserved him at least from contra-
dicting himself in the same letter.
And writing to the Thessalonians,
he says-—** Our exhortation was not
of giiUe," and he denounces a curse
on those who use feigned words.

S. But were this view of the text
encumbered by no philological dif-
ficulties, and its incorrectness de-
monstrable by no external evi-
dence, still it would carry with it
its own refutation in the moral
obliquity involved in it. We have
seen that the words wMuvfyn and
hx»i must be understood according

Vol. \lh—Ch:Mv.



to their usual sense— which is ex**
pressed with sufficient correctness
by *« crafty" and " guile." The in-
terpretation of the text as the per-
sonal declaration of Paul, must
therefore attribute to him a disposi-
tion )ind course of conduct with
which the religion of the Gospel
holds no fellowship, makes no com-
promise. The distinguishine cha-
racteristic of the Christian religion*
that which gives it a marked and
peculiar pre-eminence over every
other system of belief, which the rear
son of man has either originated or
compiled from the scattered leaves
of tradition, is the simplicity which
pervades it throughout; which is
seen alike in its doctrines, in the
facts in which those doctrines are
embodied, and in the means de-
veloped for its propagation. And
the Bible does not merely hold up
to the admiration of man a pic-
ture of moral excellence, and eur
join on his conscience the personal
transcription of its features, but at
the same time contains within itself
a system of truth, which is calcu-
lated to mould the character into
the form and beauty which it re-
commends. Thus he who has felt
the power of the religion of the Bi-
ble, while acting under the influ-
ence of its principles, loses all mo-
tive to deception in any of the mul-
tiplied forms which it assumes.
He can have no motive to hypocri-
sy towards God, for by the verj
supposition of his character he is
sincere in his devotion and wor-
ship ; nor to self-deception, for it is
essential, not only to the growth
and perfection, but to the very ex-
istence of his Christian character,
that he should bear the pure and
searching light of God's holv law
into the inmost recesses of his neart,
and become familiarly acquainted
with his seci'et springs ot action,
and the ultimate objects around
which the tendrils of his affections
entwine themselves. Nor has he
any inducement to practise decep-
tioii on others for selfish purposes.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC



S98



«9 CriHeal EacpasUion of 9, Cor. xii. 16.



JircTt



for hiB htart overflows with a bene-
volence as eipansive as his know-
ledge of the universe, to which he
stands related.

' But may not this very benevo-
lence lead him to practise decep-
tion on others, for the promotion of
their own good ; and as the charac-
ter of an action in morals, is deter-
^ mined bj the motTve of the agent,
may not the use of deceit be lawful,
when the intention is thus laudable
and benevolent ? Here lies the full
force of the only shadow of an ar-
gument that can be ur^ed in favour
of the use of any species of decep-
tion. And here the discussion as-
sumes the form of the general ques-
tion, whether any course of con-
duct which God has forbidden, can
be justified by our own views of
propriety or policy? whether any
art of man can convert the wan and
haegard features of vice, into the
soft and heavenly lineaments of vir-
tue; or whether the characteristics
and tendencies of each, are not so
indelibly fixed in the nature of
things and the constitution of the
moral universe, as to be incapable
of any interchange with each other?
Were we able to discern all the re-
lations and tendencies of any one
act or course of action, could we
. see through the whole moral uni-
verse as it now exists, and look on-
ward and onward, and calculate
with infallible precision what
would be the effect of any particu-
lar course of conduct on ourselves
and others, in ages yet to come,
then indeed utility might safely be
made the test of virtue, and any
action performed with the sincere
design of promoting the general
good would be virtuous. For, were
we endowed with such an intuitive
and infallible perception of the pre-
sent and future tendencies of ail
our actions, both on this and every
other system implicated in it, any
written instruction or law firom a
superior, would of course be use-
less; and in such a case, we can
conceive of no other obligation that



would lie upon ns to follow or avoid
any course of conduct, except as it
enhanced or diminished d)e publick
good; and an intention to fulfil
that obligation, would breathe vir*
tue into every act which it in-
spired. But it is plain that soch a
comprehensive reach of intellect as
this, belong only to omniscience.
From the limited nature of our fa-
culties we are incapable of disco-
vering, by the unaided light of rea-
son, all the results of any action.
And even within the limited circle
of observation where human rea-
son can push her inquiries with
success, the tendencies of any ac-
tion which meets her eye, are far
from affording an infallible criterion
of the moral character of that ac-
tion. For such is the disorder
which sin has introduced into our
world, that the natural tendencies
of things are often interrupted;
so that actions which are manifest-
I V vicious, often impart pleasure to
the agent, and appear to promote
the good of otiiers.

A law therefore, the necessity of
which was founded in our igno-
rance, has been given, which claims
to be an infallible guide of our lives,
an unerring rule of our actions, a
spotless standard of perfection.
And we are assured that an un-
wavering obedience to its counseU
and requisitions, is connected with
the highest happiness of which man
is capable. In fixing the terms of
his law, and defioins the bounds of
human conduct, God doubtless con-
sulted the general good; and He is
infinitely better qualified to judge
of the good or bad effects of any
course of conduct, both now and in
its final issue, than we can possibly
be. To advocate or practise any
thing which he has forbidden, on
the eround of expediency, is noth-
ing less than an impeachment of
the divine wisdom or soodness.
And to act contrary to his law, even
with the purest intention of doinf
good, is to shut our eyes to the full
eAilgence of onmiscieBce rtmaUd^



Digitized by



Google



1829.



Selecthmsfram Drdincourt



£99



and to walk bj the |;liromeruig taper
light of our own wisdom.

U the use of suiie therefore be
hrbiilden by the law of God, good-
ness of iotentioD in reference to its
sopposed utility, cannot justify it.
And surelj it needs no long array
of texts to prove that it is thus for-
bidden, or they might be easily
produced.— -Two shall suffice — Of
those who are without fault before
the throne of God it is said '< And
in their lips was found no guile"
(;wA«()._And of Christ, the bright
examplar of the Christian, in whose
life are embodied all the purity
and holiness of religion,— -it is said
'< he died for us, leaving us an exam-
ple, that ye should walk in his steps,
who did no sin, neither was guile
{^•ak} found in his mouth."
I To justify the use of guile for

' any purpose whatever, must there-
fore lead to the full adoption of
what the Apostle Paul has pro-
nounced a damnable maxim. *' We
may do evil that good may come."
And to attempt by deception,
even in its mildest forms, to prac-
tise on the hopes or fears of men in
things which relate to their eternal
interest, is an attempt to commingle
the principles of the kingdoms of
Christ and of Satan, to improve
the contrivance of Infinite Wisdom
for the renovation of our world, by
adding to it the mechanism of hu-
man invention<^to temper the sword
of the Spirit in the unhallowed fires
of earth, that it may possess a more
keen and etherial edge. It is a ma-
nifestation of our opinion of the
weakness of our cause, or of our
distrust of God. Surely he is able
to bless the simple and sincere ex-
hibition of his own truth, which he
kfts ordained as the only means of
ttlvation; and for man to attempt
to add to the means which he has
Mtablished, betrays consummate
follTi as well as presumption and
wicksdness.

Such being the moral tendency
of this interpretation of the text, it
ttkust be a wildly erroneous one;



and we are compelled to adopt the
only other one of which it admits,
that which supposes the Apostle to
quote the substance of an objection,
which some of his calumniators had
made to his disinterestedness.

This view of the text has already
been shown to be consistent with
the context; and it might also be
ahown that this is no unusual mode |
of speaking with the Apostle. But
as we are shut up to this interpret
tation by the removal of the only ^
other one of which the text admits,
it needs no further defence.

A. B. D.
PrincetWf J\mit^ 1829.



SELBOTIONS FROM DRELINCOURT'S

OOMPEND OF OONTROVBRSIXS.

(CiifUinuedJrom p, 246.)

JhUde III.

The Romam Church teaches,
that the holy Scripture is obscure.
Bellarmine de Verb. Dei* 1. iii. c. 1.
Charron, Truth,. iii. c. 3. Coton,
L ii. c. 19. Baile, Treatise, i.

Let us hear the Scriptures:
PsaL xviiL 9 fxix. 8.] "The
judgments [Justices'] of the Lord
are right, rejoicing (our) hearts;
the commandment of the Lord is
clear, enlightening the eyes."*— •

/ The word, rendered by the Louvain
doctors Mid tbeLat. Val.^taa'cea, orrigb-
teoosneaies, is niSS from IpOy he visit-
ed; rendered by Auuwor\b, ^^-risita-
tionfi;" by the LfX. iltmrnfM/T*, from
whence the Louvain interpretation.
** The root^oibod^" savs Robertson, ** doth
also signify, ' he cared for'— because that
which a man visiteth often, he careth
much for; also, 'he eommanded,' as if in
visiting he required somewhat of him
whom he did visit; and benee, 'he re-
quired, desired'— also, * he gave ' the
charge of anv thing to one, and nis keep-
ing or custody, he set over in charge, or
in an office:' or 'he did deposit,"* or lay
any thing by one to keep. Hence is the
noun pi. max. pikkudimt contracted, pik^
kwkf statutes, commandments, as if things
put into custody of one to be kept dili-
gently, and to be taken account of, at
every visit," &c. The word rendered
^ dear," is 702 Barah^ clean, pure ; «c-



Digitized by



Google



500



Sdeetions from Drdmcourt



JvisTf



JA)te* Those who accuse the Scrip-
tures of obscurity, accuse it of false-
hood; siDce it says respectiog it-
self, not only that it is clear, but
also that it enlightens.

Psal. cxviii. 105. [cxix. 105.]
** Thy word is a lamp to my feet,
and light to my paths." There is
none, except those who torn their
backs upon this lamp, that does not
see the li^ht.

2 Cor. IV. 3, 4. " But if our gos-
pel be covered, it is covered from
those who perish, in whom the God
of this world has blinded their un-
derstandings, to wit, the unbeliev-
ing; that the light of the gospel of
the glory of Christ, (who is the
ima^e of the invisible God,) may
not irradiate them." JV*ote. — How-
ever radiant the sun may be, the
blind, and those who voluntarily
shut their eyes, perceive not his
light. So also, however clear the
Scriptures may be on points neces-
sary to salvation, the unbelieving
are unable to comprehend them.

S Pet. i. 19. ** We have also the
surer word of the prophets, to the
which ye do well to attend, as to a
candle which shines in a dark place,
until the day begin to dawn, and
the mominj; star arise in your
hearts." If the word of the pro-
phets be compared to a candle,
what brightness, think you, must
beam in the doctrine of the apos-
tles?

• JlHiclelV.

The Roman Chuboh teaches,
that it does not belone to the peo-

{le to read the holjr Scripture^
ndex librorum prohibit Eeguht
iv. Bellarmine do Verb. Dei. 1. ii.
c. 15.

Let us hear the Scriptures:
John V. 39. ** Enauire diligently of
the Scriptures; tor you think by
these to nave eternal life, and they
bear testimony of me." JV^te.-^-Our

cording to the LXiC. T«x«v>«r, bright,
shining afkr; hence the '•clur^ of the
Lowram veitioti, through the Lat Vul.-^



Lord Jesus Christ speaks not only
to the teachers, bat also to the peo-
ple; and exhorts them all, not only
to read, but also to search and exa-
mine diligently the holy Scriptures,

Deut vi. 7—9. "These worda
which I command thee this daj
shall be in thv heart; and thon
shalt rehearse them to thy children*
and shalt think of them when thoa
remainest in thy house, and when
thou walkest in the way; when
thou liest down, and when thoa
risestup; and thou shalt bind them
for a sign upon thy hands, and thej
shall be, and shall be moved^ be-
tween thine eyes. Also thou shall
write them upon the entrances of
thy house, and on thy gates.''
JV*o£e. God commands all the peo-
ple to write his word on their gar-
ments, houses and gates, that per.-
sons of every description might
read it. It would have been an
astonishing thing in Israel to forbid
the reading of the books of Moses.

Isaiah xxxiv. 16. ** Search dili-
gently in the book of the Lord, and
read." JV*ofe. The prophet ad-
dresses his proposal to ail the jpeo-
ple of the earth, as it appears Arom
the beginning of the chapter.

Luke xi. Ss, " Blessed are they
who hear the word of God and keep
it." If there be any blessedness in
hemring the word of God, there can
be no less in rtading it. If Josua
Christ and his apostles were on
earth, men and women weald hear
their preachings. Why then bin-
der them from reading them?

£ Pet. i. 19. " We have also ,the
sorer word of the prophets, to the
which ye do well to attend." AVte;.
fit Peter praised those who read

* The Catin Vulgate reads ** erunt et
movebuntur ;*' the LouTtin Bible, ** se-
ront et 8e mouveront;*' not unlil^ely, aa
Grodus hints, the Lat Vul. naght origi*
nally fbllow the IJDE. who have here,
mvgm MttOiMTVH ** it shall he unsbaken, or
immoveable," and might therefore read
**non movebuntur." But however this
may be, it is clear, that the Latin Vulgate
neither renders the origoial Hebrew, nor
gives good setise.-^TB.



Digitized by



Google



\%s&.



Sdediona from Drdineami.



801



tbe pitipbe(B» and his pretetwled
successor blames those who read
the eTangelists !

Deut. xfii. 18, 19. " When the
king shall be established in the
throne of his kingdom, he shall
write for himself the Deuteronomy
of this law in a book, taking the
copy of the Levitical priests, which
he shall have with him, and shall
read it all the days of his life."
JN'otei Kings behoved not to be
haughty to Sie priests. God obliges
them to read all the days of their
life, the ordinances of the King of
kings.

Josh, i* 8. ** Let not the volnine
of this law depart from thy mouth;
but thou shalt meditate therein day
and night, that thou mayest take
heed and do according to all
that is written therein." Reader,
see here a general of the army
obliged by an express command-
ment, to read ana meditate upon
the holy Scriptures.

Acts viii. 27, £8. "Behold an
Ethiopian man, a eunuch, of great
authority and power under Can-
dace, queen of the Ethiopians, who
had the charse of all her treasures,
and who had come to worship at
Jerusaletn ; and was returninff, be-
ing seated in his chariot, and was
reading the prophet Esaias," If
this distinguished person read be-
fore he was a Christian, I think
that when he became a Christian
he would read still more frequently.
If he read the prophets when he
did not understand them, it is very
likely that he read them still more
carefully, when he did understand
them. Meanwhile, he was not an
ecclesiastic, but a superintendant
of the revenues.

Ibid. xvii. 11. «*Now these were
nobler than they who were in Thes-
salonica, who received the word with
all readiness, daily searching the
Scriptures to know if it were so."
Let the nobles who would dispense
with reading the Scripturoi learn
their lesson here.

d Tim. iii^ 15. ^ Thou hut known



from thy childhood tbe holy writ-
ings." Reader, see here a child
exercised in the sacred writings,
and now-a-days men |^row pld
without knowing any thing about
them!

Take notice that the apostle
Paul addresses the greater part of
his epistles, not to priests, or to
bishops only, but in a general man-
ner, «To the churches of God, to
the sanctified iii Jesus Christ, and
to all who call upon the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ." See Rom.
L r. 1 Cor. i. S. 2 Crr. i. 1. Gal. i.
2. Eph. i. 1. &c.

And to show clearly that he
wrote to the people as well as to
the pastorsy he distinguishes them
in his epistle to the Philippians, c.
i. 1. *<Paul and Timotheus, ser-
vants of Jesus Christ, to all the
saints in Jesus Christ, who are in
Philippi, with the bishops and dea-
cons."

In the same manner St. James
addresses his epistle, (i. 1.) " to
the twelve tribes that are dis-
persed."

And so Peter addresses his first
epbtle; (i. 1^ "to the strangers
scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cap-
padocia, Asia> and Bithynia."

His second epistle is still more
general, *< Simon Peter, a servant
and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those
who have obtained like faith with
us, through the righteousness of our
God and Saviour, Jesus Christ."
c. i. 1.

What appearance is there in all
this of hindering faithful persons
from reading the epistles, which are
addressed to themr

St. John writes ^*To fathers,
young men, and children," that
people of all ages might be obliged
to read his epistle.

And he even writes in particular
*< to the elect lady and to her chil*
dren," £ John 1. Now I do not
think that this excellent and virtu-
ous woman would scruple to read
in her family the letter which St.
John wrote to h«p; but the bigots



Digitized by



Google



303

of the present day would make a
point or coDscieoce of it

Add to this that the Apoatlea
have formallj commaiided their
epistles to be read.

Col. iT. 16. *< When this epistle
shall have been read bj you, cause
it also to be read in the church of
the Laodiceans, and read je also
that which is from the Laodiceans.''
Note, St. Paul speaks not of an
epistle which he had written to the
Laodiceans, as cardinal Baronius
has well remarked after St Chry-
sostom and Theodoret, in his An-
nals, A.D. 60. sec. IS.

1 Thess. V. 27. " I adjure you by
the Lord, that this epistle be read
to all the holy brethren." But in



JVbte rfa Travdler.



JVLY^



this miserable age, they wrest theae
divine epistles from, the people,
while they permit them the reading
of obscene books, and bawdy songs.
Rev. i. 5. '< Blessed is be that
reads, and that hears the words of
this prophecy, and keeps the things
which are written therein.'' If the
spirit of God call those blessed who
read the Apocalypse, which is the
most difficult book of Scripture,
bow blessed ought we to deem those
who read the gospels and the epis-
tles of the apostles, which contain
many things familiar and easy to be
understood? Then wretched are
the people of the Roman church,
who are deprived of so great a con-
solation !



jIBt^cellaneou^.



NOTES OF A TRAVELLER.

(C^nHnued/rom p. 2Sr.)

Liverpool,
Monday, May 26, 1828.

Yesterday evening I visited the
church in which the pupils of the
Asylum for the Blind worship.
The service commenced, as do all
the publick religious exercises in
the afternoon at Liverpool, at six
o'clock, P. M. I paid one shilling
at the door for admission, to a man
posted there to receive it, who af-
terwards conducted me to a good
seat. Though there is no actual
demand made for entrance money,
yet it is expected from every stran-
ger, and there is a printed notice
on the door for this purpose. The
services were, of course, after the
form of the church of England.
The chaunts were by the blind pu-
pils: the voice of Rdiecca, one of
the most intelligent blind girls, was
harmonious indeed; and when they
all pronounced the frequent ^mm^
which they rather sung than spoke,
the effect on the feelings was ex-
ceedingly touching. The musical
performances of the pupils are per-
haps more remarkable than their



skill in the mechanick arts: they
play on the organ or piano some of
the most difficult and complex
pieces of musick, without omitting^
a word or making a false note. At
the Asylum we saw, yesterday,
their Musick Hall, which is well
furnished with an organ and nu-
merous pianos, and on which they
practise a good deal. The sermon
was not much; but I left the church
highly gratified, if not much in-
structed. This morning I went
with Mr. B., to whom I had let-
ters, and who has been exceedingly
attentive and kind, to see an an-
nual exhibition of the flowers in
bloom at this season. The com-
pany collected on this occasion was
numerous and well dressed, though
it poured down torrents of rain.
This exhibition gave me an oppor-
tunity of seeing a good deal of the
female fashion, and manners of the
place. Except a few uUra», who
wore long-tailed cloth riding ha-
bits, round hats and jockey whips^
you would not have been able to
distinguish the company from a
collection of American ladies and
l^ntlemen. The flowers and fruits
exhibited were numerous and in a



Digitized



ty Google



18S9.



JVbto of a Travdkr.



'SOS



' high state of perfection, though ar-
ranged without any regar'd to neat-
ness, ta^te, or Effect.

In the afternoon, that is at six
o'clock, I dined with Mr. B., and
for the first time sat down to a pri-
vate dinner, served in a fine Eng-
lish style» A number of ladies
were present: the entertainment
was rich and profuse: excepting
however in some little niceties j vou
might have supposed yourself at
an entertainment in a gentleman's
house in Philadelphia^ I will here
take occasion to remark, that there
is an openness and a cordiality
about the English of both sexes,
that; is indescribably gratifying to a
stranger. There was none ot that
stiffness, and reserve, and conse-
quence, which I expected to find,
m>m the few specimens of their
character I had seen in America.
The moment you are fairly intro-
duced, all disagreeable restraint is
removed, and you are at once at
ease and almost at home. But to
return to the dinner table— How-
ever much gratified with the hos-
pitality of Mr. B., this entertain-
ment convinces me that I can
spend my time to more advantage
than in feasting — ^four hours at
least must be lost on such occa-
sions.

I ought not to omit mentioning
the Liverpool market, a place
which no curious stranger should
neglect to visit. The principal
building is reckoned the largest
structure under roof in the king-
, dom. It is divided into a number
of avenues, extending from one end
to the other, along w];iich the va-
rious articles which form the mer-
chandise of such a place, are ar-
ranged to the best possible advan-
tage.

I expect to leave, this town to-
morrow, and I shall do it with re-
gret. Though I visited many more
publick places than I have de-
scribed, yet I shall leave many in-
teresting objects unexamined. But
thb is not all— The kindness and



hospitality of a people always re-
sult in unpleasant teelino^s, when
you part from them. Before I left
home, I was told that I should find
nothing here, that ought to detain
me an hour; and had I followed my
instructions on this subject I should
have been deprived oi much sub-
stantial information, and much ra-
tional pleasure.

Tuesday, 27th. — This has per-
haps been one of the most pleasant
days of my life. I left Liverpool
in the steam-boat for Eastham, in
company with three of my Ameri-
can friends, Mr. S. Dr. G. and Mr.
R. On landing, we took the inside



Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian advocate → online text (page 45 of 93)