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which God never prescribe : going pilgrimage ta
the places of their canonized saints; fastmg in honour
of them; building and decorating temples; bargain- 1
ing for masses and vigils, as they call them; endless |
mutterings and unseemly vociferations within their,
shrines; embracing the state of monks, nuns, and
priests; observing distinctions of food, raiment, and
places sacred or profane;— but I despair enumerating
all their detestable abominations — their foul and most
pernicious impostures. And this, forsooth, is that'*
authority of the pope which we must tremble to re-i
ject— that sanctity which we must fall down and*
adore! Is there an individual whom I now address, |
who has an ear to hear, and a heart to understand ? — |
then I abjure him by the living God to hear me wheat
I tell him what alone are entitled to the name of
good works. That, then, is a good work which is of ,
use, and profits the person who is the object of it. i
Otherwise why nve it the designation ? Good works i
are not splendid, dazzling, and imposing works. If
I pitch a heavy stone to a distance, that is a great <
work ; but where is the use of it ? Or say that I ex-
cel in leaping, in the race, or in the tournament; >
these may be fine and graceful exercises, but what
practical benefit do they confer? I pande a rich
vestment, or rear a magnificent chapel, and who is
the better of it ? To bring the point home, I line the
walls of our temples, and the statues, stones, or
beams of this building, in which we are now met
with silver and gold, but who benefits by the action

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when it is done ? What though eyery paltry Tillage
should haye ten such splendid halls at that at Era-
ford ? Would that adyantage one single indiyidual ?
What boots it though eyery edifice, monastery, and
uniyenity were more magnificent than Solomon^
Temple ? Who is the better of your fasting to St.
Catherine or St. Martin ? Of what earthly conse-
quence is it whether you be whole shayen or half
— ^whether you be clothed in black or white ? Tell
me of what use it were that all men should join in
celebrating mass eyery hour in succession, or that
psalms should be chanted night and day without in-
termission, as at Mysia? Or who would reap one
atom of benefit though eyery shrine were filled with
as many idols of silver and gold as they haye at
Halle and Wittemberg ? Mere dreams are all such
works together, and unspeakably pernicious impos-
tures ! One and all of them we owe to men's lying
inyentions. They forge them, then the^ call them
good works, and preach that they merit Divine fiivour
and procure the remission of sins. Just as if God
carea for our works, or the saints needed them!
Stocks and stones are not so senseless and stupid as
we are. May I not say, rather, tiiat the yery trees
of the field teach us what good works are ? They
bear firuit, not for themselves, but for man and beast
And these are their good works. O stupidity!
O frenzy ! O inconceivable madness ! Ay, and
bishops and princes, who should countermand such
mad follies, are the first to run into them ! Blind,
and leaders of the blind! WTiat shall I compare
them to ? Girls playing with puppy dogs, and boys
riding upon a stick ? "mily thev are nothing better
than players with puppy dogs and riders upon a stick.
The maid servant who waits upon the mill, if she
have faith, does more good, and gets more (truly
much more would I trust in her merits), when she
but takes the com from the ass* back, or does some
like servile occupation, than aU the clergy and monks
taken together, though they should even chant
whole days and months, and mangle themselves till
they yomited blood O your stark foUy^ ye Papists ! —
your absolute madness ! Ye, then, will saye men by
your ceremonies ! ye will give to others of your
merits, and your spiritual benefits ! when there is
not in the wide world a more miserable set of men —
more devoid of the Spirit— more destitute of all that
is spiritually good ! Then steps forward the pope,
and sells you his parchments, and carries you right
to heaven — ^not God's heaven^ut his own — that is,
the yery profoundest hell ! These are the firuits of
our unl>ehef and ignorance of Christ ! This the re-
ward we have earned for having the Gospel, and suf-
fering it to lie hid under the benches, wnile we give
frominence to the doctrines of men. Again I say it :
vrish from my soul that the whole pulpits, one and
all in a mass, and the monasteries, oolites, temples,
ceUs, and chapels along with them, had been in the
flames long since, and burnt to aaheSj when I consi-
der the awful seduction and destruction of souls with
which they have inimdated the world !**

The passage which we next extract could scarcely
be credited to have come from the same pen with the
preceding; but, as Corlyle observes, there was a vast
deal comprehended between ^the two poles*' of
Luther's genius; and those who are acquainted with
his writings will at once recognise the following as
conceived in a style which he frequently adopted.
It comes in when commenting upon the well-known
words of Christ, in which he refers us to the fowls of
the air and the lilies of the field for the confirma-
tion of our faith : —

" The fowls of the air do not toil like us, and yet

they are supported. Our Lord does not mea9 that
we should give up working, but dismiss anxious cares.
The bird, it may be true, cannot ply the processes of
agriculture, like us; and yet it has its own work.
It fulfils Uie end of its being; it brings forth its
young, cherishes and feeds them, and sings unto ovr
God a song for all his goodness. If God asked it to
do more, it would do it. In the morning it is early
astir, and, perched upon a branch, sings the song
which it has learned, nor eyer once thii^ about its
food or cares for it. Afterwards, when hungry, it
flies off in quest of the grain which Gh>d has placed
for it somewhere, but of which it never thol^^
as it sung, though it had good reason to be anxknui
about its provision. Let us blush to think that the
little birds have more faith than ourselves, who can
carol in such a cheerful strain^ although wiey know
nothing as to where their food is to come from. We
are referred to them that we may fe^ deep shame
at not being able to do what is done by the fowls of
the air. A Christian should be ashamed every time
he looks upon a little bird, and considers that it
knows an art which he has not learned. Should
you in spring, when the little birds generally sing
sweetest of all, say to one of them : Why dost thou
sing so sweetly and cheerfully when thou hast
gawered no com into the bam ? it would laugh you
to scorn.

"But t bring forward another illustration to upbraid
your unbelief. For there stand these flowers, and
coyer us with shame, and are teachers to us. Thanks
to you, ye little flowers, which the cows chew in the
field ! Does God then raise yon to be our masters,
and doctors of divinity ? What ! Are we fit to live
on the earth ? If this be not a shame to us, I know
not what is. Here we are forced to confess that the
meanest flower, which the cow or the sheep treads
under its foot, is our mast^ of instruction ! Now,
are we not brave creatures? Solomon is brou^^t
forward, the wealthiest and the mightiest of all
Idngs. who was arrayed in purple and gold, and we are
told tnat his clothing cannot be compared with the
flower. Is it not incomprehensible beyond measure
that the adornment of the flowers of the field should
be thus set above all gold, silver, and jewels ? But
we are blind, and cannot see what our Lord meant.
There stands the little flower and gbries over us, say-
ing : * Though thou wert clothed with all the omar
ments in the world, though wouldst not be like me,
who, standing here, never think whence this garni-
ture of mine must come from : nothing of the sort
disturbs me; for in sooth, here I remain, and nothing
more besides do I. Indeed thou art gorgeously
decked forth, but sickly withal, diseased, and a
slave to detestable mammon. Whereas I am fresh
and blooming, and wait attendance upon the tme


" Enter not into judgment with thj servant, O Lord; for in
thy sight shall no man livhig be iostified."— Ps. cxIUL S.

Jenu, Bring forth the pris^er.
Jtuttce. Thy commands

Are done, just Judge; see, here the pris^er stands.
Jesus, What has the prisoner done ? Say, what^ the

Of his commitment ?

Jttstice, He hath broke the laws

Of his too gracious God; conspir'd the death
Of that great Migesty that gave him breath,

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And heaps transgression. Lord, upon transgression.

JetM, How know'at thou this ?

Justice, E'en bj his own confession :

His sins are crying, and they cry alond !

They cried to heaven— they cried to heaven for blood.

Jesus. What say^st thou, sinner? — hast thou aught

to plead

That sentence should not pass ? Hold up thy head,
And show thy brazen, thy rebellious face.
Sinner, Ah, me ! I dare not; I^ too vile and base
To tread upon the earth, much more to lift
Bfine eyes to heaven; I need no other shrift
Than mine own conscience. Lord, I must confess
I un no more than dust, and no whit less
Than my indictment styles me. Ah ! if thou
Search too severe — with too severe a brow,
What flesh can stand ? I have transgressed thy laws ;
My merits plead thy vengeance— not my cause.
Justice, Lord, shall I strike the blow !
Jesus. Hold! Justice, stay!

Sinner, speak on; what hast thou more to say ?
Sinner. Vile as I am, and of myself abhorred,
I am thy handiwork— thy creature, Lord;
Stamped with thy glorious image, and at first,
Most like to thee, though now a poor accursed
[ Convicted caitiff, and degcnYate creature,
I Here trembling at thy bar.
j Justice, The fault's the greater.

Lord, shall I strike the blow?
< Jesus, Hold ! Justice, stay !

j Speak, mnner; hast thou nothing more to say ?
] Sinner. Nothing but mercy, mercy, Lord, My state
Is miserably poor and desperate;
I quite renounce myself, the world, and flee
From Lord to Jesus — from myself to thee.
Justice, Cease thy vain hopes; my angry God has

Abused mercy must have blood for blood.
Shall I yet strike the blow ?
Jesus. Stay! Justice, hold !

My bowels yearn— my fainting blood grows cold,
To view the trembling wretch. Methinks I spy
My Pather*s image in the prisoner's eye.
Justice. I cannot hold !

Jesus. Then turn thy thirsty blade i

Into my side ; let there the wound be made.
Cheer up, dear soul, redeem thy life with mine —
I My foul shall smart— my heart shall bleed for thine !
Sinner. Oh, groundless deep ! oh, love beyond de-
' grce!
I The offended dies to set th' offender free !

Francis Quarles.


** I WAS indicted," says Bunyan, " for an upholder
and maintainer of unlawful assemblies and conven-
ticles, and not for conforming to the national wor-
ship of the Church of England; and after some con-
ference there with the justices, they taking my plain
dealing with them for a confession, as they termed
it, of the indictm^t, did sentence me to a perpetual
banishment because I refused to conform. So being
acpftin delivered up to the jailer's hands, I was bad

home to prison, and there have lain now complete
twelve yean, uwUisig to see vheU God wouid su0inr
these men to do witk i»m."

It is a striking phraseology which Bunvan uaes, he
" was had home to prison;" it was indeed a home to
hhn, for Qod made it such— sweeter, by Dhine graoeu
than any earthly home in his pilgrimage. He had
been preaching for years when he wae first taken,
which was upon the 12th of November, 1660. He
had engaged, if the Lord permitted, to c<»ie and
teach some of the people who desired it on that day;
but the justice of the peace hearing of it, isiaed ms
warrant to take Bunyan, and meantime to keep a
strong watch about the house ; " as if," says Bunyan,
" we that were to meet together in that place did In-
tend to do SMne fearful business to the destruction of
the country." Yea, they could scarcely have been more
alarmed and vigilant if there had been rumour of a
Popish ffunpowder plot on foot. " When, alas ! the
constable came in, he found us only with our
Bibles in our handis, ready to speak and hear the
Word of God, for we were just about to b^ppn oor
exercise; nay, we had begun in prayer for the
blessing of 6K>d upon our opportuni^, mtendins to
have preached the Word of the Ix>rd unto them
there present; but the constable coming in pre-
vented us."

Bnnjan might have escaped had he chosen, for he
had fur warning, but he reasoned nobly, thai as he
had showed hij^elf hearty and courageous in his
preaching, and made it his business to encourage
others, if he should now run, his weak and newly
converted brethren would certaunly think he was not
so strong in deed as in word. ^ Also I feared that if
I should run, now that there was a wavrant out for
me, I might by so doing make them afraid to stand
when great words only should be spoken to them.
Besides, I thought that seeing Ood of his merc^
should choose me to go upon the forlorn hope in this
country— that is, to be the first that should be op-
posed for the Gospel — if I should flee, it might be a
discouragement to the whole body that misht follow
after. And further, I thought the world thereby
would take occasion at my oowardHneiS to have
blasphemed the Gospel, and to have had some
grounds to suspect worse of me and my profession
than I deserved." So Bunyan stayed witn full re-
solution, and began the meeting. And when brou^t
before tne justice, and questioned as to what he did
there, and why he did not content himself with fol-
lowing his calling, for it was against the law that
such as he should be admitted to do as he did; he
answered, that the intent of his coming thither and
to other places was to instruct and counsel people to
forsake their sins and close in with Christ, lest they
did miserably perish; and that he could do both these
without confusion— -to wit, follow his calling and
preach the Word also. i

"Now," says Bunyan, in a peasM^e where you'
have the germ of many a character that afterwards
figured in the pages of the ** Pilgrim's Progress"— '
** now, while my mittimus was a-making, the justice
was withdrawn^ and in comes an old en^ny to the
truth, Dr. Lindale, who, when he was come in, fUl
to taunting at me with many reviling terms; to
whom I answered, that I did not come hither to talk
with him, but with the justice. Whereas he, siqj-
posfaig that I had nothing to say for myself, tri-
umphed as if he had got the rictorr, ohirginfc and
condemning me for meddling with that for which I
could show no warrant, and asked me if I had taken
the oaths, and if I had not, it was a pity but that I
should be sent to prison. I told him ttj^jt if I was
minded I could answer to any sober question put to
me. He then urged me again how I could psove it

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lawfal for me to preach, with a great deal of confi-
dence of the victory. But at last, because he should
see that I could answer him if I listed, I cited to
him that in Peter which saith, ' As everjr man hath
received the gift, eren so let him minister the

LindaU, Ay, swth he, to whom is that spoken ?
Bunyan, To whom? said I, why, to every man
that hath recdved a gift from God. Mark, saith the
i^Kwtle, As every man hath received a gift from God;
and again, You may all prophesy by one. Whereat
the man was a little stopt, and went a softlier pace:
but not being willing to lose the day, he began again,
and said:
I Li'nd. Indeed, I do remember that I have read of
I one Alexander, a coppersmith, who did much oppose
and disturb the apostles (aiming, it is like, at me, be-
I cause I was a tinker).

Bun, To which I answered that I also had read of
very many priests and Pharisees that had their
hands in tne blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lind, Av, saith he, and you are one of those
Scribes and Pharisees ; for you, with a pretence, make
l^ng prayers to devour widows' houses.

Bun, 1 answered, that if he got no more by preach-

ing and praying than I had done, he would not be so'

rich as now he was. But that Scripture coming into

I my mind, •* Answer not a fool according to his folly,"

! I was as sparing of my speech as I could without

I prejudice to tru£.

After this, there was another examination with
I one Mr. Foster of Bedford, who tried hard to per-
suade Bunyan to promise that he would leave off
f preaching: in which case he should be acquitted.
: Bunyan's honest, straightforward truth, good sense,
I and mother-wit, answered as good a purpose with
< this Mr. Foster as it did with that " old enemy,"
Dr. Lindale. Mr. Foster told Bunyan there were
I none that heard him but a company of foolish

Bun, I told him that there were the wise as well

as the foolidi that did hear me; imd again, those that

i are most commonly counted foolish by the world are

. the wisest before God. Also, that God had rejected

I the wise, and mighty, and noble, and chosen the

foolish and the base.

Foster, He told me that I made people neglect
their calling; and that God hath commanded people
to work six days, and serve him on the seventh.
> ! Bun. 1 told hun that it was the duty of people,
)' rich and poor, to look out for their souls on those
I days as wdl as their bodies ; and that GK>d would have
I his people exhort one another duly, while it is called
I to-day.

t: FotL He said, again, that there were none but a
, company of poor, simple, ignorant people that
' came.

Bun, I told him that the foolish and the ignorant
had most need of teaching and information; and
therefore it would be profitable for me to go on in
that work.

Fast. Well, said he, to conclude, but will you pro-
mise that you will not call the people together any
more, and then yon may be released and go

Bun, I told him that I durst say no more than I
had said; for I durst not leave off that work which
Gkd had ceBled me to. If my preaching might be
said to call the people together, 1 durst not say that
I would not call them together.

Foster upon this told the justice that he must send
Bunyan to prison; and so to prison he went, nothing
daunted, but singhig and making melody in his heart
unto the Lord. — Vhtever^a Lectures on Bunyan'^s
" PUgrim^t Progress,^



Ax interest of a peculiar kind attaches to the times
and writings of Malachi, as he was the last of the
prophets imder the Old Testament dispensation, and '
it is in them we find the form of that state of thinga,
which reached its maturity in the age of Christ and i
his apostles. The forms of corruption which dis-
covered themselves in that age are strikingly diffe- 1
rent from those which appeared before the Babylonish
captivity, and seem to have sprung from an almost
opposite set of influences. And this prophet is the
only one subsequent to tho captivity, who was called^
particularly to grapple with and expose the state of
mind and character which was then beginning to de- '
velop itself, and which, notwithstanding his admo-
nitions, continued to advance in its main features^
till it became the unhappy and inveterate distinction |
of the nation at large. In this respect, therefore,
his writings possess an interest peculiar to themselves, ,
and, as a connecting link between the old and the
new aspects of Jewbh society, are the best fitted to*
serve as an immediate introduction to the narratives ;
of Gospel history.

In regard to the prophet himself, lus book gives ub\
no information either who he was, or at what precise
period he lived — a reserve of which we find only two;
other examples, in the cases of Habakkuk and Oba-j
diah. What is also remarkable, Jewish history,.'
Jewish tradition even, scarcely pretends to give any
account of him, although the latest of all the pro-
phets; and at a very early period we find traces'
among the Jews of the opinion, that 3Ialachi was the
name, not properly of his person, but of his office.*
The word literally means " my angel,*' or " my mes-
senger;** and the heading of the prophecy, which;
runs : " The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel
by the hand of Malachi,** is in the latter part ren- *
dered by the old Septuagint translation, **by the
hand of his angel;** while the Chaldee Paraphrases
has it, " by Malachi, whose proper name was Ezra
the Scribe.** In regard to his being the same person
with Ezra, it is enough to say, that this is a ground-
less and utterly improbable supposition, which is re-
jected by some even of the Jewish authorities. Nor
is there any reason to imagine that he was a mes-
senger of the Lord in any other or higher sense than
the prophets generally were; for example, Haggai,
who is expressly called " the Lord*s messenger,** and
is said to have spoken *' in the Lord*s message unto
the people.** But the name seems to have been dis-
tinctively assumed by him, because the great design

♦ Vitringa Obi., icc. li., p. 820 : '* The andent Jews were
thoroughly persuaded that the name Malachi was not the
true and original name of this prophet, but a kind of sur-
name formed from his office, since they understood Malachi
to be Exra himself— the priest, reproving the vices of bis
order.** This excellent disserUtion of Vitringa has sub-
sUntlally seUled the question regarding the time and tax*
cumstanccs of Malachi's appearing. In one point, be has
been improved on by Hengstenberg, via., the derivation of
his name, which is simply ** my messeoger," aoC ** Jtbovahli

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'of Ui cftllii^ at a prophet was to aimounce the comiog
of the *< My Messenger,'* and "* the Messenger of the
Coweaamt'^ mentioiied in ch. iiL 1, and to.intimate
thai he, too, was sohordinately a messenger to prepare
the wmj far the grand Messenger still to come.

Tlie time of Mahtchi's appearance on the stage of
Israelltish histoTj Is now generally agreed to have
been nearly, if not altogether coincident, with the
period of Nehemiah's second visit to Jerusalem.
'This took i^ace in the thirty-second year of Arta-
, xerxee Longimaniis, which, according to the common
I reckoning, was in the 434th year before Christ,
' and -about a hundred years after the commencement
'of the restoration at the decree of Cyrus, though
littie more than eighty after the second temple
i was actually built. It was during the latter part of
the time this temple was in building that the Pro-
', phets Haggai and Zechariah exercised their divine
oalling; so that two generations must nearly have
• pasMsd away before Malachi stepped forth .to deUver
! the word put into his mouth. The chief reasons for
fixing his agency to that precise time, are the marked
I correspondence between the evils complained of in
his writings and those specified in the latter part of
, Nehemiah; especially in regard to ungodly alliances
'in marriage, even by the priests and Levites, with
Heathen women (MaL ii. 8; Neh. xiiL 29), and the
'general ne^ect in paying tithes (Neh. xiii. 10-12;
' MaL iii. 10.) The agreement in regard to the former
extends to the very fonn of expression which is used
to derignate the evil^such marriages being repre-
sented both in Nehemiah and Malachi as a breach of
I the covenant made especially with the house of LevL
The prophet calls it a ** corrupting of the covenant of
Levi;** and Nehemiah charges them with having
<« defiled 'the priesthood, and the covenant of the
priesthood and of the Levites **— a form of expression
which does not occiv in any of the earlier books.

The Book of Malachi, which is properly but one
discourse, is called a burden — intimating that it is
chiefly of an admonitory and threatening character.*
Its dh^ct and immediate object is to expose the cor-
ruption which h^d by this time risen to a great
height in the land, and to show, that as it had already
brought upon them to some extent the judgments of
God, so if not repented of and forsaken, it would utter-
ly unfit them for receiving the fulfilment of the great
I covenant promise, and, indeed, would convert their
hopes of blessing into unsparing visitations of wrath.
A hasty glance into the prophecy, or a rapid survey

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 70 of 145)