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Lord, was hastily driven from the city, and all his earthly possessions, and compelled to endure many sorrows and trials, before he entered upon his rest; while the Lord rained brimstone and fire from heaven, to consume the rebels into love, and establish them on thrones of glory. Were it necessary to expose the fallacy of your opinion to farther ridicule, I might mention all those who in the Old Testament are described as perishing by the especial judgment of God. In the New Testament I might shew how Ananias and Saphira took a short cut to heaven by lying. And how
“ Judas, that perfidious wretch,
And got to heaven the first.” But to return to the precise language of scripture, what could have been our Lord's meaning when he said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish 29*
T. I suppose he wished to inculcate this truth, that if they neg. lected to repent and become good, he would destroy them, by a temporal death.
4. Then, by the word “except," we must suppose that had they repented they would not have suffered a temporal death. And also that all that did repent, have not perished by a temporal death, but must be still living, unless they have been translated to heaven ; and likewise all who now repent are not exposed to a temporal death. You suppose too, that the prophet was anderstood in the same way, when he said, "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die ?"4 i.e. if they would turn from their sins they would not be in danger of a temporal death?
T. I admit there are difficulties in this explanation of those passages; but we read that “Christ died for all.”
A. Observe, there is no necessary connection between the provision which has been made that all might be saved, and sinners actually accepting of this salvation, upon the terms on which it is offered. Your error consists in drawing an inference from this, and similar passages, which has no connection with them, and which the bible plainly shews is not true. But examine those passages, and learn their meaning from their connection, and your inference will be different. The word of God informs us that there are those, who "wrest the scriptures,” not to their salvation, but “to their own destruction.”! You read of some who are given up“ to believe a lie;" not that they may be saved, but that they all might be damned, who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness."'S
For example, take preachers of this doctrine, whom the Lord describes by his servant Jeremiah, and examine the substance of their sermons, and see how exactly they agree with the modern preaching of Universalists. The description is so accurate, that their present mode of preaching cannot be more happily described • Luke xii. 3. + Ezek. Xxxüü. 11. # 2 Thes. ü. 11. § 2 Pet. ü. 16. than by quoting the passage. « Thus saith the Lord of hosts, hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain : they speak a vision of their own heart and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me,
The Lord haih said, Ye shall have peace ; they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, NO EVIL shall come upon you."* You will observe that these false prophets said, “ The Lord hath said,” &c. In like manner those of the present day say, "The word of the Lord supports our belief.” The preaching of the false prophets in Ezekiel's day was very similar, as it appears from what the Lord said by Ezekiel concerning it : “Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad ; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, BY PROMISING AIM LIFE," &c. Indeed, all the preaching of the false prophets, which is recorded in the bible, from the sermon which their “ Father) first preached so successfully to our first parents, bears the same character, viz. that the threatenings of God against the wicked will not be fulfilled.
I beseech you, no longer adhere to sentiments replete with such contradictions and absurdities. There is only one way by which you can be saved. That way is safe, for He that hath “ the keys of hell and of death,” « that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth,” has revealed it. This way is to "repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”I Remember the sentence against those that say, “ Lord, Lord, and do not the things that he hath said." Repent now, that you may warn your “five brethren, lest they also go to that place of torment.” Be willing to separate from your wicked companions, “ Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished.” “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” “Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”'l|
T. My business is urgent, so that I must now leave you. I shall be able to call on you again soon. As the object of our conversation was simply to ascertain the truth, I will endeavour to think of your arguments, and as the subject concerns the eternal destiny of the soul, I hope I shall be candid and impartial.
NEW SYSTEM OF MUTUAL INSTRUCTION.
IN Iceland, as we are informed on the authority of the Rev. Dr. Henderson, very few schools exist for the instruction of children ; and yet in scarcely any country is there so great a proportion of the inhabitants who are able to read. This is owing to an almost universal practice of communicatiog instruction in the domestic circle. During the long winter evenings especially, each family is, in a measure, transformed into a school.
* Jere. xxiii. 16 and 17. † Ezek. xii. 22. # Acts xvi. 31.
Luke xii. 4 and 5. 9 John v. 28, 29.
I lately took tea in a family in which I was not only reminded of the custom alluded to, but was also forcibly impressed with the idea that much more might be effected among us in the way of mutual family instruction. Not being a stranger in the family, no change was made on my account, in their usual regulations. Indeed, I was myself invited to join with them in their established practice of communicating some useful fact before rising from table. While walking homeward from the dwelling where science, and benevolence, and piety, and peace, have taken up their abode, how happy, thought I, would it be for our land if every family would adopt a similar course. How greatly would it tend to elevate the character of our countrymen. And why may not such a practice be universally adopted ? Why will not parents and children come prepared “ morning and evening and noon,” each in their turn, to make some useful remark? The celebrated Dr. Franklin informs us, that his father was particularly careful that some profitable subject of conversation should always be introduced at table. A hundred volumes would not be sufficient fully to declare the benefits which would result from the plan proposed. Besides the information which would be obtained, the habit of acquiring and communicating knowledge which would thus be formed, would be of incalculable worth; at first, indeed, the attempt might wear an air of formality, but upon consideration, would flow on as naturally as when none but frivolous topics were introduced. Nor need any member of the family find it difficult to contribute his part. The child from the school on the book which it is perusing, and the parent from the business of the day, or the treasures of memory, could furnish at least three facts daily, worthy of remembrance. One word as to the manner in which this plan should be pursued. So far as possible, it would seem desirable that each individual should observe some system in his communications. He who is reading history, or pursuing a particular science, should endeavour to give a connected view of the subject.
Will not every reader or hearer, before finally condemning this method of mutual instruction, give it at least a few months trial ?
ON THE IMPROPRIETY OF UNBELIEVERS CONDUCTING THE
EXERCISE OF SINGING IN PUBLIC WORSHIP.
HAVING been deeply impressed with the belief that the worship of God, in order to be acceptable in his sight, must be " in spirit and in truth ;" I notice with interest the question, “Is it proper that the exercise of singing in public worship should be conducted by any except christians 5 For the honor of Zion, the writer
desires, in the spirit of meekness, to solicit the attention of his brethren to a serious and candid examination of the modern order of singing in public worship; to determine by the word of truth whether it is agreeable to him who hath said, “ I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.”
To answer this question according to truth, we must consider,
First, The nuture and design of " singing in public worship" according to the word of God :
Secondly, The precepts and examples of that word relative to the subject.
The apostle Peter expresses the nature and design of Christian worship in the following passage; “ Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Here we are plainly taught, 1st. That the house or church of God is of a spiritual or holy nature; that it consists of lively stones, or spiritual members. 2d. That the design of this building, the object and end of this association of spiritual persons, is to offer spiritual or holy sacrifices. The ordinance of praise is one of those spiritual sacrifices, in which believers of the truth of God are to “sing with the spirit and the un derstanding,” the matchless deeds of wisdom, love and power Jehovah wrought, when he gave his Son for rebels, and when he “rais. ed us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
In this ordinance we publicly profess faith in Christ, love to God, and holy fellowship one with another. We call upon the “ great God” to “attend while Zion sings," assuring him " we wait to feel his grace, to see his glories shine.” We positively declare, in the presence of him who searcheth the heart, and in the presence of angels and men, that we love God's holy law, that it is our daily delight, and that with our whole heart we have sought him.-Ps. 119, 13th part. We assure the Holy One of Israel that we "hate the sinners' road,” and “ choose the path of heavenly truth.” We profess our mutual love, and fellowship in the truth, declaring that our “ fears, our hopes, our aims are one;" and we appeal to the God of truth, that he hath seen our souls sincere.-Ps. xviii. 1.
Now we may ask, is it proper for any except Christians to join in these solemn professions of holy faith and love in public worship? If indeed our design in singing is to exhibit the skill and melody of the human voice, and to fill the ear with harmonious air, then it is consistent to call upon those “ that chaunt to the sound of the viol" to amuse us with their exhibitions of musical science, although they may profane the ordinance of God, and mock the holy majesty of heaven with a solemn sound upon a thoughtless tongue. But if our design in singing in the public worship of God is “to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” we can consistently call upon those only who, by a surrender of their hearts to God, are qualitied to offer these sacrifices. If we design to exhibit the true character of divine worship, we ought not to manifest any fellowship with the unholy. Let every unprejudiced mind judge whether we are not practically denying the truth we profess, viz. that the ordinances of the Lord's house are holy, and that repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, are essential to worship, while we encourage the impenitent to unite with us in the ordinacne of public praise.
Let us now examine the precepts and examples of the word of truth relative to this subject.
The Apostle Paul gives particular directions to the churches, respecting this holy and heavenly part of christian worship. To the church at Ephesus he says, “ be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.” Eph. 5, 18. To the Collosians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Col. 3, 16. To the Corinthians, "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” 1 Cor. xiv. 15. With divine authority, he solemnly commanded the church at Corinth, be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness; and what communion hath light with darkness ?” 2 Cor. vi. 14. And by the same authority, he commanded Timothy to turn away from such as had the form of godliness, but denied the power thereof. 2 Tim. iii. 5. Let us also hear “ the faithful witness on this subject.
« God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John iv. 24.
In addition to these passages, we may consider the declaration of divine truth, " Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John iii. 3. It is manifest, that by the kingdom of God, our Lord meant his church on earth; that no man can discern the spiritual nature and glory, or participate in the spiritual privileges and joys of his church, without being born of the Spirit. This is generally conceded by those who are taught of God. But we may ask, why are the unrenewed disqualified for the church of Christ? Is it not because they are disqualified to engage in the holy worship of that church ? Are they not unfit for a place in the spiritual temple, because they are unfit to offer the spiritual sacrifices of that temple? If they are qualified to unite with the church in offering holy sacrifices, why are they not qualified for membership? What more, indeed, does a true member of Christ's church profess, than to offer the spiritual sacrifices of his house ? Can we make a difference between the ordinances of God's house, and say that the ordinance of praise is not as holy as that of the Lord's
supper; believers may unite with us in the former, although it would be sacrilege to unite with us in the latter ? Is not praising God as holy a part of worship as any other? Do we not profess to approach as near the holy majesty in this act of devotion as in any other ? Certainly this part of our worship approximates more than any other to that of the celestial temple. The inference appears plain and forcible; those whose hearts are « not right in the sight of God,” ought to have no more part or lot in this exercise of Christian worship than they have at the Lord's table. In both ordinances the same professions