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reflection he may also be led to see that such “ twaddling" and “irreverent" writers in the small fry of religious periodicals," whoever they happen to be, may now fairly claim priestly precedents for both qualities. What do our readers say to the following, from the pen of a writer whose bump of veneration is so largely developed ?
“ What would have become of mankind if the world had not been constructed in anticipation of the fall, it is truly distressing to contemplate. Though it would have been entirely unnecessary on the original plan of the world, the centre of our globe is filled with liquid fire; in this fire all the elements will be melted, and the old world boiled young again. Then will emerge the second Eden: the waves of the sea will no more beat against the shore, thistles will be exterminated, carnivorous animals will refuse everything but hay, and cats will fondle mice without any sneaking intentions to devour them; the trees will never cast their leaves; dog roses will make room for standards ; there will be no more pain, peril, or potato blight.”
Probably the foregoing samples of the reverend Essayist's taste and temper will suffice. We therefore, as a parting word, com. mend to his careful attention the rule of controversy which he so solemnly enjoins upon all his readers-italics, capitals, and all“Never affirm what you know to be false ; never affirm what you do not KNOW to be true."
B, C. M.
“ We also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses."-Heb. xii. 1.
How wonderful this statement in relation to our position as servants or sufferers ! Can it be that you and I, dear fellow-pilgrim, in our little “ loop-holes of retreat," are the objects of interested watching, not only to our God, whose eyes are in every place, but to a vast multitude, such as "time would fail ” an apostle " to tell of ?" We are assured that such is the case. Paul said of himself and his companions in tribulation, that they were made "a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men." And here we find him extending this statement to the circumstances of every Christian “ racer."
Since then our course is the subject of remark to a class of persons whom we do not see, we may well be desirous to know who they are, and what kind of remarks they are likely to make.
Looking back to the eleventh chapter, we see that the Apostle is referring to those who have gone before us in the pathway of promise; who died in faith ; who are living now in faith ; who wait until we, their followers, shall be "made perfect" with them.
1. They have gone before us in the pathway of promise, "our fathers trusted." We are not the first who have built their hopes, and shaped their course by the Word of God; we are not the first who have gone forth "not knowing whither;" we are not the first who have encountered disappointments, endured trials, persevered through difficulties, "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth," earnestly desiring "a better country." Nay, the path is well trodden; "these all" have gone the same way to rest. And as they look down on us, struggling far behind, do we not seem to hear them say courage, dear friends! you are on the right road?"
2. They "died in faith." The promised good was not realized to the full on earth; not one had received it when called away. But they yielded not their trust in the hour of death, it accompanied them into the unseen world. Speak they not to us, beloved? "Take heed lest you limit the faithful Promiser to your own time; nor think the blessing comes too late, if you see it not through the dim glass of earthly vision." Perhaps many of the prayers we now found on the promise of God, may not be evidently answered ere we die; if so, let the thought of this great cloud of witnesses, who "all died in faith, keep our trust buoyant and strong."
3. They live now in faith. A little light is here thrown upon the present state of those "not lost, but gone before." With them faith is still in exercise, not yet turned to sight; they are still expecting" some better thing." But the happiness of that state is, that faith is now unmixed with unbelief; it is not contending with sense, not maintaining a struggle of grace against nature, but faith calm, triumphant, God-glorifying. And do not those believers on the other side of Jordan encourage us to trust on, trust ever?
4. They are waiting until we who follow after shall be "made perfect" with them. No wonder they are such interested spectators of our progress! Their own share of the promise cannot be fully realized until we join their ranks; until God's elect shall be gathered from the four winds, their discipline ended, their course fulfilled, and they all prepared to be glorified together with Christ Jesus. And oh, we think they must often be saying to us, on their own account, as well as ours,
"Haste ye on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer;
God's own hand shall guide you there!"
Yes, we are "compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses," who all testify that He is faithful who hath promised.
EXPOSITORY NOTES ON SCRIPTURE LESSONS.
JULY 5TH. THE COMPASSION OF JESUS. For Repetition.—Matt. ix. 28-30. Reading Lesson.—Matt. ix. 27-38.
In the whole history of Christ we see his compassion, but in the lesson, three illustrations of it require attention,
First. The Blind MEN.
As Jesus was leaving the house of the ruler, two blind men, probably begging by the wayside, heard who he was. They had heard much of his wonderful deeds, especially of what he had just done in the ruler's house; and without hesitation they followed him with incessant cries, to awaken his compassion to themselves, ver. 27.
They accosted him as the Messiah, having learned from prophecy something of the Messiah's benevolence and power. Into the house, therefore, they pressed, urging their suit. Their addressing him as the Son of David was remarkable, since up to this time nobody had so addressed him.
He did not at once attend to their cry; and when he did, it must first be shown that they really had the faith which their address betokened. The question, ver. 28, indicated the compassion of the Saviour, inasmuch as it showed that he was not thinking exclusively of their physical malady. He pitied their spiritual condition. If they believed in him, not only would their bodily sight be restored, spiritual sight would also be given. They would know Christ, have his salvation, and rejoice in him,
It is observable that the Saviour put the success of their cure upon the reality of their professed faith. It was well for them that they had dealt truly with Jesus. If they had not really believed, their blindness would have remained.
And the thing believed was that Christ could cure them. Compare this question of Christ's with the apostle's language about the miracle they wrought, Acts iii. 12, 16. Application for Christ's mercy must be earnest, persevering, believing. He is gracious to all who thus seek his mercy. His compassion, like his power, knows no bounds.
Secondly. The Dumb Max.
There was much in the case of the dumb man possessed with a devil, to excite compassion. His dumbness was the effect of his being possessed. He had in all probability been able to talk before the demon entered into him. The power which deprived him of speech kept him from everything else useful or happy,
He was deprived probably of his reason, for others brought him to the Saviour. He was not able, nor inclined to apply for his own
The Saviour saw him, pitied him, healed him at once.
In the history of him who went about doing good, works of compassion and power followed close upon each other. He was never weary.
Treasures of mercy were hid in him, which, however often they enriched and blessed others, were never exhausted. The man's cure was complete at once. He talked rationally, fluently. The people wondered ; the Pharisees blasphemed; but Jesus pursued still his errand of mercy. No condition is too bad for Christ to pity and relieve. Rely on Christ's exhaustless mercy, and seek it.
Thirdly. THE NEGLECTED MULTITUDES.
The compassion of the Saviour was now awakened by misery greater than that of physical maladies. These maladies were regarded as types,—the one of a worse than natural blindness; the other of a subjection to the devil more fearful than tyranny over the body. The compassion, which in both cases pitied and relieved, reaches to this greater evil. Christ enlightens the mind, sets the soul free, and supplies spiritual wants.
The crowds that flocked around Jesus presented a pitiable scene to his view. They were uncared for by their professed instructors. They were wearying themselves with burdensome and costly sacrifices. They were far off from God, and did not know how to find relief under their burdens.
Like sheep that wander from the fold, and that continue to wander; exposed to peril from beasts of prey; never returning; perishing in the wilderness, unless the shepherd find them.
Such is the condition of men without the gospel.
In these multitudes there was one thing that deepened the Saviour's compassion. They seemed anxious for knowledge. The Saviour suggests this thought in the figure used in ver. 37. Ripening corn in the field, craves, as it were, the labour of the harvestmen. What a scene for pity! The Saviour rightly estimated it. And he compassionated it. Hence his earnestness and zeal. Hence his prayer, and his direction to the apostles to pray. Pity, and try to instruct those who show by their conduct that they have not received the gospel. Think of the sad state of the world without the gospel. Be thankful that you have the gospel. Pray for those who are without the gospel, and do what you can to send it to them.