Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“ his

distribution of the epistle proposed by our Bro. Aquila. I then ask James to connect what you have said with the question, “Shall we sin, not being under law, but under favor ?

James.--I do not see how grace, or forgiveness of past sins, could be an inducement to any one to sin who loves the Lord. Indeed, the meaning of the exclamation, “God forbid," or, as it has been explained to us, “Let it not be!" or, Far be it !would seem to teach its impossibility. In that case, we should be the servants of the Devil, and not the servants of the Lord; for Paul says, servants ye are whom ye obey."

Olympas.--And this he argues to the end of the sixth chapter. But one of his main points you have not quoted. What, Henry, think you is that?

Henry.--Unless it be, “Sin shall not reign over you, for you are not under law, but under grace," I cannot tell.

Olympas.---That is, indeed, the great enunciation, which makes all easy, when properly understood.

James.--I see it now more clearly. That is the reason, I presume, why the seventh chapter opens with the discussion of the nature and extent of the dominion of the law.

Olympas.--You are right, and that is the lesson on hand. The dominion of the law, or its power to condemn, can only extend to those under it. If christians are under the law, they are, of course, under the reign and power of a guilty conscience as often as they transgress, in letter or spirit, its pure and holy commands, or come short of its just and reasonable requisitions, when convicted of the one or the other.

Now, the all-absorbing point of interest, to every awakened mind, is, How shall I enjoy uninterrupted peace with God, and a living, cheering, triumphing hope in Christ, while seeing the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as still dwelling in me? Would you, Bro. Aquila, state to these young disciples, with their youthful companions here present, in your pleasant style, you views of this important subject ?

Aquila.—More pleased to hear than to speak on this all-impor. tant theme, so thrillingly interesting to us all, I comply, with some degree of reluctance, to your request, hoping, however, to elicit more light than I can impart, by my remarks.

In the sixth chapter, as aforesaid, Paul assures his readers, that when any sinner heartily obeys the christian doctrine, he is like melted mettle cast into a new mould. He bears a new impression and character. As an English “ sovereign," when re-cast and pressed

by an American die or mould, receives a new image and superscription, and becomes an American "eagle."

At conversion, or transformation, the sinner is freed from the guilt of his former sin, and becomes the “servant of righteousness.” He is also freed from the tyranny of sin, and, having become a servant of God, he has his present fruit (his works) to holiness, and at the end, he enjoys everlasting life, and all this by his new connexion with Jesus Christ our Lord.

While, then, death is the true and proper “wages of sin," eternal life is not the wages of his righteousness, but “ the generous gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Here, most appropriately, the apostle introduces the figure of the married woman, as bound, by the marriage covenant, to her husband for life. Nothing can free her from his sovereignty while he lives. But, having died, she is free to marry another.

Exactly so in this case. All Jews and Gentiles under any divine law, oral or written, so soon as converted to Christ, are married to him—“have died to that law, by the body of Christ,” that they may be married to bin who rose from the dead, and by this new marriage have a new issue, worthy of God; and they themselves enjoy everlasting life.

It is, indeed, unimportant to the argument, whether the man or woman die. It is here used as a mere figure, and, therefore, I see po necessity for the minuteness of some critics, in protecting the law from being killed by the death of Christ. I frame no argument on such mere verbal criticisms.

Ore point is incontrovertibly evident--that all in Christ are out of Moses, as a lawgiver or king. The church is the spouse of Christ, and not of Moses. Still, the law of Moses is holy, just, and good, and requires holiness, justice, and goodness, absolute and perpetual, on the part of those who would live under it with acceptance to God. It manifests sin as a very great sinner-a monster, in opposing a beautiful, good, and perfect law. Here, then, our great apostle gives the experience of every enlightened Jew under that law. attest the truth of Paul's reasonings by my own experience. It was with me, under that law, exactly as Paul says it was with him.

My own experience, in my more enlarged vision of the law, was this: I felt that it was spiritual—that it required a spiritual mindwhich I had not. That which I did, I did not, on reflection, approve, because, what I did was not exactly what I desired to do. Nay, I did that which, on retrospection, I hated. I thus approved the law

I can

and condemned myself. Thus I acknowledged the goodness and rectitude of the law.

I found, indeed, that I myself, and my sinful heart, or my fleshly heart-called by our Master Paul the flesh, or sin- I willing, and I desiring, was not I doing ; but my fallen and corrupt heart was doing wrong, while I, willing and approving, could not, by this sinful frailty, execute my own purposes, nor even please myself. To desire to do good, was always easy, but to do it sccording to my own approbation, I found impossible. So that, in truth, it was as a law to me to violate, or come short of, the good, and holy, and perfect law of God. With our apostle, I could say, and as a christian I can say: “When desirous to do good, that evil is near me."

In truth, I as a Jew, and now much more as a Christian, can say, that I take pleasure in the law of God, as respects the inner or spiritual man; but I perceive a principle, sinful and fallen, in every member of my body, still conflicting against this law and purpose of my mind, and making me a captive to this evil principle, this impulse or law to sin, which is in my members; and with Paul exclaim, What a wretch I am ! Who shall deliver me from this body of death, this mass of corruption in my fallen nature! I thank God, that such now is my faith and hope in God, that through the merits and through the spirit of Christ Jesus my Lord, I shall be delivered. Wherefore, then, I myself prefer the new man, with my mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin.

Olympas.--We shall resume this subject in our next. A. C.

THE NUMBER SEVEN. On the 7th of the 7th month a holy observance was ordained to the children of Israel, who feasted 7 days and remained 7 days in tents, the 7th year was directed to be a Sabbath of rest for all things; and at the end of 7 times 7 years commenced the grand jubilee; every 7th year the land lay fallow; every 7th year there was a grand release from all debts, and bondsmen were set free. From this law may have originated the custom of binding young men to 7 years' apprenticeship, and of punishing incorrigible offenders by transportation of 7, twice 7, and three times 7 years. Every 7th year the law was directed to be read to the people. Jacob served 7 years for the possession of Rachel, and, also, another seven years. Noah had 7 days' warning of the flood, and was commanded to take fowls of the air into the ark by sevens, and the clean beasts by sevens. The ark touched the ground on the 7th month, and in 7 days a dove was sent out, and again in 7 days after. The 7 years of plenty and the 7 years of famine were foretold in Pharaoh's dream, by the 7 fat and the 7 lean beasts, and the 7 ears

ats, not to purified by water.

of full and the 7 ears of blasted corn. Miriam was shut up 7 days to be cleansed of her leprosy; the young auimals were to remain with the dam 7 days, and at the end of the 7th to be taken away. By the old law man was commanded to forgive his offending brother 7 times; but the meekness of the last revealed religion extended his humility and forbearance to 70 times 7. “ If Cain shall be revenged 7 fold, truly Lamech 70 times 7.” In the destruction of Jericho 7 priests bore 7 trumpets 7 days. On the 7th they surrounded the walls 7 times, and after the 7th time the walls fell. Balaam prepared 7 bullocks and 7 rams for a sacrifice; 7 of Sauls sons were hanged to stay a famine. Laban pursued Jacob 7 days' journey. Job's friends sat with him 7 days and 7 nights, and offered 7 bullocks and 7 rams as an atonement for their wickedness. David, in bringing up the ark, offered 7 bullocks and 7 rams. Elijah sent his servant 7 times to look for the cloud; the ark of God remained with the Philistines 7 months. Saul was ordered by Samuel to tarry at Gilgal 7 days; the elders of Jabesh requested Nahash the Ammonite 7 days respite. Jessee made 7 of his sons pass before Samuel; the men of Jabesh Gilead fasted 7 days for Saul. The Shunamite's son raised to life by Elisha sneezed 7 times! Hezekiah, in cleansing the temple, offered 7 bullocks, and 7 rams, and 7 he-goats for a sin-offering. The children of Israel, when Hezekiah took away the strange altars, kept the feast of unleavened bread 7 days. King Ahasuerus had 7 chambermaids, 7 days' feast, sent for the queen on the 7th day. Queen Esther had 7 maids to attend her; in the 7th year of his reign Esther was taken to him. Solomon was 7 years building the temple, at the dedication of which he fasted 7 days. In the tabernacle were 7 lamps; 7 days were appointed for an atonement upon the altar; and the priest's son was ordained to wear his father's garments 7 days. The children of Israel ate unleavened bread 7 days. Abraham gave 7 ewe lambs to A bimelech as a memorial for a well. Joseph mourned 7 days for Jacob. The Rabbins say, God employed the power of answering this number to perfect the greatness of Samuel, his name answering the letters in the Hebrew word, which signify whence Hannah, his mother, in her thanks says, “ that the barren had brought forth 7.” Solomon mentions 7 things that God hates, and that the sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than 7 men that can render a reason. The house of wisdom in Proverbs has 7 pillars. The vision of Daniel was 70 weeks. The fiery furnace was made 7 times hotter for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar ate the grass of the fields 7 years, the elders of Israel were 70; the blood was to be sprinkled before the altar 7 times; Naaman was to be dipped 7 times in the Jordan; Apuleius speaks of dipping the head 7 times in the sea for purification. In all solemn rites of purgation, dedication, and consecration, the oil or water was sprinkled 7 times. Out of Mary Magdalene was cast 7 devils. The apostles chose 7 deacons. Enoch, who was translated, was the 7th after Adam, and Jesus Christ the 77th in a direct line. Within the number are connected all the inysteries of the Apoca!ypse revealed to the 7 churches in Asia; there appeared 7 golden candlesticks, and 7 stars in the hand of him

was in 7 lamnb with 7 eyes and 7 horns, 7 angels with 7 seals, 7 kings, 7 thunders, 7 thousand men slain, the dragon with the 7 heads and 7 crowns, the beast with 7 heads, 7 angels bringing ? plagues and phials of wrath. There are also numbered 7 heavens, 7 planets, 7 stars, 7 wise men, 7 champious of christendom, 7 notes of music, 7 primary colors. Pärfection is likened to

;. Anciently a child was not named before 7.: teeth sprung out in the 7th mouth, and are shed (renewed) in the 7th year, when infancy changes to childhood. At thrice 7 years the faculties are developed, manhood commences, man becomes legally competent to all civil acts; at four times 7 a man is in full possession of his strength, at five

[ocr errors]

times 7 a man is fit for the business of the world, at six times 7 he becomes grave and wise, or never, at seven times 7 he is in his apogée, and from that day decays, at eight times 7 he is in his fullest elimateric, or year of danger, and ten times 7, or three score years and ten, has by the royal prophet been pronounced the natural period of human life, and the 7th thousand year is believed by many to be the Sabbatical thousand or Millennium, and on the 7th day God rested from his labors, after creating the heavens and the earth.-Baptist Banner.

The creation of the heavens and the earth in 6 days, and the rest of the 7th, is the divine and original cause of the consecration of this number in Holy Writ.

A. C.

A WORD TO LAWYERS. BAPTISM in water, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as commauded and instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, answers a similar purpose in the Christian Religion, when properly administered to a believing penitent or person of contrite heart, that “Livery of Seisin" did under the old Common Law of England, in the conveyance of estates of freehold-namely, a perfection of title, by corporal delivery of possession through symbol. It is a corporal delivery by symbol the most striking and significant—the mind and heart being right through faith and repentance of the great freehold, viz: remission of sins, by God the grantor, to man the grantee, and an actual investiture of the individual in the righteousness of Christ, with the promised in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit and hope of eternal life, to be retained and attained by a faithful continu. ance in well-doing; walking by fai:h, and not by sight, or hearing, or human conceit, or animal impulse; in the sure and well-attested promises of the Sacred Word, by which, through the Holy Spirit, we are made partakers of the divine nature, and rejoice in the glory of God after death. So I understand the Living Oracles; which, unlike those of the Camæ or Delphi, are not ambiguous, or hard to be understood, on this important subject.

See Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. ij. pp. 311-12_original conveyances, seoffment, &c.—and then consult the following scriptures, where the design of baptism is spoken of as first administered by John the Baptist, to prepare a people for the Lord; to give knowledge of salvation unto saidTM people, by the remission of their sins, and to make known the Lord to Israel. The re-enactment of the same by the Lord himself, after his resurrection, and just before he ascends on high, to be crowned King of the Universe, and Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedek, at the right hand of God; and the interpretation the apostles gave said commission, and the manner in which they carried it into execution after the Lord's assumption: Matthew iii. 5–6; Mark i. 4-5; Luke i. 77, iii. 3; Matthew xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15– 16; Acts of Apostles ii. 38, xxii. 16; Romans vi. 3–4; Galatians iii. 26-27; Colossians ii. 12, 13–14; Titus iii. 5; 1 Epistle of Peter iii. 20–21.

DISCIPULUS.

« ZurückWeiter »