Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

by three or four others, these were joined by the man who lay on the grass, and Mary pointed to the rainbow, which was still brightly visible in the heavens, and reflected in the water near the tents. The Gipsy girl had, no doubt, related her adventure with me under the shed, and I felt confident that at the moment she pointed to the rainbow, she was again repeating the lines she had learned.

As I gazed myself on the colored arch that bestrode the heavens, I felt a hope, a joy, a confidence, that the Gipsy girl would, one day, not only repeat her prayer, but obtain the heavenly knowledge for which she supplicated.

Having occasion to visit an adjoining county, I never saw the Gipsy girl again, but Farmer Blunt wrote me word, that about a fortnight after I left the neighbourhood, a young girl, with very black hair, drest in an old ragged coat, called at his house, and left a posy of wild flowers for the gentleman," and that the flowers were tied together with a piece of old dirty red riband.

Never since then have I gazed on a rainbow without calling to mind poor Mary, the Gipsy girl, and fancying that her voice was at the moment repeating the words :

O Thou who madest the beauteous bow,
That all around thy love might know;
Instruct me, while the sight I see,
To know, and love, and trust in Thee,

THE HISTORY OF REDEMPTION.

LETTER VII.

MY DEAR FATHER,-When I wrote to you on man's distinction from the inferior animals, I think that I did not express myself with suitable emphasis in regard to that loftiest of all elevations on which man stands, pre-eminently distinguished from the brute creation-I mean his relation to his Maker as a religious being.

I sincerely thank you for putting into my hands “Edwards's History of Redemption,” a book which explains the entire Bible. I think you will easily excuse me if I make this letter little else than a simple transcript of what I remember of the wondrous things that have been opened to my view by the perusal of this very instructive book. I have been particularly struck with two sentiments. The first is that every act of Providence since the first transgression, has been preparatory to the coming of Christ. The next is the admirable manner in which one dispensation glides into another, in manifestations brighter and still brighter, till He shone forth who was and is the glory of the Lord, full of grace and truth.

The Divine purpose in creating the world was to set up a kingdom in which his sovereignty should be glorified. He therefore formed a being called man, of perfect intelligence and purity. But Satan, full of malignity and envy, discovered his intention of establishing a rival dominion. To gratify this desire he exercised the utmost ability of his cunning craftiness to seduce man from his allegiance. Alas! he succeeded. A presumptuous attempt to obtain forbidden knowledge reduced man to his present state of dishonor, in which his heart is enmity against God, and the victim of whatever is tormenting in a sense of implacableness and a consciousness of guilt. When angels rebelled they were instantly consigned to a place of darkness for ever, while man, designed to illustrate the reign of grace, was graciously preserved from ruin. Christ, who had before all worlds foreseen his disobedience, immediately stepped in between the culprit and the curse, undertook to render the price of man's redemption, and to fit him for a more glorious kingdom. In anticipation of this price Jehovah gave the kingdom to his Son; angels were committed to his direction, and Providence was placed under his control, when he thus became Mediator between God and man.

How these agents were employed in the prosecution of his regal purposes will be seen by noticing some of those dispensations which are leading to his final triumphs. Let us trace the progress of redemption from the fall to the deluge from Noah to the calling of Abraham, and thence to the end of the Jewish Polity.

1. The first space of time marked by the history of Redemption extends from the fall to the deluge.

During this period, it appears that the Divine anthority was maintained chiefly by patriarchal communications, and a

supernaturally visible form of divinity, called “ The Image of the invisible God." The appointment of sacrifices was the first symbolical representation of Messiah's death as a propitiation for sin. The translation of Enoch must have been to the antediluvian saints, a pledge of a future state of enjoyment, which was to be the ultimate portion of a righteous man. “ Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." But while the church enjoyed the state of prosperity which I have just supposed, Satan was busy with the minds of men. He now attacked their greatest frailty, and it therefore came to pass

that the “ sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose.” So great was the apostacy springing out of these unhallowed alliances, that one family only in the whole world found favor in the sight of God. Then was the church in the utmost danger of perishing, for “ the earth was filled with violence.” But while the evil spirit was triumphing in the success of his malignant schemes, the great Redeemer rescued his people by destroying their enemies from off the earth. We have St. Peter's authority for regarding the flood as a type of Christ's redemption, and for saying that that water which cleansed the world, which cleared it of transgressors, and which was so abundant as to overflow the highest mountains, is indeed a suitable type of that flood of mercy which is

Deep as our helpless miseries are,

And boundless as our sins.2. The next series of events to be noticed are those which occurred between the time of the flood and the calling of Abraham.

Immediately after that awful event the covenant was renewed with Noah, How affecting and sublime must have been the situation of the Patriarch when the ark rested on Mount Ararat, and he found himself the only priest of God, and a world in ruins the awful sacrifice before himn! It seems probable that the knowledge of the Divine mind was spread abroad among men during this period, in a manner similar to that in which it was announced in the preceding age. The chief event that advanced the kingdom of the Mediator was the subversion of the project at Babel; for whether this building was to be an idol, or a tower of defence, or a temple for idolatrous worship, is of little consequence, since all are agreed that it was intended to unite the enemies of God in hostile combination against the throne of heaven. Thus did the Redeemer miraculously deliver his people from inimediate extinction; although miraculous energy has now ceased to operate, his kingdom shall rise upon the ruins of every form of antichrist, for sacred truth is still mighty “to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.”

3. The next period already mentioned extends from the call of Abraham to the end of the Jewish polity.

There had been two revelations of the same covenant before, one to our first parents, the other to Noah.

And now it pleased God to reveal his will more fully to Abraham, who is therefore called the Patriarch of a new covenant. God called him from his home, and appointed him the lot of a sojourner in a strange land, a state in which he and his family were least likely to be injured by the contagion of the world's vices. This period divides itself into the Patriarchal and the national forms of moral government.

During the former dispensation the will of God was made known by visions, and the inspiration of holy men. By visions, such as the revelation at Bethel, where Jacob beheld celestial messengers ascending and descending; and at Peniel, where he wrestled with almighty strength and prevailed. By inspiration, I mean such as Joseph's ability to interpret dreams, and the gifts of prophets which enabled them to foretel events yet future. The vigilance of the Saviour in watching over the church was wonderfully displayed during this period, in preserving Isaac, in whom the families of the earth were to be blessed, at a moment when the weapon was whetted, and the stroke uplifted for his destruction ; nor was his care wanting to protect his chosen people during their long sojourn in the land of the enemy.

" When they were but a few men in number, yea, very few, and strangers in the land—when they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." During all this time the light of truth continued increasing, till the great enemy of our happiness a third time clouded the prospects of the church by their captivity in Egypt.

Here again the Divine goodness was strikingly manifested by raising up for them a deliverer in the person of Moses, who miraculously rescued the chosen people from the grasp of oppression, and separated them from the contamination of the vile idolatry, by which they had been greatly injured.

In this period God ruled Israel successively by a lawgiver, by judges, and by kings. In the time of Samuel a sacred order was instituted, called the school of the prophets, chosen members of which continued to shine as stars in Israel, till the Sun of Righteousness obscured them by superior light. In the reign of Solomon a temple was built, and every facility given to prompt obedience to the ceremonial law.

Satan achieved many triumphs in this age, by the frequent apostacies and degradation of Israel. They were led in chains to Babylon, their temple was laid in ruins, and their land rendered a scene of desolation. Again they were restored, and their temple rebuilt under the protection of Cyrus ; yet neither from the mercies nor the judgments of God would they learn obedience. In defiance at once of his smiles and his displeasure, they leaned to their own imaginations; and in the century before the advent of Messiah, the Jews were still a proud, an arrogant, and an infidel race, excepting a mere remnant who waited for the coming of their meek and lowly Redeemer.

1. C. F.

REAL DANGER.

My Young Friends,

Wigton, April 19, 1832. Having read “ Strange Infatuation,”(page 122, April Number) a paper on an interesting subject, but descriptive of an imaginary evil, and supposing, from the effects produced on my mind by it, what would be the effects produced by the

* A cheap edition of Edwards's “ History of Redemption" is publisbed by the Tract Society.-ED.

+ This piece has only just reached us. Ed.

« ZurückWeiter »