« ForrigeFortsæt »
opposite similitudes, than hers are of him, because his love is infinitely more strong, and his skill in commending infinitely greater, and more exquisite, and because withal her jealousies, and suspicions of his love, are not easily removed, nor the persuasions of his so egregious esteem of her easily admitted, though doubtless, he who is the chief of ten thousands, and altogether lovely, hath infinitely the preference and preeminence, whereof, if there were not another, that is a demonstrative, and undeniable evidence, that all the splendour and glory, wherewith she thus shineth, is derived and borrowed by her, as but a little twinkling state from him, that great light the Sun of righteousness. O what will he make of his church when sinless and in heaven, when he makes so much of her, when sinful and on earth! And how incomprehensibly glorious must he be in himself, that puts such passing glory on her!-] These transports of admiration at one another, held forth in the several Behold's, Do's, Who's, and How's prefixed to their respective compellations and commendations:-And finally these vehement joint-longings, to have the marriage consummated and the fellowship immediate, full, and never any more to be interrupted.
From this little hint, may it not be said, that the ravishing passions and passionate ravishings of most, purely spiritual, chaste, and ardent love, burning like coals of juniper, and flaming forth in the excellentest expressions imaginable, do quite surpass, transcend, and out-vey those of the most strongly affectionate lovers in the world, whether wooers, or married persons; nay, these scarcely serve darkly to shadow forth those? For, indeed, this marriage, and marriage-love, betwixt Christ and his church is a great mystery, and deservedly so called, by the apostle: The incarnation of the Son of God, with what he was made, died and suffered out of mere free love to the elect, that he might bring about and accomplish this blest match betwixt him and them, and so bestow all his purchase, nay, himself on them; this, this I say, is without all controversy the great mystery of godliness: O the heighth and the depth, the breadth and length of the love of Christ, whereof, when all that can be said of it, were it by the tongues of men and angels is said, that must needs be said, that it is a love which passeth
knowledge: who can speak suitably, and as he ought of this noble, notable, and non-such subject, the love of Christ to his church, that breathes so sweetly and strongly throughout this Song, and that doth by its sovereign influence so powerfully draw forth the church's love after him: a heart bedrenched with, and a tongue and pen dipped in the sense of this love, would do well; sure the reading, writing, speaking, hearing, and meditating of this song, treating of so transcendently excellent a theme, and in so spiritually sublime and lofty a strain, calls for a most spiritual and divine frame of heart; to the attaining whereof, that the author might help himself and others, he did, as from one principal motive, pitch on this book, and preach on it at great length to the people of his charge. in Glasgow: (in which sermons, he went through pleasant variety of much choice, and rich matter, wonderfully suited to the seve. ral cases of his hearers, especially of the most seriously and deeply exercised Christians;) and thereafter lecture on it more shortly, only opening up the meaning of the text, and giving some succinct, but very sweet notes from it, designing; (at the urgent importunity of several friends, who had been much refreshed by his larger sermons) these lectures for the more public edification of the church; by which also he speaketh now the third time more particularly to the people of Glasgow, on this precious subject. I suppose I may without vanity say, that the frame of his spirit did in a good measure suit such a spiritual purpose, and was more and more spiritualized by his conversing in, and handling of it: he was a disciple whom Jesus much loved; and who by very intimate and familiar acquaintance with him, was privileged to lean, as it were, on his bosom; most dearly also did he love his master; and from a principle of sincere love to him, watchfully, and tenderly feed his sheep and lambs. He did withal, as a special friend of the Bridegroom, stand by to hear his voice, having therein his joy fulfilled, and was effectually taught the excellent art of commending the Bridegroom, and of wooing a Bride for him; so that this much beloved and very loving disciple, was fitted beyond many of his fellows to treat of the love betwixt Christ and his Church. O that the reading of this savoury comment on this
sweetest and most spiritual text, may, according to the author's desire and design through God's blessing, contribute to make those that are after the flesh to be after the Spirit, and those that are after the Spirit, as to their state, to mind more the things of the Spirit, as to their frame! Sure there was never more need; for, alas! we are generally undone, through a great remainder of the carnal mind, which is death, and are lamenbly little spiritually minded, though to be so be life and pesawa It may verily be doubted, if there hath been any generation of Christians before this, that have so little minded the things of the Spirit, and have so strongly favoured the things of the flesli, that have set their affections so little on things above, and so much on things on the earth, notwithstanding of so many and mighty pullings of Providence at them.
I hope, noble Madam, with whomsoever this piece shall fali short of the author's aim, it shall not with you, to whom he dosigned the dedication of it, as he shewed to an intimate frienza on his death-bed; it is true, he did not very much please deai catory epistles, as savouring often, in his opinion, somewhat of adulation; yet such was the true sense of his singular oblike tions to your Ladyship, and the deep conviction of the since 167 and eminency of the grace of God in you, (whom looking on as indeed a mother in our Israel, he thought it a privilege to lace his only daughter, after her mother's death, a while under yor educating inspection, of whom you had no reason to be ashame, she having more especially betwixt that time and her deatri; though but very young, in modesty, sobriety, gravity, humility, self-deniedness, and in the serious and profound exercise of godliness resembled her blest father to the life, whom through grief for his death she did not long out-live) that he resolica to dedicate this piece to you: which part of his latter will, I durst hot bút fulfil; and had I been with any such predetermination left to my own choice, your ladyship would have been th: very person pitched upon, not only on the account of my ?-isband's, and my own esteem of you, but also of your constantly contirard kindness to his family since his death.
Let me, Madam, say it, for provoking you to be yer more for God, and to exercise yourself yet further unto godliness,
that your praise is much in the churches of Christ, as otherwise, so through several dedications of books, and missive letteřs now printed and published from some of the most faithful and famous men in this church, whereby all readers of them are some way alarmed to inquire what this Lady of honour may be, that hath been in so high esteem with so holy, grave, and discerning men. Since your religion is thus talked of, and spread abroad in several places, (so that I need say nothing) I hope you will endeavour through grace, in the frame of your spirit, and in your whole deportment to suit this savoury, report that hath
of you; and that not in order to the getting or keeping such a name for yourself, but as the native, necessary, and unconstrained result of the power of the life of the grace of God within, and in order to the glorifying of him, by whom you were called, and that betimes, even in the morning of your days, to the fellowship of Jesus Christ our Lord by the Gospel; wherein he hath graciously helped you now these forty years and upwards, as, I suppose, under all the times, changes, and revolutions, that have gone over you (which have not been few, nor inconsiderable) to continue steadfast, without any back-drawing, wavering, shrinking or staggering, reflecting upon, or blemishing your holy profession, and to follow the Lord fully; a Fare and singular mercy, which but few professors of such old standing, especially in these days, have obtained.
Let all the favour and grace you have found in his sights and all the respect you have had from his choice servants make
you constantly speak yourself thus in the ear, Should such a pierson as I, do that which would displease him, and make any that seek him, sad or ashamed for my sake? And, what manner of person ought I to be, in all holy conversation and godliness.
Now, 'Madam, that it may be thus with your Ladyship, and that you may be fat and flourishing, bringing forth fruit in old age,
that you may in waiting on God, renew your strength, run and not be weary, walk and not faint, yea, mount up with wings,
as the eagle, putting forth fresh strength in this last stage of your race, and that it may be the one thing done by you; and alf the Lord's people, to forget the things that are behind, to reach forth unto the things that are before, árid to press hard
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in. Christ Jesus, is the desire of,
Right honourable, your Ladyship's singulafly obligede debtor, for all duties of love and service,
CORRESPONDENCE-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY OF SMYRNA.
A sketch, however slight, of one of the seven cities, which has contended for the privilege of being designated as the natal spot of HOMER, cannot be viewed with indifference by any individual, who aspires to the title of a clas. sical scholar. Smyrna, moreover, when regarded by the gaze of commercial enterprize, is one of the most interesting objects, discoverable among the glories of the Spicy East; profuse of its balm, of its odour, and of that celestial drug which quells the throb of anguish, allays the heat of the heart, gilds the dream of the poet, and mocks all the reasoning of the philosopher:
Extract of a letter from a gentlemañ in Foggia. DEAR SIR;
My passage from Malta to Smyrna was extremely pleasant, the first land we saw was Candia (ancient Crete); we coasted along this, and after leaving it, passed successively in sight of almost all the islands in the Archipelago. The isle of Patmos where St. John wrote the Apocalypse, is small and barren, and Delphos so celebrated for the beautiful temple of Apollo is scarcely any thing but a rock, and has few or no inhabitants upon it; remains of this fine temple are still seen on this island. These islands with a few exceptions have a barren appearance, and perhaps their being so in reality may account for the warlike and restless spirit of the ancient Greeks who inhabited them. The scanty productions of their own soil induced them to make predatory incursions upon their neighbours; and their island afforded them a safe retreat with their booty. Mytelene is one of