Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

them so.

this point, however, we should take particular notice of the following judicious observation of Mr. M.Ewen : -" The anger of a meek man resembles not gunpowder nor flax, that can mount in a blaze at being touched by a small spark of fire; but it may be compared to green wood, which is not easily blown into a flame; and to a flint, that emits no fire unless struck, and then is soon gone!”

As to the advantages of meekness, some of the principal are the following: -1. It has the express high approbation of God. While other graces are commanded in Scripture, this is spoken of in very peculiar terms of divine estimation : “ The ornament of a week and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Pride and Envy incline many haughty persons to undervalue meekness, and sometimes to call it Cowardice, or Meanness of Spirit; but God sets a high value on it; and what he so much esteems, we should particularly regard. -- 2. It is attended with many peculiar personal bleesings. Christ says, “ Blessed are the meek ;” and his calling then blessed makes

Meek persons are often distinguished by a placid comne tenance; which, perhaps, made Mr. Matthew Henry observe, “That we read only of three in Scripture whose faces shone remarkably ; namely, Moses, Stephen, and Christ; and they were each of them eminent for meekness.Habitual meekness is lavourable to the health of the body, and the comfort of the mind; and the meek are happily free from a variety of evils in which the proud or passionate are continually involving themselves : but it is the soul which is most benefitted by this grace of the Spirit; as we may observe, that the most meek Christians are more hunible, contented, and patient than others; and, in general, they enjoy communion with God and the ordinances of the gospel much better than serious characters of an unpleasant natural temper. In particular, the meek, when in the exercise of faith, live in a great degree above the world. As it is said in Psalm cxlvii. 6, “ The Lord lifteth up the meek ;" that is, they are lifted above most of the storms of life, -- they are favoured wiíh an habitual calm ; and almost every day is a Sabbath to them. Besides all this, their spiritual joys are growing; as it is said in Isa. xxix. I, «« The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord.” — 3. It makes persons much more fit for any relation, condition, or duty in life. Some relations take great liberties with each other, whereby, sometimes, great breaches are made between them; but this would very seldom occur, if they mutually exercised the law of meekness. A meck spirit will induce superiors to be kind and condescending to those beneath them ; and it disposes infcriors readily to submit to the just commands and authority of their superiors. We are liable to sudden alterations in our circumstances ; but changes without, to the meek man, make but little difference : if elevated by prosperity, he is not high-minded; and if reduced, it does not sink his spirits very low. Every branch

of duty is also better performed where there is meekness; as it will keep parents from being too severe to their children; and incline children to be very dutiful to their parents. Meck masters cannot be rigorous to their servants; and when servants are meek, they will study to please those whom they serve. Spiritual duties, such as prayer, praise, meditation, hearing the word, and all other holy exercises, are better performed for meekness.4. It is an honour to religion, and a great recommendation to it. Haughtiness is a disgrace to the profession of the gospel, and highly inconsistent with true godliness; but meekness recommends religion, by shiewing the true spirit of it. If we profess to be true disciples of Christ, it must be proved by a similar temper and disposition; as the Saviour says, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly *.” It is pride or party-spirit which occasions persecution, and most of the dissentions in congregations; but if members of churches and hearers of the word were all meek, there would be scarcely any divisions amongst those who profess the gospel. Nor would there be such violent controversial publications or disputes, if all, of different denominations, possessed a mild and candid spirit.

These are some of the most distinguishing advantages of meek. ness ; but it is absolutely necessary to add some advice :- 1. Let us not deceive ourselves, or be deceived by an artificial meekness. Some seem meek when abroad, --but are very different at honie ; others appear mill and gentie when in serious company, yet are the reverse when amongst companions of a different description. Muy are meek among their superiors; but are laughty where they can shew their authority! If such suppose they possess Christian meekness, they are putting such a cheat upon themselves, as may be fatal, if grace prevent not. It is true indeed, that a meck man, like Moses, when he smote the rock in anger, may, by great provocation, shew an improper spirit ; but it is our babitual conduct which will prove whether we are meek or not. Some also, who are constitutionally mild, may deceive themselves, hy supposing that they have Christian meekness, when their gentleness is only what is commonly called Good-nature. Only such as llave experienced the new birth, and have fith, love, hope, and other graces of the Spirit, have any wellgrounded reason to believe that their ineckness is of the spiritual kind.--9. They who are meek have need to pray for the assistance of the Spirit. There are many serious persons who are naturally irritable': such have the greatest reason to watch and pray for divine assistance. When David's heart was hot within him, le inmedinicly prayed t. Even those who are naturally mild, and spiritually meck, may suddenly be led into evil passions, as our hearts are depraved, the times trying, and the situation of some Christians particularly so. Under a due sense of these humiliating truths, the meelest should not trust in themselves to maintain * Mat. xi. 29.

+ Rs. xxxix. 3,

their meekness. Indeed, as Christian meekness is in Gal. v 23, expressly called a Fruit of ihe Spirit, there is the greatest propriety in offering up fervent prayers to God, that he would grant us his holy Spirit so to help our infirmities, that our meekness may be guarded, strengthened, and increased. Buckingham.

G. G. S.

REMARKS,
IN ANSWER TO ENQUIRIES ON I TIM. IV. 10.

[ocr errors]

One of your Correspondents having read " That God is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe," was led from a difficulty which presented itself to his mind, to suspect either the faithfulness of our public version, or the purity of the present Greek text; and on reference to the various readings in his New Testament, found that one MS. in New College, Oxford, instead of the word which our translators have rendered Saviour (owing) had another word, which signifies Father (mutne); and then asks, “ What antiquity and authority has that MS. and this last reading? Does it not best agree with the context and the general sense of the Bible?" If you deen the following Remarks, in answer to this enquiry, of any importance, you will oblige me by inserting them.

Your Correspondent seems to have mistaken the import of the word Saviour in this text, understanding it, in its most popular and important sense, to express Salvation from sin and hell; whereas the Greek word signifies Deliverer, Protector, Preserver, as well as Saviour; and these senses are given of the word by many commentators. Doddridge's note is, " Saviour of all Men. This seems a title parallel to that in Job vii. 20, “ Preserver of Men;" but he is especially the Saviour of believers, as he extends to them the noblest and most important deliverance.” This Scripture (1 Tim. iv. 10) expresses Gol's general and kind regards to his creatures; and also ihe special love and care which he manifests for believers. Of those we read, “ Tint his tender mercies are over all his works, be preserveth man and heast:” of these ; “ the eyes of the Lord are upon the righto ous, and his ears are open to their cry.

The angel of the Lord! encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." The whole world abounds with proots of God's prescrying care; and the Bible gives indubitable evidence of Goi's special love to his people:-witness Noah in the deluge ; Lot at the overthrow of Sodom ; Elijah secreted from Ahab's fury, and for by ravens; Daniel in the lion's den ; and the three children, wrapi in the fierce fames of a furnace.

God is the Saviour (i. e. Preserver, Protector, Deliverer) of all men: he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked; he feeds wretches with his bounty who turn it into wantonness; he lays lis delivering hand upon thoughtless and guilty men who are taking desperate steps to their own ruin, and plucks them back when they are just filling from a precipice: he is indeed their Saviour, but the salvation is altogether temporal. But bad men may reasonably fear they shall be forsaken of God, and left destitute of his providential protection. They have no real security for what they possess, nor any just ground to expect further appearances of God on their belialf. No; it is to the faithful only such blessings are secured. God is especially the Saviour (i.l. Preserver, Protector, Deliverer) of such ; and Paul seems to found this sentiment upon a faithful, and perhaps very common, saying in those times, the truth of which was asserted in the Scriptures, and abundantly proved by the history of good men, and, therefore, worthy of all acceptation, “ That godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as that which is to come.”

66 Therefore," says the apostle, we labour and suffer, trusting in him who is by promise, respecting the life that now is, our Friend and Saviour.” He treats them with peculiar care and tenderness ; he will never forsake nor abandon them to the evils of the present world, -- will continue to them the present blessings they enjoy, or turn their troubles and sufferings into substantial blessings !he has promised to be their God and Guide to death ; and after death to be their exceeding great reward !

Understanding the word Saviour in this sense, I conclude that no correction of the text is necessary. It perfectly harmonizes with “ the context and the general sense of the Bible.” If your Correspondent should think otherwise, and still prefer the reading (of Father instead of Saviour) in the New College MSS. I should be happy satisfactorily to answer his questions respecting the antiquity of this MS. and authority of that reading. There are three MSS. in New College, Oxford. One contains the Gos. pels only; another the Acts, and all the Epistles ; and the third contains the Acts and Catholic Epistles. *As the enquiry relates to a verse in Timothy, it is to the second of these MSS. we must refer. Extracts were first given from these MSS. in the London PO yglot, and these were afterwards revised by Mills; but even then the accounts of them were very confused. Wetstein, in his second volume, p. 459, gives a clearer account of them.“ By which,” says Michaelis, - I shall abide, as he probably paid all possible attention to a subject in which he attempted not only to correct the faults of his predecessors, but his own. He saw these MSS. in 1715; but it does not appear that he deemed any of them worthy of a collation. He has marked them all as modern." Michaelis observes, respecting the MS. to which this enquiry relates, “ That it has different readings (particularly Heb. vi. 2. and Eph. ii. 3.) which are very remarkable, whether genuine or spurious : if spurious, they are at least ingenious conjectures of the copyist; but are no recommendation of the readings of this MS. considered as evidence."

ASIATICUS.

Evangelicana.

surance.

ON ASSURANCE.
[From the Rev. Ralph Erskine’s Sermon on FAITH'S PLEA,

Vol. V, Sermon Lxxxvii, p. 477.] “ But I want assurance of all these things," may one say. Well, what mean you by that, unan, woman, that you want assurance? I suppose that many do not understand themselves, when they say they want assurance ; for what better assurance would you have than the word of God? If you have his word, and take his word, you need no better as.

"If a man of credit, whom you can depend upon, give you his word for such a thing, then you depend upon it; and say you are assured of it, for you have his word. There is an assurance of sense, that is, the assurance of the work, when you have got the thing promised. This is not properly assurance, it is enjoyment; but the assurance of faith is the assurance of a word : and though the assurance of sense be sweetest, yet the assurance of faith is the surest assurance ; for what you get in hand you may soon lose the comfort of it; but what you have upon bond in the promise, is still secure. If you take God's promise, you have the best assurance in the world; but if you say you want faith, you cannot take his word, or trust his words then this is plain dealing: I fear this indeed isę the case of the most. Then you want assurance indeed; because you want faith, and cannot take his word, nor give him so much credit : but if any be saying, “ That, indeed, is my case," I cannot believe his word. Doth God

say nothing to me? Is there any word suited to my case ? Yos; there are promises of faith, as well as to it: “I will leave in the inidst of them a poor and aflicted people; and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. În bim shall the Gentiles trust *. Hath the Author of faith so promised ? Then, O take him at his word! Cry for fajth ; saying,“ Lord, do as thou hast said."

* Zeph: iii. 2. Dr. Owen makes the following Remarks on the Method or Order which the

Holy Spirit hus adopted in the Scripiures : Some men find fault with the Scriptures, because divine truths are not thrown into regular order, as in our catechisms. Tbus, one is reported to have said, “That bad he been present at the creation of the universe, he would have disposed some things in a better order; for vain man would be wise, though he is like the wild asses colts.” And no wiser or better are their thoughts, that the revelation and supernatural truths might have been better disposed than they are in Scripture. God puts not such value on mens' accurate methods as they imagine them to deserve. Nor are they SO subservient to his ends in the revelation of himself as they are apt to fancy;

; yea, often when they think they bave brought truths inio the strictest propriety of expression and order, they lose both their power and their glory. Hence is the world filled with so many lifeless, sapiess, graceless, artificial declarations of divine truth in the schoolinen and others.

We may sooner squeeze water out of a pumice-sione than one drop of spiritual nourishment out of them. But how many millions of souls have received divine light and consolation, exactly suited to their condition, by those occasional oceurrences of truth which they meet with in the Scripture, which they would never have obtained by those wise artificial arrangements which some men would fancy. Truths have their power and efficacy on vur ininds, not only from themselves, but from their place or position in the Scriptures. There are they placed in such aspects towards us, and in such conjunctions one with another, as their influence on our

3 A

[ocr errors]

XV.

« ForrigeFortsæt »