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according to the law of charity. 1 Cor. xiii. 7, "Charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." And such a charity will defend and maintain church peace and unity.b
Six Benefits of walking by these Rules.
1st Benefit. Strict and heedful attendance to these rules, will put a lustre upon religion before the world, and make it glorious in the eyes of such as now despise it. Tit. ii. 10,"Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Which he here speaks, to encourage all to ordinate walking.
2d Benefit. This will allure and win the world over to Christ, and wonderfully prosper and further the design of the Gospel. Phil. ii. 15, 16, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, &c. That I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
3d Benefit. This will effectually stop the mouths of all the detracting and blaspheming enemies of religion. 1 Pet. ii. 15, "For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
4th Benefit. This will eminently glorify God, which is the ultimate end of our beings. Matth. v. 16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
5th Benefit. This will fill the people of God (by way of evidence) with much inward peace. Gal. vi. 16, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and upon the Israel of God."
6th Benefit. This will secure the presence of God with, and among us; whence results both the efficacy of ordinances, and the stability and glory of the churches: for Christ walks among the golden candlesticks, and threatens the churches, in case of defection from gospel rules, "to remove the candlestick out of his place, except they repent," Rev. ii. 1, 5.
INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE.
(From the "Pilgrim's Progress of the Nineteenth Century.")
THE Bible is the word of God, being written by his direction, or it is a forgery. If it is a forgery, it was made by
good men, or by bad men. If it is a forgery, it could not have been the work of good men. Good men do not tell lies; but it is written in that book, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." If it is a forgery, then it was made by wicked men.
Let those who say, that the Bible is the work of bad men, to serve their own wicked purposes, look into the book itself, and tell how such a book can be adapted to serve the purposes of wicked men. A book which condemns all dishonesty, and fraud, and hypocrisy; and teaches men to be honest and upright, even though they suffer for it; a book which requires us to do to others as we would they should do to us, and forbids us to seek revenge of those who injure us; which requires us to bear patiently every injury and insult, and to return good for evil unto all men, such a book cannot be the work of wicked men, to serve their own wicked purposes. Its enemies themselves must admit, and are constrained to admit, that a universal compliance with its precepts would put an end to all wickedness, and promote the best happiness of mankind. Of all the books which bad men have made, to serve their own wicked purposes, there is none like that, its enemies themselves being judges.
The argument from prophecy is a good one, with those who have sufficient knowledge of history to feel its force. But some men are so ignorant, that they are incapable of being benefitted much by it.
None but God can foretel future events. But the Old Testament does very particularly foretel many events, which have taken place exactly as they were foretold, long since the Old Testament was written. This proves that the Old Testament was from God. And the same is true of the New Testament. The argument from the miracles of Jesus Christ, and from his resurrection and ascension to heaven, is a conclusive one also.
It will not be denied by any man of the least acquaintance with the history of those times, that there were such men as the apostles; and that they steadfastly affirmed that they saw the miracles they record, and especially, that they saw and conversed with Jesus, after he had been crucified and buried; and that they saw him ascend towards heaven, till a cloud carried him out of their sight. Now,
these men have told the truth, or they have not. If they have not told the truth, they were impostors, who meant to deceive others, or they were themselves deceived. But they could not have been themselves deceived, as to the miracles they affirm they saw, nor as to the fact of the re.. surrection and ascension of Jesus. The things they affirmed, then, were true, or they were deceivers. But if they were deceivers, they must have had some motive to act as they did. What motive could have induced them to sacrifice their goods, their liberty, and their lives, in affirming what they knew to be a falsehood, when they might have saved all by acknowledging the truth; and when, if they knew what they affirmed was false, they could have no hope of gaining any thing by such affirmation? No sufficient mo tive can be assigned. To suppose men to do as they did, in such circumstances, and to lay down their lives, not in support of a falsehood they believed to be true, but in support of what they knew to be false, would be more incre dible than any of the miracles they record. No, they were not deceivers. They were honest men, and really saw what they say they did. And the facts, respecting the life, and death, and resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, are true, and the gospel is true.
(From Evidence before Committee of Parliament.)
WE have four large Charities in Belfast, that prevent almost the possibility of any individual starving from want; those support the poor of Belfast; now these do not require more than £5,400 per year for their support. I should suppose that the ministers of religion, and other religious instructors, in the same parish, do not receive more than £4,500 per annum. The Royal College costs the Government £1,500 per year. Supposing the whole paid out of the expense of whiskey, we have £33,100 remaining still. Supposing that the parish contributes to Bible, Missionary, and similar Societies, £1,100 a year, and that this, too, were paid out of the same sum, as also -the whole sum expended by the Sunday-school Society, on all Sunday-schools in Ireland, which is only £3,000 a
year; supposing that, too, paid: after having paid all
these, there are £29,000 remaining out of the consumption of spirits in this single parish, Now, suppose we were to give £50 a-year to every spirit-seller in Belfast, to pension them off, (and I am sure it would be much better for the country that they should be paid for doing nothing, than for doing mischief,) we still should have £12,500 a-year, which would give £1 to every head of a family in the pa rish, out of this single sum.
BIBLE INSTRUCTION.-No. XVII.
"It is appointed unto men once to die."-HEBREWS ix, 27.
THERE are four questions which appear to embrace all that is necessary to consider upon the solemn theme of death. These are, what is death? what is its cause? what is the preparation necessary to meet it? and what are its conse quences? We shall attend to these in their order.
I. What is death? It is the most important change that passes upon man, affecting the very mode of his existence. All we know of this change, beyond the mere fact, is derived from revelation. By it alone are we assured that the man lives after death. The light of nature did not fully reveal it, philosophy could not prove it; it is natural to men to wish to live for ever; and all that philosophy could do, was to remove some of the obstacles that appeared to stand in the way. By the light of revelation, however, and the fact of the resurrection of Christ, we have sure evidence and satisfactory proof, that all which death can do, is to produce a change in the mode of man's existence. In the Scriptures, this change is variously described. We find six different expressions applied to it there, and a notice of these is, perhaps, the best explanation we can give of the subject. It is called a departure. "The time of my departure is at hand," 2 Tim. iv. 6. Death is thus the transfer of the man from one state of existence to another. It is termed a dissolution. "If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved," 2 Cor. v. 1. The soul is dis engaged from the body, and is relieved of its encumbrance. It is the way of all men. "I am going the way of all the earth," Josh. xxiii. 14. The change is a universal one, to which humanity must, in every instance, submit. In the
case of Enoch and Elijah, the only exceptions to the uni versal law, a change tantamount to death must have taken place, although they were delivered from it in its ordinary form for it is expressly declared, that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." It is described as a returning to the dust. Unto dust shalt thou return," Gen. iii. 19. This is intended to remind us of the origi nal elements that constitute the body. It is called a sleep, "He fell asleep," Acts vii. 60. The body, while in the grave, is not in a state of consciousness, but it shall be awoke. And, finally, it is represented to be the last home of the human family. "Man goeth to his long home," Eccl. xii. 5. By it man enters on an unchanging and enduring state of existence. Thus these few expressions, brought together from the Scriptures, teach us more of the nature of death than all the laboured researches of an un. satisfying philosophy. It is a change from one state of being to another, in which the connexion between the soul and the body is dissolved to which all must yield-wherein the body returns to its original elements-is deprived of consciousness until it shall be raised from the grave-and in which the soul enters on an unchanging state of being, goes to its own place, its eternal home. How thankful we should be for the light that is thus poured on the darkness of the grave! What a mystery it used to be to man! The uncertainty that attached to all their speculations upon it, filled them with distress. It hindered the wholesome in. fluence which the prospect of death is calculated to exercise over the mind. O! how humbling and affecting to see the wisest and the best of all the ancient philosophers, holding the poisoned bowl in his hand, while all his re:ined speculations upon death and futurity failed him, and, in the midst of doubt and uncertainty, he could not but express his fears, saying, "if there be an hereafter." The greatness of our privilege, in the assurance of immortality, we are unable to estimate, having never known what it is to be without it. The light of revelation is so bright, that it has scattered every dark cloud. Jesus Christ hath brought life and immortality to light by the gospel. And when we die, we know that we merely undergo a change in the mode of our existence-a change, indeed, of most momen. tous character, for it is the beginning of either endless bliss or woe-still only a change in the mode, but no interruption to the continuance of our being.