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henceforth, there is laid up for them a crown of life for evermore. Happy when the work thus ends! Then "all is well," and we carry the loved one to the grave with tears and song. Some of us have thus wept, and sung
“Captain and Saviour of the host
Of Christian chivalry,
Now call’d away by Thee.
Hath met with such regard ;
And for his rich reward." But He will come! The strife shall all end. The Eternal Glory must come in. All His enemies shall be subdued. He has already
many crowns, and is now working mightily among the children of men. Let us do our part as servants and sons of God. Let us see to our work of faith and labour of love; first individually and then collectively as churches. Then, whether He come soon or later—in our time or long after we sleep in Him it will be well. Let our abiding heart-cry be
“O that each in the day
'I have fought my way through ;
"O that each from his Lord
*Well and faithfully done :
THE FULNESSS OF TIME.
(A COMPILATION.) " When the fulness of the time came God sent forth his Son."--Gal. iv. 4.
Alford's Trans. The moment had arrived which God had ordained from the beginning and foretold by His prophets for Messiah's coming. It was not at a time arbitrarily chosen, ihat Christ appeared, nor did God send Him forth but when mankind was ripe for His appearing. The exact period had arrived when all things were ready-Lightfoot on Gal.
It took four thousand years to prepare humanity to receive Christianity. The Saviour could be born only in the Jewish nation (John iv. 22,) and at that particular time. According to Mark (i. 15) Christ commenced His preaching with the declaration, “the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He is the centre and turning point, as well as the key of all history. It was a great idea of Dionysiusthe little-to date our era from the birth of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the God-man, the Prophet, Priest and King of mankind. Philip Schaff and Langè.
The Gospel was witheld until the world had arrived at mature age ; law had worked out its educational purposes, and now was superseded.
Observer, Jan. 11, '75.
It was the purpose of all law, but especially of Mosaic law, to deepen the conviction of sin, and thus to show the inability of all existing systems to bring men near to God.-Lightfoot.
JUDAISM AND HEATHENISM IN THEIR RELATION TO CHRISTIANITY. Judaism and Heathenism had now performed the tasks assigned to them respectively, and the way of salvation was prepared and opened, both negatively and positively. The human race had been taught to understand, after an experience of four thousand years, that salvation could not be obtained by man's own wisdom and strength; not through the law, of which Judaism itself was a proof; not through intellectual culture, art, science, or political power, of which the history of Heathenism furnished the evidence. Although Heathenism had attained to the highest eminence with respect to the culture of the intellect, it could not resist the conviction of its own emptiness, and of its entire inability to satisfy the wants of man's moral nature. -Kurtz' “ Sacred History.”
Greek cultivation and Roman polity, says Dr. Thomas Arnold, prepared men for Christianity. The great historian of Switzerland, John Von Muller, observes, "When I read the classics, I everywhere find a wonderful preparation for Christianity. Through the dark labyrinth of mythological tales and traditions, we can trace the golden thread of a deep desire for reunion with God.” The story of the Prodigal Son, who wandered away from his father's house, but retained, even in his lowest degradation, a painful remembrance of his native home, and at last resolved to return to it, as a penitent sinner, is a true specimen of the heathen world. In Paganisn are found relics of the divine image, in which man was created, glimmerings of that general revelation, which preceded the calling of Abraham, as well as faint types and unconscious prophecies of the religion of Jesus Christ. (Compare Matt. viii. 10 ; xv. 28; see E. O., April 1874, p. 114.) But though both the great religions of antiquity served to prepare the world for Christianity, they did it in different ways. Judaism is the religion of positive direct revelation, a gradual self-manifestation of the only true God to His chosen people, in laws, prophecy and types, which all testified of Christ. Here, therefore, the process was from above downwards. God comes gradually into nearer relation to men, till, finally, He becomes Himself man, and in Christ takes our whole nature, body, soul and spirit, into intimate union with His divinity. Not so with Heathenism. Here the preparation for the Christian religion proceeded from below, from the wants of man, as he gradually awoke to a sense of his own helplessness and of the need of a revelation. In Greece and Rome humanity was to show what it could accomplish in its fallen state, with simply the natural gifts of the Creator, in science, in art, in political and social life; there was it to be proven that the highest degree of natural culture cannot sanctify the heart, or satisfy the infinite desires of the mind, but only serves to make them more painfully felt, and to show the absolute need of a supernatural redemption. Thus, Heathenism, at the summit of its exaltation, confesses its own helplessness, and cries despairingly for salvation. Christ made “in himself of twain one new man, so making peace," and recorciled both unto God by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby."
Observer, Jan. 1, '75.
Of all the systems of Grecian philosophy, the one which undoubtedly exerted the most powerful and beneficial influence on the religion of the heathen, and was pre-eminently fitted to be a scientific schoolmaster to bring men to Christ, was Platonism.
To many Greek church Fathers (as Justin Martyr, Clemens, of Alexandria, and Origen), this philosophy became in fact a bridge to faith. Eusebius says of Plato, that “he alone of all the Greeks reached the vestibule of truth, and stood upon its threshold.” Yet the fairest bloom of heathen wisdom is infinitely below the truth of Christianity. It never reached the root of corruption; much less could it discover any proper way of redemption. Plato destroyed all the dignity of marriage, by permitting promiscuous concubinage, at least in the military caste, and abolished the peculiar form of family life in general by making children the exclusive property of the state, and giving government the right to expose such as were infirm. The most that can be said of Platonism, in its worthiest representative, is, that it earnestly sought the truth but never found it.
(1 Cor. i. 26-29.) Philip Schaff, “ History of Apostolic Church," p. 184, &c.
Heathenism is the starry night, full of darkness, and anxious waiting for the dawn of day: Indaism is the dawn, full of fresh hope and promise of the rising sun ; both lose themselves in the sunlight of Christianity, and attest its claim to be the only true religion for mankind. In the fulness of time, when the fairest flowers of science and art had withered, and the world was on the verge of despair, the Virgin Son was born to heal the infirmities of mankind. Christ entered a dying world as the author of a new and imperishable life.—Langè.
A great crisis like " the fulness of time” is to be known by men thoroughly, only from some watch-tower commanding the stream of time. Let us take our stand at that point in the history of the past ages when Jesus was born at Bethlehem, in Judea, and take a survey of the world, as it then was; and with our imperfect vision we can see the following things with regard to its being then, the most fit and proper time for Messiah's appearance.
First. The whole world was swayed by one sceptre. One man ruled from Britain in the west to Babylon in the east; an area of 3000 miles in length, from east to west, and 2000 miles in breadth, from north to south.—“ Restoration of Belief," p. 56, by Isaac Taylor.
At the time of the appearance of the Lord, it was the result of the great co-operative events of many past centuries that, in a considerable part of the earth, the outward wall of partition between nations was removed, and that especially an unusual communication between the east and the west was brought about, through which the heavenly light which had risen in the east, might easily and rapidly be spread among the nations of the west.-Neunder.
The barriers by which the world had been divided were swept away, and the citizen of Rome passed from province to province without interruption. Trade and commerce prospered, and with it the gospel found like easy access to the ears and hearts of the people.-Westcott, “ Intro. to the Study of the Gospels," ch. 1.
Observer, Jan. 1, 75.
The great highways by which the knowledge of the gospel was to be spread abroad, had already been opened by the intercourse of nations. The easy means of intercommunication within the vast Roman empire; the close relation which the Jews, dispersed throughout all lands, kept up with those at Jerusalem ; the way in which all the Roman dominions had their common centre in the great capital of the world; the connection of the provinces with their metropolitan towns, and of the larger portion of the empire with the more considerable cities, were all circumstances favourable to this end. Such cities as Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, were the centres of a wide commercial, political and literary correspondence, and on this account became also the principal seats for the propagation of the gospel, and the ones in which the first preachers tarried longest. That commercial intercourse which from the earliest times had served, not merely for the barter of worldly goods, but also for the exchange of the nobler treasures of the mind, was now to be used as a channel for the diffusion of the highest spiritual blessings.-Neander, “ Church Hist." vol. 1, ch. 1.
“This universal empire," says P. Shaff, “ was destined to prepare the way for the universal spread of Christianity. For Christianity is not (like all other religions) designed merely for one nation, and for this or that period, but for all mankind, and for all ages. It aims to unite all people of the earth into one family of God. To furnish facilities for accomplishing this great end, the natural barriers of the old world must be broken down, and mutual exclusiveness, and hatred among nations, must in a measure be done away. Then one Roman law, one state, ruled everywhere in the civilized world. The gods of all nations were gathered into one Temple-the Pantheon of Rome."
This state of things must have been highly favourable to the messengers of the gospel; it gave them free access to all nations ; furnished them all advantages possible at that time for communication, gave them everywhere, as citizens, the protection of Roman law, and in general prepared the soil of the world, at least outwardly, to receive the doctrine of one all-embracing Kingdom of God.
And what was the success ? Tertullian (early in the third century), in his book addressed to the hostile Roman authorities, who were able and willing enough to give them a flat contradiction if his statements had been glaringly false, says—“ We are but of yesterday, and we have filled everything that is yours, cities, islands, castles, free towns, council halls, the very camps, all classes of men, the palace, the senate, the Forum. We have left you nothing but your temples. We can outnumber your armies : there are more Christians in a single province than in your legions."
Isaac Taylor thinks it probable that at this time the Roman world included from three to five millions of Christians. spread of Christianity, all the conditions attending it considered, the place and the feebleness of its origin, the severity of its moral code, its unbendingness, and the furious hostility it encountered; this spread, thus early, is proof of its reality, of its truth."--See the " Restoration of Belief," pp. 56-59.
(To be continued.)
on the He says,
Observer, Jan. 1, '75.
HYMN OF RESURRECTION AND LIFE.
THE insolence of wicked
Has brought Him to the dead.
Where a blasphemer lies ?
O God, we lift our cries !
The darkness rolls away ;
Springs upward to the day !
Shed glory down to earth;
The resurrection birth.
Of ages to the tomb;
Came flashing through the gloom.
The anchor of the soul ;
We reach the shining goal.
So royal and divine;
Our faces ever shine.
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL
The usefulness of the Sunday schools as an auxiliary of the Church of Christ is now so generally recognised, because in so many places so gloriously demonstrated, that it is quite unnecessary for me to urge the importance of the work. Our gathering to-night shows that we are, one and all, alive to the importance, of its claims.
If the true relation of the Sunday school to the Church is, as we believe it to be, that of a nursery, finding parallels alike in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, common experience tells us the difficult and delicate nature of the work, while common sense, if not a higher law demands the employment of properly qualified agency.
* Paper reed at the Quarterly Conference of Teachers, in the Liverpool and Birkenhead Schools, October 16, 1874, by HENRY TICKLE.