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make merry with my friends." There must have been something utterly wrong in his whole state of thought and feeling to produce such conduct and such sayings.
But because the father did not plainly contradict this, some take it for a true statement, and maintain that the father's answer does in fact confirm it, and put the elder son in the best position. A reference to other passages, where the character of the Pharisees is spoken of, will at once dispel these delusions. Matt. xxi. 28–32 : “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go sir ; and went not.” Here we have the real character of the man ; great profession, but no true obedience. So also in Luke xviii. 9-14, we have the parable of the boasting Pharisee and the peni. tent publican, which we are expressly told was spoken “ unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others."
The difficulty of the father's answer is obviated by the consideration that he spoke in a moment of joy and tenderness, when he would only desire to shew paternal love for both his sons. And his words imply no more than that the kindness shewn to the prodigal would be no disparagement and no loss to the elder son, even if he were as obedient and as dutiful as he pretended to be. He did not disinherit him by receiving his brother: he was welcome to all his father had, if only he had a heart and mind to enjoy it. It is like the answer to the 'murmurers' in the parable of the labourers, Matt. xx. 13-15 : “ Friend, I do thee no wrong :-Is thine eye evil because I am good ?”
It has been said that we do not know but that the elder brother may have gone in after all at his father's persuasion. But no such intimation is given: on the contrary, in the parallel passage in Matt. xxi. 31, 32, we see the dreadful working of this proud, jealous, envi. ous disposition more fully developed : “ The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not ; but the publicans and the harlots believed him : and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."
God did not disinherit the unbelieving Jews : to them first was the Gospel preached. But if they thought themselves heirs already, and would not submit to the new dispensation of their father's house, in order to share in its more abundant blessings, they excluded themselves. See Acts xiii. 45, 46 : “ When the Jews saw the multitudes they were filled with envy. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
This subject is important at all times, and more especially now, when new and most insidious atte pts are made to undermine the doctrines of grace. Every thing is dangerous which at all gues to controvert the Apostle's decided statement, Rom. iii. 22—24: “For there is no difference ; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." All must enter by the door of repentance and humility, and acknowledge salvation to be the gift of God, or they never enter the kingdom of heaven. And, indeed, in this way the holy law is established as well as the blessed Gospel. For the humble and believing are the only truly obedient; and pride, selfrighteousness, jealousy, and envy, are as much against the mind and will of God, as the most hateful sins of intemperance.
Having lately called the attention of your readers to a mistranslation from Pascal in the Oxford Tracts, I take the opportunity of thanking you for your able exposition of the true meaning of that passage ; and I now subjoin the very next paragraph from Pascal, as a suitable termination to this paper, and as shewing that he knew well how to distinguish between “justifier' and 'sanctifier.' Tom. 2. Art. xviii. 12 : “ Jesus Christ is come that those who see not might see, and that those who see might become blind : he is come to heal the sick, and leave the healthy to die; to call sinners to repentance, and to justify them, and to leave those who think themselves just in their sins : to fill the empty, and to leave the rich destitute."
A. B. K.
ON « TOUCHING" FOR THE KING'S EVIL.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. In your Magazine for June, F. S. expresses his surprise that he has been unable to find, in any Prayer. Book (save one which he lighted upon accidentally in St. Michael's Church, Bath), “ a short form of prayer for the King's Evil.” I beg to inform him, that I have a Latin Prayer-Book, printed in London A.D. 1733, wbich contains the form alluded to, under the title “ Forma Strumosos Attrectandi.” Being obsolete it is not worth while copying it. My Prayer-Book has also two other“ forms,” which are now generally, if not univer. sally, expunged from our Rituals; the one intituled, “ Forma in utraque Domo Convocationis :" the other, “ Formula Precum propter Diram Londini Conflagrationem." This last, I think, I have seen in some of the churches in London about twenty or thirty years since.
ORIENTAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
For the Christian Observer. The following oriental illustrations of Scripture are taken from the entertaining and instructive “ Sketches of a Missionary's Travels in Egypt, Syria, Western Africa," &c., by Mr. Macbriar, the author of the Mandingo Grammar, and the translator of the Gospels into that language, a portion of which has been printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
“ The town of Beirout itself is mean and confined, is surrounded by walls, and contains a motley group of inbabitants. Its environs, however, are pretty. I was much struck with the narrowness of the high-roads, and the shocking state of disrepair in which they are suffered to remain ; and several passages of Scripture came to my mind, as being here finely illustrated. Foremost was that of Balaam and his ass. Many, like myself, have wondered how a public way could be so narrow as vot to admit of a man passing by an ass: as it is written, · But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and Christ. Obsery. No. 32.
a wall on that side ; and the angel of the Lord went farther, and stood in a nar. row place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left; and the ass fell down,' &c. (See Numbers xxii. 24, &c ) But in this neigh. bourhood a complete picture of such a place was frequently set before my view. The gardens and orchards are embanked, so as to prevent the soil from being washed away by the heavy rains, which fall twice a year; and the road between them is generally only a few feet wide, being in some places so narrow that two asses could not pass each other; and much less could a loaded beast pass by a man standing in the middle of the path. The roads are also full of stones ; no care whatever being taken to clear away those hindrances which the rain washes down into them; so that the greatest circunspection is requisite for a foot. passenger, lest he stumble and fall; a circumstance which gives much force to the promise made in Psalm xci., that God's angels shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thon dash thy foot against a stone.' The ways are frequently so steep, that flights of stairs are made in them; and the beasts have to go up and down the steps with burdens upon their backs; and as the whole country is very mountainous and destitute of level roads, borses are rarely used, in comparison with asses and mules; the latter, which are of a superior breed, being much more sure-footed than the former. This fact accounts for the prophets and great men of old riding upon what we should esteem an inferior kind of animal, though actually more highly prized in such hilly districts. Fine horses are, bowever, used by grandees in their cities and plains."
" In proceeding from Lebanon to Damascus, we journeyed through long passages and defiles between the majestic mountains, ever hoping to reach å watering-place that had been pointed out to us upon the road. At length the sun arose, and beat upon our beads with his scorching beams; for not a breath of air was stirring, and languor seized upon man and beast. After riding for some bours, we reached the expected spot, when, lo, the well was dried up by the sumıner's beat! On we went to a stream at a short distance farther; but it, too, was dry. In vain we searched for a little water that might be left in any pool of the rivulet; and, as we travelled many miles along its dry channel, in vain I cast my longing eyes again and again towards the dry pebbles that lay in its empty bed. With what force did those passages of Holy Writ come to my mind, wherein spiritual blessings are likened to refreshing waters and to springs in a desert! And how did I not understand something of the feelings of the psalmist, when, in his longing after God's favour, be says, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God!' Wben quite exhausted, and scarcely knowing what would be. come of me, I saw an Arab at a short distance, with a tin canister in his hand; and I immediately dispatched my servant to learn what it was that he carried. Upon inquiry, it proved to be lenen, or soured milk, being intentionally made sour, in order to keep it in that state for several days; and I gladly paid for a draught, which was as enlightening to my eyes, as was the honey-comb to Jonathan's, after his tight with the Philistines. With strength renewed, I pushed forward, and soon overtook the rest of our company, who had gone ahead ; and at length we reached a living stream, the very sight of which gladdened the heart. Man and beast being here invigorated, we proceeded to a village called Deemas, where we obtained refreshment and repose in a comfortable little cottage which had often. times entertained strangers; and having rested during the greatest beat of the day, we set forth briskly, in order to reach Damascus before sunset, when the gates of the city are clost d. After a laborious ascent of the steep mountains, the plains of Damascus suddenly opened upon our view: and we paused in astonishment, to gaze upon the beauteous sight. It was like a garden of Paradise, filled with plenty and luxuriance; whilst the city itself, surrounded with more than two hundred villages, appeared to be embedded in orchards, and watered by several meandering branches of the great river. The richness of the culture, the beauty of the foliage, the proud city rearing her minarets conspicuous in the plain, and the villages peeping out of their verdant lurking-places, exhibit a tout-ensemble which is rarely equalled on this terrestrial hall. But so lovely a spot has been the grave of many travellers, since it is prolific in fevers and agues during the summer months of the year.”
“ The mountains of Syria are very bleak and desolate, and I in vain looked for that fertility which we know to have existed in former times. The reason of this change is obvious; for the want of sufficient rain has altered tbe whole nature and aspect of the country. It was prophesied by Moses, that if the chil. dren of Israel should rebel against God, and persist in their disobedience, be would not only scatter them over all countries of the earth, but would bring a curse upon their land: Thy heaven that is over thee shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron ; the Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust,' &c. (Deut xxviii. 24.) Now we know that this denunciation has been fulfilled; for Jordan does not now overflow his banks, and other rivers of celebrity in olden times, are either dried up or become scanty streams. Those valleys also, which contained several flourishing cities, are given up to comparative barrenness and desolation. The same quantity of rain, therefore, does not now fall; and by this simple means has the Almighty avenged his insulted honour, and declared his truth in the sight of the world. The Howing of a stream through the billy regions, is visible at a great distance, hy reason of the trees and verdure which adorn its banks; for i he rest of the land is an arid waste, or is only used for the feeding of sheep or goats."
"My garb was that of an effendi, or gentleman, resembling the dress of the Syrian sheiks and gentry. It consisted of the following articles: First, a fine linen shirt, made very wide, with large loose sleeves, having no collar or wristbands, and without any fastening at the neck or wrists. Next, a large pair of white trowsers or drawers, made of fine cotton cloth, descending to the ancles, but not intended to be seen ; which are supported by being drawn round the waist with a linen band tied in front. A slight waistcoat of white cotton is next buttoned up to the neck, where it has a small collar to defend the robe from being soiled by perspiration ; but the upper part of the neck is kept uncovered. Over these is a gown or loose robe, made of strong silk of a striped hue, folding over in front, and having long loose sleeves, with Aaps to protect the hands from the rays of the sun. This robe reaches to the feet, covering all the previous articles of raiment, and is fastened at the neck by a small collar furnished with hooks and eyes. The folds of this garment are kept in their proper place by the sash, which is one of the most handsome parts of the apparel. It is made of a strong and variegated silk, of great length and consi. derable breadth, and being neatly folded up, (which it requires a little expertness to do well,) is then rolled several times round the loins, and tied at the left side ; the ends, which are finely variegated, being left to hang down. The method of putting on the sash is singular. A servant holds one end at the distance of its full length, and keeps it drawn tightly, always remaining in the same spot. The master takes the other end, and applying it to his body, turns himself round, until he arrives at the servant's station, when the whole is then secured with a knot."
" This description of an eastern dress will serve to explain those texts of Holy Writ where a person is said to take off his garments,' • lay aside his garments,'' uncover hiinself,' &c. The last expression derives more force from the practice of eastern people in sitting cross-legged, with their feet under their robes, which is regarded as a sign of refined decency. As the sash also is frequently loosened during a sitting or reclining posture, and drawn tighter when activity is required; we see the propriety of such expressions as, 'Gird up the loins of your mind,' &c., as indicative of laying aside sloth and inactivity, and applying ourselves to labour and exertion.”
ON APPARENT SYNONYMES IN THE ENGLISH BIBLE.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. You noticed in your review of the “ Englishman's Greek Concord. ance” last year, the inconvenience which arises in our vernacular translation of the Scriptures from the same Greek word being often rendered by different English ones, where the meaning is identical; and different Greek words being rendered by the same English one where the meaning is diverse. It is to be regretted that this is the case in the rendering of two completely different Greek words by the same English word “ Beast," in the book of the Revelation ; so that the vernacular reader is embarrassed by supposing that the “ - living creatures” mentioned Rev. iv. 6, 7, 8, 9; v. 6, 8, 11, 14; vi. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7; vii. 11; xiv. 3 ; xv. 7 ; xix. 4 ; are spoken of by the very same title as the “raging animal,” or wild beast, men
tioned xi. 7 ; xiii. 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18; xiv. 9, 11 ; xv. 2 ; xvi. 2, 10, 13; xvii. 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17; xix. 19, 20; XX. 4, 10. The reader of the Greek Testament has no difficulty; and the employment of two different English words would have relieved his unlearned brother, who cannot but feel some repug. nance in using the same word under such different circumstances.
AN APPEAL TO COMMON SENSE ON ABSOLUTE DEFERENCE
TO THE FATHERS.
For the Christian Observer. It has often struck me with surprise, that in all the pamphlets and volumes which have appeared against the peculiar tenets inculcated in the Oxford Tracts, no one direct, systematic appeal has been made to the common sense of Christians ; for when fairly tried at its tribunal, such “ tenets” will be found wanting; nay highly injurious to the cause of truth, and fraught with disastrous consequences to the moral welfare of society.
It may be replied, that such an appeal is unscriptural ; and that it is inimical to that great principle of faith, which compels us to disregard the mere appearance of things, and, in the spirit of " little children,” implicitly to receive whatever it has pleased God to reveal. It may also be objected that “ the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” (1 Cor. iii. 19.) Such remonstrances would be irresistible, provided that the intention or even the tendency of this appeal were, either directly or indirectly, to oppose reason to revelation, or to countenance any hesitation in admitting the doctrines of the latter. In such a case I should immediately lay aside my pen, " lest haply I be found fighting against God." So far, however, from opposing His revealed will, by instituting the above appeal, I conceive that it is warranted by what “ holy men” have spoken, as they were successively moved by the Holy Ghost." For does not the wise man testify in the Book of Proverbs (especially in the second chapter) the value of “ a sound mind ?" Does not our blessed Lord himself, in all His instructive parables, virtually appeal to our senses, as auxiliaries to our mental powers in the discernment of Divine truth? And does not His Apostle (1 Cor. xiv. passim) make the common sense of the Corinthians the arbiter in the important matter of speaking in “ an unknown tongue?” This mode of decision has led the Protestant church to reject the antiscriptural dogma of Transubstantiation, as maintained by the votaries of Romanism. (See Archbishop Tillotson's powerful sermon on the subject.— Fol. Ed. vol. I.) Nor is it possible that the Divine Author of our being should have endued us with powers of discrimination in the province of religious truth, which He did not intend us to employ for the glory of His name, and in subordination to His holy word.
If, then, there is Scriptural authority for such an appeal, I would proceed to try by it the favourite hypothesis of Dr. Pusey, that it is incumbent on us to understand the sacred text exactly as it was understood by the majority of the Fathers of the first three centuries.