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careless, but also of increasing it in vilest ingratitude to God, and have those who were previously the subjects iestroyed their own souls. Hence of it. We are too prone to forget that David says, “My sin is ever before this is not our rest. When we find a me;" and the prodigal, though drinkverdant spot in the wilderness, affording ing the cup of bitterness to its very much to cheer and to refresh us, how dregs, dwells only on his trespasses, ready we are to say, Let us build our “Father, I have sinned—I have sinned tabernacles and take up our abode here. against heaven and in thy sight." And We have therefore need to be reminded all the subjects of this pious sorrow are frequently of our true position and cha- familiar with sentiments of self-loathing racter—that we are but pilgrims and and abhorrence; with holy men of old, sojourners on the earth. Hence we they say, “We have sinned; we are are often in heaviness through manifold vile ; we abhor ourselves ; we repent temptations. In these dark days we in sackcloth and in ashes.” are made to feel more deeply our spiritual Sin in others as well as in themselves destitution and poverty, and to mourn is a source of sorrow to the mourners more bitterly over our manifold imper- described by our Lord; especially in fections and sins. What Christian has their relatives and friends. If they are not found that “whom the Lord loveth dissipated and immoral, they feel it even he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
as others do. But if they are outwardly whom he receiveth ?” What Christian consistent, still they feel their exposed has not learned that in our afflictions condition ; they are impenitent sinners, we acquire a deeper sense of our un- and as such they are in rebellion against worthiness, and are brought nearer to God, and in danger of the wrath to the source of all consolation and grace ? come. Though we can repent only of
The mourners of whom the Saviour our own sins, generous sorrow for the speaks, mourn for sin. This is the sins of others has ever been characterchief cause of all godly sorrow. Sin is istic of genuine religion. In every age apprehended by all holy mourners in its of the world, holy men have sighed and tremendous consequences. They see cried on account of the abominations that it exposes the soul to “everlasting of the land. In times of great degenedestruction from the presence of the racy especially they have been seen Lord;" and those who know this, who weeping for the sins of others as well are aware of their danger, who are as for their own. In their appeals to sensible that they are under the curse the Searcher of hearts, they have said, of the divine law, and exposed to the “Rivers of waters run down our eyes, divine displeasure, must be deeply af- because men keep not thy law.” And fected. But the mourners whom Jesus if these tears have sometimes been pecomforts go beyond this. They see the culiarly bitter, they have not been evil nature of sin as well as its tre- without their benefit ; they have proved mendous consequences. They feel that the best security against the contagion they have sinned grievously against of surrounding evil. their God: they have not only trans There is a distinctness not only in gressed the divine law, and trampled the cause of this mourning, but also in under foot the divine authority, but its naTURE; and we shall do well to they have neglected the "great salva- advert for a moment to some of its tion;" they have rejected the overtures of peculiar qualities. peace proposed to them in the gospel ; It is not superficial or occasional, but they have thus been guilty of the deep and constant. It is uniformly
VOL. X.-FOURTH SERIES.
represented in scripture as a peculiarly dry up the tears of godly sorrow, but great and bitter mourning. Such is rather makes them flow more freely. the description of the prophet : “They The sacrifice of a broken heart and of shall mourn as one mourneth for his a contrite spirit is one which God never only son, and shall be in bitterness, as despises, and which the Christian daily one that is in bitterness for his first presents. It has been said of an emiborn." And the illustrations of this nently good man, that he “never spent are numerous. Thus Peter, when, after a day without shedding some tears for he had denied his Lord three times, sin ;” and we ought to say, not that we Jesus looked on him, “ remembered the have been humbled—we have mourned word of the Lord, and went out and on account of sin, but that we are wept bitterly.” Thus the multitudes on humbled—we do mourn for it. For the day of Pentecost “were pricked in sin still dwelleth in us, and in many their hearts, and said unto Peter and things we all offend; and besides, we to the rest of the apostles, Men and cannot forget the past.
Paul, amidst brethren, what shall we do ?" Thus all the labours, and sufferings, and the Philippian jailor came trembling, successes of the apostleship, never forgot and fell down at the feet of Paul and that he had persecuted the church of Silas, saying, Sirs, what must I do to God, and never ceased to regard himself to be saved ?" Often does the Psalmist as the chief of sinners. speak of “watering his couch with his Finally. It is characteristic of this tears ;” often does he complain of his mourning, that it leads the soul to broken bones, of his roaring all the God. “The sorrow of the world which day, of his tears being his meat day and worketh death,” alienates the heart night. Oh! if you have seen sin in its from God. It drove Cain to the world, true light, it is not lightly that you and Judas to the gallows, and it drives have been affected by it. You may many still to worldly pursuits and still sometimes doubt whether you have pleasures, to scenes of dissipation and sorrowed after a godly manner, but you folly, and sometimes to despair and cannot doubt whether you have sor- death.
But pious sorrow unites the rowed at all.
soul to God. The subject of it says And this mourning is not transient; with Peter, “to whom can
I but it is characterised by permanence and unto thee ?” and with Job, “ though he constancy, no less than by intensity slay me, yet will I trust him." Yes, and depth. Repentance is an essential Christian mourner! it is to God you element of vital religion in the human go. Under the pressure of afflictive mind. It is not confined to the com- providences, and under the plague of mencement of the Christian life, but an evil heart, it is still to him you go extends through the whole course of you go to his house, to his word, to his it. While there is the spirit of re-throne. Your deepest distress is that ligion in the soul, the spirit of peni- you ever departed from him and retence as well as of faith is there. For belled against him ; and now you must faith does not preclude repentance, be found at his footstool ; if you perish, or render it unnecessary; it does not you will pray, and perish only there.
REMARKS ON THE STANDARD OF DIVINE TRUTH.
BY THE LATE REV. A. CARSON, LL.D. Before any important advances can matter, he carried round the heavenly be made in any science, the foundations bodies in their evolutions, like straws of it must be ascertained and accurately and chaff in a tub of water; and this discerned by those employed in rearing wild conjecture satisfied a great part of the superstructure. Whatever rests on the learned of Europe for a considerable any other grounds, though it may add time, and with many, prevented the to the apparent size of the building, reception, even of the discoveries of diminishes its strength and beauty. Newton, for half a century. Despising For more than two thousand years, the vain conjectures, and being guided in inquiries of philosophers concerning his experiments and observations by the works of God, were carried on by those self-evident rules of philosophising hypotheses invented by ingenious men, which he had laid down, Newton ascerfor explaining the phenomena of nature, tained those laws of nature that must and during all that time, few real dis- for ever give satisfaction to the mind of coveries were made with respect either man. to matter or mind. Lord Bacon was The revolution effected by Doctor the first who clearly pointed out the Reid in the philosophy of the mind, is proper method of philosophising; Sir not less wonderful than that effected by Isaac Newton on Natural Philosophy, Sir Isaac Newton, in that of matter. and Doctor Reid on the Science of the By taking for granted principles that Mind, were the first to put it in prac- are false, and rejecting the authority of tice. In both of these departments others that are self-evident, philosophy, of knowledge, one theory succeeded till his time, had established the most another till the time of these illustrious monstrous and incredible absurdities. philosophers; but since that period, The principles adopted by philosophers their respective sciences rest upon a had rejected the testimony of the senses, foundation from which they can never and left no evidence even that there is be moved. And what has produced an external world. By the most conthis remarkable difference between their clusive reasoning from these principles, systems, and those of all preceding Berkeley had proved that there is no philosophers ? It is solely to the stan- matter in the universe, and with equal dard of truth which they ascertained, validity Hume advanced a step farther, and to which in all their inquiries they and boldly annihilated both matter and appealed. Had he invented a theory, mind. According to this great philosoand proceeded by conjecture, Newton, pher, there is neither matter nor mind, with all his vast abilities, would have neither God nor devil, nor angel nor reared only a temporary fabric, to be spirit, nothing in the universe but imblown away by the next innovator. The pressions and ideas. And all these philosophy of Aristotle reigned in the monstrous absurdities Aowed regularly schools without a rival, till the time of from the principles acknowledged by Des Cartes. That great man completely all philosophers till the time of Doctor overturned the theories of the Stagyrite, Reid. And how did Reid restore us but instead of building on more stable the world from the united grasp of all ground, he set himself to invent a the wise men of the world ? By settling theory of his own. By the contrivance the standard of philosophical truth, by of an immense whirlpool of subtile vindicating the authority of the testi
mony of our senses, and rejecting that | Though ye call the Scriptures a standard, of the figments of philosophers. In ye do not allow them to be the sole ascertaining the powers and faculties of standard of divine truth. Some things, the human mind, he admitted no appeal ye say, God has left to be planned by but to the mind itself by observation the wisdom of man. How, then, can ye and experiment; and every fair result of escape error? How can ye agree with such an appeal he received with avidity, each other ? Christians, have ye no however opposite to the established sen errors ? have ye no differences ? Betiments of philosophers. By this process lieve it, they are mostly owing to the he has done more to ascertain the prin- same cause. Strange as on first view it ciples of the human constitution, than may appear, Christians do not all agree all the philosophers who preceded him; in the source of religious sentiments. and it is only by following in his track, Do not some, even till this moment, that this science can be perfected. contend that some things are left to
It would not be without interest for human institution ? What common a Christian to read the observations of principle have we then to reason with this philosopher on hypotheses, as almost such ? With them the Scriptures are without exception they apply to the not the sole standard. Others by distheories of men with respect to the tinctions and difference of times, and contents of the Scriptures. If hy- various inventions, have considerably potheses have led men to misinterpret abridged this standard, so that almost the works of God, hypotheses have led the half of its testimony is not heard them to misinterpret his word. The in evidence, but rejected as irrelevant. analogy is singularly striking.
The testimony of the Holy Spirit is And if human conjecture has ever treated like that of an old honest, but failed with respect to the works of doating man, who speaks now and then creation, shall it succeed with respect to the purpose, but is perpetually subto the depths of the divine counsels in ject to mental wanderings. Even among the redemption of sinners ? Vain those who acknowledge the Scriptures theologians, will ye not learn from as the sole standard, I find there are this, that the way to discover the mind few controvertists, who steadily and of God, is not to form hypotheses, but uniformly act up to their avowed printo examine the Scriptures ? What is it ciples. When the interest of a favourproduces your infinite diversities ? ite dogma is at stake, every
artifice is How is it ye deduce from Scripture employed to make the witness prevariyour innumerable errors ? Ye form cate. With all their deference for the theories, and then wrest the Scriptures authority of the divine word, how do to agree with these. With the arro- they grapple with it, when it seems to gance of Satan, ye determine, by your enjoin any disagreeable practice ! own views, what must be the divine Christians, in ascertaining the mind conduct and plans, and with Satanic in- of God, let us banish all the prejudices genuity and effrontery, ye torture his and prepossessions of our own minds
. word to speak your sentiments. While Let us listen to the scriptures as the in words ye acknowledge the Scriptures rule, as the perfect standard. Let nothing to be a standard, ye take the liberty of be received, because it commends itself erecting a standard of paramount to our wisdom ; let nothing be rejected authority in your own understandings, for want of this sanction. Let us rememand of interpreting the oracles of God, ber that, in all things, the wisdom of by the delusions of your own fancies. God is not like the wisdom of man.
WHAT IS THERE IN CONNEXION WITH THE MINISTRY WHICH
TENDS TO HINDER THE SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL ?
Before entering upon a reply to the , being guilty of high presumption. 2. important question placed at the head It seems in this question to be almost of this paper, two things appear to taken for granted, that there are things require a passing notice. 1. What are in connexion with the ministry itself we to understand by the success of the which hinder, or tend to hinder, the gospel ? There are two objects at the success of the gospel. To some this accomplishment of which the gospel assumption or implication may appear ministry aims : the first is the conver- to be wanting in charity ; but we fear sion of sinners; and the second is the we cannot dispute its correctness. In confirmation of the souls of believers. many instances indeed, there is, and So far as these objects are effected, the can be, no doubt on the subject. And gospel is successful. But we fear that I must confess I am strongly inclined to neither of these ends is answered at the painful conclusion-however much the present day to the extent we might that conclusion may and must criminate reasonably expect, were things as they myself—that the great and primary should be. There is probably more causes of hindrance to, or of the want money expended, and more labour em- of, ministerial success, really lie within, ployed in one way or the other, in this and not without the sacred enclosure of country alone during a single year, for the ministry itself. Were all right the cause of the Saviour, than were ex- there-all as it should be in relation to pended and employed for the same object views, motives, sentiment, and tone of during the whole of the apostolic period. heart and mind, matter and manner, And yet, compared with that period, and general deportment, we do earnestly conversions are solitary, rare, and sur- think that the success of the gospel prising events ! And as to the con- would, even amongst us, be comparafirming and building up of the souls tively rapid and glorious! We do not of believers, where does this ap- forget, nor underrate other things which
Are not the great majority may tend to limit, retard, or defeat the of Christians worldly-minded, worldly success of the preaching of the cross of in their maxims and habits, tame, luke-Christ ; but still we cannot divest ourwarm, politic, and crouching to the selves of the feeling and conviction, men and to the interests of the present that were the ministry itself thoroughly world? All the means of grace they sound, evangelical, and primitive, and possess in abundance ; but to them they what its great Author intended it should seem to possess no vital, renovating, be, all other extrinsic difficulties and soul-stirring, and soul-elevating power ! hindrances would be overcome, and they are, apparently, little more than would, in reality, only tend to illustrate dead and empty forms ! Most as the power and glory of “the truth as it suredly it was not thus in primitive is in Jesus.” When the gospel was times ; nor was it so in the days of our being first promulgated it had all sorts puritan fathers. Presumptively, then, of difficulties and hindrances to contend something must be out of place, some- with.
There was “ the world” in all thing must be wrong; for we cannot, I its powers, its falsehoods, its carnalities, think, attribute this state of things to its malignities, and follies ! there was the mere sovereignty of God, without “the church” too, with its Judases,