« AnteriorContinuar »
now than ever before, and the interest then excited would
9. We close this article with a reference to one subject more-"the benevolent operations" of the Church. Her Bible, Tract, Missionary Societies, &c., all, if rightly constituted, have one common basis, and aim at one common result. Each represents and has its basis in the great law of love, and in different spheres aims to secure its universal prevalence in all its varied applications. Whenever this ceases to be the end and aim of any such society, it ceases to be a benevolent society. Nothing of which we can conceive more utterly misrepresents the gospel, Missionary societies, for example, aim to give to the world a ministry, by furnishing the requisite means for their support. Suppose they avow their design to support a ministry, without any reference to the question whether, when supported, it will advocate and seek the prevalence of sin or holiness. Could any organization more perfectly misrepresent the gospel? It is only in the attitude of avowed opposition to sin as such, to sin in all its forms, and in a similar advocacy of holiness that any such societies do or can truly represent the gospel, or any one feature or application of it. While nothing but love, and no society or organization but what is formed and tends to promote it, is the object of God's favor, his "wrath is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men." Every movement of the Church should have an open and avowed reference to these distinct and opposite revelations of God in respect to sin and holiness. It is only when she occupies this high ground that she represents the gospel. The atitude of the Church in reference to sin and holiness as such, she
should never shrink from avowing in any movement she makes. It should be her desire and choice, on the other hand, that the world should fully understand the high and holy ground. she occupies, and the true basis of all her movements and organizations. How sublime and awe-inspiring would be the aspect of the Church, were such her visible position before the world. Every movement of hers in any direction, would be a most solemn and influential testimony against sin and in favor of holiness, in every form and in all directions.
It is with melancholy feelings that we turn from a view of what the movements and organizations of the Church ought to be, to contemplation of what they really are. Of all the benevolent operations, the Bible Society occupies the central position, and should, if any other, represent in its fulness and beauty the very heart of the gospel, in respect to universal humanity. Christ is the light of the world, and the Bible is the grand medium through which this divine light is to be reflected upon our benighted race. Suppose now that we are present at one of the great anniversaries of this society. Splendid eulogies have been delivered upon the sacred word, The most pointed resolutions are passed, with one voice, against the Catholic world, for withholding this sacred treasure from the people. All this is as it should be, with the exception of the eulogies which should never be offered on such a subject. Now hark! A slave rises in that great assembly, and in mournful accents announces that the Bible is to him a sealed and prohibited treasure. Prohibited by dark and crushing oppression-he
May not look
He asks an expression of sympathy for him in his afflictions and wrongs, and a solemn testimony against the unrighteous laws by which the light of his soul is thus put out. Čries of "order, order, away with him," ring through the excited assembly; and the victim of a system of cruelty to which all other wrongs are but a shadow is driven from their presence. The Bible Society has nothing to do with slavery, nor with the anti-slavery movement. Its exclusive object is the circulation of the word of God. What shall we say of the attitude of such a society? We say boldly, that while it maintains such an attitude it does but one thing, and that is to mis-represent the religion of Christ.
We now pass over to the meeting of the American Board. Here we find the principle openly avowed, that there is not
a specific form of sin existing in this country, the suppression of which it will commend, nor avow the determination to opif found in the field of its operations. In the days of pose, Evarts such things were done. Their permission was an error, however, never to be repeated again. With solemn earnestness, we would ask, what element or feature of Christianity does that society represent?
Some light may be thrown perhaps upon the attitude of the societies just named, together with that of other kindred ones, by the statement of a single fact which occurred some ten or twelve years ago. At that time anniversaries of the different Leading minds were sent societies were held in Cincinnati. over the mountains from the cast to represent all the great benevolent organizations of the Church in this country. After our meetings terminated, these men went together to Lexington, Kentucky, to attend similar meetings there. When they were ready to return, as the stages drove up to receive them, one of the vehicles contained a female, a professed disciple of Christ, an afflicted one, afflicted on account of the color of her skin. In her, afflicted humanity was represented in one of its most unprotected forms, and surely, you say, humanity will now receive manifest sympathy from those who have come thus far on no other errand than to plead its cause. At least it will receive no new wounds from such hands. Let us attend to the sequel. The woman had very modestly taken the middle seat next to one of the doors. The back and front seats were filled immediately, no one asking the unprotected stranger to take the seat always offered at least to females. Two clergymen now approached to take the two vacant seats. At the door, a merry altercation took place between them, in respect to the question who should take the seat next to the stranger. At length the most influential clergyman in the entire group spoke out, "If there is an abolitionist here, there is a seat for him," pointing to the one which all had refused to take. The whole company then set up a loud laugh at the jeer cast upon abolition. The countenance of the injured one, as a clergyman who was present and witnessed the transaction informed us, fell as if she would have sunk into the earth. She uttered no complaint, however; but during the remainder of the journey
"She pined in thought,
When she arrived among her friends, however, she spoke of the abuse to which she had been subjected, with feelings that indicated that she had a woman's heart.
All the love which those men then knew for humanity was embodied in that fearful crime, and all the love too of the societies which they represented, as far as they represented that love. We should never have published this deed, had not some of those who perpetrated it recently stood up in the meetings of the Evangelical Alliance in London, and there insisted, that the slave-holder with his feet upon the breast and neck of prostrate humanity, should stand in that convention and consult with the professed servants of Christ, in respect to the principles of union among those who "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God."
We would by no means be understood to intimate that the above transaction fully represents the spirit of the societies under consideration. We grieve to say, however, that their present attitude makes about as near an approach to it, as the conduct of the priest and Levite did to the crimes perpetrated upon the man who fell among thieves. This also we would be understood to intimate, that as long as they maintain their present attitude in respect to crushed humanity, they present a totally false representation of our divine religion to the world. Our motives in giving utterance to the above thoughts and facts will doubtless be questioned by some, and our prudence by more. This, however, we would say to all our brethren. You may freely question our motives and prudence both, and then smite us too, if you will only seriously consider what we have written, and ever after endeavor to expel the evils referred to from the Zion of our God. If any individual expresses all the thoughts that he intends to express, when he sits down to write, he does that which we always fail to accomplish.
Select Passages of Scripture Considered.
BY PRES. A. MAHAN.
"And Simon Peter answered, and said, Thou MATT. XVI, 16-18. art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter: and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
THE question in respect to this passage, about which commentators are divided, pertains to the meaning of the clause found in verse 18, "upon this rock will I build my church.” Of this clause, an entirely satisfactory explanation yet remains to be given. The explanation which we now propose will speak for itself.
In elucidating the passage, we would first turn attention to the inquiry, when did Simon receive from Christ the surname Peter? The general supposition is, that it was given him when he first became a disciple. In proof John i, 42 is cited.
"And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, A stone.”
Cephas is a Syriac word of the same meaning as the Greek term Peter. But it by no means follows from the fact that a particular name is given to an individual, that we have a right to apply to him a different name, simply because that in different languages, these different words have the same meaning. Christ may, at one time, have applied to Simon the Syriac word Cephas, for one reason, and at a subsequent period, have imparted to him the Greek name Peter, for quite another and a different reason, the two names having, in their respective languages, a common meaning, notwithstanding. John i, 42, therefore, affords no certain evidence that the name Peter was given to the apostle prior to the transaction under consideration. Our inquiry is, when was the name, signifying rock, given to him in the Greek form? For The lanourselves, we cannot but suppose that it was given at the time of the occurrence of the events before us. guage of the passage, "thou art Peter," that is, this henceforth shall be thy name, favors this supposition. We know