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no sin, he only proves himself to be deceived, and that he has yet to learn what is true religion. But in the last, it seems, from the context, that the term is intended to denote the sin of apostasy. If we were to substitute the term apostasy for sin, from the 6th to the 10th verse, the meaning would be clear. “Whoso abideth in him, apostatizeth not ; whosoever apostatizeth hath not seen him, neither known him.—He that is guilty of apostasy is of the devil: for the devil hath been an apostate from the beginning.—Whosoever is born of God doth not apostatize; for his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot apostatize, because he is born of God.” This sense of the latter passage perfectly agrees with what is said of the sin unto death. (v. 16–18.) There is a sin unto death - - - - - - - We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. It also agrees with Chap. ii. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us. But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Altogether, it affords what we might presume to call, an incontestible proof of the certain perseverence of true believers.
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.— 2 Tim. iii. 12.
When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to The at peace with him.—Prov. xvi. 7.
SoME consideration is required for the difference of times. It was the genius of the Old Testament more than of the New, to connect obedience to God with temporal prosperity; and therefore that might be said under the one which would be less applicable under the other.
It is allowed, however, that this is not sufficient to solve the difficulty. There has always been the same radical enmity in general
between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. He that was born after the flesh then persecuted him that was born after the Spirit: and so it is now. And by bow much more spiritual the church at any time has been, by so much higher has the enmity arisen against them, it is also true under the gospel, as well as under the law, that where a man perseveres in righteousness and godliness, though he may have many enemies, yet their enmity shall frequently be prevented from hurting him, and even turned away from him into other channels. The truth seems to be, that neither of the above passages is to be taken universally. The peace possessed by those who please God does not extend so far asto exempt them from having enemies ; and though all godly men must in some form or other be persecuted, yet none are persecuted at all times. God has always given his people some seasons of rest. The former of these passages may, therefore, refer to. the native enmity which true godliness is certain to excite, and the latter to the divine control over it. The rod of the wicked must be expected to fall, but not to rut upon the lot of the righteous. Man's wrath shall be let loose in a degree; but farther than what is necessary for the praise of God. it shall not go. It shall be suffered to shoot forth in measure; but God wdl debate with it. He stayeth his rough wind in the day of his east wind.
REPLY TO A QUERY ON READING THE SCRIPTURES.
I no not wish the following remarks to supersede any other answer which may enter more fully into the subject. All I have to. offer, will be a few hints from my own experience.
In the first place, 1 have found it good to appoint set times for reading the scriptures} and none have been so profitable as part of the sea-son appropriated to private devotion on rising in the morning. The mind at this^time is re-iuvigorated,fand unincumbered. To read a part of the scriptures, previous to prayer, I have found to be very useful. It tends to collect the thoughts, to spiritualize the affections* and to furnish us with sentiments wherewith to plead at a throne of grace. And as reading assists prayer, so prayer assists reading. At these seasons we shall be less in danger of falling into idle speculations, and of perverting scripture in support of hypotheses. A spiritual frame of mind, as Mr. Pearce somewhere observes, is as a good light in viewing a painting; it will not a little facilitate the understanding of !the scr i-.tuies.Ido not mean to depreciate the labours of those who have commented on the sacred writings.* but we m;iy read expositors, and consult critics, while the spirit and life of the world utterly escape us. A tender, humble, holy frame, is perhaps of more importance to our entering into the mind of jthe Holy Spirit, than all other means united. It is thus, that by an unction from the Holy One we know all things.
In reading by myself, I have also felt the advantage of being able to pause, and think as well as pray; and to inquire how far the subject is any way applicable to my case and conduct in life.
In the course of a morning's exercise, it may be supposed that some things will appear hard to be understood! and I may feel myself, after all my application, unable to resolve them. Here, then, let me avail myself of commentators and expositors. If t read them instead of reading the scriptures, I may indeed derive some knowledge; but my mind will not be stored with the best riches ; nor will the word dwell richly in me in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. If, on the other hand, I read the scriplures, and exercise my own mind oa their meaning, only using the helps with which 1 am furnished, when I particularly need them, such knowledge will avail me more than any other: for having felt and laboured at the difficulty myself, what I obtain from others towards the solution of it, becomes more interesting and abiding, thau if I had read it without any such previous efforts. And as to , my own thoughts, though they may not be superior,, nor equal to those of others, in themselves considered; yet, if they be jusf,
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their having been the result of pleasing toil, renders them of superior value to me. A small portion, obtained by ourovrn labour, is sweeter than a large inheritance bequeathed by our predecessors. Knowledge, thus obtained, will not be always accumulating, but of special use in times of trial; not like the cumbrous armour which does not fit us, but like the sling and the stone, which, though less brilliant, will be more efficacious.
I may add, it were well for those who can find leisure, to commit to writing, the most interesting thoughts which occur at these seasons. It is thus that they will be fixed in the memory; and tbe revision of them may serve to rekindle some of the best sen-, sationa in our life.
THOUGHTS ON SINGING.
I Have long considered the manner in which our singing is conducted, as equally contrary to scripture and reason. The intent of singing is, by a musical pronunciation of affecting truth, to render it still more affecting. To accomplish this end, the music ought, at all events, to be adapted la the sentiments. As in common speaking there is a sound, or modulation of the voice, adapted to convey every sentiment or passion of which the human soul is at any time possessed; so I conceive it is, in a considerable degree, with regard to singing: there are certain airs, or tones, which are naturally expressive of joy, sorrow, pity, indignation, &c. and the grand art of psalmody seems to consist in applying these to the sentiments required to be sung. When David had composed a divine song, it was delivered to "the chief musician," who set it to sacred music; and the Levites and the people would probably, learn both the song and the tune, and sing them on the days appointed for public worship.
Our method of singing is the reverse of this. Some person who has a taste for music composes a tune, a mere tune, without aiiy sentiments to be expressed. He divides and subdivides his empty sounds, into lines, and bars, &c. The poet, instead of going before the musician, comes after him; and a hymn is conformed to the tune, instead of a tune to the hymn. The tune being composed to four, six, or eight lines, is applied to any song that is written in these respective measures, and repeated over, without any regard to the meaning, as many times ;is there are stanzas to be sung'.
I do not mean to object to the division of music into parts, of breaks, so as to afford proper places for pausing; but this division ought not to be uniform, but governed entirely by the matter to be sung. There ought, I conceive, to be no pauses in music, any more than in speaking, but at the conclusion of a sentence, or of some lesser break in the division of it: and the length of the pause ought to be governed by the meaning, in some proportion as it is in reading. Those notes also which belong to words of but little meaning, the mere particles of speech, should be short; and those which belong to words of full meaning, should be long and full of sound. Nothing can be more unnatural than for a congregation to dwell in a long swelling sound upon such words as that, it, and, from, to, &c. while they skip over words expressing the very burden of the song, as if they were of no account: yet this will frequently and almost constantly be the case, while we make hymns to tunes, instead of tunes to hymns.
Our anthem* appear to me to approach the nearest to the scriptural way of singing: only they possess too much levity for worship, and abound with a number of unnecessary, because unmeaning repeats.
I have long wished to see introduced into the churches, (and f almost believe it will be at some future time,) A Selection Ov DiVine Hymns or Songs, taking place of all human compositions. By