Page images
PDF
EPUB

Such an agent, one really compe- adopt the more expensive course', tent and the employment of any might perhaps effect some such arother would be incalculably mis

rangement as this. chievous), will cost, and ought to Will our churches then, and especost, from £40 to £60 per annum. cially the larger of our churches, In addition to her stipend, there will give this subject their serious coninevitably be small expenses of va- sideration ? The writer does not rious kinds, and, so far as the writer presume to urge the employment of has been able to ascertain, the such missionaries as a positive duty ; smaller sum named is about the he is well aware that, in many lowest amount for which, in our churches, work of this kind is being large towns, at all events, the agency done, to a large extent, in a purely could be well sustained. The writer voluntary manner, and he would deis well aware that some of our precate exceedingly the withdrawchurches might find it difficult, ment of such unpaid effort as is now probably impossible, to incur such put forth. Not as a substitute for an expense, but there are others by such purely voluntary exertions, but which the cost could be easily de- as a very effectual aid to them, he frayed, and experience testifies that would l'espectfully advocate the money so spent is spent right well. employment, where practicable, of In one of the instances with which one or more Christian women who the writer is acquainted the Bible should give their whole time and woman is not required to give the their undivided energies to the unwhole of her time, and, consequently, speakably important work of prois engaged at a much smaller cost. moting the spiritual welfare and the Some of our churches, if unable to domestic comfort of the poor.

THE PASSAGE OF THE JORDAN

At the end of forty years the children fanciful. At any rate the resemblance of Israel finished their wanderings is clear enough for the purpose which in the wilderness and were ready to the writer has in view, and the subenter into the land of promise. From ject can never fail to interest the the top of Pisgah Moses had seen people of God. the goodly country, but he did not I. The anticipation of crossing the go in to possess it because he had Jordan may correspond with believers spoken unadvisedly with his lips. who are waiting to enter a better When the ransomed tribes came up country, even a heavenly. It had out of the house of bondage, the Red taken forty years to prepare the Sea opened a passage for them to children of Israel for the possession pass over, and now the Jordan is

of Canaan, and during that long about to become the scene of a period they had been sustained by similar miracle.

the power and goodness of God. Many good men have regarded the Amid judgments and mercies and passage of the Jordan as an emblem miracles they had been preserved by of believers entering into heaven, and the Lord, until at last they reached the analogy is neither far-fetched nor the banks of Jordan within view of the promised inheritance. What a name can look forward to such a moment that was in their history as crisis in his history without strong a nation! Tradition and the reports emotion? Israel passed the Jordan of eye witnesses had made the coun- in a body, but we pass through the try beyond Jordan one much to be river of death one by one. Nature desired by them, and now, nothing trembles at the prospect, and through but the river separates them from fear of death many are in continual its milk and honey, its pastures and bondage ; but Christianity pours the flocks. Hither they have been led light of the Gospel over the darkness by the cloud by day and the pillar of death and illumines the grave with of fire by night; the end is now in the sunshine of an eternal day. Oh, view, and they wait with eager desire what a moment it is in the life of a to cross the river. Behind them is good man when he stands on the the waste, howling wilderness, before verge of eternity! and on the borders them the promised rest. Many of of the heavenly Canaan! “ This is them had seen and tasted, or heard, what I have prayed for,” he says, of the grapes brought from Eshcol; "and now my prayer is answered ; my now the vineyards and oliveyards of eternal rest is at hand, and I am Canaan are within sight. How they waiting for the command to go in must long to stand on the other side and possess it.” of Jordan!

"Could we but climb where Moses stood, “Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood

And view the landscape o'er, Stand dressed in living green,

Not Jordan's stream, nor death's cold So to the Jews old Canaan stood

flood, While Jordan rolled between."

Should fright us from the shore." And this may remind us of the

II.-There may be a correspondence interesting period in the history of between the passage of the Jordan believers, when they reach the margin

and the act of dying. The discipline of that mysterious river which divides of forty years had prepared the the moral wilderness from the chosen tribes for Canaan, and now heavenly rest. At such a moment they are ready to pass over. In that what reminiscences they have of the season of interest and hope, the Lord past! what thoughts of the present ! was in their midst, and the signal to what anticipations of the future! go forward was the advance of the With feelings of awe, blended with Ark of the Covenant. The descriphope, they wait for the signal to tion of the historian is so minute and cross over into "the land of pure de- vivid, that we seem to see the movelight where saints immortal reign."ment of the host and the parting of The passage can hardly be anticipated the waters. First of all, the people without solemnity, for though many remove from their tents to the edge persons speak of death with lightness of the river; then the priests, bearing --no Christian can look forward to the Ark, dip their feet in the brim of his own departure without seriousness the water, and instantly a passage is and solicitude. Human nature clings made for the redeemed to pass over. to life and shrinks from death—how As soon as the priests reach the can it be otherwise ? The tabernacle middle of the river, they stand still, of divine workmanship must be taken and when the tribes have crossed down, and the delicate ties which they follow in the rear ; but as soon bind us to loved ones must be se- as their feet touch the dry land, the vered. What man that deserves the suspended waters return to their

place, and the miracle has done its celestial city is now in full view, its work.

glories beam upon me, its music From time immemorial the river strikes upon my ears, and its spirit of Jordan has furnished a figure for is breathed into my heart.” “I am the river of death, and the passage not tired of my work,” said Dr. of the former has been regarded as Judson, “neither am I tired of the a shadow of the passage of the latter. world, yet when Christ calls me home, The resemblance is clear enough to I shall go with the gladness of a boy warrant the use which has been bounding away from his school.” made of it by men of exalted wis- Testimonies almost without end dom and fervent piety. And I now

And I now might be given to show with what proceed to show how the servants of serenity and joy the people of God God have passed through the scenes have finished their course on earth. of death into the kingdom of heaven. Visions of glory have appeared to Passing over all the instances re- some; angelic convoys have seemed corded in the Bible, I select a few to wait for others; celestial music well-known and honoured names :- has been heard by many, and not a "I bless God," said Baxter, when few have been, as it were, in heaven, dying, "I have a well-grounded as- ere yet the last tie had released them surance of my eternal happiness, and from this world. great peace and comfort within." What shall we say to these things? He then added, “When thou wilt, Is it a delusion, as sceptics and what thou wilt, how thou wilt." scoffers would have us believe? “Methinks,” was the exclamation of People who are not accustomed to Janeway, “I hear the melody of read and think may be led away by heaven, and by faith see the angels flights of fancy, and by imaginary waiting to carry my_soul to the visions of angels, or of the Saviour bosom of Jesus, and I shall be for Himself; but this cannot apply to ever with the Lord in glory.” “Break the men whose dying words have off all delays,” cried Bishop Jewel, been quoted, because they were men “suffer thy servant to come to thee, of cultivated minds, of sober judgcome and take him to be with thee. ments, and of enlightened piety; Lord, receive my spirit.” Walker, men who had been accustomed to of Truro, said, “I have been on the weigh evidence, to examine arguwings of Cherubim. Heaven has in ments, and to try every outburst of a manner been opened to me, I shall religious affection by the standard soon be there." “ This is heaven be- of truth. Yet they had nothing to gun," said Thomas Scott, “I have do but to die and to enter into their done with darkness for ever. Satan is everlasting rest; and though there vanquished; nothing now remains but was no bridge to go over, and the salvation with eternal glory.” Another river was very deep," as Bunyan dedying saint exclaimed, “Do you see scribes it, “they found ground to that blessed assembly who await my stand upon and got over.” arrival? How delightful is it to be in the society of blessed spirits-let

“The seal of truth is on your breasts, ye

dead !" us go, we must go, let me go." "Chil. dren," said the mother of John III.-- There may be a faint resemWesley, “as soon as I am released, blance between the arrival in Canaan sing a psalm of praise to God." and the entrance into heaven. When Dr. Payson, of America, lay Israel crossed the Jordan near the on his dying bed, he said, "the city of Jericho, and encamped at a

place afterwards called Gilgal. It is spirits of just men made perfect. impossible for us to imagine what Upon their admission into glory, their feelings were when they first how they would bask in the beams stood upon the soil of Canaan, and of the Sun of Righteousness, walk took possession of their inheritance.

the streets of the New Jerusalem; After passing through the dangers repose on the banks of the river of and discipline of the wilderness they life, and enjoy communion with had reached the Land of Promise; angels and glorified spirits, with breathing its pure air, beholding its friends once loved on earth, and esstately palm trees, and enjoying its pecially with the Lamb of God. All delicious fruit. This was the fulfil- this must have been the more dement of a promise made to the lightful from the fact that they had father of the faithful—the gratifi- just come from a world of sin and cation of a desire which was denied sorrow ; from a conquest over death, to Moses, and the attainment of an and from the lamentations of beobject of deep interest to the family loved friends. Still further would of man.

it be enhanced by the assurance What, then, must be the entrance that they had entered upon a state of a believer into heaven! We are of happiness which would have no unable to answer the question, and end; and their joy would be comall attempts to do so must end in plete by seeing the Redeemer as He failure. Our highest conceptions of is, and not as He was; in His mait fall immeasurably below the reality, jesty and not in His humiliation ; and when our utmost efforts have face to face, and not through a glass been made, we are conscious that darkly. Standing before His throne as “it doth not yet appear what we monuments of His grace, and casting shall be.” The Bible abounds with their crowns down at His feet, they bold and beautiful imagery respect must exclaim with an ardour which ing the heavenly state; but it fails we are unable to appreciate :to give us an adequate idea of its exceeding and eternal weight of

“ Millions of years our wondering eyes

Shall o'er thy beauties rove, glory. In vain we ask the saints

And endless ages we'll adore above what were their first impres- The glories of thy love." sions of heaven, of its society, em

Child of sorrow and hope ! “thine ployment, and, above all, of the Lord

eyes shall see the King in His Jesus Christ! Surely they must

beauty," and the vision of His face have been seized with rapture when will be a rich reward for the trials they heard the first sound and swell

of life and the pains of death. In of the everlasting song. Feelings of the meantime serve thy generation wonder and praise must have pos- according to the will of God, and sessed them when they found them- be ready whenever the signal is given selves inheritors of the kingdom of

to cross the River. heaven, and numbered with the

480

Rebicius

ones.

Biblical Commentary on the Old Testa- of their arguments for the late origin of

ment. By C. F. KEIL, D.D., and the books on words of modern formation, J. DELITZCH, D.D., Professors of which a copyist, or later editor, has proTheology. Vol. I. "The Pentateuch." bably substituted for archaic or obsolete Translated by the Rev. Jas. MARTIN,

They have taken the sense of B.A. Edinburgh: T. & J. Clark. words as they stand, though it contra8vo. 1861, pp. 501.

dicts the clear opinion or statements of This is the first portion of a truly

the author in other places, without convaluable commentary on the Five Books

sidering that the possible blunder of

some careless transcriber may be the of Moses. In form it is somewhat condensed, is exegetical in treatment, and

source of the discrepancy or contradicis especially suited for the use of divinity

tion. The imperfections of the Hebrew students and ministers. In a few pages

text of Scripture are very great. Many

of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet the writers present the argumeuts for

are so much alike in form that it is very the early origin and date of these important books, and give sound reasons

easy for a copyist to make mistakes in

transcription. A writer in the January for regarding Moses as their author. The

number of « The Journal of Sacred most recent assaults of scepticism are candidly examined. Negative arguments

Literature” has given some remarkable are placed over against that large array

illustrations of this point. Taking the of positive evidence which the assailants

present Hebrew text as the standard, he of the Pentateuch usually ignore; and

has compared it with the text and col

lations of manuscripts made by the the learned Professors gather from all

celebrated Kennicott. He found that sources the proofs which establish the divinely inspired character of these won

the letter aleph was mistaken for four

other letters no less than forty-three derful documents.

times in the Book of Genesis ; and for With regard to the authenticity and authorship of any ancient writing, two

other three letters, forty-seven times in

Exodus. The letter vau seems peculiarly lines of proof are open to the critic. He may inquire what external evidence exists subject to be mistaken for yod. There to sustain the .claim; and may justly takes in this letter alone. A further

are in Genesis one hundred and four mis. expect that the contents of the work be comparison shows that in the Book of in harmony with itself. In the case of Exodus eighteen hundred and sixty-three a very ancient book, like the Pentateuch, which can only have existed for ages in

words have been omitted by the several manuscript, before printing was invented,

copyists. A striking illustration of the by which fixity of form and text is se

error in translation that a mistake in cured, the critic must be careful to

copying a letter gives rise to, may be obtain the most accurate transcript, and

seen by a comparison of 2 Kings xx. 13, be on his guard lest the errors of copyists parallel. In Kings we read:

and Isaiah xxxix. 2. The places are should lead him astray. It is well known that the various readings in manuscripts “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them.are very numerous, and it is by no means certain that any criticism which rests on

In Isaiah : a given word, or on some grammatical

“And Hezekiah was glad of them." construction, is correct. Some of the modern assailants of the Pentateuch The latter is, no doubt, the true reading; have been grossly unmindful of this but the difference in Hebrew consists in principle. They have rested the weight a single letter. The transcriber has

« PreviousContinue »