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want to see, among other primitive things, the strength of faith which produces unshaken trust—the fervency of love which leads to self-devoting sacrifice-the spirituality of mind which yearns for closer communion with the Father of lights —the rectitude of conduct which marks the habitual fear of God before the eyes—the glow and transport of hope which continually aspires toward the rest of the future. Certainly, we enjoy these things in a measure-but, alas! we have been cold and barren, and we must all strive together this new year, in such a resolute manner, that our celestial cause may not suffer by our sinful conduct.
Ill. To point out the literary claims, and moral character, of such works as professedly bear on moral and religious subjects. In this book-making age such a task is imperiously necessary, and we will give such prominence to this object as the condition of society seems to require.
IV. To notice the great events transpiring from time to time, pregnant with grave lessons for reflective men. We will pursue this course not as political partizans, but as men who believe that God is in history, and that the facts of every day life unfold his providence and moral government, and are marshalling onward his universal kingdom.
V. To record the progress of such congregations as are avowedly grounded on the ancient platform.
VI. To give such specimens of poetry, original, or selected from the best authors, as will give ardour to the soul, refining the taste, and strengthening and directing the judgment of the reader.
Such are the great objects we have in contemplation. In all these matters our readers can render us efficient assistance by sending us works for examination--by furnishing us with condensed accounts of the formation or advancement of scriptural churches—by sending respectful queries when information is required-by resolutely planning the wider circulation of our magazine, and looking to the executionand, above all, by walking in the truth, speaking it in love, and living it in holiness.
THE BIBLE. The Bible is the oldest and best book in the world. It is translated into more languages and read by more people than any other volume ever written. Its history and its prophecy comprehend the entire destiny of the world. It presents to us man in his natural, preternatural, and supernatural conditions and characteristics. It records the three great ages of the world by developing three dispensations of religion—the Patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian. Man as he was, man as he is, and man as he shall hereafter be, are its three grand themes. It reveals God by unfolding the mysterious relations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the three great works of creation, providence, and redemption.
The Bible is divided into two great departments, usually, but improperly, called the Old and New Testaments. The former of these contains the inspired writings of Moses, the first of historians and the greatest of lawgivers, together with those of the ancient Prophets ; while the latter contains those of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ. Regarded as the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures, it comprehends sixty-six distinct and independent treatises. Thirty-nine of these constitute the Jewish, and twenty-seven the Christian records. The Christian Scriptures are the work of only eight persons, six of whom were Apostles, and two of them Evangelists of Jesus Christ, and companions of the Apostles. The Jewish Scriptures were written by more than thirty persons, all of whom, save one,* were Jews. We put down the immediate authors or writers of the Bible at not less than
* Job, it is presumed, was an Idumean or Arabian sage. VOL. II.
forty, as the lowest number, though we cannot with absolute certainty name them all. From the birth of Moses till the death of John the Apostle, is a period of full sixteen hundred and sixty years. These volumes were, therefore, in progress of coinpletioni not less than fifteen hundred years, and grasp in their historic outlines a period of fortyone centuries. A volume of such immense compass, exhibiting details of persons, places, and events, so numerous and various, and of such transcendant interest to mankind, seems to possess claims upon the attention and consideration of every human being capable of appreciating its history, its biography, its prophecy, its doctrine, or even its general literature, above those of any other volume in the world.
The Jewish Scriptures comprehend history, law, and prophecy. The Jews were wont to distribute them into “the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” The Christian Scriptures pre-eminently consist of historical and epistolary compositions. Of all the Jewish writers, Moses, and of all the Christian writers, Paul, is the largest and most conspicuous. Both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures begin with history and end with prophecy. Facts or events, past and future, are therefore the main subjects on which inspired writers dwell. The historical books of the Old Testament are, in all, seventeen. The prophetic hooks are also seventeen ; while the properly didactic and devotional are but five. The first five books of the New Testament are also historical, the last prophetical, and the rest epistolary. These last are miscellaneous in their character, containing sometimes history, doctrine, precepts, and exhortations. The whole volume, indeed, in its spirit and tendency, is devotional. Whatever God has said in the form of declaration, precepts, promise, or threatening, is designed to make the man of God pure and perfect, and thoroughly accoinplished for every good word and work.
The plan of the Bible, as an instrument or means of salvation, is adınirably adapted to the human constitution and to the circumstances which surround man. The end to be obtained is happiness; but that end cannot be accomplished without sanctification or personal devotion to God. It is, indeed, as impossible for God to make any man happy, without making him holy, as it is for him to lie. Now the Bible is all arranged with a supreme reference to this fact. And as piety or holiness consists in a course of action correspondent with the divine will and character, and is not natural to man as he now is, it must be preceded by a change of heart. But this change of the affections being the result of faith or a belief of the testimony of God, that testimony for such a change must necessarily furnish motives. But these motives presuppose gracious acts of kindness on the part of God. Sacred history, then, records these facts-whether in the form of things said or done, commanded or promised by God. Faith apprehends and receives this testimony concerning these facts. These facts, when believed, produce corresponding feelings or states of mind, sometimes called repentance, or, a new heart ; and this new heart leads to those good actions denominated piety and humanity, or holiness and righteousness. The links in this divine chain of moral and spiritual instrumentality are, therefore, five-facts, testimony, faith, feeling, action ; --the end of which is salvation. The whole revelation of God is arranged upon this theory or view of inan's constitution. Thus God
acts, the Holy Spirit testifies, man believes, feels, and then acts according to the divine will. Thus he becomes “a new creature." This view of man's constitution explains why the Bible is a volume of facts, historical and prophetical—why it begins with history and ends with prophecy-why, in one sentence, God works, then commands, then promises.
To illustrate this by the Gospel, it is only necessary to state the order of things narrated in the Apostolic writings:
1. Jesus died for our sins.
2. The Apostles announced this, and it is proved by the Holy Spirit in his resurrection from the dead, and subsequent operations.
3. Jews and Gentiles believe these annunciations as reported to them by the Apostles and Evangelists.
4. They immediately repent of their sins, and inquire what to do. Their hearts are changed.
5. They then become obedient to the faith. They are saved.
The plan of the Bible can only be clearly understood when man's condition and constitution are clearly and fully apprehended. For, in truth, the Bible is a glorious system of grace-an absolutely, complete, and perfect adaptation of spiritual means to a great and glorious end. This, however, is not the only grand comprehensive view of the volume of God's inspiration which we desire to lay before the reader. We wish to look into the mechanism of this sublime instrument of renovation and salvation.
Jesus Christ is the centre of the whole evangelical system. He is " the root and the offspring of David "_" the Sun of Righteousness"
"the bright and the Morning Star”-“the Alpha and the Omega" of the volume. " The testimony of Jesus is the spirit” of all sacred history and of all divine prophecy. Now the history of the Bible is very rationally or philosophically arranged both in its prospective and retrospective character, with a single and sublime reference to Jesus Christ. Let us analyse it.
The first promise to fallen man respects a Messiah-in these words : " I will put enmity between thee,” serpent, "and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. HE SHALL BRUISE TAY HEAD, AND THOU SHALT BRUISE HIS HEEL." The whole Bible but demonstrates, illustrates, and applies this grand promise. Eve's son of blessings is now to be elicited out of the human race; and just so much of the history of the human race as is necessary to his identification, development, and glorification is given, and no more. Let the reader take this lamp in his hand, read all the historical books of both Testaments, note every fact, incident, and document therein found, and see if they do not arrange themselves in a proper position, either to identify, develop, or glorify this benefactor of our race. We shall glance at Genesis for an illustration.
The single book of Genesis contains the only information we have of the human race for the long period of two thousand three hundred sixty and eight years. It begins with creation and ends with the death of the patriarch Joseph. The other books of Moses brings us down to the year of the world 2553. All this history antedates any authentic records of the human race now extant in any nation or language.
But the portions of Genesis assigned to the different epocha of human history, are most singularly and significantly disproportionate. Why is it that eight-fiftieths, or eight chapters of fifty, are devoted to the history of creation and of the flood, and to the religious and political conditions of the human family, for the long period of one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years; while the single history of one Abraham occupies thirteen-fiftieths, and that of his descendants Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, twenty-four fiftieths ? Indeed, the fortunes of this Joseph occupy a larger space than that assigned to the first two thousand years of the world. This great disproportion in the details of things can be satisfactorily explained only in one way. That apprehended, and the plan and structure of the inspired writings can be properly understood and appreciated.
«The testimony of Jesus,” says a divine oracle, “is the spirit of prophecy." It is, I presume, as truly the spirit of sacred history. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega of ihe Bible, because the Bible is the history of redemption. Every thing takes precedence, occupies space, and engages attention in the direct ratio of its bearings upon the development and consummation of human redemption. Take, for example, the antediluvian age: From the moment the gracious intimation that the woman's offspring would one day “bruise the serpent's head” is given, its development becomes the all-engrossing theme, both of history and of prophecy. Persons, places, and events occupy a prominence and conspicuity as they happen to be connected with that grand central idea of the whole Bible. The altar, the victim. and the priest, appear in the history of Cain and Abel; while blood and faith triumph in his martyrdom. Cain's history, so far as it is given, is but the shade in the picture, and a few samples of his descendants illustrate the whole history of men in the flesh. He builded a city and calied it after the name of his son Enoch. From Enoch descended the sons and daughters of men. Polygamy was the consummation of his principles in the fifth generation. His offspring were brass and iron manufacturers, and the first that invented portable houses, instruments of music, and that handled the harp and the organ. Tu-bal-cain, or Vulcan, and his sister Naamah, inventer of the distaff and the spindle, are amongst his renowned issue. Not one saint is named in the whole posterity of Cain, the first born of woman and the prototype of religious persecutors.
The history of Cain and Abel being given, because of its connexion with the altar and the sacrifice, the historian, prompted by the spirit of revelation, opens the illustrious lineage of the promised seed of woman; and that becoines, from this moment, the back-bone of the whole Bible
the grand meridian line of all divine history and prophecy. Seth is born to fill the place of Abel, and his progeny is counted, one by one, down to Jesus of Bethlehem and of Nazareth. Thus the patriarchal chain of Messiah's ancestors down to the flood, are Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mehalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. From the fall of man to the flood, all that is transmitted to us of human affairs or of divine providence connects itself with these ten patriarchs. After the flood Noah's three sons engross our attention. Their connexion with all the ancient nations of the earth is briefly