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ON THE NATURE OF SIN.
THERE is no more visible point of lamentable want of knowledge in contrast between the nominal, and things spiritual. If man would the real Christian, than the prac- come to the Scriptures as a little tical estimate of the nature of sin, child, to be taught those things of It is a contrast felt and observed which he knows nothing yet that by every one whose understanding he ought to know-he would disis not darkened by the mists of cern the real nature of sin, as conerror, or blinded by natural per- nected with the holiness of God. verseness of judgment. The mis. He would see in every page of takes of many on this important Holy Writ the irreconcileable chapoint arise from the most deplor- racter of purity, with the slightest able ignorance of the nature of admixture of what is vile, and the God; the state of man ; and the consequent necessity of a change requirements of an unyielding involving nothing less than a law; and are founded on a false renewed nature, ere man can bestandard of the world's framing, come a recipient of the kingdom and an utter disregard of the of heaven. The state of spiritual word of God. Sin, as estimated by incapacity to which the soul is rethose who do not study this word, duced by the fall, and by long conis not that abominable thing which tinued personal transgression (which God hateth :-not that which is has gone far in deadening moral inherent in our nature, and which impressions) renders the receiving cannot live in the divine presence; the truth difficult: but the word but only that which is cognisable of God is the sword of the spirit, by human laws, and therefore the most powerful weapon in the justly obnoxious to human punish- whole armoury of God, and is ment. Such persons understand mighty in His hand to strike con. something of the second table of viction to the conscience. Its ope. the Law, but very little of the first, rations form a distinguished part in and nothing of the spiritual nature that mental process by which the of the whole. The sins of action strength of sin iş discovered, and are in some degree manifest; but the spirit of a renewed nature superthe sins of thought, which the induced. Divine Law equally forbids (Matt. How the knowledge of the law v. 23.) are unnoticed and unknown becomes a ministration of condem. The iniquity of vile things is com- nation, and leads to a Saviour prehensible even to the natural from its curse, may be shown here. mind; but the iniquity of holy after. In the mean time, it becomes things is never discerned, until a an imperative duty for each indivinew perception is imparted by that dual to judge for himself of the Spirit, whose office it is to “ con- nature of sin, in those records where vince of sin.” The sinfulness of alone its true character is to be sin is never estimated, until it is found, and thus “to judge our. regarded with reference to God, as selves, that we be not judged of the committed against Him. In this Lord.” Then shall we know, if we lies the sting and the strength of follow on to know the Lord : we moral conviction. The mournful shall there learn, that the thought evasion with which so many meet of foolishness is sin ; and that it is the suggestions of conscience, and written of the kingdom of Heaven, it may be, the drawings of the “ there can in no wise enter into it, Spirit, “I have done no harm to any thing that defileth." any one,” proceeds from the same
A Daily Expositor of the New Tes
tament, in which the text is divided into sections, with a practical Exposition, especially intended as morning and evening portions for pious families and private Christians. By the Rev. Thomas Keyworth. Vol. I. 8vo. Pp. vi. and
492. Baynes. 1825. The New Testament of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, with a plain Exposition, for the use of families. By the Rev. Thomas Boys, M. A. 4to. Pp. 640. Seeleys. 1827. The Cottage Bible and Family Expositor. By Thomas Williams. 3 vols. 8vo. Pp. xviii. 1046, 694 and 750, Simpkin and Co.,
Co., When the Saviour of sinners afford. ed to the enquiring disciples of John the Baptist a practical proof of his being the Messiah who should come, be not only called their attention to the interesting facts that the blind received their sight, and the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, and the dead were raised up—but he also added, the poor have the gospel preached to them. This attention to the poor constitutes a striking feature in both the Old and New Testament dispensations. Heathen morality lost sight of the poor, and made no provision for their wants. Corrupt religion still flatters the great and powerful, but vital Christianity regards the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and labours for the welfare of those who cannot recompense their benefactors by any worldly compensation.
These remarks have been excited by finding on our table three distinct publications, intended more especially to explain the Scriptures to the poor. The attempt is honourable to the respective authors, whatever be the intrinsic merit of their productions, and
though both in their plan and their execution they materially differ, yet each of them is distinguished by very considerable excellence,
Mr. Keyworth's Exposition is at present confined to the Gospels and the Acts; and has been sometime published. When the volüme was transmitted to us it was accompanied with an intimation that the sequel would speedily appear; and we hope that nothing has occurred to prevent its Author's progress, since we should very much regret the work remaining imperfect.
We cannot perhaps convey a better idea of Mr. K.'s object than by the following extract from his Introduction :
The kind of Work designed in the ensuing pages will be perceived from what follows:
Let us suppose that a master, or parent, assembles bis household for family worship. He opens the sacred volume, and reads a portion of convenient length. How desirable that, before he closes the book, the little assembly should have the meaning very briefly explained, and the holy lessons which the verses read may contain, enforced upon their minds by some plain, practical and pointed remarks. The good likely to result from such an accompaniment to our family devotions, appears to be incalculable. Professed commentaries are, however, generally too long, too diffuse, or too critical for such occasions; and the shorter expositions are scarcely fitted for family reading, because the arrangement of their matter requires a frequent transition from the text to the exposition, and back again. The Work which seems wanted is one in which the explanations, remarks, appeals to the conscience, &c. shall form a connected address, so as to be read by itself immediately after the paragraph of Scripture to which it relates, and yet so expressed that its bearing on each verse may be pretty evident to those who have just heard the portion of Scripture read.To provide such a work is the object of this publication.-P.ü.
This plan the author has in general well executed. In one
particular we think he has failed, utmost he can do, is far too little when pamely, in contining his observa compared with what Christ has done tions to that part of the sacred
for bim. 37–40. He knows that he
deserves no reward. Nevertheless, eye text where an event is first noticed,
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither and passing over the parallel
hath it entered the heart of man, what passages without any exposition. God hath laid up for them that love The necessity indeed of studying bim. A glorious kingdom is prepared, brevity may possibly be pleaded, designed for them before they had a but it would have been better if the
being. author's remarks on St. Matthew
41-45. On the other hand, the ac
tions and omissions of the wicked, and had been considerably abridged in
of those who bear but the name of order to admit of some observations Christians, will be appealed to as evion the parallel passages in the dence, that they had no love to Christ, other gospels, where many chap and they will be sentenced to everlastters together now pass without ing punishment. It is possible indeed a single observation. Thus while
for a man to give all his goods to feed it has seemed good to the Holy
the poor, and yet to have no real love Ghost to give us four distinct
to the Saviour; but it is certain from
the word of God, that whoso hath this narratives of the death and passion
world's good, and seeth his brother of our Lord, which though ac have need, and shutteth up his bowels cordant in the main, vary in many of compassion from him, cannot have minute particulars, our author's the love of God dwelling in him. observations are entirely confined
46. It is worthy of remark, that the to the narrative given by St.
very same word is used in the original,
to point out the length of the punishMatthew. References are indeed
ment of the wicked, as is used to indiinserted to the other gospels, but cate the duration of the happiness of the many readers will omit the remarks righteous. What madness then, for any referred to, who would have perused to go on in sin, in the hope that the them as a matter of course. had future misery of the wicked will be of they followed in their natural order. short duration ! O that the sinner would
study this word everlasting! Methinks The following extract may afford it would startle him out of his dead a fair specimen of our author's
sleep.—Let the heir of glory also study comment: it contains his observa
it, it will revive him in his deepest agony. tions on the third and last section
It contains the perfection of torment or
of bliss !-Mati. xxv. 31–46. of Matt. xxv. extending from verse 31 to 46.
The annexed observations may The last judgment is described in these
afford an example of the mode in verses.
which Mr. K. disposes of passages 31–36. What discoveries will that wbich have excited considerable day make, when the Son of man shall controversy. come in his glory, and separate between It is certain, that baptisms were the true and the false professor! But daily practised by the Jews at their let us mark well how the distinction meals before John baptized, and from will be made. The character of the tree what is said in the Gospels about these will then be ascertained, not by the Jewish baptisms, we think it is plain place where it grew, or the name it bore, that the word baptize must mean to wet wor yet by its blossoms or leaves, but or wash in other ways than by immersion. by its fruit; not that the fruit makes This seems evident from that passage the tree good, but it shows it to be good. where it is said, that the Pharisee with Yet how little do we see among pro- whom our Lord dined wondered that fessing Christians, of these fruits which he had not BAPTIZED before eating ; our Lord describes. Who thinks of since the Pharisee could not expect our denying himself that he may have to Lord to immerse himself before he sat give to him that needeth ? Happy the down to dinner. man who, from a principal of love to Further, if it be admitted, that the his Lord, rejoices in opportunities of pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on the showing kindness to the suffering dis. Apostles at the day of Pentecost, and ciples of Christ ! Ile feels that the ' on the company of Cornelius was bartism with the Holy Spirit ; it is so not follow that we, in this cold country, plain that the pouring of water on a are obliged to adopt the same mode. person must be baptism with water, that Out of several ways we are rather bound it is scarcely necessary to say another to select that which is best suited to our word in defence of our practice. Indeed, climate and habits, and so is best fitted to as if to settle this point, the very same answer the design of the institution. Inexpressions are used by John, when deed, such is the inconvenience and danspeaking of one, as when speaking of ger, in our part of the world, attendant the other,
on remaining for hours in wet clothes, I baptize WITH water.
that immersion in open rivers, amidst He shall baptize WITH the Holy the ice and snow of winter, seems now Ghost.
to be generally abandoned by our It deserves remark too, that baptism Baptist brethren, and they have adopted with the Holy Ghost is always repre- instead, the plan of having a kind of sented by pouring, pouring forth, cisterns in their places of Worship, shedding on us, falling, &c. all of which which they fill with water by means seem to favour the idea, that baptism by of a pump or other machine. They affusion or pouring out is one scriptural provide also nice accommodations for mode of administering that ordinance. changing dresses, and have garments
• The advocates for immersion lay carefully contrived and weighted, so as much stress on the texts which mention to prevent the indecency arising from baptizing in rivers, und a going down their floating. Still the public immerinto the water, and coming up out of it. sion of females by men, in thin bathing Now, were we for a moment to admit dresses, has something in it so approachall that such would infer from these ing to immodesty, that though attending texts, it only amounts to this, that circumstances may profitably affect some immersion is one way of administering spectators, it seems rather calculated baptism, and it would by no means to excite improper feelings than deprove, that this is the only valid way, votional ones; and as for the persons and that we are obliged to adopt it in immersed, there can be no question this country. It is certain, however, that terror and other painful emotions that these phrases may, with equal pro- do, in many cases, entirely unfit them priety, be translated AT or BY the for deriving any benefit from the ordiriver, and going down TO, or coming nance at the time of its administration. up FROM the water, for the very same It should also be considered, that expressions are used where Shimei is however these artificial contrivances may said to have come down TO Jordan, render baptism by immersion less unfit to meet David, which by no means for public view, and take away some implies that he entered the river at all; of its more glaring improprieties, still and where is it said that our Lord we would wish the advocates for imreturned FROM Jordan, exactly the mersion to reflect that such a plan is same word is used as is rendered OUT altogether a human invention, without Of the water in this very chåpter. . the least countenance from the Bible. · Besides, even were it admitted that John's disciples were baptized in the John's disciples went INTO the water, open air. No one supposes that they this would not necessarily imply that had changes of dress, or built retiring they went in to a considerable depth; rooms, or had any such contrivances as for, since the legs of the Jews were our friends, the baptists, seem obliged commonly naked, and persons could, to resort to, for the prevention of without inconvenience, stand in shallow indecency, or the injury of health; water, is it not much more likely that contrivances, which in many parts of they who were baptized did so, than that the world could not possibly be adopted, both the baptizer and the baptized went, without such labour, expense, and with clothes on, into the water up to the machinery, as are utterly inconsistent breast? Indeed this appears utterly with the simplicity of gospel ordinances. improbable, when we consider that the It also deserves to be considered, multitudes who came would oblige John whether the making of baptism so much himself to remain up to the middle in a public spectacle, as it often is made, be water many days together!
not unscriptural, since it is not a little Further, since it seems in vain to remarkable, that in the Acts or Epistles, deny that the Jews baptized in various we have no instance of a single public ways, even if it could be proved that baptism. There is a proneness in fallen John baptized by immersion, it would man, especially in young converts, to lay too much stress on the externals of re- We inserted in a former number, ligion, and to think, that the more pain, an extract from the work before ful a thing is, the more acceptable it must be to God. After all, let those
us,* which, together with the folwho baptize by pouring out, and those
lowing exposition of St. Luke xvi. who use immersion, read the 14th may afford our readers a specimen chapter of Romans through, and, instead of its execution. of judging each other any more, judge When Abraham says to the rich man this rather, that no man put in his in torments, “ between us and you brother's way a stumbling block, or an there is a great gulf fixed,” he sets forth occasion to fall. That some water should the final separation which will be made, be used in baptism is plain, but the hereafter, between the righteous and the quantity and manner of its application wicked. And the division, in fact, seem to be wisely left to circumstances. exists already. Even in this present Would to God that all the baptized were world, the one party might say to the chiefly anxious to improve the solemn other, “between us and you there is a rite, remembering, that the vows of God great gulf.” But in the world to come, are upon them, and that no ordinances, it will be said, “ between us and you however administered, can avail without there is a great gulf, fixed." Here, the that baptism of the Holy Spirit, which gulf is already formed, but not fixed. shows itself by repentance towards God, Let this reflection, then, lead us to conand faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, sider what is the relative situation of the compared with which, questions about ungodly and the righteous, first, in this baptism with water, are trifles light as life, secondly, in the life to come.. air --(Matt. iii. 5, 6.) Pp. 15—17. In this life, either of these classes may
say to the other, “ between us and you Mr. Boys's exposition is of a
there is a great gulf.” It would ill different character. Perceiving the become us, indeed, in adopting these difficulty, not to say the impos words, to use them contemptuously; or sibility, of commenting on every even to assert, with too much confidence, passage without very far exceeding
on which side of the gulf we ourselves the prescribed limits; he has seized
are standing. Sull they may be em
ployed, as expressive of that division upon one or more leading points
between the good and the bad, (to in each chapter, and has left the
whichever class we, as individuals, may remaining parts entirely unnoticed. belong) which already, in the eye of We fear this plan will not afford God, that is in reality, does certainly general satisfaction. It gives to exist. And that it should now be in his work the appearance of a existence is the morerem
existence is the more remarkable, because collection of short sermons, rather
on a cursory view, we may discover than that of an exposition for the
scarcely any signs of it. When Lazause of Families; and his comments
rus implored the rich man's charity, he
was lying at his very gate, Who would not being usually divided into small
have dreamt, then, of the difference portions, will often require more between the two: the one laid at the time than plain Christians can door of the other; yet the one a child conveniently afford. The general of God, who was received, when he sentiments and execution of the
died, into Abraham's bosom; and the work have afforded us high satis
other a child of Belial, who died, and faction, notwithstanding some rough
was buried, and awoke in torments !
rouge Such is the still prevailing mixture of and inappropriate expressions. We the good and the bad. Yet is there a wish the author bad occasionally difference in reality. We may appeal introduced a few references to to the antipathy, the strong dislike and parallel passages of scripture, and aversion, which is constantly displayed annexed an Index of subjects in.
by the world, towards the people of alphabetical order. He has indeed
God. Does not the world speak all
manner of evil against them falsely? prefixed a Table of Contents, which
If one persou in a household becomes is incorrectly entitled an Index, but religious, is it not considered the worst this arrangement is far from con- calamity, that can befal the family? Is venient, and the topics not always it not regarded as a domestic misforvery clearly defined.
See Nov. 1825, p. 426.