Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

itineracies are given, and they shew that the preachers seldom failed to secure an audience. In the Mission press, the printing of the Old Testament in Oriya, for the Calcutta Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, has proceeded to Isaiah xvi. For the same society there have been printed 4000 copies each of the Book of Psalms and of the Book of Pro. verbs. 4000 copies each of the Gospels of Mark and Luke, and 3000 copies of the Acts of the Apostles, have been printed for the Bible Translation Society. During the year 39,500 tracts also have been printed. These facts speak for themselves. The Mission is a prosperous one, and deserves the hearty and liberal support of the public.”

to fellowship. Our branch churches have also been proportionately blessed. We have also opened two other preaching places, at one of which there is now a church formed of ten members, including the preacher, who has received a upadimous call to take the oversight of them, to which he has consented, and is now serving them acceptably. They have also decided to commence, with as little delay as possible, the erection of a suitable place of worship for their future services,

towards which noble efforts have been and are still being made. Mr. Gerrard received a unanimous call from the above brethren to visit and open them as a church on the 24th of Sept., to which he readily responded. This church will be situated at a village called Goodna, between Ipswich and Brisbane, the capital of the colony of Queensland. There is also an. other preaching place opened in connection with this little church about three miles distant, at which Mr. Gerrard preached to a full house on the day above named ; and we rejoice to hear that there is also somo signs of fruit for their labour."

IPSWICH, QUEENSLAND. OUR correspondent states :—“Since I last wrote you, the West Street Baptist church in Ipswich has received six to its fellowship by baptism, and three have been re-united

FOREIGN LETTERS RECEIVED.

BERHAMPORE—G. Taylor, Dec. 22. CUTTACK-J. Buckley, Dec. 23.

CUTTACK-W. Hill, Dec. 14, 15. PIPLEE-Miss Packer, Dec. 9.

CONTRIBUTIONS

Received on account of the General Baptist Missionary Society, from

December 18th, 1871, to January 18th, 1872.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by T. HILL, Esq., Baker Street, Nottingham, Treasurer; by the Rev. J. C PIKE, the Secretary, and the Rev. H. WILKINSON, the Travelling Agent, Leicester, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collecting Books, and Cards may be obtained.

THE

GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE.

MARCH, 1872.

THE TRUE MEASURE OF CHRISTIAN DUTY

AND CHARACTER.

BY REV. W. BISHOP.

Matt. v. 19.

[ocr errors]

In the preceding words our Lord is laying down the principles and laws, and explaining the relations, of "the kingdom of heaven.” He declares the state of heart suitable for the reception of that kingdom to be, deep “poverty of spirit” and sorrow for sin. It proceeds in meekness, in righteousness, in mercifulness, and in purity to take possession of the soul.

It exhibits its presence in peace-making among men, and is very often attended with persecution from the world.

Christ then proceeds to state the part which the subjects of this kingdom have to take in the world. They are the “salt,” and the “light” of the world. Its salt, that by their pungent religious life and spirit they may make men feel the truth and reality of God's kingdom in their hearts—by the preservative quality they possess influence society and save it from utter impurity and corruption. Its light, that they may shine before men with the pure lustre of truth and goodness, each in his own sphere setting before the world the reflection of the heavenly Father's character that men may glorify that Father “who is in heaven.”

VOL. LXXIV.-NEW SERIES, No. 27.

From this view of the kingdom we are led to another-its relation to the Old Testament dispensation and Scriptures. Notions were abroad that Christ had come for the purpose of destroying “the law and the prophets." It was needful, therefore, to declare His intention in reference to the Old Testament Scriptures. “ Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets." Christ had a higher object in view than destruction-fulfilment. The old was to pass away ; not, however, by being destroyed, but through being incorporated, in its spirit, with the new. Its forms might perish; but its spirit, its divine laws, its eternal principles would live again in the new kingdom. Its fulfilment was its resurrection to new life, new power, new glory. And for this reason. The Old Testament contained the revelation of God's law—the eternal truths of His will — imperishable things“For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” This fact furnishes the ground upon which the following declaration is

based -“Whosoever therefore shall sation that may succeed its promulbreak one of these least command- gation. It may be fulfilled in a ments, and shall teach men so, he greater degree than ever before. Its shall be called least in the kingdom true spirit may be more distinctly of heaven; but whosoever shall do revealed. The heart of the law may and teach them, the same shall be be made visible. But never can it called great in the kingdom of be destroyed, or its obligations set heaven." So far from destroying aside, for it is the eternal unalterable the law, Christ increased the obliga- code of God. It is this higher tion to observe its very least moral spiritual development of the law requirement. Its merely temporary which our Lord gave us in His life ordinances, its feasts and fasts, its and kingdom. He taught us that sacrifices and services, would pass its essence, end, and fruit, is love, away, as the outside leaves open and both to God and man. He illusdrop away when the bud expands trated it-in His laws embodied itand the flower opens; as the husk in His life fulfilled it-in His death opens and falls away from the ripened honoured it. So that “one jot or fruit at the appointed time, so these tittle cannot fail till all be fulfilled.” merely external and temporary things The Scribes and Pharisees had, by fell away when“ the fulness of time a vicious interpretation of the law, was come.” That which these sym- | given erroneous and misleading bolized and signified would not, views of its obligations. They could not pass away. The forms and divided it into two classes of duties ceremonies of the Mosaic economy -positive and moral. The one class "were the shadow of good things to was of supreme, the other of indifcome.” But there could be no ferent importance. The first could, shadow without the corresponding on no account, be neglected; the substance. The reality was there, second might be with impunity. waiting only for the fuller light, and The latter class were the least the true and believing heart to re- commandments." But Christ overveal it--and therefore this inner throws such a view of the law as spirit, the truth which was enshrined this, and such an unrighteous exin the Old Testament economy, was planation of its obligations. So far brought out only the more clearly is this from the truth, that our Lord and fully in" the kingdom of heaven.” declares everything in the law must

All that the sacrifices, observances, be obeyed. And though every staand regulations of the ceremonial tute may not rank equally with law represented, is met in Christ every other in point of importance and His kingdom. The sacrifices in some respects, yet all are of equal represented the fact that propitiation authority, and of eternal obligation. was needful and made available by The Saviour was thus striking a God. And this is consummated in blow at the spirit then so prevalent, Him who was priest and sacrifice for and not unknown now, of drawing us. And so in every one of the very fine distinctions between what Mosaic institutions the truth, the is absolutely binding and what is of fact, it represented lives in the gos- secondary moment, what it is necespel. “ Christ is the end of the law sary to attend to in order to salvafor righteousness unto every one that tion, and what may be neglected, and believeth.”

yet the hope of life eternal be inBut not only is it true in refer- dulged. The Jewish Rabbis made ence to the ritual, but also in a more these distinctions in reference to the manifest way in connection with the law. Christ says this is wrong, sinful moral law. This has not been, and trifling. All must be fulfilled not in cannot be, abrogated by any dispen- the letter, but in the spirit. “Whosoever therefore shall break one of written, "shall be cast out," instead these least commandments, and shall of be called "least in the kingdom teach men so, he shall be called the of heaven." It leaves room for us, least in the kingdom of heaven." though so imperfect. Nevertheless Nor does this teaching apply less

there is no encouragement of laxity. forcibly to the disciples of Christ in On the contrary, there is incentive their relation to the law of Moses. to diligence and zeal. Neglect of the That law, with all its moral require- least commandment makes a man ments, still holds sway. “I came little in the kingdom of heaven, whilst not to destroy, but to fulfil”—not obedience to all stamps a man as only in Himself, but also in us His truly great. disciples. Its statutes are sanctioned anew in Christ and His laws, and I. The true estimate of duty in our righteousness is to include obe- Christ's kingdom is that no duty, dience to what were called its least however small it may seem in itself, as well as its great commands.“ Ex- is either insignificant or unimportant. cept your righteousness shall exceed Some of the commands given by our the righteousness of the scribes and Lord may seem to us, with our pharisees, ye shall in no case enter limited vision, and small knowledge into the kingdom of heaven.” There of results, of little practical consemust be a higher, because more quence. But an answer is suggested spiritual and minute regard to the at once to this. We cannot judge. great principles of the law, and a If He has commanded, there is a superior righteousness as the result, “needs-be” somewhere. There is if we would enter into “the king- an important end to be served, a dom of God.”

good to be gained, a service to be Nor can we fail also to see that rendered, a reward to be secured, this declaration, and the principle it and a higher Christian virtue to be enforces, applies to the whole round attained thereby. He would not of commandments which the Saviour have required it, had there been no has given to us. He who regards

He who regards importance attaching to it—and He as of little importance any one of is wiser, more holy, more discerning the laws of Christ, who disregards it systematically, and teaches men And yet, there are those to be met so, shall be the least in the kingdom with who do make the distinction of Christ; whilst he that obeys and between important and non-importeaches the least of them shall be tant Christian duties, and who act called great in that kingdom.

We have heard of And here let us observe in pass- those who hold, that faith in Christ, ing, the exercise of that tender and obedience to Him in the general mercy which is so marked a feature tenor of the life, are highly imporin the teachings and work of the tant duties; but the duty of bapSaviour. He does not say, "he who tism is treated as insignificant. fails to keep the least as well as the Others place in the same class the great commandments, shall be cast command as to the Lord's supper. out of the kingdom,” as so many of

6. This do in remembrance of me," His professed followers do now; but is looked upon by many as one of “ he shall be called the least in the the least commandments, and its kingdom of heaven.”. To whom is neglect is attended with less comnot this a wise and kind provision ? punction than many other, but Who has not failed to keep some not more authoritative commands. of the commandments,” and has Nevertheless this is a false estimate, taught men so? Woeful day would Least and great duties we may call it have been for us if it had been them, but they are all equally binding

than we.

upon it too.

and equally important as laws to be the leaves of the tree, the microscopic obeyed. Christ's authority makes creatures that dance in the drop of the smaller as well as the greater water, the grain of sand on the seaduties of our holy religion signifi-shore, and the mote in the sunbeam, cant and obligatory.

are not unimportant, for they have And it is equally the same with a place and a work in God's great those more private duties which the economy, small as they are.

ApSaviour enjoins. Many a one who parently the smallest are often the would be startled to hear the duty most significant events in history, of public worship, or social prayer, being the roots from whence spring or devotion to Christ, treated lightly, gigantic results—the overthrow of would be convicted, not only of kingdoms, or the establishment of treating indifferently, but of neg- empires—the destruction of immense lecting the private study of the evils, or the upspringing of innuScriptures, the daily cultivation of merable blessings to the world. We the spirit of unworldliness, of charity, cannot judge of what is great or of liberality, or forbearance. Ali important here. How much less in these would be acknowledged to be the kingdom of heaven! Beware, Christian duties ; but that we re- then, of calling, or even tacitly engard the neglect of them so leniently, couraging, the thought that anyoften, is proof enough that only a thing Christ requires is unimportant. lax view of their importance pre- Whatsoever He demands, is right, vails. Now let us bring our view necessary, and good. Let us look to the standard Christ sets up, the at each duty in the light of this general notion of duty to Christ's declaration of our blessed Master, view-the general judgment as ex- and then we shall measure each pressed in practice to our Lord's duty aright. practice and we shall be struck with the difference. " Whosoever II. But we have also the true shall break one of these least com- measure of character in Christ's mandments, and shall teach men so, kingdom. It is this, the doing and shall be called least in the kingdom teaching of the least as well as the of heaven.”

greatest of Christ's commands conSee how Christ looked upon and stitutes true greatness. “Whosoever acted with regard to these minor shall do and teach them, the same duties, if so we may call them. shall be called great in the kingdom Nothing was so small as to escape of heaven.” Attention to the smallest Him. When the hour of His public Christian duty, both in our obediconsecration was come, He did not ence and teaching, will give us true regard the initiatory rite as insig- nobility of Christian character. An nificant. One would have said, “ He obedience that observes only the needed it not.” So said the Baptist. general duties of the word of God, But not so the Saviour.

• Thus it

those that stand out prominently becometh us to fulfil all righteous- and are observed by all, is not of a ness.” That is the only correct superior order Indeed such obeview. There is nothing unimpor- dience is very incomplete, and theretant in the kingdom of heaven," fore not great. True greatness is any more than there is anything un- seen in a due regard for the greatest important in nature or providence. things combined with a proper estiThe tiny star is a world of light mate of the least things. A man of when we understand its size and true nobility of mind and character relations. The little flower, the treats nothing as unimportant, but smallest insect, the tiny bird that gives everything, even the least glances with burnished wing through things, the measure of notice they

« НазадПродовжити »