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world, how delightful is it, as behind us recollections, which the resort of all the good from will encourage our friends to all regions of the Earth ! Are look up and to say, “They are our steps tending thither; and, at rest in Heaven? when we die, shall we leave
ILLUSTRATIONS PASSAGES IN
TESTAMENT, WHICH REFER TO SENTIMENTS, &c. AMONG THE JEWS, IN THE TIME OF OUR LORD.
Continued from No. 6, Vol. 4th.]
could have opportunity of seekMatth. v. 23, 24, There-, ing reconciliation. They who fore if thou bring thy gift to were most widely separated at the altar, and there remember- other times, were brought toest that thy brother hath aught gether at the seasons of the against thee ; leave there thy great feasts. It is to be observgift before the altar, and goed also, that the obla:ion made thy way ; first be reconciled to by any one who had unjustly thy brother, and then come, and taken money, and even the offer thy gift.
smallest. sum, from his neighIt was a custom, and even a bour, and had not made restitulaw among the Jews, that the tion, was considered by Jews sacrifices of persons who were as vain ; of no worth in the considered as unclean, should siglt of God. But our Lord not, during the time of this extends his precept to the uncleanness, be brought to the comprebension of every ofaltar; but should be reserved fence and injury, committed to the immediately following by any one who would bring feast, either of the Passover, his gift to the altar. The emor of Pentecost, or of Taber- phasis of his command is on nacles, In, commanding the the expression, " and there reJews therefore, when they memberest that thy brother brought their gifts to the al- hath aughty-any thing whattar of God, and, there remem- ever to allege against thee;" bered that their brother had and he here teaches us, as he aught against them, to leave taught them who heard him, their gifts, and to go their that it is in vain for us to bring way, and first to bę reconciled any offering to God, if we feei to their brother before they not a sincere charity towards offered their gift, our Lord all mankind. He vainly worreferred them to times, when ships God as a christian, who every Israelite who could be, has not sought reconciliation was at Jerusalem ; and when with him whom he has injured; therefore every man, who or who withholds forgiveness should remember in the very from the injurer. moment when about to offer The great object of this, as his gift, that he had injured of many of our Lord's precepts, any one, then even afar off, is to bring the whole soul into
subjection to God; and every ed a heavy sin, to leave unaction of life into the circle of finished a sacrifice which was his service. All the offices of begun. Valerius Maximus christian piety are designed to tells us of a young man, who, minister to our moral improve. holding the censer when Alex. ment; and then only is our ander was offering a sacrifice, morality in the spirit of the received on his arm a live coal gospel, when it is sanctified by which fell from it; and though an ultimate reference to the the smoke of his burning fesh will, and to the approbation of was smelt by all around him, God. When we stand praying, he did not shake off the coal, we are to forgive, if we have lest he should interrupt the ought against any ; for if we sacrifice. The expression, forgive not, if we love not our “leave there thy gift before brother, we cannot love God, the altar,” may imply therefore, nor are we ever permitted ev. "go not to the altar, till you en to ask His forgiveness. Our are wholly prepared for the sacrifice, whatever it be, must sacrifice ; and can offer it, as be unblemished by any deprav- God requires. And what our ed passion ; by any corrupt Lord here says of the legal desire. It must be offered sacrifices of the Jews, should with the whole heart, and with be still more conscientiously a heart which God will approve. observed in the celebration of Our Lord did not indeed teach the Lord's supper ; a particithe Jews, nor does he teach pation of which, is a most us, that offerings to God should solemn expression of our frabe withholden, in all cases, till ternal union, in one body. Bereconciliation is obtained with fore we renew the professions, all who have been injured ; and offer the prayers of this for circumstances may for a service, if we have injured any long time, make mutual re- one, let us seek his forgiveconciliation to be utterly im- ness; and if it be demanded, practicable. But he taught faithfully make restitution. them, and he requires of us, See Lightfoot and Wolzogenithat in the heart of the worship- us on the text. er of God, if he have injured any one, there should be no
LIII. obstacle to reconciliation ; that Matth. v. 27-30. Ye have the earliest opportunity should heard that it hath been said by be faithfully improved, of con- thern of old time, thou shalt ciliating our offended or in- not commit adultery. But I jured brother, and of making say unto you, that whosocver reparation of the injury we looketh on woman to lust have done him. With a heart after her,bath committed adultsincerely so disposed, we may ery with her already in his humbly, and with a hope of heart. And if thy right eye acceptance, offer our gift. "offend thee, pluck it out, and
Not only among the Jews, cast it from thee ; for it is but all nations, it was accounto profitable for thee that one of
thy members should perish, law be understood ;' but, I say and not thy whole body should UNTO YOU. He is not only an be cast into hell. And if thy interpreter of the law of Moses. right hand offend thee, cut it He is a Teacher of what that off, and cast it from thee; for law had not inculcated. it is profitable for thee that one The true import of this pasof thy members should perish, sage, says Taylor, can only be and not that thy whole body understood, by considering the should be cast into hell.
closely covered state of the 66 The words, by then of eastern women, under their old time," says Campbell," are veils; wherein being totally not found in a great number of concealed, they offer no octhe most valuable MSS. and casion of being looked upon; ancient versions, particularly but would take it as the greatthe Syriac. The Vulgate in- est insolence, should their veils deed has them. Mill and Wet- be drawn aside. Understand, stein reject them."
therefore, the passage thus. believe them to belong to the “ You have heard that it was text, and to have been employ- said in ancient times, thou ed by our Lord, for the pur- shalt not commit adultery. But, pose of distinguishing the an- I say unto you, that my purer cient interpreters of the law, principles forbid any advances from whom the traditions of towards that crime ; 'any comthe Jews were derived, from mencement of what may lead Moses, their great legislator. to it. Whoever removes the Our Lord, however,
veil to look on woman, whether obyiously to cite the precept ' married or unmarried, has sulof the Jewish law itself, from lied his spiritual purity, and is the 14th of Exodus ; and it guilty. was because their sentiments There can be no doubt with on this subject were so very any reflecting mind, but that gross and depraved, that he so the propensities of our nature particularly and forcibly di- must be subject to regulation. rected their attention to it. The question is, where the
And here have we not a check ought to be placed ; very strong argument against upon the thought, or only upon those, who assert that Christ the action. In this question, added no new precept to the our Saviour, in the text here law ; 'but only taught the true quoted, has pronounced a desense and import of what the cisive judgement. He makes law required? The language the control of thought essenof the law is, “thou shalt not tial. Internal purity, with him, commit adultery.” Exod. xx. is every thing. And this is 14. The sentiment of Christ the only discipline which can extends to the indulgence of succeed. A moral system, the sight ; to the inost secret which prohibits actions, but feeling of the heart. He says leaves the thoughts at liberty, not, “this is the spirit of the will be ineffectual, and is thereprecept ; or,' thus should the fore unwise ; for every moment
that is spent in meditations up- judges them by their feelings on sin, increases the power of and motives. Fornication and the dangerous object, which adultery, with other evil achas possessed our imagination. tions, proceed from desire, and
The desire of evil, which desire is seated in the heart ; leads its possessor to offend and he who habitually cherishagainst the laws of morality, es any impure affection, and Jesus, in symbolical language, wants only an opportunity of calls the right eye, and the gratifying it, is as guilty in the right hand ; and as it is bet- sight of God, as if he had comter that a member, however mitted the deed. It is to the ornamental or useful, when heart, therefore, that our Lord infected by a disorder that constantly directs our attenendangers the whole frame, tion; and the heart he constantshould be amputated, though ly enjoins us to guard, as the it leaves the body maimed and primary seat of good and evil. unseemly; so it is better that It is not to be doubted then, 'any favourite passion, which is but that many will be punishthe disease of the soul, should ed for crimes that were never be eradicated, rather than be done, but only intended ; and suffered to spread the conta- many. rewarded for virtues gion, and thus to occasion its which, for want of opportunity, moral death, and its future have never ripened into action. punishment.
Taylor's Fragments, p. 224. Other moralists judge of Wolzogenius, Campbell, and men by their actions. Christ John Jones on the text. Pa. brings them before a more ley's Evidences, Vol. 2d. of his awful and correct tribunal, and works. Bost. Ed. p. 229.
REMARKS ON THE REPORT OF GOD'S TREATMENT OF THE
For the Christian Disciple. MR. EDITOR,
than for a system, or a party. In the Disciple for April apa The sutject of capital pun. peared an essay styled “Re- ishment is exciting great atport of God's treatment of the tention in the civilized world. first murderer." The editor Writers of celebrity are enhaving given his opinion that gaged in the discussion, and the writer was a person of tal- it is quite possible that a fur ents, and approved his senti- ture and inore enlightened age ments, I enter with diffidence may outlaw them entirely. upon the task of animadvert. But premature, overstrained ing them. I am however en- condemnations of them may couraged by a belief, derived frustrate the object in view. from your liberality in admit. It was with deep regret thereting strictures upon editorial fore that I saw introduced into and communicated articles, your pages what I deem ilyou that labour for truth rather logical and injudicious
marks upon this topic. An ularly when the written law attempt is made to prove from bears date subsequent to the the scriptures that God for- record of the precedent. If bade inflicting death upon mur.
you will turn to the «
reports derers, and that he has de. of Moses," Exodus, xxi. chap. nounced vengeance on those you will find that when our who should take away the life race had increased in numbers, of a murderer. No evil can and God had seen fit to enact arise from temperate discus- laws for the government of his sions on this important theme. people, He declared that “ he But while a great majority of that smiteth a man, so that he mankind believe in the utility die, shall be surely put to of capital punishments, and death." Not only so; death statesmen and christian moral- was denounced upon the smita' ists are divided in opinion res- ery merely of their parents, pecting their necessity and upon kidnappers and slave lawfulness, it appears highly dealers, upon all who cursed reprehensible to lessen the
their parents, &c. We see respect due to the laws of the then that the authority is on land, and to magistrates, by the other side, and that God denouncing the vengeance of authorized taking away life for the Almighty upon the makers life. and administrators of these But the writer of the essay laws.
goes farther. He says God Your essayist instances God's left on record a most solemn trial and punishment of Cain, declaration and warning to and argues from the clemency civil magistrates, and all othshown to the first murderer, ers, not to shed the blood even that life was not to be taken, of a murderer ;" and this is even from a man slayer. He the proof, “ Whosoever slaysays truly that "civil tribunals eth Cain, vengeance shall be pay great veneration to ancient taken on him seven fold.” Be. usages and immemorial cus- cause God, for purposes untoms; and especially to pre- known to us, saw fit to spare cedents taken from higher Cain, and set a mark upon him, courts in similar cases. Is or gave him a sign, that no one it not going too far to say that should slay him, and afterthis example stands recorded wards decreed that murderers for our imitation ? When should be put to death, are we Cain slew Abel the world was to understand that the “prein its infancy, the crime was cedent" is solely obligatory committed in the only family upon mankind now, and that on earth, and God did not see it is unlawful to inflict death fit to appoint the parent the as a punishment for murder ? executioner of his son. Be- What reasoning! To threaten sides, it is also a custom of the vengeance of the Almighty courts of judicature implicitly on magistrates for administer. to obey a statute in prefer- ing the laws of the land apence to any precedent, partic, pears to me highly reprehec