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of God? or do I think lightly of sin, to the whole Church bought by the and imagine that I
by contrition blood and sanctified by the Spirit of and reformation, easily obliterate its Christ ? Do I pity and forgive, and stains ? Do I cherish worthy and pray for my enemies? Am I putting ennobling sentiments in reference to away
away all bitterness and wrath, and the Saviour ? He is the beloved Son am I cherishing the dispositions of of the Father, adored by angels, and Him whose death I am about to com: admired by all His redeemed people.
memorate ? He prayed for His Do I believe in Him as my Saviour ? murderers, He wept over à guilty Am I depending on His merits for city, He died for an apostate worldmy acceptance now and at the last am I like-minded with Him? “ Search day? or do I neglect His salvation, me, O God, and know my heart; try and undervalue the gift and grace of me and know my thoughts ;
shed His Divine Spirit ? “What think ye Thy love abroad in my heart, and of Christ ?” is a question He Himself “lead me in the way everlasting.” proposed to some who surrounded Him when on earth, and it is one by As the body without the spirit is which I may test at once my character dead, so faith without works is dead and my state.
also. In vain, therefore, I come to Again I would ask myself as it the Table of the Lord, if I do it with regards the Supper of the Lord, defiled lips and unclean hands. Let
my views in harmony with me then search and try my ways, and the teachings of the written Word ? turn again unto the Lord. Does my Let me not view it as a species of conduct in the family, in the Church, propitiation for my sins, but as an and in the daily public walks of life, ordinance which furnishes an appro- harmonize with my Christian profespriate method of testifying my love sion ? Is the motive and rule, and and gratitude to the Lord Jesus, my end of that conduct such as to glorify hearty obedience to His will, and my God and to commend the Gospel to delight in fellowship with His people. the acceptance of my fellow-creatures ?
I unhappily becoming a But forasmuch as the creed we hold stumbling-block and a barrier to may be correct, while the heart is un- others in the way to the kingdom ? renewed ; as there may be light in Very candid and careful should be the intellect, clear but cold as that the enquiries we thus make into our which shines on the eternal snows of real state before God. Greenland, it becomes us to enquire in- Let a man thus examine himself, to the affections we cherish. Let there making the Word of God the criterion then be great searchings of heart with by which his judgment is to be guided, me on this solemn occasion. Do I and depending on the gracious assislove Jesus, who loved me and gave tance of the Holy Spirit promised to Himself for me? Do I hate sin as all who seek it, and he will be led to a thing excessively unclean and a true apprehension of his real state eternally hateful to the Holy God ? and character. If the result shall be a Do I indulge in emotions of affection conviction, as it most probably will toward my fellow-communicants, and be, that with all his imperfections,
he is a true disciple and humble Herein He is evidently set forth as follower of Christ, then let him eat of crucified for our sins, and we become the bread and drink of the cup in as familiar with the event as though penitence and faith, so will he discern we had been actual spectators of His the Lord's body, and realize the en- death. We read the account of it in couragement and comfort which this the evangelical records, and it forms ordinance is adapted to convey.
the subject of the Gospel ministry on Blessed is he that shall thus eat bread which we wait; but here it is prein the kingdom of God.
sented in palpable forms, is written The exercise to which we are thus in large and legible characters, and called should be wisely and well con- in most affecting figures is impresducted, or it may become a dis- sively exhibited to our wondering couragement to the timid and
gaze. In the death we celebrate, conscientious Christian. We cannot we find the means of pardon, and come to the light of the written Word, the only method of redemption. and have its noontide rays thrown “Behold the Lamb of God, which upon our thoughts and principles, taketh away the sin of the world !" our words and actions, without dis- 6. His blood cleanseth from all sin." cerning an amount of defectiveness “We have redemption in His blood, and disorder truly appalling. If our the forgiveness of all our sins.” The final views rested here, we should truth thus presented to our contemplashrink back from everything involving tion may well subdue our fears, and a solemn profession of love to Christ excite our faith and hope. We may and devotedness to Him
then, notwithstanding our unworthiMaster and Lord. But conscious ness, take and eat the bread in reimperfection compatible with membrance of the death of Christ; sincere piety, and the very discovery
and drink of the cup of blessing, and acknowledgment of our deficiency remembering that He shed His blood becomes one evidence amongst many, for us ; thus feeding on Him in our of an interest in that salvation which hearts with thanksgiving, that we our Saviour died to procure, and is may be nourished in truth, and be gone into heaven to impart.
up for the perfect service and not for perfect, but for imperfect rest of heaven, this ordinance will Christians that the Supper of the prove a blessed means by which we Lord was instituted. It is eminently shall grow in grace, and in the knowadapted to nourish our faith, to con- ledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus firm our hope, and to promote our Christ. increasing devotedness to Christ.
ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA.
BY THE REV. T. BINNEY.*
the the early fruits of the Apostolic disciples who constituted the first ministry after the descent of the Christian Church. They might have Or they
* From Mr. Binney's new and most valuable work on " Money."
been present on the Day of Pentecost, brought the prices of the things and been witnesses of its wonders ; – which were sold, and laid them down they saw, perhaps, “ the cloven at the Apostles' feet.” tongues like as of fire ” which sat on Now the precise point to be noted the heads of the Apostles, and heard here is, that this relinquishment of the words of Peter and were "pricked" property, this scale of contribution to by them in their hearts.
the common fund, involving all that might have been in the temple, and man possessed, was
no Divine seen the “ impotent man"—to whom appointment; it rested on they might sometimes have given revelation, nor on any Apostolic law; alms—after being healed by Peter, it was binding on no one ; and might “ walking and leaping and praising have been disregarded without sin. God;” and, there, drawn towards From Peter's words about it we learn the Apostle when he addressed the
that a man's property was his own" multitude, they might have listened to keep or sell, devote or not, as he to his exhortation, and felt his word pleased ; that even if he went so far come to them in power.
Or they as to turn lands into money with a might have been induced to accept view of giving it to the Church, if he the new truth, from being brought repented of his purpose, or altered into personal contact with it through his judgment, he was at liberty to do the influence and persuasion of re- so; the money like the land was "in latives or friends, and so were among his own power.” All was voluntary ; one or other of those accessions of no one compelled. Here, however, disciples whom the Lord "daily added comes out the very pith of the lesson to the Church.” But however this with which the incident is fraught. might be, in the Church they were. There was no law imposing payment They had professedly accepted the and specifying amount; but there was Apostolie message; had been baptized a public opinion and a general practice probably by Apostolic hands; and that took its place. There was might have occasionally received the impulse and an enthusiasm, which you Apostles under their roof, as they would be singular if you did not obey were then in the habit of “ break- and share. There was a fashion, so ing bread from house to house." to speak (using the word without Ananias and Sapphira were in the prejudice), which you would be marked Church when there broke out that or talked of, if you did not conform extraordinary and affluent gushing of to. This was a severe test to weak affection—that utter forgetfulness of natures ;—especially if there were self—under the new feeling of Chris- combined in such a wish to stand well tian brotherhood, which “ made them in the society with a desire to retain that believed of one heart and of one their wealth; or a perfectly allowable soul,” so that “ neither said any of difference of judgment as to the mode them that the things which he posses- amount of contribution. This sed were his own ; but they had all mixed feeling indeed is what conthings common. This went so far, stitutes the weakness of the weak. that
as many as were possessors Ananias and Sapphira were affected of lands or houses sold them, and by it. They were swayed by contra
dictory impulses, and in trying to but storing away as their visible conobey both, they fell.
fidence a cruse of oil and barrel of bility is, that both the motives that meal that should not fail. influenced them were bad, and that the “uprighteous Mammon” that their characters would not have been whispered the promise; they gave Him bettered, though their exposure would the trust which they withheld from have been prevented, had they en- God; the consequence was such as tirely yielded themselves to one ;-that evinced at once the “deceitfulness" of is, had they either given up their pro- the idol and the folly of his worshippers. perty, all, absolutely and without The manner in which Ananias and reserve; or if they had retained it, Sapphira were detected and punished and given nothing :-or given openly is striking and admonitory, not so and professedly a limited donation and much for its display of apostolic
power, as for its revelation of the They had not strength to follow greatness of their sin. That sin out either the one or the other of consisted in their pretence and these courses.
Attempting a com- hypocrisy, in their wish to secure promise--a middle path by which reputation on the ground of great they were to get more reputation liberality and personal sacrifice, withthan they deserved, and to part with out either the one or the other; less of their property than they pre- in their want of faith, evinced by their tended they of course fell into "the conforming, or appearing to conform, snare of the Devil, and were taken to a high standard of pecuniary concaptive by him at his will." They tribution, while their secret and sold their property, and got the credit concealed provision for themselves of doing so; it might be a public act, gave the lie to their outward acts, and or they took care to let it be publicly developed into an open and uttered lie known. But they could not bring to God.
And these people were themselves to part with all the pur- professed Christians,—fellow-commuchase-money ; they did not like to nicants with evangelists and apostles leave themselves without some re- -witnesses of the miracles, and served pecuniary stay.
But their attendants on the ministry of inspired professions had committed them, men! They were under no obligation, and they were ashamed to draw back; as we have already intimated, to do or rather, indeed, they wished the what they pretended to have done. repute of magnanimous liberality They were not bound to follow the without paying the price at which it example of others,—to imitate the was to be bought.
zeal and equal the donations of their they “ agreed together" to act fellow-disciples, if they could not do a lie, and to tell one if neces- So with all their heart, with the sary. They made the attempt
the attempt approval of their reason, and as the " to serve God and Mammon;”—to expression of a spontaneous and honour the one and yet to hold with spiritual impulse. They not only had the other ; to seem to sacrifice every- not moral courage enough to follow thing to the Church as an act of love, their own judgment, which might henceforth professedly to live by faith; have exposed them to remark, though
it might have been no sin ; but they value than houses and lands in the were tempted to aspire to a reputation spirit of the world, the offering of for liberality, while their love of ostentation, or the extorted gift of an money, as an object of trust, led them unwelcome necessity,—especially so, to try to deceive men and to dissemble if, while professing to give all to God, with God. Their fate is recorded you keep a reserve as a sacrifice to as a solemn warning for all time;- Mammon and to self.'”
an eloquent admonition to every People look for the proof of human Christian man to be true and trans- depravity in the world at large. The parent, upright and conscientious, most flagrant and fearful proofs of it especially in professed sacrifices for are to be found in the Church. God. Their sin was their own ; Responsibility is in proportion to their punishment was for us. They advantage ; sin is aggravated by
struck down“ before all," privilege and profession. Children of that others also might fear. They the light, if their deeds are evil, are seem to say to us,
66 be not de- worse than those who are still wanceived; God is not mocked; he dering in darkness. “If I had not that soweth to the flesh shall of the come a light into the world, ye had flesh reap corruption.” God loveth not had sin, but now ye have no cloak an upright, as well as a cheerful for your sin.” “ If ye were blind ye giver.” “ The cup of cold water," in should have no sin; but now ye say, the spirit of a disciple, is of more
We e see,
EPISCOPACY, PRESBYTERY, AND INDEPENDENCY: THEIR
“Not for a favourite form or name,
But for immortal souls we care;
That millions may our blessings share."
With all our hearts do we adopt paper to consider the practical differand echo the words of Charles Wesley. ences which exist between Episcopa“Forms” and “names” are nothing lian, Presbyterian, and Independent to us, but so far as they bear the Churches in these realms, but to set superscription of Christ, and are iden- forth wherein the theories of Governtified with the best interests of “im- ment, which are embodied in these mortal souls.” And we hope never to Churches, more or less faithfully, and discuss their merits in these
pages in with more or less of unessential accia spirit of bigotry or sectarianism. Even dents, differ essentially the one from when we use the strongest words the other.* which strong convictions may dictate, we shall be prepared to say at once
government with no bated breath, “ Grace be
scarcely be regarded as a fourth dis. with all them that love our Lord Jesus
tinctive form, but is rather a combination
of selected parts of other forms; so that Christ in sincerity and truth.”
our present purpose does not require any We do not propose in this brief consideration of its peculiarities.