« PreviousContinue »
the paschal lamb did not save the the daily food of the regenerate soul, Hebrews by being shed merely, but as He alone can nourish the spiritual by being sprinkled; so it is not life within, so that it shall grow in enough for our pardon and safety strength and beauty. He is food to that Christ has died, and that the intellect, for He is "the truth,” and His blood was shed upon the cross. can alone fully satisfy and nourish the That blood must be applied to us human mind. He is food to the heart, in a spiritual sense; it must be for He is love itself, and the highest sprinkled on the soul, in order to our proof to us that “God is love," and He forgiveness and acceptance. Every only can fill the heart with that Divine one, for himself, must go to this affection which is essential to its life. fountain opened for sin and for un- He is food to the conscience: no voice cleanness. It is as those who have but His can hush its accusations, and been washed in this blood that we fill it with peace; no influence but approach the table of the Lord, re- His can maintain its purity and power. joicing in the atonement made by the Christ nourishes sacredly, efficiently, death and sacrifice of the Son of God. and eternally, every faculty and eleThus He is all our salvation, and ment of manhood. He is 66 life.” should be all our desire.
Blessed are they who feast on Him 8. Another important feature of as the Passover sacrificed for them. the Passover was the participation of What can they want beside ? In Him the sacrifice. The paschal lamb was the soul's true life finds development to be eaten by those for whose safety and strength, sustenance and adornits blood had been sprinkled as ment from day to day. The more atonement or expiation. It was duly that our life is a life of faith upon
the prepared for food, and all in the Son of God, so much the more vigourhousehold were to partake of it, that ously and surely shall we advance in the sacrifice might thus become to likeness to God and meetness for them symbolically the food or suste- glory. Let us then, with growing nance of a new and better life. And desire and delight, seek to know more the use to be made of the sacrifice of of the Communion of the blood and Christ is frequently signified as feast- the body of Christ. ing on Him. He is the Bread of Life 4. Another significant ceremony -the true nourishment of the soul. essentially connected with the PassHis own words emphatically declare over, and in some sense a part of it, this,
Except ye eat the flesh of demands notice. The day which folthe Son of man, and drink his blood, lowed the paschal feast was to be obye have no life in you.” (John vi. 53.) served as a Sabbath- an holy conChrist Jesus, in the fulness of His per- vocation;" and on the morrow after fected redemption is "the living bread that Sabbath, a sheaf of the first which came down from heaven,” and fruits of the barley harvest was to be by partaking, through faith, of this presented to the Lord by being waved heavenly sustenance, we become in before Him, in the name of all the Him “ one bread and one body,”. people. (Levit. xxiii. 9-11.) Thus partakers of His life, and fellow-heirs they acknowledged that their title to
The Saviour must be the produce of the land rested ex
of His glory.
clusively on the gift of God. But mighty multitude who shall reign with why was the ceremonial connected Him in glory for ever. Thus the with the Passover ? Was it not Passover points us to the future as clearly symbolical of the resurrection well as reminds of the past, and of " Christ our Passover,” as the first shows us how, as sprinkled with fruits of them that sleep in death ? the Saviour's blood, we may claim the (1. Cor. xv. 20-23.)
promised inheritance of the saints, crucified for us on the day before the
and rise with Him to life for everJewish weekly Sabbath, so that on more. that occasion, as sometimes was the In these words, which have been case, the ordinary Sabbath and the the subject of our brief meditation, paschal “ holy convocation ” occurred there is great suggestiveness, and on one and the same day. Hence in much instruction. In the prospect of the Gospel of John (xix. 31) it is sitting at the Lord's table, and in the called “ an high day," and as Christ actual commemoration of His dying arose from the dead on the following love, they may well supply holy thought day, He actually rose as the Great to the mind and rich solace to the Antitype on the very day on which heart, assuring us of the atonement the sheaf of first fruits was offered which has been made, and the reand waved according to the law. Then conciliation which has been effected; the type and antitype, the symbol and revealing to us the source of all the reality, significantly met. “Christ spiritual strength, and the means of our Passover,” who was crucified for
spiritual progress; and pointing us to us, arose from the dead the first fruits a glorious future in which death is of them that slept,---arose the pledge “swallowed up in victory," and life and pattern of the resurrection of a encompassed with unfading glory.
his life, when the Protector was in neither of them paid for, could have power, he was a staunch Calvinist and expected that in the space of so few Presbyterian ; but at the Restoration years he should, by the murder of one he had the prudence to discover the king and the banishment of another, error of his past ways.
He found ascend the throne ?” At which, we that "the light of the king's coun- are told, the king fell into a violent fit tenance was life, and his favour as of laughter, and, turning to Lord dew upon
Rochester, said that his chaplain he did the work and fought the battles should be made a bishop at the next of the Established Church.
However, the promised There are men who are bishopric never
Either no miserable if they have nothing to love. bishop would die, or the king forgot South would have been miserable if his promise; even as South seems to he had had nothing to hate. For- have done that famous Latin panegyric tunately for himself, he does not on Cromwell which had won him so appear ever to have been reduced to much renown at Oxford a few years that extremity. His temperament
before. was such that he showed his But, though ambitious, South seems fidelity less by loving his friends to have been comparatively free from than by hating his and their ene- the vice of covetousness. He desired mies. And yet we cannot help preferment for its own sake, not for liking the man. He is so thorough ; the emolument it brought with it. he seems so thoroughly to enjoy his He even boasts that he declined own invective that we can hardly help various livings which were offered to enjoying it with him, even at our own him. And it appears that he devoted expense ; and there is so much
a great part of his income to the strength and humour, such felicity improvement of those livings from of illustration, and, behind all his which he derived it, residing himself buffoonery, so much sound common at Caversham—though none
who sense, that it would be hard indeed if, know what a pleasant little nest for a now that the sense of injury has had country parson that is, with its fine 200 years to cool, we were too indig- old residence and pleasure-grounds nant to read with sense of sloping down to the river, will be enjoyment as well as profit his fierce inclined to give him much credit for tirades against us.
self-denial on that account. South never wore a mitre, though on The contrast between the character one occasion he was very near winning of the man and much of the best part
He was preaching before of his preaching sometimes painfully Charles II., and, speaking of the mars the effect of the latter. But we vicissitudes of life, selected Cromwell have no need to suppose that he was for an illustration. And who,” insincere or did not feel at the time exclaimed the royal preacher, " that what he was writing. In many of his beheld such a bankrupt, beggarly sermons we have a record of the best fellow as Cromwell, first entering the moments of the best side of the man. Parliament-house with a threadbare, And that, after all, was the side which torn coat, and greasy hat, perhaps was most truly his. A man is often
maligned by his own biography. such length that those who can forbear Those facts which go to make up his sleeping deserve greater praise for history are often not those which watching than they do for praying. represent the man most kindly or even After much more to the same effect, most faithfully. And not only is his he finishes up by an apology to his life often better than his biography, but audience for the annoyance he must his heart is often better than his life. have caused them by raking into the That it was so with South must be dirt and dunghill of these men's evident to all who will read his works devotions. in a kindly Christian spirit, and judge Perhaps some of our readers may him as they would wish to be judged think that an apology is due to them themselves.
for raking up this strange specimen Now there are many lessons which of what was thought consistent with might be learnt from this prince of the proprieties of public worship in preachers, as he is called; some of Westminster Abbey 200 years ago, the most valuable of which are inci- and that by a dean who was so great dental in their character, and must be a stickler for Church order as South, gleaned from the works themselves. whose effigy still adorns the ancient But we propose calling special atten- pile where once his living voice uttered tion to only one.
these words. In a spiteful, vigorous sermon from Of course it would not be difficult the text, “Be not rash with thy for us, after such a passage as this, mouth, and let not thine heart be to retort with interest the charge of hasty to utter anything before God; insolence, scurrility, and indecency, if for God is in heaven, and thou upon so disposed. Truly such a style as earth; therefore let thy words be this, as De Foe justly observes, few" (Eccles. v. 2.)--which may be savours more of the bear-garden than said to be directed against what South the cathedral. But it will be more himself would call “the son of extem- for our profit to see what grains of poraneous prayer”—he gravely as- wisdom may be gathered from the sures his auditory that two hours was words of this priestly scoffer. reckoned quite a moderate dose; that So far as the inordinate length of the pulpit was generally the emptiest their prayers is concerned, a little thing in the churches of Dissenters; acquaintance with the manners and that their ordinary fasts were from customs of the Puritans of that seven in the morning till seven at generation helps us to determine that night; and that he never knew such a the charge is not quite so exaggerated fast kept by them, but their hearers as at first sight it may appear. had cause to begin a thanksgiving as Calany has left an account, which he soon as it was over. He speaks of says he received from Howe's own their prayers as full of insolence, lips, of one of the services ordinarily scurrility, confusion, prolixity, tauto- held by him on fast-days, which were logy, hypocrisy, and cant; says that of frequent occurrence at that time, they shut their eyes and stretch out from which it appears that the service their hands like men who are talking commenced about nine in the morning in their sleep; and that they pray at and continued till four in the after
noon, without a single break for the them. That men living in so corrupt people, and only one of about fifteen and scoffing an age should have set minutes for the officiating minister.
themselves so laboriously to work, to There were two prayers of about an, seek that God whom others esteemed hour each, two of half-an-hour, and so lightly was surely a striking and an introductory prayer about the same noteworthy fact. We are not defendlength as our ordinary long prayer in ing their extravagances, whatever they public worship ; nearly three hours' may have been; we merely assert that preaching, and the remaining part of if all that we know of the Puritans the seven hours' service was taken up
was derived from these sermons of with the full-flavoured psalmody of the Dr. South's, we should earnestly desire period.
to know something more concerning Truly, if such meetings were com- men who gave so strong an evidence mon, even with Howe for the preacher, of religious earnestness. they must have been a weariness of the This lesson as to the earnestness of flesh, while with men of far inferior our forefathers is, of course, ability it must have been a test of familiar to all of us; but it is one patience and endurance to which, to which we continually need to take to say the least, it would require a bold heart if we would be worthy of them. man to subject modern Puritans. The fervency of a prayer is not, it is Such extemporaneous prayers as these true, to be measured by its lengthcould hardly have been the “intoxi- very often the reverse ; and no man cating and bewitching cheat " which in our own day would think of advoSouth calls them; and if the “ cating a return to such usages as we terpieces the Devil,” they were
have described; but we cannot help masterpieces over which South should feeling that nothing but a spirit of have rejoiced, for their manifest ten. intense earnestness could have susdency would be rather to drive men tained men of like passions and like from the conventicle than to attract weaknesses with ourselves in services them to it.
so protracted and so laborious. If As to the matter and manner of only there could be a revival of their their prayers—confusion, tautology, spirit, what might not Christians of prolixity, cant, and so on-we may
modern times, with all the facilities take his assertions for what they are possessed by them, accomplish in the worth. From most of them it would service of their Lord ! be simply an insult to the memory of
But, at the same time, while from these holy men to attempt to defend our heart we would acquit the old them.
any conscious The most obvious inference one irreverence in their worship, and of should think, even from the caricature any desire merely to multiply their which South draws, is about the last prayers in a pharisaical spirit, we feel which that celebrated court preacher that their example has also its warning would have desired. These Puritans,
No doubt their worship was whatever their mistakes or failings, attended with certain extravagances, must have been men terribly in earnest
occasion for the enemy to if such things were
common among blaspheme. There was, no doubt,