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chasteneth him betimes."-" Thou shalt not hate thy neighbor in thy heart; but shalt in any wise rebuke him, and not suffer sin upon him.”
Upon the whole, since this interpretation of charity is not only most agreeable to scripture, but most consistent with itself, and with every other branch of the Christian character, I hope it will be received, at least so far as to lessen the cry of uncharitableness against those who, from the united principles of love to God and man, think themselves obliged to oppose the progress of
gross error. I plead for this only when they make use of just and lawful means, and act in a manner becoming Christians, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. For though I have shewn, that true charity is as favorable to zeal as to forbearance, and to both alike in their proper place, I am sensible that there may be zeal where there is little or no charity; and, in that case, it will shew itself in a wrath, strife, seditions, heresies.” This happens chiefly, when a weak person who judges rashly, is also of an envious or malicious disposition. The first of these may be sometimes without the other; they may, however, also be joined in the same person ; and then it will certainly be attended with “confusion, and every evil work." But when a deep sense of the evil of departing from the faith, to the persons themselves, and the danger of corrupt doctrine infecting the whole lump, induces any to stand up in defence of the truth, to oppose the introduction of erroneous teachers, or to attempt the expulsion of those · who have crept in unawares, let them be called unreasonable if you please, and let their mistake be pointed out, but I beg that they may not be abused and vilified as uncharitable. The reason of my request is, that it is more than probable they do this from a strong conviction, that they are obliged to it by the express command of Christ. I declare this to be my own persuasion, after the most impartial search of the scriptures of which I was capable ; and certainly it is at least Vol. II, No. 2.
possible, that we may have, notwithstanding, a fervent love to our brethren, and a desire of their welfare.-We may love them as men, even when we cannot judge them to be saints; and we may love them as Christians, even when we think they are in many things to be blamed; nay, I hope we may heartily forgive them as enemies, notwithstanding all their bitterness and rancor against us. But if, after all, this request cannot be obtained; if we cannot alter our judgment, and they will still insist that we are, therefore, without charity, that is to say, without christianity, they must confess, that here is one opinion which they will not tolerate, and to which, in their own sense, no charity is due.
FOR THE NEW-YORK MISSIONARY MAGAZINE.
AN ESSAY ON ISAIAH xxxii. 2.
for his ingenious and useful labors, has observed, that “When the Maker of the world becomes an Author, his word must be as perfect as his work; the glory of his wisdom must be declared by the one as evidently as the glory of his power is by the other: And if nature repays the philosopher for his experiments, the Scripture can never disappoint those who are properly exercised in the study of it.”
To understand with clearness and accuracy, the natural signs or images used by the sacred writers to convey to us spiritual truths, requires an acquaintance with the nature, situation, and various other circumstances of these images. Owing to our ignorance of these, many useful, sublime, and beautiful passages of the sacred writings are, to us, obscure and unintelligible.
Jones' Lectures on the figurative language of Scripture, p. ).
A remarkable example to this purpose, occurs in Isaiah xxxii. 2. which it is my intention in this Essay, more particularly to consider—"A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest: as rivers of waters in a dry place—as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Here various objects are selected from the works of creation, and most happily applied to convey strongly to our minds the comforting and refreshing nature of the spiritual blessings of Christ's kingdom. In order that we may take the full force, and
perceive all the beauty of these similitudes, it is necessary that we transport ourselves in imagination to the place where the Prophet delivered this prophecy, and survey the countries which lie in the vicinity, and which probably furnished the Prophet with his imagery. These similitudes in a country like ours, “ a land of brooks and rivers of water, and of fountains and depths that spring out of vallies and hills,” abounding in forests and refreshing shades, lose half their force and beauty. Our tempests and winds, and dry places and weary lands, are gentle in degree, and few in mumber, compared with those of Arabia, which lies to the south of Judea, bordering upon it, and which the Prophet very likely had in view when he penned this passage. With this country the Jews were well acquainted, their ancestors having travelled over many parts of it, in the 40 years march from Egypt to Canaan. A great part of this country, particularly Arabia Petrea and Arabia Deserta, two of the three divisions of Arabia, is an inhospitable, uninhabited, lonely desert, consisting of plains of sand, and niountains covered with naked rocks; and, except at the equinoxes, seldom or never refreshed with rain. The few vegetables produced here, are pinched with almost perpetual drought, and barely subsist by the nourishment afforded by the nightly dews. The air is extremely hot and dry, and the winds, which generally blow over these barren sands during the burning heat of the day, are not only violent, filling the air with clouds of dust, and whirling the sands into little mountains, but are, in some parts, poisonous and fatal to those who are exposed to them. These vast plains of sand are interspersed with fruitful spots, covered with grass and trees, which appear to the traveller like so many delightful islands in a great ocean. These charming spots have, in general, a fountain or well of water, and are the resting places for those religious pilgrims and trading travellers who hazard a journey through these dreary regions.
The noble river Euphrates washes this country on the northeast. There are few other rivers in Arabia, and these few either perish in the sandy plains, or expand in moors and fens. These few and scanty streams, the fountains upon the verdant and thinly scattered islands, and the nightly dews and equinoxial rains, are all the sources, to speak generally, whence a thirsty country, 1400 miles long and 1200 broad, is watered. A country like this, may in great truth be called a dry place and a weary land-A land of dreadful winds and destructive tempests. Let us suppose then, what is very probably the truth, that the Prophet had this country in his view, and what a lively idea do his similitudes furnish, of the refreshments which believers derive from Christ !In a land dry, weary and tempestuous like this, for a poor pilgrim to have a hiding place from the poisonous blasts of wind, which threaten the destruction of his health and of his life to have a covert from those tempests of sand, which frequently roll like the troubled ocean, and prove fatal to whole caravans of travellers-parched with thirst, and panting like the hart, after travelling over a long tract of sand, to find a spring of living water, a cooling brook or a noble river, broad as Euphrates, flowing between green banks, lined with shady trees---Weary with wading through deep sands, under a scorching sun, to espy a great rock, encircled (as is commonly the case in the deserts of Arabia) with grass and trees, nourished by the moisture naturally attracted thither, with a cool and living fountain at its foot--to èspy a huge rock thus situated, under the shadow of which he might refresh his weary limbs, and enjoy quiet repose— For a weary and exposed pilgrim, I say, in such a country, to find such a hiding place from the wind-such a covert from the tempest-such refreshing waters to quench his thirstand such a rock to shelter him from the scorching heat of the sunWhat blessings would he esteem them What refreshment—what comfort—what heartfelt delight would they afford him !—We may here give full scope to our imaginations ; for, without experience, we cannot conceive of pleasure equal to that which a traveller in such circumstances, must feel. And yet all this, and much more, is the man Christ Jesus to all his true disciples and followers. These lively natural images, convey not a complete idea of the blessings and comforts they derive from him.
This whole world, considered merely as the abode of Christians, and as it respects their spiritual state, may not inaptly be compared to the deserts of Arabia.Like these deserts, the world, spiritually considered, is barren of all good—it is unfruitful in the works of righteousness-lying in wickedness. The numerous evils that are in the world, which are the bitter fruits of sin--the snares and temptations which are sown thick every where, endanger the spiritual health and life of the Christian pilgrim, no less than the pestiferous winds and burning sands of Arabia, the health and life of the traveller who is exposed to them. The world, in its natural, apostate condition, is a dry place and a weary land- destitute of the graces and comforts of the Spirit (which graces and comforts are, in the Scriptures, frequently compared to waters)--and without a shelter from the consuming beams and overwhelming. tempests of God's anger.But, in consequence of the coming of Christ, “The wilderness and the solitary place are made glad the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose.” In the wilderness, waters have broken out, and streams in the desert--and the parched ground