« EelmineJätka »
“ Had you any English Bible ?-No, I, as an individual, bad not, but I had recourse to an English Bible.
“ Was there any difficulty in your obtaining one to read, you wished to do so ? No, there was not any extraordinary difficulty.
“Were many of the students possessed of Bibles ?--I think in general no more than about six or eight or ten, as far as I can recollect.
Do you mean in your class ?-I think I scarcely saw more than about eight or ten Bibles or twelve at furthest-I think I have never seen more than that in the hall of theology on the days when we were waiting for the professor to give his lecture.
“ Do you mean that there were not above ten or twelve Bibles, or that there were not above ten or twelve New Testaments?-I mean, taking both together.
“Were there any New Testaments in the hands of those wbo had not Bibles ? I cannot say.
" When you say there were ten or twelve Bibles, do you mean that that includes the whole number of copies, either of the New or Old Testament, in the possession of all the students of your class ?-Yes.”'-Appen. p. 362.
This would seem to have been improved, and the necessity of knowing something of the Bible having been forced on the minds of the President and Trustees, an importation of that article was ordered, and now every student is supposed to be furnished with them. This we learn among others from the Rev. P. T. Carew, who yet confesses that he himself when a student, was for a large portion of time unprovided with a Bible, and when asked if the students in theology were severally provided even with Testaments, cautiously replies, “ In general, I rather think they were"-p. 128.
Such is the course of Scripture reading, and such the acquaintance with the Seriptures, that Maynooth, in its most improved state, imparts to its students. Taken, as these generally are, from that class of the population to which the Scriptures are seldom familiar as an household book ; unacquainted with their history, uninitiated into their doctrines, unimbued with their spirit, they enter into a seminary in which the great authority is not the Bible, but the Church; the great object of study is not the word of God, but the inventions of men'; transferred thence to the service of a Church, whose ceremonies and rites demand no deep and inspiriting knowledge of the sacred volume, and whose people themselves among whom they are to minister, are kept from detecting ignorance by being involved in still greater, and are rendered incapable of discovering a variation from the standard of the tabernacle, by having the key of knowledge kept from them ;-it is not wonderful that they undervalue the Scriptures whose life-giving energy they know not, and prefer the modes of instruction in which they themselves have been trained ;—it is not wonderful that they refer to the Bible for illustration not for authority, and oppose its plainest deductions by arguments drawn from human reasoning and human expediency ;-the volume of sacred writ may be intended for the infidel* or the fanatic, but is too sa
• This is actually the statement of the Roman Catholic Church. The Scriptures may be useful to the infidel, but are unnecessary for teaching religion to the faithful!
cred or too dangerous for the people, and if the priest confirms his statements, or points his arguments, by an appeal to inspiration, the words transplanted from the Scripture, and retaining neither power nor context, have but the imperfectly-defined form of the hortus siccus, instead of the brilliancy, and beauty, and odour of the living flower.
THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
SIR— There are few stories in the New Testament, which give more comfort to a heart sorrowing under sin, than that which is related in the 7th chapter of St. Luke from the 47th verse. to the end, in which we have a lovely and affecting picture of the great tenderness and condescension of our blessed Saviour towards miserable mortals-no sin, however vile, that will not be fully pardoned upon real repentance. The woman here mentioned had been a notorious sinner, one whose touch the Pharisees considered as a pollution to our Lord; nay, they even doubted his being a prophet—since, if he had been aware what kind of person she was, he would not have suffered her to approach him—but they knew not the mercies of the Divine Saviour, who is ever ready to receive all who come to Him, and who has left us this narrative, as also the parable of the “ Prodigal Son,” to give assurance to the contrite ! What an affecting picture is here before us—imagine our blessed Lord sitting surrounded by Scribes and Pharisees, all eagerly listening to the words which fell from his lips--some with the malevolent hope to catch something out of his mouth" which they might turn against him—and some, it is to be hoped, anxiously desiring instruction, all of them persons of consequence, not only as heads and teachers, but as persons of exemplary conduct before men, scrupulous to pay the minutest attention to all the ceremonies of their religion, and had in "good report” before the world. In the midst of the entertainment, a poor neglected despised woman, who had for a long time been the public nuisance and the public scorn, enters slowly, humbly and mournfully - her head cast down in shame and grief, while tears of penitence and sorrow flowed rapidly down her face-she did not dare to approach him with the open confidence of one who was sure of a welcome reception, abashed too (though not prevented) by the sight of so many assembled persons—she timidly stole behind the couch on which our Lord lay (as was customary at meals in the Eastern countries) and stood at his feet behind him weeping-feeling herself unworthy to touch his sacred head, she washed his feet with her tears, and
wiped them with the hairs of her head. What a beautiful, what an affecting sight! What a contrast to the proud and scornful looks of the Pharisees round the table, who beheld the woman as a vile sinner, and one unworthy to enter into their presence.-Not so, her blessed Saviour! He heard them speaking, knew what the master of the house was saying in the recesses of his own proud heart, when he doubted if our Lord was a prophet, else “he would have known what manner of woman she is that toucheth him, for she is a sinner.” Welly did. He who could read the heart know what manner of
she had been, but He knew also, that she was now' a true penitent, and as such, one of his own little flock, “ chosen before the foundation of the world." He quickly checked the murmur of the Pharisee by asking him the question, whether if a man had two debtors, one owing him five-hundred pence and the other fifty, and if, when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both, which of them would love him most? The Pharisee not aware of the drift of his question, readily answered, “ He, to whom he forgave most." Our Lord then turned to the woman and said, Simon, beholdest thou this woman, I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no kiss, but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet; my head with oil thou didst not anoint, but she,' &c. &c.; therefore, her sins which are many are forgiven her, for she loveth much, but to whom little is forgiver, the same loveth little”—as if He had said, “ she is the debtor who owed me five-hundred pence, but as she has nothing to pay I frankly forgive her—thou thinkest thy debt is small, and yet even thou hast nothing to pay, but thinking thou requirest little pardon for thy trifting faults, thou dost not love me like this woman.
Oh, Simon, you are at once put to silence !- What then did our Lord say to the woman? “ Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace.” Happy woman-a few years more of trouble and sorrow, perhaps of reproach also, and then Heaven and Christ are thy portion for ever!
rest assured, the remainder of her life was that of humble, yet happy penitence, and her conduct such as became one who “ loved much,” and had been much forgiven. Now, let me ask for what purpose this story was left on record ? Doubtless, to give comfort to all true penitents, as well as to put to silence the pride of self-righteous persons, and to show, that however scorned and despised by men, no contrite sinner is ever rejected by our compassionate Saviour ; “ go and do thou likewise.” All have lived in sin, while living in an unconverted state, if not in outward wickedness, at least in heart—since none can plead that his debt is small, all must go to the Saviour to obtain mercy and pardon, must go in the guise of mourners, and “stand at His feet behind Him weeping"—then shall they hear those gracious words,
thy sins are forgiven thee.” It is only the humble penitent who will receive acceptance and pardon. To others who plead any thing in themselves, or who say their debt is small, to such shall the gates of mercy be closed for ever! And do we not frequently see the most abandoned sinners, the most apparently hopeless characters, become true penitents and followers of Christ, while the self
righteous moralist is hardened-yet, let us watch and pray, and be thankful to Christ, when kept by His power and mercy from sins, which draw the scorn of the world upon us.
Sir— Transubstantiation is so directly opposed to the common understanding of mankind, and also to the testimony of the senses, that it might at first sight appear strange how any rational man could for a moment hold so irrational a doctrine; but our surprise will cease when we recollect that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and that it is ever at work in opposing truth and in supporting error. In the work of deception and destruction it acts both openly and covertly-it assumes different shapes, and it eludes the observation of the very individuals whom it enslaves ; so that we often find men of great intelligence and acuteness believing absurdities-men that could fearlessly listen to the thundering of Sinai, shaken as a leaf by the fulminations of a poor sinful mortal “ dressed in a little brief authority," and seated in a chair of proud self-constituted infallibility-men of prudence and circumspection in worldly things, rash and unwise in spiritual things--men of cool calculation as to the best mode of attaining an earthly object, foolish and desperate adventurers when a beavenly and an everlasting benefit was to be sought. The wisdom of this world is indeed foolishness with God. 1 Cor. iii. 19. And never does that truth appear more striking, than when the Gospel is rejected on account of its simplicity, and a system substituted in its room which neither brings peace to the sinner nor glory to the Saviour. Every existing error upon the subject of religion may be traced to ignorance of the Scriptures; and if those Scriptures be not submitted to, wholly and unreservedly, as containing God's revealed will to man, it matters not what high sounding encomiums may be passed upon them-they are virtually despised : and there is a day coming when their despisers will wonder and perish. If from the Apostolic days the word of Christ had dwelt richly in the hearts of the professors of Christianity, in all wisdom, should we ever have heard of Transubstantiation ? Certainly not-but it was while men slept, and of course perused not that Word, that the enemy came and sowed his tares. This one has taken deep root, but it will yet.be plucked up, and it is not improbable that its glaring opposition to the reason and senses of man will hasten its extirpation from the professing Church. Its absurdity is strikingly set forth in the following observations of an able reasoner :
“If any transubstantiation be signified by the words of St. Paul, 1 Cor. x. 16, or by our Saviour's words—Take, eat, this is my body and this is my blood, Matt. xxvi. 26-28,a strange consequence must necessarily follow, and a very universal transubstantiation take place : for as the bread in the sacrament is changed into the body of
Christ, so we all who receive the sacrament and are partakers of that frånsubstantiated bread are converted into bread ourselves : for this counterchange of our bodies into bread is just as literally set forth in 1 Cor. x. 17, as the conversion of the bread into the body of our Saviour is by his last declaration :--For we being many. are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”—Burgh's Confutation of Lindsey.
OF THE SAVING FRUIT OF THE INCARNATION.
“O dulcissimum nomen Jesu ! mel in ore, in aure melos, in corde medicina."
“I bring you tidings of great joy,” (Luke ii. 10,) saith the Angel at our Saviour's nativity. Of great joy indeed—that is, such as passeth man's understanding. It was a very great evil, that we were held captive under the wrath of God, under the power of the devil, and under eternal damnation : but it was yet greater, because men either knew it not, or else did neglect it. But now great joy is declared unto us, because he that delivereth us from all evils is come into the world. He is come a physician to the sick, a redeemer to the captives, the way to the wanderers, life to them that were dead, and salvation to them that were condemned.* As Moses was sent from the Lord to deliver the people of Israel from the servitude of Egypt, (Exod. iii. 10,) so Christ was sent from his Father to redeem all mankind from the devil's slavery. As the dove, after the drying up of the waters of the deluge, brought an olive branch into the ark of Noah, (Gen. viii. 11,) so Christ came into the world to preach peace and the reconciliation of man with God; therefore we have cause to rejoice and conceive great things of the mercy of God. He which loved us so, being his enemies, (Rom. v. 10,) that he did vouchsafe to assume our nature to be united with his divinity, what will he deny unto us, being joined unto him by the participation of our flesh. Who ever hated his own flesh ? (Eph. v. 29,) how then can that chief and infinite mercy repel us from him, being now made partakers of his nature. Who can in words express, or in thought conceive, the greatness of this mystery ? Here is the greatest sublimity and the greatest humility, the greatest power and the greatest infiripity, the greatest majesty and the greatest frailty. Wbat is higher than God and lower than man? what is more powerful than God and weaker than man ? what is more glorious than God and more frail than man? But that chief power found out a means to conjoin these, seeing that the chief justice did necessarily require such a conjunction. Who, also, can conceive the greatness of this mystery: An equivalent and infinite price was required for the sin of man, because man had turned himself away from the infinite good, which is God.+ But what could be equivalent to the infinite God ? There