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No. 1.

THE

CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.

JANUARY, 1816.

THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE YEAR.

THROUGH the good Providence of our God we have been brought to the beginning of another year. This is a season, which naturally awakens solemn reflection. To consider, that we have closed another important period of existence; and that whether improved or neglected, it will never return, must surely arrest, at least for a moment, the attention of the most thoughtless. Nor will those, who are most faithfully devoted to duty, whose lives are filled up with improvement and usefulness, find such seasons passing over them without some painful remembrances. For he must be sadly ignorant of himself, or else most arrogantly presumptuous, who can deelare, that in the course of a whole year, he can remember no hour misspent, no useful opportunity neglected, no duty undone, not any thing, which, were he permitted to retrace this period, he would wish to alter.

Almost every man, whatever may be his character, feels at some time or other the pangs of compunction and forms resolutions of amendment. For in every mind, we may not except Vol. IV.

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the best disiplined, there are passions, which sometimes gain the ascendancy over reason, and give cause to the susceptible heart for very bitter repentance. It is these, which we determine to overcome; to watch them jealously as our most dangerous enemies; and such resolutions are generally formed at the returns of these great divisions of life, when reflection is awakened, and the. soul, turned upon itself, is forced to meditate upon its solemn destiny.

But it surely must be an alarming thought, if at the end of the year, which we commenced with such deliberate purposes of amendment, perhaps at the same time appealing for our sincerity to the Searcher of hearts, and imploring his spiritual strength to assist our weakness; we find our solemn promises forgotten, and the year which we had vowed to consecrate to God, spent, like those, which preceded it, in the service of the world, and in the indulgence of disordered passions. The man who finds himself in a state like this, has surely reason to tremble. Life is passing by him without any of

its great ends secured. Advancing age, that ought to witness his increasing purity, is but confirming the dominion of his bad habits; and though every step, he takes, brings him nearer to death, he is more and more unfit to meet it.

We should therefore consider it as among the infinitely diversified means, which our heavenly Father employs for our salvation, that our life is marked out into such divisions, as may warn us by their returns of the rapid flight of time, and of the solemnity of eternity.

It may be regarded as one grand system of admonition; con nected with that sublime and harmonious disposition of the heavenly bodies, which so gloriously displays God's handy work.

But besides this common instruction, which every returning season gives us of the progress of time, the beginning of each new year has generally some admonitions, peculiar to itself. The last year we were warned by the judgments of God. We were suffering the accumulated evils of war; and our prospects, as individuals, and as a nation, were, at best, depressing.

But

now the scene is delightfully changed. Through the adorable providence of him, "who forms the light and creates the darkness, who makes peace and creates evil," our public burdens are removed, our fears are turned to joy; we are restored to the incalculable blessings of peace. These have frequently been exhibited as subjects of gratitude and praise. They may also be improved to quicken our holy

resolutions, and to animate our Christian obedience at the commencement of this year. What innumerable tokens of the divine mercy do we not see in them! our enlivened spirits; our cheerful fire-sides; the enlarged and various comforts of our domestic abodes; the active industry and successful enterprise of our citizens; the new impulse given to commerce; the satisfactions and gains of a regular, honorable trade, instead of the chances of a hazardous, and, to say the least, a selfish enterprise; but most of all, the deliverance from the horrors and demoralizing influence, inseparable from a state of war, with the long train of comforts attending peace;-are all so many testimonies of that "goodness of our God, which calls us to repentance," and invites us, with the commencement of a new year, to dedicate ourselves anew to his service.

But there is danger, lest amidst such overflowings of the divine bounty, we grow presumptuous and careless. We must therefore connect with our sense of the blessings, the solemn admonitions, which this season brings us; of their uncertain nature and of our uncertain lives. Remembering the instruction of the apostle, that the time is short, and that the fashion of the world is passing away, we shall learn to "rejoice, as though we rejoiced not," we shall realize; that it is not for man to be confident, whose life is like the taper, that the feeblest breath may extin guish. We shall not rely with any fond security upon the enjoy ment of our friends, because, like

ourselves, they may fail and die. We shall not boast of any distinctions, which a capricious world may withdraw at pleasure. Nor if riches increase, shall we set our hearts upon them; because at best they cannot redeem a brother or purchase a moment's respite from the grave. The thought of death and of immortality will chasten every pleasure; and all the smiles of Provi

dence, the success, that crowns our labors, and the hopes, that enliven our prospects, will be so devoutly improved, that should our souls this year be required of us, we may be welcomed to that region of uninterrupted peace, where God and Curist shall be all our confidence, and our joys shall be unmingled by any fear.

THE VARIOUS PURPOSES FOR WHICH OUR SAVIOR SUFFERED AND DIED.

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it was also preparatory to his exaltation to the right hand of God, as a Prince and a Savior, and to his raising the dead and judging the world.

THIRD CLASS.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in hi should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John iii. 14-16.

The bread that 1 will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. John vi. 51.

REMARKS.

As the brazen serpent was lifted up in the wilderness as an appointed medium for the healing of the Israelites who were exposed to perish; so the Son of God was exhibited on the cross, for the healing and salvation of sinners. In both cases the remedy was of God's appointment, and an expression of his love and mercy.

FOURTH CLASS.

The texts to be exhibited in this class will be given not only according to the common version, but according to the translation of Dr. Macknight, who is supposed to have expressed more correctly the meaning of the apostle.

Common version.

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator,

For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all, while the Bestator liveth.

Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. Heb. ix. 16.-18.

Macknight's translation.

For where a covenant is, there is a necessity that the death of the appointed sacrifice be brought in.

For a covenant is firm over dead sacrifices, seeing it never hath force whilst the appointed sacrifice liveth.

Hence not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. Heb ix. 16-13.

REMARKS.

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That the translators of the bible in common use mistook the tle's meaning in this connexion is perhaps now admitted by all who have attended to the subject. In the preceding chapter the apostle had spoken of the Mosaic dispensation as the first covenant, and had quoted the prophecy of Jeremiah relating to the gospel dispensation or "new covenant." In this chapter he pursues the same subject; and in the verses quoted he teaches us that as the Sinai covenant was ratified by the death and blood of appointed victims, so the gospel covenant was ratified by the death and blood of the Messiah. The ratification of the gospel covenant, or dispensation of mercy, was therefore one of the purposes for which our Savior laid down his life.

FIFTH CLASS.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. Gal. iii. 18, 14.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off, are

made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolish ed in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, and came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to them that were nigh, Eph. ii. 13.-17

Blotting out the hand writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way nailing it to his cross Col. ii. 14.

REMARKS.

By these passages we are informed that one purpose of our Lord's death was, to abolish the Mosaic rituals, which had been as a wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, and a great occasion of enmity. Another purpose was, that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles, that the Jews and the Gentiles should be placed on equal ground, as to privileges and the hope of salvation by the Messiah, and that he might reconcile both onto God.

SIXTH CLASS.

For it became him for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make

reconciliation for the sins of the people. Heb. ii. 10. 17.

For we have not an High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Heb, iv 15.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. Heb. v. 8.

REMARKS.

Several reasons are here given for the sufferings of Christ. First. It became God to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through suffering. Secondly. It was important that our Savior's disposition to obey should be manifested by becoming obedient unto death. Thirdly. It was important that by personal sufferings, and by experience of the trials of this world, he should be prepared as our high priest to sympathize with us in the afflictions of the present life.

SEVENTH CLASS.

Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. John. i. 29.

For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. 1 Cor. v. 7.

For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last days for you, who by him do believe in God, who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory that your faith and hope might be in God, I Pet. i. 18.-21.

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