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recognised as the pastor_of the Regent's Park College, to Union Church at Great Whyte Ramsay, Chapel, Luton; the Rev. A. K. Huntingdonshire. · The Rev. J. Davidson, of the Metropolitan Douglas has been recognised as the Tabernacle College, to Bardwell, pastor of the Church in Whyt's Suffolk. The Rev. W. C. Jones has Causeway, Kirkcaldy.-The Rev. s. resigned the pastorate of the Church Mann has been recognised as the in Hackney Road, London, having pastor of the Church at Blockley, accepted an invitation to Shortlands, Worcestershire, lately under the New Zealand. The Rey. T. Bur. care of the late Rev. C. J. Middle- ditt, M.A., has resigned his pastorate ditch.-The Rev. D. R. Morgan, late at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, having of Usk, has been recognised as the accepted a charge in Nova Scotia. pastor of the Church at Chalford, The Rev. J. B. Marriott has resigned Gloucestershire.

his pastorate of the Church at Great

Missenden, Bucks, and received a The following reports of MINIS- handsome testimonial on the occasion TERIAL CHANGES have reached us of his leaving. The Rev. M. S. since our last issue:-The Rev. J. Ridley has resigned his pastorate of Tansley, of the Metropolitan Taber- the Church at Lydney, Gloucesternacle College, to Melton Mowbray, shire, over which he has presided Leicestershire; the Rev. J. Billing- for nearly eleven years. The Rev. ton, to Pinner, Middlesex; the Rev. G. E. Rees has resigned the pasA. Macdougall, late of Islay, to torate of the Church at Truro. The Blair Athole, Perthshire; the Rev. Rev. J. Davis, of Teignmouth, H. Dunn, of Pudsey, near Leeds, to Devon, has withdrawn his acceptMilnsbridge, near Huddersfield; the ance of the Baptist Church, Lyme Rev. G. H. Malins, of Aston Road, Regis, and is at liberty to supply Birmingham, to Marlbro' Crescent, vacant Churches. The Rev. W. Newcastle-on-Tyne; the Rev. J. Nicholson, of Ledbury, HerefordEvans, of Welshpool, Montgomery, shire, has succeeded Mr. Davis as to Kington, Hereford; the Rev. H. the minister of the Baptist Church, H. Bourn, of Burlington Road, Ips- Teignmouth. wich, to Sudbury, Suffolk; the Rev. T. E. C. Cooke, late of Regent's We regret to announce the death Park College, to Burlington Road, of the Rev. T. Morris, of Whitchurch, Ipswich; the Rev. H. Orasweller, Hants, in the sixty-ninth year of B.A., of Derby, to Cross Street, Is- his age, and the forty-ninth of his lington, London; the Rev. W. ministry: also of the venerable Dr. Sutton, late of Ballarat, Australia, Hoby, of Caterham, Surrey, -sucto Oakham, Rutland; the Rev. J. cessively pastor at Maze Pond, LonThomas, of Blaenywaen, Pembroke. don; Birmingham; Henrietta Street, shire, to Caersalem Newyd; the Brunswick Square; and TwickenRev. G. D. Richardson, of Kirton ham, at the age of eighty-two." They Lindsey, to Longford, Warwick- rest from their labours, and their shire; the Rev. J. Tuckwell, late of works do follow them."

THE CHURCH.

"Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself

being the chief corner-stone."

FEBRUARY, 1872.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE APOSTLE JOHN.

BY THE REV. JAMES CULROSS, D.D.

II.—THE MAN. (Continued.) In the list of the Twelve Apostles, we read that Jesus surnamed John a “Son of Thunder.” Granted the native force that lay at the basis of his character, the name does not mark a passionateness and vehemence which grace was to eradicate: it is his new and true name, given by the Discerner of hearts ; even as the name Peter, Man of Rock, is the new and true name given to Simon the son of Jonas. In the light of the after-history, it may appear to some that the name is scarcely appropriate. So calm as he is, so gentle, so loving, he is about the last man whom we would liken to thunder : we think rather of the still small voice that speaks from the hush when the tempest has ceased. The incongruity, however, springs from a misapprehension on our part of the meaning and suggestion of the name. It does not point to human vehemence, or anything that partakes of the “wrath of man;" what wrath there is, is like that of Him who wept over Jerusalem-infinitely awful by reason of being “the wrath of the Lamb.In the Old Testament, by which the name must be interpreted, the thunder is the voice of Jehovah, pealing amidst solemn darkness from the sky, abrupt, crashing, following no rhythmical laws for the human ear, with mystic intimations for the conscience, the transient revelation of majestic and eternal power. It is the voice of God, not by some superstitious misinterpretation which modern science abolishes, but as all nature is a medium for conveying Divine meanings and intimations to the human heart. The hearing depends on the particular ear. To him who is in sympathy with heaven, every natural sound has some vibration within the breast; as, to the un

sealed eye,

" Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common bush a-fire with God." I give the following little fragment of child-experience in illustration of this point. In a small country village, a young boy was left at

NO. II.

VOL. XIV.

D

home one Sabbath morning, with strict charge from his parents to avoid the company of some rude and bad children in the neighbourhood. They sought him out, however, and succeeded in enticing him to go with them and join in their amusements. They found their way together to a small reedy lake about half a mile off, surrounded by larches and dark firs, with water-lilies and many small silver-budded flowers brightening its surface. It was a warm summer day, and they had played some time, when a strange silence fell ominously around, the lake grew inky black, and all of a sudden a peal of thunder broke and rattled overhead. It was the voice of the living God to the young boy. It told his conscience of his sin, as plainly as if in articulate words. Full of anguish and terror, he ran home, and could not stay his sobbing, till, with his cheek leaning against his mother's bosom, he confessed his fault and sought forgiveness. I narrate the incident to show how God can still speak to consciences by His thunder, even in the nineteenth century, when so many intellects, misreading the glorious teachings of science, incline towards the cold conclusion: "Here's law ! Where's God?" It is not the mere loudness of the sound that is to be thought of:-the noise of an empty waggon passing over the stony street may be louder :-it is the soul-awakening power, the solemn majesty. From the bosom of the cloud the flash darts forth, swift, bright, intense, resistless ; followed by the voice which appeals to the soul, finding her in her most secret chambers. This is what I think of when John is called a son of thunder; and I find the name justified both in his personality and in the light and power of his writings. Personally he is no weak and shallow nature, deficient in force, straitened of understanding, concerning himself with pious trivialities, talking about love (the mightiest thing in the universe) in a sweet and feeble monotone ; but powerful and energetic. The merely passionate man is borne away by impulses of the flesh; his urgencies are the feverish urgencies of the flesh : this "Son of Thunder" has his inspiration from heaven. His thought comes to us sudden, unexpected, bright, as a flash of lightning; he speaks to us in a voice having no sign of the perturbations of earthly passion in it, that seems to come from the upper sky, with a sovereign tone, startling souls that are held in a “dead sleep.” I cannot quite agree with the often-quoted representation of Chrysostom, “He has filled the whole earth with his voice, not by its mighty reverberations, but by the Divine grace which dwelt upon his lips. That which is most admirable, is that this great voice is neither harsh nor violent, but soft and melting as harmonious music." It seems to me there are as awful, thunder-like things in John, as awfully said, stopping the very beat of the hearer's heart, as any. where in Scripture.*

The name that we oftenest call him by, is “the disciple whom Jesus * Take the opening paragraph of his Gospel, “ In the beginning was the Word : three men so different as Chrysostom, Augustine, and Bengel remark, "Hear how he thunders !" “John has opened his words as it were with a burst of thunder ! " * This is the thunder brought down to us by a son of thunder!”.

as

loved.One, would rather be known thus than even as Enoch who "walked with God." We picture him to ourselves in the attitude in which the evangelists represent him at the last supper, seated nearest the Lord and leaning on His bosom, enjoying His closest intimacies. It does not appear that either Jesus or any of the disciples made use of this name; it is not found in any of the other Gospels; it is the name which he himself assumes. It does not occur for the first time until the very close of the Lord's ministry, on the evening of the betrayal; when he has occasion to refer to himself earlier, he is merely “another disciple." To understand the name, we must know something of the love of Jesus. Just as He hungered and thirsted, and was weary, and sorrowed, and wept, and marvelled, and rejoiced,—so He loved; with a love as real as our own. Like all love that is true and deep, it had not only its tenderness and clemency, but also its graver looks and faithful wounds and far-purposed severities; its summons to self-denial and cross-bearing and forsaking of all that a man hath ; its grand Follow me, as it went forward to its sacrifice; yea, many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” Among the little band of the disciples He walked as the elder Brother. He never sided with their sin or passed it lightly by because it was in them; He rejoiced in their holiness; He bare their burdens ; He restored them in the spirit of meekness; He shrank from no suffering in their behalf; He prevented them with the blessings of goodness; He girded Himself as a servant to wash their feet. One special and crowning quality His love had—that of constancy. Human love faileth: it finds flaws in its object, and is disenchanted ; it meets ingratitude, and is soured; it decays through absence and distance; the world frowns, and it falls off from our side ; a wind comes from the wilderness and blows it out: but the love of Jesus was faithful and constant; many waters could not quench it, and no floods drown it; having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.

The love of Jesus toward His disciples was not a kind of vague benevolence, smiling alike on all : it had discrimination; and His heart went out specially to John. The rest of the twelve were no losers by this; for in truly and ardently loving one friend, I have not the less of love to give to others, but the more. A heart does not, as if it were à cup, contain just so much of love, which it must divide into shares, each becoming smaller as they are multiplied. Every elder brother knows that the true love of one is security for more deeply loving all. The love of Jesus toward John was more than common friendship;" it was friendship in its most exalted form. I do not think that we are warranted to resolve it into a case of sovereignty of which no account can be given ; we must look for those qualities and characteristics whereon the love of the Son of God rested ; for, as human love is justified by the qualities, real or supposed, of our friend,--as John himself loved the elect lady and her children for the truth's sake which dwelt in them,--so here. These qualities are nowhere catalogued in a formal way, and we are left to discover them from what we know of

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the Lord Himself. They must have been qualities in which He could delight, such as the tender and delicate sensibility of the Apostle's nature, his profound and pure affectionateness, his childlike simplicity, the deep truthfulness of his spirit, his gentleness and holiness, his reverence, his capacity of meeting and returning the love of Jesus with single heart.

It is nothing against this that these qualities were of Divine creation in him, ripening through his intercourse with the Holy One. This is fully true; the very love that was showed him made him lovable; beholding the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, he was changed into His likeness; he could say as fervently as the Apostle Paul, “ By the grace of God I am what I am :” but none the less was his lovableness real and attractive to the heart of Jesus. Just as the painter who expresses on canvas the vision that has risen up before his inner eye,—or as the musician who hears in his soul some grand piece of music, like a bar or two of the “ Undisturbed song of pure concent,” and sings it forth with his own voice, and in his own hearing only,—has delight in it altogether apart from the thought of its being his own creation, so could Jesus love this man, although the lovableness was due to Himself.

The fact that it is John himself who uses the name, as he does again and again in his Gospel, brings into view his beautiful and childlike humility. A self-conscious man never would have ventured to do it, lest he should be charged with claiming distinction and honour for himself above his fellow-disciples. With finest lowliness of mind, he utters no disclaimer of merit-makes no formal protestation of unworthiness that such love should have been his does not feel it necessary to do so. To my mind, the humility of fearlessly using the name, is as touching as when the Apostle Paul calls himself “ less than the least of all saints,” or remembers how he was “of sinners the chief." The glory of his beloved Lord lighted up and beautified his countenance, as well as penetrated his soul ; and he did not think about it, as a child is unconscious of the grace of his own movements or the lustre of his eye. Like Moses, he “wist not that the skin of his face shone.” All he thought of, was the felicity of being loved by Jesus.

Another aspect of the man is seen in the request, preferred by his mother Salome, but acquiesced in by himself, that he and his brother might sit, the one on the Lord's right hand and the other on His left, in His kingdom. With heartless and blind pertinacity, commentators ground accusations which they fail to prove, upon this request. ,, As the story is told in the Gospels, I do not read "selfish ambition " in it, nor "immense egotism," nor a “a proud contempt of others,” nor

a proof of the weakness and wickedness of human nature," nor a violation by “that woman" and her sons of the primary conditions of brotherhood. On the contrary, I read John's faith in Jesus as the “King most wonderful,” love to Him, high-hearted fortitude, and desire for the glory that He only gives. We wrong the man by detaching his request from its historical connection. "It is like the

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