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H O M I L Y

ON

Hereditary Principle in God's Government of Humanity.

jean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of **g, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's it on edge ? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not rion any more to use this proverb in Israel.” Ezek. xviii. 2, 3. ose days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten +s, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” Jer. xxxi. 29.

T is not difficult to conceive of moral existences both uninfluenced and uninfluenceable by other finite intelligences. Neither those who existed

before they came into being, nor those who are contemporaries, may exert any influence whatever upon character, condition, or destiny, independent of their free and deliberate choice. They are the subjects of no unt either of entailed good or evil. They are the sole hitects of their own fortunes. Their condition is always conscious result of their own unbiased choice and spontapus action. Each moves in an orbit, whose distance from

nearest neighbour is so immensely vast as to render any Auence being imparted, or communicated to the most conguous impossible. The only connexion with other creatures being connexion with the common centre, the ABSOLUTE ONE.

But whilst it is possible to conceive of such creatures, there is no reason to believe that they have any actual

Vol. IX.

2 A

THE WORKS OF John ANGELL James. Two Volumes. SERMONS.

London : Hamilton, Adams and Co.

Many thousands of religious people will, we have no doubt, be glad to possess a good edition of all the productions of this well known writer and popular non-conformist preacher. The Work before us, of which there are two volumes, seems to be, as far as execution is concerned, all that can be desired. The strong temptation we have felt when reading some of these sermons to assume the critic and to pronounce judicially upon some things that seem to us very objectionable, both in the author's sentiments and style, has been checked by the love we have for his memory, and the high appreciation of the noble services which in many ways he has rendered the race. Love interdicts criticism, and we would ever be her loyal liege.

Two volumes. By W. G. BARRETT,

SKELETONS OF SERMONS.

London : Thomas Jepps.

SINCE“the Homilist” has appeared, pulpit“skeletops” have come forth in almost every form, and under every name. Congregational, British, Temperance, Wesleyan, Unitarian, and lastly, as if by a sly insinuation, to condemn the orthodoxy of all the rest, the Evangelical, which by the way, is the most watery of all the watery things that come before us in the form of sermons. Far are we from regretting the multiplication of pulpit helps. We view them not as rivals, we hail them as co-operators. Mr. Barrett's are amongst the best.

GLEANINGS FROM GOSPEL STORY; OR, New TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

EXPLAINED AND ILLUSTRATED. With Preface by Rev. W. B.
MACKENZIE, M.A. Knight and Son.

This little book, issued from the pen of a known Christian writer, whose diffidence leading him in this case to conceal his name, is somewhat mysterious. It appears to be of recent growth, as he is already known; and it were surely otherwise superfluous, as he has gleaned in the best field with diligence and skill..

A H O M I L Y

ON

The Hereditary Principle in God's

Government of Humanity.

“What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge ? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.” Ezek. xviii. 2, 3.

“In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." Jer. xxxi. 29.

T is not difficult to conceive of moral existences both uninfluenced and uninfluenceable by other finite intelligences. Neither those who existed

before they came into being, nor those who are their contemporaries, may exert any influence whatever upon their character, condition, or destiny, independent of their own free and deliberate choice. They are the subjects of no amount either of entailed good or evil. They are the sole architects of their own fortunes. Their condition is always the conscious result of their own unbiased choice and spontaneous action. Each moves in an orbit, whose distance from its nearest neighbour is so immensely vast as to render any influence being imparted, or communicated to the most contiguous impossible. The only connexion with other creatures being connexion with the common centre, the ABSOLUTE ONE.

But whilst it is possible to conceive of such creatures, there is no reason to believe that they have any actual

Vol. IX.

2 A

existence. On the contrary, analogy suggests that according to the structure of the universe, they cannot be. All things in the creation are bound together by the great chain of interdependence ; a chain the motion of whose every link propagates an influence that travels on from end to end.

Anyhow, man does not belong to those ideal existences that are independent of all influence from other creatures. He is, on the contrary, to a great extent, the servant of such forces. Not only does the spirit of his contemporaries breathe through him, heaving the current of his soul, and producing vibrations on all the chords of his heart, but he is the subject of entailed good and evil. He is the recipient of elements transmitted to him from the past. The heredi.tary principle bears mightily upon him. “ The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

In dealing with this subject, which although seldom discussed, is of thrilling interest and mighty moment, I shall offer three remarks which are suggested by our text:

HAS

BEEN

SUBJECT TO THIS HEREDITARY

PRINCIPLE OF GOVERNMENT THROUGH ALL PAST

AGES.

I. THAT MAN

The Bible, in terms the most explicit, announces this principle. Here it is, in the second commandment ;-“I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” Here it is, in the complaints of ancient Israel who were deeply con. scious of its influence upon them ;- “Our fathers have sinned and are not, and we have borne their iniquities.” Here it is, having been so universally recognised that it passes into a national proverb;-"The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” Here it is, in the reason which the righteous judge of all assigns for the chastisement He inflicts upon men :- when David enquired of the Lord concerning the reason of the three years terrible famine that prevailed in his days, the answer was : “It is

for Saul, and for his bloody house." Here it is, recognized as an undoubted truth, in the question which was put to the Saviour concerning the man born blind;-"Did this man sin or his parents ?” Here it is, in the denunciation which the Son of God pronounces upon the Jewish nation ;="That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation ; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the Temple. Verily I say unto you it shall be required of this generation."

In relation to this hereditary principle in the Divine government, which is thus so fully and frequently developed in the Bible, it may be well to make two remarks, before I pass on to another part of our subject :

First : That its necessary working is secured by the connexion existing between the members of our race. How close is the tie of physical relationship subsisting between men and generations ! We are all made of the “one blood,” all descendants from the same stock. Humanity is an organic whole, of which each man is a member. What one suffers, all the members, the entire body, must to some extent endure. The tie of physical relationship which binds the race together is a spinal cord whose vibrations must be felt through the whole system. There may be beings in the universe who have no secondary parentage, whose only father is God, between whom and the EVER-LIVING ONE there is no intervening link. Amongst such beings there is not that provision, for the transmission of good or evil from creatures, which the human ráce possesses. Our parents transmit to us not merely their natures, but their idiosyncrasies, their diseases, their characteristic propensities. How close too, is the tie of social interdependence. Human society is so constituted that every man is dependent upon his brother. One has something to impart which the other requires. Thus human life is made up of giving to, and taking from, others. The degradation of one involves the degradation of many, and the elevation of one, the elevation of numbers. Here then, in the close

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