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lent teacher would not be offended if she requested a fuller explanation of this matter than that which had been already given.
The lady of the manor instantly complying with this request, proceeded to this effect—" When man first came from the hands of his Maker, he was pure and without spot or stain of sin. At that period, while he remained in his original state, which we have reason to think was but a very short time, he held constant and close communion with his Maker. But the exact nature of this communion is not to be ascertained, since we can form but very obscure conceptions of a perfectly pure and sinless state. For if, in every imaginable scene of earthly happiness there is such a mixture of sin and sorrow, that the most lively narrative of earthly pleasure which fancy can devise leaves us ready to ask this question—Is this all 1 and is there no more to be said or done, to be hoped or enjoyed 1—It may well be imagined that in every description of the most lofty state of piety, holy love will be so imperfect, and religious fear so predominant, as to render our views of divine communion very incomplete and unsatisfactory. The lovely bowers of Eden were however at one time uncontaminated by sin; and during that blessed season the roses grew there without thorns, our newly created progenitors lived there as a child at home in the presence of their heavenly Father, and divine love shed its sacred influence over the whole face of nature. But no sooner had sin entered those blissful regions than all nature underwent a fearful change: sentence of death immediately passed upon every living creature; and man instantly became alienated from his Creator as to seek a hiding-place from his presence, just as a son conscious of having committed an unpardonable offence shuns the presence of the most tender and virtuous parent. Tn consequence of some remains of this natural sense of guilt, the whole human race has from that time looked upon their Creator with fear and dread, instead of discovering that love and confidence which are due from the creature to his Maker.
"All idolatrous forms of worship throughout the world," continued the lady of the manor, "have been, and still are, built upon the unconquerable fear and dread of some avenging Being whom the terrified worshipper desires to propitiate. Hence the gloomy rites of paganism, with the horrible views of death and judgment given in the Koran. Thus it may be proved, by the representations which these idolaters and infidels have given of the Deity, that their ideas of him were the produce not of filial love, but of trembling terror. Neither has the unregenerate man in Christian countries any more inviting views of God than the Mussulmaun or idolater.
"Man," proceeded the lady of the manor, "naturally hates God. The carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom. viii. 7.) The unrenewed soul has a sufficient sense of its own impurity to make it look on its Creator rather as an avenging Judge than a tender Father. Every reflecting mind in such a country as this, has light enough to know that the Supreme Being cannot be an unholy one: every conscious sinner, therefore, feels that he has much to dread from him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; neither can he, through the mere light of reason, discover a way to escape his avenging hand.
"Thus," continued the lady of the manor, "unhappy man has been separated from his heavenly Father, through the cruel devices of Satan; and no religion or system of morals on earth supplies the means of his restoration, but the religion revealed by Christ, who points himself out as the only way by which offending man can be restored to the divine favour—lam, saith he, the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me. (John xiv. 6.)
"And this way," said the lady of the manor, "is not pointed out to us in a mere cold, dull, formal manner; but we are invited, we are entreated, we are pressed to enter upon this new and living way, in order to secure our final salvation. The Scripture saith, Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out. (John vi. 37.) Our blessed Saviour is a friend, who when he has sent out his invitations, will not easily be denied. How sweet, how affecting, how tender are his addresses to his people! Thus, through the blessed Saviour, miserable and lost creatures are brought back to their heavenly Father, and rendered meet to hold communion with him.
"If a king condescends to address a subject with affection and familiarity," added the lady of the manor, "how does that subject delight to make known to his friends and neighbours the honour conferred upon him! How accurately does he recollect all the gracious words of his sovereign, and with what satisfaction does he meditate upon their purport! How full he is of the praises of his king, and with what rapture does he speak of his comely appearance and his graceful demeanour! If then we consider it so high a privilege to hold intercourse with one who is but a man of like passions with ourselves, and who in a short time must lay aside all his glory to become food of worms; how much higher an honour should we count it to hold communion with the God of glory himself!"
Here the lady of the manor perceiving that one of her young pupils wished to speak, stopped a moment, and looked encouragingly at her. On which, the young lady ventured to say, that she still did not understand exactly what was meant by communion with God.
"Communion in general, my dear," replied the lady of the manor, "signifies any kind of intercourse maintained between two or more persons, either by word of mouth, or by letter, or by any other means: but the nature of the communion thus maintained, must of necessity be suited to the nature of the persons between whom it subsists. Our communion with any corporeal being must be through the medium of the senses; by the voice, by the hearing, by the sight, or by some other sense: but God being a Spirit, our communion with him must be of a spiritual kind, and wholly independent of the senses. Concerning the distinct nature of this communion, it is utterly impossible for me to give you any satisfactory idea, because this knowledge is hid in Christ. When you become experimentally acquainted with Christ, you will then understand what it is to hold spiritual intercourse with your heavenly Father; but until that period arrive, which I trust is not very distant, it would be impossible to make this matter clear to you, since the nature of this communion is a secret which a stranger meddleth not with. However," proceeded the lady of the manor, "as I happen to be supplied with a narrative, in which the subject of divine communion is in some measure elucidated by facts of a very interesting nature, we will leave this point for the present, and hasten to conclude our consideration of the Apostles' Creed, deferring our story to our next happy meeting, if we should be again permitted to assemble in this place."
The lady then proceeded to the explanation of the next clause in the Creed, viz. the forgiveness of sins. "It is the less necessary," said she, " to enlarge on this article, my dear young friends, inasmuch as the whole scope and tendency of all I have said, and all I desire to say to you, is, to point out the means by which this forgiveness of sins may be obtained. I shall therefore now content myself with repeating to you the thirty-first Article of our Church on this point, which is to this purpose: 'The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.'"
The resurrection of the body was the next subject which came in course under the consideration of the young people; and the lady of the manor spoke upon it to this effect: "This article," said she, "was anciently, and is now, universally acknowledged by all Christians. We find, by daily and painful experience, that all men are mortal; we have all seen the effect of death on some of those most dear to us on earth; we have seen the work of corruption and dissolution commence on the persons of those whom we once counted the loveliest and fairest in the creation; and we know, with respect to these, that this dreadful work has been carried on in the dark grave, till dust has returned to dust, and ashes to ashes. Neither doth it require much reflection, to be persuaded that nothing but the infinite power of Him who first formed man out of the dust of the earth, can unite the various parts of his body, however scattered, and render them again animated as before death, by the same spirit which once occupied them.
"The wise men and philosophers of old, though they doubted not the immortality of the soul, had no idea of the resurrection of the body. We read of certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoicks, who encountered St. Paul; and when they heard of the resurrection, they mocked him, saying, that he seemed to be a setter-forth of strange gods, because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts xvii.) So far indeed the heathen philosophers judged rightly, that the raising up of the body from the dust of death is undoubtedly impossible to all created agents: but to God all things are possible. And since we are surrounded with so many wonderful evidences of his power, we have no reason to suppose that even this is above the reach of his omnipotent hand.
"More than this, we have innumerable assurances in Scripture of the resurrection of the body. The holy Job expressed his opinion on this subject in these remarkable verses—/ know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. (Job xix. 25,26.) In the New Testament also we have many passages on this subject of a very striking nature.—For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. xv. 22.)—Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John v. 25.)—And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. (Matt. xxv. 32.)—For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. (Rom. xiv. 10.)
"In addition to these," said the lady of the manor, "there are passages without end in Scripture to the same purpose, which, if I were to attempt to point out, the time would fail me. Nevertheless, before we leave this subject, I think it right to state to you a certain opinion concerning the resurrection, held by many excellent persons, and founded on some remarkable pas