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disappointed if I expected to see a splendid
We reached the house of Mahomed Rahem, who received us with great cordiality, and spoke to me in a manner quite free from that reserve which appeared on the former occasion. I was soon charmed with his agreeable manners and even vivacity; for no appearance of frigidity remained. He was a remarkably cheerful and well informed man.
I was surprised that he made no reply to these observations. At the hazard of being deemed importunate, I proceeded to panegyrize the leading principles of Christianity, more particularly in respect to their moral and practical character; and happened, amongst other reflections, to suggest that as no other concern was of so much importance to the human race as religion, and as only one faith could be the right, the subject admitted not of being regarded as indifferent, though too many did so regard it.
"Do not you esteem it so?" he asked.
Certainly not," I replied.
"Then your indifference at the table of our friend Meerza Reeza, when the topic of religion was under consideration, was merely assumed, out of complaisance to Mussulmans, I presume?"
Our interview was short; we seemed both to feel that the presence of Meerza Reeza was a restraint upon us. I therefore took my leave, after obtaining permission to repeat my visit. I remarked in the dwelling of Mahomed Rahem a neatness and comfort which are extremely rare in Persian houses generally: even when the proprietor is wealthy and the apart- I remembered the occasion to which he alments spacious, there is almost always a griev-luded, and recognised in his countenance the ous absence of what the French term propreté same expression, compounded half of pity, half in that country. As Meerza Reeza had in- of surprise which it then exhibited. I owned formed me, I perceived in the furniture of his that I had acted inconsistently, perhaps infriend's house several articles of European ma- cautiously and imprudently; but I made the nufacture not often found in Persia. best defence I could, and disavowed in the most solemn manner any premeditated design to contemn the religion I professed.
A few days after this, I called alone upon Mahomed Rahem. I found him reading a volume of Cowper's poems! The circumstance led to an immediate discussion of the merits of English poetry and European literature in general. I was perfectly astonished at the clear and accurate conceptions he had formed upon these subjects, and at the precision with which he expressed himself in English. We discoursed upon these and congenial topics for nearly two hours; and whether I was interested by the novelty of the occurrence, or by the mystery which still seemed to hang about the individual, I know not, but I never felt less fatigued, or, to speak more correctly, I never enjoyed a literary tête-a-tête with more goût. Surprised that a man with such refined taste and just reflection as he seemed to be, could still be enthralled in the bondage of Islamism, or could even relish the metaphysical mysticism of the Soofees, I ventured to sound his opinions upon the subject of religion. "You are a moollah, I am informed."
"No," said he; "I was educated at a Madrussa, but I have never felt an inclination to be one of the priesthood.'
"The exposition of your religious volume," I rejoined, "demands a pretty close application to study; before a person can be qualified to teach the doctrines of the Koran, I understand he must thoroughly examine and digest volumes of comments, which ascertain the sense of the text and the application of its injunctions. This is a laborious preparation, if a man be disposed conscientiously to fulfil his important functions." As he made no remark, I continued: "our Scriptures are their own expositors; we are solicitous only that they should be read; and although some particular passages are not without difficulties, arising from the inherent obscurity of language, the faults of translation, or the errors of copyists; yet it is our boast that the authority of our holy Scriptures is confirmed by the perspicuity and simplicity of their style as well as precepts."
"I am heartily glad I was deceived," he said; "for sincerity in religion is our paramount duty. What we are we should never be ashamed of appearing to be."
"Are you a sincere Mussulman, then?" I boldly asked.
An internal struggle seemed, for an instant,
"You are not a sceptic or free-thinker?"
"What are you then?-Be you sincere.-
"I am," he replied.
I should vainly endeavour to describe the
He was not unmoved at this transport; but
"I will tell you that, likewise," he replied..
amongst us for more than a year. I was then a
Upon this he put into my hands a copy of the New Testament, in Persian; on one of the blank leaves was written: "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.-HENRY MARTYN."
Upon looking into the memoir of Mr. Mar- | tyn, by Mr. Sargent, one of the most delightful pieces of biography in our language, I cannot perceive therein any allusion to Mahomed Rahem, unless he be one of the young men (mentioned in p. 350) who came from the college, "full of zeal and logic," to try him with hard questions.
From the New Baptist Miscellany.
It is exceedingly evident from various passages in the New Testament, that about the time in which our Lord appeared on earth, the Jews were in lively expectation of the Messiah. The devout among them expected him: "Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel," and Anna, that pattern of purity and devotion," spake of Christ to all that looked for redemption in Israel." But this expectation was not confined to the devout, it was general: "and as the people were in expectation, all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not;" indeed they anticipated that the era of the Messiah's reign was soon to dawn, and that its blessings were soon to be realized. "He spake a para
ble," because they thought the kingdom of God
We can be at no loss for the origin of this
The next thing which merits our attention in this passage, is the appellation which is given by David to the Messiah, Lord: "the Lord, or Jehovah said to my Lord." While reading the evangelical history, we frequently find the Redeemer addressed by this appellation, Lord; and perhaps, some may imagine that those who thus addressed the Saviour acknowledged him to be God. But such an idea is erroneous: "Lord," or "my lord," was a title of respect no less in ancient than in modern times, and was commonly given by one man to another. But it must be cbserved that the ancient use of this title was widely different from its modern use. Now it is an honorary title either received by inheritance, or conferred as the reward of service to the country, or possessed in virtue of some station of importance, or office of trust in which an individual is placed; this title is appropriated solely to such, and it is applied to them by their superiors and their equals, no less than by their inferiors. But in ancient times its signification and its use were widely different: it was an appellation of respect nearly synonymous with our "Sir."* When therefore an inWhen therefore an individual was addressing his superior it was highly proper that he should use it, and when addressing even a stranger or an equal, as a tacit acknowledgment of his own inferiority, it was no more than a becoming degree of modesty in him to employ it. But if it were applied, in our days, to any one who was not entitled to it on either of the grounds which we have before mentioned, it would be considered to the last degree ironical-it would be felt as an expression of contempt or ridicule, and not of esteem or respect. The term "sir," is that, in our language, which most nearly resembles the ancient use of the appellation "Lord:" yet they are far from being in every respect synonymous or convertible. We use the one almost indiscriminately; but the ancients used the other with much more circumscription; it was never applied to a known inferior in rank or in office. Hence it necessarily follows that an independent prince, who acknowledged himself the inferior of no man, would never employ it except when addressing the Divine Being, the King of Kings, and Lord of all the princes of the earth. But David was an independent monarch; he therefore would call no man, especially a descendant, his lord; consequently the person whom David entitled his lord, he must have considered a divine person, and David spake this by inspiration; it is therefore the truth of God, that the Christ is not only the son, but that he is also the Lord of David, and as such is divine.
There is another circumstance connected with this passage, which deserves our attention it is this-that the words here quoted by the Redeemer from the 110th Psalm, were interpreted by the Jews as referring to the Messiah. Expositors before the time of our Lord had stated this as the proper application of the words; and this exposition was received by
* The reader may find the subject more fulfind the subject more fully and clearly discussed in Dr. Campbell's Preliminary Dissertations to his Translation of the Four Gospels, D. vii. Pt. i.
the majority of Jews, especially the Pharisees. Our Saviour, therefore, does not give a forced, or even a new interpretation to this passage: it is not by any sophism, by any misapplication of prophecy that he succeeds against his adversaries; but on the ground of their own interpretation he takes them and puts them to silence and to shame. Though the interpretation which Jesus Christ would give to any passage of the ancient Scriptures, however contrary to that generally received by men, would undoubtedly be the true one: yet it would have been wholly destitute of force for convincing the Pharisees, unless his interpretation coincided with their own. But, in the passage before us, they are taken by Jesus Christ on their own ground, they are attacked with their own weapons, and are driven from the field in complete confusion.
We trust that now the reasoning of our Lord in this passage is sufficiently clear. The Pharisees believed that the Messiah would be the son of David, but they did not believe that he would possess a divine nature; they were perfectly aware of the import of the title, Lord, and they knew that David, the king of Israel would not apply it to any mere man, especially a descendant. The 110th Psalm, where David says, "The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand," &c., they interpreted as referring to the Messiah; then the Saviour plies his argument with equal dexterity and force, "If David called the Messiah his Lord, how is he his son?" So complete was the victory of the Redeemer, and so great the confusion into which his adversaries were thrown, that "from that day forth," says the sacred historian, "no man durst ask him any more questions."
There are many in our days who perfectly agree with the Pharisees, in ascribing mere humanity to Jesus Christ; but one would think that the argument which was applied with so much success against the ancient may be applied, with some degree of success, against the modern opposers of the divinity of our Lord. Let it be granted that this passage in the 110th Psalm refers to the Messiah,and we are not aware that it is questioned; and let it be granted further, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah,—and this is not denied; then we must confess, that we see not how the position that Christ is a mere man can, with any plausibility, be maintained. If David, who would call no man Lord, yet called Christ his Lord, we know not how to evade the conclusion, that Christ is more than man. Holding the hypothesis of the mere humanity of the Messiah, the Pharisees could not answer the question of our Saviour, "How then did David call him Lord?" And indeed, on the same supposition, would it not seem to require a more than ordinary degree of ingenuity to give, at any time, any plausible answer to this important inquiry?
It is far from being our intention to enter in this place, at any length, on the subject of the divinity of the great Redeemer; but it may be observed, that in addition to this argument, drawn from the passage itself, which appears to us to carry no little weight, another may also be noticed, drawn from the circumstance which was just mentioned at the commence
represented in Scripture as a man, and a descendant of the royal prophet; we may take as an example the prediction of the angel, "the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." He was promised and universally expected by the Jews as the son of David, and his descent is clearly traced from the king of Israel. It could not therefore be the intention of the Redeemer to deny this fact. And as David would not have called the Messiah his Lord, unless he were more than human; neither, on the other hand, would Christ have been called the son of David, unless he were man, and of his seed according to the flesh. It appears therefore a very obvious conclusion from the whole, that there is in the person of Jesus Christ, a real, though to us a mysterious union of the divine and human natures; in virtue of the former he is strictly the Lord of David, and in virtue of the latter he is emphatical
ment of this paper, viz. the general expecta-
But when viewed in the light which we propose, that is to say, when we consider Jesus Christ as a divine no less than as a human being, every thing assumes the strictest propriety and order; the sweetest regulation and harmony pervade the whole. What though there be prophecies, promises, and types; what though there be a continued succession of prophets and priests; what though every dispensation of Providence be intended to introduce, and evidently point to the birth of Jesus; it is no more than infinite propriety; the Eternal descends, the Deity becomes incarnate, the Messiah is Immanuel, God with us.
It might appear to a superficial reader of this passage as though our Saviour wished to oppose the idea that the Messiah was the son of David; but the real object evidently was to prove that he was the Lord of David, and not to deny that he was his son. Jesus Christ is frequently
* John iv. 25 & 42.
It is perfectly vain to object that this is incomprehensible, and that we cannot be required to believe what we are not able to comprehend: for our faith embraces simply the fact, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, in a sense peculiar to himself. The ground of this our faith is the testimony of God; and since he "who cannot lie," when he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, saith, "Let all the angels of God worship him ;" and again thus addresseth the Son, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever"-our confidence in the divine veracity renders our faith in this important fact most unhesitating and unreserved.
On the supposition that Christ is a mere man, many passages in the inspired volume appear to us perfectly inexplicable; we should feel a thrill of horror at the impiety of prophets, apostles, and evangelists, in applying such mysterious terms to a mortal, as though they were a confederacy of malignant spirits whose purpose it was to involve the world in perdition, by leading mankind, with a certain step, to all the abominations of idolatry. But when we embrace the idea that Jesus Christ is possessed at once of deity and humanity, scripture resumes and maintains the character of perspicuity and consistency, of harmony and of beauty. On the former supposition we read the oracles of God with a degree of caution which is truly painful; we strip the divine declarations of their force, and rob them of their beauty, we render the book of God remarkable only for a constant attempt to conceal real poverty of thought by the most fulsome exaggeration and the most puerile pomp of words: but, on the latter supposition, which yet is not a mere supposition, we are free from such painful apprehension, we feel the utmost confidence in the divine word, we embrace without reserve the divine testimony, our minds are open to the sanctifying and consoling influences of truth, and we are happy while we reverence the Son even as we reverence the Father.
It is true that the assertion that Jesus is God and man, may be said to involve two propositions which appear to us paradoxical. But if one of these propositions, that Christ is man, be clearly proved from the sacred Scriptures, and then the second, that Christ is God, be
also proved by the divine testimony, it is our
From the Eclectic Review.
AN INQUIRY, WHAT IS THE ONE TRUE FAITH, and whether it is professed by all Christian Sects: with an Exposition of the whole Scheme of the Christian Covenant, in a Scriptural Examination of the most important of their several Doctrines. 8vo. pp. 394. London. 1829.
he is performing a service both welcome and beneficial."-p. xviii.
"Although, without confidence in the truth of the Scriptures, it is certain we cannot possess the true faith-because these are the only documents which remain, to teach us that Jesus is our Saviour-we may, without the least danger, misconceive many parts of them; we may even be persuaded, as some persons are, that many passages are spurious; and we may entertain different opinions on many of the doctrines-on many which some persons deem of vital importance,-without being in the least degree mistaken or deficient in our faith. In our opinions on these doctrines, we may widely differ, without at all differing in our essential Christian belief. Whether Christ is equal with the Father, and the same with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is merely matter of opinion; for whether we think him so or not, so long as we regard him as our Lord and Redeemer, it will make no alteration in our faith-in our reliance on him. Whether we think he died to make atonement for our sins, or, by his resurrection, to assure us of his power to break the bonds of death-' to bring life and immortality to light,' is of no importance to our faith; for, in embracing either of these persuasions, we adopt an opinion only of the purpose, without any difference of belief as to the fact and whether we think it right to personify, or not, the Holy Ghost, is of no consequence to our faith in Christ. If we believe that Jesus is Christ, and consequently confide in his promise and power to save us, our faith will not be at all affected-for it really cannot be of any importance to our welfare -whether we know or believe that he possesses this power in himself as God, or by the gift and appointment of God."-pp. 19, 20.
THIS is an imposing title, and we opened the volume with feelings of deep interest, excited by the proposed Inquiry. We had read but a few pages, however, before those feelings gave way to disappointment and disgust. We have no reason to doubt that the Writer is an honest inquirer, but he has miserably lost his way. For the diligence with which he appears "Every man is frequently led by his evil to have consulted the Holy Scriptures, he de- propensities from the path of rectitude; and serves commendation; and had he adopted therefore, every man's conduct can be obedient this only rational method of ascertaining the only in a very deficient degree. So far, howtrue faith, with the humility that becomes a ever, as it is obedient, (and every Christian's novice, and with earnest prayer for the illumi- conduct must be so in some acts)-to this denation of the Divine Spirit, we cannot doubt gree he is vindicated by it;-for this part of that he would have arrived at conclusions his conduct he wants no other justification widely different;-although we question whe- than his deeds; an assertion that he stands in ther he would even then have been qualified need of any other, would be manifestly false : to set the whole Christian world right upon and to this degree, however little or great, but the subject of the "One Faith." A few de- not further, the doctrine of the Scripture is, tached sentences will sufficiently show the that he is so justified; justified, as Abraham views and opinions of the Writer. In his pre- was, by his works. For the very great defiface, he expresses his confidence, that the reciency of this degree of obedience,-of these sults of his inquiry will be acceptable to such works, to a complete justification of his conpersons as have been so dissatisfied with the duct, God, from his infinite mercy and kindirrationality and inconsistency of all previousness, has promised to regard faith as a comrepresentations on the subject, as to be obliged to hold their opinions in suspense.
"Equally or still more acceptable, he presumes, it may prove to others, who have been so far repulsed from Christianity, by the ridiculous comments and silly notions of the writers and teachers of different sects, as to slight its doctrines and precepts as unsatisfactory and beneath attention. In showing to these, that its whole tenor is exactly what they would reasonably wish and approve it to be ;— that the imperfections they have thought at tributable to it, can truly be ascribed only to erroneous interpretation, he cannot doubt that
pensation; and so far, therefore, as God may deem this deficiency excusable, accordantly with the conditions of the new covenant, we are taught, that man will be justified by faith. But neither by faith further than this: for it is only because faith thus atones for the unavoidable defects of his conduct, and consequently enables him to gain salvation, which he could not otherwise; that justification, righteousness, salvation, are said to be through faith:' and they are declared to be through grace-through favour-because it is, certainly, an unmerited kindness, that the reward which only perfect obedience could claim under the law, or from