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set free, for the extension of the society's missionary operations.
their eyes when light was about them, and thus, as it were, in the midst of day making (3). "The establishment of a moderate fund to a night to settle round them. God was perbe employed in assisting native-Christian churches to support their own native ministers and institu-petually with them; their guide, their shield, tions; so that the funds of the society may be their guard. He was ever about their path; released as soon as such churches become matured their protector in every crisis and vicissitude in Christian habits and attainments, and may be of their eventful history; supporting them in devoted to the evangelization of the heathen the wilderness, sending manna from heaven, 'beyond them.' bringing water out of the rock, and in every way making them the objects of his tender care. And how was this mercy received by those in whose behalf it was displayed? Did the divine love, so constantly exerted, kindle any thing like a corresponding love in their breasts? The answer to these questions is one well-calculated to call forth a blush of shame. The career of the Israelites, indeed, presents us with nothing but a melancholy catalogue of rebellion after rebellion.
(4). "The erection in the missions abroad of buildings of a permanent character for missionary purposes, where needed, especially seminaries and normal schools for training native ministers and
"That, while the committee reserves to itself the ultimate distribution of the jubilee fund, according to the amount which may be raised, and to the circumstances of the society at the time, donations be also received for any one of the objects speci
VI. "That, reviewing the national mercies by which our beloved country has been lately distinguished, and the signs of the times as to the future prospects of the world and of the church of Christ, it may reasonably be hoped that every subscriber who last year contributed to the society; will, during the year of jubilee, make a special effort in behalf of the jubilee fund; so that, by the multiplication of individual exertions, a large amount may be raised, without over-taxing the zeal of those devoted friends who are already labouring as collectors for the society; and that the present occasion may be improved for making a fresh canvass on behalf of the society among persons of competent means who have as yet given little or no aid to the cause of missions."
VII. "That it is humbly to be hoped that, by the blessing of God upon the proposed means, the zeal of Christians in the missionary cause may be enlarged, and a new impulse may be communicated to the operations of the society; so that its income, which has been comparatively stationary for the last seven years, may again become progressive, as in the carlier stages of its history, in some degree corresponding with the progressive enlargement of the missions.
Church Missionary-house, May 22, 1848.
The chapter from which the text is taken contains some very striking proofs of the correctness of the character here ascribed to the Israelites; from which it will be seen that the same proneness to rebel against God infected the whole mass, from the highest to the lowest of the people. Indeed, here, at this point of their history, the princes seem to have been the tempters, the people the temptedthe victims of those who misled them into evil, when they should have been as shining lights, beaming from high places, to guide them into "better things."
The chapter opens with an account of the conspiracy of Korah and his associates against Moses and Aaron. Unmoved by all the miracles which they had seen performed by these servants of the Most High, and which said for them, more plainly than any language could have expressed it, that they held their commissions of leader and high-priest of Israel directly from God himself-unmoved by these things, their hearts swelled with jealousy, which soon found an utterance in words. Their angry murmurs appear to have been at once responded to by a people never back
AARON STANDING BETWEEN THE LIVING ward in the path of mischief; and the incli
AND THE DEAD:
BY THE REV. JAMES ASPINALL, M.A.,
Rector of Althorpe, Lincolnshire.
NUMB. xvi. 48.
nations of the whole congregation seem to have sided with the rebels. At first, it was the intention of God to send down a sweeping punishment upon the entire body of the offenders; but, at the prayer of Moses and Aaron, he changed this purpose, and limited the chastisement to the leaders in the affair, who were destroyed, partly by an earthquake,
"And he stood between the dead and the living; and and partly by a fire which "came out from
the plague was stayed."
If we may figuratively describe the history of the Israelites after their escape from Egypt, we may speak of them as men, of their own choice walking blindfold, wilfully shutting
the Lord." It would have been only natural to expect that a mode of punishment so unusual would have made lasting impressions upon every individual who beheld it. What a fearful spectacle! On the one hand the earth quaking, opening its jaws like a living
tomb, to swallow up its destined victims; and, on the other, a fire coming out from God to consume those who had escaped the first death! Can words describe, can imagination conceive a picture more likely to live on in the memory of all who witnessed it? And yet can such things be forgotten like a passing shadow, be dispersed like a dream of the night or the dew of the morning? Can they, after causing only a momentary throb of the heart, fade away, and take their place amongst the things which, in their influence, are as if they had never been? They can.
We have just seen what terrible things happened to Korah and his company before the eyes of the assembled Israelites; and yet on the morrow what do we hear of them? Were they moved to repentance by the awful lesson which God had read to them? Were they brought to weep for their own sins, or to tremble before that arm of Omnipotence, which, after being so often stretched out in their defence, had now put forth its might to chastise them for their iniquities? Far otherwise. They were not of the metals which the furnace inelts, but of those which harden in the fire. "On the morrow," we are told, "all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." Such is that compound of opposite ingredients, man! One day we behold the Israelites flying in alarm before the terrors of the Lord-his miracles displayed to prove who were his servants and who the rebels in array against him; and the next, the very next, we find them as proud, as obstinate, and as rebellious as before, once more impugning the authority of God's servants.
a change came upon this state of things, and settled darkly, like a cloud of the night, upon their worldly prospects. The favourable breeze which fanned their course was exchanged for fierce storms; "the fire came out from God to consume them;" the ground clave asunder under the fabric of their prosperity, and both went down into the pit together. The hand of the Lord was upon them; their health and their strength forsook them; sickness attacked them; death invaded their families; their wealth was swallowed up; and they began to cry out of themselves that "they were of all men the most miserable." And in such an hour, too, it has often happened that the downfal of worldly hopes has brought with it more serious thoughts about the future. The heart, driven from its stay upon temporal props and pillars, has seemed to turn to better things, has apparently been convinced of the vanity and vexation of its previous career; and those who have stood by at such a time, and heard the sorrowing exclamations of the smitten mourner, would surely have been justified in sympathizing with that joy which pervades the angels of God over a repenting sinner. But, alas! how frail is man! how weak his resolution! Again, let us change the scene: let us suppose the cloud once more dispersed, health restored, death averted, the tide of wealth flowing in its former channel. Now where is the Christian of the hour of adversity? where is the penitent? where the converted sinner, convinced of the vanity of earthly riches, and with his heart set upon the heavenly treasures? Too often it is found that that is all over now: it was disappointment, And O, is not this a picture of man in all not conviction, which made him more serious ages of the world? Cast your thoughts into for a season: it was fear, not faith, which the world around you, trace the career of some made him look towards the cross of his Lord: of those whose lives come within the sphere they were the workings of remorse, not of your knowledge. Surely you can tell of of the Spirit, which agitated his breast: some who, in by-gone days, sailed smoothly as soon as the cause which pressed him forward, with favouring breeze, upon the down is removed, he is like the Israelcurrent of existence. As far as human lan-ites on the morrow murmuring against guage can speak of human affairs, all was well with them. They had health, they had strength they were prosperous men in all their undertakings: their families sprung up, like the olive-branches, round their table, and were all that their parents wished for in the world. But all this time God was not in their thoughts: they were alienated from all saving knowledge of Christ Jesus, had never listened to the pleadings of the Holy But to return to the history. This new Spirit. Their reliance was altogether on the rebellion, so close upon their former transarm of flesh. No passing moment ever car-gression, was instantly visited by God with ried them beyond the grave, to reflect upon its deserved punishment. A fierce pestilence eternity: all was of the earth, earthy. But was sent upon them, which swept away four
God, although they had so lately experienced his visitations and beheld his power. Yes, brethren, there are such backslidings, such false penitence amongst professing Christians as well as amongst the Israelites of old. Pray that you may never be found in a like error, but may be converted from the evil of your ways, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth.
teen thousand of them. Let us read the account which the sacred writer gives of the whole matter: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense; and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from the Lord: the plague is begun. And Aaron took, as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people; and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed." In one part of this passage we are told that "Aaron made an atonement for the people"; a mode of expression which was well remarked upon by bishop Horne in the following language: "He interceded with God for them, and obtained what he desired. But was it for Aaron's sake that God spared the remnant of his people? Had Aaron any merit of his own, any superfluous righteousness, which might be imputed to them? Far from it: he, and every high priest taken from among men,' were necessarily heirs of the universal corruption of the children of Adam: they had their infirmities, as the apostle argues, and were obliged to offer up sacrifices for their own sins, as well as for those of the people; but, as the same apostle teaches us, Aaron, in the office of high priest and mediator, represented the world's Redeemer; and the atonement which he made for Israel showed forth that great atonement to be one day made by Jesus Christ for the church universal of all ages and nations. God had respect unto that great atonement, and, for his sake who was to make it, pardoned those for whom it was to be made. In the person of Aaron he beheld his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased," interceding for the transgressors: Israel was spared for the sake of Aaron; but Aaron himself was accepted for the sake of Christ."
But now let us apply the history before us to our own spiritual state. In doing so we shall only be following up the intention of the church, which recognizes herein a type of man's fall through sin, and his rise again through Jesus Christ. I need not say that the plague which afflicts men's souls is sin, nor that that plague has begun, is sweeping its thousands and tens of thousands along the downward path which terminates in destruction. Look at it, as it goes rolling on, like some rushing torrent: look at its countless
victims, fallen or falling under its power, some openly and notoriously its slaves, while others are gliding down so gently, that, as yet, they do but toy with fetters which presently they will groan under, when the iron of their captivity pierces to their souls. Look at the awful stream of worldliness as it sweeps along, bearing with it all ranks and classes of society. If we cast an inquiring glance through the whole mass, we shall discover how narrow is the influence of vital Christianity, how few its followers, how thinly scattered, as shining lights amidst surrounding darkness; while, from the highest to the lowest, the leaven of worldliness is working with melancholy success. They think, and can find time to think, of every thing which appertains to this transitory life. Are they poor, they would be rich: are they rich, they would be richer. They would be great: they would have influence in society: they would climb up ambition's steep ascent. They have friends to advance, connexions to push forward, children to provide for: there is no end to the objects they have to accomplish. But hint to them that they have immortal souls, and you have indeed, at last, reached a subject for which neither time nor thought can be found: the great "one thing needful" is exactly the very thing of which they feel no need at all. Occupied with the toils of life, its trifles and its vanities, they have eyes, ears, and hearts for nothing else. Amidst the rush of the torrent of wickedness and worldliness, the pleadings of the Spirit are unheard; Christ and his cross are forgotten, utterly and altogether. The Lord calls them to him; but they hear not, or they heed not. Death, that preacher of eternal sermons on the vanity of all earthly treasures, warns them that judgment is approaching; but, worldly to the very heart's core, they are deaf to his appeals. The ark of their salvation is placed before them in the gospel, and they are invited, urged to seek a refuge in it from every danger; but, alas for the infatuation of the unconverted heart! they prefer to embark their every hope, present and future, upon one or other of the ten thousand frail planks upon which sinners sport in summer calms, forgetful of the winter which is coming, and the storms which it will bring with it, and the wreck and the ruin of unrepented guilt.
Say we not well, then, that the plague has begun, and is raging with appalling violence on every side of us? It is, indeed; but, thanks be to God, as the Israelite in his hour of need found a high priest in Aaron, to stand between the living and the dead, to offer up incense in his behalf, and to stay the plague which was afflicting his mortal body, so we
may say: "One greater than Aaron is here." Our high priest is Jesus Christ, the righteous; and our sacrifice is the same Jesus, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world;" the same Jesus "who loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour." Aaron's sacrifice was limited both in its object and its extent. Its object was an escape from temporal death, its extent included only the tribes of Israel. But the sacrifice of the Prince of Peace was for nobler and loftier ends its object was an escape from death eternal, its extent embraced mankind-man in all his generations, from the beginning to the end of time.
Finally, brethren, if we follow out the history of the Israelites beyond the chapter immediately under our consideration, we shall see in it much to instruct, much to warn and improve ourselves. Their's was a dark career: we find them still slighting the mercies and defying the power of the Most High, until they provoked him to withdraw the former, and put forth the latter for their destruction; until, in the first instance, they were given over into the hands of the Babylonians, and, at a later period, the proud eagles of Rome were planted in triumph upon the smoking ruins of their temple and their city, the very ground on which they had stood ploughed up, and themselves scattered amongst all people, to be a testimony against themselves, a reproach and a by-word to the nations of the earth. And, in like manner, if we despise the mighty sacrifice which has been offered in our behalf, what, do you think, will become of us? or, as St. Paul puts it, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" If we will not listen to God's Holy Spirit, if we despise his mercy, if we prefer living where the plague of sin is raging, to breathing the pure air of gospel truth, gospel faith, and gospel holiness, our punishment will not be merely a scattering to the winds of our temporal possessions, but it will be the captivity of our souls to be fast bound for ever in the prison of the wicked. But seek, by earnest prayer, for grace in larger measure to enable you to come forth from the number of those who seem bent upon this self-destruction. Throw yourselves at the foot of the cross in all the carnestness of contrition, in all the fulness of faith, in all seriousness of resolution for future obedience to your Lord. Pray that the Christian walk, the Christian life, may be yours pray that henceforth you may keep such watch over the very stirrings of your hearts, that no evil thought, no evil word, no evil deed may spring up from them. Look
to your Lord to confirm you in all such holy purposes. He stands the great High Priest: he stands the perfect and priceless sacrifice between the dead and the living. Are your hearts his in very deed, subdued to him, filled with his love, bent upon his law, set upon his gospel? Then is the glorious work accomplished-" the plague is stayed:" pray that there may be no relapse, but "that you may continue Christ's faithful soldiers and servants unto your life's end."
ADDRESS TO A CHILD ON PRIVATE
My dear child, before you begin to learn to pray,
From "A Child's Book of Prayers." Edited by rev. E. Bickersteth, rector of Watton, Herts. London: Seeleys. 1848.
giving; intercession. We will say a little about each.
1. Confession.-You know, if you have behaved ill, and your parents are angry with you, you cannot be happy till you have confessed your fault, and asked them to forgive you. It is the same with your heavenly Father: every day you offend him by some wrong thought, or word, or act. Sometimes when others may even have praised you for good conduct, if you think of it with reference to what God's good law requires, you will be sensible you have not in God's sight done what you should. Perhaps you have had unkind, proud, or self-willed thoughts hidden in your heart. God has seen them all; and they offend him. You must every day confess to God how sinful you are, and ask him to forgive you for Jesus' sake. All that you do wrong is written down in God's book, and nothing but the blood of Jesus can blot it out. When you have done anything wrong in the day, try and remember it at night, and ask God not only to forgive all your sins, but the special sin you remember having committed that day. Some children before they pray at night take two or three minutes to think over the past day, that they may recollect what sins they have to confess, and pray for strength to resist them on the morrow: this is a good plan, which you would do well to follow.
2. Petition. This means asking God for all you want. How many things little children want! Food and clothes and a home to shelter them, friends to take care of them and teach them. Your parents supply you with these things, but they could not do so, unless God first gave them these things to give you. And there are a great many things which your parents cannot give you; they cannot give you health, they cannot preserve you from many dangers, they cannot make you improve by all the good lessons you are taught, and, above all, they cannot give you new hearts, and make you love and serve God. You see there are many things for you to ask of God. We may ask God to give us anything that we wish for, only, if it is something merely for our pleasure in this world, we are not sure that it will be good for us; therefore we must only ask for it, if it is God's will. Thus, if a little child is ill, it may pray to God to be made quite well again; but perhaps God may see that that dear child will learn to think more about him, and love him more, when it lies alone on a sick bed, than at play with its companions; and so he may not make it well at once; and God's will is always best; therefore we say in such prayers, "If it be thy will." There is one thing which it is always God's will to give, and which every child should pray for very earnestly, that is, the Holy Spirit. You have promised to renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh: you have promised to keep God's holy will and commandments; but you have no power to do this. Your evil heart, which you promised to resist, is always getting the better of you; and you listen to Satan or to bad companions, when they tempt you to do wrong. You cannot keep your promise by yourself; but, if the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart, he will make you strong to resist evil, and to do good. You know if your father tells you
to do anything, and you find it too hard, you ask
4. Intercession. This means prayer for others. The bible tells us we must never be selfish, and seek good things for ourselves only; therefore we must not pray selfishly; but we must pray for others as well as ourselves. You must first pray for those nearest to you, your parents, your brothers and sisters; then you may pray for your neighbours and friends, and your country; and you may pray for all Christians, and for the Jews, and also for the heathen, that God would teach them his truth, and turn them from dumb idols to serve him. A little child cannot do much himself to help others; but God hears the prayers even of little children; and therefore he may ask God to bless them. I will tell you a little history to explain this. A missionary was leaving England, to preach to the Indians in North America: before he went away he talked to a little girl whom he knew about the country he was going to live in, and he told her there were many bears in that country, which killed men; and he said, My dear child, you can do this for me, you can pray to God to deliver me from the bears. The child did not forget what he had said, but, every day, when she said her prayers, she added: "Pray, God, deliver Mr. - from the bears." The missionary went into North America, and it so happened one day, when he was with others, a bear attacked them; but God watched over them: they were not hurt, but were able to kill the fierce beast. The missionary had the paw of the bear