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selecTIONS FROM DIFFERENT AUTHORS. Good Friday.—The sufferings of Christ oblige us to perform the following duties. 1st. If Christ suffered so much for our sins, then we should be affected with a deep sense of the heinousness of our sins, and heartily repent of them. Nothing can so fully show us God's justice and hatred against sin, as the death of Christ. For can that be a slight matter for which God punisheth his own innocent Son in the rigour of justice? And because sin is so vile and odious in God's sight, that He sent Christ to expiate it, how can we choose but be much grieved for every sin which we commit? When our Saviour hanged on the cross, and yielded up the ghost, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, the earth trembled, and the rocks clave asunder: and shall not our hearts be moved for the cruel torments which our Saviour suffered for our sakes? Can we meditate how Christ was stretched out on the cross, his head crowned with thorns, his hands and feet pierced with nails, and his side with a spear, and not be grieved for our sins, which put Him to these pains ? Surely, if we have any love to Christ, or kindness to ourselves, we shall lay our sins to heart, and turn from them unto Christ.
2ndly. If Christ suffered and died to redeem us, then we should repent of our sins, and become holy, that we may obtain the benefits which He hath purchased. Though Christ died to save sinners, yet none may think that they are saved by Him unless they turn from their sins unto Him, and obey the Gospel. For Christ “ bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness." And unless we cease to do evil, and become holy, we disappoint the end of Christ's suffering for us, and are incapable of receiving any advantage from Him. Nay, the very death of Christ to impenitent sinners is full of dread and terror, and an occasion even of heightening their condemnation. For “ Christ is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.” And therefore, if we would be justified and saved by the merits of Christ, we must cleanse ourselves from sin, and walk according to the rules of the Gospel,
3rdly. If Christ suffered so much for our sakes, then we should be willing, for his sake, to take up our cross and endure afflictions with patience. For Christ suffered not only to satisfy for our sins, but to leave us an example, that we should follow his steps : and it is fit that such as are members of Christ should be made partakers of his sufferings. “For the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” And if Christ, our Lord and Master, who was without sin, endured so many afflictions for our transgressions, how much more are we to expect stripes, who by our sins have so often deserved them? For the adopted sons of God must not look to be preferred before the natural Son. But if Christ Himself entered by his cross into his glory, then we must be content to endure tribulation, that we may enter into the kingdom of God. -Clark's Body of Divinity, 1718.
Easter Event. The duties which the burial of Christ may excite us to perform are two:
Ist. The burial of Christ should move us to mortify our sins, that they may not again revive. For as Christ died and was buried for us, so should we die to sin, and bury our corruptions. There must be a spiritual death and burial of sin, otherwise there cannot be a conformity to Christ. For we cannot be living members of Christ, unless we are buried unto sin, that it may no more reign in us.
2ndly. The burial of Christ may serve to comfort us against the terrors of death and corruption. For Christ by his death, hath overcome death; and by his burial He hath, as it were, consecrated our graves; and, instead of houses of perdition, hath made them chambers of rest. Death in itself is most terrible, as being the wages of sin; and the grave in its own nature is the prison of darkness: but Christ by his merit and power hath gotten for us the victory over both.-The Same.
Easter Day.—The duties arising from the belief of Christ's resurrection are these two: Ist. The resurrection of Christ should move us to
1 The fast to be observed before a holiday.
arise from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may be conformable to Him in his resurrection. As Christ died and rose again for us, so should we die unto sin, and rise again unto righteousness: for there must be a spiritual resurrection of the soul from the death of sin unto the life of grace, before we can resemble Christ in his resurrection, and be qualified for a life of glory. And when we have put on Christ, and do lead pure Christian lives, we are then risen with Christ, and have a true right to the promises of mercy. But they that are dead in sin while they live, have no fellowship with Christ here, nor shall have any part with Him in glory. And “therefore as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” But if we have no part in the first resurrection unto newness of life, we must needs fall under the power of the second death.
2ndly. If Christ be risen from the dead, then we have good ground to hope that we also shall be raised by Him, and we may comfort ourselves with the hope of it. The resurrection of Christ is the cause of our resurrection. He is the firstfruits of them that slept. And “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him." And there can be nothing more effectual to comfort us in our troubles, than the hope of a glorious resurrection. For whatever calamity we suffer here, yet, if we are in Christ, there is nothing can cut off our hope of a blessed immortality. And that hope is enough to bear us up and refresh us in afflictions. For “the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” And the expectation and assurance of that glory is sufficient to encourage us to endure with patience any crosses which befall us in this life.-The Same.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS. We have received the communications of L. S. R.; Rev. T. Farley; C. A, H.; D.; S. B.; T. H.; A Layman, and A Constant Reader.
COTTAGER'S MONTHLY VISITOR.
PAGE Remarks on obscure Passages Taxes ......
........ 165 of Scripture .............. 145 Good Advice for Everybody .. 167 History of a New Testament .. 147 Ragged Schools ............ 168 Extract from my Family Bible. 152 Coins ........
............ 174 Thoughts of a Godmother .... 153 Standard of Specific Gravity .. 175 The Walk to Emmaus........ 156 Society for the Propagation of The Last Message .......... 163 the Gospel ............... 176 A Good Wife's Prayer........ 164 Selections from Different Authors 177 The Advantages of Early Rising ib. Extract from a Newspaper .... 180 Kind Words ................ 165 Notices to Correspondents .... ib.
REMARKS ON OBSCURE PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE. On the death of Saul, as related in 1 Sam. xxxi. 3, 4, and 2 Sam. i. 6-10. It may often have been remarked that these two different accounts of the death of Saul cannot both be true; and hence scoffers may have been led to bring forward these passages as proofs of the inconsistency of Scripture, to shake our faith in it. But a very little attention will soon show how they may be easily reconciled; and it is only the “unlearned and ignorant” who can mistake them.
We first have the account of Saul falling on his own sword, dreading to be taken prisoner by the Philistines; and we are afterwards told that he was slain by a young man, an Amalekite, on Mount Gilboa. Both these things are strictly true: Saul did fall on his own sword, but failed to give himself a mortal wound. He still lingered, leaning for support on his spear; the sword having probably fallen out, and he too weak to raise it from the ground. He was still living, when the young man came by, whom he entreated to kill him, and put an end to the sufferings he must have been enduring. It is very easy to see, by reference to the margin, why Saul did not kill himself at once when he fell on his sword, as related in 1 Sam. xxxi. 4. He had on him a coat of mail, which of course turned aside the weapon and pre
vented it from going far into his body, or from touching any vital part. This is clear from his own words: “Stand upon me, I pray thee, and slay me; for my coat of mail still holds or detains me, and all my life (is) still within me:" that is the literal meaning of the words in the original Hebrew. The young man's account entirely agrees with this description of Saul's state. He found him nearly dead, though still able to speak. Yet, said the Amalekite, “I was sure he could not live after that he was fallen.” Here, it will be observed, that the young man must have found him fallen on the ground, and resting only feebly against his spear; consequently the account of Saul's having before fallen on his sword, endeavouring to kill himself, is in no way contradicted, but rather confirmed, by the description of his state when found by the young Amalekite.
Here we have another proof of the agreement of Scripture with itself; which should tend to confirm our faith in the declaration that it was given by inspiration of God, and that the holy men who wrote it did so as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Saul's whole history is most instructive. Raised by the favour of God to the highest dignity, he forfeited both his crown and life through disobedience, or, rather, through only paying obedience in part to God's commands. He did not altogether disobey, yet he fulfilled only as much of what he was required to do as he thought fit himself. ' In the case of the destruction of the Amalekites he was ordered by God to spare nothing, but to slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. Yet he destroyed only a part of them: he saved the king and the best of the spoil, under the specious pretext of honouring God by a sacrifice. And it is very remarkable that he not only lost his crown through the anger of the Lord against this departure from his commandment, but, as we have just seen, he lost his life by the hand of one of those very people whom he had been commanded utterly to destroy. Had he faithfully executed what God had expressly sent him to do, both his kingdom and his life might have been preserved to him for many happy and glorious years,