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so common are the alterations in the latter, that, in a majority of instances in which it is used, it is employed with some interwoven comment or addition. Surely, the beautiful, comprehensive and universally appropriate words of the Christian form of benediction might be allowed to obtain among us, as it was in apostolic times, without the numerous interpolations which conceit or vanity foist into it.
"Many are the misapplications of Scripture in common use, even when accurately cited. We content ourselves with noticing only the following: We have often heard persons, both in and out of the pulpit, quote, with a view to prove the universality of divine influence, 1 Cor. xii. 7: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.' The slightest examination of the context proves that the 'manifestation' refers to spiritual gifts, not to grace; and that the 'every man' means, not every human being, but every privileged person in the Corinthian church. This quotation is often mangled as well as misapplied, by substituting the phrase, a measure' for 'a manifestation.' Some pious persons supplicating a blessing on the preaching of the Gospel, pray that what 'is sown in weakness may be raised in power.' Now to say nothing of the uncomplimentary character of the allusion to him who sows the supposed seed, it is a sad misapplication of a figurative statement concerning the resurrection of the human body, contained in the sublime argurnent of the Apostle Paul for that doctrine in 1 Cor. xv. The striking phrase in Malachi ii. 15, Yet had he the residue' (margin 'excellency') of the Spirit, is inappropriately employed in prayer.
"A careful examination of the passage will convince us that it refers to the creation of the first human pair, as of one flesh and one soul. Archbishop Newcome renders it, And did he not make one flesh and one spirit thereof, a godly seed?' The received version shows clearly enough, that this disjointed sentence should not be used in prayer as an argument for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the church and the world.
"The passage in 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,' is almost universally applied to illustrate the supposed entire ignorance in which even Christians are found of the joys in heaven; a dogma which appears not much in harmony with other statements of the
Bible. This, however, is a misapplication of the saying, which being a quotation from the Old Testament, refers to the imperfect acquaintance of men in the early ages of the world with the disclosures and joys of Christians. This is evident from the words of the Apostle immediately following: But God hath revealed them unto us by the Spirit.'
"There is a deceitful handling of the Word of God, in which certain doctrinal points are undertaken to be proved, by the citation of a disjointed phrase, which bears a distorted or opposite view to that of the passage to which it belongs. As when the passage, Philip. ii. 12, 13, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,' is arbitrarily divided in twain, the one part used, and the other purposely suppressed; or, as when fragments are torn from their connection and strung together in conformity with the whim or caprice of the person using them. Such tampering with any other kind of documentary evidence would be justly denounced among honorable men; but persons often take such liberties with the Word of God, as would render them liable to a charge of untruthfulness if they so acted in reference to the works of their fellow creatures. It may be well to remember that we are told concerning all the words of Deity, Add thou not unto them, lest he reprove thee;' Prov. xxx. 6, and that the closing part of Revelation guards sacredly the integrity of the Apocalypse by the most solemn threatenings against those who shall add to, or take from, the words of this prophecy.""
The Christian Inquirer (Unitarian) has an article touching the same point, entitled "Ministers' Scripture," which article may be quoted with profit. Here it is:
"It often happens that a false method of quoting a passage of Scripture is adopted by ministers, and imitated by the people, so that the true sense is entirely lost sight of. This is called 'ministers' Scripture.' We wish to call the attention of our brethren, both lay and clerical, to a few passages of this kind.
"One of the most usually perverted passages, is that in which our Savior is said, Luke xxii. 44, to have sweat as it were great drops of blood.' The passage, as it stands in our version, reads, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground.' As it were' is usually omitted when the passage is quoted; and the Evangelist is made to say that his sweat was blood, which he is very careful not
to say. He says his sweat rolled down and fell upon the ground as freely as drops of blood would thus flow and fall.
"Another passage is Rom. iii. 26. Christ is said to be the propitiation or mercy-seat, whereon God's righteousness or mercy is set forth and declared to men. The passage reads, 'that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.' The last portion of the sage is usually quoted thus: and yet the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.' The introduction of 'yet' implies, that without the death of Christ, God could not be just or merciful and pardon the sinner. A sad perversion of the meaning. The meaning of Paul is, that Christ was sent into the world to show God's mercy, that he might have an opportunity of being merciful, and pardoning, justifying every one who believed in Christ. Christ's death did not enable God to be merciful, but was itself a manifestation of God's mercy.
"Another passage of 'ministerial Scripture' is Psalm cx. 3: Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,' sings David. 'Thy people shall be made willing in the day of thy power,'
echoes the defender of unconditional election. The insertion of 'made' reverses the meaning. David says God's people shall be willing, all ready to serve him, in the day of his power. The minister says they shall be made to be willing when God exerts his almighty power in their conver
Woman's affections and sympathies. Ever since that free outgushing of your most inward experience which you gave me in one of your letters, I have been deeply interested in you, so rich was the nature I saw periled by the creeds of menso brilliant the powers of thoughts in danger of an eclipse by the obscurations of Theological Error. When your case was freshest in my mind, I was suddenly called, late one evening, to visit a stranger who, dying, desired to see me. I was soon by her side, delayed but a moment in an ante-room where the mother told how morally beautiful the dying daughter had been all her life, and how her heart ached to behold the perishing of the flower of the family. She was now in the twenty-sixth year of her age. I found her gasping for breath, with that fullness and brilliancy of eye that seems a supernatural expansion and light, as though the greatness of glory spread out before it required a vast vision to appreciate it. She manifested great satisfaction at my coming, desired to hear the voice of believing prayer; and, asking God to bless her widowed mother, she expressed herself ready to depart to the realms of uninterrupted life. I learned that her religious experience had been peculiar. From childhood she had cherished faith in the great salvation. How she obtained that faith, except by the intuitions of a pure and loving soul, I know not; but, as her mother admitted, she had always believed in the final redemption of the race, and had always been a good and pure child. That mother also told me that while her husband lived he had compelled this daughter to attend a Baptist Sabbath School and church, but whenever she had been able, she had waited upon my ministry, and because of this I had been sent for. That chamber of death was a sacred place. When prayer was ended amid the kneeling group, the dying maiden lay with her face calm as the evening star, her hands laid palin to palm, and it seemed as though a breath would have wafted her to heaven, so etherial was her appearance. She desired me to stay till the mortal scene was ended. It seemed at times that the last breath was drawn, and then she would revive again strangely. I never saw a dying person who so unintermittingly had the complete possession of all the rational powers-not the faintest obscuration of the mind took place for a single moment. I have marked something like this in instances where the faith of Universalism had been continuously the grand theme of the soul, and have heard acknowledgements from attend
ing physicians that the serenity of the mind was wonderful, and mightily ministered to preserve the full enjoyment of the little strength left to the body. Several times our friend thought the last moment was come, and she motioned her mother and brothers and sisters to kneel around her in such a manner as would enable the last look of the mortal eye to take in their beloved faces. That face of the dying seemed to me like the Easter moon shedding down its calm light to hallow every object it touched. Those eyes —how cheerful, yet how solemn, was their look! What a liquid softness was there! What a revelation of the soul's triumph over mortality! Once I thought the final moment had come,and desired the nearest-of-kin to support the swaying chin as the last sighing of the breath came over the quivering lip. The hands were folded as in prayer, and the consciousness was so clear that we could not doubt the distinction of the triumphal mind and the conquered body. In a few moments she revived again, and it was evident to me that her revival was for hours, and that she would not pass away till morning had come again. She had noticed my examination of her pulse, and my speaking to her mother and sister, and she would frequently stretch out her arm and motion to me to touch the pulse, and tell her if it was failing. As I saw she momentarily anticipated the approach of death, I thought it best to tell her of the change which impelled me to believe she would survive till morning, that she might not be so continually disappoint ed. I did so. I asked her to quietly wait the "appointed time," and to exercise patience as a true child of God. She smiled her assent, and it was indeed most affecting to see the serenity of her spirit. Never was the truth of the poet's lines more apparent,—
"By patience, we serenely bear
The troubles of our mortal state,
Nor think our glory comes too late."
Her permission to leave the realm of mortality did not come till the hour of the morning when the world was waking to its toils and cares, and when the footsteps increased upon the pavement below, her spirit had found entrance to that world where Peace crowns the beloved of God.
As I sat in my study meditating on the hallowed scene of that death of the Christian, I thought of you, Amie. It may be you was summoned by the soul-revealing eye in the dying maiden, so like yours in intensity and fullness
of expression, and I could not keep back the vain wish that you had known, as early as that maiden, the soul-satisfying faith in the universal and eternal fatherhood of God. She had a nature like yours, Amie. The light upon her features, the motion of her mouth, the repose about the eye, the etherial expression of her face so unlike any one about her, told of a soul refined and that really could be no more satisfied | with a partial redemption than an eagle with a cage, an angel in a tomb. To me there was something supremely beautiful in the continuous faith she had cherished from early girlhood to her twenty-sixth year, despite the efforts to take it away and her constant subjection to the influences of the ministry of an opposite creed. It reminded me of the lines,
"If a star were confined in a tomb,
Her captive flame must needs burn there; But when the hand that locked her up gives
She'll shine through all her sphere."
And why was this? The reason, Amie, is simple and plain. She rested on a great principle in its true and legitimate consequences—the Love of God as the Father of the human race. Love, and Love alone, is the Creator. Love, and Love alone, is the Redeemer. Between the creating and the redeeming acts of God, no power can successfully intervene. God will not give his glory to another, and his glory is to save what he has created in his own image. This great truth that dying believer received in its fullness, and she applied it in a thousand ways to meet the problems of life. EVIL, to her, belonged only to stages of the development of God's purposes; only GooD to the final result. And, therefore, in the saddest moments of her earthly existence, she knew perhaps better than the poet the feeling he expresses where he says,
"And I,-my harp would prelude woe,-
And in her happiest hours, when, in her home of few outward comforts, affection did its best for her enjoyment, and when she was able to go out and drink in life from the beauty of the summer-day and the affluence of summer's gifts, her faith even then gave her the dearest joy-" like a finer light in light."
Now, Amie, do attempt to think as well as you may be able to think, what blessedness must
have been given to her whole life by her prevailing faith in Universal and Ultimate Good. When, in compliance with her last request, I stood up amid a crowd one Sabbath noon, in presence of her shrouded form, and spoke in the burial service, I could not keep these words from bursting forth as the most proper prelude,-"O satisfy us early with Thy mercy! that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." (Psalm xc. 14). This, this is the use of believing Universalism, Amie, -it enables us to rejoice and be glad all our days. Early in life was she satisfied with the Divine Mercy. It came to her in its beauty while she was yet young, and it was with her through all her days, as some of the Hebrew poets pictured the water that gushed from the rock smitten by Moses, as having followed the Israelites through all their circuitous windings in the wilderness, giving them drink when thirst was on them. Faith in Ultimate Good is needed in this world of Partial Evil. It is the North Star to the bewildered traveler. From how much sorrow would you, Amie, have been spared thus far in life, had your earliest childhood known such a faith as was known by that departed believer! Sorrow, too, of the heaviest kind-for what is pain of body to the goadings of the mind! I have been racked with pains of body when the soul, by its blessed faith in God and Ultimate Good, would spread out, as it were, a new atmosphere of beauty, and "God is good," would be confessed while the groan would choke the utterance and the tears would fall like rain. I never knew-thank God!-the horrors of a beclouded mind. My parents learned the Gospel's fullness from the lips and life of Murray, and I never doubted the greatness of my Creator's love. But my soul is sorrowful when it reads such confessions from others as show the terrors of Partialism,-working in a mind like yours, Amie, to the destruction of all peace, making life itself a burden. I have felt that I must write -I must send forth a special plea to WomanI must show her there is falsity in that faith which takes from parental love its prophecy of positive good for the child, and spreads doubt over the prospect of the re-union of families in the world of the Immortals. I must utter my cry though it die on the air. I must call, "Away from the abyss where so many have fallen into despair!" The Ganges has received not a hundredth part of the number of the victims of superstition over which the dark waters of Partialism have flowed; and O God! how many weeping mothers have looked up to heaven and seen
the dear innocents which were taken from their breasts by death, placed like beautiful images in a cathedral niche, too high for any hope of theirs to reach. "Safe indeed is my child," they think, "but who can assure me that it shall be so with me at last?" Faith without Hope indeed!
Now, Amie, I am anxious that you should have a faith that will enable you to rejoice and be glad all your days-a faith that will prompt you to seek out, or notice as they pass you in the common incidents of life, the manifestations of the Divine Goodness. One of the great evils of the popular faith is that it so constantly directs the attention of the believer to the things of eternity, rather than to the beautiful evidence of God's love strown all around their daily paths. David said, “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (Ps. xxvii. 13.) He felt the benefits of a faith that made the eye see God this side of the grave-vindicating himself in the land of the living; and where such a faith exists, the mind will be active and on the look out for the passing of the Divine Glory, as where the blind beggar sat by the wayside, and discovered when Jesus was passing, and obtained from him the unspeakable blessing of sight. "We which have believed, do enter into rest," says the Apostle; (Heb. iv. 3.), and I beg of you to notice this fact, that true Christian faith does not simply promise rest in eternity, but imparts it here. Let me dwell on this a moment, and I will close this letter.
Mark the words: "We which have believed, do"-now, in this present time of believing, "enter into rest;" into it, and not simply into the sight and expectation of it; into it, as into the felicities of love when it is kindled in the soul, and burns clear and bright through belief in love. I lately read a sermon preached at the burial of a holy man who held a high office in one of the Christian sects; the language of the passage just quoted was used by the preacher as his text. The theme of the discourse was, Death is the Believer's Rest-at that time he enters into his rest. And this is a very common form of speech, though it contains an idea not countenanced by the passage. It seems to indicate that there is nothing real and substantial till death has fixed its seal on the body, whereas belief is the mind's confidence and the heart's trust in eternal realities. This is seen in a holy incident in our
1 Bishop Griswold, of Mass.
Lord's life-the scene just referred to where the blind man heard that "Jesus of Nazareth was passing by." He rushed forth, and when the multitude repelled him, he lifted his voice yet higher, "Son of David! have mercy on me!" till Jesus commanded the crowd to give way and let the poor blind creature approach him. Soon he made known his want-"Lord! that I may receive my sight!" Jesus said to him, “ Believe ye that I am able to do this?" The answer was brief and to the point-" Yea, Lord!" And soon he received his sight: the glories of which he had heard and dreamed burst upon his astonished vision, and he gave God praise for the wonders which His Messiah had wrought. Now, what did belief mean in that blind man? What did he convey in his answer to the Savior? "Yea, Lord!" Did he not mean by it an absolute and unquestioning faith in the miracles wrought by the Son of God, and that he too might be healed? Did he not cherish the idea that if Jesus would speak the word, the curtains of flesh would be lifted up, and light would perform its mission to the eye? He believed in what really was; he believed in Christ's divine power; he believed in the absolute efficacy of his word; and his belief brought him light, glorious light before the gates of Eternity were thrown open by the angel of the Resurrection. And so with the true believer now. He enters into rest. He has a sight which he once longed for. He beholds glories which once were only dreams. He sees the Savior of which before he had only heard. He feels that amid the mightiest multitude, his cry is heard by him. He praises God for the light and glory he is privileged to enjoy, because he sees.
We must be careful to obtain a faith that is capable of giving rest-rest to the anxious mind, repose to the tender affections. Our belief must be in God as the Amiable, the All-gracious, and the Unchangeable; and to him we must yield that homage which finds its expression in obedient actions. Then will the rest of faith be like the true Sabbath: a day of holy, calm delight, when a foretaste of our heavenly life is enjoyed, and every thought of God and meditation upon duty, imparts strength and comfort to the soul. Such a faith is mine. It is the true Sabbath of the soul. With it I walk abroad, and nature is lovely; with it I tarry at home, and find joy; with it I engage in active duty, and duty is pleasant. With it I enter the sick chamber, and the calm of heaven is there; with
While on her high and queenly brow the spirit left its trace
A trace of suffering and disease, of triumphs nobly won
In the stern battle of her life-that life was almost done!
And he, whose presence was to her, the sunlight of her day,
Whose tones in sad misfortune's hour, had been her only stay,
Was giving, with an artist-eye, the perfect, closing touch
Of a dear scene in early hours which they had lov'd too much!
'Twas a sweet scene-a simple cot, embower'd amid the trees,
Where clambering vines and wild-wood flowers bent meekly to the breeze,
The balmy breeze which whisper'd low to a bright human flower,
Who stood with eyes all fill'd with joy at that