« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
have all men to be saved, and who has no pleasure in the death of sinners.” But say you,-If God wills the salvation of all men, then all will be saved, for who can resist His will ? To which I reply,--What will be the ground of condemnation to . infidels, in the day of Judgment ? Will it not be their having, in opposition to the most solemn injunction of the Almighty, vol. untarily rejected the mercy of God in Jesus Christ; and will not their guilty consciences then rise in testimony against them, inasmuch as they will stand self-condemned before their Judge ? No apology then on account of the decrees of God or of Adam's sin. No excuse on the ground that God mocked them with common grace, when special was necessary. Nay, “every mouth will be stopped, and all will become guilty before God." He continues by saying, “I infer from the harmony of the divine perfections, that the God of infinite Justice, never required an act of obedience from any of his creatures, without giving or promising them power to perform that act. You say, he bids the dead live, the lame walk, and the blind to see, without giving them life, strength, or light. I say the reprobate (such is every impenitent person) rejects these gifts, and in so doing he damns himself. And I would also suggest, that although the Almighty knew from the beginning, that he would do so, yet that knowledge, far from being the cause of his reprobation, is to be considered merely as the foresight of the enmity of the carnal mind against God. Again, the uncertainty of the fruit. fulness of grace in the hearts of men, does not arise from the quality of the grace which is given, but from the manner in which that grace is received and improved. God sows good seed, but it is the enemy that sows tares ; God gives no counter. feit talents ; but in order that such as he does give, may result in the salvation of the soul, they must be improved according to his designs.”
He reasons upon the possibility of final apostacy as follows-“God's providence, in preserving the scriptures, and guarding them from the errors and innovations of men ; as well as the history of religion from the earliest period of the church, are proofs which combine with the almost innumerable admonitions and warnings of Christ and the Apostles, to show that, not only the exercise of grace on the part of God, but also vigilance and faithfulness on the part of men, are necessary in order that they may escape perdition, and obtain the kingdom of God. And for want of that vigilance and faithfulness now alluded to, men who are in the favour of God, may nevertheless become unfruitful in the knowledge and love of God, and perish forever. Believers, as branches in Christ, the true vine, may not only become unfruitful ; but in consequence of their unfruitfulness will be separated from Christ, and become fuel for the burning,
(To be continued.)
FROM THE ENGLISH METHODIST MAGAZINE.
To the Editor of the Methodist Magazine. The following explanation of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, extracted from a discourse professedly written on the subject by the late learned and orthodox DR. WATERLAND, if favoured with a place in your Miscellany, will, I doubt not, be highly acceptable to your intelligent readers.
“ The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven."
Matt. xii. 31.
I am to examine what the sin or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost means, and wherein it precisely consists. I say sin or blasphemy, because some call it the sin against the Holy Ghost, though Scripture itself never calls it any thing but blasphemy; which is worth observing. For from thence we may be assured, that this sin ought to be reckoned among the sins of speech, among the offences of the tongue. All the sins wbich men commit are reducible to three heads, as being in thought, in word, or in deed: now, the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost can properly be referred to the second only of the three now mentioned; it lies in words, is committed by speaking, and particu. larly by evil-speaking; by reviling and defaming the Holy Spirit of God. li is called, in the 32d verse, speaking against ihe Holy Ghost. And by St. Mark, it appears that the sin
consisted in something which ihe pharisees said; for it is there remarked as the sum and substance of the guilt they were chargeable with, that they said of Jesus, He hath an unclean spirit. And it is farther observable, that our blessed Lord, in the close of his discourse upon that occasion, pronounces thus: “Every idle word that men speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. Idle words here mean malicious, or impious expressions; alluding still to the main subject of his discourse, the spiteful and opprobrious words which the pharisees had impi. ously thrown out against the Spirit of God. . To be short then, the sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, was the belying, slandering, or reviling the Divine Spirit by which our Lord wrought his miracles, ascribing them to the devil.
There may be, and there have been several offences committed against the Holy Ghost, which yet do not amount to the blasphemy against him specified in the text. There is such a
thing as grieving the Holy Spirit, and quenching the Spirit, when men refuse to hearken to his counsels, to follow his motions, or to obey his calls : but this is not blaspheming him. There is also what St. Stephen calls resisting the Holy Ghost, which is opposing him with an high hand, and rebelling against him, and is a very heavy sin: and yet neither is that the same with blaspheming and slandering him, which is what those pharisees were guilty of. Ananias and Sapphira grievously affronted the Holy Ghost in telling bim a lie, either presuming on his ig. norance as not knowing it, or upon his patience as if he should have connived at it; but yet, that was not so bad as what the pharisees did in ascribing his works to the devil. Thé malicious telling a lie of him, to defame and slander him, was a more heinous offence than telling a lie to him, under a weak and foolish persuasion. There is also another way of affronting the Holy Ghost, by villifying his operations; which yet comes not up to the siri of the text. Upon the day of Pentecost, when the disciples, full of the Holy Ghost, began to speak “ with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance,” there were some standing by, who mocking, said, “These men are full of new wine,” villifying the operations of the Spirit, as the effects of drunkenness: but the men who said it, said it perhaps wantonly or ignorantly, rather than spitefully and maliciously. They might noi know that the disciples really spake with other tongues; but being themselves unacquainted with the languages then spoken, they took them all to be jargon, such as men might utter under some disorder of mind, occasioned by either wine, or by frenzy. But the pharisees who are charged with being guilty of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, very well knew what they had seen done, could not be accounted for in a natural way; and yet such was their spleen and rage against the Gospel, that they chose rather 10 impute the miracles of our Lord to the devil, than to acknowl. edge the Divine hand, which was so visible in them, that they themselves could not but see it, had they been at all disposed to it. I may here also mention
Simon Magus, as a person who very highly affronted the Holy Ghost, when he offered money for the purchasing his miraculous gifts. But neither was that any such direct blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, as the text mentions : for he had some respect and veneration for the miracles he saw wrought, and for the author of them : and was very far from im. puting them to the assistance of the devil.
The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was something worse still than any thing I have yet mentioned : it was defaming the Holy Spirit of God, and God himself, under the execrable name of Beelzebub ; it was reviling, and that knowingly and desperately,
the divine works, as diabolical operations. In this, as I conceive, and in this precisely consisted that blasphemy, which shall never be forgiven, the sin against the Holy Ghost.
The Attributes of God Displayed.
Extracted from Paley's Natural Theology.
OF THE MUSCLES.
MUSCLES, with their tendons, are the instruments by which animal motion is performed. It will be our business io point out instances in which, and properties with respect to which, the disposition of these muscles is as strictly mechanical, as that of the wires and strings of a puppet.
1. We may observe, what I believe is universal, an exact relation between the joint and the muscles which move it. Whatever motion the joint, by its mechanical motion, is capable of performing that motion, the annexed muscles, by their posi. tion, are capable of producing. For example; if there be, as at the knee and elbow, a hinge-joint capable of motion only in the same plane, the leaders, as they are called, i. e, muscular tendons, are piaced in directions parallel to the bone, so as, by the contraciion or relaxation of the muscles to which they belong, to produce that motion, and no other. If these joints were capable of a freer motion, there are no muscles to produce it. Whereas, at the shoulder and the hip, where the ball and socket joint allows, by its construction, of a rotatory or sweeping motion, tendons are placed in such a position, and pull in such a direction, as to produce the motion of which the joint admits. For instance, the sartorious or tailor's muscle, rising from the spine, running diagonally across the thigh, and taking hold of the inside of the bone of the leg, a little below the knee, enables us, by its contraction, to throw one leg and thigh over the other; giving effect, at the same time, to the ball and socket joint of the hip, and the hinge-joint at the knee. There is, as we have seen, a specific mechanism in the bones, for the rotatory of the head and hands : there is, also, in the oblique direction of ihe muscles, belonging to them, a specific provision for the putting this mechanism of the bones, in action. And mark the consent of uses. The oblique muscles would have been inefficient, without that particular articulation; that particular articulation would have been lost, without the oblique muscles. It may be proper, however, to observe,
with respect to the head, although I think it does not vary the case, that its oblique motions and inclinations are often motions in a diagonal, produced by the joint action of the muscles lying in straight directions. But whether the pull be single or combined, the articulation is always such, as to be capable of obeying the action of the muscles. The oblique muscles attached to the head, are likewise so disposed, as to be capable of steadying the globe, as well as of moving it. The head of a new-born infant, is often obliged to be filletted up: After death, the head drops and rolls in every direction ; so that it is by the equilibre of the muscles, by the aid of a considerable and equipollent muscular force in constant exertion, that the head maintains its erect posture. The muscles here supply what would otherwise be a great defect in the articulation: for the joint in the neck, although admirably adapted to the motion of the head, is insufficient for its support. It is not only by the means of a most curious structure of the bones that a man turns his head, but by virtue of an additional muscular power, that he holds it up.
As another example of what we are illustrating, viz. conformity of use between the bones and the muscles, it has been observed of the different vertebræ, that their processes are exactly proportioned to the quantity of motion which the other bones allow of, and which the respective muscles are capable of producing
2. A muscle acts only by contraction. Its force is exerted in no other way. When the exertion ceases, it relaxes itself, that is, it returns by relaxation, to its former state ; but without energy. This is the nature of the muscular fibre ; and being so, it is evident that ihe reciprocal energetic motion of the limbs, by which we mean motion with force in opposite directions, can only be produced by the instrumentality of opposite or antagonist muscles; of flexors and extensors answering to each other. For instance, the biceps and brachiaeus internus, muscles placed in the front part of the upper arm, by their contraction bend the elbow; and with such a degree of force, as the case requires, or the strength admits of. The relaxation of these muscles, after the effort, would merely let the fore arm drop down. For the back stroke, therefore, and that the arm may not only bend at the elbow, but also extend and straighten itself, with force, other muscles, the longus and brevis brachiaeus exlernus, and the anconaeus, placed on the hinder part of the arins, by their contractile twitch, fetch back the fore-arm into a straight line with the cubit, with no less force than that with which it was bent out of it. The same thing obtains in all the limbs, and in every moveable part of the body. A finger is not bent and straightened, without the contraction of two muscles taking place. It is evident, therefore, that the animal functions require that