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like them, are Dissenters upon principle; we cannot away with the prescribed forms, and in our view unscriptural discipline maintained in the Establishment; but rejoicing, as we do, in the national profession which it exhibits, and the large amount of religious truth which its liturgy contains, we cannot view, without feelings of pain and} dismay, the unwearied efforts made by Dissenters to destroy a National Church altogether. In connection with these exertions, we view, with equal feelings of dismay, the alarming strides making by the Papists, in the extension of their adherents. A very interesting paper upon this subject, is inserted in our Supplemental Number, to which we refer our readers.
We have only to add, that we shall pursue the same course in which we have trod for now nearly twelve years; and with the continued assistance of our esteemed correspondents, we feel no doubt of still being favoured with those encouraging testimonials of profit and edification, with which in so many instances we have of late been honoured.
And now, while we bend the knee in humble thankfulness to our God, for every favour received during the past year, we would look up unto Him for aid still to support us, and be with us, and not us alone, but that the light of his countenance may be with all our correspondents and readers, and the whole church of God; and unto God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as due, be ascribed all the glory for ever and ever.
Spiritual Magazine ;
SAINTS TREASUR Y.
« There are three that bear record in heaven; the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST; and these Three are One.”
1 John v. 7.
Jude 3. “ Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, COMPARED TO A STAR.
Rev. 22. 16.
THE exquisite beauty and splendour observable in the heavenly bodies, constellations and planets, and the great advantages which the creation of God, and man in particular, has derived from those illustrious luminaries, the astonishing order by which their courses are regulated, and the influence that they have evinced in the animal, mineral, and vegetable world, serve as suitable emblems to exhibit to the mind, a shadow of the stupendous greatness, grandeur, and glory of their first grand cause, by whose power they were not only originally created, but are perpetually upheld, and marshalled in their
We do not expect from material things to pourtray more than a faint view of the lustre of Jehovah-Jesus, for
“His beauties we can never trace,
'Till we behold him face to face." Nevertheless, the meditation of his matchless perfection is a noble employ; and the condescension of our precious Lord, in meeting and blessing the soul engaged in that sacred employ, is a delightful incentive to the ardent pursuit of that gracious privilege, known and enjoyed only by the happy believer.
After the lapse of ages, prodigious advances have been made in the attainment of astronomical science ;-attainments which have far outstripped the comprehension of inferior minds ;-attainments which have developed the infinite greatness and glories of that Being who formed them :-still, how little is known of the nature of these celestial bodies! Such is the immensity of their distance from us, and so gross is the intervening darkness which beclouds and obscures our vision, that we gaze upon them, as“ through a glass, darkly :" and we must wait until our faculties are ripened in a future state of blessedness, before we can fully discover how much they shadowed
Vol. XI. --No. 131.] B
forth the infinite nature and lustre of the divine perfection and consummate glory.
In numerous instances, throughout the sacred pages of holy writ, Jesus has been typified by a Star. In the remarkable prophecy of Balaam, this is peculiarly exemplified. He foretold, that "a Star should arise out of Jacob,” which primarily and chiefly points to Jesus, the Messiah, the seed and posterity of Jacob, the true Star which fills the world with its brightness, and who is denominated “ the bright and morning Star.''
But for the lights of heaven, the sun, the moon, and the constellations thereof, the whole creation would be enveloped in utter darkness. Jesus is the light of his church. His people have, in all ages, through the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, derived amazing advantages from this radiant and all-transporting luminary. In every period of the church, her members have been waiting for him, and anxiously looking through the lattices of divine appointments, hoping 10 catch some passing gleams of his manifestive favour, while enveloped in the sombre darkness of the night. And how truly blessed is the expression of his favour amid the evening shadows ! Seasons of affliction are, not unfrequently, dark and cold, desolate and dreary ; but the Redeemer frequently breaks the solemn gloom, and disperses the darksome clouds, by the exhibition of his graces to the soul. Yea, to an unbelieving Thomas he exclaims, “ reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side : and be not faithless, but believing.”
By the wise ordination of God, the sun gives its light by day ; the moon and stars their light by night. We are cheered and animated by the splendid beams of the former, while the twinkling Justre of the latter, which pierce and divide the night, are no less welcome to the nightly traveller. These wonderful phenomena, like a splendid profusion of glittering diamonds, bestud the whole horizon in countless multitudes, and exhibit the unparalleled dignity and greatness of their supreme original. These are his munificent gifts, for the use of man; yet, alas ? man, the master-piece of creation, who is under peculiar obligations, is the last to return his grateful acknowledgments for his mercies to their Divine Author.
Do the boundless and incomprehensible works of creation demand the praise and adoration of mortals ? Unquestionably they should excite his highest admiration. What shall we then say of Jesus, “ the bright and morning Star,” the “ Alpha and Omega,” the all-glorious person in the divine essence-God in Christ, the very perfection of beauty !-Oh, ye much loved saints of the Most High, what shall we say of the glorious Star of Bethlehem, and how shall we suitably exalt bis name for the perfectly astonishing, the infinite condescension displayed by him in our redemption !
6. Was ever love like this?
The patriarchs and prophets beheld Jesus as an illustrious Star, in the distance, rising magnificently; and the eastern sages saw his
star (the babe of Bethlehem) in the east, and worshipped him. His ancient people worshipped him, prior to his advent, through the types and shadows of the ceremonial law. Prophets and priests longed to behold this Star of Betl·lehem, but died without the sight. The intervening aspect of the church was dark and gloomy. At length the illustrious Day-Star from on high dawned, bringing in his train, a fuller manifestation of the glories of redemption than all the prophets had foretold; and in him their predictions became blessedly accomplished.
Jesus, as the Saviour of his people, is the Father's gift. We behold his glories from afar. When he first arose in Bethlehem, he transmitted his beams of righteousness on his heavenly hill of Zion : and throughout his course he shone conspicuously, in consummate brilliancy, breaking the shadows of the night, and by his beauty attracting, animating, and exalting the soul of his beloved, above the joys of sense. To this purport the lines of Wutts are very apposite, sublime, and beautiful.
“But in his looks a glory' stands,
Outshines the wonders of the skies."
In his life of humiliation and sufferings, as the atoning sacrifice, Jesus evidently proved that he is the brightness of the Father's glory, &c. In his immutable and immaculate nature, in his heavenly tempers, in his holy life, mercy,, benevolence, and compassion shed forth their brightest beams on behalf of ruined man. In creation we find some scattered rays, (for comparatively, they are few in number) of Jehovah's glory; but in Christ they are all collected and united ; and in him they beam forth with the most dazzling brightness, and the strongest radiance. On Calvary's ruggid summit, innocence, dignity, and merit, mingled all their graces, each shining
in the utmost splendour, perfected by suffering throughout the tragic scene. Here the justice of Jehovah and his vengeance, and his grace and mercy, with every tremendous and gracious attribute were manifest with indescribable glory, in the most ignominious, yet grandest of all transactions.
The glories of God, which meet, centre, and shine forth in the lovely Lamb of God, like the starry firmament, are but dimly seen through the open crevices of the walls of dull mortality. In the darksome night of much of our experience, we wait, and sometimes wait long at Jehovah's footstool, prostrate in the dust, overwhelmed with sadness, hoping to obtain even a faint glimpse of his glory, as evinced in our personal salvation; and when, in mercy, the humble request is granted, the profusion is so great, as to beggar all description. Here scenes of refined and exalted delight burst upon the ravished soul, and hold its recipient in sweet captivity.
In this transitory life, we have but very imperfect apprehensions of visible and material things ; but, how much more scanty and inadequate are our conceptions of invisible and immortal objects : so, however high our conceptions may be raised of the beauties and magnificence, which emit their glory from Jesus, the illustrious constellation, how degraded they are, and how unutterably short do they fall of reality; and how extremely disproportionate to their genuine perfection.
Jesus is seen, and known, and admired by the weary midnight spiritual traveller, on whom he shines, and sheds his influence. The most unworthy, vile, and guilty of Zion's travellers, however remote may be his residence, beholds his glory, surpassing every earthly object, and in measure rejoices in his and
generations, and in every age, his people have rejoiced, and do in some happy measure triumph in him, while they gaze on his charms, as they become manifest, with sentiments of renewed delight.
Jesus is the polar Star, the view of which cheers and re-animates the otherwise dull and almost lifeless soul of its admirer. The vessel steered according to the wise dictates of this never-failing compass, is sure of safely gaining port. When this ever-radiant constellation is obscured by clouds, and encompassed by mists, arising out of sin, the trembling mariner is bewildered; his thoughts become restless as the floating surge, and he knows not where he was, and is, or how to steer his course, so as to avoid the lurking rocks and dangers, which attend his passage homewards.
The beautiful spangles which deck the horizon, and gild the night with radiant beams, are objects whose wonders are most discoverable and developed by that revelation to the sight, the telescope. Faith is the christian's telescope ; and through that medium Jesus is beheld and admired, as the Star of Bethlehem. Every thing pertaining to his peace and happiness, either in enjoyment, or in reversion, is thus bequeathed him. Through faith of the operation of the Holy Ghost, the christian walks, and triumphs over his opposing enemies.