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aunt J., equally excellent, you will find kind and sympathizing friends, and such as will always be ready to lead you into right ways. Follow their admonitions and counsels, and you may hope at last to partake of their excellences.
And need I now, my dear sister, remind you of the last night our dearest mother ever lived! The conversation is, of course fresh in your mind; the earnestness with which she entreated
to flee from the wrath to come, and accept an offered Saviour before it was for ever too late. “Oh,” exclaimed she, “my dear child, attend to it the first thing, let it be the very first thing that shall claim your attention, when I am numbered with the dead!" Have you, my dear sister, complied with this request ? Did not the knell of death on the next morning reiterate the summons to be up and doing, because the time was short ? And need I add my feeble entreaties to these loud and solemn calls ? Once has the Lord called, yea twice, but Oh, may he never have cause to say, “yet has my voice been disregarded.” Depend upon it you will never be truly happy, until you devote yourself to the Lord, body and soul. Have you not the experience of all the unnumbered millions of Adam's race who now lie mouldering in the dust, to this same point. Could this vast congregation of the dead rise and speak, they would with united voices exclaim“ Arise, arise, and flee for your lives to the ark of safety, before the storm of God's wrath overtake you, and it be too late for ever and ever!”. Your own judgment must point out the folly of procrastination in this all-important subject, for one day longer and it may for ever be too late! You may be suddenly called before your Maker, you may be deprived of reason, and in all probability, if you delay much longer, you will be deprived of an inclination to attend to these things.
Perhaps I may as well mention here as anywhere, that the book which grandpapa has given you, and in which he has written with his own hand, trembling with age, is given with the hope, that for his sake you would read it with attention and prayer,—and that you might read with so much interest, as to lead your mind to Christ and him crucified.
And now, my dear sister, fare you well! May the best of Heaven's blessings ever attend you ; should we never meet again, may it be our unspeakable privilege to meet around the throne of God and the Lamb!
In your aunt Charlotte, you will always find a warm and true friend ; consult her on any occasion you may need. She knew so well mamma's feelings and plans, that you are 'most likely thus to learn her wishes. Hoping soon to see you face to face, and enjoy our society more on account of a temporary separation,
I am, &c. &c. ANNA. The hope expressed in the last sentence was never realized. What was thought to be only a temporary separation, proved a final one. They never saw each other's faces again. For a time, the Atlantic interposed between them, but soon they were separated by a deeper gulf,—the waters of Jordan. A few years and the elder sister passed to glory, while the other still lives in the hope of a joyful reunion on that shore, where friends in Christ once met, shall part no more.
Though deeply grievous at the time, this separation in results was greatly profitable to both ; it led the one to place her affections more upon things above ; it weaned her from the world; it made her seek consolation in Him from whose presence no ocean can divide, who is with the Christian always even unto the end of the world. At the same time it made Anna still more anxious for her sister's salvation, still more earnest in her appeals on this all-important subject. While it prepared the mind of Sarah to receive those advices, and to attend to those appeals which every letter from her sister contained : these formed and elevated her mind, and resulted in her conversion. In the sequel some of these letters will be found. May they be as useful and as blest to all who peruse them as they have proved to Sarah B.
" THE POWER OF THE KEYS.” What is the exact idea, contained in this highly figurative statement ? “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven."
It is not said, first, that I will give thee “the keys" which I will give to no other apostle. It may be true or false that Peter was invested with an authority which the other apostles had not. These words are entirely mute on that subject. They say nothing concerning the other apostles.
Nor, secondly, is it here said, I will give thee keys, which will place thee in authority over the other apostles. Christ may have made Peter the “primate of the apostolic college”as Horsely has it or not, for anything that is here stated on the subject. The words say nothing about authority over men.
Nor, thirdly, is it here said, I will give thee keys, which thou shalt transmit to thy successors, who in all future times shall have power to open and shut paradise as they please. This may be a sublime truth or a huge falsehood. This passage says nothing about succession.
Nor, fourthly, is it here said, I will give thee keys, which belong to the apostolic character and age-a power that is special, local, and temporary. This again may be true or false. The words predicate nothing about classes or places. I deny that any of these notions are contained in, or sanctioned by these words of Christ.
What then is the exact idea ? Let us understand the figures. The word “keys” is expressive of authority. When the Jews authorized any man to become a teacher of the law, they put into his hand the key of the closet in the temple, where the sacred books were kept, thus intimating that they had entrusted him with power to explain the Scriptures. The phrase “kingdom of heaven” was an expression which Jesus commonly used to designate His system--the gospel. The expressions to “loose” and to “ bind” mean to permit and to prohibit. The sense is-says Bloomfield—“Whatsoever thou shalt forbid, or whatsoever declare lawful and constitute in the church, shall be ratified and held good.” To open up what is right for men, and to forbid what is wrong, comprehend the great work of the Christian teacher-a work which must ever accord with the will of heaven, for moral truth is the same in all worlds. Stripping then from the passage its figurative garb, the idea I take to be simply this—I WILL AUTHORISE THEE TO EXPOUND MY SYSTEM.--Rev. D. Thomas's “ Core of Creeds."
THE PULPIT. PERHAPS there is no feature so characteristic of humanity, even under its most favorable aspects, as littleness-a disposition to substitute a part for the whole--a tendency to suppose our own prejudiced notions commensurate with the entire scope and substance of a great argument. We know at best, only in part; and, as a natural consequence, we prophesy only in part -we hold and teach merely such portions of the Great Truth itself as have found the chambers of our own narrow minds "empty, swept, and garnished.” We assume, too, because our views are right, that those of others are necessarily wrong, as if it were not possible that the truth may be held between us; and even that our friends may have a larger share than ourselves.
We consider this partiality to be the great bane of the Christian church, and have long labored to shew its inconsistency with the greatness of Christ's gospel-but as yet there seems little likelihood of any good results, from all that has been thought, said, and done upon the subject. Biting and devouring one another, we see the awful threatening daily and hourly fulfilling—“Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." The church is burning up itself instead of expending its zeal upon the world; and nursing in its bosom the element of its own destruction, instead of employing its irresistible influences to overcome and annihilate the wickedness so rampant on all sides. If it would but fight as earnestly against the world, as it does too often against itself, what good might not be expected to follow? Christ loved, Christ followed, and Christ preached, was the “threefold cord” which in apostolic days bound all believers together, and placed them beneath the vivifying, the enlightening, and uniting outpourings of God's grace in our common Lord.
And why it should not be so in these latter days, we are at a loss to determine. The large heart of Paul could rejoice that Christ was preached even in pretence, or of contention, but when we ask much less of the fastidious professors of our own day, they talk of “great principles” and unauthorized concessions, determining to know something among men besides Christ Jesus and Him crucified. “The coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and our GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM,” was the rallying cry of apostolic times: why should the war-whoop that would separate us into sects and parties, be now the only stimulus to promptitude and vigour and stubborn perseverance in the vast work of fertilising the moral desert around us ?
Yet it often is. Pulpit wars with pulpit, and sanctuary with sanctuary. is not enough that Christ is preached, albeit of good-will. He must be set forth according to this or that man-made system, or school, or class; as if the great mystery of godliness were a theme that an infant's mind might span; and the riches of Christ, so far from being “ unsearchable,” lay all upon the surface of a favorite text or two. The gospel tells us no such thing. Its peculiarity is just this; that whilst its essence is so simple that the mouths of babes and sucklings have borne witness to its saving power, it has height, and depth, and breadth, and length,
“Where plummet of archangel's intellect
Could never yet find soundings.” We rejoice, therefore, when we hear Christ preached with " great plainness of speech”—with great simplicity of purpose. But we rejoice also when we hear the great intellectualities of the gospel brought before us. The majesty of Christianity is a theme too little dwelt upon in the present enquiring and philosophic age.
We take high standing for the Bible, believing it to be in every sense the power of God, and the wisdom of God-the crowning piece of His creations—the perfection of his revelations. We love, therefore, to find the highest intellects at work with it and for it. The day for “ Apologies for the Bible” has long gone by; our greatest scholars and metaphysicians are no longer “ ashamed of the gospel of Christ;" but boldly stake their reputation on its advocacy, "opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead," as the only worthy solution of that great paradox in all mental and moral philosophies, that the mind has a Rest in reversion, if it only knew by what process it could be entered into.
A new school of theology has come amongst us suited to the new requirements of the day. But with it, the dangerous littleness of which we have already spoken, has revived; and