« PreviousContinue »
nians, manly Romans, and swart before, and we are in our happy Egyptians.
earth-heaven, and the Past is an So with our love and longing for eternal Now. pastoral life. War cannot quench Christ our Shepherd. What a it, plague destroy it, walls build it train of bright and peaceful images up, civilization out grow it, or Time cincture us as we think of the Godrob it of a title of its pristine fresh- man in this aspect. What a crowd
We meet with it on all sides. of joyous thoughts patter through Homer sings of it, Theocritus tran- our brain with simple childish feet. sports us to it, Virgil reproduces it, How this begrimed city life of ours even cockney Horace, must needs, dwarfs, dwindles, and dies away like Falstaff, babble a bit of green from us, like a serpent's skin. What fields. Our old ballads preserve it a rending is there of the Gordian fresh for us, as sprigs of lavender in knots of creeds and customs, an homeliest of clothes-presses. Gentle overturning of money-tables and all Spenser hymns it; sickly Pope can- that is unjust and unchristian. How not escape the enthusiasm; even free is the sceptre of this Shepherdtown-immured Phillips struggles king. The world is our pasture in the smoke and brushes his wings ground. Holy Ganges, glorious by green hedgerows. The more Danube, rushing Amazon, mighty corrupt society the stronger its in- Missouri are our watering grounds. fluences on the pure-minded. We Clouds weep for us, winds blow, are perpetually dreaming of it. A waters flow. All things smell of new-mown hay, and we are obedient to Him and work together no longer masters of ourselves, a for our good. The very stars and bleat of lambs in the street, and we planets sweep in their mystic dance are ankle deep in dewy grass. Art above us to reflect the harmony delights us with its pencilings, in which we move beneath His science gives direction, zest, and guidance. Yea, even in all this marvels to it, Nature herself wooes plenty, there is yet manna from and wins by a thousand sweet en- beaven, so that we live not by bread ticements; and above all, it breathes alone. upon us in purest fragrance in But it is scarcely the greatness or tenderest pictures from the Holy the glory that charms us most in all Word.
this title suggests. We see in it In nature we find our Eden again, Christ's work begun and completed; our desired Arcadia
we sorrow in the beginning and exult
in the ending. For wild wayward, - For Nature never did betray ness and fierce unrest is exchanged The heart that loved her.'
quiet, even, liquid peace, sunshine
unclouded, calmness unbroken. He All the feverish longing that man's came to seek and save the lost heart has felt these thousands of sheep, endured perils and dangers years for his lost inheritance, comes for us, clomb the high mountains back afresh and clusters round this our sins had piled up as barriers pastoral thought. Again will we between Him and us, trod the fleet the time carelessly as in the barren and prickly wilderness, and golden world,' sadness smoothed from delivered us from the cloudy and our brows, and sunshine settling dark day that scattered us abroad. like glory upon our eyes. Yes; Nor will He rest until we be found. He knoweth our frame, He re. There is no chiding, smiting, nor membereth all our desires. He recrimination; He bringeth us to will sanctify all in us that is noble and the fold upon His shoulders rejoicdignified. And here Christ steps ing. High heaven, in pure love to in, softly, not breaking our vision, Him and us, breaks into higher whispering, 'I will be thy shepherd.' raptures and louder hosannas. Our Straightway the Eden' behind, is past is brightened and redeemed,
The Shepherdhood of Christ.
9 and our future is secured. Hence- I tenderly and well, and will lay down forth there shall be no want for His life for them. There shall be
He who fed five thousand no divisions amongst them. All the with a few loaves and fishes will sheep of other folds shall come into never suffer us to want so long as The Greeks who by the seawe follow Him and trust Him. Green shore saw the darkness of the pastures and mossy invite our weary crucifixion, and said, 'Surely the frames by their coolness and beauty. God Pan is dead, shall find him He will lead us beside the still alive and more beneficent in Christ. waters. No whirlwinds shall The believer in the Sybilline oracles frighten us, no Niagaras boom upon shall come from seven-hilled Rome
All shall be clear and and yellow Tiber, for to Him it shall placid as Leman with her sweet truly be redeunt Saturnia regna. The sister's voice. Still as an Indian rude worshippers of Thorand Woden, prairie, when, as travellers tell us, the painted Briton, the Persians, there is no sound of bird, or beast, Puritans of the old world, and the or wind, or man to break the still warm-hearted children of the South How sweet for the tempest
--all shall come. There shall be tossed, the heavy-hearted. We may one fold, and one shepherd.
Fair not hear God's voice, saying, 'It is time! Thrice happy king! bright I; be not afraid,' in the rush and golden age! fury of the storm, but we can feel Christ our Shepherd. How it Him when the storm is gone and consoled and gladdened the early His bow is set in the cloud. Silence Christians when fierce persecution is God's dwelling place. When scattered them like a flock, they grief breaks over us, or Death visits have left us precious memories and us, and we are sorrowful, if we will testimonies on their rings and seals. but be hushed and humble we may And how, when hunted and driven see and feel God then in the still by cruel masters to the catacombs, waters of the soul. Only when the by faith they could murmur In puce sea is smooth as glass does there as they thought of His guardianship, float upon her breast the starry Roma Sotteranea—the underground image of heaven.
Rome of the Dead, has revealed in He will lead gently those who hundreds of paintings and basare in travail and sore tribulation, reliefs of the Good Shepherd with not like our worldly friends, who his rejoicing burden, -upon roofs too often add stripes to our mis- beneath which the faithful were fortunes. And the young lambs, wont to worship and on the tombs the pure, innocent treaders out of in which they rested in His arms. How the sweet wild thyme, He will blessed an image to the Waldenses, carry in His arms, warm from rude driven with their barbes, or pastors winds and hungry wolves, safe at their heads to wander from their from thorns, devious wiles, and homes and churches into strange alluring retreats.
lands, climb dangerous rocks, and There shall be no absorption of even take up arms to fight for their self, no loss of personality. The happy valleys. To our own Covensorrowing mourner too often doubts anters, hunted, butchered, betrayed, whether his lost one will not be lost to those in all time who have for ever, nameless, and unknown. suffered for the truth, to the But not so. He calleth his sheep martyr at the stake, the victim at by name, He has a tender so- the block, the unhappy in the prison ; licitude in them all; they know to the missionary in the hot glare Him and gather round' Him. There of an Indian or Africar sun, to the is loving mutual trust. For this poor negro in his servitude and Good Shepherd is no hireling. Not sweltering rice-swamps, to you, to because He hath His hire careth He me, to all men. for the sheep. He loveth them Christ our Shepherd. Shall we then look for other guardianship, to thickly-trodden highways, where trust to other friends, desire other there is thrown up mire and dirt, to companionship? I fear we too often! broken cisterns and dried up wells, fly to barren earthly wastes where when we might lie down in green there are naught but prickly cactuses, pastures and be led by still waters.
ARMINIUS: A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
CHAPTER 1.--HIS REPUTATION, AND THE TIMES IN WHICH HE WAS BORN. AMONG the passions by which the The bitter intolerance of the age opinions and actions of mankind are immediately succeeding the Reforswayed, religious hatred holds a mation is still remembered, though marked pre-eminence. It has a many of the controversies which incharacteratoncesingularand unique. spired it are forgotten. The schoThere are a bitterness and a per- lastic jargon about the divine decrees versity about it that are unexampled; is no longer popular, supralapsarian a strength and a weakness peculiarly and sublapsarian schemes of preits own.
The very worst of men destination are not our bones of are moved by it, for it always allies theological strife, but traces of the itself with more or less of igno- old fierce spirit are discoverable. rance and prejudice; the very best Cropping up in some form or other of men may not be free from it, for amid the developments of modern it sometimes assumes the form of religious thought are the yet unhigh conscientiousness and ardent solved problems of fate and freewill, zeal for truth. In tenacity of life of the sovereignty of God and the it is almost without a parallel among liberty of man, of destiny and rethe traditional hatreds of the world. sponsibility, of law and grace; and International jealousies linger when side by side with them reappears the rivalries which instigated them something of the old antagonism. are swept away, political obloquy But the odium theologicum does not survives the generation which gave confine itself exclusively to chamit birth, the severity of churlish pions in the arena of controversy. criticism may extend beyond the Where the vexed questions of theyouth of the bard by whose unfledged ology and metaphysics are held in rashness it is provoked, but sooner abeyance, or scarcely apprehended, or later the virtues of a great people, the gbost of ancient prejudice still the sagacity of the statesman, and haunts the mind. There are persons the genius of the poet are recognised. who, without understanding their But the stain of suspected heresy principles or even inquiring into seems to be indelible. The cleansing their history, never hear the names waters of Time flow on, and leave it of certain religious teachers but untouched. The brand of the so- with an involuntary shudder, and called schismatic is a mark of infamy, turn away from the advocates of and by no charity of pious hands their doctrines with pious horror can we hope to see it removed. To be and holy scorn. The rival divines reputed heterodox in the Protestant whose names stand at the head of church is to commit the unpardon- the two great divisions of the reable sin which neither profound ligious world are regarded with a learning, nor transcendent virtue, similar and a common injustice. nor life-long endurance of the penal Allusion to Calvin is to some sug, anathemas of the saints can ever gestive only of the burning of be expected to atone.
heretics in the market-place, the
cursing of Anabaptists, and the Puritans were not careful to speak consigning to perdition of reprobate soft words of their opponents, and babes a span long. The name of being zealous Calvinists, they hesiArminius is to others the synonyme tated not to assert that an Arminian of a proud and impious self-will was the spawn of a Papist, and that deifies our poor fallen human constructively, yea eminently, a nature, seeks its own praise at the thief, a traitor, a murderer, a heretic, cost of the peace of the church, and a false prophet, and whatsoever attempts inits presumption to darken soundeth infamy and reflecteth upon the glory of the Eternal God. men.' 'Malignant and Arminian' was Possibly no one is entirely free the only
charge the famous Triers from partiality or prejudice in the recorded against some of the Episestimation in which he holds these copalian clergy whom they sumgreat masters of theological science. marily ejected from their livings. But a fair and candid interpreter of A century later, so great was the the systems of faith associated with terror, and so deep the prejudice their names would not, one might with which Arminian opinions were think, accept the hasty caricature of regarded, that John Wesley says, the partisan, and the inferences de- One might as well cry “mad dog" ducible therefrom, as just delinea- as to call a man an Arminian.' Nor tions either of the character of the have the fervent piety of Wesley, men or the spirit of their teachings. and the glowing spiritual impulse Yet with respect to Arminius it given by his ministry to the churches may be said that he
usually mis- of our land, lessened in the eyes of understood and misrepresented, and some the odiousness of his theolothat not by the ignorant and unin-gical opinions. That Arminianism formed alone, but also by those who and Popery were twins, that Arprofess some acquaintance with eo- minius was a Dutch heretic, that clesiastical history and the progress the influence of his views upon the of religious thought. By some of religion of England was prejudical his own countrymen-amongst whom to spirituality and life, that holiness the prophet looks not for honour- is scarcely possible with belief in Arminius is known as Holland's un- his opinions ;-—these are charges propitious star, as the great schis. openly repeated, or gravely insinumatic who convulsed the reformed ated, in the present day by a writer churches by his heresies, as the am- who otherwise is of the most bitious divine who sought to pile Catholic spirit, and who singularly up for himself a pathway to fame enough has confessed himself anxious on the ruins of Dutch Protestantism. to promote the union into one deBishop Hall, who attended the synod nomination of all evangelical Bapof Dort, and whose moderation was tists. reputed to be as remarkable as his For the complete vindication of genius, speaks of Arminius as a the character of Arminius we must wise man who did not know the turn to his life and writings. It worth of peace, a noble son of the may be too much to expect that church who in coming to light ripped all imputation of deadly heresy the womb of his mother, and he will be removed from every mind asks, 'What mean these subtle by an enlarged acquaintance with novelties ? If they make thee famous his personal history, with the and the church miserable who shall times in which he lived, and the gain by them?' The good Bishop, works he has left behind. The further, conjures Arminius by the shadow of suspicion that follows his most solemn considerations to re- fame will not vanish before the first member himself, and as if he were breath of dawn. But an impression a wild beast of some new Apocalyptic not unfavourable to the memory of vision to remember, also, the poor Arminius will certainly be made by distracted limbs of the church. The | the thoughtful study of his life. The story of his trials, the exhibition had but four years to live; Knox, in of bis calm, courteous, and manly the vigour of bis days, was comspirit will, we may, hope, soften pleting the religious reform of his down the asperity and mitigate the native land; Latimer and Ridley, harshness of his censors. The re- five years before, had perished at cord of his patient and searching the stake, and by the death of Mary inquiries after truth, of his plain and the accession of Elizabeth to and distinct avowal of his opinions the throne, the hopes of English will, we are assured, win for him Protestantism had revived. The the sympathy of all earnest men spirit of the new era was working and the respect of even his warmest in the civilized world, when Aropponents. Moreover, the attempt minius was ushered into life. On he makes, whether successfully or all sides the Reformation was ad. not, to show that the divine plan of vancing. The yoke of Rome had salvation is in perfect harmony with already been thrown off in many the facts of consciousness,—with lands. Everywhere light struggled man's moral freedom and consequent with darkness. The pure word of responsibility, we may learn to God was winning its way through accept with gratitude as a valuable Europe. Close in the track of recontribution to theological science. ligions came civil liberty. The For God has some word of truth to human mind, emancipated from unfold by every distinguished servant priestly thraldom, claimed its sacred of the church, and though we do and inalienable rights. not 'glory in men,' we still re- Nowhere was the conflict more fierce member that all things are ours,' and strong than on the soil of the and all religious teachers, ‘whether Netherlands. Throughout the whole Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas' of extent of the country the people the early church, or Luther, Calvin were leavened with the principles of and Arminius of the Reformation. the Protestant faith. Placed between
They were stirring and eventful two nations in both of which the times in which Arminius was born. Reformation had taken root they It was the year of grace 1560. In were stimulated to freedom and in. that very year Philip Melancthon dependence alike by the Lutheranism died. In the same year, also, the of Germany, and the Calvinism of Protestant churches of France, at France. But the influence of the the Conference of Poissy, pleaded latter predominated, and with it for freedom of conscience before grew up a bold impatience of the Charles the Ninth, Catherine de tyranny of Rome. Philip deterMedicis, and the princes of the mined to root out this rank element realm, and were defeated by the of Protestantism. The most severe artifice of the Cardinal of Lorraine, measures were adopted. The sove. who, dividing in order to conquer, reign who boasted of his clemency embroiled the Lutherans and Cal. before all the world established in vinists in a quarrel about the his beloved Dutch provinces the Augustan Confession. Henceforth worst horrors of the Inquisition. the tenets of Calvin became the Spanish troops were detained to creed of a distinct party. The year overawe the populace. The sword previous, Philip the Second, then of persecution reddened with innoKing of Spain, of the Two Sicilies, cent blood; the fires of martyrdom of Milan, and of the Netherlands, glared over the land; the earth was re-issued a most cruel edict for the heaped over the frail forms of women entire suppression of heresy and buried alive. It was inevitable that schism. Zwingli had long since sooner or later a terrible retribution expired on the field of battle ; should arrive. The year that saw Luther, fourteen years before, had the birth of Arminius saw the bedied at the town of his birth ; ginning of the Nemesis of revolt. Calvin, worn down by excessive toil,