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THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
BY J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE, D.D., GENEVA
In the first place, the Word of God should if nothing has been given to you, be content be read, and sometimes, perhaps, other Chris- with asking the Holy Spirit to impart to every tian books. In how many families that admi. heart the fruits which he has promised for his rable book, that Book of the nations, has been Word. “ As the rain cometh down, and the in all ages, and is still, the most precious of snow, from heaven, and returneth not thither, treasures! In how many dwellings has the but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring Bible diffused righteousness, peace, and joy in forth and bud, that it may give seed to the the Holy Ghost, and submission to all authori- sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my ties appointed by God! The various books word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it which compose the Bible are almost all of a shall not return unto me void; but it shall acdifferent nature from one another; it were diffi- complish that which I please, and it shall proscult to have a greater variety in one volume, per in the thing whereunto I sent it.” though the same Spirit of God is in each. Another act of worship is, prayer in common, This circumstance makes it remarkably appro- or together. It is true that there are good priate for the nourishment of families; and written prayers; but can you not pray to God hence so many poor and obscure families in aloud yourself? You know very well how to. Protestant countries, possessing that book, do speak to a friend ; why should you not know without any others, and by it are brought to how to speak to God? Is he not your greatest
the acquisition, not only of eternal life, but of and most intimate friend? How easy is it to a remarkable intellectual development. The approach him when it is in the name of Christ child, the old man, the woman, and the full- crucified that we come! “ Thou art near, O grown man, alike find something to interest Lord,” says David. “ While they are yet them there, and to lead them to God. There speaking,” God has said, “ I will hear.” If you is something for every situation in life. What can pray in secret, can you not pray aloud ? Do abundant consolation have all troubled and not be so anxious about what you shall say. afflicted, but faithful souls derived always from “ Prayer requires more of the heart than the the Psalms of the Royal Prophet! It is well to tongue, more faith than reasoning." How can read throughout some book of the Scriptures; it be otherwise than salutary, when, for inbut it is not necessary to follow the order in stance, a father or a mother prays aloud for the which the different books are placed in the children who are present, and enters into detail Sacred Volume. On the contrary, it is, per respecting their sins before God, asking him to haps, best to turn from the New Testament to give his help and his grace? And how often a the Old, and from the Old to the New; from family is in a situation in which it is called upon one of the Prophets to one of the Epistles of the to offer up prayer unto God, for deliverance, Apostles, and then to one of the historical for assistance, for consolation! “ Ye shall seek books of the Old Testament. It is desirable me and find me, when ye shall search for me that the person who reads should make some with all your heart,” saith the Lord. | remarks on the passage read. You know how A third act of worship which ought, if posto speak about any other book that you read; sible, to form part of domestic devotion, is is it only here that thoughts and words are singing. In these days man has associated wanting! Do you find nothing there that is singing with his occupations, and especially with applicable to the state of your heart, to the his pleasures; but to praise God was certainly situation of your family, to the character of its primitive object. It is to this that the some one of your children? Read that book Royal Prophet consecrated it, and shall not we always, not as a history of past times, but as a do likewise? If so many profane things are book written for you, addressed to you now; sung in some houses, why should we not sing you will readily find circumstances and occa- to the honour of the God who has created and sions which render it suitable. Nevertheless, redeemed us! Still more, if sacred hymns are • From vol. of tracts trarslated by Dr. Baird of New York. sometimes sung for the sake of the beauty of
No. 31. *
the sound, shall they not be sung with humility in them, and walk in them, and I will be their and fervour to celebrate the Lord ! " Admo- God, and they shall be my people !" Happy for nish one another in psalms and hymns and spiri- time, and happy for eternity! How can you tual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to hope to meet with those whom you love near the Lord.” ..
Christ in heaven, unless with them you seek But, my brethren, if you wish to erect an Christ on earth! How shall you assemble as a altar unto God in your house, you must, first of family there, if you have not as a family attend. all, erect one in your own heart. And is there ed to heavenly things here below? But as to one there! I ask you, my brethren, is there the Christian family which shall have been one! Ah! could I draw back the veil, could I united in Jesus, it will, without doubt, meet now penetrate into the hearts of those who around the throne of the glory of Him whom it listen to me, what would I see! or, rather, will have loved without having seen. It will Lord! what must thou see in our hearts—thou, only change its wretched and perishable dwellfrom whom nothing is veiled, and before whom ing for the vast and eternal mansions of God. all things are naked and visible!
Instead of being a humble family of the earth, In your heart, my dear hearer, I see an altar united to the whole family of beaven by the erected to pleasure and worldliness; there you same ties, it will have become an innumerable offer up your morning sacrifice; there you and glorious family. It will surround the sacrifice, especially in the evening; and the in- throne of God with the hundred and forty-four cense arising from it intoxicates and bewilders thousand, and will say, as it said on earth, but you even at night.
with joy and glory,“ Thoù art worthy, O Lord, In your heart, my dear hearer, I see an altar to receive glory, and honour, and power." erected to the good gifts of this world, to riches, O my brethren, if but one father or mother to Mammon.
would now resolve to meet together in the preIn yours, my dear hearer, I see an altar con- sence of the Lord; if one single person not yet secrated to yourself. You are the idol whom bound by domestic ties were to resolve to raise you worship, whom you exalt above everything an altar unto God in his own house when he else, for whom you wish for all things, and at shall be so bound, and would, in some future the foot of whom you would fain see all the day so act, that abundant blessings would deworld kneel.
scend upon him and his, I would give thanks My brethren, is there an altar in your hearts unto God for having spoken ! erected to the only living and true God? Are Dear hearer! may the Lord so affect your you the temple of God, and does God's Spirit heart that you may now exclaim, “ As for me dwell within you? So long as there is no altar and my house, we will serve the Lord.” erected to God in your souls, there can be none in your houses; “ for what fellowship hath
THE PREDICTIONS OF MALACHI. righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness! and what In a previous article on the times of Malachi, we concord hath Christ with Belial? and what that prophet, the last of the Old Testament, join
showed how closely in this respect the writings of agreement hatb the temple of God with idols ?”
themselves to the Gospels, the first of the New. The Be converted, then, in your hearts! Die to representation given in both alike of the prevailing the world, to sin, to yourselves even, and live to religious character of the Jewish people, is that of a God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Immortal souls, proud and conceited Pharisaism—boastful of its title Christ hath redeemed you at a great price! to God's favour, and its attainments in his service, He gave his whole life on the cross for you. utterly mistaking the whole nature of his true wor
while chargeable with the most grievous failures, and, Learn, then, “ that he died for all, that they ship and service. If we look also to the predictions which live should not henceforth live unto of this prophet, we find an equally close relation subthemselves, but unto him which died for them, sisting between the last of the Old and the first of and rose again.” “ Wherefore come out from the New Testament books; for few as the predictions among idols, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, were which he uttered, they are those which more and touch not the unclean thing; and I will especially meet us at the commencement of the Gesreceive you,
and will be a father unto you, and pel history; and it seems as if the earlier events in ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the with an immediate reference to what had been fore!
the dispensation of the New Testament were ordered Lord Almighty."
told in Malachi. In none of the prophets are the ) happy is that family, my brethren, which circumstances connected with Christ's appearing, the
braced that God who says, “ I will dwell character in which he was to manifest himself, and
THE PREDICTIONS OF MALACH I.
the results that were to flow from it, more pointedly in the temple throughout was emphatically a sudden described; so that the Gospels have somewhat of the one, since the mass of those he found there were appearance of a continuation of this prophet, or a entirely unfitted for standing in his presence; of filling up of the outline which he presented to the which he gave them a strong and sensible demonstraChurch some centuries before. What is also striking, tion in the symbolical action which he twice perand gives peculiar force to this branch of fulfilled formed, of driving the money-changers and the prophecy as an evidence of the truth of Christ's mis- traffickers out of the temple. Such an exercise of sion, is the fact, that the leading features in the righteous authority also implied that he regarded the predictions were of such a kind as to differ most temple as strictly his own, while it manifested the materially from the general views and expectations persons about it to be anything but prepared and of the Jews-differed so much, indeed, that to the looking for his coming. And as if to leave no doubt last they would not receive them. We shall take a as to the name or authority by which he then acted, brief survey of them, chiefly for the purpose of bring he expressly asserted on the last occasion his absolute ing out the striking peculiarities now referred to. lordship over the house : “My house is the house of
1. There are predictions bearing on the circum- prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Luke stances connected with Christ's appearing. These xix. 46.) are principally two; and the one first announced is, But there is another circumstance more fully that “ he should suddenly come to his temple.” brought out in Malachi's predictions respecting the (Chap. iii. 1.) A very important and instructive appearance of Christ on earth-it was to be preceded word! for it implies, that he who was to come, and by the agency of a special forerunner: “ Behold I to come as a messenger, should still be an essentially will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the divine person-the very being who could claim that way before me;" and this preparatory messenger is temple as his own; in other words, the God who was at the close of the book more exactly characterized worshipped there. The Scribes and Pharisees of our as Elijah the prophet. (Chap. iv. 5.) The Jews Lord's time did not understand this; for if they had, here again so entirely misunderstood the prophet's they could have had no difficulty in answering the meaning, that they might justly be said to disbelieve question, how he could be at once David's son, and it. They looked for the re-appearance of the literal yet be represented by David himself as his Lord; nor Elias (as indeed they do for the most part to this would they have held him guilty of blasphemy, when, day), and deemed it one of the marks of honour as Messiah, he declared himself to be the Son of God. which God was going to put upon their nation, the (Matt. xxii. 45; John v. 18, s. 33.) The Jews both sending of such an exalted messenger to announce of that time and of all future periods have been quite the immediate approach of the Redeemer. In this ignorant of the real constitution of Messial's person idea concerning the object of his coming, they made as at once God and man; and have been almost a far more serious mistake than in regard to the perunanimous in holding, that while he might be called son meant by the name Elias. For it mattered comin a sense the Son of God, it was not in that sense paratively little who that might be; the work to be which bespoke his being equal with God.* In this done by him was the point of chief moment; and if they, as well as the Socinians and Arians of our day, Elias was to come, or another with his name, because stand plainly condemned by the testimony of Malachi. sent to do substantially his work, what did this be
The prophecy declares that he should come sud- token? Alas! the very reverse of a state of prepadenly to his temple. “ And it is remarkable, that ration on their part, or a mark of honour on God's. the temple was the place of his very first public ap- Be the person who he might, that in his mission pearance; and in his coming on that occasion there there was to be the sending of an Elias, clearly bewas an extraordinary suddenness." This circum- spoke him to be a preacher of repentance-a stern stance, however, which is noticed by Horsley, was reprover of sin-a herald mainly of a God of judgrather a kind of sign and token of the approaching ment, proclaiming by his very name and office that fulfilment of the prophecy, than the fulfilment itself; all was in a state of disorder and corruption, and for Christ's appearing as a babe in the temple was would inevitably go to perdition unless the hand of pot exactly his coming in the sense intended by the this strong one might prevail, under God, to set it prophet, as the grand messenger of Heaven personally right again. to transact with men. But any event may justly be The event proved that the Jews of our Lord's called sudden, for which men are not rightly prepared, time could as little take in the true doctrine of and consequently are apt to be taken by surprise by Malachi's prediction regarding the forerunner, as it when it happens. In this sense Christ's appearance that regarding the Lord himself. Their own Scrip
tures stand here also as a strong witness against them, Those who wish to see the proof from Jewish authori.
and for Christ. Such a preacher of repentance as ties, will find it in Lightfoot, vol, ii. 388, 622, 702. Schoett
Elias did go before his manifestation to Israel-not gen, indeed, produces various extracts from Jewish writings (De Messia, I. iii.), which seem to assert the proper divinity actually Elias, indeed, in the sense understood by of the Messiah ; but these writings contain such a mass of them, so that John said he was not that prophet, but conjectures and contradictions, that some confirmation might one clothed with the spirit and power of Elias; in be found in them for almost every truth, as well as every his gifts and office greater even than he, but, like heresy. There can be no doubt, however, that Lightfoot here gives the true account of what is now, and has always him, calling aloud on men, as with a voice of thunder, been, the general belief among the Jews at and since the
to return from their evil ways, and striving, as with time of Christ.
the might of a giant, to turn back the tide of corrup
tion, and revive in the degenerate children the hearts what is good. Every word Christ spake, every action of their pious fathers; so that in him was really ful- he performed, every gift of the Spirit he shed forth, filled the part of the messenger, the Elias foretold | was, from its very nature, of a quick and searching by Malachi. In short, there did thus appear the character, reaching to the inmost thoughts of the Elias "who was for to come;" but they knew him heart; it was on men's souls like the action of fire on not, and did to him, as to his great prototype in the the earth's metallic ores, separating between the times of Ahab, “whatsoever they listed." He was precious and the vile, that the one might be preserved, sent forth to prepare the way, but the hardness of and the other destroyed. So that the time of Christ's their hearts prevented this in great measure from tabernacling upon earth, though presenting nothing
being effectually done-a small remnant alone made majestic or alarming in outward appearance, was in themselves ready; and the curse, which was to smite reality a dreadful searching time—a time of trial and
the earth in case of that repentance-work not being judgment such as had never been known before. accomplished, ere long fell upon most of them with And, alas ! how few proved able to stand it. To bow unsparing severity.
many did he become a stone of stuinbling and a rock 2. The predictions in Malachi, which describe the of offence! To how few a ground of safety and decharacter in which Christ was to appear, are chiefly liverance! The thoughts, truly, of many hearts were of a threatening kind, and import a work of judg- revealed; but these, excepting in a few cases, were ment. In the 3d chapter, immediately after his thoughts only of evil, the thoughts of hearts that appearance in the temple is foretold, it is asked, would not submit themselves to the righteousness of
“But who may abide the day of his coming ? and God, and were therefore ripening to perdition, who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like We need scarcely say, that this must be in a meaa refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap," &c. And in sure the character of Christ's revelation still, through the first verse of the next chapter the same idea is a preached Gospel; and that it behoves all who enagain presented, when the prophet speaks of the day joy that privilege to take heed that the process in
coming, namely, the day of the Lord's appearing, their case be a regenerating, and not a destructive “which should burn as an oven, so that the proud and one-a destructive one, indeed, but only of the old all that do wickedly should be stubble." We are not man of corruption, that their spirit may be saved in to suppose, as is very commonly done, that the pro- the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prediction of phet here suddenly starts off from Christ's first to Malachi implies, that amid all the appearance of his second coming, as if such a description did not severity, there still was a design of mercy in the properly suit the manner and purposes of his first manifestation of Christ; his mission was still to be of appearing upon earth. John the Baptist might in- a salutary and saving character to those who were, struct us better; for when he comes forth to Israel prepared to receive him; to them the promise is given as the herald of Christ's immediate approach, it is of his arising on them with healing under his wings, with the solemn truth, and partly also with the very and of being preserved as jewels, while the work of language, here found in Malachi. For what does he judgment is proceeding (chap. iii. 17, iv. 2); and only say was to take place at that new era in the kingdom because men are so prone to resist the purification of heaven? The hewing down of every tree that which he seeks to accomplish on their natures, and was not bearing fruit--a thorough purging of the thus to lose their interest in his mercy, was the chafloor of God's house-a baptizing with fire, and even racter of his appearing invested with so stern and a burning up with fire of what was unprofitable and terrible an aspect. vain. (Matt. iii. 11, 12.) These expressions unques- 3. In regard to the results that were to flow from tionably represent the character of Christ's first the manifested presence of the Lord, as these are appearing as consisting much in the execution of a described in Malachi, a few words only are needed, work of judgment; and in this, again, the thing fore- as they have been partly hinted at already. They! told was so widely different from what the mass of were to be of a very mixed nature, but manifestly the Jewish people expected, that in the face of their with a preponderance of evil in respect to the greater own Scripture they rejected him in whom, at the part of those for whom the prophet more immedi' very time, it was receiving its fulfilment.
ately writes. Amid the images of life and death, There can be no doubt that John, in speaking of blessing and cursing, which pass before us in reading the character of Christ's appearing, used the peculiar his pages, we cannot but feel that the dark side occuexpression of " baptizing with fire,” and referred pies decidedly the largest place; nor is it without generally to the consuming property of fire, with the meaning that the prophet seals up the vision of the (view of forcibly impressing on all, that what had been old covenant with a threat, that the Lord's coming foretold by Malachi was then actually on the eve of might possibly be to smite the earth with a curse. being realized. It is true that Christ did not come How far were the Jews of our Lord's time--or of into the world avowedly to judge or condemn, but this, for the delusion cleaves to them as inveterately rather to save it; but it is not less true, on the other as ever—from entering into this part of the prophetic hand, that his manifestation had all the effect among message, when they expected a Messiah who shoull men of a work of judgment, and that the spiritual be the deliverer of their nation as a whole! who regeneration, which he came to produce on them, had only to do a work of outward healing and re
necessarily proceeds, both in the world at large and covery, in which all were to be alike interested! in each individual heart, by the destruction of what Still, however, there was to be a glorious and blessed is evil, as well as the implantation and growth of work accomplished in a certain portion of the mass;
there was to be a purification among the sons of Levi, broken ship and half-buried anchor; the monso that they would present to the Lord an offering of sters of the world of waters; the sharp, craggy righteousness; and a blessed company was to come rock; the deep, dark cavern; the glittering spar, forth, replenished with the favour of Heaven, and the sparkling gem, and light-reflecting pearlable, like good soldiers of the Lord, to tread the 'They that go down to the sea in ships, that do wicked beneath their feet. (Chap. iii. 3–5, iv. 2, 3.) business in great waters; these see the works This, of course, had its earliest fulfilment in the case of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep;' and of those whom the apostle calls“ the remnant accord- he who pursues the wild and life-wasting calling ing to grace;" but it is also meeting with fulfilment of a diver, has scenes of terror and beauty preevery day, as often as believing souls are added to sented to his eyes that others never saw. I the Church. And when in one passage the sons of speak of these things feelingly, for I myself Levi alone are mentioned as partakers of the blessing, have been a diver; but do not mistake me. it is simply because the Lord was represented as Pearls though I have, costly beyond all price, coming to his temple, where none but the sons of yet they were not brought up from the mighty Levi were allowed to minister. These, however, deep: listen, and you shall hear my relation. represented in their ministrations the whole profess- “For twenty years of my life I was a diver ing people of God. And viewed in reference to the in books, and brought up stores of knowledge
temple, the purified sons of Levi stand for the entire that to me were prizable--gems of thought and |: company of a ransomed Church; although we know costly pearls of reflection: but all this time I
the prediction had a fulfilment also in a more re- was as much a stranger to myself as I was to stricted and literal sense; for it is expressly written, the bottom of the sea. I sought my own plea“A multitude of priests (the sons of Levi] were obe sure; I delighted to hear some new thing, and dient to the faith."
to see some new sight; but there was one sight The brief review that has now been taken of this I could never see, and that was the sinfulness portion of prophecy and its fulfilment, suggests mat- of my own heart. ter of deep and profitable reflection. 1. It shows “One Sabbath-day, as I sat in the house of how sure God's word of prophecy is, travelling on to God, it pleased the Holy Spirit to take of the its accomplishment in spite of all the misunderstand things spoken by a zealous and faithful minister ings and oppositions of man, and proving God to be of the Gospel, and apply them with power to. true, though well-nigh every man should be found to my soul. The word of the Lord was 'quick be a liar. 2. It discloses the awful blindness and and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged perversity of the sinful heart, especially when taking sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the form of Pharisaical pride and hypocrisy, so that soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, it can reject the plainest testimonies of God, and set and was, 'a discerner of the thoughts and inits hopes in direct opposition to his declared mind tents of the heart.' The man of God seemed and will. 3. Finally, it is a witness how sadly the to smite me with the rod of his mouth,' and to corruption in the Church and the world disturbs the dash me in pieces like a potters vessel.' flow of God's goodness, ever forcing him to mingle That sermon, for the first time in my life, set the revelations of judgment with the tidings of mercy. me diving into my own bosom. I descended, The first promise of a Saviour was given in the shape not altogether unattended by the light of his of a doom upon the adversary; and so much has the Spirit who will search" Jerusalem with spirit and cause of the adversary prevailed, that the candles,' into the deep caverns of my own evil last predictions describe Christ's coming even to the heart. What I found there I will not make professing Church as an occasion of fear and trembling known, nor attempt to describe the terrors that still more than of rejoicing.
filled my soul at the discovery. Blessed be the Salton.
God of mercy! in my distress I became a diver in the Scriptures of eternal truth; and
though for a long time I was unsuccessful, THE DIVER.
through his goodness who hath measured the It is a pleasant thing, when pilgrims are tra- waters in the hollow of his hand, I became velling the same road together, to beguile the possessed of the pearl of repentance, and cried time by the relation of their past adventures. out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke A Zion-bound pilgrim lately gave me an inte xviii. 13.) resting history in nearly the following words:- “ Though I then possessed a gem more pre
“ Often, in the days of my youth, have I cious than the gold of Ophir, in the pearl of gazed on fragments of ruddy coral, goodly shells repentance, yet for a long time I knew not the and pearls, costly stones and curious sea-weed, value of it, nor felt any comfort in its possesand thought of those wrestlers of the ocean who sion, until one day a kind friend, by his endive down to the caverns of the deep in search couraging and Christian counsel, set me diving of pearls.
again, no longer into the troubled sea of my « The wild wonders of the ocean, explored own guiltiness, nor the dark, frowning waves by the pearl-diver, in his painful struggles to of God's holy law, but into the boundless ocean win the treasures of the raging ocean, have of everlasting promises of the Gospel. Another been at such seasons present with me. The pearl was then added to my treasure, and that