Imágenes de página
PDF

ration of his belief of the Christian religion. 3. Students in this seminary shall be aided in their preparation for the ministry by able professors ; whose duty it shall be, by foublic and frivate instruction, to unlock the treasures of divine knowledge, to direct the pupils in their inquiries after sacred truth, to guard them against religious error, and to accelerate their acquisition of heavenly wisdom. - 4 The sublic instruction shall

be given in lectures on natural

theology, sacred literature, ecclesiastical history, Christian theology, and pulpit eloquence. 5. In the kectures on natural theology, the existence, attributes, and providence of God, shall be demonstrated ; the soul’s immortality and a future state, as deducible from the light of nature, discussed ; the obligations of man to his Maker, resulting

from the divine perfections and

his own rational nature, enforced; the great duties of social life, flowing from the mutual relations of man to man, inculcated ; and the several personal virtues deduced and delineated ; the whole being interspersed with remarks on the coincidence between the dictates of reason and the doctrines of revelation, in these primary points; and, notwithstanding such coincidence, the necessity and utility of a divine revelation stated. 6. Under, the head of sacred Iiterature shall be included lectures on the formation, preservation, and transmission of the sacred volume ; on the languages, in which the Bible was originally written ; on the septuagint version of the Old Testament, and

on the peculiarities of the language and style of the New Testament, resulting from this version and other causes ; on the history, character, use, and authority of the ancient versions and manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments; on the canons of biblical criticism ; on the authenticity of the several books of the sacred code; on the apochryphal books of both Testaments; on modern translations of the Bible, more particularly on the history and character of our English version ; and also critical lectures on the various readings and difficult passages in the sacred writings. 7. Under the head of ecclesiastical history shall be comprised lectures on Jewish antiquities; on the origin and extension of the Christian church in the first three centuries ; on the various sects and heresies in the early ages of Christianity ; on the characters and writings of the fathers ; on the establishment of Christianity by Constantine, and its subsequent effects ; on the rise and progress of popery and mahometanism ; on the corruptions of the church of Rome ; on the grounds, progress, and doctrines of the reformation ; on the different denominations among Protestants; on the various constitutions, discipline and rites of worship, which have divided, or may still divide the Christian church ; on the state and prevalence of paganism in our world ; and on the effect, which idolatry, mahometanism,

and Christianity have respective

ly produced on individual and

national character. 8. Under the head of christian

theology shall be comprehended

lectures on divine revelation ; on the inspiration and truth of the Old and New Testaments, as proved by miracles, internal evidence, fulfilment of prophecies, and historic facts ; on the great doctrines and duties of our holy Christian religion, together with the objections made to them by Munbelievers, and the refutation of such objections; more particularly on the revealed character of God, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; on the fall of man, and the depravity of human nature ; on the covenant of grace ; on the character, of fices, atonement, and mediation of Jesus Christ ; on the character and offices of the Holy Spirit; on the scripture doctrines of regeneration, justification, and sanctification ; on evangelical repentance, faith, and obedience ; on the nature and necessity of true virtue or gospel holiness ; on the future state, on the immortality of soul and body, and the eternity of future rewards and punishments, as revealed in the gospel ; on the positive institutions of Christianity ; on the nature, interpretation, and use of prophecy; and on personal religion, as a qualification for the gospel ministry.

9. Under the head of /u/ut eloquence shall be delivered a competent number of lectures on the importance of oratory ; on the invention and disposition of topics ; on the several parts of a regular discourse ; on elegance, composition, and dignity in style; on pronunciation, or the proper management of the voice and correct gesture, and on the immense importance of a natural manner; on the rules to be observed in composing a sermon, and on the adaptation of the

principles and precepts of ancient rhetoric to this modern species of oration ; on the qualities in the speaker, in his style, and in his delivery, necessary to a finished pulpit orator; on the methods of strengthening the memory and of improving in sacred eloquence ; on the character and style of the most eminent dir wines and best models for imitation, their respective beauties and excellencies in thought and expression; and above all, on the transcendent simplicity, beauty, and sublimity of the sacred writings. 10. It shall be the duty of the professors, by frivate instruction and advice, to aid the students in the acquisition of a radical and adequate knowledge of the sacred scriptures in their original languages, and of the Old Testament in the septuagint version ; to direct their method of studying the Bible and other writings; to superintend and animate their pursuits by frequent inquiries and examinations, relative to their progress in books and knowledge; to assign prop-er subjects for their first compesitions, and to suggest a natural.

[blocks in formation]

paternal solicitude, and by every prudent and Christian method to promote the growth of true piety in their hearts; to give them friendly advice with relation to their necessary intercourse among men in the various walks of life, and especially with respect to the manner, in which it becomes a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus to address both God and man, whether in the assembly of his saints, or in the chamber of sickness and of death.

-

LETTERS FROM A C LERGY MAN To his son,

LETTER VI.

My Son,

IN reading my preceding letters, I believe you have been led to this reflection, that the work of the sincere and humble Christian is much more plain, simple and easy, than the work of a man of the world. The former makes his duty the rule of his conduct, and indulges no painful anxiety about the consequences. The latter is solicitous about the consequences, and pays little attention to duty. The apostle says, “We have our conversation in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God.”

The man governed by the wisdom of the world is always in uncertainty and perplexity. Human wisdom is short sighted ; it cannot look far into futurity; nor foresee what will be the remote consequences of the policy, —which it adopts. The very neans, which it applies to the Procurement of wealth, honour,

or preferment, may operate to quite contrary effects. New expedients must then be chosen, and new disappointments will soon ensue. Or if the measures chosen seem successful in the first essay, remoter consequences may be adverse and disastrous, and doubtless will be so. I need not refer you to history, sacred or profane ; your own recollection will verify this remark, The man, who, laying aside the plain maxims of virtue and morality, governs himself by the policy of the world, is never satisfied ; never consistent with himself; never uniform in his conduct. He is continually shuffling and changing his means, always anxious and embarrassed ; wishing to undo what he has done ; and doing what should not be done ; still too proud to confess his error, and too selfsufficient to ask advice. If danger threatens and probable means of deliverance fail, he takes some desperate measures, trusting to the contingence of events. If he falls into ruin, he draws many after him, and endeavours to console himself by imputing the blame to others. The pious and honest man escapes all this vexation and misery. “He walks uprightly, and walks surely.” He has one plain rule to guide him. This is the word of God, and this, he knows, will never mislead him. If ever he is in doubt, he recurs to this rule, and his doubt is removed ; for his way is marked before him. He feels no embarrassment ; for he knows what is good, and what God requires of him. He walks right on in the way prescribed, committing his way to God, and trusting that his thoughts will be

w

established. If he meets with

some disappointments, still he maintains his resolution, and pursues his course ; he will not turn aside to avoid the evils before him ; for he believes these, if they meet him, may be the means of improving his virtue, and ensuring eventual success ; that some rough passages will teach him to tread more cautiously, and will prepare him to enjoy more pleasantly the smoother parts of his journey. As long as he finds himself in the path of wisdom, he feels no anxiety what may be before him ; for this, he knows, will lead him safely along, and bring him out happily at the end. And whatever may happen by the way, he believes it will aid his progress, and facilitate his journey through life. When anxious thoughts arise and utter their complaints, he rebukes and silences them by the recollection, that he has pursued the line of duty, and committed his way to God. If his worldly designs miscarry, he will not murmur ; for he has committed them all to God’s disposal. He knows there is a plain inconsistency in committing his works to God, and complaining of God's allotments. This is taking back what he once resigned, and reclaiming what he had given away. How happy is the life of the good Christian, who lives by faith in God, and trusts with him the interests of time and eternity ? A consciousness of the rectitude of his heart and the purity of his intentions give him peace and serenity. A persuasion of God's wisdom, goodness, faithfulness and power fills him with confidence and hope. The promises

of the gospel open to his view glorious and endless prospects. Faith appropriates an interest in the promised blessings, and hope begins the enjoyment of them. Amidst the changes of the world he rests in the immutable God. In times of danger he dwells secure in the secret place of the Most High, and abides serene under the shadow of the Almighty. In worldly embarrassments he keeps his mind cheerful and unruffled by a humble trust in divine wisdom. He is solicitous only to understand and pursue the path of virtue and righteousness; thus, he knows, he shall enjoy peace, and, whatever may be his lot in life, no evil will ultimately befall him. He commits his soul to God in well doing, as to a faithful Creator, casting all his cares upon him. When death approaches, he calls up the exercise of that faith, by which he has lived, and resigns himself anew to God in humble hope, that as he has been faithful to the death, so now he shall rest from his labours, and his works shall follow him. That you may enjoy the conscious pleasures of religion in life, and experience its solid comforts in death, is the wish and prayer of your affectionate parent, EU's EB I Us.

A LETTER ON THE AUTHOR OF
THE EPISTLE TO THE HE-
BRIEW s.

Dear Sir,
It was with pleasure, I under-

took the task of relieving your

mind, with regard to the authen

ticity of the Epistle to the He

brews. I shall now try to eluci

z

350

date this subject further, and give you a more correct opinion of this book and its presumptive author, in the words, as far as it is possible, of the excellent Venema, who after Mill asid Michaelis, has thrown further light upon this subject. The letter was probably written to the Jewish Christians at Alexandria; unquestionably, to some of that denomination, united in a church ; as appears from chap. xiii. 18, 19. This supposition is strengthened from the style, as well as from the use of Philo's phraseology, who too was an Alexandrian. Dr.Mill and J.D.

Michaelis understood it from the

Hierosolymitans. But the style of this epistle is an objection against this conjecture. It was probably written in Greek, as it bears more marks of an original composition, than of a translation. It was unquestionably written before the destruction of Jerusalem, of which more than one evidence will appear to the attentive reader of the epistle. The author's aim was to confirm the Jewish Christians, still staggering and inclining to the Mosaic rituals, in the Christian faith, and

wean them from their attachment

to the institutions of the Mosaic ław. He executed his design with great skill and address, maintaining throughout the epistle, and illustrating the position, that, under the gospel economy, unlimited obedience was due to Christ; deriving his arguments from the transcendent excellency of Christ above all angels who held a high place under the Sinai covenant, (chap. i. & ii.) above Moses its institutor ; above the prophets, who were aiding it, (chap. iii. & iv.) and above all

On the Epistle to the Hebrews.

[jan.

the priests, its prime ministerS. Learned commentators pretty generally agree, that Paul is not its author. There are, however, mighty exceptions, Mill and Michaelis. But if not Paul, who then Luther and Beza have given it to Apolios, and V enema has defended this opinion with his usual acuteness. Before copying his arguments, it may spread more light upon this subject, to say a few words about Apollos. Apollo, Apollos, or Apollodorus, was a companion of Timothy and Titus. Titus iii. 13, Heb. xiii. 23. He was eloquent and deeply initiated in the knowledge of the divine mysteries and rites of the Mosaic law. This is evident, not only from the epistle to the Hebrews, which you might deem here a precarious assumption, but from his title Xoyo; eloquent, Acts xviii. 24. and l Cor. iii. 6. Paul filanted, Apollos watered. IIe was born a Jew, at Alexandria, Acts xviii. 24. deeply versed in the books of the Old Testament, mighty in the scriptures ; of a fervent shirit, who at Ephesus, though only acquainted with the doctrine of John the Baptist, and knowing only the first elements of the kingdom of God, not even knowing the effusion of the Holy Ghost, Acts xix. Patronized, fearless in the cause of Christ against the Jews, Acts xviii. 25. (Venema reads & 29.3% pro 2×6.3a;, as Philip i. 14) w hile he aiterwards was more accurately instructed by Aquila, «xt:34:62, ib. v. 26. Thus better learned, he went to Aclaia, and tarried at Corinth, where he was of great use to the believers, helping them much, who had

« AnteriorContinuar »