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find some fault in him, but their labour was in vain. They tried to catch him in his words, but they could not succeed.
It is true they laid many bad things to his charge,-and some, who were decent people, were so preplexed by the wicked reports which were circulated respecting him by his enemies, at times they scarce knew what to think of him: but his intimate and constant friends, who were witnesses of all he did, and to whom he revealed his whole soul, declared him to be holy, harmless, and undefiled, and separate from sin and sinners. The scribes and pharisees called him a sabbath-breaker, a seditious man, a blasphemer, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. They said he was in league with the devil ; that he cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils : they said he was possessed of a devil himself, and was mad, and as if nothing might be left unsaid that it was in
power of malice to invent and utter, they actually called him Beelzebub himself
, the prince of devils. But it was all false : there was not a particle of truth in the whole. The simple fact was this, he was too good for them. The very reason why they abused him so was because he was so good. There were plenty of bad men in those days, but they let them pass. Andthey would have let the Saviour pass, if he could have been content to join their party, and be no better than themselves. But he could do no such thing. He had come to declare the truth, and he declared it faithfully, and he enforced it by a spotless and perfect example; and this was what provoked their rage. He touched their self-importance,—he struck at the root of their earthly interests aud honours.--he exposed their hypocrisy,—he trampled on their traditions,-he refused to acknowledge their authority,he had no selfishness, no bigotry, no intolerance about him,-he was the friend of universal man,-he thought better of a kind-hearted Samaritan, than of a cruel, selfish Jew,-in a word, he struck at the root of the power of his enemies, by giving the people right notions of God and duty, and teaching them to think for themselves. They reproached him because he was faultless : they hated him because of his loveliness. Even Pilate himself, who heard all that his enemies witnessed against him, declared in open court, in the most solemn manner, that he found no fault in him, and his disciples have left it on record to all ages, that he was a “ lamb without blemish and without spot.”
But this was not all. He was not only free from all evil: he excelled in all that was good. His tempers, his words, and his whole behaviour were one consistent and affecting exemplification of purity, of piety, and of love. How humble he was! He might have been a king if he would, but he refused : he might have been attended by the rich and mighty ; but he preferred the company of his poor disciples. He might have lived in palaces, and ruled men by the force of arms; but instead of that he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and had not where to lay his head. He welcomed to his
presence, those whom the haughty scribes and pharisees would not look down upon. If men were truly penitent; if they had renounced their sins; if they were truly desirous to be reconciled to God, and to live in newness of life, it was enough for him. It mattered not how poor they were, nor how abandoned they had been; he received them into the number of his followers, and regarded them with the greatest tenderness. Look at his temperance. He made no provision for the flesh; the thought of fleshly indulgences ap
peats riever to have entered his mind. He was content with the poorest accommodations, and the homeliest fare: his meat and drink were to do the will of his Father, and to finish his work.
Look at his charity. His whole soul was love, and his whole life was one long list of benevolent labours. He was known by the name of “ Jesus of Nazareth, who went about doing good.” And the name was an exact description of his character. He had a heart that could feel for all that were in distress; and a hand that was always ready to afford relief. He healed the sick ; he cleansed the lepers; he fed the hungry; he gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, and feet to the lame, and life to the dead. He was especially kind to men's souls. He instructed the ignorant, he reproved the guilty, and went throughout all the cities and villages of his country, preaching and teaching the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. After he had spent the day in teaching and working miracles, he frequently passed the night in prayer. His great business on earth was to seek and to save that which was lost.
And his meekness was as great as his love. In his labours to bless mankind he met with innumerable reproaches, and with the most cruel persecutions ; but nothing was able to turn him aside from his benevolent purpose, or to provoke him to wrath. When he was reviled, he reviled ňot again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but went meekly forward with his labours, instructing and blessing the children of men. He endured the temptations of the devil, and the cruelties of an ungodly world without a murmur. On one occasion his soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: and being in an agony, he sweat as it were drops of blood falling to the ground. Still he murmured not. He prayed, it is true, and he urged
petition thrice; but deep as his affliction was, he was still resigned ; and as he offered up each time his prayer, he exclaimed, “Father, not my will, but thine be donc." When his agony was ended, his enemies came and laid hold of him, and dragged him to the judgment hall. There he was mocked and derided; he was buffetted and spit upon; he was derided and scourged; and, on the testimony of false witnesses, he was condemned to death : but he was still unmoved. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. And even when they nailed him to the cross, when he hung amidst the agonics of a cruel and shameful death, his love and meekness were still unconquerable, and he prayed, even in behalf of his murderers, "Father, forgive them: they know not what they do."
Such was the character of the Redeemer considered as a man. And is there a heart that can contemplate this character without emotion. I confess that while I read the story of his sorrows, and contemplate the purity and tenderness of his character, I am melted into tears: my spirit is overwhelmed within me, and I cannot help but love. And the more I contemplate, the more am I enamoured. I can conceive nothing so lovely and affecting in the whole universe of being. It is the glory and the loveliness of heaven itself. And that heart that can contemplate the glory of the Saviour as set forth in the sacred Scriptures, and yet remain unmoved, must be fearfully degenerate. I pray God that every such unhappy soul may be converted.
ITAKE NO THOUGHT.”
Matt. 6. 25.
The above passage, ás rendered in the version in common use—Take no thought " - is frequently the subject of dispute in the workshop, the mill, the factory, the mansion, the cottage, and wherever men congregate together, not excepting the ale-bench and the tavern. To know that men select passages of scriptures for meditation, is a source of gratification to the Christian. But the passage which is the subject of this paper is quoted too often by those who
"precepts divine", for ridicule, and as an occasion to asperse Him who "spake as never man spake" and to represent Him as giving precepts, impract: icable and disastrous.
To us it has ever appeared the height of folly for men, who do not understand the original language in which a book was written, to carp and cavil at words in a translation, which, for ought they know, may when compared wath the original copy, turn out to be a mistranslation, or otherwise, the terms, from the lapse of tiine, may have become changed in their use, or entirely obsolete; and then alike to reject the book and deny the correctness of its author upon no other ground. We would demand of all, and consider the demand as fair, and commending itself to every unbiassed mind, that, ere they take in hand to speak or write against the Bible and thence to deny the divine thoughts enshrined there, they should study the original languages, and if they find anything to objeet to, to level their objections against the thoughts there; for objections which fall only upon a translation are less then the small dust of the balance and less worthy of consideration.
That "take no thought,” does not convey the idea of the Great Teacher, we would submit the following testimonies as proof. Tyndall
, who made the first translation into English out of the Greek, A. D. 1526, renders the above
passage thus;- 'be not carefull for youre lyfe'. The Geneva ver., made in 1557, is the same, to which they add the following gloss; - Man's trauel nothing auaileth where God gyueth the increase'. The first Rhemish ver. made in 1582, and some of the subsequent versions agree with those just quoted, but the modern verr, have “ be not solicitous. In "The Scholler's Companion” published in 1648, the following among other words are selected to express the force of the Greek, "careful, fearful, cark and care, anguish of mind". Archbishop Leighton who wrote about the close of the 17th century, gives expression to the following beautiful sentiment on 1st. Peter 5. 7. where the word occurs; “Whatsoever it is that presseth thee, go tell it to thy Father ; put the matter into his hands, and so thou shall be freed from "merímna" that diviling, perplexing care which the world is full of.” Dr. Doddridge renders Matt 6. 25. *Be not anxious. 1 Peter 5. 7. " Anxious çares; " adding this note; “Your anxious cares - So I have rendered the Greek because that is the proper signification of it; what does as it were, rend and tear the mind to pieces.' The note of Dr. Campbell on Matt. 6. 25. strongly condemns the received text. "I do not think” says he, there is in the common version, a morę palpable deviation from the sense of the original. *** Paul has suggested the boundaries” (of our care) "in his admonitions to the Phillipians, 4. 6. 'Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, make your requests known unto God.' Even here the phrase would have been better rendered “Be anxious about nothiug ;" for doubtless we ought not to be careless about whatever is worthy to be a subject of request to God. To take no thought about what concerns our own support, and the snpport of those dependent upon us would inevitably prove the source of of that improvidence and inaction, which, in the New Testament is branded as
Greek Lex. under the same word, says,-"To care, to be anxiously careful.”' Our Translators render it by being careful in Luke 10. 41. Phil. 4. 6. but in other texts by "taking thought.” It is thus in Matt. 6. 25., and I must confess these have long appeared to me some of the most unhappy translations in the whole of the English Bible; since the texts thus rendered by seeming to enjoin what is plainly inconsistent with the present condition of humanity, are apt to make men less scrupulous in repressing that anxious solicitude about worldly things, which is indeed absolutely forbidden to Christians in these very texts. But though I speak thus freely, yet I would by no means be understood as arraigning either the learning or the fidelity of our excellent translators in these instances; but am inclined to think that, at the time our last translation was made, the phrase to take thought did generally denote to take anxious thought, or to be anxiously careful. In the original Letters published by John Fenn, at the end of Letter 41, I find, "Also ye shall be of good cher and take no thought." ; April 14. 1371. In Shakspeare's Julius Cæsar, Act 4, scene 1, towards the middle : "If he love Cæsar, all that he can do is to himself take thought, and die for Cæsar.” And in the life of John Fox we read, “He would at no time suffer the care of a private estate to enter his mind, much less that he should by taking thought for his household affairs, be overcome or drawn aside". So our translators, 1st. Samuel 9. 5., use taking thought for the Hebrew equivalent and in c. 10. 2. by "sorroweth;” and in Psalm 38. 18. by "sorry." This Hebrew word, evidently exactly corresponds with the Greek word, under consideration. The best Lexicographers give its meaning thus, "anxiety, alarm, dread, see Exek. IV. 16, xii. 18, 19., and Prov. xii. 18., where it is rendered "Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop". Albert Barnes too, quotes Bacon in proof of the same. “Haweis died with thought and anguish;" and, Tyndall quoted above uses thought as synonymous with care, and renders the 27th. verse of the 26th of Matthew "Which of you though he toke thought;" and the Gen. ver., though it has careful and care in the 25, 27, 28, and 34th verses, yet in verse 31 they have substituted thought, - thus,-"Therefore take no thoght.” Our last authority shall be the recent edition of the “Imperial Dic.,” published by Blackie and Son. Under thought is given, solicitude, care, concern.” It also quotes in illustration the above passage from Bacon. From such an accumulated amount of evidence it will be obvious to the most superficial reader that there is no fault in the injunction of Jesus as it passed from his lips, nor yet in the translators of our English version; but, that the fault rebounds upon those who are either ignorant of their own language, or so malignantly disposed towards the Bible, as to say all manner of evil against it falsely.
That the above interpretation in defence of the teachings of Christ, has not been foisted in, in order to meet the inbblings of the secularists, or infidels of any other name, as is sometimes asserted, will be evident from the fact that some of the proofs are more then three centuries and a quarter old; consequently, many years previous to the appearance of the version to which objections are made, The lesson taught is a plain one, a necessary one, a merciful one, and a wise one, becoming the greatest of teachers. Its nature is indicated above. Improvidence is not encouraged but discouraged. Wise fore-thought is not forbidden by Jesus; but carking, distracting care is; such as divides the mind, and renders the subject of it unhappy, enervating, tearing the flesh from the bones. That distrust of an overruling Providence, which distinguishes the infidel from a Christian." That care, says Wesley, " which sad experience shows. wastes the blood, drinks up the spirits; which anticipates all the misery it fears, which poisons the blessings of to day, by the fear of what will be on the morrow; which cannot enjoy the present plenty, through apprehensions of future want.” No longer then, Christian, take part with unbelievers in distrust of your God. Do your endeavours to "provide things honest in the sight of all men," to "eat your own bread," and confide in a Father's care all-loving-all-wise.
Marvel not when his dispensations here'
PROPOSED CHRISTIAN DEFENCE ASSOCIATION.
I am not aware of the existence of any Society having for its particular object the " defence of Christianity, and the exposure and criticism of Infidelity." Is it not most desirable that we should at once have one ? We have our Protestant Defence Societies,—our Church Defence Societies,—and our Anti-state Church Societies,-all having an express object in view. Infidels have their Secular Societies and Socialist clubs, all having it as their main object to endeavour to undermine Christianity. Why should Christians be behind, therefore, in forming a Society whose object should be the “defence of Christianity," against the attacks of modern Infidels.
The principal means which I would suggest should be made use of would be the distribution of Anti-Infidel tracts—Inquiring classes,Weekly Lectures and Discussions, especially for the Working Classes.
The Society, if the funds permitted, might also employ a Missionary expressly to go about combating Infidelity, and exposing the trickery of modern Infidels.
În framing the Rules, I would suggest that there should be embodied in one of them a doctrinal basis, so as to include not only those, but all those who hold the fundamental and distinguishing doctrines of Christianity.
I think the Annual Subscription should not be fixed at more than 5s., so as to allow Working men to join without any monetary barrier, such as there is in many of our large societies.
There should be a Parent society formed at once either in London or Liverpool, or some other large town, so that it night have branches in other places; ali forming one grand alliance. If any of your Liverpool readers are disposed to form one here, I have no objection to lend them a hand. If they will address a letter to me at the office of your Liverpool agent, 90, London-road, on the subject, no doubt we can do something soon.
IS THERE MERCY FOR ME?
Liverpool, November, 1854. DEAR SIR,
I am now twenty-eight years of age, and when I look back for the last twelve years, there is nothing calculated to give me a moment's pleasure; all is dark, all is dreary, all is sinful. There was a time when I enjoyed sweet communion with God, and knew by happy experience that God for Christ's had pardoned all my sins; my soul was made unspeakably happy, being in possession of a peace which passeth all understanding; or in other words, I became a new man in Christ Jesus, for all old things had passed away. But it is not so now, and the fact of being once a Christian, and having such enjoyinents, has destroyed my capabilities of worldly enjoyment, and gives birth to such'desponding thoughts, as can scarcely be described,