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Church as it ought to be

Sortain's Romanism and Anglo-Catholicism

Timpson's "What have I to do with Missions?"

279

312

ibid

187

ibid

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27, 89, 218, 249, 282, 314, 344, 370

28, 57, 92, 121, 156, 219, 252, 284, 315, 348

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THE JEWISH "FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH."

ANOTHER year has passed away! Where are its mercies, its sins, its responsibilities! Amidst the sighs of contrition, and the anthems of praise, we have entered on the new year!— Such a season ought to be regarded as a fit occasion for more than ordinary attention to religious duties. Would that this were the case! Alas! we fear that in many instances, it is too frequently devoted to unhallowed mirth. And yet there is in the minds of most men a conviction, that to repent of their sins, and prepare for the future, is the proper employment of the period, when they are, perhaps, near the termination of their probationary state.

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We are not destitute of scripture references and associations, with respect to the opening of the NEW YEAR,-some of them are of an interesting and instructive character. In the book of Exodus (xl. 1, 2) we read, that-"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying-on the FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.' From this we learn, that "the first day of the first month" was appointed by God himself, as the time for commencing the services of the tabernacle, after the Israelites had abode in the wilderness nearly a whole year. Doubtless, both Moses and the various artificers had used great diligence, and even exertion, to get the tabernacle, and all the vessels of it, ready for their appointed

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use. A pattern of every part had been shown to Moses on mount Sinai. The divine will was both their warrant in duty, and the source of their encouragement. They did not wait till they reached Canaan, but they set up the tabernacle in the midst of the Hebrew camp, while they were in the wilderness.

The tabernacle was a representation of Christ, in whom " dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" and who in his incarnate state, "dwelt [tabernacled] among us." Now the wonders of redemption should occupy our attention every day; but on this day ("the first day of the first month") especially, should we be coming to God in that new and living way, which Christ has opened for us through the vail, for pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. As long as the Jewish polity existed, were the various sacrifices and services of the Mosaic ritual renewed ; and as long as the world shall stand, must true christians look to Jesus, and live a life of faith upon his merits and mediation.— May all our readers, this day, set out afresh for heaven-renew their dedication, and prosecute their career with redoubled ardour. Then "God will come down and dwell in us;" while "the sacrifices of prayer and praise" will be offered to Him continuallyand every faculty of our souls be sanctified to his service.

These observations may possibly meet the eye of certain captains of ships, or heads of families, who, up to the present moment, have never commenced a tabernacle service, or set up an altar for the Lord. May such be induced to commence this work" this first day of the first month." Reader! how important such an employment, when viewed in connexion with the season on which you have just entered! O is it not high time to seek the Lord! Who does not regret that he has lost so many years already? Who might not have begun long before, and been now both serving and enjoying God? May such be enabled to say, with genuine contrition of heart-"Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously, and love us freely;" then "THIS DAY will be unto thee for a memorial!"

Another reference to the season now under review, is recorded in the second book of the Chronicles (xxix.) It occurred in the days of Hezekiah. At the age of twenty-five he came to the crown. A wise and enlightened monarch, he immediately applied himself to the work of reformation. His exhortation to the Levites is very pathetic. He lays before them the desolations of

the sanctuary, and shews the bitter consequences of neglecting God's ordinances. He declares his wish to promote a revival of religion; and excites the Levites and priests to unite with him in the work. Accordingly we read,-" They began on the FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH to sanctify." Here then was a great work commenced, and at a very peculiar season. The sanctuary was cleansed-an atonement presented-burnt-offerings were offered with the sin-offerings-and the voice of prayer and praise again ascended from God's altar. In all this, the king, the priests and Levites, and the congregation united. It was a time of gracious revival. They mourned over the past, and resolved on obedience for the future.

There is, in many respects, a striking similarity in the leading features of the history of the church of God in every age. And it is not very difficult to account for this fact--for the conduct of man is the same. The divine dispensations are governed by the same general laws, and conducive to one wise and salutary result. Did the church of God, in Hezekiah's day, humble themselves in in sackcloth and ashes, and seek pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace? And did they embrace a suitable season for all this, remembering that "the first day of the first month" was both the anniversary of the opening of the tabernacle, and of the vows of the worshippers? And did Jehovah graciously hear, and pardon, and accept? Surely, then, we should do the same. Repentance and reformation, are never out of place-never unseasonable. And is there not a moral necessity for this? Have not we, like Judah, trifled with divine institutions-sinned against our own mercies-neglected the great salvation-and, at times, almost forgotten our own immortality? Where have been our zeal-our self-consecration-our fellowship with heaven, and our power with God? O, in these things, we have fallen short, and are verily guilty; "sin lieth at the door."

What then remains to be done? Shall we spend our time in fruitless attempts to atone for the past? Rather let us imitate the conduct of Hezekiah. Let his example animate us; and his success shall be ours.

We, also, are permitted to behold "the first day of the first month." Notwithstanding our numerous sins and provocations we have been spared! Aroused from our lethargy, and sensible of our innumerable imperfections and transgressions, O that it

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