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sparkle with intelligence, and the countenance to exhibit wisdom. A man rises in mental stature in proportion to the magnitude of his thoughts. Let a man drink in the thoughts of God, as revealed in His Word, and he will become more like God. One of the purposes of Divine revelation is thus to“ sanctify us through the trath.” When we see Him as He is,” we shall so mentally comprehend His grand and glorious purposes, as to be anxious to do all we can to fulfil those purposes for the glory of His Name. Our whole nature will be absorbed into the outlines of Divine wisdom, and our souls will drink in His likeness, until our nature will become like Cbrist's nature.
Christ's image will also be seen in our spiritual nature. Perfect holiness, intense emotion, supreme joy, and profound sympathy with the Divine Will, are the characteristics that will beautify our every feature, and mark our every step. An inextinguishable blaze of light will radiate from us.
Our life will be animated with immortal vigour. Love will be in us a ruling passion. Here, on earth, the spiritual nature is ever yearning after the establishment of Christ's kingdom. The heart most like Christ is ever thinking Christ's thoughts, and ready to do Christ's work; ready to make others like Christ, and to bring all intelligent creation into harmony with the purposes of Divine mercy. And he who is thus heartily engaged in such works, even here, is being changed and transformed by the Spirit of God into Christ's image and likeness. Seeing Him here, by the eye of faith, we are gradually changed into His likeness: Beholding Him hereafter, with the eye of spiritual sense, we shall be completely transformed into His image ; and shall
Bask in His beams with eternal delight;
GOOD WOMEN OF SCRIPTURE MISUNDERSTOOD AND
No. VI.-J.PHTHAH'S DAUGHTER.
The father of this lady is in the list of Paul's worthies (Heb. xi. 32), of whom the apostle says, that they " through faith subdued kingdoms AND WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS." And yet, such has been the perversity of human intellect that, until lately, the prevailing opinion among commentators has been that Jephthah actually killed his daughter, and offered her up to Jehovah literally as a burnt sacrifice upon the altar!
Let us look at the facts as recorded (Judges xi. 29.40). Jephthah had been chosen chief captain of the Israelites, and peaceful negotiations with the Ammonites having failed—as they generally do when both parties
have arms in their hands—“Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and be passed over unto the children of Ammon. And Jephtbah vowed a vow onto the Lord, and said, If Thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine bands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it op for a burnt offering."
The marginal note to our Bibles substitutes the word " for " and” in the last clause; so making the vow to read that whatever met him first should be the Lord's, or he would offer it up for a burnt offering.
What could be expect to meet him coniing out of the doors of his honse but some menuber of his family, wife or daughter, or favoured servant, or some one near of kin to him? No matter who it might be, so full of self-denial was he under the influence of "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD,” that he vowed it- devoted it—as a sacred sacrifice to God. Bat 60 well read was he in the books of Moses, as we may gather from his message to the Ammonites, that he well knew how a singular vow was to be paid (see Lev. xxvii). Thirty shekels of silver would redeem a feniale from the consequences of an ordinary pow; but from such an absolute devotement, as in his heart be purposed, there was no redemption (verse 28); the devoted one must belong thenceforth to the service of the tabernacle, as Samuel subsequently did; who was, in like manner, vowed or devoted by his mother Hannah.
“And Jephthah (victorious) came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, bis danghter came out to meet bin with timbrels and with dances : " (as Miriam did on the borders of the Red Sea); “and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.”
It is commonly so, much easier to make a vow than to pay it; and what seems easy under some powerful inspiration of the Spirit, proves very bard of performance when that Spirit is withdrawn. unto the Lord thy vows, for it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay."
Jephthah felt the burden which his vow had cast upon him, and upon his much-loved only child; but, although he was scarcely able to bear its weight, and exhibited the utmost tokens of regret, his daughter, with the trae spirit of a heroine, said, “My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy month; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon."
And when she knew that the vow of devotement would dedicate her to God's service, and to a single life, she said, “ Let this thing be done for me : let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the
- Vow and pay mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows." At the end of two months she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed. “ And it was a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament (margin, “ to talk with ") the daughter of Jephtbah the Gileadite, four days in a year.”
So that long as she lived there was an annual break of four days' holiday for converse with her friends; apart from the duties which she had undertaken of constant attendance in the Tabernacle. Nor must we suppose that she was alone in this service: we are told (Num. xxxi. 35-40) that thirty-two young girls, captive Midianites, were the Lord's tribute, who would be employed about the Tabernacle; and Joshua ix. 27 informs us that Joshua made the whole tribe of the Gibeonites « hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord.”
What particular employments these devoted maidens had, may be at least partly conceived. Their nimble fingers would be constantly required to keep the numerous hangings and embroideries of the Tabernacle and its services in good order : possibly, also, there may have now commenced that service of song, which reached such perfection in the time of David, about a hundred and twenty years afterwards.
Jephthah's daughter, with her knowledge of the books of Moses, would be just the person to teach the Gibeonites the statutes and the worship of the one true and living God, and to lead them in holy song, and to tell them what all these sacrifices and offerings figured forth : the coming of Messiah, the Prince and Shepherd of all the families of the earth.
Jephthah's subsequent bloody quarrel with the contentious and envious Ephraimites, added to the loss of his daughter's society, so told upon him that he judged Israel ooly six years, and then he died.
How long his high-spirited and pious daughter survived him, we know not; but long enough to make it a custom for the daughters of Israel to make a pilgrimage yearly to the Tabernacle, to talk with her of the trials and triumphs of her younger days; and, perhaps, to speculate upon another state of being in which they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
THE METHODIST YEAR BOOK FOR 1881.
We have received a copy of this valuable annual, published by the authorities of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America.”
It is edited by Dr. W. H. De Pay, and published by Messrs. Philips and Hunt, New York, and Messrs. Walden and Stowe, Cincinnati. Its bulk is small, but its contents are various and valuable. Such another example of the Multum in parvo could not easily be found. It gives religious statistics, not only for the United States, but for the world, together with population and educational statistics, and many other particulars, some of them exactly ascertained, others carefully computed. There is much to challenge an Englishman's attention, and more to interest Methodist Local Preachers. We have marked some things for transference to our own pages, and will give them, with occasional remarks and links of connection.
The Twenty.third General Conference—held every fourth year-was held in Cincinnati, May 1-28 (four weeks), 1880. It is composed of ministerial and lay delegates. The Annual Conferences are each entitled to send, at least, one miaisterial delegate; and those of larger extent, to send one for every forty-five of its members, and an additional one for an overplus of thirty or more members. No Annual Conference, except on foreign mission fields, must be organised with fewer than fifteen effective members. The last General Conference was composed of 248 ministerial delegates and 151 lay delegates. Thirteen bishops were present, each presiding in the order of seniority in his office. Nineteen fraternal delegates from eleven other churches, all of the Methodist family except two, were received. Four delegates were appointed to represent the Conference at the Conferences of other Methodist bodies in America and in Great Britain and Ireland. Three bishops, and two wives of bishops, died during the preceding four years. The
expenses of the delegates of the General Conference amounted to nearly five thousand pounds; the receipts from the Annual Conferences being £845 short of that amount. The deficiency was met by a
" draft on the Book Concern." This is the usual resource in like cases.
Our readers will generally feel pleasure in reading the following: “It was ordered that, among the questions put to candidates for admission into the Annual Conference, should be the following : Will you wholly abstain from the use of tobacco ?'" Why should this question be permitted to sink into a mere formality in any assembly of honest men, much less of Ministers of the Gospel ? And why should it not be among the perpetuated questions in all the periodical meetings in which discipline is considered? Smoking, as a babit, is a vice, except when needed for the counteraction of disease or the relief of suffering ; and the money spent by some men in the vicious indulgence is a scandal to religion. The filth that it causes, also, is abominable.
A yet more loathsome and detestable thing provoked the righteous indignation of the Conference; and "a resolution was unanimously passed, by a rising vote, nrging upon Congress the adoption of such statutes or amendments as shall secure, or aid in securing, the extirpation of polygamy, and those other named crimes as shall make the laws of the United States supreme in Utah as elsewhere in our nation.' Our Lord Jesus Christ restored the purity of the marriage relation as originally instituted by God's own act; and the tolerance of polygamy by governments professing to be Christian, is rebellion against Him.
A resolation was passed against the ordination of women to the public ministry of the Gospel, and also against the licensing of women as local preachers. Paul speaks of some women who laboured with him in the Gospel (Phil. iv. 3). What did those women do? How did they labour? We read of Apollos, “an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, knowing only the baptism of John," being taught by a woman and her husband, who “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts xviii. 24-26). We read also of John Wesley's mother expounding and preaching in her busband's house to all comers, because she dare not refuse. We have heard women preach and lecture with great ability; and, although St. Paul says he suffered not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. ii. 12), the context shows that what he then wrote was in reference to domestic life, and tbe godly order of a Christian home, in which the wife must be in subjection, in the Lord, to the authority of her husband, and not he to hers. There are women who can preach, and we dare not give our voice, in all cases, against its being done.
America has been greatly agitated about the large number of Chinese who have immigrated there. Some of the poor adventurers have been cruelly treated, and attempts have been made to procure their expnlsion, and to prevent others from following them. Their habits of frugality and industry enable them to work for less pay than the Americans and the European immigrants. Hence the animosity with which they are regarded. The Conference took this matter calmly in hand; and, on the ground of existing treaties between the United States and China, and the faithful observance of those treaties on the part of China, passed four resolutions in favour of the Chinese immigrants, intended to influence the Government, the Press, and the Methodist people on their behalf, and to encourage and strengthen the hands of the Superintendent of its own mission among that people in California.
Our friends will be gratified, and some of them delighted, with what follows: “ Whereas, The purity and exalted character of the family and
: social life at the White House, Washington, is not surpassed in the history of our country; therefore,
“ Resolved, That we, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, assembled in Obio, the State of the nativity of the President, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Mrs. Hayes, hereby express our high appreciation of the personal worth and noble example of the President and his wife, and commend to all the women of America the heroic conduct of Mrs. Hayes in regard to temperance, and specially, the beautiful simplicity of her Christian life.”
“An important report on Temperance was adopted, providing the appointment of a Committee by each Quarterly Conference, to meet the pastor at least once every three months for consultation as to the best means for promoting the temperance cause.”