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ciple radically unsound, and is but a part of an intensely onesided view, held, indeed, by an excellent and devout man, but marking him as fanatical, rather than wise.*
But how, it may be said, will you dispute facts? Why do you condemn conduct so fruitful of good results? Is not a tree known by its fruits? We answer, we reject the peculiarities of this book, because,
First, They are opposed to the precepts of the Scriptures. While it is quite true that an energy is ascribed to prayer, in the Bible, which few men realize, prayer is by no means urged as the sole duty of man. Praying is almost always conjoined with watching, in the sacred writings. Therefore we read such injunctions as these, “watch and pray,” “ watching unto prayer," "praying and watching with all perseverance," &c., &c. The meaning of which phrases we take to be just what Mr. Müller in one of his rules affirms, and in his conduct denies, viz: to quote his own language, (see p. 422), “to work as if everything depended upon our diligence, and yet not to rest the least upon our exertions, but upon the blessing of the Lord.” “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it," but does divine aid here, or anywhere, exclude human endeavor? And why should solicitations for money be excluded from the general law? Can we cease from labor and rest only in prayer, in this particular, and not depart from the precepts of the gospel!
We reject the peculiarities of this book, because,
Second,—They are opposed to Apostolic practice. The Apostle Paul did not act upon this principle. Wherever he went, he urged the churches to supply, out of their abundance, the wants of the church at Jerusalem. Passages in his epistles incite to this duty, and we do not understand how, if the Scriptures are written for our instruction, these passages could have occurred, were Mr. Müller in the right. We take the gospel as a sufficient rule of faith and practice, and as such we must hold it. But in the instance we have named, and in many more we have not space to mention, the practice of Mr. Müller is not followed, but, on the contrary, there are exhortations to give, not merely prayers recorded, that men may give. We reject the peculiarities of this book,
* Since writing the above paragraph, a friend, recently returned from abroad, has informed us that all through England, and especially the southern part of it, one may see placards posted on the street corners, and flaming notices, everywhere, of The Bristol Miracle! Now this mode of advertisement may not meet with Mr. Müller's sanction. We are not informed on this point; but surely there could be no more sagacious way of interesting a large class of people in any enterprise, than by proclaiming it as a miracle. In the Roman Catholic Church, this is very well understood. Multitudes will give heed to a miracle, who would be unmoved by anything short of it; so that the success of an enterprise, declared to be miraculous, is not so miraculous, after all.
Third, -Because they must, if generally followed, be attended with pernicious effects. Religion will be removed from the great law which God has made essential to the right conduct of affairs. This law is labor, in dependence upon God. Mr. Müller may quote such passages as, “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," but surely he should interpret them in accordance with the analogy of faith, or at least in accordance with the Scriptures themselves. Would he render a parallel passage, “ Labor not for the meat which perisheth,” as an incentive to idleness? If so, how would it comport with the injunctions of which, in so many things, he is so shining an example, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;" “Not slothful in business"? Now we contend that the effect upon religion would be most disastrous, were Mr. Müller's fanatical interpretations of a few isolated passages to
a be generally followed. Men would cease to carry into it the energy and wisdom which God educates them to, in the active duties of life. Religion would be abnormal, and men's minds excluded from its concerns, their hearts would soon be alienated. The presentation of the wants of charitable institutions, and public meetings to consider them, and public appeals to meet them, is the one feature in our highly organized charities, which saves them from being mere business arrangements. Through these channels, personal sympathies are awakened, and men learn not only to give, but to love the work. And if there be an objection raised against organized charities, and philanthropic movements, an objection which, if we mistake not, Mr. Müller felt, we must say that we think it would be as wise to try and supply the world with clothes, from the products of the spinning-wheel and hand-loom, after shutting up our vast factories, with their thousands of restless shuttles, as to attempt, at this age, to meet the spiritual wants of men, by isolated individual endeavor.
But we must stop. We wish we had room to dwell upon this subject more fully; to quote more largely from the book before us,—both to show the fervent spirit of its author, and to point out more clearly the mistakes and errors into which we think he falls, and will cause those to fall, whom he does not repel. We wish that more, many more, could be brought to share his fervor and devotion, for we need greatly, at this day, the spirit that comes from prayer and communion with God, in our work. But do not let us mistake zeal for wisdom. Coveting his spirit, let us yet enlighten our minds, so that our efforts being incited by God's Spirit, and carried on by the means which God has Himself appointed and fitted for that end, may receive His blessing.
ARTICLE IX.—THE MARTYRS UNDER QUEEN ELIZA
John Penry, the Pilgrim Martyr, 1559–1593. By JOHN WADDINGTON, Author of “Emmaus,” &c., &c. London, 1854.
It was an important service to history, which our friend, Dr. Waddington of London, rendered, when he prepared his little volume on the life and martyrdom of John Penry. We know not why the book, being on sale by the Congregational Board of Publication, has not obtained a wider circulation in this country. Aside from its relation to the history of Congregationalism under Queen Elizabeth, and of the movement which resulted in the colonization of New England, it is one of the best books of religious biography. The reader cannot but marvel to find so much of Penry's individuality and interior religious life rescued from oblivion, and exhibited from original and to a large extent unpublished documents, after the lapse of two hundred and sixty years.
Dr. Waddington's researches have thrown light on some passages, heretofore obscure, in the history of the effort which devout and earnest men began, in the reign of Elizabeth, for the restoration of the simple and apostolical church polity, now known as Congregationalism. While Penry is the immediate subject of the story, the character of his fellow-sufferers, and the testimony for which they suffered the spoiling of their goods, and imprisonment, and some of them death itself,—are incidentally brought out with great effect. In the present Article, we shall make free use of Dr. Waddington's results, and of the documents which he has exhumed.
It was in the county of Suffolk, and in the ancient town of Bury St. Edmunds, and its vicinity, that English Congregationalism first came under the cognizance of the government,
in church and state. Mr. Hopkins has told the story well, in the second volume of his “Puritans." Bury St. Edmunds was in the diocese of the bishop of Norwich, Dr. Edmond Freke. His predecessor, Parkhurst, had been a Puritan, whose ideal of reformation was the ecclesiastical order which he saw at Zurich, when he found refuge there in the time of bloody Mary; and, being himself a diligent preacher, he had been much more intent on having the gospel intelligently preached in every parish of his diocese, than on persecuting those preachers who were more scrupulous than he about popish vestments and superstitious ceremonies. Of course, when Dr. Freke came into the see, in 1576, the diocese was greatly infected with Puritanism. The new bishop, at his first visitation, began to show that he was a bishop after the Queen's own heart, and that nonconformity was to have no mercy at his hands. From the beginning of his administration, the established method of dealing with scrupulous consciences was perseveringly employed. Ministers of the gospel, beloved and honored for their work's sake in their parishes, were vexed with prosecutions in the ecclesiastical courts, were suspended from their ministry, were deprived of their livings, were sentenced to imprisonment for six months, for a year, or for life. All this, instead of reconciling the Puritan clergy, or the Puritan people, to the system established by the Act of Uniformity, made them more obstinate in their scruples, and more daring in their inquiries. At Bury, especially, and in that vicinity, the growing dislike to the obnoxious vestments and ceremonies, and to the imprisonment of godly men, by way of church discipline, seems to have prepared some advanced minds to strike out the revolutionary idea of churches mutually independent, formed by the voluntary union of believing souls, and governing themselves under Christ's authority, without asking leave from prince or prelate.
Among the earliest who received and attempted to realize that conception, were John Copping, Elias Thacker, and Robert Browne, all clergymen of the established church. The first of these was shut up in prison at Bury, for his ecclesiastical irregularities, in the year 1576,—at least five years before