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Observer, Feb. 1, '72.
revival of concern for eternal things. Many were consequently led to give themselves up to serve God. But the strange feature of the case is the fact that for forty years after he gave himself to Christ, during which time he was a church member against whom no one could bring a charge, attending to all the public means of grace and enjoying the same, but, in that long course of years he never induced even one soul to entertain serious concern for salvation. He was not a minister, neither had he any special talking gift, and so it never occurred to him that it was in his power to turn men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. The long period of forty years passed and he was hastening on to seventy years of age ere he came to feel that it was in his power to cause men to seek the Saviour. Then he realized that that result could be reached by plain, earnest, homely telling of what he knew of Jesus. The idea fired his soul, and the large and blessed results, already named, continued to flow from his efforts so long as strength enabled him to carry on the work.
Suffer me now to ask how many some of you have brought to Jesus since you came into the church ? I believe that some of you have been here years and have never brought one sinner to give himself to Christ, and, it may be, have never seriously and prayerfully tried to so do. May it not be that there are some who during this year have not induced even one hearer to come within these walls? There are certainly those in the church who contribute nothing to the labour of the church, though as able so to do as are those who do its work. Shall this state of things continue ? If you practically say yes, need you be surprised if the Lord, ere another year shall close, should say, Cut him down, why cumbereth he the ground ? Meroz, you know, was cursed because they came not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. They did not fight against Jehovah ; they did nothing. Doing nothing leads to losing all. The man with one talent, hid it in a napkin. He kept it, but he made no use of it; and you know the award given him by the Master. Look at the work of this church during the present year ; compare it with that of the Jerusalem church during its first year. We plead for primitive Christianity ; let us have primitive work, primitive zeal, primitive love. The framework is of no use without the living spirit. As the body without the soul is dead, so the forms and ordinances of the primitive church are as dead and useless without the primitive life and power. If we fail here, we fail altogether. Better to have the love, the zeal, the faith, without the external ordinances, than to have the ordinances without the zeal and love. Not that we may relinquish either. The one we are to have and not to be without the other. But ritual cannot take the place of love to God and service to man. Let us, then, be up and doing
“ Yes, to a world in bondage lying,
Go teach a bleeding Saviour's name,
Freedom from sin and death proclaim,
And seize the Gospel sword !
On glorious victory." But, in all this we have spoken to the church only. Some of you are not members of the church, have not given yourselves to Christ, and, therefore, have no church-life to compare with that of the first year of the
Observer, Feb. 1, '72.
first church. Your condition is both sad and blessed; sad, that it is what it is, in so far as you withold from Christ His due and from your own souls the salvation which they need; but blessed, in that the day of mercy is not yet closed and that now you may turn to the Lord and live.
But, though you have no church life to compare with that of the first Christians, that first year of the church is not wanting in interest to you. In that second chapter of the Acts of Apostles, you have set forth all that a sinner is called to believe in order to pardon; there you have the Gospel unfolded, and can at once learn all that you need to receive in order to become a Christian. You can also, in that same chapter, learn what the sinner must do when, believing the Gospel with all his heart, he desires salvation and adoption into the family of God. Such men, pricked to the heart, cried out, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The answer given to them stands there recorded, “ Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That answer is written for your instruction; and, though men neglect it, still it stands as the word of God to you, who this day need salvation. There, too, you will find what the church continued to do, as well as large instruction and much encouragement in reference to manifold actions and duties devolving upon the Christian. You are spared to the close of another year; let it be the last, I pray you, which shall be characterized, so far as you are concerned, by refusal to surrender to Christ.
May the Lord grant you, in His mercy, every aid to this end ; and may it be yours, after doing and suffering His will here, to attain the endless glory of the New Jerusalem !
THE SPANISH CATHOLIC CHURCH ON BAPTISM.
BY G. C. LORIMER, D.D. Paul, the apostle, in writing to the Romans (xv. 24.), speaks of an intended journey to Spain, as a purpose actually formed by him; from which it is inferred that he was the founder of the Christian Church in that country. Doubtless its experience was similar to that through which the cause of truth passed in Gaul or Italy. Errors crept in and a downward course characterized it for centuries. But from all the history that remains of this period we gather that it resisted for a long time the influence of the Roman See, and did not surrender until circumstances and policy combined to leave it no other course to pursue. One of the earliest councils of which we have any record was held at Eliberis, or Elvira, a place where the city of Granada subsequently arose. The year was A.D. 305. This Council passed above eighty canons among which we find one declaring that "any clergyman who knows that his wife commits adultery and sends her not away is unworthy of the communion of the church,” showing that the Spanish clergy of the fourth century might marry. But another, the thirty-sixth canon, is, if anything, more decided in its condemnation of the Papacy. It reads : “We would not have pictures placed in churches, lest the Object of our worship and adoration should be painted on their walls.” That is, the Spanish Church denounced the idolatry of Italy. The Council held at Toledo, A.D. 400, is principally interesting from the facts that bishops, priests and deacons still
Observer, Feb. 1, "72.
had wives. Also, there is evidence that the introduction of infants into the church was resisted. This is proven by the writings of Pacianus, bishop of Barcelona, who died about A.D. 380. He demands for the reception of the sacraments preceding faith. One Vigilantius, born at Calagorris, on the Pyrenees, about the year A.D. 364, made himself so obnoxious to the papal party, opposing all of their corruptions, that he has received from them, as a term of shame, the name Protestant—the first Spanish Protestant. The supremacy of the Roman See was rejected for centuries. Elipando, of Toledo, in reply to Migecio, uttered this memorable truth in the seventh century: “The words of Christ, which thou appliest to Rome alone, were spoken of the universal church scattered over the whole earth. How canst thou say that the church of Rome is free from spot or blemish, seeing that Pope Liberius was condemned as a heretic, and that St. Gregory complained of the many wicked men who were found in it?” Even the mass according to the Roman form, was not celebrated in Spain until A.D. 1071. It was first observed in the monastery of St. Juan de la Pena, in Aragon; and Pope Gregory VII. glories in the change as “the deliverance of Spain from the illusion of the Toledan superstition." The first Spanish king who recognized the Pope and
” received his laws was Ramiro I. of Aragon (A.D. 1036-1063). In 1204 Don Pedro II. went to Rome, and was crowned by Pope Innocent III ; and
; from that time the church in Spain became the most devoted of all the nations in its support of the Papacy. So entirely did she yield herself up to Italian influence that it was her boast in 1570 that not a stain of heresy defiled her garments; alas ! she had washed out what she called heresy in the blood of the saints. From that time, until very recently, she has been without a rival on the Peninsular. Dreading no opposition, her scholars have written some honest words on learned questions, which have divided the people of God in other lands. Especially is this true in the case of baptism. Hundreds of citations could be given from Spanish authorities maintaining that immersion is the act to be performed when that ordinance is administered. As they cannot but be impartial witnesses, testifying against their own practice as they do, their opinion on this point may not be without its weight. Believing this, I have collected a few quotations which I hereby present for the consideration of the enquiring. For my ability to do so I am much indebted to Mr. Knapp, of Madrid, in whose possession the works are from whence these extracts are made.
Padre Scio, the translator of the Roman Catholic Bible into Spanish, and annotator of the same writes on Acts viii. (Phillip and the Eunuch), Baptism was administered then, and for a long time continued to be administered by immersion." Under Col. ii. 12 he says, “The immersion of the body into the water of baptism, as it was accustomed to be admini. stered anciently, is a sure and efficacious sign of the spiritual death of the old man," etc, etc.
Francisco Ximenez in his “Paraphrasis of the Epistles of Paul, the Apostle," published in Madrid, 1789, says, under Rom. vi. 4,-"Here Paul alludes to the ceremony employed in his day for the administration of baptism, which was done by plunging in the water the whole body of him who was baptized." And here follows a fact worthy of note. Throughout the epistles in the first edition, this author employs the word "immersed” wherever baptized occurs ; but in the second edition, issued after his death, this plan is reversed by the Romish revisers.
Were they afraid, as this work might be read by men of ordinary education to leave 80 clear a condemnation of their system?
Observer, Feb. 1, '72.
In the recent Spanish Etymological Dictionary of Felipe Monlau baptize is simply defined by the word immerse without further explanation. And this is true of the Literary Encyclopædias without exception. Catholic Theological Dictionary (11 vols, Madrid, 1867), makes the following statement: “ With regard to the ablution the practice of the Latin Church differs entirely from the ge of the ancient church. We perform the ablution by sprinkling or pouring; the apostle did it by immersion ; and this was the universal practice until far in the Middle Ages; in the middle of the thirteenth century sprinkling or pouring was rarely practised. In 1280 a Council of Cologne sought to maintain the ancient usage.
“How is it that the Catholic church has abandoned this ancient, primitive, clearly and incontestably apostolic usage? How is it that this abandonment can be understood and justified ? Immersion is not exempt from inconveniences," etc., etc. “ The church has not ordered baptism by sprinkling or pouring, but it has simply permitted it.” But why? That is the question, and the editors can give no answer satisfactory even to their Romish minds. Again we ask, why? Why should the true sense of BaTTito be ignored and tampered with ? If words have meaning and they are combined into commands, it must be the intention of the lawgiver that they be observed according to their natural signification ; otherwise, if we may make them denote anything we please, we do our own will, and not the will of Him who has instituted the law.
Here I conclude these citations. Of the Spanish church it may be said, os. Sigue sin novedad,'”-she goes on without novelty; but it would be refreshing could we, who are ever seeking new things, adopt what would be, in some quarters. a novel practice, namely, the observance of God's commands without altering them to suit our convenience.-Freeman.
MORTUARIES; OR, TAXING THE DEAD. We learn from the Carlisle Journal that some months ago a member of the Society of Friends, named William Peile, who resided in the village of Mosser, near Cockermouth, died, and was interred with the usual formalities of the Society to which he belonged in the Friends' burialground at Pardshaw. After his interment the incumbent of Loweswater and Mosser made a claim upon the widow for the sum of 10s. as a mortuary fee.
Mrs. Peile, acting under advice, refused to comply with this demand; and the incumbent has expressed his determination to enforce it, by instituting legal proceedings for the recovery of the amount. In the event of legal proceedings being commenced, the Act of Parliament referred to stipulates that the person refusing to pay mortuary fees shall be punished by imprisonment.
The Journal further states that the statute under which the claim was made is an old Act of Parliament passed in the reign of Henry VIII., before the Reformation, empowering a clergyman to claim 10s. as mortuary fee-or a fee for prayers said for the dead.
The Rev. G. M. Tandy, the incumbent, who thinks that this statement places him in a false position with his people, by representing him as behaving towards them "curiously and harshly, and unjustly,” says that he can find nothing confirmatory of the statement about the Act of Henry VIII., and proceeds thus :
Observer, Feb. 1, "72.
“Dean Hook, in the article . Mortuary,' says, in his Ecclesiastical Dictionary, that it is, 'in English ecclesiastical law, a gift left by a man at his death to his parish church in recompense of personal tithes omitted to be paid in his lifetime ; or it is that beast or other cattle which, after the death of the owner, by the custom of the place, is due to the parson or vicar in lieu of tithes or offerings forgot, or not well and truly paid by him that is dead.' These 'mortuaries,' he goes on to say, 'were, by the 21st Henry VIII. C. 6, commuted into money payments, regulated as follows :
for any person dying or dead having at the time of his death of the value in moveable goods of £40, or abore, to any sum whatsoever it be, clearly above his debts paid, there shall be no more taken, paid, or demanded for a mortuary, than 10s. on the whole. Now, that it has been customary for the incumbent of Mosser to demand, and for the householder to pay, this mortuary I can prove ; and that I make no unreasonable demands I can show from the Mosser terrier, 'made and taken according to the old evidences and knowledge of the ancient inhabitants,' which states that the incumbent of Mosser, for the time being, is entitled to demand, on the death of each male householder, a mortuary of 10s."
It will observed that the plea urged for this antiquated demand is, that it is "in lieu of tithes, or offerings, forgot, or not well and truly paid, by him that is dead”; but “a neighbour” comes forward to remind the public that "the deceased was yearly distrained on for tithe rent-charge during the whole time he lived in Mosser," so, as he shrewdly adds, there is no likelihood of any portion being, intentionally or unintentionally, left unpaid. The same writer says that there is no instance known of a mortuary claim on a deceased member of the Society of Friends in Mosser.
Mr. Tandy does not wish “to deal harshly or unreasonably with any one," and, to avoid the imputation of doing so, he tries to take shelter behind that abstract personage, “my successor.” For he writes to the local editor
"Whether, even if I were disposed, as regards myself, to forego this claim of 10s. dae me, I should be justified in neglecting the interests of my successor, to whom, if he were & poor man, 10s. might be of some importance; whether, out of complaisance to Quakers or any other body of Dissenters, I ought to forego a right, the foregoing of which might injure my successors pecuniarily or otherwise."
Mr. Tandy does not wish to imprison anybody; "not even a Quaker" hear that, and be thankful, all Quakers !—but he gives us a taste of his quality in thinking "a few days' incarceration and limited diet, with a dose or two of treadmill, might be of service to the officious correspondent who has given such unpleasant notoriety to what is mildly called " A curious claim by a Loweswater clergyman.” We are inclined to call it by a harder name, but not wishing to start the new year on a treadmill and on low diet, we only express a hope that, if this Cumbrian cleric should prosecute the Quaker widow, he will be-well ! prepared for the consequences.
A CORNISH PARISH AS SKETCHED BY ITS VICAR. A LETTER in the West Briton, signed “ A West Briton," informs us of fact which is, perhaps, altogether unique, viz, that the incumbent of a Cornish parish has issued a printed address to his parishioners avowedly because, as they never come to church, he can address them in no other way! We give the letter in a somewhat abridged form--premising, however, that though the issue of such an address may be unusual, we do not suppose that the case of Mullion parish is an extraordinary one-certainly in Cornwall, or in Wales.
"A singular pamphlet has recently been published, entitled 'a word of remonstrance, being an unspoken address to the inhabitants of Mullion, by the vicar of that parish, Rey. E. G. Harvey, B.A.'