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Let us admit, for the present, that this theory is true; then I ask, my brethren, do you think it wise-do you think it right, that the persons who assume to be above all others the authorised expounders of God's word, should take the terms and phrases of that word, and employ them, on the same subject, in a sense perfectly different from that in which God himself has employed them? Is not this, to say the least of it, taking a great liberty with that truth, which bears on it the impress of Divine infallibility? Can you think of anything more likely to perplex or mislead the persons who are taught to place unbounded confidence in the utterances of your church?
something different in the Prayer-book a religion of sacramental efficacy than from what the same expressions mean with the pure and simple "truth as it in the Bible. This is the way, I know, is in Jesus." The extravagant terms in which many of your ministers en- of praise-often partaking of the ludideavour to explain the phraseology crous, and sometimes approaching to employed, and make it tolerable to the profane-in which Episcopalians their consciences to give their counte- accustom themselves to speak of the nance to it. Prayer-book, contribute not a little to propagate the evil. There are many of the people who give themselves no sort of trouble on the subject; they have so little acquaintance with the Scriptures, as not to know what agrees with them and what not; all the knowledge they have of religion is what they learn from the marriage, baptismal, and burial services, and there is nothing in either of these to make them dissatisfied with themselves. They are told that the church is appointed to teach them religion, and that the Prayer-book is the book of the church: from the pages of that book, and from the lips of their ministers, they are taught that they are regenerated by the Spirit, adopted into the family of God, and made heirs of the kingdom of heaven; they are told to place unbounded confidence both in the minister and in the book, and they are content to do so. Thus the delusion acts as an opiate to the conscience; they sleep in the lap of the wicked one; they live in peace; they die in hope; and, in many cases, there is too much reason to fear they are never undeceived, until in the light of eternity they discover that their peace was a false one, and their hope doomed to perish. There are others who have light enough to see that there is a discrepancy between the book of God and the book of the church; but the extravagances they have heard uttered respecting the latter, lead them at once
There is, unhappily, no need for me to speak of the abstract probable tendency of such a course. Its tendency has long been apparent in its actual results. Many of your ministers take the phraseology of the baptismal service in its full and literal sense; and from the pulpit, as well as at the font, they teach the people to do so too. Where it is otherwise, the result, to a fearful extent, is the same. Whatever may be the diluted sense which enlightened ministers attach to the words they use, multitudes of the people who hear or read them, take them to mean just what they express. You need not be surprised at this; for human nature has always shown more sympathy with
to the conclusion that the Prayer-book | stroyed, I believe, more souls than any must be right, and that if their inter- one single error branded on the black pretation of Scripture does not agree list of heresy." with what it teaches, it is more likely that they have misunderstood the Bible than that the Prayer-book can be wrong. Ah! my fellow-Christians, did you but know the thousandth-part of the sad consequences resulting from this wide-spread delusion, I believe that it could not fail to be to you a source of the deepest sorrow, and that you would have serious misgivings as to whether you are doing right in remaining a member of a church which allows such a corruption to nestle in its services, and compels its ministers to espouse and propagate it.
Lest you should think that the practical evils resulting from this error are here overrated, and that the picture owes its gloom to the unfriendly eye through which it has been derived, let me here beg your attention to the testimony of one of your own ministers. Writing on this subject, the Rev. Melville Horne says:
Fully convinced that baptism never was designed to convey regeneration, and has no such promise, I confidently conclude that no mortal ever was 80 regenerated. The expectation, therefore, I treat as universally vain and fallacious. I believe that it was the great leading error that first corrupted Christian truth, and probably will be the last to be banished from the church. It strikes at everything vital in Christianity, subverts the covenant of promise, makes faith and truth of no effect, supersedes the genuine work of the Spirit, vacates the necessity of conversion to decent moralists, carnalises religion, substitutes the form of godliness for the power of it, and has de
Here you have the honest testimony of a friend. Read again the burning words in which it is given; ponder well its weighty import; take up sentence after sentence, and let your mind dwell upon them all, until it is rightly affected with the catalogue of dreadful consequences they describe; then remember that the fearful delusion which produces these results, is sanctioned, and taught, and diffused, by the church to which you belong. And is it of no consequence that you should connive at this first-corrupting and most fatal of all heresies? Is it nothing to you that you should be helping to "strike at everything vital in Christianity ?" Will you continue to countenance that which "subverts the covenant of promise, and makes faith and truth of no effect?" Will you be a party to "superseding the genuine work of the Spirit," and to making "decent moralists believe that they need not conversion ?" Is there nothing wrong in helping to "carnalise religion?" Is there no guilt in being the patron of that which "substitutes the form of godliness for the power of it ?" Do you feel no sorrow or alarm at the thought that you are lending your sanction to a delusion which is sending ruined souls to hell? If it were an error in philosophy, in politics, or anything else whose consequences terminated with earth and time, it might be borne with; but how-oh! how-can you tolerate it, when you reflect that its results affect the soul, reach to the bottomless pit, and will last for ever? May 1, 1848.
CHURCHING OF WOMEN.
To the Editor of the Christian's Penny
SIR,-I was glad to see the letter of
"W. B," in the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY
as if they formed a part of the congregation ? Were the laying aside of this practice likely in the least degree to militate against "pure and undefiled religion," I would be one of the last to discontinue it; but in no way does it appear to me that such a consequence would follow. The writer quoted by your correspondent from the Congregational Magazine, has spoken in a very
sentiments he utters ought to be proclaimed on the house-top. I would, however, recommend that instead of a
"tract to be addressed to mothers, to be read before public expression of could not be put into their hands at thanksgiving," which, in most cases, the proper time, our ministers should the practice altogether, explaining to come to the resolution of abandoning their congregations the origin of it and
MAGAZINE for April, on the subject of
The custom under consideration is
the evils of it. It would be well if in the large towns the Dissenting ministers would come to an understanding on the subject; and if any should still adhere to the old way, they should be no hindrance to those whose conscience
tells them they do wrong in continuing the pernicious ceremony. These are times for reform, and for sweeping away corruptions. There are things among us which need reforming, and this manifestly is one of them. Let us go on till we get rid of every remnant of Popery, and our discipline and practice appear in all the pure and beautiful simplicity of the New Testament
LECTURES ON THE STATE
To the Editor of the Christian's Penny
SIR,-You will, I know, excuse my taking the liberty of bringing "certain strange things to your ears;" and perhaps you will almost be ready to exclaim, Is there not "something_new It under the sun?" To be brief. I was last sabbath at M, where the clergy are become somewhat alarmed at the results that are likely to follow the circulation of the WITNESS and FRIEND; and the curate, in order to check them,
Should we then recognize such persons
has recently given a sum of money for
the use of the Unitarian Chapel on Sunday evenings, in which he lectures on the excellences of the "Prayerbook" and the State Church. Now, Sir, the fact of a clergyman of the Church of England lecturing in a place licensed and still used every sabbath afternoon as a Dissenting place of wor ship, is making some small stir among the good folks of the town. They have begun to read, are beginning to think, I trust, in right good earnest, and also to inquire into matters that have hither
The Counsel Chamber.
THE first thing the Chamber presents to-day is a table of questions, which he who honestly puts to himself, and faithfully answers, will have reason to be thankful for.-Next comes an address to young tradesmen; here listen to a venerable man, who occupies the chair of instruction, and who has something to tell you, for which you may be the better as long as you live.-The voice of kindness then invites an honourable and a useful class, on whom the happiness of society very mainly depends. Words are here addressed to you which, if received and obeyed, will contribute much to further your present comfort and success in after life.-The last thing in the Chamber is,-a coffin! It is filled with the dust of a man destroyed by his own hands, as really as if he had employed the pistol, the halter, or the dagger! Oh! ponder it well, and flee from temptation, by refusing to taste, touch, or handle that which perverts reason, destroys bodies, and ruins souls!
QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDER-
LET the unconverted reader consider seriously and answer fairly the following questions, relative to his own character and condition:
1. What has been the course of my life up to the present moment? Have I not been living in a state of positive rebellion against that blessed Being who gave me my existence-who has, by the exercise of his unmerited bounty, preserved me-and from whom I have derived all the mercies which I ever enjoyed, or which I now possess?
2. Have I not, by my dispositions .and conduct, shown an utter disregard of his goodness, a denial of his authority, and a trampling on that mercy so
conspicuously exhibited in God sending his Son into the world to redeem and save lost sinners?
3. Have I not resisted the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and awfully grieved him by my obstinate continuance in sin, when he would have induced me to give up my wanderings, and return to the way of obedience and of happiness?
4. Have I not manifested a practical contempt towards the word of God, the provisions of the gospel, and the work of redemption wrought out by the life, sufferings, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, as if I had no interest in these things, and deemed them destitute of all claim on my attention and regard?
5. Is it not true that my thoughts
and affections have habitually roved after forbidden objects, sinful pleasure, and vain amusements, instead of being fixed on those things which are Divine in their nature and profitable in their tendency?
6. Has not the result of the whole been that I have wilfully and constantly exposed myself to the just vengeance of the Almighty, and to the unquenchable fires of the pit?
7. Is it not owing solely to the forbearance and long-suffering of God that this doom has not actually overtaken me, and that I am still found in the land of the living, with the means of escape still held out for my acceptance?
8. And shall I continue in the same guilty and dangerous course, reckless of the inevitable consequences? Shall I not rather humble myself before the Lord, seek with earnestness the forIgiveness of my sins through the merits of Christ, abandon the ways of unrighteousness, and give myself unreservedly to the service of God?
9. Is not this a clear and imperative duty, binding upon me at this very moment? Is it not essential to my present and eternal good to perform it? Can I neglect to do so without deep aggravations of guilt, and the most imminent peril to my soul?
ADVICE TO YOUNG TRADESMEN.
No position is more critical than that of a young man entering upon business and beginning to acquire property. If he does not narrowly watch and jealously guard against the influences 1 and tendencies which are then operating upon him, they may gain the ascendancy and become predominant in spite of his better feelings, perhaps even of his sincere intentions. Man is a creature subject almost mechanically to certain laws, and no law is of greater force, and operates with greater certainty, than the law of habit; but it is impossible to come under the power of two opposite habits at the same time. If a man suffer the habit of acquisition to predominate and prevail over him
as it must predominate and prevail unless carefully held in check and resolutely counteracted-he may become, before he is aware, a miserable victim of "the pitiful passion for accumulation." Hence the immense importance of early forming and diligently cultivating the habit of liberality, of beginning to give as soon as a man begins to get, and increasing the amount of his givings in proportion to the increase of his gains. One of the greatest deceptions which men are too apt to practise upon themselves is to defer being bountiful till their means have greatly increased. This is indeed a striking proof of what our Lord calls "the deceitfulness of riches."
There is much sound sense and Christian philosophy in the honest rhymes of George Herbert:
"Yet in thy thriving still misdoubt some evil,
Lest gaining gain on thee, and make thee dim
To all things else. Wealth is the conjuror's devil,
Whom, when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.
Gold thou may'st safely touch, but if it stick
Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick."
If a young and thriving tradesman do not consecrate his increase unto the Lord, he may expect to gain nothing but "harm and loss," base and filthy lucre, which will prove his bane and poison. His position is one full of danger, and it becomes him diligently to consider who hath said, "No man can serve two masters; ye cannot serve God and mammon." Neutrality is impossible, and he must choose, and choose speedily, whether of these two he will serve. If he does not resolve, in the strength of Divine grace, vigorously to resist what may be called the tradesman's peculiar temptation, to "lay up for himself treasures upon earth," under the specious pretence of providing for his family, he will, in all probability, become, in process of time, one of the votaries of mammon. That my father was conscientiously watchful against the eager, grasping spirit of trade, and habitually mindful of the uncertainty and unsatisfying nature of