Изображения страниц

which he had made. And how was it with his companion, who had been so much afraid of exposing himself? He was almost ready to freeze, notwithstanding the efforts he had been making to keep warm!

The lesson derived from this little incident is very obvious. We are all travellers to a distant country. At every step of our journey we find other travellers, who need our friendly aid. Nay, God has brought them around our path in great numbers; and, far as the eye can reach, we see their dense and gloomy ranks. Now, there are two ways of meeting these objects of Christian sympathy and brotherly regard. We can go forward with the stern purpose of a selfish and unloving spirit, saying, in reply to every appeal which is addressed to our better feel ings, "Depart in peace; be ye warmed and filled;" or we can say, with the warm-hearted traveller, "I cannot see this man perish; I must hasten to his relief." And the rule which we adopt for our guidance in such cases will determine the question, whether we are to be happy or unhappy? The man who lives only for himself cannot be happy. God does not smile upon him, and his conscience will give him no peace. But he who forgets himself in his desire to do good, not only becomes a blessing to others, but opens a perpetual fountain of joy in his own bosoni.

Parker, vicar of Stoke Gifford; showing that the Vicar's two Sermons, entitled 'The Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, as explained by Tractarians, refuted and exposed,' and The Catechism and Services of the Church of England fully justified,' contain sundry erroneous Statements and Doctrines opposed alike to the teaching of the Church of England and of the holy Scriptures. Dedicated to the pious lay members and Sunday-school teachers of the Established Church."

We shall lay before our readers the close of the pamphlet, which has our very hearty commendation:—

"It seems to be the design of God in the New Testament, Sir, to have men called by the names that agree with their character; and to teach men that, without repentance and faith, they are nothing.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature,' Gal. vi. 15. Remember, Sir, that for a man to call himself a Jew when he is of the synagogue of Satan, is blasphemy in our Lord's esteem, Rev. ii. 9; iii. 9.

"The gross mistake you have made in saying, (page 40,) that Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, and in his epistle to the Galatian churches, called all the members of those churches the sanctified in Christ Jesus,' I have already exposed, (page 10,) and must refer you to my former remarks in refutation of your statements on that point.

A WORD IN SEASON. "But I cannot pass over your misMR. BARTLETT, of Paternoster-row, quotation of the apostle's language, has just published an excellent piece, Heb. x. 29. You quote it thus:entitled, "Pseudo-Protestantism as De-Accounting the blood of the covenant lusive and Dangerous as Puseyism or wherewith they were sanctified an unPopery; in a Letter from the Rev. T. holy thing.' The apostle's words are, Greenfield, Salisbury, to the Rev. E. And hath counted the blood of the

covenant wherewith he (i. e. Christ) was Banctified an unholy thing.' You ask, How sanctified? As though Paul spake of the professor, or rather rejecter, of Christ as the person said to be sanctified by the blood of the covenant. But Paul speaks of the Son of God, as the person sanctified by the blood of the covenant, and not of the apostate professor. All the remarks that follow, arising as they do from a misquotation and misinterpretation of God's word, are like a house upon the sand-of little


"And now, Sir, what aspect does your proposition wear when set in the light of God's word properly interpreted? Where now are your convincing proofs from the holy Scriptures that your proposition is true?

"I must boldly say that your proofs are begun, continued, and ended in fallacies. And here let me lay them before you in order. You have taught, Sir, as follows:

"1st. That every baptized person is a member of Christ's visible church, which is not true; the truth being, that baptism admits to Christ's visible kingdom only, and not to his visible church.

"2ndly. That your church uses the terms employed in the second answer of her catechism merely in an ecclesiastical sense, which is untrue; the truth being, that she uses them in a spiritual sense, as they are always used in the New Testament.

Testament in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote merely the baptized, but that each one is employed, in every case, to denote exclusively those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

"4thly. That water, washing, &c., in John, Ephesians, Titus, &c., refer to water-baptism, which is untrue; the truth being, that they refer solely to the Holy Spirit and his saving operations.

"5thly. That the sons of God, spoken of Gen. vi. 2, were never truly regenerate; the contrary opinion being by far the more probable.

[ocr errors]

"6thly. That the people of Israel were called God's 'people' and 'children,' because they were circumcised; which is contrary to evident facts.

"7thly. "That Paul addressed, in his epistles, all the members of the churches to which he wrote, i. e., all the baptized in Corinth and Galatia, &c., as 'the sanctified in Christ Jesus;' which is untrue; the truth being, that he wrote only to true believers, as is clearly proved by the cases of the incestuous man and the Judaizing teachers, &c.

"With so many fallacies, Sir, it would not be difficult to prove anything! I am grieved at heart that you should have attempted to justify such a document as your catechism by such fallacious arguments as these.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Your attempt, Sir, to prove the propriety of calling the unchanged children of the devil' the members of Christ,' the children of God,' and 'the inheritors of the kingdom of heaven,' must now appear to be a complete failure. All such attempts to call bitter sweet, and sweet bitter-to put darkness for light, and light for dark

"3rdly. That the word of God justifies the application of these terms in an ecclesiastical sense to every baptized person, though he be evidently the natural child of the devil;' which is untrue; the truth being, that not one ness-must always prove as vain as of these terms is ever used in the New they are rash and sinful. It is utterly

of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.

"These, and other fearful errors, Sir, you have preached, and printed, and published also, in nine editions or more of your two sermons. The fact is distressing!

"These errors, misinterpretations of holy Scripture, misrepresentations of facts, fallacious and inconsistent reasonings, and dangerous conclusions, I have now endeavoured faithfully to point out. My task has been a very tedious and painful one; but from the moment I had finished the perusal of your sermons, I felt that the honour of my Master's holy gospel, the purity of his church, and the salvation of my fellow-men, urged my conscience to this irksome duty. I have endeavoured to discharge it conscientiously, as in the sight of God; and I pray that the Holy Spirit may make these remarks tne instrument of leading you to see and acknowledge the truth as it is in Jesus Christ; and henceforth to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and against everything, whether in your own church or out of it, that is contrary to the revealed mind of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

useless, Sir, to try to defend your
church, or your own position in it, by
such worthless arguments. If you have
written the honest opinions of your
mind, as I hope you have, I am
grieved that you have been left to fall
into so great a number of egregious
errors and inconsistencies. The list is
long and fearful! You have perverted
the meaning of our Lord's parable of
the tares and wheat, in order to teach
a doctrine directly opposed to the
divine constitution and discipline of
Christ's church, as set forth by our
Lord and his inspired apostles, as well
as by your own church. You have
said, without any warrant from holy
Scripture, that baptism is the rite of
admission to the visible church of Christ
-that repentance and faith are pre-
requisites to baptism-that at the bap-
tism of infants it is to be charitably
supposed that they are regenerate by
virtue of prayer, notwithstanding there
is no ground whatever for such a suppo-
sition, and that such an opinion in-
volves the belief of baptismal regene-
ration as certainly as do Dr. Pusey's
views of baptism. You have positively
denied that your church teaches the
doctrine of baptismal regeneration,
although no language can teach that
popish heresy more plainly than it is
taught by the entire language of her
baptismal and confirmation services,
and of her catechism. You have sanc-sarily
tioned the unnatural, unreasonable,
irreligious, and unscriptural custom of
your church concerning godfathers and
godmothers. And, finally, you have
attempted to justify the fatal delusion
practised in your church, by teaching
the children of the devil' in her cate-
chism to say, that they were made in
baptism members of Christ, children

"If, in the course of my remarks, I have used any expression that may seem to be uncourteous, or unneces

severe, I beg you will not ascribe it to any want of kindly feeling towards yourself, but to an intense desire to deliver you and your readers from fatal, soul-destroying delusions.

"If I have, by the Divine blessing, succeeded in convincing you even of one error in your sermons, I beseech you, Sir, seek without delay to counter


act the mischief you have done by its be supported without violating its own laws. Were Churchmen compelled to repair the Dissenters' chapel, what would be said?

extensive publication.

"Only convince me, Sir, by fair argument, that I have advanced one sentiment in this Letter contrary to the truth either of fact or holy Scripture, and I shall heartily thank you, and readily acknowledge it; and remain, "Reverend 'Sir,

[blocks in formation]

OF ACTS, &c." WHAT is the real sin of this imaginary chapter? Is it the imitation of scripture style? Or, is it the exposure of an unscriptural system?

Are church-rates unscriptural? Judge ye. When the land of Canaan was divided amongst the tribes of Israel, every tribe had its share, excepting that of Levi, Numb. xviii. 24; to maintain the Levites by tithes and offerings, therefore, was just. It was also VOLUNTARY, Lev. i. 3. No man suffered distraint or imprisonment for not paying. And, had it been otherwise, according to the apostle Paul, the tithe system and the priesthood, as well as, the sacrifices, ought long since to have vanished away.

[ocr errors]

'My kingdom is not of this world," said the Saviour; "if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews." Thus we see Jesus would not allow of violence, even to preserve his own life, much less to build a church, or repair it, or keep it clean.

Again: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," is the golden rule of Christianity; and Christianity can surely

It is unnecessary further to show that church-rates are contrary to the word of God; rather let us sincerely



Now, whatever is unscriptural is unjust and inexpedient, even though it be the law of the land. The Conventicle Act of 1664 condemned all persons refusing to attend the public worship appointed by the State to banishment; and, in case of return, to death. This act might still have been in force but for such men as Owen, Baxter, and Bunyan, who convinced their generation that the law of the land was contrary to the law of God. In America there are no parish vestry broils, because people can go to chapel without being compelled to maintain the church. And why should English Christians be alienated from each other, and sinners soured against religion altogether, by the compulsory rate? Dissenters wish not to pull down the Church, but to make it more useful, by taking away its reproach.

INCIPIENT DECLENSION. "The backslider in heart."-Prov. xiv.14. (Abridged from Octavius Winslow.)

By a state of incipient declension, we mean that decay of spiritual life and grace in the believer which marks its earliest and more concealed stage. It is latent and hidden, and therefore the least suspected and the more dangerous. The painful process of spiritual disease may be advanced in the soul so secretly, so silently, and so unobservedly, that the subject of it may have lost much ground, may have parted with many graces and much vigour, before even a suspicion of his real condition has been awakened in his breast. Like Samson, he may awaken out of his sleep and say, "I will go out as at other times before,

and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." This incipient state of declension does not involve any alteration in the essential character of divine grace, but is a secret decay of the health, vigour, and exercise of that grace in the soul.

This decay of grace may be advancing without any marked decline in the spiritual perception of the judgment, as to the beauty and fitness of spiritual truth. The loss of spiritual enjoyment, not of spiritual perception, shall be the symptom that betrays the true condition of the soul.

Oh, it is an alarming condition for a Christian when the heart contradicts the judgment, and the life belies the profession,--when there is more knowledge of the truth than experience of its power, more light in the understanding than grace in the affections, more pretension in the profession than holiness and spirituality in the walk.

And again:-This state of secret departure from God may exist in connection with an outward and rigid observance of the means of grace, and yet there shall be no spiritual use of, or enjoyment in, the means; and this, it may be, is the great lullaby of his soul. Even more than this,-a declining believer may have sunk so deeply into a state of formality, as to substitute the outward and public means of grace for a close and secret walk with God. He may have taken up his abode in the outer courts of the temple; he may dwell in the mere porch of the sanctuary. Frequent, or even occasional retirement, consecrated to meditation and devotion, may yield to an outward bustling form of godliness.

Public and committee meetings, religious societies,-business and professional engagements, wearing a religious aspect, and important in their subordinate places,-may thrust out God from the soul, and exclude Christ from the heart. And that a believer should be satisfied to "live at this poor dying rate," content to dwell amid the din and bustle of the outworks, is one of the most palpable and alarming symptoms of the decline of the life of God in his soul. But let us

group some of the more positive marks of an incipient and hidden state of spiritual declension.

When a professing man can proceed with his accustomed religious duties strictly and regularly, and yet experience no enjoyment of God in them, no filial nearness, no brokenness and tenderness, and no consciousness of sweet return; when he can read his Bible with no spiritual taste,-read it as any other book, without turning it to prayer, and treasuring it up in the heart; when he can pray, and yet acknowledge that he has no nearness to the throne,-no touching of the sceptre,-no fellowship with calls him "Father," without the sense of adoption; confesses sin in a general way, without any looking up to God through the cross; and when, too, he can find no sweetness in a spiritual ministry,—when he is restless and dissatisfied under a searching and practical unfolding of truth,-when the doctrines are preferred to the precepts, the promises to the commands, the consolations to the admonitions of the gospel,-incipient declension is marked.


When the believer has but few dealings with Christ, his blood but seldom travelled to, his fulness but little lived upon, his love and glory scarcely mentioned, the symptom of declension in the soul is palpable. Perhaps nothing forms a more certain criterion of the state of the soul than this. We would be willing to test a man's religion, both as to its nature and its growth, by his reply to the question, "What think ye of Christ ?" Does his blood daily moisten the root of thy profession? Is his righteousness that which exalts thee out of and above thyself, and daily gives thee free and near access to God? Is the sweetness of his love much in thy heart, and the fragrance of his name much on thy lips? Are thy corruptions daily carried to his grace, thy guilt to his blood, thy trials to his heart? In a word, is Jesus the substance of thy life, the source of thy sanctification, the springhead of thy joys, the theme of thy song, the one glorious object on which thine eye is ever resting, the mark towards which thou art ever pressing?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »