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opposite course might prejudice his claim of intellectual equalityyet that when it is God who speaks and man who listens, no such interval previous to assent can be permitted, -no other proof can be required, than the primary admission that the writings which we are considering contain the will of God, penned by his inspired messengers. This admission once made, all doubt, hesitation, and scruple, vanish at once. We may listen to doctrines which are above the comprehension of a finite understanding; we may read of extraordinary interferences with the established course of nature, which we are unable to explain by any possible combination of human powers; but all these matters admit of the most easy solution, if we only reflect of whom and what we are reading. We should remember that it is not a being like ourselves who is speaking to us, but God, the maker of the world, who is declaring his will to his creatures, through the medium of his inspired messengers. These records of the Divine will speak of the origin of man-his fall from a state of grace—the deliverance from this lost condition, which was to take place in after years. They relate the history of that peculiar people selected as the depository of religious knowledge, and as the stock from which the Redeemer of mankind was to derive his human nature. They declare the birth of this wonderful Being, who was at the same time both God and man; they speak of his life, of his ministry, and of his doctrines; they recount the circumstances of that cruel and ignominious death, to which he voluntarily submitted as the only atonement which could expiate the sins of a corrupt world; and, finally, they relate the after progress of that religion which he published to man. This is a train of facts and circumstances which could never have taken place, which could never have been related as they have been, and could never have been attested as they were by the sufferings and death of the persons who have handed them down, except through the direct intervention of God. We are therefore bound to receive them, as those communications of his all-wise purposes which he condescends to make unto us, with thankfulness and gratitude, with full and reverential assent, and not to presume to question their details in any one particular.
Humility, therefore, is the qualification most demanded in the study of the Scriptures. Not that falsely-so-called disposition, removed in the farthest degree from the real one, which persons frequently assume to deceive others, and, it may be occasionally, to deceive themselves, --but a lowliness of the heart, a submission of the understanding, which prostrates its possessor before the throne of an all-wise Deity, acknowledges his power and its own weakness, confesses his manifold mercies, so utterly disproportioned to its own demerits, and implores a farther extension of the same gracious bounty, to aid it to believe and understand the Divine will, and to bring forth fruits worthy of a firm faith.
A believing mind flows from, and is the necessary consequence of, humility. As pride renders its possessor forgetful of his origin, and has a tendency to raise him above that level on which the Deity has designed that he should walk; so does humility recall to his remembrance the source from whence he derives his existence, the sinfulness and weakness naturally belonging to it, and the conditions on which he holds it. The one too often leads to doubt, the fruitful parent of infidelity; the other always conducts its possessor to that habit of belief which is the sure foundation on which to raise the superstructure of a genuine and durable faith. Who shall describe the happiness of the humble and sincere Christian, who possesses a firm and unhesitating belief in the Divine records! Who shall speak of the contentment which he enjoys, of the consolation which he meets with in adversity, of the comfort which is ever present to him in the day of trouble! Armed with this belief, he will pursue his course undaunted and undismayed. Should he encounter difficulties and temptations on his earthly journey, however sorely they may beset him, and threaten his tranquillity, he will neither be cast down by them, nor will he impiously arraign the mercy of Providence; but will rather recognise in them the appointed trial of his faith, which by these means, purified and sublimed from any taint of earthly dross, may be so elevated as to render him more fitting for communion with the spirits of the just hereafter. He will therefore wrestle and struggle with his fleshly opponents, not doubting to obtain the victory over their assaults through the help of Divine grace ; knowing that “ blessed is the man that endureth temptations, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." Thus, full of faith and trust in Divine truth and power, will he travel over the journey of life, until the term of his mortal pilgrimage is arrived, and he shall be summoned to render up his immortal spirit into the hands of his Judge. How beautiful is the closing scene of such a man! how full of pious assurance to himself! how abounding in hopeful promise to those who witness its approach !
The Christian, then, will exert his most earnest endeavours to acquire these two important qualifications for a right perusal of the Scriptures,--humility, and a believing mind. He will crush, in their beginnings, those promptings of vanity and conceit which are so apt to spring up within the human breast. They will present themselves under various appearances; sometimes in the more open and avowed form of doubt; sometimes in the insidious but not less dangerous shape of candour, liberality, a desire of exercising an impartial judgment, or whatever other name the world may give to the wish for novelty and change, the impatience of submitting the understanding to the dictates of even inspired authority. Under each and every appearance,
their approaches should be checked and resisted. That which begins as doubt, if unimpeded in its growth, will terminate either in impious unbelief, or, what is scarcely less wicked, scarcely less miserable to its possessor, a state of trembling, pitiable despair—not knowing on what to rely—without hope in this life or the next. That, again, which commences under the specious and imposing names of candour, liberality, or impartialitywhither does it tend? We fear to the same point. It certainly pursues a different road, and one of a more circuitous nature ; but it too frequently, with slow and sure steps, conducts its owner to the same unhappy termination of his mental journey. Perhaps it may be asked in what manner these faults, to which the human mind is so liable, are to be corrected. It may perhaps be said, that it is a difficult task, since; as soon as they are resisted successfully in one form, they make their appearance in another. The answer may readily be given. Prayer is the sure and unfailing remedy for such defects; earnest, sincere, and continual prayer to the throne of grace for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, whom God has promised to send to those who ask in faith. Our own unassisted exertions will avail but little in the struggle which we have to wage with the three great foes of man,—the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is by the help of Divine grace that we can alone obtain the victory of the Spirit over the flesh. The power of God must cooperate with infirmity of purpose. “ The strength of God must be made perfect in our weakness."
We must not think, in the fondness of enthusiasm, that we shall be able to perceive the exact time at which this Divine aid is granted to our applications, or to discern the precise mode of its operation. Far from it. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one who is born of the Spirit.” The operations of the Spirit are gradual, and insensible to our limited faculties: they are rather to be known by the effects which they bring forth, than by the manner of their production. We ask for the help of Divine grace to illuminate our minds, that we may understand the doctrines of our faith, and penetrate into the full meaning of those precepts so precious to our souls. After an interval, we again take up the sacred volume, and meditate afresh over those parts which have hitherto presented difficulties insurmountable by our confined intellect; we are surprised, as we read on, to find these difficulties becoming comparatively easy of solution, and to discover that we are able to comprehend the sense of the passage before us in a satisfactory manner. Such, we may be assured, is the answer which is returned to our prayers for spiritual aid. But it is necessary to remember that we are not to depend solely on this Divine help in the study of the Scriptures. God requires that we should cooperate with his grace by our own exertions. We must bring to the task all those assistances which our opportunities and we all have some-will allow. By assistances, we mean the continual reading of commentaries, written by the best authors, upon the volume of inspiration; the perusal of the sacred records in their original languages; and the illustration and confirmation to be derived from the works of travellers, who have visited those countries mentioned in the sacred text. These means, it is true, are not accessible to all. Some of them are attainable only by those who possess a more enlarged education. How, then, are persons who have not these advantages, who are unacquainted with ancient languages, and have no time to devote to the perusal of those works which the learned have written, to cooperate with the Spirit in this holy pursuit? By constant and incessant reading and reading again the sacred volume ; and by diligent attention to those observations on different parts of its contents, which all in this country, on each successive Sabbath, may hear from the ministers of the Church,—and which, moreover, those ministers, they may be well assured, will rejoice to impart at their request on every other occasion.
Art. X.- The Catholic Church. IN our statement of the principles, according to which this periodical is to be conducted, we are pledged to take a decided stand against all those, by whatsoever name they may be called, who would disturb our Church by corrupting, disfiguring, or adding to, the simplicity, beauty, and completeness of the doctrines which she holds. There are two classes of persons who may be said to trouble the Church, and subvert the souls of the faithful. The first are those who, finding fault with every thing that does not square with their own rule, even although the things objected to be in themselves indifferent, and therefore in no degree involving points of faith or the salvation of the soul, make each one his own particular opinion a ground of separation from his fellow-Christians. These violate that which heathen hands respected; and on every trifling occasion, instead of casting lots, inquiring with a prayerful and patient disposition whose it should be, rend the seamless robe of our Redeemer. True it is, that many who act thus are, as far as the eye of man can discern, lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are hurried on in their rash career by zeal without knowledge. But however we may respect persons, we must always condemn their principles who make a causeless separation in the visible church.
The second are those who, with extravagant pretensions to zeal for the unity of the church, make a far more dangerous and destructive schism. These are they “who teach for doctrines
the commandments of men,” and impose upon the consciences of their fellow-sinners, articles many of which, by their own confession, have no foundation in that volume in which, being the revelation from heaven, we ought to search for true religion. This is the sin of the papal church; and by thus virtually casting God's truth behind her back, and teaching human inventions as his faith, she has, on the one hand, subjected herself to the curse against those who take from or add to the word of the Most High; and has, on the other, by condemning the perusal of the holy Scriptures, proclaimed that her wound is incurable, and refuseth to be healed. With this latter class we can have no peace. Our weapons, however, must not be carnal, but will, we trust, be mighty, through God, to the pulling down the strongholds of this mystical Babylon.
Pledged, then, as we are to principles inculcated too by our truly Apostolic Church, we would follow the noble example which she has set before her children; and while we proclaim the blessings of the gospel of Christ, would lift up our protest against that apostasy, which robs the Saviour of his glory, and the sinner of his only hope and consolation in this vale of tears.
We have, therefore, on this occasion selected the subject of the Catholic Church ; because, in the first place, the term “ catholic" is too generally misunderstood, and therefore too frequently misapplied; and because this, after all, is the leading point in controversy between us and the Church of Rome. For if the papal be indeed and exclusively the catholic church, it must follow that her doctrines are revealed and sanctioned by the God of truth ; and that all those who are separated from her communion are involved in the guilt and tremendous doom of schism, and rejection of that faith through the reception of which men are by the Holy Spirit engrafted into the church of Christ, and become partakers of those blessings which gladden and refresh the humblest Christian.
In order, then, to the perfect understanding of this momentous question (for such in truth it is), we must first examine the meaning of the term Catholic. In the Apostles' Creed we read as follows: “I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church ;” and in the Nicene Creed the same article stands thus: “ And I believe one catholic and apostolic church.”
The reader will observe that the preposition in, which occurs in those articles of the creeds which express faith in the persons
of the Godhead, is not to be found in any of the other clauses. Bishop Pearson thinks this a matter of little moment; but it is quite certain that this omission was not accidental; for Ruffinus, who first published the Apostles' Creed, gives the following reason for this use of the word in: “ But that one and the same Divinity in the Trinity might be taught; as it is said, I believe in God the Father, the preposition being added, so also it is said in