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THE PRESENT CHURCHES.
rag society ; and his little daughter, sionary prayer meeting, for seasons of a tutoress of a Sunday school. They unusual solemnity or interest. They knew nothing of the hobbies of modern did not at one time abate their zeal, times. In their church capacity their devotion, their gratitude or their alone they moved. They neither liberality, that they might have an transformed themselves into
opportunity of showing forth to adkind of association, nor did they vantage or of doing something of great fracture and sever themselves into
consequence at another. Such things divers societies. They viewed the they condemned in Jews and Pagans. church of Jesus Christ as the scheme No, gentle reader, in the primitive of Heaven to ameliorate the world ; church they had no Easter Sunday, as members of it, they considered Thanksgiving Monday, Shrove Tuesthemselves bound to do all they could day, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, for the glory of God and the good of Good Friday, nor Preparation Saturmen. They dare not transfer to a day. All days were alike good-alike missionary society, bible society, or preparation-alike thanksgiving. education society, a cent or a prayer, lest in so doing they should rob the church of its glory, and exalt the in- As soon as some Pharisees that ventions of men above the wisdom of believed began to observe days and God. In their church capacity alone months, and times, and years ; so soon they moved. The church they con- did the apostle begin to stand in sidered “ the pillar and ground of the doubt of them. truth ;” they viewed it as the temple Having taken a cursory view of of the Holy Spirit ; as the house of some of the leading features of the the living God. They considered if christian religion, exhibited in prothey did all they could in this capacity, spective, and in actual existence at its they had nothing left for any other first institution, we shall in the last object of a religious nature. In this place advert to its present appearance. capacity, wide as its sphere extended, But alas ! “how is the fine gold bethey exhibited the truth in word and come dim !” Instead of the apostles' deed. Their good works, which doctrine, simply and plainly exhibited accompanied salvation," were the la- in the New Testament, we have got bors of love, in ministering to the the sublime science of theology, subnecessities of saints, to the poor of the divided into scholastic, polemic, dogbrotherhood. They did good to all matic and practical divinity. Instead men, but especially to the household of the form of sound words given by of faith. They practised that pure the Spirit to be held fast, we have and undefiled religion, which, in overt countless creeds, composed of terms acts, consists in “ taking care of and phrases, dogmas and speculations, orphans and widows in their affliction, invented by whimsical metaphysiand in keeping one's self unspotted by cians, christian philosophers, rabbini(the vices of) the world."
cal doctors, and enthusiastic preachers. Instead of the divinely established
order of bishops and deacons, or as In their church capacity they at they are sometimes called, elders and tended upon every thing that was of deacons, which remained when the a social character, that did not belong age of “spiritual gifts” and “spiritual to the closet or fireside.
In the men
passed away, we have popes, church, in all their meetings, they cardinals, archbishops, metropolitan offered up their joint petitions for all bishops, diocesan bishops, rectors, things lawful, commanded or pro- prebendaries, deans, priests, archdeamised. They left nothing for a mis- cons, presiding elders, ruling elders,
THEIR UNITY OF ACTION.
circuit preachers, local preachers, li- ligion. Inquisitive reader, turn your centiates, class leaders, abbots, monks, eyes to yonder monastery, built in friars. Our devotion exhibits itself in that solitary desert, filled with a reprayers, in the set phrase of pompous ligious order of monks, and an abbot oratory ; in singing choirs ; in long at their head. Why have they shut sermons, modelled after Grecian and themselves out from the world in that Roman orations, logical themes and solitary recluse? It is for the purpose metaphysical essays; in revivals, camp- of becoming more abstemious, more meetings, praying societies, theologi- devout, more devoted to the study of cal schools, education societies, &c. mystic theology. Hear them contend
Our zeal burns brightestin contend- ing whether the Solitaires, the Cenabing for orthodox tenets, and a sort of ites or the Sarabaites have chosen the technical language rendered sacred, course most congenial to the gospel. and of imposing influence by long See these poor, gloomy, lazy set of prescription. Such as the covenant mortals, habited in their awful black, of works, covenant of grace ; the their innocent white, or their spiritual active and passive obedience of Christ; grey, according to their order, forlegal repentance ; the terms and con- saking all the business and enjoyments ditions of the gospel ; the gospel offer; of society, spending their days in the holy sacraments ; ministerial, sa- penury and affliction for the sake of cramental and catholic cummunion ; sublimer contemplations of God and the mediatorial kingdom of Christ ; of the heavenly world ; and say have the millennium ; historic faith, tem- they ever seen a bible ! Again, see porary faith, the faith of miracles ;. this sacred gloom, this holy melanjustifying faith, the faith of devils, the choly, this pious indolence, becoming faith of assurance, and the assurance so popular as to affect all the seminaries of faith ; the direct act of faith, the of Christendom for a time! See it reflex act of faith ; baptismal vows'; command the respect of the highest kirk sessions ; fencing the tables ; dignitaries of the church ; and hear metallic tokens ; &c. Thus to speak them call those haunts of gloom and in clerical dignity, analogically, more superstition, as some of the reformed than half the language of Ashdod is orders of modern times call our col.. mingled with less than half the leges, “ fountains and streams that language of Canaan ; and the people make glad the city of our God” by are generally zealous about such con- qualifying pious divines! Yes, these founding, misleading and arrogant monasteries became so famous for piety distinctions, which all result in divest- and solemnity, that the church looked ing christianity of its glorious sim- to them for her most useful ministers. plicity, which adapts it to boys and And, indeed, much of the gloomy asgirls, as well as to philosophers, and pect, dejected appearance, and holy which distort it into a mystery fit to singing of modern times, and especially employ linguists, philosophers, doc- of the leaders of devotion, sprang from tors of divinity, all their leisure hours at those monasteries. a handsome sum per annum, in study- Next, consider for a moment, yon ing and then in giving publicity to their sobbing anchorite, with his amulet own discoveries, or in retailing those round his neck, his beads solemnly of others.
moving through his fingers, bent upon
his naked knees in yon miserable cell, THE MONASTERY AND WILL-WORSHIP.
muttering his “ Ave Maria,” and inBut into how diverse and opposite voking St. Andrew to intercede in his extremes and absurdities have many behalf; and say has he a bible ? O run, in their wild, superstitious, and yes ! It lies mouldering and moth chimerical views of the Christian re- I eaten on his shelves.
tian general, with his ten thousand From this scene of infatuation turn soldiers, and his chaplain at his elbow, your eyes to yonder dismal edifice, preaching as he says, the gospel of with iron gates and massy bars. good will among men ; and hear him Within its merciless apartinents view exhort his general and his Christian the “minister of religion,” the “am- warriors to go forth with the bible in passador of Christ,” attired in his
one hand and the sword in the other, sacred robes, with "holy aspect and to fight the battles of God and their flaming zeal for “ divine honor” and country ; praying that the Lord would that of his church, exhorting the vile cause them to fight valiantly, and heretic on pain of the most excrucia- render their efforts successful in ting torments here, and eternal dam- making as many widows and orphans nation hereafter, to abjure his heresy for others to manifest the purity of
as will afford sufficient opportunity As an argument to enforce his pious exhortation, observe the red hot pin- their religion by taking care of them! cers in hand, pointing to the boiling If any thing is wanting to finish a lead, the piles of faggots, the torturing picture of the most glaring inconsistwheels, and all the various engines of encies, add to this those Christians horrid vengeance.
who are daily extolling the blessings is he? I answer, it is the Reverend of civil and religious liberty, and at Inquisitor. On the most solemn the same time, by a system of the DA FE, see this incorrigible
most cruel oppression, separating the heretic brought forward, arrayed in wife from the embraces of her husband, his santo benito, or sleeveless yellow
and the mother from her tender offcoat, flowered to the border with the spring; violating every principle, and resemblance of flames, of red serge, rending every tie that endears life and decorated with his own picture, sur
reconciles man to his lot; and that, rounded with devils, as doomed to forsooth, because “might gives right, destruction for the good of his soul. and a man is held guilty because his Then declare of what use is reason or
skin is a shade darker than the revelation to many called Christians ! standard color of the times. Adverting
to these signs of the times, and many REFORMED" CHURCHES. others to which these reflections necesBut leaving the du geon and that sarily lead, will you not say that this quarter of the globe, visit the group of prophecy is now fulfilled—2 Tim. iv. reformed Christians, and see another 3-4 “There will be a time when they order of “teachers of the Christian will not endure wholesome teaching; faith,” “ ministers of religion,” having but having itching ears, they will, prepared themselves by the study of according to their own lusts, heap up Grecian and Roman languages, laws, to themselves teachers. And from the history, fables, gods, goddesses, de- truth, indeed, they will turn a vay baucheries, wars, and suicides; having their ears and be turned to fables.” studied triangles, squares, circles, and Chap. iii. 1-5, “This also know, that ellipses, algebra and fluxions, the in latter days perilous times will come. mechanical powers, chemistry, natural For men will be self-lovers, moneyphilosophy, &c. for the purpose of lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, becoming teachers of the Christian disobedient to parents, ungrateful, religion ; and then going forth with unholy, without natural affection, covetheir saddlebags full of scholastic nant-breakers, slanderers, having a divinity in quest of a call to some form of godliness, but denying the eligible living ; then ask again, Where power. Now from these TURN AWAY.” is the bible ?
Christian reader, remember this comAnd, stranger still, see that Chris-mand and “from such turn away."
CONVERT v. PROSELYTE. to change the heart, beget the soul
anew, and attract and elevate the We are informed that these two mind towards the atta¡nment and words are not exactly of the same full realization of all the Saviour has import. The one signifies changed | promised—as well as to reduce every to something in conformity with the thought into subjection to his divine views of another : while the other and peace-speaking authority. When signifies to come over to the side of a conviction of the truth--that Jesus another to be a mere partizan. is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Hence the term CONVERT is more ex- Living God - is impressed on the tensive in its meaning and applica- mind, then the volition is controlled, tion than PROSELYE.
the path of obedience trodden cheerConversion is a more voluntary fully, and the heart comforted with act than proselytism : it emanates en- a realizing sense of free and full fortirely from the mind of the agent, in- giveness of all past sins. Oh, ye bedependent of foreign humour or in- lievers, arise and be immersed, and fluence—it extends not merely to the wash away your sins! This is conabstract or speculative opinions of the version : conversion to a person, love individual, but to the whole current to a person, obedience to a person, of his feelings and springs of action, and He none other than the blessed it is the conversion of the heart and Son of God. There is nothing of a soul. This, in a religious sense, is sectarian or party character in this. strictly true : so that if any man be Reader, have you followed the Lord converted to Christ he is a new crea- fully, or are you only proselyted to a ture — old things have passed away, party? Examine, and ascertain this behold all things have become new. before it be too late. Proselyte is a term of more ambiguous meaning than that of convert. The mere proselyte is often the tool and
DIVINITY OF CHRIST. creature of a party. Hence there may be many proselytes where there In a note before us, the writer are no converts.
says-_“I beg you, Sir, ever to bear in The conversion of a sinner to Christ mind, that our hope, trust, and confi-how important ! a result which can dence, rest not on the divinity of alone be effected by the all powerful Christ's person, but on the divinity of motives supplied by the Spirit of God, his mission as sent from God, in full clearly presented, and fully sustained persuasion that God would exalt no by evidence drawn from the teaching inadequate person to be a Prince and of Prophets and Apostles, as recorded a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, in the Bible. Of his own will begat and the forgiveness of sins.” he us by, or with the Word of Truth, This writer, it appears, is proseJas. i. 18.
lyted to the divinity of Christ's misTo be converted in heart and soul sion, and not to the divinity and glory -to have all the affections of the of his person. We entirely differ mind concentrated in one person, and from this view. The great creed of that person none other than the Son our religion, the element of belief, of God to have a clear and lively and the thing to be implicitly received, apprehension of his divine glories is not the divinity of Christ's mission, the perfection of his work, office, and but the divinity of Christ's person. character, is the one thing needful. It is not, behold my missionary, but Such a view, arising from belief of behold my Son ! The mission of the divine testimony—and it can be Moses was as divine as the mission obtained in no other way—is sufficient of Christ; but his person was not.
Thus neither New nor Old Testament than for the extreme veneration paid, writers direct the attention of wor- by each sect, to the memory of its shippers to the person of Moses ; but founder, and to those individuals who they always direct attention to the are, or have been, chiefly instrumenperson of Christ. The Jews, it would tal in sustaining it. They are reseem,
like many others, rested “their garded as models of purity and wishope, trust, and confidence,” in the dom—as paragons of learning, human divinity of Messiah's mission, without and divine—and as exempt from the regard to his rank ; and it became errors and frailties of common mornecessary, therefore, to correct their tals. Their zeal for a particular set erroneous opinions, and exalt their of opinions has, like the fabled cestus, conceptions, regarding the person of invested them with celestial charms, Christ. To accomplish this result, and secured for them the homage and the Lord Jesus interrogated them almost the adoration of their followthus—“ What think ye of Christ ? -ers. Their works, well-bound and whose Son is he ?” Had man's re- gilt, occupy a larger space, and a demption depended upon the divinity more conspicuous position in the liof the mission, without regard to the brary, than the writings of the aposexalted rank of the missionary, God tles ; and the biography of each is would doubtless have spared his Son more familiar to his party, than the -his only begotten Son. The grand testimony of the Evangelists conprinciple that saves the soul, there- cerning Jesus the Nazarene. To cenfore, comprehends his rank as well as sure Paul or Peter, James or John, his authority. He is indeed the may be pardoned ; but whoever shall Christ—but the Christ is God's Son. speak a word against McLean or These things are written that you Sanderman, Gill or Fuller, Knox or might believe that Jesus is the Christ, Calvin, Wesley or Luther, in the the Son of God ; and that believing, ears of one of their followers, commits (in his office and rank) you might an offence which is not to be forgiven have life through his name.
him. To express, on the other hand,
an unfeigned admiration for their REFORMATION_NO. VII.
great men—to boast of their talents,
and to speak of their writings as the We have just been considering the only true exposition of the Christian influence of an inordinate zeal for doctrine, and the very bulwark of theories of religion, and for favorite truth, is to win at once their favor, points of doctrine, as manifested in and secure their confidence. They the abridgment of Christian liberty. regard their peculiar tenets as the But this is, by no means, the only in- concentration of all revealed knowjurious effect that results from it. ledge: the very focus of all divine ilThis furor doctrinalis—this congeni- lumination ; and, if they love one tal disease of Protestantism, not only another, it is for the sake of these restricts just liberty of thought and doctrines, and in proportion to the action, and enfeebles the power of zeal displayed in their behalf. Nay, religion, but misdirects and perverts it is to be feared that the love they the most important of all the influ- profess for Christ himself, is founded ences upon which Christianity de- chiefly upon their persuasion that, in pends for its ultimate success—that all his teachings, he agrees with them is to say, the feeling of PERSONAL in opinion. Such, at least, is the ATTACHMENT, or love of individual true character of the sectary every character.
where ; though, doubtless, there are There is nothing, I presume, for some in every communion who are which partyism is more distinguished 'too well acquainted with the nature