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persons of the most contrary opinions on the fundamental articles of the Christian Faith; friends of the Church, and enemies of the Church;
those who reverence the Sacraments of Christ, and those who despise them; those who believe in the meritorious atonement of a Redeemer, and those who deride such belief in his atonement as idolatry. The union, thus invited, is not, as it might innocently and meritoriously be, to promote any good office of healing the sick, of delivering the oppressed, or of relieving the indigent; it is a religious union; its object is indeed to circulate the Scriptures; but it is to circulate them under the influence of living and practical commentators, at variance with each other; and thus the way is prepared, now under the Gospel, "in a general indifference, for a revival of that position which prevailed among the heathens, who were umblest with Revelation, that no certainty was to be discovered. This is called liberality; in other words, it is a surrender of honest attachment to truth; or it is any thing, rather than being " zealously affected." in the good cause of supporting the essential articles of Christianity. Thus, with the Bible in their hands, many good persons are undesignedly, through this association, lessening that horror which we would wish ever to prevail in the minds of Christians against impugners of the prominent articles of the Gospel, as they are professed by the Church; and many dissenters are designedly encouraging the association, because they know that its tendency is to diminish the Churchman's horror of those doctrines which they themselves maintain. It is in the ordinary course of things that such should be the fact; prior to all experience, it is manifest that it must be so. The spirit of the old and trite adage may be here weil applied, Noscitur a sociis. Without multiplying words on a subject, which fortunately is duly understood by a cousiderable portion of the wise and the good among us, it may be remarked, that, if we wish to find the pronioters of every heresy with which the Christian world was ever pestered, we know where to find them; we know that they are in the British and Foreign Bible Society; and we know that this Society has become the grand rallying point of all that is opposed, not only to our Churchi, as an establishment, but that is opposed to it as the depository of that form of sound words which was once delivered to the Saints. And is it by uniting with such persons, who, with the Bible in their hands, propagate schism and heresy, that we should honestly exert ourselves to banish, as für as may be in our power, all false doctrine: Strange that there should be persons, professing themselves Churchnen, thus infatuated;', strange that they should not perceive the tendency of their inconsitent and unnatural connexion with their enemies. We offer these reflections as properly belonging to the subject
of the Sermon now before us, which most ably states the duty and advantage of Church Communion ; since, in the laxity of opinion prevailing among the members of the Society, and which is necessarily promoted by the association, a general notion prevails, that it is altogether indifferent whether a person resorts to Church, or to Meeting, to hear the Gospel preached. We speak what we know, when we state the fact to be so general, as to be unfortunately illustrative of the prevailing indifference with regard to Church Communion, that persons of this Society, professing themselves Churchmen, go to Church indeed, but, as their practice warrants us in lamenting, without any adequate impression of the duty of Church Communion, if it suit their convenience; and just so too, if it suit their convenience, they go to Meeting. And what is more to our point of proving, that this Society operates prejudicially to Church Communion, we know many persons belonging to it, who, while they profess the warmest attachment to the Church, carry their attachinent to its Communion no further than to resort to those Churches where are preachers of their own particular bias, and inculcating doctrines in their own peculiar way; and where they do not find these preachers, whatever may be the piety or talent of the Clergyman ministering, they desert the Church, and resort to Meeting. It is then, we conclude, while so powerful an engine as the Bible Society is at work, naturally promoting indifference to the Church and to her Communion, of peculiar expedience to show the evils of schism and separation. The Bible Society gives its immediate sanction to a ministry foreiga from that of the Church, since one source of its revenue arises from the use which it makes of the dissenting ministry to raise funds for its support. Thus the whole Society is directly implicated in the charge of encouraging a ministry of which no true member of the Church of England can allow the validity. How those Churchimes belonging to the Society can reconcile this with their professed attachment, and their plain duty, to the Church, we cannot iniagine. But we are sure that Mr. Mant renders a most important service in ably demonstrating the sinfulness of schism, and exhorting to a conscientious coinmunion with the Church.
“ Let it not be supposed, that, in speaking of the unity of the Church, I am raising a phantom to deter the ignorant from an action in itself indifferent. Little indeed can he be acquainted with the general tenor, or with particular passages of the Gospel, who is not aware that such unity is there most earnestly recommended and enforced. Else, why did our blessed Redeemer so anxiously press upon his disciples his last, and almost his dying intreaty, that they would “ love one another? Why did he thus pray
for his Aposa
fles in particular ; “ Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are?” And why did he extend his prayer to the whole body of future Christians in general; “ Neither pray I for these' my present disciples'' alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word ; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I iu thee, that they also may be one in us*?" Why did St. Paul thus solemnly adjure the Church of the Corinthians ; " I be seech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be na divisions among you t?". And why did he pray God to grant to the Romans, that they might not only " with one mind,” but “ with one mouth'. also " glorify God I ?" Surely it is not to be supposed, that either our blessed Lord, or his holy Apostle, would have been thus solemn and impressive upon a case of trifling or of doubtful importance :-why then did they upon this subject employ this more than usual solemnity of manner, but because they were anxious to impress upon
the minds of believers the incalculable importance of preserving unbroken the unity of the Church? The Church is fepresented in the Gospel under the images of a family, a city, and a kingdom: and it is the declaration of the Founder of the Church himself
, that “ every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation ; and every city or house, divided against itself, shall not stand g.". To break the unity of the Church then, by intro, ducing causeless divisions into it, is to tend to desolate and overthrow it. And surely that must be sinful, which can tend to the destruction and desolation of that goodly structure, which “ is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord ||" Vol. II, P. 300.
In the conclusion of this Sermon, Mr. Mant states the importance of the Christian Sacraments, and urges the necessity of our þeing duly assured that we are indeed partakers of them; showing to what persons we are to apply, in order that we may partake of them. For this purpose, he offers a short, but clear and faithful, description of the original constitution of the Christian Church, and shows how that constitution has been maintained, through the Apostles and primitive professors of Christianity, to the present period. We would strongly recommend this Sermon to the perusal and the study of every Christian family.
The third volume of these Sermons was published in the course of the present year; and, as a monument of filial honour and affection, is dedicated to the author's father, the 'Rev. Richard
| Rom. xv. 6.
* John xvii. 11, 20, 21:.
& Matt. xi. 25.
+1 Cor. i. 10.
# Eph, ii. 20, 21, 22.
Mant, D. D. Rector of All Saints, Southampton. It consists of twenty Sermons on the following subjects.
" 1. St. Paul's Motives of Exultation at the Approach of Death. 2. On Spiritual Delusion. 3. The Fall of Lot’s Wife a Memorial to Christians. 4. The Victory of Faith exemplified in the Choice of Moses. 5. The Blood of Christ offered through the Spirit, the Avenue to the Service of God. 6. The Psalms prophetical of Christ's Death and Resurrection. 7. The Extermination of the Canaanites an Example of the moral Government of God. 8. The Efficacy of Prayer to the Father in Christ's Name. 9. The Love of God manifested by the sending of his Son. 10. Pride contrasted with Humility. 11. On spiritual Pride. 12. 'The Duty and Benefits of living after the Spirit. 13. The Humiliation of Ahab an Encouragement to Repentance. 14. The downward Tendency of Vice illustrated by the Sin of Gehazi. 15. The healing of the Leprosy emblematical of the Cleansing of Sin. 16. Confidence in God recommended from a Conviction of his providential Goodness. 17. The Aid of the Spirit, the Gift of God, and to be procured by Prayer. 18. Self-Murder a Sin against the Lord. 19. A Sense of Religion the proper Foundation of social Union, 20. The Cou. parison between Man and a Flower of the Field.”
All these subjects are judiciously and affectionately discussed by the preacher; and his devout reflections, arising from them, are applied to existing vecessity. In the 18th Sermon, on the 1st Sam. ii. 23. If one man sin aguinst another, the judge shall judge him but if a man sin aguinst the Lord, who shall entreat for hin? Self-murder is considered as a sin against the Lord. This is a subject not frequently introduced into pulpits, and but few sermons dissuading from the awful sin have come before us. Mr. Mant most seasonably supplies the deficiency, for reasons which we will state in his own words.
• It is a remark which has been often made with respect to our own country, that we are especially prone to commit it. From the frequency and general currency of the remark, we may fear, that it is not destitute of foundation. At least our own information con. cerning the occurences, which daily take place throughout the country, must be sufficient to convince us, that instances of the crime are too numerous not to be contemplated with regret and dismay; and there are probably few amongst us, whose recollection cannot supply them from their own acquaintance with some examples of those, who have perished by a violent and self-inflicted death. Under circumstances such as these, it must be the duty of us all to employ the methods, which Providence may place in our hands, for the prevention of so terrible an evil: and I have accordingły felt myself called upon by the event, which has lately occurred amongst us, to exhibit the offence before
in dismal in deed, but, I believe, in its true colours." Vol. III. P. 369,
The general temptations to this horrid crime are supposed to consist in impatience or despondency of spirits, and in a distrust of Almighty God. Can a preacher, then, who considers the frequency of its perpetration, be better employed than in occae sional exhortations to prepare against the moment of despondency; when vexations may have occurred, and when the spirits may flag, by cultivating a lively sense of the goodness of the Almighty? By hearing, too, the crime of suicide displayed, in the season of health, while the spirits are lively, those salutary cautions, which
accompanied the display of the sin, may be remembered in the hour of distress; and may avert the fatal deed. We cannot deny ourselves the satisfaction of calling the attention of our readers to the pious reflections of Mr. Mant on this sin; and we cannot withhold our thanks to him for introducing those reflections into serinons professedly for parochial and domestic
“ 1. It is a sin against Almighty God; for, in the first place, it is to make light of, to despise, and to reject a talent, which God hath given, which be commands us to einploy for his glory and the good of others, and for the use of which lie will unquestionably bring us to account. In this light all the gifts of God, whatever they may be, are to be considered, and life, which is one of his most precious gifts, and necessary to the exercise of all the rest, is to be so considered amongst the others. But this talent, and, togea ther with this, all his other talents, the self-murderer absolutely re. nounces. The unprofitable servant, who hid his Lord's talent in a napkin, and buried it in the earth, and returned it without injury to his Lord, was condemned as a wicked and slothful servant, and cast into outer darkness amidst weeping and gnashing of teeth, for note improving his trust: how much more must it be feared, that that servant will excite the displeasure of bis Lord, who violentiy spurns from him his talent, and throws it back upon its Giver, disfigured by outrage, and polluted with blood.
“ 2. Suicide is a sin against Almighty God; for, secondly, it argues distrust of God's providence, and frequently impatience under his chastening hand. “ Humble yourselves under the mighty band of God,” says the Apostle, and" cast all your care upon bim, for he careth for you *." nor among all the various proofs of the truth of this position, can he be in want of one of the most con. vincing kind, who reflects upon that stupendous evidence, which God hath given of his love towards us, in sending his Sou to die for our salvation. But the self-murderer refuses to place his trust in Him, who hath promised that “ he will never leave nor forsaket" his faithful followers: and in a fit of irritation, or a season of de.. spondency and despair, too often the lamentable consequence of his
* 1 Pet, v. 6,
+ Heb. xiii. 5.