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Your affectionate brother in
"Jane Wilmot was not a religious woman: and though she sometimes went to church, it was not from thinking of God, and what great things he had done for the world by his beloved Son; nor was it to pray for his assistance in making herself worthy of going to heaven when she died. She went to church because people said that it looked respectable; but she looked more at her neighbours' clothes than she attended to the clergyman. As it is women who, when they are good, generally make their husbands think of serious things, so it was from Jane being unfortunately ignorant of what sin she was doing, that she had made her husband think lightly, and had persuaded him not to have their little boy christened, though he was now six years old. The truth was, she did not like the expense of a christening supper, and said she did not know what godfathers the children could have. But if she had thought wisely on the subject, she would have known such things were trifles, and
"Mr. Seymour [the Rector] pitied the poor mother most sincerely, making due allowance for the grief so natural at such a moment. But having, since his short residence at Turnham, seen her constantly at church with her two boys, always the neatest in the parish, he believed her one of the most religious of his congregation, and therefore he now offered her those pious consolations, which, though they may not at once dry the tears of the afflicted, still do in time lighten their sorrows. Jane Wilmot, however, listened with a dull ear; but when he said that he trusted that a day would come, when she would be enabled to rejoice that the poor baby just called to its Maker had departed without having lived long enough to contract any of the defilements of this wicked world; and that, fresh as it were from the regenerating water of baptism, he would be received with the arms of mercy by his God and Redeemer, who would give him the blessing of everlasting life and happiness; poor Jane looked up as though she thought from his last words that comfort was still to be found, yet scarcely understanding how; and she said in a low husky voice-' Happiness, sir! do you think poor Harry is happy?'
Certainly, my good woman,' Mr. Seymour replied, your poor boy, like every other child of Adam, was formed by nature corrupt and ungodly; but when presented to his Saviour at his baptismà Saviour who has told his disciples to suffer little children to come unto himwe may suppose that he is made a meet partaker of the salvation which Christ died to obtain for us. Scripture mentions many instances of baptism being commanded; while it shows no other way by which we may come unto Christ.'
"What do you mean, sir?' said the frightened mother, who felt sick at heart from fear that she had missed some blessing for the beloved baby. Do tell me what you mean.'
"Why, my meaning may be told in a few, but very awful words, Mrs. Wilmot,' said Mr. Seymour, looking_grave. 'We are all born with a curse and anger upon us which God pronounced upon Adam. With God's curse upon us, no one could hope to go to him in heaven;
but by baptism we are placed among those to whom everlasting life in heaven is promised by One who cannot lie. It is true that by sin we may again leave that happy flock, which Christ's church may well be called; but you should be thankful that your boy has been taken from you before he could have done evil in the sight of God; therefore we may suppose that he is among the number of the blessed.'
"Jane Wilmot was silent for a few instants; at length, almost gasping for breath as she spoke, she exclaimed
"Mr. Seymour, sir, tell me, for God's sake tell me, will the registering officer's having entered him do the same? We had him written down within six weeks after he was born, at Mrs. Smith's office, which they told us was the proper time.' "Mr. Seymour looked alarmed as he said My good Mrs. Wilmot, is it possible that you do not understand that it was only when your child was christened by a minister of God that he was made fit for the kingdom of heaven?'
"He never was christened!' groaned poor Jane, sinking on the floor. 'O Harry!-O my sweet baby!'-she continued, almost wild with grief—' it is your own mother who has destroyed you-it is I who have kept you from heaven.'
"Mr. Seymour was extremely shocked on hearing this; and he knew not what to say to comfort her, though he was terrified to see the violence of her grief, as she knelt sobbing, with her head laid upon a chair.
"He felt that he dared not give her one hope. There was none offered by the word of God, from which he alone took his authority. He felt none for the unbaptised baby, to whom he ought to have refused Christian burial, had he been aware of all these circumstances. He was anxious, however, to turn the thoughts of the afflicted mother from her sorrow, and at length said, 'My poor woman, you must think of the blessings you still have, and, only looking at the past as a lesson for the future, learn to repent of and avoid the sins you have ignorantly committed. Poor little James, I suppose, Christened before you made this mistake about the New Registration Act?'
No, sir-no, sir,' Jane answered; 'he too is lost-he too has God's curse. We never had him christened, and he is now eight years old:' and again she moaned as though her heart was breaking.
"You must then thank heaven that
it is not too late,' said Mr. Seymour, glad to find some subject which might turn the wretched woman from her misery; and he felt grateful to Heaven that he had discovered the dangerous state in which the good little James had been left by his imprudent parents.
"He told Jane Wilmot, that, without any delay, she must bring her son to church, that he might, by baptism, gain God's grace, which was equally necessary to enable him to lead a good life, as it was to secure him everlasting happiness after death. Mr. Seymour then settled that the christening should take place the next day, promising that himself and his brother should be the godfathers; but telling Jane that she must get some pious neighbour to stand godmother; and he mentioned one, who, he said, he was sure would undertake the office, if she were told that it was his wish."
After some time Jane becomes deranged from excessive grief. At length, however, she recovers, and becomes a good advocate for infant baptism.
It is really sickening to have to notice the dissemination of such awful error. The above tract has reached the second edition, at least, and may probably be widely circulated.
EVANGELICAL MISSION STA TION, SUVISESHAPURAM, IN TINNEVELLY." OUR readers may remember the notice which was printed on the wrapper of our February No., of the decease and the labours of Mr. Rhenius, missionary in Tinnevelly. We trust that it will interest many of the children of God to know that J. J. Müller (one of the fellow-labourers in the work of the Lord there with Mr. Rhenius), remains at Suviseshapuram, Palamcottah, occupying the same independent ground of labour for the Lord.
We request our Christian readers to refer to the account which has already been given in our pages of the work of the Lord in Tinnevelly, and we trust that their hearts may be lifted up to Him who can give the increase, for his Fatherly blessing upon Mr. Müller and all others who are labouring with him-that they may be the instruments of leading many to know the acceptance which is given in the blood of Christ to all who trust in Him. It is thus that those who are far from the scene of labour can strengthen the hands of those who are personally engaged in the work, and thus be fellow
LAMB of God! our souls adore thee,
While upon thy face we gaze; There the Father's love and glory Shine in all their brightest rays. Thy Almighty power and wisdom
All creation's works proclaim; Heaven and earth alike confess thee As the ever great "I am." Lamb of God! thy Father's bosom Ever was thy dwelling place; His delight, in him rejoicing,
One with him in power and grace.
In thine agony of blood,
All our judgment borne by thee,
Lord, we learn, with hearts adoring All thy love in drops of blood;
Glory, glory everlasting
Be to thee, thou Lamb of God! Lamb of God, thou now art seated High upon thy Father's throne, All thy gracious work completed, All thy mighty victory won; Every knee in heaven is bending
To the Lamb for sinners slain; Every voice and harp is swelling, Worthy is the Lamb to reign." Lord, in all thy power and glory, Still thy thoughts and eyes are here, Watching o'er thy ransomed people, To thy gracious heart so dear: Thou for us art interceding,
Everlasting is thy love; And a blessed rest preparing,
In our Father's home above.
Wilt to this sad earth return;
All that now despise thee mourn: Then thy saints shall rise to meet thee, With thee in thy kingdom reign: Thine the praise, and thine the glory; Lamb of God for sinners slain !
What saith the Scripture?-Rom. iv. 3.
ON HUMAN RESTRICTIONS TO CHRISTIAN SERVICE.
It is important for the minds of Christians to be clearly instructed in the truth of God as revealed in the Word; for this alone can be their safeguard amidst the many devices which Satan uses to hinder their service to the Lord Jesus, and their happily walking knit together in that love which the Holy Ghost sheds abroad in their hearts: and thus whatever tends to bring the light of the Word to bear upon practices or opinions, however general, and however highly esteemed, ought not to be despised, even though those opinions and practices be proved to be evil in the sight of God, and, therefore, such as His children should shun.
And thus I assuredly judge, that however painful an investigation it may be, it will not be unprofitable to consider the restrictions which the practice of men has imposed upon Christian service.
It is a most simple principle, that whoever is gifted for service, ought to use his gift in obedience to the Lord. But here restrictions have been set up which are applied to the exercise of some particular gifts; unostensible service may go on, “giving" and “shewing mercy" may be practised, and few will question the authority which such would have for using their gifts: but when teaching, pastorship, or evangelising (which are often called "Christian Ministry”), comes into question, then most Christians instantly take alarm, as though it were an unwarrantable assumption of authority or office.
"Ministry" is continually identified in the language of the professing Church with the exercise of official place and authority: and thus men take up their popular ideas of order in the Church, and use them to restrict the exercise of gifts bestowed by the Spirit of God.
On this I purpose to remark, and thus to present, in contrast to the simplicity of the distribution of the Holy Ghost, the complex machinery of man's devising. It is a dreary wilderness for the soul of a Christian, but many and many of the sheep of Christ are entangled by the thorns and briers there, and are thus hindered in what should be their happy liberty of service.
"Succession," "orders,” or “mission," are never, I believe, applied by any to those parts of Christian service which are unostensible in their character; but so soon as any exercise of ostensible gift comes in; so soon as any one who knows and believes the love which God has to him, goes forth to testify to sinners concerning the gift of Jesus, or instructs any of the poor sheep of Christ, expounding to them the way of God more perfectly, exercising, perhaps, in these things the very gift which the Holy Ghost has distributed to him as a member of the body of Christ, then he is at once met with the assumption that in so doing he is running counter to “order;" he is acting an "unauthorised" part; he is intruding into that in which he has no business; and no matter what blessing the Lord may bring about by his means; no matter if he be acting without trenching in the least on that which the Scripture enjoins; no matter if his gift for the work he has undertaken be most manifest; he is an “unordained" person: let him be silent, or let him be “regularly” qualified.
Thus are the wheels of God's machinery clogged in their action by the dust which men blinded by Satan have thrown in! Alas! additions to the word of God hold a higher place in the thoughts of many than does that Word itself!
All understand what is meant by an “unordained" person; but all do not so well understand the meaning of the words "orders” and “mission" when placed thus together: but because the two ideas are complexly woven into men's thoughts and
conduct, even when the names are unknown, it becomes needful to say a little about each. Every intelligent Romanist perfectly comprehends the difference and the connection of the two things.
"Orders" is that which gives qualification for ministry to the person: an indelible character is supposed to be impressed thereby. "Mission" gives authority or jurisdiction to the ordained person to execute his function in preaching, ministering the (so called) "sacraments," &c., in some particular place or circumstances.
This may suffice to define the meaning of the two words, and also to make more clear the thoughts which are practically so prevalent in men's minds about these two things.
Now, when "orders" and "mission" are spoken of or implied, the question naturally arises, "Who has power to confer the orders,' and who can give the 'mission ?' The figment of "succession" supplies to the Romanist an answer which he judges fitting; while every Protestant who sees not, and owns not, the authority of the Holy Ghost to divide to every man severally as He will, is left in a strange dilemma: for if he speak of " succession," why does he not go to Rome? if he speak of an appeal to the Word in the matter, why does he not really receive its testimony, and admit that no human power is needed to qualify or to authorise for ministry ?*
Rome has a head of the Church as Christ's Vicar upon earth; and upon her principles one of her sons might well say, that "God had been indiscreet if He had not made the Pope." Her principles are not of God and of his Christ; and thus the embodied lie of Satan, his daring substitution for the truth of God, meets with ready acceptance.
From this Vicar of Christ upon earth all authority in the Church is deemed to flow; the members of the Romish Church everywhere acknowledge him as the successor of the Apostles, and the head of earthly ecclesiastical unity. And thus, of course, he naturally takes the place of being the fountain of "orders" and of "mission." A Romish bishop, in ordaining a Romish priest, acts upon papal authority; for it is that authority which qualifies him for conferring the "orders."
And so in the actual sending forth of those who are in orders, and in superintending them in their official places, the authority of Rome is that upon which all depends; insomuch that every priest of Rome refers distinctly to "the successor of St. Peter" as giving him his warrant for ministering where he does; for celebrating the "sacrifice of the mass;" for granting "absolution," imposing "penance," and, in short, for doing whatever he, as a priest between God and man, professes to perform. The personal qualification or orders may exist without "mission;" but the latter can only pertain to him who has the former; and both are by Romanists referred directly to Rome, "the mother and mistress of all churches."
In this there is ONE great error, from which all the minor details flow; it is not that Christ has no vicar upon earth, but it consists in assuming that the Pope is that vicar, instead of knowing that the Holy Ghost holds this place, and He alone qualifies and sends forth those whom He will.
Rome may, in the ordination of her priests, profess to give them the qualification needed for executing their functions; she may profess to give them the Holy Ghost, but how can those confer Him who have Him not? Can succession or authority meet the difficulty? Besides, the " power of sacrificing for the sins of the living and the dead" is the great object for which they are pretended to be set apart; the very idea of such a claim takes them far away from the sphere of Christian service: the bare profession of the giving of such a power in itself must invalidate the whole claim of Romish "orders," and therefore of the "mission" likewise.
The concatenation of error has been briefly this:-the perfect salvation of the Church was forgotten: hence the personal acceptance of believers was not seen; hence sacrificing and interceding priests were needed to meet the difficulty; hence a system of earth arose in which the Holy Ghost had no place save nominally; and His place being needed to be filled up in the now nominal Church, the Pope took
* I use the word "ministry" in its popular sense, without at all admitting the restricted meaning which men have found it convenient to attach to this word, instead of taking it in its proper and wide sense of "service."