Imágenes de páginas

of the Lord of Hosts." The Pharisees and others then had come in between the people and the teachers whom God had appointed, and thus threw the nation into sects, as the schoolmen have done in the Christian Church; for, whereas our blessed Saviour has ordered us to look out for officers from among ourselves, and has given us examples of it in all primitive Churches of his Apostles' planting, these learned divines have come in between the holy brethren and the law of Christ, and have not only done away with the ancient custom of selecting bishops from among the brethren, but even succeeded, almost generally, in foisting their own young men on the sons of God for teachers. When I look, therefore, through the medium of Scripture at the Christian bishops, I see that they are distinguished for being selected from among the disciples; and this I call the door into the sheepfold, because it is the way authorised of Christ. When I look through the Scriptures at the transformed minister of Satan, I behold him coming into the fold by another way, i. e. in a way not authorised of Christ, not chosen from among the brethren, but foisted over the heads of the most aged and experienced into an office which is due only to one of themselves. "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." Now, then, in searching the Scriptures, I have discovered one difference between the bishop and transformed minister they do not come in alike—the manner of their induction is absolutely diverse the one by the door, the other by the wall-the one by an authorised method, the other by an unauthorised method. But this induction may be pursued to greater length in some future paper.


LETTER TO A. CAMPBELL, WITH HIS REPLY. [From the Christian Baptist, Vol. I.]

MR. EDITOR, Sir; having read with considerable attention the numbers of the Christian Baptist already published, and approving of the general spirit and tendency of your work, I take the liberty of suggesting to you the

I have, for some years,

necessity of avoiding extremes. lamented that so many who have opposed prevailing errors with considerable ability and commendable zeal, have defeated their own good efforts by outstepping the fixed boundaries of truth; and thus introducing schemes and opinions, as subversive of the religion of the New Testament, and as fraught with mischief in their ultimate operations, as the schemes which they opposed. In hastening out of Babylon they ran past Jerusalem. I would, with due respect, suggest to you, that I think your opposition to Bible Societies savours a little of this error. You have classed these most benevolent and useful institutions with schemes, as unwarranted of God, as enthusiastic, as they are irrational and absurd. In this one instance, I honestly think, you have erred; you will please reconsider this matter. Consider only one fact, that it is owing to these benevolent institutions, that so many of the poor have the word of life at this moment in their hands. I readily allow that it is difficult, very difficult, to keep within the limits of propriety, within the limits of truth, in taking up the pen against a world of errors. It is also possible to fall short of the proper bounds, as Luther and Calvin very plainly have done. These men were reformers of Popery, not advocates of the religion of the Bible. They brought the Pope's chair with them, and established a religion as political as that of Rome. The very essential principles of Popery are to be found in the works of these reformers. As for instance, these words of Calvin, "The Church did grant liberty to herself since the beginning to change the rites (ordinances) somewhat, excepting the substance." Calvin's Com. on Acts viii. 38. This principle recognised and acted upon, re-establishes Popery on its proper basis. And the present appearance of Lutheranism and Calvinism shows how trifling the difference between the great mother and her elder daughters. Hoping that you will keep close to the grand model, I am your well-wisher, ROBERT CAUTIOUS.

[blocks in formation]

MR. ROBERT CAUTIOUS,-Sir; yours of the 6th instant, came duly to hand. I am obliged to you for its contents. You think that it was rather going to an extreme to rank

[ocr errors]

Bible Societies with other popular schemes. Perhaps a more intimate acquaintance with our views of Christianity would induce you to think as we do upon this subject. We are convinced, fully convinced, that the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint of modern fashionable Christianity—that many of the schemes of the populars resemble the delirium, the wild fancies of a subject of fever, in its highest paroxysms. and that these most fashionable projects deserve no more regard from sober Christians, Christians intelligent in the New Testament, than the vagaries, the febrile flights of patients in an inflammatory fever. We admit that it is quite as difficult to convince the populars of the folly of their projects, as it generally is to convince one in a febrile reverie, that he is not in the possession of his reason. Some of the actions, however, of these subjects of disease, approximate very nigh to the actions of those in perfect health, while others are extravagantly wild. The course pursued by physicians in such cases as we have alluded to, for the cure of the body, is analogous to the proper course to be pursued by those who would reduce the minds of the populars to views and practices consistent with Scripture. It is not the administration of stimulants, but a system of depletion, that will effect a cure. It is not the recommendation of the popular schemes, it is not the prescription of zealously engaging in all the projects of converting the world, recommended by the popular clergy, that will heal the diseases of the people; but it is an abandonment of every human scheme, and a submission to learn and study Christianity as developed in the Bible. This is the course, and the only course, that will effect a cure and renovate the constitution. Every other course resembles the palliatives, and sedatives, and stimulants of quackery.

With regard to Bible Societies, they are the most specious and plausible of all the institutions of this age. No man who loves the Bible can refrain from rejoicing at its increasing circulation. But every Christian who understands the nature and design, the excellence and glory of the institution called the Church of Jesus Christ, will lament to see its glory transferred to a human corporation. The Church is robbed of its character by every institution,

merely human, that would ape its excellence and substitute itself in its place. Should a physician of extraordinary skill exhibit a medicine as an infallible remedy of consumption, in all its stages, when administered according to his prescription; should he represent it as perfectly adapted, without any commixture or addition, to the patient in every stage; should he also be a person of unbounded benevolence-what would be his feelings when some ignorant quack would bring himself into notice by recommending the grand specific as infallible, should a little sage tea or some innocent anodyne be added? Would not the physician feel his skill insulted, his character traduced, and would not his benevolence provoke him to anger at the impudent or ignorant quack who would thus strive to creep into notice at his expense, and, at the same time, partially, if not altogether, defeat the real utility of his medicine. The case is parallel, at least sufficiently so, to illustrate our meaning. The infallible physician has exhibited an infallible remedy for sinners; he has also established a society to which he has committed it, to be preserved and exhibited in purity. This society he has called the house of the living God, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The honour and glory of this society, of this institution, and the honour and glory of its founder, require that in its own character, not in that of a heterogeneous association of Calvinists, Arminians, Mammonites, Socinian Philosophers, and Philosophical Sceptics, it presents and disseminates in their purity the oracles of God. Let every Church of Christ, then, if it can only disseminate twenty Bibles or twenty Testaments in one year, do this much. Then it will know into what channel its bounty flows; it will need no recording secretary, no president, no managers of its bounty. It will send all this pageantry, this religious show, to the regions of pride and vanity, whence they came. Then the Church and its King will have all the glory. The limits of my sheet command me to come to an abrupt close.-Your friend,

B, Nov. 20th, 1823.

A. C.


[From the Christian Baptist, Vol. I.]

"But before discussing the episcopal qualifications and office, may we not take a glance backward at those who, before the existence of the Christian bishop, were charged with the instruction of mankind. Previous to the announcement of the new religion, nothing could be effected in sacred matters without money. Whether we look to the holy institution of the Jews, or the false mummery of the Gentiles, religion was equally expensive to the worshippers. As the Jewish priesthood lived by the altar, the repetition of the sacrificial rite was, with them, a matter of the very last importance. Its divine authority and antiquity afforded them a fine handle. In the praises of its propitiatory attribute they were both long and loud. Indeed the doctrine of a real propitiation by beasts seems actually to have been taught by them. If it was not, it may be very properly asked why Paul wrote against this sentiment; for he says, in writing to the Jews, that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. This was certainly intended as a refutation of the doctrine maintained and taught by the priesthood. Now this was a most effectual method for securing the frequency of sacrifice, and this rite accordingly proved a source of eternal eating and drinking to the lazy priests. The people either believed what was told them of the propitiatory efficacy of the offering, or were afraid to deny it. In David's day the absurdity seems to have been carried to such an unwarrantable length, that the Lord himself, by David, reproves them for it in these remarkable words, Paslm 1. " If I were hungry I would not tell thee, for the world is mine and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?" &c. This looks as if Israel had gone so far out of the way as to suppose that God actually depended for his subsistence on their offerings. Superstition sets no bounds to its liberality towards those whom it deems the messengers of another world; and we may be sure that if once the above notion obtained footing, either in Israel or among the heathen, the folds of the wealthy

« AnteriorContinuar »