Imágenes de páginas

the method of obtaining forgive. pel; and therefore that the only ness. Two opposite opinions on period, in which the meaning of this important subject cannot be e- these doctrines could be infallibly qually acceptable to God; cannot known, was during the lives of the afford the same firm satisfaction apostles, and their immediate foland consolation to man. If, there. lowers. Have then the advantages: fore, chrillianity be a divine reve- of that revelation, which professed lation, its doctrines must have been to be of universal and perpetual expressed in such a manner, that use, been confined to the period of :: they may be easily understood by its first propagation? or has the cer. 5 every sincere, unprejudiced inquir- tainty, which it was intended to er. The goodness of God would give to the fondest hopes of man, lead him to adapt his infiructions been enjoyed only by those favour- . to the circumitances of his crea- ed few, who were blessed with the tures; and, though some of the extraordinary illuminations of the doctrines are, from their own ra. spirit of God ? It is much more ture, incomprehensible by our reasonable to suppose that the will limited faculties; yet our obliga- of God is intelligible by every one, tion to believe them can be clearly whose mind is not biassed by finful perceived. Christianity is a divine prejudice, and who forms his opinrevelation, in which God has giv- ions of the doctrines of scripture en a plain and unequivocal decia. from a view of the united force and ration of his commands, and we beautiful analogy of all its declaracannot suppose that it is a matter tions. Nor do we hesitate to affirm of indifference, in what sense we that it is pollible to trace every correceive them; or that he will be ruption of the sacred doctrine to fully satisfied with our obedience, some depraved principle in the hu. though we pervert his precepts man heart. This principle indeed and misinterpret his laws. In hu- is sometimes so concealed from man governments no such perver, view, that a man, acting under its fion would pass unpunished. The influence, imagines that he is lawgiver may relax his severity in searching for truth with the utmost favour of such, as are unacquaint- fairness and impartiality. Vanity, ed with the particular terms of the skepticism, depraved inclinations, law ; or of such, as are unable, and love of novelty have been the from the want of intellectual face parents of innumerable errours. ulties, to exercise their judgment These, nourished by party spirconcerning it. Every other sub. it, and supported, in many cases, ject is supposed capable of under.. by the firm conviction of those, standing, in what fense he should who adhere to them, have mainobey the laws of his sovereign; tained their strength. When men and, if he do not observe them, he are influenced by such motives, is punished accordingly. In like they cannot examine with imparmanner the divine threatenings tiality. Detached portions of scripmust be fulfilled against those, ture are made the foundation of a who, from corrupt pallion, willing- new system of doctrines, and other ly misinterpret the facred oracles. passages are explained with the

To this it is objected, as matter previous determination of making of fact, that men of sincerity and them accord with it, or perhaps candour, differ widely with regard with the firm assurance, that they 10 the essentialdoctrines of the gof would do so. If this be the way,

in which men are led, by false prin- being the case, that they manifestciples, to form erroneous opinions edon all occasions the greatest zeal in religion, their errours will be laid in preserving them inviolate. The to their own charge ; they have not rise of every new heresy was obbeen occafioned by any unnecessary served by them with a mixture of obscurity in the divine revelation. astonishment, indignation, and for

But here the question recurs, row, which manifested that, till who are in the right? What is the thattime, they had been united and interpretation of scripture which firm in the belief of one fyltem of may be regarded, as exclusively doctrines. Now, it has often been true? Are they not dogmatical and shown (and no one has ever been conceited, who maintain that they able to prove the contrary,) that alone, of all christians, have exam- the doctrine of our church* corresined without prejudice, and discov. ponds exactly with the faith of the ered, with infallible certainty, the primitive christians; or, in other true meaning of the oracles of God? words, with the faith of the inspirTo this we reply, that there are ed writer. The doctrines, which systems of doctrine demonstrated we hold, are not the inventions of to be pure by evidence, which our men, nor the perversions of scrip. opponents cannot reasonably refift. ture truth; they are coeval with These are the articles and confef- the first promulgation of the gof. sions of faith of this and a neigh. pel ; for it cannot be shown, that bouring church. Whatever may be they were introduced at a later pe. the errours of either in the form of riod. In the darkness of Popish ig. discipline or worship, or in other norance some of them were almost matters not essential; their systems extinguished; but whenever learn. of doctrine are perhaps the purest, ing and reverence for the scriptures which could have been expected in began to revive, the pure doctrines any works of human composition. of Christ shone forth with renewed Nor is this merely a presumption, lustre. They were received by our drawn from the manners of the venerable reformers, as the greattimes, when they are composed, or est blessings of Heaven, and wor. from the great piety and integrity thy of being kept and defended of the compilers; but it is an af- with a fortitude, which tortures sertion, the truth of which may be and death could not overcome. proved by an appeal to the coinci. Shall then their descendants permit dence of these doctrines with the themselves to be deprived of such sentiments of the immediate fol. blessings, from the unmanly fear, lowers of the apostles. If this co- that their firm, though modelt deincidence can be shown, it com- fence of them, would be illiberally pletely demonstrates the purity of stiled the effect of a dogmatick and our religious doctrines to every conceited spirit ? [To be continued.] one, who admits the conclufiveness

• The Church of Scotland. of historical evidence. For, whatever may have been the early cor- THE following anecdote of Cal. ruptions of the christian church, it vin, while it does much honour to is not credible, that the contempo- his moral and religious character, raries and immediate successors of is a curious historical fact, which the apostles could have ignorantly, · deserves to be generally known. or willingly perverted the sacred It was related at Geneva, by Deodoctrines. This was so far from dati, one of Calvin's successors, to

the first Lord Orrery, who fourish- ment, and told him if he would ed under the reign of Charles the come back to the Roman church, first. The extract is taken from he would certainly procure for him . The state letters and memoirs of a Cardinal's cap. But Calvin was

the right Hon. Roger Boyle,' not to be moved by such an offer. page 4, 5.

Eckius then asked him what reve; Eckius being sent by the pope, nue he had ? he told the Cardinal legate into France, upon his return he had that house and garden, and resolved to take Geneva in his way fifty livres per annum, beside an 'on purpose to see Calvin ; and if annual present of some wine and occasion were, to attempt reducing corn ; on which he lived very conhim to the Roman church. There- tentedly. Eckius told him, that a fore, when Eckius was come with man of his parts deserved a greatin a league of Geneva, be left his er revenue ; and then renewed his retinue there, and went, accompa- invitation to come over to the Ronied but with one man, to the city, milh church, promising him a betin the forenoon. Setting up his ter stipend if he would. But Calhorses at an inn, he inquired where vin giving him thanks assured him Calvin lived, whose house being he was well fatisfied with his conshown him, he knocked at the door dition. About this time dinner and Calvin himself came to open was ready, when he entertained it to him. Eckius inquiring for his guest as well as he could, excus. Mr. Calvin, he was told he was the ed the defects of it, and paid him perfon. Eckius acquainted him, great respect. Eckius after dinner that he was a stranger ; and hav- desired to know, if he might not ing heard much of his fame, was be admitted to see the church, come to wait upon him. Calvin which anciently was the cathedral invited him to come in, and he en- of that city. Calvin very readily tered the house with him ; where answered that he might ; accorddiscoursing of many things con- ingly, he sent to the officers to be cerning religion, Eckius perceived ready with the keys, and desired Calvin to be an ingenuous learned some of the syndicts to be there man, and desired to know if he had present, not acquainting them who not a garden to walkin. To which the stranger was. As soon thereCalvin replying he had, they both fore as it was convenient, they went into it; and there Eckius be- both went towards the church, and gan to inquire of him why he left as Eckius was coming out of Cal. the Roman church, and offered vin's houfe, he drew out a purse, him fome arguments to persuade with about one hundred pistoles, him to return; but Calvin could and presented it to Calvin. But by no means be inclined to think Calvin desired to be excused; Eckof it. At lalt, Eckius told him, ius told him, he gave it him to buy that he would put his life in his books, as well as to express his re. hands; and then said he was Eck. spect for him. Calvin with much ius the Pope's legate. At this dif- regret took the purse, and they covery, Calvin was not a little fur- proceeded to the church, where the prised, and begged his pardon that fyndicts and officers waited upon he had not treated him with that them; at the sight of whom Ecki. respect which was due to his qual- us thought he had been betrayed, ity: Eckius returned the compli- and whispered his thoughts in Cal.

vin's ear ; but Calvin assured him charity and modesty of Calvin. to the contrary. Thereupon they When they were come out of the went into the church ; and Ecki. church, Calvin invited Eckius aus, having feen all, told Calvin he gain to his house,but he replied that did not expect to find things in so he must depart ; so thanking him decent an order, having been told for all his civilities, offered to take to the contrary. After having his leave. But Calvin waited upon taken a full view of every thing, him to the inn,and walked with him Eckius was returning out of the a mile out of the territories of Genechurch ; but Calvin atopped him va, where with great compliments, a little, and calling the fyndiets they took a farewell of each other.' and officers together, took out the Eckius was a very learned dipurse of gold which Eckius had vine, professor in the university of given him, telling them that he Ingolstadt, memorable for his ophad received that gold from this polition to Luther, Melanchon, worthy stranger, and that now he and other reformers in Germany. gave it to the poor, and so put it all He died in 1543, aged 57. See into the poor box that was kept Hoffmanni Lexicon, Tom. 2, page there. The syndicts thanked the 130, or Encyclopedia Britannica, stranger, and Eckius admired the vol. 6th, p. 296. As. Mif. Mag.

Review of New Publications.

The Doctrine of Predeftination un'o feelings. With reverence and im.

Life, explained and virdicated in partiality then we fhall notice Four Sermons, preached to the these productions of one of the fachurch of Christ, meeting in Brat. thers of our Boston churches, ile Street, and published at their whose memory is yet held in great general defire : with some addin veneration. tional passages and quotations. By Thele Sermons were first pubWilliam Cooper : one of the lished in Boston, in the year 1740, pastors of faid Church. With a were reprinted in London, in the Preface by the Senior Pastors of year 1765, and the second Bolton the town of Boston. Second edition appeared during the last Edition. Boston. E. Lincoln, year. Water Street, 1804..

The Sermons are introduced by

a preface, written by the senior palMany, after reading the title tors of the town of Boston, the ven. page, prefixed to this little volume erable contemporaries of the au. of sermons, would thrink from the thor. This preface is a specimen perasal of its contents. With the of their brotherly love to the ausubject of the discourses under re- thor, their attachment to the docview fome have connected an idea trines contained in his sermons,and of horrour, while to others the title their fervent zeal in the cause of itself is a sufficient recommenda Christ. It breathes a spirit of pie-, tion.

ty as well, as of firm, unlhaken Reviewers of controversial pub faith, and Itrongly recommends lications, whether religious, or po- the discourses to the reader's atlitical, ought, as much as possible, tention. to divest themselves of sectarian At the present day, when many

pious christians are accused of leach.

teaching for doctrines the commande decry and reproach it, asunworthy ments of men, whenfaith in doctrines of God and religion; and of those above our comprehension is deem- who speak of it, as among those ed superstition, the following obser- mysterious, controversial, and vations, contained in the preface, speculative points, which it is best may be seasonable and appropriate. not to meddle with.”

The doctrine of Predestination “is The author, who appears to embraced by us, because we find it in have had correct ideas of the huour Bible. This it is, that makes us man heart, anticipates much oppo. Predestinarians and Calvinists : For Cal. Grinn from oin, nor Au pustine, nor any names what.

sition from the prejudices of men, ever, are any thing to us, but as they in treating to unpopular a lubject. speak from the Holy Scriptures. These The modest and humble manner are our only oracles. What we find in which he solicits the attention of there, we believe and profess, though his audience, is worthy of notice. incomprehensible toour weak and shal. low minds, which are by no means the

As the direction, given to the hearmeasure of truth, And we think we ers, deserves the attention of every act a perfectly rational part, as well as serious and candid inquirer after reverent before the high God, the infi. truth, we transcribe the author's nite Intelligence, in bowing our under.

words with pleasure. standings to his revelations respecting truth and duty, even where we cannot

“And now, my hearers, let me crave, answer every scruple or objection, for

e or objection, for and, as I speak in the name of Christ, reconciling seeming oppositions."

I may demand your reverent and seri

ous attention. Let me entreat you to The words which Mr. Cooper

lay aside prejudices, if you have enterhas selected, as a text for his dif- tained any, against this doctrine, and courses, are contained in the epif. to receive with meekness the ingrafted tle to the Romans, viii. 29, 30. In word, which is able to save your souls. the first sermon, after noticing the

* Let me desire you to stop all censures,

till I have finished the subject, if, chapter preceding the one from, through the good hand of our God up. which his subject is taken, our au- on us, I may be allowed to do so. thor observes, that the “ words” of “And let me further ask you, before his text " are commonly called the I proceed, to lift up your heart to God

in some such secret petition as this, golden chain of salvation,” and di

*Lord ! if this doctrine be according vides it into four parts; Foreknowl. to thy mind and will, suffer not my edge and Predestination, Election, mind to be prejudiced against it; but luftification, and Glorification. help me to receive it in the love of it,

and to improve it to all those holy, savAfter having made a few observa

ing purposes, for which thou hast retions on each of these important vealed it in thy word.' If any will not subjects in their order, he observes, do thus, let me tell them, their minds

" It is not my intention to speak of are not rightly disposed to hear, nor all these privileges in the order, in can they be looked upon to be sincere which they stand connected in our inquirers after truth.” text ; and I have but lately discoursed In the first discourse the author concerning two of them, effectual call describes the doctrine of election in ing and justification. My present pur

the terms of the 17th article of the pose therefore is, to treat only of that,

och is the ground of them all, and church of England ; which article from which they result, namely, Elec- he observes, agrees with the assem. ti», or Predestination unto Life." bly's catechism. These he calls

He then proceeds to expatiate on “the publick standards," and the the importance and excellence of truths contained in them he underthe doctrine, and to vindicate it takes to explain in eight distinct from the objections of those, “who propositions. Upon subjects fw

« AnteriorContinuar »