Imágenes de páginas

From that place we believe Christ will return, to hold a gene ral judgment, as well upon the dead, as upon those who shall btalive and remain in the body.

We believe that the Ploly Ghost, the third person in the Blessed Trinity, is also truly God, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but in a way unknown and inexplicable by man, proceeding both from the Father and the Son; that it is his office to so soften the obduracy of the human heart, when by the wholesome preaching of the Gospel, or by any other means, he is received into the breasts ol men; that he enlightens them, leads them into the knowledge of God, into the way of " all truth," into entire newness of life, and an abiding hope of salvation.

We believe further, that the Church of God is one Church; and that it is not confined, as heretofore among the Jews, to any particular corner or kingdom of the world, but is catholick and universal, spread over the face of the whole earth, so that no nation can justiy say it is excluded, and may not become a part of the Church and people of God;—that this Cnurch is the " kingdom" the body, the « bride" of Christ, and of this " kingdom," of this " body," of this " bride," He Alone is the Prince,the Head, the Bridegroom;— that there are various orders of ministers in the Church; some Deacons, others Presbyters, others again Bishops, who are charged with the instruction of the people, and the care and superintendance of religious service; not, however, that there is or can be any one supreme head of the whole, as well because Christ, being always present with his Church, needs no successour invested with the whole of his authority, as because it is impossible tor any mere mortal cither tor embrace the intetests of the Universal Cnurch, (which is of every nation under heaven,) or rightly to order and commodiously administer their affairs. We say with St. Cyprian, that the apostles were all of equal authority; such as St. Peter was, such in all respects were the rest of them; that to all without distinction the charge was given," Feed my sheep;"—to all, " Go ye into the whole world;"—to all, " preach the Gospel." We say with St. Jerome, that all bishops, wherever they are stationed, whether at Rome, at Gubio, at Constantinople, or at Rheggio, are equal in rank and power, and of the same holy order: and again, with the above St. Cyprian on this point, that there is but one episcopal office, which every bishop possesses whole and entire in his own particular district; that by sentence of the council of Nice, the bishop of Rome holds no more jurisdiction in the Church, than the other patriarchs of Alexandria or Antioch: but that though he would now draw all ecclesiastical authority to himself, yet if he does not discharge the proper duties of his office, if he does not administer the Holy Sacraments, if he neglects to instruct, to admonish, to teach the people, he is not, in any admissible use of the terms, cither a bishop or even a simple presbyterian. The word "bishop," St. Augustine observes, is not an empty title, but denotes a function, giving us to understand that he is no bishop who aspires to the rank, while he declines the service.

On the contrary, we maintain that neither he nor any other among men, can with more propriety be called the head, or universal bishop, than he can be called the bridegroom, the light, the salvation, or the life of the church; that these are the exclusive titles and prerogatives of Christ, and to him alone are strictly and fully applicable. Never before the times of Phocas, of whose ele. ration to the imperial dignity by the execrable murder of Mauricius his royal master, we are not left ignorant, a period six hundred and thirteen years from the birth of our Saviour, never was it heard that a bishop of Rome had suffered himself to be addressed by so ostentatious a title. We know that the council of Carthage guarded by express provision against the use of the style "Sovereign Pontiff," or Supreme Head of the Priesthood, to any bishop of the Church; and affirm, that since the bishop of Rome assumes this style, and exhibits claims in prejudice of other men's authority, he not only acts in undisguised opposition to the decrees of ancient councils, and to the decisions of the fathers, but, (if he will heatGregory, one of his predecessors,) appropriates to himself a title which is at once arrogant, profane, sacrilegious, and antichristian —is the Prince of pride—the Lucifer, who exalts himself above his brethren—lias cast off the faith—and is the forerunner of Antichrist.

With respect to our ministers, we hold that they must be duly called, as well as regularly and in order appointed to their situations in the Church; and as we by no means allow that any man at his pleasure or discretion may intrude into the sacred office, the greater is the injury we sustain from them who do not cease to represent us as totally devoid of order and decency, irregular and tumultuous in all our proceedings, and every man, indiscriminately and as it may happen, as being a minister, a teacher, or an expositot' «f the Scriptures.

From a Sermon of Dean Tucker.

WE see, lastly, why the love of oountry has no place among the •"atalogue of Christian virtues. The love of country is, in fact, a loral affection, and a partial attachmentfbut the Christian covenant is general, comprehending all mankind within its embraces: judge, therefore, with what propriety such a narrow, contracted passion, 'anhave any place in the diffusive, benevolent scheme of Christianity. A passion, however glittering and glorious in appearance, which has been productive of more injustice, barbarity, and bloodshed in the world, than any other disgrace of human nature. A •a-sssion, in short, fit only for the enthusiastick rage of an old Ro^ian robber, when cruelly exulting over the unhappy victims of «a hat of power, and dominion; but altogether unworthy of the breast of a Christian, who is commanded to regard all mankind, not only as his countrymen, but his brethren; doing to others as he would be done by, and helping and assisting even his enemies in distress. Indeed, as far as the love of country means no more than a principle of self-defence against invaders, so far it is justifiable, and so far has Christianity provided for the due exertion of it, by inculcating obedience to the respective powers set over us. Bm as to the ideas of honour, and glory, and conquest, and dominion, and the other fine things usually implied in the love of country, they are so foreign to the Christian plan, as to be without a name in the Gospel language. Be it therefore, not only confessed,but gloried in, that, in this sense, the love of country neither is, nor ought to be, a part of the Christian scheme of universal love and benevolence.

The follozving passage from the Quarterly Review, of some late travels in Iceland, speaks a language that must interest event feeling heart. After mentioning a most destructive eruption of Mount Hecla, the reviewer goes on to observe,—

THIS is sufficiently awful—yet were we to contemplate the different effects of moral and physical evil, a comparison between this ravaged island and the earthly paradises of the South Sea, would still leave the balance of happiness on the side of the Icelander. In those delicious countries, where the earth brings forth her fruits spontaneously, the inhabitants have abandoned themselves to the most loathsome and pernicious vices, are becomin; every year more savage and miserable, and, in a few generations, will, undoubtedly, be extinct, if left to themselves. This may be safely predicted from their perpetual wars, their cannibalism, their human sacrifices, their promiscuous intercourse, their child murder, and other unutterable abominations. How much happier, amidst all the terrours of nature, the poor and virtuous Icelander! Perhaps it is not possible to produce a move beautiful instance of the beneficial effects of a common bond of faith, and an established •religion, than is to be found in the works before us. An Icelandick church is hardly of better construction than the rudest English barn—but we will take Mr. Hooker's description of the church] of Thingvalla.

"It was of a simple construction; in form, an oblong quadrangle, with thick walls, leaning a little inwards, composed of alternate layers of lava and turf. The roof was of turf, thickly covered ■with grass, and from the top of this to the ground the building was scarcely more than sixteen or jeighteen feet high. The entrance end alone Was of unpainted fir planks, placed vertically, with > imall door of the same materials. I was surprised to find the body »f the church crowded with large old wooden chests, instead of scats; but I soon understood that these not only answered the purwse of benches, but also contained the clothes of many of the congregation, who, as there was no lock on the door, had free access to their property at all times. The bare walls had no covering whatever, nor the floor any pavement, except a few ill-shapen picces of rock, which were either placed there intentionally, or, as seems most probable, had not been removed from their natural bed at the time of the building of the church. There was no regular rciling, only a few loose planks, laid upon some beams, which crossed the church at about the height of a man, held some old bibles, some chests, and the coflin of the minister, which he had made himself, and which, to judge from his aged look, he probably soon expected to occupy. The whole length of the church was not above thirty feet, and about six or eight of this was parted off by a kind of skreen of open work, (against which the pulpit was ulaced,) for the purpose of containing the altar, a rude sort of table, on which were two brass candlesticks; and, over it, two extremey small glass windows, the only places that admitted light, except die door-way. Two large bells hung on the right hand side of .he church, at an equal height with the beams."

The church-yard is often enclosed by a rude wall of stone or turf, and the area thinly sprinkled with banks of green sod, which alone serve to mark the burial-places of the natives. And here we must gratify our readers with the most beautiful passage in Sir G. Mackenzie's book.

"The moral and religious habits of the people at large, may be spoken of in terms of tho most exalted commendation. In his domestick capacity, the Icelander performs all the duties which his situation requires, or renders possible; and while, by the severe laliour of his hands, he obtains a provision of food for his children, it is not less his care to convey to their minds the inheritance of knowledge and virtue. In his intercourse with those around him, MI character displays the stamp of honour and integrity. His religious duties are performed with cheerfulness and punctuality; and this even amidst the numerous obstacles which are afforded

y the nature of the country, and the climate under which he lives, e Sabbath scene at an Icelandick church, is indeed one of the

most singular and interesting kind. The little edifice, construct

i of wood and turf, is situated perhaps amid the rugged ruins of

» stream of lava, or beneath mountains which are covered with iver-melting snows; in a spot where the mind almost sinks under

ie silence and desolation of surrounding nature. Here the Iceiders assemble to perform the duties of their religion. A group

» male and female peasants may be seen gathered about the

""ch, waiting the arrival of their pastor; all habited in their best

f. alter the manner of the country; their children with them;,

,(! the horses, which brought them from their respective homes,

ptRg quietly around the little assembly. The arrival of a nev,


comer is welcomed by every one with the kiss of salutation; and the pleasures of social intercourse, so rarely enjoyed by the Icelanders) are happily connected with the occasion which summons them to the discharge of their religious duties. The priest makes his appearance among them as a friend; he salutes individually each member of his flock, and stoops down to give his almost parental kiss to the little ones, who are to grow up under his pastoral Charge. These offices of kindness performed, they all go together into the house of prayer."

A picture worthy of the poet of the Sabbath, and which would havo delighted his affectionate and gentle heart! The clergy appear to perform their duties in an exemplary manner. Sir Georgt has copied a page of a parish register, in which the worthy pastor. Mr. Healtalin, for his own satisfaction, makes an annual record of the moral and religious state of every family in his parish; his labour indeed is not very great, for the population varies from 200 to 210; this, however, is not remarked with any intention of detracting from the merit of this excellent pastor. 'This example,' Sir George says,« of the attention and pious care with which the duties of a country priest are performed, in so remote a comer of the Christian world, may excite a blush in many of his brethren in more fortunate countries, and amid more opulent establishments.'





IF actions only were required, without dispositions, the work of religion would be comparatively easy. Men may pronounce prayers, wear sackcloth, keep fasts, give alms, &c. These external acts are in their power, and however irksome in themselves, many would be found to observe them as the price of their salva-tion. But the affections of the heart are out of our own power— we cannot at pleasure change the objects of our love and aversion. We may fierjbrm religious actions as a task, but we cannot make ourselves de'ight in them as a firi-vilege. And yet nothing short of this is true religion. Religion demands the affections—" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God."-—" My son, give me thy heart." Here then appears the necessity of divine grace, and the efficacy of its operation. It actually ftroduces this change in the affections, and thus the work proves itself to be of God.

« AnteriorContinuar »