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religion. We are encouraged by inspired authority ; “ Whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, (kavūve) let us mind the same thing."
Then, as to the other part of the statement, that we fix all that is to be done by our posterity, we again demur. We think our friend Dr. Halley is right when he maintains, that where our churches are fixed on a congregational basis, it is determined that they shall be administered on principles that are popular and reforming-principles which enable the people to determine their own internal arrangements at their own pleasure.
We must own that we think the acute and honest, but, withal, somewhat imaginative writer in the Eclectic, has allowed his fancy to magnify the difficulties of the case. As to doctrines, we say, with Mr. Morison, in the sermon which has called forth the reviewer's friendly comments, “ we do not expect by a careful study of the Bible to find new doctrines; but we do expect to find new aspects of the old doctrines.” “New aspects," indeed, have already been presented by modern Congregational divines of the old doctrines, but they have not excited divisions or dissensions amongst us. Are not the views of the Atonement, published in the writings of Drs. Wardlaw and Smith, and Mr. Gilbert, very different from those which were taught by Dr. John Owen and the Independent theologians of his day? Has Dr. Henderson exhibited Divine Inspiration in the same light in which our older divines held it? Does Dr. Payne set forth Divine Sovereignty, Election, &c. in the same terms that Dr. Thomas Goodwin or Elisha Coles employed ?
The Congregational churches of the present day hold and teach, with affectionate warmth, all those doctrines which their fathers, two centuries ago, maintained, but they fearlessly allow their theological professors and stated pastors to treat theology as a science, and to avail themselves of all the assistance which a more perfect system of biblical criticism and a more accurate and philosophical method of stating truth way afford. Then, as to Church Order, let the reviewer follow the laborious researches of Mr. Hanbury, in his invaluable Historicul Memorials, and he will see that Dr. Halley's is no vain boa!! that our churches have carried their appeal to Scripture, and by what they regard to be its decisions they have been and are ready to abide. How the crude opinions of the early Independents were modified by their successors is well known, and many of the appointments and practices of the Congregational brethren at the Savoy have ceased in our modern churches. Where now are the distinct classes of otficers, “pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons,” that were recognized by the Confession of 1658? Some of the churches that were represented at that assembly still exist, but the restriction of their office-bearers to pastors and deacons bas not caused them to forfeit their chapels, and we suppose for this reason, because it is a principle of our church order and discipline that " the New Testament authorizes every christian church to elect its own officers, to manage all its own affairs, and to stand independent of, and irresponsible to, all authority, saving that only of the Supreme and Divine Head of ihe Church, the Lord Jesus Christ."*
While, however, we feel that the rational liberty of our churches is not generally invaded, for we own there are exceptions, by our trust-deeds, yet we must acknowledge that we cannot vindicate them from the charge of sectarianism and of being the legal instruments of perpetuating lamentable divisions in the church of God. Let it be remembered, however, that the ecclesiastical property of all sects is in the same state, and that if it should please God to pour out upon his people again a general desire for unity and love, an application to the state, such as the reviewer imagines, would be unquestionably successful. At the same time it would be a lovely thing to proclaim in our most solemn deeds for the settlement of church property, that we look forward with desire to such a blessed termination of our hateful divisions, and therefore we have much pleasure in introducing to our readers a second communication, bearing especially on that part of the subject.
Vide Declaration of Faith, Church Order and Discipline of Congregational Churches.
ON SECTARIAN TRUST-DEEDS, WITH A CLAUSE TO RENDER
(To the Editor.) DEAR Sır,-I have just risen from perusing, with equal surprise and pleasure, the Fourth article in the Eclectic Review for August
, of which the running titles are- Are we Protestants ?-Drs. Warda law, Halley, and the Essex Ministers.
The object of that article is to call attention to the hindrances which the trust deeds of dissenting chapels interpose to freedom of biblical inquiry and the approximation of christian sects ;-—a subject of immense importance, which from the able and candid manner in which it has there been proposed to public consideration, as well as from the evident direction of the current of opinion among erangelical Christians, will gain, I hope, immediate, serions, and practical regard.
I was once the minister of a chapel jealously secured to the Independents by the trust-deed, which limits the appointment by the following words :-“ Such minister to be of the Independent persuasion respecting church government, and to hold, profess, and embrace, ex animo, the truths contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, in the plain, literal, and grammatical sense thereof; and no such minister shall be nominated, elected, or appointed as aforesaid, unless, immediately before such election, nomination, or appointment
, he shall solemnly declare in the presence of the members of the said church, or the major part of them, his sincere approbation of the Westminster Confession of Faith : And in case any minister to be elected, nominated and appointed as aforesaid, shall teach, preach, or propagate any doctrine in or out of the said meeting-house, contrary to the doctrines contained in the said Westminster Confession of Faith, * * * he shall be removed, and a successor appointed.” Before my election I told the lady who gave the land and the original building, that I could not make the required declaration. “ Then,” said she, “ the deed must be altered;" forgetting that nothing could alter it but an Act of Parliament. At my ordination I declared publicly that I could not subscribe to any thing but the Bible. Though my holding the pulpit was not strictly legal, yet, as it was cordially approved by the foundress, and by those who had subscribed most for the enlargement of the building, the circumstance never once troubled me for several years.
But after some time the respected foundress died. And after some years more, my theological views were so extended as to produce decided objection to some parts of the Westminster Confession, and a more confirmed dislike of sectarian distinctions and names. The terms of the trust-deed now galled my conscience; and this operated, along with other circumstances, to produce a state of health which obliged me to separate finally from an affectionate, united, and not unprosperous congregation.
Without entering on the general subject of the article just referred to, I will merely request your insertion of the following draught of a clause prepared for insertion in the trust-deed of a chapel lately built in very promising circumstances, in a rising town in the north
of Yorkshire. The absence abroad of an executor of one of the proprietors who sold the site, has delayed the completion of the deed; but the principle of the clause I send you is fully admitted by the gentlemen who have founded the chapel, though it may undergo some modification by a professional hand. As it will probably be some months before the terms are finally settled, I send you the draught nearly as first submitted to the founders a year ago, hoping that it will gain attention, now that the Eclectic reviewer has mooted the question, and will be adopted in principle, and in some improved form, by those who may act on the advice of the Rev. J. A. James, given in p. 512 of your number for August-Build, build, build.
The principle applies to colleges and other institutions, as well as chapels; and I will venture to express a respectful hope that those who have so nobly projected a new college in Lancashire, will act worthy of their characters and their times, by abstaining from rearing a new obstacle to the advance of millennial unity. I give the clause below, and remain
Your's very respectfully, August 13.
G. B. K.
Clause prepared for the Trust Deed of M Chapel. First Case, AND UPON THIS FURTHER TRUST, That if there shall
ever be a General Union of Evangelical Christians throughout 2d Case. England, so as to abolish sectarian divisions and names ; or, if all
or most of the Evangelical Christians in England, not statedly
worshipping in the national episcopalian establishment, shall form 3d Case. such a Union; or, if a majority of the Evangelical Christians of the
said Independent or Congregational denomination throughout 4th Case. England, or throughout that part of England which is north of the
rivers Humber and Mersey, shall unite with any other Evangelical Christians equal or superior in number to the Independents so uniting with the design and the general expectation of ultimately
accomplishing such a union of all Evangelical Christians out of the 5th Case. Establishment, or of all absolutely, within the aforesaid northern 6th and 7th part, or throughout the whole of England ;-so soon as any of Cases, ihese cases shall exist, or at any time after, the Trustees of
the said Meeting-house for the time being, or the major part Notice.
of them, shall give notice in writing of the existence of that
case to the Society of Communicants in the said Meeting-house; Interval.
and within a year of this notice, but not within six months thereof,
the said Trustees shall, with the knowledge of the said communiConsent. cants, and the consent of three-fourths of such of them as shall be
present at any meeting duly called for that purpose, make and New Deed. execute a new trust-deed, with such alterations, omissions, or addi
tions, as shall in the judgment of the said Trustees and Communi
cants, more effectually provide for the permanent appropriation of Present
the premises to the use of such united Christians: AND nothing in Liberty. this present deed contained and limiting the use of the said Meeting
house for the present to Protestant Dissenters of the Independent or Congregational Order, shall be of such force as to prevent any Minister of the said Meeting-house, or any Communicant therein, from labouring for the formation of, or for promoting any such
union of Evangelical Christians. N.S. VOL. III.
THE DUTY OF PROTESTANT DISSENTERS TO OPPOSE THE
AGGRESSIONS OF POPERY.
(To the Editor.) Dear Sir-Has not the time arrived when the different evangelical denominations of Protestants should unite in opposing, by moral and scriptural means, the activity and the delusions of Popery? I am not an alarmist; but still I think that ne, the Protestant Dissenters, are in danger of becoming too indifferent to an evil which there is at least an attempt to spread more widely around us. The outcry against the Roman Catholics, which was raised for party purposes, has made us, who saw clearly through the objects of political churchmen, unwilling to attack the doctrinal errors of Popery, lest we should be considered the enemies of equal civil rights. The claims of the establishment were of such a character as to unite all who did not belong to it in resisting those claims; and the resistance which different denominations have made to church-rates, have furnished the railers in the endowed church with abundance of materials for accusing us of being friendly to Popery, or rather, that onr hatred of the Church was so great, as to lead us to fraternize with Papists, whom our forefathers manfully withstood. It is true that we have united with Roman Catholics and others in opposing church-rates, in seeking the removal of felt grievances, in demanding equal civil and religious rights. But it is not true that we are friendly to the errors of Popery. But why has such a necessity arisen? None know better than the ascendancy-men, that it is the national church that has produced it. Let them cease to demand exclusive privileges-let equal rights be granted to all denominations, and, even in appear ance, the union of Protestant Dissenters, in resisting oppression, with those who hold erroneous sentiments, will cease, because the reason which pressed them together will have ceased also.
Still, even though the just liberties of the various denominations may not be secured for some time to come, and we may be compelled to join with all in a similar condition with ourselves, whatever their religious opinions may be, in seeking our rights, we must beware of allowing that circumstance to keep us from the decided and frequent assertion of the great religious principles of Protestantism, in opposition to the destructive errors of Popery. If we pow resort to this old-fashioned method of defending all that we hold dear in the religion of the Bible, we cannot justly be accused by the Roman Catholics of political hostility-with an attempt to crush them by law. We have abundantly proved the contrary, and even risked, in the estimation of some, our own characters as Protestants, by demanding for them civil rights equally with our own. They have taken advantage of the new rights granted to them to advance the interests of the papal see; their zeal is great ; their influence is considerable in certain localities; the means they employ to gain proselytes are quite consistent with their avowed principles, and their success has led them to cherish the most extravagant hopes respecting the future. The semi-popery of Oxford seems also to present to them a cheering prospect, so that no period during the
last 250 years has appeared so favourable to the apostacy. In addition to all, there is a wide-spread ignorance of scripture truth among the masses of the people, and a spirit of latitudinarianism among the wealthy and educated classes of society, which render success to a certain extent more probable.
The question returns, is it not now the time when some means should be employed to counteract the activity of Papists? But what means can be employed? I make the enquiry in good faith. Let me state the position Í occupy, suggest what has occurred to me as desirable in the present emergency, and request some of your correspondents to enter on the subject, and give us their counsel and suggestions.
In the town where I reside are two Roman Catholic priests. They are active, and attentive to their duties. Some wealthy persons of their congregation are zealous in co-operating with them, trying to bring nominal Protestants under the dominion of the priesthood. Large sums of money have lately been left at the disposal of their clergy in the county, for promoting Roman Catholic objects. One plan by which this is done, is to circulate gratuitously, or to sell at a very low price, sermons, letters, defences, protests, written both by priests and laymen, all exposing and denouncing the errors and divisions of the Protestant sects, complaining bitterly of misrepresentations, oppressions, and so on. Many of these publications are circulated fairly and openly, but many of them also jesuitically ; Roman Catholic tracts being sometimes found under the covers of Protestant loan tract societies. These things are done to enlighten and convert the misguided Protestants. Other
means, still more available, are employed to train up children in Popish doctrines; and not the children of Roman Catholics alone. There is a free school, and education is offered to all, on the principle of the national schools. On Sundays, the young people who can be prevailed on to attend the catechetical service, are well trained in the leading points of difference between Papists and Protestants. From infancy, the delusion, the danger, the guilt of separating from the Holy Catholic church, are impressed on the ductile minds of the rising race. The best arguments in favour of their own religion are taught them. Thus advocates of Popery are being prepared for future moral contests with a rising generation of nominal Protestants, unprepared, ignorant alike of the real errors of Popery and the real excellence of Protestantism. Nay, may it not be said, that even the children of our Sundayschools, and of Protestant Dissenters in general, are unable, on the points at issue between the two bodies, to cope with the trained catechumens of the Romish Priests. That this process will, in few years, tell favourably on their schemes, cannot for a moment be doubted. I do not name these things as grounds of discouragement, but rather as reasons for devising some plan to counteract the prudent and determined efforts of those who are enemies to our holy religion. We dare not question, for a moment, the power of divine truth; but then it must be made known in such a way as specifically and directly to meet the attempts made to subvert it. May I be allowed to say, that two things appear to me necessary