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To promote the truth is our object, and we do hope, that if the above and former extracts from the Doway Testament, are duly considered, our "half Protestants” will set a higher value upon the privilege, of studying the Scriptures without note or comment.
It is astonishing to observe the ignorance of some men, as it is incidentally elicited, on the subject of religion. Their confusion, levity, and often total vacuity of thought on this subject, would seem impossible where the light of the gospel shines, and incredible were it not for the convincing power of facts. How valueless the soul, in his real estimate, who allows it to move on to the wonders and terrors of eternity, ready to follow any direction which the currents of caprice may give it!
This ignorance is often found in connexion with upper life, fine manners, and general intelligence. Little incidents develope it. It is seen, and best seen, when its subject is wholly unconscious of its manifestation. A silly remark or a lengthened conversation, is frequently stored with its evidences. The following narrative, given substantially as related by the clergyman alluded to, has suggested these reflections.
I was, says our informant, on board a fine steamer, several hundred miles from home. Many passengers, 'exhibiting several varieties of society, crowded the deck; standing, promenading, or seated, enjoying a fine air and the gorgeous scenery of a bright summer evening. As I took a casual station near the bow, a gentleman at my side commenced speaking, in reference to some passing affair, and evinced, as I thought, a desire to converse with me. I had marked him before. In person and port he was tall and lordly, looked well, had evidently seen the world, and felt his consequence, as he submmitted from necessity to inhabit the same floating castle for a time, in which so many rude inferiors offended his refinement without acknowledging his dignity. He evidently knew I was a clergyman, and I was not without fears that he was a contemner of religion, or a professed infidel. In this I was mistaken. He meant
after a sort - to be a christian, and had extended his self-complacency into the department of religion. He was as distinguished from us all for piety, in his own esteem, as for social elevations and refinement. I am sorry to say, lest it should seem invidious, that he was an Englishman. His moral peers are to be found, doubtless, on both sides of the Atlantic; and I trace his conversation in the following dialogue, for their especial benefit who inhabit, with myself, these territories of the west.
Gentleman. You gentlemen of the cloth have fine times of it. Easy work, full pay, universal respect, and unlimited influence, it seems.
Clergyman. You may ert by superficial views of the case. Appearances are unsafe as a rule of judgment. We work hard, sir, receive too little to stimulate eupidity, or countenance envy, and could have no influence were it not for the conviction of the people that we believe what we preach, and practice what we believe, and that our official labours are salutary in their effects on the community. Many, who have no spiritual fellowship with our doctrine or sympathy with our cause, which is not of this world,” in its character, are profoundly convinced of the value of the ministry, as it regards only “the life that now is,” because it favours civilization, knowledge, order, morality, domestic purity, and the repose of society. The clergy of this country are beneficed only in the covenant of grace; and their only church establishment is, under God, in the affections of the good, the consciences of the wicked, and the power of public sentiment.
Gentleman. Well, as to all that, I say nothing. Such is doubtless your version of the matter. But, there is one fault among you all which I every where observe-you make too much noise and talk about religion. Why not keep every man his religion to himself?
Clergyman. Religion, sir, is the gift of heaven to men; and those who have it are the stewards in trust and the almoners of God for others. We are bound to communicate it. There is no selfishness in religion. Those who possess it are disposed to diffuse it. How could I love the Saviour, and not love the souls for whom he died ? How could I truly love your soul, and never speak a word or do a thing, or utter a prayer for your salvation ?
Gentleman. Now this is all professional! You may talk so to the ignorant, to men who never see the world, and know nothing of life.
But to me it seems ungentlemanly to make such a parade of the matter, as if every body ought to believe what you do.
Clergyman. Every one ought to believe the truth, since God has clearly revealed it, “who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Now, if I believe at least substantially the truth, why ought not you to believe substantially the same ?
Gentleman. Still, leave every man to his own wisdom in the matter; and above all, cease to accost and arrest every mind in the community with your views in religion. I confess I like the Quakers; they are so still and inoffensive. They are the best Christians in the world. I lately heard a good sermon from a woman of their persuasion, and really wish that all the divines in the world could have heard it. It was none of your long sermons. She came right to the point.
Cler. Can you recollect any excellent doctrine delivered by her ?
Gent. Certainly I can. Her discourse was all practical, indeed; but then it was founded on a text that other preachers seldom take: Let every man mind his own business. She said it was the very essence of the gospel, and if it were universally followed there would be little disease, less poverty, and no war; and that it was such a plain command that all could comprehend it; that college learning was unnecessary to enforce it; that hireling priests were its enemies,
and that it was a marvel to her that the whole world had not sense enough to observe it. She said, if they would only remember it, it would be religion and knowledge sufficient for them; and that all classes, kings and subjects, scholars and farmers, husbands and wives, old persons and young, had nothing else to do.
Cler. And did she say a word of "Jesus Christ, and him crucified?" or explain the reason that God should give us a volume of inspiration as the Bible, when her epitome was all ? Besides, I should like to know where the text is which you have quoted; I have never se en exactly such a passage of scripture.
Gent. I don't know, nor did she say. She was all for the spirit,” and not “the letter," and there, I think, she has the advantage of you.
Cler. And do you really believe that her doctrine could comfort and sustain your soul on a death bed?
Gent. As to that, and all such things, sir, I never trouble myself. If I do as well as I can, it will all go right, I dare say. This noise, and these questions in religion, are just what I dislike. Men of liberal minds care for none of these things. They may affect the vulgar.
Čler. But do you really care so little for salvation ?
Gent. Care ?-I mind my own business, I tell you; and that, as the Quakeress said, is all of it. However, I think a man has religion enough if he only keeps the ten commandments. This is all I do, and should like to know what more a man wants ?
Cler. There is one sentiment in which I am very happy to agree with you :-it is in the excellency of the ten commandments, and in the piety of keeping them.
Gent. Well! I am glad to hear you speak so liberally. Just stick to that, and all will go safe.
Cler. Stick to it? That I will; and so will God that gave them.
Gent. Very well! Then we are agreed sure enough. Now we have all plain sailing; and if you would only preach so, we might have short sermons, no mysteries, and every one could understand you. But as it is, when I hear some of your preachers
Cler. Pardon me! I wish to stick to the commandments. Your proposition was a sound one; but let us examine it. A man's religion will suffice, you say, if he only keeps the ten commandments. But mark the condition, my friend, for here is wisdom. "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” If he keeps the ten, you say; but what if he keeps only nine of them ? or breaks those that show our duties to God? or keeps none of them sincerely? or transgresses them all? what then? Could you, or your admired prophetess, resolve the dilemma? Has the law a penalty? If so, what is it? When incurred, is there any way of escape ? If sin renders us obnoxious to the justice of the Lawgiver, how can mercy relieve us? Will mercy quarrel with justice? “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered ?" Stick to the commandments, I say; and tell me, as candidly as I will tell you the same of myself, have you kept them ? And if not, will you choose to forget that God has pronounced his awful curse on all transgressors? or will you think it folly to ask, “What must I do to be savea?” or, should you once feel the fact that you “have sinned against heaven," and in his sight whose throne is there, would you wish to know nothing of “the Lamb of God?” nothing of Christ, and salvation “through his blood ?"
Gent. All this, to me, is heathen Greek, mere fustian and cant, Why, if what you say is true, what will become of the heathen ? Besides, your professors of religion are no better than they should be. I know great Christians that will cheat, lie, and steal; but they never swear, as the saying is. And you know we all have our faults. God is merciful, as the scripture says; and some clergyman of my acquaintance, especially in the old country, are the merriest fellows in the world when they throw off their canonicals. I have met them at a cockpit, seen them in the theatre, and handled them at cards Trust them for sport when out of sight of their congregations.
Cler. Is this a specimen of your own keeping of the ten commandments ? or is it the way in which your soul was prepared for relishing the sermon of which you have spoken, and justilying the paths of sin? O, my friend, if there is a Lawgiver who will call you to account, I fear you will find yourself sinking in his presence with the foundation on which you rely. What could be more absurd than to trust for salvation to a rule that you have violated, and which is itself the sole instrument of condemnation to transgressors? What but justice ever sunk a sinner to hell ? Allow me, then, in turn, to express my utter astonishment that a gentleman of your appearance and parts should be so totally ignorant of the first principles of revealed religion ! If you were as ill informed on inferior matters of this word you could not travel in safety; you would set out for England, and steer to Madagascar; you would give a hundred dollars for a night's lodging; light your segar with a bank note, and mistake water for land. I wish also to say to you, in the spirit of sincere friendship for your precious soul, that your ignorance is not more gross than criminal. You have most sinfully neglected that volume oi truth which God has turned author to edit, and which is able to make you wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." You are a stranger to me, and it is not for money, but love, that I thus speak. We shall probably never meet again in this world, and it is awfully possible that you may die too soon for your safety, your comfort, or your salvation. I am grieved, but do not wonder, that you should speak so of the ministers of God, of their Master, and his cause. The doctrines of the Bible do not suit your heart, because you know neither God nor yourself. I beserel: you to serks salvation, and turn to God immediately.
Here the beat stopped-we parted and this is all as yet that I bave known on a trenger, who, with all his folly, evinced many attributes of natural and acquired nobility.
FIDUS. American Pastor's Journal.
. Of all the subjects, which present themselves to the consideration of the christian, none is more important than Christ's atonement. We are therefore delighted, that a writer for the Luthern Magazines has taken up the subject, in such a manner, as must confirm the hopes of the believer, and discomfit the errorist, whatever may be his art and device. We invite an attentive perusal of the state ment of the doctrine of Christ's atonement, as it is contained in the holy Scriptures. An examination of the objections raised against this doctrine, shall be given in our next.-Editor.
“In entering upon the discussion of the first particular, it is asserted, that the doctrine of Christ's expiatory sacrifice for sin is plainly revealed in the word of God. To prove this assertion, the reader is referred to those emphatic declarations of scripture, which represent Christ's sufferings and death as an offering for sin. The writings of St. Paul are filled with such declarations. That distinguished Apostle bears frequent testimony to this fact. This is what he constantly affirms in his Epistles. He says that “Christ had given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God that he died for all, that they which live should henceforth not live unto themselves, but to him, which died for them-that Christ, our Passover, is sanctified for us--that, by his own precious blood, he entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us that through the eternal spirit he offered himself, and by the sacrifice of himself, put away sin.” These declarations of St. Paul are supported by the direct testimony of St. John, who asserts, that “Jesus Christ, the righteous, our advocate with the Father, is the propitiation for our sins--that he was sent into the world that he might save us from our sins, and that through him we might live.”
Now, if these expressions of the holy apostles are not to be construed in a manner totally different from their plain and literal signification--if they were intended to convey any ideas to the minds of those to whom they were addressed if they are not utterly devoid of all sense, and destitute of all meaning; it is as clear as language can make it appear, that Jesus Christ did render an expiatory sacrifice for sin; that he did suffer the punishment of human disobedience; that he died on the cross, not merely to se.) the truth and establish the authority of his gospel, but that by his innocent suffer. ings and death, sinners might be released from the condemnation of the law-absolved from the punishment of their sins, and restored to the divine favor: for in the testimony which we have just quoted, Christ is not merely exhibited unto us as a fit example for our imitation under the influence of temporal sufferings and a Pictions; he is not merely represented as having sacrificed his life to display the firmness of his character and establish the authority of his religious