صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

be given to unity. St. Paul, when that time that heresies did take hold he requireth unity, joineth with it, of the church, it is only known-by According to Christ Jesus, no farther. the Scriptures, which is the true Diotrephes now of late did always church.” harp upon Unity, Unity. Yea, 'Sir, Latimer confirms, Ridley's views, said I, but in verity not popery. Bet- and adds, among other things, “ This ter is diversity than unity in popery. is to be ignorant, to know many I had nothing again but scornful things without Ciarist, If thou taunts, with commandment to the knowest Christ well, thou knowest tower."

enough though thou know no more." The objector is then supposed to "I grant," proceeds Ridley in represent the danger of forsaking reply to another objection, " that the church. “He shall not have the name of the church is taken af. God to be his Father which acknow- ter three divers manners in the Scripledgeth not the church to be his ture. Sometimes for the whole mother. Without the church, .be multitude of them who profess the the life ever so well spent, none name of Christ. But as St. Paul shallinheritthe kingdom of heaven.” saith of the Jews, 'not every one is Ridley's reply is remarkable. " The a Jew that is a Jew outwardly;' even holy catholic or universal church, so not every one that is a Christian which is the communion of saints, outwardly is a Christian indeed. the house of God, the city of God, For if any man have not the spirit the spouse of Christ, the body of of Christ, the same is none of his. Christ, the pillar and stay of truth; Therefore that church which is his this church I believe according to body, and of which Christ is the the creed. This church I do reve- head, standeth only on living stones, rence and honour in the Lord. But and true Christians, not only outthe rule of this church is the WORD wardly in name and title, but inOf God, according to which rule we wardly in heart and in truth. But go forward unto life. And as many forasniuch as this church, as touchas walk according to this rule, I saying the outward fellowship is con. with St. Paul, Peace be upon then, tained within the former, and hath and upon Israel which pertaineth unto with it outward society of the saGod. The guide of this church is the craments, and ministry of the word, HOLY GHOST. The marks whereby many things are spoken of that unithis church is known to me in this versal church (which St. Augustine dark world, are these: The SINCERE calleth the mingled church) which PREACHING OF GOD'S HOLY WORD; THE cannot truly be understood, but only DUE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRA“ of the pure part of the church, &c." MENTS; CHARITY; and FAITAFUL OL- “ It is worthy to be noted what SERVING OF ECCLESIASTICAL DISCI- Lysa writech upon Matthew : The PLINE, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OP church consisteth in those persons 60D. "And that church or congrega, in whom is true knowledge and contion which is garnished with these fession of the faith, and of the truth. marks is in very deed that heavenly Evil men are in the church in name Jerusalem which consisteth of those that and not in deed'.” be born from above. This is the Latimer observes here, “ I have mother of us all, and by God's grace no more to say in this matter; for I will live and die the child of this, you yourself have said all that is to church. Out of this I grant there is be said.”. He afterwards remarks no salvation. In times past, saith however, “But it is demanded wheChrysostom, there were many ways ther the sounder part of the catholic to know the church of Christ, that church may be seen of men or no? is to say, by good life, by miracles, St. Paul saith, “the Lord knoweth by chastity, by doctrine, by admi- them that are his. What manner of nistering the sacraments. But from speaking is this in commendation of the Lord, if we know as well as he The thought of eternity and its imwho are his?”

mense importance, pressed forcibly In a subsequent part of the con- upon my mind; and a variety of reference, Ridley remarks, that such flections on this awful subject held things as were ordained of men, if me for some time in serious contemnot contrary to God's word might plation. Amongst other things, the be tolerated: but with respect to danger and absurdity of the doctrine such things as are contrary to the of universal salvation occurred; and word of God, “ whether they ought I thought with regret on the proto be borne by any Christian or fession of this pernicious doctrine, no, let him judge who is spiritual, which was said to have been made who feareth God more than man, on his death-bed, by a late eminent and loveth everlasting life more than philosopher, who died not long ago this short and transitory life.” in Anierica.

In the same strain Ridley ex. A passage of Scripture occurred presses himself during his last exami. to my mind, as it has often done be. nation before the popish commis. fore, which affords a full demon. sioners, “ My Lord, I acknowledge stration of the falsehood of this doc, an unspotted church of Christ, in trine. The terms of this passage the which no man can err, without are so clear, that they will admit of the which no man can be saved, no sense but one, which proves the which is spread throughout all the certainty of an eternal duration of world, that is the congregation of the misery of the damned, unless the faithful; and where Christ's sa- we allow the doctrine of annihilacramonts are duly ministered, his tion. Gospel truly preached and follow- The idea of applying mathema. ed, there doth Christ's church shine tical demonstration in support of any as a city upon an hill.” “I am ful- doctrine of divine revelation, may, ly persuaded that Christ's church at first sight, appear strange and ab, is every where founded, in every surd; but in this peculiar instance place where his Gospel is truly re- such demonstration will not be ceived, and effectually followed.” found inapplicable; and may be

The reader of the above extracts urged with propriety in confutation will not fail to perceive how very of such persons as boast of the ra, remote were the sentiments of the tionality of their religious princi, venerable Ridley, on the one hand, ples. from the latitudinarian laxity which The doctrine which I mean to opis the boast of so many molern reli- pose, and which is held by too gionists; and, on the other, from the many who call themselves Chris, intemperate zeal and intolerant bi- tians, is this—That those who are gotry which unhappily distinguish a not truly righteous shall suffer a cer, few modern churchmen.

tain degree of punishment in a fuQ. ture state, proportioned to their cri

minality ; but shall at last, after this To the Editor of the Christian Observer. sion of the philosopher, to whom I

time of discipline (to use the expres; Sunday, May 25, 1806. allude) be admitted to a state of BEING fatigued with the labours of eternal happiness. the preceding day, I awoke this This doctrine is in direct contramorning somewhat later than is diction to the declaration which our usual with me at this season of the blessed Saviour, the great Judge of year; when the first sound that all, made with respect to the traitor reached my ear was that of a pass. Judas.- Woe to that man by whom the ing-bell--the signal that one of my Sun of man is betrayed: it had been fellow creatures had just entered good for that man, if he had not been upon a state of eternal duration. born. Matthew xxvi. 24.



This woe could not, consistently attainment of that holiness, without with truth, have been pronounced which no man shali see the Lord. against any man for whom an eter

W. H. nal state of happiness was prepared, let his preceding punishment be ever so great, or of ever so long du- To the Editor of the Christian Observer, ration.

I have frequently regretted the dis• To demonstrate the truth of this credit brought upon religion, and proposition, it is only necessary to the little progress made in it, by appeal to the judgment of any one, many, whom I should be extremely whether this woe could with truth unwilling to regard as merely nobe applied to the life of a person minal Christians, as possessed of the fa frizure state being now out of the form of godliness, but destitute of question) who was appointed to live its power. This, Sir, is a subject of a hundred years in uninterrupted the utmost moment; and one which felicity, excepting the short space forcibly presses itself on every of a single hour, during which he thinking mind. Permit me then should suffer any conceivable pu- earnestly to solicit the attention of nishment. No doubt can be enter your readers to the following view tained of the answer to this inquiry. of it. I shall speak, Sir, from ex

Let us farther suppose this per- perience; and possibly on this very fectly happy life to extend as far account may express myself with as the age of Methusaleh, and that the greater earnestness. the intervening period of misery Christianity, there is reason to had but the duration of one second fear, is divisible nut only into real of time-Could it be said of such a and nominal, but into what may with one, It had been good for this man propriety be termed general and that he had not been born? We must particular religion. Many whose suppose the person to have lost his minds have been strongly impressunderstanding who should hesitate ed with the supreme importance of to conclude that such a life was religious truths, and who perhaps, truly desirable.

for a considerable time, have been Yet even these proportions of hap- wholly actuated by its energetic piness and misery, dissimilar as they principles, slide away by degrees, are, do not exhaust the force of my through indolence and remissness, argument; for the least imaginable into the general sort of religion portion of time, call it the ten thou- just mentioned. Others, perhaps, sandth part of a second, bears a never rose to the same height of greater proportion to the longest Christian attainments with those limited duration which the imagina- last-mentioned; but from the first tion can reach, than that duration period of their engaging in the serdoes to eternity.

vice of God, have conceived that The conclusion, therefore, is there has been little more to do, clearly demonstrated, that eternal and have rested satisfied with this happiness will not succeed to any general religion. By this I mean, period of misery of the damned; be- that they have not been accustomed cause on this supposition it could in their daily repentance, in their not be said of any one, It had been self-examination, in their resolutions good for that man, if he had not been against sin, and in their cultivation born.

of Christian graces to descend suffiIf this awful truth had its proper ciently to particulars. They repent influence on our minds, we should of sin, it is true; but in so general a account every worldly enjoyment way, that they are rarely very but as dung and dross, in compari- deeply affected with it. They pray son with the favour of God, and the for increasing holiness; but still they deal so much in generals, as seldom themselves prone traced through all to produce in their minds that ear, its ramifications? Are the motives pest endeavour to attain it, which is to cultivate any virtue, frequently absolutely necessary if we would and earnestly and particularly pressexpect our prayers to be efficacious. ed upon the mind? Are circumHere then, Sir, lies the grand evil of stances favourable to its exercise the conduct which I am now con, eagerly embraced? And when they demning. The system here attempt. occur is the mind resolute in profita ed to be described neither universally ing by them? These are some of the influences the conduct nor deeply most powerful means for advancing impresses the heart. I do not mean religion; and they are those which to say that that divine principle a person really in earnest feels it which constitutes the distinction be his duty and delight daily to emtween vital and noininal religion, ploy. He holds them to be absoluteis wholly extirpated. But this I may ly indispensable to the attainment of safely assert, that the principle is spirituality of mind. But the chamiserably unproductive. Let me illus- racters in question, I fear, know trate this by a practical instance. If, little of such exertions. A deadly for example, the characters in ques. languor pervades their souls. The tion apply themselves to the entire subject of religion is deplorably forconquest of any favourite sin, (though gotten through the day; and when I am inclined to think that even this called to mind at the stated hours of is seldom done with sincerity,) they religious retirement, it is received do not, as persons really in earnest, with a cold and wandering heart. trace it through all its ramifications; Sin, indeed, may be opposed, di. they do not scrutinize with sufficient, vine assistance to this end may be if any, accuracy, its origin and its prayed for, and victory over sin real nature, the occasions which are may be the real desire of the heart. apt to call it forth, or the circum- Yet surely, if that desire were suffistances which give it the greatest ciently fervent, sin would be more power. Again, does any Christian vigorously resisted, and the Divine grace require culture? The means assistance implored with a more carthey emplay in order to cultivate it nest and more undivided spirit: expose the inefficiency of their there would be that anguish of soul principles. They pray for it in a when tempted to evil, that love of general way, and may wish to at. communion with God, and that untain the object of their prayers: but remitting endeavour to overcome they are yet unwilling to sacrifice besetring sins, and attain the oppotheir love of indolence, or the pur- site graces, which bespeak a mind suit of a favourite scheme to their earnest to approve itself before God. eternal interests: they are averse to But, Sir, is the line of conduct, that spiritual activity, that steady which these persons pursue, suffivigilance, and that unfeigned sor. cient to repel the advances of a foe row for daily falls, which seems equally subtle, vigilant, and power. essential to a Christian's progress ful? Is it suflicient that we oppose and success. The bent of their to his indefatigable arts, feeble minds may be in the main towards struggles, cold prayers, and a parholiness, and so far it is well: but tial repentance? And can we expect do they exert that vigour, and bring under such circumstances to make into action those means which they any progress in the Christian life? might and ought to do, and which It is thus that the fortress of the are well exemplified in the conduct human heart is assailed in its most of those who gave All diligence to vulnerable parts. The enemy does make their calling and election not venture to attempt taking the BURE ? Is the sin to which they find citadel by storm; he does not labour to seduce it at once from its alle bated tends utterly to annihilate: giance: this, he is aware, is too ar. These are the Christian's arms. duous an undertaking, and might With these he is to overcome his lead to the exposure, and in the spiritual foes. Deprive him of these, end, to the defeat of his designs. and you leave him a defenceless It is by secretly sapping the forti- prey to his enemies. True it is, fications, by watching to seize upon that his own unassisted arm would some unguarded pass, and by en- be insufficient even to repel, much couraging treachery within, that he more to overpower his adversaries, anticipates their final accomplish. But the Christian's arm is nerved ment. In the mean time the for- with more than mortal strength, tress is not yet taken, nor its alle. And though without that supernagiance withdrawn; it still in the tural energy his weapons must fall general resists the enemy's assaults; useless from his hands, yet it is the the fault as well as danger rests in will of God, that the one should conot paying sufficient attention to operate with the other, and that provide for the defence of every to procure from him strength for particular point, and especially to the combat, the Christian must consecure those that appear most assail. scientiously use the appointed means able. Slight damages are not in- of defence and resistance, stantly repaired, nor is internal trea

Alterius sic chery an object of perpetual jea- Altera poscit opem res et conjurat amice.” lousy. Can we in such circumstances, look with confidence on the While however I thus endeavour security of the fortress? Should we to press on the Christian the indisnot rather be filled with habitual pensable duty of spiritual vigilance anxiety, lest some unfortunate inci- and activity, or, in the language of dent, some sudden surprize, or some St. Paul, of “arming himself with the successful traitor within, should de- whole armour of God, that he may liver it into the enemy's hands?

be able to stand in the evil day," I But to drop this metaphor; I re- am especially solicitous to obviate peat a former position, there is any suspicion that places human exhardly a more deplorable effect of the ertion in competition with the efficonduct I am now.condemning, than cacy of Divine grace. In deplorthat it exposes and weakens the bul- ing the miserable consequences of warks of the soul. In the case of indolence, I do not forget that God those especially, who previous to is all in all. their acquaintance with religion had I proceed to point out another been living in the habitual com- evil resulting from a system so un, mission of known sin, the danger is worthy a good soldier of Jesus imminent in the extreme. For what Christ. This religion of generalities is it to which such persons must now not only endangers the existence of look to preserve their integrity, to religion in the soul, it strikes at the repel the tempter, and to overcome very root of a Christian's internal the most alluring solicitations to evil, tranquillity: "Drink deep or taste solicitations aided by inveterate not,” is a citation most strictly aphabits, and maintaining a secret plicable to the pleasures of religion. correspondence with a powerful Let the true Christian be reminded, party within the heart itself? Next that when he has once enlisted himto Divine aid, without which every self under the banners of the Captain human effort is undoubtedly vain, of his Salvation, his happiness is intheir only safety consists in that separably connected with a vigorous unremitting watchfulness to avoid course of active warfare. Coldness, sin, and that anguish of soul con- and indifference are in their own sequent upon any relapse, which nature ruinous. Spiritual happiness the indolent system now repro. lies in success; and a fair prospect

« السابقةمتابعة »