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in but one instance, performed this ticular churches may look, for adduty, that whole nation must, on his vice ; and to whom they may apprinciples, have been converted and peal for redress of grievances. It saved. On his principles, Moses, is a question, therefore, that deand Samuel, and Daniel, and Isaiah, mands a candid, prayerful, and and Jeremiah, and all the prophets, strict investigation. and Peter, and John, and Paul, and More clearly to understand the all the apostles, and primitive subject, and to be able explicitly to Christians, must have totally neg. answer the question proposed, it Jected the great duty of praying in will be necessary, first, to state, faith for the conversion of the Jew- when the results of bodies claiming ish nation. And Paul must have the name of Ecclesiastical Counbeen under an awful delusion, when cils, are not to be regarded at all, he said, “I take you to record this or to be regarded only as advice day that I am pure from the blood from a source not official. of all men, for I have not shunned Nothing but the call of an eccleto declare unto you all the counsel siastical body, or of an individual of God." Though he thought that or individuals, in connexion with his faithfully preaching the whole some ecclesiastical body, can regutruth to them, had cleared him larly convene a council of the from their blood, he must, never- churches. Wise, in his Vindica. theless, have been chargeable with tion of the government of the Newthe blood of every one that perish- England churches, says, “The right ed; because, if he bad done his of convoking councils ecclesiastiduty, in a single instance, of pray- cal, is in the Churches." The ing in faith for their conversion, Cambridge Platform plainly points they would have been converted. Qut the manner in which councils [To be concluded.)
may be convoked.
Any particular church may con
vene a council at any time, when From the Christian Mirror. in their own opinion, they need adMA. CUMMINGS—The following Die vice, or assistance. sertation on Ecclesiastical Councils was
An individual, or individuals, beread a few years ago before an Associa. ing members of any church, may țion of Ministers. At my request the convene a council for the purpose author gave it to me for insertion in the of being organized into a distinct Mirror. The subject is one which the church with others who may dewelfare of the Congregational Churches
sire to associate with them, provid
ed they first obtain permission from demands should be discussed.
their own church. Mather's Ratio THE AUTHORITY OF ECCLESIASTICAL Disciplinæ, page 2d. "Men, who COUNCILS.-NO, I.
by mutual conference, have come
to the resolution for the gathering How are the results of Ecclesiastical Councils to be regarded ?
of a church, obtain an allowance
from their churches for them to This is a question, upon which, bear a part in this action--send the peace, prosperity and even ex- letters unto the pastors and churchistence of Congregational churches es of the neighbouring towns, and depend; for Ecclesiastical Coun- request them to countenance their cils constitute the only tribunal to proceeding." If such permission which individual members, or par- be refused, it may be considered a
grievance, and will come under the vened. All others have been confollowing provision, which the best vened, merely for advice and writers have always considered as council, and therefore could bave implied in the Platform, viz. When no power, in a judicial way, 10 enan individual or individuals think force their decisions. themselves aggrieved, if the church Indeed, it is such an established Jefuse to call a mutual council, principle in the organization of our they may regularly convene an ex- churches, that the sole juridical parte council.
The Platform al- power is vested in ench individual lows of such a council only as the church, and this right is so careful. last resort ; no writer on the us ly guarded in our constitution, that ages of the New England church- even councils, convened in the es, wbich I have seen, permits or third way of communion, to adacknowledges av ex-parte council monish offending churches, cannot in any other case.
wrest this power from them, withRatio Disciplinæ. “The per- out denying that they are gospel son aggrieved applies himself to churches. If the offending church the pastor, and by him to the does not voluntarily acquiesce io chorcb, with humble remonstran- the decisions of the council, all ces of the bardships, which be ap- they can do, is to withdraw comprebends upon him, desiring them munion from it, which is in effect io review his case. And if this to excommunicate it. While the don't obtain, then to accommodate church is acknowledged as such, him io calling a council of neigh- the council has no coercive power. bouring churches (chosen' with mu. While any church is in existence, tual satisfaction) io judge of the it must retain the full power of proceedings. If they refuse to do managing its own concerns. This it, he may do it without them.”
power can cease only with its ex2. The results of councils, as istence as a church, and its exissuch, are not binding, when, being tence as a church does not cease regularly convened for consulta. when the council, to give effect to tion and advice merely, they as its advice, recommends to the sume the power of enforcing or ex. churches to withbold fellowship ecuting their decisions.
from the offending church, till it When difficulties arise in church. submits to the result, and the es, the Platform makes provision cburches, in accordance with this for convening councils for two dis- advice, do withdraw from commun. tinct purposes, which provision ion with it. Ecclesiastical councomes under the second and third cils have no other way of enforc: way of the communion of churches ing their decisions: and when their one with another.
are disregarded, the The first are convened for ad- churches composing the councils, vice, the second for admonition.- and churches in fellowship with So far as I have been able to oh. them, ought to withdraw from the tain information, it does not appear offending church, till it has submitthat more than one council has ep. ţed to the censure passed. er been convened in the N.England As proof that ecclesiastical cburches in the third way of com- councils bave no power over indimunion, that is, for admonition, vidual churches, existing as such, and we are not informed when, further than to advise and recom. nor where such council was con mend, I quote the following author
ities, Cam. Plat. Ch. 10. sec. 2 : endeavor to convince the church "'A company of professed believers of it, and advise them to pistore ecclesiastically confederate, as they him.” After this, Mather sums are a church, subordinate church up the sense of the New-Englaod power under Christ, delegated to churches, with respect to the pow. them by him, doth belong to them; er of ecclesiastical councils, in the as flowing from the very nature following words quoted from an and essence of a church. It being eininent author: “The decrees of natural to all bodies, and so to a councils ought not to be propound. church vody, to be furnished with ed or obtruded upon the churches sufficient power for its own pres- as Prætorian sayings, or as Persian ervation and subsistence."
decrees." Ch. 16, sec. 4. “It belongeth Wise's vindication of the governunto Syoods and Councils to de: ment of the New-England churchbate and determine controversies es, pages 49 and 51. "A gospel of faith, and cases of conscience ; church essentially considered as a to clear from the Word, holy di. body incorporated, is the subject rections for the holy worship of of all church power. This is evi. God and the good government of dent from Matt. 18 : 15, 20.the churches ; to bear witness This paragraph of Holy Writ lays against mal-administration, and cor- open a scheme of juridical power, in t'uptions in doctrine, in any partic- the subject of it, that is the church. ular church, and to give directions From the commencement of the for the reformation thereof; but process, to the final issue in the - not to exercise church censure, in execution of the obstinate and any way of discipline, nor any other criminal member, all is to be asact of church authority or jurisdic- cribed to the authority of the
church. For what business has John Cotton's Book of the Keys: one man to interrupt another " A society of the faithful hath in his crimes and unlawful pleaswithin itself a complete power of ures, unļess he has power to do it? self-reformation, or if you will, of P: 45. " A council has only consell-preservation, and may, within sultative, not juridical power. A juitself, manage its own cboice of of. ridical power, committed to such a ficers, and censures of delinquents. representative body is both needless Nevertheless, because particular and also dangerous to the distinct churches may abuse their powers, and perfect states they derive from. a communion of churches in Sy- Complete states settled upon a body pods or councils is necessary; who ofimmutable and imperial laws as have authority to determine, de. its basis, may want counsel ; but clare and enjoin such things as to create a new subject of juridical may rectify the evils, which fill power is to endanger the being of under their cognizance ; but still, the creators.” The Rev. Thomas so as to leave unto the particular White, in his book entitled the churches themselves, the formal Lamentations of New England, acts, which are to be done pursu. complains of a departure from this ant to the advice of the council.” established principle as the cause
Mather's Ratio Disciplinæ : “If of great evils. His language is, they (an ex-parte council regular. “Thesc (the New England churhly convened) finil the person to es) have reduced their church lave suffered palpable injury, they state to great darkness, by not ar
tending to the rule of our consti- which have been made, at different tution in councils. It has been times, to provide, by obtaining the the practice of councils convened consent of the churches, for the according to the second way of extension of the powers of ecclesicommunion in our Platform, who astical councils. They who have are only to hold forth light, and advocated such a measure, and begive advice, to usurp the power lieved such power in councils exof judgment in matters of fact, as pedient, never pretended it was also the power of admonition in vested in them by the Platform.case ofoffence, which (last) is prop. They have acknowledged it was or to do only in the third way of not; and have thought this was a communion in our Platform, and defect, which ought to be remesupposes that a church wants cor- died, rection for an offence,and not mere It was against such an amendly light and counsel. This thing, I ment, that Wise wrote, from whom am bold to say, has been the occa- I hate quoted. The churches sion of all our anti-councils, as well have been so tenacious of this precas of the contentions and confusion ious privilege, secured to them by churches have been left in, after their charter, that every attempt to all endeavours used by regular deprive them of it has failed; and churches by way of councils. Let to this day, it remains an establishcouncils move in their proper sphere. ed principle, in the government of Let them act agreeably to their na our churches, that ecclesiastical ture, and the rules laid down in councils have no juridical power the Platform. Let such as are over any particular church. called to give advice and hold forth 3. The results of ecclesiastical light, do that, and proceed no fur- councils are net binding when they ther. Come also into the practice recommend that which is contraof the third way of Communion, as ry to express declaration 'of scriplaid down in the Platform, and put ture. ehurches obstinately offending out In all cases it is our duty to obey of communion. This would open Gad rather than men. the door for all really aggrieved to resettle in an orderly way in stated fellowship, in some neighbouring
For the Hopkinsian Magazine. church, as though they had been dismissed. This rule doth effect I do not perceive, how it can be ually hinder anti-councils, or coun- justly affirmed, as it lately has been, cils against councils ; of which that self-examination is "not calcuthere have been too many instan- lated to quiet the conscience, to ces, to the great reproach and con- banish slavish fear, or to remove fusion of these churches, For if doubts and apprehensions of our aggrieved persons are allowed to being unbelievers ;” and still less call councils, the church also has how it can be maintained that power and liberty, and by this "peace of mind, founded on any means anti-councils come upon the thing in ourselves, will always pusi stage.” Ifany thing further were us up with pride." If the state of necessary to prove, that, according our souls be bad, indeed, self-examto our Platform, councils have pow- ination must disquiet the coner only to recommend and advise ; science, rather than quiet it: but I might mention the exertions are there no cases in which, through
BENEFIT OF SELF-EXAMINATION.
the accusations of others, or a pro- the practice among certain classes, pensity in ourselves to view the dark of standing around the doors and side of things rather than the bright in the porches of our houses of one, or the afflicting hand of God, public worship, before the comour souls may be disquieted within mencement of divine service, us, and in which self-examination upon the Sabbath. Some, perhaps, may yield us peace ? Did the re- not having taken the subject into view which Job took of his past consideration, may be inclined to life, yield no peace to him? And think this not worthy of notice.though he was not clear when ex- I am well aware that the subject, amined by the impartial eye of at first sight, does not present any God; yet were all his solemn ap- thing extraordinary ; and I suspeals respecting his integrity, the pect has not received that degree of workings of self-righteous pride ? attention which it justly deinands Was David puffed up, when he But, Sir, if there be any who are said, “Lord, I have hoped in thy indifferent to the subject, I would salvation, and have thy command- ask them two simple questious ments ?” Did John épcourage a What does the honour of God's confidence in the flesh, when he house demand ? What do you sup said, "If our hearts condemn us pose that those, whom you see not, then have we confidence standing around the sanctuary, are towards God !” or Peter, when he there for ? Persons who have do appealed to Christ, “ Lord, thou apportunity for intercourse with knowest all things, thou knowest each other during the week, think that I love thee ?"
the time and place abovementionllad it been only affirmed, that ed, suitable for talking over their no peace of mind can arise from worldly concerns, making remarks the recollection of what we have upon those entering into the house felt or done in time past, while at of God, or rehearsing the news of present we are unconscious of any the past week, and things of like thing of the kind ; this had been nature. But this is not all: among true. Past experience can no these are a younger class of indiotherwise be an evidence of grace viduals, treading in the same steps, to us, than as the remembrance of and following the same pernicious them rekindles the same sentiments example. Neither can it be said and feelings anew. But to object that their conversation is in its nato all peace of mind arising from a ture entirely negative, neither good 'consciousness of having done the nor bad ; it is often, and, alas, too will of God, and to denominate it often, directly immoral. I would *i confidence in the flesh," is re not be understood to mean, that no pugnant to the whole tenor of scrip- good conversation is carried on at ture. ANDREW FULLER. such times; but I say, in general,
and I believe almost wholly, the
case is as I have represented. And PROFANATION OF THE SABBATH. is this no evil? Is it not a direct
Notwithstanding so much has violation of the “Hallowed Day,' been already said on the profana- and a pollution, as it were, of the tion of the Sabbath, I believe one sanctuary? Is it not prejudicial evil has been overlooked : at least, to the morals of the young? Does remarks upon it have not come it not tend to make ihem more calwithin my observation : I mean lous to the claims of the Sabbath!