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the name of the whole society. We want an able and experienced preacher; one who has both gifts and grace necessary for the work. God has not, indeed, despised the day of small things. There is a real work of grace. begun in many hearts, by the preaching of Mr. Webb and Mr. Embury; but although they are both useful, and their hearts in the work, they want many qualifications for such an undertaking. And the progres of the gospel here depends much upon the qualifications of preachers”—“With respect to money for the payment of the preacher's passage over, if they could not procure it, we would sell our coats and shirts to procure it for them." Such was the ardent zeal by which this infant society was actuated at that time!
Mr. Wesley mentions this circumstance in his Ecclesiastical History for the year 1769. “The society at New-York,” says he,“ had lately built a commodious preaching house, and now desired our help, being in great want of money, and much more of preachers." The subject being laid before the British Conference, two preachers, Messrs. Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor, volunteered their services as missionaries for America, with whom Mr. Wesley sent fifty pounds, " as a token,” says he, “ of our brotherly love.” They landed at Gloucester point, six miles below Philadelphia, Oct. 24, 1769. They immediately entered upon their work, Mr. Boardman taking his station in New-York, and Mr. Pilmoor in Philadelphia ; but they occasionally changed with each other, and sometimes made excursions into the country. In all places whither they went, multitudes flocked to hear the word, and many were brought to seek after an interest in that Jesus who was preached unto them.
(To be continued.)
THE ANTIQUITY OF INFANT BAPTISM SUPPORTED, AND THAT OF
POPERY DISPROVED, FROM THE WORKS OF CHRYSOSTOM :
(BY H. S. BOYD, ESQ.)
(Concluded from page 493.) In a letter which I sent to your Magazine, in 1818, I laid before your readers a very fine specimen of the eloquence of CHRYSOSTOM. His works, however, may be studied for other, and perhaps better purposes. His writings alone are sufficient, in my opinion, not only to overturn the whole fabric of Popery, but also to destroy its very foundations. The authority of the Romish Church primarily depends on the truth or the falsehood of the assertion, that St. Peter was the immediate successor of Christ, and that he was constituted Head of the Church. The Papists quote that famous passage in St. Matthew, “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church.” They tell us, that
Christ here gives him the surname of Peter, which signifies a rock, and then declares, that he is the Rock upon which his Church is to be built. But what says Chrysostom? In his Commentary on St. Matthew, he thus expounds the passage:-“Upon this Rock will I build my Church. That is, on the faith or belief of this confession.” As I gave the original Greek in the notes to my Select Passages of St. Chrysostom, p. 296, I shall not transcribe it now. You perceive that he explained this famous passage, just as we explain it; namely, that the belief of our Lord's Divinity was the rock on which the Church was to be built. Now, it is allowed on all hands, that Chrysostom was an orthodox prelate; and it is singular that he lived, even to his latest year, in the strictest intimacy and communion with the Bishop of Rome. It is, therefore, evident, that Popery was unknown in his day. Before I leave this subject, I will notice something which I believe is overlooked by many Protestant writers. The name of Peter, in Greek, does not signify a rock. It means a stone. The word which is used immediately after, properly denotes a rock. If Christ had meant that his Church was to be built on Peter as a foundation, he would surely have said, “ Thou art Peter, and upon this stone will I build my Church.” But he evidently employs a different word, to show us the distinction.
On the nature of the Eucharist Chrysostom has copiously written; but it is not necessary that I should say any thing about it here. In the Appendix, and the notes to “Select Passages," I have treated the subject at length ; and I trust I have shown, that both Chrysostom and the other Fathers held the same doctrine which is taught by the Church of England.
Let us now proceed to Purgatory. It will indeed be a most painful purgatory to us, if we have to search up and down the Homilies of St. Chrysostom for passages to support that monstrous tenet. I will venture to assert, that, amidst all his immense volumes, you will not find a single sentence to sanction it. I have carefully examined his interpretation of some passages of the New Testament, on which the Papists would ground that doctrine; and I can assure your readers, that his explication is directly the reverse of theirs. It clearly shows, that he was as ignorant of their doctrines as they are ignorant of his.
To say that there are no traces of Auricular Confession in the writings of St. Chrysostom, would not be saying enough. It is manifest, from some passages in his works, that this practice was totally unknown, in his day, to the Christian Church.
Thus far, the Archbishop of Constantinople may be considered as a genuine Protestant. Truth, however, obliges me to confess, that on the subject of salvation, he, as well as the rest of the Greek Fathers, dwell too little on the Atonement of Christ, and speak very incorrectly on free-will, and human merit. I must also confess, that the invocation and intercession of saints are sanctioned by him. The Roman Catholics have no reason to be elated at this; for these corruptions of Christianity crept into the Church only a few years before his time. I am afraid that we are indebted to the oratorical genius of Gregory Nazianzen for the invocation and intercession of saints. It is curious to observe how this superstition grew up by degrees in his mind. His first invective oration against Julian was written in the year 363. I there find the first traces of this doctrine. Near the beginning, he exclaims, “Hear me, thou Spirit of the great Constantius, if there be any perception, or sensation : & tis adanois." These last words are evidently quoted from Isocrates' Panegyric on Evagoras. Isocrates expresses himself more fully; for he says, there be any perception unto those who have departed of the events which happen here." About five years after, St. Gregory pronounced a funeral oration on his brother Cæsarius. In it he apostrophizes his brother's shade. He expresses his hope that Cæsarius may be a partaker of the heavenly happiness, and he prays to God to receive him; but not a syllable does he utter about : his intercession. Some time after, he pronounced a funeral sermon on his sister Gorgonia. At the end of it there is a very elegant apostrophe to her spirit, a translation of which was published in a letter in your Magazine for June, 1818. The reader will perceive, that he had then the same doubt upon his mind which he had some years before, when he invoked the spirit of Constantius. He does not consider it to be a matter of certainty, that the souls of the righteous are acquainted with what passes here below. In the year 374 he delivered a funeral oration on his father. He does not now, as formerly, express a hope, but he takes it for granted, that he is a partaker of celestial glory, and he feels persuaded of his intercession. He does not implore God to receive his father's spirit, but he entreats his father to receive his own when he shall die. Seven years afterwards,* he pronounced a long and elaborate panegyric on his friend, St. Bazil. At the conclusion of it, he implores the Saint to intercede for him. A little before, he has a remarkable expression. He says, “And now Bazil dwelleth in the heavens, and there, as I think, he offereth sacrifices for us, and prayeth for his people.” Observe, Gregory says, as opos, as I think. In one of his Epistles, he declares his belief that the departed saints are acquainted with our concerns; but he speaks of this as a man who is stating his own private opinion. Everyone knows that the Church of Rome considers the invocation of the saints to be a bounden duty, and their intercession an unquestionable fact, the belief of which is necessary to salvation. Let any unbiassed man first consider this fact, and then attentively peruse all the passages of St. Gregory to which I have referred. Let him do this, and he must feel convinced, that the invocation and intercession of the saints were not established doctrines in the time of Gregory Nazianzen. In his writings we find very little about the nature of the Eucharist; but what he does say is sweet and grateful to the ears of a Protestant. In his first Apologetic, he calls the consecrated elements “the types of the great mysteries :" in his oration to the Governor of Nazianzum, he styles them “the types of my salvation;" and in the funeral sermon on his sister, he denominates them “the types of the body and blood of Christ.” Surely these expressions, and particularly the last, are directly opposed to Transubstantiation.
* Gregory also wrote a funeral discourse on Cyprian, and one on Athanasius ; but at present I have not got his works with me, and I forget whether he speaks of their intercession. I remember that he apostrophises Athanasius, and I think that he also invokes Cyprian.
There is a subject which is, I think, too much disregarded by many Protestants, but which is of great importance, as it forms a powerful argument against the pretention of the Roman Church ; I mean the state of the Canon of Scripture in the Primitive Church. Various opinions concerning it were afloat during the first three centuries; and some of the Fathers who then flourished are, on all hands, admitted to have been somewhat unsound and visionary. Such were Origin, Methodius, Tatian, and I think I may add, Clemens Alexandrinus. But after the Council of Nice, things became more settled; and the great men who flourished about the middle, and towards the end, of the fourth century, are not only allowed by the Papists to have been orthodox Divines, but are by them esteemed as Saints. I shall cite two of these unexceptionable authorities. Among the Poems of Gregory Nazianzen, there is one, in the measure called lambic Trimeter, which contains a complete catalogue of all the books of Scripture. I need not remind you that the Roman Church bas pronounced almost all the Books which the ancient Jews rejected, and which we now reject, to be of divine authority. I feel real pleasure in stating, that Gregory agrees with us. He excludes from the sacred Canon all those books which we deem Apocryphal. St. Cyril, of Jerusalem, who lived about the same period, has given us a catalogue, in prose, of the genuine Books of Scripture; and, as far as the Roman Catholics are concerned, he exactly coincides with Gregory, and with us. Now, Gregory and Cyril were orthodox Divines of the Church of Christ, as it stood in the fourth century. But the Church of Christ, according to the Papists, was then, as it is now, the holy, apostolical, and infallible Church of Rome ! The absurdity to which they are reduced is obvious.
Alas! and is there not a single Popish Doctrine which can be traced to a period more remote than the fourth century? Yes, there is one. The tenet, or rather the practice, of praying for the dead, was not only acknowledged by Chrysostom, but was maintained before his time. I believe that it is as old as the second
century. I am aware that the veneration of relics
be defended by an appeal to Chrysostom, and other Fathers; but that is a point of minor importance. My inquiry has respect to the leading dogmas of Popery.
As I have spoken so much of Gregory, it may be thought strange, that I have said nothing of his friend Basil. The truth is, that what I have asserted of the one, may, in general, be predicated of the other. Standing amidst a succession of Fathers, they may be compared to the Transition Rocks in Geology. They separate the primitive mountains of truth from the rocks of ionovation, and all those subsequent formations, which contain the dirt and rubbish of Roman Catholic deposits ! Few remains of dead things are to be found in the transition rocks; scarcely any of the corruptions of Popery are discoverable in these Fathers. The works of Basil are not now at hand; but if I remember rightly, in them we meet but once with the Invocation and Intercession of the Saints. See the conclusion of his Panegyric on the Forty Martyrs. In all essential matters he was orthodox. Like Gregory and Chrysostom, he was a strenuous supporter of the doctrine of the Trinity. Like them, he held the fall of man, the atonement of Christ, and our need of divine grace: but like them, he appears to have had less spiritual light, and less clear views of the Gospel, than modern Christians are blessed with. July 201h, 1822.
H. S. BOYD.
In the preceding letter I have said that Chrysostom's interpretation of some passages of Scripture was directly opposed to the doctrine of Purgatory. I have no right to expect that what I say
should be taken for granted : I will therefore, with your permission, quote his words. The Papists would build their doctrine on these words of Christ. “It shall not be remitted, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.' In his commentary on the place, he speaks to this: “Of the various sinners who transgress the divine law, some are wholly pardoned, and are not subjected to punishment in either world: some are punished here, but saved hereafter: some escape the judgments of God in this life, but are condemned to punishment in the next : some suffer the divine vengeance in this world, and are consigned to punishment in the other." Chrysostom gives instances from the Bible of all these cases. If the tenet of Purgatory had been held in his day, he would surely have told us of a fifth case ; namely, the case of those who, after death, go for a time into a state of punishment, or purification, or both, but at length are liberated. The Roman Catholics would also ground their notion on these words of St. Paul: “ They shall be saved, but so as by fire.” That is, say they, the purifying fires of Purgatory shall burn out all their pollutions, and they shall ultimately be made partakers of salvation.