Page images
PDF
EPUB

ture or of reason ; but the peculiar navians, the Sanscrit poems, the maxand worthy object of a communica- ims of Confucius, excite in us no surtion, supernatural and divine--and prise : we find in all these works the such a volume we have in that much ordinary chain of human ideas they neglected, but incomparable, sublime, have all some resemblance to each and awful volume—the BIBLE. other, both in tone and in ideas. The

Bible alone is like none of them : it

is a monument detached from all the THE BIBLE.

others. Explain it to a Tartar, to a Sir William Jones says, “ The Caffre, to an American savage-put scriptures contain, independently of a it into the hands of a dervise : they divine origin, more exquisite beauty, will all be equally astonished by it purer morality, more important his- a fact which borders on the miraculous. tory, and finer strains both of poetry Twenty authors, living at periods and eloquence than could be collected very distant from each other, comwithin the same compass from all posed the sacred books ; and though other books that were ever composed they are written in twenty different in any age, or in any idiom. The styles equally inimitable, are not to two parts of which the Scriptures be met with in any other performance. consist are connected by a chain of The New Testament, so different in composition which bears no resem- | its spirit to the Old, nevertheless parblance, in form or style, to any that takes with the latter of this astonishcan be produced from the stores of ing originality.” Grecian, Indian, Russian, or even Now these are not the testimonies Arabian. The antiquity of these of priests—they are the testimonies works no man can doubt; and the of laymen-of men who have travelunrestrained application of them to led in every part of the globe, and events long subsequent to their publi- who have become acquainted with the cation, is a solid ground of belief that literature of all nations ; and what they were genuine productions, and they, as scholars, pronounce concernconsequently inspired.” Now this is ing this book, we, as Christians, are not the decision of some uneducated able to confirm. Christian minister, but it is the deliberate judgment of the greatest oriental scholar, perhaps our country

DISCIPLINE-No. II. has produced—a man whose statue In our last number, we examined adorns our own cathedral, and whose those passages of scripture which, name will live as long as British lite- some imagine, deny the power of rature continues. This man declares judgment, and promised to continue that the Bible contains more true sub- the subject, in an attempt to show, limity than could be found in all the that an impartial and prompt discipother books that were ever composed line is among the most solemn duties in any age or country. Now the of the church with an investigation testimony of another individual to of the questions, “ In what does it prove this shall be from the writings consist ? and what is the proper meof Chateaubriand—the most distin | thod of administering it ? guished member of the French literati Every organization implies an of the present day. He says, “ The established authority and subordinaproductions most foreign to our man- tion to it. Machines have their baners, the sacred books of the infidel lance wheels, compensation-pendunations, the Zendavesta of the Parsees, lums, and regulators : the human the Vidan of the Brahmins, the Koran system, complicated as it is, in its of the Turks, the Edda of the Scandi-material and spiritual elements, is in subordination to the will ; and every with that of obedience; and, thereassociation of men, in striking con- fore, any exhortation or command to formity, must be subjected to some submit to authority is equally to excontrolling authority, or it cannot live ercise it. and operate as one body. This au Our Saviour, in his last interview thority may be limited or general, ac- with his Apostles, when he stood upon cording to the object of the organiza- the mountain of Galilee, ready to astion. It may be prescribed and stipu cend to the right hand of the Majesty lated, as in written and adopted con- in the heavens, makes this instructive stitutions ; or, absolute and arbitrary, declaration, “ All power is given unto as in the will of monarchs or the de- me both in heaven and earth. Go crees of democracies : yet, in what- | ye, therefore, and teach all nations, ever form, it must exist and be ac- baptizing them into the name of the companied with power to enforce it, Father, and of the Son, and of the or confusion will come.

Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe In the beautiful organization we all things whatsoever I have comcall “ the church,” we are not to ex- manded you ; and, lo, I am with you pect to find an exception to this gene- alway, evon unto the end of the ral principle. God is the author both world.”—Mat. xxvii. 18-20. Moses of the general principle and the church, had been the great lawgiver till Christ. and He has planned the one in subor- Upon the mount of transfiguration, dination to the other. The authority from the bright cloud which overproceeds from Him, and is prescribed shadowed them, in the presence of by His revealed will. This is the Moses and Elias, Peter, James, and high—the supreme sanction of all le- John had heard the voice of God gitimate ecclesiasticaljudicature. God proclaiming, “ This is my beloved will sustain it by his own right hand. Son, in whom I am well pleased And as He not only knows what is hear ye him.” And now the Saviour, best, but does nothing in vain, it in virtue of this acknowledged authowould seem necessary only to ascer- rity to speak, empowers his Apostles, tain whether he has committed this in his last injunction, to teach the high prerogative to his church on things which he had commanded earth, in order to arrive at a just con- them. If we had no record of what clusion upon the proposition before these " things” were, other than that us. That all authority in heaven and furnished us in the subsequent teachupon earth is His, none will deny ings of the Apostles, this would be “ For,” says the Apostle, “ there is sufficient ; for the promise that he no power but of God: the powers would be with them—that he would that be are ordained of God ;" and send the Advocate to teach them all as the Christian is “subject, not only things, and bring all things to their for wrath, but also for conscience remembrance that he had said to sake,” not only for the fear of human them, being evidently fulfilled, both punishment, but also on account of from the facts which transpired on his duty to God, so is the “ higher the day of Pentecost, and the demonpower,” or “ minister of his will,” strations of miraculous power accombound, not only because of his re- panying their subsequent preaching, sponsibility to the society, whose there can be no doubt that what they good order he is called upon to main- did teach was by the divine authority tain, but because also he is ordained and under the divine sanction. The of God to his duties, and may not on teachings of the Apostles, therefore, that account neglect them with impu- even though not found in any previous nity. The importance of a lawful ex- | record of the things commanded by ercise of authority is commensurate' the Saviour, must be admitted to be

in accordance with those commands, discipline is shown to arise from the else he has lent the “ demonstration evil influence necessarily exerted by of the Spirit” to human inventions— an unworthy member, so long as he which is not admissible.

is countenanced in his sins, upon the But it happens, in reference to the whole body with whom he is assosubject under consideration, that we ciated. They not only become parhave not only the authority of the takers of his sins, by failing to rebuke Apostles, but the express will of the them in him, but, from allowing transSaviour, as preserved in the record of gressions in others, soon find excuse Matthew. The church is here so- for sinning themselves. The expelemnly commanded to treat “ as a rience of every man's own heart conheathen man and a publican," him curs with universal observation in who proves refractory, and refuses to proving that, in exact proportion as hear their authority; with the assur we accustom ourselves to countenance ance “ that whatsoever they shall any practice in another, do we inbind on earth (in accordance with his crease the liability, when tempted, of law) shall be bound in heaven, and engaging in it ourselves. We are so whatsoever they shall loose on earth constituted. Hence a church which shall be loosed in heaven,” (Mat. xvi. has a lax discipline, must have also 17-19, xviii. 18.) Thus is the duty of loose notions of Christian purity, and the church to maintain the principles is, consequently, always liable to fall of Christ's kingdom expressly urged by under temptation, into improprieties his own command ; and every con- disgraceful to themselves, detrimental gregation which neglects this solemn to the cause of Christ, and injurious obligation, is wanting in faithfulness to others. Thus “ a little leaven,” to their absent Lord, whose delegates, which is neglected and not purged in vindicating his truth and enforcing out, as the Apostle commands, conhis law, he has, to their infinite honor, taminates the whole mass, and renmade them. False to their trust, and ders it not only useless, but hurtful. unworthy of their honor, they can The church should be the light of neither expect to win the approbation the world, and we know that it is in of the Saviour, nor exhibit to the vain to have a good theory of religion world the true riches and glory of if we have not a corresponding prachis kingdom.

| tice. One or two disorderly brethren In exact accordance with this lesson will do more to retard the progress is the admonition of Paul to the church of the gospel, than half a dozen ordiat Corinth (1 Cor. v.) They had al- nary advocates can to advance it: for lowed in their fellowship, one guilty so long as they are not visited with the of a crime,“ not so much as named discipline of the church, the necessary among the Gentiles," and thus mani- inference is, no matter what may be fested such a want of jealousy for the the preaching to the contrary, that purity of the church, as, in the opin- their conduct is endorsed by the whole ion of the Apostle, was shameful. He fraternity ; and it is, consequently, commands them, therefore, to put charged to their account. It is for away from among themselves, this this reason that Paul would have us wicked person, and proceeds to show make a difference in our treatment that, in permitting him to remain in between the disorderly, who is called the church, they were endangering“ a brother," and such in the world. the purity of the whole body. “Know He says, (1 Cor. v. 9) “I wrote unto ye not that a little leaven leaveneth you in one epistle not to associate with the whole lump? Purge out, there- thc vicious; but I did not mean in fore, the old leaven, that ye may be a general the fornicators of this world, new lump.” Here the necessity of the avaricious, the rapacious, or the

idolaters--seeing then, indeed, you see the influence of his kingdom must go out of the world. But now weakened and wasted by the disI write to you, if any one, called a loyalty of its rebellious subjects, and brother, be a fornicator, or a covetous the opposition of Satan riding in triperson, or an idolater, or a reviler, or | umph over his heritage ; and yet, a drunkard, or an extortioner—not to faithless to their trust, and too cowassociate, not even to eat with such a ardly to raise a voice for him who person.” We are, then, to treat dis- did not shrink even to die for them, orderly brethren with a marked re- they sit supinely by ; looking, indeed, probation, greater than that we show upon the confusion with some degree to similar characters in the world— of emotion, but apparently unmindful because, being associated with us in that it is their duty to watch as those a particular relation-as “a peculiar that shall give account. May the people”-in countenancing them, even Lord awaken them to a sense of their with the ordinary civilities of life, we responsibility, and enkindle in the become partakers of their sins, and churches a holier zeal for the honor lower the standard of consociation of his house.

W. K. P. which the Saviour and his Apostles have raised, and commanded his

REPLY TO “STRICTURES.” church to maintain.

Among the sins of the seven SEEING some strictures in your churches of Asia, as delivered by John magazine of this month on a Baptist in Revelation, we find that the Sa-pamphlet, entitled “ Strictures on the viour charges the church in Perga- | leading doctrines contained in a work mos and that in Thyatira, with the of Mr. A. Campbell, of America,” &c. neglect of a watchful discipline, in by one who signs himself J. D. I beg suffering among them those whose to trouble you with a few observadoctrine and practice he hated. “Itions thereon. have a few things against thee,”(to the I shall not stop to notice the wrichurch in Pergamos), “ because thou ter's flourish about “ wrathful vials," hast there them that hold the doc- &c. but proceed at once to consider, trine of Balaam, who taught Balak as briefly as possible, the real question to cast a stumbling-block before the at issue. children of Israel, to eat things sacri- ' Among the “ five errors” J. D. ficed unto idols, and to commit for- professes to point out, one, it would nication. So hast thou also them seem, he considers to be of a funda- || that hold the doctrine of the Nicolai- mental character-at least I should tanes, which thing I hate. Repent, infer so from the following denuncia- 1 or else I will come unto thee quickly, tion :-“ Such is the Baptistism of and will fight against them with the these members, at once absurd, injusword of my mouth.” Rev. ii. 14-16. rious, and blasphemous.” This he In the same spirit he reproves the tells us is the following: “Both faith church in Thyatira for suffering the and repentance are the gifts of God; woman Jezebel, and we ought to that there are commands to repent regard it as a solemn admonition unto and believe we fully admit, but that us, for whose instruction it was like they imply any power in man to obey wise delivered. Many, we fear, are we deny.” I should have thought the churches now, against whom the that at least some notice ought to have Lord has the like displeasure. They been taken of the scriptural proofs suffer the temple of his Holy Spirit urged in favor of the above. The to be defiled—witness the reproaches only passage referred to, however, is of the infidelity of professed members Rom. v. 17 ; and this passage is disis every day casting upon his cause ; | missed with the observation, that

[ocr errors]

giving is the act of God, receiving / “ ice foundation ;” but, alas ! the exthe act of man. Now, that man re- perience of past ages and generations, ceives the grace of God is very plain, and the depraved condition of mankind but it is not plain that receiving that in our own day, confirm most fully grace depends, as J. D. represents, on the melancholy truth that there is some act of his own; for on this sup- “ none that doeth good.” But in diposition the contract would be no rect opposition to this plain statement longer between Adam's sin and one of the Apostle, in reference to human man's obedience, but also between inability to do good, J. D. asserts man Adam's disobedience and our obe- "has power to repent and believedience, since, if abundance of grace then he has power to do good, which does not secure its reception, some- the Apostle in so many words denies. thing else must; and this, we are If man's depravity is only partial, told, is that minutely little part which then there are some good dispositions man has to perform. J. D. however, in man; and if good dispositions then cannot understand the justice of God he is able to do good, and the carnal in calling on men to repent and be- mind, on such a supposition, as the lieve when they have no power to do Apostle represents, “ enmity against so. It is clear, however, that man's God, for it is not subject to the law depraved inability to keep God's law of God, neither indeed can be.” I did not release him from his obliga- may here observe, in reference to tion ; and because men are so de J. D.'s remarks on Rom. vii. 25, that praved, and have such enmity in their the mind and the flesh are clearly dishearts against God, that they will tinguished by the Apostle from each not, and cannot (for the Scriptures other, the one referring to our sinful declare both the one and the other, nature, the other to a new or 6 divine Jn, viii. 12-29, and v. 40) come to nature :"_with the mind he served Christ, is ií unjust in him to require the law of God-surely not with the faith and repentance ? Rather ought natural mind, for this refers to a we to magnify God's grace, not only change which had taken place, which in giving his Son, but in commanding did not therefore previously exist. us to believe in him; and not only so, Rom. vi. 17, in the same way, does but overcoming the enmity of the hu- not suppose they obeyed the Gospel man mind against the truth. Hence by any virtue they possessed, for how he declares, “ I will put a new spirit could a slave of sin do this ? Besides within you, and I will take away the the Apostle evidently thanks God as stony heart out of their flesh, and the author of the great change they give them a heart of flesh, Ezkl. xi. 19. experienced. There can be no doubt

I will not stop to notice" error 1st,” | indeed, as J. D. says, that a man will viz. “ justification by faith alone” gladly receive the Queen's pardon but simply remind J. D. that assertion under sentence of death ; but the case is not argument; and that it appears is widely altered when we come to strange that this doctrine, which, he speak of the pardon proclaimed in says, is not so much as named in the the gospel, for this we know is reDivine Word, should be described by ceived by comparatively few : and the Apostle James as “ justification one great reason of this is, that men by dead faith.”

naturally do not see their need of it ; It would be easy to show that J. and hence the Spirit was sent to D.'s objections to the views brought " convince the world of sin.” Thus out in the pamphlet, arise from this all those passages quoted by J. D. one source-amistaken view of man's evidently teach that God will, in concharacter as a sinner. To him the veying his blessings to men, secure doctrine of total depravity appears an their reception. “ The dead shall

« PreviousContinue »