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but one preceding :- Yé shall do no unrighteousness in judgment," &c.
Moreover, the negative of this claim to supervise the affairs of others, can be established, not only by constructive applications, but by direct and positive injunctions of Scripture:-“Whatsdever ye would, that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” But—"we would that our brother should teli us our faults”-say some of these persons.. I answer, that this is a rare attainment, and that the rule is intended for the common feelings of mankind. Christ says expressly, pointedly, emphatically" Judge not, that ye be not judged,” &c.
Why beholdest thou the mote,” &c. “Thou hypocrite,” &c. He knew, that persons, who think themselves better than others, but knowing not themselves, would be inclined this way; and therefore he rebuked this disposition, and branded it with the name of hypocrisy.
One of the most inconvenient and troublesome vices among Christians of Apostolic times was—meddling and impertinent interference, both of men and women; and I am sorry to say, more especially of the latter; as is evident from the Epistles. St. Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus are specific and minute in allusion to this evil, and contain injunctions against this vice in its various forms. They make a melancholy development of scandal on this point; but it is truth, and the Bible is always honest. To the Thessalonian Christians he said. “Be quiet, and do your own business." To Timothy he enjoined, that even a bishop should “not be a brawler,” nor their wives “slanderers ;" the proper interpretation of which doubtless is that they especially should not be guilty of these faults. But it involves the converse.
6 Refuse profane and old wives' fables ;" “let them," widows, “ learn first to show piety at home;" “ the younger refuse
because they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not ;'' 6 against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses,” showing that tattling and slan
der was a vice of the time; “let servants under the yoke honour their masters ;” obey magistrates ;" “ wives, submit to your husbands;" “shun profane and vain babblings ;" " in the last days .... there shall be .... false accusers &c. . . . . having forms of godliness, &c. .... of this sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women;" “ there are many unruly and vain talkers, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses ;" let not “ aged women be false accusers,” and let “ the young be discreet and keepers at home;" "speak evil of no man—be not brawlers ;' &c.
“ The tongue," says the Apostle James, “is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison; a fire- a world of iniquity ;-it setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell."
Nothing can be more clear, than that Scripture authority against meddling, tattling, slander, scandal-or in any way interfering with the private concerns, conduct, and character of our neighbours, except as civi), or ecclesiastical authority has clothed us with legitimate powers—is specific, abundant, decided, emphatic. It is founded in human nature ; it is essential to the peace of society; a departure from it would be ruinous to social comfort. If, therefore, it is proper to introduce any rule on this point into a mutual church covenant, it seems to me, that the converse of that which is usually found in that place, ought to be substituted. Even the apostles, as we have seen, found it necessary to rebuke the disposition prevalent in their time to meddle with the affairs, and to make inquisition into the conduct of others. But it should be recollected, that the condition of Christians and the state of society then were widely different from the same things with us. Christianity was a new religion, and its disciples were generally obnoxious. They were compelled by their circumstances to associate most intimately; they were bound together by those sympathies and ties, which a persecuted and suffering class always feel, independent of Christian affection. Hence in part we account for the holy and exemplary ardour of their attachments to their religion and to each other. But even in these circumstances and under these especial in
timacies—or, rather, perhaps, on account of them—the apostles found it necessary to admonish them against the abuse of that confidence so generally felt and recipro cated by those, who confessed Christ in those unhappy times-an abuse so naturally developed in the form of meddling and private inquisition.
But the state of the Church in Christian nations of these days is very different; and there is far less apology for this vice among Christians now, than in those times. And, moreover, it cannot so easily be tolerated now. Professors and nonprofessors of religion, in the present highly civilized state of Christian nations, stand upon a common level in the enjoyment of civil rights; and the lives of many of the latter class are as exemplary, in a religious view, as those of the former. Nearly all, professors and nonprofessors, assert and claim, and very justly, the enjoyment of all private rights ; and an exemption from the impertinent supervision of their neighbours, whether it respects their private affairs, or their private conduct. Professing Christians will not consent to such interference even of their fellow Christians; and there is no good reason why they should. It is the most unprofitable and obnoxious business, which any persons can set themselves about. It may be added, that in these days and in our country, where Christians are so numerous and people generally respect religion, many of whom being as decent in their lives as professors themselves, it is impossible that the body of Christians should be very distinct and disjunct from the rest of the community. It is equally impossible, in the midst of a dense population, that the members of the same church, if many, should be so intimate, as in the primitive age; that they should all even know each other personally; and they, who think it is possible, and a duty, adopt an impracticable theory. My next door neighbour in a city might be a member of the same church with myself, and yet it is possible I should be ignorant, whether he be a Christian, or a Jew, or a Mohammedan, because I do not know him at all. How preposterous, then, is it, that I should be his guardian, and he mine, even if it were proper, simply
because we happen to be members of the same church! The spirit of the primitive Church, in all that was good, is what we want; the circumstances we cannot have.
Let it not be supposed, that I would take the responsibility of discouraging the efforts of private Christians to do good by all proper, well-advised, and discreet methods. I trust I shall ever sympathize thoroughly in any suitable plans devised and adopted for developing and bringing into action all the various talents of the Christian Church, and making them to bear on the great design of Christianity for the conversion of the world. I only have reference in these remarks to a specific and acknowledged evil, which unfortunately has received the sanction, at least in form, of a large body of Christiansmapparently and most probably from an unwarrantable interpretation of certain historical and preceptive portions of Scripture.
Consideration of the common and popular Objections to Episcopacy
and to the general Economy of the Episcopal Church.
EPISCOPACY is found in a variety of forms over the Christian world, of which the Roman church is most eminent; next to that, the Greek church; next, the church of England; and next, the Episcopacy of the United States. The American Methodists are under a form of Episcopacy; and so are the Moravians, or United Brethren. There are some other forms of Christian or-' ganization, which have the semblance of Episcopacy ; and numerous Christian institutions, in our own country and elsewhere, as I shall have occasion to show, are under the control of the Episcopal principle. Nearly, or quite all of our voluntary religious and benevolent societies are of this last class.
The Roman and Greek churches run nearly parallel in their general design and structure. But the features of the church of Rome are more before the world. They are gigantic and imposing; and for the powers it has usurped and employed, it has been terrific. At present it lies under the ban of the public opinion of the civilized world, so far as its former usurpations and abuse of power are concerned. The Protestant world, as is well known, has declared off, renounced connexion, and disclaimed all responsibility in its arrogance and abominations. As a subject of history it is interesting and awful to contemplate. The Pope is the great hierarch, and a temporal prince; his college of cardinals are his council, and the aristocracy of his realm; the archbishops are an intermediate grade and connexion of the priesthood ; the bishops another; and the numerous orders of inferior ecclesiastics of this stupendous hierarchy fill up the complement between the papal throne and the people