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stitutions of a Christian Church—that is, in his own embarrassed language— "a code of institutes, sufficiently comprehensive to embrace all who profess the distinguishing characteristics of the Gospel,"—-whether the opinion, that 'new and contending modes of interpretation" must result from a general dispersion of the Holy Scriptures be, or not, one of" those horrid blasphemies," with which the learned Casaubon charges the antichristian advocates of Rome, I need not insinuate, and dare not affirm. Convinced, however, by reading and experience, that those "new and contending modes," are often the combined result of ecclesiastical superstition and secular intolerance, I cannot doubt the Motive, nor conceal the falsehood and turpitude of such an imputation, cast by a " preacher of righteousness" on that very word, which is to " lead us into all truth."
"Scioppius," says the old writer, whom I have just mentioned, "utters the most dreadful blasphemies against the inspired writings; of which the Lord has said, Search the Scriptures. But this innovating Theologist furiously attacks those, who, in matters of salvation, ask, Where is it zeritten? That evil genius deems this a foolish question ;* and those who make it he declares to be fools.f He compares God's written word with unwritten traditions; and ascribes less honour to the word of the living God than Pighius himself, who said, in the memory of our fathers—' that the Scripture, unaided by the Church's authority, is of as little value as iEsop's fables.'—A blasphemy which Cardinal Hosius has since dared to maintain."
In another passage this author says— "Let the pious reader observe the dark, cunning, and secret aim of this Baronius. He first enlarges on the depth and obscurity of the Scriptures; of their plainness in those things which are necessary to salvation, and which relate to amendment of life, he says not a word. Why is this?—The Roman Church's new doctrine must be defended. To look, even superficially, into a Bible, withoutasking
her leave, is a most certain mark of heresy. Those holy men, Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, and all the rest, have solemnly spoken of the majesty of the Divine Oracles in innumerable passages of their writings; yet they unanimously advise, exhort, and urge, every individual Christian, without any distinction of sex, condition, or profession, to read, yea, read over and over again, and, to the best of their power, constantly to handle the sacred volume. These great men knew that there are many hard, abstruse, and arduous things in the Scriptures; yet Chrysostom, nevertheless, exclaims— 'If any man will be saved, let him study the Scriptures.' They knew that falsa Christians and heretics could wrestthem to their own perdition, and to that of others; yet, nevertheless, that holy man exclaims—'Listen to me, ye laymen, I exhort you, supply yourselves with Bibles, those remedies of the soul.' Observe his reason—' Ignorance of the Scriptures, is the source of all evil.' Now, the case is sadly altered: we are told, that the Word of God is a vmen nose; and that it is easier to prove any thing and every thing by it, tkantomakt love verses out of' Virgil's feet, halffiel) and penthemimers; an observation for which we are indebted to the venerable Archdeacon Pamelius."—Isaac Casaubon, Exercit. xxi.ad An. Eccl. p. 674.
"What, if the Church of England should alter her mind—for the very children know that it now teaches many things otherwise than heretofore}— what, if she should revise her liturgy? shall this affect the stability of the Divine Writings i Away with such blasphemy."—lb. p. 300.
"Lo!" exclaims this learned French Protestant, " into what an abyss of impiety must they necessarily fall, who dare discuss religious topics on other principles than those of the Word ol God. Rom. i. 2."—lb. p. 316.
I think I have now experimentally shewn, that, ever since the birth ot Antichrist, two contrary principles hare been at work in that field, " the world,'
* Perhaps this may be one of the " foolish questions" alluded to by the Rev. James Hook. + The people must beenlightened, " not by multiplying and dispersing copies of the Law Alonk,In" by sending out Levites and Priests who had the book of the Law with them, far from leaving >lt0 the unaided views of ignorance and imbecility." According to the venerable Anglican, tbe poor oi this country are, therefore, to be instructed in bis own prejudices, and not left to theirown imbetflwh much less lo the pernicious influence of the pure word of God. He takes it for granted, that the word is unaided by ministerial instruction every where, except within the pale oftbe Establishment! , J For example, in Edwards's Liturgy, Infant Baptism is only a commendable " custom of the church in,Elizabeih,s, it is an "Institution of Christ." Which are we to believe of these two beads of"" Church
FKOM THE COMMUNION OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
a northern genius happily terms them, this taint of the old leaven would alone induce me to dissent from a communion, whose claims are presumptuous, and whose privileges are burdensome.
That "little invincible band of the Vallies," as the French Wickliff, Robert Olivetan, styles his countrymen, the Waldenses, could declaim against Antichrist, not only because it was "a lie tending to everlasting damnation," but because it was "obstinately defended by the spiritual and the secular arm."— Del Antechrist. They did actually separate from Rome, from its traditions, and from its government, as soon as that pretended Church became one of the kingdoms of this world. "The venom of temporalities* according to their primitive and genuine Reformers, "entered the Church in the days of Constantine and Sylvester; and Rome is, therefore, the Apocalyptic harlot."—lieyner Sacc. apud Jean Leger. torn. i. p. 125.'
I dissent from the Church of England, not merely on account of its arrogant claims to superiority, and of its oppressive maintenance of those claims, by the unjust measure of involuntary contributions ;—not only because I regard its pretensions as presumptuous;—not only because no Protestant, Scottish, German, Danish, Swedish, or French Church, now ventures to boast of its Confession, of its Liturgy, and of its forms, in such hyperbolical, vain-glorious, and unbecoming language—but I also dissent from it because some of its doctrines are impure.
Now lest I should set down so serious a charge without marking its nature and extent, I observe that this impurity is authorized, and even transformed into a law, by her Articles of Faith,* a9 well as incorporated with the most solemn part of di-vine worship, in her sacramental and other offices. It is not, as in other cases, exclusively attributable to the imprudenceor wickedness of a few preachers and divines—it belongs to the Church of England as a National Establishment: and is recognized by all those who have ratified its doctrines by their signature, as far as we may judge fro.m the natural purport of that solemn act, and from the very simple and intelligible manner in which those doctrines are stated. It is to me
wherein," while men slept, their enemy
came and sowed tares among the wheat."
These jarring principles might be contradistinguished as the word of God,
ami as the word of Satan, or the word
should be the religion of Protestants, or
rather of true Christians; but there are
doctrines, rites, traditions, and ceremonies,
decidedly contrary to the spirit, and
clearly unwarranted by the precepts and
precedents contained in our only code—
the New Testament. Those innovations
and corruptions would have long since
been annihilated, if the Word of God
had had its free course; and the word of
man could never have prevailed to so
alarming an extent as we have seen it
reach to, had it not been defended, like
the Koran, by the secular power of
religious Establishments. By the same
gradual, mild, and irresistible progress,
which destroyed Paganism, and evangelized a considerable portion of our
hemisphere, the Paganism of Christianity
must ultimately be, not only undermined and impaired, butevenconsumed.
"The Lord shall consume the mystery
of iniquity with the Spirit of his mouth,
and shall destroy it with the brightness
densic document of the twelfth century,
the following curious passage, trusting that Christian charity is not violated by its application to the case in point. I recommend it to the serious consideration of all those who regatd the Bible as dangerous, Missionaries as incendiaries, and evangelical preachers as satellites of the Devil.
"By God's permission, Antichrist is breaking fast, for his power and authority are on the decline, and the Lord already slays that wicked one by the spirit of his mouth—by the instrumentality of many well-intentioned persons, in raising a power contrary to his, and to that of his adherents—in destroying his place and his possessions—and in dividing Babylon."
As intolerance has long been one of the distinguishing characteristics of Establishments; and as, to a certain degree, it still forms an essential ingredient of that dangerous combination of "the powers of heaven and earth," as
* " Whosoever shall affirm that any of the thirty-nine Articles are, in any part, superstitious or erroneous, shall be excommunicated, ipso facto, and not restored, but only by the Archbishop, after hia repentance and public revocation of such wicked errors.1'— Canon V. of the Church of England.
a mystery, how several ministers who officiate in that Church, can overlook and so glaringly disobey His Majesty's declaration prefixed to the Angles— "that no man hereafter shall either print or preach to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof, and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense."
Now, no son of the Church will presume to declare that its Articles and Offices are at variance—that different modes of faith and worship are inculcated by each—or that there is not between them, what an eminent female writer of the day would call, "a dovetailed congruity." It is even my opinion, that the latter, as the most ancient, and as familiarly and constantly illustrating the Established Creed, have a superior claim to the Church's veneration—they must be regarded as infallible Commentaries on the National Confession of Faith.
In the Church's twenty-seventh Article, its Reformers thus lay down their doctrine of Baptism:—" Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened; but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church: the promises of forgiveness of sins, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; faith is confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ."
Charity may suppose, that the Anglican F&jformers would not have attempted to disguise the doctrines so plainly expressed in their Church Offices and Catechism, when they compiled their twenty-seventh Article, for charity believeth all things; and that Regeneration is affirmed in the former to be the invariable effect of baptism, no reasonable or impartial reader of the following passages can possibly doubt :—
"Public Baptism of Infants.*—Deax\y beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that our Saviour Christ saith, 'None can enter
into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost,' I beseech you to call upon God the Father, &c. that he will grant this child that thing, which by nature he cannot have; that he may be baptized with water and with the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ's holy Church, and be made a lively member of the same."
The Priestthenremindsthe Almighty and everlasting God, that "by the baptism of his well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, he did sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin;" and prays for "this infant:—That he, comingto thy holy baptism, may receive remission of his sins, or spiritual regeneration; and may enjoy the everlasting benediction of thy heavenly washing."
Again:—" Almighty and everlasting God, give thy Holy Spirit to this infant, that he may be born again, and be made an heir of everlasting salvation."
"The Priest. Wilt thou be baptized in faith?
"The Infant. That is my desire." (A "fiction of law," according to the ingenious British Reviewers'.!)
To another question, about keeping God's commandments, it answers—"! will." God is then requested to "sanctify this water to the mystical washing away of sin;" and as to the child " now to be baptized therein," the request is, that "he may receive the fulness of thy grace, and ever remain in the number of thy faithful and elect children."
(After the^sprinkling, called baptism,) "Then shall the Priest say:—Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits, and with one accord make our prayers unto him, that this child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning."
"Then shall the Priest say:—We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church."
"It is certain by God's word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved."
Private Baptism of Children.—"^ Minister shall receive him (the infant)
Warburton, " not being administered as under the law, in person, but by a written rule; the ministers of the word, under pretence of interpreting it, took occasion to introduce their own authority; and on that, by insensible degrees, a very wicked usurpation. The business of interpreting was, at first, modestly assumed as a mere act of charity, to assist the brethren in the study of God's word. But the employment being commonly confined to a certain order, this act of charity soon grew into an office of authority, which at last put the law and the gloss upon an equal fooling." —Sermons, vol. ii. p. 103.
I abhor the Oloss, and revere the Law—I reject the word of man, and turn from it to the word of God.
"To change the fundamental laws of Christ's spiritual kingdom, where he is the only Lawgiver, is an offence of the highest nature, as not only implying simple disobedience, but usurpation likewise. A Church acting with this spirit, not only throws off subjection, but assumes the sovereignty; and is no longer the sheep-fold of the good Shepherd, but the den of Antichrist, the thief and the robber."—lb. p. 161.
Such are the remarks of an Anglican Divine, who reprobates the Churches which presume to alter "the terms of salvation, as they arc delivered in the Gospel, which are faith in Christ, and repentance towards God; by adding others to them," (such as regeneration without faith and repentance.) •
"If," adds the same impartial writer, "for the sake of uniformity uf worship, we disguise, or betray, or give up any fundamental truth, it becomes a confederacy of this world; at best, a politic union for the preservation of civil peace —a peace, where religion is not the actuating principle, but only the cloke and cover."—p. 183.
[To be concluded in our next."]
as one of the flock of true Christian people, saying thus, I satisfy you that, in this case, all is well done, &c. concerning the baptizing of this child; who being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of regeneration in baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life," Sec.
Catechism. Q. Who gave you this name?—A. My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
• Q. What is the outward visible sign or form in baptism ?—A. Water,* wherein the person is baptized, &c. Q. What is the inward spiritual grace?—A. A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace."
A learned Prelatef of the Establishment has satisfactorily shewn that, according to its Articles, Homilies, Liturgic offices, &c. Baptismal Regeneration « the only possible Regeneration; and as there is nothing in its services, that indicates any difference of opinion in this matter, between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, whose offices it has borrowed and improved, we must judge the model and copy by the same rule; that is, take the words both "in their natural and grammatical sense."
As I firmly believe, with the Purest Church of its day, the Waldenses of the twelfth century, "That the third sin of Antichrist consists, in his attributing the renewing of the Holy Spirit to a dead and strange (that is, a vicarious) Faith, and baptizes infants in that faith: teaching that baptism and regeneration follow such a faith,"J I declare the Church of England's baptismal doctrine erroneous, pernicious, and antichristian. This alone would fully justify my separation from its communion.
That so grievous a'n error should have survived the Reformation three long centuries, is a clear proof, and familiar illustration of the fact, that Ecclesiastical Establishments are one of Satan's cunning devices for perpetuating heresy.
"The government of God's church under the Gospel," says the judicious
* Water—a form t!
1 La terea obra de l'Anle-Cbri6t es que el attribuis la reformaclon del Sanct. Spent, a la Ffe morta de fera, e bapteia Penfant ea aquella Fe, enseigaaat essera consegre per ley lo baptisme e la ltL'geueraCiod.
ON LIVING TO GOD.
The Scriptures are the only standard of divine truth. They are the only rule of faith and practice—the only test of real experimental religion. Whatever there may be, then, in the precepts of
t Bishop Maat.
men, eminent for learning and godliness, that is not expressly stated or clearly implied in the New Testament, ought not to be regarded by those who wish to excel in the divine life. If any man desire to attain to eminence in the knowledge of God, and conformity to him, he must become a little child; he must unlearn all his predilections, and be willing to sit at the feet of Jesus, and hear his word alone.
That all mankind are under obligation to love and serve their Maker, is manifest both from Scripture and reason, all being the offspring of God, and all supplied by his bounty: for " in him we live, and move, and have our being." But that ungenerate men, or in other words, unbelievers, are to be indiscriminately addressed with real believers in Christ, and called to the exercise of certain dispositions and duties peculiar to a life devoted to God, is, I humbly conceive, highly unscriptural. For how can one who is under the dominion of sin, bring forth fruit unto holiness; seeing the tree must be made good, before it can produce this fruit! We never find either Christ or his apostles telling men, while living in rebellion against God, that they are the children of God: and as such, admonish them to the Christian duties, to be united to a church ? &c. Some, indeed, tell us, that if unbelievers are to be addressed at all, they ought to be called to do the same things as those who do believe. But if this were true, it would follow, that all those distinctions which the Scriptures make between characters are superfluous and unnecessary; and that those peculiar duties to which believers are exhorted,arenothingelse than theduties of unbelievers; but I cannot find this sort of reasoning in the Scriptures of truth. The Gospel being a revelation of mercy to sinners, as such it proclaims pardon to the guilty, and healing to the diseased, not to be enjoyed in the way of working, but believing on him that justifies the ungodly: it comes to them as a free gift, without money and without price: "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." And were I addressing a company of profligates, I should call on them to repent and believe the Gospel; I should tell them in plain terms, that continuing in sin and unbelief, they are in the direct road to eternal ruin. It would be very unscriptural to exhort such persons
"To present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, as their reasonable service." Their first duty is to believe the Gospel; for until they do that, they are not principled for any one act of holy obedience. Our Lord in addressing the Jews, preached unto them repentance arid faith; and plainly told them, if they did not believe in him, they should die in their sins. On the other hand, he instructed his own disciples in the particular duties they owed to himself, and to each other. When they were alone, he explained all things to them. Having made these preliminary remarks, I submit the following thoughts, on living a life devoted to God, to the consideration of the reader.
If a man be made a new creature in Christ Jesus, old things are passed away, and all things are become new. He is no longer his own, he is bought with a price; and therefore is under the highest obligations to glorify God in his body and spirit, which are God's. In this, the sum of a life of godliness consists. The renewed soul no sooner has tasted that the Lord is gracious, than be voluntarily surrenders himself up to God, to be his for time and eternity—lie next gives himself to the people of God, to walk with them in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless. It is said of Enoch, that he "walked with God." This implies a knowledge of him, and faith in his revealed character. There was an intimacy between God and man, a friendship, a union of the most blessed nature, founded in peace and harmony never to be destroyed—for how can two walk together except they are agreed? Precisely such is the case with the believer in Christ: he walks with God. Being made a partaker of the divine nature by faith in the righteousness of God his Saviour, he becomes entitled to the privileges of the children of God by adoption and grace. As a son and heir of God through Christ, he has his intercourse with him in all his institutions and appointments. Hence he comes to have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
He stands in quite a new relation to God; and not only has he a correct knowledge of the relationship, but enters into the spirit and enjoyment of its advantages and blessings. He has received an understanding to know him