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in his view, quite inconsistent with the nature of Christianity."
Tliis is very different from the language attributed to me; and of the remainder of the paragraph in the critique, not one syllable is mine. I am, Gentlemen,
Your fellow servant, The Author Of "an Adiiress To Deists." Sept. 4, 1884.
W hether the writer has not something more to complain of, than that "one paragraph was not correctly quoted," impartial readers will be able to decide, if the Editor of the New Evangelical Magazine will have the kindness to permit this statement to appear in his next Number.
Oct. 1, 1834.
To the Editor of the New Evan. Magazine. Sir,
It is a matter of great moment, that all who profess the gospel should know the grounds on which Christianity rests, and should be able to assign a solid reason for their conviction of its truth. But it is much to be lamented, that as there are many Dissenters who have never examined the reasons for nonconformity, and cannot vindicate their separation, so there are many Christians, whose belief is founded rather in a conviction of its utility, and in an experience of its value to themselves, than in any examination of the powerful evidence for the divineorigin of the gospel. Such men are often highly zealous for the conversion of mankind. They ardently desire, that the Jews may be "turned to the Lord;" but they are unqualified to reason "out of the Scriptures," with a Jew. They believe in the Prophets; but they cannot exhibit from the prophets, any evidence that "Jesus is the Christ." They believe in the New Testament application of the prophecies, which "witnessed beforehand" of the coming of the Messiah—but they cannot vindicate this application of them against the objections of the Jew, and feel no concern about those means, which are essential to the success of their zealous efforts. They believe in the scriptures; but are contented to remain in ignorance of many glorious truths embodied in the sacred volume, which would establish their faith, and confirm
their hopes. Such conduct is, undoubtedly, highly reprehensible; and the more so, as the means of knowledge are, in the present age, so many, and so easy of access.—Where " much has been given, much will be required" of men by the Great Author of our religion; and if we would remove the prejudices, and promote the knowledge of others, we must first study the cultivation and improvement of our own minds.
I have been led to these remarks by what I have long and sorrowfully observed in the bulk of religious professors, and by a desire that their attention may be directed judiciously and successfully to the word of God, which, with all treasures, is so much neglected. Through the medium of your Journal, I wish to invite Christians to the elucidation of the prophecies, which testify of Christ: and as it is read by many who have not time to devote to deep and critical studies, it has been, and may be still more, the organ of conveying scriptural knowledge. I wish to elicit from those who have studied the prophecies, and are "mighty in the scriptures," such an explanation of them, as shall prove their fulfilment in Jesus of Nazareth, and show that the interpretation of them by the apostles is the only true one. In communicating such knowledge to the public, they may confer an important benefit upon ordinary christians, and even on the young preachers of the day, who, in general, attempt nothing higher than mere declamation and common place, instead of informing the understandings of their hearers.
There is a prophecy in Isa. vii. 10— 16. which in the gospel of Matthew is said to be fulfilled in the conception and birth of Jesus; "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us." Matt. i. 22, 23.^-The principal objections of the Jews to this application of the prophecy are the following.
1. That the original word nob^, translated a virgin, does not mean a virgin only, but any young woman, married or unmarried, and in Prov. xxx. 18. is used to express a woman, who is an adulteress.—Moreover, the person spoken of must refer to the prophet's wife, who conceived and bare a son, as recorded in Isa. viii.
1. That before this child should know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land should be delivered from the evils which were inflicted upon it by the two hostile kings.
3. That the birth of a son, at the distant period of many centuries, was an event too remote to be a sign to Ahaz, of the certainty of an immediate deliverance of himself and Judah.
4. That the son here foretold, means the son of the prophet, concerning whom it is said, that before he should be able to say, my father and my mother, the power of both kings should be destroyed. Compare chap, vii. 16. with chap. viii. 4.
5. That the name of this child was to be Emmanuel, not Jesus.
These objections and others of alike nature, are to be met with in antient Jewish writers, and are still repeated by the learned Jews of the present age, as well as by other unbelievers. I should be glad, if some of your correspondents would furnish a judicious vindication of the apostolic interpretation of this prophecy, and thus throw light upon the truths of the gospel, which will never perish. I am, Sir,
PiULO-JuDAlCUS. Sep. IMA, 1824.
ON USING THE LORD'S PRAYER.
I was lately requested to assign a reason on behalf oi myself and brethren of the Baptist denomination, for our uniform omission of the Lord's prayer, both in domestic and public worship.
In order to assign a reason on behalf of myself, I examined the circumstances
under which that prayer was dictated
the writings and conduct of the Apostles after the day of Pentecost—and also the nature of the prayer itself. It is somewhat remarkable that two publications on prayer, should so recently have issued from the pens of Baptist Ministers; but, whether the subject before me has been discussed in either of them, or has appeared in any periodical publication, is unknown to me,
and*, therefore, should you deem the following observations worthy of public attention, you will oblige me by their insertion in your Miscellany.
In examining the circumstances under which our Lord's^prayer was dictated, the Evangelist Luke, narrating his history, informs us, "It came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Both from sacred and prophane history it appears that during our Lord's ministry there were four distinguished sec ;s among the Jews. The first were Sadducees ; this was a sect which denied the existence of angels and disembodied spirits—the resurrection of the dead, and a future judgment. But whether they admitted the providential government of God, and prayed that he would do them good, give them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and fill their hearts'with food and gladness, we are not informed. The second sect were Pharisees; these were persons opposed in sentiment to the Sadducees, and habituated to frequent and long prayers, engaging in these exercises in the most conspicuous situations; in the streets, the synagogues, and the temple, and pleading their personal and comparative moral purity, though addicted to extortion and excess. The third were Essenes: this sect were celebratedfor their celibacy—their community of goods—their agricultural pursuits, and their devotional exercises; for Josephus informs us that rising very early in the morning, they abstained from all secular conversation till day break, and put up certain prayers, received from their forefathers, as if making supplication for the rising of the sun. The fourth were the disciples of John the Baptist. These were persons baptized upon a profession of their repentance, and of their faith in the approaching reign of God. These persons, dissatisfied, I suppose, with the principles of the Sadducees, and also with the prayers and conduct of the other sects, requested John to teach them to pray. And the disciples of Jesus, feeling a similar dissatisfaction, and having witnessed the humility, submission, ardour, and faith of him, who "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears," when he ceased, one said, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disci
l>les." Such appear to have been the circumstances under which the prayer was dictated.
In examining the writings and conduct of the Apostles, I suppose that two principles will be admitted; the one is, that the apostolic prayers were "the prayers of the saints"—those which were offered upon the golden altar, and ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. This being admitted, it must be also granted that their prayers were accepted; and these prayers were offered up under a great variety of circumstances. We have on record a prayer at the election of an Apostle—at the release of Peter and John—at the martyrdom of Stephen— the imprisonment of Peter—the imprisonment of Paul and Silas—a prayer for complete sanctification—for preservation of body, soul and spirit, and for a capacity to comprehend the breadth, length, depth and height of the love of Christ; yet under all this variety no allusion is made to our Lord's Prayer. Their conclusions ran thus: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Amen."
The other principle, which I suppose will be admitted, is, that the apostles rigidly adhered to all positive precepts which were deemed binding after the death of Christ; for they, in obedience to positive precepts, went into Galilee— tarried in Jerusalem—went into all the world and baptized the disciples, yet not the most distant allusion is ever made, either in conduct or epistle to the Lord's prayer; from which I infer, that this prayer was not deemed binding, and that its omission will not prevent our prayers from coming up with acceptance before God.
In examining the nature of the prayer itself, I find, there is no reference made to the mediation of Christ; yet this enters essentially into the medium of our access to God, a circumstance ever calculated to remind us of the holiness of his nature, "that he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.". And it also serves to remind us of our own
impurity, that we are more spotted than the leopard, more ignorant than the ox, and more filthy than the swine: so that our prayers, if answered, can. only be answered through the spotless purity of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. In the Lord's prayer there is no reference made to the atonement of Christ;* yet this enters into the mode of our access to God. When the patriarchs and prophets prayed, it was either with the offering up of typical sacrifices, or at the time of their offering up, or with windows opene/1 towards the place of their offering up. And when the Jewish High-Priest made intercession, he entered the holy of holies with the blood of others.—But Jesus is gone within the vail with his own blood;— blood this which reconciles 1 which pardons! which forms the cloud of incense! and by which he intercedes for the transgressors! And if we are answered, it is through this blood of sprinkling. I find no reference to the offices of Christ, yet these enter into the mode of our access to God. Jesus appears in the presence of God, as our great High Priest, one who has offered the prescribed and required atonement; as our mediator, one who, being "God manifest in the flesh," can lay his hands upon us both. And he appears as our righteous advocate; one who can plead, that in his conduct not one jot or tittle of the law failed, but all was fulfilled; and if we are answered, it is through this Son of man, whom God has made strong for himself. I find no reference to the influences of the Holy Ghost, one part of whose office it is, to teach us to pray—to help our infirmities and to make intercession with our spiu.s. And, finally,I find in the prayer itself, that its forms of expression are varied: compare Mat. vi. 11, 1?. with Luke xi, 34. and what Matthew inserts in verse 13, the evangelist Luke wholly omits, which appears remarkable, if Luke himself adopted the prayer—or heard it universally adopted—or if it had been designed for adoption throughout all ages. From these omissions I conclude, that, the prayer was not intended for a permanent form—that it may be used by persons who tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. And also that the prayer is incomplete, according to what we arc taught in John xiv. 13,14. and John xvi, 23—27. Before I dismiss the subject, permit me, Sir, to suggest, that when this prayer was adopted, it is not in the least probable, that it was according to modern custom, which is, after praying for ourselves— our domestics—the Church—the afflicted—our native land and the uttermost parts of the earth, then to add this at the end, as if to give efficacy to all which preceded; but it was used, either as their only prayer or as their pattern. And, allow me to remark also, that this prayer presents a striking contrast to the prayers of the heathen, and even to the prayers of many professors of Christianity. It is not unusual for men of slender talents and attainments to pray in public nearly three quarters of an hour, and in the domestic circles nearly half an hour; but in our Lord's prayer, the same subject, and the same forms of expression are not twice repeated! We should remember, that, though we are praying in the name of Christ, yet it is written, "God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few;"
* Neither is there any direct mention made of Christ's atonement in any of the other prayers .recorded in Scripture, to which our correspondent has alluded. His argument therefore against ^he nse of the lord's prayer, merely on (Ms ground, is inconclusive.—Editor.
I am yours,
N. B. Will you, or some of your correspondents, inform me of the origin of the modern use of the Lord's prayer?
Mb. Editor, n> .
On opening the rt Congregational Magazine" lor the: present Month, my attention was arrested by a " Review of Mr. Cox's recent work on Baptism." Knowing that Independent Ministers of considerable eminence are the Conductors of that work; from the brilliancy of talent which its pages display; from the general excellence of its reviews; and from the great length to which the one in question extends; it appeared that Mr. C. had at length "roused the lion from his lair," and that the Baptists were about to be completely " overwhelmed" by a torrent of most conclusive and irrefragable ar
gument. How far their apprehensions are likely to be realized, let the readers of the Review determine; for my own part, (notwithstanding the very high opinion which I entertain of the reviewers,) I cannot help considering their present production as " Vox et procterea nihil;'' and offer to you a few observations in support of this opinion.
They charge Mr. Cox with "vapid braggery," "consummate arrogance, and indecorum;" with being " unsound, dogmatical, and uncharitable," on account of the assertions in his Advertisement. The correctness of these assertions they deny; but we may perhaps be allowed in a few words to attempt to confirm them. Mr. Cox says, "popular feeling is theirs, the argument is ours." To the former branch of this assertion there surely can be no objection. Consider the reproach which is every where cast upon the Baptists,a.s erroneous,heretical schismatics; as disturbers of the peace of Churches, and enemies both to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Infant race! They are "a sect every where spoken against,"and their " names are cast out as evil;" all which circumstances combine, to array against them that mass of " popular feeling" which is expressed by superficial thinkers. Now to this they have nothing to oppose but argument, clear and solid argument; not that system of hair-splitting, scholastic Theology, which wraps the plain declarations of the Scriptures up in such a tissue of subtle sophistries, as none but a practised metaphysician can unravel; but the simple reasoning of common sense, founded on the untortured letter of revealed truth, which is open to the investigation, and commends itself to the judgment of every man, however unlearned he may be, who desires fully to know, and as fully to practise the will of Christ. It is not denied that there is a vast shew of imposing argument on the other side. Few Baptists are ignorant of this, and hardly can the assertion of the reviewers be credited, that " a popular Baptist Minister" should be in this situation. Still, however, amidst all this display, the last named parties may justly pride themselves, upon being the exclusive possessors of sound Scriptural argument on this subject, much as the Congregational Reviewers may dislike the assertion; and was it not that the remark would savour of "consummate arrogance, and indecorum," we might echo their own words, and say, that " though popular feeling may hold up the cause a little longer, it is high time for all wise and conscientious people to recant."
These Gentlemen deny that "the best Pa-dobaptist writers have made us repeated and most important concessions;" and seem to intimate that many of the most able writers on other subjects, are very incompetent on this. But when I run over the names of Henry, Baxter, Doddridge, Owen, Poole, Bingham, Edwards, Leigh, Jennings, Witsius, Taylor, Wall, Hammond, Whitby, and others, I cannot help considering, that I have fallen upon tome of the "best Pa:dobaptist writers;" and when I put together the concessions which they have made, from a simple survey of the word of God, when not under a particular bias, I confess that I am disposed to place little confidence in their final convictions, when that bias evidently sways them. In the former case, they advance upon a parallel with the sacred record, and in strict unison with the spirit of the Christian dispensation; but in the latter, they are observed to desert this straight path, for the purpose of propping up a rite entirely at variance with both.
I cannot help remarking, how cruel it is in these Reviewers, to taunt the Baptists, with being "one of the smallest of Christian sects, distinguished neither in its past or present state by any overwhelming majority of acute reasoners and genuine scholars," since it recals to their minds, the extreme folly of which they are guilty, in presuming, under such circumstances, to plead for the honour of Divine Truth, in humble imitation of a certain "small and undistinguished sect,1' which once similarly dared to confront, the "overwhelming majority of acute reasoners and genuine scholars" which the schools of Jewish law, and Greek and Roman philosophy produced.
Whether "one half of the Paedobaptist ministers living" admit that the primary meaning of Bet*TM and /S«!m?» is to immerse, I know not; though I think it may very safely be asserted, that more than one half have never bestowed the labour of their own minds upon the subject; but taking the statements of certain favourite writers as their text books, they have sat themselves down, fully satisfied, without any further
examination. This is known to be the case, in many instances, with men of more than ordinary vigour of intellect; and it may therefore be very justly inferred to exist in a greater proportion, where men's minds are not so well disposed to, and fitted for enquiry.
Mr. Cox says, "that Paxlobaptist Churches contain vast numbers of theoretic Baptists, who have discernment enough to appreciate the force of evidence, but not piety enough to pursue the path of duty." It would have been better, had the latter branch of this sentence been qualified, since as it now stands, it conveys a charge which we would by no means desire to attach to our fellow Christians. But the general fact, that such persons are to be found in considerable numbers in Paxlobaptist churches, is unquestionable; and that, not merely amongst "the young, the simple, and the ill informed;" those " who instead if being able to appreciate the argument, are notoriously incompetent for any such decision;" "the timid, tlte scrupulous, and the weak minded;" but generally amongst those of mature age, of long standing in the church;—of acute discernment, and of cool, discriminating judgment. These circumstances exist, to a greater extent than many pastors are aware of, even in their own churches. Many have partial convictions upon the subject, but are afraid to investigate it fully, lest they should "unsettle their minds;" others have carried their examinations further, but hesitate to avow their results lest they should incur reproach, and become the subjects of inconvenience; and others again do declare their opinions, but deem it unnecessary to act upon them; not considering the point as one of essential importance to their salvation. Every now and then, however, some of these persons are induced "to submit to adult immersion;" not " lest they should incur the Tremendous guilt denounced upon them by some Bigotted Partizan Of AnaBaptism;" nor "from the staggering of some Anabaptist advocate," but from the convictions of duty becoming irresistibly imperative upon them; a consummation not unfrequently much accelerated, by the vehement and inconclusive reasonings of some Padobaptist partizan.
Having dismissed Mr. C.'s Advertisement, the reviewers "enter upon the work itself," by "beginning with the closing part of his argunxnt," which