Page images
PDF
EPUB

LONDON :

BRISCOE, PR NTER, BANNER STREET, FINSBURY.

PREFACE.

WILL our readers give us their attention for a few minutes, before they send the year's magazines to the bookbinder, or consign them, without the honour of a cover and a label, to the shelf which has already received their predecessors? We are not going to dip our pen in gall, or

Fill our fellow-creature's ear

With the sad tale of all our care. We have, indeed, had our discouragements, but we write them in the sand, that their memory may soon be washed out by the coming tide of more earnest and active Christian sympathy. It is our purpose just now briefly to draw attention to our position and prospects.

Our position is somewhat changed. The work which we have the honour to conduct, has been adopted by the members of a Society, which, in our opinion, is second in importance to none of our denominational institutions. The Strict Baptist Society, as to means and influence, is indeed “a little one." It has not yet left behind “the day of small things." Its value, however, is not to be estimated by the number of its adherents, or by the magnitude of its resources. Were all consistent Baptists prayerfully to consider the objects it has in view, both its friends and its resources would speedily be multiplied. The original design of the Society was to furnish the means of private education for the ministry. To compass this object, well qualified Christian ministers have been induced to receive approved brethren into their houses for a term of years, during which their course of study has been directed, and their future efficiency as pastors (by an initiatory process) promoted. The excellence of this plan is no longer a mere theory. Several young men who have received its benefits, are now comfortably and usefully settled in different parts of the kingdom over churches, whose increasing prosperity is to us a source of continual gratitude.

Missionary efforts are also being made by the Strict Baptist Society. Divine providence has seemed, at different times, to put in the way of the Committee, opportunities of doing good in this direction, without interfering with the operations of existing societies. The intelligence which has so often appeared in our pages respecting Honduras, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, has spoken for itself of the blessing of God upon the instrumentality employed. We plead for the more general support of these movements, that those mission stations which only reap a partial or indirect benefit from their connexion with the Society may be more fully supplied, and that others from which the call has been heard, “Come over and help us," may no longer be necessarily disregarded. It is our earnest desire that the Magazine should assist the Society to a great extent ; and this we think it will not fail to do, if its sale should become, during the next year, as extensive as the professions and promises of the friends of primitive truth may well lead us to expect.

Our gratitude is specially due to two brethren who have for soine time assisted us by preparing the Reviews and the Summary. We believe those brethren are disposed to continue their valued services. We again beg to urge the importance of all our friends keeping on the look-out for interesting Intelligence, and forwarding it to us without delay. Some have done essential service in this way during the past year.

May the God of truth make us increasingly useful in preserving the old gospel land-marks which so many are anxious to remove! The truth may be bought, but should never be sold. Let the world smile or frown,

- let professors of religion, if they will, sail down the stream rather than pull against it,-let Satan do his worst to hinder the progress of pure and undefiled religion,—JESUS SHALL REIGN ! Error must reach its meridian, and hasten to its setting,—but the word of God liveth and abideth for ever. Brethren, let us never cease to watch, to pray, and to work. He that is for us is stronger than all they who are against us.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;-
Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.

TAE EDITOR.

2, Trinity Terrace, Trinity Street,

Nov. 27th, 1854.

THE

PRIMITIVE CHURCH MAGAZINE.

No. 121.- JANUARY, 1854.

Essays, Expositions,

&c.

AN ADDRESS TO THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION. DEAR BRETAREN, -You will all rea- | the world? You answer, No! But is dily acknowledge that we live in a time there not a cause? Surely there must when events are transpiring in the exist some reason, and this it beChristian church, as well as in the poli- hoves us to search out.- Again, it may tical and social world, which demand be asked, Is our own denomination prothe very serious consideration of every gressing as we might reasonably expect individual, and especially of every sin- it to progress? We hold, as we suppose, cere Christian. This must be my ex- the TRUTH – that truth which is destined euse for requesting you carefully, dis- to subdue the world, and bring rebels to passionately, and prayerfully, to read obedience. Is our success at all comthe following remarks. I assure you mensurate with the institutions and that I am constrained to ask your atten- agencies we sustain? Or can it be said tion only from a desire to be of benefit that we have reason to be satisfied with to my fellow-Christians.

the number of professing Christians I wish, then, to call special attention who hold those views of obedience which to the state of the Baptist denomination, appear to us so plainly taught in the and to the position which it occupies in pages of inspiration? And, if not, may the Christian world.

it not be that we are, to some extent, I am not unaware of the fact that the responsible for the state of things exista number of Baptists has been for a long ing around us? time, and (I believe) is still on the in- Will it be said, God will do his own crease. It strikes me that, if we have work? That is acknowledged ; but the truth of God on our side, the natural Jesus speaks of servants who used their result of extended information must be talents, and commends them. He speaks the spread of our principles. It is what also of one who nid, or did not use his Fre expect; and if this expectation could talent, and condemns him! God will, cease, then would our labours for the doubtless, find instruments to carry out spread of the cause we advocate soon his own designs, even if we choose to become irksome, and speedily be relin- be " wicked and slothful servants;" but quished.

it will be no honour to us that we have But then the question arises, Is the let slip any opportunity with which we truth making satisfactory advances in may be favoured, of bearing witness to

VOL. XI.-No. cxxi.

the truth. What, then, is to be done in the last day, and to remember that no this matter? If we have a duty, wherein circumstances can arise to excuse us does it consist? Every real Christian from obedience to its dictates. would wish to be satisfied on this point. But, as much has been said about the The answer is plain:-“Be ye steadfast, bigotry and intolerance of “Strict Bapunmoveable, always abounding in the tists,” it will not be out of place to ask work of the Lord.” Herelay the strength wherein this displays itself. If a man of the early Christians. The apostles has anything worth believing-anywere all, with ONE ACCORD, in one thing TRUE, which his judgment 'is place, on the day of Pentecost; and convinced of, and God's word sanctions, those who believed continued steadfastly nay, commands, -which Jesus taught, in the apostles' doctrine. The import- the apostles inculcated, and ancient ance of this is, moreover, intimated by believers universally obeyed, then is it the apostle, when he speaks of " one bigotry to act upon it with an implicitLord, one faith, one baptism.”

ness which shall render him "a living Now we, as Baptists, universally pro- epistle, known and read of all men ?" fess to believe that we have been led by Is it bigotry to receive God's solemn the Holy Spirit to avoid one of the great injunctions, and to show ourselves the errors which crept into the Christian friends of Christ by doing what he comchurch in early ages—an error which mands? It is not disputed that there has brought great mischief upon the are Christians (and very many) unbapworld—an error which has held men's tized; but while the Baptist acts honestly souls in bondage, and caused them to on his convictions, he cannot fail to re“ believe a lie." What can be more ab- gard all the unbaptized as living in negsurd to the mind of a Baptist than the lect of a solemn command of Christ. notion of baptismal regeneration? What To say, Others do not see this to be more awful than the idea of sponsorship? their duty, by no means meets the obWhat more appalling than the deliberate jection; for, first, if it be so, then it promise on behalf of an infant, that he would be more conducive to peace and shall "renounce the devil and all his good order that they should unite with works, the pomps and vanities of this those whose views coincide with their wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of own; and, secondly, that which a Christhe flesh ?" Yet these errors, and a vast tian sees to be his DUTY from the plain network of“ beggarly elements,"consis- statements of Scripture, he is necessitated ting of traditions, outward observances, to regard not as his duty alone, but the saints' days, and other deformities-duty also of every believer. Consequentthe offspring of priestcraft-may all be ly, he must feel, or ought to feel that, if put in the same catalogue with the so- a Christian excuse himself from called baptism of infants, from which duty, it would be unbecoming in him, the Baptists have been more completely nay, even uncharitable, to say to that preserved than any other class of Chris- Christian,ei ther by word or deed," Your tians. Consequently, the exhortation disobedience to the King of Zion is a quoted above comes with peeuliar weight light matter, and, as you do not see your

“Be ye steadfast,” &c. Here, duty, it is of no consequence!" Yet is then, dear brethren, we may ask our not this the legitimate conclusion drawn selves this important question, Are we, from open communion? as Baptists or as Christians, in this po- Again, it is said by some, that bapsition? Alas ! how emphatically do tism is unduly exalted. Strict Baptists, facts answer, No! In our churches, however, desire only to keep it in its own principle has been surrendered to a false place. The New Testament makes it very charity, and the demands of the Saviour prominent, and it always appears to have sacrificed to an unrighteous courtesy! followed conversion, and to have been What else is open communion? Socinus used as the mode of making a profession was its father; better men than be have of repentance and faith in Christ. Why been its nurses; but God in his word should it be displaced by men? Or if acknowledges it not! It would surely men generally will displace it, or subbe well to come back to the word of stitute for it something of their own truth, by which we shall be judged at'invention, why should not the Baptists

any

to us

« PreviousContinue »