« PreviousContinue »
they might have much zeal and sim- interposition of a Roman Pontiff in plieity, but be deficient in those orna. the affairs of another Church should mental qualifications which the po. remain as a lesson of humility, or a lished and wealthy part of their reproof of arrogance to his successors, hearers began to require; or length of the evangelical author of this epistle time alone, and love of novelty, might seems purposely to extenuate his audiminish the respect which they had thority even over his own people; once felt for these venerable men, merges even his own name in that of and inspire a restless desire of change, his Church; and though he reproves which, though it will be felt, must the misconduct of the Corinthians always be mortified in every well con- with freedom, and even with dignity, stituted Christian assembly, which has yet it is only with the freedom of a the choice of its own pastors.' benevolent equal and the dignity of a
Of corruption in doctrine there is grieved friend. But above all, humino hint either on the one side or the lity and patience are conspicuous: other: men had not yet had time to no “holy rage,” no zeal calling for philosophize and to refine upon the judgments, no asperity of reproach ; simplicity of the Gospel: the age, but prayers and entreaties, or, at indeed, was learned, but Christians most, expostulations and arguments, as yet were chiefly occupied about constituted, at that time, the spiritua? things of more importance: their weapons of the Roman Church. faith was orthodox, but their passions I have said that this epistle probawere unhappily strong.
bly effected-it certainly contributed Again, it is evident that this effer- to the end for which it was intended : vescence, violent and unchristian as such will generally be the efficacy of it was, terminated in no lasting a spirit like that of Clemens in admischism; either because a due regard nistering reproof. Angry invective, was paid to the apostolical remon- and asperity of censure, which too strance of Clemens, or because the early found their way into the controminds of Christians, though capable of versial, and even apologetical, writsudden and very blameable irritation, ings of Christians, irritated instead of had not yet acquired, from long conten- reclaiming: but he can with the best tion, that spirit of hardness and obsti- grace repress the ebullitions of human nacy which, in later ages, first occa- passions in others, “who possesses sioned, and then perpetuated, so many his own soul in patience ;" and few unhappy schisms in the Church. natures are so stubborn as not to be
Once more-If the claims of autho- moved by admonition conveyed in rity be well grounded, they will, of the language of good will, by superior course, be highest when nearest to rank voluntarily descending from its their source: yet upon this supposi- own level to reason or to entreat, and tion, how unaccountable is the con- by superior sanctity entering with tenduct of Cleinens and the Church of derness into infirmities which it has Rome. Surely, if a right of supre- ceased to feel, or condemning, withmacy over the universal Church had out exultation and without coinparibeen vested in St. Peter and his suc- son, disorders in a sister Church from cessors, here is the place where we which his own was happily exempt. might expect to find it in all its vigour. We have here the first instance upon record in which that Church
To the Christian Observer. thought proper to interpose in the religious concerns of its brethren. It Permit a sincere well-wisher to you might, therefore, have been expect and the cause you uphold, to suggest ed, that the bishop of Rome should a few objections to a communication have begun with asserting his own contained in your number for Novemsovereign authority over the Corin. ber, subscribed Biblicus; yet with all thian and all other Churches ; should the diffidence due to the conscious inhave rebuked with sharpness, have experience of youth, and with a disrequired implicit obedience to his interested regard to religion and truth. mandales, and, in case of non-com- Your correspondent there proposes pliance, denounced the rebellious as- “ xosperos" for “ TOPVE105;" an alterasembly cut off from the body of the tion, in iny opinion, unauthorised by faithful: yet, as if it were intended the similiarity of the words or the aby providence, that the first known nalogy of faith; the present connection appearing not only obvious but ne- of admitting conjectural emendations, cessary. The Apostles enjoin on in the text of the Holy Scriptures, their heathen converts an abstinence without sufficient necessity. The word from the act of idolatry, and from its xorpuas, which he would substitute too general concomitant or conse for Topas, is supported on no authoquence, shameless profligacy of con- rity but that of the conjecture of R. duct. In this instance, we may ap- Bentley. No variation exists among peal to the concurrent documents of the manuscripts collated by Wetstein. antiquity. Who that knows the The objection of Biblicus against the grounds of the adage,
present reading will, perhaps, be in “ Non cuivis hornini contingit adiri Corin
some degree removed, when he conthum:”
siders how common, and how lightly
accounted of, was the crime here Who that recalls the observation of
mentioned, among the heathens, and Juvenal,
how frequently it was connected with "Quo non prostat femina templo," their idolatrous rites. or his disgusting recital of the myste
The following extract and observa.
tion of Wetstein upon the place, will ries of “ Bona Dea:” who, I ask, throw some light upon the subject. that rightly estimates the infectious (Scheviith Hieros. IV.) Si imperet genprevalence of a passion possessing
tilis Israelitæ, ut transgrediatur præso many and such general allurements,
ceptum aliquod, exceptis istis de Idohere recommended and enforced by
latria, Scortatione, et Sanguinis effu. the venerable sanction of religion,
sione, transgrediatur potius quam ean deem this prohibition superfluous
mortem subeat. Ilopyesas,] Festorum or misplaced? Or rather, who will
gentilium comes erat impudicitia. not allow that the Apostles were fully
Sap. xiv. 26, 27. 23, 2:1. Pet. iv. 3. justified in connecting with idolatry 1 Cor. x. 7, 8. Ne igitur gentes ad its general attendant?
idolatriam redirent, hæc vetita sunt, But even conceding to Biblicus the et ne Judai
et ne Judæi alienarentur a Gentibus. possibility of “ Topya" having been
CAIUS, originally "Xoupesas," and so corrupted by the inaccuracy of transcribers (an usual resource in every difficulty); yet I must deny the possibility of their
For the Christian Observer. persevering in such a blunder, without REMARKS ON LUKE XXI. 24. design. It does not strike me, that " JERUSALEM shall be trodden down the similarity or disposition of the of the Gentiles, until the times of letters is such, as to lead them into the Gentiles be fulfilled ;” that is, the same error when the word again “it shall be in the possession of the Orcurs in a similar connection, as in
Gentiles, until the fulness of the GenActs xxi. ver. 25. Unnecessary al
tiles be come in, or they be convert. teration of the text of scripture should
ed to the faith;" at which time the be the last resource to which the
Jews will acknowledge the Messiah, Christian should retire; and, except
and be restored to their own land. mg when a passage is irreconcilable (See Rom. ii. 25, and Dan. ix. 27). to grammar, or contradicts the analogy Has not a part of this prophecy of faith, nothing can justify conjec- been remarkably fulfilled? Did not ture, however plausible. This daring Jerusalem, with its territory, become and licentious spirit of criticism de- the property of Vespasian, who sold mands the discountenance of every it to such Gentiles as chose to settle serious mind; and I call upon you to there? In the time of Adrian no Jew support the solemn protest you enter- was permitted to reside in Jerusalem, ed against it not many months since*. or its vicinity, but a number of aliens
A FRIEND. came thither, and the country became
a colony of the Romans. When Ju
lian apostatized to heathenism, being To the Editor of the Christian Observer. sensible that the evident accomplish YOUR correspondent Biblicus (No. XI.
ment of our Lord's prophecies con
cerning the Jewish nation made a p. 693), must be sensible of the danger
strong impression upon the people, * Purview of Dr. Geddes's work in Chris and was a principal cause of their tian Observer, vol. 1. p. 37+.
conversion, he resolved to deprive
Christianity of this support by bring- cessary to life and godliness, are coning the Jews to occupy their own tained in the word of God? land again, and by allowing them the Pupil. Undoubtedly. exercise of their religion, and a form Master. To what end then have so of civil government. After he had many ecclesiastical councils been conmade great preparations, he began vened, whose decrees have passed his scheme with an attempt to rebuild almost for oracles? the temple, but his workmen were Pupil. These have met, in general, soon obliged to desist by an evident to interpret obscure texts of scripinterruption of God; for terrible balls ture, or to put an end to controverof fire, bursting forth near the foun- sies, or upon some question respectdations, and frequently burning the ing the discipline of the Church: not workmen, rendered the place inac- for the purpose of establishing new cessible. This fact is attested by points of faith. For all things necesheathen, and Jewish, as well as sary to salvation ; for instance, how a Christian, historians, and is highly pure and undefiled religion should exdeserving of credit.
. ercise itself towards God; what sort In later times, few of the Jews of persons we should be in our life have lived in their own land, but and conversation ; in what manner they have been dispersed over the our trust should be placed in God; whole world, whilst their city has how we must pray unto him, and been oppressed by a succession of praise him for bis benefits received ; foreign masters; the Romans, Sara- in what way the sacraments should cens, Franks, Mamelukes, and Turks, be administered : such things, I say, to which last it is still subjeet. : must be learned from the word of
In short, ever since the destruction God, as they cannot be done with of Jerusalem by the Romans, every any propriety without such knowattempt to frustrate the divine decree, ledge. As the Lord himself testifies, that Jerusalem should be trodden down the ignorance of scripture is the mos of the Gentiles, until the times of the ther of all errors. Gentiles: be fulfilled, has failed. In Master. Therefore we shall have our own times the French are known done our duty, when we have heard to have harboured the design of re- and understood the word of God. storing the Jews to their own coun- Pupil. By no means: since we try. And is it not as well known, ought, not merely to hear and underthat their intentions were defeated stand's God's word, but to embrace it by very inconsiderable means: The with firm assent, as the truth of God French general, Bonaparte, had ex- 'sent down from heaven; and cordially perienced uniform success till he ap. to love it, and submit ourselves to its proached the borders of the Holy direction, and form our minds by its Land, and then a handful of men doctrines; that, being once deeply were sufficient to hinder his taking a fixed in the heart, it may take root small and weak place. The time was there, and bring forth the fruits of a not come, which the Lord had puré pious life, agreeably to its nature, as posed, and the devices of men were, the means of our salvation, according therefore, ineffertual.
to what was designed by heaven. J. F.II. Men, however, would lay out their
time to no purpose, either in teaching
or learning it, unless God deign to EXTRACTS FROM NOWELL'S CATECHISM. inform our hearts by the teaching of
his spirit. As St. Paul teaches, “that • Master. Explain the nature of the in vain men either plant or water, Christian Religion.
unless God give the increase." I Cor, Pupil. The Christian Religion is the iii. 7. Therefore that we may be able true and holy worship of God, and to understand the wisdom of God the observation of his precepts. concealed in his word, we must make
Muster. From whence should this earnest supplications to him, that he be learned
would enlighten our minds, which Pupil. From no other quarter than are overspread with worse than 2from the word of God himself, which gyptian darkness. he has set before us in the scrip aster. Into what principal parts tures.
do you divide the word of God? Master. All things, therefore, ne. Pupil. Into the Law and the Gos. pel. The law sets forth our duty to and takes in the four first commandGod and our neighbour, and exacts a ments. strict obedience, promising life eter- Master. What is the subject of the ral to those who keep it, but threaten- second table? . ing the disobedient with punishment, Pupil. The duty of charity and even eternal death. The Gospel of love, which we must observe towards God contains his promises of mercy each other; and comprises the six and forgiveness, to the violators of the remaining commandments, ax, by faith in Christ, when they
(To be continued). repent of their former sins.
Blaster. Show me the chief divisions of this religion.
Papit. Our religion comprehends We are sorry that the length of the the principal parts, similar to what following article obliges us to divide the word of God contains, namely; it into two parts. obedience, which the law, the most portact rule of justice, requires; and faith, which the Gospel, comprehend
HOR.E VECTEYSES, NO. IJ. ing the promises of divine mercy, de- To form a just estimate of the necesmands.
sity and value of the Reformation, we Master. I grant that the whole of ought to be well acquainted with the religion may be considered under real state of religion, manners, habits, these two heads, when treated in a and knowledge, as they prevailed precise manner; but I would rather during the reign of King Henry VIII. chuse a division more tree and parti- Perhaps the following sketch, drawn cular, one that may be understood by the venerable hand of the marty. without difficulty. In the first place, rologist Fox, may be considered as therefore, we will treat of that obe one of the best attempts of the kind; dience which the law requires; in and by inserting it, one great design the second place, of faith, which re- of this series of papers will be prospects the promises of the Gospel and moted, that of introducing to the embraces them ; in the third, of prayer readers of the Christian Observer, and thanksgiving, which are closely the doctrines and sentiments of our unitedd; in the fourth and last place, early divines, in their own language. of the sacraments and divine myste. “ Although it cannot be sufficiently ries. Tell me then in the first place, expressed with tongue or pen of man. what are your thoughts respecting the into what miserable ruin and desolalaw?
tion the Church of Christ was brought Pupil. I conceive the law of God to in those later ays; yet, partly by be the most perfect and complete rule the reading of these stories afore past, of justice which mankind are requir. (alluding to his own collection of mared to follow; commanding what must tyrdoms and persecutions) some inbe done, and torbidding the contra telligence may be given to them ry. By this law God reduced all things which have judgment to mark, or 1o his own will and pleasure; imply eyes to sce, in what blindness and ing, that he would approve of no pie darkness the world was drowned durty, exercised either towards himself or ing the space of these four hundred their fellow mortals, which did not in years before and more. By the views all things agree with this rule. It is a ing and considering of which times vain thing, therefore, for men to fol. and histories, thou mayest understand, low their own inventions in religious gente reader, how the religion of matters; for God has set before us bis Christ, which only consisteth in spirit own law, written in two tables, as a and verity, was wholly turned into certain and fixed rule, both of divine outward observations, ceremonies, worship and of the duties we owe and idolatry: so many saints we had, our neighbour, and at the same so many gods; so many monasteries, time hath assured us, that nothing so many pilgrimages: as many upon earth is so grateful to him as Churches, as many reliques, forged our obedience to his laws.
and feigned, we had. Again, so ma. Muster. What is the subject of the ny reliques, so many lying miracles first table?
we believed. Instead of the only livPupil It treats of our duty to God, ing Lord, we worshipped dead stocks
and stones. In place of Christ im- season after the apostles' time. But mortal, we adored mortal bread. In- after, in process of years, through stead of his blood, we worshipped wealth and negligence crept into the the blood of ducks, (alluding to the Church, so soon as this foundation forged miracles of the priests). How began to be lost, came in new buildthe people were led, so that the ers, which build upon a new foundapriests were fed, no care was taken. tion a new Church more glorious, Instead of God's word, man's word which we now call the Church of was set up. Instead of Christ's tes- Rome. Who being not contented tament, the Pope's testament, that is, with the old foundation, and the head the canon law. Instead of Paul, the corner stone, which the Lord by his master of sentences took place and word had laid; in place whereof they almost full possession. The law of laid the ground-work upon the condiGod was little read, the use and end tion and strength of the law and thereof was less known; and as the works. Although it is not to be deend of the law was unknown, so the nied, but that the doctrine of God's difference between the Gospel and the holy law, and of good works accordLaw was not understood, the benefiting to the same, is a thing most neof Christ not considered, the effect cessary to be learned and followed of of faith not expended. Through the all men; yet it is not that foundation ignorance whereof it cannot be told whereupon our salvation consisteth; what infinite errors, sects, and reli- neither is that foundation able to bear gions crept into the Church, over- up the weight of the kingdom of whelming the world, as with a flood heaven, but is rather the thing which of ignorance and seduction. And no is builded upon the foundation, which marvel: for where the foundation is foundation is Jesus Christ, according not well laid, what building can stand as we are taught by St. Paul, saying, or prosper? The foundation of all no man can lay any other foundation our Christianity is only this; the pro- beside that which is laid, Christ Jemise of God in the blood of Christ sus, &c. his son, giving and promising life to “But this ancient foundation, which all that believe in him: giving, saith the old ancient Church of Christ laid, the scripture, unto us, and not bar- hath been now of long time forsaken, gaining or indenting with us. And and instead thereof, a new. Church, that freely, saith the scripture, for with a new foundation, hath been Christ's sake, and not conditionally erected and framed, not upon God's for our merit's sake. Furthermore, promise and his free grace in Christ freely, saith the scripture, by grace, Jesus, nor upon free justification by that the promise might be firm and faith, but upon merits and deserts of sure, and not by the works that we mens' working. And hereon have do, which always are doubtful. By they planted all these their new degrace, saith the scripture, through vices so infinite, that they cannot promise to all and upon all that be- well be numbered; as dirges, obselieve, and not by the law, upon them quies, mattens, vigils, midnight rithat do deserve ; for if it come by de- sing, advocation to saints, application serving, then it is not of grace; if it of merits, &c. &c. with founding of be not of grace, then it is not of pro- abbies, building of chapels, giving inise; and contrarywise, if it be of to churches: and who is able to regrace and promise, then it is not of cite all their laborious buildings, falseworks, saith St. Paul. (Rom. ii. 4. ly framed upon a wrong ground, and 6. 11.)
all for ignorance of the true founda“Upon the foundation of God's free tion, which is the free justification promise and grace first builded the by faith in Christ Jesus the Son of patriarchs, kings, and prophets. Up- God. Moreover note, that as this on this same foundation also, Christ, new found Church of Rome was thus the Lord, builded his Church. Upon deformed in doctrine, so no less was which foundation the Apostles build- it corrupted in order of life and deep ed the Church apostolical and catho- hypocrisy, doing all things only under lical. This apostolical or catholic pretences and dissembled titles. So foundation, so long as the Church did under the vizour of their vowed chasretain, so long it continued sincere tity, reigned adultery; under the and sound; which endured a long cloke of professed poverty, they pos