Page images

count as well as on that of others, to set such an exe ample to my fellow-beings, as I knew was right, and good for them to follow ; I therefore attended the public established worship of the Church, and ever since I have been daily more and more convinced of its decided claim and superiority over every sect whatever, and that in point of sound sense, sound reason, and pure unsullied doctrine, it stands unrivalled. I care not who revile the Church, every good thing has been reviled, and ever will be reviled in this evil world. I have read much of Clarkson's celebrated work, and were I to take the trouble I could expose every page of it*.

Quakerism is root and branch a bad system, or rather no system at all, while a few individuals may make it suit

their plans and views it would prove a most inadequate system for the aggregate of the people. What shall we say of CHRISTIANS without BAPTISM, a Churçu without SACRAMENTS, a CONGREGATION without a TEACHER, having self-ordained preachers without any authority

Clarksoņ in getting over the Quaker's rejection of baptism, is obliged to take the pitiful argument that our Saviour's disciples were not, as is generaliy received and allowed, qualified to know his mind on that, or other subjects, and that they betray great want of proper remem brance, and attention to his sayings. However, strikingly mistaken (as I will shew) Clarkson is, he quotes the passage I have taken in my former letter, for his opinion, where St. Peter exclaims, “ Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized you with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Now Clarkson forces the argument that the term " remembered” argued forgetfuliness in Peter, and that, therefore, we are not warranted to trust much to the act¡ons of a man who so soon forgot his master's words so lately delivered to him. for Clarkson cannot for a moment deny the palpa ble fact of Peter's calling for water. “Can any man forbid water," says he. What a miserable, contemptible subterfuge is Clarkson here guilty of; it is astonishing how any man, unless wilfully blind, could overlook the real meaning of the word remember, as used by Peter. For I say, it does not mean the remembrance of a thing forgotten, but a second recurrence of thought produced by the fuct then before him. When Peter saw the words fulblled then was evinced to him the fulfilment of them. Then did this fulfilment peculiarly cause him to recur to the astonishing prediction of Christ, that such a thing should come to pass. Perer had not forgotten, and when he says that he remembered, his meaning is," then thought I on the word of my blessed Lord” which is now fulfilled.

This very part relating to baptism, as I shewed in my former letter is, the most striking revidence which can be produced, and to say the Apostles were likely to be mistaken in their knowledge of the will of Jesus is too paltry a subterfuge to need my taking up one moment more of your valuable time to refute,



whatever ? Can these things be? We admire the morality of the Quakers ; let us imitate it, but let us still hold fast the faith which is in us, being fully persuaded it eannot fail to lead us into all righteousness. While I am convinced, that even martyrdom itself is not sufficient to establish the claims of many who have wonderfully une dergone all its torturing sufferings, shall I be taken with the mere fallacious seeming of demure manners; demure works, and a formal behaviour? No, no“; I have often argued, and still 'repeat the argument, that no one need enlist under any other banners than those of THE CHURCH, to become all that is praise-worthy, all that is good, all that is honourable in the sight of God and man. I care not for all the cant of modern times.:! I never saw any people more truly happy than the plain, honest, straight forward members of the Church of Enga land. I am not easily taken with outside appearances, I admire sound morality and worthy characters, whereever I see them; but I am not so simple as to say, or to think, I must; follow their peculiar tenets, that I must walk in the path they point out, whose conduct I admirea I feel and know that I have only to prove myself a worn thy member of the Church of England, to be what all those I respect, and revere, are, or can be. I want no new system, I want no new doctrine, I feel I only want more completely to act up to what the sound doctrine of the Church inculcates.

In my next, I will enter more fully into particulars, and trust, shall prove what I have advanced in this and my former letter. I now merely wish to declare in plain terms, that let the people be led as they may by popular clamour, and popular declamation, sound sense, sound reason, sound experience, all inculcate the necessity of a public established faith and mode of worn ship in every nation. Let the individual in his private capacity, and in his retirement exercise his private devotions as often as he will, let the spiritually minded (who is more warm in his feelings of religion) pray in spirit, as often as he is led, to the God who made him but let himn recollect that decency and good order enforce him in his public capacity, to join the solem), devout worship of the Church, where he will find every incitement of his most zealous feeling. He is to consider that without a public established form of worship, all wor"shipnay, all religion, would soon cease.

3 K.

: I am not duped by the mere shew and appearance of the members of the different sects; all the good I see in them, my Creed, and my principles of Religion lead me to imitate. Let the worthy member of the Church make this useful and instructive observation, and he will learn a most useful lesson. The general character of the Quakers is praise-worthy; they are much indebted to the smallness of their sect for this advantage, which is by no means more necessarily derived from Quakerism than from that Church which has all the supreme excellency of Religion within itself, under whose fostering care and protection such striking characters of the greatest goodness have been sent into the world, like shining lights in à land of darkness; men who have proved beyond a power of contradiction that there can be no necessity of secession from the established Church to be all that religion teaches us. Let the Quaker deny himself the pleasure arising from the amusements of the stage, the ball-room, and other places of public resort. The times certainly are corrupt; the theatres certainly are grossly defiled : but the entire reliaquishment of such scenes of amusement has a tendency to make negative characters; characters who fear temptation, lest they should be tempted and fall: and much may be argued for such conduct." But a truly religious man, whose principles are firinly fixed, can walk uncontaminated in the midst of corruption, can walk blameless in the midst of a sinful world. But grant, that the attendance upon public places under existing circunstances, from the horrid state of depravity which mankind is fallen into, leads to vice; I say, grant, a really conscientious man feels he is in danger from frequenting the theatres, what ought he to do? Why, feeling as he feets, he ought decidedly to forego the gratification of pleasure when attended with bad consequences. But let him not fancy he cannot be a good man according to the most scrupulous points of conscience, and remain a worthy Church-man. His peculiar disposition may demand peculiar treatment; but how truly absurd and preposterous for a man thus seriously disposed to think he must turn Quaker, or some gloomy sectarian! it is mere folly and madness. Let him enter what sect he will, let him bear in mind, he will find himself grievously deceived if he expect to find any stronger jácitement 'to a religious life and conversation, than he found, or might have found, in the Church. What shall


we say then ? What can we think of such conduct?

There is but one fold and one shepherd, the Lord Jesus.

Sobriety of action and conduct denotes the new and sincere disciple of Christ. Stedfastness in his faith and doctrine is the test, the surest test of the sincere hearted. Those who are ready at every new wind of doctrine to cry, "Lo, here is Christ,” or, '“ Lo, there,” we may be assured are tottering and wavering in their sentiments, and that their religious principles are built upon a sandy foundation. The road to Heaven is straight and narrow, and not that ready-made path which too many are planning and making for themselves.

Let the worthy meinber of the Church follow the path his duty leads him into, and I need not say he will want no other guide to lead him, nor any other name to be called by. The doctrine of the Church is pure, holy, rational, devoid of enthusiasm, and of all those plagues which infect different sects. I take my leave for the present, And am most sincerely your's,

November, 1806.



By the Rev. THOMAS LUDLAM. A. M.




HEN two texts of Scripture seem to contradict

each other, the proper way of removing such difficulty is, noť by attempting to explain such texts, which at best is but a mere human exposition of divine



revelation; but to produce some other text, which clearly reconciles the seemingly inconsistent passages. Thus:

Titus, iii. 4, 5. If the Apostle had intended to exclude all human agency from a claim to any efficacy in the work of our Salvation, could he have expressed himself more clearly, or more fully? Ote ds ý xensons, when the benevolence, not only the general principle of benevolence, but the more particular one of pinávbewric, philanthropy, the love of men as men, because in this, God' peculiarły manifested his love towards us, arising not εξ εργων των εν δικαιοσυνη (the casual preposition) WV ETTONO A Lev nuets, i.e. works originating in rectitude, the great principle of holiness, adhe nata TOV AUTE Eleov, but in consequence of his own innate pity and compassion alone, sowow nas. And to make this matter still plainer, the Apostle rehearses the particular means made use of for thin purpose. He (God) did it δια λαθρύ παλιγγενεσιας (not της παλιγγενεσιας) because it was a matter discoverable only by revelation, rj avanauwσεως Πνευμαίος άγιε, being far beyond the reach of human reason, and the bounds of human imagination ;~ ives dixaswertes, that, though sinners, being treated as righteous persons tñ exhe xapiti, we might be made beirs of eternal life, xal sanida, scilicet oñs xandews aule, Eph. i. 18.

On the other hand, had this same Apostle intended to show the efficacy of human conduct in the work of our salvation, could he have manifested it more clearly, or more fully than by his exhortation, Phil. ii. 12. zalepo yaeteo San Tho saulãv owlspav, i. e. to labour hard at working out (rolepyalogas) their own salvation ?

Now, it has been thought sufficient to remove this apparent inconsistency in the two passages, to allege, that the design of human salvation originated in the Divine Mind, without respect to any part of the conduct of mankind. But though the purpose ofbestowing salvation upon fallen men certainly originated with ahe Father καλα την ευδοκιαν θηληματος. avle, yet, if the possession of this gift depends upon buman, conduct, can this gift be said to be wHOLLY owing to the commiseration of the Supreme Being ? When benefits are granted upon conditions, compliance with the conditions changes the nature of the favour into that of a contract. It is to speak with the civilians, a beneficial coyenant, and withdrawing the benefit becomes an act of injustice. But

« PreviousContinue »