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His office sacred, bis credentials clear.
I venerate the man whose heart is warm,
Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card ;
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
In man or woman; but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn; Object of my implacable disgust. What !- will a man play tricks, will be indulge A silly fond conceit of his fair form, And just proportion, fashionable mien, And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the di'mond on his lily hand, And play his brilliant parts before my eyes, When I am hungry for the bread of life? He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock!
He that negociates 'tween God and man,
And understood too well the weighty terms
A CONCISE ACCOUNT OF THE
PROGRESS OF CHRISTIANITY.
THE Christian religion, or the religion taught by Jesus Christ, comprebends all those doctrines of faith, and rules of practice, contained in the Scriptures; and which are designed to recover mankind from ignorance and vice, from guilt and death, to knowledge and virtue, to the divine favor, and everlasting life.
The New Testament furnishes information of the success of Christianity during the days of Jesus and his disciples, as it relates to the eastern part of the world; but before the death of St. Paul, we bave reason to believe that the ancient Britons received from him the words of eternal life.
During the three first centuries of the Christian era history affords a very obscure account of the progress of this divine religion, and is confined alınost entirely to the cruel persecutions the first Christians endured; but in about the year 313, the Emperor Constantine embraced the faith, and by an edict put an end to persecution. Soon after this, however, ceremonies and creeds were introduced into the Christian church, and paved the way for those ages of weakness, superstition, and cruelty, which marked the long black period of the papal reign.
About the middle of the 19th century John Wickliffe, an Englishman, began to call in question the doctrines of the church of Rome, and was successful in inspiring a spirit of freedom and religious enquiry; but his exertions, with those of Waldus who preceded, and Huss who followed him, proved abortive.
The insolence, however, of the popes, the various corruptions in religion, and oppressions and usurpations of the clergy, at length called forth the undaunted and successful zeal of the celebrated Luther. - The Reformation now began to spread, and in a few years after, in the reign of Henry VIII. gained ground in England, France, and Ger
many: and John Knox completed it in Scotland, about the year 1560.
But unhappily so good a cause was not carried on without rancour; which produced the horrors of civil war. Councils after councils were held, to determine the articles of the Christian faith, and the most deplorable scenes of discord, desolation and bloodshed ensued. Not to mention the great massacre at Paris, in 1572, and at various times in other places, it is computed that not less than 40,000 Protestants were put to death in Ireland during the year 1640.
But the light of the Reformation, in spite of all opposition and cruelty, spread itself far and wide; and alınost all the European states welcomed its salutary beams, and exulted in the prospect of a complete deliverance from the yoke of superstition and spiritual oppression.
Still the Protestants were not taught by all the sufferings of their brethren, till the reign of William and Mary, about the year 1689, to grant their more scrupulous fellow-christians those privileges which they themselves bad demanded and secured. There were many who thought the Reformation incomplete, and although they disclaimed all interference with the established reformed religion, they were denied, till the toleration act, the right of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Ac that happy period catholics, churchmen and dissenters began to enjoy repose and security; and feeling the beniga influences of that divine religion they all in common believed, they were concerned for the salvation of those of their fellow-men, who had never heard the joyful sound, the glad tidings of eternal life through a crucified Redeemer, and established, in 1701, a society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts. Since that time other similar societies have been instituted in aid of the important work, and have been crowned, by the divine blessing, with great success, in the conversion of many to the Christian faith. To these may be added the exertions of the Bible societies, recently established; and we may look forward with pleasing expectation, to that period when, to adopt the language of an inspired writer, “The knowledge of the Lord shall cover ihe earth as the waters cover the channels of the sea.”