Page images
PDF
EPUB

even in little matters. Let him Now, though such a one can neither have a little of self-confidence, and be convicted by a church meeting a meddlesome forwardness,-some nor a civil court, of illegal bargainshare of self-will and unyielding ing or dishonesty, yet his reputation pertinacity of opinion,-some irasci- as a professing Christian, and his bility of temper that cannot brook influence in the church of God, are contradiction, or bear to be over- somewhat

worse than a cipher ! borne by the opinions of a majority Again : suppose an individual, who of his peers, without throwing him is not chargeable with any approxioff his balance, and causing him to mation to overreach in his dealings speak unadvisedly with his lips ;- with others, and whose reputation is any one of these may be amply suf- respectable in the eyes of men geneficient to destroy his influence, rally, except that it is known that though that charity that hopeth all he loves exceedingly to retain what things, and believeth all things, may he has honestly acquired, irrespecboth hope and believe still ihat he tive of any demands of God or man is a Christian. Or take a professor on his substance : let it be known of religion, otherwise irreproach- that he always receives applications able, but who has the unhappy habit for contributions with an ill grace; of giving the highest colouring to that, when the object presented for his representations, of using great his liberality is one of unquestioned exaggeration, of making loose and propriety and benevolence, he admits somewhat distorted statements, of it, but fills his mouth with objectaking a little poetic licence in the tions; that he will resort to apolonarration of facts; and though no gies and excuses, the weight of court, ecclesiastical or civil, could which it is to be suspected he does convict that man of palpable lying, not himself feel : let it be known yet there is a fly in the ointment, that to all questions of this kind he and the savour is offensive. The man's has a set of negative answers, -anChristian character and influence is a swers which show that he clings inperfect nullity. Take another, in ordinately to his gold, that he loves other respects unblamable, but who it in itself, instead of as the means is known in his business transac- of doing good to a dying world ; tions to go just as far as the letter of that he is somewhat, at least, inclinthe law will permit in getting the ed to avarice and covetousness: and best of a bargain,--who evinces a though this be not regarded as a peculiar shrewdness, not to say cun- punishable offence by the church, ning, in calculating the bearings on (and I do not see why it should not his own interest of certain unsus- be, for the New Testament declares pected legal phrases in a contract,- it to be idolatry,) yet what is that who can satisfy his own conscience, professor's character worth in the and attempt to justify to others the estimation of an enlightened Chrisadvantage he has thus gained, by tian community? Worth just as saying that it is perfectly legal, that much as his treasures will be to him, the other contracting party acted vo- when God takes away his soul.luntarily and with his eyes open. American National Preacher.

THE LORD'S PRAYER. How many millions and millions the gift of prophecy to foretel that, of times has that prayer been pre- though “heaven and earth shall pass ferred by Christians of all denomi- away,” these words of our blessed nations! So wide, indeed, is the Lord “shall not pass away,” till sound thereof gone forth, that every petition in it has been answerdaily, and almost without inter- ed; till the kingdom of God shall mission, from the ends of the earth, come, and his will be done in earth and afar off upon the sea, it is as it is in heaven.Montgomery. ascending to heaven like incense and a pure offering. Nor needs it The duty of prayer supposes the duty of working together with God. tion shall be converted into fact and -He who would content himself history. This petition, too, was in. with praying for the coming of tended as the constant pledge to Christ's kingdom, without exerting the church in the darkest times, himself to promote it, ought to con- that the cause of Christ should ultent himself with praying for his timately triumph. Driven into dedaily bread, without using the re- serts ; yet the deserts have resound. quisite means to obtain it. The ed the expression of the church's very principles which dictate the faith and hope, “Thy kingdom prayer, which surround it with all come.” Great leaders, pillars of the feelings of the heart, when it the church, have been racked and is not formal and hypocritical, are stoned; and yet they never thought the very feelings which urge to the that the cause would perish with greatest exertions. The man who them. Amidst all their sufferings, works not in this cause ought to and even when they were dying, blot this petition out of the prayer “after this manner they prayed, taught him by his Lord; and not “Thy kingdom come.” With this this only, but many others. To him prayer will Missionaries go forth, is denied the fine buoyant swell of it is true, they must labour, and desire which gives breath and life meet with discouragement ; but to the prayer, “Thy kingdom their daily prayer will support their come;" nor can he terminate his daily faith. Nor shall we despair. devotions with, “Thine is the king. Our daily prayer shall minister to dom, and the power, and the glory,” our daily faith; and if we faint for who has not a soul to anticipate, a moment, when “after this man. nor an eye to rest upon, the glories ner” we pray, “Thy kingdom of the age when the desire shall be come,” we shall blush at our unbefulfilled; when the prophecy shall be lief, and be strong in faith, giving accomplished; when the anticipa- glory to God.”—Watson.

REVIEW.

A Beacon to the Society of Friends. By Isaac Crewdson. Pp. 155. 2s. Hamilton.

To that truly estimable religious mountable obstacles, and by that community, the Society of Friends, “hope deferred ” which often every Christian denomination is pre- “maketh the heart sick,” they resopared to award the meed of grateful lutely maintained their post, availed respect. Not only are its meinbers themselves of providential opportuexemplary for their orderly and up- nities, and promptly concurred with right habits; but they have, more others in the adoption of every juespecially of late years, greatly en- dicious and consistent measure for deared themselves to all benevolent the achievement of an enterprise of and Christian hearts by their noble which they never suffered themand disinterested exertions in the selves to despair. For the general cause of humanity and piety. The circulation of the holy Scriptures, release of the West Indian negroes in their own pure and unincumbered from the oppressive yoke of slavery simplicity, they have furnished ready --an object now happily accom- and liberal subsidies; and have thus plished -engaged their early and given practical proof that, as a body, patient attention. Amidst the scoffs they sincerely value that sacred of opposers, and the discouraging volume which discloses to fallen apprehensions of timid advocates, man the appointed path of pardon, they prosecuted their purpose with holiness, and eternal life. They calm and unyielding firmness. Un- bave laboured to strengthen the dismayed by repeated disappoint- bonds of civil society by promoting ments, by the unexpected "occur- the claims and forms of 'artless inrence of new and apparently insur- tegrity; and, by their pacific appeals, they have laudably contributed or endured. Accordingly, at a Yeartheir share of influence to the ac- ly Meeting of Friends, held in Phiceleration of that promised period, ladelphia, in the year 1828, it was when the Lord shall “make wars found necessary to disclaim all re. to cease unto the ends of the earth ;” ligious connexion with these erroneshall “ break the bow, and cut the ous teachers and their disciples ; the spear in sunder;" and shall “burn immediate consequence of all which the" battle “chariot in the tire.” was, an extensive and formidable It is but justice to add that, in other separation. The “heresy,” accordoffices and works of charity they ing to Mr. Crewdson, “in proporhave neither been last nor least. tion to the numbers” of Friends" is Many who have not entirely ap- probably unparalleled in extent in proved of their harmless peculiari. the history of the church of Christ.” iies, have nevertheless warmly ap- (Page 5.) We doubt not, however, plauded their character, and have that, through the agency of Him prayed that “the blessings of the who “hath his way in the whirlGod of peace, both in this world wind and in the storm,” this alarmand in the world to come,” mighting evil will be productive of good; be upon these sons of peace "more and that while by so severe a prothan the stars of the firmament in cess the dust and chaff may be scatnumber.”

tered, the precious grain will be puriJudging from the temper and fied and preserved. One advantage conduct of such a people, we might which has already resulted from this bave cherished the fond and flatter- division is, that the more serious ing hope that, in spite of the agita- and devoted members of the Society tions and changes of the present are roused to guard and defend the day, they at least would be permit- doctrines of scriptural truth with ted to pursue their course in envia- greater vigilance and assiduity, and ble and happy quiet. But the spirit to promote their influence with inof dissension and discord is gone creased zeal and fidelity. It is in forth; and, in its wild career, it the class just mentioned that the exknows no distinction, as it feels no cellent Author of the volume before sbame. It spares and shelters none; us occupies a conspicuous and hoand to its fierce and indiscriminate nourable place. attacks it seems that the peaceful So. Fearing lest the noxious senticiety of Friends must also be expos- ments which have produced effects ed. We learn, with unaffected regret, so baneful and destructive in Amerithat in the United States of North ca, might insinuate and diffuse themAmerica a fearfulrent has lately taken selves in other parts of the Society, place in this esteemed community; he has prepared this work as a moThe occasion of it may be traced pitory and guiding check. He styles without difficulty; for its elements it a "Beacon;" and perhaps in have long been in active and restless some instances it may also be reoperation. Persons accustomed to garded in the light of a mirror. The assume the pretext of high spiritu- special design of it is to caution his ality, and to graft notions of false readers against the misapplication and bewildering mysticisin on cer- of favourite terms and phrases,-to tain tenets and expressions current detect and counteract the principles in the body, have gradually intro- of error in their first operations, -duced the most pernicious heresies; and to recommend an habitual and and-thus supplying another mourn. practical acknowledgment of the ful evidence that extremes commonly páramount authority of God's holy supposed to be the most distant and word. To this infallible test he remote will sometimes meet and would fearlessly subject every opiunite-have plunged into the depths nion; while at the same time, he of Socinianism, and even of Deism. most explicitly avows thatProceedings of this kind had at

“ The gift of the Holy Spirit, and his length attained such a height that influence in awakening, reproving, enthey could no longer be overlooke:l lightening, guiding, teaching, comfort

ing, and sanctifying the heart, is a gra. of religious truth.” (Page 7.) “Yet cious evidence of divine love ; and that this attempted comparison," says the authe doctrine ought to be held in all the thor, “whatever might be their view of fulness in which it is set forth in Scrip- it,”—alluding to the American seceders, ture.” (Pages 7, 8.)

was not between the Scriptures and It shall be our endeavour, in this comparison,) but, in reality, the com

the Holy Spirit, (for these admit of no short article, to take a general sur

parison was between the true revelation vey of the contents and character of God by holy Scripture, and impresof the volume; and it may possibly sions made on their own minds.” (Pages fall in our way, at some future pe- 7, 8.) The sum, then, of the “perniriod, to enter more largely into the cious theory” thus delineated is, « that important subject of dispute, to the revelation of the Spirit through the which the minds, not only of Scriptures is only a secondary rule,- that Friends, but of others who wish the Spirit himself is a higher rule.” well to their portion of the common

(Page 8.) “Now," argues our author,

is the Holy Spirit cannot, in any proper Israel, will necessarily be directed. We have no inclination to obtrude

sense, be denominated a rule. Thus to

have designated Him has evidently ourselves, with officious and inter

arisen from misapprehension of terms, meddling zeal, upon the debates of and has led to confusion of ideas; for others; but we may be allowed to

whilst we reverently and thankfully acexpress our deep interest in the suc

knowledge the Holy Spirit to be the cess of all who “contend for the

great agent in the believer, through faith which was once delivered unto whom his sanctification is effected, it is the saints," and may be pardoned if, plain that the rule must be that which on some occasions, we attempt to proceeds from the Spirit, and not the pour the oil of peace on the swell. Holy Spirit himself. To speak of the ing waves of strife. While we are Holy Spirit as a rule, involves the same thus occupied, we persuade our

incongruity as to speak of God as a rule. selves that lovers of Christian amity that the Scriptures of the New Testa

Assuming then (what is admitted by all) will neither misconstrue our motives, ment are of as high authority as the nor censure our conduct.

Scriptures of the Old, it is clear to deOur author commences his work monstration, that there can be no higher with an affectionate and faithful rule than the Scriptures. There can be no “ Address” to the Society. The higher rule than that which is given by indesign of this is, to expose the errors spiration of God. 'Al Scripture is given which have led to the American se- by inspiration of God.' (2 Tim. iii. 16.) cession ;—such as,

Therefore there can be no higher rule

than the holy Scriptures.” “Moreover," “ The assumption, that we are author. the author subjoins, in special reference ized to expect to be taught the true to the language of one of the most disknowledge of God and of his salvation, tinguished fathers and apologists of the -our duty to him, and to our fellow. Society of Friends, “if the holy Scripmen, immediately by the Spirit, inde- tures are the only fit outward * judge of pendently of his revelation through the controversies among Christians; and that Scriptures,”-"an assumption," the au. whatever doctrine is contrary unto their thor adds, “ which is unsupported by testimony may therefore justly be rejected Scripture, contradicted by fact, and one as false;' if all our doctrines and pracwhich renders its votaries a prey to many tices' are to be tried by them, as the fatal delusions ;” (p. 6;) the denial of the judge and test;' and 'that whatever any “paramount authority of Scripture, as a do, pretending to the Spirit, which is consequence of this assumption;" (p. 6;) contrary to the Scriptures,' is to be acthe habit of regarding “certain impres- counted and reckoned a delusion of the sions” made on the mind as “the dic- devil,? (Barclay's Apology,) we submit, tates of inspiration,” and of neglecting that that which is the absolute test of all to “bring these impressions to the test doctrines and practices is, and cannot of Scripture;” (pp. 6, 7;) and the vain but be, the paramount rule.” (Pages attempt to compare the Scriptures with

• “The meaning of the word "outward,' the Spirit ;” with the assertion that the as it stands in this place, is not very appaSpirit is a higher rule," and the conse- rent : it is obvious that for the decision of quent disparagement of the attested re.

controversy, there can be none but an out. velation of the Spirit, ---the only standard ward'test."- Author's note.

ex

8-10.) “To the constant and rigorous some under our name, and to trace the application of this rule and test ” the subtle workings of that spirit of unbeauthor “most earnestly” recommends lief and insubordination which has been his readers, “not only as relates to the the primary cause of it, a spirit which doctrines brought into view" in the “ has been privily brought in among us, tracts” which he afterwards produces; under the specious appearance of a re“ but also as regards the sentiments con- fined spirituality, but which has blinded tained in the remarks upon them.” “We the understandings of many, and led know,” says he, “ that ignorance is the them step by step into an open denial parent of presumption, and that it is of the fundamental doctrines of the maintained by an unwillingness to search Christian religion, as they are laid down for truth ; whilst right investigation leads by our blessed Redeemer and his Aposto the establishment of truth, and ren- tles, in the holy Scriptures." (Pages ders it dearer to those who love it. The 13, 14.) truths of the Gospel invite the most careful investigation, the most diligent

In support of this allegation, they search ; but

bigotry and mysticism have produce extracts from the discourses ever been ready to suppress inquiry, be

of Elias Hicks, and a periodical cause, by investigation, their dominion publication of the Separatists enis overthrown. We cannot enough adore titled, “The Berean." These exthe wisdom and goodness of God, in ad- tracts are painfully revolting : they dressing to our understanding a written are, in some degree, invested in the revelation of his will, which we are enticing garb of false spirituality bound to receive as the gracious message and mysticism, but they inost induof God to us, to teach us the mind of the bitably and fully prove that the Spirit, as our sole appeal and ultimate Separatists totally deny the authorrule of faith and duty, and as a guide to the Christian church to the end of time. ity and sufficiency of the holy ScripNor can we ever be sufficiently thankful tures, the divinity of our Lord Jesus to God, that by his Holy Spirit he ap- Christ, his propitiatory sacrifice for plies these sacred truths to the enlighten- the sins of mankind, and, conseing of our understandings, and to the quently, the doctrine of justification sanctification of our hearts. How im- by faith in his sufferings and death. portant, then, is it, that we do not reject (Pp. 14—25.) “ Besides the palpable this gracious revelation, by presuming errors we have enumerated,” add that we can obtain the knowledge of the the Friends assembled in Philadelwill of God, in any way different from phia, that which His infinite wisdom has appointed !” (Pages 10–12.)

“Elias Hicks and his adherents deny

that mankind sustain any loss through We bave given this summary of the fall of Adam, asserting that children the author's * Address,” because it come into the world precisely in the conclearly unfolds the mistaken views dition he did. 'Belief,' with them, is which he feels it to be his duty to virtue, and unbelief no crime:' and examine, and because it embodies however at times they may make high the great principles on which he pretensions to the divine light, it is evi.

dent that the guide which they follow is proposes to conduct his inquiry.

their own benighted reason. We believe Annexed to the “ Address “Extracts from a Declaration of it right to bear our decided testimony the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held against such principles, as tending to

destroy all faith in the fundamental docin Philadelphia,-by adjournments trines of the Christian religion, and to from the 21st to the 28th, inclusive, break asunder the bands of civil and of the Fourth month, 1828, -re- religious society. And we further de. specting the proceedingą of those clare, that as such who entertain and who have lately separated from the propagate them, have departed from the Society.” In this document the teachings of the Holy Spirit, which Friends afford an admirable speci- would have preserved them in the docmen of their characteristic caution, trines of Christ Jesus and his Apostles, deliberation, and firmness.

we cannot unite with them in church

fellowship, nor own them to be of our “ We believe it important,” they say, communion." (Page 25.) “ to preserve a faithful narrative of the schism which has taken place among But the longest and most import

no

are

« PreviousContinue »