Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

guided as to believe us. It is not in that

elders;

if after due examination we find direction that our danger lies; it is all not the contrary, but that they are lawon the opposite side. In contending for a fully called to this function and ministry. purer faith, we may carry our puritanism too

Let us pray.' far, and actually overlook or exclude im- The president then read the Collect, portant matters, both of fact and of doc- Almighty God, Giver of all good things.' trine. Because they disavow the ghostly He also read the Epistle Eph. iv. 7–13, authority claimed by an endowed priest- and the Gospel John x. l--16. Turning hood, is it necessary for the Bishops of our to the candidates, the president next churches to disclaim all right to rule? or said, “I now address myself particularly because they hold that true apostolic to you, who have presented yourselves for succession is found not in an appointment this sacred office.

He then read impresto office, but in a fitness for it, is it sively the exhortation, beginning, “ Ye necessary

for them lightly to esteem their have heard, Brethren,' &e. The presidesignation or appointment, by the lay- dent then proceeded to the ordination ing on of the hands of the presbytery? questions, which were answered by each or, because certain ecclesiastics have candidate, and occupied a considerable profanely made that ceremony the sign time. The president then said, “We will of an apocryphal bestowment of the Holy now offer up before God the Ordination Ghost, is it becoming on those who seek

Prayer, exercising faith in the promised ordination among us, while they request presence of Christ.' • Almighty God and the prayers of their brethren and fathers heavenly Father,' &c. The ceremony of on that occasion, to require that those laying on of hands was then proceeded prayers shall not be offered in that man- with, the candidates coming in parties of ner, although confessedly the most solemn four to the centre of the platform, and mode of devotion set before us either meekly kneeling on their knees. The prein the Old Testament or in the New,” sident, ex-president, and secretary, laying &c.

6 DEF.”

their hands upon the head of every candiLynington, Sept. 1839.”

date, together with two of the other

preachers.'” Here follows a list of a score In the Christian Observer similar re- of Methodist priests, who laid their hands marks have been made, and almost in on the candidates. “ Each of the canthe same words, expressing a fear of re- didates, on the imposition of hands, was action in consequence of the Oxford addressed by the president in the usual Tracts, and on the side of puritanism. form, Mayest thou receive the Holy Who cannot understand this mystery ? Ghost,' &c., after which he delivered to The clergyman of the Establishment is an

every one a copy of the Bible, saying, "endowed” priest, the dissenting minister * Take thou authority to preach the word is unendowed; but each feels the same of God.' interest to defend the prerogatives of the The correspondent of the British Maclerical body against the laity — " and gazine, who furnishes the account of this Rome looks on and smiles."

ridiculous ceremony,concludes by putting the following question : “ Is there, or is there not, the sin of schism in this act ?

Is not the sin of schism the greater in ORDINATION AMONGST THE WESLEYAN proportion as the separating party al

lege less objection against the doctrines

and institutions of the Church from The British Magazine for October, is which they depart?" indignant that the Wesleyan Methodists It is to be observed that the ceremony should presume now to ordain ministers here transcribed is taken from the Prayerwith imposition of hands. It gives from Book : the Collects, Epistles, and Gospel, the Leeds Intelligencer, an account of a and the Address are all to be found in recent ordination of fifty-two Methodist “ the form and manner of ordering of priests, at Brunswick Chapel, Liverpool, priests." The Collect reads thus, " Alon the 17th of August last. Of that mighty God, Giver of all good things, ceremony, the following are a few frag- who by thy Holy Spirit hast appointed ments.

divers orders and ministers in the Church: “ The president, delivered an address, mercifully behold these thy servants now closing in this manner : "I present to called to the office of priesthood, and you these persons present to be ordained replenish them so with the truth of thy

METHODISTS.

[ocr errors]

VOL. II.

3 Q

[ocr errors]

stil

doctrine, and adorn them with inno- “The perusal of this letter will concency of life, that both by word and good vince

you

that it is written by a friend. example, they may faithfully serve thee The heart has an accent of truth that in this office, to the glory of thy name, finds a response in other hearts; and I and the edification of thy Church; through trust it will be acknowledged as pervadthe merits of our Saviour, Jesus Christ,” ing my letter. But though I address &c.

myself to all of you, it is not by all that The Epistle, Eph. iv. 7–13, seems to I can hope to be heard. Amongst you, have been selected in the Prayer-Book, as amongst other men, there are some as if for the express purpose of confuting who occupy themselves but little about and confounding the ceremony to which truth, and much about their private in. it is appended.

terests. Such are to be pitied, and I Without participating in the clerical would pray for them ; but I address myindignation of the British Magazine, we self to you, upright and conscientious cannot allow the record of this solemn men, who seek first the kingdom of God child's-play to pass without noticing it as and his righteousness. one more proof of the weakness of human By you, as well as by me, Jesus nature, and of the inherent love of power, Christ is acknowledged as the Son of mystery, and artifice, in the clerical God, the Saviour of those who rest their genus.

faith on him. It is our mutual belief The Wesleyan clergy three or four that the Bible is the word of God, and years ago, when sitting in conference at that the Christian faith is the only way Birmingham, came to a resolution to of salvation. But is your Church, the adopt clerical ordination; and for that Church of Rome, in this way of salvapurpose had recourse to the Prayer-Book tion? This is the question which I and the Ordination of Priests; but how would affectionately beseech you to exsad it is to behold a self-constituted amine. Fear not that I am going to body, whose origin has been seen by enter into a polemical discussion, or, by persons now living, thus voting them- rancour and abuse, to render you selves into “the Apostolical Succession," more inimical to what I believe to be the by pilfering ceremonies from the Esta- truth. No, I repeat it, I come to you as blished Church, and playing, as it were, a friend, as a brother; and it is from a at making clergymen!

heart filled with love and charity that I If conference were to come to the de- beg you to listen to me. termination to inaugurate their president

* Is the Church of Rome in the way with all the ceremonies of a royal coro- of salvation ? I ask not if true Chrisnation, unction, crown, ball, and sceptre, tianity may sometimes be discovered in it would not in our eyes be so objec- some of her councils, or in the hearts of tionable as this worse than idle ordination some of her members : without doubt of priests.

this is the case; but I ask if the general teaching and doctrine of that Church be conformable to the Gospel, and if, in fol

lowing it, we may be saved ? Do not ADDRESSED TO ROMAN CATHOLICS. imagine that I would here reproach you

with a form of worship too much burWe gladly present to our readers the dened with ceremonies, with some useless following letter, as extracted from The observances, with some errors of disciRecord. It was first published in L'Es- pline. No; it is not upon these things pérance, a French religious newspaper, that salvation 'depends; and you will and ten thousand copies have been sent readily acknowledge that in their decito different members of the Roman sions on these matters, popes and coun.. Catholic clergy, to whom it is especially cils have not been infallible. I speak of addressed. The sentiments contained in doctrine ; and that we may not lose our. it present a cheering contrast to the false selves in details, I put the question in religionism which it is often our painful terms as general as possible :— The fun. task to notice. We know not the damental doctrine of the Church of writer, and could much have desired Rome, that upon which every other that, as a testimony to the truth of God, hinges, the doctrine of salvation merited it had been sent forth with the name of in whole or in part by the works of man the brother in Christ bearing this wit- -is this doctrine conformable to the ness for Jesus :

Gospel of Jesus Christ? I speak in all

LETTER

simplicity; seek not to avoid the ques- amine it impartially, and without the tion by telling me that such is not your idea of receiving from us. belief, that it is only through the sacri- “But why do I say “from us ?' It is fice of Christ that the works of man are not our assertions, our books, our conmeritorious, according to the Church of fessions of faith, our liturgies, that we Rome, for this would be only to affirm present to you to judge the question by. and to deny the same thing in a single It is but one book, which you as well as sentence. If it be by the sacrifice of we venerate: it is the source of all truth : Jesus Christ that the works of man are it is the Bible, the whole Bible, and meritorious, man has then no merit, he is nothing but the Bible. Here, then, we saved by pure grace; but this is what are on common ground; and I do not you do not admit. If you understand even ask you to read the sacred book in that Christ and man concur to give a one of our Protestant versions ; I would value to these works, it is evident that, beg you to read it, above all, in the Greek according to your Church, the works of itself, or in the Vulgate. man are meritorious in part, and this is “Dear friends, allow me yet another precisely the doctrine which I attribute question. Have you never thought it to you. If you believe not this our con- strange that there should be so little of troversy is ended; we are agreed : but this book introduced into your studies, on the contrary, you do believe it, it re- or into your ministrations so little of this mains for us to examine together whether Book of books ? of this only Divine book, it is or is not conformable to the doctrine and, therefore, as elevated above all of Jesus Christ.

others as the heavens are above the “Before attempting to resolve this great earth ? I say not that it has been posiquestion, let me remove some of the tively forbidden or concealed, that would difficulties that naturally lie in your way. be impossible. But has it obtained the

“In the first place, have you not some first place in your library and in your deprejudices—pardon the word, for I would votional exercises ? And of that which be far from making this a subject of ac- you have had given you to read, is it not cusation, since they are involuntary— merely, fragments, selected portions, have you not some shade of prejudice often abridgements, and more frequently against Protestants, and do not these in Latin than in the vulgar tongue, fitted prejudices in some degree attach to their rather to be recited as a breviary than to doctrines ? That there are amongst

be meditated as a study ? It appears to them unbelievers, Deists, Socinians, who me, then, that from the very little use would deny ? Are there not such to be that you have been allowed to make of found also among Catholics ? But, be- the Bible, you may draw these two conlieve me, there are also amongst us faith- clusions, that your superiors dread its ful men, devoted to the service of their influence, and that you yourselves are to Divine Master, who have no other am- this day scarcely acquainted with it, bition than to save souls, and who feel may I not even say, with regard to a themselves in communion of spirit with great majority, entirely ignorant of its a Fenelon, a Pascal, a Francis de Sales, precious contents ? an Augustin, on those points which are “Let us then, my dear brethren, now essential to salvation. Do not, then, place ourselves before this Bible, and make such men bear the penalty of their ask, “What must we do to be saved ?' co-religionists in name only, but believe According to you, this salvation is that their words are worthy of confi- more or less to be merited. dence.

According to us, it is a free gift, "In the second place, supposing-what, Salvation is gratuitous-purely, enhowever, your charity will not permit tirely gratuitous; so that if you would you to do-supposing that there is obtain it, you have only to accept it. It amongst us nothing good whatever ; is yours even before

you

have given. should you for that condemn our cause ? cup of cold water." From the very moMight we not have fallen from piety, and ment of your receiving it, if you believe, yet the doctrine of our church be the you may rejoice, for you are saved. And truth ? If we are evil, lay the blame on if you should die at the very instant of our unbelief; but do not impeach that this faith taking possession of your heart, faith in which we are deficient. I en- before you have had time to accomplish treat you not to condemn it, because we a single good work, you are nevertheless have so imperfectly practised it; ex- saved, and saved for ever.

66

[ocr errors]

a

“ Is this a mistaken view which I am works the means of his preservation ? Is stating ? Admit, at least, that it is well it not rather that his preservation, already worth examining whether it be not the accomplished, gives him the means of truth? For if it be thus, what should be afterwards performing these works? In your joy in making such a discovery, and like manner, man is lost by reason of his in knowing that from this moment sal- sins ; Jesus dies for himn and saves him: vation is eternally yours

if
you

believe ? from that moment man consecrates his "Let us examine, then, what the Bible life to his God. I here repeat my quesreally says in reply to the question, tion, Are these works the means of his •What must I do to be saved ?' It simply salvation ? Is not his salvation already answers, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus accomplished, which enables him afterChrist, and thou shalt be saved.' This wurds to perform these works ? Without declaration is of itself so positive that it doubt, the man who is saved will do might alone suffice; but there is no lack righteously, but he must be saved before of others to confirm its testimony. he is able to do so. Salvation is, then,

“ • There is therefore now no condem- independent of works, although works nation to them which are in Christ Jesus' necessarily follow it. What causes the (Rom. viii. 1). • Who hath saved us, confusion in many minds is, that they and called us with an holy calling, not imagine that salvation only begins in the according to our works, but according to next life ; whilst the Bible says it begins his own purpose and grace' (2 Tim. i. 9). even to-day. They consider salvation a • And by Him all that believe are jus- fruit that grows on the tree of good works; tified from all things' (Acts xiii. 39). whereas, according to the words of Jesus, • For by grace are ye saved through faith; salvation is the tree, and works are the and that not of yourselves; it is the gift fruit of it. After the thoughts of many of God' (Eph. ii. 8). "Therefore by the men, we must do good that we may be deeds of the law there shall no flesh be saved ; after the will of God, we must do justified' (Rom. iii. 20). "For God hath good because we are already saved. Dear concluded them all in unbelief, that he brethren, examine if these are from myself might have mercy on all' (Rom. xi. 32). or from the Bible; see if I have done • Being justified freely by his grace, anything except to copy the ideas and through the redemption that is in Christ the words of Jesus Christ. Read from Jesus' (Rom. iii. 24). "Who of God is Luke vii. 41-43, • There was a certain made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, creditor which had two debtors,' &c. and sanctification, and redemption' (1 Yes, the debtor loves the creditor; but Cor. i. 30). "But after that the kind- it is only when he has remitted his debt; ness and love of God our Saviour toward till then he is rather disposed to hate man appeared, not by works of righteous- him. Yes, Magdalene loved the Lord ness which we have done, but according Jesus Christ, but it was not till she had to his mercy he saved us, by the washing felt in her heart that she was already of regeneration and renewing of the Holy pardoned ; then she was able to fall at Spirit, which he shed on us abundantly his feet, and express to him her gratitude. through Jesus Christ our Saviour' (Tit. Once more; it is not I (poor, sinful, and iii. 4–6). “Ho, every one that thirsteth, weak creature !) who say this. It is Jesus come ye to the waters, and he that hath Christ. This same truth is found in all no money; come ye, buy and eat ; yea, the instructions of Christ, as we have come, buy wine and milk without money also seen it in all the words of the and without price' (Isa. lv. 1). • There Apostles. Read the prodigal son ;-his is forgiveness with thee' (Ps. cxxx. 4). father receives him and pardons him,

“Before going farther, I wish to an- when he is yet clothed in rags-before swer one objection. The Bible itself, he has touched the threshold of the payou will say, declares that faith without ternal gate-before he has performed a works is dead; consequently good works single good work—he receives him as as well as faith are necessary to salvation. as he has esclaimed, “I am no Dear brethren, there is here a miscon- more worthy to be called thy son.” Read ception; allow me to make use of a the parable of the labourers called at simile to dispel it. A man is in the act different hours, and you will see the of drowning; a friendly hand is stretched penny given to those who arrived but an out to him, and saves him; from that hour before midnight, equally with those moment the rescued man devotes his life who came in the morning. Read the to his preserver.

I ask you, are his parable of the king, who receives at the

soon

marriage of his son not the great or the then, which God must prefer, mercenary rich—who might have considered they servants, or grateful sons ? But there is had a right to be there—but beggars, the

If love is a more powerful motive lame and the blind, picked up in the than interest, it is above all much more streets; that is to say, men devoid of all noble. In this world, people often care claims and pretensions, so that they little whether the motive be noble or come in to the feast, by favour, by grace, base in its principle by which a duty is without works, without merit;—it is the accomplished or a service rendered. Man salvation of Jesus Christ! Look at the looks at the result, and provided it is thief on the cross, saved after a life of favourable to him, it is of no consequence erime, before he has been able to do any to him by what motives it is produced. thing to repair his offences towards God But God looks at the heart; it is the inand man; saved from the very moment tention, it is the motive, it is what affects in which he cast himself upon the Son of the soul, that he examines before all God by prayer ;- it is the salvation of things, because it is the soul only that Christ! Zaccheus is saved after his must live eternally. Your motive of inextortions; St. Peter after his perjury; terest is but the negation of love. Not all the Apostles after their cowardly de- only one is more noble than the other ; sertion ; they are saved without having but one is noble, and the other is vile; deserved it—without having done any one is of the earth, the other is of heaven. thing; and it is when they are saved that God is love; and all that he does for us, they begin to do good works. Salvation for the angels, for the universe, all springs is then completely gratuitous, and only from his love. Well, my dear brethren, gratuitous; and it is when we have re- it is a spark of that love which animates ceived it that we are rendered capable of me towards you, and with which, in doing good. You see, therefore, well- return, I desire to inspire you, not tobeloved brethren, that I do not set aside wards me, whom you do not know, whom good works more than you do yourselves. probably, you may never know, but toI think, on the contrary, my way of see- wards your God—your Saviour, who has ing things (or rather, I should say, Jesus so loved you as to give himself unto the Christ's way) is much more likely than death for you; and who says to you, yours to give birth to, and develop, and • You are justified freely by his grace by ripen, good fruits in the heart of man. the redemption that is in Jesus Chrisť In the one system, salvation is a recom- (Rom. iii). I should yet have much to pense granted to the labours of men,- say to you, but I am afraid of wearying that is to say, that in order to stimulate your attention. Suffer me, then, to conman to do good, recourse has been had clude with a question. Since you have to the temptation of a salary; in one known yourself; since you have rendered word, to the power of interest. In the to yourself an account of your belief; other system, salvation is a gift made to are you happy? Is there peace in your man, to create and nourish gratitude in conscience? Does Christian joy fill your his heart, which is the source of good heart? Have you no fear of death? No: works; that is to say, to stimulate man I think I may say it, you are not really to do well : the heart of man is appealed happy--your conscience is not tranquil to; in a word, the power used is love. -weariness pursues you—the thought Interest and love are both of them powers

more.

of death alarms you—and if you knew capable, it is true, of making men act; you must die in an hour, you would but I ask you, which of the two is the tremble as a leaf at the thought of apmost powerful ? Even in the affairs of pearing before God. Do you know why? this world, which of them accomplishes Precisely because you do not believe in the greatest things ? Interest works this salvation, complete and free, which with perseverance; but there is a term drives all sadness from the soul, and all to the efforts it excites,—there is a pause fear, and permits it to contemplate death when it seems to be baffled by difficul- and judgment, because it has given the ties, - love's labours are without limit, certainty of the enjoyment of eternal life. without reserve ; it sacrifices itself, and Yes: the certainty : yes, I know that I it is in that very sacrifice that it finds am saved; because this salvation, on its happiness. Tell me, which would which I depend, comes not from myself, you prefer, the services of a man who but solely from Jesus Christ~from my expected wages from you, or the cares of God—and this is the reason that I can a mother who expected nothing? Judge, say, I know, I am certain, that I am

« AnteriorContinuar »