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is the duty of the state to make provision for the religious instruction of its subjects. Upon this question, our author writes as follows:—
"In all matters of dispute, a clear view of the meaning of terms tends to abridge subsequent discussion—and first principles being settled in the outset both parties may proceed without interruption. That parental jurisdiction should be exercised by the state over its subjects—that, convinced itself of the value of religion, it should train up its children to spiritual loyalty—that, stretching in its generosity beyond the direct purposes for which it exists, it should aim to mould the hearts as well as regulate the conduct of the people—and that, in furtherance of so sublime an end it should station the heralds of truth over the land in all its lengths and breadths—is a scheme which carries upon the face of it such a profession of kindliness and piety, that it can hardly be wondered at if it be fondly hailed as an angel of light—and if men unaccustomed to look into the heart of things, imagine they discover in it, all the simplicity of truth, and all the majesty of unmistakable wisdom. But the thunder-cloud charged with the elements of destruction, will sometimes catch and reflect the golden beams of the setting sun; and men gaze with admiration upon that which should awaken their fears.
When the duty of the state to provide religious instruction for its subjects is asserted, another and yet more questionable maxim is involved. For, authority must be vested somewhere, to decide upon the proper articles of faith.
The opinions entertained, as to what is truth and wbat error, are various and discordant. Some men implicitly believe that "religious instruction" must be confined to the lying impostures of the Arabian heresiarch. Some find their religion in the Shasters. One nation adopts a multitude of deities —another recognises only one. Trinity in unity is a fundamental tenet of this party—whilst that holds the doctrine to be absurd. It being the bounden duty of the magistrate to provide religious instruction for the people, it is evident that some party or other must determine what is to be taught and what is to be withheld. Somebody's duty it must be to decide upon the national creed. That creed is furnished for us, it may be said, in the word of God. True! but which is the word of God, and what is the true interpretation thereof? On these questions there is a multitude of conflicting opinions. They cannot all be taught. Who shall select the articles of faith? Is that the proper business of the majority of the nation f Then the proposition may be thus expressed,—" It is the bounden duty of every government to provide for the instruction of its subjects in those articles of faith which shall have been determined upon by a national majority," Accordingly, in Spain it is the duty of the magistrate to inculcate subjection to the Roman pontiff. In Turkey, the government is bound to provide for the instruction of its subjects in the doctrines of the Koran. In England, it might, in one century, be obligatory on the legislature to decree the support of the Calvinistic theology—in the next, of the Arminian. But some of these systems of religion are false—the maintenance of them must in consequence be opposed to the will of God—and thus the proposition conducts us to this curious conclusion,—that under certain circumstances it is the duty of the government to oppose itself to the will of the Governor of the Universe.
Or is the power of selecting the credenda of the nation to be vested in the civil magistrate f Suppose the delicate task to be intrusted to the superior wisdom of the government. The question then occurs, is it the duty of the people to receive and embrace the religious instruction afforded them by the state? It is or it is not. If it be not, then the axiom forces upon us the conclusion,—that under some circumstances it is the duty of the government to exercise a power which it is not the duty of its subjects to obey; or, in other words, which it is the duty of its subjects to resist. If it be the duty of the people to embrace the articles of faith determined upon by the government, then in Spain it is the duty of every individual to believe in transubstantiation, penance, purgatory, and the absolute infallibility of the Roman church—which doctrine, it is the duty of every individual in England to renounce. What an interesting round of duties may we imagine the inquisitive and adventurous traveller to run—under an obligation to suit his creed to the authorised creed of every government to which in his rambles he may become subject. Such is the precious result of this proposition.
In vain is the assertion qualified by declaring that the religious instruction which it is the duty of the government to provide for its subjects must be in accordance with the truth of Scripture. The question will return again and again,—What is truth? and who is the judge that shall decide the question? Where is the ultimate appeal? Whether it be in the majority of the nation, or in the government itself, we are involved by the axiom in the most ridiculous absurdities. Nor does the toleration of all opinions extricate us from perplexity; for if it be the duty of any government to provide religious instruction for its subjects, its power to determine upon the opinions to be taught, and to maintain a body of clergy to propagate such opinions, must be exercised with a view to the national welfare. But if the national welfare is concerned in the promulgation of such and such opinions, why tolerate those which are destructive of them ?" This," says an able writer in Tail's Magazine, "is first to erect the most stupendous of powers, for the most transcendent of ends, and then to concur in its downfall; as if the motive to its construction were the blindest of impulses, and the frustration of its object a pastime or a triumph. It is the bootless ingenuity of children, all anxiety in building a castle of cards, and the moment it is built all impatience to pull it to pieces again. It is to intend the salvation, and achieve the perdition of souls. It is as the mercy of Heaven and the malice of demons. A purpose all good and a connivance all evil. It is a compound of elaborate contraries, part of iron, and part of clay, combined into one monstrous, impossible, and self-destroying whole. It is in one word, the portentous contradiction of declaring that it is necessary, and yet not necessary, to set up the particular worship in favour with the civil ruler; necessary, as affording the only effectual way to salvation—and not necessary, because there are other effectual ways. Here, then, is our question. If the former, why Tolerate? If the latter, why Establish?"
Power, then, to provide for the religious instruction of the people, necessarily supposes power likewise to determine upon the class of doctrines to be taught. This is most assiduously thrown into the shade by the advocates of the proposition now under discussion. The term "religious instruction " is vague and indistinct as term can be. What is the precise signification attached to it? Suppose the government of this country to be Roman-catholic, would it be their bounden duty to support the ministers and diffuse the doctrines of Romanism, in opposition to the national will? If so, what can justify the revolution of 1688? Or are all governments connected with the church of Rome placed beyond the limits of the proposition? It is the duty of every government to make provision for the religious instruction of its subjects. The government of James the Second felt this obligation, and deeming the doctrines and discipline of Rome to be ".the truth," they aimed to bring about its establishment in this country. In so doing the chief magistrate was expelled the kingdom. Was this right or was it wrong? If wrong, the advocates of this theory must look upon the line of Brunswick as usurping a throne which a nation had no right to bestow. If it was right to compel the abdication of James, what is the ground of the country's justification? According to the proposition under discussion it was the duty of James as magistrate to provide religious instruction for his subjects,—thus far they will acquit him of all blame. His fault must then have been that he sought to establish a creed which the majority of his nation renounced. But does this justify revolution? Why then these same churchmen would approve of a revolution in Ireland, for there the magistrate is doing that for which James was punished with the loss of his throne—namely, forcing a religion upon an unwilling nation."
From the preceding extracts our readers may judge of the character of the work. Although we should hesitate fully to subscribe to all its statements, and are of opinion that in some few instances there is an excess of irony and sarcasm; yet we must say, that the volume richly deserves an attentive perusal. The " Sketches" are productions of a masculine mind—they are of a popular cast, and distinctly bring out to view evils resulting from the union of church and state, which many of the admirers of that union have never suspected to result therefrom; and which many of those admirers, if they were brought to see them, as they are here proved to exist, would justly deprecate. The destinies of our beloved country, and the interests of Christianity, are deeply involved in the questions to which we have been referring: let us then, with fervent prayer, seek the spirit of wisdom and of grace, to guide us into all truth, and enable us in all things to be faithful to the interests of the kingdom of Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN MOTHER; or Maternal Duties exemplified in the narratives of the Old and New Testament. By Mary Milner. Second Edition. 32mo. Super Royal. 167 pp. SiMr-KiN and Marshall.
This is a well conceived and well written little book, on a topic of unspeakable importance. Its design is 10 engage those who sustain the all-important maternal relation to read and study the sacred Scriptures, that they may become qualified for the right performance of the important duties devolving upon them. It contains much important advice on the subject of education, which may be read with great profit by those who are engaged in training up children. The suggestions offered are those of a sound and enlightened understanding.
FOX'S BOOK OF MARTYRS; Edited by the Rev. J. Cumming, M. A. Part XIII. Royal 8vo. G. Virtue.
This most invaluable history of the horrid barbarities and murders committed by the papal church on the persons of those who refused to practice her idolatries, ought to be in the hands of every Protestant. We have much satisfaction in recommending those who desire to possess an elegant edition of this work to obtain that now in course of publication by Mr. Virtue.
CANADIAN SCENERY ILLUSTRATED: from Dratcings by W. II. Bartlett; the Literary Department by N.' P. Willis, Esq. Part XXV. Royal 4to. G. Virtue.
THE SCENERY AND ANTIQUITIES OF IRELAND Illustrated: from Drawings made expressly for this . Work. Part XIV. Royal 4to. O. Virtue.
Both the preceding are splendid and interesting works; got up in the first style of art, aud published at a moderate price.
SER MONS, especially designed for Family Reading and Village Worship. By the Author of " Four Hundred Sketches and Skeletons of Sermons, c)c. 4"CIn the Press. 1 Vol. 8vo.
ON THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
The substance of an extempore address on the Christian ministry, delivered by the Rev. Thomas Pennock, in Church Street Chapel, Kingston, Jamaica, April 18th, 1842, on the public reception of the Rev. John Rodgers, into full connexion as an Itinerant preacher, in the Jamaica District of the Wesleyan Methodist Association.
Thehe appears to me such a grandeur, such an importance, and such an awful responsibility connected with the Christian Ministry; that I feel myself inadequate to the task, of delivering anything like a proper address, on the momentous subject. I have ever conceived and do still conceive, that the Christian Ministry involves, to a certain extent, the honour of God, and the everlasting interests of men; and, consequently, that it involves the awful responsibility of the Christian Minister to God for the use which he makes of the immense trust committed unto him. These things give a solemn weight to the Ministry, beneath which the most capacious and vigorous mind must tremble; and they also throw into that ministry subjects of grandeur and interest, to which I feel myself utterly unable to do justice. But the task of delivering an address on this solemn and interesting occasion, having devolved upon me. I proceed to remark,
1. That ministry which has for its object the religious instruction, and eternal salvation of mankind, is of God's appointment. Under the Mosaic dispensation God appointed Aaron and his descendants to the Priestly Office, to deliver his counsels to the people; nor could any man be introduced into the ministerial office of that day, unless he was "called of God, as was Aaron." Under the Gospel dispensation, Jesus Christ appointed the first ministers: they received the command and commission direct from him, to "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." Christ as the Great and ever-living Head of the Christian Church, has reserved to himself the right of perpetuating the Gospel Ministry by his own appointments; not from among the lineal descendants of the first twelve Apostles, as in the case of the Aaronic priesthood; but from among his own spiritual children; spiritually begotten and born of him, the Great and Eternal High Priest of the Christian profession. The sole right of Christ to appoint men to the office of this ministry, is clearly recognised in the New Testament, for instance—we find that when the first Apostles were assembled to elect one to fill the place of the traitor Judas, who had betrayed his Lord, and "gone to his own place;' and having set apart two persons, for one of whom they were about to cast lots, they first "prayed and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen." The Apostle Paul tells us that he was made an Apostle or Minister, "not by men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father." And in the 12th Chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians we are told that the different "administrations and gifts," necessary for the perpetuation and well being of the Christian Church, are from God; and that he giveth them " to whomsoever he will. We also read in other places of the Holy Ghost making Overseers or Ministers in the Church; and of the Holy Ghost separating men to the work of the ministry. And our Lord Jesus Christ evidently has reference to false prophets or uncalledjministers in Matthew, chap, vii, verses 22 and 23, where he says, " Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works ? — And then (says Christ) I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work, iniquity." So that Christ has reserved to himself the sole right of appointing men to the ministry in his Church, is a point fully established by the New Testament, our only infallible guide, and it is equally as clear, from the same source, that he will terribly resent and punish the presumption of those who dare to obtrude themselves into the ministry, without his call or commission to do so. Christ signifies his appointment of a man to the office of the ministry by the Holy Ghost operating upon his mind with a divine force which produces the conviction, that it is his imperative duty, to devote himself to the course of that ministry : and this conviction is so strong and constant, that the subject of it feels that he cannot resist it without being guilty of an awful dereliction of duty: this conviction was so strong in the mind of St. Paul, that he exclaimed " Woe it unto me, if I preach not the Gospel of Christ" and, in a measure at least, the conviction is the same in the mind of every man whom Christ calls to the work of the ministry. Thus it is, I conceive, that the legitimate " Spiritual Succession" in the Christian ministry is maintained. The Church, however, must know of the divine call of individuals to the ministry, and have an opportunity afforded them of judging, as far as possible, of the reality of that call, and the Church must also have an opportunity of judging, after examination, of the competency of the qualifications of the candidate, for the high and important office to which he aspires. For the Scriptures authorise the Church to " try the spirits" of her teachers; and to judge of their fitness for office "by their fruits." No man has a right to palm himself upon any Church or people, as their minister in holy things, on the ground of his own merely asserted pretensions to a divine call; for the ministry involves the promotion and guardianship of the present and everlasting interests of the people who constitute the Church militant of Christ; and those have a right to know, as clearly as possible, that those high and lasting interests are placed in the hands of persons duly appointed, and qualified by the Great Head of the Church. None but persons thus appointed have any right to hold the office of the ministry. They who climb up into the fold in any way contrary to this appointment of God and his Church, and represent themselves as true shepherds of the sheep, are false pretenders, and "thieves and robbers," whose only object is to delude the people, and make a profane "gain of godliness."
2. The Gospel of Christ, the ministry of which is our present topic, is "the power of God." It is a system devised by the wisdom of God, and a system which involves the operation of all the attributes of God. The Gospel of Christ is designed by its author to effect the present and eternal salvation of man; and the ministry of the Gospel is one of God's appointed agencies for promoting that salvation. Man is a fallen creature; totally depraved and wicked in his nature; guilty before his God, and exposed to everlasting misery. Man is immortal, capable of eternal existence in either happiness or misery. Deeply fallen as man is from original righteousness into the fathomless vortex of iniquity, he has the precious gem of an immortal spirit; which, though in consequence of the fall it is pervaded by gross darkness, still retains a capacity for the reception of divine instruction; and powers, sufficient to render such instruction the means of its illumination, its freedom from sin, its glory, and its happiness. Gospel truth is the mighty lever by which the immortal spirit of man is to be raised out of the ruins of its fall;