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indiscriminate condemnation of lay-preaching, I cannot but praise God for what he has done through this instrumentality, and pray that he would make it even more efficient.
The true doctrine in respect to lay-preaching, was happily stated two hundred years ago, by Oliver Cromwell, who was as ready, and perhaps as competent, to conduct a theological controversy as a civil revolution. While Cromwell was besieging the Castle of Edinburgh, he caused the following note to be sent to the Governor, relative to certain of the more field, 2, R.; Burwel's Farms, many, R.; Cheshire; Chester, R.; Colchester; Columbia, R.; Danbury ; Derby, 3, R.; Durham; East Haven ; East Guilford, R.; Exeter; Fairfield, 2, R. ; Farmington, R.; Greenwich, 2, R.; Guilford, 2, R.; Hamden ; Hartford ; Humphreysville, 3 ; Killingworth ; Lebanon; Meriden, 2, R.; Middlebury, 2, R.; Middletown, R.; Milford, 6, R.; New Milford, 2, R. ; New Stratford, R. ; North Branford, 2, R.; North Bristol, R, ; Northford, both Societies ; North Guilford, R.; North Haven, 2, R. ; North Milford, 3, R.; Norwalk, R. ; Norwich, both Societies ; Norwich Landing; Oxford, 2, R.; Petty paug, R.; Reading ; Ripton, 2, R.; Roxbury, 2, R.; Salem ; Saybrook ; South Britain, 3, R.; Southbury, 2, R.; South Farms; Southington, R.; Stratford, 3, R. ; Trumbull; Wallingford, 2; Washington, R.; Waterbury; Watertown; Westbrook, R.; West Haven, many, R.; Weston; Wilton, R.; Windham; Wood. bury, 2, R.; Woodbridge, both Societies, R.
Total-95 visits, 64 Churches, 38 revivals.
In several cases, brethren have been out and held meetings at different places, when we do not call them formal visits. Applications for visits on hand, upwards of 20. Many revivals still in progress.
rigid ministers of the reformed Kirks, who had taken refuge in the garrison after the defeat at Downhill.
"Sir, I received command from my lord-general, to desire you to let the ministers of Edinburgh, now in the Castle with you, know that they have free liberty granted them, if they please to take the pains, to preach in their several churches; and that my lord hath given special command, both to officers and soldiers, that they shall not in the least be molested. Sept. 9th, 1650.
Edw. WHALLEY." The ministers replied on the same day, that they had resolved “ to reserve themselves for better times, and to wait upon Him who hath hidden his face for a while from the sons of Jacob."
To this Cromwell sent a rejoinder, bearing the same date, which called forth another letter from the clergy, in which, after enumerating various grievances, they state that “they are especially indignant, that men of mere civil place and employment should usurp the calling of the ministry, to the scandal of the reformed Kirks, particularly in Scotland, and contrary to the discipline therein established; to the maintenance whereof, they insisted that Cromwell continued bound by the solemn league and covenant."
Cromwell now felt called upon to defend his views of ecclesiastical polity; and accordingly, we have the singular spectacle of a great military commander engaging in a theological controversy with a besieged enemy. Homer narrates the sharp disputes which often took place between his heroes prior to an engagement; but these were commonly disputes about personal dignity or valor, or some point of national honor. The great master of the Grecian Epic never conceived of such a polemic hero as this same sturdy Puritan General. How well he acquitted himself in this religous war, may be seen by the following extract from his reply to the ministers, dated Sept. 12.
“Sir: Because I am at some reasonable good leisure, I cannot let such a grosse mistake and unconsequential reasonings passe without some notice taken of them.” After commenting upon one or two points in the letter, he proceeds: “Thirdly, you say you have just cause to regret, that men of civil employments should usurp the calling and employment of the ministry, to the scandall of the reformed Kirks, &c.
“Are you trubled that Christ is preached? Is
scandalize the reformed Kirks, and Scotland in particular? Is it against the Covenant ? Away with the Covenant, if this be so. I thought the Covenant and these would have been willing that any should speak good of the name of Christ; if not, it is no covenant of God's approving, nor are the Kirks you mention in so much the spouse of Christ. Where doe you finde in the Scripture a ground to warrant such an assertion, that preaching is included in your function? Though an approbation from men hath order in it, and may do well, yet he that hath not a better warrant than that hath none at all. I hope He that ascended up on high may give his gifts to whom he please ; and if those gifts be the seale of mission, be not envious, although Eldad and Medad prophesie. You know who bids us covet earnestly the best gifts, but chiefly that we may prophesie, which the Apostle explains there to be a speaking to instruction, and edification, and comfort, which the instructed, edified and comforted, can best tell the energy and effect of; if such evidence be, I say again, take heed you envy not for your own sakes, lest you be guilty of a greater fault than Moses reproved in Joshua, for envying for his sake ; indeed, you erre through the mistake of the Scriptures ; approbation is an act of conveniency in respect of order, not of necessity, to give faculty to preach the Gospel. Your pretended fear lest error should step in, is like the man who would keep all the wine out of the country, lest men should be drunk.* It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousie to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature, upon a supposition he may abuse it ; when he doth abuse it, judge. If a man speak foolishly, you suffer him gladly, because ye are wise ; if enviously, the truth more appears by your conviction ; stop such a man's mouth with sound words that cannot be gainsaid ; if blasphemously, or to the disturbance of the publique peace, let the civil magistrate punish him ; if truly, rejoice in the truth: and if you will call our speakings together since we came into Scotland, to provoke one another to love and to good works, to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance from dead works, to charity and love towards you, to pray and mourn for you, and for the bitter returns to, and incredulity of, our professions of love to your of the truth of which we have made our solemn and humble appeals to the Lord our God, which he hath heard and borne witness tom if these things be scandalous to the Kirk, and against the Covenant, because done by men of civill callings, we rejoice in them, notwithstanding what you say."
* Perhaps Cromwell would not have chosen this illustration, if he had lived in these days of tee-totalism. But still, the princi. ple of the illustration holds; for however desirable the prohibition of dram-selling may be, it would be unwise legislation to pro, hibit the manufacture, importation or sale of an article, which has many valuable uses, simply because some men misuse it to their hurt.
The doctrine of Congregationalists respecting ordination, could not have been better expressed than by these words :-“ approbation is an act of conveniency in respect of order, not of necessity to give faculty to preach the Gospel.” Might not those ministers who hold, that none should proclaim the word of God but such as have been ordained in a certain mode, learn a useful lesson from the example of Paul ? He rejoiced when Christ was preached; whether by an Apostle, or a private Christian ; whether of " love," or of " contention.” * * * * “ And many of the breth