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of Congregationalism have been provided by God, and revealed in his Word, to meet the requirements of the brightest age that has blessed mankind.
With these impressions, this day is to us, as a people, a day of holy joy and rich anticipation. We would “honour all men.” We
pray that great “grace may be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” And if we admire our own system more than any other, it is because we think it has a plainer scriptural warrant, and most decisively proves its Divine origin, by presenting the only platform large enough and free enough for the common gathering of the saints of God on earth. But suppose we should be mistaken in these convictions, we rejoice in the persuasion that the platform of the Saviour's throne in heaven will comprehend his devout followers of every name, and their common union to him will bind each to all for ever and ever.
WINTER MORNING'S FANCY.
I saw the Morning stand,
Like a mariner come to land,
Night's shadows of silver and grey
Had fallen like waves away
Rode, like a bark wave-kiss'd,
The windless air all cold with fear,
Like a mother in silent agony,
Hung her new-born children o'er-
Wherewith all night so noiselessly
For now must she see them dying,
Under the warm sun lying,
I watched one leafless spray
On which the night
Crystals most bright,
And stainless-pointed spears,
Which at the sun's more earnest gaze,
Died down in tears;
To build one mournful drop,
That, as their monument,
Thus earth's false pleasures fall,
Sank down ashamed away,
The day drew on-the sun rode higher-
And vanished in the sky:
R. A. VAUGHAX,
Rise, O my soul, with thy desires to heaven,
And with divinest contemplation use
And let vain thoughts no more thy thoughts abuse
And thou, my soul, inspired with holy flame,
View and review with most regardful eye That holy cross whence thy salvation came,
On which thy Saviour and thy sin did die ; For in that sacred object is much pleasure, And in that Saviour is my life, my treasure.
To thee, O Jesu, I direct my eyes,
To thee my hands, to thee my humble knees,
To thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, beheaded 1617.
1. Christian Union. A Full Report of the Proceedings of the Great
Meeting held at Exeter Hall, 1st of June, 1843, to Promote and Extend Christian Union. Stroud.
2. The Promised Glory of the Church of Christ, by the Rev. E.
Bickersteth, Rector of Watton, Herts. Seeley. 3. Christian Union; or Practical Suggestions for Promoting Brotherly
Love among Evangelical Christians, by John Leifchild, D.D. Ward. 4. Christian Union. Address of the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, at the Bicen
tenary Commemoration of the Westminster Assembly, July 13th, 1843. Tenth Thousand.
5. Christian Union.
A Sermon, by the Rev. Newman Hall, B.A.
6. A Serious Inquiry into the Nature and Scriptural Propriety of what
is termed Christian Union, by the Rev. R. W. Overbury. Houlston. 7. Christian Unity, by H. W. Wilberforce, M.A., Incumbent of
Walmer, Kent. Second edition. Burns.
That Christianity should have maintained its existence in the world, and should still be gaining conquests, notwithstanding the divisions and dissensions which have impaired its progress, may be regarded as one of the most remarkable phenomena which have attended its
“ A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And if the divisions which have existed among the Christian family, had affected the foundation, the whole fabric would, long ere this, not only have been ruined, but like the desolations of some of the great cities of antiquity, scarcely one stone would have been left on another. Christianity would have well-nigh vanished from the earth. Omitting a small section of the nominally Christian world, however, we trace the same fundamental elements of belief among all that bear the Christian name ; so that, amidst all that has been superadded by human invention, and all that has been curtailed by human authority, we find every where remaining a nucleus of truth, which may form the principle of a very extensive union. The enlightened infidel, one who is candid enough, if such an infidel there be, not to allow himself to be carried away with hasty prejudice, must admit that the Christian religion in its great outlines is everywhere, excepting in Unitarianism, the same scheme, marred as it is, and incumbered as it is, in Popery, with corruptions and traditions, there still remains, even here, the one fundamental principle of salvation from the consequences of sin by the coming of the Son of God in the flesh, and his sacrifice on the cross. As for the Protestant denominations commonly known in the world, their views of doctrine approach so near to a coincidence, that long experience of mutual intercourse has produced the acknowledgment on all sides, that their differences are rather theoretical, and marked by party names, than practical. If we except Romanism on the one hand, and Unitarianism on the other, we see how it is that, with all the unhappy divisions of the church, there is the essential element of unity remaining untouched. The divisions are rents in the wall, but they leare the foundation entire.
While, however, the very divisions and controversies among the bulk of professing Christians, are, in themselves, capable of being viewed as not only an evidence, but a searching and striking evidence of the general truth of the Christian doctrine, it must, at the same time, not be forgotten, that the enemies of that doctrine do not fail to take every opportunity of making a handle of these divisions, by way of holding up to the world the idea that nothing is settled in religion. Certainly nothing can be more uncandid or unworthy of men, pretending to be philosophers and men of science, than this procedure : nevertheless it is very common.
Men often do not, or will not, see that the diversity of religious opinions in reformed Christendom, is a diversity which is mutually allowed among Christians of all the several parties, not to affect the foundation. Christianity may, in this respect, fairly claim the same latitude of opinion on some of its more recondite and transcendental points, as science does in the pride of its demonstrations. The laws of light, heat, evaporation, electricity, and other agents in nature, are pretty well ascertained ; but theoretical difficulties, which are not cleared up, still remain, and cause diversities of opinion. Even mathematicians are familiar with disputes on some of the relations of number and magnitude, notwithstanding the main agreement subsisting in their conclusions: witness the controversies which are not even yet ended respecting infinite, imaginary, and impossible quantities, vanishing fractions, the theory of parallel lines, and the proper mode of treating proportion. Some parts of experimental science (geology for instance) either are, or have been, notoriously fertile in controversies, though none can deny a very large substratum of generally admitted truth.
Christianity, then, even if we view it merely as a matter of philosophy or science, may fairly claim a substantial agreement in the fundamental principles of its adherents, which may place it on a level quite equal to many parts of learning which are the most valued and popular. It is a truly lamentable fact that, up to the present moment, Christianity should have so far been deprived of the moral power and influence which it would acquire by the exhibition of this substantial unity of sentiment, that is to be found to so great an extent among the professors of our holy religion.
The language of Irenæus, in the second century, in reference to fundamental doctrines, was surely not more true, bating the heresies against which he wrought, than it is now in reference to the same great doctrines, and with similar abatement for the fraction of those who, calling themselves Christians, deny those truths. Churchmen, who are true to their own Articles, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Moravians, and others, form but one body really, in their reception of the Gospel as a scheme of regeneration and salvation. It may be said, at least of Protestant Christians, between whom alone ostensible union is practicable, (for the exclusive principles of Romanism would of themselves, even were there no obstacles on the other side, prevent union between Catholics and Protestants) :
“ The church, having received the same testimony and faith, diligently preserves it, as though she inhabited one and the same house, though actually dispersed over the whole world ; and she believes these things exactly as though she had but one soul, and one and the same heart; and she preaches, teaches, and delivers these things with one consent, as though she had but one mouth. For although the languages of the world are different, still the signification of the testimony is one and the same.''*
Time was, we are aware, when the question of “Calvinism” and “Arminianism” produced a considerable alienation of feeling between Christians; but happily this controversy seems now to have subsided. Indeed, we are not aware that among the above-named bodies of evangelical Christians there is any difference worth the naming, in the manner of handling the great leading points of Christianity. Wesleyans, for aught we see, preach the necessity of Divine aid in all that we attempt in religion, and ascribe good inclinations in man to God as their source, equally with Congregationalists, Presbyterians, or Baptists. Nor do either of the above bodies lay less stress on the atonement, as the only ground of our acceptance with God, than the Moravians. We are aware that there are individuals who incline more or less to dwell on particular doctrines ; but even these deal with exactly the same elements, though they may occasionally be compounded by them in somewhat different proportions in the cup of salvation which all unite in handing round to mankind. So much are the evangelical bodies agreed that, with one exception, they feel no difficulty in interchanging pulpits, and in cordially meeting to promote good objects, and to identify each other as Christian brethren who are one. Many clergy of the Church of England would do the
* Irenæus contra Hæres. lib. i. cap. 3.