« AnteriorContinuar »
EXTRACTS FROM AN EXPOSTULATORY ADDRESS, To the Methodists in Ireland, and a Vindication of the same, by John Walker, late Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin.
[Continued from page 448]
'What!'-some one will exclaim-' what more can be required from any man, than that he should be sincerely convinced that what he believes is true, and act accordingly? And is it not a breach of charity to condemn any, whose hearts are thus sincere? Is not this, (in the language of the charming poet)
To deal damnation round the land, 'On each we judge God's foe?'
Well, then; if this objection be founded in truth, let us shut our Bibles forever. The objection, in fact, is founded in disbelief of what the Bible declares; and was very suitable in the mouth of an infidel poet, who plainly intimates that the worshippers of the heathen Jove and of the true JEHOVAH, who has made himself known in the scriptures, differ from each other in little more than a name. My Bible tells me, that whoso believeth the Gospel—that is, the glad tidings which it brings of salvation for lost sinners-shall be saved; and that whoso believeth not shall be damned; that whoso believeth not the record that God hath given of his Son, is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him. But if that objection be true, then whatever a man believes-provided he is sincere in believing it-and I am sure I know not what the insincere believing of any thing is, it is so like disbelieving)—it is of no essential consequence, so his conduct be good. But let Christians never countenance that sincerity, which is nothing but sincere pride of heart, and sincere enmity against the true God: for such are the corruptions of the human heart, which make a sinner reject the Gospel, and love darkness rather than light. Let not Christians ever countenance that conduct as good, which springs not from a mind obedient to the faith; which is the conduct of men yet in that state, in which the scriptures declare, that they cannot please God. Let not Christians ever be deterred, by the outcry made in favour of an infidel charity, from testifying against principles so mischievous, from warning the unbelieving world of their danger. This is one of the prime duties of Christian charity, or love.
I know, Sir, that these views include one of the peculiar offences of the Cross of Christ. The offence of the Cross would long ago have ceased, if Christ were preached as a Saviour-in whom men might believe, (to be sure) if they pleased, and be the better for it, -but whose testimony they might also reject without ruin. The infidel world would contentedly bear such a Gospel as this, and give its advocates credit for much charity. They would contentedly suffer us to take our own way, if we would only give them to under
stand, that they might safely take theirs. And we find, in fact, that those professors of Christianity who hold such a Gospel, or countenance it by their indifference to divine truth, go very quietly through the world, and are much respected by the world. But such professors of Christianity are but professors: they are of the world, and therefore the world loves its own. But far be that carnal policy from Christians, which would recommend to the world something under the name of a Gospel, by stripping the Gospel of its essential principles--because they are offensive.
So far as any really give up or deny those essential principles(and all those principles are essential to the Gospel, which affect the one foundation of a sinner's hope towards God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead)-I trust I shall ever address them-whether they bear the name of Christians or bear it not—as infidels, and opposers of the revealed truths of scripture; while I desire to address them with that tenderness of concern which springs from a view of their danger-and with that lowliness of mind, which springs from a persuasion that it is by grace—by free grace alone-I am made to differ from them. Such I know will be very angry, at not finding me as ready to compliment them with the surrender of the divine truths which they dislike, as they would be to return the compliment in that case to me. This they call charity; -this thinking well of every one, or of a great many, whatever they believe, or however they stand disposed to the Gospel. And they find that they possess so much of this charity, that they commonly think very well of themselves for being so very charitable; and if there be any one for whom they can have no charity, it is the man who has not quite so much of this charity-this infidel charity-as themselves. They think it very hard that such a man should disturb them, and invade their characters, by testifying against their unbelief. But, indeed, Sir, if charity be such a thing as they mean by this term to have the most charity, a man needs only to be the greatest infidel in the world. It is very awful to pervert any part of scripture, and very awful to apply, what is spoken in scripture of charity, to such indifference or opposition to the truths of scripture.
Great numbers professing the same faith with us, tend to give so much credit and respectability to our cause in the eyes of the world. and to keep us (as it were) so much in countenance, that the flesh, -in Calvinistic as well as in Arminian professors-has commonly on this ground been passionately desirous of them. But our Lord's flock, throughout his word, is addressed as a "little flock,”—a poor-a despised-and an afflicted people;-corresponding in the mean appearance they make on earth, with the King of Zion, who was meek and lowly, and in whom there was no beauty seen that the children of the world could desire. But there is more true glory
resting upon ten real believers, sound in the faith, and living by the faith of the Son of God-though reproached and calumniated by the professing and unprofessing world-though a sect "every | where spoken against"-than there is in the most numerous church unsound in the faith-though consisting of ever so many thousands of professing Christians-ever so high in reputation for morality and piety.
We are told in scripture what the glory of the true church is:"THY GOD THY GLORY." Aye:-He-her God and her Redeemer-her only Saviour, in whom alone she has righteousness and strength-He is her glory: and she knows him as such; and glorying in him, is enabled to welcome reproach and shame and tribulation for his name's sake. And just in proportion as any church begins to glory in any thing else, we may name her, ICHABOD "the glory is departed from her"-however splendid her appearance in the eyes of the world, or in her own. To make Christianity respectable in the world and palatable to the world, has been long attempted; and just in proportion as men pursue the attempt with ardour, they manifest that they have lost sight of the scriptura! characters of Christianity and of the world:-and in proportion & they seem to succeed in the attempt, they corrupt the gospel of God our Saviour. We find plenty of such Christianity, as men may profess, and even be very zealous about, without losing their char acters and good name in the world, or offending its children: but I desire no further evidence than this, that such Christianity is spuriThe mind of the world towards the true Messiah, and his true gospel, is just the same that it was, when that cry was raised"Crucify him-crucify him;"--and whenever the world seem better disposed to Christianity, it is because something under the name is presented to their view, that is not the Christianity of the gospel. For the "offence of the cross" to unregenerate men, has not ceas ed, and never can; and our Lord's word must stand true to the end of the world" Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
[To be continued.]
FROM THE CALVINISTIC MAGAZINE.
AN INEFFECTUAL STRUGGLE.
There was a young professor of religion in the Presbyterian church, who felt very frequently a rising repugnance to the doctrines generally denominated Calvinistic. The secret workings of his heart, unknown to himself (if they had been plainly translated) ran nearly thus: "It were a pity those doctrines should be true; it is, in short, out of the question. I hope God will act more in accordance with my ideas of propriety. I must, if possible, find some passage of scripture to overset them," &c. But to all the texts he could produce, proclaiming the general offer, the unlimited efficacy
of the Saviour's death-his having no pleasure in the death of the sinner, &c. &c. he received from his brethren one short and simple reply: "God offers salvation freely to all, through a Redeemer's blood ---all as freely and with one accord reject it. Shall he let them all take their own road to death? or save all? We see he does neither, but makes as many willing in the day of his power, as he chooses." And no matter what the number or variety of passages he cited; this answer (or the substance of it better expressed) was always ready, and seemed to fit the whole of them. His next undertaking was to try and have those passages which seemed to declare God's eternal purposes, explained so as to get them, if possible, out of his way. He was intimate with several pious and worthy men, who did not believe the views of his church on those points, but thought them false and hurtful. To them, then, he would go with such a passage from the Bible as the following: "And they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.") Rev. xvii. 8. He would receive an explanation which would satisfy him for the time; but when he next opened his Bible, he would perhaps, stumble upon Acts xiii. 48. "And as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed." Here he would find that the former explanation would not fit this-for to say they were ordained to eternal life before they believed, would be election; and to say they were ordained after they believed, would prove the final perseverance—and yet it would appear that some time or other they were ordained.Again, he would go for an explanation to this and many other dark passages. Sometimes he would receive an explanation which appeared very satisfactory, and at others not so much so. But the greatest dilemma was, that almost every verse required a different road to get round it. And again, the task was endless; for it appeared that at least one half of the New Testament required him to have not only ingenuity and skill, but absolute cunning, to escape from the incessant bearing it had towards God's unqualified sovereignty. He could scarcely commence a chapter of the Epistles in peace. Even the introduction was, "Paul CALLED to be an Apostle" (and he remembered that verily the call on the Damascus road was a cogent one)....." to the church at Corinth,"....." called to be saints,".....Thought he, " are not all called to be saints?" But perhaps he would next stumble upon I. Cor. i. 26. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. Not only whole verses, but whole chapters, seemed to demand a dexterous transmutation. He had to suppose that an Apostle of God, and a preacher of the everlasting gospel, not only did not speak of himself when he said I, but when he said I myself, he meant an unconverted Jew!
In short, the labour of explanation thickened upon him so fast,
that no versatility of talent, and no storehouse of memory, seemed sufficient to invent and retain the various shifts and expedients nee essary to fortify him against the continual recurrence and mu plied and inexhaustible variety of expressions, "According as He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that
should be boly," &c. Having predestinated us unto the adopts of children," &c. "Being predestinated according to the purpo of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own wis Eph. i. 4, 5....11. "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he w have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." Rom. ix. 18.
The conclusion he was finally forced into was:
"Must I never open God's Holy Book without having to summe my ingenuity of evasion?
"Dare I resort to artifice in expounding so large a portion of the written will of my awful Creator?
"I may new translate His Testament but will he acknowledge the edition?
"I may appear before His bar with my hundred nice wrought expositions, and say they were all made to protect His character from the imputation of partiality--but will He thank me for the trouble I have taken?
"Or will he say, "Who hath required this at your hands?" Can I not defend my own character? Thoughtest thou that I was altogether such an one as thyself?
"I might write folios by way of commentary, and with indefatigable zeal, paint with a thin colouring the whole of the Sacred Oracles—but in the glare of the judgment day, it would all vanish
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GREEK AND ROMAN
We have gathered the annexed points of difference between the Greek Church and the Church of Rome, mainly from Mr. Howe's "Sketch of the Greek Revolution." They are presented to the reader with the hope that they will not prove unacceptable.
The most important change which has ever happened to the Greeks, was their national conversion to Christianity, during and immediately after the days of the Apostles They were the first who embraced Christianity as a nation.- Greece was the theatre of some of the most signal labours of the Apostles--particularly of the labours of Paul. They early became a religious people, and their religion, though much corrupted, has ever been to the nation as a hand of iron, reconciling the jarring interests of party, and uniting particles, which else would have fallen to pieces. Paganism, according to Gibbon, received its death-blow about A.D. 395 in the reign of Theodosius, at whose chariot wheels the gods of