« AnteriorContinuar »
the word Methodist, has for some years been employed as the name of reproach, by which the world distinguishes believers of the gospel, or those who are at least supposed to hold the doctrines of grace.) Calvinists and Arininians have made a common cause of it, and formed a friendly coalition in conducting this work. It would be a very interesting and profitable enployment, to examine the religious principles of this and similar publications, which are of very general currency in England: but it would present an awful picture of departure from the Gospel, in a country, which is disposed to boast of the multitudes that prosess the Gospel.
The conductors of the Christian Observer have found out a great many more preliminary steps, that put a sinner in a fair way for obtaining God's grace, than Mr. Knox contends for—(See No. 15, for March 1803, page 192.) They speak of the distinguishing circumstances of a hopeful nature in the case of penitents, who appear to have been "peculiarly atrocious offenders” before their repentance : and I dare say they would be at no loss to discover or to conjecture such, in the case of the thief upon the cross. They think that the smaller sinners are much nearer the kingdom of God than the greater; and the sense in which they employ that expression is clear, from their talking of the probability of a man's repentance being diminished in proportion to rarious circumstances of greater sinfulness in him of the degrees of which it is to be hoped those gentlemen will construct a table. As to "old offenders”--they say they “ may in general affirm of THEM, in the language of scripture, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots? --They have found out that the Pharisees “ were probably far greater sinners than the Publicans ;" and that this was the reason why“ the Publicans were preferred to the Pharisees by Jesus Christ.”
And among the distinguishing circumstances, that now render some sinners much smaller sinners than others, and therefore more likely to be converted and become subjects of—what they call—the grace of God, we find them enumerate their having "an utter detestation of revolutionary principles”-their being "strongly prejudiced against atheism”—and the being “the son of a clergyman.” If we could but get all the men in the world to wear black coats, and to have the bands of a Bishop laid on them, (I mean no disrespect to the Episcopal order,) I suppose the next generation would then stand a fair chance of being all converted. Yet those gentlemen talk of GRACE; and thero is much reason to suspect that some of them occasionally talk of ELECTION, though for the sake of peace with their Arminian brethren they drop that subject in the Christian Observer; and to make the stronger head against those who presume to call them Methodists, agree to say that the articles of the church of England are neither Calvinistic nor Arminian.
And really Dr. Kipling has been very uncivil in refusing them the right hand of fellowship, and attempting to shew that none but Arminians can conscientiously subscribe the articles; when those gentlemen had found such an accommodativg way to screen the reputation of both. Nor do I wonder that they should be so angry with him upon this subject. But it is to be supposed that he and they will soon understand one another better. For I am sure that the Doctor will not verbally deny the doctrines of grace, when couched in scripture-language ; and it is too clear that those divines do but verbally hold them. About what then, are they making so much ado? Ought not the conductors of the Christian Observer to be the first to address the Dean of Peterborough, in that language : “Let there be no strife between us and thee, for we be brethren."
Indeed, although these gentlemen often speak a hard word against Popery, yet in this they are very inconsistent with themselves-for we find them (No. 19, for July, 1803, page 412) sanctioning the piety of popish monks, in the abbey of La Trappe, as "genuine piety :” speaking of them as having retired from the world “from motives of penitence and of zeal for the glory of God, feeling in their souls the divine influence of true religion, and delighting in the service of their Maker.” We find them (page 410) holding out the mode in which these monks pass their life-(chaunting hymns to the virgin, &c.) as affording “a laudable example to pious protestants.” Truly, if these things be so, the reformation was a very foolish matter. It appears that religious protestants can agree with religious papists, in what constitutes true piety and true religion--and why then should they squabble any longer about matters which cannot be essential to salvation, as not essential to true religion? O for a second LUTHER, to lash the popery of false protestants.
The gentlemen who conduct the Christian Observer, if these lines should meet their eye, may perhaps complain that I employ a language of severity against them, which does not coincide with the spirit in which I have aimed at maintaining the general controversy. But I do not think it misplaced severity. An open opposer of the truth is to be dealt with much more tenderly than those who contradict and betray it, in the guise of friends. From some of those gentlemen, if I mistake not, there was formerly reason to hope better things. Let them "remember from whence they are fallen, and repent.' Let them be less solicitous about their reputation, and more “ valiant for the truth.” Let them remember him who hath said, “ them that honour me I will honour;" and, henceforth seeking " the honour which cometh from God only,” they will find themselves more than recompenced for the reproach that will be cast on them by mnen.
[To be Concluded.]
ORDINATIONS AND INSTALLATIONS. 132), July 13, Installed Rev. LAWRENCE P. HICKOCK, as Pastor of the Cong. Church in Litchfield, Conn.
1329, August 20, Ordained at Woodbury, Conn. Rev. Messrs. TALCOTT Bates, and Jasos ATWATER, as Evangelists, and Rev. Messrs. ELDAD BARBER, Wx. POR TER, Evxerox JuDSUN, JULIAS A1. STUNTEVANT 20 THEROX Baldwin, as Missionaries to the West.
1829, August 27, Installed Rev. GEORGE Carringtos,as Pastor of the Cos. Church, North Goshen, Conn.
18:29, August 27, lostalled, Rev. Grant Powers, as Pastor of the Cong. Church, Goshen, Conn.
1829, Oet. 7, Ordained, Rev. Asa Hiras, as Colleague Pastor of the Cong. Church in Vakham, Mass.
1-2), Oct. 8, Ordained, at Belchertown, Mass. Rev. ELIJAH BRIDGEXAS, as Missionary to China.
THE WORLD WE HAVE NOT SEEN.
That time shall never dare destroy;
Nor car hath caught its sounds of joy.
Than sages tell or poets sing-
And softer than the tints of spring.
Fairer than prophets ever told ;
One half its blessedness unfold.
The land of glory and repose ;
The tear of sorrow never flows.
It is not fann'd by summer gale,
"Tis not refresh'd by vernal showers ;
For there are known no evening hours.
With a pure radiance all its own :
Flow round it from the eternal throne.
There forms that mortals may not see,
Too glorious for the eye to trace,
Move with unutterable grace.
In vain the philosophic eyo
May seek to view the fair abode, .. 04.4. Or find it in the curtain d sky:
It is the dwelling place of God!
SERMON FOR THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR. GENESIS XLVII. 8, 9.-- And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art
thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are ax hundred and thirty years : few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage.
IT equally concerns men of all ages, of all characters, and of all conditions, to be well acquainted with the duration and circumstances of human life. And we have all abundant means of information upon this subject. We have seen many begin and end their days in this stage of existence. We have been most sensibly and solemnly admonished of the nature aud duration of our earthly pilgrimage. God has given us a register of mortality from the beginning of the world to the present day. And besides all this, he has enstamped upon all mankind, indelible and infallible marks of their different stages in life, from childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, and from manhood to old age. It is only for the young to look upon the old, and the old to look upon themselves, and they cannot resist the conviction, that they are all but short-lived creatures. The younger part of mankind are always struck with the marks of old age. This is fully exemplified in the passage selected for our text. When Joseph introduced his aged father to the young king of Egypt, there was nothing in Jacob's appearance, which so immediately and sensibly affected him, as his silver locks, his feeble limbs, and all the common marks of a dying creature. Under this impression, he could think of no other topic of conversation so proper, and so correspondent to his present feelings, as that of old age. “And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou ! And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years : few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained to the days of the years of my fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage.” This is a short and comprehensive history of Jacob's life. He had met with a great deal of trouble from his brother Esau, from his brother-in-law Laban, and from his own children. And though he had lived above an hundred years, yet he had not lived near so long, nor did he expect to live near so long, as his fathers and forefathers had done. But he was satisfied with living, and did not regret, that God had shortened the period of life. He was weary of this evil world, and entirely willing to be gathered with his fathers, who had finished their pilgrimage, and entered into everlasting rest. This discourse of the pious patriarch, teaches us :
That good men are satisfied with the conduct of God, in shortening the period of human life. I shall,
I. Show that God has shortened the term of life. And,
God, who at first breathed into man the breath of life, and united the soul and body, was able to preserve that union forever. And there is no room to doubt, that man in his formation, was fitted for immortality. Had he eaten of the tree of life, instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would have effectually secured his own lle, and the lives of all his posterity to all future ages in time and eternity. It is, indeed, uncertain how long mankind would have remained in this world, before they were removed to some other part of God's vast dominions ; but if they ever had been removed, they would not have made their transition out of this into another world, through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Had they remained holy and happy, they might have gone from earth to heaven, in the same manner that angels come from heaven to earth. So that human life was never bounded by an original law of nature, but by a special act of divine providence. Accordingly we find no intimation in scripture, that the death of the body was to be the lot of mankind, until after the apostacy of our first parents. The original threatening, denounced against the first offence, did not comprise temporal death. Had that threatening been literally fulfilled, our first parents would have been made-instantly and completely miserable in both soul and body, without the medium of temporal death. They would not have died, but been ehanged, as those wicked ones will be, that are found alive at the second coming of Christ. It appears from the history of the transactions in Eden, that the first transgressors were forgiven through the promised Messiah, before the sentence of temporal death was pronounced. It was then, and not before, that God expressly said to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread-till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” It was this solemn sentence, which first fixed the bounds of human life. Before this sentence was passed, mankind were immortal; and there was nothing in the constitution of their frame, or in the laws of nature, which had any tendency to prevent' their living forever, without seeing corruption. This sentence of mortality was immediately followed by the special agency of God upon the human body, by which its original constitution was altered, and it became liable to dissolution. So that from this period, it was as nätun! for men to die, as it was before natural for them to live. Here then we ought to observe, that the general sentence of mortality passed