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in confirmation of his opinion that it is the Christian's duiy quietly to surrender himself into the hands of a wicked sovereigi: who attempts to deprive him of his liberty and life. Who perceives not the correctness of an innocent person's conduct in withdrawing himself from the hand of a wicked ruler?
Our readers may expect some account of Mr. Fry's expository remarks on the fourteenth Chapter of the Epistle, in which the Apostle treats of Christian liberty, and prescribes the duty of Christians towards each other in things indifferent. We shall endeavour to gratify them; but we apprehend they will unite in our expressions of deep regret, that such a man as Mr. Fry should be so fettered with the bonds of a secularized church, as to write in a manner little worthy of a Christian Minister, and altogether unworthy of the truth itself. We cannot permit him to impose upon the world the statements which follow, without furnishing the correction of his errors, and something in the way of rebuke proper for his temerity.
The general rule which the Apostle lays down as a maxim of conduct in the professors of the Christian religion, to be applied às frequently as differences not involving the violation of its essentials might occur, is contained in the expression, “ Him " that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful " disputations.” This rule the Apostle illustrates, by shewing its application to existing cases. Some kinds of food were freely used by many of the Christians at Rome, to which others, their brethren, scrupulously objected. The conscience of each was alike good, whether they used, or abstained from, the meats in question ; and therefore, as each was in the same manner in a state of acceptance with God, the points in difference not affecting their character in His account, mutual forbearance was their appropriate duty. Their Christian communion was not to receive any interruption from the variety of their allowable practice.
• Ver. 2d. “ For one believeth that he may eat all things: another who is weak, eateth herbs.”
• This was the dispute: the truly enlightened knew that all descriptions of food were lawful; but some were so weak in maintaining gospel principles, it is most probable from their prejudices concerning the Jewish distinctions of meats, that they abstained from eating this food altogether in heathen countries, where such distinctions could not be ascertained. This is a weakness, it is admitted ; but let it be tolerated ; let it not cause disputes among you.
• Ver. 3d. “ Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not ; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth : for God has received him.”
• He who knows his liberty in these matters, is not to despise his weaker brother an account of his foolish prejudices : neither, on the other hand, is the brother, who dares not from scruples of conscience in
dulge in those liberties which some of his fellow Christians freely partake of, to judge them, or to take upon himself to pronounce them offenders. « For God has received them :” though you presume to judge them, God has declared his acceptance of them.'
• Ver. 4th, “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea he shall be liolden up; for God is able to make him stand.”
• We perceive here, from this strong expostulation of the Apostle, that it was the weaker brother, that was in reality more to blame in this dispute, than the less scrupulous Christians. And in subsequent differences, which have arisen in the church, what rancorous judgements and unchristian censures have often been passed by some Christians on their brethren, either because they would not be tied by their narrow rules; or because strangers to their scruples, they felt themselves at liberty to conform to such things as the weaker brothers conceived to be sinful and abominable,” p. 480-481.
We regret that we cannot permit the Author to escape orir censure ; but the manner in which he has commented on the Apostle's sentiments, is so injurious to the spirit and object which are identified with them, that we must not slightly pass over its impropriety. Mr. Fry has ventured on an alteration of the record, in no part of which does the Apostle designate the scruples of the Christian brother who limited the supply of his table to vegetable food, as foolish prejudices.' It was assuredly no part of his design, to attach a term of reproach, or an offensive epithet, to the conduct of either party. He could never have delivered the exhortation which was intended to effect a respectful and kind attention among all Christians, in a manner direcily calculated to counteract the object. The scruples of a good mind, as they are the dictates of conscience, are never to be represented as 'foolish :' the very principle of mutual forbearance demands in every Christian the use of conciliatiog terms, and strictly forbids the employment of words calculated to depreciate and irritate his brother.
Mr. Fry, we apprehend, is altogether mistaken in bis remark, that the weaker brother was, in the judgement of the Apostle, more to blame than the less scrupulous Christian. Blame is not asserted of either party. The Apostle does not pronounce judgement between the parties, nor does he suggest that one, rather than the other, was in the wrong. To discuss or settle this point, was remote from his intention. " Who art thou, that
judgest another man's servant?'-is an appeal addressed equally to the weak and to the less scrupulous; while the declaration that “ God is able to make him stand,” relates to the one whom the other might judge or despise.
We shall not proceed further in our remarks, till we have extracted a few more lines from this part of Mr. Fry's volume. • The Christian is not his own master, neither is he to call
man master, upon earth; one is his master, even Christ.' And over the consciences of his people there is neither judge nor lawgiver, nor king besides. This is the great fundamental principle of Protestantism; and howeyer those in power may, on some occasions, have attempted to violate it, and however the schismatical and seditious have abused the principle, and prejudiced its cause ; this, I am bold to say, is the fundamental principle of the Church of England, whiclı her soundest members will be found ready to maintain and to act upon.' pp. 485, 486.
Here we would admonish Mr. Fry, that boldness is neither truth nor argument, and that it is very possible bis glorying may not be good : the loudest boasts and the strongest confidence, are not seldom the most empty and baseless. To Mr. Fry's assertion, that in the Church of England there is neither lawgiver nor king besides Christ, it is quite sufficient to oppose the power which the said Church claims to decree rites and eeremonies, and the right which it challenges to exercise authority in matters of faith. For the complete refutation of his position, it is unnecessary to go beyond the fact, that the secular magis trate is the supreme governor of the Church of England, and that Acts of Parliament are the laws on which its whole polity is founded. As for those in power,' Mr. Fry well knows, that be and his brethren must obey their instructions and comply with their will, they being the persons who alone are competent to direct and coerce the ministers of the Church. Her soundest
members !'- Who are they? There is assuredly no difference among the members of the Church of England; they are most perfectly all in the same condition, so far as the obligation of the laws which bind the clergy are concerned; these laws emanating from civil authority, they neither can nor dare resist; they must not presume to judge the ordinances of man, to which the wbole.clergy must at all times render prompt obedience. Mr. Fry has no more liberty than the most heterodox of his brethren, They must in the same manner bow their wills to the secular authority which prescribes their duty. The Rector of Desford must act upon this principle,' and no other. He must not, at his peril, omit the reading of a prayer which he is ordered to pronounce. He is not at liberty to preach the Gospel but within consecrated walls. Over the discipline which Jesus Christ has ordered to be maintained in every Christian community, he has no right of superintendence, but must submit to the interference of secular tribunals, under whose cognizance cases, to which a spiritual discipline alone is appropriate and appointed by the authority of Christ, are visited with the vengeance of temporal punishment !
The reader will have noticed the extremely unjust representation which Mr. Fry has allowed himself to make, of the law
of Christian forbearance; as he will also be reminded of the gross and constant violation of it which he is commanded to practise. With the law of Christian liberty, as it is prescribed by the Apostie, Mr. Fry refuses compliance, and atfords another most decisive proof, by offering resistance to the will of Jesus Christ, the only legislator of Christians, that he admiis another lawgiver over the consciences of believers. What can Mr. Fry say for bimself, if we charge him with imposition on the conscience? And what is more easy? Should the most holy and humble follower of Christ offer himself as a communicant in Desford Church, and scruple to kneel at the communion, Mr. Fry would reject him. How conscientious soever the scruples of the pious candidate might be, they would meet with no indal. gence froin him. He would not tolerate this weakness, though he knew it to be such. He would insist on conformity. He would allow no plea of Christian forbearance. Kneeling at the Lord's Table, is a case to which the law of Christian liberty expressly and signally applies : to compel the use of it is a gross outrage ; it is forcing the conscience which Christ has left free, and therefore, notwithstanding Mr. Fry's boldness, the Church of England is built on another foundation than that which is laid in Zion The sole legislation of Jesus Christ over the consciences of his people is not its fundamental principle.
Mr. Fry seems to be much displeased with some persons, whose names, he says, might be mentioned, for resisting the payment of certain ecclesiastical dues, (p. 488) and he imagines that, in this particular, the pleasure of Jesus Christ will be best fulfilled by a meek submission to every ordinance of men invested with public authority in the Church! What
of the New Testament does Mr. Fry use? We have never found the payment of ecclesiastical dues prescribed in the code of Christian law. The voluntary support of its teachers by those persons who receive their instructions, is the only mode of providing for their subsistence which Christianity sanctions. On what principle of equity are . ecclesiasticul dues' demanded from professors of the Christian faith, or from any other class of religionists, for the support of a Church to which they do not belong? To the support of Civil government, all subjects are unquestionably under obligation to contribute ; but as the State has no legitimate concern with the religious profession of its members, it is, we conceive, beyond the line of its duty, to burden one class of Christians with the expense of maintaining the teachers of another class. Here, again, Mr. Fry infuses the principle of self-destruction into his arguinent, by the admission that the resistance to ecclesiastical claims, which is purely religious, is an appeal to Christ as coming to take ac'count of his servants;' and surely those who withhold their sanction from human ordinances founded on the usurpation of
his authority as the sole legislator of Christians, may await their final audit, without trepidation, in the calm and satisfactory assurance that he will approve their conduct, and pronounce upon them his holy benediction,“ Well done, good and faithful servant!"
The extracts we bave made from this work, will enable our readers to forin their own opinion of the general cast of the sentiments and manner wbich distinguish it. We cannot, however, withhold our opinion, that this volume of lectures, considered as a theological publication, is highly creditable to the Author. We have specified some instances, in regard to which we wish he had been more sober and accurate in his statements, and less confident in the tone of his declamation ; but to the evangelical complexion of the work, to the seriousness, and fervour of the Author, the strong but well-tempered confidence with which he asserts some points of doctrine, and to the subserviency of the Exposition to the purposes of devotional and practical religion, we give unreservedly our warm recommendation. We reinark with pleasure, that Mr. Fry has adopted the text of Griesbach, where its variations are of any moinent, and that many readings are quoted from the Syriac version, in the margin of his work. Altogether, the volume is one of much excellence and value; such as proves its Author to be a good scholar and a good divine. It is entitled to take the precedence of many theological writings of our own times, which have obtained both currency and reputation.
Art. V. The History of the Church of Scotland; from the Estab
lishment of the Reformation to the Revolution : illustrating a most interesting Period of the Political History of Britain. By George Cook, D.D. Minister of Laurencekirk. 3 Vols. 8vo. pp. 1457. Longman and Co. 1815.
(Continued from the last Number, p. 32.) THE THE ill-concerted attempts of the ministers to oppose the
impolitic measures of the king, gave the Court a decided advantage, the ordinary result of ineflectual resistance to established authority, and they did not fail to improve it. Orders having been issued for the apprehension of the ministers concerned in the late commotion, they fled. The clergy were required to recognise the King's authority, and in all cases tu punish sedition; magistrates, and all possessed of power, were commanded to interrupt the preachers, if they uttered sedition in the pulpit : they were to comunit thein till the King should be informed, or to prevent them from preaching in the jurisdiction of those who interrupted them. The city of Edinburgh, completely humbled, was stripped of its most important privileges. James, in expectation of carrying his measures respecting the church,