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came to be such; or are we to be of the religion of Jesus Christ, in its pure simplicity of doctrine and discipline, whether it may happen to be of the established religion of our country, or not? Ought we to receive our religion from our ancestors, without enquiry, without examination, and therefore of necessity without conviction; solely because it is transmitted to us from them; impose it (if we possess the power) on others, and transmit it by legal enactments, by pains and penalties to our posterity; or, is the Bible to be our only text-book? has every man the right by nature of private judgment? and is religion a matter of personal, individual, exclusive concern between man and his Maker; man being responsible for his religious creed, and worship to no mere human tribunal; to be interfered with, by no laws of human fabrication? It cannot be pretended that these are unimportant questions, or, that they are unworthy of deliberate and immediate consideration, while they have an intimate bearing on all the subjects we intend to propose for examination.
What is the spirit, what are the claims of the book of God? Does it not come to us with the authoritative declaration “Thus saith the Lord ?" and while Jehovah stoops from Heaven to place in our hands his richest boon, he reminds us of the exclusive regard he requires us to render to it, by the very character which he bears as its Giver. “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” All the services of the law were of divine appointment, no admixture of any thing of mere human devising or arrangement was allowed. This, like the offering up of strange fire was prohibited, and would have brought down on the offender the evident proofs of the Divine displeasure. None can be a partner with God on his throne, with none will he share the entire, absolute exclusive right of legislating for men in the obedience and worship they are to render to him. Thus He spake unto Israel his ancient people. (Deut. ii. 2.) “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you." And with this awful denunciation he shuts up his entire revelation. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. xxii. 18. 19. Does not this prohibition forbid not merely the circulation of any human production as a part of the book of God, but also the allowing any opinion or authority of man to be substituted for it, or to claim either like, or divided power with it?
Behold the first heralds of salvation going forth from Jerusalem, submissive to the majesty of truth, obedient to the command of their risen and glorified Lord, publishing the truth, and preaching salvation to the guilty thro' Jesus the crucified One. Did they mould and square their message in accordance with the views either of the bigotted Jew, or the learned, or philosophic, or licentious Gentile ? Did they accommodate their doctrines to the established religions of the day?-their teaching varying as they passed from one city to another, because each city had its own especial Deity, and peculiar worship? No, wherever they went, they exhibited the same truth, making known Jesus, and him crucified. His will was their only rule. Human laws, religions framed by men, power, threatening, intimidation-were all inefficient to restrain them from declaring the truth, or to induce them to modify, or alter the truth. What a fine and striking illustration we have of this in Acts iv. 13.-20. Peter and John had healed an impotent man, who was daily laid at the gate of the temple, and they took advantage of the surprise and excitement which the miracle produced, to direct the attention of the people to the Saviour in whose name, and through whose power the miracle was wrought. This excited the indignation of the Jewish priests and rulers, who caused the Apostles to be seized, and brought them before the Council. “Now when they saw," &c. Acts iv. 13-30. Trace the Apostles through the whole of their sub, sequent course, and you will find them rising above the influence of the vain traditions and commandments of men, and breaking away from all mere human authority. Their chief desire was, to know the will of Heaven, their supreme aim was to fulfil it. That minister is the only true successor of the Apostles, who catches their spirit, and is exhibiting the very same regard, which they manifested to the Divine Word, as the only safe rule and guide. Men may boast of their apostolic succession, may style themselves the only authorized ministers and dispensers of the word and sacraments, but their succession is a mere figment, and their offi
cial authority powerless, while they reject or overlook the very cardinal principle by which the Apostles were influenced, and which they so strongly and frequently urge on us. Did Paul withstand even Peter in the Council that was held at Jerusalem; because he was to be blamed for vacillating conduct in departing from the will of Christ? and would he acknowledge as his sole successors, think ye, the men who would set aside the will of Christ, as the only rule, or declare its insufficiency to be of itself-unaccompanied with tradition-a certain and safe guide to truth and Heaven?
In expressing our firm belief that the word of God is the only rule by which his Church must be organized and governed that it is entirely sufficient for all the purposes of faith and discipline, and exclusively and authoritatively prescribes both the doctrines which God requires his people to believe, and the duties and services which belong to his worship-we take the very ground that the founders of the English Establishment took, when they combatted with the Roman hierarchy, and sought the overthrow of that subtle but mighty engine of Satan to enslave the spirit, and darken the understandings of men.
The Church of England in her 6th article, “on the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation," thus asserts :“Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation” We want no plainer or clearer assertion of the very cardinal principle of nonconformity than this. They who were the best and most successful advocates of the Church in fighting the battles of the Reformation have fought our battle beforehand, and very triumphantly vindicated our cause, and we have only to use the unanswerable arguments of Protestanism against Popery, as the best and only defence of Dissent from the English Establishment. The great Chillingworth, whose name is frequently quoted as the author of that oft repeated, yet never too oft repeated declaration, “ The Bible, the Bible only is the religion of Protestants," thus expressed himself in his book:-“The re. ligion of Protestants a safe way to salvation" "By the religie on of Protestants" he says, “I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancthon; nor the confession of Augsburgh or Geneva; nor the catechism of Heidelburgh; nor the articles of the Church of England; no, nor the har
mony of Protestant confessions; but, that wherein they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony as a perfect rule of their faith and actions, that is the Bible. The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants. Whatsoever else they believe besides it, and the plain, irrefragable, undubitable consequences of it, well may they hold it as a matter of opinion. But as matter of faith and religion, neither can they with coherence to their own grounds, believe it themselves, nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most schismatical presumption. I, for my part, after a long, (and as I verily believe and hope) impartial search of the true way to eternal happiness, do profess plainly that I cannot find any rest for the sole of my foot but upon this Rock only. I see plainly and with my own eyes, that there are popes against popes; councils against councils; some fathers against others; the same fathers against themselves; a consent of fathers of one age, against a consent of fathers of another age; the church of one age against the church of another age.” “Propose to me however, any thing out of this book-the Bible, and require whether I believe it or not, and seem it never so incomprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand and heart, as knowing no demonstration can be stronger than this-God hath said so, therefore it is true. In other things I will take no man's liberty of judgment from him, neither shall any man take mine from me; I will think no man the worse man, nor the worse christian; I will love no man the less for differing in opinion from me; and what measure I mete to others, I expect from them again. I am fully assured that God does not, and therefore
at man ought not to require any more of any man than this; to believe the Scripture to be God's Word, to endeavour to find the true sense of it, and to live according to it.”
Such is the declaration of Chillingworth. His book has obtained the sanction of the ablest men, who have flourished in the Church of England since his day, and is regarded as a masterly and unanswerable defence of Protestant principles. Now it is surely with an ill grace that those who maintain a great principle in their contests with the Church of Rome, and make it the very chief weapon of their warfare, should disown and discountenance the very same principle when it seems to run counter to their prejudices or their practices.
Why does the Protestant separate from the Catholic, but for the same general reason that the Dissenter withdraws from the Conformist? Can the principle of separation be good in one case, and bad in another? Will he who pleads for the right of private judgment in one case, refuse it in another? Will he deem himself to be influenced by truth while he avows himself a faithful son of the Church, and will he brand his not less conscientious and enlightened neighbour as a schismatic, because his convictions of what he believes to be truth compel his dissent from the Church?
QUALIFICATIONS OF SUNDAY-SCHOOL
FROM what has been said in former papers on the Design of Sunday-Schools, and the Instrumentality which SundaySchools employ to effect their Design, many things might be inferred as at least desirable, if not, indeed, essentially necessary, in the characters of Sunday-school teachers. In our present paper, on the Qualifications of Sunday-school Teachers, it will be our object to enumerate, and briefly to notice these, with others, which, though not so easily to be inferred from any remarks hitherto made, are not less desirable, or essential, in order to complete the character of the Sunday--school teacher.
Piety. This is a desirable, if not an essential qualification in a Sunday-school teacher. The design of Sabbathschools teaches us this. It is to convert the soul. This being the case, how can an individual be considered fully qualified for the office of Teacher who is not experimentally acquainted with what conversion means. To say the least, that Sunday-school teacher's characteris incomplete and unfinished which has it not, and it lacks a fulness which nothing else can supply, and for which nothing else can compensate. Thuse Sunday-school teachers will always be the best, who, possessing the other qualifications for their office, possess this also, who are decidedly pious; and for such, there will always be the greatest hope of success,