Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of Ministerial integrity, to establish the principle of an expedient outrage of national faith, of public honour, of common principle, of the sacred institutions of the land! And all this merely to escape the inevitable sentence of disgraceful exile, just ready to be inflicted at the instance of those self-same Mobs, Unions, Demagogues, Idolaters, and Blasphemers, to whom they had so dastardly pandered, to whom they had sacrificed the untarnished lustre of the Constitution, for no other purpose than to propagate the numerous intrigues of their own vile faction,--to secure an influence they never before had dared to hope for,—to

Apostle teaches, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth(1 Tim. iii. 15.); wherefore we may say with the Apostle, if a man "neglect to hear the Church, let him be as an heathenman and a publican(Matt. xviii. 17.). It is therefore as plain as the noon-day sun, that the Society, however dispersed over the face of the earth, which has the promise of the assistance of the Holy Spirit abiding with it for ever,” yea even unto the end of the world(John, xiv. 16; Matt. xxviii. 20.); moreover whose Governors are the appointed of the Lord, in respect of whom He himself is as the Head(Col. ii. 19.); can alone be the safe repository for all saving truth. The Church therefore is the work of God, and settled in the World for men's eternal salvation. It is there, that the truth is preserved, maintained, taught, and interpreted. It is there that the Salvation which has been purchased for believers, is savingly applied. And it is there only that the influences of the Holy Spirit are exerted in the instruction, and edification of the members of the Body(Eph. iv. 16.). This has been the only method appointed by the great King of the Church. There are, it is true, some who by extraordinary Revelations arrogate to themselves, as much and more authority, than ever was delegated to the whole Catholic Church! But the example of our Blessed Lord himself, ought to teach such pretenders a lesson of humility and obedience. For not even did He himself deviate from his own institution, but observed it no less than to the performance of miracles. Three eminent instances in Revelation establish this truth. We find that the Angel would not instruct Cornelius—that the Spirit would not instruct Queen Candace's Eunuch--that our Lord himself would not instruct Saul, in the articles of the Christian faith; but each of these sent the above "to the Church," that after having been received by the initiatory rite of Baptism, they might fully learn all saving truth. Hence it evidently appears, that Jesus the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” always has, and ever will add to the Church daily such as should be saved." In the above cited examples, we see the supernatural means, that were used to bring these respective individuals within the pale of the Church, in order to their being

keep a death-like gripe of the convenient reins of power for the furtherance of individual interests, in despite of the interests of the community,--and in sovereign contempt of all national honor to make " the most sweet voicesof the rabble, imperiously domineer over the gentle whispers of Religion, Order, and Public Character. Infatuated dupes! You might as reasonably have hoped to slake a parching fever-thirst by a draught of wine, as to appease the popular clamour, you yourselves have raised, and to which you must now meekly bow; or else submit to the hard, and ruinous destiny of popular obloquy, and overwhelming

saved. Hence we may note the very remarkable fact, that the Lord chose rather even to work miracles to bring men into the Church, than save them without it. We are not then to “ reply against God" (Rom. ix. 20.), but abide in the attitude of grateful obedience to, and adoring admiration of, the incomprehensible designs of His overruling Providence. The necessity of being in the Church, as regards our final salvation, is thus incontrovertibly proved from the Holy Scriptures; to which also responds the unanimous voice of all antiquity. It may be remembered that one of the marks of the first Christian Church, was “ continuing stedfastly in the Apostle's Doctrine.” This is the repeated language of Divine Revelation. "Take heed,says St. Paul, “ unto the doctrine ; Continue in them" (1 Tim. iv. 16.). Again it is written—" earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude, 3.). From this we see, that all the doctrines of faith, were altogether and once for all deposited in the Church. Succeeding ages therefore, were not deputed, to find out a hitherto unexplored mine of creeds and discipline. Again the primitive Church was charged to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering(Heb. x. 23 ; iv. 14.). They were not to seek out a new faith, but rigorously adhere to the old, which had been committed to their trust. Andkeeping the faith of Jesus," is recorded in the Apocalyptic visions (Rev. xiv. 12.), as one of the most conspicuous marks of the patience of the saints,even amid the assaults of the bitterest persecutions. The Apostle "commanded Timothy to hold fast the form of sound words in faith and love,” and to keep that good thing which was committed unto him(2 Tim. i. 13.). Thus the Apostle exhorted Timothy to preserve inviolate the form” or summaryor “ sketch(ÚTOTÚT wors) of Apostolic doctrines, which was intrusted unto him ; and was further instructed to commit(i. e. in trust. napáОov. See Macknight) the same to faithful men(2 Tim. ii. 2.). Hence we see the force of St. Paul's injunction--" Stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel(Phil. i. 27); and also of the Apostle's charge to bishops, that they should hold fast the faithful word as disgust. Short-sighted legislators ! Overawed by the rabble fury, and legislating for these your masters, you must basely sacrifice the policy of the State to their capricious whims : in place of ruling as deliberating legislators, you must approve yourselves the docile, pliant bondsmen to the tyranny of the deliberating and commanding crowd: instead of performing the services of the country with honour, efficiency, power, and independence, you must vary and shuffle as the daily breeze-or dastardly skulk from office-or in- · gloriously sleep as renegades from the Legislaturedriven away by the loud clamours, and "pitiless, pelting

they have been taught(Tit. i. 9.). All the above citations fully convey to us the import of that other direction of St. Paul" Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings(1 Tim. vi. 20.). Timothy was thus exhorted by Paul, in both of his Epistles, to guard most religiously the fides depositum" as St. Jerome expounds the last quotation, that sound Faith which was committed in trust to him ;” and besides is here directed to abstain from the profane emptiness of words, or as the Latin Fathers generally render it, from the “ profane novelties of words.(The Latin Fathers of course read kalvoowvias, instead of KEVOO wviac. The Vulgate has the same reading—" Devitaris profanas vocum novitates." Augustin, Chrysostom, Ambrose, &c. so quote it. Several MSS. have this reading. See Poli Synop. in locum.). In whichever way the passage is understood, an important lesson is conveyed to all believers. Macknight in his Commentary on the Epistles, has judiciously remarked on 2 Tim. i. 13. -“ False teachers had proudly and impiously introduced into their discourses, a variety of high-sounding, mysterious words añd phrases of their own invention, (called foolish talking" or "vain jangling," 1 Tim. i. 6.) on pretence that they expressed the Christian doctrines better than those used by the Apostles.” And we are constrained to quote the sentiment of the pious Bp. Beveridge on the same subject, from his most excellent Discourse on 2 Tim. i. 13 :--a Sermon that ought to be thoroughly known at least by every Divine; an ignorance of which is indeed almost inexcusable. “ All new ways,” says the Bishop, "of speaking in Divinity, especially in our age, is at the best but vain babbling, and commonly prophane, possessing men's minds with such notions and conceptions of things, as will infallibly lead them into error and heresy. Read but the wild extravagant opinions of the first heretics and schismatics, that disturbed the Church; and afterwards take a view of those which after ages produced ; together with such as have been either revived or invented in our days, and you will find them all made up of new words, strange phrases, and odd expressions, which please the ears, and then de

stormof insolence, ignorance, envy, license, turpitude, and venality. Sapient statesmen! Not to be so discriminating, as to distinguish between a public opinion, the offspring of reason and right, born in full time, and an outcry, the abortion of treason and folly, and thus destroying the adamantine rock, upon which all Government is based, and substituting in its place an ingulfing bed of shifting sand. Profound masters of human nature ! To allow the laws to be so insulted, and so trampled upon, -by your professions of maintaining the people's liberty, and by your indulgence of the popular appetites, -as to be obliged in Ireland

bauch the minds of them which hearken to them. We need not go far for instances; every sect amongst us, will supply us with too many, insomuch, that they may be all known from one another, merely by their words, and new modes of speaking; whereby they would seem to interpret, when indeed they pervert, the Scriptures, and wrest them to their own destruction. Hence therefore, it will be our interest and wisdom, as it is our duty, to avoid those new words and phrases, which have been lately started in the Church, as well as the opinions which are couched under them; and to look upon them at the best but superfluous and unnecessary, upon that very account, because they are new.” We shall have more in elucidation of this hereafter. From all that we have now said, it is no difficult matter to detect the unscriptural, unreasonable, and preposterous absurdity of our modern Sectaries; who in utter contradiction to Revelation, excogitate new systems of faith and discipline, contrary to the express letter of Revelation, which insists on a full and perfect rule of faith and discipline, having been once committed to the pillar of all truththe Church; and this based on the written word. No, say these irreverent Sectaries, this promised witness and keeper of the truth, was not until our times, in any one age, favoured with the Spirit's influences, though the specially inspired messengers of heaven did profess to plant, and found Churches - conducted and governed though they may have been by Apostolic directions—and enriched by the oracles of God, as by them also interpreted! It is for us only

who, in proud defiance of this Apostolic Body, disregard its high authority, whether of its promised divine privileges, or of its unbroken link of succession, or of its lofty declarations of Apostolic foundation - to impose on mankind our notions of the Faith and Discipline, which the Apostles either forgot, or cared not for, or failed in establishing; or if established, passed out of the minds of men, until in contradiction to all former notions of God's promises, to primitive and apostolic teaching, the Spirit at last has aroused us, by an internal light, to reconstruct the Faith upon our own terms,-overwhelm in dishonour God's own candlestick and external light, and not only

to suspend the true freedom of the Constitution, that you may be enabled to govern them, and all this too with but little effect !!! Nay, nor is this all. In consequence of your magnificent plans, the most popular Ministry that ever basked in the smiles of the people's favour, cannot from the increasing preponderance and present precariousness of Mob influence, flatter themselves, with the enjoyment of but one day's Administration, aye, or even the re-possession of their seats for all their trouble; whilst from the absolute extinction, and loss of the counterpoise of Aristocratic power, when you yourselves shall have reached the

make our Church, the true Church, but as we have the dominion over God's Spirit, hurl to perdition every other as Spiritless, Lifeless, Ancient, and Unmodernized!!! The impious arrogance, and imperious and groundless pretensions, of such arrant rebels to the first and ancient faith, and apostolic government, and primitive discipline,all of which were “ once" and “ altogethercommitted in trust to the chosen faithful of God--by them to be delivered and preached throughout all nations"--and to endure to the end of time, even every day(Matt. xx. 20. máoas tús ņuépas.), against the combined assaults of all the powers of Hell-require, we presume, no other comment than a bare exposure. Notwithstanding all their exclusive and ridiculous professions, we must confess, with every respect to the humility (!) of these self-willed brawlers, that we, for our part, are quite as disposed to hear the Church" of God, as to sit at the feet of their fine inventions; and unquestionably we are as certain of the fulfilment of those promises, which God made to the first propagators of Christianity, and to their successors, and to their labours, and to their doctrines, and to their establishment of the Church, as we are of those who are pleased to say, that they have in their own prolific brains armoury, to fit on every point, and suit every occasion, and expedients for accomplishing every stratagem. Most unceremoniously we say to them all-let each and all of them be liars, but let God be true” (Rom. iii. 4.). From all this, our readers can decide on the position we have been maintaining, namely, that Revelation itself refers us continually to Antiquity, Universality, and Concurrent Testimony, as the only safe, aye, infallible tests, for ascertaining sound and wholesome doctrine. For in the very firstage of Christianity, we have seen, the “faith of Jesuswas published and defined : thus the doctrines of the Gospel were embosomed, as it were, in the Antiquity of the Church ; whilst branching off to the utmost bounds of the earth, by the immediate interposition of the Holy Ghost, an almost innumerable number of shoots abundantly fructified, deriving all their sap and nourishment from the one parent stock—the Universal Church. Still, however diversified these branches may

« AnteriorContinuar »