Imágenes de páginas

lieves according to them shall be ON CONVERSATION. saved.

« As I do not mistake exclama. To the Editor of the Christian tion, invective, or ridicule, for ar

Guardian. gument, I never recriminate on SIR, the lives of their Popes and Gar WHEN we peruse that striking dinals when they urge the cha- admonition of St. Paul, “ Let no racter of Henry the Eighth : I corrupt communication proceed out only answer, Good actions are of- of your mouth, but that which is ten done by ill men through inter- good for the use of edifying,” it ested motives, and 't is the common naturally occurs to us, and cer. method of Providence to bring tainly it is most desirable that it good out of evil: history, both sa- should occur to us, to inquire how cred and profane, furnishes many far our conduct in this respect is examples of it. When they tell, conformed to the rule of the sacred me, I have forsook the worship of Scriptures, .. my ancestors, I say, I have had - Now, Sir, I must eonfess, that,' more ancestors heather than Chris- in the intercourse which I have tians, and my faith is certainly an- had with professors of Christian cienter than theirs, since I have ity, it has appeared to me that by added nothing to the practice of far too little attention is ordinarily the primitive professors of Chris- paid to this part of the Christian tianity. As to the prosperity or character. extent of the dominion of the I am not disposed rashly to bring church, which Cardinal Bellarmin against my fellow Christians the counts among the proofs of its or- charge of allowing themselves in thodoxy, the Mahometans, who corrupt communication ; though I laave larger empires, and have made almost fear such a charge might a quicker progress, have a better be proved, did we advert to the plea for the visible protection of tendency of the frivolous and Heaven. If the fopperies of their worldly discourse which too often religion were only fopperies, they occupies our attention in parties ought to be complied with, where- composed exclusively of professors ever it is established, like any ridi- of religion ; for I cannot but think culous dress in fashion; but I think that it is calculated to foster that them impieties; their devotions are spirit which is declared to be diaa scandal to humanity from their metrically opposed to the love of nonsense; the mercenary deceits the Father. See 1 John, ii. 15. and barbarous tyranny of their ec- Nor do I wish by any means to clesiastics, inconsistent with moral exclude that conversation which is honesty. If they object to the adapted to inform the mind on any diversity of our sects as a mark of branch of useful knowledge. I reprobation, I desire them to con- would even go so far as to say, sider that that objection has equal that I would not altogether forbid force against Christianity in gene- that innocently sportive conversa, ral. When they thunder with the tion which tends to relax the mind names of fathers and councils, they when wearied with application, and are surprised to find me as well which seems to be chiefly danger. (often better) acquainted with ous when carried to excess. them than themselves. I show But I do earnestly wish the conthem the variety of their doctrines, versation of Christians to be good their violent contests and various for the use of edifying; I wish it factions, instead of that union they to be such, that, when our social boast of,"

parties break up, we may retire, feeling that we are less chained

down to the things of time and . This, I conceive, is the radical sense, and invigorated and animat- cause of the defect which is the ed to run the race set before us subject of the present remarks ; with fresh alacrity. . though I am willing to allow that

I would not, however, be under- mistaken timidity, natural reserve, stood as pleading for the forced and several other things, may tend introduction of religious topics, to augment it. The defect, how. without regard to place or circum- ever, is important, and therefore stances ; for I am well aware, that, its causes, as well as its remedies, in general, not good but harm will are deserving of our investigation. result from it; but I think that it Should these remarks, Mr. Ediis most desirable that every Chris- tor, appear deserving of a place in tian should cultivate that disposi- your valuable miscellany, I purtion which our Lord evinced, to pose shortly to offer some observatake advantage of every opportu- tions on the methods which appear nity in order to throw in some pro- to me to be most likely to be sucfitable remark. It is, indeed, won- cessful in diminishing the evil to derful that there is not more at which I have adverted, tention paid to this: I will give an

. I am, Sir, instance of what I here intend. -

Your humble servant. ' We frequently hear in company of

Oudere the death, perhaps the sudden death, of a neighbour; the remark REFLECTIONS ON THE GENERAL which we might reasonably expect

CONFESSION. in reply to this information is, Be

PART II. ye ready also, or something of a

No. IX. similar nature: but, no; the cons versation is immediately turned to " Spare thou them, O God! which the state in which he left his af confess their faulis," fairs, and the means which he used To spare, and to have mercy, are in amassing the wealth which he nearly synonymous terms. Perhaps left behind him. Now, Sir, I the precise difference between them would ask, is this good to the use may be this : the former denotes of edifying? It surely cannot be the vouchsafement of a negative, thought so.

the latter of a positive blessing. The fact, however, is notorious, Keeping this distinction in view, it that a defect in this respect is com- will not be necessary to travel the mon among professed Christians, same ground which we went over and the cause is, I fear, equally when meditating upon the immea plain: it is, I think, to be traced to diately preceding sentence of the worldly-mindedness. The observa. General Confession. It will require tion of St. John may, in a quali- no depth of thought to perceive fied sense, be applied to the majo- that the words now claiming our rity, I fear, even of true Christịans: attention consist of an important Ø They are of the world, therefore request and an urgent plea. speak they of the world.” The . « Spare thou them, O God!". love of the present scene is not suf- This is a very IMPORTANT REficiently subdued; and though, QUEST: the apprehension of evil perhaps, the more gross love of the induces us to make it. The dreadworld may be mortified, yet the ed evil implied in the word “ spare" affections are not so set upon the is, that God would forbear to inthings which are above, as to ren- flict upon us the merited judgder them predominant in the mind ments: such as, depriving us of in the degree in which they ought the means of grace; withdrawing to bę.

* the influences of his blessed Spirit;

terminating our existence before deserve it: we have sinned; there, our pardon be sealed ; pouring out fore we deserve it. Cannot, howupon us the vials of his eternal ever, divine wrath be averted ? wrath. It can hardly admit of a Yes'; if we " confess, our faults.” question whether these be the And thus we are conducted to the judgments which we here depre- consideration of cate: I think they are intended, The PLEA with which the reand have constructed my reflec- quest is urged. Because we contions accordingly.

. fess our sins, we look for pardon, The means of grace are as ne- Let us, however, be careful of ercessary to the subsistence of the ror in this point: it is not for the soul as the customary repasts are sake of confession that our sins are to the existence of the body. If remitted unto us; confession of sin they are withheld, our inward man is a grace wrought in, and exerso must languish and decay:" sure- cised by us. And if we were to ly, then, to be deprived of them is be forgiven on account of it, our a serious evil. If God “take his pardon must be attributed, in part Holy Spirit from us,” we become at least, to our good works; but “ dead in trespasses and sins;" we “ God, for Christ's sake alone, for cannot perform any function of the giveth us :" 6We have redemption spiritual and divine life ; and we through his blood, even the for. are totally unfit and unmeet 6 to giveness of sins.” be partakers of the inheritance of The point, then, to be deter: the saints in light.” If

mined is this: What connexion is

there between the confession and the Life be the time to serve the Lord, The time t’insure the great reward;

pardon of sin?- Though we are

not pardoned for, yet we cannot and if

be pardoned without it: the former There's no repentance in the grave, paves the way for the latter, by Nor pardon offer'd to the dead;

bringing honour to the divine law, how awful to be launched into and glorifying the divine perfeceternity with our guilt upon our tions." shoulders, and our sins not cover. It brings honour to the divine laro. ed! We must, in this case, “ make Does not the confession of sin our bed in hell ;” and to the in- amount to a declaration that the quiry, " Where is he? - In tor- law of God is a perfect rule of life : ments," must be the answer. (Com- that it requires an exact conformity, pare Job, xiv. 10, with Luke, xvi. tò this rule ; that it is not too 23.) How dreadful must be eter- strict; does not require more than nal wrath! to be driven from the it is our bounden duty to perform ; presence of God, and to lie down allows of no sin ; and denounces a in everlasting despair! What is curse upon the smallest transgresit?What heart can conceive the sion?-Yes; we own that “ the misery and wretchedness, the law is holy, just, and good ;" that " blackness of darkness,” which no fault is to be found with it; pervade the regions of the damned! and that we are “ carnal, sold in.

Will any one deny that these are der sin.” 6 four sore judgments ?" We have, By the confession of it we also above, styled them mérited; and glorify the divine perfections. So so, indeed, they are. We have far from impeaching God's justice, been “ sinners against the Lord we acknowledge the equity of it, exceedingly :” but “ the soul that not only in the calamities which sinneth, it shall die;" die spiritual- we now endure, but in the punishly-die eternally. This is threat- ment which will be inflicted on ened; consequently, if we sin we impenitent sinners hereafter. We

exalt his truth in that we believe of his state, and this view of it is what he has threatened he will ex., the harbinger of mercy. ecute, and assuredly perform what Bearing these things in mind, he has promised.-We honour his let us present our petitions at a omniscience, because our confes- throne of grace, saying, šion of sin goes upon the principle “O Almighty God, our heathat

venly Father, we acknowledge our . Our most secret actions lie

sins before thee, with a humble, . All open to his sight.

lowly, penitent, and obedient We glorify his holinesss by declar- heart : spare us, therefore, good mg ourselves vile and filthy; not Lord! spare thy people, whom fit to stand in his presence; of na- thy Son hath redeemed with his tures quite contrary to his; and most precious blood, and be not that there can be no communion angry with us for ever. Amen." between him and sinners ; yea, we

ROBERT. tremble to think how infinitely holy he is, and how unholy we are. His

ON LANCASTERIAN SCHOOLS. wiercy is honoured by our declaring that he has punished us far less To the Editor of the Christian than our iniquities deserve, and

Guardian. that it is owing to the riches of his SIR, grace that we are out of hell, We B EING solicited to support the * give glory' to his love, because, Lancasterian School in North with weeping eyes and aching Street, City Road, I take the liber, heart, we express our astonishment ty of stating to you a few reasons that he should give his only Son to for declining to become a subbe our substitute and surety. And scriber to the same, hoping they when we are confessing our sins, may catch the eye of those who do we not entertain lofty thoughts have the real good of the poor at of the divine patience? We own heart, who wish to “ train up a that he “ spareth us when we de child in the way, he should go." serve punishment.” We wonder My first objection is, the total negat his long-suffering. And we de- lect of their observance of the clare, that had a fellow-creature Lord's day. We were led to be· treated us as we have treated God, lieve that the Committee were we should long ago have shown pledged to see that the children him the tokens of our displeasure. should attend at those places of · In this way we glorify the divine public worship which their parents perfections, while “ confessing our preferred on that day ; but on in, faults,” and spreading our sins be- quiry at the churches and meetings fore God. In this act the above of the various classes of Dissenters view of the attributes of Jehovah is in this district, it is not found to implied, should there be no ex- be the case, but they are left to do press mention of them. And who as their parents do, or as they ever confesses his guilt and vile- themselves please. What is the ness before God, acknowledging tendency of this ?-Certainly, to that he merits no favour at his impress their minds that the obhands, but deserves the tokens of servance of the Sabbath may be his heaviest displeasure, having af- dispensed with. Is not this calca. fronted his glorious Majesty, and lated to produce a similar effect to run counter to the purity and re- that plot which the atheistical ruquirements of his law, may hum- lers of France framed to do away bly hope that, for Christ's sake, Christianity, by introducing the de. God will spare, will pardon, will cade for the Christian Sabbath ?accept him. He has a right view The neglect of the Lord's day may be no crime in the eye of a humility does not seem at all incul. Socinian, the principal leaders of cated, but self importance and suf. which heresy were very prominent ficiency very prominent: there are at the formation of this School, sad complaints by the parents of and still continue their fostering their children's increasing forwardcare of it. But, Sir, to a Christian ness and insubordination : two out it is an essential; the very name of three that I know have been reminds him of Him who is the withdrawn by their parents, seeing King of kings and Lord of lords, their morals and manners become and as the sabbath of that “ rest much the worse, and do prefer which remaineth to the people of paying for them to their having God;" while he prizes the oppor- such an education, were it even tunity of waiting upon the Lord, gratis. Why do not Mr. Lancasthat he may “ renew his strength," ter's profession, the people called and blesses him for the “ means of Quakers, adopt the system them, grace and for the hope of glory.” selves? If it were so very benefi, My next objection is, that there is cial, surely they would: but they no catechising or religious examin- know better; it would not do for ation whatever. Is it sufficient to their children; then why recom. gabble as fast as they can draw mend it to us? It falls very far breath, through garbled boards of short of the benefits held forth to. Scripture against a wall ? -Every the public: those exhibited to Christian parent knows it is not: their eye at the public exhibitions they, as well as ourselves, require are the greater part. lads who could " line upon line," “ precept upon read and write before, and come precept.” Is there no catechism there through subscribers, thus. that contains what I would call merely shifting the further expense the broad principles of Christianity, of their education, while they apin which most of the various sects pear as the natural productions of of professing Christians could agree the institution. They have advere (Socinians of course would dis- tised having educated 1150 boys gent), viz. original sin, complete in the course of one year, though atonement by Christ, and sanctifi- I was well informed that they selcation by the Holy Spirit?-Surely dom had more than three hundred there is. My next objection is, in the school, and now have only that there does not appear any se- 270: what education have the 880 lection of Scripture on our fall in received ? they must mean they Adam ; a subject, in my opinion, have entered so many on their that should be the first taught; books, most of whom probably till that is learnt, the value of re- have been taken away, as the two demption by Christ cannot be esti- out of three before mentioned. mated, nor the Spirit's work upon Ours is a very large district, conthe heart desired; the promises of taining a great many poor. I the gift of a “ new heart” will be shall only add, that I shall be very obscured by the veil of the old one. happy to assist any society that reFrom what I saw of their lessons, duces to practice what I have enwhich appear to be all Mr. Lan- deavoured to show is wanting, that caster's selecting, their theology will form them for useful members can never excel that of the dis- of society, and to 6 fear God and ciples of John in the nineteenth honour the king." chapter of the Acts. I am fearful A FRIEND TO THE RELIGIOUS of having taken up too much of EDUCATION OF THE POOR. your valuable publication already, Finsbury. but I have a few words more 'I wish N. B." The system is now to be ty addo. The Christian grace, of called the Royal Institution, &

« AnteriorContinuar »