Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

*Go YE, THEREFORE, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

The minister shall then address the newly ordained brother, as follows: My respected and beloved brother,

As the LORD, in his providence, hath now made choice of you to be a priest and teaching minister in his New Church of the New Jerusalem, be you ever mindful of the sanctity of the work to which you are called. To you now belongeth the important office of conducting public worship, of celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, marriages, baptisms and funerals, and of performing all holy rites and ordinances of the Church, excepting that of ordaining other priests and ministers.

Let your deportment, therefore, be such as becometh the everlasting Gospel.

Be faithful to the charge committed to your trust: be diligent to instruct, patient to endure, faithful to reprove, and sincere in all your actions, words and thoughts; having this one thing always in view, to please the LORD, and to he useful in his Church.

Here the minister may close the service with the Lord's Prayer, and the benediction ; or, ascend the pulpit, whilst an appropriate hymn is sung, and deliver the following

ADDRESS, By way of instruction and illustration respecting the nature of

the Priesthood, and the subject of Ordination, in the New Jerusalem Church.

Extracts from the Heavenly Doctrines of the N. J." 66. The ordination of ministers, or priests, is effected by prayer and the imposition of hands, because this signifieth communication of life from the LORD; and at the same time denotes illumi. nation and the power of instruction, which particularly have respect to the ministerial office.”

“ Priests are to teach men the way to heaven, and likewise to lead them therein. They are to teach them according to the doctrine of their Church, derived from the Word ; and they are to lead them to live according to such doctrine.

« Such priests as teach the doctrine of truth, and lead their flock thereby to goodness of life, and so to the Lord, are the good shepherds : but such priests as only teach, but do not lead to goodness of life, are the evil shepherds."

“ Priests ought not to claim to themselves any power over the souls of men, inasmuch as they cannot discern the true state of the heart or interiors of man: much less ought they to claim the power of opening and shutting the kingdom of heaven; because such power belongeth to the Lord alone.”

“ Dignity and honour ought to be paid unto priests, on account of the sanctity of their office; but a wise priest giveth all such honour unto the LORD, from whom all sanctity cometh, and not unto himself; whereas, an unwise priest attributeth the honour to himself, and taketh it from the LORD."

“ They who claim honour to themselves on account of the sanctity of their office, prefer honour and wealth to the salvation of the souls committed to their care; but they who give honour to the Lord and not to themselves, prefer the salvation of souls to honour and wealth."

“ The honour of any employment is not in the person of him, who is employed therein, but is annexed to him on account of the dignity of the office in which he is employed; and what is thus annexed doth not belong to the person employed, but to the enployment, being separated from the person, when he is separated from the office.”

“ Priests ought to instruct the people, and lead them by the truth of doctrine to goodness and righteousness of life; but they ought not in matters of faith, on any account, to use compulsion, inasmuch as no one can be compelled to believe contrary to the dictates of his understanding. Every person ought to be allowed the peaceable enjoyment of his religious opinions, however they may differ from the priest's, on condition that he maintaineth them quietly and peaceably; but if he maketh disturbance thereby, he ought then to be separated from the community; for this is according to the laws of order, whereon the priesthood is established.”

After this, the subject may be enlarged upon, in the charge or address to the candidate, at the discretion of the ordaining mi. nister.

The whole is then to be concluded with the Lord's Prayer and benediction.

OBSERVATIONS On the use, in religious creeds, of certain terms not to be found

in the Sacred Scriptures.

TO THE EDITORS OF THE REPOSITORY.

Gentlemen, The establishment of your magazine, which has a considerable circulation amongst the members of the Old Church, cannot fail to be productive of much benefit, in disseminating the principles of the New Jerusalem. As I presume it is your intention to admit into your columns useful discussions upon doctrinal points, where the object is evidently the investigation of truth for its own sake, I feel assured that inquiring men of all denominations will add to the interest of your miscellany by occasional communications. Truth can never be so clearly displayed as by contrast with its opposite; and nothing can more effectually exhibit a contrast than an argumentative discussion. As soon as men are resolute enough to cast off the shackles, which early education and long established opinions, derived from human creeds, have rivetted upon their minds, and are determined to inquire for themselves in matters of theology, then, and not until then, will the Word of God be consulted in preference to the decrees of councils and the arbitrary dogmas of Churches; and then will the truths of the New Dispensation be seen in as clear a light by millions, as they are now beheld by thousands.

Any unprejudiced mind can perceive, that in the theology of modern days, certain dogmatical propositions are first laid down as truths, which must be believed as matters of faith, and to reason concerning which is pronounced to be absolute heresy. To these assumed principles, all the sublime and holy truths of the Word of God, which breathes, throughout its sacred pages, a spirit of love and mercy to rebellious man, are made to bend; and so blind become the eyes of those who are led away by these traditions of men, that they can see nothing but what is in accordance with their favourite and pre-conceived opinions. You will hear a vocabulary of words and phrases perpetually resounded from the pulpit, as conveying the orthodox sentiments of Christianity, which are not to be found in the Bible ; and so contented are the great inass of professing Christians to trust their eternal welfare to

what they are told by others, that they scarcely think it worth while to seek for truth at the Fountain Head.

At the consummation of the Jewish Church, which was accomplished at the period of the first advent of our Lord, it appears that one of the charges advanced against the heads of that Church, was, making the Word of God of none effect by their traditions. It behoves Christians, at the present day, when the Lord has made his second appearance in the power and glory of his Holy Word, by revealing the spiritual sense thereof, to be watchful that there be no cause for a repetition of this awful denunciation. Let them in humility study the sacred volume, and earnestly pray to the Lord, in the language of the Psalmist, that he would open their eyes, that they might behold wondrous things out of his law. This, and this alone, is the way of acquiring true doctrine; and those who drink at the fountain of living waters, will readily know of the doctrine whether it be of God, for God will open their understandings, that they may understand the Scripiures, as he did to his disciples of old.

Amongst the expressions which appear most prominent in the sermons and compositions of modern theologians, are the following: Atonement, Three Persons in the Godhead, Divine Justice, Satisfaction, Vicarious Sufferings, Expiation, Reprobation, Predestination, Adam's Fall, Original Sin, and Covenant of Grace. In order that might be satisfied as to the existence or non-ex. istence of these terms in the Scriptures, I have carefully examined Cruden's Concordance, which is probably the most correct one extant; and the following has been the result of my investigation.

ATONEMENT. This word occurs frequently in the Old Testament in relation to the Jewish sacrifices. As I am not acquainted with the Hebrew language, I cannot pretend to define the meaning of the original word, or to testify to the assertion, that the same word, which is rendered atonement in some places, is differently translated in others. In the New Testament, atonement is to be found but once, and that is in Romans v. 11, where it is also rendered, in the margin, reconciliation. Upon reference to the original, I find the Greek word to be katallages, which also occurs in two other places, viz. 2 Corinth. v. 18, 19, but, in both these passages, it is translated reconciliation. In Schrevelius's Lexicon, the Latin translation of this word is simply reconciliatio, the root from which our English term reconciliation is

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

derived. The verb, also, whence katallagēs is deduced, occurs in several passages besides, where it is translated reconcile, reconciled, but never atone or atoned. Having then established the fact, that the word used by St. Paul was reconciliation, it remains for us to show, that, in not one single passage of his writings, does he thereby intimate a change of mind or determination on God's part, which is implied in the commonly received doctrine of atonement, but invariably on the part of man. In support of this assertion, the following quotations are adduced :

“ That he might reconcile both unto God." Eph. ii. 16.
“By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Col. i. 20.

5 And you, that were sometime alienated, and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Col. i. 21.

“ If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation, (or atonement.)" Rom. v. 10, 11.

“ And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinth. v. 18, 19, 20.

From a view of all these passages, as well as the general tenor of the Bible, which is so strongly confirmatory of the great truth, that God desireth not the death of a sinner, but is always ready to forgive and to love the penitent, without demanding any sacrifice to appease him, except the sacrifice, on man's part, of his natural, worldly, and selfish affections, represented in the Jewish Church by the sacrifice of beasts, I am compelled to conclude that the doctrine of atonement, built upon the idea that by the sufferings of Christ, God became reconciled to man, is one of those traditions of men, by which the Word of God is rendered of none effect.

Three Persons in the Godhead. The expression of three persons is not to be found, either in the Old or New Testament; neither is it warranted by any passages that I can discover. That

« AnteriorContinuar »