Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

retain, they are retained.' What power can be greater than this ? • The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son.' All this I see entrusted to the priests by the Son; as if they were already translated into heaven, and were passed beyond their human nature; and, being freed from our infirmities were then deemed worthy of their office.... By some the honour may be considered small. Away with this madness! for madness it clearly is to neglect such a charge, without which we can neither obtain salvation nor the blessings promised to us. If, then, no man can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be born again of water and the Spirit;' and if he who eateth not the flesh of the Lord, and drinketh not his blood, is deprived of eternal life ;' and if all these things are performed by the hands of these holy men only, and by no other ; how, without them, shall any man be enabled to avoid the fire of hell, or to obtain the promised crown? These, these are they who have been entrusted with spiritual labours and birth by baptism. By them we put on Christ; and being buried with the Son of God, become members of that blessed Head. So that neither rulers nor kings ought to be more dreaded than they; but they should, in justice, be more honoured than our natural fathers. These, indeed, begat us of the blood and of the will of the flesh: but those are the authors of our birth from God,- of that blessed regeneration of true liberty and adoption which is by grace.

“ The Jewish priests had power to remove the leprosy of the body, or rather to examine only the cleansed, and not any power to cleanse : and you know how that office was then contended for. Whereas Christian priests have received authority, not to heal the bodily leprosy, but the corruption of the mind: not merely to verify the cure, but actually to cure it. So, then, they who despise them are much more execrable than Dathan....... God hath given to the priesthood a power both for punishment and beneficence, greater than that given to our natural parents: and there is as much difference between these two, as between our present and future existence; for the one beget us into this life, and the other into the life to come. Those can neither protect us from bodily decay, nor repel an impending malady; whilst these have often saved the struggling and perishing spirit: for they not only can regenerate us, but moreover they have power to pardon our sins. - Is

any

sick among you,' saith James; let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,' &c.

6 What manner of man ought he to be who is the ambassador of a whole city, (why do I say a city,) or rather of all the world, who has to implore God to be merciful to the sins of not the living only, but also of the dead. I, in no way, think the courage of Moses, and of Aaron, to be sufficient for this supplication. He who has been entrusted, as it were, with the whole world, and who is the father of all men, thus approaches God, praying that war may every where cease; that tumults may be quelled; that there may be peace and prosperity; and imploring, both privately and publicly, for a speedy relief from all the evils which oppress each individual: wherefore he ought to excel every man in all those things for which he makes supplication, as much as a governor excels the governed. When he invokes the Holy Ghost, and celebrates the most fearful sacrifice-την φρικωδεστατην επιτελη Ovorav --continually touching our common Lord, in what rank shall we place him, tell me? how much purity, how much piety shall we demand? Then angels surround the priest, and all the tribunal of heaven, and the space around the altar is crowded in honour of Him who is lying there. And this may be believed from the sacrifices there performed. I once heard a person relate that a certain old and illustrious man, in the habit of seeing revelations, declared to him that at that time he had once been favoured with a vision, and that he had suddenly seen a company of angels (as much as he was allowed) clothed in shining garments, who surrounded the sacrifice, and bowed themselves down, as we observe soldiers to do who stand in the presence of a kingand this I believe. Another person also told me, not what he had learned from another, but what he had been accounted worthy to see and hear himself, that when they who are about to depart this life receive the holy mysteries with a pure conscience, at the moment of expiration, angels attend and guard them hence on account of the sacrament received-δι εκεινο το ληφθεν.

This may suffice-how active an instrument for introducing offences into the church Chrysostom has been, may be judged by these extracts, taken from a work which is generally esteemed his best, and which is continually referred to by the priests of the Romish and Anglican communions, as an excellent exposition of their authority, privileges, and duties. But when this priestly rhetoric is tested by the Scriptures, we at once perceive that it is only an eloquent argument for Antichrist, and that the whole fabric of a clerical body separated from the laity is without any foundation or warrant in the word of God. The very existence of a clerical body, of “ the clergy,” originates in fabulous falsehoods and impious traditions, generated by the pride of man, in a diseased state of the church, and faithfully indicating the extent of its corruption : for, in proportion to the exaltation of a clergy is the depression of the church; and vice versa; so that we may know how far nominal christians have departed from the faith once delivered to the saints, by marking the degree of their respect and submission to a distinct clerical body. This is the great apostasy, the building up of a priesthood upon earth in the Church of Christ, and dividing believers into clergy and laity; this is the apostasy, the origin and progress of which occupies the entire limits of ecclesiastical history; this is it which hath overspread the world with darkness, which hath given power to the beast to make war with the saints and overcome them, which hath filled the mouth of the dragon with floods of blasphemy, to deluge the remnant of the elect seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ; and this is it which He, who has in his mouth a sharp two-edged sword, shall at last victoriously abolish, to take unto himself his own great power and to reign.

If we had not seen the phenomenon too often to consider it a novelty, we might express our astonishment, that a voluminous and learned theologian, such as Chrysostom, should launch forth into all these depths of error, whilst the Bible was at hand, as his acknowledged guide and instructor. But in vain do the Scriptures endeavour to teach where men undertake to expound, not in the Spirit of Christ, but in the spirit of party, or according to those opinions which happen to be accepted by the age in which they live. Whence did Chrysostom derive his beretical opinions about the priesthood ? Certainly not from the Bible, but rather from that unmeasured ocean of falsehood, tradition,—whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

We trust that we shall have many opportunities of asserting the truth for which we were here contending; and of clearly stating the doctrine of the true Christian priesthood—the perfect equality of all believers under Christ their head. In the meantime it may, in conclusion, be remarked, that Chrysostom, on many essential points, is entirely Puseyite; that he believes in baptismal regeneration in the grossest popish sense; that he thinks priests do regenerate those whom they baptise; that according to his view, none but priests may officiate at “the tremendous sacrifice,” as he is pleased to call the Lord's supper; that priests have power to pardon and absolve from sin; that priests alone may offer up deprecatory prayers, beseeching God to be merciful to the sins of the living and of the dead; and that in an office of reconciliation they stand between God and the church, to make atonement for sin, and obtain mercy in times of need,

Amidst all this darkness, it is not possible that justification by faith should shine forth—indeed, that fundamental doctrine of the gospel does not forin a part of Chrysostom's theology. If to this we add, that Chrysostom adopted the invocation of the saints, the portraiture of his Puseyism will be complete; and that he did do so, is obvious in the following passage :—“ Say, where is the tomb of Alexander; shew it me, and tell me the day upon which he died. But splendid are the tombs of the servants of Christ, of Peter and Paul, in the queen of cities (Rome), and the days of their deaths are celebrated as festivals by the whole world. The tombs of the followers of the cross are more resplendent than the halls of kings, not only in their extent and beauty (although in this respect they are superior); but what is more, in the zeal of those who flock thither; for he, who is clothed in purple, goeth to kiss them; and laying aside his pomp, standeth a suppliant, and conjureth the saints that they should intercede for him with God; and he whose brows are encircled with a diadem, imploreth the tent-maker and the fisherman, even though they are dead.... ror indeed commandeth his prefect to free one subject and to imprison another. The bones of the saints have not this poor and inferior power, but they have one much greater. They arrest and torture devils, and liberate them who are bounden in these bitterest of chains." (Hom. ïi. Cor. xvi).

The empe

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE.

MR. PRICE'S LETTER TO THE BISHOP

mity with the public wish, in thus OF EXETER, &c. &c.

calling upon your Lordship, as above HUMPHRY PRICE, a clergyman stated, to place before the public residing at Needwood Parsonage, near plain, intelligible, and satisfactory Lichfield, has, through the medium of proof of your Lordship’s high assumpthe Morning Chronicle, addressed a tion, so scouted by all the Roman letter to the Bishop of Exeter, dated Catholic world, so utterly denied by October 31. This letter is a popular great multitudes of your Lordships answer to the usual arguments addu- Protestant brethren (Dissenters), and ced in favour of the apostolical suc- so doubted by many of your Lordcession, “Since your Lordship,” says ship's own church.”. " How does the letter, “is publicly taking the it appear, that because our Lord most high ground of ordination in direct plainly and undeniably commanded unbroken line from the apostles, and his eleven disciples to go and teach is assuming to yourself, on that ground, all nations, that he included Dr. Phil. the power of remitting and retaining pots, for instance, in that command ? sins, and of pronouncing, confidently That he thereby established a public and undoubtingly, over å dying per- ministry to the end of time? 'I reson, 'I absolve thee from all thy sins, peat, that the public should not be in the name of the Father, and of the satisfied with the wide hiatus in this Son, and of the Holy Ghost,' I be- proposed proof, though it satisfied me lieve I am acting in perfect confor- when I was a young minister..

our

True, our Lord says, 'Lo, I am with Every confirmation, for these last you alway, even unto the end of the forty years, have I been harassed and world.' No doubt of this : but still perplexed, almost beyond measure, to the question is, ' To whom did he say square its doctrines with those of the this?' The parallel passage to this

word of God, and to explain to young promise is in the gospel by Mark. people how they were born again ' • These signs shall follow them that in baptism ; and so to explain, at the believe; in my name they shall cast hazard of lowering such and such like out devils, they shall speak with new parts of the Prayer-book in their tongues, they shall take up serpents ; estimation ; and though I have usually and if they drink any deadly thing, it had small parties of such young pershall not hurt them; they shall lay sons, six, or eight, or ten separate hands on the sick, and they shall times, each party, for an hour, and recover.' But is such promise ful- sometimes much longer, I have always filled in these days ? Surely not; found the Prayer-book the greatest then as surely may we depend upon possible hindrance, rather than aid. it, that the command, to which it is ... I would to God that our Lord appended, and from which it appears would again descend, and with the inseparable, was not given to us..... whip of small cords drive all the To what a fearful hazard is money-changers out of the templeestablishment at once exposed, when all who sell political pamphlets for no longer found to be framed, and great livings, and jump Jim Crow' rooted, and grounded on the Holy for bishoprics—all who heap to themScriptures, and appointed by God selves and their families all the rich himself (as great numbers amongst us and fat things of the church that they believe it to be), in his own word. can lay their hands on unblushingly, Who will henceforward contend, that in the face of day, in the very teeth what the state created, cannot be at of public scorn, under the very derithe state's control ? Who will say,

sion of the multitudes, which derision that the building of the state's own they are deluded enough to think an hands, cannot be by the state enlarged, honour to them." or diminished, or even pulled down So think and speak one section of altogether, as the state, in its wisdom, the clergy; but there are three or or folly, may determine?.... It is four other sections, each distinguished quite within the bounds of possibility, by different, and not very harmonithat this whole order of men, from ous views. The Record newspaper, the archbishop of 15,0001. a-year, to after sundry oscillations in opinion, myself of less salary, perhaps, than seems lately to have decided for the his grace's butler receives, may

have views entertained by the old Evangelitheir high pretensions towards their cal party-views, indeed, which it salaries and duties more equalised, would not be very easy to describe, as their lording it over God's heritage the Evangelical party even amongst abridged; their turning the house of themselves are not agreed how far prayer into a den of thieves over- they should recede from Popery, or turned; their spiritual and ecclesias- approach to Puritanism. Between tical pride broken, and their real use- the Prayer Book and the Bible, they fulness most painfully to themselves are placed in a sad dilemma, from increased.... Vain will it be for his which nothing but open dissent could Lordship to think of frightening me ever possibly extricate them. To be with the sword of the Prayer-book. ever seeking the indiscoverable line I will not meet him with that weapon.

of orthodoxy which lies between the I know its defects but too well; they Puritans and the Puseyites, and to be have been the plague of my life. going too much on one side, or too

« НазадПродовжити »