Зображення сторінки

by the Apostles themselves, but we are accustomed or not to say that each of thein contributed a this creed by rote, that we may separate clause to compose it: ever have these important truths so and though in some protestant impressed upon our hearts, as to churches, it may be rated rather influence, habitually, our temper too high, while many individuals and conduct; viz. That there is in this country shew their igno- a holy, universal church, to which rance by considering it as a pray- every saint in Christ Jesus beer : yet, as a very ancient and longs, (Phil. iv. 21.) and That all seriptural summary of Christian true Christians are brethren, who Doctrine, it is highly respectable. have one common interest, and We allow, indeed, that it is not a should have a peculiar regard for perfect compendium of divine each other. truths; since, on the one hand, it 1. “I believe the holy, universal does not touch, except by impli- church.” What is the scriptural cation, on the fallen state of man; idea of this phrase? A roman while, on the other, we dare not catholic, it is well known, would say that a persou’s salvation would put an unscriptural sense upon it, be endangered were he ignorant which I need not here refut of the name of the Roman go. He would say, the holy, catholic vernor, who sentenced our Lord church is the church of Rome; to crucifixion. But with the ex- though if he had any conception ception of one ambiguous clause, of the nature of true holiness, he about our Lord's descending into durst not say that every member hell, there is nothing contained of that church is holy. It is not in it of which we do not cor- probable that any man would

claim this title, exclusively, for The clauses, however, to which the church of England; at least I would at this time especially re- no good man would dare to do fer, are those which profess a be- so. Nor durst any evaugelical lief of the holy, universal church, dissenter presume to confine it to and the Communion of Saints.” his own denomination. My idea.. These expressions appear to me of the holy, catholic church, indirectly opposite to that sectarian cludes all those upon earth, who spirit, into which the worthy au- are really in the way to heaven; thor of " Zeal without Innova- all who are truly sanctified by the tion,” and some others, who are Holy Spirit, and vitally united to in the constant habit of repeating Christ, however separated from this creed, seem inadvertently to each other, by distance, imperhave fallen, while opposing secta- ' fection, or prejudice. These are riapisni in others. I am, however, actually members of one body, full as anxious for Christians of whether they will at present acmy own denomination to be on knowledge it or not; and they must their guard, against whatever is in- inevitably live together in one consistent with a sound and scrip- blessed world, for ever. tural interpretation of these arti- 2. “I believe the Communion cles, as for those to be so, from of Saints.”. i.e. I believe that all whom we conscientiously dissent. who are internally sanctified have

I møst earnestly wish, whether one common interest; and that

dially approve.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as far as they are created anew in conformist, were he a regular Christ Jesus, they have similar clergyman, or even a bishop. views and feelings, which are pos- And by the grace of God, if a sessed by none others, except real Christian could be so pertheir fellow-saints. They stand verted by high church prejudice, in the same relation to God the as not only to scruple meeting Father, as his children by, gratui- me at the table of a common tous adoption and by regenera. friend, but even so as to persetion; in the same relation to cute and imprison me, I would Cbrist Jesus, as branches of him labour still to love him, and pray the true vine, fellow-members of for him, and to feel an internal his mystical body, and fellow-heirs respect for him, as more nearly of his heavenly inheritance; and related to me, than any unco.in the same relation to the Holy verted Baptist could be ; though Spirit, as being his temples. No education should have led the outward forn, no human polity, latter to imbibe much more corcan form a community so close- rect ideas of Christian liberty, and ly connected as that in which of New Testament ordinances. saints are united, by being joint I seriously wish that my own partakers of the Holy Spirit. All brethren, and all other true saints, true saints have the same interest; of whatever denomination, would or, at least, that interest which is vie with each other, in an earnest inseparable, is of far greater con- contest, who shall prove themsequence than any separate inte- selves the soundest, in these two rest can be.

Articles of our common Creed.
I infer, therefore, That that

man is not sound in the Apostles'
Creed, (neither in the formula so
called, nor in the doctrine of the THE RIGHT IMPROVEMENT
Apostles, as stated in the New
Testament,) who does not feel him-

FLIGHT OF TIME, self nearer of kin to all those with whom he justly expects to live for APPROACH OF ETERNITY. ever in heaven, than any outward form, whether invented by men, Although the exact measure of or even prescribed by God, can our days is concealed from us, cause him to be, to those who are it is appointed, by the Disposer. unsanctified, and who, conse- of all events, when we are to requently, at present, give po scrip- tire for ever, from the present tural evidence that they are going life ; we are therefore perpetualthither,

ly approaching that interesting If I am a real Christian, I must period. In this mortal existence, plead, that my episcopalian bro- short and uncertain as it is, the ther, ought to consider me, (even seed is disseminated from which though I should be mistaken in will be produced, the harvest we my opinion as an Antipædo-Bap- are to reap in the world to come. tist,) as more closely connected “Be not deceived, God is not with him, than an unconverted mocked: for whatsoever a man

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

soweth, that shall he also reap. you who have been all ardour For he that soweth to the flesh, and diligence in what has conshall of the flesh reap corruption: cerned the interests of the world but he that goweth to the Spirit, that is passing away, without inshall of the Spirit reap life ever-' clination or leisure to regard the lasting.” To every mind it should, Kingdom, and the righteousness therefore, be a reflection of deep of God - you we admonish to re. and perpetual interest, that 80 flect on the years, that are for much of life is already passed ever gone, and that “there is no away; departed, and that, for- work, nor wisdom, nor device in ever, are many tine opportunities the grave,” in wbich you are so of obtaining and imparting good. soon to sleep until the heavens « Let us then work while it is be no more. The eternal God day, for the night cometh, in will not alter the thing which is which no man can work."

gone out of his mouth, and it is The sacred writers are more than time that


should stantly enforcing the improvement know what he has said of you. of the lapse of time, the termina- By the circumstances in which you tion of the world, and our ap- have been placed, by your educaproaching destiny: “ The end of tion, by your associates, by public all things is at hand! be ye there- opinions, and a variety of other fore sober, and watch unto influences, you have been mouldprayer.”—" Seeing then that all ed into different forms of chathese things shall be dissolved, racter and conduct, while no sawhat manner of persons ought ye lutary change has been effected to be in all holy conversation and in your hearts : the same kind of godliness, looking for and hasting attachments and antipathies--of unto the coming of the day of sorrows, and pleasures, and purGod, wherein the heavens being suits that have occupied your aton fire, shall be dissolved, and the tention from the beginning, retain elements shall melt with fervent their influence now.

Sinner! heat ?" A paper of this nature, how soon may the Lord say, Thou intended as it is to improve the shalt die. In that case, thy soul, flight of time, should contain af- unsanctified, and without religion, fectionate and solemn references will find no admittarice into the to the duties of persons in all cir- regions of peace : for, “except a cumstances, and of every

charac- man be born again, he cannot ter. In the first place, we would enter into the Kingdom of God.” address those unhappy minds who The time in which devout prayer, have yet to learn the necessity, penitential sorrow, unfeigned the dignity, the utility, and the faith, and sincere obedience to felicities of godliness. To you the will of God may exist, and we would speak, who have never avail, is, every moment, approachmourned for your transgressions, ing its end--and is this a fit season nor implored, with faith and sin- for insensibility, and inaction? cerity, the grace of God-you “What meapest thou, O sleeper? who have waged an impious war arise, call apon thy God, if so be against penitence, and faith and that God will think on thee, that devotion, and thoughts of death, thou perish not.” Is it a small Vol. VII.


[ocr errors]

thing to be deprived of eternal pu- evil is understanding.” Of the rity and peace, and happiness, excellence and the importance of and glory? To be doomed to scriptural religion you are conweep, and wail, and gnash thy vinced, and these just ideas freteeth with apustate angels, in the quently recur

to recollection. darkness of utter despair, and in Yet, you do not follow the Lord the fire of everlasting torments— fully—You have not entered the is this also a trifle?“ Meditate christian camp-the cause you on these things, give thyself wholly approve, and wish it to be triunto them, that thy profiting may phant, but have not adopted the appear to all men.”—Oh! enter christian uniform, nor put on the into thy closet, and pray to him whole armour of God. Those who hath said, “ Let the wicked among your acquaintances who forsake his ways, and the unrigh- who are still in the night of sin, teous man his thoughts: and let already marvel that you refuse to him return unto the Lord, and he walk with them in their forbidden will have mercy upon him; and paths, and the christians, who to our God, for he will abundant- know you, are anticipating that it ly pardon.” Incessantly read the will not be long, before you thus scriptures, and attend the ordi- address them, “ We will


with nances of God, which are able, you, for we have heard that God through divine influence, to make is with you.” Joshua, the Hethee wise unto salvation.

brew warrior, was not more illusIn the second place we are trious for his victories, than for more than anxious to advance the his piety, and when the jourvey best interests of a class of per- of life was almost finished, be sons, who, in relation to religion, assembled all Israel before him, may be stiled, enlightened, yet and said: “ Behold this day I undecided.--Atleast, we suppose am going the way of all the earth, them to be considerably illumi- choose ye, whom ye will serve; pated, and lamentably hesitating. but as for me and my house, we Perhaps you have been favoured will serve the Lord." This very with the means of religious im- day make your solemn election, provement. It has been your for it is of all things the most imhappiness to witness the exhibi- portant, that you should love the tion of christian piety, prudence, Lord your God, and have a dispatience, and benevolence in the position to order your steps acgeneral deportment, and in some cording to his testimonies, and, peculiarly difficult circumstances to live another day may be denied of christians; to their daily prayers you. The advice of the patriarch in the family you have listened, is what we wish to impress and with them you have visited your hearts, enlightened, but hesithe sanctuary of the Lord. The tating friends of the religion of result has been, that you are con- Christ. Let it be your solemn vinced that Solomon never dis determination more fully to exaplayed his wisdom in a higher de- mine the claims of God upon you. gree, than when he said: “ The Compare the claims of sin and of fear of the Lord is the beginning holiness-of this world, and of of wisdom, and to depart from heaven-and enter into this very


necessary business, withi a full de- therefore sober, and watch unto. termination to examine it with all prayer.” This holy vigilance is possible care, and with devout very important, for sin is the nesupplications to the Lord, for glect of all our duties and real light and grace, without which pleasures, and in proportion to every thing else will be fruitless.

our success in watchfulness and Never expect a more proper time prayer are we useful and happy. for this essential business to arrive, It will not be a long time before than your present moments afford. all our opportunities of resisting Felix did so, but we have never wickedness, and of perfecting hobeen informed that it came. By liness in the fear of God, and every advantage attendant on thus doing some justice to the dimaintaining a decidedly christian vine character and government becharacter and deportment---byfore transgressors, will be conthat fearful darkness and sorrow, cluded. In what remains of our under which the ungodly suffer in time let us, therefore, watch and their last moments, who have light pray, lest we enter into temptaenough to perceive their doom! tion. This duty, so often and so and who then have impressive re- emphatically inculcated upon collections of the privileges and christians, implies that they avoid, convictions that they have fatally as much as possible, circumneglected by the disgrace and stances of temptation, and incitethe misery of perdition—and by ments to sin. The eyes are winthe honour and happiness of hea- dows to the soul, and every sense ven, we intreat you to regard our is a passage through which sin advice. The years of your mortal may enter. Now, these senses existence hasten away, and while are to be guarded.' Eve listened you delay, death will overtake you, to Satan's impious discourse, and and in that very day, your thoughts beheld the beauty, and inhaled will perish. You see and approve the fragrance of the forbidden of that which is right; make it fruit, and departed from the holy the subject of constant prayer commandment. How wise was that you may practise it also with the conduct of Job: “I have resolution and perseverance. Re- made a covenant with mine eyes." gard this life as possessing little or In this vigilance it is implied that no value if religion: be neglected; we pay close attention to the and let every thing submit to this working of our thoughts and afgrand concern, while it is never fections. “Keep thy heart with suffered to submit to anything. all diligence: for out of it are the

Thirdly. The recollection that issues of life."--and, “as a man so much of our time has vanished, thinketh, so is he.” It should be is capable of a very useful appli- our concern that our minds are cation to some of the duties and employed about lawful and heafelicities of the children of God. venly subjects all the day long. In the Scriptures, the flight of We should meditate much on retime and the approach of eterni- ligion. It is true that our thoughts, ty are used to excite attention to like the birds of heaven, are fond christian watchfulness. : “ The of fitting about, but every one has end of all things is at hand-be ye command of them, or the man of

« НазадПродовжити »