Abbildungen der Seite

in sincerity, may give our firm, constant, fication by the works of man, and denyand unflinching protest against all those ing the grace of Christ: (Rom. xi. 6.) a peculiar principles of popery which are falling away which leaves only a nominal developed in the decrees and canons of Protestantism, but really the first princi. the council of Trent, in the creed annexed ple and main root of popery. May we to it, in the Trent Catechism, and in the have grace distinctly to avow our convicRoman Missal. May we protest against tion of the unutterable magnitude and them as opposed to the pure doctrines of importance, as it concerns ihe glory of the word of God, so clearly stated in the the great God and the salvation of our confessions of faith made ai the Reforma- fellow men,-of maintaining, in purity, tion. May we protest against them as simplicity and prominence, those blessed anti-christian and idolatrous, and mani- truths that there is none other name unfesting that the Pope and the church of der heaven, given among men, whereby Rome is that apostate and fallen church, we must be saved, but the name of Jesus, set forth in the scriptures as the Man of -hat other foundation can no man lay Sin, and Babylon the Mother of Harlots. than that is laid, which is Jesus Chrisi, May we also have grace to protest against that we are complete in him,—who is that falling away from the principles of made of God unto us wisdom, rightour Protestant Reformers, which has eousness, sanctification, and redempbeen too manifest in the Protestant tion. And may the Lord whom we thus churches, and by which they too have so consess before men, in the day of his aplargely returned to the false principles of pearing, confess us before his Father popery,--more or less maintaining justi- which is in heaven.



AMID those deep and retired thoughts, refined to such a spiritual height and -whieh with every man Christianly in- temper of purity, and knowledge of the structed ought to be most frequen—of Creator, that the body, with all the cirGod, and of his miraculous ways and cumstances of time and place, were puriworks amongst men, and of our religion, fied by the aflections of the regenerate and works to be performed to him; after soul, and nothing left impure but sin; the story of our Saviour Christ suffering faith needing noi the weak and fallible to the lowest bent of weakness in the office of the senses to be either the ushers flesh, and presently triumphing to the or interpreters of heavenly mysteries, highest pitch of glory in the spirit, which save where our Lord himself, in his drew up his body also-till we in both sacraments, ordained,—that such a docbe united to him in the revelation of his trine should, through the grossness and kingdom; I do not know of any thing blindness of her professors, and the fraud more worthy to take up the whole passion of deceivable traditions, drag so downof pity on ihe one side, and joy on the wards, as to backslide one way into Jewother, than to consider, first, the foul and ish beggary of old cast rudiments, and sudden corruption, and then, after many stumble forward another way into the a tedious age, the long-deferred but much new-vomited paganism of sensual idolmore wonderful and happy reformation atry, attributing purity or impurity to of the church in these latter days. Sad things indifferent, that they might bring is it to think how that doctrine of the gos- the inward acts of the spirit to the outpel, planted by teachers divine inspired, ward and customary eye-service of the and by them winnowed and sisted from body, as if they could make God earthly the chaff of over-dated ceremonies, and and fleshly, because they could not make themselves heavenly and spiritual. They more than the quickening power of the began to draw down all the divine inter- Spirit; and yet, looking on them through course betwixt God and the soul; yea, their own guiltiness with a servile fear, the very shape of God himself into an and finding as little comfort, or rather exterior and bodily form, urgently pre- terror, from them again, they knew not tending a necessity and obligement of how to hide their slavish approach to joining the body in a formal reverence, God's behests, by them not understood and worship circumscribed; they hal- nor worthily received, but by cloaking lowed it, they fumed it, they sprinkled their servile crouching to all religious it, they bedecked it, not in robes of pure presentiments, sometimes lawful, someinnocency, but of pure linen, with other times idolatrous, under the name of hudeformed and fantastic dresses, in palls, mility, and terming the piebald frippery and mitres, gold and gewgaws fetched and ostentation of ceremonies decency..... from Aaron's old wardrobe, or the But, to dwell no longer in characterizing Flamin's vestry. Then was the priest the depravities of the church, and how they set to con his motions and his postures, sprung, and how they took increase; when his liturgies and his lurries, till the soul, I recall to my mind, at last, after so many by this means of overbodying herself, dark ages, wherein the huge overshadowgiven up justly to fleshly delights, bated ing train of error had almost swept all the her wing apace downward; and finding stars out of the firmament of the church, the ease she had from her visible and how the brightand blissful Reformation (by sensuous colleague, the body, in perform- divine power) struck through the black and ance of religious duties, her pinions now seuiled night of ignorance and anti-Chrisbroken and flagging, shifted off from her- tian tyranny, methinks a sovereign and reself the labour of high soaring any more, viving joy must needs rush into the bosom forgot her heavenly flight, and left the of him that reads or hears, and the sweet dull and droiling carcass to plod on in the odour of the returning gospel imbathe his old road, and drudging trade of outward soul with the fragrancy of heaven. Then conformity.

was the sacred Bible sought out of the And here, out of question, from her dusty corners, where profane falsehood perverse conceiting of God and holy and 'neglect had thrown it; the schools ihings she had fallen to believe no God opened; divine and human learning raked at all, had not custom and the worm out of the embers of forgotten tongues ; of conscience nipped her incredulity. the princes and cities trooping apace to Hence, to all the duties of evangelical the new-erected banner of salvation; the grace, instead of the adoptive and cheer- martyrs, with the irresistible might of ful boldness which our new alliance with weakness, shaking the powers of darkGod requires, came servile and thrall-like, ness, and scorning the fiery rage of the fear; for in very deed the superstitious old red dragon." man, by his good will, is an atheist; but So spake, not Mr. Froude, neither any being scared from thence by the pangs of his publishers or admirers, but a man and gripes of a boiling conscience, all in whose estimate of the necessity and nature a pudder, shuffles up to himself such a of the Reformation, and of the character God and such a worship as is most of the Reformers, may well console us agreeable to remedy his fear; which fear under the heavy tidings that any of the of his, as is also his hope, fixed only students of Oxford have become less and upon the flesh, renders likewise the whole less the children of the Reformation; thus faculty of his apprehension carnal; and all spake John Milton,* distinguishing truly the inward acts of worship, issuing from between formalism and spirituality, and the native strength of the soul, run out having no fear of the charge of ultralavishly to the upper skin, and there Protestantism before his eyes. harden into a crust of formality. Hence men came to scan the scriptures by the

* On Reformation in England, pp. 1-4. In letter, and in the covenant of our re

thus quoting Milton's general estimate of the

Reformation, I feel in no way pledged to the demption magnified the external signs adoption of the detail of his views.

The truth is necessarily Protestant. friendly intercourse. He was not only a Since the fall of man, and the successful teacher of truth, but also a protester usurpations of Satan, which have entitled against error. He came not only to him to the name of the God of this manifest and commend the works of God, world," it has been so; and until the but also “10 destroy the works of the second coming of the Son of Man, who Devil.” He loved the world, and sought will effectually bruise Satan under his and the salvation of men at the expense of his church's feet, it must be so.

incurring their present resentment. His Jesus Christ is the truth; and concern- faithfulness in word and deed forced uning him at his first coming it is written, willing conviction on their minds, and that the light shone in darkness, and the voused the unwelcome reproaches of their darkness comprehended it not. He was consciences. They would gladly have in the world, and the world was made by excused the probing process; they were him, and the world knew him not. The anxious to hide from themselves, if postreatment which he received affords a sible, the extent to which the ministry most striking proof of the fallen condition of Jesus was laying naked their corrupt of the world, fallen from all conformity to, hearts. Hence their endeavours to enor congeniality with God. He was of tangle him in his talk, to wrest his words, God-the image of the invisible God to misrepresent him, in the hope that by God manifest in the flesh. He came fastening some accusation upon him, they among men; and instead of being re- might justify, or seem to justify, their opceived as a benefactor, with gratitude, position against him. and love, and joy, he was despised and Well has Milion characterized the great rejected; his life was a life of hardship; apostasy of the human heart—"Attributhe had not where to lay his head; his ing purity or impurity to things indifferministry was a ministry of controversy, ent; striving to bring the inward acts of perpetually in collision with, and pro- the spirit to the ouiward and customary testing against, Pharisee, or Sadducee, eye-service of the body; as if they could or Herodian; his death was a death of make God earthly and fleshly, because violence, nailed to the accursed tree. All they could not make themselves heavenly this is placed in a still stronger light hy and spiritual.” Against this our Lord considering to whom among men he Jesus Christ was a perpetual protestant. came. Not to some savage tribe, whose One main object which he kept constantly untamed ferocity might account for their and prominently in view was, to impress peculiar hostility to such a character; not the great truth, that "God is a Spirit, and to the polished idolaters of Greece or that they who worship him must worship Rome, whose prejudices in favour of a in spirit and in truth.” gorgeous and long-cherished polytheism For this purpose he appears to have might be pleaded in extenuation of their made opportunities for withdrawing the resistance against an intruding reformer. minds of his disciples from many outNo; the circumstances of the case will ward and visible practices, and fixing not supply any such evasive excuses for their attention upon the inward, invisible homan nature. He came to the only purity of the heart. One of the practices people upon earth who were in posses- in question was the scrupulous washing sion of the blessings of revealed religion, of hands before meat. This, however the consecrated nation, “the witness and agreeable, and even useful it may be, as keeper of holy writ;" he came to his own, a matter of cleanliness and comfort, has and his own received him not.

nothing religious in it; neither is it irreThis general statement is not intended ligious in any man to omit it. "The to exclude exceptions. There were a few

a Pharisees, however, and after them the who received him; and to his confiding Jewish nation generally, following certain friends,-such friends as Martha, and human traditions, represented practical Mary, and Lazarus-he was a kind in- religion as in a great measure consisting strucior and sympathizing comforter. of such observances. When they saw But he did not contine himself to such Jesus and his disciples violating this tra



dition, and disregarding this practice, they that to unwilling minds and unsanctified found fault, and opened a controversy. hearts nothing could decide the contro“ For the Pharisees and all the Jews, ex- versy; and that to persons of a different cept they wash their hands oft, eat not, tone of character, whom the Lord had in holding the tradition of the elders. And mercy converted to the love of the truth, when ihey come from the market, except nothing could be decisive bui God's own they wash, they eat not. And many other word. things there be, which they have received As to visible unity among fallen men, to hold, as the washing of cups and pots, nothing short of a constantly and miracu

, , brazen vessels, and tables, or beds." (St. lously interposing theocracy could main

. Mark, vii. 3, 4.)

tain it. Even under such a theocracy in It is most valuable to us, who are to the camp of Moses, it was difficult, and profit by the example of Jesus, to find required not only the infallible tribunal him brought into controversy with the of reference for instruction, but also the votaries of such superstitions; and we do yawning pit, which, at the bidding of indeed derive most important and prac- God's servant, swallowed up and hid for tical information from the manner in ever the contentious heretics. which he conducted those controversies. “ Why,” said the Scribes and Pharisees To one point especially our attention is to Jesus, " why do thy disciples transgress called; I mean his constant appeal to the the tradition of the elders? for they wash written word of God. He was not their hands when they eat bread." from the fountain-head of truth, and spake Our Lord must not merely have sancwith the same infallible authority which tioned such conduct in his disciples, he had dictated the Old Testament Scrip- must have actually inculcated it; for othertures. Moreover, all the treasures of wise his disciples, being Jews, would nawisdom and knowledge, both in the na- turally have continued to conform to the tural world and in the human heart, were usual habits of their nation. open to him. Yet he appeals to the Holy The practice in question was catholic. Scriptures. We do indeed find him oc- St. Mark ascribes it to the Pharisees and casionally, as God manifest in the flesh, all the Jews. It was ancient-derived appealing to his own well-attested au- not indeed from the inspired writers, but thority, and manifesting his unerring from the elders of the church and nation. knowledge; but most frequently we find It was as truly conformed as any practice him, as a member of the church among could be to the celebrated canon of Vinmen, showing is an example that we

centius Lerinensis, quod semper, quod should follow his steps, and honouring ubique, quod ab omnibus. All this, his Father's word—the written, fixed, however, did not screen it from the reunerring word of God.

probation of the Lord Jesus. In itself it He pays no attention to the objection was scarcely worth notice, pro or con; which might have been urged then, as it but Christ seeing the superstition attached is now, that such an appeal to Scripture to it, became himself a practical protester was a mere matter of unauthorized pri- against it, and encouraged his disciples lo vate judgment; that every heretic so follow his Protestant practice. appealed; that the Sadducees, who de- This was a crime in the eyes of the nied both angels and spirits, appealed to Pharisees. Had the disciples neglected the Scriptures; and the Pharisees, who only the weightier matters of the law of confessed both, appealed to the Scrip- God, -judgment, and justice, and truth, tures; and that as it thus became evident they might have been friends with the that the Scriptures could never decide the Pharisees. This is proved by the incontroversy, it became necessary, for the stance of Judas, who was hailed by thein sake of unity, to have recourse to the as a coadjutor, and taken into friendly practice of the church-the generally re- co-operation, while he was in the active ceived Catholic practice—as supplying exercise of ingratitude, treachery, and the only satisfactory interpretation of base covetousness. This was merely Holy Scripture. No; our Lord knew breaking the commandments of God;


but to disregard the traditions of the indirect in the exposure of falsehood. elders, to rebel against the will-worship, Abraham was not only a witness for the the superstitious observances, and mock true and living God, but also a witness humility of the priests, and to appeal to against idolatry. Moses was not only the written word as the umpire in the the inspired advocate of the deliverance controversy, this was not to be endured. of the children of Israel out of bondage, What! reject a practice commended by but also the inspired denouncer of the

antiquity, by catholicism, and by what is tyranny and oppression of Pharaoh, king | even more endearing to "the natural of Egypt. The Jewish propheis were

man"-namely, that it invested an odour were not only ministers of righteousness, of sanetity, an outward observance, within and equity, and truth, and judgment, but his power to perform and reiterate! The also sharp rebukers of the temporizing Pharisees assailed our Saviour as an ultra policy of unfaithful rulers, and the plausiProtestant. “But Jesus answered and ble, daubing flatteries of those who counsaid unto them, Why do ye also trans- selled peace, peace, when there was no gress the commandment of God by your peace. John Baptist was not only a mestradition?.... Ye hypocrites! well did senger, crying, Behold the Lamb of God; Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This but also so pungent and personal a protester people draweth' nigh unto me with their against sin, even in the case of the king, that mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, he lost his head for his service of his God. bat their heart is far from me. But in We have seen the position occupied by vain do they worship me, teaching for the Word made flesh, the wisdom of God, doctrines the commandments of men. the measure and manifestation of divine (St. Matt. xv. 1-20.)

love to a fallen world. He was not only For doctrines! This leads to an im- a faithful teacher, but also and conseportant distinction. The commandments quently inevitably so) a Protestant conof men may be taught for local and or- troversialist. The apostles, in like manderly arrangements; and "every par- ner, were not only preachers of the gospel, ticular or national church hath authority directly proclaiming the revealed mind of to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies God, but also indefatigable controversialor rites of the church ordained only by ists, against the Jew who required a sign, man's authority, so that all things be and the Greek who sought after man's done to edifying.” (Art. xxxiv.) And wisdom. They were not only shepherds when such ihings are ordained in any standing to feed the flock of God with particular or national church, no member bread from heaven, but also watchmen of that church can without grave offence warning the church, and crying, “ Bedeviate from the order so prescribed. ware, lest any man spoil you through Bat if such things be elevated into the philosophy and vain deceit, after the traplace of doctrines to be identified with ditions of men—aster the rudiments of the Christianity and enforced as necessary to world, and not after Christ.” These salvation then, the word of God which things are written for our 'learning; and proclaims salvation without such accom- since these things, since the apostles have paniments is frustrated by the command- fallen asleep, the great principles involved ments of men. For "Holy Scripture remain the same. Every true evangelist containeth all things necessary to salva- becomes inevitably a controversialist also. tion: so that whosoever is not read Why is this the case? or, in other words, therein, nor may be proved thereby, is what are the principles involved? The not to be required of any man, that it answer is true religion is not natural to should be believed as an article of the fallen man; but falsehood, in some one faith, or be thought requisite or necessary or more of its deceitful aspects, is natural to salvation." (Art. vi.)

to man. True religion meets with not Say we not well, that the truth is es- only an indisposed, but a pre-occupied sentially Protestant? that revelation has soil: and he who would cultivate it has from the beginning been not only direct not only to plant what is right, but to in the announcement of truth, but also root out and pluck up what is wrong.

« ZurückWeiter »