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Theological Review.



mot CHURCHES. To the Editor of the New Evangelical / remove the veil which hangs upon Magazine. 113

their hearts. So must it likewise, SIR, la


seem strange, that the favoured Those who survey with im- inhabitants of Europe should have partiality the state of the Churches been for ages so lukewarm and in. or Religious Societies existing in different towards the eternal welibis Nation, at the present, must fare of their brethren the beathen, unavoidably be struck with an millions of whom have been, and agreeable surprise. The general still are immersed in the grossest concurrence with which they co- darkness. Such unfeeling hard. operate in disseminating the word | ness of which we have been guilty, of Life, and the active zeal they is altogether incompatible with the manifest in supporting institutions benevolent influence of the gospel. for instructing the ignorant and But though we are warranted to reclaiming the vicious, discovers speak so highly in commendation something unknown to former ages; of Christian exertion in supporting and demonstrates a singular inter- the hospitable institutions of the position of Providence. That age, yet there are various utterly those who have tasted that the objectionable practices conspicu. Lord is gracious, should feel dis- ous in the proceedings of professe posed to lead others to the only ing Christians. Their departures spring of real comfort, is quite from the primitive order of Christ's congenial to the dictates of Godli- house, which present themselves ness, and the tender feelings of to public observation, ought not to humanity. To view, even super- be viewed as trivial or unworthy ficially, the awful ruin of sin in of regard, for they stand connected alienating from God and exposing with serious impediments in the to endless perdition, must be suf. way of religious prosperity. If all ficient to awaken the liveliest sen- the institutions of Jesus are enjoinsations of pity and compassion in ed for the purpose of edification the breasts of all who are followers if they tend in their very spirit to of Hiin who went about doing enlarge the acquaintance of Christ's good. It is almost wonderful, followers with heavenly and diving that persons professing to be every things, the neglect of any of them man's neighbour, should have so must be a matter of deep regret. I long beheld the scattered descen- One of the several imperfections dants of Abraham sunk in sin and to which these remarks have respect. ignorance, without any attempt to 1 is the common mode of electing


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and appointing Bishops or Elders points been destructive of that in our congregational churches. simplicity and unassuming meekHad we not discarded the obliga. ness which adorned the Churches tory nature of Papal traditions, and planted by the Apostles. There likewise exploded the vain preten-is no doubt but these Seminaries sions of the church to decree Rites of learning have given birth to men and Ceremonies, we might plead of high eminence in literature and some shadow of excuse, in the general knowledge, wlose attaininstance referred to, though delu- ments have turned to great advansive and erroneous. But having tage in the defence of sacred truth. adopted that substantial maxim, They have cherished genius, and Scripture the only rule of faith snatched from oblivion intellectual and practice, we stand chargeable endowments, which otherwise must with the most palpable incon- have remained dormant and unsistency.

known. But if we compare this In the apostolic model of church with the mischiefs which have constitution, there is no one, part sprung from those Seminaries in drawn with greater exactness than fostering ministerial pride, and that which regards the office and leading men off from the order of duty of Pastors. It is a matter to Christ's house, the evils of the be lamented, that after the per- latter will far outweigh the benefits spicuous rules given to Timothy and of the former. This shews that Titus, together with that solemn human institutions designed as charge to the Ephesian Elders, coercive with the holy ordinances there should still remain such an of God, however plausible they apevident departure from those weigh-pear in the eyes of carnal reason, ty precepts. That much depends are attended with exceptions which on the regular appointment of discover their origin as antiscripOverseers in the Churches must tural. That there are very unbe unquestionable, if we consider favourable consequences to the the high responsibility that con- purity of religion, connected with nects with their office. For if we the present mode of academical view them under the character of preparation of men for the Chriswatchmen, it is needfulthey possess tian ministry, is but too plainly vigilance and fortitude-looking demonstrated in a number of cirupon them as stewards, they ought cumstances which might easily be to manifest faithfulness and impar- pointed out. Omitting to trace tiality--regarding them as shep- the general impression it makes on herds, love and unceasing care are the minds of many, who have been necessary-considering them as brought up in humble life-leading rulers, extensive judgment and them out into almost a different protracted experience are requisite sphere, raising them to a sort of in a high degree, that they may lofty mien and self-consequence; stand patient under affronts, and waving this, I say, let us consider continue long-suffering when pain. a few concomitant evils which ap.. ful disturbances arise.

pear in the state and conduct of It is much to be feared that the many of our churches. To exeminstitution and prevalence of Aca- plify them, we must refer to actual demies have been, though unde Joccurrences, many of which tako signedly, one means of leading place within the circle of personal religious Societies from the rule of lacquaintance. Suppose a Church God's word, in their proceedings destitute of a Pastor by death, of relative to Elders or Bishops. This any other cause : what is the plan devisal 'which must be considered generally pursued ? Application 1 as merely human, 'has in various made to an Academy; if they are capable of raising the required res takers of these qualifications, in muneration, 'tis well; if not, they some degree, they cannot proceed need not expect to share in the regu- without breaking the precepts of lar means of edification. They are the Lord Jesus. After the pronow become nearly dependent on cess has gone on to the mutual these institutions for their accom-giving and accepting the invitamodation with those who engage in tion, then follows fréquently a the active exercises of the Church, piece of conduct, the mode of proinstead of looking out amongst cedure in which is disgraceful to themselves for one who could the Christian name. This is the speak to edification and comfort. settling a living or benefit upon In this state they continue too the ministerial visitant. This, too, frequently a long period of time is often attended with stretching without any regular order in their and pressing on both sides the proceedings as a Church, save only question—the minister to procure the attendance on public preach-more, and the church to put him ing, which too often is of a light off with less—and it is no uncom. and airy, and sometimes of such a mon thing to hear of this concluphilosophical stamp, that rather sion, that if the church does not than their minds being fed with engage to advance such a sum, the precious word of life, they have they need not expect the company nothing whereon to rest but the of the object of their choice any mysterious movements of the imagi- longer. Is such conduct as this nation which leave the understand consistent with that disinteresteding uninformed, and consequently ness of spirit which appeared in the will unimpressed, and the af- the primitive teachers of Chrisfections partaking of the same de- tianity? Is it not prohibited by gree of carnality. After the in- the apostle Peter, when he says, tervention of a considerable length “not for filthy lucre." No such of time, some one is fixed upon as tie as this was deemed needful to likely to suit them in the depart. unite pastor and people in primi, ment of preaching, and so of course tive days. If a Church possessed must take upon him the office of abundance, they freely contributed Ruler or Overseer. But what now to the support of those who labouris the rule of their conduct ? Have ed amongst them; but if through they taken the Epistles to Timothy | poverty or affliction they were inand Titus, and examined with de- capable of doing this, then those liberation, whether the proposed in whom the fear of God predoperson possesses the qualifications minated over the love of this world. indispensably required there ? too willingly wrought with their hands. frequently this is altogether neg- and this was made a matter of lected. The greater part of the command by the apostle. Hence church perhaps know very little of that bright example set before the the person, but by seeing and

but by seeing and assembled Elders at Miletus; “Ye hearing him in the pulpit. Con- yourselves know that these hands trary to this, they ought collec- have ministered to my necessities. tively to be acquainted with his and to them that were with me. private demeanour, and to know I have shewed you how that so whether his temper and disposi- labouring ye ought to support the tion, answer the requisition of the weak, and to remember the words Divine Law, “not soon angry, of the Lord Jesus, how he said. not self-willed, not greedy of filthy " It is more blessed to give than lucre.” Unless a Church be per- to receive.” suaded that the persons they ap- | Another very objectionable prac point to rule over them be par- tice wbich prevails in the seitling

of preachers in the churches, is the mind. It is a breach of the golden unseemlyandunscriptural dominion rule, “as ye would that others of the rich over the poor. In case do unto you, do ye even so to of a vacancy in the ministry of a them” a departure from that church, who ought to appoint one amiable law of the blessed Saviour, to fill that vacancy? It is done by “ This is my commandment that two or three individuals who ye love one another.” It sows the happen to be blest with the good seeds of animosity and discord, things of this life, so that they are and leads the world to entertain enabled to contribute more libe- profane ideas of religion. It rally than their brethren. Does hardens the captious sceptic, and this warrant them to bring into gives him an opportunity of reprethe assembly whom they will, too senting the profession of Christ's often contrary to the mind of the name, as a mere jumble of priest. poor, who are more likely to judge craft and credulity-and above all of persons and their doctrine than it is a direct departure from that themselves ?-It would be an un-compliance with the sacred insticouth, though a just compliment tution of God, which is enforced to all such men, were they told, by all that is attractive, and all that so far they act as near kins- that is solemn. No doubt it is men to his Holiness the Pope. | possible for circumstances to occur Besides this, there is anotherspecies which may make the exchange of of innovation, evidently of a more Pastors both prudent and neces. abominable nature, and produc- sary. There is such diversity of tive of greater evils in magnitude, talent possessed by different men, though not in number than the that one is filled for this scene of fornier. This practice, which labour and another for that. But justly deserves the severest repre- whenever a matter of this sort is bension, becomes more prevalent deemed necessary, there ought than formerly. The matter now always to be a mutual understandalluded to, which bas often been ing, and if possible a mutual agreethe subject of bitter lamentation, ment in the respective churches. is the conduct of some churches Should this, however, be in practowards others relative to their ticable, there is no alternative but Pastors, which frequently leads to each continuing in their situation. awful breaches, in the peace of It might seem (though it is with those who profess to be of one sorrow I express it) that the obligaheart and of one mind. When a tions of Eldership are now reduced church has appointed a person as to the same vague uncertainty, as their Elder, with this he unites his was the matrimonial tie amongst solemn engagements to become the Jews, who “put away their their servant in the ministry of the wives for every cause.” For there most holy things; and after this, I is no doubt but that many a well who hath any right to seek by meaning minister is thrust away lures and worldly encitements to from his friends and acquaintance, obtain him from them? That this to make way for another, who per. is too often done, and that too haps is but the stolen servant of under a pretence of God's glory, some declining church, which many have to witness with grief stood in the greatest need of his and anxiety. The unscriptural | labour and assistance. There is nature of all such attempts, is un-moreover in too many instances questionably, proved by the con. a great degree of blame attaching sequence that follows. To enume to the conduct of ministers; for rate the evils that result herefron after they have in the most solemn is both irksome and painful to the manner pledged themselves as the

spiritual servant of a society of strong; hence therefore he is inpersons, what is there that can cessantly seeking rest and finding abrogate their high responsibility ? none; and yet, unsuccessful as are Nothing surely, but the departure all his pursuits, his cravings are of their bretbren from the rule of insatiable and his efforts unalterthe New Testament in doctrine or able; "hell never saith it hath practice; and this, to justify the enough.” If then the tongue vent secession of, must be proved to go itself in filthy and immodest lanbeyond the extent of forbearance. guage, it is the conscience seeking But in opposition to this, how often to amuse itself, and forget its pain does it happen that pastors leave in the laughter of fools, wbich is as their flock to the ravages of dis- the crackling of thorns under a cord, and the tormeuting conten- pot. -If it boast great things, ver. tions of faction, for few reasons 5. then it is pride magnifying itself known to the world, but an in- in this world, and wishing or willcrease of their revenue, and an ing to forget anotber world; to put enlargement of their worldly com- temporal things before its view, forts. Oh how keen the wounds and in the dazzle of them to lose that are inflicted in the house of a sight of eternity.--If such an un. friend. There is great need that hallowed tongue pretend to pray, those who profess to be followers and bless the Lord, ver. O. it is all of the churches of God, which in hypocrisy, for a moment to ease its Judea were in Christ Jesus -- truly | own pain, and perhaps the next there is great need that they should moment the same tongue is full of diligently attend to the words of cursing and bitterness, and wishes the Lord by the prophet; “ Stand unhappiness to his neighbour. ye in the way and see, and ask for Cursing, swearing and prophanethe old paths, where is the goodness indeed are more congenial to way and walk therein, and ye shall its nature; they are the very lanfind rest to your souls."

guage of hell ; what the infernals I am Sir, . are chiefly conversant with; and

Yours respectfully, demonstrating that they who utter WyC

J. W., such execrations are children of August 9, 1817

| wrath, children of the curse, 2 Pet. P.S. If some of your more able ii. 14. and that the curse forms a and experienced Correspondents main part of their constitution. If would enter more fully into these fretfulness, discontent and passion things it might be useful. be the symptoms, 'tis the tire of

hell raging in the heart, wishing

destruction to other men, or else DR. JENKINS'S SERMON ON EVIL

saying, “ This evil is of the Lord, SPEAKING.

why should I wait for Jehovah any [Concluded from page 261.] longer ?" If the lieart be actuated I COME now in the scond place by envy, then the tongue is used to consider more minutely, some to lessen the value of another per. of the fruits and effects of this in- son's excellencies, or the endow. fernal fire as it issues forth by the nients he is favoured with. If tongue. And here I shall confine malice, to speak evil of the person myself chiefly to what is rehearsed hated; to tell all that it knows, and of it in this chapter. Take then more than it knows; to swell his this observation with you (as faults and infirmities into mounhinted before), that the fire of hell tains, while its own proportionably in the soul is the destruction of a decrease, till they are scarcely man's ease and quiet, and yet his visible; to misrepresent, perhaps desire of gratification is invincibly I also to invent and spread abroad

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