have raised the standard of truth in the Church of Rome, and these have been rejected. Why, does not this speak volumes? Do not these things tell us (on the principle that if, after being warned of sin and error, we continue therein, our condition is far more dangerous than before), that Romanism, so far from being improved of late, is in a more awful, in a more dreadful, in a worse condition than ever; and that as she thus goes on, the case must be growing still worse than before, and she herself riper for perdition and nearer the time of judgment?

The other idea impressed upon our mind is this: that we are not so much to be looking for the salvation of those who appear pious and devout, remaining in the Church of Rome, but leaving it: and we greatly incline to the opinion of those who hold, that, in addressing its members, the more hopeful way is, not to call upon them to mend merely, but to come out. As to the alleged cases of pious Roman Catholics, continuing Roman Catholics— and we hear of many such (we may say, usque ad nauseam, for the disguised friends of Popery are continually dinning them in our ears)—though we wish, in the judgment of charity, to hope and think the best of all such persons, we cannot help seriously apprehending that they are in a false position. In that position, God by his grace may sustain them. He is able to make them stand. Moreover, they may be clinging to Romanism under the idea that they are clinging to the church; and this through an ignorance of the true church's existence, which is not perhaps to be wondered at. We grant also, that a good man may be very slow in coming out; he may be a long time feeling his way; he may come out very cautiously and reluctantly. Where, however, we see such persons relaxing in some of the more bigoted tenets of Catholicism, disavowing the Romish principle of intolerance and persecution, anxious to read or circulate the Scriptures, candid or friendly towards pious Protestants, &c.; what we are to infer in such cases is, not that the church itself is mending, but that they are virtually receding from it. The Church of Rome has fixed its own character; has adopted all its own acts of guilt and blood and cruelty, in every age, by declaring itself immutable: and cannot alter its own principle without repealing itself by the very act, and ceasing to exist. OUR Church might alter whatever it might see defective in its constitution, in full accordance with its own principles and those of Protestantism at large. For this she has provided in her Thirty-fourth Article. But Rome has tied herself to the stake: she must stand upon the ground which she has once taken up: she must stand to her own acts, whenever perpetrated, or she is Rome no longer. Every departure from

that ground, then, in the case of individuals, is so far a departure from Romanism. But if persons appearing pious at last settle in her communion; if they live and die in it; if they adopt her acts, aid her persecutions, and go on partaking in her evil deeds; we confess that we tremble for them, and stand in the greatest doubt as to their real state and character.

What has happened in recent days confirms these views, The Jansenists of late have begun to SEPARATE from the Church of Rome; and JANSENIST BISHOPS HAVE DECLARED THEMSELVES INDEPENDENT OF THE POPE. Now consider this fact. What a warning to those who remain! What a token of their true position, and most awful state and prospects! These were Roman Catholics at heart: and they have HEARD and OBEYED the voice, "Come out of her, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues!" What an evidence that we are not to hope so much for an amendment in the Church of Rome, as for separation from it. We have seen what was the character of the Jansenists; and there can be little doubt that they adopted the measure of secession with the greatest reluctance. They would have still continued united with Rome, if Rome would have let them. What we have quoted about St. Joseph, relics, and propitiatory almsgiving, at the beginning of this article, is quite enough to shew that they were Roman Catholics at heart. Moreover, rather than separate, they long submitted to proscription, calumny, and persecution, with exemplary patience; justifying their opinions all along by Roman Catholic authorities," and standing upon the councils and the fathers, almost if not quite as much as upon the Seriptures themselves. At length, however, they are coming out. They clung to Rome as long as possible, but are now COMPELLED to leave her. How strongly confirmatory this of our positions; that Romanism, so far from mending, is in a worse state now than ever; and that the hope for each of her members is, not that she will improve, but that they may get out of her and escape, before her judgment comes!

[ocr errors]

* While we are upon the present subject, our attention is necessarily called to two Letters of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, M.A., Vicar of Islington, which we have read with great pain, and with strong feelings of dissent and disapprobation. To these letters we seem called upon, by many circumstances, to reply.We have already, in our last Number, expressed sentiments with which they are totally at variance. They place us, therefore, on the defensive.-Add to this, it is necessary that those who disapprove of the principles contained in the letters in question should be cleared. They come from one whom the religious

[blocks in formation]

world has hitherto looked up to, as a leading authority; and others, by not disclaiming them, may seem to have acquiesced. -Something is due also to the consistent-we mean the antiCatholic-part of our Protestant brethren in Ireland. From

the tone of too many of our religious anniversaries, from the appearance of these letters without any general and united renunciation on the part of English Protestants, and from some similar circumstances, many of our esteemed brethren, we fear, must have gone back to Ireland with heavy hearts, thinking that they have been coolly and strangely abandoned in their present most trying circumstances; while yet there is many a true English bosom that beats high in their cause, and feels their wrongs and alarms its own. But after all, there is a stronger reason than any of these, why Mr. Wilson's letters should not be suffered to pass unnoticed-namely, that the cause of Protestantism, the cause of sound doctrine, the cause of truth is concerned, and calls for vindication.

We probably should have taken up the subject in our present Number, had we not reason to think that it is in good hands. We beg our esteemed Brother, who has turned his thoughts to it, to remember what a charge is committed to him: trusting that he will not fail to administer the measure due, according to his knowledge of the subject, according to his habits of discerning between truth and falsehood, according to the opportunities which he has enjoyed abroad of forming his own opinions, and according to the talents which God has given him.


EVERY experienced reader of Scripture knows, that by comparing corresponding passages, or expressions, which lie in different parts of the Bible, we often discover remarkable and most instructive meanings, which are not to be discerned by viewing single texts. We may explain ourselves by an instance given in our last Number. We have there remarked, how the Lord says to Adam, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife"-a sin that brought a curse; but to Abraham, "In all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice :" thus marking the different circumstances of the father of mankind and the father of the faithful. It is well to note such correspondences, whether the corresponding passages be remote or near each other. Thus St. Paul, viewing the arduous

duties of his Apostleship, asks, "Who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Cor. ii. 16). In the next chapter, however, we find his own answer: "But our sufficiency is of God."-Nay, these coincidences may often afford occasion for a sermon. Thus, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, having spoken of the priesthood of Christ, the Apostle says, "For such an High Priest became us" (vii. 26): but again, at the beginning of the next chapter, "We e HAVE such an High Priest." Here, then, we have quite matter enough for a discourse; by shewing, first, that we required, secondly, that we have, such an High Priest.-Merely premising, that under the name of "Scriptural Coincidences we are not bringing forward the somewhat kindred subject of Scriptural parallelism which, if in the general wreck of literature and literary men about to take place, the Lord spare our work, and us to conduct it, we may with his help take hereafter we proceed to offer other instances of the same kind with those already given, hoping that to the devout student of Scripture they will prove interesting and edifying.


[ocr errors]



I. They chose new gods: then was WAR in the gates." (Judges v. 8). As often as the people fell into idolatry, the punishment was war and, trouble. But peace returned when they abandoned their idols. "Also he took away, out of all the cities of Judah, the high places and the images; and the kingdom WAS QUIET before him." (2 Chron. xiv. 5).

Hence let the Christian learn, what is the true source of all his inward troubles and disquietudes; and by what path his soul may return again unto her rest.

II. It is a very observable coincidence in Scripture, that where husband and wife do wrong, or fall into any fatal sin, we generally find them falling in concert, and not in contention. Thus it was with our first parents, Adam and Eve. They fell together. So also Abraham and Sarah. They agree to deceive. Thus it was, too, with Ahab and Jezebel, in the matter of Naboth. So also with Jeroboam and his wife, in their attempt to deceive the blind prophet Ahijah. And so, finally, in the New Testament, with Ananias and Sapphira, in their attempt to deceive St. Peter. In each of these cases the husband and wife are united, not at variance, in sin.

Warning and awakening emblems of a pastor and his congregation mutually corrupting each other, each helping the other forward in the downward course of doctrinal error, or practical delinquency! With regard to the last two instances, we may make a further remark. Jeroboam and his wife attempt to deceive a Prophet, and lose their son. Ananias and Sapphira attempt to deceive an Apostle, and perish themselves.

Even in a sacred tie we need the grace of God; or it may prove to us an occasion of sin.

III. It was the design of Herod to bring out Peter, after Easter, to the people. But, being baffled by the interposition of the angel, he departed for Cesarea, the seat of government, and there abode. Jerusalem seems to be a place at which it has especially pleased the Lord to baffle and confound the kings of the earth. Herod, baffled at Jerusalem, withdraws to his own place, abides there, and is there smitten by an angel. Sennacherib, foiled in his designs upon Jerusalem, retreats to his own city, dwells there, and is there slain by his sons.


IV. "We are made," says St. Paul, as the FILTH of the earth." Thus it is that the elect people of God are regarded by the world. But very differently are they regarded by the Lord. Ye," says he, are the SALT of the earth." To the one they are that which defiles, corrupts, contaminates the earth. To the Other, they are that which preserves it from destruction.

[ocr errors]


V. The Lord had two things to complete upon earth, his performances and his sufferings. Hence, in the Gospel of St. John, we find him twice using the word "finished" that is, once with regard to his performances, and once with regard to his sufferings. First, as to his performances, when his work was closed, and nothing remained but that he should suffer: I have finished the WORK which thou gavest me to do. Secondly, not long after, when his sacrifice also was completed, and he said upon the cross, with reference to this also, It is finished.

VI. Pilate, when our Lord is brought before him, lays hold of the last words spoken, as an occasion for saying something. This arose, probably, from his being at a loss. Thus, when our Saviour speaks of his kingdom, Pilate asks, “ Art thou a king then?" When our Lord mentions truth, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice," Pilate saith unto him, "What is truth?" So also, when our Lord's enemies speak of his stirring up the people, beginning from Galilee; "When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean." In like manner when Herod is mentioned: "As soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod." And when they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him," Pilate answered, "Take "Take ye him and crucify him.”

This is the manner of those who, like Pilate, wish to throw off a business that is brought upon their hands, in the shortest way; or converse with others, without taking any real interest in the conversation; or have no ideas upon the subject discussed.

In talking with the untaught, poor or rich, upon religious subjects, we must not be too favourably impressed, when

« VorigeDoorgaan »