« VorigeDoorgaan »
" But there is another foundation, and The offices of elders, bishops (Tpeothat a more ancient one, on which our βυτεροι, επισκοποι,) were not an honour union restsit is that of Catholicism. 1 and superiority so much as a service can say, my Lord, as the Christians of (Slakovia.) old, 'Credo unam sanctam et catholicam “This season of piety and life was folecclesiam ;' and it is in this Church, lowed by a season of spiritual weakness which is one, holy, and catholic, that I and languor. Soon the error which I am united with you. There are those in wish to point out, arose.
The Church, Christendom who have erroneous views willing to retain the Spirit that was concerning this Church. Such are the fading, instead of attaching the office to Greeks, the Romanists, and some persons the spiritual gift, supposed that the spiriof the Reformed Church. These teachers tual gift was attached to the office. hold two errors in particular which I Instead of saying, Let us select for desire to point out.
elders and for bishops men in whom the “ The first error consists in understand. Spirit of God dwells, they said, Let us ing by the one, holy, and Catholic Church, make elders and bishops, and through a visible Church. The Greeks say, It is this consecration the Spirit of God will the Eastern Church; the Romanists say, enter into them. It is the Roman Church; and some per- “Thus, then, the visible Church had sons of the Reformed Church say, It is in the Apostolic days two essential laws. our Church.
1. That the ministry is to be given to “ But it is not so. The one, holy, and those who have the spiritual grace—the Catholic Church, is the body of Divine vocation. 2. That the unity of Christ,' as the Apostle Paul says (Eph. the Church is spiritual and invisible. iv. 12). *the general assembly and “But subsequently there sprung up a Church of the first-born, which are sort of ecclesiastical materialism (mainwritten in heaven,' (Heb. xii. 23.) It tained also in our days by the Greeks, is the communion of saints, of which the the Romanists, and some persons of the Apostles' Creed speaks,--that mystical Reformed Church,) which established body of Christ, in which every believer two laws directly contrary to the laws of finds himself united to all other believers apostolic Christianity. This ecclesiastical through a common relationship with the materialism teaches: 1. That the outSaviour."
ward ordination, which invests a man “ There is a second error maintained with the official character of a minister, by the Greeks, the Romanists, and some communicates to him also the spiritual persons of the Reformed Church, which
qualifications which are needful for him. I must beg permission of your Grace to 2. That the unity of the body of Christ point out. In doing so, I must premise is an external and hierarchical unity." that I by no means consider the Church to be solely spiritual and internal, but We consider this idea of the hierthat it ought to become visible and ex- archical or sacramental system to be ternal. The communion of saints ought peculiarly happy. For the spirituality to become a society- the mystical body of Christ ought to become a Church. It Religion, Rome, and all the tribes of
of Scriptural and truly Evangelical is necessary for this end that Christians should associate themselves in a relation
Romanizers, have substituted what ship, that is external and operative. It
our author most aptly calls “ Eccle. is with the internal and external Church siastical Materialism." as with the soul and body. The soul is ceeds to point out most truly, that the essential part, and exists indepen. the foundations of this system are to dently of the body, but to make the be sought and found in " the apocrycomplete man, body and soul are neces- phal writings of the second and third sary. The internal Church, which is
centuries ”-in the so-called “ A posthe mystical body of Christ, is the spi- tolical Constitutions and similar ritual principle of the external Church. forgeries. The nature of this system The spiritual Church is first created by corresponds with its origin : the the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men ; then this spiritual Church creates the origin with its nature. They mutually external Church in the world. Thus it
illustrate one another. They both
combine in the condemnation of the was at the commencement of Christianity. Faith, love, life, formed the
whole system, in the judgment of any real essential bond, which united the truly intelligent and spiritual mind. members of the Christian community.
We thank Dr. Merle D'Aubigne for
And he proput down.
this expressive and instructive term, charge of parishes a considerable numby which he has designated that sys- ber of ministers who are determined, like tem which, as a true and faithful Paul, not to know anything save Jesus brother in Christ, he would help us to
Christ and Him crucified.'"
We especially wish that this “natuScriptural Protestants, unite in op- ral, universal ministry, which every posing it.
Christian is called upon to fulfil, One other passage, from the con- were more deeply considered. We clusion of this valuable and season- should then have far better hope of a able Letter, we most gladly quote; revival of spiritual religion, to which, and in so doing we commend the in the following article, our attention whole to the serious consideration of is now called. The Letter of our all our brethren in Christ, and espe- foreign brother may well be poncially to the whole Church of Eng- dered in connexion with Mr.Wilson's land.
pamphlet. It suggests some valuable “Permit me to add a few words. If thoughts in the way of addition to the spirit is with you more than the form,
and following up of all that is there then it is by the work of the Spirit by said. the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, that the Church must be quickened, strengthened, increased, de- A REVIVAL OF SPIRITUAL RELIGION fended. That is the way in which it can prosper and overcome all its ene
the only effectual Remedy for the mies. If the struggle were between the Dangers which now threaten the Anglican form and the Roman form, I Church of England.
By DANIEL should tremble for your Church, for the Roman form is very skilfully contrived.
Wilson, M.A., Vicar of Islington. But if you fight against Rome with the Hatchards. Word of God, with the Spirit of God, with the preaching of the blood of the
The title of this pamphlet anLamb, then there is no need to fear; for
nounces an important truth. If its it is to the Church which uses such publication only served to call attenweapons that Christ has promised that tion to the fact, and multitudes (as the gates of hell shall not prevail will doubtless be the case) should against it.'
never concern themselves to read any " If asked, then, what I think would further than the title-page, we should be most useful to the Church in England rejoice that it has proceeded from at this time, I should say, first of all,
that such a quarter; and we feel ourselves all those who are members of the body called upon to offer our best thanks of Christ and are of the holy nation,' should remember that they are priests But we cordially commend the whole
to the author for having sent it forth. and kings, and called to show forth the praises of him who hath called them out pamphlet to the attentive perusal, of darkness into his marvellous light and to the prayerful consideration of (1 Pet. ii. 9.) There is, indeed, a positive
our readers. We hope that, by the and special ministry in the Church, but blessing of God, it
lead many of there is also a natural, universal minis- our brethren in the Church of Engtry, which every Christian is called upon land to think over, and pray over the to fulfil. I think that at the present whole subject. time all the living members of the Two points are distinctly brought Church of Christ are called upon to make before us by this publication. First, unusual efforts, especially in those parts that a revival of spiritual religion in of your country which stand in most
the Church of England is greatly need of the Gospel. " I should say next, that I look upon
needed; and next, that this is the only it as of the highest importance for main
effectual remedy for the evils and taining the prosperity of the Church, dangers which beset our Church althat effectual measures should be taken ready; and which threaten still furfor enabling young men of decided piety ther to assail, and oppress, and unand good capacity to prosecute the study dermine it. of theology, and for bringing into the The first of these points ought to
be far more generally acknowledged Church are setting apart, we are told, than it is; and with much more of days of prayer for the conversion of our profound humiliation before God. Church to Popery. Why should we not Mr. Wilson well observes,
unite in petitions for our preservation in
the truth! I can conceive nothing so “ The first step to a revival would ob
offensive to the Majesty of Heaven, or so viously be a prevailing consciousness
calculated to bring guilt on our Church, among the spiritual and enlightened
as these frequent apostacies to Rome which members of the Church that such a re
are taking place among us, -the pervervival was deeply needed. If we are sa
sion of inen in some cases trained by tisfied with our present position and
pious parents, and nurtured in the midst prospects, there will be no desire for a
of Christ's Gospel, but who have not, it change. There is much misconception is feared, tasted of Divine grace them. on tl.i; point. Many seem to imagine
selves; who have tampered with the foe, that the present position of our Church is of the most hopeful and encouraging
exposed themselves to dangerous and se
ductive influences, grieved the Spirit of character; that it is altogether a mistake
God, and have thus become an easy prey to suppose that this is an age of decline.
to the tempter, God sending them They contrast the present with the last
strong delusion to believe a lie.' I ask, and preceding century. They draw a
could thi have happened, had they been flattering comparison between the pre
walking humbly with their God, --had sent activity and zeal now existing in our
they shunned the first approaches of great societies, and the torpor of a for
temptation ? What deep cause is there, iner age. They point to the number and
then, for national humiliation! Can we influence of the Evangelical clergy, as
afford no time from our restless activity compared with other periods, when few
for such a service ? Can we spare no raised their voice in the wilderness; and
leisure from our indignant protests against they tell us that the shining lights of Papal aggression from without, and treapast years owed their brilliancy not so
chery and seduction from within, for much to their own intrinsic brightness
humbling ourselves as a Church before as to the moral gloom by which they
God for sin, and for seeking that return were surrounded; and that the standard
of the Spirit's grace, which can alone of piety is as high, while its diffusion is
expel the foe?” vastly wider, now than in our fathers' times. Now, if this be the case, I ask The pamphlet calls attention to why is it that the same effects do not fol
four points. low? How comes it, if the purity of the 1. The leading characteristics of a Church be so eminent, that heresy has genuine revival of religion. been allowed to take so deep a root in 2. The chief impediments to such her? I draw my conclusions that we a revival which exist at the present are in a state of decline, from the very
time. fact of the perversions and corruptions
3. The means which may be most which have been going on, while so few warning voices have been raised against effectually used in order to promote it. them. This is a part of the delusion
4. The important results which palmed on the Church. Strangers have
would follow from it to our Church, devoured his strength, and he knoweth it the nation, and the world at large. not; yea, grey hairs are here and there There is much, under each of these upon him, yet he knoweth not.'
heads, which we would gladly ex“If we were brought as a Church to tract, did our space permit; but we feel our state of decline, the next step hope that the whole pamphlet will be would be a solemn act of public humilia, widely circulated, extensively and tion and prostration of heart before God carefully read, and very deeply confor sin. We are accustomed to set apart sidered, and that with very earnest days of fasting, by public authority, in the time of temporal calamities. Several prayer for the mighty operation of the
If that blessing be such appointments were made during the Spirit of God. late war, and more recently on the oc.
vouchsafed, we think that on some currence of the cholera and Irish famine. points it might lead to deeper and Why should not the present distractions
clearer views than the author has of the Church be made the occasion for ventured to set forth,-especially in solemn prostration of spirit and confes. regard to the impediments to such a sion of sin before God? The Romish revival, which now exist among us.
We must content ourselves with whether duty would not compel him having extracted the foregoing por- to leave Norwich. He opened his tions of Mr. Wilson's views on the mind to the Rev. Josiah Pratt, of means necessary for the promotion London, and that devoted minister, of a spiritual revival. When dwelling who had for several years conducted upon the existing impediments to such the affairs of the Church Missionary a revival, we could have wished that Society, proposed to Mr. Bickersteth Mr. Wilson had taken a more en- that he should quit his present prolarged view of the whole external, as fession, seek ordination from the Biwell as internal, state of the Church shop of Norwich, and come up to in which he ministers; and we can- London to assist him in the ministry, not but think that he would have and share in the increasing work of found much more that presents un- the Society. Among the other friends doubted difficulties in the way of any consulted on this occasion, was Mr. general or enduring revival of spiri- Budd, whose ministry Mr. Bickersteth tual religion among us.
had attended in London, and who thus wrote to him :
" Are you adapted to such a situation? MEMOIR OF THE Rev. EDWARD Bick- I think I should answer such a question
You are a ERSTETH, late Rector of Watton, decidedly in the affirmative. Herts. By the Rev.T.R.Birks,M.A., stand the importance and blessedness of
man of a missionary spirit ; you underRector of Kelshall, Herts. 2 vols.
a missionary work; it is dear to your 8vo. pp. 937. Seeleys.
soul. You enter into it with a peculiar
spirit and feeling. You see the inesti. (Second Notice.)
mable worth of souls, and mourn for the We resume our notice of Mr. Bick- darkness of the heathen world, and rejoice
in the dawn of this glorious day. So ersteth, with an increased conviction of the worth of his earnest, energetic suited for it ; and then as to occasionally
far, I should say, you were eminently piety, and with a deep sense of the superiority of such a man over those appearing in Mr. Pratt's pulpit, &c.,
why should you start at this ? He is more brilliant theologians, who are
eminent, experienced ; so are you, in the rather attracted by literary niceties very best sense of these words. You are than impressed with the exigencies of not a Christian of yesterday. You are the world around them. “It appears not a minister of yesterday, You have to me,” says the late John Foster, long been a minister, without imposition “that but little is accomplished, be
of hands indeed, but acting under the cause but little is vigorously attempt- indisputable and powerful motion of the ed; and that but little is attempted, sacraments
, or appeared in a pulpit
You have not administered the because difficulties are magnified. A
before the great congregation ; but you timorously cautious spirit, so far from
have performed all the functions of a acting with resolution, will never
minister except these, and what is still think itself in possession of the pre
more, you have the light of life beaming liminaries for acting at all. Perhaps in full radiance on your soul. Your perseverance has been the radical heavenly knowledge is great: your heaprinciple of every truly great charac- venly enjoyments are great: your Christer.” Of the force of this sentiment, tian experience is diversified and matured; the volumes before us supply a most and you may speak the revealed things striking illustration.
of God, out of the ripe and yet ripening The worldly prosperity Mr. Bick- fulness of your own heart. Why then ersteth enjoyed at Norwich did not
should you hesitate to undertake this extinguish the earnest wish to enter
part of the duty also ? You know me the ministry, which he had felt when
well enough to know that I ain merging
what the world calls delicacy in the suin London. In the year 1815 his
perior claim of Christian truth. What I wish was gratified. Difficulties arose
have written above, I deem it my duty in carrying on business on the prin- to have written : it is my estimation of ciples which he and his partner had your character, and it is not the hasty determined to follow, and he doubted decision of a moment."
Mr. Bickersteth was ordained on thought no evil, and hoped all things. the 10th of December, 1815, and three He disarmed opposition, and was enabled weeks afterwards set sail for Africa,
to deliver many a faithful message, that where the Church Missionary Society would scarcely have been borne from the had nearly twelve years before planted lips of a messenger less beloved.
“ Sometimes the notes of his speeches a mission, which now stood much in need of 'supervision. The difficult thought which he was anxious to impress;
contained the headings of some spiritual task thus undertaken was carefully the following on Dependence on God and wisely performed. The schools
may be taken as a specimen : were examined, differences among ". Why we should depend ; -His althe brethren settled, impediments in mighty power- His boundless lovethe way of preaching the Gospel re- His omnipresence-'Lo! I am with moved, and minute inquiries made you.' with regard to every thing affecting.
««• How should we depeni?-Not doing the welfare of the mission.
nothing. Ono-Not giving nothing. On his return to England, Mr. Bick- Ono- -Confiding much. What a Friend ersteth entered on his duties as a Se
we have-Praying much-Giving much
- Working much.' cretary to the Society. The scenes which he had witnessed in Africa during his journeys; for in his note-book
“He was gathering fresh materials were well calculated to inflame his he would mark the striking thoughts or missionary zeal, and to give point to interesting anecdotes of other speakers, the appeals which he was called on to and he had a peculiar faculty of turning make in his missionary journeys for these to immediate account. His inind the Society. For fourteen or fifteen was ever active, and he had always one years, these journeys formed a main great object in view--his Master's work; feature of his life, and were one of his here was the secret of his accomplishing most important spheres of usefulness. so much.
On his return home, these He was deficient in many of the re
papers were put by, and were ready for quisites for a finished orator; but he
use, if again wanted. Stores of them, possessed an earnestness, a simplicity, the accumulation of thirty years, have and a loving spirit, which, combined
been found among his manuscripts; the with a sound judgment and ready publications of October, 1849, marked
last packet tied up with the missionary tact, rendered him one of the most with the label Church Missionary Sosuccessful of missionary advocates. ciety,' as it had been used on the last The following details are very char- journey, laid by for his next tour. Little acteristic:
did he know how nearly his missionary
work was ended. When those now silent “ He made careful preparation for his journeys : he had always with him notes, lips open again, it shall not be to plead containing data as to the condition of
for the perishing heathen, but to join in the Society's stations abroad, as well as
the triumphant song, · The kingdoms of
the world are become the kingdoms of its funds at home. Under the head of the different stations, anecdotes were
our Lord and of his Christ !'" referred to, that were likely to interest In the year 1830, feeling that his his hearers. Local circumstances, con- frequent absence from London was a nected with the towns he visited, were serious hindrance to the fulfilment of carefully noted. If a town had in past his duties to his own family and his times enjoyed any special privileges, he congregation at Wheler Chapel, Mr. would urge these as motives why its in-. Bickersteth was anxious to relinquish habitants should walk worthy of them; if the subscriptions had declined, he mittee, however, deemed the proposed
a portion of the travelling. The Comwould remind them of their former love, and exhort them to return to their first change to be detrimental to the inteworks. He would provoke Christians to
rests of the Society; and the diffe
rence of views led Mr. Bickersteth to a godly jealousy, reminding the inhabitants of larger towns, what had been done contemplate a resignation of his office. in smaller and poorer places. In all this. On the 13th of March he accordingly there was a mingled frankness and cour- wrote a letter of resignation, but did tesy ; the boldness that feared not to not immediately send it. reprove, coinbined with the love that “ On Sunday, March 14th, he wrote