« VorigeDoorgaan »
themselves from the Lord's sup- tian calling, their common diffi, per. If you inquire the reason culties, dangers, hopes, and comof their conduct, their answer is, forts, in a word, their common that their feelings are such, they cause should prompt them to a cannot sit down with a particular free and unreserved intercourse brother. Thus they substitute and friendship. But instead of their own feelings in the room of this, what a distance is there begospel precepts. What a mani. tween them. Children of the fest irregularity. Because a same father, heirs of the same brother has incurred our resent. kingdom, travellers in the same ment or displeasure, shall we vio- heavenly road, yea, members of late our covenant engagements, the same body, though they have disobey Christ's dying com- frequent opportunity to meet mand, retire from his church, and converse, hardly know one and deprive ourselves of the another. Christians are stranblessings of his table? Yet so gers to the spiritual condition of lax is the discipline of our their brethren, in consequence of churches, that, generally speak- which they are incapable of ing, they tolerate such disorderly alleviating their sorrows, of aidwithdrawment.
ing their progress in religion, It would be a great omission and of promoting, or participato close these remarks, without ting their joys. This want of noticing the almost entire neg- free intercourse among believers lect of baptized children. How and an intimate knowledge of little is done for their religious each other's state directly tends instruction! What friendly, pa- to prevent unity of sentiment ternal discipline does the church and fervency of affection, and to extend over them? Are they diminish all the comforts of treated as children of the cove- social piety. nant? Do they feel themselves The disorders, which have . to be under the watch and care been hinted at, in different deof the church? What a wide de grees, characterize the generaliparture is there in this respect, ty of New England churches ; I say not from the practice of the though we may still notice many fathers of New England, but pleasing exceptions. The consefrom the practice of primitive quences of these disorders are Christian churches. The cove- lamentable indeed, with refernant, which graciously comprises .ence to the prosperity and honour children with their believing par- of the Christian cause, and the ents, is ungratefully overlookedwelfare of individual believers. its advantages spurned, and even One sad consequence of the the reality of it called in question, evils, which mark the internal and denied.
state of our churches, is, that maAnother subject of regret in ny good men are hindered from the internal state of our church- entering into a visible church es is, the want of intimate ac- state. quaintance and fervent affection Many, whose lives are ex: among brethren. The covenant 'emplary, and whose Christian inin which church members are fluence is greatly needed in the joined, the nature of the Chris. church, are perplexed, and kept
back by the disorders among which, at the same time, requires Christians. Seeing little that is no sacrifices and imposes no re, inviting, or that promises utility straints. Is not this a subject of in a church standing, they neg- pious grief? Who can think it a lect a public profession. They small evil for tares to be so abunare fearful of forming a connexe dantly sown in God's field, as to ion with a church, in which overpower and almost eradicate there is such a frequency of irre, the wheat ? What advantage can ligious, and even profane charac- be derived to the church from ters, and which is so poorly the introduction of those, who distinguished by its purity from have not the spirit of the gospel, the civilized world. It is not and are in heart foes to Christian pretended that prevalent disor- truth and sanctity? What will ders justify such Christians, or they do to advance the purity and furnish them with any apology glory of Zion? What will they for neglecting their duty. But, do, but embarrass the efforts of in many instances, they conspire believers, efface more and more with other things to occasion of the sacred beauty of Christianity, fence in pious minds, especially & level its honour with the dust? where there is a depression of . This leads to another evil spirit and weakness of resolu- connected with the internal state tion, and to beget habitual hesi- of many New England churches. tancy with regard to an open pro- It was the original design of the fession of Christianity.
Redeemer, in the gospel dispenIt may seem strange to rank sation, to purify a people to him. under the same head an undesira. self; to establish a kingdom, ble increase of church members. which should evidently appear Yet in many cases, this stands in not of this world; a holy church, near connexion with the last which should bear the resem: particular. Remove from the blance of its Head, and thus be church of Christ that strictness distinguished from every other of discipline, which he ordained; society of men. But in the presextinguish the light of Christianent state of Christianity, where doctrines and Christian practice, is the line of discrimination bewhich shone in primitive ages; tween the church and the world? and you open a door for the ad- What excellence of character, mission of an unholy throng. what sanctity of life distinguish: That very state of the church, es the bulk of nominal Christians which discourages the scrupulous from others? What purity of conscience and the lowly heart, doctrine or discipline marks our invites the self confident and the churches at large, as parts of the worldly. the spirit of Redeemer's kingdom? With Christianity is corrupted or sunk, what propriety can they be adunrenewed men find less in the dressed in the words of Christ, church to awe their consciences, “ Ye are the salt of the earth, a to humble their pride, and to city set on a hill, the light of the abridge their pleasures. They world ?" Christ broke down readily take upon them a profes- the wall of separation between sion, which custom stamps as Jews and Gentiles; but his proprecious and honourable, and fessed friends have since broken
down the wall of separation be- laws of Christ is a stumbling tween his church and the ungod- block to the unenlightened world. \y world.
It tends to keep sinners ignorant The lax discipline and other of the glory of the gospel, to internal disorders of most New confirm their prejudices, and bar England churches produce very their minds more and more ahurtful effects upon the personal gainst it. The enemies of religcharacter of real believers. If ion make our irregularities the they had the advantage of being topic of malignant declamation connected with a church, where and triumphant reproach, and faithful discipline was maintain the foundation of those argued, where eminent goodness ments, which are most injurious was constantly exhibited before to the cause of truth. In addithem in the example of fellow tion to all this, the church has Christians, and where it was the little prospect of rearing a pious constant endeavour of the whole race, who shall be the safe de. body to promote the edification positaries of our holy religion. of every member, they would We have gone back from God, rise to higher attainments in and, according to the natural knowledge and holiness; they course of things, Christianity is would bear more abundant fruit, in great danger of an increasing and enjoy more consolation. But declension. Return, we beseech now they are like trees set in an thee, O God of hosts, look down unfriendly soil. Though not from heaven, and behold, and visit wholly barren, their fruit is less this vine, and the vineyard which abundant and less salutary, than thy right hand hath planted, and it would otherwise be. Their the branch that thou madest strong spiritual health is impaired by for thyself.
Pastor. the noxious atmosphere they breathe. The errors and vices, with which they are surrounded,
DOCTRINE have, though insensibly, a conta
THE gious influence upon them. They
TRINITY. embrace wrong principles and As a time, when the attention are betrayed into wrong prac. of this part of the Christian tice, without being aware of their world is turned upon that imdanger
. It is to be expected, portant and fundamental article that a general declension in the in our holy religion, the divinity spirit of the churches will be at- of Christ, it is seasonable to tended with a correspondent de- bring into view the best lights on clension in the piety of individ- this subject, to aid investigation, ual believers.
and direct to a right result. Drs. The moral disorders found in Watts and Doddridge have deour churches furnish infidels servedly obtained high reputawith their most successful weap- tion in the Christian world for ons against revealed religion, and their piety, candour, talents and present the greatest hinderance learning ; and though we would to its general reception. The call no man Master, yet their want of visible harmony between opinions on controverted points our religious state and the holy are to be respected, as valuable
human testimony, and in this rendered, the Word was a god, view they are often quoted. In that is, a kind of inferior deity, a former number of the Pano- as governors are called gods. plist," was given Dr. Watts' See John x. 34, and I Cor. viii, 5. opinion concerning the doctrine But it is impossible he should of the Trinity. I have taken the here be so called, as merely trouble to transcribe and trans- a governor, because he is spokmit to you for publication in en of as existing before the your next number, the senti- production of any creatures ments of Dr. Doddridge on the whom he could govern : and it same subject. The following is to me most incredible, that may be found in the first volume when the Jews were so exceedof his Family Expositor, page 24. ingly averse to idolatry, and the
“ In the beginning was the Gentiles so unhappily prone to Word, and the Word was with it, such a plain writer, as this God, and the Word was God."
apostle, should lay so dangerous
a stumbling block on the very PARAPHRASE.
threshold of his work, and repre-: In the beginning, before the foundation of the world, or the that in the beginning of all things
sent it as the Christian doctrine, first production of any created there were iwo Gods, one subeing, a glorious Person existed, preme and the other subordinate: who (on account of the perfec- a difficulty, which, if possible, tions of his nature and his being would be yet farther increased by in time the medium of divine recollecting what so many ancient manifestations to us) may prop- writers assert, that this gospel erly be called the Word of God. And the Word was originally with view of opposing the Cerinthi.
was written with a particular God the Father of all ; so that to
ans and Ebionites (see Iren, 50, him the words of Solomon might
1. c. 26; 3. c. 11. Euseb. Eccl. justly be applied, Prov. viii. 30;' Hist. 50. 6. c. 14) on which ac-> á He was by him as one brought count a greater accuracy of ex. up with him, and was daily his delight.” Nay, by a generation, sary. There are so many in:
pression must have been neces. which none can declare, and an. Stances in the writings of this union, which none can fully
apostle, and even in this chapter, conceive, the Word was himself God, that is, possessed of a nature
(see ver. 6, 12, 13, 18) where
80s, without the article is used truly and properly divINE. His views are fully explained
to signify God in the highest in the following Note :
sense of the word, that it is some
thing surprising such a stress The Word was God.] I know should be laid on the want of that how eagerly many have contend- article, as a proof that it is used ed, that the word God is used in only in a subordinate sense. On an inferior sense ; the necessary the other hand, to conceive of consequence of which is (as in- Christ as a distinct and codeed some have expressly avow- ordinate God, would be equally ed it) that this clause should be inconsistent with the most ex
press declarations of Scripture, * See p. 354, vol. I. and far more irreconcileable with
Teq&on. Nothing I have said leave it as far as I could in the above can by any means be just- simplicity of scripture expresly interpreted in such a sense : sions. I shall only add in the and I here solemnly disclaim the words, or at least in the sense of least intention of insinuating'one Bishop Burnet, “that had not thought of that kind by any thing St. John and the other apostles I have ever written here or else- thought it a doctrine of great imwhere. The order of the words portance in the gospel scheme, in the original (Oxos wy o ronyos) they would have rather waved is such, as that some have thought than asserted and insisted upon the clause might more exactly be it, considering the critical cir. translated, God was the Word. cumstances in which they wrote.” But there are almost every (See Burnet on the Articles, p. where so many instances of such 40.) a construction, as our version This eminent divine, in his supposes, that I chose rather to Paraphrase on Phil. ij. 5, 6, furfollow it, than to vary from it, her declares his sentiments in unnecessarily, in this important unequivocal language on this passage. I am deeply sensible sublime subject,
this “ great of the sublime and mysterious foundation of our faith," as he nature of the doctrine of Christ's justly considers it, in which he. deity, as here declared : but it speaks of Christ, as an “adorawould be quite foreign to my ble person," "possessed of dipurpose to enter into a large dis- vine perfections," as of right apcussion of that great FOUNDA. pearing “ as God, assuming the TION of our faith ; it has often highest divine names, titles and been done by much abler hands. attributes, by which the Supreme It was, however, matter of con. Being has made himself known, science with me, on the one and receiving from his servants hand, thus strongly to declare my divine honours and adorations.” belief of it: and on the other, to
ACCOUNT OF CALVIN'S TREAT- asserted, that the Geneva re. MEXT OF SERVETUS. former long harboured an im
placable hatred of the unfortu. (From Senne bier's Histoire Litera.
ire de Geneve, i. 1. Geneo. 1786. nate Spaniard, used every effort p. 204-227.]
to gratify his malice, denounced
him to the Magistrates of VienThe tragical history of Serve- ne, and caused seize him in the tus happened 1553. It has of morning after his arrival at len been related, to blacken Cal. Geneva. Men easily believe vin's character, by his bitter ene. what is so positively asserted, mies, and by those who had not and almost imagine it impossible seen the pieces in his justifica- that the tale can be false. Yet
It has been confidently Bolzec, the cotemporary and