« VorigeDoorgaan »
for them, who were once enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the holy ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they should fall away, to be renewed to repentance." He charges Tumothy, his beloved disciple, to beware, lest he be led away after the vicious example of Hymeneus and Philetus, two apostate teachers, who, as he expressly affirms, "have erred from the truth, and made shipwreck concerning the faith." These men were once in a justified state. They had their sins remitted unto them in baptism, and received a conditional promise of their perseverance in faith; but they turned away from the faith; they apostatized from the truth; they fell from grace; and by these means they lost their justified state, and incurred the penalty due to this aggravated sin.-Lutheran Mag.
We cannot too highly says the Editor of the Lutheran Magazine, appreciate our privileges and blessings, as Evangelical ChristiansWe enjoy religious liberty. We are not compelled to believe or do any thing against the word of God, or the dictates of our consciences. No man, or set of men, have the power of imposing upon us their religious creeds, without our approbation and consent. In this country, we owe no allegiance to an established church. In no ecclesiastical authority, do we acknowledge the right of dictating to us, what we shall believe or do, in order to be saved. The word of God is our only rule of faith and practice. To this infallible standard we, as Lutherans, hold the Augsburgh Confession, and every other symbol of our church, subservient. And although we venerate the names of Luther and his co-adjutors, in this glorious work of the reformation, and establishment of our church; we venerate them as men merely, who deserve our respect and confidence, but not our blind adherance to whatever they may have proposed. We consider ourselves subject to no authority, in religious matters, but the authority of the gospel. In our spiritual concerns, we are to exercise our judgment and satisfy our consciences.-This we believe to be the will of God, and the unalienable right of every protestant christian.
But how are these privileges and blessings improved? How have we, Evangelical Lutherans, used our religious liberty? Have we all entered into the liberty of children of God? Do we enjoy the spiritual liberty of real evangelical christians? Has the Son made us free? We venerate the names of those devoted servants of God, who have laboured diligently and suffered faithfully in the cause of true Christianity. But how do we follow their example? Do we know what true christianity is? Have we ever experienced it? Have we ever seriously enquired into it? Do we possess that faith, for which our forefathers so earnestly and zealously contended? We honor the character of those fearless advocates of the truth, who ren
dered every sacrifice for the salvation of their souls; but what sacrifices have we ever rendered? Have we faced danger, and encountered temptations, and overcome obstacles, and surmounted difficulties, so as to exhibit our moral courage, and display our christian devotion? What have we done to deserve the approbation of the age in which we live, and establish our claims to the gratitude of posterity? These questions we solemnly urge upon the consciences of all Evangelical Lutherans, and we humbly trust, they may be scriously and devoutly considered.
We enjoy the privilege of reading the word of God, and exercising our own judgment in religious matters. This, indeed, is a great privilege. There was a time, when the circulation of the Bible was prohibited by an order of the Supreme Head of the church; when the reading of the Scriptures was considered a pernicious encroachment on the authority, and a flagrant offence against the dignity of Christ's vice-gerent on earth. But blessed be God; that period of delusion and darkness has passed-the pride of the beast has been humbled, and Babylon has fallen. We live at a time, when the bible may not only be generally read, but when it is universally distributed. We inhabit a country, aad belong to a church, in which the treasures of the Gospel are richly unfolded to us.-We enjoy every opportunity of becoming enlightened in the principles and duties of Evangelical Christians. But are we thus truly enlightened? Do we dili, ently read the word of God? Have we ever ex erienced its enlightening influence on the mind? Do we faithfully attend the preaching of the gospel? And if so, have we every felt its renovating power? For it is a fact, which by many is not sufficiently realized, that we may search the scriptures, and yet remain ignorant of the true knowledge of God. We may attend to the preaching of the Gospel, and yet place all our hopes of salvation upon forms and ceremonies, which have been handed down from one generation to another, and are of themselves wholly insufficient for the salvation of the soul.
In cur church, we are permitted to worship God according to the directions of his word, and the dictates of our consciences. In our devotional exercises, we are not bound to observe a tedious succession of rules and ceremonies, which dazzle the eye, and please the imagination, without enlightening the understanding, improving the heart, and benefitting the soul. Our system of doctrine and forms of worship are consistent with the word of God. We are directed to worship God in spirit and in truth--to dedicate our hearts to his service, and glorify his name in our daily walk and conversation.This is what the Lord requires of every one who would worship him, in an acceptable manner. Have we rendered this reasonable service? -Have we ever presented our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, unto God? We profess to be free from the dominion of Romish ignorance and superstition-but is not the very ignorance which we so readily condemn in the adherents of the Pope, the foundation, on which too many of the professed disciples of Luther build their religious hopes and prospects? Do not many who call themselves evangelical christians evince, by their daily walk and conversa
tion, that they are entirely ignorant of the principles of the gospel? Are there not hundreds and thousands of professors of religion in our church, who possess none of the characteristics of true christians? Are there not many protestants who, like the Roman Catho lics, cherish mistaken notions of christianity ?-Are there not too many Lutherans who dishonor the name and disgrace the profession of Evangelical religion? On this subject, it must be confessed, we have too much reason to indulge in humiliating and painful reflections. But we feel no inclination at present to pursue this subject, and indulge in these reflections. We would, however, exhort our readers to humble themselves in the dust, in view of the state of religion in our church, and earnestly pray to God, that he might pour out his holy spirit upon us, and revive his work in our midst. Let us all endeavor, with the help of God, to live more consistent with the profession of evangelical christianity. Let us act more worthy of our illustrious descent, and our high and glorious calling. While we venerate the names, let us follow the examples of Luther and the founders of our church. And while we thank God for the establishment and preservation of our Evangelical Lutheran Zion, let us labor and pray, that she may arise and shine in the splendor of her former glory.
WAR IN EUROPE..
Such an event may well be anticipated, whether we form our calculations from the existing political state of those countries, or from the predictions of Scripture, pointing, out the approaching judgments which are to befal them. We know from the sure word of prophecy, that the dismembered kingdoms of the Old Roman Empire, including almost all the states of Europe, (England among the rest,) are to be broken in pieces, and that these events are to precede the final establishment of the kingdom of the Son of Man. That we are on the eve of the accomplishment of these prophecies, seems probable, from the present state of society: all the old governments and establishmets of Europe, seem to be coming to an end: not being suited to the present state of public opinion. Founded in the presumption, that the few had a prescriptive privilege to think and act for many; the people who have begun to be enlightened upon the subject of civil rights, are not disposed to be oppressed without their own consent. But if war, general and desolating, is permitted to sweep over the fair face of Europe, it becomes a question of no little interest to the Christian philanthropist what will be its influence upon the cause of religion, and the spread of the gospel? If England is involved in war, it must have the most retarding operation upon all the great movements for the regeneration of the world. From that country have gone forth nine-tenths of all the men and money, and Bibles, and Tracts, &c. &c. which have been dispersed for the propagation of the gospel in Heathen lands. If her resources are di
verted by the necessaries of war, who shall stand up in her place? From whence are those supplies to be provided, which shall maintain the streams of benevolence, which have been flowing over the moral desert of the world, so bountifully filled from the benefactions of British Christians? Shall they be permitted to dry up? Forbid it Lord! Forbid it the American Christians! Upon them must devolve the burden of labour and responsibilities. But what can the churches in America do, more than they are now doing? Do they not already begin to relax in their efforts? Are not the calls of the great societies loud and long for help, which seems to be afforded two slowly? Can any thing be expected here, to meet such vast demands? Yes. If God will grant his blessing upon the means of his grace. If the Holy spirit shall descend as on the day of Pentecost, and convert our fellow citizens by hundreds and by thousands. The silver and the gold are the Lord's, and the hearts of their possessors are in his hands. Then let the crisis come, and let America be regarded as the last hope of the moral world. She will redeem the expectation. She has enough of every necessary for the work, and would rejoin in the responsibility dovolved upon her. We ask no greater favour of heaven for our beloved country, no higher glory, than that she may be an instrument of taking up and carrying for ward those plans of mercy, which have respect to the regeneration of the world.-Philadelphia Recorder.
RELIGION IN SCOTLAND.
The celebrated preacher, Dr. Chalmers, of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, some time since published a work called "The Book of Scotland," from which the following statements are taken.
"The population of Scotland, by the census of 1821, was 2,093,456. It may be assumed that the number is now increased to about 2,600,000, and calculating by the usual proportion, 600,000 of these are under ten years of age."
"Roman Catholicism is progressing fast in Scotland, chiefly by the emigration of Irish, and the conversion of Presbyterian outlying Highlanders. The Roman Catholics have now some remarkably fine chapels, and the clergy are universally known as quiet and unobtrusive men. The Roman Catholicism of Scotland is, on the whole a very mild kind. Neither Methodism nor Quakerism seem to have been successful in Scotland; of Methodists there are scattered congregations, principally of the dregs of the population of large towns; of the society of Friends there is only one association in Edinburgh, formed by some of the most respectable and wealthy citizens. The sect which is making the most perceptible progress after the Roman Catholics, is, the Unitarians. The chief rallying place of the party is in the West of Scotland, where the Socinian doctrine meets with a ready support from the operative manufacturers. We are however of opinion, that the number of professing Unitarians,
Vol. V. No. 12.
gives a very imperfect idea of the actual amount of this species of belief, which it is to be feared, is now spreading its influence among all classes of Presbyterians."-[Gospel Messenger.
FIELD FOR CHRISTIAN EFFORT IN FRANCE.
The religious state of France at the present moment is deeply interesting. It seems almost certain that with comparatively little ef fort, a moral and religious reformation can be effected in that country, scarcely less important in its effects upon the world, than that which spread three centuries ago over the north of Europe.-Now is the moment for effort. The Bible Societies of Great Britain and America ought to throw a million Bibles into France in the course of the next two or three years. The London Christian Observer for October, says:
Our Protestant friends are putting forth their energies with zeal; and great numbers of persons who have hitherto professed the Roman Catholic faith, or no faith at all, are crowding to the Protestant chapels to hear for themselves the doctrines of the Bible, as professed by the reformed church. Popery is almost every where unpopular; and upon the efforts which shall now be made by the friends of Protestantism to promote religious education, scriptural preaching, and the knowledge and perusal of the word of God, may probably depend, under Divine Providence, whether France shall become a nation of avowed infidels, or Protestant Christians.
PROGRESS OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS IN IRELAND.
From a letter received by the Editor of the Sunday School Journal, from Hartstonge Robinson, Esq. Secretary of the Sunday School Society for Ireland, the following extract is made:
"You will perceive that we have had an increase during the last year of 135 schools, 10,906 scholars, and 1,157 gratuitous teachers, making in the whole, connected with our Society, on the first of January last, the period of making up our returns, 2418 schools, 196,396 scholars, and 17,994 gratuitous teachers. Our progress since has been considerable, and we continue to receive from our correspondents, the most gratifying accounts of the increased effects of the system. We are happy to perceive a growing spirit of inquiry amongst many of our population, and we have reason to believe that notwithstanding the ignorance and superstition still existing in the country, the influence of the circulation of the Scriptures and scriptural instruction, is much advanced. In reference to our own Society, we have not only an increase of the schools and scholars, but a more general impression as to the importance of the system, and more matured plans for its advancement are at present in operation.