Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

sistency must wish their children to follow their own footsteps, in order to save a few pence per week, send them to National Schools, where they are sure to learn many unscriptural doctrines : whence they are taken, every Sabbath, to episcopal worship; and from which they mostly come out with contempt for dissenting worship, and after having been thoroughly initiated into practices detrimental to the well being of both body and mind."*

To a zealous, and active superiutendence of education must be added by us, a bold uncompromising declaration, in our public teaching, of the great doctrines of the Gospel, as exhibited in the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy of our Church. These were mighty, through God, in casting down the strong holds of Popery, in former days; and they will, under His blessing, be no less successful, in arresting its present progress; and in preventing the extension of dissent. There is no part of the universal Church which, so far as it looks to any human interpreter, has so much of the pure Gospel, in all its services, as the Church of which we are Ministers. With an Apostolic Ministry, and a worship primitive, she presents the Gospel unmutilated before her people. The Gospel is inseparably and unalterably embodied, in the perpetuity of her standards. Those standards are laid on her Ministers, who are bound, either to declare the whole council

* Library of Ecclesiastical Knowledge, Vol. iv. p. 322.

of God, or to carry a woe, on their conscience, to the judgment seat of Christ. Whilst anti-liturgical communities are losing the Gospel, and declining into anti-christian heresies,* our Church contains, in her scriptural and unvarying formularies, a principle of continual reviviscence. Amidst much outward persecution, therefore, she is growing daily into fresher life, and more exalted self devotion.

The Eternal Spirit of all light and truth is, I trust, teaching us to carry forth her saving influences to all around ; and has destined her to act a conspicuous part, in the salvation of a lost world.

But, it remains for us, my reverend brethren, whilst contemplating, either the evils that threaten us, or the prosperity that awaits us, to take heed that we ourselves are instrumental in averting the one, and in proinoting the other. In doing this, we must be careful that, neither in character or conversation, in employment, or even in lawful recreation and amusement,-if amusements can be permitted to a Clergyman-we give any just occasion to the enemy to blaspheme, or to say, “ there, there, so would we have it.”+ The Ministry of reconcilation has been committed unto us. Let us see to it that the gospel is, in our preaching, what it is intended to be in itself. Let it not be so preached by us, as to become a salvo to the consciences, and a pacifier of the anxieties of the wicked ; instead of

* See Murch’s History of the Independent and Baptist Churches.

+ Ps. XXXV, 25.

being " the power of God unto salvation."* The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save sinners. He has laid his commission on us, and commanded us to go forth and “ preach the Gospel to every creature.”+ In this great work, in this noble undertaking a work and an undertaking worthy of the best energies of the highest Archangel before the throne of the Eternal-we therefore must follow our Lord, “ through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report;"I and if “ the days” should prove so “ evil" as to cause us to “ suffer shame for His name,"S we must not shrink back from the ignominy

But, whilst loving our Church as that sacred treasure-house in which God hath deposited his saving truth, and as “ built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Corner-stone,"1 let us remember, that not even the best zeal for her forms, nor the most enlightened devotion to her episcopacy, can become a substitute for our faithful and prayerful labours, as Ministers of the Gospel. The Church is not a saying Institution in and of itself. It becomes the instrument of salvation, only through the blessing of the Holy Ghost: whose blessing is chiefly bestowed in answer to fervent persevering prayer: and in giving testimony to a faithful and uncompro

[ocr errors]

mising preaching of " Jesus Christ and him crucified ;**--an unreserved proclamation, to our fellow sinners, of “the uusearchable riches of Christ.”

* I Cor. ii. 2.

Ephes. iii. 8.

APPENDIX.

NOTE (A.) Page 8.

In the remarks which I have made on the subject of Marriage, I do not mean to insinuate that the spirit which manifested itself, in the neighbouring kingdom of France, has so far prevailed as to obliterate the general conviction that marriage is more than a civil contract : doubtless, many, who earnestly sought to effect the recent alterations in the marriage laws, had no idea of detaching the celebration of that rite altogether from religion, altho' it has been brought to pass, by their means and influence, that the Law now permits parties to contract marriage without even so much as the recognition of God:--the evils, however, which the alteration in laws affecting marriage, by making it a civil contract, brought upon that unhappy people, ought to be regarded by us as a most solemn warning: In this view Sir Walter Scott's remarks, in his life of Napoleon Buonaparte,* are striking and instructive.

“ Intimately connected with these laws affecting religion, was that which reduced the union of marriage, the most sacred engage. ment which human beings can form, and the performance of which leads most strongly to the consolidation of society, to the state of a mere civil contract of a transitory character, which any two persons might engage in, and cast loose at pleasure, when their taste was changed, or their appetite gratified. If fiends had set themselves to work to discover a mode of most effectually destroying whatever is venerable, graceful or permanent, in domestic life, and of obtaining at the same time an assurance that the mischief which it was their object to create, should be perpetuated from one generation to another, they could not have

* Vol. ii. p. 307.

« PoprzedniaDalej »