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trines of the Gospel, without regard to sects and denominations, into which Christians are unhappily divided. Among these doctrines will be reckoned, The corruption of man's nature by the Fall—Redemption and Restoration by Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was both God and man....The necessity of God's Holy Spirit operating on the heart, that it may bring forth the genuine fruits of faith and gospel obedience....And that God has instituted a visible Church on earth, with its ministry and sacred ordinances; by the instrumentality of which, the operations of the Holy Spirit are promised, and to be expected. Wherever these doctrines are faithfully .taught and duly received, the spirit of Christianity will prevail. It is believed they will make way to the hearts of men, and holiness, righteousness and peace, will follow; to the glory of God, and the welfare of society.
Having these ends always in view, the reader is assured of fidelity and exertion to make the work interesting and useful. Sensible that it must stand or fall by its own deservings, no pains nor labour will be spared, which promise success, in collecting materials suitable to the end in view. Of the fulfilment of these engagements, the public must judge. They have now an opportunity. A specimen iB in their hands. To them the ultimate decision is cheerfully submitted.
THOUGHTS OA' THE NEW YEAR. THE commencement of a New Year cannot but excite, in the pious and contemplative mind, many serious and useful reflections. It is a returning season, which should arrest the attention ot every one: It should divert the miser from the contemplation of hi* bags; the worldling from his eager pursuits; the man of pleasure from his debauch; the statesman from his schemes of ambition j ■nd the philosopher from his airy visions. How rapid the flight of time! How exact and orderly the course of the year! How infinite the wisdom that contrived, and how almighty the power that urges on the wondrous system, period after period, not varying a single second of time! Too vast the conception, to be clothed in adequate words; too immense for human imagination to grasp! He sitteth on the circuit of the heavens, and the inhabitants of the earth are as grasshopjiers. He commanded, and the sun shone in his splendour: He spake the word, and the earth began to wheel his mighty round: He sitteth above all; and with infinite ease, and perfect uniformity, wields in his hand the boundless whole. Thousands of years have rolled away, and no disorders have intervened, for all was pronounced very good. He who made, perfectly knew, and perfectly contritrived the various parts. No clashing force impedes the motion of the spheres; but round and round they roll in harmonious concert; sustaining, and being sustained,by that all-pervading impulse, whose essence is known only to the Creator.
Ye who doubt the being of a wise first cause, come hither; be silent, and listen awhile to the instruction of the returning year. Can all this harmony proceed from a blind, unmeaning, and undesigning fate? Can senseless matter have jumbled itself into such exact order? To believe it, requires the greatest stretch of faith: To hesitate, in so plain a case, is indicative of such perverscness at every one should blush to own. Ye who call not in question that God rules and guides the helm of material things, yet heedlessly overlook his government of the intellectual world; of his rational creature man, come and receive instruction. He who rules in such excellent order, in one case, must prescribe to himself a no less perfect system in the other. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath ke ipoken, and shall he not make it good? He hath promised rewards to the obedient, and threatened the disobedient with punishment; and just so sxire as he brings about days and years, he will fulfil his words. Days and nights follow each other; the year pursues its course, and would do so in spite of all our endeavours to impede its progress; it comes to an end in its stated time: Just so God carries on his government of the moral world. Strive as we will to elude his notice, or impiously trample on his authority, it is to no purpose, but our own condemnation. His eye is about us, and spieth out all our ways: Our resistance is no check to the operations of his hands; they are ever uniform, and the same. Art and dissimulation may conceal iniquity from men, or force prevent its punishment; but day unto day, and year unto- year, are so many monitors, that God is not thus to be defied, nor his unchanging will controuled. The great year of providence and grace is rolling on, and shall come to an end in God's time; when the whole intellectual world shall see and know that his administrations have been uniformly directed to one end, and guided by an eternal rule of right. However to our present short sight there may seem to be disorder and irregularity; yet, when all the dispensations of heaven, with regard to men, shall come to a close, in the day of account, it will be seen that there has been the same harmony, the same unity of design, the same undeviating progress, toward the glory of God, and the good of his faithful servants, as we observe in the flight of time, to close die natural year. Hence, to every rational mind, the season thus speaks and expostulates :—Are you also pursuing the same end? Is your conduct guided by the same unerring rule, and directed to the same object? While days and nights are passing away, in uniform succession, are your thoughts, desires and actions, alike uniform, and all very good? Time hath moved unremittingly forward to the close of another year; but have not you often slumbered and slept instead of pursuing your course? Have you not often wandered out of the direct road? Have you not sometimes gone backward instead of advancing? And while you thus linger in your progress towards the stature of perfect men, do you expect ever to reach that blessed region, where times and season**, days and years, shall be no more I The year that is past may well be represented as adopting the more explicit language of an affectionate and faithful friend, when taking leave of us forever, and saying : Make a solemn pause; look back, and examine what you have been doing, since you walked the journey of life in my company: What sins have you committed? In what evil habits have you indulged? How many times have you given way to immoderate anger, to malice, to envy, or revenge?
How often have yon deceived, defrauded, or calumniated some of your neighbours? How frequently have you plunged into scenes of excess and intemperance? How have you neglected the service of your God, and the solemn duties of religion? Let conscience do her office, and she will tell you, that frequently indeed these neglects have been noted against you in the registry of heaven. Amidst all these defects and faults, how few good deeds have you done! How much work for repentance! And how little reason for •elf-commendation! Look- back also, and see how many good things the Providence of God has given you to enjoy, and thank the bountiful Giver. You have been blessed with health....Call to mind that it came from him, in whose hands are life and death. You have enjoyed peace and quiet in your dwelling....Bless the holy God for the inestimable gift. You have had no calamities to mourn, no sorrow nor distress to overcloud your days....Remember that it is of the Lord's goodness, that you have been spared: Or perhaps you have suffered adversity, and are at length delivered....Render a tribute of praise to your great deliverer. You have had another year added to your days....Slight not the gift; let it not be in vain, and worse than in vain, that you have had so much time for improvement. Call to mind not only what you have done, and what you have enjoyed, but also the events of Providence which have interested your feelings, and receive instruction to guide you in your future conduct. By many events that have fallen under your notice, you have been disturbed and anxious for their consequences.... Where is now that anxiety? It has flown away; it has vanished; it is now of no consequence. Learn hence to reflect, that in like manner, the anxieties of the coming year will flee away; and are therefore to be endured with patience, and reliance on the good Providence of God, by whom you have hitherto been sustained. Many things have taken place which have afforded you joy and satisfaction.... Where are now those joys? Pled, like the morning dream. From this consider that earthly joys are short-lived; and be induced to look beyond the fleeting pleasures of time, to those which are eternal, flowing from the presence of God. You have seen and heard a great deal to convince you, that this world is a world of sin, and therefore a world of sorrow; that men are depraved in their desires, and therefore false and deceitful in their conduct. Be therefore admonished to look, by faith and hope, to that better world, 'where you will no more feel or fear the evils of depravity and sin. You have seen also some good deeds, which have shone as lights in the midst of a wicked world...strive to imitate them in your future life, as God shall give you opportunity, and lengthen to you the day of grace.
But among all the events that have demanded your attention, none so well deserves your serious contemplation, as the instances of mortality, which have fallen in your way during the annual circuit. Some from among your immediate friends and neighbours, many more of whose deaths you have heard, and many thousands, of whom you know not any thing, save that they are gone; have taken their departure to that country, from whose bourne no travelleT returns. The infant from the cradle, the sportive child, th» blooming youth, the fond mother, the respected father, and venerable sire, have you seen following each other to the gloomy vale of death. Powerful diseases, the whirlwind's rage, the bursting torrent, the kindling flames, the ocean's billows, war and the sword, have been the messengers of death, to summon hence his victims, however reluctant to go, and to sound in the ears of those who are left, Be ye also ready, for ye hiovi not hovi soon ye may be called. Pause a little, and contemplate the awful truth: Lay aside your busy cares, bent on temporal things: Let down your high-raised expectations of present enjoyment: Converse awhile with the King of Terrors, as though you were expecting not to behold another return of the present season. Can you approach him without dismay and an horrible dread? Are you prepared? Have you nothing to do? Dare you come before the dread tribunal of God, in your present condition? Take this examination in good part, as from friend to friend: Treasure it up in your heart: Go forth, and practise upon it in your life, during this and every coming year, so long as God shall give you being here on earth; and it will inspire you with those good resolutions which will be of infinite importance to you, whether you live one year more, or half a century: It will incite you to do that, which, if left undone, must make your condition infinitely dangerous, should you receive the summons to depart within the year, which you know may be the case; nay, within a month, or a day. Finally, as you have now a new year, so let your life be new, in every thing wherein it wants improvement, in simplicity, sobriety, and godly sincerity. Let it be renewed and made alter the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness; that you maybecome fit for that world, where years shall cease to roll, and time be no more measured by days and seasons.
FOR The Churchman's Magazine. Mr. Editor, I send you the following Biographical Sketch, compiled from Cavi'i lizes of the Primitive Fathers, to be inserted, if you think proper.
LIFE OF ST. POLYCARP,
BISHOP OP SMYRNA.
ST. POLYCARP was born towards the latter end of Nero's reign: Some ancient writers say,at Smyrna. Let that be as it may, he was, by St. John, at an early age, committed to the care and instruction of Bucolus, Bishop of.Smyrna, and there taught the first principles of the Christian faith. He made such progress in piety and the Christian virtues, that at an early age, he was made deacon, and then catechist of that Church; an office which he discharged with great diligence and success.
At the death of Bucolus, he was consecrated Bishop of Smyrna by St. John, and other apostolic persons. Euscbius, speaking of Polycarp, says he was familiarly conversant with the Apostles, and received the government of the Church from those who had been eye witnesses and ministers of our Lord. Certain it is, he was what St. John* in his Apocalypse, calls the .4ngel of the Church of Smyrna; and whoever will compare the sufferings of his martyrdom with the prophetic description drawn by St. John, will find another evidence added to the many thousands, of the truth of Divine revelation.
Not long after the death of St. John, in the year of our Lord 107, the persecutions against the Christians were renewed, under the reign of Trajan; when Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was sentenced to death, and to be transported to Rome for execution. Having lived in all good fellowship for a number of years with Polycarp, in his journey he was permitted to visit Smyrna. After these holy men had mutually embraced each other and discoursed upon the affairs of the Church, Polycarp exhorted Ignatius to hold fast his profession. Ignatius reciprocated his wishes, exhortations, and prayers; commending to his watch and care his Church- and people of Antioch.
From Rome, Ignatius sent an epistle to the Bishop and Church of Smyrna; endeavouring to fortify them against the errors of the times, which had crept in amongst them. This epistle, which is extant at this day, is worthy of the serious perusal of all who wish to know what was the faith when first delivered to the Saints. It contains many useful rules and precepts of life, especially such as concern the pastoral and Episcopal office. We hear nothing very particular after this, respecting Polycarp for a number of years; till some unhappy differences in the Church brought him upon the public stage.
About this time the controversy about the observation of Easter was warmly contested between the Eastern and Western Churches; both appealing to apostolical practice. To heal these unhappy divisions, St. Polycarp visited Rome in the year 154; Anicetus being then Bishop of that city. After much disputation, without either party being convinced, they mutually agreed "that the main and vital parts of religion" did not consist in rituals and external observances; and, although they would retain their ancient customs, they would not violate the great bond of charity, nor cause a schism to be made in the Catholic Church. They therefore commemorated the love of Christ in the holy Eucharist; Polycarp consecrating the bread and ivine, at the request of Anicetus. Thus these holy and pious fathers of the Church, uniting in the fundamental principles of Christianity, in the unity of the Church left us a noble example of that Christian forbearance which ought ever to be exercised towards one another. And happy would it have been for the Christian Church, if their zeal for unity, their forbearance and charity, had been practised in modern times; for then we should not at this day experience so many unhappy divisions among Christians, and such a continued rotation of new sects, visionary schemes, and endless genealogies, which gender strife and arm infidels with new weapons against the Church of God.
During the stay of Polycarp at Rome, he spent much of his time in convincing gainsayers; testifying the truth of those doctrines which he had received from the Apostles; whereby he reclaimed many to the communion of the Church, who had been infected and