Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

fessions, and human views of the sus Christ, and is a pretty good sumdoctrines of the Bible.

mary of scriptural evidence on that “They have gone far, indeed! but not subject. It evinces its author to be far enough to entitle them to the credit of possessed of a clear and strong mind; possessing doctrines, or practice, acquired but the punctuation and typography altogether without human instrumentality. are so bad as to set criticism at deThey ought to know, that the preacher

fiance. We presume that this must publishes his creed when he addresses a public assembly, and that he and every

be the first sermon ever printed in private individual are making theirs known

Uniontown. whenever they converse on any religious The three other discourses which topic. Let them cease to preach, cease

we have named, are neat and accurate to speak, on divine subjects, (they do not write much) and let them never write at

in every part of their execution. The all; lest some poor sinner should in some

title of Mr. Brown's performance measure adopt their creed instead of pos may raise the questions, Are not first sessing one purely his own; and thus for.

principles suited to all times? and, feit according to their use of the term, the

can those be first principles, which very name of Bible Christian."

are no more than hints to suit the The design of these pretended re

times ?» formers, notwithstanding all their

It is the object of this sermon te professions is, as cited from this au

illustrate the nature of that zeal of thor with a few alterations, to impose

God which is according to knowtheir own creed upon mankind, and

ledge; to consider the example of take away from us the doctrines " for

Paul in relation to his countrymen, which martyrs bled; in which the re with a view to derive from it some formation arose, received its light, its

principles for the regulation of our energies, its progress, and its con

deportment towards those who may summation ;-doctrines which possess exclusively the features and the gran

bear a name, or avow principles, in deur of divine revelation; which ex

religion, different from ours : and to hibit the living God possessed of a

suggest some methods in which our

Christian zeal may be profitably more diversified, combined, grand, and mysterious existence, than be

employed in the present day. longs to the limitedness of created

By the zeal of God in this case beings;-doctrines which secure to

we understand zeal concerning God that honour in the work of re

God. Zeal is correctly derived by demption, which he evidently pos.

this author from a word which sigsesses in the subordinate works of

nifies to glow. It is, figuratively, creation and providence; the honour

a glow upon the feelings of the hůof being all in all, in design, in coun

man heart: but to speak philososels, in resources, in operation, and in

phically, zeal is an attribute of our praise ;-doctrines which, while they

feelings, which describes them as present the divine government in

more than commonly strong, arawful purity and majesty, and stamp

dent and lively. Religious subjects iniquity with deeper odium than the ought not to excite lukewarm, light, increasing weight of eternal perdi

or trivial emotions. God would tion ever could, exbibit at the same

have us men of acute sensibility in time, in the sacrifice of him who is spiritual things. At the same time, over all, God blessed for ever, an

our ardour, to be acceptable, must atonement, whose solidity, riches, and

proceed from our knowledge of the excellence, can be measured only by greatness, excellence and desirablethe unchangeable existence, unlimit ness of divine things, and accord ed fulness and dignity of him who with it; for if a man feels strongly dwells in light inaccessible and full without knowing wherefore he of glory."

should be excited, his zeal is intemMr. Wylie's discourse dilates par perate. ticularly on the deity of our Lord Je Mr. Brown shows that religious

zeal is excited by a supreme regard

“The third principle is, That all perto the glory of God, as manifested

sons becoming members of a community, in Jesus Christ; is regulated by

distinctly organized, are bound to com

ply with the spirit and letter of the terms our covenant engagements to the of admission.” p. 18. section of the church of which we “ The fourth principle is this : When are members; is mixed with cha an individual, belonging to a community rity; and endeavours to accomplish

whose standards he has engaged to obits objects only by lawful means.

serve, avows sentiments opposed to those

standards, and pursues a course calculated From the manner in which Paul

to contravene the established principles manifested his zeal for God in re and order of the system, he violates his lation to his countrymen, Mr. Brown engagements, he is a disorganizer in that ,

society, and a disturber of its peace.”

ought to treat as brethren all “ who . "Fifth principle. That every commu

p. 27.

maintain, in substance, the same nity is privileged and obligated to prefaith and discipline with ourselves, serve and perfect itself, as far as practicaand differ in some points only of

ble, agreeably to the plan of its organizaminor importance." This, without

tion, by guarding its institutions, enacting

and enforcing laws, and pursuing such a repeated reference to Monsieur de

system of measures as it may esteem cal. Vattel, Ferguson on Civil Society, culated to improve its character and proand Amesius de Conscientia, with mote the great end of its being;” p. 25. whom Mr. Brown seems to be too

“ The sixth and last principle, which I familiar, the Presbyterian church

shall now suggest. When the highest au

thority of a regularly organized commuhas learned to be her duty from the nity, connives at the introduction of opisimple principles and plain records nions opposed to the essential articles of of the gospel.

its constitution and attended by insubor. “ Those who reject the true faith

dinate conduct, it opens a way for greater and are situated at different de

and greater deviations from good order,

encroachments on its peace and stability, grees of remoteness from it,” he

and so becomes accessary to its own ruin." shows, that we ought to pity, pray for, and censure, as their cases may In speaking of the methods in require; making a difference be

which our Christian zeal may be tween scoffers at all divine things, suitably employed in the present and those who, however erroneous, day, Mr. Brown particularly insists appear to have some zeal for God

on preaching the great doctrines of and piety.

the gospel ; the education of the Concerning our treatment of rising generation in the knowledge those persons who are within the of divine truth; and the support body of our section of the church,

of pious and promising youth, who and who yet entertain sentiments are indigent, while they are pursunot conformed to our approved ing studies preparatory to the gosstandards, Mr. Brown lays down pel ministry the following principles: First,

The Rev. Mr. M Iver's sermon is

founded on 2 Tim. iv. 5. Make full “ That all people have a right to associate together for religious purposes, in

proof of thy ministry. It has in any manner suited to their own views, un

its title and elsewhere, more proder the direction of the word of God; to fessions of humility than will do any determine the articles of their faith, their

good ; but it shows, First, by what plan of worship, their form of govern.

means a minister of the gospel ment, and their terms of membership.”

should make full proof of his minis“ The second principle. From the di. try; and Secondly, the importance versity which exists in the characters and of maintaining such a walk and capacities of men, it is evident that every conversation, as is here required of compact or agreement, of a social, sacred,

the ministers of Christ. We were or political nature, made between any number of ndividuals, must be formed

surprised to find under his first upon a compromise of opinion.” p. 16. head, nothing stated as essential to Vol. I.

3 N

p. 15.

" one

a minister's making full proof of his sures after the lapse of two years, ministry, but his exhibiting in the gave evidence that it was not easily sight of men a conduct directed by forgotten and forgiven. Then, as the laws of that religion which he was the case with Pilgrim's Propreaches, and evincing by his out gress, “some said, John print it," ward actions, “ that the secret and we are heartily glad that the springs and motives which govern author took their advice; for we him, are directed by the gospel.” have rarely read a sermon which What! thought we, is it not neces

discovers so much manly indepensary to preach the truth, to preach it dence and Christian plainness as plainly and affectionately, in order this. It is a sermon as rare as a to make full proof of our minis reformed woman in the days of the try? But when we came to the wise Preacher, for says he, second head of discourse, we found man among a thousand have I there all which was wanting on this found;" that is, escaping from a subject; and felt little disposed to life of sensuality ; " but a woman quarrel with the excellent author among all those,” whom Solomon for inserting the sound members of knew, and they were more than a his discourse in the wrong place. thousand, “ have I not found.” If one's arms should grow upon his Eccl. vii. 26, 28. It is one sermon hips, we should be glad to find well among many thousands of sermons, formed and useful arms even there; delivered before a Presbytery; for rather than see the man without evidently, in preaching it, the authem.

thor feared no one, but his Maker ; The charges, by the same author, and sought approbation for nothing are more spirited than the sermon, but the truth. which precedes them; but all are What then should have given

ofreplete with good Scotch divinity, fence? it will be demanded. written by a Highlander, in pure answer, that a greater than Mr. American English, without any of Lindsly had occasion to exclaim, the many idioms of the English of * so then, I have become your eneGreat Britain.

my, because I have told you the The Rev. Mr. Lindsly's Plea is truth.” And he even dared to founded on the liberality with which preach the truth against "some rethe Israelites brought offerings for spectable clergymen !” What a the erection of the

sanctuary of the heinous offence! He might have Lord, until “ the people were re

scoured the skin off from every strained from bringing,” because Ethiopian, until he became white; " the stuff they had was sufficient and washed out the spots of every for all the work to make it, and too leopard of a layman with the punmuch." Exod. xxxv. 21-29. and gency of his alkaline mixtures, Xxxvi. 5—7. The author would without exciting much censure ; but have all people who are able, get to charge some clergymen with meanmoderately rich, and then offer of

ness, pride and envy this was their substance willingly, for the enough to put the reputation of the support of the Theological Semi vice-president of Princeton Colnary at Princeton, and of all other

lege in jeopardy. Let who will pious and benevolent institutions, censure him for dealing honestly, until there should be no want of the we will honour him for a fearless pecuniary means requisite for fill discharge of his duty, in publishing ing the whole earth with the know many truths which are calculated ledge and power of the gospel. to visit some minds with the sting

We learn that this discourse of scorpions. Had we power, we “had given offence," before it was would send a copy of his sermon to published; and that repeated cen every Presbyterian clergyman in

We

the United States; but being desti “A minister of the gospel ought to be tute of it, we shall scatter a few freed, as far as practicable, from worldly extracts from it as widely as our

cares and pursuits. He ought to be dis

tinguished for liberality and hospitality. Magazine circulates.* Having made

He

ought to have it in his power to set an some remarks on injudiciously de example to his flock in these respects. To crying wealth, and preaching against give to all public, charitable and religious efforts to acquire it, he proceeds to

institutions handsomely and munificently.

In a word, to be the almoner of his peosay,

ple. This he cannot be without a suitable “I am now going to tell them what to

revenue. And it often happens that a do with their money when they get it.

clergyman is charged with meanness, be“ They are not to spend it for their own

cause he is obliged to economize rigidly; gratification :-not to pamper lust, or

to live coarsely, and to make use of every pride, or vanity: not to encourage idle.

honest means to get along : or, what is the ness and dissipation among their children,

truth, his people are covetous and withbut for a thousand useful and benevolent

hold from him a decent allowance for his purposes. A few of which I will briefly services. I might say a great deal on this mention.

subject and without the imputation of be. “1. Every man, blessed with the means,

ing an interested party. I wish that it is under as much obligation to render as

may be honestly canvassed and thoroughly sistance to a poor suffering neighbour as

understood by all the good people of our he is to pay a just debt. The indigent and

land.” p. 8. the wretched have claims on his property, which, if he refuse to sutisfy, he is con

Having subsequently hinted at demned by the law of God, as much as if

the claims of various school, mishe were to defraud them of their wages. sionary, tract and Bible societies,

2. He is bound, according to his abili. the author proceeds to urge on his ty, to contribute to the support of the gos hearers the duty of supporting the pel in his own vicinity : to aid in building,

Theological Seminary at Princeton, and in keeping in good repair, a church, or house for public worship, which will

and to obviate all objections against accommodate all the people, rich and

that institution. In doing this he poor, within a particular district, and to is often pungent, always easy and contribute liberally towards the mainte natural in his manner of writing, nance of a respectable minister of the gos

and sometimes uncommonly elopel. And here, in passing, I shall take the liberty to observe, that very few men

quent. To the objection that a seem to entertain any just idea at all about learned ministry is not desirable, he this matter of supporting a pastor. There answers : is not one clergyman of twenty in our country who receives an adequate pecu “ The experience of eighteen centuries niary support from his congregation. In ought to be sufficient to convince the proof of this assertion, I appeal to the world, or at least the intelligent Christian fact, that so many are obliged to keep world, that religion cannot be inculcated schools, to labour on farms, to take board.

by ignorance : that knowledge of no kind ers, or to resort to some other occupation is intuitive or innate : that it cannot be acin order to add a trifle to the scanty pit quired but by a course of study and aptance allowed them by their people. plication under such teachers, and with

“ Correct sentiments are not generally such helps as are adequate to its attainentertained on this subject. Men seem to ment. That nothing great or good is forget that a clergyman has wants of pre ever effected without pains and industry: cisely the same nature with their own. or, in other words, without resorting to That himself and family must be fed and the means naturally adapted to the proclothed and his children educated. That duction of the end. No man is expected it is just as much his duty as it is of any to excel in any mechanical employment; Christian to provide for the future.” p. 7. in any literary or scientific pursuit ; in any

worldly business; in any honourable or

lucrative profession, without previously Since this article was written, a second serving an apprenticeship, or submitting edition of Professor Lindsly's sermon has to a proper course of discipline and prepaappeared; greatly to our satisfaction; and ratory study. we are not without hopes that it will con “Who, for instance, would think of asktinue to be printed and read, till our The ing an ignorant peasant to construct a ological Seminary is no longer in a state of watch or a telescope: to explain the probeggary.

perties of the circle, of light, or of co

lours : to calculate an eclipse : to unfold “I am aware that some notions are prethe mysteries of the planetary system : to valent in our country, which perhaps do defend his property, character or life, in not obtain to the same extent in any other: a civil court: to prescribe for him in sick. and which may account, in a small degree, ness; to amputate a limb, or to perform any for this seeming anomaly. It is fashionable one important service out of his ordinary to believe that learning is a dangerous sphere? By what kind of process then thing in any hands. That the people can can such a man be deemed suddenly quali be better served without it than with it. fied to officiate in that most awful, momen That public offices can be more safely and tous, and deeply interesting of all human advantageously filled by plain honest men concerns ? To explain the mysteries of than by learned men. And hence it often religion; to become a spiritual guide to happens that artful intriguing men, with. the ignorant, the perverse and the perish out wisdom or principle, are elevated by ing? To inculcate the sublime doctrines of a deceived people to stations from which the gospel: to serve at the altar of Jeho the prudent, modest, intelligent, unambi. vah: to be the ambassador of the King of tious and worthiest citizens are excluded. kings: a minister of reconciliation: a de I shall not comment on this fact. If this fender of the faith: a physician of souls : abuse be inseparable from our peculiar an advocate for the truth in opposition to political institutions, we must submit to the arts, the cunning, the malice, and the it. We must take the evil with the good. learning of the world ?" p. 9.

For well persuaded am I that we could “Now multitudes seem to imagine, or not make a change in these respects for affect to imagine, that as the apostles were the better. And certainly no nation on generally plain, unlettered men, so would earth has half the reason to be satisit be better to let such men now assume fied with its goyernment and laws, and the sacred office and trust to the same ex with the general adminstration of them, traordinary aid.

This sort of reasoning that we have. Let it not be supposed then often serves as a very convenient plea to that I reflect on the political establishwithhold all countenance and support ments of my country. from any system which is likely to make “The general prejudice against learna demand on the purse of the selfish and ing at which I have just hinted, may acavaricious. The fact is, men generally count in part for the indifference mani. love their gold so much more than they fested towards learned clergymen; and love their souls, that any shadow of ex to every plan for the education of youth cuse is eagerly seized on to satisfy their for the ministry. Glad, however, would consciences and to justify their conduct. I be to be convinced that it might be And if they can but conscientiously refuse wholly resolved into this general preju. a dollar to the cause of religion, they are dice. But I am persuaded that the evil content; without too nicely scrutinizing lies deeper. That it springs from indifthe ground on which they presume so ference and opposition to the religion of conscientiously and comfortably to decide Jesus. This, too, for many years, has been and to act. This is one of those subjects a very popular sentiment throughout in regard to which a very convenient lati Christendom. There has long been much tude is, as it were by common conscnt, avowed, and there is still much secret inconceded to conscience. And men's con fidelity in the world. And although open sciences are often found to be very hap hostility to the gospel has, in a great meapily moulded to the accommodation of sure, ceased, yet the spirit of the monster their ruling passion.

is still lurking amongst us.

It is under a “ There are some entire sects of Chris. degree of prudential restraint. Or it has tians whose creed and practice seem to assumed other forms, and operates in a have originated from the secret attach different mode. Men, by a sort of tacit ment of the heart to the world : and who compact, have agreed to let religion, and therefore very cheerfully relinquish to the religious men, and religious institutions Divine Spirit the labour and expense of alone. Or else, under the guise of the maintaining and propagating the benevo name, have ventured to efface its peculent principles of the gospel. There are liar discriminating features, and to mould not a few individuals of the same stamp it into a form very little, if at all, differing among all denominations of Christians; from the system advocated by its oppoand in our own, it is believed, may be nents.” p. 10. found a goodly number of the same coldhearted, mammon-loving cast, who grudge

To the objection against the Seevery farthing they are constrained to minary, that our young men can give, and who never do give, but as if they study with private teachers, as they were giving alms to a sturdy beggar, rather to get rid of his importunity than

formerly did, he replies, from any desire to assist him, or from any “I cannot however dismiss this topic conviction that he deserves assistance. without a word or two more in reply to

« PoprzedniaDalej »