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variance, and that each had separate interests to maintain ? Again, Baptismos sometimes withholds his aid from the claims of his brethren of another persuasion, because he must support his own first. Charity, it is said, should begin at home. But this, in many cases, is the dictate of selfishness, or the suggestion of a narrow mind. Certainly, it does not accord with the genius of the gospel ; for “ Charity never faileth !" These strictures allude to sectarians, and not to the prevailing spirit of any sect or party.
In doing good there is much to be thought of, and much to be communicated. If your hearts are set on this object, you will be ready to communicate knowledge, talents, time, property, and influence for promoting the temporal and everlasting welfare of man; and even if you cannot assist in every good object of benevolence, you will communicate your prayers and recommendations for its success. But some professors there are, who can hardly be civil to those who call on them to remind them of the apostle's precept. O take care that you do not forget to do good, lest for that very reason the Lord should seem to forget you, in some future instance of his goodness or mercy !
The apostle suggests this impressive motive to benevolence; " for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” He knows and observes the nature of the sacrifice you offer, whether it be a thank-offering or a free-will offering, a liberal or a stingy onc. If the sacrifice be a good one, and free from blemish, - if it be such as God and man reasonably expect from you, you shall have your reward. Your fellow-creatures are sure to applaud every such act of beneficence; and, what is infinitely better, God is well pleased! He takes a pleasure, a complacency, in those actions in which you resemble him; and you prove to the world that you are " partakers of a divine nature." Surely, these considerations, duly weighed, were enough to keep the altar of benevolence ever smoking, ever burning with our sacrifices !
2. Obedience. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” This duty, my fellow-Christians, is urged on you respecting your own pastorsand ministers. It is as clearly their duty to rule, as it is yours. to obey. They are required to rule well, that is, according to the letter and spirit of the gospel; and if they do this, you are to obey them as your spiritual guides ard rulers ; - to obey them wbenever, as God's ministers, they enforce his commands upon you. Yet Pride is apt to arise and revolt at these commands, however plainly revealed, or prudently brought before you. Then some of you are ready to charge your minister with Legality and Arminianism, when in fact he is only enforcing what St. Paul and all the apostles have done before him. But why not be honest and speak out, in the way one professor has done? This person being reminded of a precept of St.James, replied,“ As for James, he seems to have been a poor legal ban.” I strongly suspect, that if this apostle were on earth now, he would be often called to account, and meet with many a rebuff for his supposed legality. Oye proud and disobedient professors ! remember our Lord's language: - " He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.' Against such a spirit of pride the apostle seems to guard you, by exhorting you to submit yourselves, - submit to all the kind and seasonable reproofs of your pastors, and to all those necessary rules of church-discipline which you once thought to be reasonable and scriptural. I admired the spirit of Penitens, who, when some sin he had committed came to light, submitted himself to his pastor, and even thought that the honour of the gospel required his exclusion from the communion of the church. Diotrephes, on the other hand, was as detestable as the penitent was humble ; for though justly brought under the censure of the church, would make no concession, no submission to his minister ; but set himself to raise a party, and at length triumphed in obliging him to resign Iris charge. 66 Woe be to the world because of offences; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
Observe the reasons that are alleged for your obedience and submission to your respective ministers. Reflect ou tie nature of their duty," for they watch for souls." What watchman is there who docs not tremble lest he should be unskilful and up. faithful ! Chrysostom says, he never read these words without trembling, though he often preached several times in a day. Take care, therefore, that you do not interrupt your ministers in their watchfulness and fidelity. Consider the responsibility-attached to their office, as they that must give account." "This they often do in their closets, when the labours of a Sabbath are over; this they will do at death, wizen they resign up their ministry and life; and this they must do at the judgment-day, when ministers and their hearers shall receive their final sentence from their Judge. Then the history of every church under Heaven will be reviewed, and the conduct of each minister and each member will be fairly estimated ; and the reward or condemnation will proceed accordingly. Remark, farther, their affectionate concern for your happiness; " that they may do it with joy and not with grief.” How often in private and in public have they been grieved with your conduct ! - how often, on a death-bed, has a minister mourned over the spirit of perverseness with which some of his hearers bave been actuated !
Observe, finally, your own sad interest in their grief; “ for that is unprofitable for you.” If they grieve, you will sooner or later grieve also. 66 Vith what measure ye mete out to others, it shall be meted to you again," either in this world or the next. If you occasion the grief of ministers, you will suffer for it. Drs. Owen and Doddridge thus explain the latter part of the verse : “ This must refer to the present discharge of their office ; for it is not possible for any perverseness of the people to prevent a
faithful minister's giving up his account with joy. Nor can atij grief be mingled with their triumphant songs : but their Master will remember what they suffered by their people's means; and the account may sit heaờy on them when thie sorrows of their faithful pastors are all over, — not to say that great present da. mage to the people would proceed from those things which are grievous to their faithful and affectionate spiritual guides. If the apostle refer, as I am inclined to think, to the surrender of the ministerial office, either in life or at death, when it is made with grief, the dreadful consequence will almost, iti every instance, be sure to succeed: the church will be rent with disputes and factions, to the great injury of every Christian character, and the lasting reproach of the cause of Christ in the world! Í might cite many instances in point, both in the Establishment and out of it, but I forbear the melancholy recital; for faction belongs to man, and not to any body of men. It arises from the natural pride and stubborn insubordination of the human heart. May every religious society beware of grieving those who faithfully watch for their souls, lest the Lord in just anger depart from their assemblies, and write Ichabod on their walls !
3. Prayer. “Pray for us.” This request, I should say precept, more particularly applies to all Christians, who know the worth of prayer, and to whom is given the spirit of prayer and supplication. «. Pray for us,” says the Apostle.
6. Pray for them,” says the Spirit of Inspiration. This St. Paul powerfully urges in his Epistles to the Ephesians *, the Colossians +, and the
Thessalonians $; and he expresses his confidence in the latter, “ That ye do, and will do the things we command you, ring to the duty of prayer for the apostles. St. Paul and his fellow-labourers, though so eminently favoured with gifts and grace, intreated and commanded Christians to pray for them; - and for what purposes ? That utterance might be given them, that they might open their months boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, and that the word of the Lord might have free course, and be glorified. Noble objects indeed! What mimister, whose heart is in his work, but would join the apostle in such a request, and urge such a command, - Pray for us! and where is the Christian, whose heart is in his closet, and whose convefsation is in Heaven, wbo can refuse compliance with such a request, backed as it is by such motives! Had you been
Thessalonians, you would have prayed for the apostles. Otheri consider, ye British Christians, with how much more fervour and frequency ought you to pray for his successors! If the apostles stood in need of prayer, how much more do they need it who follow them under so many disadvantages! In social and public prayer, it is customary to pray for them : but bt me ask a question that will put many of you to the blush :- Do you al
* vi. 18, 19.
+ iv. 2-4.
I 2-Thess, jïi. 1,
ways pray for them in your families and in your closets ? Ah! if your families and closets were permitted to tell the truth, but I spare your feelings, in the hope of your reformation. How. ever, let me say, that in praying for your ministers, you are in effect praying for yourselves, families, and neighbours, for the nation, and for the world ! But observe the motive to prayer:
66 For we trust we have a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly.” Dr. Doddridge gives the meaning with much more elegance and spirit : “ For we are confident that we have a good conscience, determined in all things to behave honourably.
If you there fore observe the ministers of Christ thus conscientious, resolute, and honourable, pray for them, and support them with all your ability in this noble, this apostolic, this Saviour-like career ! But without your prayers, their hearts will fail them; and without you reward them for their services, how are they, in times like the present, to behave honourably? See to it, that you do not oppose their having a good conscience in their ministrations ! See to it, that their determination to live honourably, be not prevented by the illiberal and unjust manner you contribute to their support!
My fellow-Christians, I must close a paper already too long for some of
Reflect yarious duties, on the manner in which you have performed them, - and in the way you intend to discharge them in future. Remember the day of the Lord cometh, when you and your ministers must appear together. Then it is your wisdom so to live and act, as you will wish to have done when that great day of decision shall arrive, in which your present actions shall be applauded or condemned !
THE TESTIMONY OF A PROFANE OFFICER TO THE WORTH OF
PIOUS SAILORS. Mr. Editor,
Iy the mouth of two or three witnesses a truth shall be es. tablished. I recently met with a pleasing confirmation of a narrative, stated some time since in your Magazine. I was surprized by a visit from an old acquaintance of mine the other day, who is now an officer of rank in his Majesty's navy. In the course of conversation, I was shocked at the profane oaths that perpetually interrupted his sentences; and took an opportunity to express my regret that such language should be so common among so valuable a body of men. “Sir," said he, still interspersing many solemn imprecations, “ an officer cannot live at sea without swearing ; --- Rot one of my men would mind a wordt without an oath: it is common sea-language. If we were not to swear, the rascals would take us for lubbers, stare in our faces, and leave us to do our commands ourselves. I never knew but one exception; and that was extraordinary. I declare, believe me 'tis true (suspecting that I might not credit it) there was a set of fellows called Methodists, on board the Victory, Lord Nelson's ship (to be sure, he was rather a religious man himself !) and those mien never wanted swearing at. The dogs were the best seamen on board. Every man knew his duty, and every man did his duty. They used to meet together and sing hymns; and nobody dared molest them. The commander would not have suffered it, had ibey attempted it. They were allowed a mess to themselves; and never mixed with the other men. I have often heard them singing away myself; and 'tis true, I assure you, but not one of them was either killed or wounded at the battle of I'rafalgar, though they did their duty as well as any men. No, not one of the psalm-singing gentry was even hurt; and there the fellows are swimming away in the Bay of Biscay at this very time, singing like the D- They are now under a new com. mander; but still are allowed the same privileges, and mess by themselves. These were the only fellows that I ever knew do their duty without swearing; and I will do them the justice ta say they do it.
J. C. IIolloway.
ON SCHISMS. Much has lately been said and written about schisms; and all who do not worship with the established church of their country, whatever reason they may have for separation, are charged with the crime of Schism. If, however, we look into the New Testament, we shall find that the word oxiouzla, schisms * (translated heresies) does not signify any separation from the church,---but uncharitable and disorderly divisions in it ; for the Corinthians, among whom these schisms existed, continued one church; and, notwithstanding all their strifes and disagreements, there was no separation in the external communion of one party from another. "And it is in this sense of schisms in the church, says the judicious Dr. Guyse," and not of rending off from it, that he uses the word in 1 Cor. i. 10, 12, and 25, which are the only places in the New Testament, besides this, where churchschisms are mentioned.”
The Scripture notion, therefore, of this sin is a quite different thing from ihat orderly separatioa from other churches, which later ages have stigmatized with hideous outcries, as schism ; and have made an engine of the greatest crueltics, oppressions, and murders, that have troubled the Christian world.
See Dr. Guyse's Paraphrase of 1 Cor. si. 19.
* Cor. xi. 19.