페이지 이미지

the law, who have not followed Christ, know the law, and must be right." This was the brief way by which they shut the light out of their souls. They reasoned as if it were impossible for their church guides to err, and as if they could not possibly be wrong in following them.

From this circumstance I will take occasion to consider what is the guide of religious controversy.


trines, holiness, and discipline of Christ's militant church: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isai. viii. 20).

tures. But, in seeking of the scriptures, let us seek no further than is left in writing by God our Saviour, lest in desiring too much we lose all" (Second Book of Merits and Forgiveness of Sins). St. Chrysostom also says: "It is not possible that he, which with fervent study and earnest desire applieth him to the scriptures of God, should ever be neglected of God; but, although we lack a master to teach us, yet the Lord himself, entering our hearts from above, shall give light into our minds, and pour his bright beams into our reason and understanding, and open the things that be his, and teach us those things whereof we be ignorant" (Hom, xxxv. upon Gen. xiii.).

"But," says the objector to the sufficiency of holy scripture," there are therein many hard and doubtful passages which seem to be contrary one to another, and from which some have taken occasion to form different and dangerous opiWe see the world is full of hostile systems and nions." To this objection St. Augustine shall opposing creeds, and amid the mazes of endless furnish a reply. He says?" Dark places are to controversy the sincere heart sighs for an infallible be expounded by more plain places; for that is guide to truth. It is evident we must not look the surest way of declaring the scriptures, to exto the church aggregate on earth, nor to any pound one scripture by another" (De Chris. Doc. b. branch of it as infallible; for it may be truly said iii., c. 28). Again, he says: "In things openly that every branch of the church has erred "either contained in the scriptures are found all things in its living," or manner of ceremonies," or "in that concern faith, good living, and charity" (De matters of faith" (Art. xix.). We cannot depend Chris. Doc. b. ii., c. 9). "And, if any thing caninvariably upon the teaching of any individual not be tried by the certain and clear places of the member of the church of Christ since the time of scriptures, let man's presumption," says he, "stay the apostles, nor upon the decrees of provincial and itself, not leaning to either part; for this I am general councils, unless they adhere faithfully to sure of, that, if it were requisite to be known upon some infallible standard. "General councils may pain of damnation, there should not lack most not be gathered together without the command-plain and clear authorities of the same in the scripment and will of princes. And, when they be gathered together (torasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and word of God), they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy scripture" (Art. xxi.). Thus it is our church leads us to the fountain of truthholy scripture. Here is truth plainly and unmistakeably declared to the honest and painstaking seeker. Here he may find pure, eternal, infallible truth; for the bible is the inspiration of the Almighty. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Prov. xxx. 5, 6): "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. iv. 11). The word of God in its completeness is the word of blessing: it preaches to the sinner pardon and peace by Christ Jesus: it is the word of practical guidance: it is stored with every variety of character, and commands respecting thoughts, and words, and deeds: it is the word of warning: it sounds its terrible alarms in the ears of the sinful and unconverted, inviting them to repentance and reformation; and it startles and arouses the best energies of the true Christian with an if: "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; but a certain fearful looking for of judgments and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. x. 26, 27): it is the word of judgment: it appeals to the sense of responsibility, which is in every man: "Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; the great, the mighty God, the Lord of hosts is bis name, great in counsel, and mighty in work" (Jer. xxxii. 18, 19); and it is the word of reward: it is addressed to the anticipations of hope: "Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour" (1 Cor. iii. 8). It contains clear declarations concerning all the doc

The old fathers of the church are most express in declaring that the holy scriptures only are to be believed. Irenæus says: "To lean to the scriptures of God (which is the certain and undoubted truth) is to buil a man's house upon a sure and strong rock. But to leave that and lean to any other doctrines (whatsoever they be) is to build a ruinous house upon the shattering gravel, whereof the overthrow is easy" (b. ii., c. 27).

Tertullian says: It is not lawful for us to favour any doctrine at our pleasure, nor yet to choose what any man hath brought in of his own mind. We have the apostles of our Lord for our authors; which did not elect any thing that they would bring in of their own heads, but taught faithfully to all nations that doctrine that they had received of Christ. Therefore, although an angel from heaven should preach any other thing, let us hold him accursed" (Prescription of Hretics, c. 6). Origen says: "We must needs call the holy scriptures to witness; for our judgments and expositions without these witnesses are worthy no credit" (Hom. i. on Jer.). Athanasius says "The holy scriptures, being inspired of God, are sufficient to all instruction of the truth" (Oration against the Gentiles). And Ambrose says: do justly condemn all new things which Christ has not tanght; for Christ is the way to the faithful. If, therefore, we ourselves preach any thing that Christ has not taught, judge that abominable" (Of Virgins, b. iii. c. 1.). "Let us dili gently search for the well of life in the books of


the New and Old Testament, and not run to the stinking puddles of men's traditions, devised by men's imaginations, for our justification and salvation. For in holy scripture is fully contained what we ought to do, and what to eschew, what to believe, what to love, and what to look for at God's hands at length" (Homily on the reading of Holy Scripture).

I shall now show from the holy scriptures that church councils and church guides have not always hit the truth. From the time that Aaron fashioned and worshipped the golden calf (Exod. xxxii.), throughout almost the whole period of the Jewish history, the church was darkened and degraded by idolatry, and the servants, the prophets of the Most High God, were despised and persecuted (0 Kings xxii.; Jer. xx.).


[ocr errors]

During our Lord's sojourn on earth there were many debates amongst the authorized teachers of the Jewish church as to the truth of his Messiaship, but they invariably rejected him, and deemed those who accepted him as deluded through ignorance of the law (John vii. 49). Some declared that Jesus was not the Christ, because he was a Galilean (John vii. 41). Some of the Pharisees said, | "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath-day" (John ix. 16). The Jews agreed that, if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue" (John ix. 22, see also xii. 42). The Scribes blasphemed Christ (Mark iii. 22). The chief priests and Pharisees gathered a council, and "took counsel together for to put him to death" (John xi. 47-63). They put him to death: and after his death they pronounced him a deceiver (Matt. xxvii. 63). When Christ was risen from the dead, the church guides commanded his disciples not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus" (Acts iv. 18). Afterwards the same command was repeated (Acts v. 40). Now, if these councils of the whole Jewish church were infallible, certainly Jesus was not the Messiah. This is actually the argument which the Jew adopts to bolster his infidelity. He says the guides of his church were appointed by God "to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses" (Lev. x. 11). They were "the messengers of the Lord of hosts" (Mal. ii. 7). "By their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried" (Deut. xxi. 5). And, therefore, he mistakingly thinks that to act contrary to their conciliar determinations is to reject the authority of God, for he forgets that God's messengers have simply to impart God's message. The sanhedrim rejected Christ; therefore he rejects him, forgetting that divine rule by which all their decisions were to be regulated. According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show, to the right hand nor to the left" (Deut. xvii. 11).

[ocr errors]

The argument of the few for the infallibility of his church is parallel to the argument of the papist for his. Nay, I would say that the former can urge more in his behalf from holy scripture than the latter can; but the former fails in establishing his point, much more must the latter.

Christ promises his perpetual presence to his

church to the end of the world (Matt. xxviii. 20). Therefore the papist concludes that the papal church is infallible. But this promise of Christ is conditional, as the context shows: if you preach what I have taught, if you baptize truly, if you "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," then, lo, I am with you alway." The papist further pleads Christ's promise of being in the midst of two or three gathered together in his name (Matt. xviii. 20), to establish his dogma. Now, the name of Christ frequently denotes the authority of Christ (Matt. vii. 33; Mark xvi. 17; Luke x. 17; Acts 3, 6, xvi., iv. 7, 10, 12; with these compare Eph. i. 21; Phil. ii. 9). And, truly, Christ is with those who act by his authority, and according to his revealed will; but, if any meet together to do their own will, they meet out of Christ's name, and act contrary to his authority. When Christ bade his hearers observe and do whatever the Scribes and Pharisees bade them (Matt. xxiii..2, 3), he meant they should do all that was required by Moses and the law; for he had before warned his disciples to "beware of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees" (Matt. xvi. 6, 12). Neither these passages, nor any that can be quoted, prove that the Roman church cannot err. Jerusalem was called "a city of truth" (Zech. viii. 3), but it fell from the truth; and the church of Ephesus was called "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. iii. 15); yet the thrilling message of merciful exhortation sent to the angel of the Ephesian church was, "Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. ii. 5). The candlestick was removed; or, in other words, this church passed away. We have the faith once for all delivered to the saints; and we have the infallible Spirit of truth promised as the lasting heritage of the church, to teach the hearts of the faithful. With the holy scriptures in our hands we have no need of the traditions of men to guide us. We take tradition as a witness or testimony of the belief and practices of men in certain ages; but, whenever it departs from the letter and spirit of revealed truth, it is impossible (without denying the unalterable truth of God) to consider it as a rule binding on our own consciences.

The Jews had traditionary musings about a temporal kingdom under the Messiah, about a literal Elias as the forerunner of Christ, and about the perpetual obligation of the ceremonial law of Moses. Tradition was at once their bane and their downfall. And tradition in the papacy is the great barrier to union in western Christendom. For holy scripture does not speak of God specifically setting up the pope of Rome "for judg ment and for controversy." It does not say that God has fixed his presence at Rome as he did at Jerusalem. It speaks of no Urim and Thummim at St. Peter's, whose voice is to be heard by the whole world. No. There is but one voice that we are to hear, and that is the voice of Jehovah in his holy and eternal word. This is the only infallibility I can find; and before it the Roman Babel, and every other Babel, falls.

It is right that the church should have her synods, her convocations, her councils; but in


every sentence she utters she ought, by her im plicit deference to God's word, to be able to say, "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us" (Acts xv. 28). I hesitate not to adopt the words of St. Augustine as my own view of this matter; be says, The councils, which are kept through every region and province, without all clokings, ought to give place to the general councils, which are made of all Christendom; yea, and the former general councils ought ofttimes to be reformed by the latter councils, if any thing in them do chance to err from the truth" (Of Baptism against Donatus, b. ii. c. 3; see Hooker, b. i. c. 10 s. 14). "The most likely method," says bishop Burnet, "both to find out the truth and to bring such as are in error over to it, is to consult of these matters, and that openly and fairly. For, if every good man, that prays earnestly to God for the assistance and direction of his Spirit, has reason to look for it, much more may a body of pastors, brought together to seek out the truth, in any point under debate, look for it, if they bring with them sincere and unprejudiced minds, and do pray earnestly to God. In that case they may expect to be directed and assisted of him. But this depends upon the purity of their hearts, and the earnestness of their endeavours and prayers" (Art. 20).



THE progress of religious liberty in Turkey, during the twelve years past, is matter of grateful admiration. First came the national charter of rights in 1840; which, among its numerous other consequences, has destroyed the political importance and persecuting power of the Armenian aristocracy. Next came the sultan's pledge, in 1843, that men should no more be persecuted in the empire for their religious opinions. Then, after three years, came the before unthought-of application of this pledge to the relief of the Armenian protestants, when persecuted by their own hierarchy. In the next year followed the recognition of the protestants as a separate and independent community. And, finally, in 1850, came the charter, signed by the grand sultan himself, placing the protestants on the same national basis with the other Christian communities of the empire. How constant and wonderful was this progression of events! What more could we ask, what more could expect, in the way of toleration and protection? The empire, if not for us, is not against us. That great enemy of all righteousness, the pope, has no other power in Turkey than he has in these United States. Our missionary brethren among the Armenians may preach, write, print, gather schools, form churches, ordain pastors, and send forth native preachers and colporters wherever they please. The power of patriarchs and bishops is exceedingly curtailed and limited by the new charter. The country is open, and the the people generally are accessible. There is, indeed, almost everywhere an awakened attention, a disposition to hear, read, inquire, renounce errors, and embrace gospel truth; a • From report of the American Board of Missions.

change going on in fundamental ideas, and a gradual reconstruction of the social condition : in short, as all must see, there is a spiritual reformation. And it is restricted to no one province. It is widely extended. We have a list of places, at least fifty in number, for the most part of goodly size, scattered over Asiatic Turkey, in all of which the truth is believed to have actually made converts; and in all of which, it would seem, evangelical churches might soon be gathered. Ten churches have been formed already, and in part supplied with native pastors.

How remarkable the development of religious interest among the Armenians along the southern border of Turkey-in Aintab, Killis, Oorfa, and Diarbekr. Dr. Azariah Smith, whose late decease we have so much reason to lament, was able to find but few inquirers along this line only seven years ago; but now the number of protestants in Aintab alone is greater than in the metropolis of the empire. Aintab was then scarcely known by name; but, only five years from its first occupation, it is one of the most interesting and remarkable missionary stations in the world.

Oorfa, in Upper Messopotamia, beautifully situated on a range of hills, well watered, and looking down upon a green valley and plain, perhaps the birth-place of Abraham, known as Edessa in the early ages of the Christian chureb, and celebrated for its school of theology-this place contains seven thousand Armenians and four thousand Syrians, and is already an outpost of the mission, and promises soon to become one of the greater lights.

Diarbekr is another centre. A church has been formed here, in advance of the missionary; and the speedy occupation of the place as a station will be a prelude to a similar occupation of Mardin, in Messopotamia, and perhaps of Jezireh on the Tigris, half-way to Mosul, with a view to the occupation of western Koordistan.

Passing north to the upper waters of the Euphrates, we come to Arabkir, another central place, where the Armenians number nine thou sand, and are unusually prepared for the gospel preacher. "We beseech you," write two of the native brethren in that place, "to deliver us from our orphanage. With our heads bowed down, and our hearts joyful in Christ, we beg of you, brethren, if it be possible, send us speedily a preacher."

Sivas, another central point, a hundred miles westward, is still without a resident missionary; but a church was formed the past year among its nine or ten thousand Armenian inhabitants; and Mr. Powers declares, after a sojourn of several months, that "few in the city have not heard more or less of the gospel, directly or indirectly; and there are few whose confidence in their own system of religion has not been shaken."

trations. But we must instance Kaisarieh, in Asia Time does not permit us to multiply these illusMinor, where the mortal remains of our missionary brother Gridley have long rested in hope. Here are ten thousand Armenians; and, in the four or five contiguous villages, five thousand more. a day's journey there are twenty thousand. God's grace has begun to operate here. Excepting a visit from Mr. Johnston, a hawker from Constantinople has been the only labourer at Kaisarieh


[ocr errors]

The Cabinef.

for two years past; and when, after so long a time, this native brother desired to go and visit his family, the protestant brethren would not TEMPTATION.-It is to be noted how dangerous a suffer him to depart until a preacher should be thing it is to be continually assaulted with temptation; sent. "Send us a preacher"-they write to the and that the end of it (for the most part) is the conmission-send us a preacher with a family. We quest and overthrow of as many as be assaulted. As do not want a single man. We want a man to we may see by the examples of our forefathers. Tempcome with his family, and settle down among us; tation not resisted at the beginning prevailed against for then we shall have some hope of his staying.' the innocent fathers Adam and Eve in paradise; These are only specimens of the calls for preach-in idolatry; against Nimrod in pride; against David against Cain in murder; against Aaron and the people ers and preaching, for the word and ordinances of in adultery; against Judas in avarice; against Aaron the gospel. Time fails for more; and we proceed and Mary his sister in envy ; against Esau in gluttony; now to state, very briefly, what imminent danger against Pharaoh in pride; against Herod in hythere is in delay. pocrisy; against the Pharisees in blindness and obThere is danger of a limited and partial refor-stinacy of mind; against the Jews in the slander of mation; that it will reach and pass its grand crisis Christ's death; against the Gentiles in ignorance of before we have fairly kindled the necessary cen- God's word; against the most part of Christians tral lights, and so diffused a knowledge of the now-a-days in cowardness and fear; and against all gospel through the Armenian community. There the world in looking more how to profit itself than to Is now everywhere a curiosity to know what serve and fear God. The prophet said before, he was protestantism is, and to hear what the missionaries almost gone to see the wicked so prosper; but he have to say; but this curiosity, regarded as a saith now, that the people fall utterly unto them, and national feeling, will die out. Men are now in learn both wicked opinions and wicked life of the wicked.-Bishop Hooper. the process of forming their opinions, whether right or wrong. The reformation, regarded as a grand social movement, we must not expect to continue long. As an opportunity for preaching the gospel it is a time of inestimable value. The same amount of preaching, the same number of labourers, the same expenditure, will accomplish far more now than it will after the special interest has subsided. Said a distinguished Armenian very lately to one of our brethren, "Now is the time for you to work for the Armenian peeple. Such an opportunity as you now enjoy may soon pass away, and never more return. You should greatly enlarge your operations. Where you have one missionary you should have ten, and where you have one book you should put ten in circulation."

There is danger from wars and revolutions. The political skies in the east are not without clouds. Powerful nations are struggling, in diplomatic warfare, for the ascendancy in Turkey. It is possible that Russia may prevail. It is moreover possible, though happily not probable, that England may become less disposed, or less able, to afford its protection.

There is danger of combinations; that Romin, Greek, Armenian hierarchies, and antichrist in all his protean forms, will combine and league together to oppose our evangelical inroad upon their dark domains; and that infidelity, and the large class of Mohammedans who are opposed to progress, will become their willing allies.

There is danger of new organizations to resist the work, as in the sixteenth century, of some oriental Loyola originating a body of oriental jesuits; assisted, as he doubtless would be, by the experience and craft of the Romish jesuits, scattered as they are over the east, in deadly hatred to all scripture light and religious liberty.

And our protestant Armenian churches will be in danger of not rising to the level of selfsustaining missionary churches. There is no way, indeed, to escape this fatal paralysis but by means of a vigorous enterprise and rapid progress, to force out their dormant energies, and make them realize that God has made them exist as churches to bring their people into his blessed kingdom.

SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING OF WORLDLY THINGS.-Moreover, the godly do perceive that all the vanity of worldly things, which be the treasures of the wicked, and the permanent state and condition of heavenly things, which be the treasures of the godly, be only scen of such as enter into the holy sanctuary and secret treasures of God's most holy word, without the which worldly things seem to be riches, and heavenly things poverty-wicked men to be blessed, and godly men cursed; falsehood to be truth, and truth falsehood; death to be life, and life death.

-Bishop Hooper.



(For the Church of England Magazine).
SWEET Scented one, we love to see

Thy modest flowrets bloom,
Laden with balmy, odorous breath,
Amid the twilight gloom :
While all

Around the night dews fall,
Thy wreath,

Shunning the sunlight glare, alone
Expands in fragrancy,

When day is gone.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]


No. XX.


(Died 1631, aged 58.)

(John Donne, D.D.)

DR. Donne was dean of St. Paul's. Not long before his death he caused to be drawn a figure of the body of Christ extended upon an anchor, in a similar manner to the representations of Christ on the cross: the only variation was in affixing him to the cross of an anchor, the emblem of hope. He had caused this design to be executed in miniature, and also engraven upon very small Helitropian stones, which were set in gold; and of these he sent many to his dearest friends, to be used as seals or rings, and kept as memorials of him and his affection to them. Dr. Donne afterwards used this symbol for his crest, instead of a sheaf of snakes, which was that of his family.

Before the end of the month of January, 1630, he was appointed to preach upon his old constant day, the first Friday in Lent: he had notice of it,

From "Last Hours of Christian Men; or an Account of the Deaths of some eminent Members of the Church of England" by the rev. H. Clissold, M.A. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

No. 940.

and had in his sickness so prepared for that employment, that, as he had long thirsted for it, so he resolved his weakness should not hinder his journey: he came, therefore, to London, some few days before his appointed day of preaching. At his coming thither, many of his friends (who with sorrow saw that his sickness had left him but so much flesh as did only cover his bones) doubted his strength to perform that task, and did therefore dissuade him from undertaking it, assuring him, however, it was like to shorten his life; but he denied their requests, saying, "he would not doubt that God, who in so many weaknesses had assisted him with unexpected strength, would now withdraw it in his last employment, professing an holy ambition to perform that sacred work." And, when to the amazement of some beholders he appeared in the pulpit, many of them thought he presented himself, not to preach mortification by a living voice, but mortality by a decayed body and a dying face; and doubtless many did ask the question in Ezekiel, Do these bones live, or can that soul organize that tongue, to speak so long time as the sand in that glass will move towards its centre, and measure out an hour of this dying man's unspent life? Doubtless it cannot; and yet, after some faint pauses in his zealous prayer, his strong desires enabled his weak body to discharge his memory of his preconceived medi

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »