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connexion with a corrupt and degenerate Church ; and did we believe in the dogmas of not a few advocates for the Establishment of our own country, we should conclude that only her sons are of the true church. I give all due weight to an outward form, and well-adapted plans for carrying on a course of scriptural teaching and edification, to purity of doctrine, the due administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of discipline; but these things are but the outward framing of a church: the church itself consists of a holy fellowship
Much stress has been laid on purity of doctrine ; long and sharp have been the controversies on points admitted as non-essential; but the excellency of all doctrine consists in its influence on Christian holiness. The church universal is scattered over the earth, externally parcelled out in sections distinguished by differences in creed, practices, and ceremonies; but still there is a bond of union pervading and joining the whole; a unity of character, in a conformity to God. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.”
3. Unholy men are not of the society of God's people. They may have their names enrolled in church-membership; they may have been duly admitted by the ordinance of baptism; they may hold and maintain pure doctrines, and may not be disorderly in reference to external discipline ; but they walk in darkness; their minds are under the influence of ignorance, error, and mistake; their hearts are unrenewed ; they have no fellowship with God. There exists a moral disqualification. Light cannot dwell with darkness, nor can Christ have concord with Belial. We could weep over those professors who refuse to yield up themselves to the full influence of God's word and Spirit; who approve in their judgment of the things that are excellent, but who are conscious they do them not. They carry about with them their condemnation in their own minds, and wander far from happiness. It is by persons of this class that the knell of dismay is tolled, of a fallen church and a lifeless people. They draw the picture of their own condition, and apply it to others. Where persons of this character sustain office, their proceedings are dictated by a policy which partakes of their own character, which savours of pride, worldly wisdom, and love of power. O that such would but consider the character of a Christian! that they would but aspire to that character, and walk in the light! Vain is their union with the church on earth, and their professed attempts at usefulness, whilst their hearts are in darkness. “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord ! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;" but many who will plead, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works?” shall hear the awful sentence of rejection : “I never knew you; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity." It is not to build churches, and endow them; to form benevolent Societies, and
support them; to maintain the teachers of Christianity; nay, nor merely to preach the truth; that will give a title to church-membership, or a meetness for heaven. “A new heart and a right spirit" are indispensable requisites ; and “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”
4. The resemblance between the church on earth and in heaven. It is a holy fellowship, of which earth is but the lower abode. Both heaven and earth are parts of God's vast dominion ; and the one leads directly to the other. In heaven is the fullest resemblance of God in entire holiness : in the believer on earth all the lineaments are drawn, which are matured in eternity. In heaven is the fullest enjoyment of God : here it is already begun in him who walks in the light. On earth the church is in her militant state: in heaven she is triumphant. When Jehovah addressed his servant Abraham, being about to make his covenant with him, he said, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward;” intimating that he would protect and save him on earth, and be his happiness in heaven. The Patriarch’s heaven was to be the enjoyment of God himself. A similar idea is advanced by St. Paul, in those expressions: “Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus." See John xiv., &c.
Because Christians are children of light, therefore they are heirs of light; they walk in the light, they shall dwell in it for ever. It is the light of God, beaming from his unsullied throne, that gives the beauty and brightness to the church, and fills with itself the heart of every believer. In heaven it is the same light, but unmitigated in its splendour, and exhibiting its glory in the perfected powers of believers.
THE ESSENTIAL IMPORTANCE OF FAITH IN THE DOC
TRINE OF THE HOLY TRINITY, BRIEFLY STATED.
“The holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee, The Father of an Infinite Majesty, Thine honourable, true, and only Son, Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.” For nearly fifteen centuries has this been the sacred song of Christian believers. And why? Let the answer be given in the language of another ancient formulary, which it is much more easy to censure than to confute : “ Whosoever WILLS to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith.” Man needs salvation. It has pleased God to raise up for him “
an horn of salvation." The salvation thus provided for him is offered to him in the Gospel; but that it may be his, it must be received and accepted by him. In reference to this is the Gospel ministry instituted. The work of the ambassador for Christ is to “persuade men," to "pray them in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God.” In discharging their all-important duty, this is the substance of their testimony,—“Repentance toward God, and faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ." By the first, men see and feel their need of salvation. Obeying the truth through the Spirit, they have a sight and sense of sin ; they desire to flee from the wrath to come; they will to be saved. How, then, do they become possessed of the salvation they desire and seek ? Even by faith ; as it is written, “ By grace are ye saved through faith ;" “ Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." But what is this faith? Its direct object is the atonement of Christ. So writes the Apostle : “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” There may be a belief in this atonement, without the spiritual faith which is directly saving ; but there cannot be the faith which saves, without the belief. We cannot trust in Christ as our Saviour, unless we believe him to be a Saviour. But the atonement implies the divinity and incarnation of Christ,--the entire doctrine of the Trinity. He, therefore, who, in the light of the Gospel, wills to be saved, must perceive the provision made for him by the infinite love of God; and when, thus believing, he comes to Christ, he finds rest to his soul. His trust implies his cordial belief of the doctrine ; and being justified by faith, and having the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him, he is regenerated; he becomes a branch in the true vine, a living stone in the divine temple. Of these, that which is emphatically THE CHURCH is composed. They rest upon one foundation; for though, through human infirmity, men may build with various materials, other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid;" and that foundation they both know and acknowledge. Hence it is that the true members of Christ's church have been, in all ages, believers in the doctrine of the Trinity. It is so unavoidably; for, but for that faith, they had not been members of the church. Rejecting this truth, it is not easy to see how they could exercise such “ repentance toward God” as would cause them to “WILL to be saved :” rejecting it, undoubtedly they could not exercise saving "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” What are exempt cases, it is not for us to say.
“Secret things belong to the Lord our God." But, speaking of the divinely-revealed method of salvation, belief in the doctrine of the Trinity is essential to salvation; and all who have received the salvation of their souls, in every age, have believed and confessed it. On whatever subjects they have differed, here they have always and necessarily agreed. This is the “one faith” of the one holy catholic church. The doctrine of the Trinity has thus been always believed, by all the members of the true church of Christ, in every place. The old canon, Semper, ubique, et ab omnibus, is here strictly applicable.
OUR SERVANTS. (To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) 1. The moral and religious im- rises up within the asylum of home, provement of servants is of great it is awfully perilous and alarming. importance to themselves.
3. To masters and mistresses the i. No situation in life can exempt moral and religious conduct of serfrom moral responsibility a human vants is desirable in the highest being who retains the use of reason. degree. By this means mutual conThe immortality of the soul, and fidence will be secured, and much the account which every individual uneasiness avoided. There may be of Adam's posterity must render at found, we are aware, a strong prin. the final judgment, make religion ciple of honesty, in the discharge of the universal concern of man; and ordinary duties, where true religion every thing which awakens our feel. has not been sought; but this is ings on this momentous question, rarely the case; whereas religion and directs our attention to its all. claims, and will assuredly possess, commanding interests, strongly re the integrity of moral principle. commends itself to our regard. By attention to this, servants in
Servants have a Master in heaven pious families will gain the good. as well as on earth ; and nothing will of their employers ; their tri
. can be of so great consequence to fling deficiencies will be overlooked; them as His approbation, who will, their general worth will be duly before long, pronounce their ever estimated ; and the serious incon. lasting doom.
veniences, the mortification, the 2. It is important in relation to scandal, arising from frequent the junior members of the families changes, will be avoided. A peacewith whom they reside. Young able and protracted sojourn in the children are attentive observers ; same family is attended with many and example has always a powerful advantages. effect upon them, especially where 4. A good servant will exert a their affections and interests are en beneficial influence on the surroundgaged. Servants have many oppor- ing neighbourhood. The evils of tunities of endearing themselves to animosity and strife between fami. children ; and as the most vigilant lies or persons dwelling in the satue mother cannot always have her eyes vicinity, are often owing to the gos. and ears employed upon each indi- siping of faithless domestics. Some vidual in her household, it is fearful persons cannot rest without offito think of the amount of evil ciously inquiring into each other's which may be communicated to the affairs'; and a few facts, however infant mind by an unprincipled unimportant in themselves, which servant.
relate to family matters, are seized How can we allow those who are upon as favourite topics of conver. so dear to us to tread the path of sation, especially if they be slander
. danger with faithless guide ?
ous, and in any way derogatory to Why should we accelerate the de character and fame. “ Where no velopement of their innate depravity, wood is, the fire goethout; so and light them on their way to de where there is no tale-bearer, the struction ? Every time they wit strife ceaseth.” But, independently ness the profanation of sacred things, of this consideration, the conduct of an influence is exerted in opposition a pious servant must have a salutary to parental prayers and counsels ; effect, whenever, and by whomand when that antagonist power soever, it is observed ; and, in
proportion as this felt, will be Lord's day. When the cares and our conviction of the great import duties of a large family render imance of encouraging and promoting practicable the attendance on public such conduct.
worship of the mother and the serII. But what means are to be vant at the same hour, the former used in order to the accomplish ought most frequently to give place. ment of this desirable end ?
The nearness of her relationship to It is assumed that the master and the children, and her concern for mistress are themselves religious, the everlasting welfare of her doand consequently anxious to secure mestics, will prompt her to make the spiritual welfare of their ser this sacrifice with all cheerfulness. vants. To such the following sug. 3. But whilst ample opportunigestions may be useful :
ties are afforded to them for hearing 1. Let them be regarded as mem the Gospel, and attending such relibers of your own family, and be gious meetings as their union with made to feel that they have a home the visible church may require, we in your house, as well as a place in should guard, with the strictest your household. This will at once vigilance, against permitting them place them on privileged ground; to take walks of pleasure on the and, by opening to them the ordi Sabbath-day. Idle and wicked comnary sources of domestic solicitude, pany abound then more than at sympathy, and comfort, it will con other times ; and we cannot appeal vince them of your disinterested. from the authority which declares, ness, and lay a broad and suitable “Evil communications corrupt good basis on which to build your plans manners ;” and solemnly attests of instruction and government. that “a companion of fools shall be
This view of their station is not destroyed.” We admit that fresh adopted for the purpose of effect : air and out-of-door exercise are es. it is the only just one. Servants sential to the health and comfort of are unquestionably members of the all; nor have we any right to de. families with whom they dwell. prive our servants of the privilege We must, then, admit their claim to of beholding the beauties of nature our attention; or, in other words, in the various seasons of the year. our responsibility on their account. The beneficent Author of our being 'The right of protection we allow has in this way abundantly provided eren to the brute creation which for the mental gratification of all his belong to our houses, our stables, rational creatures, and any attempt our farms. It is our duty to de. to rob them of this pleasure were an fend them, and to promote the com offence against himself. Can it be fort of the short and cloudy day of pleaded, with any show of reason, their existence. Surely, then, our or even with any plausibility, that fellow-immortals, whom Providence no part of the week, except the has placed for a season under our sacred day, can furnish time for control, have superlative and resist this? Arrangements ought to be less claims on our religious care and made, and rigorously acted upon, in benevolence! In accordance with every family, and in all other estabthis principle, we are bound to, lishments of whatever kind, for the
2. Allow them sufficient time to purpose of allowing servants and attend the means of grace. The work-people, of every class, a suffiblessed Sabbath is theirs as well as cient portion of the secular periods ours; and though they cannot, even of every week, to spend in healthful on that day, be relieved from every and innocent recreation. household engagement, care should 4. Suffer nothing to interfere with be taken that nothing be imposed their attendance at family worship. upon them which is avoidably secu The most numerous and busy house. lar in its nature, or so engrossive of hold may secure regularity in this their time and attention, as to pre- great duty, by mutually agreeing clude the possibility of their pre upon the time of the morning and sence in the house of prayer on the evening sacrifice; and by avoiding,
Vol. XXIII. Third Series. SEPTEMBER, 1844. 3 F