Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

children, threw themselves into the castle of York, and rather than surrender to their inveterate enemies, destroyed themselves. “Each master was the murderer of his family, when death became the only deliverance.” In the reign of Henry the Third, after the barons, with whom he was at war, had plundered and massacred hundreds of them, and burned their houses and synagogues, the King so grievously oppressed the remainder, that they asked leave to depart from the kingdom, a permission sternly denied. His son and successor, Edward the First, first confiscated their property, and then banished them from Britain. Fisty thousand persons, with scarcely means to pay their passage, were thrust from the inhospitable shores, not knowing whither to steer, for the ban pursued them wherever they went, and for more than three hundred years, till the times of the Commonwealth, no Jew, save by stealth, set foot within the Island.

But as it is not our intention to carry the narrative of this ill-fated race, beyond a connection with English history, we drop for the present further allusion to them, in order to turn our attention to matters more immediately belonging to our subject.

The Ecclesiastical affairs of our country demand our next consideration, and they are every way worthy of our notice. Religion is natural to the mind of man. No nation so savage, and scarcely an individual so ignorant and debased, as to be without all thought of a higher Power, and with no hope or dread of a future life However imperfect were the views which our ancestors held of Christian doctrine, and however faulty their practical interpretation of its precepts, however thick and palpable was the Superstition in which they were enveloped, as with a dark and rayless cloud, there is no good reason to suppose that there was not much sincere and fervent, though very unenlightened piety among them. Their works yet testify in their favour, and to their praise. Those splendid and spacious edifices, which go under the general name of Cathedrals, by far the most sumptuous and costly buildings of the period, were, with scarcely an exception, the work of the middle ages, and there must have been wise minds and good hearts, prompting to their erection, and the keeping them in order.

Utilitarian as is the present age, still, looking at these inassive and venerable piles, the monuments of ruder, but not altogether barbarous times, we cannot but adinire the spirit which called them into existence, and the indoinitable

perseverence which wrought them up to completion, and with no superstitious feelings, we may yet

“Love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows, richly dight,

Casting a dim religious light.” A large proportion of our rural churches are of the same period, and these, many of them, in their very plainness and humbleness shew the operation of the religious principle. A Dissenter of almost the ancient Puritan cast, and glorying in the name of Nonconformist, I should yet feel greatly ashamed of myself, did I withhold my meed of applause, trifling as it may be, to the spirit which prompted, from time to time, erections such as these. I care not for the burnings at the altar, the elevation of the host, the blessings, and the tiuklings of bells, and the thousand antiquated forms and ceremonies which prevailed within the walls. These to me are trifles light as air, compared with the sight of a people, rude, unlettered, in a very low state of civilization, periodically and statedly assembling to recognize a universal Father, to learn something, however faint, of his attributes, and to be taught, in some degree, their duty to each other. The very fact of their thus coming together, must have powerfully influenced their conduct, have gradually softened their manners, and worn away the rough edges of their mutual prejudices, and “Christ crucified,” addressed to their bodily, rather than their mental vision, was, perhaps thereby the better fitted to call forth their human affections, and to induce them to love one another, even as he loved them.

B, M. B.

HUMAN CONFESSIONS OF FAITH.

The Scriptural professions of faith were calculated to comprehend and unite all who believed in Christ; human Creeds and tests to exclude and disperse. The Nicene [325] was the first. The Arians were so pliable, or their heresy.so minute, that it exercised, the ingenuity of the Council to find a word, that would effect the desired schism. They at last accomplished it, by the smallest letter in all the alphabets, proverbially used by our Lord to denote minutest points of doctrine; and found a Shibboleth and Sibboleth in homoousian and homoiousian. From that time the true point of Orthodoxy has been varying like the tremulous magnetic needle, or the shifting weather cock."

REV. DR. BRUCE.

A GENUINE “APOSTLES' CREED" EXPRESSED IN THEIR OWN WORDS AS CONTAINED IN THE BOOK

OF “ACTS.”

I BELIEVE in "the Father" (chap. ii. 33), “the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (chap. xiv. 15), unto whom “are known all his works from the beginning of the world” (chap. xv. 18), who “bath determined the times before appointed” chap. xvii. 26), who “ dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (chap. vii. 48), and who “is not far from every one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (chap. xvii. 27, 28).

I believe in “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him" (chap. ii. 22), "who went about doing good, ** for God was with him" (chap. x. 38), whom "God hath made both Lord and Christ” (chap. ii. 36), whom “God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour" (chap. v. 31), "against whom were gathered together both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel” (chap. iv. 27), who "crucified” him (chap. ii. 36), “whom God raised from the dead” (chap. iii. 15), who “ was taken up into heaven" (chap. i. 11), whom “God hath glorified” (chap. iii. 13), who now “standeth at the right hand of God” (chap. vii. 55), and who “is ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead” (chap. x. 42).

I believe in the “Holy Spirit,” that it is “the gift of God” (chap. viii. 20), with which Jesus was “anointed” (chap. X. 38), which was “shed forth" (chap. ii. 33), on the Twelve on “the day of Pentecost” (chap ii. 1), and which was 'given" to believers “through laying on of the Apostles' hands" (chap. viii. 18).

I believe that salvation is promised to those who "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (chap. xvi. 31), and “repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance" (chap. xxvi. 20).

I believe that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (chap. xxiv. 15), and that God “ hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness” (chap. xvii. 31).

Rev. BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL ON THE RIGHT OF

PRIVATE JUDGMENT.

*

[ocr errors]

*

*

*

*

*

**

"As we have received a Revelation from God, each believer is bound to study it, ascertain its meaning, and adhere to it. He ought, indeed, to distrust his own judgment, to weigh the opinions of the wise and good, to obtain every help, to pray, to meditate, to wait; but eventually to let no one intervene between God and him, and to maintain no doctrine which he does not see to be true from the Word of God. Paul's direction is, Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. a. James adds, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. 6. Each believer is taught by the Spirit. God has given his promise to the Church: All thy children shall be taught of the Lord. c. Our Lord himself has assured us that our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him. d. And according to these and similar promises all believers may now be addressed as the first Christians were by the Apostle John, Ye have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things.

The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you ; and ye need not that any man teach you ; but the same anointing teacheth

you

all things. e. Each Christian, therefore, may obtain wisdom in proportion to his study, meditation, piety, and prayer. And so may a Church, which is a company of Christians; but as individual Christians err, so do Churches. The Church of Antioch erred f; the Churches of Galatia erred g; the Churches of Greece have erred ; and the Churches in connection with the Church of Rome, scattered throughout the world, have erred more grievously still. If the episcopacy of the Church of England is right, the churches of Scotland have erred. If the Congregational system of the English free churches is right, the Anglican churches have erred. If the Baptists are right, the Independent churches of England have erred. When a church errs, a believer must disregard the false opinions of the church, and follow the teaching of the Word of God. No church has received authority to direct the faith of its members, for each ought to be taught of God through his Word. If any church has received such authority, all churches must have received it, for Scripture has not any where assigned degrees of authority to different churches. Opposing churches, on this hypothesis, must have received authority from Christ to impose upon their members the various errors into which they have fallen. Believers at Antioch and Galatia were bound, on this supposition, to oppose St. Paul; and Roman Catholics may not question the tenets held in their churches. There cannot, therefore, be any such church authority, nor is there. Not a single line in the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation, gives any church such authority, either directly or by implication.”—Essay on the Union of Church and State, pp. 404-6.

a. Romans xiv. 5-23.-6. James i. 5.-c. Isaiah liv. 13,—d. Luke xi, 13.-e. i. John ii. 20-27.-f. Gal. ii, 11-13.-g. Gal. i. 6., iii. 1.

NATURAL THEOLOGY.

No. V.
PROOFS OF DESIGN IN VEGETABLES.

As Birds and INSECTS came severally before us, in illustration of our high argument, we rejoiced in their exceeding beauty, and in the feelings which they awakened, in obedience to the curious and beneficent laws which regulate the association of Ideas. Some productions of the Vegetable kngdom are even more exquisite in their loveliness, and have even a greater power of calling up sweet memories of distant scenes, of absent friends, or of happier, because more innocent, hours. The Daisy, the Buttercup, the Primrose, the Violet, the Wild Hyacinth, not only add a grace and a gladness to the present, not only point with hopefulness to the future, but each of them bears inscribed upon its petals, in handwriting of the heart, tiny histories of the brightest moments of the past. Gazing upon them in our solitary walks, we are borne backward along the streain of time, for the space of thirty years; and, with all the griefs and sins of the intervening time forgotten for the moment, find ourselves once more in those unforgotten scenes

Where once our careless childhood strayed,

A stranger yet to pain. But not only do many individuals of this domain of Nature thus suggest delightful reminiscences; they all, when contemplated with a thoughtful eye, point, in their structure, their uses, their relationships with other objects, animate and inanimate, to a wise and benignant Mind from whom they emanated.

The dependence of Plants on Light strikes even the most careless observer, as one of those arrangements which speaks audibly of a Designer and Contriver. Supposing Light to be in existence, however called there, and to be possessed of its present properties, however acquired, the bestowing on Vegetables an organization, with especial reference to those properties, is one of the directest evidences of Intelligence. Every one must have remarked that plants grown in dark places, have not only their stalks, but their leaves, of an unhealthy whiteness, far removed from the brilliant

green they wear when beneath the open sky; and that they only recover their natural bue when exposed to the full action of the sun. This effect of light in bestowing the verdure by which the eye is so pleasantly affected, is sometimes shown in a most strikng manner in the vast forests which are occasionally

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »