« AnteriorContinuar »
in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being
Many are the channels already opened for the fulfilment of the divine purposes. Former impediments to the full and effective reception of the divine influences have been removed. Institutions have been established for the mental and spiritual benefit of the human race; and
into these channels opened for the general good, Christian charity will How in from heaven to irrigate the moral desert, until eventually it shall bud and blossom as the rose. British and Foreign Bible Societies have been formed, by which copies of the Bible have been circulated by tens and hundreds of thousands; and by their translation into almost every language and dialect of the known world, the wants of almost erery tribe, and tongue, and nation, have been supplied, furnishing one of the grand means of enabling every man to read in his own tongue, the wonderful works of God, as revealed in His Word. And who does not see the hand of Divine Providence in this supply of the means, from the rich resources of the many, for furthering the more general establishment of the new order of things, the dispensation of "The New Jerusalem !" under the last and best dispensation of heaven to man? But we need not travel out of the New Church in search of institutions, which, if well supported by its members, will, under the divine auspices of the Lord, become a blessing in the earth. They have, indeed, already been rendered a blessing to many. Let not then its members relax their efforts, but, if possible, double, and re-double them, that so they may be beneficial to very many more. specifically enumerate our several institutions, such as our Missionary, Tract, and Printing Societies, established for the noble and important purpose of dispensing the glorious truths and doctrines of the New Dispensation? It may indeed be necessary to stir up the minds of some “ by way of remembrance.” Let the question be asked, Are these laudable institutions supported by all as they justly deserve? Are there any
in the church who either do not contribute to their support at all, or not to the extent of their pecuniary means? Are there any who, because they cannot “of their abundance” cast into the treasury, are therefore diffident in casting in their “ mite”? It is well known that some of the societies which are visited exclusively by Missionaries, contribute very scantily towards the support of the Missionary funds, and some not at all, although they are regularly visited. Evidently, “these things ought not so to be.” Suffer, then, a word of affectionate exhortation :-“ Let the time past of your lives suffice” to have exhibited this state of things. “ Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God"-(Jer. xxvi. 13.) for He has said, “Freely ye have received; freely give."
And here, among other good works which we ought to perform, the mind reverts to the good work of the distribution of Tracts,—those missionaries of mercy which convey the doctrines of love and truth, of faith and life, and by means of which the truth, as a silent monitor, has
found its way to many who seldom hear the preacher's voice; seldom, if ever, read the Word of life; and who are unacquainted with sacred truth in its unperverted form. Here, then, are love and truth combined ;—and a work thus performed, is indeed a work of mercy, a work of charity of the highest order.
“ It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven “Upon the place beneath;—it is twice blessed ;
“It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes." The distribution of our Tracts is, therefore, one department of eminent usefulness, to which we affectionately invite your serious attention. Let neither male nor female consider it a common," or vulgar" employment; it is a glorious work. The Great Head of the Church, whose whole life upo n the earth was one continuous act of love and mercy, has declared, that “it is enough that the servant be as his Lord.” Wherefore, go on, and prosper. If we build
up the church in ourselves, acts of usefulness will follow. Do we not know, that when the church itself is considered as the house, and the Lord as the father and master of the family, the external church is called the steward ? The stewardship, therefore, relates to external worship, to external order in the church, to providing necessary things for the sacred edifice, and to all external religious acts ; but it is the internal good principles of the will and the affections that sanctify the external acts. Where such principles exist, there the life and soul of worship will exist also. (See A. C. 1795.) We are taught that “ The internal of the church is love to the Lord, and charity towards our neighbour ;-consequently, that those who are imbued with the affection of good and truth from love to the Lord and charity towards their neighbour, constitute the internal church ; and that those who are in external worship from obedience and faith only, constitute the external church.” (See A. C. 1083, 1098, 4288, 6380, 6587, 7840, 8762.) Also, that, “ to know what is good and true, and to act from thence, is the external church, but to will and love both truth and good, and to act from thence, is the internal of the church.” (See A. C. 4899, 6775.) How important, then, it is that goodness and truth should meet together, and be united with each other. Whatever is really within, will take every suitable opportunity of manifesting itself without ;-the state of the interiors of the mind determines the actions of the external man. It is from internal good principles, virtues, and graces, that all our external actions in the world, as well as our external worship, derive their quality and consequent value. “ As the body without the spirit is dead,” so all public and private acts of worship,
unless grounded in good principles and spiritual desires, must be dead also. But when these are united as brethren in one house,—when our public worship is grounded in love and truth ; in the exercise of a well regulated will, as well as of an enlightened understanding, a hallowed, delightful, and reviving sphere pervades “the city of our solemnities,” and we become the happy recipients of blessings from on high.
Let, then, this spirit and disposition of mind be cultivated by us in all our secular and religious engagements; in all that relates to the best interests of the church collectively, and to the institutions of the church in particular; in our weekly and other meetings for edification and instruction, as well as in our hours of public worship, and times of private devotion. So will the words of the Lord by the prophet be fulfilled in reference to the prosperity of His Church in us, and in the world, "The Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” I am, on behalf of the General Conference,
Yours in Christian fellowship, Liverpool, August, 1847.
SHIFTINGS OF ORTHODOXY.
Evangelical : I have wished for an opportunity of asking you what is the ground of your repugnance to the great doctrines of the gospel ? New Churchman : In reply to your question, I will ask you
another ; how is it possible you can believe what is commonly called the doctrine of Atonement, as taught by your section of Christians, a doctrine which represents God as an inexorable and vindictive Being, whose wrath demanded to be appeased by the death of Christ before he would forgive sinners, however penitent they might be, and however —
E.: Stop! I am sure that no intelligent member of any Evangelical Church will accept your statement as truly describing his doctrine of the
great atoning sacrifice of Christ. Permit me to correct your erroneous impressions, and also to say, that I deem such representations of our views calumnious, as against the Evangelical Churches, and almost blasphemous, as against the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As I understand the doctrine of the Atonement, and as I am in the habit of hearing it preached, it is this, That God, the moral governor and law
giver, as well as Father of the human race, gave a law, with a penalty, for human government; that man broke the law, and thereby incurred its penalty: that it became necessary that the dignity of the Law-giver and Governor should be vindicated, lest the audacity of fallen man should learn to treat his laws with contempt, and therefore it was necessary that the law should be honoured by the infliction of its penalty, in the person of a substitute, who offered himself up for this purpose, -the Only begotten Son of God. As a man, the obedience of Christ was perfect; he did not on his own account incur the penalty of a broken law, but voluntarily laid down his life, that his death might be the substitute for the eternal death impending over sinners. In some way, not fully explained in Holy Scripture, our doctrine teaches that it is consistent with the honour of God's law and government, that he should accept the punishment of the innocent victim in the place of guilty man, and pardon and restore the sinner who repents, provided he believes that “ Christ died for the ungodly,” and trusts to the sacrifice and merits of Christ for his salvation. And does this view, I would ask, impute to God anything like vindictiveness? Is the “inexorable conduct you speak of anywhere apparent in it? It is obvious that what I
may call the theory of this doctrine, is based on a just idea of human government, and the admitted necessities of such government; and no one would say that a human government is inexorable and vindictive because its laws are duly executed, in obedience to the demands of necessity, and the interests of the governed! The most loving parent may consistently punish a child, to whose disobedience punishment has been threatened.
N. C.: This may all seem very plausible in your view, but it appears otherwise in mine. Granting for a moment that the statement you have made of the orthodox view of the doctrine of Atonement, as taught by Evangelical sections, is a perfectly accurate statement of that doctrine, I will meet it on its own grounds. Nevertheless, I am prepared afterwards to shew, that if your statement be correct, as that of one view taken of the doctrine, the other view, which I took of it, is completely justified by testimonies to the full as weighty as your own; and, possibly, you will find eventually, that in so indignantly rejecting my view, you have placed yourself in a dilemma from which you will not easily escape, in fact one from which escape is impossible, until you join the New Church in adopting its version of the apostolic doctrine of the Atonement.—In regard to your own statement. It assumes, first, that the necessities of a human government pressed immovably on the Divine Government; and, secondly, it implies that a human law would