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who were born Jews to observe all the laws of Moses. They exacted from Gentiles only those terms which Moses himself prescribed. When the great question, whether the Gentiles were to observe the law of Moses or not, was discussed, the final determination was—“ It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled." And these were, as Spencer shews, the terms already prescribed by Moses. In his dissertation on Acts, xv. 20, he considers the reason why the apostles forbad these four things in one and the same ordinance, and did not leave them to be collected from various portions of their writings, and says, “I think this was done for an important reason ; for, by the Mosaic law, these four things were conjointly forbidden to the pious Gentiles sojourning amongst the Israelites.'* And then, after proving this from the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Leviticus, he adds, “Since, therefore, the Mosaic law interdicted to Jewish proselytes these four things, simultaneously and conjointly; and probably the more reasonable of the Hebrews required from strangers, besides the abstinence from these four things, no other proof of the abdication of idolatry: I think I have good reason for believing that the apostles prohibited, simultaneously and conjointly, all these things to the Gentile converts, in order to signify their readiness to observe the institutions of Moses, so far as they reasonably could, and the injustice of imposing a greater burden on Christian proselytes than had formerly been imposed on Jewish proselytes.”+ Gentiles were, therefore, admitted to the privileges of the gospel, not by setting up a new church, not by dissenting from the Jewish church, but by conforming to its laws and provisions. Not a single command of the Mosaic law was violated—not a single rite or custom neglected—not a shadow of separation or dissent was visible. The terms of communion with the Jewish church were preserved inviolate. The principle on which the Gentiles were admitted had been already laid down in the Mosaic law, but had been obscured by sectarian prejudice. By the apostles this merciful provision was brought to light and acted upon without in any way interfering with conformity to the Jewish church. The slightest spot or stain of dissent, then, cannot be found upon the apostles. They conformed themselves, and they taught both Jew and Gentile to conform, to the Mosaic constitution, so that their very enemies never accused them of nonconformity, and never were able to apply those severe laws which existed against all presumptuous violations of the ceremonial institutions. The dissenting catechism is

« Hoc autem non levi de causâ factum censeo ; num hæc quatuor in lege Mosaicâ, piis è Gentibus inter Israelitas commorantibus unà prohibentur." De legibus Heb. edit. Hagæ Comitum. MDCLXXXVI., p. 465.

+ " Cum itaque lex Mosaica, proselytis judaicis hæc quatuor, simul et conjunctim interdicerunt; et Hebræi forte saniores, præter abstinentiam ab hisce quatuor, nullum idololatriæ abdicatæ testimonium ab advenis expectarent; non temere mihi per. suadere videor, apostolos hæc omnia Gentilibus simul et conjunctim inhibuisse, ut innuerent, se Mosis instituta (quà satis ferre poterat) observare paratos, et iniquum esse ut plus oneris proselytis Christianis quam olim Judaicis imponeretur.”— Ibid.

VOL. XIII.Jan. 1838.




therefore guilty of gross misrepresentation, when it says that the apostles refused conformity to the national religion. If they would tread in the footsteps of Christ and his apostles, it must be by renouncing the principles of nonconformity. I ought now to proceed to the second point, but must defer that to another opportunity.

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(Continued from vol. xii. p. 376.) THAULER. If you have anything more to say, my son, it would give me great pleasure to hear it. I certainly have been extremely pleased with all I have heard. Therefore I again and again beg and intreat of you to remain, and on no account to quit me.

If you have not the means, I will supply them, even if I pawn some one of my books to borrow money on it, if you will but stay. LAYMAN. May the Lord repay you for your goodness to me.

But be assured, that I have no need either of your temporal goods, or any one's else, as the Almighty God has made me his steward, and I have about five thousand pieces of gold, which belong to God, and which I shall freely spend when it is needful, or when God himself would wish them to be expended.

THAULER. You are indeed, it would seem, the steward of an affluent and great master. But what you said just now surprised me, that neither I, nor all the doctors in the world, could teach you, even to the day of judgment, as much as you learnt in one short hour from God. I ask you, then, did not sacred scripture come from the Holy Spirit ?

LAYMAN. Beyond a doubt. For thus the catholic faith believes. But I am quite sorry that, after so much as I have said, you should still talk in so childish a way. Now I will propose you one question, and if you can solve it, out of scripture or without scripture, I will give yon, on God's part, one thousand pieces of gold.

THAULER. What is your question, my son ?

LAYMAN. I ask you, master, if you can tell me how I should write a letter to a pagan, living far off in remote parts, in such a language that he can read and understand it, and that the form of it should be such that on reading it he should be converted to the faith?

THAULER. This I certainly cannot tell you, for such things are the works of the Holy Spirit. But pray tell me if anything of the sort ever happened to you; and that, if you learned anything thence, you would explain to me how it was done, and whether it was you who did this.

LAYMAN. I did it not, master; but the Holy Spirit deigned through me, unworthy as I am, to effect such a thing. Much might be said on the subject, but it would be too long to go into the whole matter. For if I were to write fully all I have to say on it, it would fill a book. But I will mention a few points, from which you may collect the sum of the matter. There was a pagan, an excellent man, and righteous

but you

after his own mode. He often cried to heaven, and earnestly invoked Him who had made himself and all creatures, speaking thus“Oh God, maker of all things, behold, I was born in this land, and this faith. But the Jews have another belief, and so have the Christians. Do thou, oh God, who art above all, shew me, in what way soever thou wilt, if

any faith is better than that in which I was born, that I may believe, and I will willingly obey thee, and take thy faith upon me." But if thou dost not signify this to me, and I die in this my faith, and in ignorance of the better, it will be a great wrong done to me. Such were the pagan's prayers, master; and then it came to pass that I wrote him a letter, on reading which he was converted to Christianity. And he wrote me back a letter, telling me how things had gone with him, which was so written in our common German idiom, that I well understood it. I might say much more, have now what is material.

THAULER. Wonderful, doubtless, is the Lord in his gifts, and the things you have told me are various and rare.

LAYMAN. I am afraid I may have said more than I ought; for I observe that I have said something, considering what you are, which may annoy you. For as I am a layman and a private obscure individual, and you a great doctor of theology, and yet I have said so much to you, as if in the way of teaching, it cannot be but that something must have offended you.

THAULER. If you will not take it ill, I will tell you what displeased me.

LAYMAN. I assuredly will not; speak boldly.

THAULER. My feelings certainly are greatly shocked, and I cannot get over it, by this, that you, as a layman, ought to teach me, a divine and teacher; and then again by your calling me a Pharisee.

LAYMAN. Does anything else in me displease you? THAULER. Nothing, as far as I know. LAYMAN. May I, with your leave, satisfy you about these two things.

THAULER. Not only may you, but I earnestly wish you to do so.

LAYMAN. Tell me, sir, I beseech you, how it was, or by whom it was brought to pass, that the blessed virgin Catherine, when about eighteen years old, conquered fifty very acute philosophers in words, so that all of them offered themselves willingly to die for Christ. Tell me, I say, who did this, or who spoke these, so that one young maid should conquer such philosophers ?

THAULER. Doubtless, it was the Holy Spirit.

LAYMAN. Do you think that the Holy Spirit has still the same power that he had ?

THAULER. Certainly, I believe so.

LAYMAN. Why then should you think that he may not speak to you by me, though a miserable sinner, when he spoke even by Caiaphas, who was a sinner also ? Certainly, if what I have said is likely to give you so much annoyance, I shall be more cautious in future.


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THAULER. I beseech you not to do so. I will correct myself in this respect also.

LAYMAN. You said, too, that you were offended by my calling you a Pharisee. But when I had said this, I gave you a reason which

I might justly have satisfied you. But as you are not content with it, I will shew you in another way you are worse in this respect than I then said. You know well that our Saviour, in a certain place, speaks and exhorts to this effect“Beware of the Pharisees. For they put heavy burthens on men's shoulders, and will not touch them with one of their fingers." Now consider yourself a little. You have certainly laid twenty-four articles or points on our shoulders, which you scarcely touch yourself. So our Lord, in another place, says of the same Pharisees,—“Keep and do what they command you, but do not according to their works. For they say and do not.'

THAULER. Our Lord said that once.

LAYMAN. It is of no matter. Nay, he says this constantly. But see now, sir, whether you did not give us excellent instructions. God knows, and you yourself are not ignorant, how far you follow them in life and action. As you are at present, I willingly follow your doctrine, but should be sorry to imitate your life. Weigh the thing calmly, then, with yourself, and see whether you are not, in the sight of God, really a Pharisee, though not one of those false and impious ones who deserve hell.

THAULER. I assuredly cannot but own this. I know and confess myself to be a sinner; and now I resolve to amend my life, even if I should run the risk of death by doing so. And I will wait no longer, but I earnestly beseech you that for God's sake you will consult how I may begin a better life, and shew me how I may attain to the greatest perfection which can be obtained in this life.

LAYMAN. With your leave, I must say, sir, that it is difficult to give you any advice on this matter. For your plan of living, which you have hitherto pursued, by long custom, is almost become nature. Therefore, if you ought to reject your former manners and usual way of life, which in truth will be necessary, this cannot be done without a great shock and pain to your feelings, especially as you seem to be about fifty years of age.

THAULER. That, I believe, is about my age. But the full wages, the penny, was given even to those who had come at the eleventh hour. I am therefore fully resolved and decided in my mind, that, if I were sure I should die for it, I would be henceforth converted and renounce my former life, deceitful and given to curious intellectual speculation as it was, my vices and my whole sensuality, and in future, through God's grace, I would live according to your counsel. I therefore beseech you, again and again, to put off all delay, and, for the love of God, to instruct and teach me how I must begin the amendment of my life, for I can defer it no longer.

LAYMAN. Since, sir, God has given you such grace that you do not refuse to be humbled and subject yourself to a poor and vile creature, it is fitting that we should first give glory to God, to whom it belongs.

And as it is necessary for me to give you advice on God's part, I will take him as my aid, and, for love of him, take the best care of you that I can. First, I will instruct you as boys are taught in schools; that is, I will give you a spiritual alphabet, divided into twenty-three sentences; that is to say, into as many as there are letters in the alphabet, which boys first learn.

[Tben follows what is called the Golden Alphabet, which cannot be translated with any effect, or at least not without more pains than the thing is worth. A specimen will suffice:

A. Aggredienda tibi imprimis est vita bona, pura, spiritualis, nonquidem, leviter, &c.

B. Bonum facito, malum declinato, idque sedulo ac diligenter. The rest are all in the same vague and general style of precept, comprising everything and really teaching nothing.)

LAYMAN. Come, sir, and take this childish instruction from God, who has sent it to you by me, a miserable sinner.

THAULER. This may appear childish to you, my son; but to me it certainly appears fit for a manly age. But whatever it is, I am resolved, by God's help, to take it in hand. Tell me, however, I beg you, how long will you give me to learn it.

LAYMAN. In honour of our Lord's five wounds, which are signs of bis immense love to us, let us take five weeks, that you may be quite perfect in it. You shall be your own master, and whenever you go wrong in any letter, and do anything contrary to the precept under it, you shall scourge your naked shoulders with a rod.

THAULER. I will do as you direct, and obey your orders. .

(After three weeks had thus passed away, the Layman asked Dr. Thauler how things went with him.]

THAULER. Be assured, my son, that in these three weeks, in order to learn your lesson, I have been whipt oftener than I was before in my whole life for all my studies put together.

LAYMAN. In what condition are you then? Do you know all your letters ?

THAULER. I know them after a fashion, and I thank God that things go well with me; but I wish I knew your lesson more perfectly. However, I beg you to proceed, and give me larger instruc

tions, and point out higher perfections.

LAYMAN. You know, sir, that at school boys are not put on into higher matters till they have learned the elements thoroughly.

T'HAULER. Well, I should certainly tell a lie if I said that I knew your alphabet thoroughly.

LAYMAN. It is better for us then to go no further till you do.

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