« AnteriorContinuar »
ready assistance. It knows that there may be a The last property of charity to which I will perishing for lack of knowledge-that the undying ask attention, at present, is its humility. "Chaspirit may be naked and friendless and destitute, rity vaunteth not itself-is not puffed up." Pride, without the knowledge of the Saviour and the hope considered with reference to our fellow-creatures, imof eternal life; and it knows also that religion in the plies such an exalted opinion of ourselves as leads to heart is the true source of real enjoyment-that, in self-esteem and to contempt of others. The grounds proportion as men are brought under the sanctifying of pride are numerous: birth-rank-wealth—tainfluence of the gospel, in the same proportion will lents-religious advantages-and, not unfrequently, be their happiness as individuals and members of religious attainments; for it sometimes happens that society; and charity will therefore aim, by every they who owe all their graces to the free and good means it can command, to make them acquainted with Spirit, with strange inconsistency forget their depenthat message of mercy which, when received into the dence-forget they have nothing which they did heart, has a promise of the life that now is, and of that not receive and look with contempt on those who which is to come. And love will be active also in its have not made the same progress in the Christian exertions for the relief of distress. It differs altogether ace, or who are yet in their unbelief and sins. But in from that sentimental compassion which has a sigh or truth it would be useless to attempt to enumerate all a tear, and nothing else, for the destitute; which the grounds of pride. Whatever creates a distinction affects to sympathize with the afflicted, and expends between man and man, may prove the occasion of all its anxiety to do good in vain and profitless wishes. this hateful and unbecoming disposition. It is a Love will heave the sigh, and shed the tear of compas- vice which accommodates itself to our circum sion; but it will do more: it will go forth in active stances, of whatever kind they may be. Now, charity exertions-exertions which require cost and self- is humble, because it has learned that this passion is denial. And, let me add, the kindness of love extends offensive to the Divine Being; charity is humble, also to the manner and language-even to the tone because it has its source in the knowledge of the love of the voice: "Be pitiful, be courteous," is the lan- of God in Christ to perishing sinners, and because it guage of an apostle. All rudeness and incivility, and would gladly communicate happiness. The Christian harshness of manner, will be avoided by Christian knows that pride is a fruitful source of contention and love, because these things are painful to those who anger, and offensive and painful to the feelings of suffer from them; and thus the full enjoyment of our fellow-men. Love, therefore, delighting in haphappiness, which it is the desire of charity to promote, piness, and desirous to increase it by every means, will is hindered. Charity considers nothing below its restrain all proud and lofty thoughts. It will not notice which may give pain to a fellow-creature-permit the Christian to treat with contempt those nothing unimportant which may contribute to the who are less favoured with earthly or spiritual advangeneral stock of happiness. In its intercourse with tages. It will not hurt our neighbour's feelings by an the afflicted, charity will be tenderly cautious to avoid unnecessary display of our superiority; and will not every thing which may hurt the bruised and suffering say to the unconverted, or to those who have made spirit; in the relief of distress, while engaged in sup- less progress in the Christian life" Stand by, I am plying the wants of the body, will be studious not to holier than thou." Love carries into practice the inflict a wound upon the feelings. It often happens apostolic precepts-" In honour prefer one another:" that persons of a sensitive disposition, whom God has "Mind not high things, but condescend to them of been pleased to visit with poverty, have their spirit low estate;" "Let nothing be done through strife or deeply wounded by the ungracious and unfeeling lan- vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem guage or manner which accompanies the relief of their other better than themselves." wants. The kindness of love will avoid these things. These observations will not be deemed of little importance by those who will consider how much our enjoyment depends upon our feelings, and how much a gracious and gentle manner assists in advancing the happiness of society. "Charity envieth not." In these words the apostle describes the contentment of love. Envy, as our hearts will tell us, is that passion which causes us to feel uneasiness at the sight of another's prosperity, and makes us to dislike him on that account. It is called into exercise by various objects-by mental accomplishments, personal attractions, superior rank or wealth; and is chiefly, though not exclusively, felt towards those who are considered our rivals or enemies. This passion is not confined to any class, or rank, or age. It is to be found in the palace and the cabin-with the learned and the illiterate-the young and the old. Nor is it necessary to the existence of this passion that it should be manifested by outward acts and expressions of injury or slander. Unseen by any human eye, but clearly seen by him who searcheth the reins of the heart, it may be lurking in the heart, and secretly indulged, and may require opportunity or impunity only to show itself openly. And I may add, that this passion is often united with the most disgusting hypocrisy; for, to gratify its wishes, it will put on the garb and use the language of compassion and religion. To this hateful passion charity is directly opposed, and must be a stranger to the heart in which it is indulged; for charity finds its enjoyment, envy its misery, in the happiness of others. Charity would improve their happiness; envy is grieved their
To pursue this subject, and examine at present the remaining properties of charity, would oblige me to make an unreasonable demand upon my reader's attention. I will therefore postpone, until another opportunity, the further consideration of this chapter. On what has been said, I will offer only a few words. It will be profitable for us to make what has been observed the subject of serious and candid self-examination. We can have no difficulty about the proper questions we should propose to ourselves. The object of this examination is to ascertain whether, and to what extent, we are in possession of this grace. We cannot doubt that to come to a correct knowledge of our real state is a matter of unspeakable importance; for what if we should be destitute of this grace? what if we should have much zealmuch knowledge-much profession-and yet be without charity? The apostle will answer, you will be nothing in the sight of that Being upon whose favour your happiness depends. It may be asked, do all Christians act according to the description which the apostle has given of this grace? The answer is, they act thus just in proportion as they are under the influence of charity. If love were in its full vigour and exercise, men would be perfect. This will be their heavenly state. But all the children of God do possess this grace in a greater or less degree-with more or less of imperfection. Without some share of it, there can be no true faith, for faith worketh by love; they cannot be subjects of the Spirit's work; for" the fruit of the Spirit is love."
From this account of charity, we can understand the extent and strictness and spirituality of the divine law; and who is there that will compare his thoughts
and actions with this account, who will not find cause to exclaim with the psalmist "Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord! for in thy sight shall no man living be justified"-" If thou, Lord, shouldst be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it?" See then what need we have of that great atonement which taketh away the sin of the world-what need of constant application by a living faith to that blood which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, and cleanseth from all sin. With the eye of faith fixed upon the cross, and with sincere sorrow for our past transgressions, let us constantly approach the throne of grace; our prayer one which, offered in faith, and presented by our great Intercessor, will never fail of being favourably heard"God be merciful to me, a sinner!" And let it be our prayer also, that we may feel more deeply the love of God in Christ; and that, growing thereby in the love of God and man, our own peace and comfort, with that of all whom our conduct may affect, may be increased, and God more abundantly glorified.
NO UNITY IN THE ROMISH CHURCH*.
NOTHING is more common with Romish controversialists than to reproach us with our divisions, and to boast of their own unity. Into the question of the divisions among protestants we shall not enter; but we intend to show that the papal unity is only an empty boast. Never were fiercer disputes carried on among men than those which have visited the Romish church on fundamental points. In proving our position, that there is no unity in the church of Rome, we propose to allude
First, to the schisms in the papacy. Papists allege that they are united under one earthly head-that they have a centre of unity, namely the pope, who is appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a wellknown fact that councils and popes are at issue with each other on very important points. Martin V. confirmed the decrees of the Council of Constance, which determined that a council was superior to the pope. Often have the decrees of one pontiff been reversed by his successor. Where then was the unity of the church, when its heads were so disagreed? Some of the popes have been heretics, infidels, and atheists, even according to the admissions of papal historians; while others have been simoniacally chosen, in which cases they could not, even on their own principles, have been true and lawful popes. The schisms, too, have been numerous. Two-and-twenty are admitted by Baronius. One of them continued fifty years, during which, and indeed during all the schisms, two popes, and sometimes three, asserted their claims to St. Peter's chair. At such times, therefore, the unity of which Romanists boast was lost, for they could not tell which pope was the centre of unity. Even at this very day it is not settled among themselves who was the lawful pope during some of the schisms by which the peace of the Romish church was disturbed. Suppose England to be divided between two or more rival princes, could it, during the existence of the separate governments, under separate rulers, be denominated one kingdom? Yet the Romish church has frequently been thus divided: but the true catholic church is
But, secondly, the members of the church of Rome are also divided among themselves, and their divisions are of such a character as to be altogether destructive of unity. There are various orders in the church of Rome, all governed by particular laws; and between some of these orders the most violent disputes are carried on. We can only submit an outline of those in
ternal disorders which have existed, and which still exist in the Romish church.
From the "Church and State Gazette." Painter.
Our readers are aware that those Christian writers who flourished from the first to the fifth centuries, are known in church history under the designation-" the fathers." Subsequent to the fifth century, certain writers of controversy were denominated "the schoolmen," because they introduced the philosophy of Aristotle into their discussions. The sixth century may be fixed upon as the period of the rise of the schoolmen, and the thirteenth as that of their greatest glory; so that the latter has received the designation of the scholastic age.
Now these schoolmen were opposed to the fathers on many most material points; and not only so, they were engaged, during six or eight centuries, in the most virulent quarrels among themselves. Still the papists boast of their unity, and allege that there were no divisions previous to the reformation.
Let us, however, fix our eyes on the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In the former, Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest of the schoolmen, flourished, who, on account of his great reputation, was styled the angel of the schools, or the angelic doctor. He was undoubtedly the head of his class. They were vehemently opposed by the mystics, another sect in the church of Rome; and the disputes between the two parties were of the most acrimonious character, far more so, indeed, than any which have existed among protestant divines.
But, besides the disputes between the schoolmen and the mystics, the former could not agree among themselves. They were divided on points of far greater importance than those respecting which protestants may differ. In the fourteenth century John Duns Scotus, an Englishman, ventured to oppose the opinions of Thomas. He was a member of the Franciscan order, while Thomas had belonged to that of St. Dominic. All the Franciscans, therefore, espoused the cause of Scotus, while all the Dominicans adhered to the opinions of Thomas; and from the names of their leaders the two parties became distinguished by the appellations Thomists and Scotists. The origin of the opposition to Thomas was as follows:-On one occosion some of the pupils of Scotus told him that he said nothing but what Thomas had said before him; at which he became so enraged, that from that moment he contradicted Aquinas in every thing. These parties still exist in the church; and yet the Romanists talk of unity.
Now it may be observed, that, if the pope be a centre of unity, he is compelled to decide all such disputes among his subjects. But what have the popes done with these parties? Nothing! The pontiff never even interposed to settle their disputes by his infallible authority. The truth is, the popes have been afraid of both parties, and consequently have never ventured to declare in favour of either. But it is clear that the doctrines of the two parties cannot be both true, for they are contradictory; yet the pope has never interfered. Both are permitted to wrangle and quarrel; and still the Romanists boast of unity. These Thomists and Scotists are also subdivided into smaller sects; and yet it is pretended that the church of Rome is an united body.
The question might be pursued to a much greater extent; and on a future occasion we may resume it, especially in connection with the quarrels and divisions of other sects and parties in the church of Rome, and particularly the jesuits and jansenists. The subject is a most extensive one; at present we have merely submitted to our readers a sketch or outline. Our centre of unity is the Lord Jesus Christ; but the Romanists have had two, and sometimes three heads at one and the same time, all claiming infallibility, as the possessors of St. Peter's chair.
THE very name of this Dutch town is probably unknown to many of our readers, yet the place to which it belongs contains one of the most valuable specimens of an art for which the middle ages were peculiarly distinguished-that of glass-painting.
We took our places in a diligence which runs between Rotterdam and Gouda, and upon the door of which the arms of these two towns are painted, marking its destination. The dull monotony of the road was varied by a few Dutch country-houses, one of which is remarkable as the residence of a Mr. Hoboken, who, though formerly only under-servant to a cheesemonger, has since become rich, and possesses his own dockyard and ships, with which he trades to the East and West Indies. In memory of his humble origin, the barrow in which he formerly wheeled the cheese occupies a place in front of his counter. we approached the town of Gouda, the lofty roof of the church, which bears the marks of high antiquity, appeared in the distance.
The aspect of the town completely recalls to mind the almost uninterrupted wars and conflicts of the middle ages. You enter by a high vaulted gateway, over which, after the fashion of those times, dwellings have been constructed. The inn equally reminds you of the old customs of the Netherlands, especially the huge spacious chimney in the common hall, with its antique decorations, which, on a winter's evening and when filled with a bright blazing fire, is so admirably suited to inspire feelings of true comfort. A young and neatlydressed Dutch girl received us, and led the way into the church, at the entrance of which we found a notice in four languages-English, German, French, and Dutch-that, before proceeding to view the curiosities within the church, each person must pay the sum of four stivers. The appearance of the interior of the church is unusually striking, the more so from its perfect whiteness; the dusky grey vaulted roof, which you find in all the churches of the Netherlands, being strongly contrasted with the white walls which support it, and combining with the painted glass, with which the windows are entirely filled, to produce an effect which is perfectly indescribable. A more splendid display of colours cannot possibly be found; while the absence of all uncoloured light casts so singular a hue over every object within the church, that I do not remember to have remarked in any other sacred edifice, not excepting the majestic dome of Milan, so remarkable an effect of the clear obscure.
lands have likewise borne their share in the noble work. The twelfth window was presented by the collegiate see of St. Salvador, in Utrecht, in 1565; and the eighteenth, painted by T. Crabet, and one of the most beautiful, by the abbot of Mariawaert. The fourteenth, likewise painted by T. Crabet at Gouda, in 1557, was furnished by the bishop of Liege; and the fifteenth by George von Egmont, bishop of Utrecht, in 1555. The fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth windows, the latin a red cap and velvet vest, are among the most exter of which represents the painter T. Crabet himself, quisitely finished the church contains. A regular school for glass painting appears to have been held in Gouda, for we find the twentieth and twenty-first windows, which having been originally intended for a convent are smaller than the others, to have been the workmanship of W. Crabet's pupils. The twentysecond was a present from the heroic William I., Margaret of Parma, sister to Philip II., and daughter prince of Orange; and the thirteenth from the regent to Charles V., both presented in 15€2. On the latter, being the second window of the transept, the princess holy the Margaret, with the dragon beneath their feet. herself is represented, and behind her, her patroness The entablature crossing both figures is painted by W. Crabet in his best style. The twenty-fifth window represents the raising of the siege of Leyden, and is of a later date, having been painted by Corn. Clock in 1603, by whom also the next in order was executed.
The upper windows of the choir are likewise filled with coloured glass, but are finished in a style far inferior to the former. They were probably the workmanship of a pupil of Theodore Crabet, but his name does not appear. The library, which bears the inscription "discere ne cesses," contains a visitor's album, in which we found the names of H.R.H. the crownprince of Prussia (his present majesty), the prince and princess William of Prussia (uncle and aunt to his majesty), the prince Adalbert, and others.
Dutch neatness is conspicuous in the little town of Gouda, and the opulence of its citizens displays itself in the style of their houses, which might bear a comparison with those of Leyden or Haarlem.
THE EFFICACY OF CHRISTIANITY TO
BY THE REV. JOHN S. BROAD, M.A., Incumbent of St. George's, Newcastle-under-Lyne.
It is unnecessary to give a minute description of each of the thirty-three painted windows with which this beautiful church is decorated. Many of them contain the painter's name and the date of their erection; for instance, on the second, which exhibits a view of Damietta, appears the name of Wm. Thibaut, and in like manner those of the remaining artists have been detected by a close examination, viz., B. Joach, Uytenwael, de Vrye, D. von Zyl, and the renowned
I bescech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds." CHRISTIANITY is an unspeakable boon to the
brothers Th. and W. Crabet (or Crabeth). The Nether-human race, if considered only in a temporal
point of view, to say nothing of the glorious
land in 1596; the second, which represents the con-
having been presented by Philip II. and his wife, Mary queen of England, in 1557; the eighth, by duke Erich von Braunschweig in 1566, which consequently contains the Kurbrandenburg arms; and the ninth, by
the abbot of Berne.
in the aspect of society, in the condition of nations and individuals, that it may justly be looked upon as a gift inestimable and divine. It has softened the savage into a meek and quiet member of society; it has ameliorated the horrors and distresses of war; it has asserted the rights of the various members of the human family, and thrown a degree of
The ecclesiastical sees, convents, &c., of the Nether-comfort and blessedness over the condition of the world, such as was never before known.
From a Traveller's Diary.
The epistle to Philemon affords a pleasing | to Rome, the common receptacle of bad and exhibition of the efficacious influence of the good, where he intended to enjoy his illreligion of Jesus Christ to humanize and gotten liberty. But a happier state awaited bless. Without any formal statement of doc- him: he was to be made a freeman of the trine or duty, it sets forth in an incidental gospel-a citizen of heaven. The word of manner what the gospel is, and what it does. divine truth, preached by the captive apostle, The occasion of its being written was as fol- was sent home by the Spirit to the conscience lows:-Philemon, a respectable inhabitant of of the dishonest slave; and he was led to Colosse, and a member of the church in that perceive that he lay in a worse bondage than place, was the master of Onesimus, who clan- that of earthly slavery--the bondage of sin destinely left his service, and went to Rome. and death. He felt the fearful yoke of this While in that city, Onesimus providentially bondage pressing heavily upon him, and sinkmet with St. Paul, then a prisoner dwelling "in ing him into eternal misery, and he was conhis own hired house;" and, through the grace strained to cry out for deliverance. He was of God, the preaching of the devoted apostle "begotten again," from a state of spiritual was made instrumental in converting the run- death to a life of faith and holiness: he beaway slave. The power of the gospel sub- came "a new creature in Christ Jesus." dued the hardened heart of the rude heathen, How great then must be the efficacy of the and he became a sincere disciple of the Lord doctrine which could work so important a Jesus. After St. Paul had kept Onesimus change in such a character! What energy for some time in his service, and thus proved must there be in the grace of the Spirit, to the reality of his conversion, he thought it subdue the heart of a being like Onesimus ! proper to send him back to his lawful master, And how comfortable and blessed must be that he might discharge his duty to him to the doctrine of Christ crucified to a heart whom it was due. Aware, however, of the such as his, when softened and humbled before consequences to which Onesimus had ex- God! Yet this is not the only instance we posed himself by his crime, the apostle deemed know of, of the power of the gospel in the it necessary to write to Philemon, informing conversion of notorious sinners. It stopped him of the change which had taken place in the persecuting Saul in his mad career, and his slave; requesting him to forget the past, converted him from an enemy to a humbled and to receive the returning penitent again and zealous servant of God, and a preacher into his favour. Having assured Philemon of the faith which he hated. It converted a of the reality of his slave's conversion, and of dying malefactor, as he hung upon his cross. the advantage which he might expect in con- It worked a marvellous change in the reprosequence from his future services, the apostle bate Corinthians, guilty of almost every crime: employs the most persuasive yet delicate "Such were some of you (writes the apostle, arguments to produce the desired effect on after enumerating some of the worst characthe mind of his Colossian friend. The whole ters in existence); but ye are washed, but ye epistle, though brief, is replete with the are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name genuine spirit of Christianity, and shows of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our how well urbanity of manners, benevolence God" (1 Cor. vi. 11). Yes, and it has of disposition, and observance of social and converted thousands since as vile as they, and civil order, may and should unite in a true it will convert thousands more. The guiltiest disciple of Christ. A series of observations sinner may become a pardoned and happy upon this interesting history may tend, by child of God, through faith in that almighty the blessing of the Holy Spirit, to illustrate and gracious Saviour whose "blood cleanseth the excellence of Christianity, and prove conducive to our instruction and comfort in righteousness. May "the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer."
from all sin."
How great a blessing ought we to esteem it to possess such a gospel! What an unmerited good has our God bestowed on us! How undeniable a proof of his abounding love towards us! This gospel is preached, in obedience to the bidding of its almighty Author, to sinners of all rauks and all ages. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' O, unfathomable love-"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life!" The ministers of Christ, duly commissioned by him, bear the glorious tidings throughout a
fallen world: they are enjoined to seek out the polluted children of sin, and to invite them to come to the "fountain opened for sin and uncleanness;" "to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ for ever." Brethren, we come to you. Let every thoughtless and unconverted sinner listen with penitence and thankfulness to the gracious invitation of his Saviour: "Look unto me, and be ye saved." "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
II. Notice the spiritual relation to God and to each other in which Christianity places its own converts they are children of God, and brethren in Christ Jesus.
St. Paul calls Onesimus a brother of Philemon, though, temporally, he was his slave. "Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord" (v. 16)? They were brethren in the flesh, as being descended from one common origin-children of the first Adam; and they were brethren in the Lord, as being believers in Christ-related to "the second Adam, the Lord from heaven." The gospel brought them in close spiritual relation to each other; and the slave was no less dear to his heavenly Father and to his redeeming Lord, than the wealthy master.
All believers are one in Christ. The gospel knows no distinctions in the bestowment of its saving blessing; it is no respecter of persons; it offers the same good to all-bond or free-because all need it. All have the same corrupt nature, have been redeemed by the same Saviour, have the same spiritual enemies, are travelling to the same heaven, or the same hell; and all who hope for salvation must take one common lot in the attainment of it. The rich must become "poor in spirit," if they would inherit the kingdom of heaven; and the poor also must humble themselves in the sight of God, if they would become "rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom." Even on earth "the rich and poor meet together" in the same communion, and at the same table of the Lord, and their meeting is blessed. But how delightful will be their meeting in glory! How delightful that assembly in heaven, when all the redeemed shall be gathered to gether, when all earthly distinctions shall be forgotten, and the only character of "ransomed of the Lord" shall be claimed by the countless myriads! The minstrel king of Israel will take his golden harp and join
with the humblest subject in singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The prince and the noble will wear no other coronet than the common diadem of redeeming grace, and be arrayed in no other robe than the bloodwashed garment of salvation. The master and the slave will unite in one common service-that of adoring their common Lord. The Jew and the Gentile will forget their ancient quarrel, and associate as members of one common family-one in Christ-reconciled through Jesus to God and to each other. And the polished European and the swarthy African will stand side by side around the throne of God and the Lamb, swelling the universal chorus--" Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, even his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
III. But observe, though Christianity thus alters the condition of man spiritually, it does not interfere necessarily with their social and civil condition: it does not break up the obligations of society.
Onesimus, though spiritually the brother of Philemon, temporally was still his slave. St. Paul did not conceive that the conversion of Onesimus would discharge him from slavery; on the contrary, he deemed it incumbent to send back the fugitive to his master, as his legal possession in the then existing state of things: for it is in this respect we are to look upon the case, and not in regard of slavery in itself. And Onesimus himself did not think that he was freed from his obligations to his master; he chose rather to return and throw himself upon his master's kindness for pardon and favour. What other religion would work such an effect? What proof does such a spirit carry with it, that it "cometh down from above!"
God is a God of order, and his religion must be a religion of order. That cannot be genuine Christianity which essentially interferes with the peace and prosperity of society. The religion of God our Saviour may be the harmless and accidental cause of evil; it may be perverted by the sons of evil to their own unhallowed uses; but in itself it brings peace and happiness, and it is only as its influence is perverted that it fails to do so. “The wisdom that is from above"—that is, spiriaa" wisdom-"is first pure, then peaceable, gert and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with hypocrisy" (James iii. 17). It commands men to observe the various duties devol upon them in the condition in which Goof placed them, in order that men may be of fited, and God glorified.
4 of When our Lord declared that hon.