« EdellinenJatka »
the Sons of God, who long for the onset to be made, not with might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
In England this work is most of all feasible. Oh, how has God privileged this favoured land. He called forth her Church in its integrity from the midst of Babylon. Whilst he brought out merely the fragments of Churches in other places, “ a thigh or a shoulder, or a choice bone,” Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, altogether and at once came out in England. And what honour has he put on the English Church. He has made her the Mother Church of all the Evangelism in the world. Jew and Gentile, Scythian and Barbarian, bond and free, have to bless God for the English Church. Let England commence a work, let her make her light shine amongst the benighted Irish Papists, whom Providence has thrown within her borders, and there will stand up perhaps a mighty army of martyrs (if need be) from among them, to carry the glad tidings of salvation with ten thousand fold effect to their native land.
Never were we called to exert our Christian privileges, and our Christian powers at a crisis of more vast importance than the present. What is there that should prevent us from an instant looking out for the outpourings of judgment ? The Apostle told the Thessalonians that they need not be uneasy, “ shaken in mind or troubled, as supposing that the day of Christ was at hand, for, said he, that day shall not come, except there come an APOSTASY first,” (2 Thess. ii. 3.) “and that man of sin be revealed whom the Lord (mark well) Ist. shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and 2nd shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" (8 ver.) Now the Apostasy has come. It has been consumed with the spirit of God's mouth; yea, verily, the consumption determined hath been in rapid progress for hundreds of years past. What next? DESTRUCTION WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING. Othat Christian people, would awake at such a time to a sense of the importance of the obligation that is imposed on them. Open
the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Revelations, and there you have a vision of the Protestant Church. “ I saw” says the prophet, “ them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” Who are these but Protestant Christians? And ist, “they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the servant of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways thou king of saints. Who shall not fear thee, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.” Here is the general song which the Protestant Church has been singing ever since the Reformation; a song of praise and general exhortation. But the song has been sung, as it were, within closed tabernacles within the walls of our churches; but was there nothing further to be done? Yea, for 2ndly,"after that, I looked, and behold the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven WAS OPENED." An open testimony was given. By whom? By God's faithful WITNESSES (xi.c.) Is it not something to the purpose that Protestants—the word “Protestants,” means witnesses? The providence of God moves men to give names that shall accord with the purposes of his grace. May the Lord lay these truths upon the heart of each of his faithful servants!
My humble opinion is, that instead of looking for the downfall of Popery, through the operation of discussions carried on by the agents of a society, what we, the Clergy, should do to produce this most desirable effect is, to make arrangements for a diligent and persevering system of visitation to the abodes of the benighted Roman Catholics. We should go amongst them— we should shew ourselves to them—we should affectionately and firmly warn them of their danger, point out to them their remedy, and urge upon them the importance of a speedy adoption of it. The reason on account of which I have suggested the propriety of being accompanied by a body of faithful witnesses, independent of that which arises from a consideration of the increased effect that would, under God, be probably connected with the display of Christian earnestness and zeal on the part of so many, is, that effectual measures might be taken to prevent a single individual from accomplishing the work that he had in hand. I know this from experience. I do not allude to personal danger. This is a proper feeling of the importance of bearing witness for God, would enable a Christian Mi. nister to disregard, but his mouth might be effectually stopped without the offering of any dangerous violence to his person. I need not state the manner how; I have found it to be so.
Still a Minister perhaps might not be able to organize a body of Christian people in the way that I have mentioned. Should this be the case, I consider, that it would be his duty to encounter every inconvenience, and to run the risk of every danger, rather than neglect the duty that he owes to immortal souls. May the Lord, in his infinite mercy, give to the Clergy the strength and wisdom to accomplish his purposes. Say that two or three faithful men should actually suffer the extremities of violence in bearing testimony against Popery—that, for example, they fell a sacrifice to the enmity of their adversaries, what an amazing effect would this have upon the whole Roman Catholic community. The blood of the martyrs would become once again the seed of the Church. If any thing could, such disinterested devotion to the cause of truth, would be likely to lead unhappy Papists to a serious consideration of their own doctrines, and of ours. I have greatly misinterpreted the language used by the Bishops at our ordination, if such visits to Roman Catholics be not our express duty. In the Ordination Service, the Bishop, exhorting the Priests whom he ordains, uses this language,“ We exhort you in the name of our “ Lord Jesus Christ, that ye have in remembrance, into “ how high a dignity and to how weighty an office and “ charge ye are called : that is to say, to be messengers, “ watchmen, and stewards of the Lord; to teach, and to “ premonish, to feed and provide for the Lord's family; “ 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.” -See the form and manner of ordering Priests in the Book of Common Prayer.* Is not this sort of visitation the identical course that the Missionaries adopt among the Pagans in foreign lands, in India, and elsewhere? Read the very interesting account given in the “ Church Missionary Record,” for June, 1836, p. 126--135, of the valuable labours of the Rev. Mr. Knorpp, in Benares. One cannot fail to be struck with the deep impression apparently produced on the minds of the Hindoos and Mahomedans by the ministrations of that faithful servant of God. Just such in principle should be the mode of our dealing with Papists.
Independent of the effect likely to be produced by such a line of conduct on the minds of Roman Catholics, who can doubt but that the most important results would arise among another class of Christians also ? May I not rather say among every class of Christians in our land. Talk as we may of the impropriety of separation from the Church, and I will go as far as any one in declaring, that I consider such separation most improper and unscriptural ; still we must admit that the fault in some sort lies with ourselves. If the Church were, in point of labours and devotion to the cause of her head, what she might be, I cannot but think that Dissent would almost, if not altogether, cease. There is a degree of excellency that is commanding in its nature—that stops every mouthin the presence of which every cavil must be hushed, or else the caviller overwhelmed with scorn. As the Church is at present, though separatists certainly entirely fail in justifying by argument the course which they adopt, still their schis.n finds something like countenance in our coldness and indifference. But let the Church awake from
* See also the 66th Canon.
sleep-let her shake herself from the dust let her put on her strength, and array herself in her beautiful garments— let her arise in the might and majesty of the Lord, and make her light to shine with bright effulgence, and shame will clothe the faces of her adversaries. No one who bears even a distant resemblance to a good man, will venture to peep or mutter against her. Let her stand forth against Popery as she should- let her shew forth to all sorts and conditions of men, a zeal according to knowledge, and according to godliness; and the lukewarm belonging to her own body also will be quickened, the wavering will be confirmed, the weak will be strengthened, and those that are good and holy will triumph and exult, with (if I may be allowed the expression,) joy unspeakable and full of glory. No doubt such would be the result. God has in his good providence arranged, that strict attention to one duty is ever accompanied with concomitant blessings. I have no doubt that this would prove to be abundantly the case in the adoption of the course that I suggest.
That course is grounded upon these three principles.
1. That the Roman Church is the Catholic Church fallen, UNHOLY, and APOSTATE.
2. That the English Church is the Catholic Church, HOLY and APOSTOLIC.
3. That it is of the utmost moment to bring these truths before the people.
GOD FORETOLD THAT HIS WHOLE CHURCH SHOULD FALL INTO
APOSTASY, AND YET, THAT THE GATES OF HELL SHOULD
I repeat it again and again, God foretold that his whole Church should fall into a state of A POSTASY; yea, to such a degree that the visible Church should seem to be for above a thousand years the synagogue of Satan. And in accordance with this truth, as our holy Church authoritatively declares in her Homilies, « learned and