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SUBSTANCE OF A DISCOURSE DELIVERED AT LOUGHBOROUGH,
THE NEW CONNEXION OF GENERAL BAPTISTS.
" It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly
contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”—Jude 3. THE ministry of the apostles was characterized by vigilance, faithfulness, and love. They watched for souls as those that must give an account. They were quick in detecting the errors and sins of professors, and faithful both in pointing them out, and in stating the spiritual and eternal evils to which the subjects of them stood exposed. They moved among the Churches as nurses among children, and delivered their addresses with the solicitude of paternal love.
“We were," say they, “gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you as a father doth his children.”
The epistle of Jude may be regarded as a blast of the watchman's trumpet. Heresies had crept into the Church. Doctrines had been propagated which were fitted to corrupt the heart, darken the intellect, and produce general licentiousness of conduct: and it is instructive to observe with what fidelity this holy man exposes them to view, and foretells the coming judgments of God. There are,” says he, “ certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained, (or pre-written,*] to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The offer of divine love to pardon the worst of sinners through the atonement, had been perverted by them into an encouragement to "sin that grace might abound.” Unworthy men! they would not observe that the very terms of the offer imply the necessity of personal contrition for sin, and a desire to depart from it in feeling, thought, word, and action. The apostle then proceeds to shew that such characters, though in the Church, are exposed to judgments resembling those which overtook the Israelites in the wilderness,
The original means that the punishment due to such characters had been previously written in the Old Testament. Vol. 5.- N.S.
effect of whose efforts are most gratifying trade, the auxlliary had not declined either and delightful. Crowds of listening auditors in its resources or usefulness. In Nottingare attracted, amongst whom are to be found hamshire the stations were for the most part Protestants of all denominations, and often healthy and vigorous. From the northern many Roman Catholics. The report al. auxiliary cheering accounts had been re. luded to the great lack of books universally ceived. From Pembrokeshire, Rutlandfound, and the intention of the committee shire, Sussex, North Wilts, and East Som. to attempt the sale of useful and religious erset, and from the West Riding of York. works on a plan similar to that pursued by shire, the reports Fere, upon the whole, the colporteurs of France. The state of the highly satisfactory. The labours of Mr. funds was reported to be, upon the whole, Palsford, the evangelist, had been greatly such as to demand the grateful acknowledg: blessed. The report concluded by pressing ments of the committee to their constituents, on each auxiliary the importance of setting and to awaken confidence and hope for the apart some one Sabbath in the year, most future. But still, as extensive fields of la- convenient to itself, for simultaneous Bapbour present themselves in every direction, tist Home Missionary collections through. a considerable augmentation of the amount out the district. contributed must be realized before the ef. From the treasurer's accounts, it appeared forts of the society will make that impres. that the total receipts of the year were £5270 sion on the great mass of people which is ls. 4d. ; but the disbursements bad so far so much to be desired. The report con. exceeded the receipts, as to leave a debt of cluded with a powerful appeal to the friends £526 179. 9d. against the society. of evangelical truth for larger contributions, The speakers were Revs. Messrs. Bardes, to enable the committee, during the ensu. Elven, Frazer, J. Edwards, (Nottingham, og ing year, to carry out the more extensive Angus, Stovel, and Messrs. Robinson and operations contemplated.
Barker. The resolutions were moved and sustain. ed by the Rev. Messrs. Adkins, Blackburn, CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MISSIONS Sherman, Burnet, Gawthorne, T. James, and Dr. Morison.
The tenth London anniversary was held,
April 27. W. Hamliton, Esq. presided, and
PAGATION OF THE GOSPEL Ferguson, the Rev. J. C. Burns made some
interesting statements as to the operations The first public meeting of this society and success of the society, and addresses was held April 24th, J. D. Paul, Esq. in
were delivered by the Rer. Messrs. Hamil. J. A. Miller, and a report read by the Rev. Lorimer, and the Rev. Dr. Stewart. the chair. Prayer was offered by the Rev. tun, Redpath, Scott, (Sweden, Smith,
(Greenock,) Cumming, Bunting, Burns, Dr. Henderson; after which resolutions were moved and seconded by the Rev. Drs. Bur. der, Stewart, and Cox, and by the Rev. LONDON CITY MISSION. Messrs. Redpath, Blackburn, Scott, Archer, Hamilton, W. Bunting, Fergusson, and J.
The eighth anniversary of this society the C. Burns; also by W. Hamilton, Esq.
was held May 4. The chair was occupied
by J. P. Plumptre, Esq., M.P. BAPTIST HOME MISSIONARY
The report stated that the population of the
metropolis, within eight miles of St. Paul's
cathedral, amounted to 2,165,864 person the The forty-sixth anniversary of this society for whom there were 350 charches an was held on Monday, April 24th. John chapels belonging to the established church Heard, Esq., in the chair. The Rev. S. S. providing sittings for 351,290 persons on Davis, the Secretary,
read an abstract of the 447 places of Worship not connected with report . The accounts
from the Berkshire the established church, providing accommodo auxiliary were encouraging. The Cam. dation for 250,228 persons; making a hata bridgeshire auxiliary, in proportion to its of 601,518 sittings. The means, had proved itself both vigourous aries employed by this so and efficient. The accounts from Devon time is eighty two. Si and Dorset were some of them highly in teresting. In the Isle of Wight th pects were encouraging. In Islands the lessee bad caused to be served at the chapel notwithstaading the
the angels who kept not their first estate, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.-verses 5—7.
Taking the words of the text in connection with the verses just referred to, they suggest the general observation, that there are times in which it is more particularly the duty of the Church “ to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints ;" to guard it from adulteration, and to assert its holy tendency: and I need not observe that the present is eminently a period of this description. The fallacy of baptismal regeneration is the hope of millions, who are living without faith, love, or obedience; the clergy are addressing circulars to their parishioners, setting forth the mystic virtues of what they call “holy baptism,” when administered by themselves; and learned men are issuing publications, in which they labour to explain away the obvious import of those parts of scripture which have, for centuries, been justly considered, as condemnatory of the doctrines and practices of the church of Rome. While the religious literature of the age is corrupted by dogmas drawn from the writings of the fathers, and the decrees of general councils, the great principles of protestantism are decried as erroneous, and of injurious tendency.
Brethren, is it not eminently the duty of the present crisis to contend both for the purity of the faith once delivered to the saints, and for its freedom from secular controul. Do not recent events teach us the necessity of keeping our eyes open, and watching the motions of those in power? It is probable that, since the days of queen Mary, a blow was never aimed at pure protestantism, more deadly than that with which we were lately threatened ; and the party who had lifted up his arm meant to strike, with all the power given to him by the state. Resistance was made; and though “the weapons of our warfare were not carnal but spiritual, yet they were mighty through God” in scattering the forces arrayed against us, and bringing down their lofty imaginations. Our energies have been crowned with signal and glorious success; and we meet at this association in the character of conquerors.
Undoubtedly the first emotion ought to be that of gratitude to God; for it is his power which has given efficiency to our united efforts. The undivided glory should be given to him. The language of our hearts should be, “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” As it is by him kings reign, and princes decree justice, so it is to his secret operations we are chiefly indebted, for the withdrawment of this obnoxious Bill.* Prayer has been heard. We called upon God in the day of trouble; and, as the dark cloud which a short time ago lowered over our prospects, has been scattered, it is now our duty to glorify our merciful deliverer.
But connected with gratitude there ought to be a deep solicitude for the preservation of “the faith once delivered to the saints.” The motives which led to the formation of the nefarious Bill are still in operation; and though this scheme is laid aside, another may be projected, and the future outbreak of prejudice and passion, may be more violent and unjust, than the one which has just subsided. It is wise, therefore, to be at the post of duty, and to be diligent in the discharge of it. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles, that the primitive christians availed themselves of the period of repose, which followed the first storm of persecu
*Sir James Graham's Factories' Education Bill.
tion, for scattering their principles, and multiplying converts. “Then had the Churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and were multiplied.” Now, brethren, this is our period of repose. We are told that another such measure is not at present to be obtruded on our notice. Let us, then, make good use of the quiet interval by attending to the exhortation before us.
In illustrating still further “ the duties of the present crisis” we shall notice, the object for which christians should contend—the manner in which the contest should be carried forward, and the special reasons for earnestness in the contest.
The object for which we should contend is “ the faith, once delivered to the saints.” The term faith in this and several other passages signifies the doctrine of the Gospel, which, in strictness of speech, is rather the object of faith. We read of Paul's “preaching the faith which once he destroyed,” and of Felix sending for him that he might “ hear him concerning the faith in Christ.” We also find that the Philippians were exhorted to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel." In each of these passages the term signifies the doctrine of faith, which, as a precious charge, is committed to the saints, and which, they are to make known for the advantage of a perishing and ungodly world.
It is an important fact that this doctrine is “ delivered to the saints,” or to holy and devout minds. They who have been enlightened and quickened by the word of truth are to hold it forth. It is not entrusted to the custody of ungodly characters. “To the wicked God said, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” Holiness is an essential qualification for those who attempt either to guard or to spread the faith.
The objects of christian solicitude are in all respects the very opposite of those to which the anxieties of worldly men are directed. The first concern of a truly pious mind is to know its own state in the sight of God, and whether it is in some degree adorned with the divine image. As “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love," the upright christian examines himself, whether he be in the faith, and whether he possess a title to eternal life or not. Connected with a regard to his own spiritual welfare he cherishes a tender solicitude for the salvation of those around him; and contends for the faith, with a view to their spiritual good, and the glory of God. But when worldly men engage in contests which relate to christianity, or to some supposed connection of it with passing events, it is not because they care either for their own souls or the souls of others; their design is to accomplish certain ends connected with their own ease, ambition, or covetousness. The just illustration of our subject, and the aspect of the times equally require us to notice particularly to whom this exhortation is addressed.
You will observe, therefore, that the faith is not delivered to secular governments. It has always been the error of civil rulers, to imagine that it is their province, to judge for others which is the true religion, and to enforce a regard to it by pains and penalties and as they are fallible