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pastors of churches, in very many in- professors is far too numerons. The stances, have great respect shown them, plea for the kind of letters above reare high in the estimation of the people, ferred to, is, ' Members of a church canand have much more influence than not be dismissed into the world; they any one would expect who had not posi- must belong somewhere.' Again, sup tive proof of it. Until the feeling of pose a man, from some cause, wish his restlessness necessarily connected with membership with a church to cease, and a love of change, has considerably ex- make such a request. He has given no tended itself, à pastor is treated with offence before; the cause of the request kindness, attention, and respect, with is entirely within himself, and he says but few exceptions, by the members of 50. He cannot, under the governance churches. In a word, pastors have, in of the above plea, obtain what he asks. a majority of churches, enough influ- If he urges bis request, a committee ence, so long as they are not seen to will be appointed to visit; and, if he use it, and may accomplish much by persists, he will be excluded. I know prudence.
of no church which would allow a memIn Baptist churches generally, dis- ber quietly to withdraw. If a man be cipline is very lax: occasionally, how- excluded for any offence, and should, in ever, it is equally severe.
If a man
after years, and at a great distance become a member of a Baptist church, from the church which excluded him, he cannot cease to be a member, except wish to unite with another, he must by death or exclusion, either of that or first satisfy that church of his penitence, some other. This is the prevailing and obtain a letter from it, before he opinion. Hence, in this migratory can be received. There may be violacountry, the returns made by churches tions of this rule; but they are regarded of their members cannot be correct. I as disorderly and improper. have before me now the minutes of our As a set-off against the impossibility Association, which reports about 3,000 of withdrawal from a church, it is not members, four churches in which, to- uncommon for churches to give letters gether, report that they have 150 names of recommendation and dismission' to which are not this year reported: they persons who are known not to have any were, however, the year before. The intention of removing to another place, reason they are not reported, is, they or of uniting with another church i are gone, and have been for years. I know some churches which have sufcould name one church which dropped fered severely from such a course; the from its list at one time over 200, of persons attending church-meetings, and which they could give no account. It exercising all the powers of members is possible, however, that many of these while they have letters. These letters had received letters, and united with are simply protections against discipline, other churches; but they were not re- and warrants to be absent from the corded as dismissed, because their Lord's table, and not to support the letters stated, they would be considered church, though none of these is indismissed when the church which gave tended by the church giving them. the letters was officially informed of Besides, they were required to say they their having united with some other were id fellowship with the church, if church; so that, if the church receiving any doubt existed on the subject. Sup. neglected to inform the one dismissingpose, however, that, on account of some the persons would be reported in both trouble, or difficulty, or wrong, which churches probably for years.
the applicant cannot get redressed, he One of the evils resulting from this asks for a letter; he cannot obtain one course, is the following. Many mem- until he says he is in full fellowship: for bers of churches move west; they settle the sake of obtaining one, he says this, in the vicinity of a church, and claim its but proves, within a very short time, privileges as members of a sister church. that he spoke falsely, he is not subject The person does nothing to sustain the to discipline for lying; at least, I have church to which he belongs; he is too never known of such a case, but have far off: nor does he help that whose known of several instances where the privileges he claims, because he is not a abore course has been pursued. member there. This may, and often
ZENAS. does continue for years. This kind of
NECESSITY OF A SUPERNATURAL REVELATION.
No. III. Sources of religious truth earliest ages mentioned in scripture,
found among heathens, and presump- may be traced among the most bartions against our being left to learn barous, as well as in the oriental, the
religion by the sole light of nature.* Grecian, and Roman systems of myHEATHEN writers, we have seen, do not thology. Thus, the doctrines of the profess to have discovered, by a course
world's formation from chaotic matter of rational investigation, the great prin- may be found in the writings of the ciples of religion which they taught.
ancient Chaldeans, Phænicians, PerWhence, then, emanated those glim- sians, Hindoos, Chinese, Greeks, and merings of truth apparent in their
Latins. That mankind are fallen, was writings? We answer, partly from tra
an opinion of high antiqnity among ditions handed down from the first
heathens. That mankind were once generations of men, but chiefly from
innocent, is often intimated in the clasthe sacred scriptures. The truth of this sic poets. This, by the brahmins, is assertion we hope to make manifest to
called the ‘Satya age;' by Ovid, a Rothe candid reader.
man poet, who lived about forty or fifty The Mosaic writings are generally years before Christ, the golden age. allowed to be the most ancient and au
agency of an evil spirit is found thentic of all extant. Indeed, the
in the ancient traditions. Hence, the country in which this writer lived may
fables of the serpent among the Egypbe considered the source whence know. tians, Greeks, and Hindoos. In the ledge, was communicated to the writings of Plato, an Athenian philosowestern parts of the world. There the pher who flourished about 400 years most precious remains of ancient tra.
before Christ, is found a sort of faint, dition were to be found: thither the inaccurate echo, of what Moses says most celebrated philosophers travelled concerning the deluge. In his third in quest of science, or the knowledge of book of laws he speaks of the destructhings divine and human : thither the tion of man by a flood, from which a lawgivers had recourse, in order to their few escaped, who were shepherds, and being instructed in laws and civil polity. abode on the tops of mountains. That Moreover, from the departure of the cities, civil polities, governments, and Hebrews from Egypt to the destruction the knowledge of arts, having been lost, of their capital by the Romans, there succeeding generations were for a long was maintained between them and every
time ignorant, and, in relation to renation of importance, by war, captivity,
ligion, followed the customs of their commerce, &c., constant intercourse. ancestors. The traditionary account of Hence the prominent facts of Jewish
Berosus, a native of Babylon, who lived history are mentioned by heathen his- about 300 years before Christ, in his torians. Nor must it be forgotten that,
Chaldean Antiquities, is, relative to the several centuries before Christ, the Old
deluge, in several respects agreeable to Testament was translated into Greek,
that which is given by Moses. The under the patronage of Ptolemy, king
account of Ducalion in Ovid is to the of Egypt. "Is it not therefore reason- same effect. “In Abydemis's History of able to conclude that the learned hea- Assyria, in passages quoted by Eusebius, thens were acquainted with the books
mention is made of an ancient prince, which the Jews deemed inspired ?
of the name of Sisitbrus, who was foreBesides, there are evidences in heathen warned of a deluge. In this account, authors of an acquaintance with the
the ship, the sending forth and returnMosaic writings: they are interspersed
ing of the birds, the abating of the with phrases, fragments of thought and waters, and the resting of a ship on a sentiment, and recognitions of facts,
mountain, are mentioned. In heathen that are evidently lame or distorted ex. writings are also to be found degenetracts from the scriptures. «The events,
rated notions of the shedding of blood and some of the leading opinions of the
for the remission of sins; that of the
advent of a great deliverer; and of the • In line 32, No. II., p. 227, for sentensiæ, destruction of the world by conflagra. read sententiæ.
tion. For a satisfactory enlargement
of these papers.
upon these topics, the reader is referred forcible nor the most intelligent way of to Watson's Institutes, vol. I., p. 36— imparting or receiving truth. That 38; and Leland's Christian Revelation, which is addressed to hearing or sight, vol I. p. 52; works to which the writer is attended with greater force of peris greatly indebted for many of the facts suasion, and produces a deeper feeling,
than that which is merely matter of If, then, the Bible is the most ancient inference. For illustration, suppose book in the world, its writers do not that, from the magnitude and order of profess to have invented the doctrines nature, we were able to infer that its and precepts it contains; if other an. Author must be almighty and allwise ; cient" writers profess to have received yet, if some visible agent from God apthe religious truths which they taught peared, and changed the order of nature from the traditions of their ancestors, at his will before our sight, I humbly and, by almost verbatim quotations conceive, our persuasion and impression from the scriptures, have given indubi- of these attributes would be deeper table proofs of an acquaintance with from the latter than the former case. those documents; should we find even Would, then, the great Eternal select much religious truth among heathens, the least certain mode of conveying the what are we to infer from this fact, -that most important truths? Would not men, without a supernatural revelation, wise and benevolent human legislators can learn their duties ? I am persuaded convey laws in the obedience of which the candid reader will answer, No: the their own interest and those of their scriptures and early tradition are the subjects were most deeply involved, and sources from which all the religious the disobedience of which would be contruth that exists has been taken. It nected with the most painful conseis almost superfluous to add, that no quences, in the clearest and most emman living can rightly claim the honour phatic manner? Indeed, is not this of having, by his own unaided reason, actually the case with all legislators; so inferred from creation his own moral that the inhabitants of all countries and religious principles. The scriptures know how to keep themselves within the are now so extensively circulated, their pale of all important laws? Can we befacts and sentiments so blended with lieve, then, that the supreme moral almost all modern literature, as to pre- Governor would be less benevolent and possess the mind of the reflective with wise in his mode of conveying his intensome religious opinions before they tions to his moral creatures?
Is it frame inferences from nature. Thus, credible that he would convey his laws although we might find individuals de- in a doubtful or uncertain way? Whenying the necessity of a supernatural ther that of inference is not, will appear revelation, yet, having correct notions in the sequel. of God, of their duties, as they had been We may further observe, that the taught these from infancy, as correct greater part of mankind are incapable knowledge on these subjects had existed of that reasoning process necessary to for thousands of years, neither their re- learn those eligious truths which are pudiation of revelation, nor their know- supposed to be inferred from the order ledge, would show that man, by his own of nature. A judgment of God's will wisdom, could know God. The re- from his works, must proceed from a ligious truths which beforehand have correct knowledge of the constitution of been particularly and plainly laid before those works. Error with regard to the us, may be agreeable to reason; but this constitution of man, or the visible world, does not prove that reason, unaided, must occasion error in our judgment of could have discovered these truths. their design; and hence impropriety in
Let us now attend to the presump- our conduct. Thus, all men must betions against our being left to mere come philosophers before they could do inference in matters of religion. Is it the will of their Maker. But the ac not reasonable to suppose that the su- quisition of so great an amount of preme, benevolent, allwise Governor of knowledge requires talents, time, applithe universe, would not leave his being cation, and literary resources, which are and perfections, our duties and destiny, not at the disposal of the bulk of manto be matters merely of inference? kind. If, then, it were allowed that Certainly inference is not the most minds like those of Butler, Bacon, Locke,
Newton, and Paley, could infer from whose pursuit is, in the majority of the constitution of nature all the will of
cases, inseparable from bodily subsist. God concerning man, how are the ence, demand great attention, much masses, doomed to sordid labour-of and time, awaken a variety of strong feelinferior powers, to learn to be virtuous ? ings, and, in most cases, produce both The greater part of mankind are not bodily and mental lassitude. Under only incapable of reasoning like these such circumstances, the mind must be illustrious individuals, but also of feeling indisposed to close intellectual exercise, the force of their reasonings. Ifa know. especially to discover, by inference, ledge of the science of nature is to be the those duties to which it is averse. indispensable condition of attaining a Hence, the mind requires a moral force truly virtuous character, this blessing will far superior to that furnished by reason be the portion of but few of our sepcies. and the external world, to overbalance
There is also a disinclination in most its own opposing natural feelings, and minds to close reasoning, on religịous the contrary influence of unavoidable subjects especially. This indisposition circumstances. • The great body of arises not merely from intellectual in- mankind, then, not being accustomed capacity, but from the state of the moral to intellectual exercises, not having even feelings, and from unavoidable circum- leisure for them, on account of being stances. Waiving the question of hu doomed to sordid labours; and not man depravity, few can deny that there being disposed to conduct the investiare principles within us opposed to the gation with care and accuracy,-would discharge of our duties. Heathen moral never become acquainted with the will writers would teach us that the attain. of the supreme Governor, if the knowmont of virtue is inseparable from a ledge of it were only to be obtained by great mental conflict.
With a con.
habitual observation and reasoning: sciousness of right and wrong there Should it be said, “The intellectual and grow up within us so strong a feeling of instructed part of mankind should teach self-love, and so intense a desire of sen-the rest,” it may be replied, that even sual gratification, that we are constrained that would be difficult, because their own to seek our own welfare, to the neglect knowledge must be communicated to and even injury of our fellow-creatures. others by the same process of difficult in. Our necessary, constantly returning duction through which they attained it wants, occasion deep solicitude, and de- themselves, or rational conviction could mand, in most cases, much toil for their not be produced in the minds of the supply. The numerous avocations, learners.'
A MANUAL OF THE BAPTIST DENOMINA- glad of such a manual as this. It contains
TION for the year 1845. By the Com- a complete list of Baptist churches in Engmittee of the Baptist Union of Great land and Ireland, which fills thirty pages; a Britain and Ireland. To which is added general view of the state of the denomination an Appendix, containing an account of the during the preceding year, and showing the thirty-third Annual Session of that Body, present number of Baptist churches to be $c., &c.; in continuation of the Annual 1787; of which fourteen were formed the Reports. Houlston and Stoneman. previous year; nearly forty new chapels hare
been erected; eighty-three ministers have This is a very complete and valuable pamph- been settled with the churches, and twentylet. For the sake of ensuring it a more ex. six have been called away by death; (a short tended circulation than the Reports of the notice of each is given,) - a list of association Union formerly had, the committee have meetings, the numbers respectively added, changed its title, and given to it a more dis- &c., and a variety of remarks on them, with tinct character as a manual, adding the pro- extracts of their proceedings; (the total ceedings, &c., of the Union meeting, by way baptized in 987 churches was 11045),-the of appendix. The whole pamphlet, on he income and expenditure of the principal pubsame account, is to be had for the very lic institutions of the Baptists; foreign corsmall charge of sixpence-a price, the com. respondence, and the proceedings of the mittee remark, 'little more than nominal.' annual meeting held at Leeds, with the report It may be bad of all the booksellers.
of the committee, &c., &c. We are sure many of our readers would be
ENGLAND IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY; Egypt, its river, people, history, its rains, or, a history of the reigns of the house of &c., &c., are here presented to our view in s
condensed and lively manner. Stuart. Tract Society. 18mo. pp. 468.
NATIONAL TEMPERANCE SOCIETY. Third Tôis volume is a continuation of the history of England, prepared under the direction of
Report. Houlston and Stoneman. the Religious Tract Society; "The Britons TAE details contained in this report of the and Saxons,' 'The Middle Ages of England,'
operations of the metropolitan mission, exand • The Tudors,' having preceded it. Those hibit the fearful prevalence and evils of iDwho have been interested and instructed by
temperance, and show that the self-denying the previous volumes, their fidelity, their labours of the missionaries are attended with regard to propriety, and the excellent and great good. The progress of the total abstichristian spirit in which they are written, nence cause, in various parts of the world, will not be tardy in possessing themselves of is also glanced at. the present volume. It is not inferior to them in any respect; and the stirring scenes and LAMENT OF QUEEN POMARE on leaving great changes which passed over our land in Tahiti. Burton, Leicester. 32mo., pp. 12. these times, will give additional interest to the present beautiful volume. There is no
The refined cruelty of the French, in their part of the history of our country that de
treatment of the queen of Tahiti and ber serves more attention than this.
sufferings, have inspired the author of this
brief poem with the poet's fire. The title THE EGYPTIAN. By the author of The Jew.'
correctly describes its subject, and its execaTract Society. 16mo. square, pp. 154. tion is respectable.
CORRESPONDENCE. REMARKS UPON A REVIEW.' be obtained from his learned labours.' On
his monument is inscribed as follows:To the Editor of the General Baptist Repository.
• His life was distinguished by deep and MR. EDITOR,—There is a pleasing de- laborious researches into the treasures of gree of christian candour and of brotherly divine learning; the fruits of which are prekindness manifested in the review of my served in two invaluable lexicons; wherein sermons which appeared in the last Repos. the original text of the Old and New Tes. itory ;' but there are also a few remarks in tament is interpreted with extraordinary that article, to which, with your permission, light and truth. Reader! if thou art thank I would offer a concise and friendly reply. ful to God that such a man lived, pray for
First. The reviewer affirms that the lexi- the christian world, that neither the pride cographer ‘Parkhurst, is now almost ob. of false learning, nor tbe growth of unsolete. If this be a fact it is to be regretted, belief, may so far prevail as to render his me judice. I am aware of the Hutchinsonian pious labours in any degree ineffectual.' fancifulness by which the lexicous of Park- These quotations are given not for the hurst are, to a considerable extent, charac. benefit of the reviewer, since he is able to terized : nevertheless, they appear to me form an independent judgment of Parkeminently calculated to assist us in com- horst's merits, but that your more illiterate paring scripture with scripture, and thus readers may perceive there is some reason coming at the real signification of the why mysell, and others, should continue to oracles of God.' A writer of Parkhurst's quote Parkhurst as a high authority, and life has remarked, 'It is scarcely within the should feel unwilling, at present, to consign scope of a supposition, that any man will his lexicons to desuetude and oblivion. sit down to the study of the holy scriptures Secondly. When reading the reviewer's without availing himself of the assistance to animadversions upon the loads of sketches
and skeletons which have of late years
issued from the press,' it occurred to me that . We have admitted these strictures in justice to our esteemed friend. They are open to con.
some of your readers might receire the siderable remark; but the old adage, de gustibus impression that I am known to avail myself non disputandum est,' inclines us to silence. It of sucb assistances in composing my seris but just to say that the quotation from Walker's
mons. It is evident enough to myself that dictionary was made in full by the reviewer : but as other authorities sanction the general
the reviewer did not intend to convey that idea, viz., to celebrate,' the phrase once a idea, but I am not so certain that otber year,' was omitted ; and we believe that the use of the verb 'solemnize,' in the sense of 'to ren
people might not imagine they were authoder or make solemn,' is upsanctioned by any.
rised to draw an inference of that description -ED.
from his observations. Suffer me then to