« FöregåendeFortsätt »
it only takes him to the port of eter- dying hour, and simply and only foi nal happiness. From the port he is the benefit of your priests. turned into purgatory. And your And what a tremendous use your priests get paid for the olive oil by church has made of it. Gaining acwhich he slips safely to the port of cess to the dying beds of kings, princes, eternal happiness, and then they get and barons, in past days, with your paid for the masses by which they get olive oil, you have extorted millions him out of purgatorial fires into hea- of money from those who believed in ven! So that extreme unction is your ghostly power. You have thus simply a device to increase “the alms enriched the church and impoverished and the suffrages of the faithful." the people. You have built palaces
Again : what a low and sad view for your bishops, and reduced the of the religion of God does this sacra- | people to beggary. What will a ment give to a dying man ! It is dying sinner withhold from a man administered to all that seek it on a whom, he believes, has the power to dying bed. Let us suppose a case, lock him up in hell ; or by a little which no doubt often occurs. There olive oil rubbed on with his thumb, is a papist in the article of death. can conduct him to the port of eternal To this hour le bas lived in sin. happiness? Feeling that death is upon him he The man yet lives who narrates the sends for his priest. He thinks now of following scene of which he was an nothing but confession, the eucharist, eye and ear witness. The chief of and extreme unction. The priest one of our Indian tribes, a man of appears in his robes. If the sick man great sagacity and decision, was on is able he confesses. If not able, the his dying bed. Many of his people, anointing commences, and proceeds by a French Jesuit, were converted in the way already stated. He is to the faith of your church. He knew crossed and anointed on his eyes, his the wiles of your missionary, and nose, his ears, his hands and feet, and forbade him admission to his dying the prescribed prayers are said. The bed. The priest came with his olive man now dies in peace, feeling that oil and pressed so hard for admission his sins are remitted, that his soul is to him, that it was granted. “Stay," healed of its infirmities, that his said the dying chief to the man who spiritual enemies are all subdued, relates the story, “ stay outside the through the efficacy of olive oil, blessed door, and if I knock come in.” The on Maunday-Thursday ! Not a priest entered and the door was thought of the dying man is directed closed. Soon a violent knocking to the cross of Jesus Christ, or to the is heard, and the man enters the efficacy of his atonement! So that room. “Take him out,” said the extreme unction is a papal incantation dying chief: “Take him out--land by which the priest makes a deluded -land--give me land." The priest people to believe that the keys of would put on the olive oil, but wantheaven and hell hang by his girdle— ed first a grant of land. that by his olive oil he can procure Rev. Sir, your church must annul for them all that the Bible suspends this sacrament of extreme unction, beon faith in Jesus Christ ! Esteem fore I can return to its embrace. Tomy me not harsh, Rev, Sir, when I de- mind it is extreme nonsense. Should clare it as my deep conviction that by not incantations over dying men beleft your sacrament of extreme unction to Hottentots. I implore you to seek your church is deluding and damning some other market for your olive oil multitudes of souls, and from year to than the chambers of the dying. year. It is a wicked substitution of With great respect, yours, olive oil for the blood of Christ at the
THE PROTESTANT manner, with respect to baptism, the
she will admit or exclude from that (Concluded from page 132.)
| ordinance. And here we have the ON THE SACRAMENTS.
real point connected with the sacraJesus Christ appointed two posi- ments, where judgment, discretion, tive institutions or sacraments, bap- and authority are required. tism and the eucharist. The autho- | Many circumstances would strongrity to administer these has been as- ly indicate that the deacons were sumed as exclusively belonging to the commonly entrusted with the adminfunctions and perquisites of the minis istration of these ordinances. terial office.
With respect to the former we are NOTE ON COR. XII. 29, XIII. 19. told that “ Jesus Christ baptized not, but his disciples.”
From the declaration of Paul in the
And Paul tells the Corinthians, that he baptized none
above passage, “ Although I give my of them but a few individuals, and
goods to feed the poor, &c. and have that he was not sent to baptize, but
not charity, it profiteth me nothing," to preach the gospel. These passages
some have hastily concluded, that strongly intimate, that baptism in the
works of kindness and benevolence original church required no high
are not essential to Christianity. On functionary for its legitimate per
this subject we would remark, formance.
1. That there are many other With regard to the eucharist, when things mentioned by the apostle in the the Protestant churches abandoned same connection with the above, and the idea of transubstantiation, they it is somewhat surprising that the ought at the same time to have aban- same conclusion has not been drawn doned the idea of the necessity of with respect to them, although honest ministerial consecration of the ele- consistency, and the most universally ments of the sacrament. We may acknowledged rules of biblical interstate in general, as a part of the pretation, would require it to be so in liberty of the children of God, that every case. Thus the apostle affirms any two or three of them are at lib- that a man may speak with the erty, and have scriptural authority tongues of men and of angels, and and right, to celebrate the eucharist ; not have charity—that he may have and that it needs no further, as it can the gift of prophecy, and understand receive no higher consecration, than all mysteries and all knowledge—and their united faith, thanksgiving, and that he may have all faith, so as to charity, securing as these do the real remove mountains, and not have presence of the Lamb of God, slain charity. from the foundation of the world. 2. The apostle, so far from designAnd hence the first Christians “broke ing to depreciate the work of love, is bread from house to house,” which endeavouring to show its pre-eminent has been regarded both by Catholic value and importance. The structure and Protestant divines, as referring of the passage is climactric. Comto the celebration of this sacrament. mencing with what is of least conseAt the same time, however, we would quence, as an index of moral and renot only admit, but distinctly assert, | ligious character, he accumulates in that the church, in its public celebra- the weight and value of the objects as tion of this great Christian solemnity, he advances, placing the work of has a right to declare whom she will mercy and love in immediate connecadmit, and whom she will exclude, tion with the highest act of devotion from participating in it. In like that any man can render to his Cre
ator, the laying down his life for his manifests itself, is a position easier to cause.
| advance than to sustain. Still more 3. But in proportion to the convic- difficult would it be to verify the tion that the apostle entertained of statement that it was Popery. To the superlative importance of Chris- trace the peculiarities of Rome through tian charity, was his anxiety to pre- the three first ages, from documents serve it free from all contact and in- whose genuineness has stood the test termixture with base and selfish prin- of modern critical investigation, is a ciples, motives, or intentions. The work of insuperable difficulty ; and gratification of self, the applause of the attempt has more than once efmen, advancement in worldly estima- | fected a revolution in the views of tion and influence, with all reliance writers who have made it. Hence on its merit, must be renounced, if it the most discreet defenders of the is to stand the searching fire of God's Papacy have admitted the deficiency approving judgment.
of evidence, but accounted for it by 4. The real scope and design of the stating that they were not mentioned apostle in this passage has seldom because they were not questioned in been rightly stated by commentators. these early ages. Protestants have, The apostle is demonstrating the su- on the contrary, asserted that they periority of charity as a moral agent were not mentioned because they -as a means for maintaining and were not known, held, or believed diffusing the religion of Christ through- a position capable of the most concluout the world; and hence, after treat- sive proof. It would be matter of ing of spiritual gifts in the Corinthian surprise to many to learn how much church, and exhorting them earnestly of the structure, institutions, and to covet the best gifts, (solid, not practices of modern Protestantism showy and ostentatious accomplish- stand in the same position. We menments, such as were most useful for tion a few particulars wherein the the church's edification and progress) practices of the moderns are most anhe proceeds to point out to them "a tagonistical to those of the ancients, more excellent way”-a way of greater briefly premising that with their theopower and efficacy for the spread of ries we have nothing to do, but with true religion in the world, than the their actions and proceedings. most gifted efforts of human or even First.—The primary object of moof angelic tongues.
dern Protestant churches is the main5. We remark, in conclusion, that tenance of certain forms and services charity, considered as a notion or of worship. For these purposes the sentiment, as a verbal profession, or Church of England applies upward of even as a feeling or experience, does £8,000,000 sterling per annum. The not, and cannot, exercise any moral Congregational, Baptist, and Presbyinfluence, unless consummated in ac- terian denominations, it is probable, tion, in works, and deeds of mercy, £1,500,000 ; and the Wesleyan Conkindness, and love.
nection nearly £1,000,000. The in
come of the two latter divisions far ON THE CHRISTIANITY OF THE
| exceeds the entire revenue of the FIRST THREE AGES.
| British Isles 170 years ago ; and Few there are of the modern forms there is reason to believe, that in a of Christianity that have not attempt- majority of their congregations, no ed to claim some affinity with the regularly organized institutions exist original stock. Protestants have for works of mercy and benevolence. generally believed that it was Pro- In the ancient churches, on the contestantism. That it was Protestant-trary, the work of mercy and benevoism as it now generally exists and I lence was the primary object of the
church's arrangements and exertions. I wealth at their disposal such as was No proposition admits of more abun- never owned by the ancients. In dant verification than this. All an- times of persecution they had no optiquity, Pagan as well as Christian, portunity to accumulate property, confirms it. As illustrating the an- and no security for its permanent cient practice, we select the following | possession. Even in succeeding ages, facts and testimonies :
when wealth, and with it all manner 1. The church at Rome, anno 270, of evils poured in upon the church, comprised 1 bishop, 47 presbyters, they could not all at once attain an 1500 widows, orphans, and other | amount of wealth such as that which poor being maintained by the libe- many modern churches possess. But rality of the faithful (Eusebius.) the principle that now regulates its
2. The church at Antioch main- application and distribution, was uttained 3000, its revenues being, we terly unknown to the ancients. are told, but small (Chrysostom.) | During the last few years, some
3. The church at Alexandria main-churches have received enormous actained nearly 1000 individuals, many cessions of wealth (witness the Wesof whom, it is believed, were medical leyan Centenary Fund); and during practitioners who visited, relieved, the same period hundreds of thoucured the sick, &c. A similar prac- sands of individuals, in some parts of tice prevailed in many other places. the British dominions, have perished
4. 'In cases of general public ca- for want of food. No part of these lamity, the wealth of the churches immense funds were appropriated to was entirely expended, and it was no their relief. Let those who can, reuncommon thing to sell the sacramen- concile this fact with primitive Christal vessels and most valuable furni- tianity, or with the teaching of the ture of the churches, for the relief of New Testament. the poor.
In the churches of the Establish5. It was the uniform practice of ment all the available ecclesiastical the church throughout the world, to funds are regarded as the property of break bread every Lord's day, and to the minister. Should these funds collect for the poor.
amount to £200 per annum, then the 6. The benevolence of Christians living is regarded as possessing that was admitted and eulogized by Pagan value. Should they amount to £1000 writers.
per annum, the income is still as ab7. The Christian apologists and solutely the property of the minister others regarded it as the cause of the as when it was a smaller amount. rapid and irresistible prevalence of Should these revenues amount to Christianity.
£10,000 or £20,000 a year, the min8. The politic Emperor Julian took ister who assumes the title of Lord a similar view of the subject, and Bishop still appropriates the whole. vainly endeavoured to infuse the same' But it may be said that it is not spirit into Paganism for its reanima- | exactly fair to bring our examples of tion. The ancient Christianity was the practice of modern Christianity, thus in a most eminent degree a be- from a church acknowledged on all nevolent religion.
| sides to be greatly corrupted, and To this it may be replied, that the that Dissenting churches may furnish ancient Christians were so very libe- some more unexceptionable manifesral in their contributions, as to give tations of modern Christianity. But the ancient church a power of doing even there the principle of distribugood which the modern church does tion is not in the slightest degree difnot possess. To this we reply, that ferent. If the funds of a congregamodern churches have an amount of tion, after unavoidable expenses are
paid, amount to £100 per annum, sacred volume; and to this dangerous then the income of the minister will extreme there is a daily increasing amount to that sum. If the funds tendency. The ancient Christians, on amount to £200, £300, £400, or the contrary, while they neither de£500 per annum, then the income of spised nor neglected the doctrines, the minister will amount to the same still gave the preponderance to the sum ; and a very great increase may holy action and practice of true retake place, and has taken place, in ligion, that being, as they rightly the ecclesiastical revenues of the coun- judged, the great end, design, and try, without any increase whatever in consummation of the former. the amount expended for purposes of Thirdly.--It appears in the notions benevolence.
commonly entertained respecting the Now this principle of distribution | impropriety of connecting a lawful was utterly unknown to the ancients, calling with the public service of the and its manifestation would have ex- | church. It was no unfrequent thing cited their astonishment and horror. for the most learned rabbins of Judea True it is that a few cases occurred to exercise a trade : hence Paul, though in the third, and a great many in the bred at the feet of Gamaliel, was a fourth century, wherein the unfeeling tent-maker. The Saviour of men cupidity of the priesthood had endea- | was first a carpenter, and afterwards a voured to personally appropriate the physician in most extensive, laborious, whole of the church revenues ; and and successful practice. The original few there are of the councils of that presbyters were numerous in every age that do not contain accounts of church, and on that and on other the deposition of bishops and presby- accounts we conclude that they were ters for that cause. Yet clerical not, and could not, be maintained by avarice ultimately and most effectually the industry of the rest, Acts xxxiii. 34. attained its object.
The early Christians held that ease, Having thus secured the ecclesias- sloth, and luxury, were enemies to tical, and still feeling “ an aching true religion—that honest labour was void,” they next turned their attention in the highest degree conservative of to those funds bequeathed specifically its purity and vigour ; and hence for purposes of benevolence; and here, many of the ministers continued to as the invaders were the strongest, follow a lawful employment, on the and the objects of their attack the ground of its excellent moral and reweakest of mankind, they gained an ligious effects. easy victory. The great bulk of these True it is, that as the spirit of the funds are now in their hands. Mean- early liberty declined--as wealth inwhile they rejoice in their works, and creased, and a spirit of pretension say “ doth God know, and is there and exclusion began to be manifested intelligence with the Most High ?" by ministers, they sought to multiply We add, that the full development of to the furthest possible extent the these enormities has been reserved for points of distinction between themProtestant times.
selves and their brethren, thereby actSecondly.-A second point of dis- ing in direct opposition to the example tinction between ancient and modern of Him who was made in all points Christianity, appears in the almost like to his brethren. Still these pracuniversal preponderance given by tices continued more or less throughmodern divines and teachers to the out the early ages : they survived theory over the practice of religion. great changes in the church's fortune, It may be said with little exaggera- and the introduction of not a few tion, that the moderns have drawn corruptions ; and in the days of St. scarcely any but doctrines out of the | Augustine they are still referred to in