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· I beg to premise, that in my fixed many instances, most offensive. By opinion the right to receive and to the general law of love, I am bound exclude members belongs equally to shew kindness to my poor and and exclusively to the whole body my rich neighbour-to those who of members in our respective are learned, and to such as are illi. churches. 2. That no one would terate-to my neighbours who are more earnestly deprecate the trans- sick and in distress, and to those ferring this right from the whole who are in health and prosperity: body of members than myself. 3. but were I to express my kiodness That I consider the right to choose to all of them in the same manner, or dismiss the pastor, the officers however my principle might be and members, as essential to the commended, my conduct would be preservation of the liberty and pu. truly ridiculous. The different starity of our churches. 4. That tions, acquirements, and circumchurches who are not careful to stances of my neighbours, would obtain satisfaction respecting the render it most expedient for me to piety and moral character of those fulfil the law of love in ways exwho join them, are highly reprehen- ceedingly diversified. sible. 5. That the following obser. This reasoning I apply to the case vations respect only the manner in under consideration. which the right to receive members How to receive members we have should be exercised, and the neces. no specific law given us by our sary satisfaction respecting their Lord and Head; but in this trans. religious character obtained. action we act under the general law
Though acts of expediency are of love, agreeably to the apostolic not under a specific law, every advice and direction in the 14th transaction must necessarily be un- chapter of the Epistle to the Roder the general laws of love to God, mans. or love to man. Positive laws have I am ready to allow, that to rea more particular aspect towards ceive candidates into the commuGod; hence the manner of obe- nion of our churches cordially and dience is prescribed, as well as its with brotherly affection, it is nespirit enforced. Acts of expediency cessary to be satisfied respecting have their special' regard to our their religious character; but I can neighbour, and in these the spirit of by no means concede that it is at the law is to be observed, whilst all expedient that this satisfaction the manner has a dependence on should be gained the same way and circumstances. Positive laws are by the same forms respecting all uniform, and the manner of ob- who join us. serving ihem is regulated solely by An act of expediency is an acthe authority and will of the legisla. commodation, not of others to our tor. General law is equally con- will and pleasure, which is authoristant and uniformly binding, but tative compulsion, but of ourselves to the manner of complying with it others, which is the condescending varics with circumstances. I am law of love, and which was strikingalways bound to love my neighbour ly exemplified in the apostles private as. myself, but the manner of ex. ministry to them which were of repressing my love will be varied by putation in Jerusalem, Gal. ii. 2. the difference of persons and their í have known a person join one of circumstances. To express my love our churches, who had such an to all persons in the same way, impediment in his speech as renderwould be highly absurd, and, in ed it painful for him to converse
with an individual on common af. who had feared the Lord from his fairs; yet he was compelled to un- youth, and had been a member of dergo the afflictive embarrassment an independent church for many of appearing before the whole so years, several of which he had also ciety, and personally to give an ac- been a highly respected deacon, hav.' count of his religious experience. ing embraced our views on baptism, This appeared to me not only anne- withdrew from his former connexions, cessary and most inexpedient, but and associated with a small commualmost cruel : it was certainly very nity of Baptists. To the interests unfeeling and unkind, a breach ra. of religion in their connexion, his ther than a fulfilment of the law of heart, his purse, his house was love. Nor is the want of christian open; he often presided, and led kindness and consideration confined their devotions in their social meetto such a circumstance as this, but ings; no person in the church was it is evinced in numberless instances, better known, more esteemed, or in compelling all alike to submit to equally valued :-yet this good old one arbitrary rule, whether they are servant of Christ, when he desired babes, or young men, or fathers in baptism, and to join the church, Christ; whether well or but little was obliged to appear before the known; timid or courageous; male members, to pass the ordeal of exor female, aged matrons or youthful amination, to retire whilst the church females, hoary sires, or unpractised deliberated, and then to reappear youths; all must be brought to the and be informed of their decision. same standard, go through the same A service more unnecessary, inexpejudiciary process, be subjected to dient, unmeaning, and destitute of invidious comparisons, and their proper respect and christian kind. qualifications be decided on, so far ness, I scarcely ever witnessed. The as their own testimony goes, by very venerable father in Christ was greatly different degrees and shades of evi. agitated and embarrassed, yet he dence. And all this frequently at a was compelled to go through all the great expense of agitation, embar- forms which might have been deemrassment, and very painful feeling ed necessary for a comparative on the part of the candidates, with stranger, and one whose character out producing one single advantage was somewhat questionable. For in point of satisfaction to the church, the reception of such a person nothat could not be obtained to a very thing more could be at all necessary superior degree, by niethods un or expedient than an official anspeakably more accommodating, bouncement of his desire to join in kind and lovely.
the fellowship of the church. It It will be naturally asked, What may be expedient for some to appear is expedient in this case? My an- before the church, for others it may swer is, To obtain satisfaction in a be preferable to give in a written manner most kind and accommo- statement. In general it may be dating to the candidates, in consi- most expedient for a report to be deration of their age, circumstances, made to the church by a deputation, and religious acquirements. Some appointed by them, to wait on the may be so well known that it may candidate for that purpose. To this be very unnecessary and inexpedient as a general method I should give for them personally to undergo any the preference, because, (1) it is most judiciary process. A gentleman of analogous to the record that has the my acquaintance, many years since, greatest bearing on the subject of
. any in the sacred oracles. Acts ix. object of this paper to recommend ; 26, 28. In this instance the church whilst the former is highly calculated was suspicious of Paul, and obtained to prevent the diffident, the modest, satisfaction; not by Paul's personal the timid, and humble, who, by a appearance and giving in his expe- plan of indulgent accommodation, rience, but solely by testimony. would meet with all the encourageBarnabas declared unto the apostles ment to join our churches, which the "! how he had seen the Lord in the surpassing kindness of the gospel way, and that he had spoken to him, affords. I have known many, whose and how he had preached boldly at religious character has been indisDamascus in the name of Jesus ;" the putable, who have been prevented apostles informed the church, and from attending to the institutions of he “ was with them coming in and the gospel by the present law of adgoing out at Jerusalem."
mission to our societies; and I have - (2) Satisfaction by testimony is baptized several persons of great that to which our churches are ac- christian excellence, to whom our customed. Church-meetings, wbich custom was so revolting, that they are held for the reception of candi- could not think of it but with painful dates, are seldom, if ever, formed agitation, and, there being no divine by all the members of the church : enactment for it, they would not those that are present act as a depu- submit to the ordeal, but went to tation for the whole, and the absent other societies for communion. members uniformly receive the can- - After much attention to the subdidates solely on their testimony. ject, I am fully of opinion that comMembers who are received by let. mon discretion requires an impartial ters of dismission, are always admit- and scriptural revision of our preted upon the testimony of other seut practice, and that our princichurches.
ples, as Baptists, demand an abroga: (3) Upon the present plan testi- tion of the present human and prohimony is the supreme ground of sa- bitory rule, which has so unaccount. tisfaction. Were a candidate to give ably crept into our churches. The the most specious account of his ex- principles of christian kindness, the perience, and credible testimony love of the brethren, and our pros. were borne against his religious cha- perity as a denomination, urge us to racter, there would not be the least obtain our satisfaction respecting hesitation in rejecting him: and were candidates by means of condescension the account he gave of hiniself at- and kindness alone. That such a contended with great imperfections, and summation, as a general compliance good testimony was exhibited in his with this demand, will take place in favour, his acceptance would be in- all our churches, I have no doubt, dubitable.
that I shall live to see and enjoy it, I In addition it may be observed, have little or no expectation, bethat the present plan is not more cause I am not only calculated to preserve our churches Yours respectfully, but also from the vain, the arrogant, and the
SENEX. designing, than that which it is the
The church at Sneek does not count more than one hundred and fifty mombers. The pastor, a person in years,
did not discover much interest in the LETTER, No. XI.
object of my visit; arising, perhaps, in Dokkum, Oct. 10, 1820.
some measure from the want of oppor
tunity to come iw contact with MissionOUR passage across the Zuider Zee ary topics; but the time, I hope, will was fine to a proverb. It was, how- come when it will be otherwise with ever, too late after landing on the Lem- bim, and that he will be brought to mer to proceed the same day to Hin- harmonize and act in concert with the lopen, at which place is the first Men- rest of his brethren in this great work nonite Chorch in that direction in of love. In this hope I left a circular Friesland. This detention arose not in his hands, which would be a means on account of distance, as that the road of helping him to look farther into the lay along the top of a high sea dyke, matter. which is considered so dangerous to My next movement was to Harlintravel after dark, or in foggy weather, gen, a neat little sea-port on the north that no driver could be had to venture. coast of the Zuider Zee. Under the Next day, however, I arrived at Hin- pastoral charge of Mr. Fenstra, the Jopen betimes. The place being church at Harlingen is about two hunsmall, I found the minister of the Mon- dred and twenty members. It was nonite Church the sooner; which latter Saturday afternoon when I called upon does not make out more than seventy this good man, and we remained togemembers. After conferring with him, ther till about nine. He expressed and other friends, on the affairs of the himself interested in the statements I Mission, I returned in the afternoon, made to him of the Mission, and arand next day set off for Bolswerd, ranged for a meeting next day in the leaving behind some circulars. The restry with the deacons, after service church at Bolswerd bas about one in the foreroon; and we met accordhundred and ofty members, and is a ingly. I went with these friends into new building, the old one having gone more ample details concerning the into decay. Its pastor was not at Mission, which were listened to with home when I called, nor was his re- seeming attention. I also exhibited turn expected for some time. I ad- my letter of introduction from the Amdressed myself to one of the Deacons, sterdam Church, which gave much sain hopes of finding in bim a substitute; tisfaction. This pleasing occasion but in this I was ratber disappointed. closed with a consent, on part of Mr. At first he appeared shy, and kept me Fenstra and the friends, to communistanding some time speaking in the cate further with the neighbouring passage. Confidence, however, seemed churches, as to the best way of proto increase with conversation, and at ceeding in furtherance of our object. length be asked me in, and to take a After making some acquaintances, glass of wine, wbich I did, that he through the means of Mr. Fenstra, I might see I had taken nothing amiss. Jeft Harlingen the next day for Leeu
I think he informed me a circular had waarden. been received; but I saw no disposi- The church at Leeuwaarden has tion on bis part to introduce me to any from one hundred and fifty to two hunother friends: so that after going with dred members, and is under the pashim to see their new place of worship, toral charge of a Mr. Brower, a very I took leave, and set off next evening worthy and excellent character. Nofor Sneek, a neat market-town, distant thing could exceed the friendly and affrom Bolswerd about two or three fectionate manner in which he received leagucs.
me at bis house, and the hcart with which he entered into the subject of Character of the Puritans. the Mission in all its particulars. From a person indeed of his large heart and [Extracted from the Edinburgh Review, expanded mind, this was to be ex
No. 84.] pected. He lost no time in introducing me to all the ministers of the place, and to such other friends as he thought
The Puritans were men wbose most likely to promote onr object;
minds had derived a peculiar character among others, we waited upon the
tha from the daily contemplation of suGovernor of the province, who seemed perior beings,
med perior beings, and eternal interests. also favourable.' In addition to this,
to this Not content with acknowledging, in Mr. Brower invited, at different times,
general terms, an over-ruling Provi. friends to his house, to meet us, and
dence, they habitually ascribed every talk over the Mission. This lively
event to the will of the Great Being, zeal on the part of Mr. B. is the more
for whose power nothing was too vast, interesting, when we consider that he is for whose inspection polbing was too on the other side of seventy years of
of minute. To know him, to serve him, age, and that formerly he was other
or to enjoy him, was with them the great
to wise minded as to Missions in general.
o end of existence. They rejected with As to the mode of raising funds for
nile for contempt the ceremonious homage this rood work, he suggested it would which otber sccts substituted for the be best to move the subject at a gene
pure worsbip of the soul. Instead of ral meeting of the churches in his dis catching occasional glimpses of the trict, which takes place every year,
Deity through an obscuring veil, they and by happy accident it falls to his as!
his aspired to gaze full on the intolerable turn to give the address: he will. brightness, and to commune with him therefore, avail himself of the opportu
* face to face. Hence originated their nity of bringing forward and pleading
contempt for terrestrial distinctions, the interests of the Mission. This ve
The difference between the greatest nerable and excellent friend is the and meanest of mankind secmed to author of different pieces of high li. vanish, when compared with the boundterary merit, and for which he holds
less interval wbich separated the whole prize-medals, awarded to him by dif- race from H
dit race from Him on whom their own ferent societies. On taking leave he eyes were constantly fixed. They reput into my band 50 guilders, modestly cognized no title to superiority but his requesting that it should be anonys
favour; and, confident of that favour, mous.
they despised all the accomplishments From these and from previone other and all the dignities of the world. If circumstances, we may hope that the
hope that the they were unacquainted with the Mission will, in time, become a favour
vonr. works of pbilosophers and poets, they ite in this country, at least among our
our were deeply read in the oracles of Mennonite Baptist friends. Tbat God. If their names were not found branch of its operations whicb relates
s" which relates in the registers of heralds, they felt asto the instruction of heathen children,
sured that they were recorded in the appears (as far as I have come) to be
Book of Life. If their steps were not the most extolled of any other. Ere
Fre accompanied by a splendid train of this I ought to have been at Gronin
menials, legions of ministeriug angels gen, but the weather has been of late
had charge over them. Their palaces excessive wet and foggy, and I have
were houses not made with hands: been obliged to put in here to repair a
naire their diadems, crowns of glory wbich cold and an increasing cough. Soon,
should never fade away! On the rich however, I hope to be under weigh
and the eloquent, on nobles and again, and to write you glad tidings Prie
tidings priests they looked down with confrom that city. Meantime pray for me,
tempt: for thcy esteemed themselves that I may prosper in soul, whatever
rich in a more precious treasure, and becomes of the body. Prays always.
eloquent in a more sublime language ; nobles by the riglit of an earlier crea
tion, and priests by the imposition of a W. H. ANGAS. mightier hand. Thic very mcanest of
them was a being to whose fate a mys