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the fearfully anti-spiritual tendencies of its cessation, we cannot bring ourselves to imagine that such an institution should be ranked among the worldly rites cf a transitory ceremonial,— the 'beggarly elements' of an introductory and carnal dispensation, the burdensome observance of a yoke of bondage!' That a Christian should be solicitous to add as much more of his time for the cultivation of the principles and affections of godliness as he can redeem from the necessary engagements of this world, we can easily understand. But that such a mana man under the real power of heart felt evangelical pietycan listen with complacency to reasonings that would rob him of a portion of his spiritual enjoyment, and abridge the instituted means of his advancement in grace, and in "meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light,'-it is surely no very wide or unwarrantable breach of charity to doubt. A more convincing proof could not be furnished of secretly begun spiritual declension, than the manifestation of a disposition to insinuate doubts about the obligation of the Sabbath, and to do this without any apparent concern or trembling of heart at the conclusion:-nor can a clearer evidence appear in a christian church of a mere 'name to live' or a symptom more ominous of its approaching darkness and desolation, than the prevalence of such a spirit,—the rise and progress of a tendency to speculate about the abrogation, or even the curtailment, of the Sabbath of the Lord- THE LORD'S DAY.'" "Everything ceremonial,' it has been said, was done away when Christ arose from the dead, not one lingering shred of carnal ordinances remains, under this mature and spiritual economy.' Admitted, but what then? Is the Sabbath-law therefore repealed? Oh, most preposterous conclusion! The law which provides for the children of toil and sons of commerce
'Hackney'd in business, wearied at that oar
Which thousands, once fast chained to, leave no more'
opportunity of undisturbed attention to spiritual things, this day the badge of an immature economy, a burdensome rite which was against us and contrary to us, too carnal for Christtianity or for Christians! Surely it is enough to put such a suggestion as this in plain language, in order to expose it. Would not the real state of the case be found to be, not that the Sabbath was too carnal for those who speak thus, but that they are not spiritual enough for the Sabbath. At least it is a significant fact, which these objectors might do well to ponder, that the most eminently spiritual Christians have ever been those, who relished the Sabbath most. 'Oh, surely,' was the frequent exclamation of the pious Philip Henry, at the close of a well spent Sabbath, if this be not heaven, it must be the way to it.'
"These, and similar objections are easily disposed of, and yet their very existence and public reiteration prove to us, that we have reached a crisis in the cause of the Sabbath in our land. And we shall be sinfully blind to the magnitude of the interests that are imperilled, and to our own responsibility, if we do not strain every nerve to make the crisis terminate favourably. It is a thing of no secondary or transient interest that is assailed, when the weapons of an unhallowed warfare are lifted up against this institute of heaven. With our Sabbathday, all that is most valuable to us as citizens, and most sacred to us as Christians, stands in jeopardy. Call for testimonies to its importance and benignant influence, and what a crowd of witnesses instantly compass us about. View it simply as a day of rest, and the whole medical world will arise to proclaim its beneficent tendencies. View it in its relations to the industrial wealth of kingdoms, and statistical enquiries will attest that six days of labour, followed by the weekly rest, are more productive than a system of continuous toil. View it in its bearings on the stability of commonwealths, and the greatest of modern statesmen, Edmund Burke, will tell you it is inestimable. View it as a bulwark against the inroads of infidelity, and Voltaire, who not only rejected Christianity, but vowed to crush it, will confess he despaired of effecting his object, so long as people assembled every week for religious worship. View it as affecting the prosperity of Christian churches, and all history will point to observance or neglect as the infallible index of spiritual prosperity or decay, and the churches of Great Britain, New England, and of the Waldenses, will be named as having been for years the most Sabbath-keeping and the most pure. View it as contributing to fan the flame of personal piety, and to deliver the soul from the gathering mists of earthly feeling, and Wilberforce will hasten to assure you, that it was his Sabbath-musings which raised his soul, when it was ready to cleave to the dust, and saved him from plunging into the troubled and turbid waves of party-warfare; and every man of living piety will tell you, that it accords with the instincts of his new nature, and that, if God had not given him a Sabbath, he would have prayed for one."
It was my intention to have added a third supplementary lecture, on a subject closely connected with the last, namelyPublic Worship. But on examining Mr. Barker's tract, I find that with the exception of some remarks on the Christian Ministry, to which our fifth lecture is a sufficient answer, and some very just censures on certain notorious abuses, he really admits in theory almost every thing one could wish. I was aware, that his followers differ from one another in their practice with regard to this point; but I certainly was not prepared to find him teaching, that Christians ought to meet together for prayer and praise; and what is much more, that they ought to meet in a place, where any unbelievers or ungodly person, that chooses, may come in to see and hear what is going on. Some of my readers may be as much surprised as myself, and may feel inclined to ask, Then what in the world does he object to in the usual mode of public worship? Why in the first place, he objects to Christians "going into a place of public resort, for the purpose of prayer or praise." Now, unless by "a place of public resort" he means the streets or roads (which, as our Church does not sanction the practice of meeting in such places for worship, we have nothing to do with) I am utterly at a loss to understand what he does mean. He may attach some peculiar meaning to the word "public" but one would think a place, where his own kind of worship was to be performed, could not be very private. For he says, that all the Christians in one place should meet together for worship; and if so, unless they meet in the open air, which would be the most public place of all, they must meet in some building. This building must be set apart exclusively for the purpose, at all events during the hours of worship, or the worshippers would be subject to all sorts of interruption and annoyance. It cannot be a very small one, as it has to admit, not only the Church, but anybody else that likes to come. The time of meeting there must not be concealed, as, even supposing it to be privately arranged amongst the Christians, unbelievers could not attend, as Mr. B. says they ought to be allowed to do, unless they knew when and where the meeting was held. Now I should like to know, whether Mr. B. calls such a building as this a place of public resort; a place, where according to his own plan the Church should, and any one else may, resort. Perhaps he will
say, that Christians ought not to meet for worship in any place, where the public resort for other purposes. That is just the very thing we contend for-that there ought to be a building set apart for that purpose alone. We retire within our consecrated buildings, because they are the most private places, where the church can meet together for prayer and praise-which Mr. B. declares it is the church's duty to do. His cbjections therefore to public worship, to be at all consistent with his own theory, must be confined to camp-meetings, or practices of a similar kind.
Mr. Barker's second objection is to Christians inviting unbelievers and worldlings to join them in prayer or praise. Pray who does invite them? Why he tells us, that ungodly persons are often employed as clerks and singers. No doubt they are; and an abominable disgrace it is to any church where such is the case. But what has that to do with the system? Is it any argument against a system to say that some people abuse it? Mr. B. however quotes a passage from Robert Hall, to the effect that the Church of England is guilty of inviting the ungodly to join in Divine worship, inasmuch as her ministers address the whole congregation as
dearly beloved brethren," &c. Robert Hall may have used such an expression; but it sounds rather odd from the man who pronounced the Prayer Book to belong to "the very first class of uninspired compositions If he ever did say so, lie must have forgotten at the moment the church's 19th article:
"The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same None but the "faithful," therefore, are considered as part of the "congregation" at all, although from the very fact of their presenting themselves to join the congregation in prayer and praise, the church charitably concludes that "as many as are present" are penitent believers. If any are not so, of course they are not included in the invitation, which is addressed only to "the congregation of faithful men." That only believers are invited is also evident from their being called upon to join "with pure hearts;" for it is only "faith` that "purifies the heart."
This objection, then, when examined, turns out to be very much like the first. In fact, the whole of the 48-page tract is as much ado about nothing as any one could wish to see. should I have noticed it at all, but for the practical effect it is likely to have on the unstable; namely, to make them averse or indifferent to public worship. Voltaire, as you heard just now, confessed that be despaired of crushing Christianity as long as people would meet together every week for religious
worship and Mr. Barker knows very well that he will not effect his objects, until he has made the people stop their ears to all the teaching of Christ's ministers. And whether this is done by giving them a disgust for God's house, or by holding up the clergy to them, which he does in his lectures on the Prayer Book, as almost universally a set of habitual liars, murderers, thieves, and idolaters, seems to be of very little consequence to him indeed. If any confidence can be placed in our Lord's axiom, "By their fruits ye shall know them," this man's writings must surely stamp his father's name upon his forehead, and proclaim him to all but the wilfully deceived as a special emissary of him who is emphatically called "the accuser of the brethren." Nor can I see any reason, except it be the want of the miraculous powers possessed by the Apostle, why the minister of Christ should shrink from addressing him as St. Paul addressed Flymas the sorcerer, "O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" But The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment, to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise governments. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not." 2 Pet. ii. 29.
Should these lectures be blessed by God to the deliverance of any who have fallen into the pit, or to the preservation of any who may have been standing on the edge of it, they will not have been written in vain. For "If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins." James v 19. That others may rise from them only hardened and embittered against the truth, is of course quite possible. It was this very feeling, even with regard to his preaching, which made St. Paul exclaim, "Who is sufficient for these things?" And yet he could preface it by saying, "We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish to the one we are a savour of death unto death, to the other a savour of life unto life." He had only to give his message, and leave God to make all the results work out his own glory. He well knew that, while no preaching or argument could of itself reach the unbeliever's heart, yet
Some extracts from this production are given in an appendix.