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answer them there. They suggested that it was most un-Christian to refer to the shady sides of Oriental religions in a Parliament where it was supposed that no words save those of softness and kindness were to be uttered,' forgetting that they themselves were the first to break the peace by their attacks upon Christianity." It would appear from this that the advocates of Christianity were at a decided disadvantage in this "Parliament of Religions," for while it was considered fair for the representatives of all Oriental religions to attack and abuse Christianity, any defence of the same or counter-attack was pronounced "un-Christian." It seems, at least, questionable whether Christians should consent to their religion being regarded in any wise as on a level with the superstitions of the heathen, which is more or less involved in its being represented in a so-called "Parliament," including many heathen and idolatrous religions.
We read in The Record that "the Rev. W. G. Halse, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bridlington Quay, and a member of the Evangelical Alliance, arranged for a series of Mission services, in his parish church-room, of a unique character. It was a practical effort in the direction of reunion, the preachers being drawn from the ranks of the Clergy, Dissenting Ministers, and laity. There were large congregations, and it is believed that much blessing resulted." Such efforts are to be welcomed in the interests of Christian union. They happily indicate a desire for more united action among Christians than is attainable under the existing ecclesiastical rules of the Church of England. It is true there is nothing to prevent an address being delivered in a church by a Nonconformist minister or layman-as an eminent ecclesiastical lawyer, the late Dr. Archibald Stephens, used to say-if only it be after the close of an ordinary service, and the congregation be left free to remain for it or not as they may feel disposed. But a more distinct recognition of ministers of other churches is most desirable. Article XXIII. says of ministers, "those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation, to call and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard." It is well-known that this language was intended to recognise the ministry of the foreign Protestant Churches, notwithstanding their lack of Episcopal ordination. It surely might be also used to allow of, at least, occasional pulpit ministrations by those who answer the description as to ordination, though they be not Episcopally ordained.
Our readers will find, in another part of the present issue, an interesting sketch of the late secretarial visit to the Continent, which shows the cordial and friendly spirit of sympathy with the work of the Evangelical Alliance which Mr. Arnold's visit everywhere evoked. An interesting historical contrast between past times and the present in this respect is suggested by the meeting he held at Wiesbaden, in the house of the Princess of Schaumberg Lippe, a connexion by marriage of our Royal Family. Forty years ago our Council appealed to the then reigning Prince of Schaumberg-Lippe on behalf of Baptists and Methodists who were imprisoned for preaching and circulating religious tracts in that Principality. This appeal was successful, and now a Princess of the same House cordially receives the deputation of the Alliance, and gives him the use of her house for a meeting on its behalf, and allows her name to be enrolled amongst its members. It adds to the interest to know
that the Princess owns a family relationship with the Great Duke of Schomberg, whom William the Third brought over with him from Holland, and who sacrificed his life in fighting at the Battle of the Boyne for the Protestant religion and the liberties of our country.
The Record, in its "Irish Church Notes," points to a "pleasing token of Christian Unity" in the fact that at the meetings lately held in Dublin and Derry by Dr. John Paton, of the New Hebrides, the Archbishop of Dublin presided at the former, and the Bishop of Derry at the latter, the Bishop "remarking, in his opening speech, that Dr. Paton was the property of the whole Church of Christ." The Irish correspondent further adds: "To any one who has read his book on Work in the New Hebrides,' the whole tale seems like another chapter added to the Acts of the Apostles." We rejoice to hear that the meetings both at Dublin, Derry, and Belfast were "most encouraging and enthusiastic."
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT OF TRUE RELIGION. For the past two months there has been great pressure upon our space, and we have been compelled to hold over many articles, but we are now able to continue our extracts from the "Catholic Spirit of True Religion."
Though Abraham was the called of God, he was not the only person who was a patriarch, and enjoyed and administered the true religion. The Prince or King of Salem was another, and in no respect Abraham's inferior, and in some respects greatly above him. Melchisedec was the priest of the Most High God. He was the type of the Messiah, of whom Abraham was the remote progenitor. And it is truly delightful, and a fine example of the catholicity of true religion, to observe the manner in which these great and good men proceed when the providence of God brings them together. There are, indeed, some things respecting Melchisedec "which are hard to be explained"; but, whoever he was, it makes no difference in the lesson which his meeting with Abraham is calculated to teach us. And what is that lesson? Plainly this: that when, by the events of Providence, two pious men, both of whose hearts are right with God, are brought together, they ought to recognise each other as brethren, and each treating with respect the creed and ritual of the other, both ought to enter upon that friendly and sacred communion which is meet for the sons of God.
But what are the facts of this case? When Melchisedec meets Abraham, does he begin their intercourse by religious precognitions as to denominations, as to what points they were agreed on, and what points they differed on? Does he consider an uniformity in all points between himself and "the righteous man who came from the East," as essential to their religious communion, and the first point to be ascertained? Or does he, in the quality of superior and priest, proceed to impose his own ritual upon Abraham? No; nothing like this. And how different from what we are accustomed to now! Melchisedec, we are informed, brought out with him, when he himself came to meet Abraham, and before he had seen the Patriarch at all, bread and wine, and, as soon as he met him, he presented them to him and blessed him. And forthwith the two men of God enjoyed a full religiou communion together, their great hearts overflowing with the love of God and of each other. Nor was all the openness of heart on the side of the King of Salem. Abraham in return, and without inquiring whether he who assumed these most exalted functions of the priesthood had the genealogy of the sacerdotal order (which we know he had not), but, perceiving his moral greatness and superiority to himself in his presence and words, accepts his benediction, and in return presents him with a tithe of all his spoils.
Such was the meeting of Abraham and Melchisedec. Nothing finer ever
occurred in the subsequent history of the Church. The patriarchal state, indeed, admits of all that is finest in religion and humanity. And when the Spirit of Inspiration led David to say, "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than the dwellings of Jacob," it was chiefly in respect of the fact, that from Zion should proceed the salvation that should be catholic, as may be seen from the psalm where these words occur. But in the incident which has just been noticed, we have a fine example of the Catholic Spirit which the patriarchal state also tends to cherish. And this instance, occurring in the Church in that early epoch, and handed down to us, is of the greatest value to us-not only for its own sake, as happening in the true Church, but from the generally admitted fact that Christianity is more nearly related to the patriarchal religion, and is more truly a return to it and development of it, than of the peculiar economy which intervened between the patriarchal age and the birth of Christ.
THE MIND OF CHRIST.
THE mind of Christ, imparted to Christians by the Holy Ghost, leads to this. If we have fellowship with Him, we walk in the light as He is in the light; and so we have, as St. John says, fellowship with one another. We all walk as He walked, and so are brought together in the most important ways of Christ. Whatever He loves we shall all love. He has a sincere love to all the world. This mind is communicated to us. We have something of this love. He has a special love to His own people-having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end. We have oneness with Christ and know we are passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. No Christian can see or hear of good in another, but his heart like his Master's, is drawn out in love to that person. If there be any act of self-denial, any special sacrifice, any token of glowing love to Jesus in another -I appeal to your hearts, does it not delight you? If there be any suffering for His name's sake, are not your special affections drawn to him?
A glorious unity does in reality subsist in all the true disciples of Christ. We may see this in the many all-important things in which they are one. Their greatest principles are the same. They all know that they are lost sinners, undone by nature; they have all been born again and quickened by one Spirit from a common state of death in trespasses and sins. They are all saved by grace through faith; they are all walking in one way, with common dangers and difficulties, and looking for a common deliverance from one Redeemer. They have all one eternal home to which they are tending, and where they hope to dwell together for ever. Their character in its main features is the same. All are penitent believers, having access by Christ, through one Spirit, to the Father. They have all real feelings of abasement, contrition, and humiliation before God. They have all one only confidence, Christ Jesus the Lord-their righteousness and strength. They are feeding daily on the same bread of life, drinking daily the same living waters, they have one supreme love to their Divine Saviour, and one warm heart to all who love Him. They are each trying daily to walk with God. How excellent are those things in which their character is common to all. So their sufferings and their temptations are the same. -The late Rev. Edward Bickersteth.
A WORD OF COMFORT TO THE SAINTS. God's people have, all along, from the beginning of creation more or less, been a suffering people. How do you account for this fact, do you ask? I answer, because of the deep, intense hatred of the carnal, natural heart to God. Any attachment to or fellowship with God is bound to be opposed by the natural man controlled by the forces of darkness. An illustration of this fact we have given us in the first book of the Bible. Abel loved the Lord, and for this he was hated to death by Cain. This spirit is still in the world, and will continue to operate so long as time lasts and the devil is at large. This is the dispensation of trouble. The Lord said to His sorrowing disciples before His departure for glory: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." In the fourth chapter of his second Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul mentions several things which mightily sustained him and his coadjutors in the great afflictions and sufferings to which they were exposed: First, their lively hope of a joyful resurrection, vide verse 14: "Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." We have a grand chapter on the glorious resurrection in Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthian Church. Read this chapter when trials weigh upon your soul, and look beyond this vale of tears to the land of immortality looming up in the distance. Holy Job" was sure of the bliss-making vision, and could look through the dust to immortality. Such a full hope ushers in a kind of paradise into the soul, and admirably fits it to bear sufferings: the internal suavity is able to sweeten any outward condition."
The second thing that kept them from sinking under their load of sufferings, was the consideration that the glory of God and the benefit of His Church were advanced by their sufferings. See verse 15: "For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." If this be so, and it is so, beloved companions in trial, we can all afford to suffer patiently and cheerfully, saying evermore "the cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink of it?'
The third fact which sustained them in their scorching persecutions, was the advantage which their own souls reaped from their suffering. It is said in verse 16: "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." Some one has said that "fiery trials make golden Christians. If the furnace be seven times hotter, it is to make us seven times better."
The fourth and last fact which mightily buoyed up their spirits in their troubles was the bright prospect of a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," in comparison with which all earthly temporal things dwindled into insignificance, vide verse 17. The way to bear trial is to turn your mind away from them to fix it on heavenly things. Look away to Jesus in yon bright world. If we suffer with Him here, we shall reign with Him by-and-bye.-T. È. F. M.
THE BIBLE OUR SOLE RULE OF
THE Dean prefaced his remarks by expressing |
Christ taught the Scriptures in the Synagogue, and throughout the New Testament they were again and again recommended to study them. The Roman Catholic Church did not allow its people to study the Scriptures. If they desired to refer to any point which troubled them they were directed to the "Fathers," whose writings were so voluminous that the books would fill a Pickford's van and instead of finding the Fathers unanimous, they would most generally find them contradicting each other. But there were three points on which the early Fathers were perfectly unanimous-viz., 1. The Doctrine of the Trinity; 2. The All-sufficiency of Scripture; and 3. The
Hindering or Letting Power referred to by St. Paul in the 2nd Chapter of 2nd Thessalonians -the Fathers of the early ages holding that the Roman Empire was the hindrance to the full development of the lawless one, the man of sin, the son of perdition. Rome's opposition to the circulation of God's Word was shown by extracts from the authorities, some of which we give.
The fourth Rule of the Index runs as follows: "Whereas, it is manifest by experience that if the Holy Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue, be allowed indifferently to anybody, then, on account of man's rashness, will arise from hence a greater detriment than advantage. If anyone without a license presume to read or keep by him the Bible, he shall be disqualified to receive the absolution of his sins till he deliver it up to the Ordinary." Again, Alphonsus a Castro, who had been one of the members of the Council of Trent, says expressly, "that one of the parents and springs of heresies was the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the vulgar languages, and therefore bestows great praises on the edict of Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Spain, by which they had forbidden, under severest penalties, either to translate the Holy Scriptures into the vulgar languages, or to keep any translation made of
* Summary of an address delivered at the Dublin Conference of the Evangelical Alliance.
them under any pretence whatever." Sextus Senensis says plainly that "to allow shoemakers, potters, &c., to read the Scriptures, is to give that which is holy to the dogs, and to cast pearls before
Cardinal Bellarmine, the great oracle of the Roman Catholic Church, writes as plainly as he well can to the same effect: "We maintain that the Scriptures ought not to be read publickly in the vulgar tongue, nor allowed to be read indifferently by everybody."
At Bologna, on October 20, 1553, three Romish bishops gave the following written answer to Pope Julius 111, when desired to furnish their counsel as to the best means of strengthening their Church: "Lastly, of all the advice we can give your Beatitude, we have reserved to the end the most important-namely, that as little as possible of the Gospel (especially in the vulgar tongue) be read in all countries subject to your jurisdiction. That little which is usually read at mass is sufficient, and beyond that no one whatever must be permitted to read. While men were contented with little, your interests prospered, but when more was read they began to decay. To sum up all, that Book (the Bible) is the one which, more than any other, has raised against us those whirlwinds and tempests whereby we were almost swept away: and, in fact, if anyone examines it diligently, and then confronts these with the practices of our Church, he will perceive the great discordance, and that our doctrine is utterly different from, and often even contrary to it. Which thing, if the people understand, they will not cease their clamour against us till all be divulged, and then we shall become an object of universal scorn and hatred. Wherefore, even these few pages (in the Mass Book) must be put away, but with considerable wariness and caution, lest so doing should raise greater uproars and tumults."
Dens, a standard authority at Maynooth, says, in reference to the fourth Rule of the Index: "It was received and observed (with some variety, according to the peculiar genius of nations) in by far the greater portion of the Catholic world, nay, in the whole of that portion of the world which is completely Catholic. It was more dispensed with only where Catholics lived among heretics." In this passage, Deus has unwittingly told the true state of the case. As long as the Church of Rome had all the power in her own hands, she placed restrictions and prohibitions on the reading of the Scriptures (as in Spain, Portugal, and Italy), and these restrictions are only relaxed where heretical Protestants will not let her have altogether her own way.
The latest authorities in reference to the reading of the Scriptures in the Church of Rome, are such as even Roman Catholics will find it hard to disavow. Cardinal Wiseman, in his “Catholic | Doctrine of the Bible," published in London, in 1853, writes as follows, page 20: "If, therefore, we be asked why we do not give the Bible indifferently to all, and the shutting up of God's Word is disdainfully thrown in our face, we will not seek to elude the question or meet the taunts by denial, or by attempts to prove that our principles on the subject are not antagonistic to those of Protestants. They are antagonistic, and we glory in owning it."
And again, "The prohibition of the reading of
the Scriptures is the stronghold of the Church's unity. Let the faithful not read the Scriptures, and the government of the Church will tumble to pieces, insubordination will enter, and self-sufficiency and pride take the place of humility and docility."
The Cardinal further says in his Moorfield "Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Practice of the Catholic Church," "I have to tell you that in perusing the works of men who have within these few years became members of the (Roman) Catholic Church-men of talent and erudition-I have hardly found two of them agree upon the grounds which they record as having induced them to embrace the (Roman) Catholic religion. But I have also read similar works on the other side, purporting to give the grounds upon which several individuals have abandoned the (Roman) Catholic and become members of some Protestant Communion. Now I have read many of these, and have noted that instead of the variety of motives which have brought learned men to the (Roman) Catholic Church, there is a sad meagreness of reasoning in them, indeed that they all, without exception, give me but one argument. The history in every single case is simply this, that the individual by some chance or other, probably through the ministry of some pious person, became possessed of the Word of God, the Bible, that he perused the Book; that he could not discover in it Transubstantiation, or Auricular Confession; that he could not discover in it one word of purgatory or worshipping of images. He, perhaps, goes to the priest and tells him that he cannot find these doctrines in the Bible. His priest argues with him, and endeavours to convince him that he should shut up the Book that is leading him astray; he perseveres, he abandons the Communion of the Church of Rome-that is, as it is commonly expressed, the errors of that Church, and becomes a Protestant."
Not long ago, Dr. Cehill, a Roman Catholic priest, said "he would rather a (Roman) Catholic should read the worst works of immorality than the Protestant Bible-"that forgery of God's Word, that slander of Christ."
In 1816 Pope Pius VII. issued his Bull against Bible Societies, in which he represents the circulation of the Scriptures by the Bible Societies as a crafty device by which the very foundations of religion were undermined. A pestilence which must be remedied and abolished. A defilement of the faith, eminently dangerous to souls, impious machinations of innovators, wickedness of a nefarious scheme, snares prepared for man's everlasting ruin. A new species of tares which an adversary has abundantly sown. During the Popedom of Clement x1. Father Quesnel published a book in which he ventured to assert that "the reading of the sacred Scriptures is for all;" but Clement x1. thought otherwise, and published, Sept. 8, 1713, his famous Bull called Unigenitus, in which he declares this proposition with others to be false, captious, ill-sounding, scandalous, pernicious, injurious to the Church, seditious, impious, blasphemous, heretical, &c.; and this Bull is in force at this present time in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.
Such, said the Dean, are some of the authoritative statements of Popes, Cardinals, and Bishops, in reference to the Word of God. Can we wonder at the state of Roman Catholic countries? It has been