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second chapter of Matthew in the confident belief that the worship paid by the wise men to Jesus was of a similar nature with the religious adoration offered by pious men to the invisible Creator.—It was under this impression that I conceive he must have inadvertently written the first passage before quoted. But in looking among his commentators for some further illustrations of this perplexing subject of the Magian visit, he must full soon have somewhere lighted upon more correct representations of that very inferior kind of worship, or as Johnson defines it, civil reverence, which was paid to Jesus. In this way, therefore, I would account for the introduction of the second and unex. ceptionable passage given above. In this opinion I am the more confirmed, by observing a few pages forward, the following very just remarks, which I quote not only for my present purpose, but for the general scriptural instruction of your readers.

“The manner in which these wise men approached our Lord is precisely that in which the people always addressed themselves to men of high rank and dignity.

6They worshipped him; that is, they prostrated themselves to the ground before him, which we know was then and still is the custom of those countries.

"They offered presents to him; and it is well known, that without a present no great man was at that time, or is now, approached.”

Should any of your readers wonder how all these passages quoted from Bishop Porteus in this communication, could come from the pen of one man, and that too in the course of a single Lecture, I am sure he only shares the astonishment of

G.

Ordination Exercises at Biddeford.

In our number for last February, we inserted a notice of the ordination of the Rev. Thomas Tracy at Biddeford, Maine. The written exercises on that occasion have since been printed at Portland; and we take pleasure in enabling our readers, by giving them a few extracts, to judge of their merits.

In the Sermon, by the Rev. Dr. Nichols, we found the excellence which we expected. He preached from Romans xiv. 16. Let not then your good be evil spoken of. The following are the introductory remarks.

“The good here intended is liberty of conscience. This liberty the apostle claimed for certain disciples, who had been reproached by some of their brethren for not agreeing with them in a particular view of the Christian system. Recriminations had ensued; when Paul arrested the contention by commanding both to preserve their fellowship, to leave each other to the free exercise of their faith, and at the same time to be well persuaded in their own minds.

“This controversy has long since subsided. But others have arisen in its place, which have not been less calamitous to the unity of the church; nor are they to be distinguished from it, because they may not appear unimportant to those, whom they divide; since this was not acknowledged to be immaterial. In the opinion of a portion of the disputants the subject was of essential consequence. Paul, it is true, regarded it in a different light. In his view the point at issue was not of high importance in itself. But upon this particular he was silent, till after he had enjoined the duty of charity and fellowship, as has been stated. This duty he rested not upon the insignificance of the dispute, but upon the conscientiousness of the parties, and their accountability to Christ alone, His observations were simply these, He that regar deth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he, that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” He reasons upon broad and liberal principles, equally forcible in every period of the Christian world. The brethren were conscientious,-and Christ was their judge,-therefore, they should live in peace; their fraternity should not be disturbed.”

After some remarks on the value of the rights of conscience, the preacher observes, that if they are "a good, which we must neither deny to others, nor fail to exercise ourselves, we must exercise them in such a manner, as to afford no just occasion for reproach.” He then says, that while there are some respects, in which it would be impossible for the most conscientious Christians to avoid suspicion and censure, there are others, in which they are able and bound to avoid them.” These two classes of circumstances form the divisions of his discourse, under which he presents us with some illustrations and rules applicable to each. The following are very just observations, on the undeserved and unmeaning censure to which liberal Christians are exposed, on account of the value which they place on the offices of reason.

Do you say, that revelation addresses you as rational beings; that religion is a reasonable service; that Christ appealed to the understandings of his hearers, declaring, that, if they were blind, they should have no sin? Do you say the first step in religion, the discovery of a God, must be made by an intelligent consideration of his works; that the second also, ascertaining the sacred origin of the volume, we denominate the Bible, requires not only intelligence and reasoning, but learning also; and as to the third step, the interpretation of the scriptures, do you add that without the constant exercise of judgment we should fill them with contradictions and absurdities? Sound as the doctrine is, that we must use our reason in religion, it is almost unavoidable, that some should regard it with suspicion; and some of that class, too, who have no disposition to be censorious. They will be liable to fear, or will be subject to be told, that you mean by reason, something paramount to revelation; that you intend to set up the suggestions of your minds against the authority of Clirist. When so far from failing in reverence to his word, your only object is to discover its import, which is to be done, as you conceive, by explaining it as other books are required to be explained; clearing up the darker passages by those which are plain; and gathering the sentiments of the author, not so much from single sentences, as from the general tenor of the whole volume.”

We extract the following judicious remarks on the subject of religious reformations, or revivals, from the Rev. Mr. Webster's CHARGE.

“Be careful to point out to your people the true effects which usually distinguish religious REFORMATIONS. They are not excited by the passions and affections, so as to rise and fall, as these are wrought upon. Reformations are guided by the understanding, and advance as that is enlightened. If they are more slow in their increase, they are more likely to be lasting. If they do not make those rapid additions to the number of communicants, which are often the occasion of multiplying church meetings, and frequently end in admonitions, suspensions, and excommunications, those members which they do add from time to time are both a comfort and an honour to the church. They do not render the subjects of them proud, conceited, and censorious-ready to say, 'stand by thyself, come not near me, I am holier than thou;' but make people humble and modest, esteeming others better than themselves. Finally, they are not so much like such revivals as take place in sickness, just before death; as they gradually improve our spiritual health, until they terminate in a holy, virtuous life and conversation.”

The Right HAND OF FELLOWSHIP, by the Rev. Mr. Tilton,* is an animated performance. We quote from it a representation of the spirit of enlightened christianity.

“Wonderful in its nature, powerful and expansive in its influence and operation, is the spirit of enlightened christianity. Like the parental affections, it suffers no diminution in the multiplicity of suitable objects. It smiles at the impotence of sectarian fetters; scorns the distinction of party,-proselyting ambition; spurns the mask of hypocrisy; and looks down the influence and folly of superstition It acknowledges no local limits; but, in every place, and whatever

* This name was erroneously printed Felton in our February number. The paper from which we copied the account of the ordination, led us into the mistake.

country, in its own majestic independence, and heavenly wisdom, seeks to associate, in entire and friendly fellowship, with all, who bear the impress of the Saviour. The light of its own countenance reflects a radiance on others. Even as iron sharpeneth iron, so does the face of a man, with a christian spirit, enlighten the countenance of his friend. True christian love is not an evanescent principle. It consumes not in the intenseness of its own heat; the floods cannot quench it; time cannot dissolve it; death only hastens its consummation in the heavens."

If the dominion of religious charity is not strengthened by the inculcation of sentiments like these, we shall begin to doubt whether she was ever intended for an inhabitant of this quarrelsome world. But the very expression of these sentiments is the best encouragement to the contrary.

We hear them uttered every day with a still louder voice, and from an increasing multitude of the faithful; and we are therefore sure that their power is increasing, and that ignorance and fanaticism will gradually recede from before them.

Anecdotes of the late Rev. Elhanan Winchester.

This gentleman was justly esteemed as a highly estimable person, and his popularity as a preacher is well known to many in this country. He was a Universalist by profession, and was well able to illustrate and defend his views of religion. He was a believer in the punishment of the wicked after the resurrection, but he held that this punishment will not be eternal, the great object for which it will be inflicted by our wise and merciful Father in heaven being the benefit of the sufferer; consequently, that, as regarded each individual, his sufferings will be at an end when his

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