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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
well said that whenever Rome has the power she treats the people as the Philistines treated Samson : she puts out their eyes and sends them to grind in the prison-house.
In speaking of the early history of the Bible, the Dean said that those who tried to put down Christianity (as, for instance, Julian the Apostate) had always endeavoured to do so by destroying the Word of God; but all such efforts had been unsuccessful. The Bible had raised England to her elevated position among the nations. Spain stamped out the Reformation and banished the Bible, and she has become a withered, miserable nation, about whose opinion no one cared anything. There were 17,500,000 in Spain, 12,500,000 of these can neither read nor write; of the other 5,000,000 some can read and some can read and write. Was the Church of Rome in favour of education he asked? If she were, then she might have educated Spain and Portugal when she had no heretics to interfere with her and had the wealth of the country in her hands. But in these places where the reflex benefits of Protestantism exist, the Roman Church appears to be very anxious about education. And speaking of his own country, once known as the island of saints and scholars (Insula Sanctorum et discipulorum), and her people a people famous in the Word of God, he would say that it was not the race or the soil, or the climate or English laws which caused the trouble, it was the
religion: Protestantism made men-Romanism made slaves. Wherever the Scriptures were kept from the people, darkness, error, and superstition prevailed. But thank God, by the efforts of Christian men and women, that darkness was being dispelled and the Word of God was begin. ning to shine in every part of the earth by the labours of the British & Foreign Bible Society and other organisations now sending the Word in over 300 languages and dialects to all the nations of the earth, by which men were being turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God.
Its wakening smiles have broke the gloom of
The Word has reached the distant isles; God's
Already from the dust of death, man in His
Once more he draws immortal breath and
He hoped great good was yet in store for Ireland. The meetings of this Society at that time he had no doubt would do great good. They would tell of the love which existed among Christian people and would encourage them to go on labouring for the advancement of the Master's cause, and the extension of His Kingdom.
(From our own Correspondent.)
PARIS, December 14, 1893. THE French Evangelisation Society is constituted, and its first step forward for the season has been an acknowledged success. The Taitbout Chapel (Free Church) has been cheerfully placed at its disposal for the four Advent Sundays at 4 p.m. The lectures (conferences) are understood to be simply Christian, avoiding any denominational peculiarity. Father Hyacinthe had been advertised as speaker, and it brought so numerous a rush of hearers, that, like old times long past, there was not standing room. Pastors were there, and Pastor Mettetal introduced the eloquent lecturer. "We are, above all things," said he, "Frenchmen and Christians. We have not come to found a new Church, there are plenty of Churches. We are come to try to make known the Gospel to our people, persuaded that it alone can raise our beloved France." The Church outside the Church" was the subject. In France it had been calculated that out of 36,000,000 Roman Catholics, 30,000,000 live outside of their Church, merely calling in the priest when they require some special ceremonybaptism or marriage for instance, or when about to die. Among Protestants it is the same, though in smaller proportion. Why? The man of to-day is consumed with feverish labour, the passion of gold or the ardour of pleasure. The clergy follow the routine and monotony of Church ceremonies; the antagonism, foolishly imagined between science and religion; and the want of union of Christians with each other. Such are some of the causes which turn many souls away from religious truth. He probed the conscience-the hearers hung upon his words when he called for some Elijah, some new prophet, to raise our wretched people! but, he added, "each of us should be a prophet to prepare a new era of purity and brotherhood in the Spirit of Christ!"
Something is needed! The powers of darkness are fearfully at work, and deeper and deeper descends the gloom over the world, threatening to cloud and stifle all that is pure, elevating, and noble. The present wrangle is whether another abominable ball with nude attitudinising "models" is to be or not to be. At the same time hideous blasphemies pass current in daily papers, and futile questions, the very ones long ago sifted and answered, but which turn up whenever revolution threatens, are arising again-mire cast at the Gospel, by giving false interpretation to the words of Christ.
The Archbishop and Clergy of Paris performed, this year, the curious ceremony of purifying the Church of Notre Dame from the revolutionary profanation in 1793, when an actress was enthroned on the altar and worshipped as the goddess of wisdom. The centenary occurred in November last.
The Pope has surprised the uninitiated with a bull advising the study of Scripture; but it is so well understood in practice that they are not be read without the interpretation of the Church, that it is found far easier to go to the priest direct than to read first and be obliged, under pain of excommunication, to give an unreal sense to what one has read, and bewilder one's brain in the attempt to believe black is white! The bull is but dust thrown in the air, hoping to blind certain Protestant eyes. An open Bible Rome endures not. The study of the Scriptures is the accepting the Church's interpretation of the text.
The Lutherans have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Church of the Redemption in Paris. We were present at the opening service in 1843, and well remember the graceful Duchess of Orleans in deep mourning for her husband, moving slowly along the gallery, and, with her suite, occupying the seats prepared for them. That service was solemn and hopeful. We had been told that it was by the King Louis Philippe's desire that the building in the Rue Chauchat should be appropriated to the Protestant form of worship his daughter-in-law was accustomed to, the Billettes Church, surrounded with narrow streets and alleys, being less accessible. Many hopes have been blighted since then, but the Lutheran Church in Paris has battled on, ridding itself of heterodoxy and rationalism, and preserves its character as then described by Pastor President Cuvier-" a spirit of energetic protest against any human authority in matters of faith; of profound reverence for the Divine authority of the Word of God, agreeing perfectly with the love of study and science; of liberty, and of repulsion to every kind of constraint put upon the conscience, and of a faith which alone seeks its life in Jesus and rests on Jesus alone its hope of salvation. The jubilee service was solemn and interesting.
The Evangelical Alliance meeting held annually in Lyons, met in the new Lutheran Church this year. In the Menilmontant Hall in Paris, a most encouraging meeting was held, the right people coming to hear the right thing, the hall crowded, and no disturbance. Pastors treated the subjects-"The Battle against Evil," "Preservation," "Reparation," "Conquest." The centenary of the death of Rabaut Saint Etienne has been celebrated in the Church of the Oratoire.
There is an undoubted readiness to hear and to approve what is true, just and good, among our population of all classes, but the grand point is to bring them to decision for God. It is the personal pressing of this point that is distasteful, and requires dauntless personal conviction that it is the way appointed of God. All have not yet arrived at this conviction, and so the prey escapes. Rough treatment is imminent where Gospel work is genuine and souls are saved. Some few years back when Evangelists met with brickbats and noisy opposition, extinguishers were immediately put upon their zeal by their various committees. But now things are improving, though caution and prudence are impressed on daring evangelists as the better part of valour. The erroneous idea is not yet obsolete that the arousing of the enemy to action is destructive to the work. Better let the strong man armed keep his goods in peace.
We lately had occasion to pass through Geneva, in going from one part of France to another, and were witnesses of the very apparent increasing enmity to purity and salvation. A lady who has no peculiar garb, finds it necessary to wear a substantial, though unconspicuous, pad under her bonnet to avoid the effect of blows on the head she often receives from rough men, as she goes in and out to save the lost. We were witnesses to the groaning and roaring of street boys, and the impish dance