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Christ is no where mentioned by the Apostles; Christ is the High Priest, all the Members are Priests. He is our Lord; we are all brethren. That the Bread and wine must be consecrated, and administered by a Priest, is no where found in the New Testament. That the Brethren cannot break bread and drink wine in communion, except there be a Priest to consecrate and give it to them, is no where stated by the Apostles; that a Priest alone may help himself to it, is not an Ordinance of Christ at all. If there is any part of our prescribed worship that reduces us all ostensively to a level, more than another, it is that of breaking bread together, open communion together in the death and risen life of Christ. So also there appear to have been companies of Disciples in many cities of Crete, when Paul left Titus there awhile for the purpose of appointing Elders in every city, according to rules laid down by himself. Can it then be supposed, for a moment, that the gifts from our risen Head, sent for the edification and perfecting of Saints, that wait no human appointment, were lacking? or that the congregations met not for the ministry of the word, breaking of bread, and prayers, because as yet there were no elders ordained from among them?
[In the Lord's Supper], "we being many, are one bread," and so together weekly eating this our spiritual food with gladness and singleness of heart, we may show forth, in this destruction of fleshly distinction and spiritual union, the Lord's death till He come. Now, however much blessing the faithful may and do receive in this ordinance of the Church of England, the true and simple blessing intended by the Lord and enjoyed in the Apostolic Churches, is evidently lost, and for it another solemn and imposing rite substituted, in which the faithful have, indeed, deep communion with the Lord, but not with each other, or in the way and manner at first intended at its institution.
And now, my dear brethren, surely this confession of my serious convictions and feelings has already convinced you that I cannot consistently or righteously continue a Minister of the Established Church of England and Ireland. In so doing, I leave nothing of her but that which is the world, and with which the Father hath no fellowship. I would drop simply into the Word of God, leaving for ever the doctrines and traditions of men, which is abiding in truth; I would, ceasing from fleshly influence, sink simply into the arms of Jesus, which is leaning on strength. But I would judge no man: to our own master we stand or fall. Still, let every man be well assured in his own mind; for if he doubteth in any thing he alloweth or continueth in, it is sin. Jesus hath said, whosoever breaketh one of the least of these my commandments, and teacheth men so, is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. He that heareth these my sayings and doeth them, is a wise man. And there is, dear brethren, a test and rule whereby we must all be judged, and for exact conformity to which we are all accountable-the Word of God, the doctrines and commandments of Christ and his Apostles: "The Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last day."
Having, by the help of God, so far in my own convictions ceased to do evil, I must now, in earnest prayer, with simple dependence on the Holy Ghost as my Teacher, the Word as my guide, learn to do well. May the Lord guide me into all truth! open communion with all who love Jesus and keep his sayings, liberty of ministry for all whom the Spirit hath qualified, to edify the Church, is plainly God's appointed way of perfecting the Saints, and building them up in love. See 1 Cor. xii.; Ephesians iv.; Romans xii. ; 1 Peter iv. 10, 11; 1 Thes. v. 11; Hebrews iii. 13; x. 25; Jude xx. 21; 1 Cor. 14; Col. iii. 16. Read and seriously ponder these Scriptures, dear brethren! The precious rule of the Holy Ghost for receiving into church fellowship, and maintaining that fellowship, is laid down in Romans xiv. Every one whom God hath accepted and cleansed in Christ, the same is my sister or brother.
Man has sought out inventions of his own, and the body of Christ is divided; coming back to God's word, must unite the Saints and separate them from the world. I see the brethren separated into sects and parties, under divers names, actually and ostensively, however secretly or privately they may, as it were, steal communion with each other; but the Lord's day or the Lord's Supper will find them back again, in their separate systems. O that God's children may come out every where, though only two or three, and meet in Christ's name! He will be in their midst, saying, "Peace, peace, unto you." We are now set in apostasy, each seeking a fair shew in the flesh, a standing for our own party in the world that shall soon be condemned. Now, dear brethren, the true Church of Christ has suffered in the flesh,-is not known,- cannot be received by the world. We have no worldly sanctuary, no place here; but, risen with Christ, our place is in the heavens, where we now commune with Christ in God. Here we are set for a witness, to shew forth Christ's death till he come, in self-denial, maintaining total separation from the world and its systems until its end come! Our special work here is, to let our light shine in testimony to the darkness of this age, that it knoweth not the Father or the Son, that its deeds are evil. Alas! we have lost our true position, and are broken up into human systems, of which
the awakened and justified sinner thinks he is obliged to choose the best. Can that, then, be called schism, which would, as Moses did, pitch the Lord's tabernacle, the name of Jesus, without these camps, and beseech the children of God to meet there, that the Lord may dwell with them-that would commend all the dear people of God every where to God and the word of His grace, exclusively, as fully able to build us all up, and give us an inheritance together among the sanctified through faith in Christ? Can that be called schism, that would beseech you all to hold the Head, "from whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love?" Truly, a Church in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Mr. Strong has had much to suffer in connexion with this trial of his faith. He was previously called to pass through severe domestic affliction in his own illness, and loss of one or more of his children by the country fever, and this apparently as discipline to prepare him for giving up all for Christ. On his recovery from this illness, he resigned his situation, and the governor appointed the ecclesiastical commissary to take charge of the parish until a rector was appointed. All the missionaries, Methodists, &c., as well as the members of his own congregation, were most kind and affectionate. On the day of his resignation he published the pamphlet, extracts from which we have presented to our readers. He was compelled to give up the Craig chapel, though built partly out of his own funds, and the contributions of his flock. Every means was used to prevent the negroes from leaving the communion of the Establishment, but without success, as they flocked to hear their beloved pastor in the school-house, which he opened for divine worship, while the parish church was nearly empty not more than six out of the whole number of communicants remaining in communion with the Established Church. Mr. Strong's purpose is to hold himself quite aloof from the various sects of dissenters, he and his people adopting no name, but the much misunderstood, and misused title of Christians. The main body of the communicants (about seven hundred and fifty) meet together with Mr. Strong to break bread, as we believe, every Lord's day morning, and he is able to preach to a congregation of fifteen hundred persons; having, in addition to the school-rooms, one of the chapels secured to him as the property of a private gentleman: and the attorney of one of the remote estates is preparing a meeting-house in addition. It is, therefore, very evident that instead of being thrown out of a sphere of usefulness, as some apprehended, and previous to his leaving, consequently, did not believe that it could be right for him thus to act; on the contrary, "a great door and effectual" is opened to him, and there are many adversaries. He has one or two fellow-labourers in the field-whites, but the main bulk of those who form this interesting little community, are coloured persons.
Mr. Strong says, in the conclusion of his pamphlet, "Thank God, I am at variance with no man: from the bishop I have always experienced the most friendly, yea, affectionate conduct; from the clergy of the Establishment, when among them, the greatest respect and kindness; from the successive governors of this colony, most particular attention and protection, in times of difficulty; from the colonial government, a most liberal yearly salary; and now, abjuring from my heart all sect and party in the church, I give the right hand of fellowship to all who love Jesus, and serve God in the spirit. I rejoice in the name of Christ alone, yea, and will rejoice. With the flock, over whom the Holy Ghost hath made me overseer, I hope to abide, teaching them to observe and do all things whatsoever Christ and his apostles have commanded us.”
A WORD OF EXPLANATION
Addressed to the Inhabitants of Wymondham, by their Curate, on his dismission in consequence of refusing to apply to them indiscriminately the occasional services of the Established Church. London, T. Ward & Co.
[We have received the above pamphlet from Mr. Jeckell, the esteemed author, and have pleasure in presenting the following extract to the notice of our readers.]
You will remember that whenever an infant is baptized, the minister says-Forasmuch as our Saviour Christ saith, None can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerated and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost, &c." and "Give thy Holy Spirit to this infant that he may be born again, &c." And, then, in the space of a few minutes, he adds, "Seeing now that this child is regenerated, &c."-and, "We yield thee most hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thy own child by adoption, &c." These are significant words; and solemn indeed are the subjects they treat of. We can but feel that any insincerity-the least semblance of guile, the slightest approach towards " lie," in such connexion as this, is like carrying the works of darkness to the very confines of heaven; and brings to mind the dreadful charge contained in the fourth and ninth verses of the fifth chapter of Acts, "Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God," -"How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?"
Even with believing parents, sponsors, and congregations, the statements made in our baptismal office do not appear to me to be supported by Holy Scripture. And when the attendants are thoughtless and irreligious; the object sought, a name or registration, without any appearance of faith in the parent, or sponsor; and the congregation dispersed because the service is esteemed a wearisome interruption, rather than an interesting exercise of the strongest faith; in this case the baptismal service, used by me, would not be the language of faith but a tissue of falsehood, told unto God in the solemn language of prayer and thanksgiving. And were I induced to use it so, for the sake of continuing to minister here, my conduct would be a despicable compound of folly and wickedness. And before I thus use it, through fear of losing the pittance usually received by a curate; the disinterestedness and selfdenial of a Christian minister must be lost in a wretched determination to prostitute his holy office to the procuring of a livelihood: a state not very unlike that to which the posterity of Eli were reduced, when they exclaimed, “Put me, I pray thee, into one of the Priests' offices that I eat a piece of bread."
Having adverted to the use of the baptismal service, I would just glance at the after-treatment of the baptized.
In the catechism, the child is taught, so soon as he is able to learn (and thus the force of early impressions is enlisted on the side of the tenet), that he was made in baptism-"A member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven."-And is "called to a state of salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour." He is then, as soon as he can say the Church Catechism, to be taken to the bishop, to be confirmed by him. The bishop's rank and office secure to his decisions, a
proportional deference, and he confirms the statement that "God has regenerated this person by water and by the Holy Ghost; and has given him the forgiveness of all his sins." He is afterwards recognised as "a follower of faithful Abraham." The minister prays that he may be continued in the unity of the church." After death, he is spoken of as a departed saint, and it is affirmed, "that it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed."
All this, and much more to the same effect, I should be applying to converted and unconverted, godly and ungodly, in hundreds of cases, were I to use our services as (I admit with grief) they are very commonly used, even by those whose constant effort it is in their pulpit ministrations, and private intercourse with their flock, to efface those impressions of false security, which their official declarations (if they are understood to mean any thing at all) are calculated to produce.
How ill would such an application of our baptismal and other services accord with the whole of my ministry, in which I have endeavoured to teach, that men are by nature in a state of apostasy from God, and exposed to his righteous indignation; to preach Christ and reconciliation to God through his blood; and to shew that those who being effectually called by God's grace have power given them to become the sons of God, are the "regenerate," "members of Christ, the children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven;" in distinction from all others who either refuse to hear the Gospel of Christ, or hearing it remain unrenewed in the spirit of their mind.
And now, dear Friends, I do not ask you to give me credit for sincerity, because, for conscience' sake, I submit to be deprived of an employment. which I love, and incur the probability of being without employment suited to my habits of life. Nor do I ask you to judge favourably of my ministry. To my own Master, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, I stand or fall. On his love and mercy I cast myself, and Him I beg to correct my errors, and resolve my doubts. But I do ask you, yea I beseech you, for your own sakes, be not satisfied with that change which was said to be wrought in you at your baptism; nor reckon yourselves safe because you have been taught from your childhood to thank God for bringing you to a state of salvation." Remember, I pray you "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
Your faithful Friend, and CURATE.
STATE OF THE AMERICAN CHURCHES. -FINNEY'S LECTURES ON REVIVALS. THERE has lately been much disputation in the United States between the rigid upholders of every old established religious custom, and those ministers who look upon preaching only as a
means to an end, and consider that in order to effect that end, it is needful to pursue the track of innovation, by measures calculated to rouse and arrest
the public attention, We learn many interesting particulars from a recently published work, “ Finney's Lectures on the Revival of Religion, Concern
ing the State of Things in the American Churches." And we shall present our readers with a few specimens, deferring our comment till the conclusion.
I. Things as they have been.
Lay prayers." Much objection was formerly made against allowing any man to take a part in managing a prayer-meeting, unless he were a clergyman. It used to be said that for a layman to pray in public, was interfering with the dignity of ministers, and was not to be tolerated.
minister in Pennsylvania told me, that few years ago he appointed a prayermeeting in the church, and the elders opposed it, and turned it out of the house. They said they would not have such work-THEY HAD HIRED A MINISTER TO DO THE PRAYING, and he should do it; and they were not going to have COMMON MEN praying. Ministers and others have very extensively objected against a layman's ⚫praying in public, especially in the presence of a minister; that would let down the authority of the clergy, and was not to be tolerated."
Lay exhortation." This has been made a question of vast importance, one which has agitated all New England, and many other parts of the country, whether laymen ought to be allowed to exhort in public meetings. MANY MINISTERS have laboured to shut up the mouths of laymen entirely. Such persons overlooked the practice of the primitive Churches. So much opposition was made to this practice, nearly a hundred years ago, that President Edwards had actually to take up the subject, and write a laboured defence of the rights and duties of laymen; but the opposition has not entirely ceased to this day. What! a man that is not a minister to talk in public! It will create confusion-it will let down the ministry. What will people think of us ministers, if we allow common men to do the same things that we do ?"
President Edwards.- "This great man was famous in his day for new measures. Among other innovations, he refused to baptise the children of impenitent parents. The practice of baptising the children of the ungodly had been introduced into the New England churches in the preceding century, and had become nearly universal. President Edwards saw that the practice was wrong, and he refused to do it; and the refusal shook all the churches of New England. A hundred ministers joined, and determined to put him down. He wrote a book on the subject, and defeated them all. It produced one of the greatest excitements there ever was in New England. Nothing, unless it was the revolutionary war, ever produced an equal excitement."
Whitfield." The General Association of Connecticut refused to countenance Whitfield; he was such an innovator. "Why, he will preach out of doors and everywhere.' Awful! what a terrible thing, that a man should preach in the fields or in the streets. Cast him out."
peculiar dress as They used to wear bands instead of a
Dress." Many years ago, ministers were accustomed to wear a peculiar habit: it is so now in Catholic countries; it used to be so here. Ministers had a much as soldiers. a cocked hat, and cravat or stock, and small clothes and a wig. No matter how much hair a man had on his head; he must cut it off, and wear a wig. And then he All these things
must wear a gown. were customary, and every clergyman was held bound to wear them; and it was not considered proper for him to officiate without them. When ministers began to lay aside their cocked hats, and wear hats like other men, it grieved the elderly people very much : it looked so undignified, they said, for a minister to wear a round hat. There is, at this day, scarcely a minister in the land who does not feel himself obliged to wear a black coat as much