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admission to the sacrament, when the sins of the confessor might be forgiven or retained, according to the state of heart he might manifest. Dr. Harnisch said, that “ Any congregation would confess themselves generally to be sinners, but would not to a single person confess their single and seperate sins; that this, however, was necessary to reformation of conduct; that sins should be openly and specifically detailed ; and that the discipline of the church of Rome, which required the private confession of secret sins to the priest, was, so far, good and wholesome." Superior Buchsel asked, What difference there would be between the clergy and the laity, if the text in question had not particular reference to the clergy ?" and ihe pastor Alehring maintained that an unworthy priest might pronounce the forgiveness of sins, because this forgiveness neither depended on his personal character, nor upon his discernment of the heart of his penitent, but upon the virtue of his office--die kraft seines amtes.”
On the second day the conference devoted their attention to the question, “What are the best means of giving unity and strength to the church by the promulgation of ecclesiastical principles (grundsatze) ?” and the conclusion they arrived at was, that the exercise of the pastoral office sufficed not, as principles could not be thereby enforced; that, for the same reason, discourses from the pulpit could not attain the desired object; and that, therefore, first, A new catechisni should be drawn up, in which these principles should be distincily set forth ; second, That the Confession of Augsburg should be industriously circulated, accompanied by explanatory remarks; and, third, Thai a holyday, or jubilee (tier), should be held as an anniversary commemoration of the reformation every 31st of October.
The question which the conference probably had chiefly in view was postponed till the third day, in order that the harmony of the ineeting might not from the beginning be disturbed by controversy. This question was as follows:"What correspondence is there between the evangelical church of
country and the sy lical book of the Lutheran and the reformed churches ?" The object of this question the principal speakers made it evident was, first, To show the great importance of the symbolical books, or what we should call confessions; and, second, To point out on what particular symbolical book, or confession, the church of Prussia should take her stand. It was insisted on by most of the speakers that a church without a confession was no church at all; that a bare appeal to the Bible, which is open to all parties, of all opinions, could not by any possibility constitute any distinct church, and that, therefore, if distinct churches were good (which none could deny), confessions, conformned to the sacred word, must be good also.
The pastors of the conference terminated their labours by proposing, for general adoption, the Augsburg Confession, as the symbolical book of the Prussian ecclesiastical establishment. They insisted on its adoption with an earnestness and a warmth that seemed somewhat greater than the subject demanded. They represented it as the sine qua non of Christian union, of ecclesiastical government, and almost of Christianity itself in that country.-Nonconformist.
COMMENT ON THE ABOVE DOCUMENT.
It is generally known among literary men that Germany is withering away under the influence of infidel philosophy. One party teaches that all the prophets and apostles (not excepting the Lord hiinsell) were sagacious impostors: who, through a superior knowledge of the laws and marvellous energies of nature, obtained the reputation of supernatural power, merely by setting in operation secondary causes hidden from the multitude. These are the Rationalists, who claim, as their great leader, Dr. Paullus. A second party, who deny this theory, and who may be denominated Mythologists, are headed by Dr. Strauss. They will not allow that the prophets and apostles were impostors, but, with loathsome cant, profess much reverence for them, styling the gospel a divine legend, a celestial myth. They concur with the Rationalists that no miracles were ever performed, and, indeed, that the facts of the gospel never transpired, yet maintain that Christ and his ambassadors were good men; and, in faithfully reflecting the spirit of the age, have given a mythology, which we have transformed into history, and thus lost its life-giving spirit. And still the wonder grows that these men are reverend divines !
erudite professors of theology! paid by the state for teaching the doctrine of religion and the principles of morality! In consequence of this, the empire swarms with uncouth and shapeless reptiles, who, with the accents of sanctity on their lips, are yet continually gnawing the pillars of heaven, and sometimes dream of pulling down the throne of God, that the divinity of transcendent reason may reign over the universe. Well, it so happens that there is a third class, who are styled Evangelical. They hold the historic credibility of Christianity as a supernatural remedial scheme: yet they, have abandoned many strong posts into the hands of the enemy, and defend the remaining bulwarks with the torpid calmness of philosophy, rather than with the majesty and fervour of Christian assurance.
But now to the immediate business of this article. This evangelical party enjoys at present the royal smile and favour of his majesty the king of Prussia; and through his influence they have been convened to deliberate upon measures of a conserving and consolidatory kind. What have they done, then, to purify the moral and social atmosphere from infidel fogs? In what way have they sought to give salt and motion to that dead sea, the sluggish and putrid waves of which have destroyed the verdure of the land ? Surely, this was a time when their voices should have been lifted up in trumpet tones for the supremacy of the Word of God; for the life, power, and freshness of ancient Christianity; for the imperious necessity of proclaiming with untiring vigour the gospel of God, as it came down from heaven to be the life of the world. What have they done ? Alas, they have babbled about two of the vilest superstitions of the man of sin ! They have muttered their adherence to priestly remission of sins, and thundered their approbation of a rigid human creed. Counsellor Gerlach, Dr. Harnisch, Superior Buchsel, Pastor Alehring, all agreed that secret confession must be made to
the priest, and that he, by virtue of his office, mást minister absolution. We can only say of this confession and absolution, as hitherto taught and practiced, that a more infamous libel on God and truth never was constructed. It is a high offence against both revelation and reason, and is branded in the page and on the broad column of history, as the fruitful parent of priestly insolence, impiety, and likewise of general and unblushing licentiousness. If Luther had been in the assembly he would have bundled them out as Oliver Cromwell did the Rump Parliament, to seek the Lord in soine other place.
And then as it respects human creeds from Geneva, Augsburgh, or Westminster. Can we learn nothing from the philosophy of history, or the progress of the human mind? The Calvinistic creed was subscribed in that place (Genera), from Calvin to Voltaire; yet Voltaire boasted, in his day, that there was not a single Calvinist in the place; and we are well aware that the ministers were chiefly Unitarians or full-grown infidels. In our land we still have a Calvinistic creed, subscribed by Socinians, Puritans, Millenarians, Arians, Puseyites, and Profligates. If these gentlemen imagine that such chains will bind the demons of Germany, they are, indeed, in the most insane stupor. The unclean spirits will laugh at snch bands, and will continue to drive the possessed into the tombs, and from the tombs into a more horrible abode.
Dr. Strauss, who looks like Satan transformed into a a moral philosopher, and enveloped in the Stoic fur, will jeer this conclave and their decisions with sardonic mockery, and all the ill-favoured brood of Pantheists and Atheists will join in the revelry.
The Augsburgh Confession, a creed three hundred years old, is to be circulated, accompanied with explanatory remarks! The Augsburgh Confession is a system of inferences and speculations concerning the Bible and human redemption ; but, not being sufficiently explicit, the notes
are to clear up the matter by explaining the explanation ! The old creed gives the meaning of the Bible, and the new creed is to illuminate the old one! It will be no wonder if the malediction of God fall in emphasis upon these besotted men, who, when new life is wanted for a gasping empire, have gone to
eek for it in a cavern of umınies, or a charnel-house of dead men's bones. G. GREENWELL.
A SOLILOQUY BEFORE PRAYER. "IF I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer.” Ņow about to fall upon iny knees before my Heavenly Father, does it not become me to examine how I feel disposed to all his children? If I forgive not from the heart every brother that has trespassed against me, my Heavenly Father has said by his Son that he will not forgive
Ought I not, then, to search my heart diligently how it stands affected to all the holy brethren, and towards all mankind ? Am I at variance with one of my Father's children, for whom he has as much affection as for me? If so, is it enough that I am satisfied that I am in the right and that he is in the wrong; that he is the aggressor and I the aggrieved ? Say not, O my soul, that it is enough! Thou must feel for him as for an erring brother; thou must carry up his case to thy Heavenly Father, and plead with him that thy brother may feel that he has erred, and be converted to God and thee. Thou must not only speak for him, but thou must feel for him, or thy Father cannot feel for thee.
But does it seem doubtful whether thou mayest not have been the occasion of the estrangement of his affections from thee, and, consequently, of his aggression against thee? then be humbled, O my soul; expiate thy own fault; extirpate the bitter root of this discord; for if thou do it not, how canst thou speak to God for thy brother ? The errors of thy heart, thy secret wanderings from the way
he will set before the brightness of his face, and thou shalt be ashamed before him.
But hast thou abundant evidence that he has treated thee