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from original righteousness," and there. earnest endeavours, hereafter, to fulfil fore stand in need of regeneration, them. and restoration to God, by faith and 2. It is incumbent on us to repent, repentance. But there is an additional in obedience to the divine command. consideration, of a more personal duty, “ The times of this ignorance,” says to enforce the need of repentance. St. Paul, “God winked at, but now com. We have, most of us, been brought mandeth all men, every where, to reinto covenant with God, by baptism. pent.” The absolute necessity of it If the terms of the covenant were not is asserted by our Saviour in the folstated at the administration of the rite, lowing terms: Except ye repent, ye still the obligations are the same ; for shall all perish.” And to those who, by it we were admitted members of when converted by the preaching of the visible church, and placed under St. Peter, cried out, “Men and brethren, the obligations, and admitted to the what shall we do?” the apostle replied, privileges of that body or society, into “Repent and be baptized, every one of were initiated.
By this you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for covenant we engaged to acknowledge the remission of sins, and ye shall reJesus Christ, by whose name we were ceive the Holy Ghost :"_thus evidently called, to be our Lord and Master; signifying its indispensable necessity for to renounce the devil and all his works; admission into the kingdom of heaven. and to believe in God, and serve him. Hence, finally, we infer its absolute But we have broken this covenant. importance to our acceptance with God. Christ has not violated his promises to the proud and impenitent are alike us, but we have violated our engage- odious to him. “He dwells with the ments to him. God made a covenant humble and contrite,” and “ the broken with Abraham and his posterity, of and contrite heart he will by no means which circumcision was the sign, and despise.” He who has no sins to conwhosoever received this sign, St. Paul fess, can have but few favours to ask,
was a debtor to do the and must have very limited views of whole law." All who received it the divine goodness and forbearance ; engaged to worship the only living and, of course, has few of those qualifiand true God, according to the Jewish cations which recommend him to divine ritual, and obey his commandments; favour. and God promised, in case of obedi. Being thus instructed in the nature ence, to be their God for ever. But and necessity of repentance, let us not the Israelites often violated this cove- be averse to its exercises; nor through nant, and forfeited its privileges. A false shame stifle the compunctions of great part of their repentance, there. conscience, nor resist the strivings of fore, consisted in bewailing their broken the Holy Spirit. promises and vows, and in renewing But if there be any one present, who their covenant with God. The new bas never as yet lamented and bewailed testament is the book of the new cove. his sins,20 let him consider bis exnant, entered into between God and tremely perilous condition ; how far his spiritual Israel, of which baptism be must be from the Christian life ; is the sign, and we, gentiles, the mem- and how excessive his blindness and bers. Like the ancient Israelites, we obduracy, not to have discerned his sinalso have violated the most solemn en- fulness and his need of contrition. Could gagements; and, like them, it is our be have one just view of himself in the duty to deplore our treachery, to re- mirror of God's holy word, he would new our vows, and engage in more shudder at his deformity, and with • Galatians v. 3.
Job, loathe himself in dust and ashes. 19
ADVOCATE, VOL. JI.
Let him, therefore, apply diligently to animal; and yet his actions are seldom the means of grace, that be may be the immediate result of reason. We enlightened and awakened to a just are usually called upon to act before sense of his ruined condition. Let him we have time to examine the motives apply now, while the means are in his which should influence our conduct. power, and the day of grace is afford. We must, therefore, act from our feeled, and the arms of mercy are extend- ings, or not at all. It inay, indeed, ed to receive him. “ Let the wicked with truth, be said, that the province of forsake his way, and the unrighteous reason is rather to regulate our feelings, man his thoughts: and let him return than our actions. A man who should, unto the Lord, and he will have mercy even were it possible, deliberate and upon him; and to our God, for he will reason, before performing the common, abundantly pardon."
daily actions of life, would certainly be the most cold and uninteresting being in the world.
It does not, To the Editor of the Gospel Advocale.
therefore, follow, because fiction can There has always been an opinion make piety and morality more engaging among serious Christians, that novel to the youthful mind, that it is benefireading was injurious to the youthful cial to employ it. So far from this mind. The novels, which compose a being true, it is found by experience, large part of most circulating libraries, that the needless excitement of our which give a false picture of human life, best feelings, instead of strengthening, and whose only interest consists in a love only weakens them. As the bow often tale, more or less ingeniously wrought, bent, loses its elasticity, so do feelings have but few advocates among judicious frequently called into action, become parents; but it is difficult to conceive, blunted. Familiarity makes us cease that the young mind should be more to shudder at what once struck us with injured by reading those graphical de- horrour, and to view with indifference, lineations of the characters and man- wbat once excited our strongest symners of distant countries and past ages, pathy. Our feelings become less acute, and of the varied motives, which influ- as we become more acquainted with ence the conduct of individuals at all the world, but we do not become less times, and under all circumstances, tban virtuous. An all-wise Creator has given it would be by perusing a beautiful poem, habit, a surer principle to supply the or other work of imagination. In the mo. place of deadened affection; and we ral scale they must hold the same rank. come to seek for those objects of miseBut as royal roads have been attempt ry which we once only relieved, when ed to every branch of learning; and accident threw them in our way. Now, children were to acquire knowledge fictitious tales of suffering produce, in while they only sought diversion ; so some degree, the same effect in deadendeavours are made to render piety ening our feelings, as the view of real and morality more captivating, by pre- misfortune ; but as no action can follow, senting them in a fictitious garb. It is no habits are formed. The sympathy the object of this paper to inquire, we feel with the imaginary sufferer is whether these imaginary representa- considered, by ourselves, as a proof of tions of virtue struggling with difficul- our correct affections. Every perusal ties, buteventually successful, are really of this kind, while it tends to inbeneficial; or whether they do not capacitate us from action, serves to merely excite the benevolent affections increase our stock of imaginary virtue. to no purpose. It may be well pre. A great moral writer has observed, viously to inquire, what are the mo. that good purposes, unfollowed by good
, tives which incite to virtue, or deter actions, avail nothing, and are worth from vice. Man is called a reasoning notbing. More than this is true of
good feelings. They are worse than authority, that Episcopalians do not useless. They lull the conscience to sufficiently imitate other Christians, in sleep. During the period of the French decidedly preferring their own faith revolution, a certain spurious philo- and worship, and giving to them their sophy sprung up, which is not yet undivided support.
P. C. quite exploded; and which placed all virtue in the imagination, and in feel
Charleston, (S. C.) January 15, 1822. ing. Persons of this school were too MY DEAR SIR,—This first leisure mornmuch occupied with remote and unat. ing, since the receipt of your letter of tainable schernes of benevolence, to the tenth instant, I have devoted to its attend to the daily wants of those around consideration; and you will permit them. Schemes of universal philan- me to observe, that it has excited in thropy were an excuse for the want of my mind an unusual degree of solici. individual justice ; and they were so tude. It is impossible not to approve absorbed in the metaphysical contem- the motives by which your request has plation of the soul's purity, as to for- been dictated ; but in correspondence get that they had duties to perform with that frankness which ought to sub, to their fellow creatures and them- sist among Christians, I would beg selves.
leave to ask, whether the proposed Parents should be careful, how they measure is practicable. Is it possible suffer the benevolent affections, which for any editor to conduct a religious God has bestowed upon their offspring, paper, without introducing into it his as motives of virtuous action, to be own views of Christian institutions, needlessly excited. We even disap- not formally, but indirectly, allusively, prove the visiting of hospitals and pri- and perhaps unconsciously? sons, merely as spectators of the suffer- It might be determined, for example, ings that man is heir to. When young that the present editor is a Calvinist, persons do visit the sick or guilty, they from the internal evidence afforded by should always be made to take with the first number. In the obituary no them some consolation for the diseased tice of Mr. ****** he speaks of effimind or body; nor should they becacious grace,” assurance of
accepsuffered to read fictitious tales of misery, tance," “ vital religion, and, in the without being in the constant habit of prospectus, " of evangelical religion ;'
“ " affording relief to the distressed. terms which, whatever might have been
their original import, are now generally used in a sectarian sense. If it be
said, that the above quotations are from To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.
a selection, it is replied, that sentiA MEMBER of our church, having ments may be propagated as effectually been formally requested, by letter, to by selections, and, perhaps, more so, subscribe to a religious paper, establish- than by original communications. A ed and chiefly supported by members perfectly neutral paper could have no of another denomination of Christians, allusion to the divinity of the Saviour, and now edited by a minister of the and the existence of the Holy Ghost ; same denomination, he sent the follow- for both these doctrines are denied by ing reply, with some few alterations, to some who admit the authority of the the friend from whom the request came. scriptures. Indeed, of what doctrine The Gospel Advocate has hereby per. can it be said, that it is universally remission to publish the letter in whole, ceived? But, admitting the practicain part, or with such alterations, as he bility of conducting a paper on what
are called general principles, what It has been a complaint, from high would be the result? And bere ]
may deem proper,
avail myself of the remarks of bishop dissenters to withdraw, and leave the Marsh on another occasion. “ The matter wholly to the established church. attempt to generalize Christianity, in The union of Christians is, indeed, a order to embrace a variety of creeds, desirable object. It was the most hapwill ultimately lead to the exclusion of py lot of the early Christians, that all creeds; it will have a similar effect they were of one mind," and a perwith Spinoza's doctrine of pan-theism ; fect “unity of spirit, in the bond of it will produce the very opposite to peace,” will probably be the most that, wbich the name itself imports. interesting event connected with the And as pan-theism, though nominally millenium. But “ how can two walk the reverse, is, in reality, but another together except they be agreed ?" Conterm for atheism, so Christianity, when currence of sentiment will produce generalized, is no Christianity at all. unity of action. But to attempt the The very essentials of Christianity must latter, where the former does not exist, be omitted, before we can obtain a will be unavailing.
It will probably form so general, as not to militate widen the breach. But to be more against any of the numerous systems, practical, I would observe, that I am which, in various ages, have been now a subscriber to four religious peridenominated Christianity. Some par- odical publications, and that, if I found ticularsystem, therefore, must be adopt. it convenient to add a fifth, I sbould ed,” &c.
prefer some paper, in which I should That there is a common ground to reasonably hope to find much in favour certain sects, will not be denied. But of, and nothing contrary to, (even in it should be known what sects are to allusion,) those views of Christian truth be united, before we can know wbat which I have been accustomed to conthe common ground is. Thus the bap- sider correct. Of course, should any tist may unite with the presbyterian, friends choose to consult me, I should on the common ground of Calvinism; recommend the Gospel Advocate, the and the methodist with both, on that of Christian Journal, the Churchman's Ma“ instantaneous conversion” and “as- gazine, the Episcopal Magazine, or the gurance of acceptance.” It may be Christian Observer, (republished in here observed, that the religious in- New York and Boston,) which are telligence, in the paper, has generally edited by Episcopalians, and designed related to incidents, by which these to defend and propagate the religion of two doctrines were illustrated and en- our Saviour, as it is understood by our forced. If the Episcopal church is in- venerable church, and which cannot be vited to join the coalition, she ought to continued, to the manifest promotion of be told what the ground of union is, truth and godliness, if Episcopalians and she ought to have a voice in the transfer their support to other works, or board of editors. But these coalitions even if the great body of them divide seldom terminate favourably. Their their patronage between these and sieffect, in other countries, as well as in milar works, devoted to the interests of our own country, ought to be a warning. other denominations of Christians. And And here I would particularly refer you here I would ask, whether the above to the third number, volume xiv. named works are patronised by those of the Christian Observer, (1815,) in who expect Episcopalians to patronise which it appears that the attempt to their works. As it respects this city, unite different denominations, in a soci. the fact may be easily ascertained by ety for the conversion of the Jews, inquiring of the agent. completely failed. The inconveniences, With respect to the Episcopal church, experienced in the progress of the un- in the southern states, having a paper dertaking, were such as to induce the conducted op their principles, or by a
member of their church, (which I con- ful in the southern states, a large prosider the same thing,) it does not ap- portion of whose population cannot pear to me impracticable, if a united read, and have little other opportunity effort were made ; and, at any rate, of knowing the word of God, except that desirable event must be postponed, that which may be afforded to them in if the patronage on which it must live church. is diverted into another channel. The But to return. The paper you repaper you recommend will, I doubt commend is edited by a presbyterian. not, support Christianity, in opposition Its patrons are, by a large majority, of to infidelity ; but it will, at the same that church. The agents, through the time, maintain Calvinism in opposition country, it is believed, are, with scarce to those views which are entertained by an exception, presbyterians, and the our church respecting divine grace; managing committee of seven will, we and it will, also, forward the prosperity do not doubt, on inquiry, be found to of the most powerful church in our be so also, at least a majority of them. country, which holds, what Episcopali- In getting up this paper the presbyans cannot assent unto, that there is a rians are right. (I do not say they are parity in the ministry, and that forms right in inviting the patronage of Episof prayer are not to be preferred in copalians by partial statements.) Their publick worship. Episcopalians are zeal and liberality do them honour. endeavouring to persuade men to adopt May they be imitated by the inembers the rational and sublime liturgy, which of our church, in behalf of that church. it is their privilege to possess, and Why should we help them? They wbich is at once the guardian of faith, are numerous and able.
They say, and the incentive to devotion. They expressly, they do not need additional maintain that Episcopacy is not only patronage for the paper: they say, highly expedient, as a guard to the sa. what“ it has received gives encouragecred office, from the intrusion of weak- ment to offer it enlarged;" and a ness and corruption, as creating a re- correspondent writes:
66 The encousponsible and energetick government, ragement given has been such as to but that it is recommended by the encourage its conductors to edit that model of the Hebrew church, and of the useful paper, in future, in an enlarged primitive Christian church, and thus size." In the confidence of their far, to take the lowest ground, a divine strength, the presbyterians call their seinstitution. How, then, can they con- minary in Tennessee, “the southern sistently promote a system, at the foun- and western theological seminary," and dation of whose discipline is a parity their church," the southern church.” In in the ministry, and from whose wor- the small state of Tennessee alone, they ship extempore prayer is inseparable. report already, as students for their As to faith, I will only advert to the ministry, between twenty and thirty consequences resulting from the decla- young men. The Episcopal church is ration in our catechism ; “ God the Son comparatively a small and feeble flock. redeemed all inankind;" and that in It has need of all the resources to which the presbyterian catechism; " The only it has a claim. Let her sons and daugh, Redeemer of God's elect the Lord ters read bishop Chase's address to the Jesus Christ.” I might here insist on bishops, and say, if they can conscien. what I conceive to be an important, tiously contribute to the advancement though a minor consideration ; ihat our of another church, while their own in church has a claim on our preference, the wilderness is ready to perish. Even in
consequence of the provision made in our own state, if we had funds, how for the reading, in order, the holy many missionaries could be usefully scriptures-a measure peculiarly use. employed. In this city, two domestick