Page images

Henry Martyn's Sermons. THE friends of the church will learn with pleasure, that a volume of sermons, on the leading doctrines of Christianity, and its important duties and privileges; by the late lamented and zealous Henry Martyn, is now in press in this city. The great interest produced by his memoirs, so favourable to the cause of missions, and the effects which recent accounts from Persia state to have

resulted from his personal and zealous labours, warrant the expectation, that the doctrines of the cross, in these sermons, will

be exhibited with that clearness, simplicity, and warmth, which so eminently belong to the style and character of their author.

Obituary.--One who was formerly acquainted with the reverend Walter Cranston, late rector of Christ church, in Savannah, whose decease in July last, has been announced in the Churchman's Magazine, feels it a duty to pay a brief tribute to the memory of a gentleman, who had so many claims to the esteem of his friends and the publick. Mr. Cranston, for several years, discharged the office of a Greek tutor at Harvard university in such a manner as to render him a popular and useful instructer. At the same time, he officiated as a lay reader in the Episcopal church, at Cambridge. Soon af ter taking orders, he proceeded to Savannah, in Georgia, having been invited to be come rector of Christ church, in that city. He there acquired the esteem and respect of his parishioners, and the publick at large, by his pleasing manners and correct deportment, and by his exemplary fidelity in the ministerial office. While the yellow fever was making great ravages among the people of Savanah, in the summer of 1820, he remained at his post, and by his assiduous attendance on the sick and dying, and by his charitable assistance, in that season of calamity, was greatly instrumental in alleviating the dis tresses of his flock. His health having become much impaired, he concluded to make a journey to his native state, (Rhode Island,)

but was arrested by the disease, under which he laboured, on arriving at Middletown, in Connecticut, where he expired. Mr. Cranston had a taste for the belles lettres, and was a good scholar. His disposition was amiable, and his morals pure. He has been early called to rest from his labours, and his works will follow him.

[We have received, from an attentive and valued correspondent, the following list of errata in our account of the state of the

church in Pennsylvania. As our desire is to give an accurate statement, we take this method of expressing our obligations on the present occasion, and of soliciting, from our correspondents in general, the correction of tick accounts, as well as any further inforany errours which may occur in our statismation they may think proper to communicate.]

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. THE August number of the Gospel Advocate is before me. The manner in which the proceedings of conventions, &c., are stated, is very excellent, and promises much good. There is an appearance of considerable accuracy which I am sorry to say the account of the Pennsylvania convention does not sanction. Give me leave to point out a few errours. There are forty-two instead of thirty-six congregations in nineteen counties. Instead of "one is president of the college," read, "one is provost of the university of Pennsylvania." For "one a master of the grammar school," read, "one master of the grammar school of the university." For "confirmations in nine parishes," read eieven. For John C. Clay, read Jehu. For Muhlenburgh, read Muhlenberg. And for "there is a female adult Sunday school connected with St.James's church," read, "there is a female adult school in." I observe one more, there are eleven, not five congregations, in Philadelphia county; and to these we hope to add two if not three by the next convention,


The poetical communication of E. J. will be inserted as soon as our limits will permit, in consideration of the excellent sentiments which it expresses, although the poetry is not quite such as we should wish to present to our readers, especially considering the small portion of our work which ought to be devoted to articles of this kind.



"Knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel." Phil. i. 17.

No. 24.]


[No. 12. Vol. II.


To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.

the perusal of the late attacks of Mr.

ON THE INCONSISTENCY OF SOME PRO Sparks, and his reviewer, on the


THE publication of Paine's Age of Reason, was intended to demoralize the world, and introduce into every settled Christian government, all the horrours and blasphemies of the French revolution. This horrible


however, was overruled by the provi-
dence of God, and made subservient
to good. Had the infidel* never pub-
lished his Age of Reason, bishop Wat-
son would not, probably, have written
his unanswerable apology for the bi-
ble; nor would many other excellent
works in defence of revealed religion,
have probably seen the light. God
has in no age
"left himself without
witness" of his mercy and goodness
to our fallen race. In whatever clime
disease exists, there its antidote is
usually found. Wherever vice and
irreligion seize upon the vitals of a
nation, there, able defenders of the
faith, and of the moral government of
God, are raised up by the gracious
interposition of Providence. For these
evidences of the divine goodness, let
every Christian heart "rejoice and be

These reflections were produced by

Lest some fastidious individual in this

age of liberality, should deem this appellation harsh, I will here quote Tom Paine's opinion of the bible. "Before any thing can be admitted as proved by the bible, the bible itself must be proved to be true. Speak ing for myself, if I had no other evidence that the bible is fabulous, than the sacrifice I must make to believe it to be true, that alone would be sufficient to determine my choice." 46


Episcopal church. Her liturgy and

articles form an insurmountable barrier to the infidel, and to the impugnHer battlements must be overthrown, ers of our Lord's essential divinity. and her bulwarks levelled with the ground, before her fidelity to her Lord can be corrupted, and the most holy places of the sanctuary be surrendered to the spoiler. While these distinctive mounds exist, the deity of Jesus Christ must be preached by her clergy, and must be the ostensible faith, at least, of all her worshippers. It cannot be hoped for, while her liturgy is so constantly read to the people, that the faith of her worshippers can change. She must herself remain unchanged. The" faith once delivered to the saints," is equally now the faith of her clergy and people, as in the primitive days of the Christian church.

There is no instance, I be lieve, in the United States, at least 1 know of none, of a single Episcopal church, under the ministry of an Episcopal clergyman, becoming unitarian. All these secessions from the faith have happened principally among the presbyterians and congregationalists. Ought it not, then, to be a cause of joy and gratitude to God, in every sincere believer in the deity of Jesus, that there is a church whose bulwarks of faith cannot be overthrown by the impugners of our Lord's divinity? Amidst the errours and corruptions which human invention has introduced into the sanctuary, and which have

[ocr errors]

defaced the order of harmony, and the "beauty of holiness," ought we not to rejoice that there is a "church built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone," against which the gates of hell shall not prevail?" If the deity of Jesus be an essential article of Christian faith, as we are taught to believe in the bible, ought it not to be guarded by unchangeable formularies, against the attacks of unbelievers? It certainly appears to me to be reasonable and proper. And as the protestant Episcopal church was, under God, the bulwark of the reformation against the machinations and corruptions of the church and court of Rome, so will she continue to be the bulwark of the "faith once delivered to the saints," against the attacks of those who would bring "the Lord that bought them," down to their own level, and who "think wickedly," as the psalmist expresses it, "that God is even such a one as themselves."

The attacks of the unitarians on the trinitarian faith, have been met by the orthodox as became good soldiers under the Captain of our salvation." The reverend professor Stuart, a congregational divine of Andover, has proved the deity of Jesus, by some profound criticisms on the original text. The reverend Dr. Dalcho, an Episcopal clergyman of Charleston, South Carolina, has proved the divinity of Jesus Christ from the testimony of Christian and heathen writers; and the learned, and reverend professor Miller, a presbyterian clergyman, of Princeton, New Jersey, has, in a somewhat similar manner, ably refuted the impugners of our Lord's divinity. The two last


* Letters to the reverend W. E. Channing, containing remarks on his sermon recently preached and published at Baltimore. By Moses Stuart, associate professor of sac. lit. in the theological seminary, Andover, 1819. Evidences of the divinity of Jesus Christ; with the testimony of Christian and heathen writers, that he was called God, and wor

writers have quoted from the fathers, and I think have shown conclusively that Jesus Christ was worshipped as God in their days. Among the earliest writers of the fathers, we find the celebrated Ignatius. He was personally known to some of the apostles; was made bishop of Antioch by St. Paul, A. D. 69; and suffered martyrdom, after the death of St. John. There can therefore be no question as to his being a competent witness of the faith, practice, and discipline of the primitive church, in the apostolick age. If the writings of this father can be proved to be authentick and genuine, we can have no hesitation in believing what he has written on these subjects. And the more so, as we know that the miraculous influences of the Holy Spirit, continued with the church, long after the age of Ignatius. The author of the "evidences," in a note, p. 61, states that the smaller epistles of Ignatius are acknowledged to be authentick and genuine, but the larger to be spurious. He refers to "archbishop Wake's translation of the apostolical fathers; Horsley's controver sial tracts, pp. 133-139. Jortin's remarks on eccl. hist. I. pp. 5461. Milner's church history, I. pp. 158. Doddridge's lectures, I. pp. 400. Euseb. hist. eccl. lib. 3. cap. 35. gr. vel. 32. Han. Lardner's works, (a unitarian,) I. pp. 315, 316. 4to edition. Simpson's Deity of Jesus, pp. 468,469, and Kett's Bampton lecture, notes, pp, 22-25; where a further list of authorities are referred to."

shipped as God, in the first three centuries, have not an opportunity of consulting larger, Designed, chiefly, for the use of those, who or more critical works. By Frederick Dalcho, M. D. assistant minister of St. Michael's church, Charleston. 1820.

Letters on unitarianism; addressed to the members of the first presbyterian church, in the city of Baltimore. By Samuel Miller, D. D. professor of ecclesiastical history and church government, in the theological seminary of the presbyterian church in the United States, at Princeton. Trenton, 1821.

From a careful perusal of these authorities, I am satisfied that the smaller epistles of Ignatius are the genuine writings of that father. When Dr. Miller's book appeared, I was pleased to notice the same acknowledgment, by that learned writer. In a note to p. 122, he says; "The author is aware, that the authenticity of the epistles of Ignatius, has been called in question, as well as that of Barnabas, before quoted. It is impossible, in a work written on the plan, and with the design, of these letters, to enter into the merits of controversies of this sort. It is sufficient for his purpose to say, that the great body of learned men consider the epistle of Barnabas, and the smaller epistles of Ignatius, (and from these alone he offers quotations,) as, in the main, the real works of the writers whose names they bear. Of this opinion was the eminently learned unitarian, Dr. Lardner."

The opinion of Dr. Lardner, is given in these words: "I make little doubt, but the smaller epistles, which we now have, are, for the main, the same epistles of Ignatius which were read by Eusebius, and which, it seems pretty plain from Origen, were extant in his time." Again, "Considering then these testimonies, which I have alleged from Irenæus, Origen, and Eusebius, and also the internal characters of great simplicity and piety, which are in these epistles, (I mean the smaller,) it appears to me probable, that they are for the main, the genuine epistles of Ignatius." And again, "To conclude: as the epistles which we now have of Ignatius are allowed to be genuine by a great number of learned men, whose opinion I think to be founded upon probable arguments, (as I have also shown in the testimonies here alleged,) I now proceed to quote them as his."'*

* Lardner's Works, I. p. 315. Lond. 4to.

5 vol. 1815.

That an Episcopal divine should acknowledge the epistle of Ignatius to be genuine, I do not wonder; but I confess I was a little surprised to find a presbyterian clergyman, and a unitarian dissenter, subscribing to that fact. It does appear to me to be a little inconsistent, to acknowledge the genuineness and authenticity of a work, and yet to deny a matter of fact recorded by the writer, who is allowed on all hands to be a competent witness of that fact, and who has laid down his life, in support of what we all acknowledge to be the truth. It is true, however, that both Dr Lard ner, and Dr. Miller, have made a salvo. The smaller epistles, are, in the main, say they, the genuine writings of Ignatius. Now I presume this expression to mean, that the general scope, the principal or chief part, the bulk of the epistles, are really and truly the writings of Ignatius. Now two of the principal statements, made by the holy martyr, are the deity of Jesus Christ, and the existence of the three orders of the ministry, bishop, presbyter, and deacon, in the church, during the life of some of the apostles. From this publick declaration of these facts, made on the eve of his martyrdom, we must believe that the deity of Jesus was the faith, and Episcopacy the practice, of the church in bis day. And we must likewise believe, that if the Episcopal government of the church was not adapted to its best interests in its militant state; if it was not consistent with the divine will, in the minds of the inspired apostles who organized the church, the apostles would certainly have abolished it, as the corrupt invention of ambitious men. They would have left in their writings, such an avowal of its inconsistency with their opinions and practice, as they have done of various heresies But we find no such thing. Ignatius was acquainted with some of the

apostles; was made bishop of An tioch by St. Paul.† about A. D. 69, and suffered martyrdom for the faith at Rome, Dec. 20, A. D. 107, seven years after the death of St. John. Ignatius, therefore, must have known the faith of the church, and the practice of the apostles.

It appears from the general testimony of the ancients, that Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch, after St. Peter. That he was not a congregational bishop, presiding over a single congregation, may be proved from his own genuine writings, wherein he distinctly names the three orders of the Christian ministry, bishop, presbyter, and deacon. Dr. Lardner, in his history of Ignatius, quotes the testimony of the ancients to the Episcopal order of this holy martyr. And he further says, "Beside the bishoprick, the martyrdom of this good man is another of those few things concerning him, which are not contradicted." None of the ancients, then, deny that Ignatius was a bishop; and as he was a bishop, according to the common acceptance of the word, during the life of the apostles, we are safe in concluding the office to be of apostolical appointment, and necessary to the perfection and government of the church of Christ.

I shall now proceed to give some extracts from the genuine epistles of Ignatius, to show, conclusively, as a matter of fact, that in his day, and while St. John the evangelist was still living, the government of the church at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia, &c. was Episcopal.

From the epistle to the Ephesians. "I received, therefore, in the name of God, your whole multitude in Onesimus; who by inexpressible love is ours, but according to the flesh is

[ocr errors][merged small]

your bishop." S. 1.-" For what concerns my fellow servant Burrhus, and your most blessed deacon."—" That being subject to your bishop, and the presbytery, ye may be wholly and thoroughly sanctified." S. 2.—“Let us take heed therefore, that we do not set ourselves against the bishop, that we may be subject to God." S. 5.— "It is therefore evident that we ought to look upon the bishop, even as we would do upon the Lord himself." S. 6.

From the epistle to the Magnesians. "Seeing then I have been judged worthy to see you, by Damas, your most excellent bishop; and by your very worthy presbyters, Bassus, and Apollonius; and by my fellow servant Sotio, the deacon." S. 2." It will therefore behove you, with all sincerity to obey your bishop; in honour of him whose pleasure it is that ye should do so, because he that does not do so, deceives not the bishop whom he sees, but affronts him that is invisible. For whatsoever of this kind is done, it reflects not upon man, but upon God, who knows the secrets of our hearts." S. 3.-"I exhort you that ye study to do all things in a divine concord: your bishop presiding in the place of God, your presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles; and your deacons most dear to me, being entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ." S. 6. As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to him; neither do ye doanything without your bishop and presbyters." S. 7.-" Study therefore to be confirmed in the doctrine of our Lord, and of his apostles; that so, whatsoever ye do, ye may prosper both in body and spirit; in faith and charity; in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Holy Spirit; in the beginning, and in the end: together with your most worthy bishop, and the well-wrought spiritual crown of your presbytery; and your deacons which are according to God. Be subject to your bishop," &c. S. 13.

« PreviousContinue »