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Christ that he may touch them; to ad- necessary to the acquirement: of the mit them into the ark of his church, and true riches, and especially when in your to the privileges of the Christian cove- spiritual warfare, difficulties are to be nant. If this is done in faith, and with surmounted; when great wickedness is suitable solemnities of reverence and to be reclaimed, or powerful temptadevotion, we cannot doubt but God will tions to be resisted ; if strong propenbless the “charitable work” to the sities to evil must be eradicated; if sin. child's benefit. “ The washing of rege. ful passions and inordinate affections neration," through the Lord's merciful are to be regulated or subdued ; in all goodness, will be accompanied with his such cases of difficulty and importance heavenly benediction. The faithful mi- your preparations, your means and nistration of baptism has a sanctifying ef- your efforts, if you would succeed, must ficacy, which, we may believe, inclines be proportioned and adapted to the the heart to righteousness, and in many magnitude of your object. In the bappy instances is the seed or principle hearts of men are still a " kind” of of its entire conversion to God. He evil spirits, which will not go out, but by only knows how many Christians now prayer and fasting. If you would “
go living are rejoicing in comforts of divine on to perfection ;" if you would ingrace, which commenced in the pious crease“ in all virtue and godliness of faith that first devoted them to God, and living ;" if you would indeed subdue afterwards brought them up in the nur- your evil and corrupt affections, you ture and admonition of the Lord. must not only continue “instant in
A true faith in God, a sincere trust prayer;" but in some things practise in the Saviour, is best evinced by obe. sell-denial. All kinds of religious abdience to his word and will ; and espe- stinence may be comprised under the cially by a careful, conscientious use of idea of fasting, which in its more general the appointed means of grace. What sense, is abstaining from sensual pleawe are chiefly to learn from his words sures; from carnal gratification, esperead for our text is, that the use of means cially from eating and drinking to is necessary to the attainment of God's please the palate, in order both to exfavour.
"This kind can come forth by ercise a mastery over the passions and nothing but by prayer and fasting.” It the appetites of nature ; and that the was not possible to effect that cure ; it mind may be more ardently and purely was not allowed to the apostles, though fixed on God and the concerns of the commissioned from heaven, to cast out soul; or, as the church has better exthat " deaf and dumb spirit,” without pressed it, “ That our flesh being subthe previous, sanctifying preparation of dued to the Spirit, we may obey its religious fasting, and humble, fervent godly motions in righteousness and true prayer. And this may all Christians holiness.” The Christian who never well apply to themselves, and to those fasts in this sense of fasting; who never sins wbich most easily beset them. In voluntarily for the glory of God and the things which appertain to this life, we good of his soul, restrains his desires see and well know it is not enough to in things indifferent; the Christian who wish for blessings, nor to believe that at all times indulges in every pleasure they are attainable, and that God is able and gratification which be supposes to and willing to give them. Suitable be lawful, is likely to make but little measures and precautions must be progress in any“ virtue" or "godliness taken, and proper diligence employed, of living;" if indeed (which is awfully
can be attained. “The doubtful) he should even preserve the children of light” should be as “ wise principles of religion in his heart. in their generation;" means are no less Does the Christian know to what
severe conflicts religious duty may call cessary amusements and festivity : him? God's faithful people have often luxuries must be retrenched ; our had trial of cruel mockings and scourg- charities must be increased ; more time ings; of bonds and imprisonment; of must be devoted, to visiting the sick tortures and death. And they are ever and afflicted; to publick worship, and subject to various and daily trials of bu- to private prayer. Such are especialmiliation and self-restraint. Common ly the proper seasons for examining sense and natural reason teach men to our hearts and our conduct ; and if we train up their children, and accustom bare done any wrong to any man we themselves to the studies, labours or should make restitution. business to which interest or duty may From our subject we infer more probably call them. The soldier of particularly, what should be our prethis world submits to long and painful paration for religious solemnities, and discipline, and exercise of arms. And the more important acts of devotion. is the soldier of Christ to make no pre. Such for instance is eminently the paration until the enemy assails him ? case of ordinations to the sacred minWhat was the example which the istry. When men thus solemnly deSaviour gave? Knowing that he was to vote themselves, their time, their talbe tempted to sin, he retired from the ents, and their lives to God, in labours
be prepared himself for the con- so important to his glory, and the imtest by fasting and prayer. Though mortal good of their fellow men; in he was suffering with hunger, and it labours for which by nature and with was perfectly in his power, he would all.human means, we are totally innot command the stones to be made sufficient, if they are worldly or thoughtbread.” This was done, and is writ- less ; if they neglect the due prepaten, for our example. If you sometimes, ration, can it be hoped, or can they with a free and good will, refrain from reasonably expect, that God will accept what you naturally desire, you may them as bis ? That he will sanctify hope with more confidence to stand in them for this office, and bless their the day of temptation. If, as a good ministry? The apostles gave us good soldier of Jesus Christ, you are disci. examples ; they not only prayed, but plined to self-government; if you are fasted on such occasions. How differhabituated to the command of your ent from their example is the too compassions, you will more easily and more mon case of those who take upon themsurely restrain those affections which selves this momentous and most saare corrupt and sinful; temperance and cred office, apparently with as little sobriety and all virtue will be more concern, or apprehension, as wen ennatural and easy. But if, on the con- gage in the common affairs of life.trary, you shall at all times, and on all How different from the example of the occasions, indulge in whatever is sup- apostles is the still more common pracposed not to be sinful, or forbidden in tice of making our ordinations the oce the word of God, you may well fear casion, not of religious abstinence and that
you shall sometimes transgress the humiliation, but of feasting and merrie sacred boundary of Christian inorals. ment!
Let then our faith in Christ be evinc- They who would receive baptism, ed by a diligent use of the means ap- or confirmation ; and they who would pointed, and by all the precautions come to the Lord's supper, the first recommended by the wisdom which time especially, if they would receive is from above. If we would profit by also the beavenly benediction—"the seasons of religious abstinence, we inward and spiritual grace," should must at the least, refrain from unde- not neglect the due preparation. Some
time previous should be devoted to out humble and earnest supplication at meditation and prayer, that the mind the throne of grace. If a malefactor may be in a pious, holy frame, and were condemned to die, and there was the heart be prepared for communion reason to hope a pardon might be obwith God. Let your thoughts, on tained ; you well know with what these most interesting occasions, be anxious solicitude, with what earnest abstracted as much as possible from and persevering efforts it would be worldly concerns. Think much of sought. Seek thus and you shall find ; your sins, that you may repent ; of knock as such a one would knock, and God's mercy, that you may believe; it will certainly be opened unto you. and of Christ's merits, that you may The like may be said of such Chris. hope, and trust, in him alone. It is ow- tians as find themselves declining from ing, no doubt, in a great degree, to the the faith, and the fear of God; who neglect of such preparation, that the look back to the world, as Israel in the ordinances of religion are received, wilderness did to Egypt, having lost and its rites performed to so little edi- their first love. Much prayer and selffication. “ Draw nigh to God, and denial are necessary to restore such to he will draw nigh to you :” humble spiritual health. And if on the conyourself, and you “shall be exalted.” trary they will neglect these salutary
It is, no doubt, sometimes the case, means of renovation, and seek for comthat you mourn the absence of spiritual fort in the world, let them not wonder, comfort; that you want the refresh- or think it hard dealing, if God should ing light of God's countenance. There say, as applied to them, Ephraim is are seasons at least when you are con• joined to idols : let him alone." Let scious that you are not what you ought them not complain, though he should to be ; when you desire not only in state, “swear in his wrath, they shall not but in beart and life, to be the children enter into my rest." of God, and conformed to the image of May God in his merciful goodness bis Son : but your affections are so ' give us all grace to use such absti. much in the world ; your attention is nence,” and to continue so instant in so much engaged in temporal concerns; prayer, " that, our flesh being subdued your zeal is so languid, your love so to the Spirit, we may ever obey his cold, your hopes so distracted with godly motions in righteousness and true doubts and fears, that you have no holiness,” to his honour and praise joy or peace in believing. To you through Jesus Christ our Lord. it may be truly said, “ this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." They who are Christ's
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. have crucified the world, with its af. sections and lusts.” But such a victo. At the present stage of religious conry is not obtained, without bearing a troversy between the opponents and cross.
live easy and care- advocates of our Lord's divinity, it less and unconcerned, indulging at all is no small triuinph to the cause of times your desires, in what you sup: truth, to have the confession from an pose to be lawful, you are not likely to honest sceptick, that the divinity of our experience any change for the better. Saviour is a fundamental doctrine of To fight the good fight of faith," the scriptures.
", you need the whole armour of God ;"
The salutary influence this confes. and this invulnerable armour, the giftsion may have, on the minds of some of heaven, is not to be obtained with- of your readers, infected with the go, 28
ADVOCATE, VOL. II.
cinian heresy, is my reason for sube discredit and reproach upon the sys. mitting it to your use.
tem which Christ and his apostles esThe enlightened mind and amia• tablished, even by those whose means ble temper of its author would add of information should have taught them much to its importance, could I feel more candour, and a higher regard to myself at liberty to mention him. But truth. A very limited examination of without his permission, or knowledge the subject will be sufficient to conof my intention, I can only say, it is vince every impartial inquirer, notcontained in a letter sent me, on the withstanding the round assertions of return of that valuable production, controversialists, and the unblushing Stuart's letters to Channing, from imputations of reviewers, that the one, who, in practice a Christian, will church is not justly liable to the cen. ere long, (I am as fully persuaded as sure to which it has been thus unwar. that he will have the prayers of the or- rantably subjected ; and it is the dethodox,) have fulfilled in him the sure sign of the present communication to promise of Christ, “ If any man will point out some of the principal corrupdo his will, he shall know of the doc- tions of the Romish hierarchy, and to trine, whether it be of God, or whether show their entire rejection by protesI speak of myself.”
tant Episcopalians. The enumeration Extract from the letter alluded to. may consist of the twelve following "I am much obliged to you indeed, particulars.
1. The universal dominion and infor the perusal of Stuart's letters : it is very long, since I have read any fallibility of the pope.
2. The doctrine of transubstantia. thing to give me such unmixed delight,
tion. so strong a conviction of the learning,
3. The sale of indulgences or grant. the acuteness, the philological skill, the
courage, the fairness, the zeal, and ing of absolutions. the piety of its author, such admira
4. The worship of images. tion of his talents, such respect for his
5. Increasing the number of sacraperson. All those, who admit the fact ments to seven. of inspiration, and who are agreed upon
6. Withholding the cup from the the rules of fair construction, might, I laity. should think, be satisfied of an inten
7. Performing publick worship in tion in the sacred writers, to assert the an unknown language. divinity of our Saviour."
8. Invocation of saints, and angels, and the blessed virgin.
9. Forbidding the use of the scrip
tures to the common people. To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.
10. The doctrine of human merit. It is a very popular and common ob.
11. The belief in purgatory. jection to the Episcopal church, par
12. The celibacy of the clergy. ticularly in those places where new The above list, it is believed, inparishes have been formed, that it re- cludes the principal corruptions which iains and countenances many of the bave prevailed in the church of Rome, corruptions of popery. The belief against which the writings of the rethat such is the fact, no doubt, pre- formers were chiefly directed; and not vents many worthy and conscientious one of these is retained by the propeople from uniting themselves to our testant Episcopal church in England, communion; and a great advantage Scotland or America. In regard to the has been taken of the prevailing first, it is known that we do not admit prejudice in this respect, to bring the supreme authority, in matters ec
clesiastical, of any human being what- Thus it is evident, that the Episcosoever. Each diocese is under the care pal church, so far from adhering to the of a bishop, who is subject to the corruptions of popery, is among their canons of the church, and no one ex- most decided opponents. Some things, ercises or claims any authority over indeed, she holds in common with the his brethren. In convention, rites and church of Rome; and she rejoices that ceremonies may be decreed, but not they are still in her possession. But otherwise than as God's word doth they are such as prevailed in the purest allow. As to the doctrine of transub- ages of the gospel ; they were culştantiation, or the change of bread and tivated with care, and bequeathed as a wine into the actual body and blood rich legacy to the church, by apostles of Christ, it is declared in the 28th ar. and martyrs; and they will be defendarticle, that " it cannot be proved by ed with enlightened zeal as the bonds holy writ; but is repugnant to the of unity, and the preventives of heresy, plain words of scripture, overthroweth until the Son of man shall come in the nature of a sacrament, and hath his kingdom. The orders of the mingiven occasion to many superstitions.” istry; the forms of prayer; the obTo guard against the perversion of pa- servance of those festivals and fasts pists, the phrase " these thy creatures which are most interesting to of bread and wine,” is used in the faith, and most encouraging to our communion service after the consecran hopes, have withstood the revolutions tion of the elements. The 3d, 4th, that have hitherto affected the chureh, 8th and 11th particulars are clearly and we doubt not will remain, to unite, condemned in the 22d article, which to improve, and to animate the followis as follows. “The Romish doctrine ers of the Lamb until time shall be no concerning purgatory, pardons, wor- more. Nor will we imitate the madshipping and adoration as well of im- ness of those who hew down the pilages as of reliques, and also invocation
lars of the temple because its walls of saints, is a fond thing,vainly invented have been defaced and defiled. S. and grounded upon no warranty of scripture, but rather repugnant to the word of God.” The number of sacraments, which the Romanists have made seven,
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. is said in the 25th article to be but two, that is to say, baptism and the supper No part of religious worship is more in. of the Lord. The 24th article is dia teresting and delightful, or makes a rectly opposed to the custom of pray- greater impression on the congregation, ing or administering the sacraments in than sacred musick. It has always therea tongue not understood by the people. fore occupied an important place in the
The denial of the cup to the laity is services of the sanctuary. It enlivened reproved in the 30th article, and the the devotions of the synagogue, and doctrine of merit, in the 11th. As to has acquired an honourable distinction the 9th and 12th corruptions, it must in those of the Christian church.
The be evident to all, that they form no part psalms of David, abounding in the most of our system, for the word of truth, elevated strains of piety, and breathing in large portions, is constantly read in the purest language of adoration, of our churches, and the clergy gener. penitence, of faith, of hope, and of ally follow the example of the apostles charity, were set to musick in the Jewand their immediate successors in be- ish ritual; and many of them have ing in all things an example to their been adopted, by the disciples of Christ, docks.
as admirably calculated to express their