« ZurückWeiter »
Of the Sundays in Adtent. our lives after our Lord's example; for having in the first part of the year learnt the mysteries of our religion, we are in the second to practise what is agreeable thereto, building upon that foundation such a life, as the author of it requires of us.---The Epistles and Gospels, therefore, are such, as may most easily, and plainly instruct, and lead us in the true paths of Christianity,
OF THE SUNDAYS IN ADVENT.
OR the greater solemnity of the three principal Holy-Days Christmas
Day, Easter-Day, and Whit-Sunday, the Church has appointed certain days to attend them; some to go before, and some to follow after. Before Christmas are appointed the four Advent Sundays, so called, because the design of them is, to prepare us for religious commemoration of the Advent, or coming of Christ in the Flesh.--For the more religious observance of this season, courses of Sermons were formerly preached, in several Cathedrals, on Wednesdays and Fridays.-The Collects for the first and second Sundays in Advent, were made new for the first Prayer Book of King Edward 6th. That for the third Sunday was added at the last Review, in the place of a short one, not so suitable to the time. That for the fourth is the same, as is to be found in the most antient offices.
The Epistles and Gospels are all very antient, and very fit for the time; they assure us of the truth of Christ's first coming ; and as the proper means to bring our lives to a conformity with the end, and design of it
, they point out to us the prospect of his second coming, when he will execute vengeance on all those, who obey not his commandments.
It may here be observed, that the Church computes the beginning of the year, and renews the annual course of her services, at this time of Advent.-She does not number her days, or measure her seasons, so much by the motion of the sun, as by the course of our Saviour, that true Şun of righteousness, who began now to rise upon the world, and, as the day star on high, to enlighten them, that sat in spiritual darkness. [To be continued ]
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN CONNECTICUT, ADOPTED BY THE CONVENTION IN THE YEAR
"HE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH, in the state
of the permission, and under the Providence of Almighty d) three Orders of Ministers, viz. BISHOPS, PRIESTS, and DEACONS, agreeably to the institution of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
ART. 2d. There shall be an annual meeting of the Bishop, his Clergy, and Lay-Deputies from the several Churches of the Diocese, on the first Wednesday of June; the place to be determined by the Bishop.
Art. 3d. When the Episcopate of this Church shall become vacant, by death,
the Presbyters, Deacons, and Lay-Deputies from the several Churches in the Diocese, shall meet within three months from the time when said vacancy shall happen, either at New-Haven, or Middletown, in order to elect a person to fill the Episcopal Chair: and the time, and place of such meeting shall be notified by a standing Committee annually to be appointed for that, and other purposes, by publishing the same in two, or more News-Papers in this State, at least four weeks successively previous to said meeting. And whoever shall be elected by a majority of the votes of the Clergy then present, shall be considered as duly elected, provided the person chosen shall be approved of by a majority of the Lay-Deputies.
Art. 4th. The person thus elected, shall be recoinmended by both Clergy, and Laity to the oldest Bishop in the United States, praying him, with two other Bishops, to consecrate" to, and invest with, the Episcopal Office, the person thus recommended : and upon the Bishop's producing the deed of Con
A few thoughts on the subject of religious experience. secration, the Clergy and Lay-Deputies shall promise before God, and the congregation, to pay him all that respect and obedience, to which he is entitled by bis office, and the canons of this Church
ART 5th. It shall be a rule and order of this Church, that the Bishop shall * visit every part of his Diocese (at least where there is a Minister settleu) once in three years.
Art. 6th. If any Presbyter shall exclude from the holy communion any person belonging to his congiegation, the Presbyter shall transmit to the Bishop, an account thereof within one month, with the nature of the offence, and the evidence by which the charge is supported; and the sentence of the Bishop in convocation shall be decisive, unless the person under suspension should * think proper to appeal to a council of Bishops.
ART. 7ih. When an election of Lay-Deputies is to be made, to represent the Church of Connecticut in general Convention, those persons wlio shall have a majority of the votes of the Laity in convention, shall be deemed duly elected; and the manner of electing shall be by ballot.
ART. 8th. I be toregoing articles shall be laid before the several Episcopal Societies in this state for their approbation; and if approved by said societies, and a certificate of such approbation under the hand of the several Clerk's thereof be produced to the next annual convention, the same shall be considered and established as the Constitution of the Lpiscopal Church in this state.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
· The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. TH
'HE public are often entertained with the subject of experiences, and the
work of the Lord upon the hearts of the people, in giving them new light and knowledge, which they obtain, not by reading, and studying the holy scriptures, but by something that is immediately communicated to them from heaven. As if, in this enlightened age of divine revelation, miracles were wrought to awaken people to a sense of their duty, or to a saving knowledge of the Gospel ; or as if the method already exhibited by the word of God, was not sufficient for their salvation. This to me, appears unwarranted, and inconsistent with that rule of life, which God has left us by his prophets, apostles, and Jesus Christ himself.
It is said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, if they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded tho' one should rise from the deud : and in the close of the revelation of St. John, if any mian shall add to, or diminish from, the revelation of God, his part shall be taken out of the book of life
God has in the Bible sufficiently revealed all that man needs to know in order to salvation, and the Holy Ghost does always so accompany his own word, that if we apply ourselves to it, with an honest heart, we shall come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and know every thing in a saving mamer.
The word of God is quick and powerful, and able to convert the soul. It gives wisdom to the simple, consolation to the attlicted, and support to the faithful ; and to look for another more effectual and more powerful calling by the holy Ghost, is presumption and tempting God : it is like desiring one to rise froin the dead, when we have Moses and the prophets, Jesus Christ and bis apostles.
The evidence which Christ gave to the world, that he was the Messiah and son of God, was God's testimony, and what begot faith in one, was afforded to all the rest. Some who heard Christ and saw his miracles, believed ; but others, who had the same revelation, yet remained in unbelief. The same evidence was to all; the difference arose from the different temper of mind will which they received the one and the same evidence or same revelation : It is the case with us at this day-Of Christians, some are good men and live agreeable to their belief; others know the scriptures and believe them as well as they, yet live in sin, ard pay little or no regard to wlüt they Leliere ; &
On religious zeal. their faith and their knowledge is the same, and owing to the same evidence, the same revelation, the same Bible, and both have the same blessed privilege of knowing God's will and the way to heaven, It often happens, that the wicked man knou's the scriptures better than the good man.
Faith in good, and bad men, is nothing but knowledge founded on God's testimony: all the difference between faith and knowledge, as they are in a good or bad man, lies in this, that the one applies himself to what he knows, and believes, and improves his faith, so that it becomes the governing principle of his soul ; the other neglects, and does not so meditate upon what he knows and believes as to change his heart and life; yet faith and knowledge, considered in themselves, distinct from improvement, are exactly the same in both.
It is a great blessing to a good man, to believe and know that the Bible is God's word, and shall, to a tittle, be fulfilled ; and yet there are many wicked men, who do as much know and firmly believe the Bible to be God's word, and see it in the same ligfit, have the same evidence, and the same arguments, and yet live wicked lives : this is owing to their not considering and laying to heart what they know and believe.
Faith will make a man neither good nor bad, unless he improves it into a practical principle. All the difference between a conmon and saving faith lies in this; the one is not considered and realized, and the other is carried into action and forms the Christian.
All of us, good and bad, have God's word given to us as a light to our feet, and a lamp to our paths ; we have every one of u» light enough, if we will but open our eyes, see, and walk in it. The light of the Bible is the only light to convert the soul: the reason why sinners are not converted by this light is not for wani of any new light let into their hearts by the spirit of God, but for the Want of attending to the light of God's word now in their hands.
God has given to man a capacity to learn his duty, to fear and obey him. So God hinself does, and always has, taught all mankind. He taught our first parents immediately by revelation, which lesson they were to teach their children, who were to teach theirs; which d ine lesson God did not need to teach mankind again by immediate revelation. When God taught particular persons immecliately, he always gave them credentials to convince others who were to learn from them, that God had sent them to teach the same new truths. When a man had tae power of miracles to prove his divine legation, then God himself did teach by him; and the instructions which he gave, were the teaching and doctrine of God, and they who believed and obeyed were taught of God. For people therefore to expect a special illumination from heaven, to give them a knowledge of themselves and of the scriptures, is not founded in reason nor collected from revelation ; neither will it support us in the day of trial. Let the word of God be your guide, and a sincere heart direct you in search of truth and duty, and I trust your end will be peace, and your future existence, happiness with God in heaven..
ON RELIGIOUS ZEAL.
end and purposes of our creation ; and observe how little is done in the jpursuit of them, by those who are not actuated by it. - These are the glory and nonour of our great Creator, and the spiritual and temporal welfare of our fellow-creatures, as preparations for our own salvation; and in order to attain either of those ends, to any considerable degree, it is not sufficient to think right, or mean well, uniess we act with a vigour and resolution equal to the uprightness of our intentions. · How little are the interests of religion or mankind promoted by the indolent and the slothful; who content themselves with sitting down in quiet, and wishing well to both; but never interpose with due life or spirit, either to put a stop to the growth of impiety and profaneness, or to. prevent the greatest cruelty and oppression :-Such men, wnatever they may faintly wish or desire, are really little better than mere cyphers in society; if they do no harm, they do little or no good, and it is much the same thing, with respect to the great ends of life, whether they are actually out of the
A short comment on second book of Kings. world, or stupidly idle and unactive in it. And therefore, as reason is implanted in the mind, to regulate and govern the passions ; so are the passions, to actuate the man; and as the former is to be our guide in the choice of our objects, so are the latter to be springs and incentives to push us on to the pursuit of thein. -And therefore it is not enough to choose and approve of the best things, unless we proportion our diligence in the search of them to their superior excellency and worth; it is not enough to adniire the divine pertections, or to contemplate God's works, unless we actually pursue his honour and glory; it is not enough to wish sincerely, that our fellow-creatures may be happy, unless we as sincerely do all that is in our power to make them so.And for this reason our holy religion requires of us, that we should love the Lord our God, with all our hearts, and all our souls, and that we should Love our neighbors as ourselves ; or in the words of the apostle, that we should be zealously affected towards both.-For it is this zeal and affection for the things of God and religion, which must advance us to any great degrees of christian perfection ; it is this zeal and affection which through the guidance of the divine spirit has produced in good men the most heroic acts of piety to God, and charity to men, in all ages ; and the same cause would still, through the same assistance, produce the same effects, if it were equally powerful and operative in us.-If our hearts were as much enflamed with divine love as the royal Psalmist's was, we should, like him, be continually expressing it in acts of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving ; if our souls were a-thirst for God, and longed to come before his presence, we should rejoice in every opportunity of conversing with him, in the strains of true piety, and devotion. Had we the same zeal and affection for our Lord and master, which the primitive martyrs and confessors had, we should, like them, resolutely adhere to and confess him, though it were in tortures, and in death; we should labour earnestly to do honour to that holy name, by which we are called, and give no occasion to the enemies of our God to blaspheme. -In short, it is in the power of every man to do some good, and in the power of most men to do 4 great deal; it is in the power of every man to give some discouragement to 'irreligion and profaneness, and to applaud and encourage the practice of true religion and virtue ; and it is in the power of very many, greatly to countenance and support the one, and as much suppress or prevent the open appear: ance of the other. And therefore it is a criminal supineness and indolence, and not a want of abilities, which prevent their exerting themselves in this cause; and leads them to look without concern on the open increase of infidelity, and all kinds of wickedness, as if they were secure that they could not partake of the guilt of it.—Whereas, if their hearts were really attached to the cause of God and his religion, they could not be indifferent or lukewarm in it; had they a true zeal and affection for him and his glory, they would appear open and resolute in defence of them ; and all men, in their several places and stations, would at least shew their detestation and abhorrence of the boasted iniquities of the reprobate, and the daring blasphemies of the profane.--These, and indeed much greater and happier effects, would naturally tiow from a zealous mind ; and as it is good, so it is the duty of every christian, to be thus zealously affected.
A SHORT COMMENT ON SECOND BOOK OF KINGS, v. 18.
living God concerning bowing in the temple of an idol, it is difficult to acquit the prophet of seeming to countenance hypocrisy and actual idolatry, if the passage be understood as it stands in the English transiation. The Syrian is there represented as asking leave to atten:1 his master to his idol's temple, and desiring to know whether he may, in compliance with his master, bow down there ; and the prophet's answer bein:, in the language of the Hebrews, an answer of approbation, it does consequently grant the leave desired, and approve of the thing —When my muster goeth inila ihe house of Rimmon, and leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in ihe house of Himnon, the Lord pardon thy serrant in this thing. To which Elisha answers, Goss
Modern Logic. peace; or in other words, Be easy as to that matter. But when the genius and nature of the Hebrew language are once known, and thence it appears as I apprehend it will) that the Syrian's words may as well be understood of winaç is past, as what is future, and ought most properly
. to be read as a question, all the difficulty then vanishes, and the prophet is acquitted of any thing inconsistent with his character. In this light, Naaman, who was struck with the miracle wrought upon him, and had cried out, Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; I say, in this light, Naaman only appears desirous of knowing whet this God of Israel was a merciful, as well as powerful God, and asks his prophet, whether he would forgive his past, pot his future idolatry, which he could not but think oifensive to him. Will the Lord, says he, pardon thy servant in this thing, that when my muster went(a) into the house of Rimmon, and leaned on my hand, and I worshipped there; will the Lord pardon this my worship ? He will, replies the prophet, if you continue in this penitent state ; (b)Go in peace.
(a) See the title to the 51st Psalm. (6) See Gen. xliii. 23, Heb.
demonstration. It may not, therefore, be amiss to present your readers with a specimen of that reason, by which many modern divines evince the consistency of the Christian system, and check the progress of intidelity. And
First, That all mankind are sinners, and justly liable to punishment, is very ingeniously demonstrated by the following arguments, (viz.)
Sin is any want of conformity to God's will :-whatever men do, is perfectly conformable to God's will :--therefore all men are sinners. Or in other words, Grad has willed that man shall disobey his will. Again,
God is best pleased with whatever tends to his greatest glory; the wicked deeds of men tend to greater glory to God, than any other works which they do: therefore God is displeased with the wicked deeds of men.
He is not willing that any should perish : and accordingly has decreed absolutely, that the greater part shall perish.
He loves the works of his own hand : and has, therefore, made millions to be objects of bis eternal hatred.
He is no respecter of persons: his ways are all equal: and, therefore, he has single out some for bappiness, and doomed the rest to inevitable misery, without regard to their merits or works.
This, in the styie of modern logic, is called the doctrine of g race; and for this very plain reason, because it, shews that God has no mercy at all, and bestows no grace upon the greater part of inankind.
Secondly, By, such irrefragable arguments the Christian's faith is to be established, and infidelity put to confusion The practical utility of this creed is thus demonstrated. — The doctrine of a particular election and reprobation, without regard to men's works, will always be pleasing to good men, and all such as truly love God; whilst every wicked and profligate person will be pure to hate and reject it. The reason of this is obvious to every one : wicked and abandoned wretches have such pleasure in good works and a holy life, that they abhor the idea of being saved by a mere decree, without the instru; mentality of their own virtuous endeavours, whilst to the righteous the fruits of faito ani a holy life mist be odijus.— Ve may add as another good resulting from this doctrine, that it tends wɔaderfully to humble and mortify the pride
If you can persuade a man to believe himself singled out from everlasting as the peculiar favourite of heaven, any one acquainted with human nature, know, that he must of course be humbled. Wherea;, were a man obliged to work out his salvation with fear an I trembling, by repentance, pagence, meckness, humility, self-abase:nent and love, in honour preferring oth