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salvation. Their intention is to convince man of sin, and then to bring him to Christ. In the Calvinistic catechism, on the contrary, the law, especially as embodied in the precepts of Christ and the apostles, is put after faith, and the doctrines of salvation, as the expression of the gratitude of the child to God, for his redemption by Christ. The law, according to Luther, addresses itself only to the unconverted, or, at most, to that portion of the faithful who are negligent of their duties. According to Calvin, it addresses itself only to the faithful, in whatever state they may be.
Luther did not accomplish a reformation in manners ; he did not even attempt it. Not that he was unaware of its importance.
How," wrote he to the brethren in Bohemia, who urged him to establish some such discipline—“how can we, who live in the midst of Sodom, of Gomorrah, and of Babylon, secure the existence of order, discipline, and purity of life?” Luther thought, that the reformation of manners ought to proceed simply and naturally from the influence of sound doctrine.
Gentlemen, let us again notice how much the diversity of Lutheranism and of Calvinism is necessary, both to the unity and the life of the Reformation. Who does not recognise a profound Christian verity in the thought, that faith herself forms the moral habits of the Christian? Was it not essential, after ages during which the discipline of the church had been the cause of numerous vexations and of still more numerous superstitions, that there should be a solemn declaration against these dreadful errors ? Was it not necessary, that on the side of Calvinism, which here has a tendency to restricted views, that there should be another force in the purified church, which would continually tend to enlarge the views of believers ? Was it not needed that, above all the work of men,--above all their efforts to “recall the wanderer, and to watch over the heritage of the Lord,”—thero should be a finger pointing to heaven, and a loud voice proclaiming, " The good shepherd goes before his sheep, and his sheep follow him, because they know his voice ?”
But, if one of these things was necessary, the other was not the less so. The work of Christian vigilance and of pastoral surveillance was entrusted to Calvinism ; and, gentlemen, we are Calvinists. Zwingle started from this principle : “A universal re-establishment of life and manners, is as necessary as a re-establishment of faith.” At Zurich, at Berne, at · Basle, ordinances for the regulation of manners were enforced; women of unchaste habits were banished ; lodging-houses and hotels were put down; and when, at a somewhat later period, the pope, in accordance with the ancient usage, demanded troops from Zurich, the citizens offered to adjust the difference with 2,000 monks or priests whom they could well spare! Would to God that, in our day, Swiss only of that class were sent to Rome! The good mannera
N. 8, VOL. IX.
of the ministers were particularly insisted on : “ As the word of truth is grave,” said the ordinance of 1532, “the life of its servant should be full of gravity."
But it was particularly at Geneva that this principle was realised. Calvin, with the fervour of a prophet and the devotedness of a martyr who submits himself without reserve to the word of God, exacted from the church which was entrusted to his care, a complete obedience. He fought hand to hand with the libertine party, and, by the grace of God, he gained the ascendency. Geneva, which had been so corrupt, was regenerated, and exhibited a purity of manners, and a Christian simplicity of character, which elicited from Farel, after an absence of fifteen years, an exclamation of astonishment, and this remarkable declaration : “I would prefer to be the last at Geneva than the first elsewhere.” And fifty years after the death of Calvin, a fervent Lutheran, John Valentine Andreæ, having resided some time within our walls, said at his return : " What I have there seen I shall never forget; but I shall ardently desire to imitate it all my life. The brightest ornament of that republic is its tribunal of manners, which every successive week inquires into the disorders of the citizens. All games of cards and of hazard-all swearing, blaspheming, drunkenness, and impurity-all quarrels, hatreds, deceits, treacheries, and frauds, and all other vices are repressed. Oh! this purity is a bright ornament of Christianity! We (the Lutherans) know not how to shed tears enough over that in which we are deficient. If the dissonance in doctrine had not driven me from Geneva, the harmony of its manners would have for ever detained me there."
This character for morality was not restricted to Switzerland and Geneva, but spread into France, Holland, Scotland, and in every place where Calvinism penetrated ; and it yet lives in some of these countries. A German author, M. Goëbel, after having mentioned that a modern traveller, also a German, had not found in all the churches of Scotland which he had visited, a single instance of adultery or divorce, and very little impurity, exclaims, “Let them contrast this with the dreadful immorality of Germany—in the country places, as well as in the towns; only let them interrogate the pastors, and they would be filled with astonishment and alarm."
Alas! gentlemen, we have no longer anything upon which to pride ourselves. These manners are fled. I do not say that this discipline did not contain elements which contributed to its fail; indeed, on the contrary, I think that the part which the state took in the regulation of manners necessitated its destruction sooner or later. I reject all Christian discipline exercised by soldiers and the gend' armes ; but I think that, while civil force might have been dispensed with, the power of vigilance, of charity, and of the word of God might have been retained. But that was not done, and what is the result? Senebier has already told us : “The prosperity of Geneva was for a long time the fruit of Calvin's wise laws. The purity of our ancient morals was our glory. It might be shown that the diminution of their influence is one cause of our misfortunes. Thus was Rome lost, when the voice of her censors was not listened to; and Sparta fell, when the influence of those who were charged to make virtue respected, expired.” If Senebier spoke thus in 1786, what shall we say at this time?
Ah! gentlemen, who did not perceive the justice of Montesquieu's remark, that "the citizens of Geneva ought to bless and honour the day of Calvin's birth, and also of the hour when he arrived within its walls ?” But what the profoundest politician of the eighteenth century discovered, is not understood by the Genevese of this age ; for instead of celebrating the birth of the Reformer, they and their children make a fête on the natal day of a celebrated sophist, a man of ardent mind, and of inimitable talent, but of such morality as to place in the foundling hospital the pitiable fruits of his own licentiousness !—A magnificent statue is raised in Geneva to the honour of Jean Jacques Rousseau, but none to Calvin ! “We shall do it in Edinburgh,” said a divine from Scotland last year to me; “ for Edinburgh,” he added, “is now the metropolis of Calvinism.”
Gentlemen, the re-establishment of faith and of good manners by Calvinism, is the statue that Calvin,—that prodigious and most modest man-would alone desire ; and will it not be raised to him ? If, how ever, as in Saxony, in the days of Luther, a too rigid rule cannot be applied, let us not forget that whoever desires a reform of manners possesses the spirit of Calvinism ; and that it is not only the most sacred duty of ministers, but also of all Christians, so to live, that those who call upon
the name of the Lord may be “ blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse pation.” Phil. ii. 15.
(To be continued.)
UNPUBLISHED LETTERS OF THE REV. JOHN BERRIDGE, A.M.
Everton, Sept. 20, 1776. Dear Sir,—Your kind letter arrived safe, but a long illness of fourteen weeks, attended by great weakness of spirits, has delayed my answer till now; and this I hope will be received a sufficient apology for my tardy answer. You ask, May I call Jesus mine, though I am not yet fully assured of an interest in him by the Spirit of adoption ? By the tenor of your letter, I think you not only may, but ought. Take David for an example, (Psalm cviii. 7, &c.) “God hath spoken in his holiness," made me a promise of victory over mine enemies ; therefore “I will rejoice," rejoice in the prospect of its full accomplishment. He could already' say, “Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine ;” and by faith he says further, “ Over Edom will I cast out my shoe, over Philistia will I triumph." But you reply, David had a special promise which I have not. Let Jesus Christ answer, and rebuke your unbelief in the following precious words, (Matt. xi. 28,) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If J-S- is laden with the guilt and filth of sin, finding them a heavy burden, and is labouring to be delivered from that burden, and is coming on seeking to Christ alone for deliverance, then rest, blessed rest, heavenly rest, is promised to J-S from Jesus Christ, and J- S- may say with thankfulness, Repentance is mine, faith is mine ; and rejoicing in faith, should say, further, with David, “ Rest will be mine, over Edom and Philistia will I triumph." Satan, it seems, is whispering in your ear, that believing before sealing is not faith, but presumption. Let Paul give the devil an
-(Eph. i. 13,) After that ye believed, ye were sealed.” This sealing does not make faith to be saving; it only assures a disciple that he is possessed of saving faith, and has a real interest in Christ. ... Again, others confidently assert, you may have true faith, and perish at last. Let Jesus Christ rebuke such raw scribes, (John iii. 14-16.) Turn to your Bible for the passage. .... As Jesus Christ has given a promise of rest to J- S-, (I put your name down because Satan would thrust your name out,) so he gave a promise of a child to Abraham when seventy-five years old; but Abraham waited twenty-five years for its accomplishment, and thereby gave glory to God; as Paul says, and tells you whence the glory arose, namely in this, that “Abraham did not regard his own age, nor the deadness of Sarah's womb, but overlooking human probability, or possibility, against all hope, he believed in hope, and thereby gave glory to God.” (Rom. iv. 18—20.) He would trust in God's word, though everything made against it : try to tread in Abraham's steps; and when unbelief says it is against all hope to believe, say with Abraham, I will believe against hope. And remember, though a sealed faith brings most comfort to a disciple, a waiting faith brings most glory to God. I cannot doubt of your having the spirit of Christ, because of your deep humiliation for sin, your hatred of sin, your desire of holiness, your seeking Christ alone for pardon and justification, and your consolations from above; these are evident tokens of the Spirit's indwelling, and the seal will be given when it is most for God's glory, and your welfare ; and though it should not be impressed till the twelfth hour, be not discouraged, but pray for it, and expect it; and by waiting patiently for the bless. ing while it is delayed, you give glory to God as Abraham did. You are blessed with that brokenness of heart, which is God's gift, and with which he has promised to dwell; and that broken spirit will carry you safe over Jordan, while the perfection boasters drop in. ... I have read very little of Mr. Fletcher's works, but enough to see that he is yet a stranger to the Gospel. I cast away all controversial writers, and betake myself to the word of God and prayer ; this is my chief employment, and my best delight; and I would advise you to do the same; for controversy will puzzle you, and may tincture you with a controversial spirit, which is generally a bad one, even when engaged in a good cause. ... Till you have a preacher to your mind, I think you should bear Mr. Wesley's preachers, and contribute towards them, but not be a member of their society. By withdrawing from the society, you will prevent pert, raw preachers from teazing you in their society; and by continuing a contribution, you will keep on some terms with them. In the mean time, keep a society at your own house, along with those who are willing to attend. Mr. Keen, one of the trustees for the Tabernacle, might possibly provide some preacher from themselves, or from Lady Huntingdon, who would visit you occasionally and frequently, but not dwell among you. If you write to him in my name, and tell him your case, he will cheerfully return you an answer, and do what he can for you. Direct to Mr. Robert Keen, No. 1 in the Minories, near Aldgate, London.* ... This letter has laid as a burden on my mind for many weeks, but through weakness, had not courage to set about it till this day; and now I am soundly weary with writing. The Lord Jesus bless you, direct you, and keep you! Grace and peace be with you, dear Sir, and with your truly affectionate servant,
Everton, Sept. 24, 1782. Dear Sir,--Your kind letter, with the enclosed, came safe to hand, for which I return you my hearty thanks ; and yesterday bought a great coat for one that needed it much. Your letter not only brought seasonable advice, but made a seasonable purchase ; and the Devonshire Plane will keep the wearer's back warm for some years. Many merchants, though with a mercantile genius, are not apprised of the best way of traffic. They can venture their substance on a ship's bottom, but dare not cast it on the waters : whereas the waters surely bring back what is cast upon them ; whilst a ship’s bottom, like the Royal George, oft goes to the bottom. But the Lord has taught you the Christian art of improving your substance, and bringing a blessing upon it. Many professors, with a rich head, are so poor in faith, and of course so poor-spirited, they dare not trust the Lord with any of their cash, except it be copper, and that coined at Birmingham. Twenty charity sermons, delivered by the best begging mouth, could not induce them to take the Lord's paper for even ten pounds, paid into his bank. Is it not shameful, that the London Bank, or even a private bank, should have more credit than the Lord's bank, and this among Christians and believers, too, as they are called ? Is it not ominous that the Royal George should sink, and cannot be buoyed up? My church at present is in a decline, and seems consumptive. Mr. Hicks supplied my church from September last till the following Easter; and fairly drove away half my congregation. My present curate is a stop-gap, but no assistant. He cannot preach without notes, nor read handsomely with notes ; so my hearers are dwindling away, and transporting from Everton Church to Gamgay Meeting.t ... I am sorry to hear that Mr. H. is busy, as you call it, I suppose in collecting money for the chapel. It is a beggarly business, indeed ; and he has been too much engaged in that business of late years. If he had prudence or compassion he would do otherwise : but poor Job and Lot are any one's plunder. All people who meet rigging, think they may successfully uprig the two sisters for their purpose, and care not if they strip them naked. I am glad Margate has helped your little wife; she is a favourite of mine, and give my love to her, but do not be jealous. The Lord bless and keep you both, and embrace your children in the arms of covenant mercy! My love to the trustees, the preacher, and the doctor. Your much obliged and affectionate servant,
John BERRIDGE. Mr. Benjamin Mills, No. 15, Middle Moorfields, London.
* Mr. Robert Keene was a woollen-draper by trade, and one of the two trustees to whom Mr. Whitefield bequeathed the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court Chapel, and who are described in his will as his “ worthy, trusty, tried friends.”
+ “Gamgay Meeting,” that is, Gamlingay, a parish in Cambridgeshire, about five miles N. E. from Biggleswade, where the Baptist church at Bedford had a station in the reign of Charles II., and where, in 1710, a district church of strict-communion Baptists was organised. Mr. Benjamin Morgan was their pastor at the time this letter was written.