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LETTERS FROM A CLERGYMAN
TO HIS SON.
Or if you
selves to God
Now if y
concerning Dear Francis,
work in In answer to your question whether it « How a man may pursue his proper to secular business with success, and still maintain the power of often bes religion,” I have advised you prayer' to commit all your works to God, what y and thus make your secular busi- Woul ness a part of religion. While ly de you conduct in this manner, you will have a plain practical rule, be a by which you may judge con- ing cerning your duty, in cases
ny where a deceitful heart will pre-m
ined. tend doubts and contrive eva
jes sat sions.
cted the There certain works,
ir instrucwhich you wish to do, and
im, as far as which you hope you may do
1e to the law without incurring guilt. Now
utioned them to put this question seriously ti
r's taught, and the your conscience, “ Can I commi
i by these teachers. these works to God?" If y
gdom of Christ, “all cannot do this without mapii
ľ to be done decently impiety, then you must kr
cler." There must be a that the works are sinful.
lecency, an external order In all our just and imp
church, that peace may be undertakings, we may wi.
c! ved, edification promoted, priely, and we ought in a
i confusion prevented. seek the direction of God
When a man offers himself as sel, the assistance of h
a candidate for the ministerial and the concurrence of
oilice, it is incumbent on him to ing. The religious hi
exbibit positive proofs of his asks God's smiles on
qualifications. But before a min. labours. The pious.
ister can be justly deposed all his ways acknou
dicit from office, there must be ad. directing and pres
Hvil, duced full and indubitable evidence. The goo
dence of his disqualifications. plore's God's bie
sood The candidate must have a “good common meals,
re to report;" and if there arise an ill parent danger fin
w into report, he must disprove and resubstance he
7.*** in a move it, before he is ordained. protection, In
sireen. But Paul says, “ Against an Elour design is Cluse the der," one already in office, “ re
is to be me **, 'ser's of ceive not an accusation, but be1. i no scruple
common fore two or three witnesses."
in the case? One witness is not sut.
They must exbibit their
e presence of the
has objections against dges, who assume to try ; and they were called for le different business.
But rhaps, it will be said, " Here is
minister, who has openly avowed his heresy, and who is
therefore condemned of himself.
be in- til " after the first and second ad-
withdraw from him ; churches? where is the liberty
We not only slander him confusion, but of peace in all ste proof of guilt, but, as far churches of the saints." .. Our influence can avail, we lay We may know a minister, him under censure ; and it is whom we think immoral in pracour intention, (if we have any tice, or unsound in faith. Such consistent intention) that our a minister we should endeavour conduct shall operate to this ef- to reclaim by private expostulafect. But where is our authority to censure and condemn bim?
We regret that no ecclesiastical We were not called for this bu- tribunal exists in our Congregational siness. Where is our evidence? churches, before which such a trial Repore or rumour, is not to be may be had. We hope the wisdom received against an elder. Have employed to supply thin creat defcot
of the ministers and churches will be you or I personal knowledge in in our ecclesiastica d.
Beans to accomplish an innocent Lord. Thus far, and no farther, design. Peruse and apply this as I conceive, we declare our fel. advice from
lowship with them. We do Your affectionate parent, not by this act express any opinEUSEBIUS. ion relative to their grace, or
their orthodoxy. If the minis
ters are visibly in good standing, INTERESTING QUERIES.
have been regularly introduced
into their office, and have not Is it an act of Christian and been regularly ejected from it, ministerial fellowship to sit in we are to treat them as officers in council with the delegates and the church, whatever may be our pastors of churches? Or in other private opinion concerning their words : Does a minister, when personal character or qualificahe sits in council, especially in tions. Our Saviour had coman ordaining council, by such munion with the Jewish church, act acknowledge all who sit with though there were in it many him, as pastors, in the council, to things which he condemned. be ministers of the gospel, and While the pharisean Scribes sat fellow labourers in the kingdoin in Moses' seat, he directed the of Christ?
people to attend on their instrucIf this be answered in the af- tions, and observe them, as far as 'firmative ; it is then asked: they were agreeable to the law How can a minister, who believes of Moses ; but cautioned them to 'the doctrines of grace, and con- avoid the errors taught, and the siders them essential to the gos. sins practised by these teachers. pel scheme of salvation, sit in In the kingdom of Christ," all council with those ministers who things are to be done decently deny them?
and in order.” There must be a These queries are stated with visible decency, an external order a hope, that some scribe, who is in the church, that peace may be well instructed, will give that at- preserved, edification promoted, tention to them, which their and confusion prevented. practical importance demands, When a man offers himself as and kindly instruct those, who a candidate for the ministerial often know not what to do. office, it is incumbent on him to
Тімотнү. exhibit positive proofs of his
qualifications. But before a min
isier can be justly deposed! When we sit in council, be it from office, there must be adan ordaining or other council, duced full and indubitable eviwe acknowledge all the ministers, dence of his disqualifications. who sit with us, to be in good The candidate must have a “good ecclesiastical standing; i. e. to report;" and if there arise an ill have been duly inducted into report, he must disprove and reoffice, and not to be now in a move it, before he is ordained. state of deposition, or under cen
But Paul says,
Against an El sure ; and we acknowledge the der,” one already in office, “ redelegates to be messengers of ceive not an accusation, but bethe churches of our common fore two or three witnesses."
The officer is not to be deposed, the case ? One witness is not sulor treated as deposed, on mere ficient. Are there other witnes“ report :” There must first be ses? They must exbibit their an open trial ; an accusation sus- testimony before a proper judicatained by competent testimony ; ture, and in the presence of the he must have the accuser and accused, that he may hear, crosswitnesses face to face, that he examine and confront them. may hear them, and have an op- Must he defend bimself on the portunity to confront them. spot? He is not prepared-his Even written affidavits, taken at a witnesses are not present; he distance, are never to be admitted perhaps has objections against in such trials, nor indeed in any the judges, who assume to try ecclesiastical trials; for the gos- him ; and they were called for pel requires, that the witnesses quite different business. But be present. Our civil courts re- perhaps, it will be said, “ Here is quire the same in criminal prose- a minister, who has openly acủtions. And church prosecu- vowed his heresy, and who is tions are all criminal.
therefore condemned of himself. If we refuse to sit in a council, There is no need of other witnes. to wbich we are called, some ses." Be it so ; still Paul tells reason must be assigned for this us, that even in such a case, the refusal ; otherwise it speaks no heretic is not to be rejected, unexplicit language, and may be in- til " after the first and second adterpreted by men's suspicions to monition.” speak any thing and every thing If every man assumes to himthat is ill. If our avowed reason self a power to judge, hereticate be, that such a minister is present, and condemn his brethren, on and we cannot act with him, then mere report, or on his own priwe declare, by words and actions, vate opinion, or on surmise and that this minister ought not to be prejudice, without a fair, open owned and treated as a minister ; trial,* whose character is safe? that the whole council ought to whose standing is secure? where discard him; that his people is the peace and order of the ought to withdraw from him ; churches ? where is the liberty that all Christians ought to shun with which Christ has made us him, as an evil and dangerous free? “ God is not the author of man. We not only slander him confusion, but of peace in all before proof of guilt, but, as far churches of the saints." as our influence can avail, we lay We may know a minister, him under censure ; and it is whom we think immoral in pracour intention, (if we have any tice, or unsound in faith. Such consistent intention) that our a minister we should endeavour conduct shall operate to this ef- to reclaim by private expostulafect. But where is our authority to censure and condemn him?
* We regret that no ecclesiastical We were not called for this bu- tribunal exists in our Congregational siness. Where is our evidence ? churches, before which such a trial Report or rumour, is not to be may be had. We hope the wisdom
of the ministers and churches will be received against an elder. Have employed to supply this great defcot you or I personal knowledge in in our ecclesiastical discipline.
tion. If we fail of success, we our minds relieved from pain-
We invite the attention of our Readers to the following observations from “ The Religious Monitor," a valuable periodical work, pub. lished at Edinburgh, in Scotland. The few remarks, which are of a more local nature, contain information, which will not be unac. ceptable 10 our Readers, while the general tenor and spirit of the whole, it will be readily perceived, render chem seasonable and af. plicable to the existing state of religion in our own country.
A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE PRINCIPAL CONTROVERSIES AMONGST
PROTESTANTS, WITH REMARKS ON THE PROGRESS OF RE-
The state of society is seldom perhaps somewhat of our proJong stationary, and Paul speaks gress also, is to attend to the sucof the course of this world : cessive controversies, which have What then, it may be inquired, arisen among Protestants themsince the reformation, has been selves. our progress ?
During the sixteenth century, I shall suggest a few hints on the chief controversy among the religion, rather with the view of reformers was about the habits, calling the attention of others to rites, and ceremonies. These this subject, than of exhausting were of themselves confessedly it myself. From the reforma- indifferent, and judging by the tion to the present day, the con- reasoning of Paul. Rom. xiv. the troversy between Protestants and guilt of schism rested on the im. Papists has existed ; and mi
a neighbouring nute attention to the different as- church,* a violent discussion bas pects it has assumed, might been excited concerning their serve to discriminate the relig- articles, whether they are Arious character of the intervening minian or Calvinistic.
It has ages. Another method of ascer. taining our direction at least, and • The church of England.