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“ feed the Church of God, and take of the bishops, 1301; of the deans the oversight thereof, not by constraint, and chapters, 982 ; of the universities, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but 743; of private individuals, 6619; of a ready mind :" by deacons, you making a total of 10,693 ; while there will perceive, is meant, worthy, con- were only about 64 in the gift of the fidential individuals, commissioned es- parishioners themselves. Many of pecially to manage the secular con- these “ livings” are actually advertized cernments of the societies, or, as it is in the public prints for sale, and are expressed in the Acts of the Apostles, disposed of to the highest bidders, “to serve tables;” and you will finally whoever and whatever they may be. ascertain, that these two, bishops and Thus the members of the Episcopal deacons, “are all that appear to have a Church, instead of choosing their own divine sanction, as ordinary and perma- “pastors and teachers," as it is the nent officers in the Church of Christ.” duty and privilege of Christian soBut now turn from the New Testa- cieties to do, are obliged, for the most ment writings to the National Estab. part, to sit under any ministers sent lishment of this country, and what do them by the parties to whom the you find in that? Why, archbishops, benefices belong, and who commonly archdeacons, deans, prebendaries, can- select their presentees, it is well nons, rectors, vicars, curates, and I known, not on account of high spiriscarcely know what besides : but tual attainments and aptitude for this I do know, not one of all those teaching “the truth as it is in Jesus, functionaries just mentioned will be but because they desire to confer able to find his official appellation in some substantial favor upon them as any part of the Christian Scriptures. relatives and friends. It is not unfreNow it appears to us, that the original quently found, also, that several of order of such things, which was
these benefices are bestowed upon one established by our adorable Redeemer individual, who derives a large annual and his inspired apostles, must be the income from them, while he is not best. We admire that order because even obliged to reside among the of its simplicity, and its sufficiency; people of his charge. He can appoint and since we deem it incumbent on us a few curates on very limited salaries, to conform to that, we are necessarily to occupy the pulpits, and only go separated from those who presume to near himself to receive the tithes. By depart so widely from it.
this system of patronage, many of the 4th. We refuse to conform to the most pious and excellent ministers of Church of England because of the very the Church of England have been improper and pernicious manner in kept through life in the lowest situawhich its benefices are for the most tions, and on the smallest stipends, part disposed of, and in which its while many others, far inferior to them ministers obtain their respective situa. in point of mental talent and religious tions. Here I refer to that system of worth, have been exalted to very patronage, which has done more per- lucrative benefices on account of family haps towards bringing the National connexions, and by means of patronal Establishment of these realms into partiality; yea, through this system disgrace and inefficiency than
of patronage, the Church of England thing beside. Nearly all the “livings” has been infested with hosts of ignoin this country are in the gift of the rant, slothful, and even profligate sovereign, or the bishops, or the deans clergymen, who would be a disgrace and chapters, or the universities, or to any society calling itself Christian, private individuals. It was ascertained, and who, instead of enlightening the a few years ago, that in the gift of the minds of the people, and guiding crown were 1048 livings; in the gift their feet into the way of peace, could
only be expected to confirm them in promoting the public worship of Alunbelief, and accelerate their progress mighty God, attending to the ordito everlasting destruction. From a nances of his appointment, and adChurch which allows of such flagrant vancing the cause of Christ, so far as enormities as these, we feel ourselves their influence may extend. These constrained to dissent. We are aware Churches are quite independent of that many of its own members and each other; they receive their own ministers highly disapprove of these members, exercise appropriate disenormities. Some of them have even cipline upon delinquents, exclude inwritten against them as strongly as corrigible transgressors, and manage we could possibly do, and have loudly all their own concernments without called for an extensive reformation. any foreign control or unauthorized But (to use the language of an able interference. These Churches have nonconformist writer) “we could not two kinds of officers, viz, bishops, that be satisfied with lamentations; we is, pastors, to look after their spiritual dare not call such a system ours; we improvement; and deacons, to transshould think it wrong to sanction it act especially their more secular and by our example; we stand aloof, there- pecuniary affairs. These officers are fore, from it; and by doing so, it is chosen by the members themselves, our design thus to offer a constant and the members can remove them public protest against the support from office whenever there is
valid and continuance of such flagrant and sufficient reason for doing so. enormities."
We are assembled this morning to Several other particulars might be witness and assist in the public setting adverted to, and enlarged upon this apart of a Christian brother as bishop, morning, but we forbear; enough has or pastor, of the Christian society been said, we imagine, to show it is not usually assembling within these walls. without reason we refuse to conform The Church of Christ here has chosen to the Church of England ; and that it our brother as its pastor because of is not without reason we glory in our his mental and spiritual qualifications name, our principles, and our privi- for the office, and the ministers leges, as Protestant Dissenters. In present from distant Churches have conclusion, I would offer a very few been respectfully requested to come observations respecting the constitu- and assist in the formal and public tion and government of our Churches ratification of their choice, as well as as congregational nonconformists, with to give them a few words of affeca word or two on the particular occa- tionate exhortation relative to their sion which has brought us together duties towards each other, and towards this morning.
the sacred cause of the adorable Re. Our Churches are composed of deemer in this town and neighboursuch individuals, and only such, as hood. solemnly profess to be turned from Having trespassed, I fear, upon darkness to light, and from the power your time and patience, brethren, I of Satan unto God.” These individu- would now conclude in the well-known als unite together quite voluntarily, words of the poet, occasionally sung and receive each other as brethren in our sanctuaries : and sisters in the Lord. The coalition
“ Peace be within this sacred place, takes place with a view to their And joy a constant guest; mutual improvement in doctrinal, ex- With holy gifts and heavenly grace
Be her attendants blest.” perimental, and practical Christianity;
Amen. for the purpose also of more effectually
RRIEF ESSAYS ON IMPORTANT DOCTRINAL SUBJECTS.
No. 1.-FREE AGENCY, RESPONSIBILITY, &c.
By Rev. J. Burns, Pastor of the General Baptist Church, St. Mary-le-bone.
MAN is either free to choose good and have set before thee this day, life and reject evil, or he cannot be responsible good, and death and evil.” Deut. xxx. 15. for his conduct before God. If, on any See also ver. 1. And again, • Behold ground whatever, it can be demon- I set before you this day a blessing and strated, that man acts from necessity, a curse, a blessing if ye obey the comeither on account of superior energy mandments of the Lord your God, exerted upon him, or from the circum- which I command you this day, and a stances in which he is placed, and over curse if ye will not obey the commandwhich he has no control; then account- ments of the Lord your God,” &c., Deut. ability is utterly out of the question. xi. 26, &c. We do not doubt the inability of man in After the lapse of nearly nine hunhis natural state to exemplify the beauties dred years we find the posterity of those of holiness, or even to change the bent of Moses addressed pleading their inabihis own desires, but can he place himself lity to obey God, and the neccesity in the way of restoration ? can he be under which they were placed of doing brought to perceive his error, misery, evil, saying, “If our transgressions and and peril, and thus influenced, avail our sins be upon us, and we pine away in himself of the saving directions and them, how should we then live ?” Ezek. blessings of the Gospel. If he must xxxiii. 10. Thus denying their free necessarily remain ignorant, unaffected, agency, and evading the responsibility and unimpressed, until a superior power with which they were charged. To this is exerted upon him,—then, so far as God replied, with all the moral granit regards that condition, he cannot be deur of his oath, “As I live, saith the responsible. That Adam in his origi- Lord, I have no pleasure in the death nal state was
is unquestioned; of the wicked; but that the wicked turn and yet we find the Deity just treating from his wickedness and live : turn mankind afterwards as he did the pro- ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for genitors of the human race. To Adam why will ye die, Ó house of Israel.” he said, “ obey, and live; transgress,
Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Here God affirms and die.” And did he not say just the their free agency, and throws all the same to the guilty fratricide Cain. “If responsibility upon themselves, and then thou doest well, shalt thou not be ac- mercifully urges them to turn and escape cepted? and if thou doest not well, sin the just consequences of their translieth at thy door.” The principle on gressions. The same important prinwhich Adam and his guilty son were ciple characterizes all the teaching of treated were precisely the same. It the Lord Jesus Christ. He never loses does not follow from this, that Cain sight of the sinner's free agency, and possessed either the moral ability, or responsible state and condition. He was expected to obey perfectly the same urges the attentive hearing of the Word, laws with his father; for, the one stood and shews that if the good seed sown does before God in the maturity of unsullied not produce fruit, that the fault is in purity, capable of rendering perfect the soil; and his explanation of the obedience, while the other was under various classes of hearers, demonstrates the influence of a fallen nature, and that the cause of barrenness was their must serve God with all the frailties own free act, and for which they alone pertaining to a sinner: but, in both were responsible. In like manner in cases, the freedom of the individual was the case of the builder whose house was clearly involved, and the responsibility swept away, he attributes the calamity to of both self-evident. And God's address his own folly and want of forethought. to Cain he has been reiterating to sin. The man excluded from the wedding ners in every age, from that period to chamber was manifestly guilty of intrudthe present. To the Jews these em- ing without the prescribed costume in phatic words were addressed ;—“See, I which every guest was to appear. The
rich fool is described as ruining his soul their doom, however awful in its repreby worldliness and religious neglect. The sentation, loses its main terrors, which Jews who remained in spiritual death, will chiefly arise from a sense of its were charged with the guilt of not justice, and the upbraidings of inward coming to Christ that they might have remorse from the recollection of their life. Their ignorance, unbelief, and own free agency and former responsible criminality, were ever placed at their condition. The eternal ruin of such own door. Jesus wept over their devoted must be more matter of misfortune city, and traced its inevitable and fear- than wilful crime, seeing that means of ful doom to their own “ would not” be deliverance were never really placed gathered beneath the merciful wings of within their reach. their Messiah, who was so truly solici- The New Testament Scriptures lay tous for their rescue and salvation. the greatest possible stress on the unThus, too, he gave the great commis- belief of the sinner. He is guilty it is sion to his diciples, and rested the onus true, and so are all men, but he is also of salvation or eternal death on the redeemed, and in that redemption there belief or unbelief of those to whom the is a remedy for his guilt, a remedy Gospel was preached. · Now, if such freely tendered, but which his impeniconduct as the great Redeemer mani. tent unbelief wickedly rejects. On the fested, is to be interpreted according to ground these observations assume, and the dictates of reason, it evidently fol- on no other, can we lay the sinner's lows that he considered all men as free wickedness and misery at his own door. agents, and as responsible for their Thus only consistently can we urge the moral conduct and condition. It would great doctrines of repentance towards be impossible to select all the portions God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. of Divine truth which most manifestly, And thus only can we appeal to the in the strongest mode of expression, sinner's conscience and place in fearful point to the free agency and responsi- array against him the terrors of the bility of man. See Prov. i. 24, &c., judgment day. Isaiah lxv. 12; Matt. xxi. 33, &c. Of It is in vain, and worse than vain, for course responsibility is ever in propor- Christians metaphysically to speculate on tion to the means and privileges en- the power of the mind of man, to philojoyed, according to Christ's words, that sophise on what he can, and on what “where much is given, much will be he cannot do; and thus fritter away required.” How then does this subject the great truths of his free agency bear upon those, to whom the Gospel and responsibility to God. The carnal of salvation is now preached ? We
heart will gladly avail itself of doubtful reply, they are responsible for the read- disputations on these subjects, to escape ing and hearing the truths of the Word the sentence of its own condemnation. of God; responsible for the knowledge But surely it is the Christian minister's it communicates, for the blessings it re- duty to place the guilty and selfveals, for the faith and obedience it de- procured misery of every man before mands. Ignorance of divine truth is crim- his eyes, and to insist that every finally inal ignorance, and therefore the shame lost soul will have been his own deas well as the misery of the unenlight- stroyer. All other truths will be comened. Inattention is criminal neglect paratively powerless as this is adulterof the most momentous concerns of the ated, or explained away; and only as soul. Unbelief is a glaring sin against this is brought to bear on the conGod's truth and grace, against the sciences of men, can we expect to see divine love and the merciful mission of the Gospel the power of God unto the Saviour. And if they live and die salvation. in ignorance and unbelief, their destruc- It is precisely upon the application tion will be the just result of their own of this principle that all the affairs of life impenitent choice and decision.
are conducted. Parents recognize the But suppose it possible that their freedom of their children, to obey or ignorance is the necessary result of the disobey,—the civil authority recognizes Divine decrees, or of their own unavoid- this in the subjects of the realm, and able circumstances, that their unbelief holds every man accountable who is is a disease of the mind, which they
mind. No man would be have no means to remedy, and then exculpated because he should inform
the jury that he was necessitated to diately obeyed it, and were added to commit the crime with which he was the number of the disciples. So it charged, or that it was the result of a was everywhere were the Gospel was decree over which he had no control; preached; men heard, understood, beor, because he had no rescources with lieved, and were saved. And such which to bimself against the precisely are the circumstances of manpower of temptation.
How sincerely careful then And just so does God treat sinners; ought the public teachers of religion he demands, not that they should undo to be, that no doctrines they teach may the criminal act of the first transgressor,
tend to lessen in the minds of men, or that they should annihilate the de- the true and momentous sense of their paravity within them, the result of that free agency and accountability to God. transgression, — but he demands, that The reader will perceive in the followthey should hear his voice-know his ing passages of the Divine Word, how will-receive the tenders of his mercy- clearly and fully these principles are avail themselves of the sacrifice his recognized. grace has provided, and in the strength And if it seem evil unto you to and ability it imparts, serve him in serve the Lord, choose you this day newness of life.
whom you will serve,” Joshua xxiv. 15. Thus is reasonably pressed upon “ Who then is willing consecrate his men immediate repentance and the service this day unto the Lord,” i Chron. present exercise of faith in the Lord xxix. 5. “If ye be willing and obedient Jesus Christ. To-day if men would yeshalleat the good of the land,” Isa. i. 19. hear his voice they are exhorted to * I was not disobedient unto the heavenharden not their hearts, against the ly vision," Acts xxvi. 19. “For there delusion that a better and more favor- is no respect of persons with God, for as able season of mercy is before them ; many as have sinned without law shall they are reminded that “Behold now perish without law, and as many as is the accepted time, and behold now have sinned in the law, shall be judged is the day of salvation.” The sinner is by the law,” &c., Rom. ii. 11, &c. never admonished to wait, but to awake Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, from his sleep of sin, and to rise to-day if ye will hear his voice, harden from the dead that Christ may give not your hearts as in the provocation,” him light. And thus we see how men &c. Read Heb. iii. 7, to the third verse exhibited this freedom of will, land next chap.
“ How shall we escape if choice, and decision. Peter preached we neglect so great salvation ?” Heb. ii. to the Jews, truth flashed across their 3. “ What shall the end be. of them minds, remorse followed, and then fear, that obey not the Gospel of God," 1 Pet. until they cried out, “Men and breth- iv. 17. “ And whosoever will, let him ren, what must we do ?” When in- take of the water of life freely,” Rev. formed of the will of God, they imme- xxii, 17,
HEBREW HISTORY. (No. IV.)
FROM THE GIVING OF THE LAW AT MOUNT SINAI, TO THE DECREE OF DEATH.
B. C. 1491 To 1490.
We left the Israelites tarrying at the given them in these respects; as this foot of Mount Sinai, from whence, may set before us in a more interesting through the medium of Moses, the manner the religious rites and the beauhonored servant of God, they had re- tiful order of this great and wonderful ceived instructions and directions as to people. In this sketch, the tabernacle, their civil and religious polity. Before the vestments of the priests, the appointwe proceed to trace their further pro- ment of the Levites, the principal sacrigress, we shall notice a number of the fices and religious festivals, the form of directions and appointments that were the general encampment of the tribes,