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"he could never do enough" to express his gratitude: thus strongly did he declare his own unworthiness of God's favour. I had the pleasure to commit his mortal remains to the earth; and, in my mind, honoured them more, than I have those which have been followed by a long train of mourners, who, when in the body, lived not. He had none, alas! in the faith of the Gospel to make lamentation over him; and he needed not any, for his death was his inexpressible gain; for, like Lazarus, I doubt not, long before he had been introduced into the presence of his divine and all-gracious Saviour. Oh! what a change has not this destitute man experienced; from a workhouse passed to a mansion in the heavens; and for painful days and nights found rest to his poor body, and unspeakable rest to his immortal soul: from having nothing, to the possessing of all things! And what encouragement does not this case give to all who seek to rescue the young from destruction; "for,
after many days, their labour in the Lord shall be proved to be not in vain," if they have not the happiness to behold immediate success. For this poor man was unquestionably prepared, by the instructions he had received when young, for those, which, on his death-bed, were given to him. Let all such, then, go to the good work of educating the poor in Christian principles, with thanksgiving; rejoicing to act the part of the good Samaritan; rejoicing in the thought, that God, our Saviour, may so bless their good counsels, that thereby the poor will find a solace in the midst of their sorrows, which will wipe away many they pass over the waves of this troublesome world; and be the means of rescuing them from destruction, and guiding them to the land of everlasting life: "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest;" and "where God will wipe away all tears from their eyes."
a bitter tear, as
THE FAREWELL. FROM DERMER'S SACRED FUGITIVES." Farewell, departed saint, farewell!
Who can suppress the flowing tear?
In yon serene and blissful clime.
On which thy faith did here confide.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO CLERGYMEN.
James. It has given me no small concern, my dear John, to find your name of late enrolled among the clergy commonly called Calvinistic, or Evangelical. Am I to give credit to this report; or has it been raised by some enemy to your character, who takes this method of stigmatizing the object of his
John. That my religious sentiments have lately, my dear James, undergone a considerable change, is what I feel no disposition either to deny or conceal; and that the change in question is of such a nature, as to make me liable to the imputation you speak of, is, I think, highly probable; but that it should occasion either surprise or regret in the mind of any one who professes himself to be a clergyman of the Church of England, is, in my mind, a striking evidence of human inconsistency.
James. Your account of your sentiments, then, leaves me no room to doubt of the truth of the report, which, till this moment, I hoped might be questionable. But why you should think that, on my principles, I ought not to regard it as matter of grief and astonishment, I cannot possibly conceive.
John. For a very simple reason, James. Because you have formally and solemnly pledged yourself before God, and in the face of the world, to maintain those very principles, on account of which I am now branded with a title, which appears to you so opprobrious.
James. What do you mean, John? Surely you do not conceive it possible, that I am in any way responsible for principles which I cordially detest.
John. When you speak of Calvinistic Clergy, I am not quite certain what you mean. But let me know, James, what the obnoxious tenets are, which you suppose I have embraced.
James. Why, to say the truth, I have not enquired very deeply into the subject. But these sentiments are so universally condemned, that I have no doubt of their evil tendency.
John. And are you sure, James, that public opinion is a safe criterion by which to judge of the character of religious doctrine? Do you not know, that if we were to abide by this tribunal, Christianity itself must lose its title to our approbation? The very language which you now employ was once employed with respect to Christianity :"As for this sect," said the Jews to the Apostle, "we know that it is every where spoken against."
James. From which, I suppose, you mean to infer the identity of the two things.
John. Not exactly. The only inference which I mean at present to draw from the fact is, that a doctrine may be true, and yet be "every where spoken against," and that, consequently, your deference to public opinion may lead to a rejection of the truth of God.
James. But I do not mean that my judgment is altogether decided by public opinion; what I have heard of your doctrine satisfies me, that, in this instance, public opinion is correct. As an instance of the extravagance of your religious creed, I shall mention, in the first place, the doctrine maintained by your sect; namely, that " we are saved by faith without works."
John. Our sect! James. This is a language that surprises me. Can you produce any evidence of a disposition on our part to separate from the Established Church, and constitute ourselves into a distinct community? If so, let it be produced, and we shall know how to defend ourselves; but if no such evidence exists, let us not be charged with what we unanimously disclaim.
James. It is a common opinion among the class of people with whom I associate, that your connexion with the Establishment would be very easily dissolved; and, I confess, I agree with them on the subject.
John. I hope to show you, James, before we have done, that it is our strict adherence to the genuine principles of the Establishment, that has exposed us. to the odium of a class of persons, who, at least on this question, appear more ready to advance an accusation, than to prove its truth.
James. I make little account, John, of professions, unless they are supported by actions. While you unequivocally avow, and zealously propagate, doctrines so different from those of the Established Church, I can give very little credit to your declarations of attachment to that Church. Where does she in the least countenance the assertion, that we are saved by faith without works?"
John. I suppose, James, you have read the Articles and Homilies?
James. I believe I did once look into the Articles, but I cannot say that I have any distinct recollection of them. As for the Homilies, I cannot say that I have ever seen them.
John. It is possible then, James, that you may be censuring me for holding doctrines, which, as I before said, you had solemnly pledged yourself to maintain; for, as you confess your ignorance of the public standard adopted by our Church, you must, of course, acknowledge your ignorance of the agreement or disagreement of my sentiments with that standard.
James. I take for granted that our Church would never have adopted a standard of faith so much at variance with public opinion, as the sentiments are, which are commonly imputed to the Evangelical Clergy. I presume, that the foun
ders of our Church were sober and rational divines, whose good sense is a sufficient pledge to us of their rejection of every thing that has a fanatical tendency.
John. Perhaps, James, it would be wiser to inquire than to presume, in a case of so much importance. You are considered, I know, as a man of prudence in the business of life; and you have acquired this character, from its being understood that you commonly avail yourself of the most authentic sources of information in every affair of consequence in which you are engaged. What is the reason that you proceed so rationally in every thing connected with your secular interests, while you seem to abandon every sound principle, in the management of those affairs which relate to eternity? In matters of eternal concernment, your language is, I take it for granted, and I presume. But, when did you ever take it for granted, when you were going to lend a sum of money, that the security was sufficient; or presume, when you were going to make a purchase, that the title was good?
James. I do not know, John, what right you have to call me to an account for my conduct; nor do I consider myself responsible to you, or to any one else, for what I do. Every man has a right to judge for himself.
John. This I freely admit, James. But you will observe, that you were the first to violate your own maxim.
James. When a man goes out of the beaten track, as you have done, he seems to forfeit his privilege; and has no right to complain if he is called upon to account for that singularity, which conveys a tacit censure upon the conduct of his neighbour.
John. Be it so, James. I do not decline the investigation; on the contrary, I wish for it; and shall feel myself happy in affording
ed of God, so as to give them a title to heaven: but, James, so far from recognizing this notion as scriptural, I assert, on the contrary, that the doctrine, "that we are jus
James. You have employed a term that I do not well understand, in its theological sense. You speak of being "justified."
all the satisfaction in my power. The charge of "preaching faith without works is one, which I did suppose would prove a principal article in that accusation which you were about to pre-tified by faith only, is a most fer against me; and I am prepared wholesome doctrine, and very full to meet the charge. There is a of comfort t." sense in which I admit the justice of the allegation; and there is another, in which I utterly deny it. I disclaim the doctrine in that sense in which the world means it should be understood, as subversive of obedience; and I avow it in that sense in which it appears, what it really is, the only foundation of that principle from which all practical religion flows, I mean LOVE. If you believe the Scripture, that LOVE is the fulfilling of the law," and that "faith works by love," I do not see that you need be afraid of our ascribing too much to faith.
John. I mean by that, what I think the Apostle meant: "Being accounted righteous." And you might have observed, that I used these terms before, as being of the same import, when I said, "We are accounted righteous, only for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith .
James. I cannot agree with you. Faith is a very proper thing, but something else is necessary to our acceptance with God.
John. And do you object to my statement, that the doctrine of our being "justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort § ?"
James. I do most heartily. Nor can I see any comfort in it, except a man chooses to deceive himself with notions, which have no foundation but in his own fancy.
John. I am inclined to think, James, that your objection to this doctrine, of our being justified by faith alone," has a deeper root than you are aware of. It springs, if I am not mistaken, from your being ignorant of the condition of man as a sinner; perhaps, therefore, it might be well for us to come to this point, and see what we have to say upon a subject of such importance.
James. I admit that we are to be saved only through the merits of Christ; but I do not acknowledge that it is by faith only. Leave this out, and I will agree to the rest.
John. But, my dear friend, that would be to leave out every thing upon which the whole controversy with the world hinges. Every one professing Christianity will acknowledge some obligation to Christ; and, without hesitation, allow that his merits confer a value upon their works, which they would not otherwise possess; and even admit, that without the stamp of his name their performances would not be accept
*Thirty-nine Articles-9th Article.
James. I have understood, that you hold a strange opinion respecting the state of human kind: such a one, indeed, as, if true, would make one almost wish to have belonged to any other species of beings.
+ 9th Article.
Ibid. § Ibid.
John. You mean, I suppose, the doctrine of" original sin."
James. We all, you know, admit the doctrine; but it is to your reputed explanation of it that my objection lies.
John. That you may know what I do hold on this subject, James, I will give you a full explanation of my sentiments. I hold, that original sin "is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is, of his own nature, inclined to evil; so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation."
James. And do you mean, that all human beings are equally depraved, and "deserve God's wrath and damnation ?"
John. I was quite persuaded, James, that your objection to the doctrine of justification by faith alone, had its root in your opinion on the subject of original sin. On this point, a difference of opinion must preclude agreement on all the leading doctrines of divine revelation: I wish, therefore, to be explicit on the subject, that there may be no room for misapprehension. I conceive, that " of ourselves, and by ourselves, we have no goodness, help, or salvation; but, contrariwise, sin, damnation, and death everlasting" Allow me to add, in further explanation of my sentiments, that Adam's change of circumstances, after his fall, was such, that, as before he was blessed, so now he was accursed; as before he was loved, so now he was abhorred; as before he was most beautiful and precious, so now he was most vile and wretched in the sight of his Lord and Maker. Instead of the image of God, he was
* Homily on the Misery of Man-2d Part.
now become the image of the devil; instead of the citizen of heaven, he was become the bond-slave of hell; having in himself no one part of his former purity and cleanness, but being altogether spotted and defiled; insomuch that he now seemed to be nothing else but a lump of sin; and therefore, by the just judgment of God, was condemned to everlasting death.” "This so great and miserable a plague fell not only on him, but also on his posterity and children for ever t." And to make the matter quite plain, I would say, that "man of his own nature is fleshly and carnal; corrupt and naught; sinful and disobedient; without any spark of goodness in him; without any virtuous or godly motion; only given to evil thoughts and wicked deeds."
James. I wish to ask you, once for all, why you choose to employ this quaint phraseology in expressing your sentiments? Is it the affected dialect of your party, that you have adopted on principle? or does it arise from your confining your studies to the puritanical divines, whose style is consecrated in your eyes, as the only fit vehicle for the conveyance of these precious doctrines? Whatever may be the cause of this peculiarity, I can only say that it is very offensive; and that I wish you would dispense with it in your conversation with me.
John. I must request your indulgence, James, on this subject, for the present; and I hope to be able, before we have done, to satisfy you as to the reason of that which now offends you. Allow me, therefore, James, to proceed expressing myself in the same kind of language that I have hitherto employed, though it should appear to you old-fashioned. But, if you have any objection to it, on the ground of obscurity, I should feel
* Homily. † Ibid.