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to the church and to the world--of course we mean the pious world: so that if a person be sincere and benevolent, notwithstanding that he be ignorant of, and consequently disobedient to, divine commands, all is right, because of the exhibition of these virtues. Nor does it matter, in the opinion of some, what may be the character of the belief entertained, provided the conduct be in conformity with the standard of civilized society, or that of the sect to which the party may belong! But is not this a sandy foundation on which to rest for eternity? (Matt. vii. 21–29.) Nothing inherent in man, or that emanates from man, can possibly possess the sanction of law in matters of religion; if so, all communications from heaven would be nonentities. Sincerity of motive, and enlarged benevolence, may both exist, without any operation of the faith, hope, or love, required by the gospel.
Again, conscience—(Latin conscientia, from consciens)-signifies that by which a man becomes conscious to himself of right and wrong. This attribute of the mind is not a law, but a witness, and is called into exercise by a thought, word, look, or action, personally or relatively. A man of enlightened, upright, candid judgment, becomes conscious instantly of right or wrong. But his mind is not measured by feeling, but by righteous enactments, whether human or divine. The conscience of an ignorant, disingenuous, and stubborn-minded man, will allow of his doing many things contrary even to the name of Jesus; and therefore, whlle in that state, he can neve er obtain salvation. The candid and heroic Saul of Tarsus had to be converted to the belief that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God, and to submit to the institution appointed by Him before he became child-like, or enjoyed the forgiveness of sins, and the hope of a glorious salvation by a resurrection from the dead, into the presence and likeness of his divine Lord and Master.
“Conscience (says the Deist) is my guide;" "and it is also mine (says the ill-informed Christian)-I shall think and act for myself."
- Now these two persons only differ in this respect-the Deist makes conscience his idol, falling down and worshipping it as his deity; whilst the ignorant disciple of Christ worships it as a mediator between God and himself. But idol as it is, conscience is not to be trusted. It is often an arrant liar. It has taught every religion, and espoused every civil policy-it has outraged every moral principle, and legalized every crime. Paul, though a cruel blasphemer, and subsequently a Christian Apostle, truly said, shortly before his death, “I have lived in all good conscience before God unto this day.” As a guide, therefore, none can be more uncertain than conscience, nor can any be more unsafe. Men may have consciences without revelation, and were conscience a sufficient guide, revelation would be unnecessary. How, then, can a Christian plead the guidance of conscience? The sacred writings are his guide—"a lamp that shineth in a dark place,"—the only guide in this dark and ignorant world. When, then, the Bible speaks, conscience must be silent, or, in a moment, assent to the teaching. The gospel is give en to bring down lofty conceits, and vain imaginings, and every thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringivg every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ. Every disciple in this state of mind, will cease regarding his conscience as the standard of right and wrong either to himself or others.
“What, then, it may be asked, is conscience? It is a feeling, an emotion of pain or of pleasure, which instinctively arises in every human breast, upon the violation of, or compliance with, principles of right acknowledged by the individual. Conscience, when under the influence of truth, light, and candour, witnesses against the bad, and in favor of the good; and is, in so far, the prompter of our conduct. But, after all, nothing is more uncertain than conscience, for it may be enlightened or unenlightened; often violated, it may become an evil conscience-always regarded by the light of divine truth, it will, to the disciple, minister the sweets of a good conscience. Paul strove constantly to have a good conscience, void of offence towards God and towards man. Conscience, without a knowledge of the truth, is as impotent for guidance, as the eye without light; but radiant with the truth, what a grand moral spectacle does it present! In the strife of passion, and amid the horrors of crime, it stands like a snow-white obelisk, in the ruins of a burning city, unsullied with smoke, and without the smell of fire, pointing like the finger of hope, to the skies.”
We hear, very often in our day, of the light within. But, these who give expression to such ideas, should bear in mind, that Chris. tianity is much older than their peculiar notions; and that the light within, of which they boast, has been derived from this source.Knowledge and faith come by hearing (or reading,) and hearing by the Word of God, but never in any other way.
THE HISTORY OF THE CHOLERA. The history of this fearful malady is brief and imperfect. Hindastan seems to have been its birth place, and India its principal theatre of action, making, now and then, a transient visit to other countries, and then returning to the place of its nativity. For many years its ravages were wholly confined to the eastern hemisphere; but in 1831 and 1832 it extended to the western also, and in a very brief period traversed every country beneath the sun,
South America only excepted. It was rapid in its ftight-appalling and destructive in its march.
It made its first appearance in Upper Hindostan in 1792, when thirty thousand fell a prey to the disease. From that period to 1783 it existed in India either sporodically or epidemically; but of its history little is known, except that during the year last named, some eight thousand pilgrims perished of this same malady on the banks of the Ganges.
In August, 1817, some twenty-four years afterward, the Asiatic cholera appeared at Jessore, on The Ganges, in British India. Fol. lowing the course of that river, it depopulated towns and villages; and in September reached Calcutta. In the meantime it spread all over the province of Bengal.
In 1818 it reached Bombay, where 150,000 persons fell a prey to the disease. Thus it passed through the entire breadth of Hindostan, from the Bay Bengal to the Arabian Sea, a distance of nearly two thousand miles, in a single year; while at the same time, it extended south over the whole land, and invaded the islands of Malacca and Ceylon.
In 1819 it extended to China.
In 1821 it spread all over the land of Persia, scourging at the same time, the inhabitants of Pekin-China.
in 1823 it reached the Caspian and Mediterranean.
In 1829 it invaded Russia; and during the two succeeding years visited Circassia, Moscow, St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Hamburgh, and many of the principal towns of Prussia.
In 1830 it pushed its conquests into Mecca, on the Western borders of Arabia; and in November of the same year commenced its ravages in Eagland.
In 1831 it overrun Ireland and France, and found its way for the first time, to the eastern cities of the New World.
It entered Quebec on the 8th of June, 1832; Montreal on the 10th, and the city of New York on the 24th of the same month. It broke out in Philadeiphia, July 5th; and in Cincinnati, Madison, Louisville, St. Louis, and New Orleans, in the month of October.
In the latter part of the same year it extended beyond the Gulf of Mexico; and in the succeeding year it found its way to Havana.
Such was the rapidity of its flight, such the mighty sweep of this appalling malady, which carried terror and death into almost every town and city in every land through which it passed. Like the plagues of Egypt it came and went, as though in haste to execute the judgments of heaven upon the God-provoking nations of the earth.
In 1846 it again took up its march; and, having completed the same circuit in the eastern hemisphere, we find it once more upon our shores! Already alarm has seized upon thousands in the western world. From every lip, quivering with fear, the query is started, “What shall we do."— Methodist Expositor.
D'ISCIPLINE-No. XIV. The question which we must now consider, is one confessedly of some difficulty. Under what circumstances may a church restore to her communion, one who has been excluded, is a question which many wise, prudent, and sincere Christians would answer very differently. Some perhaps there may be, who would reject the idea SERIES III.-VOL. VI.
altogether, and say that a member once excluded cannot be restored at all. The following argumentative queries may not absolutely affirm so much, but they have a strong squinting towards the conclusion that, in some cases at least, a church cannot lawfully restore to her communion one whom she has deliberately expelled. But they shall speak for themselves:
1. “When a member of a Christian congregation has proved himself to be unmanageable and irreclaimable by all the arguments, facts, entreaties, and moral power of the New Testament, he is then scripturally expeiled for his repeated and continued transgressions of God's love, and gross immorality: Have we, then, any example or authority from the New Testament to receive such a transgressor back again into the congregation? And if we have such authority from the New Testament, will you please point us to the passages authorizing us to receive him back again. Our Lord says such a man is a heathen and a publican, Matt. xviii. He cannot therefore be a heathen and a brother at the same time; consequently those passages of scripture which speak of forgiving our brethren seventy times seven, and in the epistles of admonishing, rebuking, and forbearing of our brethren do not apply to an expelled member, a hea. then, but to one who has not been expelled, who is still a member of the body of Christ."
2. “Does not the Apostle Paul say, Hebrews vi, 4, that it is (unadaton,) very difficult, next to impossible to restore an apostate who wilfully and deliberately renounce his Saviour, and is it not as impossible and as difficult to restore such an one to the church the second time, as to bring him to repentance the second time, unless we receive impenitent apostates into the church?”
3. "Was the incestuous person at Corinth expelled from the church, and was he received back again? Are his circumstances and ours equal? He was educated in heathenism and all its vices, and we in Christianity and its virtues. According to Ezekiel, chapters 18 and 33—when a righteous man turns away from his righteonsness he loses it all. How is he to become righteous the second time? The passage which says, if we confess our sins-God is just to forgive us our sins, is made to Christians, not apostates. Does not history and observation testify that very few, if any apostates, . ever become penitents?”.
JACOB CREATH, Jr. It is evident that the above questions were penned in haste, and that our brother Creath has confounded two questions, which are related to one another it is true, but yet very different and distinct.They are-Ist, the difficulty of bringing an apostate to repentance; and 2nd, the propriety of receiving an excluded member who is pen-itent once more to communion. Upon the first of these questions, both scripture and observation concur—it is very difficult. On the other, that is, the propriety of restoring one who is truly penitent, we think the scriptures are equally plain. In the case of an apostate, it
is of course as difficult to restore him to the church, as it is to lead him to repentance, for unless he does sincerely repent he cannot be restored. But all are not apostates who incur the sentence of excommunication, and therefore there may be cases, in which it is easier to restore one to the church than to effect repentance in an apos. tate. Christians may commit offences against the law of Christ, which deserve expulsion, and whilst they have no idea of renouncing Christ, may through waywardness, or some overpowering temptation, refuse to submit to the decision of the elders for some time, yet it is by no means as difficult to bring such persons to a sense of their fault and thus to repentance, as it is to restore an apostate to an allegiance, which he has openly renounced.
It is true, our Saviour requires us to treat persons who refuse to hear the church, as heathens or publicans, but this can, at farthest, mean no more than that we shall thus treat them, so long as they thus refuse to hear the church. A member who does not submit to the authority of the church, must be cut off from its communion, separated from its Christian society, and excluded form its ordinances; that is, treated by the church in all things pertaining to the spiritual kingdom of Christ, as a heathen and a publican, at the time the Saviour spoke, would have been treated by a Jew. This injunction of the Saviour, however, was not intended to prohibit forgive ness upon proper repentance. It respected religious intercourse or company, and was not designed simply for the satisfaction of the the party offended, but for the reformation of the offender. The Apostle to the Gentiles, to whom he could not speak in the style of a Jew, as did the Saviour in the 18th chapter of Matthew, expresses the same idea, in the following words—“If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” 2 Thess. iii, 14. Now this was the same thing as saying to a Jew, Let such an one be to you as a heathen and a publican. “Yet,” continues Paul,"count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother;" and this of course for his restoration, for else, admonition would be but mockery.
That the incestuous person alluded to by Paul, in the fifth chapater of 1st. Corinthians, was excluded from the communion of the church, seems to us quite evident from the narrative. It is true that Paul's “sentence," may be considered ambiguous, yet that it inclus ded excommunication we cannot doubt from other expressions which he uses.
His sentence is–To deliver such an one over to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh;” but before pronouncing it, he reproaches the Corinthians that, instead of being puffed up, they had