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to cut off all intercourse between stepped down from his lofty throne them: but, on the contrary, it has to mingle with men, and assumed become the high-way of commerce, the endearing titles of brother and and ships pass to and fro continu- friend. The angels, whose songs ally, interchanging the commodities of triumph at the creation of the of life, or bearing the rich freight of world had been suspended by the God's Holy Word. So in the case sad spectacle of Adam's transgresof the fall of man, all communion sion, broke forth anew into singing, was apparently broken off between when, in the repentance of the God and his creatures : for what sinner, they saw the blessed effects fellowship could there be between of that atonement into whose myslight and darkness, or how could teries they desired to look : for by the vast gulph lying between sin the scheme of the Gospel it has and holiness be overpassed ? Yet been shown that God may be just in this extremity, Infinite Wisdom and yet the justifier of the sinner devised a plan by which a yet closer “who believeth in Jesus,” and that communion was brought about though sin bas abounded, grace can between himself and his people :
“ yet more abound.” and in due time the Son of God
PRAYER FOR THE DEAD.
PRAY for the dead who have a name
to live, The christian-heathen, orthodox
profane; Ask for thy brother life, and God will
give The prayed-for boon, nor shall thy
faith be vain.
Pray for all souls, but put not off the
prayer Till to its great account the soul has This is the only state that must pre
pare For heaven or hell—pray for the
THE RIGHT OF THE LAITY TO READ THE SCRIPTURES.
Most people know that last year the read the Scriptures in their own lanPope of Rome issued an Encyclical guage, and that God's holy word Letter, intended for circulation cannot be understood by any but the throughout the world; wherein it clergy of the Papal Church. This was ordered that (wherever the au- has been the doctrine of Popery for thorities had the power,) they hundreds of years, and is like every to seize out of the hands of the faith- other of its decrees, unchanged. In ful, Bibles translated into the vulgar England nothing is either felt or tongue,” and “that no person, under known of this arbitrary dogma, but in any pretext, must venture to explain other countries, at this very time, the or interpret the divine writings con- case is otherwise, and attended with trary to the tradition of the Fathers or much oppression and intolerance. In the sense of the Catholic Church ;"* France and Belgium, the Colporteurs, which means that the laity are not to who sell Bibles, are treated with great * See Encyclical Letter, translated by
insult, and the Priests generally opSir C. E. Smith, Snow, London.
pose their proceedings in every possible way.* In Spain there is even ject, as their plan is to insinuate whai less opportunity for circulating the they dare not at present speak, for Scriptures, for it is not long since sappers and miners do not go to Mr. Borrow was imprisoned in work with sound of trumpets. No Madrid, for offering copies of the one can forbid the reading of the New Testament for sale. + In a Scriptures, nor stay their circulation, small work lately published by nor prevent their use in public worHerschel, a converted Jew, he warns ship, but there are already those who all travellers in Italy to be on their teach the danger which the laity are guard, as the waiters at inns, and in if they presume to peruse them those who attend upon strangers, are without note and comment by the frequently spies, who, on pretence of Church (which in other words signify wishing to obtain Bibles, &c., dis- themselves), and already they raise cover whether Protestants have any tradition as the only interpreter of for gift or sale; and, in one instance, the Bible, both as to doctrine and a friend of the author's, who had practice, and in this way virtually given a Testament to one of these deny the power of God's holy ininquirers, was kept in prison three spired “word to make thee wise unto months for no other crime than pre- salvation.” senting a copy to the man who had The public have waited quietly thus treacherously obtained it !! In whilst their chains have been forging : the Papal states no Bibles can be they are now ready—do they purpose obtained; Ciocci (whose narrative of wearing them ? One evil creates his own life, and escape from a monas- another-one false doctrine produces tery, has just issued from the English a second, and so on, in an endless press,) states, that he was grown up ratio. Deny the right of the laity to ere he ever saw one, although he was read the Scriptures, and you place placed in a monastery at seven years
them as an inferior grade among of age, with the intention of making human beings, and by their allowing him a priest. Thus it would seem that such a degradation, a foundation is laid neither clergy nor laity either read or upon which a huge superstructure of know anything of the sacred Scrip- error and slavery is erected; the firsttures; if their religion was found stone of which is refusing them the there such would not be the case, right of private judgment, which is but as neither purgatory, transub- necessarily connected with blind obestantiation, adoration of the virgin, dience to those who arrogate infalprayers for the dead, &c., &c., &c., libility as their godlike attributes. can be seen in the Old or New When every part of the Protestant Testaments, of course they are of faith is assailed, it is time to furnish no value to the believers in such the indifferent, the ignorant, and the profitable inventions as all these slothful, with arguments whereby they things are.
may repel the subtle poison which In England, letters from the Pope lurks in every tract, song, and story are unheeded, and are only read as issued from the Tractarian and Popish curiosities, or as showing the unvary- presses; and perhaps the most iming intolerance of the Romish faith; portant point to begin with, is to no Bulls or Decrees from the Vatican, prove the universal right of the laity influence this nation; but there are to possess the Scriptures. other means which may? The Trac- Many persons are sure an inhetarians have not openly and manfully ritance is theirs, without knowing the declared their opinions upon this sub- precise terms by which it was firstgrant
ed to their family, and a man may be * See Extracts Monthly of the British certain of his rights, without underand Foreign Bible Society.
standing how to controvert a disputed of See “ Borrow's Bible in Spain.” claim, which would deprive him of See “A Visit to my Father Land,"
them. To such as believe the “ pearl by Herschel
of great price," and who wish to retain it in their hands, without any short reasons are given for holding misgivings as to their complete right fast that only rule of faith which the in retaining, and their duty in ex- Lord has left for his people. amining it; the following plain and
" That thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein."
Josh, i. 8. The Scriptures are the sacred books light, there is always the greatest of Jews and Christians; the Old Tes- manifestation of God's wondrous tament is alone received by the for- works, and neither of them can be mer, whilst both that and the New obscured or hidden without loss of Testament also are acknowledged by much that is good and great. the latter as of equal authority. Other In the Old Dispensation it is very religions have their holy writings, evident the entire law of God was to each professing to have emanated be made known to the Hebrew nafrom a divine source. The Mahom- tion. When it had been given, God edans have the Koran, the Hindoos commanded that each and all should the Shasters, both of which exercise know and practise the whole; and permanent influence over the votaries said, “ Thou shalt teach them diliof their respective creeds.
gently to thy children, and shalt talk Between these compilations and of them when thou sittest in thine the volume called the Bible, there house, and when thou walkest by the exists an extreme difference in prin- way, and when thou liest down and ciples, opinions, and practices. when thou risest up. And thou shalt
The Shasters are the composition bind them for a sign upon thine of acute men who forged a chain of head, and they shall be as frontlets laws which have bound the inhabit- between thine
And thou shalt ants of Hindostan for thousands of write them upon the posts of thy years in abject superstition and idola- house, and on thy gates." (Deut. try of the greatest and most humili- vi. 7, 8, 9.) There could be no posating nature. The Koran propounds sible mistake amongst the Jews as to an improved faith, yet teaches impure their ever supposing that any part of morality, and makes the promised the word of the Lord should be conparadise a scene of sensual indulgence. cealed from them, or retained by the
The Bible unfolds what never en- priests in mysterious secrecy. Long tered “into the heart of man to con- after the time of Moses, Isaiah refers ceive,” and gives an entirely different the people “to the law and to the motive of action to any which have testimony,” (viii. 20,) and desires ever been set forth in other systems them “ to seek out of the book of the of theology. All false or corrupted Lord, (xxxiv. 16.); and the Psalmist religions make fear the ruling princi- perpetually adverts to the statutes ple of their worship, whilst love is and words of God's commands. (cxix.) the one great and pervading idea of In the Old Testament nearly all Christian virtue. "All Scripture is which relates to Christ is given in written for our learning,” and evi- strong figures or metaphors; and dently intended for the open and un- although their meaning is now perfettered perusal of all mankind in ceptible, yet in those days all was every age and nation; and that which
veiled in dark sayings and emblemgiven by inspiration of God for atical allusions. The Christ was instruction in righteousness” must be ardently longed for as " the seed of for the benefit and universal edifica- the woman which should bruise the tion of the world: for that which is serpent's head;" as
“the Branch,” a light unto the path and a guide under which Israel would repose; as unto the way” can no more be hurt- “the Son of David,” &c.; and under ful to the souls of men, than the these and similar designations the glorious sunshine can be destructive people were to study the design and of life and vegetation. Where there character of his coming. They saw is most of either moral or material through a glass darkly, and yet "he
who spake as never man spake," was given to the whole nation was commanded the multitude" to search meant to be kept in close concealthe Scriptures,” because they testified ment from them. It is easily seen of him. When all was wrapped in that the revelations of God generally types and shadows, the Jews were were made to the laity. Moses wrote expected and desired to read and the first five books in the Bible; he learn for themselves; and is it then was followed by Joshua. Esther is possible that when the Lord Jesus believed to have been written by had fulfilled all these prefigured Mordecai, Job by Elihu or Moses. events, the volume of the Book in David composed the Psalms, Solowhich his life and death, his atone- mon the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and ment and mediation are alone revealed, the Song of Solomon. Isaiah, Daniel, should then for ever be closed and Amos, and Zephaniah, were of the withheld from the great majority of tribe of Judah. Jonah, of Zabulon. mankind?
Haggai was not a priest, (ii. 11, 12.) As Christ and his apostles spoke Inspiration was also given to women, and wrote for (what can be proved) namely, Deborah and Hannah. The general use, it becomes clear that the tribes and vocations of the seven laity have a positive right to have the minor prophets are unknown. There whole Bible in free circulation. The were but three priests who wrote sacanon of Scripture is closed by a cred books, Samuel, Ezra, and book, in which is written in definite Jeremiah. language, “ Blessed is he that read- This almost usual preference of the eth;” (Rev. i. 3.) “for the law of the laity above the priesthood as seen Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” under the Old Dispensation, was (Ps. xix. 7.)
changed in the Christian; and the But when it is perceived that in the apostles, for the most part, were Old Testament not only were all the privileged to become the infallible books of which it is composed ad- writers of God's holy word. But dressed to the laity, but were for the again, although in a different manmost part written by the laity, there ner, the importance of the laity is can remain no doubt that they were distinctly acknowledged, for to them, intended for the advantage and in- with scarcely an exception, were parstruction of that class just as much ticularly addressed the sacred oracles. as for the priesthood, and their right Upon such an important point as to possess and peruse them was never that of the right of the laity to enjoy questioned under the Jewish economy. the free use of the Scriptures, it beUntil the Exode no separate order of comes imperative to adduce the evipriests had been established amongst dence upon which certainty is attainthe Hebrews; then the tribe of Levi ed, that the New Testament was was chosen to minister in holy things, intended for universal circulation and and the family of Aaron appointed to perusal in every place and by every the High-priesthood. But even when
person. this was done by express revelation, No one can doubt, if a letter be the priests were never made lawgivers, addressed to himself, that its contents nor rulers over God's heritage. Mo- were meant to be kept from him; ses, a layman, was still the com- nor if a proclamation be issued by a mander, and to him were granted government upon things closely continued inspirations upon all spiri- affecting the liberties and privileges tual as well as temporal matters. of a nation, that the people who have Aaron never shared in this distin- to obey its commands should not be guished honour with him, and was permitted to see it, but that a part or always under the guidance and di- more (as might happen) should be rection of Moses.
told or withheld by the functionaries There is not one book in the Old whose sole office it was to teach, exTestament dedicated or addressed to plain, and enforce the regulations of the Priesthood, and therefore it be- the rulers. None can say that the comes impossible to believe that what letter or the proclamation should be
concealed from those to whom it is The New Testament is divided into sent: how then may any forbid apos- twenty-seven distinct parts; of these, tolic gospels and epistles being read twenty one are formally and specifiby those for whose eternal interests cally addressed to the laity. Three of they were written? Thus, when the the Gospels have no superscription, New Testament is examined, it will and the three Epistles to Timothy and be found that nearly all its contents Titus are written to them as
sons, are specifically addressed to individu- and not as constituting the Church of als or communities of the laity, and the place where they were residing. from that time have been the posses- A®“ Church is a congregation of sion of the Church Universal. As it faithful men,” and to such were the is desirable to be very explicit upon various portions of the Christian the subject, the volume of the New Scriptures sent, and not exclusively Testament can be referred to, when to the Bishops and Deacons; the it will be perceived to whom each and latter were supposed to be included every part is inscribed. Three of the
with the former, as without either the Gospels have no superscription—that clergy or laity the constitution of a of St. Luke and the Acts also were Church would be incomplete. sent to Theophilus, a Gentile layman, When St. Paul inscribed his Episby Luke “the beloved physician.” tle to the Romans, “to all called to St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “ To be saints,” the phrase comprised in all that be in Rome called to be its meaning Priscilla, Julia, Mary, saints.” 1st Corinthians, “To the and others of their sex, (Rom. 16,) Church, with all that in every place who could not have been ordained call upon the name of Jesus Christ."* ministers. This circumstance plainly 2nd Corinthians, “ Unto the Church, shows that even the most highly with all that are in Achaia.” Gala
argumentative of the apostolic writians, “ Paul, unto all the Churches tings were intended for the free peruthat are in Galatia.” Ephesians, sal of women. “ The elect lady." “Paul, to the saints who are at Ephe- was not in orders, and could not, in sus." Philippians, “Paul, to all
any sense, be called “the Church," the saints which are at Philippi, with and yet she was honoured by an the Bishops and Deacons.' Colos- Epistle from St. John. If Philemon sians, “To the saints and faithful and Archippus were either Bishops or brethren.” 1st and 2nd Thessaloni
Deacons, Apphia, a woman, was not; ans, “ Paul, unto the Church of the but to her with them was that epistle Thessalonians.” Philemon, “Paul, inscribed. to Philemon, and to our beloved Ap- Were St. Paul and St. John ignophia and Archippus, and to the rant of God's will, or of what the Church in thy house.” Hebrews, Church was when they sent their “To the Jews.” James, “ To the inspired epistles not only to the laity twelve Tribes." 1st Peter, “To the generally, but to women particularly? strangers scattered about Pontus,
Again, the Epistle to the Hebrews Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and By- could not by any stretch of imagined
2nd Peter, “ To those who authority be meant exclusively for have obtained like precious faith the sole benefit, or to be kept in the with us.
1 John, “I write unto custody of the Christian clergy, and you, little children, young men, fa- be interpreted only by the permission thers.” 2nd John, “To the elect of the Popes of Rome. Nor could lady and her children.” 3rd John, the Epistle of James, addressed “to “ The Elder unto the well-beloved the twelve Tribes,” by any possibility Gaius.” Jude, “ To them that are have been intentended by that apossanctified by God the Father.” tle as a part of Scripture which might Revelations, “ John, to the Churches be accounted “ dangerous for the laity of Asia.”
to read,” as is now set forth by the * In the New Testament the Church is
present Pontiff, Gregory XVI. * always spoken of as the redeemed out of every nation. Eph. i. 22, 23. v. 25. * See his Encyclical Letter, 1844.