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The 1st Epistle to the Corinthians Spirit has given for their learning, is “to all that in every place call upon without the interpretation or permisthe name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
sion of any man. “All in every place” can never by The law and the prophecies were any perversion of language, mean the given to all Israel, and not to the tribe two or three bishops here, or the of Levi; the Gospels and Epistles three or
pur ns there, but it with their exceptions were sent to the must and does palpably intend it for laity. the whole community, whether in one Holy men of God wrote as they particular "house" or congregation, were moved by the Holy Ghost;" if or for individuals all over the world. the All-wise Spirit had intended his St. Peter wrote “to the strangers word and revelation to be held excluscattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, sively, and issued only according to Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia,” and the pleasure of those in the sacred might all people in idolatrous and office, who lived either under the old corrupt countries read inspired epis- or new dispensations, then their high tles without note or comment attached privilege would have been definitely to them, and yet all Europe be again stated, but nowhere is it seen that forbidden (see the present Pope's any such thing was purposed, and Letter) the same privilege, merely instead of the ancient Jewish priestbecause it is against the interests of hood holding this prerogative the false teachers that the laity should read Lord said, Hear, oh! Israel," and for themselves the exact words of the bestowed the extraordinary gift of Spirit of Truth?
inspiration upon a larger number of If the Scriptures were to have been men, who were never by birth or consigned to the sole keeping of the office amongst the clergy. clergy, neither Theophilus, Gaius, It was left for the Church to disApphia, nor the Elect Lady could cover that what God “
gave for corhave had the Acts, and their several rection and instruction in righteousEpistles addressed to them; but did ness,” would prove the destruction of the apostles err when they “ wrote as men's souls. “ Prophets and Apostles they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” and righteous men of old” taught If they were right from whence arises very different doctrine. St. Paul frethe power which Romish and other
quently sent his Epistles by the laity : churchmen assume of laying an Onesimus and Phebe
the interdict upon the diffusion of the bearers of them to the Romans and Sacred Volume?
to Philemon, and he knew and exAs it is a positive and easily ascer- pected that what he wrote plainly, tained fact, that a considerable and under the especial direction of the highly important portion of the Old Spirit, the common-sense of the Testament was written by laymen, and converts would, by God's blessing, that, with few exceptions, the New understand and apply. It is not very Testament was committed to the laity, likely that either the layman or the it becomes necessary to ask, how it woman took with them any notes or happens that this class of persons comments to the Romans, if so the from whom God in his wisdom se- Church there had merely the letter, lected so many persons as most fit to as written and handed down to this either communicate to the world his age. law, prophecies, and doctrines, or to All the first churches were comwhom they were expressly sent, should posed of proselytes from the Jewish now be deemed by the decrees of or Heathen religions-chiefly from Councils, the mandates of Popes, and the latter ; the majority of the people the reserve dogmas of Tractarians, as who constituted them, had been unworthy to receive the pure word of brought up and educated in the deep God, and that Christian people should profligacy of idolatrous creeds and be considered incapable of judging practices, yet to these persons, whose upon these things which the Holy minds had been imbued from infancy
with falsehood and vice of every de- look into the truth of what they are scription, did the Apostles send these taught, for St. John says, “I have very Epistles, and unfold those very
not written to you
know doctrines which are now said to be not the truth, but because ye know it." unsafe for the Christian laity to read “ I write unto you, little children, for themselves.
because your sins are forgiven you.” More happy were the reformed “ I write unto you, Fathers, because Pagans than the Church of this day, ye have known him that is from the if it be deprived of “the perfect law beginning.” “I write unto you, of liberty contained in “ the Holy young men, because ye have overcome Scriptures, which are able to make the wicked one.” (John i. 2.) This thee wise unto salvation (2 Tim. iii. epistle was addressed to the young 15), and be forced to take in their and the old, the strong and the weak; place 6 the tradition of the Church most if not all were the laity, who had Catholic,” as taught by Papal and been well instructed and yet were to Tractarian writings !
revise and study the newly given and If there be " things hard to be sacred oracles of God. understood” in Scripture, it is not the In the Old Testament are found laity who (generally speaking) “wrest most definite commands for teaching them to their destruction," for all diligently the “ children” « all the great heresies have arisen from the words of the law ;” and what was erroneous teaching of the Clergy. ordered to be “written upon the posts Bellarmine says
“ almost all Here- of the houses," could not be meant siarchs were either bishops or pres- for the secret concealment of the byters;" thus Arius was a presbyter, priesthood. (Deut. vi. 7, 9.) Isaiah Pelagius a monk. In the fourth tells the people they are to go “ to the century a Council of Bishops (with law and the testimony,” (viii. 20.) and but one dissentient voice) condemned further, the prophet desires them, to the opinions of Athanasius, who was “seek ye out of the Book of the the most orthodox prelate of his times. Lord.” (xxxiv. 16.) The Psalmist When the laity fall into such hurtful says, “thy word is a lamp unto my doctrines and practices from the un- path and a guide unto my way,' reserved perusal of the Bible, and (cxix.) but it can never be a guide to when there is but “one faithful found those who may not have the light. amongst the faithless,” then it may be The New Testament is not less detime to stay the diffusion of the Sacred finite upon the same point. Christ Writings, but certainly not till then. said unto the Sadducees, as a rebuke
The second Council of Nice, which for their ignorance, “ye do err, not consisted of 377 bishops, decreed knowing the Scriptures. (Mat.xx. 29.) image worship. The Council of Trent, St. Paul writes that “the Bereans composed of three thousand of the were more noble than those of Theshighest dignitaries of the Church of salonica, in that they received the Rome, namely Legates, Cardinals and word with all readiness of mind, and Bishops, established Purgatory, Tran- searched the Scriptures daily whether substantiation, and every other un- these things were so.” (Acts xvii. 11.) scriptural and false doctrine.
If the Bereans were highly approved The laity can never be more univer- by the Apostle, and their conduct sally wrong, nor fall into worse errors recorded as an example, because they than these Councils sanctioned and sought in the Scriptures to discover perpetuated.
whether the doctrines taught by Paul It is no reason that because a and Silas were true and in
agreement Church holds in formularies what- with the written word, surely those ever may be necessary to salvation, who are now in the Priests' office that the people are therefore to take have no right to take umbrage or them without further examination, or exception at similar inquiry in their are not to read in the Scriptures congregations, but cheerfully recom“ whether these things be so," and mend that as a duty which Paul and
Silas applauded, for none in these (1 Thess. v. 27.) “I charge you by days can affirm they possess superior the Lord that this Epistle be read gifts and graces than were bestowed unto all the holy brethren.” on these inspired teachers.
In the Acts it is also recorded, In the first ages of Christianity, all (xv. 22.) “ the apostles and elders, who gave up their sacred books to with the whole church, wrote letters their heathen persecutors were con- by the hands of Paul and Barnabas, sidered as lapsed apostates. What to the brethren in Antioch, Syria, and would the primitive Christians think Silicia,” (30.) “ so when they came to of the state of the Popish laity at this Antioch they gathered the multitude day?
together," and delivered the Epistles, St. Paul did not forget to tell the “ which when they had read they Romans that the Jews had heretofore rejoiced for the consolation.” The enjoyed advantages beyond all other multitudes in that city had been nations, in that “to them were com- Pagans, and yet to them were sent mitted the oracles of God,” (Rom. iii. apostolical letters, which were pub2.) and implying, at the same time, licly read to and meant for all." As that now
the middle wall of par- these letters were taken to Antioch tition was broken down,” the Gentiles by Paul and Barnabas, there could be shared equally with them in their no mistake made as to the lawful use of privileges. Nor did he omit remind- them, nor any error committed when ing Timothy of the blessing he had they were read to the new converts enjoyed in having “known the Scrip- from heathenism. tures from his youth.”
If God had not stated clearly by Those who would prevent the laity inspiration what he intended all from having a free use of the Bible, Christians should know, the whole know “ that the word of the Lord is body must again have sunk into ignoa reproach to them,” (Jer. vi. 10.) rance; but when they had the word otherwise it would not be forbidden. of God, they possessed a constant
There should be no mistake upon unchanging guide, for Christ never another branch of duty connected allowed any appeal from what “ is with the study of holy writ, namely, written" by the Spirit. the necessity of reading it in public In the middle and dark ages, the worship. Christ, who is our example, Scriptures became scarce, and Chrisread the Book of the Prophet Isaiah tianity was corrupted and hidden by in the Temple, (Luke iv. 18.) and the a thousand novel inventions; then the Apostles desired their Epistles might Church fell into an abyss of error, be read in like manner in the in which to a large extent she reChurches; the Gospels were written mains; it is only in those countries “that thou mightest know the cer- where “the word of the Lord has free tainty of those things wherein thou course and is glorified,” that anything hast been instructed.” (Luke i. 4.) for like apostolical religion is seen. these holy men did not follow
There are no infallible teachers in ningly devised fables,” therefore the Church, nor have there been any wished
every one to examine for him- since the death of St. John; but there self all the facts and doctrines which is an unvarying, unerring, certain they set forth.
standard of truth in the Holy Bible ; It is only those whose deeds are it is in vain to look elsewhere, for the evil, and words false, who dare not Sacred Volume is closed by a curse stand the scorching light of truth. upon those who either add to or take
St. Paul writes, “when this Epistle from the words of the Book. (Rev. 13.) is read amongst you,” that is, « the The Old and New Testaments are saints and faithful brethren at Co- sent to all mankind, whether clergy losse;" cause also that it be read in or laity, each to share alike in the prithe Church of the Laodiceans, and vilege to read their contents, for the that ye likewise read the Epistle from Lord Jesus Christ has said “search Laodicea," (Colos. iv. 16.) Again, the Scriptures." " Add thou not.
unto his word, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” (Prov. xxv. 6.) for “ the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testi
mony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm xix. 7.)
S. P. March 18th.
The Youths' Remembrancer.
HOW ALWAYS TO ABOUND IN THE WORK OF THE LORD.
It was on a calm summer evening, and not from Christian principle. that the Missionary Meeting was held Their hearts beat high with emotion in the busy town of E- The as they listened to the thrilling delarge room was crowded with quiet tails which were given, and the urgent and attentive listeners; and the mis- appeal that was subsequently enforced; sionary information imparted to them but it is easy to fancy that natural was peculiarly interesting. Intelli- benevolence is Christian sympathy, gence had been received from distant and to mistake the exuberance of an lands, of the mighty changes which excited imagination for Christian were being effected through the sim- zeal. ple instrumentality of the Gospel. Let us trace in imagination the reThe peaceful influence of a Saviour's turn of one of this youthful group
to Cross was pervading the dark abodes her happy and peaceful home. We of cruelty and superstition; and the can fancy how, in the midst of the idolater, instead of invoking the aid family circle, her thoughts still revolve of his useless deities, had learnt to around the delightful subject of mislove and worship the only true God. sionary enterprise, and how when at The Sun of Righteousness with his night she lays her throbbing temples life-giving beams, was illumining that on her pillow, the recollection of it moral desert, and the wilderness and tinges her dreams. Yet we should the solitary places were beginning to not be surprised if these pleasing blossom as the rose. How refresh- thoughts fade with the morrow's ing to the Christian pilgrim were dawn. But we will suppose that it is these glad tidings from a far country! otherwise, and that our young friend Wearied, perhaps, in the ardent dis- arises in the morning with renewed charge of his daily duties, and mourn- zeal and animation, and with a firm ing over his apparent want of success resolve to put her little plans of usein them, his faith was strengthened fulness into immediate execution. It and his hope invigorated by these is probable that more is attempted to accessions of fresh triumphs to the be done than is practicable with cuscause of his Saviour, and he felt en- tomary habits and engagements, and couraged to pursue with cheerful thus plain and every day duties are confidence his heavenward way. Yet liable to be neglected or carelessly we cannot think that all in that room performed, while the gentle remonfelt thus, for there were some there strance of an older friend, whose whose hearts had never been won by judgment is more mature, and whose a Saviour's love, and who had never experience is more extensive, is imdevoted themselves in grateful conse- patiently received and proudly disrecration to his service. I do not mean garded. We need not describe--for that they were uninterested. Their the imagination of our readers will bright eyes and glowing cheeks gave easily draw the scene for themselves full evidence to the contrary; but -a table well filled with materials for then the warmth and enthusiasm of making simple dresses for the native their feelings arose from excitement, children; neat missionary-box
placed in the most conspicuous part influence over the feelings, there must of the room, and a youthful brow be a corresponding change in the exbending anxiously over a long list of ternal conduct. the names of such persons as are Thus their high resolves and their likely to become subscribers. It is a glowing desires are as the early cloud pleasing picture, for self is apparently and the morning dew, beautiful but forgotten in the earnest desire to do evanescent. The blossoms of progood to others.
mise are fair and lovely, but they are But we will suppose that a few soon blighted and withered, and we weeks have rolled away, and now let find no fruit. To expect that it should us look again. The ardent zeal which be otherwise, would be to imitate the so lately attracted our attention is simple child who gathers a favourite rapidly declining, for the novelty of flower, and then planting it in the excitement having worn away, there ground wonders why it does not grow. is nothing to sustain its progress. The sapless stem cannot impart life The tedious and unvaried employment and vigour to the drooping petals, of plying the needle has become irk- neither can a heated imagination prosome and disagreeable; and the office duce the fruits of the Spirit. Many of a pence collector is found to be less brilliant natural qualities may appear pleasant in practice than in theory. to emanate from the principles of true Chilling looks and uncourteous refu- religion, but although they bear a resals have discouraged the young appli- semblance to the graces of Christiancant, and the weekly call requires ity there is a wide and essential diffmore punctuality and self-denial than erence between them, which will manishe is willing to command. Her fest itself in the hour of trial. The warm devotion to the missionary gifts which are acceptable to God cause is subsiding into apathy and must spring from the root of divine indifference, and it is doubtful whe- grace planted in the soil of a regenether her self-imposed labours would rate heart. How can he approve of be even languidly performed, if it those services which are commenced were not from a regard to appear- without any design for the promotion ances, and a love of praise. Yet, if of his glory? Would a father value you wait till the next anniversary the offerings of his child, if he knew rolls round, you will probably witness that they were prompted by no purer a renewal of her former warmth and motives than those of personal amuseenthusiasm, but it is to be feared that ment and self-gratification? The it will be equally transient in its dura- sacrifice which God requires is that of tion.
a grateful heart, and if this is withWill not our young readers allow held, the most costly oblations are that this is a true picture? Perhaps worthless in his sight. in this hasty delineation some may Dear young friends, in this day of have recognized the outline of their religious profession and excitement, own portrait, and if so, we would it is of great importance that we gently entreat them not to turn care- should carefully analyze our motives, lessly away, but to endeavour to as- and ascertain the source from which certain the reason of their want of they are derived. It is easy to defaithfulness and perseverance. It is ceive ourselves upon this point. It is a simple, and yet a momentous one easy, because our self-love makes us the absence of right principles. There unwilling to investigate the subject, is no constraining motive of love to and we are too ready to conclude that the Saviour to stimulate and encou- our actions must necessarily spring rage them in the path of weariness from right principles. Let us, then, and difficulty, and although excite- implore the aid of the Holy Spirit, to ment may urge them on for a while, help us to discriminate between the it cannot impart a bracing and sus- mere fervour of an excited imaginataining power to the energies of the tion, and the deep, pervading influmind. Consequently, when it fades ence of a true and practical faith. away, and no longer maintains any Yet let not our readers imagine that