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our recollection serves, to steer clear in his “ Family Chaplain" of any objectionable statement on the subject of Baptismal Regeneration : and we beg to submit to him whether his own language as employed in the Sermon for the first Sunday after the Epiphany might not have suggested the necessity of the same wise caution which the framers of our Liturgy have shown, in forming devotional offices for promiscuous use. Mr. D. justly observes,
“ Those.... are not 'faithful men,' whose profession is in words alone : and it will not suffice that sacraments are 'duly administered,' unless they are duly received. Only those who rightly receive them, are faithful men: only those who baving been as infants baptized into Christ,' in after years * put on Christ:' only those who eating of that bread, and drinking of that cup, which set forth the sacrifice of Christ, bear about with them in the body the marks of the Lord Jesus,' and thus shew forth the Lord's death till He come!'...." Those constitute the Church who receive both her sacraments, and who, in so doing, combine the outward visible sign' with the
inward and spiritual grace.' Those who, admitted by baptism within the pale of the Church, realize in the heart that faith, and exhibit in the life that repentance, or forsaking of sin, which are required of persons to be baptized ;' and who, from a persuasion, that it is their bounden duty, and from an expectation that it will be for their lasting benefit, commemorate, as He hath himself ordained, the sacrifice of the death of Christ.' Those who neither cleave to the sins which they are thus pledged to renounce, nor shrink from the duties they are thus bound to perform, but who have settled in their hearts to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,' and to 'count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord,' ---of those who are such, we declare, without hesitation, that they are the Church."-(pp. 46, 47.)
Our only fear is, that the language of Mr. D.'s adopted prayer might lead some to a wider and less safe conclusion ; though we are quite sure the pious author would as sincerely deprecate this as ourselves. We could not conscientiously say less on the subject, but are happy to believe that mutual explanation would shew an essential agreement between ourselves and the excellent Vicar of St. Pancras.
Onr readers need not be informed that Mr. Dale's Sermons will well repay attention. Let us conclude this somewhat critical notice with a single extract. We quote from the Sermons already alluded to on church membership, and are glad, in Mr. D.'s beautiful and expressive language, to recal attention to the great principle of vital Christianity," the soul, spirit, and substance of -religion,” whether considered as personal or social--the constraining love of Christ, and the oneness of all who truly believe in Him -and are thus “ heirs together of the grace of life," and partakers of “the common salvation.”
“Since, then,” Mr. D. concludes, “ the principle of action, common to all true believers, is the constraining influence of the love of Christ, we shall not be long detained in considering the practical results of such a principle. 1846.
We shall see, both what its results would be, on an extended scale, were the Church in deed and in truth commensurate with the Church in name and in word-did all who have been baptised into Christ' seek to put on Christ, and desire to be found in him; and what is its influence, so far as it does operate, and so far as it does extend. Once, and for a short space of time, the Church in name, and the Church in truth, were one and the same thing.
“ There was a paradise; as in the creation of the world, so in the commencement of the Church of Christ. For a period-alas! of too brief dura tion—the withering, benumbing, paralyzing corruption of a divided, dismen. bered disjointed Christianity—the modern fiction of the Christianity of a single sacrament–did not intrude within the sacred precincts of the Church. All—though they were thousands—all who had been baptized with the ' washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,' were together, 'continuing stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayer;' and when their numbers had been doubled, by the very means which had been employed to extirpate and destroy then, their condition was, in things temporal, thatneither was there among them any that lacked :' their condition in spiritual things, that great grace va upon them all!' And such would be the state of our own Church at this hour, were her own principles fully carried out; were her members such as all her services have a tendency to make them; were every churchman a communicant, and every communicant one who should' truly and earnestly, repent him of his sins,' cherish a faithful 'remembrance of the death of Christ,' stedfastly purpose to amend his former life, and determine, even if it involved the sacrifice of interest, or pleasure, or convenience, to live in charity with all men.' Our attention, however, is drawn most especially to the result in respect of individuals, for we are every one members one of another,' as well as all members of Christ. Now it must be familiar to every observer of mankind, that, both in communities and in families, in the vide sphere of the world, and within the sacred circle of the Church, the most fre quent and fertile source of dissension and disorder, and therefore discomfort, is the overweening estimate of self. Against the setting up of this idol in the heart Christianity not only protests, but provides also the means of excluding it. 'Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. Bearing one another's burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ.' Nor is the application of this rule in the slightest degree affected or impeded by the di versity of condition which exists among mankind. As all the members though they have not the same office or the same properties, yet stand in the same close relation to the body, and are essential to its just proportion and perfection,-so there is the same relationship among all those who are 'children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.' The monarch is Christ's subject; the master is Christ's servant; while the servant-the slave it was when the apostle wrote-the meanest in outward things, amidst the millions who ofte fealty to an earthly sovereign, are, if rich in faith,' a royal generation heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him; nest in succession to a crown of righteousness; and destined to reign with Christ, as kings and priests for ever and ever. The soul, and spirit, and substance, then, of domestic religion, is the recognition, on the part of all who compose the community or household of this common membership, that' there is no respect of persons with God;' but that all who believe, high or low, rich poor, one with another, are heirs together of the grace of life,' and shall be partakers of the common salvation.' Each, therefore, in that state of life, .. which God hath called him, is bound to render unto all their dues;' and o prove himself, by patience, by long-suffering, by love unfeigned, by contro of passion and command of temper, by forbearance and forgiveness, by meekness and gentleness of Christ, a disciple not in name only, and in W but'in deed and in truth.' With such masters and such servants, with su
parents and such children, with such to bear rule and such to yield obedience, -Christian families would again be one brotherhood of love; the voice of joy and peace would be in the dwellings of the righteous;' and the happiness and harmony of such households would win even the ungodly to emulate the life of the true believer; as well as to breathe the often-uttered, but too often soon forgotten, prayer- Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his ! :*
"Let it be ever remembered, however, in the last place, that the chief result must be sought in personal religion. As' every one must give account of himself to God,' so should every one seek to ' present himself a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.' The portraiture of such a disciple is drawn at full length in the concluding part of this chapter, which forms the epistle of the next Sunday. We would only dwell for a few moments on the expression of the apostle,' a LIVING sacrifice,' which is evidently intended as a contrast to the dead sacrifices, which were offered under the law, as the symbols and shadows of better things to come; aud which is equally opposed to the unnatural and unscriptural austerities of those who desert the sphere of active duty, for contemplative and cloistered solitude. A LIVING sacrifice is not that which is estranged from the ordinary intercourse of social life; but that which mingles with it, purifies it, and adorns it. The precept in the next verse, . Be not conformed to this world,' would evidently be quite superfluous, if men were commanded to go out of the world.' And how can it be argued for a moment that when the Lord said to his disciples, 'Ye are the light of the world,' he designed them to hide their light under a bushel, or to retire with it into the wilderness? How could that be termed ' a LIVING sacrifice,' which, in order to avoid arduous and self-denying duties, should consign itself to the social death of the monastery or the hermitage? The tendency of the whole exhortation is, that in that sphere, and in those relations of life, to which the Providence of God hath called us, we are to set our bodies nigh to Him, first, in that offering of prayer, which, regarded as an outward offering alone, is a recognition of our dependence, an acknowledgment of our need, an entreaty for God's help; and then, in those acts of uprightness, fidelity, generosity, forbearance, social charity, and public spirit which are proper to the condition allotted to us in this probationary state of being. Thus regarding, thus reflecting, the principle of membership with Christ, and the profession of membership with each other, we may prefer, with confidence of a favourable answer, the supplication of our most impressive and scriptural collect, O Lord, we beseech Thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people that call upon Thee; and grant, that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
*** We have been glad to observe, since the above was written, that there has just appeared another Devotional Work, under the title of “ The Book of Family Prayer,” &c., by Clergymen of the United Church of England and Ireland; with an Introductory Essay on Family Worship by the Rev. Charles Bridges, edited by the Rev. C. J. Goodhart and Rev. C. Holloway. We have not seen this work, but should expect it will prove a valuable contribution to Christian families. Mr. Dale's work, we need not repeat, is principally for Sunday use.
THE ISRAEL OF GOD: SELECT PRACTICAL SERMOXS.
By STEPHEN H. TYNG, D.D., Rector of St. George's Church, New York. London : Religious Tract Society. 1846.
The opening sentence of the first of these Sermons sounds to us as an Advent-summons, and will suggest the reason why we not introduce them to our readers.
“We commence this day,” says the preacher, “ the course of another ecclesiastical year, with the season of Advent. Our attention is particularly and properly called to the consideration of the coming of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, as God manifest in the flesh. The special services of the Liturgy for this season have reference to this grand faci: and it becomes the preacher's duty to lead to it also. This view of propriety leads me now to call your minds to the solemn message of our present text, Prepare to mert thy God, O Israel!'”
The first four sermons of the volume are a series, grounded on this awakening passage, and entitled “ God's message to Israel;" whence also, as well as from the scope and design of the entire selection, the volume itself is entitled “ The Israel of God.”.
"At the time," observes Dr. T., “ in which this message was delivered by the prophet, the people of Israel, to whom it was addressed, may be regarded as exhibiting the two distinct characters, of the Spiritual Israel, and the Idolatrous Israel. A very large majority of them had gone astray from God, under the idolatry which had been established in their land. But, as God had informed Elijah in a previous time, there was still a remnant who had not bowed the knee to Baal. There was a nominal Israel known to man, and there was a spiritual Israel also among them. In my present application of the message before us, I wish to consider it under these two aspects."(p. 4.)
And again :
“.... Under these two appellations I have designed to represent the converted and the unconverted portions of my hearers: the religious and the irreligious classes of men, who are now before me. To the one class, the message of the text.... is a joyful annunciation: a call for thankful preparation for the coming of a triumphant Saviour. In view of his approach, they are to lift up their heads, to rejoice and be exceeding glad, for their redemption draweth nigh. To the other class, it is the solemn warning of an approaching judgment: the annunciation of a day of God's own appointment, when the measure of human trial shall be finished, and every immortal soul shall receive a just recompense of reward: when he that is righteous shall remain righteous still, and he that is unholy shall be unholy still.
“ Into these two classes of persons every congregation is divided. But the division is generally a very unequal one. There are, probably, but a small portion of the members of any of our public assemblies, who can be reasofiably addressed as converted, or pious persons. For this reason it is, that the faithful exhortations of the pulpit must be generally addressed to those, whose attention has yet to be awakened to the claims of religion, and whose affections are to be drawn to the high and important objects which the Gospel presents. True believers in the Lord Jesus, the Israel of God, are to be comforted, encouraged and built up in their most holy faith. The exceeding great and precious promises of the Gospel belong to them; and they are to be applied to them without fear. But we cannot cry, Peace, to the ungodly, when there is no peace. And, there is no peace to the wicked, saith my God.' The same fidelity which will lead us, on the one side, to speak comfortably to the people of God, will compel us, on the other, to cry aloud, and spare not, to lift up our voice like a trumpet, in proclaiming to unbelieving men their dangers and their sins.... We cannot conceal from ourselves the painful fact, that the far greater portion of those who listen to us from week to week, are in a state of alienation from God, and under the curse of his broken law: that they are without his love in their hearts, and enemies to his holy will. They are not our personal foes. In some cases they are our dearest friends, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; and God is our record, how greatly we long after them all, in the bowels of Jesus Christ. We love them as our own souls. And loving them thus, we would arouse them from their sleep: we would convince them of their dangers : we would draw them, -the Lord being merciful unto them,-to a city of refuge, a place of eternal safety. To accomplish this most important of all objects, we warn them with all long-suffering, we preach to them with all boldness, we keep back nothing that is profitable unto them, hoping, through the boundless mercy of Almighty God, that we may be made the instruments of saving some.... I have no message of consolation for unconverted sinners, no words of peace, unless the invitations of the Gospel prove effectual, and their hearts are brought home in a spiritual conversion unto Jesus Christ the Lord. The address of the text, is to them a solemn admonition- Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.""
Our readers will see, then, what is the scope of these Advent Sermons, and may be able from this short extract to form an idea of the spirit and manner of the preacher whom we wish to introduce to their notice. And just such is the scope, spirit, and manner of all the sermons in this volume. They are truly searching appeals to the heart and conscience by one who is well entitled to rank as a “ master in Israel,”—a son of thunder, and yet of consolation,-as every preacher ought to be who is ambitious to be blessed in making “ ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And let us confess that our special design in giving prominence to these specimens of the American pulpit is to provoke our brethren, as far as our ability may extend, to weigh well the importance, especially in times such as these, of giving to their sermons the like decisive, energetic, discriminating tone-to appeal to their congregations as those who are " set to watch for souls," and must “ give account to God.” Our episcopal brother, Dr. Tyng, appears to us an admirable model of the faithful, earnest, affectionate preacher. He exhibits both sides of the truth in a clear and scriptural light—but is always practical in his aim and purpose. He never spends himself upon difficulties, never occupies the time of his hearers with vapid trifles or mere commonplace. He has always an arrow for the conscience; and “ Thus saith the Lord” is the irresistible authority with which every appeal is carried home to the heart. He is not afraid or ashamed to tell his hearers that they are converted or unconverted-regenerate or
discrimiese, of weigh provoke