Page images
PDF
EPUB

of that portion of divine truth. The same observation applies to the sixth, on Ezek. xxxiii. 11. We also regard the second, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, as excellent sermons. They display a manly eloquence, and rivet the attention of the reader. Mr. Shrewsbury is peculiarly happy in the application of his subjects to the consciences of his hearers; a talent which is essential to the character of every "good Minister of Jesus Christ." Independently, therefore, of the circumstances under which this volume is published, and of the special objects of the author, which we have already stated in his own words, his work will be generally edifying to devout and practical Christians.

Bibliotheca Selectissima. A Catalogue of Books printed in the Fifteenth Century; Productions of the Aldine Press; Miscellaneous, Curious, and Rare Books, and Ancient Manuscripts. By William Baynes and Son.

Ideas for Infants; or, Answers in Verse to Scriptural Questions; adapted to the Understandings of Children, and designed for the Use of Schools; with Scripture Proofs. By Robert New.. stead. Fifth Edition, corrected and enlarged. 24mo. pp. 193.-Of immense importance to every individual, is the bias which is given to the human mind in early life. Great praise is therefore due to those writers who furnish books of elementary instruction, in which the truths of divine revelation are inculcated in all their purity and simplicity. To a share of that praise the author of this little volume is justly entitled. He has embodied in easy and familiar verse, the leading facts and doctrines of Holy Seripture; which cannot fail, by the divine blessing, to exert a salutary influence upon the infant mind.

The God of Abraham, and his Relation to Believers: A Discourse on Genesis xv. 1. By William Baker. Second edition. 12mo. pp. 57.-This is, upon the whole, a sensible and useful discourse; though we cannot pledge ourselves to the correctness of every interpretation of Scripture which the author has given.

A Sketch of Ancient Geography: compiled from the best Authorities; and arranged after the manner of the Abbe Gaultier's Modern Geography. By a Lady, for the Use of her own Family. 12mo. pp. 166.--This is a judicious compilation; and forms a valuable introduction to larger works on the same subject; the importance of which, as a branch of education, must be obvious to every reflecting mind. Little advantage, com

paratively, can be derived from historical reading, however extensive, without a competent knowledge of Geography, both ancient and modern.

A Translation of Bishop Pearson's Annals of St. Paul; to which are added, Geographical and Critical Notes, illustrative of the Life and Labours of that Apostle, taken from the most approved Annotations. 12mo. pp. 118. 4s. This work is small in compass, but of great utility to the Biblical student. The text consists of brief notices of the principal events of St. Paul's public life, arranged in chronological order; and the notes, which are very copious, and selected with judgment from the principal critics and commentators, contain satisfactory explanations of the inspired narrative, so far as the personal history of the Apostle is concerned.

A Catechism of the Principal Parables of the New Testament. Intended for the Young. By W. F. Lloyd. 18mo. pp. 71. 6d.-A very judicious and useful manual, admirably adapted to the youthful mind.

Helps to Devotion: Morning and Evening Prayers for every day in the week, adapted for the use of Families, with short Prayers for particular occasions. By the Rev. H. Tattam, M. A., F. R. S. L., Rector of St. Cuthbert's, Bedford, and Minister of the Episcopal Church, at Amsterdam, pp. 167. 2s. -"The chief object of these prayers is, to lead the worshippers to a sense and confession of their own sinfulness and then, to that full and free mercy which is treasured up in Christ Jesus; that they may be brought to rely upon him, in the exercise of true repentance, and a lively faith."-Vide Preface.

The Negro's Memorial; or, Abolitionist's Catechism. By an Abolitionist. 8vo. pp. 227. This pamphlet is at once seasonable and important. At the present time the attention of the public is directed, more strongly than ever, to the duty of co-operating with Parliament and his Majesty's Government, for ameliorating the condition of our fellow-subjects, the Slaves of the West India Colonies, with reference to the extinction, as speedily as practicable, of the system of slavery. To this great national duty, and, with respect to the white inhabitants of the Colonies, of policy itself, prejudice, false views of interest, and misrepresentations of the real condition of the Negro-Slave, oppose many obstacles. It cannot, however, be made known through the country, that so many great and crying evils exist in the Colonies,-proved too

on the evidence of West Indians them selves, without producing a deep conviction among all ranks, that, whether we regard the character of the nation; the smile and frown of Heaven; the immortal principles of justice; or the precepts and spirit of our divine religion; it has become the imperious duty of every man, to express to Parliament, by respectful petitions, his sense of the necessity of its interference to lead on that process of amelioration which the Colonial legislatures have refused to adopt spontaneously; and to persevere in this, until the system of human bondage ceases to be a blot upon the character of Great Britain. To all who wish for information, at once copious and compressed, on the true character and influence of Negro-Slavery, we can recommend this pamphlet; in which the information, scattered throughout innumerable publications, is collected

into one view; and which, as a whole, we greatly fear, instead of exaggerating, falls greatly short of stating the real case; a case, certainly, which cannot at once be fully met and relieved; but with which we are bound, as professedly a Christian people, in the first place seriously to make ourselves acquainted, and then to concur in all effectual and proper measures for terminating its evils, and for finally repairing the injustice of former times. In those temperate, wise, and Christian petitions to parliament on this subject, which have commenced in the metropolis, and some other parts of the country, and which, we doubt not, will speedily become general, we trust that our friends throughout the Methodist Connexion will be most ready to unite, and will promote them by an active cooperation.

RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

REASONS FOR RENOUNCING POPERY.

[THE following document has been lately published in France, where it has excited considerable attention. We have no doubt but that it will be perused with interest by our Protestant readers.-EDIT.]

Letter from M. Mollard-Lefevre, a respectable Merchant of Lyons, in

France.

Lyons, 25th June, 1825.

SIR,-You inquire what were the motives which actuated me in the step I have just taken, and why I attach so much importance to becoming a member of the Christiau Reformed Church: I am ready to inform you, and to open my mind to you with the utmost candour. The Gospel, my Conscience, and my Reason, these, in three words, have been my guides and advisers.

I know, by my own experience, that man is formed for religion: I felt the need of uniting myself to God by a true faith, and by worship; but I felt also that this faith and this worship ought to have nothing in them contrary to that light, that reason, that consciousness of right and wrong, which God has implanted within us; and that every religion which should not accord with these grand principles, or should shriuk from being examined upon them, could not be divine, since God cannot contradict himself, and his works cannot dread the light.

It became, therefore, my wish to re

cur to the foundation of the Christian faith, by studying the Holy Scriptures in the love of truth; and from that moment, I may say, a new day broke upon me. I read also some of the writings of those Fathers of the Church who lived nearest the times of the Apostles; and they accorded with the Gospel, in convincing me, that the Christian Reformed Church was the true Church of Jesus Christ, since its faith and worship perfectly agreed with the doctrines of the Founder of Christiauity, and with those of his Apostles; and since I found nothing therein opposed to my natural light.

I thought from the first, that I ought to have recourse to the Word of God alone, the divinity of which I acknow. ledged, and not to the opinions of men, frequently led astray by their own passions and interests; that I ought to look upon the Scripture as infallible, and to read it myself; that it must be so clear as to enable me to understand whatever in it concerned my faith and practice; and that I ought not to seek the rule of that faith in human traditions. Scripture itself confirmed my opinion; for I there read, that" the law of the Lord is perfect;" (Ps. xix. 8;)* that it is “inspired by God, to in

* See the version of the Bible, by Lemaistre de Sacy, published at Paris in 1759, with the royal approbation and privilege, by Wm. Desprez, printer to the King and Clergy of France.

struct, to rebuke, to correct, and to conduct to piety and righteousness;" (2 Tim. iii. 16;) that Jesus Christ himself said to his disciples, "Search the Scriptures;" that he condemned traditions, saying of the scribes, "In vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines which are only the commandments of meu; for they leave the commandments of God, to follow the traditions of men;" (Mark vii. 7, 8;) that St. Paul anathematizes all religious instruction which is not drawn from the Gospel: "There are some that trouble you, who would overturn the Gospel of Jesus Christ; but should we ourselves, or should an angel from heaven, preach a gospel unto you different from that which we have preached, let him be accursed;" (Gal. i. 7-9;) that the Gospel is plain to those whom their passions blind not, as St. Paul also says, If the Gospel which we preach is yet veiled, it is to those who perish that it is veiled; to those unbelievers whose minds the God of this world hath blinded, in order that they may not be enlightened by the light of the Gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God;" (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4;) that St. Ambrose also says, "The Holy Scripture is useful to every one." St. Chrysostom says, again, "The reading of the Holy Scriptures is a strong bulwark against sin; and ignorance of the Scriptures is a great precipice, a deep abyss." St. Basil also tells us, "All that is not included in the divinely-inspired Scripture, not being of faith, is sin."

I felt, therefore, that it was my duty to examine Scripture alone, to seek therein what I ought to believe and to do. I perceived, that it was the way pointed out by St. Paul himself, who, far from forbidding this examination to the people, says, "Prove all things; approve that which is good." (1 Thess. v. 21.)

I dared not assent to the opinion of any Church, merely as a Church, nor of any Council, while Jesus Christ announced, "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, who shall do great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect." (Matt. xxiv. 24.) St. John also says, on this subject, "My well beloved, believe not every spirit; but try whether the spirits be of God, for many false prophets are risen in the world." (1 John iv. 1.) The Abbé de Palerme himself admits "that a Council may err; and that, in what regards faith, the conviction of an indi

* St. Chrysostom, 3d Homily on Lazarus.

vidual ought to be preferred to the opinion of the Pope himself." "I dread Councils," says St. Gregory, of Nazianzen, "and I have never seen any which have not done more harm than good.”

The principles of Scripture, and of the earliest Fathers, are those of the Reformed Church; and I remarked with pleasure, that she establishes her faith only as God and our own understandings tell us that it ought to be established. I observed, that the Ministers of religion were in the Gospel forbidden to seek temporal power, riches, and honour; that charity, meekness, and humility, were to be characteristics of the Priests of Jesus Christ. Peter says to them, "Feed the flock of God with which you are charged, watching over its conduct, not by a forced necessity, but by a voluntary affection, which should be according to God; not by a shameful desire of gain, but by a disinterested charity; not domineering over the Lord's heritage, but becoming examples to the flock, by a virtue which springs from the heart :" (1 Peter v. 2, 3:) and Jesus Christ himself tells them, "Trouble not yourselves concerning gold or silver, or other money in your purse." (Matt. x. 9.) He declares to them, that if they act otherwise, they are but Scribes and Pharisees, whom he reproves, saying, "They love salutation in the public places, and to be called of men master; but as for you, desire not to be called master, because you have but one master, and you are all brethren. Neither call any one on earth your father, because you have but one Father, which is in heaven; and be not called Teacher, because you have but one Teacher and but one Master, which is Christ. He who is great among you shall be your servant; for whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and whosoever abaseth himself shall be exalted. Woe unto you, Scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites, because, under the pretence of your long prayers, you devour widows' houses. It is for this that you shall receive a more rigorous judgment. Woe unto you, for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, and yet you are within full of rapine and uncleanness." (Matt. xxiii. 1, 7—11, 14, 25.)

I observed, likewise, that their marriage was approved of by the word of God; since it was not His will to make of them a separate caste, with interests inimical to those of society, and to prevent from practising those numerous virtues to which the father of a family is called. St. Paul says, “Let them

marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Cor. vii. 9.) In writing to Timothy: "The bishop then must be blameless; he must have married but one wife; he must be sober, prudent, grave, and modest, loving hospitality, able to teach; he must not be given to wine, neither violent nor hasty to strike; but just and moderate, far from disputes, disinterested; he must govern well his own household, keeping his children in obedience, and in all propriety." (1 Tim. iii. 2-4.) He says again, "Have we not power to lead about with us a wife, who may be our sister in Jesus Christ, as do the other Apostles, and the brothers of our Lord, and Cephas?" (1 Cor. ix. 5.) And St. Clement of Alexandria says himself, "There are some who condemn the Priests that marry; but will they not also condemn the Apostles? for Peter and Philip had children, and the latter had his daughters married." (Strom. i.) The Ministers of the Reformed religion follow this principle, and the example of the Apostles; they are, like them, fathers of families, patterns to their flock; they live in simplicity, making no vows contrary to human nature, the precepts of Scripture, purity of manners, and the good order of society.

I have embraced their communion, because in it there is no prostration be fore wood, or stone, or old relics of corpses to which corruption has paid no respect.

I have embraced this communion, because in it every thing is referred immediately to God the Saviour of men, and not to creatures sinful like our selves; for, saith St. Paul, "There is but one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. ii. 5.) And St. John: "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is righteous." (1 John ii. 1.) And consequently, Jesus Christ being here the only hope of believers, they are entirely and uniformly Christians.

I have embraced this communion, because it does not enjoin upon be lievers pompously to exhibit their piety in the streets and public places,-a practice which Jesus Christ reproves, saying, "Be not like the hypocrites, who affect to pray standing apart in the synagogues, and at the corners of the streets, in order to be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward; but you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and, the door being shut, pray unto your Father in secret, and your Father, who seeth that which passeth in secret, will give you

its reward. When you fast, be not sad like the hypocrites; for they affect to appear with a disfigured countenance, in order that men may know when they fast. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face, that it may not appear unto men that you fast, but to your Father, who is present in the most secret place; and your Father, who seeth that which passeth in secret, will give you its reward." (Matt. vi. 5, 6, 16—18.)

I have embraced this communion, because in it there is no assumption, that he is a better man who eats fish, than he who eats beef; for 1 can never believe that it was the design of God, in creating an aliment always wholesome, to prohibit us from using it at certain periods, unless we purchase exemption. Jesus Christ speaks not thus in the following words: "It is not that which enters into the mouth which defiles the man; but it is that which comes out of the mouth of man which defiles him." (Matt. xv. 11.) And St. Paul says, "Eat of all that is sold at the shambles, without asking whence it comes, for any scruple of conscience; for the earth is the Lord's, and all that therein is." (1 Cor. x. 25, 26.)

I have embraced this communion, because in its public service every thing is understood and comprehended by every individual; and, having never learned Latin, I cannot believe it to be the will of God that Ministers should edify me in Latin. The custom is condemned by St. Paul: "Also, my brethren, if I should come unto you speaking in unknown tongues, what usefulness should I bring unto you? I would rather speak in the church five words which I could understand, and which should instruct others, than repeat ten thousand in an unknown tongue." (1 Cor. xiv. 6, 19; read all the chapter.) Pope John VIII was as much a Pro testant as myself in this respect; for he said, "Let the praises of God be sung in the native language ;" and I really think that if what is said to us is good, useful, and edifying, it ought to be understood; and if, on the contrary, it is something bad, it ought not to be said, either in Latin, Greek, or Chinese.

I have embraced this communion, because it does not exclude from future happiness poor little children, on account of their parents' neglect in not having them baptized before their death. This doctrine has always appeared to me absurd, unjust, insulting to the Divinity, and unauthorized by a single word of Scripture.

I have embraced this communion,

because in it the Lord's Supper is a wholly spiritual ceremony, reminding us of the benefits which the Saviour came to confer upon humanity, a me morial of his death, in which the bread and wine represent only the body and blood of Jesus; for I never could allow that a God wholly spiritual, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, that God, whose nature alone is infinity, could be swallowed like a pill. It has ever appeared to me, that the, idea which materialized the Creator was an insult offered by us to Him, as it is an insult to reason itself.

Lastly, I have embraced the Christian Reformed communion, and I have embraced it with faith, confidence, and happiness, because it is not supported by the sword of the executioner; it does not place the scaffolds and tortures of the Inquisition beside the cross of Him who came, not to destroy men, but to save them. I acknowledge that the violence with which some of its early menibers may have been reproached, arose from the remains of human prejudice, from a habit of domination and of double power, (ecclesiastical and civil,) from which those men could not at once free themselves; but at the present day this Church is mild and charitable; it needs not the Torquemada to support it; it would not receive such aid; its precept is the precept of the Saviour: "You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; this is

the greatest and first commandment; aud this is the second, which is like unto it: You shall love your neighbours as yourselves. In these two commandments are contained all the law and the prophets." (Matt. xxii. 37-40.)

In this communion I recognize the true Church of Jesus Christ, that primitive Church which was restored by the Gospel, at the time of the Reformation. I bless God for having given me thus to distinguish his divine light; my children will one day bless me for having acted the part of an honest man, which is to embrace the truth as soon as he perceives it, without disquieting himself on account of the menaces and calumnies of those who shun the light, because their deeds are evil. If the step I have taken were yet to take, the prospect of tortures and of scaffolds would be vainly presented in order to stop me; truth is my motto, the approbation of God and of my conscience is my law. Numbers are deterred from imitating me by their indifference to the truth and to religion, and because they fear rather to be censured in this. world, than to be condemned in the other.

Such, Sir, are the motives which have actuated me. I believe you have a firm and upright mind, and I feel assured of your approbation. Accept the sentiments with which I remain, Sir, your very humble and devoted servant, MOLLARD-LEFEVRE.

LETTER FROM THE BERWICK CIRCUIT. To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. THE Methodist cause at Berwickupon-Tweed has of late been greatly relieved and assisted by the Christian liberality of one individual. A debt of £542 upon the chapel and Preacher's house, was, during the last year, entirely discharged. This year the chapel has been much improved; the old gallery has been taken down, and a new one erected; which, with the other alterations, will accommodate about 130 additional hearers. The seats are well let, and on the Lord's Day eveuings the chapel is well filled with attentive hearers. The whole expense, which was upwards of £150, is also paid.

From the same benevolent source, a Donation of £60 was received to the Preachers' Annuitant Society, besides the £90 to the Auxiliary Fund, which is acknowledged in the Minutes of last Conference.

The Donations to our Missions from
Berwick, mentioned in the Notices for
September, should have been in the
following order.

A Friend.. £50
Anonymous £60 By T. Ballingall.
A Friend £50

[ocr errors]

I remain yours respectfully,
THOMAS BALLINGALL

December, 1825,

« PreviousContinue »