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day, when every breeze of heaven breathes freshness, and all creation smiles. But when Christ calls a soul to take up its cross, and fol. low him, that it may be made conformable to His sufferings and death : when the Gracious Physician is purging of its corruptions, by the knife and caustic of suffering; and thus extracting through the outward man the gangrene which would have rankled within, and preyed upon the vitals : when Providence summons it to surrender all its fancied possessions; and actually to fulfil, in heart and spirit, its oft repeated promise that it would forsake all to follow Christ : when He compels it to prostrate itself, naked and mortified, at the fvot of the cross; that thence it may rise, superior, by submission, to the cares and trials of this shifting scene : when it is not merely, or principally, the outward man which religion is occupied in regulating, but when it violently rends asunder the whole machinery of the inner man, that all its principles, affections, actions, though visibly unchanged, may yet move at the impulse of a new power, and that power the Spirit of Christ ;—when God has withdrawn the consola. tions of the Spirit-those rich cordials which tempted the soul to say, " I shall never be removed; thou, Lord, of thy goodness hast made my hill so strong;"—when He thus permits faith, and patience, and the cross, to have their perfect work-well may the soul trembling ask " who is sufficient for these things?” Well may it rejoice; and firmly may it rest upon the answer of God himself to the chief of His praying and suffering saints, “ My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in weakness.

In considering the subject before us, I have stated the real character of God in contrast with the vague notions of popular superstition. In the same contrast I have endeavoured to represent the Hell of lawless passions and unsubdued tempers, the Heaven of holy affections and peaceful dispositions, which the rejection or the acceptance of Divine influences opens to the contemplation of faith, or actually realizes to the soul. I have endeavoured, however briefly and imperfectly, to describe that religion, which in its incipient and progressive state is the mean, in its consummation and perfection the end, of the Christian's calling. And now there but remains to invite each, and all, at once to enter upon this blessed path which leads to glory, honour, and immortality :-if entered upon, steadily and uncompromisingly to pursue it: solemnly to warn each, and all, to look neither to the right hand nor to the left for his example, or apology,-a dizzy precipice lies on either side : but to walk by faith, and not by sight, the narrow path that leadeth unto life. Take the Bible into your hand, and to your closet. There, seek by the prayer of faith that you may transcribe from it into your own soul every feature and lineament of the image and the mind of Christ. Then run with patience the race which is set before you—be it rugged, or be it smooth. Look steadfastly onward to the wished-for goal : upwards for the promised and only effectual aid. And with the free promises : the atoning sufferings : the everlasting love of your Saviour, your Father, and your God, on which to rest your soul, you may indeed suffer, —" if needs be," deeply suffer, but you

need not fear. Let the first object of your heart's desire be to love, to resemble, and to be with Christ, and all things must work together for your everlasting good. Joys and sorrows, sufferings and consolations, must be alike ministers of mercy, because commissioned by

the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Only, by faith and love, direct your prow towards the heavenly shore, and the storms of life can but bear you more rapidly to the haven of your everlasting rest—to that happy land within whose hallowed confines sin and sorrow can never enter: where none can suffer—and not less happy-none can inflict a wound.

J. M. H.

ON THE ALLEGED CLAIM OF ST. IGNATIUS TO

INSPIRATION.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I SHALL be happy should the following observations, occasioned by some of the remarks of one of your Correspondents, in your Number for April, be deemed sufficiently worthy of the consideration of your readers to obtain a place in your pages. The writer of those remarks seems to unite with Mr. Osborne, (whose work on the Errors of the Fathers I acknowledge I have not read) in accusing Ignatius of deceitfully laying claim to divine inspiration ; and shews, that in his opinion, if we will not condemn the venerable martyr as an imposter, we must own that he spoke like a fanatic, or that he was an unintelligible writer. The charge is founded on Ignatius's having asserted, that “the Spirit” had preached by him, saying, “Do nothing without the Bishop." To find one who has been generally honoured as a faithful servant of God, represented as a deceiver or an enthusiast, must be painful to every feeling and religious mind ; and any charge against such an one ought to be seriously considered, before it is either advanced or believed ; and if we have reasons to think it unfounded, we should feel it a duty to bring them forward. As in the present case, the person accused was an aged martyr and much esteemed bishop in the Apostolic age of the Church, who, when he wrote the Epistle which contains the statement on account of which his integrity is questioned, was already in bonds for Christ, and about shortly to seal his testimony with his blood, I trust the passage in which that statement is contained, will be allowed to deserve attention. It occurs in the Epistle to the Philadelphians, after a warning against judaizing teachers, who were probably of the same sect with those described as the synagogue of Satan, in the address to the church in Philadelphia in the book of the Revelation. It is thus given in Mr. Chevalier's translation :

“ Although some would have deceived me according to the flesh, yet the Spirit is not deceived, being from God. For it knows both whence it comes, and whither it goes, and reproves the secrets (of the heart.). I cried whilst I was among you ; 1 spake with a loud voice, Give ear to the Bishop, and to the Pres. bytery and to the Deacons. And some suppose that I spake this, as knowing before the separation of some. But He is my witness, for whose sake I am in bonds, that I knew nothing from any man. But the Spirit spake, saying on this wise; Do nothing without the Bishop : keep your bodies as the temples of God: love unity: flee divisions: be the followers of Christ as He was of His Fatber."

If we grant that Ignatius did lay claim to have been divinely ininspired in giving a particular exhortation, must we be obliged to admit that that claim was unfounded? Your Correspondent speaks

as if being Divinely inspired could imply nothing less than being endued with spiritual gifts to the same extent with the Apostles and other writers of Scripture ; and as if, because Ignatius declared that the Spirit spake one precept by him, he may be regarded as having maintained that his exhortations and writings proceeded, equally with the contents of the Old and New Testaments, from Divine inspiration. Equal authority with the Apostles Ignatius distinctly disclaimed ; nor can he be accused of having any where pretended that his writings were given, like Scripture, by inspiration from God. But though we neither claim nor seek for such a grant of inspiration, as of old endowed holy men of God with prophetic and miraculous powers; yet, to be divinely inspired, though in a subordinate sense, by being endued from the Divine Being with Divine grace, is still requisite for us all. Thus our Church maintains that “works done before the grace of God and the inspiration of His Spirit, are not pleasant to God;" and prays, “ Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire," and again, “Into our hearts thy heavenly grace inspire ;" so also, “Grant that by thy Holy inspiration we may think those things that be good ;" “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit ;” and “ Inspire continually the universal church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord.”

The cases of Cornelius and his friends, of the disciples at Ephesus baptized by St. Paul, and of the daughters of Philip the Evangelist; and also, 1 Cor. xii. 14, and other passages in the New Testament, prove, that in the days of the Apostles numbers receive spiritual gifts wbich not the most eminent among Christians of the present day can exercise, and of which we have no reason to think they were deprived, either when the Scriptures were completed, or when the last of the Apostles died. Indeed, that miraculous powers were not wholly extinct in the Church until after the death of Ignatius, which took place at the latest A. D. 116—has been admitted upon evidence which I believe cannot be refuted. That prophets in the Apostolic age knew, like those who lived before the coming of Christ, when they spoke by Divine inspiration, we have an indisputable example in the declaration of Agabus, “Thus saith the Holy Ghost." Ecclesiastical history informs us, that Ignatius, like his friend Polycarp, had been instructed by St. John himself; and that while that Evangelist yet lived, he was appointed Bishop of the church of Antioch. And considering the evident sincerity with which he spoke of the Holy Spirit having preached by him, the solemn circumstances under which he made that assertion—which appear to me to put any intention to deceive out of the question—and, I may add, the probability that one who had been a disciple of St. John, and had been chosen to a station so important as that of the bishopric of Antioch, had been also one of those who had received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Apostles' hands, why should we not admit that he may have partaken of such eminent spiritual gifts as were vouchsafed to many of his contemporaries, and that, like them, he may have known when he acted under their influence. And if we cannot deny that he may have been thus highly gifted, why should we refuse to believe that he may have been inspired by the Spirit to exhort the Philadelphians that they should do nothing without the Bishop, who, from his character as drawn by Ignatius, we may well suppose, I think, had been providentially set over them in that love of which Christ had assured Crist. OBSERV. No. 31.

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their Church (Rev. iii. 7-13), that under his ministry they might be preserved uninjured by the false doctrines of those who would endeavour to lead them astray from the truth.

“1. Which Bishop,” says the Martyr, “I know obtained that ministry which appertains to the public good, neither of himself, nor by men, nor through vain glory, but in the love of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ; whose moderation I admire ; who by his silence prevails more than the vain speech of others. For (his mind) is aptly fitted to the commandments, as a harp to its strings. Wherefore my soul esteems his mind towards God most happy, knowing it to be fruitful in all virtue, and perfect, full of constancy, free from passion, and according to all the moderation of the living God. 2. Wherefore as becomes children of light and of truth, fee divisions and false doctrines : for where the Shepherd is, there do ye, as sheep, follow after. For many wolves, which appear worthy of belief, do, through the allurements of evil pleasure, lead captive those that run in the course of God. But in your concord they shall find no place."

Without extending a precept, though addressed even by the Holy Spirit to a particular church with a peculiar reference to its existing circumstances, into a command which must be binding throughout the universal church, under all possible circumstances, to the end of time, why should we not believe that the Spirit whose grace, doubtless, had fitted the Shepherd for the discharge of his office, may have exhorted the flock, of which He had made him overseer, to do nothing without his sanction ? Writing to the Smyrnians whose Bishop was the martyr Polycarp, Ignatius says, “Let no one do any. thing that belongs to the Church separately from the Bishop.” And according to Calvin, those deserve to be anathematized, who, having a faithful Bishop, refuse to submit to his authority.

In reading the Epistles of Ignatius, we should carefully consider the circumstances of the writer, and of the church in his times. As an Asiatic, he would naturally sometimes express the fervour of his feelings in language savouring of hyperbole ; and writing so soon after the first promulgation of Christianity, assertions which he has made with regard to the church might be true, when its government had scarcely passed from the hands of Apostles, which would not be applicable to its present circumstances; and we should remember, that doubtless the schismatics whom he so strongly denounced, like sensual separatists alluded to in the Apostolic writings, erred, not only as to the discipline of the church, but from the faith of the Gospel also. The writings of Ignatius are animated by a most ardent spirit of devotion to the cause of Christ; they abound with expressions of deep personal humility, the sincerity of which it would be most uncharitable to doubt; and by the earnestness with which he desires the prayers of those whom he addresses, as conscious of his need of Divine assistance, they shew him to have felt a remarkable diffidence in his own strength. They bear a highly valuable testimony to many of the tenets maintained by our church; as, for example, to what we profess, as proved by Scripture, concerning the union and the perfection of the Divine and human natures in the person of our Saviour;--to what is stated in the preface to our Ordination Services, “that there have been from the Apostles' time these orders of Ministers in Christ's church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons ;"—and to that which is declared in our 23rd Article, as to the unlawfulness of any man taking upon him the office of ministering the sacraments, before he be sent by authority. They bear witness to the antiquity, both of the substitution of the Lord's-day for the Jewish sabbath, and of our opinion, that the marriages of Christians ought not to be celebrated without the sanction of the church. They contain very remarkable evidence, although of a negative character, against the primeval recognition of the Papal claims to supremacy. Strongly as Ignatius insists upon submission to ecclesiastical authority, he does not so much as intimate that any peculiar deference is due to that of the Bishop of Rome. In his epistle to the Christians of that city, he addresses their church as that which presides (not over all churches but) " in the place of the region of the Romans." Yet churches already existed beyond the limits of the Roman empire, though, were Popish pretensions ad. missible, there never could have been any beyond those of the rightful jurisdiction of the Roman Bishop. In the same letter he says, “I command you not as Peter and Paul did : they were Apostles, I, a condemned man: they were free, but I hitherto a servant: but if I shall suffer I shall then become the freed-man of Jesus (Christ), and shall rise free in Him. And now being in bonds, I learn to desire no worldly or vain thing." Here St. Peter and St. Paul seem to be mentioned as equals; and had St. Peter been, under Christ, the head of the Catholic church on earth, Ignatius would assuredly have considered that as the principal reason why he should not presume to command as that Apostle had done.

Your own observations, sir, upon the remarks which have given occasion to this paper, shew how far you are from approving of that "unhappy tendency” which you notice as existing “in some minds to lower the Fathers in the eyes of the Church; may

I therefore hope that you will not object to lay before the readers of the Christian Observer the present attempt to vindicate one of that venerable, though not unerring, class of men, from an accusation which, as it appears to me, has been brought against him without due consideration, but which has proceeded, as I willingly hope, from an eager jealousy for the honour of the divinely inspired Scriptures. Though those spiritual gifts, which endued Prophets and Apostles with miraculous powers, are not now vouchsafed to the Church,

may

God be graciously pleased to pour upon it more abundantly " that most excellent gift of charity," "which never faileth," " which is the bond of peace and of all virtues," " which thinketh no evil, and hopeth all things.”

H. C.

ON THE REV. E. MELVILL'S REMARKS ON THE OMNI.

POTENCE OF GOD.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. In reading the Rev. H. Melvill's powerful and persuasive Sermon on behalf of the Bethnal-Green churches, I regret that he has hazarded bold expressions respecting the omnipotence of God. Omnipotence and inability should never appear in the same category. I shudder at such language as this : “ Power" (he is speaking of the Divine power) must from its very nature be limited;" “ Power is that which overcomes obstacles ;' very possibly the case of men who have resisted a certain amount of evidence, and have deserved a certain penalty, is a case which is not to be reached by omnipotence itself. It may not be in the power of God to prevent the

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