« ZurückWeiter »
LETTER FROM THE REV. JOHN MILLER.
NEAR DOVER, May 31, 1790. My dear Madam.
The late affecting bereayment, with which divine providence has visited me, enables me in some measure to sympathize with you under a similar afiliction. Indeed as Five & Thirty years intimate friendship had subsisted between the dear person you have lost & me, I consider myself as bereaved in your bereavment. To view the hand of GOD in such awful visitations; to be convinced of ye unerring wisdom & perfect rectitude of ye divine administration in removing our dearest earthly connexions from us, is comparatively but a small attainment. The grand difficulty lies, in having our stubborn hearts bowed in a humble submission to yo father of our spirits, & feeling ourselves resigned to ye teachings of his grace, & ye disposal of his providence. This happy temper of mind, I hope, you will fervently seek at yo throne of grace, where alone it is to be found, as no power less than divine can produce it in us. Admit that our losses, with regard to earthly comforts, are irreparable; yet, if our dear deceased friends are, and we have abundant reason to hope, before yo Throne of GOD, serving him day and night in his temple above, we have on their account, no reason to be afflicted : and with respect to ourselves, faith in ye divine promises, will teach us that GOD is infinitely more than able, by his gracious presence, to compensate our heaviest losses here below, & cause them to concur in promoting our growth in grace, & meetness for that blessed world, with which our dear departed friends are · associated, & where all tears are wiped from their eyes. May your dear children know ye GOD of their father, give him their hearts, attend to yo one thing needful, & suitably improve yê grievous loss they have sustained ! then, I think, they will be a comfort to you.
It grieves me to think, that my Sussex friends are likely to be deprived, (perhaps very long) of the stated administration of Gospel ordi
Should this be yo case; I dread yo consequences, with regard to yo interest of visible & vital religion. Vacant congregations, especially such as are not frequently & faithfully supplied, often suffer & become scattered, particularly y® rising generation among them. May ye great head of the church preserve them from erroneous principles & corrupt practices, & pour out his Spirit upon you & them! May your fervent prayers be addressed to ye chief shepherd, to supply you with a pastor after his own heart; with one, who may not only promise well at first view, but who will also be likely to wear well—an humble, prudent, pious & faithful minister will suit your people much better, & probably be much more useful, than one of superior mental abilities, without those other more important qualifications.
I saw your Brother & Sister Miller, as also your Brother Craighead, a few days ago, who were all well.
I think you will have nothing farther to pay into ye widow's fund, &, should you live till next spring, you will be pleased to draw an order upon Dr. Ewing, ye Treasurer, for your annuity. Be pleased to present my tender regards to your children: and may y® GOD of all grace, guide, support & comfort, both you & them!
LINES ON THE DEATH OF JOHN CHESTER, D.D.
The following lines on the death of the Rev. Joun Chester, D.D., formerly pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Albany, who died in 1829, we find in a number of the "Albany Times and Literary Writer," of that year.
“They set as sets the morning star, which goes
On Zion's holy walls
Is quench'd a beacon-light;
“Sentry! What of the night?"
Say-does the soldier sleep?
His watch no more to keep.
Still is that heaven-touch'd tongue,
Pulseless the throbbing breast;
Forever put to rest.
Undimm’d, unquench'd he soars ;
Of yon immortal shores.
Peace to thee, man of God!
Thine earthly toils are o'er
Thy Shepherd trod before.
“I'm with thee to the end,
Thy never-failing friend!"
It should not call a tear
Thy home-it was not here!
Thy wearying race is run;
Death's vale—The prize is won !
ARE THE ASSOCIATED CHURCHES OF CONNEC
THE following opinion, copied from the Records of the Old Hartford North Association for the year 1799, will probably surprise some Connecticut Congregationalists, as it surprised the writer when it first came under his eye. It was adopted at a full meeting of the body, in answer to questions proposed by the Society in Kingsbury," (N. Y., as I suppose,) through their “ Trustees," and also by certain members of that Society. Among the members present are the names of Drs. Strong, Perkins, and Flint, by one of whom the opinion was probably drawn up.
“This Association give information to all whom it may concern, that the constitution of the churches in the State of Connecticut, founded on the common usages, and the Confession of Faith, Heads of Agreement, and Articles of Church Discipline, adopted at the earliest period of the settlement of the state, is not Congregational, but contains the essentials of the government of the Church of Scotland, or [the] Presbyterian Church in America, particularly as it gives a decisive power to ecclesiastical councils; and a consociation, consisting of ministers and messengers, or a lay representation from the churches, is possessed of substantially the same authority as a Presbytery. The judgments, decisions, and censures in our churches and in the Presbyterian are mutually deemed valid. The churches therefore in Connecticut at large, and in our district in particular, are not now, and never were, from the earliest period of our settlement, Congregational churches, according to the ideas and forms of church order contained in the Book of Discipline, called the Cambridge Platform. There are, however, scattered over the state, perhaps ten or twelve churches (unconsociated) which are properly called Congregational agreeably to the rules of Church Discipline in the book above mentioned. Sometimes indeed the associated churches of Connecticut are loosely and vaguely, though improperly, termed Congregational. While our churches in the state at large are, in the most essential and important respects, the same as the Presbyterian, still, in minute and unimportant points of church order and discipline, both we and the Presbyterian Church in America acknowledge a difference.”
This opinion seems to throw some light on the peculiar architectural development of the “Plan of Union" whereby New England Congregational materials have been so extensively wrought into Presbyterian churches during the last fifty years. If it represents the views of the pastors of Connecticut churches generally at that time, then it is no wonder that the Connecticut General Association should have entered into the Plan of Union, and that ministers trained by Connecticut pastors should have exerted such an extensive Presbyterianizing influence upon the new churches of New York and Ohio. Are we to conclude that this same influence had been at work on the churches of Connecticut during the preceding hundred years ? Truly it may be that we have been nearer to passing under the yoke of ecclesiastical power than we had supposed.
The language of the Saybrook Platform gives some countenance to the above-quoted declarations. But it does not justify such a complete repudiation of Congregationalism as is there expressed. The consociational scheme does not seem to have gone into active operation to any considerable extent until near the close of the last century, some sixty or seventy years after its adoption in theory.
This document seems to point out also the origin of that popular designation of Congregational churches as Presbyterian.- Independent.
THE CATHOLIC. Letters addressed by a Jurist to a Young Kinsman proposing to join
the Church of Rome. By E. H. DERBY. Boston: John P. Jewett & Co. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1856. A LAWYER lays down his pen to study the Roman Catholic controversy, with a view to dissuade a kinsman from joining the church of Rome. The arguments are generally well selected and tersely expressed, and the work will be useful, especially in relieving the minds of young high-churchmen who have received a too great propulsion Romeward. We have known of several persons of this sort, into whose hands we would have been glad to place Mr. Derby's Letters. It is always difficult to bring back a pervert to the knowledge of the truth. All minds are not influenced by the same arguments; and a high-churchman who is apt to distrust or despise other sects needs a high-churchman to pull his skirts when he is getting on the Appian way. The tendency of Puseyism is evidently to make Romanists; and a resort must be had to the earnest and weighty truths of Protestantism for the purpose of arresting error.
Mr. Derby, in our judgment, makes at least three mistakes in his antiRoman pleas : 1st. In depreciating the Apostle Peter, concerning whom he says, " St. Peter seems to have derived his subsequent reputation from a mere play upon his name, or a figurative expression of our Saviour," (p. 3.) Surely there is no logical necessity for the use of such language. Why rob Peter to pay Paul? 2d. Mr. Derby exalts the Episcopal church as the “true apostolic and catholic church,” (p. 71,) and he seems to ignore all others. The absurdity of pulling down the Papal Hierarchy simply to get foundation-stones for the English Hierarchy is too great to call for any remark. 3d. Mr. Derby errs in laying so much stress on Paul's supposed labours in planting the church in Great Britain. Mr. Derby's object in insisting so strongly upon this latter point is to set up Paul's authority as a church-founder against Peter's, and to destroy the claims of the Roman church as a universal church. But, even admitting that the ancient British church was originally founded by Paul, (which is a very doubtful thing,) it is certain that, like most of the Western churches, it relapsed into Romanism. Indeed, Mr. Derby himself endeavours to prove that the church of Rome, now so corrupt, was originally founded by Paul, (pp. 12, 13, 14, 15,) and thus shows how vain an argument is the one which rests upon the pebble of a traditionary foundation, either in England or Italy. If it be said that the English church for a series of years protested against Papal usurpations, we reply that other churches did the same thing, but finally yielded, just as the English church did at last. Rome itself was Papalized by degrees. Mr. Derby's argument finds it necessary to admit that the pope's office was for a period in “a transition state,” (p. 106.) As a mere question of time, England may have resisted the Papacy longer than some other churches, perhaps on account of its distance, but it finally yielded. If the Edwards and the Henrys sometimes opposed the popes, particularly where the latter encroached on national or royal prerogatives, so the kings of France, Spain, and other countries, often did the same thing. All this part of Mr. Derby's argu
ment we consider unsound. He himself seems to admit it, being constrained to say that "it is by no means essential to the case,” (p. 292;) for he does not venture to maintain that the English bishops were independent of the pope beyond the period of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the cighth century. At the time of the Reformation, as every one knows, the English church was thoroughly Papal as to doctrine and government, with its bishops, monasteries, masses, Latin prayers, &c. Under Queen Mary, the nation quickly fell back into its old habits of Popery again; and when it became necessary, under Elizabeth, to ordain Protestant bishops, it was very difficult to find the ways and means of keeping up the apostolic succession; but after a while three bishops were obtained to “lay on hands,” and the English bishops are compelled, notwithstanding high-church catalogues, to trace up their apostolic succession through the church of Rome.
Mr. Derby's argument against Romanism receives aid from Chevalier Bunsen's late discoveries, particularly from the work of Hippolytus and some of the early church ordinances, which are quoted at large in the Appendix, (which constitutes a third of Mr. Derby's volume.) Whoever consults the Appendix, and particularly Chevalier Bunsen, will see that in the first and second centuries the bishop was not exalted above the presbyters. As the bishop of Rome, by a gradual “transition,” became pope, so, by the same process, the presbyters of the chief cities became bishops, until, finally, the office of bishop became as distinct (and no more scriptural) than the office of pope.
We have deemed it proper to take these exceptions to Mr. Derby's book, so that our readers may know that his stand-point is on a highchurch eminence. We think the work may be read to advantage, although there are many abler ones on the Papal controversy; but the public ought to understand that, in opposing Popery, Mr. Derby presents Episcopacy as the Apostolic substitute. If he had contented himself with making Episcopacy the church of the third and fourth centuries, as Papacy is of the fifth and sixth, and as Presbyterianism is of the first and second, he would have avoided weak and useless discussion. As against Rome, we are at one with him. The church of the first and second century unites with that of the third and fourth in opposing the corruptions of the fifth and sixth. We are happy to learn that Mr. Derby's letters succeeded in keeping his young kinsman from entering the Babylon of Rome.
LIFE OF SCHAMYL; and Narrative of the Circassian War of Independence against Russian
SCHAMYL is one of the great names of modern history. Born within sight of the great Caucasus, on the upper waters of the Koissu, which flows into the Caspian, he commenced life with the high spirit of a mountaineer, and his course has been dashing and free as the wild, majestic stream of his native land. The period of Russian aggression commenced, more particularly, under Peter the Great, in 1722. The czar obtained a sight of these grand mountains and vales, and it is said that he pointed with his dying hand towards the Caucasian peaks of Elbrus and Kasbek,a direction which his successors have ever been ambitious to follow. Within the last quarter of a century, Russia has made incredible efforts to conquer this territory. A line of forts commenced by Peter the Great