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and in most churches such officers will be found highly useful. Whether they be called deacons or stewards, or a cominittee to act for the congregation, is quite immaterial ; it is not the naine but the thing, proper persons to manage and direct the affairs of the church, that is of consequence. The appointment of elders was after the plan of the synagogue, and seems to have been adopted on account of its evident utility, and indeed its manifest necessity. Each society had the choice of its own officers and the management of its own affairs ; and the churches kept up a friendly connexion and intercourse with each other, for mutual edification, and the promotion of the gospel. Every thing appears before us in the New Testament with great simplicity. Wherever a few persons believed the gospel, they regularly assembled together, and were called a church. Some person or persons were chosen to preside in their assemblies for the preservation of order and the more regular conducting of their proceedings, and were called elders. Those who were qualified were appointed to be teachers and pastors, to watch over their brethren and feed them with the word of life. Those who walked disorderly were admonished and reproved, and incorrigible sinners were disowned. Widows, orphans, and the poor, were provided for by the voluntary contributions of their more wealthy brethren. The apostles gave them such advice from time to time, verbally if present, if absent by their letters, as their particular circumstances required. Such were the primitive churches. From this view of things much is to be learned, and many important conclusions may be made. I cannot at present go further into the subject of church discipline, but must submit what I have said in this and the previous letters to your serious and candid consideration, and leave it to the blessing of the Almighty, which I devoutly pray may make it useful among you.
Now, brethren, my ardent wish is, that you may do all things with decency and in order, that your faith and charity may increase and abound, that your churches may be edified, and that you may all dwell together in mutual peace and love. I remain, my dear Christian Brethren, most truly and affectionately, yours, &c.
God in Man; or Benefactors Representatives of the Deity.
Then heaven shall swell with peals of joy
Where one bright day shall never close.
Charges against Unitarians. A short and sensible “ Discourse" on this subject has just attracted our notice, published by Mr. W. Worsley.*
The preacher replies to the accusations against Unitarians, 1, that they are infidels ; 2, that they deny Christ; 3 and 1, that they betray a want of respect for the sacred writings, and a disposition to accommodate the language of Holy Writ to their own preconceived opinions. These charges Mr. W. Worsley meets with good sense and an evident consciousness of being able to refute them. His refutation we recommend to the notice of our readers.
On the first accusation, he remarks with great propriety,
“ When speaking of those who advocate the Unitarian doctrine, some are so uncharitable as to affirm that they are no better than Infidels or Deists in disguise. This is in reality asserting that we are many degrees worse than infidels ; for he who openly discards the Christian system, although he may err in his judgment, inay nevertheless be guilty of no deception or dishonesty ; but the Unitarian, who calls himself a disciple of the great Prophet of Nazareth and professes to revere the word of God, and yet rejects the authority of that great Prophet, and looks upon the heavenly oracles as a fabrication and a cunningly. devised fable, is guilty of the very worst species of dishonesty, and of the most dreadful hypocrisy.”—Pp. 11, 12.
*"A Discourse on Matthew v. 11, in which some of the Princi. pal Charges brought against the Professors of the Unitarian Doctrine are noticed and refuted. By W. Worsley, A. B.” Printed and sold at Gainsburgh (Gainsborough ?) by Stark; sold at London by Fox and Co. 12mo. Pp. 24. 1825.
In conclusion, the preacher advises, 1, that the Unitarian should be fully satisfied of the soundness of his religious principles and the sincerity of his professions ; 2, that he should be careful that the unkind and illiberal spirit, which he complains of in others, does not gain any influence over him ; 3, that as the charges brought against Unitarians frequently originate in a mistaken view of their principles, they should endeavour to give publicity and support to their religious principles; and 4, that what ever imputations be cast upon the professions of Unitarians, they should be careful to afford no room for the impeachment of their moral characters.
Such discourses as this, written in simplicity and with sincerity, are of great service to the cause of truth. The local influence of any one publication of the kind may seem inconsiderable, but the united influence of many similar publications throughout the kingdom, is sooner or later felt, if not in the accession of avowed converts, at least in the diffusion of right views of Unitarians, and in the abatement of religious prejudice ; and these are effects which he that seeks for truth and charity, rather than the numerical increase of a party, will hold to be ample rewards for the exertions of the advocates of "pure religion and undefiled, before God, even the Father."
Reformed Jews. The condition of the Jews for ages, and throughout almost all countries, has been deplorable. Their state as a portion of society and with reference to civil rights and wrongs has been bad enough; but their moral and religious condition has been far worse. The mass of them have always been the lowest part of every community in which they have mixed. Their name has become a proverb and a by-word. Some few persons of the nation have risen to wealth, and a still smaller number have manifested intellectual superiority; but these instances of civil and mental distinction have only served to put in a more glaring light the humiliation of the bulk of the people.
Whether the Jews have moral notions and maxims of their own, and are in this respect too a peculiar people," or whether they consider all nations as their oppressors and plunderers, and still think they have a permission from their Lawgiver to “spoil the Egyptians," certain it is
that their moral character is different from that of every other communion, and that the difference is not to their honour. If whilst they kept little or no faith with Christians, they were eminent for fair dealing and kindness one with another, our disapprobation would be in some respects lessened; but the experience of our courts of law and justice seems to shew that there is little sympathy between them, and that they are ready to prey upon and to do violence to one another on slight provocation or temptation. We have been slow in taking this view of their character, but it has been forced upon us by events, and nothing would give us more pleasure than to be convinced that we have underrated the actual morality of the Jews.
In religion, strictly so called, this people are yet lower in the scale of intellect and worth. A stupid indifference has encrusted the minds of the greater part of them; and a considerable portion of the remainder are scarcely concealed infidels. The professedly religious Jews are grossly superstitious. These, as far as we can learn, have no settled and distinct faith. They bave their days, their fasts, their readings, their prayers; and there religion ends. What inqniry do they make into the true sense of their Scriptures ? Fitted above all other persons to understand and elucidate the Old Testament, they do nothing for it as expositors, commentators and critics. Distinguished by their profession of the Divine Unity, whenever are they heard to assert this glorious doctrine publicly, and to protest against what must appear to them the polytheisin and idolatry of the communions by which they are surrounded ? They have, in most countries, full religious liberty, and their uniform silence upon the “ first of all the commandinents” must, it is feared, be put down to the account of ignorance, indifference, scepticism or worldly-ınindedness. Bound as they are by rigid and unaccommodating religious institutions, instances of apostacy are very common amongst their youth. Few, indeed, profess to be converted to the Trinitarian corruption; but many sink into the world, and their families, without religious knowledge or religious principle, become by virtue of their birth and residence members of the “ Church as by Law Established," a church which worships God under names and forms forbidden by Moses and the Prophets, and unknown to Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
Societies for converting the Jews have hitherto failed, VOL. XII.