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bring your preaching into contempt, will at length reward or punish his and make your sermons
servants in this ministry of his the subjects of sport and merriment. gospel, as he shall find them faith
• 7. Dissemble not the truths of ful or negligent. Therefore it beGod in any case, nor comply with hoves us to exercise
our best the lusts of men, nor give any talents, labouring in the Lord's countenance to sin by word or deed. vineyard with all diligence, that
• 8. But, above all, you must we may bring forth fruit, and that never forget to order your own the fruit
remain. conversation as becomes the gos
- This is the work we are sepapel ; that so you may teach by rated for, and ordained unto. example, as well as precept, and must not think to be idle or carethat you may appear a good divine less in this office, but must bend everywhere, as well as in the pul- our minds and studies, and employ pit; for a minister's life and con- all our gifts and abilities, in this versation is more heeded than his service. We must preach the word doctrine.
of faith, that men may believe '9. Yet, after all this, take aright; and the doctrine and laws heed that you be not puffed up of godliness, that men may act as with spiritual pride of your own becomes Christians indeed. For virtues, nor with a vain conceit of without faith no man can please your parts and abilities; nor yet God; and without holiness no man be transported with the applause can enter into the
kingdom of of men, nor be dejected or dis
heaven.' couraged by the scoffs or frowns Dr. Bernard, one of his chapof the wicked or profane.'
lains, after stating that the bishop • He would also,' adds Dr. always preached on Sunday mornParr, exhort those who ings, adds,-in the afternoon this already engaged in this holy func- was his order to me, that, besides tion, and advise them how they the catechising of the youth before might well discharge their duty in public prayers, I should, after the the church of God answerably to first and second lessons, spend about their calling, to this effect: You half an hour in a brief and plain are engaged in an excellent em- opening the principles of religion ployment in the church, and in- in the public catechism, and after trusted with weighty matters as · that, I was to preach also. First, stewards of our Great Master, he directed me to go through the Christ the great Bishop. Under Creed alone, giving but the sum him, and by his commission, you of each article; then next time at are to endeavour to reconcile men thrice : and afterwards, each time to God; to convert sinners, and an article, as they might be more build them up in the holy faith of able to bear it; and so proportionthe gospel, that they may be saved, ably the Ten Commandments, and that repentance and remission Lord's Prayer, and the doctrine of of sins may be preached in his the Sacraments. The good fruit
This is of the highest im- of which was apparent in the vulportance, and requires faithfulness, gar people upon their approach diligence, prudence, and watch- unto the communion, when, as by fulness. The souls of men are the then order, the names of the committed to our care and guid- receivers were to be given in, so ance; and the eyes of God, angels, some account was constantly taken and men, are upon us, and great is of their fitness for it.' the account we must make to our The Bishop's mode of dealing Lord Jesus Christ, who is the with those who were in danger of supreme head of his church, and being drawn aside from the purity
of faith by visionary fancies is well said, to let that matter rest till deserving of notice. One of his then; and in the mean time keep clergy was understood to have his opinion to himself, and not adopted some peculiar notions re- bring needless trouble upon himlative to the restoration of the self and others by divulging it out Jews. I sent,' says his Lordship, of season. And, whereas he bad ' for the party, and, upon confer- intended to write an historical disence had with bim, I put him in course of the retaining of Judaism mind that his conceits were con- under Christianity, I counselled trary to the judgment of the church him rather to spend his pains in of Christ from the beginning of the setting down the history of purgagospel unto this day, and that of tory, or invocation of saints, or old they were condemned for here- some of the other points in controtical in the Nazarites. But, find
betwixt the Church of Rome ing that for the present he was not
and us.' This advice so far preto be wrought upon by any reason- vailed with Mr. Whitehall, that he ing, and that time was the only • offered to bind himself to forbear means to cure him of this sickness, intermeddling any way with his I remembered what course I had former opinions, either in public or heretofore held with another in in private, and to spend his time in this country who was so far en- any other employment that should gaged in this opinion of the calling be imposed upon him.' of the Jews, (though not of the The feeble and wavering policy revoking of Judaism that he was of King James and his successor strongly persuaded' he himself Charles, emboldened the Popish should be the man that should priests to assume great liberty, and effect this great work, and to this to exercise their religion almost purpose wrote an Hebrew Epistle, as publicly as the Protestants. (which I have still in my hands) Against such encroachments Bishop directed to the dispersed Jews. Usher felt it bis duty to protest, To reason the matter with him I and, was as a matter of course, found bootless; I advised him, accused as indulging a persecuting therefore, that, until the Jews did spirit ; an accusation which he degather themselves together, and cidedly repelled. The Romish make choice of him for their
cap- party not long after endeavoured to tain, he should labour to benefit
procure some concessions from his countrymen at home, with that
government by the offer of mainskill he had attained unto in the taining at their own expense five Hebrew tongue. I wished him, thousand foot, , and five hundred therefore, to give us an exact tran- horse. Just at this conjuncture, slation of the Old Testament out Bishop Usher was advanced to the of the Hebrew verity, which he Archbishopric of Armagh, and accordingly undertook and per- took an early opportunity as priformed. The translation I have mate of assembling the Irish preby me, but before he had finished lates to determine what course they that task, his conceit of the calling ought to pursue. Twelve prelates of the Jews and his captainship accordingly met, and united in over them, vanished clean away, protesting against any further conand was never heard of after.
cessions to the Papists. The result • In like manner I dealt with was, that the Popish offer was Mr. Whitehall; that, forasmuch as rejected; and a voluntary contri. he himself acknowledged that the bution tendered towards the exMosaical rites were not to be penses of the Irish government, to practised until the general calling which the Archbishop largely conof the Jews, he might do well, I tributed.
THE DUTY OF GOING BACK TO FIRST PRINCIPLES.
A SERMON, PREACHED IN ST. WERBURGH's church, DUBLIN. ON SUNDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY, 1838, BY THE REV. HENRY IRWIN, M. A.
MINISTER OF SANDFORD CHURCH.
This Sermon is especially worthy of attention, as an uncompromising
defence of Scriptural education, before Lord Mulgrave, the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. It is said to have given great offence, nor is this much to be wondered at. Such plain and forcible exhibitions of sacred truth are too seldom presented to Royal or Noble ears: the Sermon is extracted from a periodical published in Dublin, under the title of the New Irish Pulpit.'
“Know thou the God of thy father."-1 CHRON. xxviii. 9.
It is the observation of a dis- the awful contrast between the tinguished political writer, that obligations and the character of his
states, in order to prosper, should people, “ rent his clothes, and often go back to their first princi- turned to the Lord with all his ples : ' that they should trace out
heart. And the impulse comthe lipe on which they began to municating itself from the throne move, and measure the extent of to the people, the moment of the their deviation from it. And the discovery of the law became the wisdom of this counsel is deter- æra of national reformation. Nor mined by the fact, that laws and would the return to these early habits rarely continue to flow in documents ever fail, under the their original channel-time and divine blessing, to produce a simiaccident changing the course, or lar result. Men forget, while the even choking the stream.
eminence is obscured, from what This aphorism appears to be true height they are sunk. In going also of churches as well as states, back to their original records, they that in order to prosper, they at once learn “ from whence they should often go back to their first have fallen," they place themselves principles : and the dying counsel at the point at which their fathers of the King of Israel to his son, as started in the career of holiness, recorded in the text, seems to har- and, like the giant in heathen monize with the sentiment and fable, strengthened by touching, in thou Solomon, my son, know thou the contest, his mother earth, they the God of thy father.” The first recruit their exhausted spirits at principles of Christian churches the original fountain of their spiriare usually pure: having the model tual life. Hence then the wisdom of the Scriptures, they commonly of the counsel, “ know_thou the begin well : and in the formularies, God of thy father.”
In states, in which their first principles are good laws are often long preserved, embodied, they possess a standard because it is the obvious worldly from whose authority none legiti- interest of the community to premately appeal. How necessary serve them. Each order also, as then for churches to consult the
own mixed constitution, early records of their opinions ! resists any invasion of the laws by When the sacred volume contain the other orders. But in religion ing the first principles of the Jews' the case is different : its benefits religion was unexpectedly disco- are chiefly of a remote and spirivered, the monarch, struck with tual nature, and therefore not JUNE 1838.
valued by the irreligious. A vital eye. Attaching disproportionate and important doctrine may fall importance to some passage, they into desuetude, or be altogether insensibly tinge the whole volume removed, and a careless man feel with its particular complexion. no diminution of his pleasures. Thus they narrow and systematize Hence decay makes rapid progress the broad and comprehensive in religion. Hence the successors
truths of religion, and stamp their of St. Peter display scarcely a ves- image and superscription tige of the religion taught in his upon the pure gold of the sanctuepistles. Those churches of Asia, ary, and unfit it for general circuonce the “joy and crown
” of the lation. But how strikingly exapostles are gone, and the melan- empt are the formularies of our choly wanderer, amidst these frag- church from this defect ! Univerments, seems to see inscribed on sality is their grand feature—and every wall, and to hear in every there is scarcely any thing in it to echo, 6. Know thou the God of check its extension, till it embrace thy father.”
every spot where man can wo
worship, That this position is especially
or where God will hear. Nor let true of our own church, I would this feature of universality be unground upon the purity of its prin- dervalued : it is the characteristic ciples. Its formularies have two feature of Christianity itself-no qualities which place them in the longer the lamp of a solitary temvery highest rank of uninspired ple, it is a pillar of light to all the compositions. In the first place people of God. Such is the relithey are Scriptural. T'he fathers gion, such the church which among of our church searching the quarry us disseminated its truth. Such of Scripture, there discovered and the formularies which thus assimiappropriated those pillars of truth late the child to the parent, and - the doctrines of man's depravity stamp it with a sacred image. Can
-the atonement of the Lord Jesus there be a stronger reason why the Christ--salvation through faith in Church of England's members that atonement-conversion by the should be taught that lesson with Holy Spirit-and upon these they double emphasis—“ Know thou erected the national temple. In the God of thy father.” no human writings is the gospel of It is also peculiarly the duty of Christ in all its parts so fully, so our church to go back to her first wisely, so pathetically, so scrip- principles, because peculiar events turally set forth as in the sanc- in our national history have tended tioned books of our church-its to draw_many of us away from doctrines are the Bible condensed them. The events to which I into a smaller space : and this I allude are, the invasion of the contemplate as her lofty distinc- Church and State at the time of tion. Religion in her hands has the commonwealth. It is not one not evaporated into a frigid scepti- of the least disastrous circumcism, or wasted to a spiritless for- stances of that melancholy period, mality; but it is the unadulterated that it tended to bring suspicion faith of the Scripture—the faith of and contempt on many of the fun
Apostles and prophets, Jesus damental principles of the gospel, Christ himself being the chief cor- The invaders of the Church and ner-stone.” But there is a second State were, many of them, (God feature of our church formularies forbid that I should say all) men scarcely less important—their com- whose creed it is wholly imposprehensiveness. Those who deeply sible to reconcile with their pracreverence the Scripture, do not tice. Avowing all those grand always study it with an impartial doctrines of religion, that are best
calculated to form good citizens in,” chiefly felt the healing effiand good men, they erected upon cacy: Most writings or formulathis sacred basis a superstructure ries subsequent to these, either of follies and crimes. They, as it take from Scripture, or add to it, were, borrowed the vessels of the either shrink from its mysteries, or temple to prostitute them to the encumber its simplicity. These indulgence of their own passions. formularies come down to us signed And mark the consequence. Reli- and sealed with England's best gion suffered the penalty of the
blood. They come surrounded upnatural alliance into which she with the glory of the Reformation. had been forced. At the restora- They are identified with our libertion the tide of popular feeling, in ties and conquests, with our indeworking back to its old channels, pendence at home, and our renown swept every thing before it. Puri- abroad, and with our possession of tanism was not the solitary victim the blessed volume of divine truth. of its impetuosity; but all that an The army of martyrs seem to enraged populace and a licentious throng around us to bear testimony court could in any way associate to these writings, seem to arise with puritanism, the vital princi- from the flames, or to bend from ples of religion, the doctrines of the block to inculcate the lesson original sin, of justification by faith of the text, “ Know thou the God in Christ, of conversion by the of thy father.” Holy Ghost, were all identified I would confidently appeal to with it, and involved in one com- any pious man, whether when most mon ruin. For a season, the les- humbled in spirit he has entered sons of our blessed Lord and his the sanctuary of the Lord, he has apostles, were deemed the language not found the services of the of rebellion. Time, and the bles- church then most consonant with sing of God, and the efforts of his feelings ? when, sensible of the devout men, have, in a measure, purity of God's law, and of his own corrected the national superstition : guilt and danger, has he not found but, to this moment, the funda- the simple and humble confessions mental doctrines of the Gospel, of our liturgy, just then, most exand the faithful preachers of them actly suitable to his convictions ? are visited for the offences of the No fattering allusion is ever made usurpation. Is this impious at- therein to any power, merit, or tempt to fix upon divine truth the dignity, in man; but Christ is the follies and crimes of its false or only refuge under which the penioverheated apostles never to cease ?
tent is directed to
The God forbid. Surely the time voice of the church has for cenpast suffices,' to have offered such turies, through the power of the indignities to the religion of Jesus Holy Spirit, conveyed peace to the Christ. Let us so know the God contrite sinner in no accents but of our father, may
the formula- those of the Bible:-- 0 Lamb of ries of our church, handed down God which taketh away the sin of to us from her illustrious first the world, grant us thy peace.' fathers live in our memories and Grace, free, full, and everlasting, hearts. Such is my own impres- is the sole ground on which the sion of the superiority of the pro- certainty and perpetuity of our ductions of that age, to those of a blessings are secured : and in all subsequent period, that I should our applications for those mercies, be tempted to say, when the angel we are taught to breathe forth the of the Reformation descended to spirit of self-renunciation - We trouble the stagnant pools of Po- do not presume, 0 merciful Lord, pery,
" those who first stepped to come, trusting in