Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH BEFORE LUTHER.

SIR-I have been much interested ed in many parts of Europe and in by the following passage in a

other countries; but I will add, · Discourse at Manchester, on oc

that wherever else it was, it was casion of admitting two Roman not here, in England. Augustine Catholics to the Protestant com- is recognized as establishing with munion,' and hope that you will his forty Romish emissaries, a think it deserving a place in your popish mission ; but the BRITISH extensively circulated publication. Church, the antient, primitive,

apostolic church of England, had • No taunt is more trite and existed in this our native land, from ready with Romanists, than the the days of the apostles. question,· Where was your church • It had grown up and flourished, before Luther-where was your and spread far and near, even to church before the Reformation ? the remote Hebrides, for a period

. It might be sufficient to reply, of more than half a millennium, as has often been done, it was in Never, till A. D. 596, when A ugusthe Bible—in the system of Chris- tine and his cohort of Roman mistianity, in the spiritual and mili- sionaries landed in Kent, had the tant church of Christ, wbich was British church known any thing of properly universal, and therefore foreign interference, or any other suffered no essential change in the ecclesiastical regulations than those rejection of the epithet.Řomish,' which had been banded down from and the adoption of the title Pro- the apostolic times. testant. It consisted of those Christianity was probably plantfaithful witnesses who long before ed in England by Paul himself, the Reformation lived in the spirit certainly by apostolic missionaries. of primitive Christianity, and In A, D. 157, a British king promourned over the corruptions and fessed Christianity. In 303, St. abominations which were gaining Alban, the British proto-martyr ground. They lived in the Spirit sealed the truth with his blood. In of Protestantism, even amidst the the beginning of the fourth century, darkness and idolatry of popery.

we find the record of the lives and This reply I maintain might be actions of several British bishops, enough, but I am anxious to put and abundant documents to prove this question in a position from that a pure and apostolic Chriswhich the Romanist can find no tianity had penetrated to the retreat. I say therefore, the Pro

remotest part of our island. The testant church before Luther and names of Eborus, bishop of York; the Reformation was, where it now Restitulus, bishop of London; and is, in England. It is a point of Adelphius, bishop of CaerstonEnglish history too little known upon Usk, are found appended to and well deserving our attention and the council of Arles, A. D. 314 remembrance. I will ask in rejoinder, to the council of Sardica, A. D. where was the Roman Catholic 347-to the council of Ariminum, church before the days of the monk A. D. 359. It is stated in TertulAugustine, who came from me lian, who wrote about A, D, 200, under the auspices and support of that those places of Britain, which Pope Gregory the Great, to plant the Roman arms had not been able the popish church in these realms ? to penetrate, were subject to Christ,' I will admit the reply, that the church of Rome was acknowledg

E. T. B. RECOLLECTIONS OF MY LATE PARISH,

No. III.

we

It is always, I think, with a forbid that the laws of our country thoughtful feeling, and generally should ever even seem to discouspeaking, with a kind of regret, rage such a feeling in any one !-a that we review the scenes that have feeling, which is the just boast of passed away-turn over and look our peasantry, and the strength and upon the leaves of Memory's pic- prosperity of our land. Such betured volume— live again amongst ing the circumstances of poor W's the dead. And more especially is parents, it is scarcely to be wondthis the case, when we are con- dered at, that his childhood was scious that a fair portion of life has suffered to pass away almost withbeen travelled over, and that, in out any instruction. He was left our retrospective movement, to the natural vanity of his age. shall be reminded of ties since bro- His body indeed, was cared for, ken, friendships since dissolved, badly enough it is true; but no one and joys since withered and gone.

seemed to care for his soul. At But retrospection, however pain- the time I speak of, Sunday Schools ful it may be sometimes, is yet a were far from being universal in salutary and important duty. Its the land. One here and one there tendency is both to humble and to might meet the benevolent enquianimate : it humbles by the revived rer's eye, scattering in rich profuexperience of the world's vanity, sion their wonderful blessings; but and our own mortal insignificance ; that alas! was all. These were it animates, by the inspiring hope only as garden-spots in the desert, that He who has hitherto been our all the rest was still barren and guide and protector, will not leave dry. This was the unhappy conor forsake us, even unto the end. dition of poor W's parish. No

W- the subject of the fol- house of mercy and refuge was lowing little memoir,

there for such little wanderers as about five-and-twenty years ago,

himself-no Sunday-school to unin an adjoining parish to mine. fold

every

Sabbath its gates of beHis parents were very poor; and nevolence and love-no voice of having a large family io provide tenderness and pity, directed espefor, were obliged to struggle hard cially to the weak and helpless against extreme poverty and want. lambs of the flock, warning them Indeed, the straits of this humble of their perils and teaching them family were, I have reason to be- the way to happiness and heaven. lieve, sometimes, and particularly Who can tell the triumphs of such in seasons of sickness, exceedingly an institution where it is establishdistressing. But even the most ed? how God is glorified, and how pressing destitution was borne by man, by his grace and mercy, is them with patience: one might al

benefited and saved! It was about most feel assured it was Christian ten years since that W- came to submission. A murmur at their reside at P. He had left his palot, if ever indeed conceived, was rents' cottage, and all his agriculnever expressed : and I am told it tural labours and pursuits, for the

their fixed determination, sake of entering on a new scene, rather to submit to any hardship, and engaging in new employments. than apply to the parish for relief. He was now a shipwright's apHere was at least an admirable prentice. This was a great change feeling of independence: and God in his life ; but it was, no doubt MARCH 1838.

was born

was

[ocr errors]

the means which providence chose more, and the world less-to think for his everlasting benefit. I was more highly of others, and more not at this time ministerially con- meanly of himself—to live soberly, nected with P.; but an aged rela- righteously, and godly, in this pretive was-now, I trust, amongst sent world. Salvation with all its the spirits of just men made per- wonderful connexions and consefect in heaven, and forming one of quences, worthy indeed of the imthat blessed number who will shine mortal mind to contemplate and as the stars for ever and ever.' rest upon, had given a colouring to There was nothing remarkable, I all his thoughts; and shed, so to have understood in W’s conduct speak, the light of eternity on every during the term of his apprentice- path of his life: old things had, ship: all that could be said of him indeed, passed away, and all things was, that he was steady and labo

had become new. rious ; that he gave satisfaction to About this time, the subject of his employer, and for this, took our memoir quitted P

for some credit to himself. The town of P. distant sea-port. The term of his was then, and had been for a apprenticeship had expired; and length of time, blest with a profu- he wished to advance himself in sion of religious means connected bis calling. More than a year had with the establishment: the oppor- passed away before I saw him tunities afforded for instruction and again. He had returned to P--, improvement in the great things of where he had some friends, in a God, were both various and fre- bad state of health; he was in an quent. Of some of these, it

ap

advanced stage of a pulmonary pears, W. took advantage; and consumption. Oh, how changed they were blest to his soul. It of- was he! Death had evidently ten happens; indeed, I believe it is marked him for his own, and, I always the case, that the work of thought, a very early victim ;-it grace is suddenly made apparent

During this last part of in the soul and to the soul : it may bis illness I had many opportuhave been in secret silent operation nities of seeing him, and conversing before, like the seed cast into the with him. But I shall probably ground, but it only then begins to never forget the first interview : it be realized and felt-to spring and was to me a surprising one; and grow up men know not how. This

unusually affecting. When I was was exactly the experience of this informed of poor W.'s arrival, and young man. No particular even of his suffering state, I lost but or manifest divine interposition was little time before I went to inquire there, which he could look back for him. The house where he was upon and assign as a preparatory languishing was a miserable abode; means to the blessed end to be ac. cheerless, damp, cold, unhealthy. complished: he was imperceptibly Immediately on entering, I was drawn to the Lord : and then, all conducted to the sick, and soon, on a sudden, became a wonder to alas ! to the dying chamber. It himself; being utterly unable to ac- was a garret : and there was very count for his changed views, and little light in it; the small window altered feelings : for to use his own had been considerably darkened by striking language, he seemed to the many attempts to keep out the hear with other ears,

wind and cold from the broken other eyes, and feel with another panes. I cast a glance around on heart. The great desire and earnest the room ; but there was no earthly prayer

of his heart now was to be comfort here ; my eye could rest kept from falling into sin--to grow on nothing that gave me one idea in grace-to love the Saviour of the kind : it appeared to be

was so.

see with

[ocr errors]

perfect destitution. There, on a him more composed. He had low bed, chiefly consisting of old evidently been taking comfort from clothes, lay poor emaciated w. some of the scriptures that I had As I approached him, and he be.. referred him to; particularly that gan to recognize me, his agitation, remarkable one, Jer. xxxi. 18-20: and internal struggles for composure and also this, “ the blood of Jesus were most evident, and to me pecu- Christ his Son, cleanseth us from liarly distressing. All this, at the all sin." 1 John i. 7. The assaults moment, I attributed to far other of the great enemy were, at certain causes than the right one. The

seasons, most afflictive. He had fact is, it is hard to write it! Fain at times, he said, scarcely a fragwould I cast into the deepest ob- ment to lay hold of, and thought livion all that I then heard ; I that there was no help for him ; would fain erase it from the tablet that he must sink hopeless and unof

my memory : but it must not be; pitied in the deep waters! There it cannot be! This poor young was however, an Almighty Saman had been a backslider ! had viour nearer to him than he supgrievously fallen! Led away by

Led away by posed : one, who stretching out his evil company, he had in a great arm, said to him, “O thou of and awful degree, since he left P., little faith, wherefore didst thou gone back to the world, its sinful doubt?“ Believe only!” At follies and pleasures. His besett- other times he was animated even ing sin had again acquired a fear- beyond himself by the most assured ful influence over him. He was and glorious hopes-hopes full of now brought to almost the brink immortality! Peace,' at these of despair. Nothing that I could precious moments would flow into say then appeared to give him any his soul like a river; and he encouragement, any hope. He seemed to experience the blessed had sinned so grievously-forsaken foretaste of eternal joys; of those such infinite mercies-gone against unspeakable pleasures which are such light, such knowledge!-so at God's right hand for evermore. caused the religion of Christ to be It was now quite evident that poor spoken against-so injured bis W. was sinking fast. There was blessed cause in the world! Here a sad alteration in him every day. was the most heartfelt compunction, The hour of nature's greatest trial, the deepest penitence. He cried was surely near at hand ! The indeed with an exceeding bitter next time I called, shortly after cry. “Oh, that I

this, he was, to the surprise of months past ! » I could see was

every one, considering his sufferthe unutterable language of bis ings the past night, still living: the bursting heart. Dark and awful flame of life still lingering in the was the cloud that hung over this socket. He was sensible, and poor, trembling, guilty soul; and

knew me.

I intimated to him, of yet it was not impenetrable. A ray which he was perfectly aware, of hope and mercy was even now that his time was very short; that scattering the darkness. Such in a few hours he would be with penitence, contrition, and self- that blessed Saviour whom he so abasement were certain evidences loved, and who had done such that the Lord had not utterly forsa- great things for him! At this he ken bim ; that his

upon

looked up with inexpressible anihim for good; that he was bringing mation; all heaven's delight seemed him back, though with much and to be beaming on his countenance. severe scourging, to his rest and He could not speak. The powers his God.

of utterance were gone.

I

proMy next visit to poor

W. found ceeded to take leave: his counte

were

as in

eye was still

nance wore more strongly than just besetting sin! It will surely find before, the character of death; but thee out at the last ! if bardened it was still illuminated by the same and impenitent, in the endless ruin sweet and heavenly smile. He of thy soul! if otherwise, in the pressed my hand - he looked un- miserable clouding of thy Christutterable things. I departed. ian experience, and the embitterEarly the next morning I was in- ing of thy last and dying moformed that the undying spirit had

ments !

Seek earnestly that it fed. And may we not hope, that may be mortified and subdued, and this poor repenting sinner had that by the power of divine grace, “ entered into the joy of his you may break its yoke and walk Lord”?

in the paths of holiness. O reader! beware of sin !- thy

[ocr errors]

J. R.

EVENING LECTURES.

SIR-There is a subject which I their Evening Meetings. In my have often wished to see taken up own parish, the chapel at such by some of the Religious Period- times is a disgrace to civilized icals of the day, because I think it society, and from all I hear, we of greater importance than may are not singular in this respect. generally be supposed; and if you Till within the last year I have have no objection I shall be glad had an Evening Lecture in the to see it opened to the pages of the week, and frequently on Sab• Christian Guardian.' The sub- baths in the school, and I disject I allude to is that of Evening covered that with all my care it Lectures and Prayer Meetings. led to great improprieties of conPerhaps it would be better to put duct. I also found that it was the it in the form of a question in means of breaking up family and discussion at a clerical or social domestic religion. Most of my meeting. I shall be glad then to more respectable and serious peohave the opinion of your Clerical ple, complained that if they atReaders on the following question tended my Lecture their domestics - Do EvenING

EVENING Lectures and were usually in mischief, and if Prayer Meetings tend to advance they allowed them to go, it was the cause of Christ or not? Do only an excuse for other things, not the evils attendant upon such and that they found great evil to meetings, particularly in the dark be the result. I have therefore nights of winter, greatly counter- upon mature consideration for some balance any good result ?

time past given up my Evening My own experience of ten years Lectures, and intend to have an in the ministry is decidedly against afternoon lecture instead. I do them. I believe they are some of think it would be much better to those things which we have copied exhort our people to spend their from dissenters, in order to com- 'evenings at home,' - particularly pete with them in making Prose- their Sabbath evenings, in catelytes, but that with us as with chizing their children and servants, them, it has been productive of the and hearing them read the word of most serious evils. Any one who God. This is a good old custom, has paid common attention to the now laid aside.

The question is, subject, must be aware of the state are we the better for it? of dissenting places of worship at

CLERICUS D.

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »