Page images


THE celebrated Dr. Jeremy Taylor, who was one of the most pious and eminent writers of his time, has two Sermons on the "Invalidity of a late, or Deathbed Repentance," which exhibit the subject in a light that is truly awful and alarming. A few short extracts, we hope, will be useful to some of our readers.

He thus paints the conduct of those who rely on a death-bed repentance:-" Sacrificing their childhood to vanity; their youth to lust and to intemperance; their manhood to vanity, ambition and rage, pride and revenge, secular desires, and unholy actions; and yet still farther, giving their old age to covetousness, the world, and to the devil: and, after all this, what remains for God and religion? Oh, for this they will do well enough! Upon their death-bed they will think a few godly thoughts; they will send for a priest to minister comfort to them; they will pray and ask God forgiveness; and leave their goods behind them, disposing them to their friends and relatives; and some dole, and issues of their alms-basket, to the poor. And if, after all this, they die quietly, and like a lamb, and be canonized by a bribed flaiterer in a funeral sermon, they make no doubt but they are the children of the king dom; and perceive not their folly, till, without hope, they roar, in their expectations of a certain but horrid eternity of pains.

"Certainly nothing hath made more ample harvests for the devil, than the deferring of repentance upon vain confidences; while we imagine that a few tears and scatterings of devotion, are enough to expiate the baseness of a fifty or three score years of impiety."

"The rewards of Heaven are so great and glorious, and Christ's burden so light and easy, that it is a shameless impudence to expect so great glories at a lower rate than a holy life.”

"But will not the merits of Jesus Christ save such a man? For that we must be tried by the word of God, in which we have no contract at all made with a dying person, that hath lived, in name a Christian, in practice a heathen; and we shall dishonour the sufferings and redemption of our blessed Saviour, if we make them an umbrella, to shelter our impious and ungodly living.— Observe but two places of Scripture- Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us.'-What to do? that we might live as we list, and hope to be saved by his merits?-No; but that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.'

[ocr errors]

Christ bare our sins in his own body on the tree.'-To what end? That we, being dead unto sin, should live unto righteousness.' Since, therefore, our living a holy life was the end of Christ's dying for us, he that

trusts on it to evil purposes, and to excuse his vicious life, does, as much as lies in him, make void the very design of Christ's passion, and dishonours the blood of the everlasting covenant."

What ideas could be suggested to the mind of a delaying sinner,

more adapted to rouse him from his guilty slumbers, than such views of the invalidity of a late, or death-bed repentance?" And is there not reason to fear, that millions have been ruined, by a delusive reliance on an opposite doctrine?


"MR. LORING D. DEWEY has published a discourse, delivered before a private society of the students of the Theological Seminary, in New-York, of which he was a member. It is the principal object of this discourse to show, that being justified, in the language of the New-Testament, means being pardoned. This heinous proceeding of the young gentleman, was the occasion of the following letter.

"New-York, 12th March, 1816.

"To Mr. Loring D. Dewey. "SIR-It is matter of grief to us, that any of our pupils, whom we have been endeavouring to lead into the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, should turn away from the holy commandment delivered unto him. This, misguided youth, is your own case. The doctrines which you have avowed in your discourse submitted to us, and in your conversation with us relative thereto, are so deeply erroneous, so radically subversive of the whole Gospel scheme, and so ruinous to the souls of men,

that they cannot be tolerated in the Seminary under our care. It shall not here be so much as questioned, no, not for an hour, whether attacks upon the essential parts of our Redeemer's work, are to be permitted in any shape, or upon any pretence whatever.

"We are, therefore, under the afflicting necessity of informing you, that your connexion with our Seminary ceases from this day. You will consider the present decision as peremptory, and not to be altered, unless it shall please God to give you a sounder mind, and enable you to recover yourself out of the snare of the devil. That such may be your happiness, is our heart's desire and prayer for you.

J. M. MASON, Principal Th. Sem.
A. R. C. New York.
J. M. MATTHEWS, Ass't Professor
Th. Sem. A, R. C. New York."

The above article has been taken from the North American Review. As we have not been able to obtain a copy of the "discourse" which has been so severely censured, no opinion will now be given of its correct

ness, or incorrectness. It may, however, be of some use, to call the attention of our readers to the contrast between the spirit and conduct of the "Principal of the Theological Seminary, A. R. C. New-York," and the Principal of a Theological Seminary which once existed in Palestine. From the letter of exclusion, it is pretty evident that Mr. Dewey was censured for some opinion which he expressed on what was deemed, by his instructors, "essential parts of the Redeemer's work."

It may be observed that "the Redeemer" himself was once the Principal of a Theological Seminary, and had under his tuition twelve pupils, eleven of whom he ordained as ministers of the Gospel. But, for a long time, these pupils were so bewildered by • prejudice, that they retained the most erroneous views of the object of their Master's mission, and some of the "essential parts of the Redeemer's work." They even imagined that he had come to reign as a temporal monarch, and that they were destined to be ministers of state. With these views, they disputed on the question, which of them should be the greatest, or prime minister. The two sons of Zebedee even petitioned their Lord, that one of them might "git on his right hand, and the other on his left," in his kingdom; which, in truth, was no less than to solicit the two highest offices of state next to the king. Not long before his crucifixion, "Jesus began to show to his disciples, how that he must go up

to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes; and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee."

Was not Peter as rash, as erroneous, as self-confident, at that time, as L. D. Dewey was in writing his discourse? Did Dewey make" attacks upon essential parts of the Redeemer's work," in a more daring or direct form than Peter had done? This, I suspect, will not be pretended.

In what manner, then, did Jesus conduct towards his erring disciples? Did he domineer over them, revile them, and drive them from the Seminary?—Not So. He indeed reproved them for their ambition, and pointed out to them the way to become truly great. Peter was, with some severity, reproved for his impertinent rashness; but we hear nothing of a letter of malediction, denunciation, or exclusion. Having reproved, when reproof was needed, Jesus still treated his disciples with affection and tenderness; by degrees, he corrected their errours, removed their prejudices, opened unto them the Scriptures, prepared them for the work of the ministry, and sent them forth as heraids of salvation.

Now, it may be asked, which is the most to be admired, the censoriousness and precipitancy of Dr. Mason, or the candour and long-suffering of the Mes siah?

[ocr errors]

Another question may be proposed. Might not Mr. Dewey, in the presence of his theological instructors, have avowed a belief, that Christians may lawfully make war, and destroy one another? Might he not even have boasted, that he had acted on this belief, and slaughtered twenty of his brethren-without incurring exclusion from the Seminary, or even a reproof from its Principal? How it might have been, in this case, we presume not to know; but it has been no uncommon thing for those who were most censorious in judging others for real or imaginary errours, which were not at all inconsistent with Christian love and the most blameless life, to be themselves advocates for the principles, the spirit, and the practice of war and violence. Such" blindness in part," or in

whole, has often "happened" in Christendom.

Attack an article of faith, or a ceremony, which ignorance or party spirit has made "essential," and you will assuredly be censured, as unworthy of the name of a Christian. But you may, at the call of a misguided, or a profligate ruler, shed rivers of innocent blood, spread around you terrour, death, and wo; and be applauded in proportion to the crimes you commit, or to the mischief you occasion to others!

O! when will theological instructors learn that they are bút men, as liable to err as others! that candour and benignity are essential ingredients of the Christian character, and infinitely to be preferred to censure and exclusion, as means of reclaiming the erroneous !



COMPARED with all preceding times, the present may be called, THE AGE OF BENEVOLENT INSTITUTIONS.

The societies known by different names, which fall under the general description of benevolent, have indeed various and distinct objects. But as rivers, which run in different directions, all meet and mingle in one com

mon ocean; so the various institutions for benevolent objects, all serve to swell the tide of human happiness.

There is perhaps no better method of healing the unhappy divisions among different sects of Christians, than that of diverting their attention from the comparatively unimportant points in which they differ, and fixing it

on objects of general benevolence, in which they can all unite, without any dereliction of their distinguishing tenets. The numerous institutions of a benevolent character, which embrace Christians without distinction of name, are eminently adapted to improve the hearts of individuals, to eradicate sectarian prejudices, to diminish party spirit,

and to unite in the bonds of mutual love and kindness, the pious and good of every denomination. With these views of the tendency of benevolent societies, we shall ever be happy in devoting the pages of the Christian Disciple, to give publicity to their proceedings: with these views, we shall now present our readers with an account of an Institution of recent date, which has taken the name of "The Female Society of Boston and the vicinity, for promoting Christianity among

the Jews."

[blocks in formation]

ciety for promoting_Christianity amongst the Jews. Having lately heard of your work, entitled, "A History of the Jews," which you have published in America, they cannot but feel a hope, that you will be interested in receiving an account of a society, which has for its object the temporal and eternal welfare of that long-neglected and persecuted people. They have, of their Reports, and such other therefore, sent you herewith a copy tracts as they conceive may be pleasing to you, of which they beg your acceptance. It is thought that an edition of your work in England would certainly sell, and be very useful. Should you have no objection to it, the Committee of the London Society would prepare an edition at their own printing-office. This would probably answer better than importing a quantity of copies from America; but on this subject we are anxious to hear your opinion. The Committee indulge a hope, that, when you become acceedings of the London Society, and quainted with the design and pro

with the success with which the God of Abraham has already blessed their efforts, you will not only unite with them in giving Him praise, but that you will be induced to use your influence in exciting your religious friends in America, to assist the cause, both by their prayers and contributions.

As the accompanying tracts will give you every necessary informa tion upon this important subject, I need not farther intrude upon you, except to subscribe myself, with every good wish,

Yours, Dear Madam,

Very faithfully,

C. S. HAWTREY, M. 4.
Joint Secretary to the London

Please to direct your reply

Rev. C. Hawtrey,

London Society House,

Spitalfields, London.

« EelmineJätka »