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The church of God, is in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ: it is the company of the faithful, whom God hath gathered together in Christ, by bis word and by the Holy Ghost, to honour him as he himself bath appointed. This church heareth the voice of the Shepherd ; it will not follow a stranger, but flieth from him, for it knoweth not the voice of strangers. Of this church St. Jerome saith, “The church of Christ, which containeth the churches through all the world, is joined together in the unity of the Spirit, and hath the cities of the law, of the prophets, of the gospel, and of the apostles. This church goeth not forth, or beyond, her bounds, that is, the holy scriptures. It is the pillar of the truth, the body, the fulness, and the spouse of Christ; it is the vine, the city, and the kingdom of God; they which dwell in it, are more strangers and foreigners, but “ citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head-corner-stone, in whom all the building, coupled together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord.” This church Christ loved, and gave himself for it, that he night sanctify it, and cleanse it by the washing of water through the word ; that he might make it unto himself a glorious church, not “having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that
it should be holy, and without blame.” (Eph. v.) Such a church was the church of God at Thessalonica. Such a church are they, whosoever, in any place of the world, fear the Lord, and call upon his name; their names are written in the book of life ; they have received the Spirit of adoption, by which they cry, Abba, Father: they grow from grace to grace, and abound more and more in knowledge and in judgment; they cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light; they are made absolute and perfect unto all good works; they are evermore comforted in the mercies of God, both by the holy scriptures, wherein God declareth his gracious goodness towards them, and by the sacraments, which are left unto the church, to be witnesses and assured pledges, for performance of the promises of God's good will and favour towards them.
BISHOP JEWELL. On the First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
Review of Books.
THE CORNER-STONE, or a Familiar Illustration
of the Principles of Christian Truth. By Jacob Abbott, Principal of Mount Vernon Female School.
“ Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone,” is the motto of this book: and the Lord Jesus is, in his character and offices, the principal subject of it. To the author, therefore, we may fairly say, —
• What think you of Christ ?' is the test
To try both your state and your scheme :
Unless you think rightly of Him.
And sure we are, that the writer of these lines, the truly enlightened and spiritually-minded John Newton, would have read, with deep grief, the pages which we now reluctantly proceed to review. Reluctantly, because the author is evidently a man who earnestly desires to do good; but his talent as a writer has led him, with the best intentions, into one of the most perilous and most mischievous experiments imaginable: that of causing the offence of the cross to cease. He has undertaken to give a view of Christianity that cannot, we really think, offend the most bigotted Socinian ; nor, alas! would it tend to lift even a corner of that fatal veil which shuts out, from the soul of such a man, the spectacle of a crucified Redeemer, in the character of the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
Adhering to the title, to the motto, and to the avowed object of this volume, we shall take up the subject of the “ Corner-stone," the sure foundation which God has laid; and by she wing the several false aspects under which he is presented to the reader, we hope to be the means of cautioning some parents against placing in the hands of their children and youthful acquaintance, a work which, we verily believe, they cannot peruse without the most imminent peril of being infected with principles, and misled by doctrines, utterly opposed to the simplicity of gospel trath. We shall prefer making use of the author's own language, to avoid the imputation of perverting his meaning, and mis-stating his sentiments; and then let the Christian parent, who is conversant with the scriptures of truth, decide, whether our expressions are too strong, or our condemnation too absolute.
What is the Christian faith? That the Word, the co-existent, co-eternal Son of God, took flesh, and dwelt among us. His conception and birth were the subject of distinct prophecy, even from the fall of Adam: and that mysterious conception was absolutely necessary to his fitness for the work which he came to fulfil. He was made without sin; that he might be altogether a spotless, unblemished Being, a pure and perfect sin-offering for the guilty world. This fact must first be established, for, upon its hinges turns the whole mystery of our redemption. The Deity, thus incarnate, abode among men, perfectly, and, in all its points, fulfilling the whole law,
that we, who had irretrievably broken it, who have no righteousness of our own, might enjoy the benefit, and reap the reward of his perfectly righteous obedience, for the sake of which, God can, and does, become the Justifier of those who believe in Jesus. His death, indeed, was the door which opened to us the benefits of his life; since he suffered altogether in our stead, satisfying the justice, vindicating the holiness, and establishing the truth of Him who will .by no means clear the guilty; and who had solemnly proclaimed “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Laid low in the grave, a surety for us, Christ, by his own power, arose from the dead, thus openly proving that the debt was paid, the Divine Creditor satisfied, and the gate of eternal life opened to all who should, by faith, establish a claim to membership with this their glorified Head. How simple, how grand, is even the faintest outline of such a work! Christ was “ delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He is indeed the “Chief Corner-stone,” and who but must perceive, that his immaculate conception, his birth of a pure virgin, as the commencement, and his resurrection and ascension, as the consummation, of this finished work, are integral parts-facts absolutely necessary to be known, in order to establish his character of a Foundation, whereon to build our sure hope of a glorious eternity?
Yet, not a word, not an allusion, that can for a moment tend to bring to mind either of these great points, is contained in Mr. Abbott's book. Nay, even so early as the fourth page, we find the first