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trust: mark what you do not understand, and consult your minister. Continue this study until the judgment be thoroughly grounded in the nature and tenor of the baptismal vow. And when the mind is fixed in this as a first and undoubted principle, that the end and design of our covenant is--Ist. On God's part, to reunite us to Himself, by the mediation of His Son Jesus Christ, and make us everlastingly happy: that-2nd. On our parts we stand to repent of all our sins; to believe all the articles of the Christian faith: and to pay a constant and uniform obedience to all the laws of God.
2nd. The next thing should be, with great seriousness and attention to read the bible through. Read it first without notes ; whatever is too difficult to understand may be left to a future reading ; skip no part over. Remember the eunuch reading Isaiah. Though he understood not then what he read, God provided him a teacher to explain the meaning. The humble student of God's word sball never want a Philip to expound it. We shall also be taught of God if we pray for His teaching. To which, let me add, that our first rule, if duly observed, will prove a sure key for opening and interpreting the whole Scriptures. For,
3rd. This is to be laid down as a maxim, that the whole bible is, in effect, but a convenant between God and man: that its whole design is to teach us (more at large,) what God is in Himself, and what to us; why we must be reunited to Him through Christ, before we can be saved: and how that is to be done: to teach us, also, what we were, what we are, and how we are to repent. 2. What those articles of faith are which we promised to believe, and how we are to believe them. 3. What the laws and commands of God are that we promised to obey, and in what manner.
4th. And here it may be of use to understand that the covenant, which both the papists and we enter at baptism, is the very same; our baptismal form and theirs, our stipulations and theirs, our privileges and theirs, being the same. The best criterion, therefore, for knowing what church-theirs or ours-is the most orthodox, is not to judge by the writers of either side : the only sure mark is this; “ The church which expounds ber baptismal vow most agreeably to the Scriptures, on which alone it is founded, is certainly the best and most orthodox church ; and those membrs who live most agreeably to that vow, as so explained, must certainly be the best and most orthodox Christians.
5th. In reading Scriptures after a first or cursory perusal, the letter ought to be well studied, but the spirit of it much more. That is, in every precept or prohibition, every threatening or promise, every history or example, the reader should chiefly ponder the spiritual use, which he and every christian is to draw from thence-should ruminate well thereon by meditation, chewing as it were the cud, and preparing it for his own food; then inwardly digest the same, for the health and improvement of his soul. To dwell so long on the lives and actions of the saints of both Testaments, till he hath learned the art of transcribing their faith, their devotion, their love of God, their patience, their meekness, and all those amiable qualities which render them so dear to heaven, and their memories so precious to all ages. This holy skill of assimilating ourselves to those undoubted worthies, but above all to the most perfect pattern-our dearest Redeemer's life and conversation—is the most infallible interpretation of Scripture. He that has acquired this art has found out the true secret of rightly understanding the whole bible. His practice is the best critic—a living commentary. By the same rule, he forms his judgment of all human compositions. The nearer any doctrine comes to that surer word of prophecy the Scripture; that is, the more consonant it is to the grand charter of his salvation, the baptismal covenant, which is founded thereon, the nearer he knows it to be to the truth. By this standard or touch-stone, he discerns and approves what is orthodox in them; by this he rejects what is wrong. What our Lord says of His sheep, that they follow Him because they know His voice; but a stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers; is justly applicable to such faithful students of His word: they readily distinguished evangelical truths from the most plausible pretences of falsehood and error. The teachers of unscriptural doctrines are strangers to them—they know not their voice—their tenets are strange and unknown to them, and therefore they flee from and avoid them.
But for the very same reason they cannot but love and adhere with all possible love and attachment, to the Church of England ; because they find her doctrines so exactly parallel to the Holy Scriptures, yea rather to be the very same. For what her peculiar doctrine is, the pious student collects not (as we have said) from a multitude of private writers, but from those public and authentic systems which bear her own stamp, and are published by her immediate authority—to wit, her catechism,
her articles and her homilies; but more especially from the lessons which she has appointed for every day in the year; and still more particularly from those lessons and portions of Scripture she has selected for our instruction on the Sundays and festivals throughout the year. These last he gives more diligent heed to, and upon due examination, and attentively considering her end and scope in the choice of them, finds to contain her whole doctrine, and to be the completest system and most perfect body of divinity. As for the other systems he meets with, however celebrated the writers may be, or of what communion, he regards them no further than they correspond with these. “A man of understanding trusteth in the law, and the law is faithful unto him as an oracle.”—Ecclus. xxxiii. 3.
These advices are chiefly calculated for the use and capacity of ordinary and grown up Christians ; yet it will not be unuseful to the greatest scholars, if students also in humility. A larger compass of reading and other studies may make a fine preacher, a profound philosopher, or acute disputant; the study I have recommended is the surest way of making a good man. Pride, indeed, will despise and hate so plain, so low, and humble a way, because it hates Lumility. But where humility is there we áre sure is wisdom, there every virtue will attend ; not only to improve our morals, but to secure the judgment from every dangerous error, which is the end I proposed in the foregoing advices.
MISSIONARY PAPER. No. 1.
1.THE MISSIONS OF THE CHURCH.
It is truly an awful thought, that at this moment there is entrusted to the sway of Great Britain more than a seventh part of the earth’s habitable surface, and a full seventh part of the race of mankind. Can we believe that this is given us only as the result of war, science, and merchandise, to make us rich, pampered, and harmless? Does not the whole history of mankind shew us that the destinies of man have been controlled by a succession of mighty empires, each taking up and for a time carrying on God's work in the world.
We confess that with this view of God's probable design before us, the past neglect of this Christian empire becomes appalling. We are almost tempted to ask, is not the time of trial already
past ? Can we be yet spared to do this proffered work, so long despised? We feel little disposition to make the most of our missionary efforts hitherto, we confess our neglects with shame, and humble ourselves.
We have no hesitation in declaring that the English people, both Church and nation, have fallen short of their duty in the work of Missions. Our absolute neglect of the whole Heathen world down to the beginning of this century; the long and bitter bondage, both of body and soul, in which our slave population was oppressed; the bloody extermination of the aboriginal tribes; the cold heartless disregard of our countless emigrants; the frightful abandonment of our miserable convict felons; the direct countenance we have given to the idolatries of the East; and positive obstruction we have offered to the spread of Christianity in our heathen possessions; all these, in the West India Islands, in Canada, in Australia, in Hindostan, witness against us, with an awful condemning testimony.
II.THE MISSIONARIES OF THE CHURCH,
I have preached to you the gospel of God freely.
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countrymen, in perils by the Heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness: besides these things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the Churches.-SAINT PAUL-2 Corinthians xi. 7, 26, 27, 28.
You have all read the history of the Acts of the Apostles, in the New Testament; and I daresay you bave been taught from other books, what sufferings they afterwards endured ; and how most of them died Martyrs for their Lord's sake. You have heard also, that the first Bishops, who were ordained to be their successors, trod in their steps. They, too, fulfilled their high and holy office, preaching the gospel in spite of the persecution of evil men; laying their hands on others fit to succeed them, to carry on the succession of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in the Church of Christ; and often suffering martyrdom, as the Apostles had done, witnessing to the truth of what they taught.
We purpose, therefore, occasionally to put together a few histories of these venerable bishops and Martyrs, as it is to be wished that every body should know something, and think often of the Holy men of old time.
What more befits the Church's name
Through perils they, and toil and strife,
The number of disciples assembled in the upper-room, at Jerusalem, after our Lord's ascension, was only a hundred and twenty, but the miracles of the day of pentecost, and the preaching of St. Peter added three thousand souls; and ere long " the LORD” adding “ to the church daily such as should be saved," the number of the men was five thousand. In vain did the Scribes and Pharisees endeavour to prevent the progress of true religion, by inflicting punishment on its preachers; the next account is that “the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests was obedient to the faith."
The destruction which Satan meditated against the Church in its infancy, was made the means of diffusing it more widely, This was the great persecution at Jerusalem, A.D. 37. In this the first martyr, St. Stephen, afforded a noble instance of the power of the faith. And the other disciples, except the Apostles, being dispersed abroad, caused it to be preached to the Jews throughout Judea, Samaria, Phenicia, and Syria.
The next great impulse arose from the preaching of the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles, which commenced about A.D. 44, fourteen years after our LORD'S ascension.
The result of his first mission with Barnabas, was the estab. lishment of Churches in the south portion of Asia-Minor. His next circuit A.D. 49-52, had the effect of extending the Church in the centre of Asia-Minor, in Macedonia and Greece.
Another journey added the coasts of Asia towards Greece, and the Church was planted in phesus, where St. Paul presided for several years; when first carried to Rome, he found Christianity already existing in several parts of Italy; when released from prison at Rome, he seems to have revisited Ephesus,preached at Crete,-to have passed through Macedonia,--and