Page images
PDF
EPUB

lucident in relation to Mrs. H

this time there was not one communicant of the church in the place or neighborhood—the strongest prejudices were en. tertained against her services by nearly all those who respected true religion; and humanly speaking there seemed but little prospect of success. In a few months, however, the power of Christ began to be manifested. The spirit of the Lord was poured out upon the people. A revival of religion unattended with any public excitement, but deep and powerful in the hearts of many, was given as an earnest, that the Lord was with us. From that time to the present, there have always been some individuals under serious impressions. The church numbers forty communicants, where eighteen months since there was not one. To these may be added many others, who will thank God through eternity that they ever attended on the worship of the Episcopal Church. A large, and still increasing congregation has been collected ; and a commodious and beautiful temple has just been erected which is soon to be consecrated to the worship of the Great Head of the church. It is an interesting fact, that of the present number of communicants, most of them were strongly prejudiced against the church to which they are now so decidedly attached. I will mention an instance, in the hope that it may meet the eyes of some, who perhaps are judging as harshly of a church of which they are confessedly ignorant as once did Mrs. H

" At one of the meetings which the writer is in the habit of holding, for the particular instruction of those who are seriously impressed, Mrs. H— was present, under deep concern of mind. It appeared that for a long time, she had cherished the hope that she was a christian, but at length perceived that her hope was built upon a wrong foundation. Awaking to a sense of her condition, and realizing that she was yet out of Christ, she had now come to make the enquiry, • What shall I do to be saved? Never was this inquiry made in true sincerity without receiving an answer from the Lord. Mrs. H soon found the Saviour that she sought, and with him that peace of God which passeth all understanding. At a proper time she was baptized, and was subsequently confirmed.

“ These circumstances are mentioned that the reader may the better appreciate the following incident :

s

ness.

The Confession of Mrs. H : a caution. “ A short time after Mrs. H united with the church, she said to me:

“ I have something that weighs upon my mind and trou. bles me exceedingly. I have long been desirous of conversing with you on the subject. Mr. C— I have injured both you and the church, and I wish to ask your forgive

“Surprised at this declaration, and at the evident confu. sion with which it was made, I knew not what to expect. Mrs. H-explained :

« Previous to the commencement of the services of the church at L, I had never attended an Episcopal Church, nor did I attend the church here until some time during the last spring. The services were then entirely new to me. I was displeased with every thing I saw and heard. When I returned home I spoke my thoughts freely—said I never would again attend an Episcopal Church—that there was no religion in the church'—(Here she became evidently confused)—and even reported that I did not believe you to be a converted man. I did not again attend the church for a long time. When I did, I became somewhat interested. This interest continued to increase until I attended the meeting which was so much blessed to me. You know the result- now can you forgive me?

“It is needless to add, that it was not difficult to forgive a fault so ingenuously confessed, and for which such ample reparation had been made. The case of Mrs. H-, however, is not a singular one; and it is by no means impossible that this account may fall into the hands of some, who are now thinking and acting just as Mrs. Honce did. If so, we would kindly say to them, examine before you judge and be not over hasty in your judgment. We also express the hope, that they may yet learn to appreciate a church, which in the land of our forefathers was the very first to take her stand against the errors of popery—which has sealed her testimony to the truth with the blood of her martyrs—which has sent forth from her ranks some of the most devoted missionaries of the cross, and whose learning, wisdom, and piety, have done more to fill the religious libraries of all evangelical de. nominations, than any other church upon earth. In saying this, we do not express a mere opinion, we state simple facts ;

The folly of dissensions among christians. facts which may be found upon historical record, and which will be readily recognized by the intelligent of all denominations.

“ If there have been found in the church, unfaithful ministers and ungodly men, the church is no more to be condemned for their delinquencies, than is the religion of the gospel for the misconduct of some of its nominal professors. If men would know what the church really is, let them go to her standards—her liturgy, her articles, her homilies. Exam. ine them, search them, prove them. See if they do not breathe the very spirit of the gospel, and set forth in all their purity the simple doctrines of the cross.

“ Let not the church be condemned for what some have re. presented her to be, but let her be judged and appreciated for what she really is. Alas! why should there be so much discord among brethren? Why so much of angry contentions, and striving about words to no profit, but the subver. sion of the hearers ? One of the most effective pleas which the world offers for the rejection of the gospel, is the dissensions among christians. Let him, therefore, who wantonly assails the character of a christian brother, and still more, he who wantonly assails the character of a christian church, re. member that if he succeeds in his object, he lends a most welcome aid to the powers of darkness. If those who name the name of Christ are reproached, the cause of Christ itself is injured. If one of the members suffer, all the members suffer with it. And why should the members of the body of Christ

array themselves against each other? Has not each work enough for all its strength Is there not room enough for all ? Are not the fields white for the harvest and loudly calling for the reapers? Are there not souls enough in all the darkness of sin, for whose salvation we may put forth our strongest energies? Are we not engaged in a common cause? Have we not a common enemy? Have we not all one master, even Christ, and one hope of our calling! Nay—are we not all one in Christ, and do we not hope to be one in his kingdom of glory? Away, then, with sectarian prejudices and party feeling! Let

every man be fully persuaded in his own mind; and while he is conscientiously attached to the church of his choice, and obeys the unjunction of the Apostle, “ be ready always to give an answer

Conclusion.

to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you,' let him do it with meekness and love,' not returning evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing. And may the God of peace, which brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us all perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ,' to whom be glory forever and ever.

Yours in the best of bonds

C.”

Enquiries addressed to Episcopalians.

CHAPTER XI.

MINOR OBJECTIONS.

“ How hard it is upon our church, that we, her professing members, will not do her the common justice of acting out her holy injunctions! Of what use are works of controversy in her defence, compared with the silent argument of a life built up under the holy influence of her spiritual discipline, and her sound and simple ordinances.”

Records of a good man's life.

THESE pages will probably meet the eye

of many who love the church, and duly appreciate her admirable institutions. Of them I would inquire--have we not, by our deadness and worldly conformity, been guilty of the suicidal act of doing more to retard the

progress

of our church, than all the opposition of her enemies?-Has not the spouse of Christ been wounded in the house of her friends. Did the light of holiness beam forth in one broad stream of lustre from the con duct and character of all who professed to love her, would not the clouds that now gather around her, and obscure her form and beauty in the eyes of many, melt away and disappear, like the mists of morning before the bright, glowing rays of the summer's sun! Oh! that Episcopalians would pray more, and live nearer to God, and seek to mount up on the wings of holiness to a closer communion with Him, and with the saints in light! Had they done this, their peace long since would have been “as a river, and their righteousness as the waves of the sea." Had they done this, there would be now far less need of works like the present to disabuse the public mind of erroneous impressions in relation to the Church. But until we can be brought as a body to take a high stand, and become pre-eminent for holiness, we shall be obliged to send forth works of this sort, to entreat those who are ignorant of our doctrines, discipline and worship, to

« PreviousContinue »