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MISSIONARY PAPER.No. 2.
THE MISSIONS OF THE CHURCH.
It is admitted by all professing Christians, that the Son of God came into our world to establish a Church or Society, in which, through His atonement and merits, salvation should be obtained by men even to the end of time.
We learn from Holy Scripture, that there is but one foundation upon which the Church is built, and that is JESUS CHRIST, “For other foundation can no man lay than that which laid, which is Jesus Christ."
But as no visible Society can exist without order and government, we find our Lord before His ascension instituted an order of men, for the express purpose of “ PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL” throughout the world. As the great High Priest of the Christian Church, we see Him outwardly set apart for the work He came to accomplish, when the Spirit descended upon Him at the river Jordan, and “There came a Voice from the excellent glory saying, this is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Evangelist adds, “Then began Jesus to teach and to preach.” Soon after we find Him ordaining twelve Apostles, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, to whom He committed the administration of the infant Church. After His resurrection our Lord invested His Apostles with the same commission His Father had given to Him, “ as My Father hath sent Me, so send I you; and He breathed on them and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Subsequently, He commanded them “to go and teach (or make disciples) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," and promised that He "would be with them always even unto the end of the world.”
By virtue of this commission, the Apostles assumed the direction of the newly constituted Church ; and one of their first acts, after our Lord's ascension, was to complete their original number of twelve by the election of Matthias. They made provision also for a full and settled ministry in the Churches they founded. St. Paul appointed Timothy and Titus as Superintendents of the Churches of Epbesus and Crete, respectively, to preside over those whom they had ordained as presbyters or deacons ; as well as to regulate matters of doctrine and discipline in their respective districts.
We learn then from the New Testament, that THE CHURCH is the ONE GRAND INCORPORATED SOCIETY by which als Missionary operations must be planned and executed.
TAE FRUITS OF FAITH IN THE CHURCH. The following account of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, who had been made Bishop of Smyrna by the Apostles, and was a disciple of St. John, is taken from the Epistle of the Church of Smyrna, which was written A.D. 167.
When the admirable Polycarp first heard of the dreadful tortures which many of the martyrs had undergone in that city, he remained undisturbed, preserving his calmạess and serenity. When he was discovered by his persecutors, they found him resting in an upper chamber, whence he might have escaped with ease into another house,—but he would not; saying, The will of the Lord be done ; and having heard of their arrival, he went and spoke to them with so joyful and mild a countenance, that they who knew him not before, thought they beheld somewhat wonderful, when they saw his old age, and the gravity and constancy of his demeanour; and they marvelled why such diligence was used to take an aged man like this. He immediately offered to them refreshment, and requested permission from them to pray in freedom for one hour, which being granted, be arose and prayed; being so full of the grace of God, that those who were present, and heard him pray, were amazed ; and many of them repented that they had taken so venerable a man. The hour of departure being come, he was placed upon an ass, and brought into the city. When, therefore, he was brought forth, there was a great tumult amongst those who heard that he was taken. Moreover the proconsul, asked as he appoached, if “he were Polycarp," and when he had assented, he endeavoured to persuade him to deny Christ-saying, have pity on thine old age-swear, and I will release thee-reproach Christ. Polycarp replied, “ Eighty and six years do I serve Him, and never hath He injured me, and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour."
The Proconsul said, “I have wild beasts and will cast thee unto them, except thou repentest.
He replied, “ Call them, I cannot change from good to evilit is good to change from sin to righteousness."
They then cried out with one accord, that Polycarp should be burned alive.
The materials prepared for the fire were speedily placed around him ; and when they would have nailed him to the stake, he said, leave me thus; for He who hath given me power to endure the fire, will grant me also to remain stedfast without your pails. And they did not do so, but bound him to it. He then prayed ; and when he had uttered the Amen, and finished his prayer, the executioners lighted the fire, and death soon put an end to the sufferings of this holy man.—Abridged from Palmer.
The credit of the glorious work of introducing the Gospel into Britain has been claimed for St. Peter, St. James, Simon Zelotes, as well as for Joseph of Arimathea. Most of our learned historians, who have at all investigated this part of our history ascribe it to St. Paul, and we find it supported by the concurrent testimony of all the early Fathers of the Christian Church, who all speak of the very early introduction of Christianity into Britain. Our oldest native historian (Gildas) says, the Gospel was preached in Britain before the defeat of Boadicea,ếan event which occurred A. D. 61., when the Apostles were in the very height of their evangelical career,
A circumstance noticed by Archbishop Usher, seems to favor the probability of St. Paul's visit to Britain : Some of the British captives carried over with Caractacus and his family were among the converts St. Paul made at Rome. Caractacus and his family were sent prisoners to Rome in the year 51, and remained there seven years. St. Paul was there in the year 56, and remained two years. It is a remarkable and interesting fact, that the detention of British hostages should have been coincident with the Apostles residence there as a prisoner-and it was a not less favorable coincidence that they should be released from confinement in the same year that St. Paul was set at liberty-Nothing could be more convenient for St. Paul's Mission to the Gentiles, than the opportunity which their return must have afforded him of introducing the gospel into Britain ; and nothing more probable than that he should embrace such an opportunity.
T'he ancient British Churches were most simple—that at Glastanbury was sixty feet in length, and the breadth thirty-six feet. “The walls were made of twigs winded and twisted together, after the ancient custom that kings palaces were built,”“the roof was made of straw or of a mixture of hay and rushes, after the manner of the buildings of those days, as we learn from Bede—the doors were constructed of wattled twigs and clay.”
That the religious ceremonies of the British Christians were conducted with a degree of primitive simplicity might be expected from their poverty and seclusion.
Shall we, whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high ;
Shall we, to men benighted,
The Lamp of Life deny ?
The joyful sound proclaim,
Has learned Messiah's name.
To the Members of the Society for Propagating the Gospel
in Foreign Parts. We are engaged in a holy cause. When that acknowledged what more remains to be said ? If we are thoroughly convinced that our cause is holy, need we doubt whether it is also 'strong! It would be worse than faithless, it would be impious to suppose that a holy cause can be really a weak one. If it ever seems to be so, this is only because, so far as it is entrusted to human agents, it is not exempt from the consequences of their infirmity.
But in itself it is always one and the same, and their errors and imperfections cannot effect its Heavenly origin, nor its essential character, nor consequently its assurance of ultimate success. And, therefore, whatever aspect it may wear in that intermediate stage of its earthly progress, which alone is subject to our observation, we need not be discouraged. It would be only if we were to abandon it, that we should have real cause to despair, not indeed of it, but of ourselves. But so long as we cling to it steadfastly, we may be sure it will not fail us, but will impart to us a share of its own native vigour. Whatever efforts we may make in its behalf, will not consume but increase our strength. They are exercises of faith and charity, which, while they keep up a lively consciousness of our communion with the Church of the Apostles and Prophets, and carry us back in spirit to the primitive struggles and triumphs of the gospel, animates and disciplines us for every other kind of spiritual work; with such convictions and such encouragements we may surely well wait with patience until the Lord's time be come, and be only anxious, whenever it arrives, it may find us, as men whose time is always ready, watching and striving in His service, and holding fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Bishop of St. Davids.
MISSIONS IN MADRAS.-TINNEVELLY. “And now it only remains for me most earnestly to commend the Missions of the Diocese of Madras, to the christian love and confidence of the Church of England.
I have found at every station that I visited, a truly faithful minister of Christ; and whenever the clergyman is a married man, I have found the Missionary's wife equally devoted with her husband to the Missionary cause. The female schools of Tinnevelly are indeed one of its greatest charms. I have found at every station some Catechists, of whom the minister is enabled to testify that they are zealous in the discharge of their duty, and wholesome and godly examples and patterns for the people to follow;' and large, and apparently earnest congregations, who have given many unquestionable proofs of the sincerity of their love of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus.
The number of souls under christian instruction and disci. pline, in connexion with the Missions of the Church of England in the Diocese and Archdeaconry of Madras, on the 30th of June, was upwards of 51,000. The number of Christian Children receiving instruction in the schools, connected with those Missions, was upwards of 7000: the number of Communicants was upwards of 5,000.”
Bishop of Madras' Journal, 1845.
IMPORTANCE OF CATECHISING.
It was the observation of that wise and learned King James, of blessed memory,—that the reason, why so many of our's were perverted to Popish Superstition, was, for that the people were not well grounded by due catechising in the Principles of Christian Religion ;- and that there is no employment in the world, wherein God's Ministers can so profitably employ themselves, as in this of plain and familiar Catechising. What is a Building without a Foundation ? If this Ground-work therefore be not surely laid, all their Divine Discourses (for such their Sermons are) lie upon the loose sand, and are easily washed away by the insinuative suggestions of false Teachers. As for matter of belief, where the foundation is surely laid of the Doctrines of Faith, contained in the Apostolic, Nicene, Athanasian Creeds; and of the Doctrine of the Sacraments, briefly comprized in our publicly allowed Catechism; I see no reason but to think our people so sufficiently defenced against the danger of Error, that no Heretical machinations could be able to batter or undermine them. And surely, if ever there were or can betime, wherein this duty