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or of time or of talent, to the service of these societies. It is now seven years since the thing occurred which I will now relate. Upon first coming to this city, I was the bearer of a letter to a very worthy man and good Christian, as I believe, now no more : after he had perused it, he spoke to me with great emphasis and seriousness, "Sir, it is not by preaching, nor by attending to your own flock, that you must prosper in this city: the number, sir, of religious societies, the great good which they do, ought to be the chief care with you; as it is with such an one,' and 'such another one,
naming over some of the most famous ministers in the city. I looked into his face, to see if he was serious, or speaking in satire of the state of things. When I saw that he was serious and solemn, I could only wonder in my own mind, and calmly assure him, that by the grace of God I would walk in the old paths, and feed my flock. Upon which he admonished me, as became a man of his years, and we parted-never to meet again, for he was soon carried to his long home. If in the same societies in which a subscription of five pounds is announced with thunders of applause, you will announce your attachment to the Church of Scotland or the Church of England, or to an Establishment in general, or to the good old cause of Protestantism, or to the Athanasian Creed, or to the Five Articles of the Synod of Dort, or utter any word of censure upon the Pope of Rome or Socinians or Arminians, or any other class of heretics; or, in short, tell out any of the deep convictions and great interests which you hold dear; you will be received with sneers, haply with hisses; called to order, or to set down. If this be not forgetting the temple for the gold of the temple, I know not what can be considered so: if this is not undervaluing the altar for the gift that is upon the altar, I know not what can be considered so. For my part, I believe in my heart there is in the working of this great religious system a vanity, an ostentation, an avarice, an idolatry of gold and silver, which, if it be not as great, will soon be as great, if not checked and testified against, as I now do, as ever were the abominations of the Pharisaical system in Jewry, or the Mendicant system in Papal Rome. I do testify against it, after the example of my Lord; I say, Woe unto it! I say, There shall not be one stone of it left upon another. And though they should gnash upon me with their teeth, as they did upon my Lord, and take up stones to stone me, I will nevertheless say unto them, that it is a grand error to think they shall convert the world whose iniquity God is shewing out by their rejection of the Gospel ; for which in due time he will come and judge them. And this great stalking error, which is propagated through the church by ten thousand methods, is introducing all sorts of misconceptions, accoınınodations, means, and actions, without which it would
not be tolerated. But the object is so grand and brilliant, that men are dazzled, as were the Jews when they looked at the goodly stones and dazzling splendour of the temple. Would they believe in the judgments which are about to come upon the world, and receive the Lord's assurance of being with his ministers, and finding for them meat to eat and raiment to be clothed, wherever they are ; yea, of bringing them an hundredfold for whatever they give up; were this faith propagated in the church, at present dead to it, men would start up and say,
Send me!' like Joseph Wolf, they would say, 'Carry me to the place over the seas, and leave me there. And think you there would be wanting in the church rich men, and poor men, and men of all degrees, to say, 'We will carry thee; we will speed thee; we will support thee with our prayers, and with our substance too, if thou need ?' Do I oppose such a thing as this ? God forbid. Wherefore have we invited hither one to be an evangelist in this great city ? and wherefore was he ready to come without fee or reward ? and wherefore do I press it upon my church to lend the help of their prayer, and of their substance also, to the good work? Because we honour together faith in God, and we believe that he will prosper every one who denieth himself, and forsaketh all for Christ. It is the system, the base moneylevying system by religious practices, which we gainsay: out of which, I say it again, an incalculable offence to God and to Christ and to the church is now arising. I know how few can receive this matter; I am sorry for it: all I can do is solemnly to declare my conviction that it is so; yea, and I fear that half the truth hath not been told, because I will not suspect where I am not sure, neither will I go about to seek matter of accusation against any one ; but, as God helpeth me, I will never shrink from expounding the holy Scriptures, and applying them to the condition of the church and the condition of every soul. Let no one, therefore, take offence: I am but the voice of what I believe to be the truth ; and woe is unto me if I speak not the truth of God.
V. The next reason for which our Lord denounceth woe upon the Scribes and Pharisees, rulers of the Jewish church, and brandeth them as hypocrites, is contained in the 23d verse: "For ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin” (“and all herbs,” saith St.Luke), “ and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone. Blind guides! who strain at (or strain out] a gnat, and swallow a camel." This feature of the declining church hath reference to the obedience of the Divine commandments; and indicates a preference of the outward letter thereof to the inward spirit. The Lord selecteth the most minute and literal of the Divine commandments, which they did observe, and setteth the
same in contrast with the most large, universal, and moral precepts, which they did not observe. According to the law of Moses (Lev. xxvii.), “ All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of a tree, is the Lord's; it is holy unto the Lord.” In paying this tithe, the scribes and Pharisees went down to the minutest item : but they forgot the great moral demands which God had made, of judgment, mercy, and faith. Our Lord said, “ These ought ye to have done, and not leave the other undone.” Now, as the work of God's Spirit in the heart is constant, and changeth not with times and seasons ; and as the true church of God is likewise unchangeable in its moral and religious principles, being conformed unto the image of God; even so, the opposition of Satan, the work of Satan to destroy and uproot the church, is likewise constant as to its principles ; in its spirit the same in different ages. If therefore, as I believe, the rulers of the church in our own time have a woe gone forth, or going forth, against them, we may expect to witness some such feature as this growing in the midst of us : not indeed in its circumstances the same, because all the circumstances of the two churches are changed, but in its principle the same. And what, then, is the principle of this fifth great delinquency of the former church? It is the preference of positive outward commandments, to inward, moral, universal commandments : it is the religion of observances, and not the religion of holy, righteous, charitable principles : it is the straining out of the gnat from what we drink, and swallowing of the camel; sacrifice rather than mercy; will-worship rather than morality. The question is, Does this exist amongst ourselves, and to what extent? I answer, It doth exist, to an enormous extent. Tithes were under the Law appointed to be given, for the maintenance of the temple, and of the Priests and the Levites who served the temple. They were the signs of obedience to the Lord, who was worshipped and served in the temple. The paying of them now no longer existeth as a Divine commandment, but only as an ancient and fundamental constitution of the kingdom : and therefore, though it be enwarped with the very vitals of the state, and more than any thing else be the life of the community, yet is it not a part of the Christian religion, or an ordinance of the Christian church; and therefore it would be a vain thing to look for the parallel in this department of our affairs. What then of positive commandment and ordinance hath come instead of these, which fell down with the Jewish polity? What are the outward and visible observances obligatory upon every one who holds the Christian name, and upon those who sit in Christ's seat, and are the rulers of his church? It is obligatory upon us, the rulers of the church, and upon the church in general, to hold and maintain sound doctrine, which we express in our church by the Catechism and the Confession of Faith ; which they express in the Church of England by the Creeds, Apostolic, Nicene, Athanasian, and the Catechism, and the Offices; and which among the Dissenters they express by nothing at all, wholly neglecting this appointment of the church to “contend earnestly for the faith as it was once delivered unto the saints.” Another of our observances is, the offering of worship in the assemblies of the congregation ; praise, prayer, hearing of the word read, and of the word preached. Another of our observances is, the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Another is the observance of government in the church by the office-bearers, in their degrees of minister of the word, elder, and deacon. Another is the observance of discipline over the members of the church ; by reproof, exhortation, suspension from privileges, deposition froin office, and excommunication. These observances of the church are intended outwardly to represent great moral principles in the believer, both towards God and towards man. Doctrine, to represent the integrity, the certainty, the stability of our faith in God, and in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent: worship, to represent our love, adoration, trust, and desire of God, through Jesus Christ. Worship by the assembled church doth signify, also, the oneness, the communion, the fellowship of love, which there is among the brethren. Hearing of the word preached, signifies our openness and willingness to be taught by Christ speaking in the ministers of his church. Our observance of rule and authority and government in the church, expresseth our acquiescence in His lordship, and our obedience to Him as our head. Our observance of discipline, signifies our perfect obedience to the law of love, and our willingness at all times to be tried by it. So that the weightier matters of the law are, as heretofore, judgment, mercy, and faith, though the forms of the observance be changed.--Now, though I cannot say of the churches in general, that they are careful enough of the outward and positive ordinances of the church, there being a great body of Sadducees amongst us, as well as of Scribes and Pharisees; yet I can say, that whatever zeal there is runneth out in these forms, and ascendeth no higher. The observance of the Sabbath, the attendance upon Divine worship, the decent respect unto the churchman and the church, the admiration of our excellent church formularies, jealousy over the letter of the standards, outward decorum in the observance of the sacraments, rigid exactness in the admission of members of the church, where discipline is observed ; these, and other the like things, are the tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, which the rulers of the church at present insist upon. And this, I have noticed, is increasing, and I believe will go on increasing. I believe we shall see a severer outward service : the fasts re
stored, the festivals brought forward more conspicuously, the Liturgy commended more and more, the Assembly's Catechism extolled more and more, the Confession of Faith lauded more and more highly. I believe, also, we shall have more and more preach against balls, and assemblies, and horse-racing, and fairs, Sabbath-breaking, and other outward violations of decency and order. I believe, also, there will come into operation a severer discipline, and a straiter communion, and a greater outcry for the forms of orthodox doctrine. Now, look for judgment, look for mercy, look for faith, where are they? Judgment, is justice, or -righteousness, or honesty of heart and mind : Mercy, is love shewing itself to the offending, love taking pity upon the undeserving, and shewing forgiveness; bearing and forbearing, meek and gentle, kind and gracious: Faith, is belief in God, that what he has taught us himself of his own Son is true, is very truth, to be relied upon, to rest a man's salvation upon. I ask if these three great provinces of Divine morality are in existence amongst us, do we yield the greater tithes of faith, mercy, and judgment? 1 answer, No. Faith there is almost none; for if you ask a man what he believes concerning God, he doubts of every thing, and believes in nothing. Doth he believe that God is reconciled to him ? No: otherwise he would be at peace with God. Doth he believe that Christ hath died for his sins ? No: otherwise he would have no conscience of sin, but would be rejoicing in the grace of God; instead of having a woful countenance, and sighing with an oppressed heart. Doth he believe that the Spirit is in the ordinances of the church? No; but flatly denies it. Or in the office-bearers of the church? or in the baptized ? or in any thing else ? No; no such thing. Well, doth be believe that the Lord is to come again, and judge the quick, and raise the righteous, and reign with these on the earth, and restore all things, and bring in the times of refreshing ? No: as little of that as possible; the less the better : the wanderings these of deluded men, the ravings of a heated fancy, the dreams of inexperienced folly! Where is faith then? It is, like the dead languages, shut up in books, of which the three chief are the Bible, the Confession of Faith, and the Prayer-book.-If next you ask for mercy, for tender-hearted mercy; which hath compassion upon those that are out of the way, and herdeth with publicans and sinners, and goeth after the prodigal, and worketh upon the hard-hearted, and seeketh to save all; which pitieth the poor, and is for clothes unto the naked and for bread unto the hungry; oh, whither is it gone? I know not; but I know it dwelleth far from us, who are ashamed of publicans and sinners; and invite not the maimed, and the halt, and the poor unto our feasts ; and say unto the rich man, “ Sit ye down here, and to the poor man, Worship ye yonder:".streets, whole
VOL. I.NO. IV.