Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Yes, blessed spirit, thy life, thy sage to the tomb. All the means death, thy trust in God, thy faith that medical skill could devise, were and confidence in thy Saviour; all faithfully applied. Fervent suppliwas well.

Thy immortal spirit as-cations from many hearts, ascended de cended amid the prayers of thy in her behalf to the throne of mercy.

friends, and on the wings of angels The songs of Zion were sung by her to thy heavenly home, where thon pious friends, in her presence, and by art free from all the trials and afflic-her request, to cheer her passage tions of this mortal life!

through the valley of the Shadow of To behold a fellow creature, to Death—and often did she

express to whom we are bound by the ties of surrounding friends, the comfort and

friendship, languishing upon a bed satisfaction which she derived from si of death, causes many melancholy their kind attention. And when life

reflections. But the painful emo- was extinct, every mark of public tions with which we witness the de- and private respect was paid to her parture of our friends, were greatly memory. The tear of affection flowrelieved by the happy death of our ed from the cheeks of a numerous departed sister.

Though she was and deeply afflicted congregation.surrounded by a number of endear-|The solemn notes of the death bell ed relatives and friends, who were sounded through the vale-lingered weeping around her bed, yet she ut- among the mountains, and died away tered no groan, nor even shed a tear, in the distant horizon, announcing but calmly resigned her soul into the her departure to the eternal world. hands of her Maker. The writer of Her pew was hung in mourning, as this notice saw her expire. Solemn, a token of regard to her memory. On indeed, was the scene of separation the day of her funeral, an immense between husband and wife—mother concourse of people assembled, to and children-soul and body : but it follow her remains to the sepulchre, was a glorious scene. Like the rays The discourses, delivered on the day of the sun, which appear luminous of her funeral, and on the succeedand bright after setting beneath a ing Lord's day, in the different churcloudless sky, so after life had de-ches in the neighborhood, in referparted, a calm and sweet serenity ence to her death, produced deep beamed from her countenance—a tri- and lasting impressions on the hearts umphant glow shed a lustre on her of many hearers. She has departed brow—the graces of that spirit which from among us, but will not be soon had winged its flight to a more con- forgotten. The recollection of her genial abode, still seemed to linger many virtues, will be cherished in around her mortal remains.

the hearts of her friends, long after During her sickness, every thing her body shall have mingled with was done that could be done, to raise its native dust. She lived much and restore her to her family and the beloved ; and died universally lasociety of her friends—and when all mented. A large community have was unavailing, the same kind offices mingled their sorrows and their tears were performed to smooth her pas- with her deeply afflicted and bereaved family. She hath died the deaths|may fear. The beneficial effects reof the righteous, and her memory issulting from this species of their miblessed.

NOEL.

nisterial fidelity were prominently vis

ible in the success of their labors and Selected.

the prosperity of their churches.

But of late years many of our From the Evangelical Luth. Intelligencer.clergy and church officers have in a

CHURCH DISCIPLINE.-No. I. great measure, neglected this imporThe judicious exercise of scriptu- / tant part of their official duty, and ral discipline in a christian congre- the consequences are such, that we ral discipline in a christian congre-|| have abundant cause to mourn over gation, is of the utmost moment. As the observance of prudent and the inefficiency of our well-intended wholesome domestic regulations, is exertions, and to weep on account of necessary to the peace and happiness

the numerous evils that are desolating of a family; or as the administra

our Zion. tion of wise and salutary laws is im

Anxious to bring this interesting portant to the continuance and pros- subject fully and fairly before our perity of a statc; so the faithful ex-readers, with a view to attract their ecution of church laws in relation to attention to it, and prepare the way offending members, is indispensable to a more rigid observance of it in to the maintainance of purity and our church, we propose in this artithe promotion of piety in a congre- cle to show, gation. It appears to us to be abso

1st. The importance of congregalutely impossible for a religious as- tional discipline. sociation to flourish any length of 2d. What offences require its extime, in an eminent degree, without|ercise. the enforcement of a discipline, at 3d. Who the persons are by whom once mild and decisive, and based it should be administered. upon the principles and precepts of

4th. In what manner it should be the gospel. Our forefathers in the carried into effect. Lutheran ministry, seem to have been

1st. The importance of congregadeeply impressed with the truth of tional discipline. this remark, and hence, upon their Congregational discipline consists arrival in this country, they invaria- in the right execution of church laws, bly introduced into their churches, and the infliction of the penalties enwhat, in their own nervous language joined; or, it means the

treatwas termed, eine Kirchenzucht, and ment of offending members. if we will give ourselves the trouble The importance of this duty may of resorting to the ecclesiastical ar-be argued : chives of those days, we shall fre- a From the distinctness and frequenquently find upon record instancescy with which it is inculcated in the saof Kirchenbusze, and Vorstellungen cred writings. fehlender Glieder vor der ganzen Ge- If the opinion advanced by some meine : by which is implied, “Con-writers be correct, that the degree of fession and repentance of guilt and importance that should be attached restoration to church-communion,”to any christian obligation may be and “ a public, admonition of a bro-determined by the comparative clearther who had erred, in the presence ness and repetition with which that of the officers of the church council obligation is laid down in God's or the members of the congregation,” word, then we must concede that agreeably to the direction of Paul to the conscientious administration of Timothy, 1 Tim. v. 20, Them that discipline in a congregation is of sin rebuke before all, that others also||high moment. Whether we refer to the gospels or to the epistles, we||the man who, after a serious and imfind the duty under consideration, in-partial perusal of them, can recogsisted upon with a plainness and frenize in them no obligations on the quency that cannot fail to strike the part of the church to call offending attentive reader. It would be te- members to an account, and, if they dious to refer to all the various por- will not be saved from the error of tions of Holy Writ in which we are their ways, to cut them off from the commanded to admonish & endeavor privileges of church union, must be to reclaim those whose walk is disor-wilfully blind and designedly prejuderly, & ultimately if the employment diced. of proper means for their recovery If we turn our attention to the proves unsuccessful, to exclude them course of procedure observed by the from our communion. Let a few, Apostles toward unruly and unworsuffice : Moreover, (says our Lord,) | thy members, we shall discover that if thy brother shall tresspass against they themselves practised the above thee, go and tell him his fault be- rules. Witness the cases of Hymetween thee and him alone; if he neus, Alexander, Philetus, Simon shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Magus, and others. brother. But if he will not hear The importance of discipline is yet thee, then take with thee one or two farther manifest. more, that in the mouth of two or

proper

6 From the advantages arising from three witnesses every word may

be

it. established. And if he shall neglect

The beneficial effects consequent to hear them, tell it unto the church :

upon the mild and decided exebut if he shall neglect to hear the

cution of scriptural church regulachurch, let him be unto thee as a

tions, are numerous and obvious. It heathen man and a publican.” Mat

would thew xvii, 15, 17.

carry us far beyond the limits

we have prescribed to ourselves, to Again—"Now I beseech you, bre-exhibit them singly and in all their thren, (says St. Paul,) mark them bearings. We can do little more which cause divisions and offences, than glance at them, and shall leave contrary to the doctrine which you our readers to carry them out into have learned; and avoid them.

detail, by their own future reflecRom. xvi, 17. Once more—“Nowtions. we command you,” (mark the force We say then, that the faithful disof the Apostle's language in this charge of this duty, will reclaim passage,) now we command you, backsliders. Many, who after atbrethren, in the name of our Lord taching themselves to the church of Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw your-God, go astray, forgetting their vows, selves from every brother that walk- and returning to the love of the eth disorderly, and not after the tra- world and its beggarly elements, dition which he received of us. And will be arrested in their relapsed caif any man obey not our word by reer, be brought to a sense of their this epistle, note that man, and have guilt and danger, and led back to the no company with him, that he may| Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. be ashamed." 2 Thessalonians iji,|| It will detect hypocrites. That per6 and 14-vide yet farther, 1 Corin- sons of this character do frequently thians v. 1, 13—Galatians v, 12-insinuate themselves into churchTitus iii, 1–Galatians vi, 1–2 Cor-communion, in despite of the vigiinthians ii, 7.

lance of the church officers, is a fact These passages are so clear and too well known to require proof.unequivocal, so pointed and positive, But is difficult to sustain an assumed that we deem comment unnecessary ;ll character, and act a double part with

ence.

out detection ; a watchful discipline yield and make way for watchfulness will soon unmask those wolves in and prayer. It will break the slumsheep's clothing, and driving them bers of many a sleeping member. Ask back to their proper place, the church the unregenerate Lutheran, “ Is it will be delivered from their perni-thy hope to be saved ?” and his uncious example and deleterious influ- hesitating reply is, “ Yes, it is my

It will circulate a secret and hope.” Continue the examination, salutary awe through the church. Dis-, and inquire, “What are the constitorderly and refractory members will uents of a well-founded hope ?" and no longer find fault, condemn, and here the language of Canaan will fret and rave at every new occurrence terminate, and instead of the reply, in the congregation, that meets with “ True repentance and faith,” ten to their disapprobation; and then mean- one if he do not say, "I am a Luly threaten the faithful and suffering theran-I was baptized and confirmminister with a withdrawel from the ed—I belong to Mr. —'s church, congregation, and a stopping of the and give my support to him.” Thus pitiful pittance he so richly earns by the sheet anchor of all his eternal his laborious services. No, that reck- prospects is his being “a Lutheran,” lessness of church-membership, that and if this delusive prop is not struck over-bearing defiance so often hurled away, by some powerful blow, he into the face of the Council, that high-will continue to lean upon it, until toned rebellion of ungodly members at last in the hour of death it breaks will disappear; and the secret ap- from under him and lets him drop prehension that they may become into the grave—no into hell! Go ye subjects of discipline, be cut off from ministers of God and officers of the the most valuable privileges, and the church and tell him he is no Lutheran; mark of excision, the well-merited burst the spell that holds him bound stigma of excommunication, be stamp-||-tear away the film that blinds his ed upon them, will check their clam-vision- let him know that his being orous and disgraceful operations, and a Lutheran,” in the vague sense reduce them to something like for- in which he uses that term, will only bearance and submission. It will sup- aggravate his guilt ;—if he will not ply an additional incentive to watch-believe you, record it in flaming letfulness and prayer. That professorsters in the “ Church-Book ;” read of religion generally watch and pray it from the pulpit, and declare in the too little, need not be insisted on.sight of God and the Church, that But what motive does a congregation he is “no Lutheran,”—and if he is at large, that neglects discipline, hold not alarmed and awakened, and othout to correct this remissness ?- ers like him, are not brought to reat all. Professors indeed behold proofs flection by such a process, why then enough of human frailty, and the most you have done your duty—but be asaffecting evidences of a want of sured, such a course of proceedure watchfulness and prayer, in their will break the deep slumbers of mabacksliding fellow members, but they ny a sleeping sinner! Thus we witness no painful consequences re-might proceed to show, how the exsulting from an exposure of the same ercise of discipline will preserve

the on the part of the church. Let the purity of the church-be a public proper persons, in a spirit of love, re-| testimony, borne by it, against all buke an erring brother, whenever unrighteousness, &c. &c. &c. But there is occasion for it, and if he will the advantages already adverted to, nột “mend his ways,” proceed to are abundantly sufficient for our purfurther measures, and depend upon pose. Once, more, the importance it, thoughtlessness and security will of discipline is evident.

none

c From the evils attending its neg-1 did not issue from it so great a mullect.

titude of evils and distempers to afNext to an ungodly minister, we fict the human race, as are let loose regard a lax discipline or the entire upon a congregation, when scriptural absence of all discipline, as the most discipline ceases to be exercised.awful curse that can be inflicted on It was this sin, (says a modern wria christian congregation. It has been ter,) which the apostle describes in well said by a distinguished living those awful words, “ If any man deauthor: “ The church that neglects file the temple of God, him shall God this duty, resembles a state in which destroy." 1 Cor. ii, 17. The church the administration of justice is omit- is that temple, and to defile it, is to ted, and crime is permitted to be per- introduce improper members to its petrated with impunity.” That part communion, or to tolerate them in of the design of church union, which the practice of sin. A single unconsists in mutual watchfulness, is punished transgressor troubled the lost. Members may go astray, add-whole camp of Israel, and brought ing offence to offence, and heaping calamity upon a nation, nor could the vice upon vice, and there is none, in favor of God rest on the people, till a christian and fraternal tone to lift|| Achan was discovered and destroyup the voice of warning: Younged; vide Josh. vii, 11, 12. Nothchristians just introduced into coming can be conceived of, more likely munion by confirmation, may grow to grieve the holy spirit, or to induce languid and careless, and instead of him to withdraw his gracious influreceiving timely admonition, and be-ence from a church, than a neglect ing tenderly led back to the people of scriptural discipline. And here of God, the unpardonable derilection we would pause, and beg our beloof duty on the part of the Church, ved brethren in Christ, to inquire encourages them in their treachery whether our remissness in attending and hastens their ultimate and ag- to this duty, is not our principal gravated ruin. Hypocrites are coun-cause of the various evils peculiar to tenanced in their self-delusion, and our Lutheran Zion. That there are supported in the imposition they prac-such evils, may be gathered from the tise upon community. Heretics and remarks already made, and indeed is schismatics are patronized--profli- too palpable to be disputed. There gates are urged onward-gainsayers manifestly is a want of attachment to and opponents to the truth and God's the church and her ministers, among ministers, become more overbearing us--a disregard of church privileges, and despotic, the word preached is an unwillingness to engage in and thrown away upon captious and re-promote benevolent societies and rebellious hearers-scoffers and infi-|ligious institutions ; a neglect of pubdels are encouraged,—the weak stag-lic worship and the holy sacraments; gered in their faith-religion com a miserly withholding from the church promised—the church corrupted and her laborers, that small stipend the ruin of immortal souls abetted--||to which they are so justly entitled ; sinners of all descriptions hardened a proneness to take offence at and -ministers distressed, slandered and traduce the minister, and indeed in persecuted till their hearts are ready some instances, our members rule to rend with anguish, and the church and lord it over us with a more desbecomes more like a collection of potic spirit than ever characterized transgressors, than an association of the most arbitrary acts of Napoleon. pious followers of Jesus Christ.---These and numerous other disorders We may well say,

that when Epi- are more frequently the bane of metheus opened Pandora's box, there our congregations than of some other

« AnteriorContinuar »