Page images
PDF
EPUB

PRESSING

that interest gives circulation to the tracts and books of the Reformation Society, and a spirit of inquiry is generated, which is always deprecated by the priests, but invariably serviceable to the cause of truth. The outlay incurred in such efforts is necessarily considerable—the expense of printing and stereotyping tracts also is very great, and the maintenance of Operative Auxiliaries, those valuable means of reaching and enlightening the poorer Romanists, likewise entail a considerable expenditure. Reader is it not your duty, your privilege, in these times, to aid so precious an enterprize ? Your very perasal of this appeal is a new addition to your responsibility in connexion with this cause.

THE REFORMATION SOCIETY is purely a mis. sionary society. The SPIRITUAL QUESTION we conceive is alone VITAL

PARAMOUNT. This alone therefore the Reformation Society contemplates. As A SOCIETY IT REPUDIATES ALL POLITICS WHAT

The strength of Popery is compressed in its religious principles. It deals with Romanism according to the prescriptions of St. Paul, and after the manner of Martin Luther. To diffuse Protestant light-to dispel Popish darkness—to arm Protestants against Jesuitism, and their proselyting exertions--and to bring Romanists out of the anti-christian apostacy, by faithfulness, by love, by truth, by prayer, by the Spirit of God, this is its blessed work.

It asks your aid-your prayerful, and personal, and pecuniary aid, to enable it to maintain and multiply its means of usefulness. Shall it ask in vain ? Reader, it rests with you; Meroz was judged not because of opposition, but neutrality. May we have grace to avoid its sin, and thus escape its punishment.

EVER.

THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY. The Rev. F. Close has just published an admirable Sermon on “the Mystery of Iniquity.” We strongly recommend it to the perusal of our readers ; it would be well for our common faith if every Protestant family in the kingdom possessed a copy of it, and maturely pondered it. In one point only we differ from its talented and truly evangelical author. Although we believe that the Man of Sin will only be utterly destroyed by the Lord at his coming ; we are of opinion that the ten kingdoms, probably under the influence of revolutionary and infidel principles, will waste and spoil the Romish Church before the advent of Jesus. The following brief extract from the sermon is characteristic of its style and spirit.--" The mystery of iniquity,” observe-this evil thing of which I am about to

speak is a “ mystery” : that is, something hidden, covert, concealed — whose approaches are not open, as those of a fair antagonist, but subtle and secret.

The word mystery is rarely, if ever, used in Scripture in a bad sense ; excepting in this passage, and once in the book of Revelation ; it is uniformly applied to some part of the hidden

purposes of God's love to the Church and to the world, long concealed, but at length revealed. Thus we read of “ the mystery of the Kingdom” Mark iv. 11): " the wisdom of God in a mystery” (1 Cor. xi. 7): “the mystery of the resurrection” ( 1 Cor. xv. 51): “the mystery of the Gospel” (Eph. vi. 19): “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” Col. xi. 2); and above all “ the great mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. iii. 16). When, therefore we find this word so generally consecrated to the deep things of God, here applied to a principle of evil, we are prepared to expect something extraordinarily dark, profound, and perplexing. It is most important that we should carefully note this primary, distinguishing characteristic of the predicted evil, because it proves that it cannot point at some things to which it has been referred. It cannot foretell the rise and progress of the Mahommedan power, for that was patent, open, and propagated by fire and

" the

sword. It cannot point at heathenism, or infidelity, or atheism, or any of those avowed and obvious enemies of God's truth. It is a dark, mysterious, shrouded principle, subtle in its approaches, latent in its operations, and discovered only by its final results.

“It is moreover an iniquitous principle, nay, mystery of iniquity.—The most profound, the most subtle developement of the principle of evil, and that, contrived and executed by Satan himself. To him it is expressly referred in the context. “ Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Let this truth also be deposited and abide in our minds : whenever we are about to contemplate a system complicated, fraudulent, cruel-it is not the contrivance of man, or the effect of human skill and ingenuity, but it is devised and executed by a superior power—" we wrestle not with flesh and blood" in this matter, “but with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. In the developement of the “ great mystery of iniquity," we shall discover the finger of Satan—the great antagonistic principle to the great mystery of Godliness.” The two mysteries brought into direct opposition“ The mystery of God,” and “the mystery of Satan”!

“But, perhaps, the most peculiar and distinctive character of the predicted evil is this that it was to spring out of the bosom of the Church herself, and its workings were all to be found within the precincts of that Church. It was to be " a falling away,” an apostacy, a corruption of the house of God, and the visible head and representative of “the mystery of iniquity, " “ the Man of Sin,” “ the Son of perdition,"

Go that was to be seated in the Church that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,"—that is, in the Church of God, the living souls and bodies of men, which constitute the only temple mentioned in the New Testament. Herein we shall see the great masterpiece of Satan, whereby he succeeded in working the Church against herself, and in converting her from being the depositary of truth and grace, and love and salvation, to be the abode of all error, false doc

وو

وو

wicked one,

" So

trine, and sin. Nor must we shrink from exhibiting the personal head and representative of this mystery of iniquity in his true and prophetic character_The Romish Popedom," as "the Man of Sin, the Son of perdition ; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." The faithfulness of this portrait has been often denied-yet is the likeness indelible and the image true.”

PROTESTANT UNION,

OR

EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF CHURCH OF ENGLAND DIVINES ON THE SCOTCH AND OTHER

NON-EPISCOPAL CHURCHES.

The title of this Tract explains its purpose. Certain modern divines excommunicate all christian bodies which are not, in all respects, constituted according to what they have laid down as a divine model. It will be seen, in the following extracts, that these were not the views of the most eminent ornaments of the Anglican Church. These last seem to have had a deeper insight into the preciousness of vital religion, and a less idolatrous veneration of rites and discipline which have, confessedly, no Leviticus to appeal to. They saw christianity, even where the outward clothing was not what they had been accustomed to. They must have been gifted with keener penetration, or enriched with a nobler charity, than some of their professed descendants. Let us hear them.

HOOKER. This great and good man, usually designated the judicious Hooker, is perhaps the weightiest and most revered authority in the English Church.

Mr Keble admits, in his preface to a new edition of Hooker's works, that neither Hooker, nor Jewel, nor Whitgift, ventured to urge the exclusive claims of episcopacy. He also states, in this preface, that “ Numbers had been admitted to the ministry of the Church of England, with no better than presbyterial ordination."

Hooker thus writes 6. The whole Church visible being the true original subject of all power, it hath not ordinarily allowed any other than Bishops alone to ordain; howbeit, as the ordinary course in all things is ordinarily to be observed, so it may be in some cases necessary that we decline from the ordinary ways." - Book vii. p. 285.

Again-" To change those things that are not essential to salvation, as forms of Church government, is no otherwise to change the plan of salvation, than a path is changed by altering only the uppermost face of it, which, be it laid with gravel or with grass, or paved with stones, remaineth still the same path. Doctrine is like garments that cover the body of the Church the other like rings, bracelets, and jewels, which only adorn it. The one is like the food, which the Church doth live by ; the other like that which maketh her diet liberal, dainty, and more delicious."

Again—“ He which affirmeth speech to be necessary amongst all men throughout the world, doth not thereby import that all men must necessarily speak one and the same language ; even so the necessity of polity and regimen may be held, without holding any one certain form to be necessary in them all.”

Again—" There may sometimes be very just and sufficient reason to allow ordination made without a Bishop. And therefore we are not simply, without exception, to urge a lineal descent of power from the apostles, by continual succession of Bishops, in every effectual ordination.”

“ Let the Bishops continually bear in mind, that it is rather the force of custom, whereby the Church, having so long found it good to continue under the regimen of her virtuous Bishops, doth still uphold, maintain and honour them in that respect, than that any such true and heavenly law can be shewed, by the evidence whereof it may of a truth appear, that the

« PreviousContinue »