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THE TIMES. (From the “ First Annual Report of the Liverpool, Protestant
The living and true God, the maker of heaven and earth, has revealed to men his will concerning men. The Bible contains that revelation. No man is excepted, whatever be his station,-high or low. All are commanded to love and speak the truth; to confess Jesus Christ the Lord; to let their light shine before men ; and whatsoever they do, in word or deed, to do all to the glory of God. As touching eternity, all are proclaimed on a level. " There is no difference, for all have sinned.” As touching human society in this world, the greatest differences are described. The powers that be are ordained of God. By Him kings reign, and princes decree justice. By Him ihey are reminded whose ministers they are. By Him they are commanded to rule in his fear, and for the temporal and eterual benefit of his people, subjected to their authority. By Him all subjects are commanded to consider whose authority their rulers have, and to be subject to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake, esteeming loyalty a Christian duty, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Upon these high truths, as they progressively became practically understood, and nationally recognised, the British constitution was erected, and made progress towards perfection; and whatever minor measures of alteration in detail may, from time to time, be found salutary,--with the national recognition of these great truths that constitution must stand or fall
. The great principle is,—that the will of God, as revealed in the Bible, is the only sure and safe standard of right and wrong, and, therefore, constitutes the fundamental basis of all Christian legislation. No rulers, acting on this principle, can arraign their own charter, by propagating falsehood, or exercising tyranny. And no people, acting on this principle, can fail to possess and enjoy both truth and liberty.
In our own days, the most strenuous efforts have been made, and are still being made, to undermine this principle, and so to overturn all the institutions of this kingdom, which have so long rested upon it. With the most indefatigable zeal, men of various parties are now propagating a theory which assumes that rulers do not, and cannot know, wbether there be any such thing as revealed truth: and that, consequently, they should not do any thing so intolerable as act upon a prefer. ence, or even express an opinion upon these questions. On the contrary, that their only justifiable course is to occupy the ground of a passive infidelity, and either to give impartial support to all opinions, without reference to their truth or falsehood, or else to give support and countenance to none whatever.
By this theory the authority of God is set aside. Rulers are no longer his servants, but the servants of the people. The people are no longer His servants, but the servants of their own fancies and experiments, both in legislation and morals. Thus, no fixed standard remains,-no immutable principle, with reference to which religious instruction can be communicated, or civil liberty maintained.
By this theory, all we hold most dear, as Christians, and as Englishmen, is assailed ; and it is in uncompromising hostility to this theory that our Protestant Association is formed. It is called into existence by imperative self-defence. Its declaration,-deliberate and determined,-is this: That the authority of God must not be set aside ;-that there is re. vealed truth ;-that both rulers and people may, and ought to know it ;-that both rulers and people are bound to give it practical preference, in the council-chamber, in the senate. house, in the school, in the family, as well as in the closet;that if any of our fellow-countrymen be ignorant of this high principle, and the duties consequent thereon, they should be instructed ;-if any have forgotten, they should be reminded; -if any be hesitating, they should be decided ;-if any be timid, they should be encouraged ;--if any be supine, they should be stimulated. So thal our rulers may know, and the nation may know, and the whole civilized world may know, that England and the Bible are so linked together, that no infidel philosophy, no carnal compromise, no unnatural coalition between the disciples of liberality and the disciples of intolerance, can dissolve the indissoluble bond. And that when liberalism shall have succeeded in extinguishing the voice of conscience ;—when Popery shall have succeeded in enthroning the dogmas of her apostacy in the chair of unquestioned infallibility ;-when infidelity shall bave succeeded in burning up the last copy of the Bible as a scroll ;-when Atheism shall bave succeeded in expelling the living God from his own creation; then, but not before, shall England be deprived of her constitution, the palladium of civil and religious liberty amongst mankind.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S PASTORAL LETTER
TO THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND, ON FAMILY
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to our dearly beloved people : Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord.
On your behalf, brethren, we thank God, whom we serve with our spirit in the Gospel of His Son, that your faith and devotion bave long been spoken of throughout the world; and we are bound always to have remembrance of you in our prayers, night and day, greatly desiring that, like your forefathers in times of clearest light, you may continue stedfastly in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, abounding in the exercises of that unfeigned godliness, which is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
In compliance with the solicitations of many who watch for your souls, and are jealous over you with godly jealousy, we have resolved to issue this brotherly exhortation on the sacred and indispensable duty of Family Worship,-not as if we had any recent ground for apprehending that it is likely to fall into more extensive neglect, but because we know too well that it is by no means universally practised, and because even the purest minds require to be stirred up, by way of remembrance, that, while they hold fast the profession of their own faith without wavering, they may consider one another to provoke and encourage, by good counsel and good example, to the love of truth and holiness, and to the habitual and serious obseryance of those offices of piety, whereby, as surely as the body is nourished and refreshed by its daily bread and its nightly rest, the soul of man, through the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is progressively matured in excellence and strength, till it is advanced to the perfection and glory of its immortal existence.
In calling your attention to this momentous topic, we think it superfluous to enlarge on the high obligations by wbich the
* Edinburgh, May 30th, 1836.-The General Assembly having considered and approved the Overtures recommending a renewed Admonition for the purpose of stirring up the people of this land to the faithful and regular observance of the worship of God in their families, did, and hereby do, require the following Pastoral Letter to be read by all the Ministers of this Church, from their several pulpits, on the first conyenient Lord's day after it shall come into their hands.
JOHN LEE, Cl. Eccl. Scot.
duty is enforced, obligations which are involved in the very constitution of our frail and dependent being, and impressed on the understanding and the heart by the persuasive voice of scriptural authority, opening the ears of men, and sealing the instruction, by which God speaketh, not once or twice, but at sundry times, and in divers manners, adding line upon line, precept upon precept, promise upon promise, and threatening upon threatening, so as to bring perpetually to remembrance both the blessings which are multiplied to them that fear the Lord, and the fury which is poured out on the families which call not on his name. The appointment of the reasonable service of bowing down at the domestic altar before the Lord our Maker, that, in waiting for the promised effusion of the spirit of grace and supplication, we may be filled with the fruits of righteousness, has ever been regarded by all men of sound mind and Christian experience, not as the imposition of an irksome yoke, but as the conveyance of an inestimable privilege; for as often as we mark the tokens of God's power and presence, in making the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice, must every enlightened and purified heart, lifting up its affections to the Father of Spirits, acknowledge, with triumphant satisfaction, that it is a good thing to shew forth bis loving-kindness in the morning, and his faithfulness every night.
To those only who have tasted and seen it, can we speak intelligibly of the tranquil delight which is awakened and sustained by such periodical acts of household worship, as are not a mere formal ceremony in which the members join with reluctance or cold compliance, but the fervent utterance of lips, which, out of the abundance of the heart, in which the love of God is shed abroad, are, by the influence of that un. quenchable affection, most pleasingly constrained to celebrate the mercies which are new every morning, and to offer up the spiritual incense of prayer with as unceasing regularity, as from the sanctuary of Israel the smoke of the evening sacrifice arose, or as the early dew of Hermon descended on the mountains of Zion, when there the Lord. commanded the blessing, -even life for evermore.
Without all controversy, the benefits produced by this hal. lowed exercise are ineffably precious. It is not enough to say that thus are devout and grateful emotions awakened, thus is faith in the superiotending providence and holy promises of God confirmed;-thus are the graces of bumilty, resignation, and patience, nourished and increased, while, with the contemplation of the infinite excellence, the unwearied beneficence, and the everlasting strength of the Lord Jehovah, we contrast the instability, deceitfulness, and desperate wickedness of the heart of man. By the infallible testimony of Heaven, we are authorised to affirm, constantly, that there is an efficacy in the prayer of faith, which, though inexplicable by our feeble understandings, must, through all ages, continue to avail as much as it did in the days of those patriarchs, prophets, and righteous men, who, as princes, had power with God, when, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, they had grace to serve him acceptably with reverence and godly fear. The Lord is ever nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit, when, taking with them the words which inspired wisdom bas taught them to utter, they lift up their desires at his footstool, not seeking great things for themselves, or panting after the dust of the earth, or sighing for the vain delights of the sons of men, but thirsting and longing for the blessedness of the man whose trangression is forgiven, and who, being justified by faith, has peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have no encouragement to hope that, by taking thought for temporal satisfactions, we shall find grace in the sight of the Lord; but if we aspire after the best gifts which are the heritage of the faithful, seeking first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, we believe and are sure that his divine power will give us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the
knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Though our Father in the heavens knoweth wbat things we have need of before we ask them, and though the purposes of bis everlasting kindness are often fulfilled • more substantially by withholding than by granting the desires
which we naturally cherisb, it is only to them who worship him in spirit and in truth, that he has promised to do exceeding abundantly above all that they ask or think; and we have no more solid ground to expect that we shall receive without asking, or that we shall find without seeking, than the husbandman has to look for an abundant harvest springing up in the fields which he has neither planted nor watered, or than the merchant has to calculate on receiving his own with usury, for the talent wbich has been tied up in a napkin, or buried in the earth.
It is not for us to unfold the laws of the spiritual world, so as to demonstrate wby and bow it is that the communications of heavenly influence and favour are in any degree suspended on the frequency and fervency of our supplications. But this we know, that, as in old time, the father of the faithful commanded bis childreu, and bis household after bim, to unite with him in the exercises of a holy life, that the Lord might bring apon Abraham that which he had spoken of bim,- even so, in all generations, may the willing and obedient hope, that, wbile seeking unto God, and committing their cause to bim wbo.doeth great things and unsearchable, they place their confidence, not in their own importunity, or their own efforts, but in the exalted merit and prevalent intercession of the