Page images

to receive him, to the Academy | ing was deeply affecting. O

at Bristol, and to send him un- that we may meet around the der the care of Dr. Ryland, throne of God, and be for ever There are good reasons to con- happy in his presence, to go no clude, that the assiduous atten- more out! How peculiarly intions paid by Mr. Phillips to the teresting is christian friendship! interests of the Sunday school, How combined are its pleasures contributed greatly to qualify him and its pains! In this world, for missionary labours. His part-sweet as it is, it is subject to ining address to the children and terruptions. Here we meet, and the teachers on his leaving Lon- enjoy the sweetest of earthly dedon for Bristol, will show the lights, but how painful are the state of his mind at that season, separations from those with whom whilst it exhibits his character as we have often taken sweet couna Sunday-school teacher to high sel, and gone to the house of advantage. God in company! But though we are absent in body, and though thousands of miles may separate us from communion with each other, we shall approach the same throne of grace, and remember each other there. We shall often think on the goodness of our covenant God which has been manifested towards us, and erect an Ebenezer of gratitude to O the blessedness of his name. religion, true religion, the religion of the cross! It meets our

[ocr errors]

'February 12, 1815. Delivered my farewell address to the children of the Sunday school, from Luke xv. 2. This man receiveth sinners! It was truly a solemn season: very many of the children were melted into tears. I spoke of the probability of its being the last time I should address them upon the subjects which related to their everlasting peace, and said, that perhaps we might meet no more on earth, but we should meet at the judgment-every necessity: by its influence seat of Christ, there to give ac- what glorious effects are procount of the manner in which I duced and experienced. O that had preached and they had its truths and influence were heard. I requested their serious known and felt as extensively as Hasten the attention, and endeavoured to the effects of sin! direct it to Jesus Christ. I en- time, O Lord, and make Jerujoyed much liberty in speaking, salem a praise in the whole earth!” and the children appeared after Dec. 6, 1822. wards as if they had been deeply affected. I addressed the teachers also on the subject of their discouragements and encouragements, and exhorted them to abound in their work. Having shaken hands with each child, my desires were fervent that my labours in the school, might not have been in vain. The teachers then sung a hymn, and my dear friend Sutton prayed. Our part

Missionary at Moorshedabad

(To be concluded in our next.)


Scriptural Views of Christ essential to Christianity.

THE knowledge of Christ is evidently an attainment of the highest importance, because scriptural views of his person and offices essentially affect our religious principles in general, and

are necessary to a proper recep- system, we shall discover no re-
tion of the christian faith. If ference, except to the simple
indeed this faith were merely fact of his divine mission, or to
designed to enforce a rational the principal events of his his-
worship and a pure morality,
by teaching us the unity of
God, the doctrine of a moral pro-
vidence, and the retributions of
a future state, it might doubtless
be received in a perfect form, by
persons who had little or no idea
of the sacred personage from
whom it derives its name. But
every person who has any
quaintance with the New Testa-
ment will perceive, that christi
anity, in this, as well as in other
respects, differs essentially from
every system of theology and
morals proposed to the world,
either by the sages of antiquity,
or by the philosophers of modern
times. The Mosaic law, indeed,
by virtue of its divine origin, ap-
proaches the nearest in resen
blance to the christian faith.
Yet the slightest comparison of
the two systems, as interwoven
with the character of their au-
thors, will convince us, that
while the law confers dignity
upon Moses, Christianity receives
its dignity and essence from

tory. It may therefore be in-
ferred, that if the character of
Moses were sunk in oblivion, or
if another name were substituted
in its room, while the leading
facts of the Pentateuch remained,
Judaism would experience scarce-
ly the shadow of a change, nor
the writings of the prophets re-
acquire a single variation.

But in turning to the gospel of Christ as delineated in the New Testament, a different scene arrests our notice, and we perceive his character and work interwoven with the system in all its parts, not as the author only, but as the subject and essence of the whole. The grand events of his ministry are not only topics of frequent reference in the discourses and writings of his apostles, considered merely as evidences of his divine mission, and the consequent authority of his doctrine; but the relation of those facts to the christian scheme, and the offices he sustains in the economy of redemption, form the substance of their compositions It is doubtless assumed by the in describing the peculiarities of disciples of Judaism, that Moses our faith. In the epistolary became their lawgiver by a di- writings, we are continually revine commission, and that a minded of the dignity of his perseries of supernatural interposi- son, the design of his obedience tions in Egypt and the wilder- unto death, the submission due ness, confirmed the authority of from his people, or the magnitude his institutions, and enforced the of those blessings which he disobservance of his laws. But if penses to the world. Whether we attentively consider his eco-they describe the attributes of nomy as established in the Penta- God, or trace the disclosure of teuch, and exemplified in the his purposes, or mark the prohistorical, prophetic, devotional,gress of his government in the and moral books of the Old Testament, instead of finding his name and character intermingled with every discussion, as though it were the life and soul of the

dispensations of grace, or predict
the history of the church in its
different vicissitudes, or anticipate
the events of a future world, or
describe the influence of religion


on the heart and character of its | it probable that a change of votaries; it may be truly affirmed, views concerning Christ, would that instead ofreferring to ourLord in many respects reverse or moas a subject of remote, second-dify the whole system of our ary, or subordinate importance, theology. "Christ is all, and in all." He not only constructed christianity as a moral machine to effect the renovation of society, but is himself the main spring of its different movements, the full force of which is essential to its moral utility and spiritual operations. He is not only the founder of the christian church, but the foundation and chief corner stone of the edifice, in whom alone the whole building fitly compacted together, can become a holy temple for the Lord. He is not only a part of the spiritual system, but the centre of the whole; the sun of righteousness, around which all the parts and all the messengers of divine revelation circulate like the planets of the solar system, which revolve around the sun, as the centre of their movements, and the source of their warmth and glory.

From these premises it is reasonable to infer, that ignorance of the true character of Christ, or the adoption of some false hypothesis respecting him, will essentially modify our ideas of the whole system, and render our reception of christianity in its native form impossible. We shall put opposite constructions perhaps on the same fact, draw conclusions from a principle that will never warrant them, or imagine a series of doctrines that have no being. And as the notions we receive on the subject of astronomy would be entirely reversed, by renouncing the Copernican system for that which supposes the earth to be the centre around which the sun and the stars revolve daily; so is


If indeed we appeal to actual experience, no doubt will remain that the principal hypotheses maintained on this subject, instead of being regarded as solitary points of difference, are rather accompanied with trains of thinking, and modes of belief, which change the complexion of their systems, and leave scarcely a doctrine of whose import the same ideas are entertained. the eye of two individuals, the one of whom regards our Lord as simply a good man, endowed with great wisdom for the instruction of the ignorant, whilst the other conceives him to be the Son of God, incarnate, whom the Father sent to be the Saviour of the world, christianity not only assumes a different aspect, but is, in many respects, a different thing. The former, per haps, considers it as a code of pure morality, enforced by the example of its author, by amiable displays of the divine goodness, and by the retributions of a future life, which the death and resurrection of Jesus were designed to ratify. But the latter, in connection with these sentiments, views it with admiration as a grand scheme of mediatorial interposition in behalf of man, by which the grace of God can be dispensed; while the purity of his law, and the justice of his moral government, are secured in the redemption and final happiness of his people. Instead of regarding the advent, death, and resurrection of Christ, or the preparatory dispensations of the Old Testament, as insulated facts which are important only because

the former must be essentially de-
fective, and radically wrong.

[ocr errors]

And yet, upon closely examin

they were extraordinary, he ra-
ther views them as the progres-
sive developement of a plan,
formed in the divine purpose being the subject, it will be found that ́
fore the foundation of the world, these differences, however remote,
and including a series of dispen- are not suppositions formed for
sations in regard to man, from the sake of argument, but facts
the beginning of time till the con- naturally arising from the in-
summation of the mediatorial eco- fluence of different hypotheses
Thus he not only con- in the ordinary operations of
*ceives it to be " a faithful say- theological enquiry and belief.
ing, and worthy of all accepta- No person who has either made
tion, that Jesus' Christ came into the experiment himself, or been
the world to save sinners;" but conversant with persons long
in connection with this belief as grounded in the different systems,
its natural associates, he likewise will be disposed to deny the facts
perceives and maintains the rec- assumed in this argument, what-
titude and benevolence of the ever he may think of its applica-
divine sovereignty; the fall of tion or force. A solitary excep-
man from his original perfection; tion or two, perhaps, may recur
the universal degeneracy and ruin to his recollection, of persons who
of our species; the insufficiency espoused opposite opinions con-
of human wisdom and virtue to cerning Christ, while their views
effect their recovery; the neces- on other points, usually deemed
"sity of divine influence to enlighten evangelical, remained for a con-
and renovate the soul; the doc- siderable time at least, nearly
trine of justification by faith only; unanimous. But it will be readily
the intercession and lordship of acknowledged as a general and
Christ for the benefit of his peo- obvious fact, that the opinions
ple; together with his personal which men adopt in all the de-
manifestation and agency, as the partments of theology, are inti-
judge of all men in the solemn mately affected by their views of
and universal decisions of the last the person and work of Christ,
day. By the former, many of and the offices assigned him in the
these doctrines are looked upon divine economy. If the know-
as fictions or absurdities; while ledge of Christ therefore be essen-
the latter calls them the peculiar tial to our receiving the gospel in
doctrines, the distinguishing fea- its native purity, undiminished
tures of evangelical religion. So and uncorrupted by human spe-
wide is the difference between culations, to say nothing of its
them, that both cannot be cor- experimental and practical in-
rect; but one or the other must fluence, it cannot be estimated
be seriously mistaken. If the too highly, nor sought after with
views of the former include a pro- attention more serious, or solici-
per reception and discernment of tude more persevering, than its
the christian faith, the latter importance justifies, or its ne-
must be guilty of connecting with cessity requires.
it the vain traditions, or vainer
subtleties of men. But if the
latter derive their doctrines from
the New Testament, the creed of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Harlow, Nov. 1822.

T. F.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Letter from the Rev. James Bass.* | very few comparatively, were

To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.


The review of "An Address on Baptism," &c. which appeared in your Magazine for September, contains some mis-statements of my system, which you will allow me, I doubt not, an opportunity of rectifying.

σε All

1. The Reviewer says, inquiry into the sentiments and conduct of those who request to be baptized, or any confession of faith, appears to Mr. Bass to be an undue assumption of authority; yet such inquisition he regards as essentially requisite to a participation of the Lord's-supper and the privileges of church fellowship: but while the case of the Eunuch is confessedly in the way of the former part of this distinction, no case whatever is cited in support of the latter."

The first part of this assertion, I freely acknowledge, contains my undisguised sentiments; and while the plain language of scripture is, "I baptize you unto repentance;"-"Be baptized for

the remission of sins"-while I
read that Jerusalem and all Ju-
dea, and all the region round
about Jordan, came to be bap-
tized of John, and that Jesus by
his disciples baptized even greater
multitudes, and yet not a single
instance appears
of any
who ap-
plied for baptism being refused,
nor even of to
being delayed:-and while also,
notwithstanding such numbers
received this ordinance, it is a
generally acknowledged fact that

To avoid the charge of unfairness,

we insert this letter, and, without entering into a lengthened controversy, we shall remark on those parts only in which the writer "complains." Ed..

really converted during our Saviour's residence on earth, I cannot cease to feel it my duty to maintain them.

[ocr errors]

Reviewer should have adduced
But I am surprised that the
the case of the Eunuch as so de-
cisively against me, without no-
ticing what I have said on the
subject. I have endeavoured to
prove, and to my own mind I
have satisfactorily proved, that
Philip did not sit in judgment on
his character, and that his con-
fession of faith amounted to no-
thing more than an acknowledg-
ment that Jesus was the Son of
and I would ask whether

it is a fair inference, because
he proposed queries which his
baptizer answered, and because
he finally declared his belief in
the divinity of Christ, that mi-

nisters are from thence autho

rized to judge of the spiritual

state of those who desire the ordinance of baptism, and to admit them to, or to reject them from it, at their own discretion?

The mis-statement, however, of which I particularly complain in the passage I have quoted, is this; that though I maintain the necessity of an inquiry into the conduct and sentiments of candi

dates for church fellowship, "no
of it" this must surely be an
case whatever is cited in support
oversight of the reviewer's; for
in a note, page 62, I refer to the
case of Saul expressly for this
purpose:-"Saul assayed to join
himself to the disciples, (the
church,) but was rejected; when

Ananias related on his behalf-
not his baptism,-although he
had baptized him, but his call
by grace
and the consistency of
subsequent conduct." [A]


[A] If Ananias had made any statement to the disciples, "on behalf" of

« PreviousContinue »