Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ all things, and we by him.” It is generally agreed, that the apostle refers to the distinction in the pagan mythology, between the dii superiores and the dii inferiores, or God's mediators, whom he distinguishes as “ lords ;” and to whom, beyond dispute, the saints-mediators of the antichristian church succeeded in office and honour, as objects of worship. The passage, therefore, above quoted, was an express disavowal of the ancient practice of addressing the saints as intercessors. This was, and still is, especially done in the masses of the church of Rome, or their method of celebrating the Lord's supper: and it implied a most-emphatical and solemn protest against it, in this sacred service; excluding from divine worship, of every kind, all, except “ the “Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” God our Saviour, in whose one name Christians are baptized; and ascribing divine honour and worship to the Lord Jesus, with the Holy Ghost, alone.—' Thou only art holy.' Thou only, of all the human race, art holy, (dyos—a holy person, or saint,) not only as alone, and always, perfectly holy; but also as alone profiting others by thy holiness and merits. “Thou only art the Lord;' the only Mediator between God and man; being Emmanuel, “ God manifest in the flesh;” “ the “ second Man, the Lord from heaven.”—' Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father.' Thou alone, with the Holy Spirit, art the proper object of divine worship: “ That all men should honour “ the Son, even as they honour the Father. He

" that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the « Father that sent him."

Should you deem these hints worthy of inserting, I may, perhaps, trouble you with some other thoughts on detached passages of our excellent Liturgy.

T. S.

15.

MARCH, 1813.

ON ATTENDING PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS.

The substance of the following letter was written to a parent, a widow lady, in answer to an inquiry, whether I thought she might permit her children to go to Vauxhall, as it was now much reformed from what it had been. On a former occasion, I had been asked my opinion as to their attending Walker's lectures, and had returned an answer favourable to the wishes of the young persons: and in both cases, they agreed to abide by my determination. At the request of the family, I now send the letter to you, with some alterations approved by them: if you will allow it a place in your publication, before the time when the season at Vauxhall, and similar places of resort, shall open, they hope it may produce as decided conviction in the minds of others, as it did on their's.

T. S.

|

Dear Madam, On a former occasion, I gave my opinion in favour of the desire of my young friends, to attend Walker's lectures : but at present, I must decidedly express my disapprobation of their going to Vauxhall. This may, for aught I know, have ceased to be that place of licentious pleasure, scandalous even for respectable worldly people to frequent; but it doubtless remains a place of mere dissipated pleasure.—In the apostle's enumeration of all that is in the world," (1 John ii. 15, 16,) Vauxhall may be less subservient, than formerly, to “ the lust of the flesh; but it is entirely so to “ the lust of the eye.' Curiosity, and correspondent propensities, are exclusively gratified: nothing there exhibited tends so much as to furnish the mind with useful knowledge, much less to excite in the heart admiration of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, as manifested in his works : but Walker's lectures are suited for both these purposes. St. Paul lays down, so to speak, the following

“ Redeem the time." 6 Whatever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the “Lord Jesus Christ." " Whether ye eat, or “ whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all “ to the glory of God.” 66 Be not conformed to " this world.” Whatever we can do without violating any of these precepts, we may expect and pray for a blessing upon it; and we may hope, in one way or other, to get good, or do good, by means of it. But will any of these things apply to the present case ? Can there be I a reasonable hope of a person's returning from

canons :

(6

Vauxhall, or any similar scene of amusement, better prepared for devotional exercises, or qualified for edifying conversation, or the self-denying work and labour of love?

If it be urged, that the same may be said of many secular employments, which may nevertheless be lawfully attended to, the answer is obvious. These are the duties of a man's station in life, needful in society, and in various ways profitable to mankind: and, while we pray for a blessing on our lawful business, we may confidently rely on God, and beg of him to preserve us from the temptations connected with it. Now he who, merely for amusement and gratification, goes into

any place from which godliness at least is systematically excluded, as wholly inadmissible, and the spirit of the world reigns without a rival, exposes himself to temptation, and cannot consistently pray to be preserved from it. We are directed to pray to our heavenly Father, “ Lead

us not into temptation ;” but such a one needlessly and presumptuously runs into it, and must take the consequence.

Mr. Newton used to say, “A Christian should do business, and have needful intercourse with 'the world, as a man transacts business in the

rain. He expedites what must be done, as much ' as he can ; and then gets under shelter.'—But he, who frequents the best regulated places of dissipation, exposes himself needlessly to the soaking shower, and can expect no other than at least to get a severe cold.

The degree in which the more prosperous professors of the gospel, in these days of toleration, “ conform to the world,” and waste their money, and more precious time, must appear very grievous to him who judges by the standard of the sacred oracles. They plead for this thing, and for that, as harmless; and require texts of scripture expressly prohibiting it. But, “ Re“ member Lot's wife :” she left Sodom; but she left her treasure and her heart in that devoted city; looked behind, as wishing and longing to return; and was made a monument of divine vengeance.

The canons before cited are applicable to all possible cases : but to have forbidden each and all the endlessly varying fashions and modes of misspending time and money, conforming to the world, and gratifying ourselves, which have been devised, and shall be devised, in all ages and nations, would have been impracticable, and could only have been attempted by particular and numerous predictions of the minute follies and pursuits of men. What did the apostles, as men, know of the shews, and sports, and dissipations of the nineteenth century, in England, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, &c. ? It is also obseryable that they do not, in so many words, forbid the frequenting of the heathen theatres, or the cruel gladiatorial shews : yet who will say that these were harmless diversions ?

Many modern professors of religion seem to me to meet the world full half way, and then think that the world is become more favourable to religion than formerly. Then they proceed to censure the remnant which adhere to the scriptural strictness, as puritanical, unsociable,“ righteous

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »