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God by us in this battle but victory and great triumph? Nay, deceive not your own selves by claim of false privileges, as though, forsooth, Israel, even the peculiar and only people of God, carrying the sign of his covenant in their flesh, acquainted with his oracles, and possessed of the ark and temple of God, did not, notwithstanding, complain that God went not out with their armies, but for or to them, so that they turned their backs upon their enemies; that God's ark, the glory of Israel and ensign of the victorious God, was taken of the heathen, and that their whole nation was often enthralled in manifold captivities in Egypt and Babylon... In which process of God's judgment against his people, we are to contemplate and consider the holiness, justice, and power of our jealous God, together with the abomination of our own sins. So holy a God is he that he will not acknowledge any professor of his law, who is not also a practiser of piety and holiness so just, that he will at length afflict his own children for their wilful transgressions; so powerful, that he can of beasts, elements, diseases, and (if these will not serve) of the very heathen, and enemies of God's truth, and of their mortally malicious swords, make rods to correct them.........But say not with yourselves, that the light of God's glory shall be any whit eclipsed by punishing his own people: no, but the contrary, as the prophet sheweth."
For the Christian Observer.
OUR readers will be interested in being again introduced to their zeal ous friend Frederic Hocker, whom they lately lost sight of, after his unsuccessful mission to Persia.
After his return from Persia,
Hocker offered himself to make an attempt for carrying into effect the design, long entertained by the United Brethren, of forming an acquaintance with the Christian church in Abyssinia. in Abyssinia. For this purpose he went in 1752 to Egypt, and hired a house in Grand Cairo. Here he practised as a physician, and applied himself to the acquisition of the Arabic language, endeavouring to obtain such information respecting Abyssinia, as might tend to promote the principal object of his mission. The Patriarch of the Copts, by whom the Metropolitan of Abyssinia is consecrated, treated him with great kindness, and entered into several conversations with him concerning the Brethren's church and the state of the Coptic and Abyssinian churches. To a letter, written to him by Count Zinzendorf, the Patriarch returned an answer in Arabic, which he thus prefaces: "In the name of the merciful and gracious God. In God is salvation. From Mark, the servant of the servants of the Lord. The peace of our Lord God, and the Captain of our salvation Jesus Christ, which he, in an upper room at Zion, poured forth upon the assembly of excellent disciples and apostles. May he pour out this peace upon the beloved, excellent and experienced brother, the venerable bishop, our father Aloysius, (Lewis, Count Zinzendorf,) the liturgist of the Unity of the Brethren. This is to testify, beloved brother, that the blessed son and venerable deacon, Ireneus Hocker, has delivered unto us your letter, which was full of affectionate, cordial love. We have read it; and it became unto us a taste of your love for all Christians. We, in like manner, pray God for you and for all the Christian people, that he may exalt the glory of all Christians in the whole habitable world, through the nutrition of his life-giving cross.' His mission being thus far favoured, he went, in 1754, by way of Smyrna, to Constantinople, for the purpose of furnishing himself with a firman,
or pass, from the Grand Seignior; and, though the plague was raging in that city, he received not only a firman, but several recommendatory letters to persons of distinction, which might be serviceable to him on his intended expedition. With these he returned to Alexandria. While waiting, in that city, for a favourable opportunity to proceed, the Grand Seignior died, and Egypt was convulsed by political disturbances, in consequence of which Hocker sailed for Europe in 1755.
The year following he went again to Egypt, accompanied by George Pilder, a student of divinity from the Brethren's college in Saxony. Unable to leave Cairo for a whole year, they renewed the acquaintance Hocker had formerly made with the patriarch, and were treated with distinguished kindness by him and by all the Coptic and Abyssinian clergy. The patriarch publicly declared," that he considered the Brethren as an ancient apostolical church, which had adhered to the pure doctrine of the Apostles, without engaging in those controversies which afterwards arose." In 1758 they set out for Abyssinia; but, after suffering shipwreck, and being in constant danger of attacks from the wild Arabs, they were obliged to relinquish their design and return to Cairo. Pilder, having contracted a dangerous illness, returned to Europe in 1759, and Hocker in 1761, after another fruitless attempt to penetrate into Abyssinia. Yet not discouraged by these repeated disappointments, Hocker once more returned to Egypt in 1769, accompanied by John Danke; and the following year they were joined by John Antes. But all the informa tion they could obtain from Abyssinia, convinced them that every attempt to visit that country must prove unsuccessful. They however unexpectedly found an opportunity of preaching the Gospel to the Copts, who inhabit several villages along the Nile. But as no perma
nent success attended these exer
tions, as every prospect of penetrating into Abyssinia vanished, and the political state of Egypt became every year more alarming, the establishment at Cairo was relinquished, and Hocker and his companions returned to Europe in 1782.
REPLY TO E. B. ON PHYSICAL INFLUENCES.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I AM deeply obliged to your correspondent E. B., for exciting my attention to what he considers as a deficiency in my papers on Superstition; and for the kind and Christian spirit in which his remarks are written. Our object is the same; and I shall ever feel grateful to any one who, engaged in the same pursuit, perceives a danger to be avoided, which may have escaped my notice, and warns me to tread cautiously.-It is not, however, my intention to notice the misrepresentations of those keen disputants, who imagine that difference of opinion sanctions the employment of any weapon; all such fall shaftless to the ground: but I am truly thankful to any sincere Christian, who, in the spirit of that Christianity which we seek to vindicate, states his own difficulties and doubts; or endeavours to point out where evil may possibly arise from a want of being sufficiently guarded or explicit on a subject which is confessedly in a great measure untried, and on which therefore it is so easy to overlook important points which it would be desirable to render prominent. As I have no object in view but truth, I can be only anxious for its investigation; and perhaps your correspondent will kindly point out, (if the details would be uninteresting to the public, in a private communication,) the particular parts of the Essay which have appeared to him liable to abuse. It has been my design to write
guardedly, but I am thoroughly aware, that such design may not always have been accomplished; and in the revision of the whole subject, which I am about to undertake for the purpose of separate publication, I will not forget, particularly, as I pass along, to take with me E.B.'s kind hints, and any others with which he may be pleased to furnish me; and I trust I may be enabled to perceive those weak parts, where additional caution, or definition, or limitation, may be required; and, above all, to vindicate the miracles and supernatural appearances recorded in Scripture, from the unhallowed touch of infidelity. It has been my object, however I may have failed in effecting it, to shew that all these are essentially distinct from the alleged supernatural appearances of the present day; and that they are to be received as matters for humble faith, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and recorded by the pen of Inspiration, and therefore neither requiring nor admitting of demonstration; while all the visions, voices, dreams, spiritual appearances, miracles, and pretended revelations of these later times, are to be submitted to totally different tests, and to be tried by very different laws. It is here that we call in physical influence, to account for that which a Christian ought not, with a proper sense of the truth and majesty of the Most High, to ascribe to the agency of such a Being of perfect knowledge, uprightness, and love; but, on the contrary, to attribute to the agency of that perverting cause, which has passed upon the spiritual manifestations of the most perfect creature man. My attention has been awakened to this subject; and scarcely a week passes without enlarging my acquaintance with physical influence upon the manifestations of mind, and confirming most deeply the view which I have taken of such influence. My opportunities of observation are larger than those which commonly fall
to the lot of ordinary professional men; and I pray God, I may be enabled to employ them to His glory. It is not easy, in so many words. to answer the inquiries of E. B.: I thought they had been sufficiently answered in the preceding papers, by shewing wherein illu sion consisted; by describing the extent of physical influence; and by keeping at an immeasurable distance the pretended miracles of man, from the revelations of Scripture, and of God: but in my approaching review, I will take this clue with me, and cautiously try, as I proceed, to enlarge the view on the one hand, and to make it more cautiously guarded on the other.
I have received other friendly suggestions alleging the obscurity and liability to perversion of some of my remarks upon temptation, satanic agency, the support of the martyrs in death, and a few other points, upon which I will endeavour to explain myself more clearly in the forthcoming edition of the work. It would deeply pain my mind if any reader should so misconstrue my argument as to distress the weak believer, or to disparage any doctrine of the word of God; especially that important and consoling one of the blessed influences of the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, Sanctifier, and Comforter, which I considered I was most effectually upholding while I was drawing the broadest line of demarcation between what is truly a Divine revelation and the mere counterfeits of a diseased imagination.
METHODIST CONFERENCE ON
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In your Number for last November you inserted several extracts from the minutes of the Methodist Conference, on the subject of Negro
Slavery; the existence of which in the British colonies is one of the foulest stains upon the nation. To complete the series, and to shew that the feelings and principles of the Wesleyan Methodists upon this subject have not relaxed, I take the liberty of forwarding to you the following extract from the minutes of the last conference, held in July and August, 1829.
"Resolved, That it shall be ear nestly recommended to the members of our societies throughout the kingdom, to unite with their fellowChristians of different denomina tions, in any petitions which may be sent to parliament, having for their object the carrying into effect those measures to which the legislature stands pledged for the mitigation and ultimate abolition of the state of Negro Colonial Slavery."
With best thanks to you, Mr. Editor, for the manner in which you have opposed this most iniquitous and unchristian system, I am, &c.
simplicity in the exercise of charity; but would it not have been wiser, and more lovely, if, instead of unchristianizing those acts of munifi cence which some of the recent missionary meetings have exhibited, he had inquired rather whether the circumstances under which they were called forth, and the spirit in which they were given, did not make these offerings, like those of the Philippians, "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God?" There are many selfish professors of religion, as well as people of the world, ready enough to impugn the motives of those whose elevated piety, or extraordinary benevolence, are a tacit reproof of their own coldness and barrenness; it therefore behoves us to be very cautious that, in our zeal for right principles, we do not make common cause with such persons in their work of detraction, "lest haply we be found even to fight against God." There were some that murmured against the woman who poured her costly ointment on the head of our Lord, thinking it, perhaps, a vain display, as well as a needless extravagance; but Heknew
EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTIONS better how to appreciate the deed—
AT MISSIONARY MEETINGS.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In your publication for October last, there were some remarks on collections for religious objects, by a correspondent who signs himself "A Friend to Christian Simplicity," which appeared to me calculated, though undesignedly, to retard the progress of the cause of God, by endeavouring to regulate Christian liberality according to the writer's mistaken views of Christian simplicity. In your next Number, another correspondent, "Paternus," approves and enforces the sentiments of the former, without meeting the objection I have noticed. I indeed cordially agree with your first correspondent as to the importance of
"She hath wrought a good work on me she hath done what she could."
It should be remembered that the meetings referred to were assemblies of professed believers, met in the cause of their common Lord, and they were moved to do what they did, not by the mere persua sions of eloquence, but by statements of facts, shewing the pressing urgency of missionary claims, and the absolute necessity there was for increased exertions. Is it not lawful for an assembly of Christians, under such circumstances, to make the most of those motives which had been set before them, and to use the holy impetus in order to "provoke each other" to more generous deeds? -the only sacrifices they were called on to make the only
way in which they could discharge their share of obligation in this great work of God.
Your correspondent seems to have been offended that "large sums were run up at these meetings, like biddings at an auction." Now, sir, I think it a token for good, rather than a subject for regret or reproof, that that emulous spirit which an auction often displays has been in any instance transferred to the service of Christianity: happy will it be for the world when all those who now bid so freely for vanities and luxuries, shall have no other source of competition than who shall do most in the cause of truth and righteousness. Your correspondent speaks of "fixedness of purpose," as essential to Christian charity; this phrase is far less perspicuous than the Scripture precept, "Every man, according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give." When by some irresistible appeal on behalf of an important object, I find my heart purposed to contribute towards it to an amount that I had not before contemplated, must I wait a day, a month, or a year to ascertain whether my purpose is fixed? And if, on such an occasion, I am induced to give liberally, and the next day should repent of it (as your correspondent intimates would probably be the case), which would be the most reprehensible, the deed or the repentance; that cheerful gift which the Lord loveth, or that grudging feeling which he hates? 2 Cor. ix. 7.
There are two scriptural rules by which Christians are directed to regulate their acts of charity: one relates to the time of bestowment, "as they have opportunity;" the other to the amount to be given, "as, God hath prospered them." These rules must, indeed, be acted on, as your correspondent urges, with simplicity; but we must take care not to weaken their obligation in contending for the simplicity of their performance. I shall not at
tempt minutely to define in what the simplicity of charity consists, but, however true it may be that
simplicity is essential to Christian charity," I will venture to assert that concealment is not essential to Christian simplicity: a generous deed may be done openly without ostentation, and publicly without pride. I conceive that the simplicity which God requires in acts of charity consists more in sincerity and purity of intention, than in any particular mode of performing them. It is the publicity connected with the late liberal offerings to the missionary cause that alone appears to have given the offence; but the object proposed (that of raising a specific sum during the meeting) could not, perhaps, have been accomplished without it. The collectors, when they received from an individual 50%. or 100l., entered the name with the sum, as is usual in all public subscriptions, and those who had not come prepared with an amount equal to what they now" purposed in their hearts to give," requested their names to be put down as answerable for the sum when called on. "But," says Paternus, "the apostolic rule should be applied in these matters, Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory.' This is an important admonition, and I trust the true Christian will never lose sight of it; but to employ it to the disparagement of such noble efforts for the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom would be wholly irrelevant to its design, and as groundless as were the scruples of Peter about the use of things While or unclean*.” contentious strife (the evil referred to in the above text) must never be witnessed in the church of Christ, (see James iii. 14-17), Christians.