Page images
PDF
EPUB

on

destination, and ending all contro. | infallible rule of faith, and maintains versy for ever.

that human formularies should be Meanwhile at Leyden matters tried by the scriptures and not the looked brighter. A minister who scriptures by human formularies; had calumniated Arminius was and he indignantly repudiates silenced. An attempt of Kuchlin, certain articles of belief maliciously the uncle of Arminius, to empty the circulated as emanating from his lecture room of his nephew, proved own pen. But whether at peace or futile. A demand of the Consistory not, he continues indefatigable in for an official and public interview the discharge of his duties at with Arminius was abandoned. A Leyden. He wears for a year the grievance of the Presbytery of honour of Rector Magnificus of the Dort, or rather a gravamen prepared Academy; and when he vacates the with a view to presentation at a office in due order, he delivers a forthcoming annual Synod, and masterly oration • Religious charging the academy and church Dissension,' exhibiting deep anxiety at Leyden with serious controversies for the peace of the church and proconcerning the doctrines of the posing judicious remedies for its Reformation, was taken up by the restoration. His lectures were at. curators, and dismissed, all the tended more largely than ever. Professors implicated, Gomar, The singular grace of his style, his Arminius, Trelcatius, and Kuchlin, lucid interpretations of God's word, -affirming that no discussion ex- his eager inquiry after truth, and isted among them in regard to possibly the distinction his detractors fundamentals of doctrine. Harmony helped to confer upon him, increased was therefore restored at the head. the popularity of his classes. But quarters of ecclesiastical discord, for the fear in the minds of the and Arminius wrote to his friend timid lest the fact of having been Uitenbogardt, ‘Between Gomar and the pupils of Arminius should injure me there is peace.

their future prospects in the church, But the truce if real was but still greater numbers would have momentary in its duration and gathered around him. Gomar looked limited in its range. The officious on with something of envy, for he Synods would not acknowledge it. had more of human frailty than They clamoured for further in- should mark the character of the vestigations, they fanned the flame philosopher and divine, and it was of controversy, they fed the appetite in no genial and friendly mood that for strife. Peter Planc, and men he greeted his colleague one day after his kind, would not acknow- with the compliment, They say you ledge it. The pulpit at Amsterdam are more learned than Junius.' resounded Sabbath after Sabbath There was always a possibility of a with angry invectives against Neo- fresh outbreak from him. Pelagianism and the Leyden heresy. In the meantime the state of affairs Presbyteries would not acknowledge grew worse and worse. The whole it. The students of Arminius were church was taking up the strife, the treated in the most rigorous manner, prosperity of the University was and the certificates which hé threatened, and the character of furnished were disparaged. The Arminius was continually traduced. deputies of the churches would not Throughout Holland, throughout acknowledge it. Permission was Europe an evil report of him had obtained to hold a National Synod, gone forth. Everything he did or and a preliminary convention took said was misrepresentedor maligned, place. Arminius was present, and The gravest accusations were laid found himself still in the fray. He against him. Old calumnies still defends the contemplated revision of lived, and were repeated with most the Confession and Catechism; he unwearying and pertinacious assiupholds the scriptures as the only | duity. He was regarded as a huge Sunday-school Labour: its Qualifications and Results.

337

heresiarch. He was accused of them currency or credence it was calling in question truth sealed by difficult to exorcise. Arminius was the blood of martyrs; of labouring regarded by nearly the whole body to bring in a motley religion of of the Calvinistic clergy with a libertinism; of teaching Pelagian- settled and dogged suspicion. His ism, Socinianism, Popery; of advo- character, his acts, his words were cating as of first importance the read in the false lights of a most study of heretical and Jesuitical perverse prejudice; and for whatworks; of speaking in contemptuous ever bad doctrine might show itself terms of Calvin, Beza, and other anywhere in the Dutch church he eminent Protestant divines; of pre- was held responsible. If books paring the way for the destruction taught pernicious error, he wrote of the true faith; and to crown all, or inspired them; if young ministers of having received from the Pope preached it, it was through his inhimself a most gracious letter offer. Auence; if laymen favoured it, he ing him a large emolument and was the chief cause. The ban of a commending to him the interests of new excommunication was upon him, the church of Rome. Charges like and its curse was henceforth to these carried with them their own overshadow his life. refutation, but the spirit which gave

:

SUNDAY-SCHOOL LABOUR: ITS QUALIFICATIONS AND

RESULTS.

BY THE REV. T. W. MATHEWS.

My dear friends and fellow-labourers | heaven to earth to accomplish; for in the work of the Lord.—At your which He taught and laboured, wept last annual meeting I was requested and prayed, and lived died, for to prepare a paper on the following which He rose again, and intercedes important questions, viz.:-'What and waits. They are such as please are the qualifications for spiritual God, and bless mankind. labour in the Sunday-school, and 1. Now observe, the smallest what are the results we have a right good contemplated by Sundayto expect from such labours ?' schools is the very largest that

I judge that it will be most ex- merely human philanthropy depedient first to offer a reply to the signs ;-to secure the greatest atsecond of these inquiries, -and to tainable amount of true happiness use that reply as an introduction to on earth. We know that godliness what may be advanced as an answer is great gain, having the promise of to the first. For if we duly appre- the life that now is, as well as of ciate the end to be gained, we shall that which is to come ; that it readily perceive the qualifications makes the heart happy, the temper requisite for our success.

even, the manners sweet, the char1. The results we are to aim at acter reliable, the person respectable, in Sunday-school teaching comprise and the home comfortable. We seek all that are most engaging and sub- therefore to imbue our youth with lime;-all that can worthily excite the fear of God; and to confer on the enterprise of the philanthropist, them the ability to read the Bible. the aspiration of the saint, and the We thus incidentally open to them prayers of the Christian. They are mines of intellectual delight, im

provement, and elevation even on "Such as might fill an angel's heart, earth, and And fill'd a Saviour's hand;'

A Paper read before the last meeting of

the Lincolnshire Sunday-school Union, held such as the Son of God came from ! at Holbeach, on the 20th July,

Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, 3. We aim to inspire them with Rich with the spoils of time, unrolls.'

hopes worthy of a nature which

claims the eternal, holy, happy They become capable of refining God as its Father; the Son of God intercourse, such as gives a charm incarnate, as its Redeemer and its equally to the mansion of the af. Forerunner; and the Holy Ghost as fluent and the cottage of the poor; its Light and Life. In short, we and while they are thus rendered aim to save their souls with a present happy in any position, however and eternal salvation ! humble, they are fitted, when occasion presents, to rise in the scale of minds with principles at once the

4. We aim at imbuing their human society. The history of Joseph, the pray. the most needful and the most

most noble and the most simple; ing slave, the God-fearing housesteward, the pious prisoner, the vital air, will be found wherever

practical ; which like day-light and conscientious chancellor of Egypt, they have occasion to go, whatever affords an instance familiar and con, they may have to do, and whatever vincing, that if people will seek first they may be called to endure ;—to ness, all other things shall be added guard, to guide, to cheer, and to unto them. And the records of the support them; even the fear of the

Lord, which is the beginning of working classes in our own country wisdom, and the love of God, which and our own day, teem with in- is the element of heaven. We seek stances, if less eminent, yet not less to write on the fleshy tables of their assuring, of the truth thus asserted hearts those two commandments, on by our Redeemer. 2. We aim by Sunday-school in. -all we ought to be in this life, and

which hang all the law and the prophets struction to guard our young people all we hope to enjoy in the life which against the temptations which are

is to come; those two command. sure to beset them in every situation ments, in which our divine Redeemer of human life ; to

lived, died, and ever lives, loring "Guide the young with innocence

God with all His heart, and his neigh. In pleasure's path to tread;' bours, (including both friends and

enemies) even as Himself. teaching them to shun evil com. 5. There is a more remote and panions as they would a man infected contingent result we also hope to with the plague ; and every form of realize, viz.—That should any of vice, as the mouth of hell; to fear them be led away with the error of self-indulgence, sensuality, idleness; the wicked, and the temptations of to hate falsehood, profanity, gaming the world, the flesh and the devil

, and drunkenness.

they may all the time feel the stings By example, precept, and prayer, and checks of an upbraiding conwe hope and aim to take the prey science, and instead of falling into from Satan, and bring some trophies the recklessness of despair, may for the honour of the Captain of our know how to recover themselves out of salvation. We desire our boys to be the snare of the devil; and with an like Timothy in their childhood, like evangelical knowledge of the char. Janeway in their youth, like William acter of God as their offended but Bramwell in their apprenticeship, unchangeable Father and Friend, and in their manhood like Joseph may say, I will arise and go to my Williams. We wish our girls to Father, and say, Father I have sinned, resemble Phebe Bartlett, of New and am no more worthy to be called Thy England, in their infancy; in their son. Such a case I remember in a service, Naaman's Israelitish maid ; sailor-boy at Liverpool; and into become young women like Johanna stances of the like are weekly reTurner; and matrons like Matilda corded in the 'Revival,' and other Smith, of Cape Town.

religious periodicals. 'Tis well for

The Preciousness of the Material on which we Work. 339 us, that if any man sin, we have an II. From such a survey of the advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ results contemplated and designed the righteous.

by Sunday-schools, we may easily 6. But our confident expectation infer what must be the qualifications is, that by our efforts in the Sunday of those who are adapted to work school we shall, by the grace of these institutions with success. God, provide a succession, as long as 1. There must be an impressive time shall last, of quiet, decent, discernment of the preciousness of respectable maintainers of the the material on which they have to gospel, the cause, the church, and work. They are young immortals. the ordinances of the Lord Jesus Not mere boys and girls, but youthChrist; who early planted in the ful angels,—who, according to the courts of the Lord, shall flourish in the impressions now made on them, house of our God ;-many of whom will be either angels of light or shall become the teachers of children children of the devil; either bless. yet to be born, who shall arise and ings as they pursue their way to teach the generation following; heaven, or curses as they go the others of whom shall become the downward road to hell. How dif. lights of the temple at home; and ferent are the same objects as others again, lights to them that are presented to different eyes! How still sitting in the darkness of different is a book to him who can. heathenism, or groping in the dim- not read it, and to him who can ! ness of Jewish, Mohammedan, or The most valuable part of an object Popish superstition.

is often that which cannot be seen! 7. Yes, and as a secondary effect A hand is valuable, but far more so of a deep and wide spreading piety, is the unseen mysterious thing we hope to effect considerable im- within it, -I mean the life that provements in the material, civil, animates it, and the intelligence social, and political condition of the that employs it! So in every child human family at large. These are in your class there is a priceless things

that

accompany salvation. something that you cannot see. Arts and sciences may be first Something deeper than that expres. sanctified, and then promoted, by sive face, and those inquiring looks, Christian men. Cruelties and op- and those loving eyes ! There is pressions, dishonesties in high an undying spirit there ;—a child, places, and Machiavellian principles a fallen child of God. It has to among the politicians of the earth, be reconciled to God, and you are will be exposed and denounced by to be the means of reconciling it. men of God, who fear nothing but There is a soul there bought by the sin. Such men are the salt of the blood of Jesus. Costly beyond earth. By such men, war, slavery, computation, dear to Christ;—but and drunkenness, bribery, licentious. at present lost, insensible; and you ness and profanity, as well as ignor- must get it awakened, directed, reance and vulgarity, will, we may stored. Ah, if we would receive hope, become objects of public one such little one, so as in him or abhorrence, and fly away to hide in her to receive Christ Himself, themselves with the moles and the and in receiving Christ to receive bats, the odious things of former the Father—we shall have to know generations. At least, let us hope it no longer after the flesh, but to and try for it. Much has been done. see it with Christ's eyes, and feel We see more public decency in the for it with its Heavenly Father's vicinity of some of our schools. heart. Views of this kind will show May the good God make the places us the frivolousness of distinctions round about His hill a blessing; and which the world regards as imcause the shower to come down in its portant.

Views of this kind will season; yea, let there be showers of impart fervour amounting to agony blessing. Ezk. xxxiv. 26.

to our prayers, tenderness to our

[ocr errors]

Press every

teaching, and pungency to our ap- i to memory. We must seek to feel peals. Lord, open our eyes and the comfort of the Scripture. We increase our faith.

must conscientiously act up to our 2. To succeed in our heavenly perception of its injunctions. We enterprize, we must have some ex- must set our affection on the fulgl. perimental acquaintance with salva- ment of its promises and prophecies. tion itself, and with the mode of its We must more and more fervently attainment. We must ourselves pray, Thy kingdom come. enjoy the knowledge of salvation in Then we have to communicate the forgiveness of sins. Luke i. 77, what we know, and with our best and something of the peace of God ability adapt it to those we teach. which passeth all understanding. We must try to illustrate it, that Phil. v. 7.

we may endear it. Bible stories, We know that God made every all other stories, parables, and even sentient creature that it might be suppositions, our own experience happy with the measure of happi- and observation, appeals to their ness of which its nature is capable; own history, conscience, and feelings that intelligent moral creatures, -all will aid us. God's works will such as we are, are capable of moral often illustrate and delight. There are happiness, (that is) God's own ever- 'sermons in stones;' in the thunder, lasting happiness. But we also in the spring, summer, autumn, and know that we cannot have that winter; in flowers, fruits, weeds ; happiness, nor any other worthy of in pictures, in passing events, acthe name,

unless we are right. And cidents and deaths. having lost our rectitude and in- thing into the holy cause. curred great guilt, we are wholly 4. Then we should be very careunable either to pardon our own sins ful to adorn, and recommend and or to recover rightness and happi- endear our teaching by a behaviour ness. In this helpless, strengthless, and spirit imbued with the Gospel. hopeless state, the grace of God in Our faith must work by love. Love the redemption by Jesus Christ, will both consecrate our object and meets our ruined race. The faith of beautify our manner. In the selfthis brings peace to the guilty con- denying Paul the Galatians saw science, and reconciliation to the Jesus Christ evidently set forth, alienated heart. Thus the gospel is crucified among them. The Thessalothe power of God to the salvation of nians found him loving as a nurse every one that believes it. Rom. i. cherishing her children. He persuaded They who experience that blessed the Corinthians with the meekness power can show it, and by telling and gentleness of Christ, and he the truth, can convey the same commended himself to every man's conpower to others.

This reconciling, science in the sight of God. All this this sanctifying gospel is what you is to be reproduced in us, if our have mainly to teach; that the souls object is to be attained, and the of your pupils may be renewed by attainment will repay the outlay. the knowledge of it into the image 5. Everything therefore must be of Him that created them, even in guarded against which could hinder righteousness and true holiness. Eph. the result. Let us be conscientious iv. 23, Vol. iii. 10.

in making and fulfilling engage. 3. As we are therefore called to ments : reliable and punctual. this great work of remodelling the Avoid the appearance of evil, such souls of our fellow beings, we ought as frivolity, vanity, immodesty, to be well acquainted with the im. anger, pride, self-sufficiency, displements given to us to employ. respect, insubordination, fickleness, We must be conversant with the backbiting. Let us ever keep the Bible. It should dwell in us richly. end in view, and never be satisfied We must therefore search the till it is secured. Scriptures: study, compare, commit 6. We may probably many of us

« PreviousContinue »