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MISCELLANEOUS. Epitaph on a Sleeper in the
Preaching Weaver ........ 3 The Believer and his Echo ..
Few Important Questions .. 5 The Parting .............
.. 18 The Baptism ..............
blished Churches ........ 28 Saturday Night ........
28 Anticipations of Heaven - 111
39 Churchyard Talk ..........
The Law of Kindness ........ For the Spread of the Gospel
Forgiveness of Injuries ...... 53 Acrostics .................. 149
64 To be here is good : to be with
Christmas Holidays ........ 205
97 The Wife to her Husband.... 211
What strange beings we are! 135
Pages—68, 82, 92, 116, 128,
What a Sermon should be .. 42 |
156, 168, 180, 192, 204.
PRICE ONE HALFPENNY.
MINISTERS are respectfully and earnestly requested to
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER. It affords us much encouragement to find that our repeated appeals to our active friends all over the country, have met with attention, and that many are now busily employed carrying out into operation the suggestions we have made. This is the very thing that the circumstances of the times now call for—the diffusion of information. The rule now is that the people generally can read -the exception, that they cannot. Formerly it was argued that the people were vicious because they could not read or write. Now it is asserted that some of the most vicious are those who can. Both these assertions have truth in them, and may be easily explained. The entirely ignorant are, in the nature of things, likely to grow up vicious and wicked. On the other hand those who are instructed may be only made more capable of doing mischief if they do not make good use of their knowledge. Hence the necessity of giving thein good mental food.
Further; when it was found that the greater part of the people would read, men, whose only object was to make money, soon set to work and printed books, pamphlets, tracts, magazines, and newspapers, of all kinds, at very low prices, to meet the demand. Some of these publications were bad, others were wicked, others were vile and infamous. Tales, novels, romances, plays, songs, ballads, and we know not what were published in millions. Can we wonder that some who could read became more vicious and wicked ?
True, there were some publishers who issued useful worksKnight, and Parker, in London, and the Chambers', in Edinburghand in their way they did good, but they were not they did not profess to be-of a decidedly religious character. And nothing can effectually preserve men from vice and wickedness but real religion.
Plenty of room then for such publications as this to be circulated in every cottage in the empire—so cheap that the poorest may buy
so amusing and instructive that all may be interested—so plain that all may understand and with so much religion every month that no man can take up a copy without finding words by which, under the divine blessing, he may discover the path of life. Jesus Christ is set forth in every number as the way to God.
Spread it then, christian friends, spread it on every hand. Can you who are rich do anything much more likely to do good among the poor than by ordering 50 or 100 copies for gratuitous distribus tion amongst them every month ? Many a poor pious man or woman, who perhaps could do nothing else, not being able to teach in the sabbath school, would delight to be thus employed as the almoner of your bounty. And even where this is not or cannot be done, our poor pious, friends, who wish to do some good in their life-time, may do much in this way, by shewing it to their neighbours, and getting subscribers, for its very low price places it within their reach. A poor bed-ridden man at St. Alban's was the means of circulating many by always recommending it to all who came to see him !
THE CHURCH CATECHISM. It is well known, not only that the catechism is designed to be taught in all church schools, but that the compulsory teaching of it is now secured by the legislature in all church schools receiving government grants. And now that nonconformists in certain localities are presented with a temptation to send their children to church schools, it becomes them to enquire into the religious training they will there receive. We shall examine some of the statements made in the catechism, and leave the unprejudiced reader to judge whether they are in accordance with the doctrines of the bible.
“Question. What is your name?
Answer.—My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.”
One error into which some nonconformists have fallen is here avoided, viz.: that the children of believing parents are “born into the church," and are to be baptized, because as soon as they are born they are actually members of Christ's church. The Church of England teaches that we do not become members of Christ by birth, and so far it teaches truly. For “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit,” (John iïi. 6.) “ henceforth know we no man after the flesh.”—2 Cor. v, 16. If church membership is hereditary, it cannot be said that the church "knows no man after the flesh."
But whilst one error is avoided, another, equally great, is adopted, for in the answer to this second question it is plainly inculcated that all baptized persons are members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. The sentiment here put into the mouth of the child is, “Blessed are they who have been baptized, for their's is the kingdom of heaven." And in accordance with this, the child, in the answer to the fourth question, is made to say, “I heartily thank our heavenly Father, that he hath called me to this state of salvation;" and in the answer to the sixth question, the child is made to class himself with “all the elect people of God.” All this is inconsistent with the doctrine of Christ, who, on the Mount, declared, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the mercifal, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. v. 3, 5-10. It is quite contrary to the case of
THE CHURCH CATECHISM.
Simon Magus, whom the spirit of inspiration declared almost immediately after baptism to be “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." —Acts viii. 23. It is contrary to the doctrine of Paul, who said to baptized persons, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ?”—1 Cor. vi. 9.
“Question.—What did your godfathers and godmothers then for you? · Answer.-.They did promise and vow three things in my name: First, that I should renounce the devil, and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secoudly, that I should believe all the articles of the christian faith. And thirdly, that I should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.”
Now, cither the sponsors can make good this vow, or they cannot. If they can make good their vow, and secure that the child shall renounce the devil and all his works, why is the catechist afterwards made to say, “My good child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve him, without his special grace; which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer." If the child when he comes to years of understanding cannot do these things without God's special grace, how can his sureties make him do them, unless they can secure the special grace of God on behalf of the child. One would think that if christians solemnly promise to do that which they cannot do without God's grace, it should be with fear and trembling: but what shall we say of those who engage that others shall do that which it is most evident they cannot make them do, unless they can also secure the grace of God on their behalf? But if godfathers and godmothers can make good their vow, what an awful amount of guilt those of them have contracted whose godchildren are not in the possession of the special grace of God, or who may even have so sunk in sin as to become the prey of drunkenness, or infidelity! Let those sponsors who believe that they are able to fulfil what they have solemnly promised, remember that they are, on their own showing, guilty of the blood of every soul for whom they have stood responsible, and who has grown up a stranger to the special grace of God.
But the sponsor may deny his ability to procure the special grace of God for another. If so, why does he promise and vow that which implies his ability to procure it? He may say that after he has done his best, he can do no more; very true, but that he would do his best is not the thing he has promised. He has promised in the name of the child to "renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh—believe all the articles of the christian faithkeep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.” How many sponsors have discharged these