Page images

exceedingly attached to their pastor, while the parish are dissatisfied on account of his spirituality, and christian ardour. Hence arises a contest between the church and the parish. These contests have, of late years, been very frequent in Massachusetts. They have generally resulted in a separation—the parish retaining, by virtue of numbers, the meeting-house;-the church, with a few associated individuals, retaining and sustaining the pastor. Under these circumstances, the church erects a new meeting-house, and the parish obtains a new minister. This has been the nature and the result of the Unitarian contest in the vicinity of Boston. The old house is occupied by the Unitarian parish, with their new minister; the new house is occupied by the church, with their Orthodox minister. I think that no one will contradict the fact, however it may be accounted for, that in almost every such case, a few years has shewn the marked decrease, if not total decay, of the Unitarian parish, and the signal prosperity and increase of the ejected church. There are, undoubtedly, exceptions, where in consequence of peculiar circuinstances, or individual popularity, the reverse has been the case; but in not a few of the towns, in which the separation has taken place, the old house is deserted and shut up, while the new house is filled with attentive worshippers.

Ministers are generally settled ostensibly for life, but the connexion, in fact, exists only so long as is mutually agreeable to the parties. Not unfrequently, a church important in influence will invite an able pastor from a church where bis influence must be less extensive. Thus there are many removals. There are, however, many churches who deem it robbery thus to call from another church a highly-valued pastor. This subject is at the present time exciting some feeling in the churches. A young man enters the ministry in a retired parish. By diligent application to study, and active efforts in the parish, in a few years, he becomes eminent for pulpit eloquence, and pastoral skill. He is the friend and the confidant of all his people. They love his virtues, and are proud of his abilities.

The pastor of a church in the metropolis of the state dies. A young man bas not the experience requisite for so important a situation. The eyes of the church are directed to this faithful pastor in some distant and peaceful valley. A committee are sent to invite him to remove. He feels it to be his duty to exert as wide an influence in the world as he can. And after a painful struggle in tearing away from the affections of his people, he is transplanted from the vale where he has obtained his strength, to the more couspicuous and arduous duties of a city pastor. Almost every pastor in the city has been previously settled over some country parish, or in retirement has been disciplined for his more extended field of influence. Common as are the removals, it is a contingal source of excitement to the public mind. And though there are very many and powerful reasons in favour of such occasional transfers, it may be doubted whether, on the whole, more is not lost than gained. It not unfre. quently happens, that a minister, wbo in one sphere met with great acceptance, and was exerting a very salutary influence, by removal, finds bimself situated with a people with whose custoins he is not familiar. A few months satisfies both himself and the people of his new charge, that it would have been far wiser for their pastor to have remained in the situation he previously occupied. But the people with whom he was first settled have engaged the services of another pastor; or if they have not, they have withdrawn from him their confidence and affection, in consequence of his leaving them. His failure in the new enterprise has injured his reputation in the community. He is soon again dismissed, and never regains the standing which he once held. Such cases are not rare. Pp. 34-36.

We would casually observe, that the whole process of ordination, &c. is a farce upon the face of the thing ; for the pastors who ordain are themselves, in their respective parishes, exactly in the same situation as the neophyte, viz. under the spiritual government of their flocks! And VOL. XVII. NO. IX.

4 A

so, instead of the institution of God, that “the PRIEST's lips should keep knowledge, and they, i. e. the people, should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts,” (Matt. ii. 7,) there is the determination of man, that the "PEOPLE's lips shall keep knowledge, and the priest shall seek the law at their mouth; for he is the sworn hireling of the flock.This is really and truly the state of the case. And so considered, the preaching of such ministers so elected must be only an exhibition for display on the one part, and amusement on the other.

I doubt (says our author) whether there is a body of harder-working men in the world, than the New England Clergy. They preach two written sermons every Sabbath ; and on Sabbath evening, they generally preach an extempore sermon in the meeting-house. During the week, they hold two or three evening lectures. They are expected to visit, not unfrequently, every family in the parish—and these visits are generally made strictly religious visits, and closed with prayer. In addition to this, in all the country places, the general superintendence of the school devolves upon them. They examine the instructors, and visit the schools. Should a New England Clergyman venture to preach a sermon which he had not written himself, he would entirely forfeit his reputation. It may well be supposed, that with all these duties, and receiving but a small salary, few of the worldly and the ambitious would be enticed to enter the desk.—Pp. 32, 33.

We totally dissent from the opinion expressed in the last sentence : for it is at least certain, according to the way in which they are paid, that a person who pleases most will receive most; and that, therefore, there is a field open to the worldly and ambitious.

The salary of the pastor is raised by voluntary contribution. The individuals wishing to belong to the parish, place their names upon the clerk's book, and the sums they are willing to pay. Sometimes they vote to assess a tax upon property; sometimes a tax upon pews. Those, and those only, pay who wish to do so, and they pay just what they choose.—Pp. 33.

We are by no means willing to deny, that it is possible, nay probable, that what the author says about the zeal and sincerity of the pastors may be true in its fullest extent. What we mean to say is, that the system opens a door to every evil, which Christians should deprecate; for though, as stated, “ the moral influence of the churches upon each other is strong ;" and unsound doctrine, or doubtful piety, would ruin a church, through the want of sympathy on the part of other churches; still there is nothing in their constitution to prevent either one or the other, should a general defection ensue, since the whole test of sound doctrine, the whole criterion of piety, rests with the people.

The Clergymen of New England have generally formed themselves into voluntary associations. Let us hear how they are conducted. .

The association to which the writer of this chapter belongs, consists of twelve ministers. We all live within a few miles of each other, and meet once in three months, at ten o'clock in the morning, and adjourn at ten o'clock the next morning. The time is passed in listening to the performances which were assigned at the previous meeting. One preaches a sermon; another presents an explanation of some difficult passage of Scripture ; another reads a dissertation : plans of sermons are presented, and all the exercises are made the subject

of free and friendly criticism ; questions are also frequently presented for the advice of the association.

Besides these numerous minor associations, there is, in each of the New England states, a General Association, composed of two delegates from each of these smaller bodies. The General Association meets once a year, and hears from its members a report of the state of religion within their respective limits. Suggestions which are deemed of general importance, are here presented and recommended to the churches. This body, composed of Clergymen from every section of the state, has deservedly great influence over the public mind. The measures which are proposed to the churches, sanctioned by their recommendation, are pretty generally adopted.

This is in general the ecclesiastical organization of the New England states. There are several other convocations of the Clergy, to consult respecting the general interests of the cause of religion. It is, however, unnecessary to be more particular.

As the churches are all sustained upon the principle of voluntary contributions, it is to voluntary aid alone that application can be made to plant and sustain the new churches which are so rapidly springing up throughout the length and breadth of our land.-Pp. 37, 38.

Now, it is not invidiously that we call the notice of our readers to the word “performances :" for it shows distinctly, that this apparently free system admits of a prescribed routine of display, even in its purest method of working. We also object to the example of New England being considered as a fitting one for Old England to follow, in this respect; yet, we dare say, there are hundreds who in reading the extract below, will begin to quote it, as an argument for the measures which are in contemplation nearer home.

An appeal to the feelings of the Christian is almost invariab!y successful. And these appeals have been so successful in our churches, that the societies of christian benevolence, numerous as they are in our country, are in a state of high and increasing prosperity. The habit of contributing money-of making pecuniary sacrifices to sustain the cause of Christ, exerts so beneficial an influence upon the hearts of Christians, that in almost all cases, permanent funds are considered a curse, rather than a blessing. There is hardly an intelligent Christian to be found in the New England states, who does not feel that almost the greatest possible calamity which could befal the church, would be the patronage of the government.

A few ignorant and unprincipled men, as they see the unwearied activity of Christians, and the triumphant success which is crowning their cause, endeavour 1o excite odium against religion, by raising the cry of “church and state.” And some are so easily duped, as really to believe that Christians desire to make converts by law; and to build up churches by penal statutes. But the fact is, that almost every intelligent Christian in the land says to the government, « Protect us in our rights, as men and citizens, but as Christians let us alone.” Whether the christian community is correct in these views or not, it is not for me to decide. My object is, to state facts, without eulogy or censure.

It may also be stated that the result of every year's experience confirms Christians in these views. They are more and more convinced that there is no mode of operation so energetic and effectual, as that of voluntary association. It is this which has rolled back the tide of intemperance, which was heaving its surges over our land. It is this which is planting churches in every little village in our western wilderness, and supplying those churches with pastors. It is this which is placing a Bible in every dwelling, and establishing Sabbath schools within the reach of all the children of the land. It is this which

has converted Hawaii, dark and dismal as she once was, to a christian place, and has gathered her roaming children to the school and the church. It is this which is now instructing the rangers of our own western wilds, and which is spreading out an increasing influence to all quarters of the globe. -Pp. 42, 43.

All this is special pleading. The case of New England, under a republican government, which shelters Deism as well as Christianity, (see our article on the Defence of Dr. Cooper, Vol. XVI. p. 339,) under the broad ægis of American independence ; and the case of Hawaii, scarcely yet delivered from the bondage of atheism and idolatry, may be well cited as far as their own circumstances are concerned ; but as to Great Britain, under a monarchy of ten centuries old, and where the government has not only been baptized in Christianity, but actually besponsored by Protestantism, (woe to the men who shall unchurch her!) such reasoning as this is utterly inapplicable. It may be, that there are Christians unprotected by the state in America, because the patronage of the state would demoralize them; but they are Christians, despite their system ; our system is utterly different, and therefore does not justly deserve to be condemned, in comparison of that which is but the infancy and trial of society. Nay, we have the opinion of Mr. Latrobe above, that all that is good in New England, comes from the leaven of the old country; and now, forsooth, our modern Daniels come to judgment, are for sweeping away all this with a new Brougham, to set up in its place a copy of the old heresy, or the new convenience, merely because they suit the persons who suit nothing but America.

(To be concluded in our next Number.)


Buptism doth Save. A Sermon preached

in the Parish Church of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, on Sunday, May 31, 1835. By Red.C. A. I. SMITH,M.A. Curate. Plymouth : Row, London: Hatchards. 1335. Pp. 23.

An exposition of i Pet, iii. 21, 22, in which the objections to the rite of Baptism, as administered and received in the Church of England, are briefly considered. The author, however, does not enter so fully as he might have done into the great doctrine of regeneration as connected with baptism, though bis definition of it, so far as it goes, is good.-"The scriptural doctrine of regeneration is more the notion of relative condition than the advocales of a contrary opinion are at

all times ready to admit. It is, at the same time, more essentially the notion of a spiritual change of principle and character, than those consider it, who suppose that there may be the original grace of regeneration, where there is never afterwards the characteristic of one." Still all this leaves the great controversy amongst those who do receive baptism as saving, just where it was. Are, or are not, baptism and regeneration one and the same thing? If they are not, are they always found together? If not, why not? Where does the responsibility of reconcilement of these positions rest? Till these questions are clearly solved, sermons may be written on the subject, but they will not answer their

Part I. of the Holy Bible; containing

the Old and New Testaments, revised from Corrected Terts of the Original Tongues, and with former Translations diligently compared. With Critical and Explanatory Notes. By B. BOOTAROYD, D.D. Editor of the Biblia Hebraica," and Author of the Family Bible" and " Improved Version," &c. 8c. London: Dun

can. 1835. Pp. 128. The works of Dr. Boothroyd are already well known and appreciated by the biblical public : we need not, therefore, state wore, than that the present edition is in a cheap form, clear type, on good paper, and convenient size-of royal octavo; that it will be completed in ten parts, to be published monthly, at three shillings each.

be given to the British and Foreign Bible Society. To the translation are appended a number of notes, chiefly taken from Professor Stuart, whose work on the Romans has been lately published by Dr. J. Pye Smith and Dr. Henderson. The translator holds the doctrines of " predestination " and the “free will of man,” not thinking them capable of being reconciled by man, though fully reconcileable by God. On this point there is, and can, we think, be, no doubt ;--and as long as men are willing to load the words of Scripture with no more meaning than they will carry, there is no great fear for consequences. Whether, however, any number of fresh translations, or any number of notes upon the Epistle to the Romans, will ever lead men to think alike upon certain points alluded to in that epistle, and open to inquiry, is what we do not profess to believe. Let us all endeavour to derive from doctrines their intended result, sound practice, and holiness, and leave discussions alone about conclusions to which the Scriptures do not come. In saying this, we give no opinion whatever of this work.

Analecta Theologica: a Digested and

Arranged Compendium of the most approved Commentators upon the New Testament. By the Reo. W. TROLLOPE, M.A. Vol. II. London

Cadell. 1835. We have much pleasure in announcing the completion of the valuable and comprehensive body of exegetical and philological annotations on the New Testament. Having devoted a considerable space to the examination of the first volume, in the CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER for January, 1830, (pp. 15, et seq.) we have only to state, that the author has evinced the same industry in the compilation of his second volume. We consider the entire work to be an important and very useful accession to the library of the biblical student: and if any additional commendation of Mr.Trollope's labours were wanting, it will be found in the fact, that his work has been adopted as a CLASS-BOOK AT TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN,

Mary and Florence; or Grave and

Gay. By A. F. T. London: Hat

chards. 1835. Pp. 262. An endeavour to convey, by the assistance of a pleasing tale, the great doctrine of redemption to children. The great risk run by such works is, that light reading is encouraged, and that the “grave" is apt to suffer by connexion with the guy.How far familiarizing the Scriptures in this way may lead to serious practical views of divine truth, when it is conveyed in fiction, is in our idea worth consideration. We cannot, therefore, express a decided opinion of this little book, beyond what we have often expressed of similar productions.

A 'Paraphrastic Translation of St.

Paul's Epistle to the Romans. By Laicus. London: Simpkin & Marsball. Abingdon : Evans. 1831.

Pp. 210. We are informed, that the printing of this work is paid for by the author, and that the proceeds of the sale will

A Protestant Memorial, for the Commemoration, on the Fourth day of October, 1835,of the Third Centenary of the Reformation, and of the Pub. lication of the first entire Protestant English Version of the Bible, Oct. 4, 1535. By THOMAS HARTWELL

« PreviousContinue »