Thomas Carlyle.

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win not abide the test of scrutiny. The objection
admits the principle of select communion, and asserts
only a late application of it But the supposition of
such delay is quite arbitrary, and. I may say, inex-
plicable, since reasons tiiat forbid to retain in the
Church surely forbid to adoait into it According to
all ordinary reckoning, it requires stronger cause to
justifr the expulsion of memMrs than m^y to defer
the admission of applicants. That more is said about
putting out, than about keeping out improper char-
acters, is only what might have been anticipated.
Exclusion vrould be quietly eff'ected; for, a person
having recdved no rights, could not exercise them
faotiously. But, when air^ had been admitted into
the Church, and wielded its privileges in corruptiiie
its purity and distracting Hs peace, then it required
a finn administration of discijpUne, and often the ex-
press intervention of apostohc authority, to repress
such abuses. Even although it could be demonstrated
that admission was readify afforded in these early
days, we vrould reason insecurely from that time to
thtt. One gift of the apostolic age was the discern-
ment of spirits. No doubt the emlowment was con-
ferred for practical purposes; and how far it was
engaged in protecting the sanctity of Christ*s table
it is now impossible to determine. Besides, the cir-
cumstances of the times were, themselves, a proba*
tionary ordeaL When the Church was entered at
the sacrifice of comfort, reputation, and safety, there
was ample reason to construe application &vourably.
If ever the path to communion become again as
perilous, our mterrogatories ma^ be simpKfiea. Bit
the case is widely dmlarent, and a vigilant caution is
indisnensable, when the path to the Lord*s table is
a pain to honour; and the favour of the multitude,
once hostile to the Christian profession, is now en-
listed on its side. This objection, then, opposes the
sentiments we have advanced only in part ; and, even
to that extent, caimot invalidate the clear testimony
we adduced on behalf of select fellowship from the
records of iospiratioiL

2. It is objected that we do not know the heart;
and cannot, therefore, decide who are sincere Chris-
tians, and who are not The reply is easy; that we
judce of state and fiwne only in so far as they are
indicated by conduct *' By their fruits ye shall
know them.** If a disseml>W so artfUly sustain
dissimulation as to fhmish no tangible ground for
denying him sealing <Nrdinances, the responsibility of
the results rests vritii himself. If, on the other hand*
a true b^iever be so d e fici ent in the works of faith

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as to compel the guardiaxis of Church order to stand
in doubt of him, the shame of conseouent exclusion
is bis own; and the practical reprooi thus adminis-
tered may be happily blessed or Ood to produce a
higher and more unequiTocal fjuthfulness.

I am £ftr firom intending, by these remarks, to Tin-
dicate a process of unsparing extermination. The
G^ospel discountenances, alike by its precepts and its
spirit, all pernicious rigour. We are to remember
that the Church is not an assembly of porfect men
in Christ, but of the whole household of fiuth — of
Christians, young and old, strong and weak— some of
them Teterans, and some of them babes in attain-
ment and exploit Hence it becomes a delicate, and
often a rery difficult duty to discriminate honestly
and yet tenderly; to insist on the tokens of saint-
ship, and yet make reasonable allowance for the
defects and faults by which it may be obscured.
Through all these perplexities, however, the princi-
ple is never to be forgotten, that we aim at Christian
communion, and are not to admit or retain those
whom we cannot regard in the judgment of charity

-not a blind charily, but a discerning charity, the
charity of reason and rerelation— as the followers of
Christ; and the more stedfiistly we contemplate,
and the more effectirely we prosecute, this end, Uie
more will our Churches exhibit of all spiritual pros-

With a few remarks on what is called frti com-
munion, I will leave this part of the subject. Since
our feUowship at the Lord's table is that of saints,
jnly saints should be there : but the converse propo-
rtion seems equally axiomatic, that all saints are
idmissible— all of them at least who have not, Uke
Roman Catholics, perverted views of the ordinance,
>r are not proper subjects of discipline, as waUdng
lisorderly. It is ** the Lord's table ;'* and who, thai,
ihall keep back the Lord's people ? To confess that
any are children, and yet deny them the children's
bread, is not very safe or reasonable conduct Not
A few have acted as if the sacrament of the supper
were a symbol of our differences, and have therdore
refused to partake of it with any who did not agree
n everr tittle with themselves. But the very idea of
fellowship .presents the ordinance rather as a symbol
if agreement— a bond of union to all who hold the
Head. This is a delightful aspect of the institution
which a Christian heart is pained to relinquish,
exclusion there must be, for the feast is inappropriate
to the ungodly, and is defiled by their approach.
But it is enough, surely, to repel Christ's foes; and
now consolatory is it to think that, if the ordinance
be in one view restrictive, in another view it is un-
restricted; that if it be exclusive in its relation to
the ungodly, it is also comprehensive in its relation
to the righteous, and extends its invitation and wel-
come to the whole familv of the redeemed ! It is
readilv conceded, that Christians of different sects
should speak together, work together, j>raj together.
But, if ever there be cause for union, it is surely in
commemorating that atoning blood by which it hath
pleased Qod to reconcile all thii^ unto himself,
and, in doing express homage to him in whom ** all
the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an
holy temple in the Lord." Permit us, then, to re-
cognise here an earnest of heaven, and to delight in
the persuasion that, to the followers of the Lamb,
the gates of this ordinance are not shut at all by
day, and that it has no night— belonging to the
children of light and of the day. and to all of
them radiant with the beams of lire and immorta-

These remarks I make on the princijple of catholic
communion, but with a deep sense or its practical
difficulties. Our fellowship must not be made so free

that it shall cease to be Christian. Where discipline
ends, freedom itself is compromised, and passes into
licentiousness. The chief hindrance arises from the
disorganised and secular condition of some Churches,
which renders their att es t a ti on to Christian charac-
ter of little or no value. If the several denomina- ^
tions could trust each other's discipline, there would
be no barrier to intercommunion.

This shows how much one duty aids another. To
enforce pure communion, and henoe keep out the
impure, nas an ngptet of exclusiveneas; and yet it
establishes that mutual confidence which alone is
needed to banish sectarianism in the cdebration of
Christ's death. Selection and catholicity thus go
hand in hand. They are mutual helpers in this land
of arduous pilgrimage^ and where we shall find one
•we shall find both gMnously perfected in the Jerusa-
lem above. The worship or that Zion is not fi«-
^ented by aliens, and not deserted by citizens; hat
in strains as pure as they are powerful, the select
and countless worshippers uplift their songs of ever-
lasting joy. The Lord grant an earnest of such wor-
ship now I ** Thy kin^m come : thy will be done
on earth as it is done m heaven.** IM the Chordi
still refine its elements while enlarging its efforts, till
its terrestrial be assimilated to its celestial condition;
and even here the ejaculation be elicited—" Blessed
are tiiey that do his commandments, tiiat they may
have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city !"■— f m^.


(From Hopkins on th€ Ten CommandmenU,)

1. It is a sin which bath very little or no tempta-
tion to commit it The two great baits by whidi the
devil allures men to wickedness, are profit and
pleasure; but now this common rash swearing is the


most unprofitable barren nn in the vrorld. What
fruit bnngs it forth, but only the abhorrence and
detestation of all smous persons, and the tremen-
dous judgment of Ood? Tne swearer gains nothing
by it at present, but only the reputation of being a
devil incarnate; and, for the future, his gains ahall
be only the torments of those devils and damned
spirits, whose language he hath learned and speaks.
He that sows the wmd of an oath, shall re^p the
whirlwind of God's fury.

Again, what pleasure is there in it ? Whidi of
his senses doth H please and gratify? ** Were I an
epicure," saith one ",I would hate swearing." Were
men resolved to give themselves up to all manner of
sensual delights, yet there is so tittle that can be
strained tnsm this common sin, that certainlv, unlesi
they intended to do the deril a pleassre, rather than
themselves, they would never set their black mouths
against heaven, nor blaspheme the great €h>d who
sits enthroned there. Ask them, why they indulge
themselves in such a provoking sin ? whv, wmt can-
not forbear out of mere custom; and others are
pleased with the lofty sound and gented phrase of
an oath, and count it a special grace and ornament of
speaking. And what! are these temptations ? Are
these such strong and mighty provocations, that yon
cannot forbear ? Shall the holy name of the great
GK>d be torn in pieces by you, onlv to patch and flU
up the rents of your idle talk ? If this be the motive
and inducement that makes you commit so great a
sin (as commonly there is no other) know that yoo
perish as fools poish, and sell your souls to damna-
tion and eternal perdition, for very nothing.

Others, perhaps, will plead for their exouse, that
they never used to swear, but when they are vexed.

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and pat into a paasion. Bat what a madness is this,
when men anger thee, to strike at GKxl and to pro>
▼oke him far mord than others can proToke thee ?
If thou art nerer so highW incensed, why shouldst
thou throw thy poisonous foam in God's face ? Hast
thou no other way of Tenting thy passion, but to fly
in God> face, and to rerenge thyself on him, when
men hare injured thee? Certainly thy passion can
be no more a temptation to do this, than it would be
to stab thy father, beoause thine enemy hath struck

2. It is a most foolish sui, because it contradicts the
very end for which they commit it. The common
swearer, perhaps, thinks that he shall be much the
sooner beliered for his oaths; whereas, with all
serious ^and judicious persons, there is nothing that
doth more lighten the credit of his speeches, tlun his
rash binding and confirming the truth of them by
swearing. For what reason hare I to think that
man sp^s truth, who doth so far suspect himself
as to think what he relates is not credible unless he
swear to it ? and certainlT, he that owes GKxi no more
respect, than to TiohUe the sanctit:^ and rererence of
his name upon eyery trifling occasion, cannot easily
be thought to owe the trath so much rennet as not
to violate it, especially considering that there are far
stronger temptations unto lying than unto swear-

I 3. Consider that the devil is the author and father,
not of lying only, but of swearing also : ** Let your
yea be yea, and your nay nay,^ saith our Saviour;
** for whatsoever is more than these, comeih of evil*^
^Matt. V. 37) ; that is, it cometh of the evil one, who
is still prompting the swearer, and putteth oaths
upon the tip of hu tongue.



Bb well skilled in unmasking the sophistry and mystery
of iniquity, in defeating the wiles and stratagems of
i the tempter, and in detecting and fruitratingthe cheats
land finesses of the flesh with its deceitfVil lusts. (Eph.
|iv. 22; 2 Cor. iL 11.) No small part of spfaritaal wi»-
dom lies in the blessed art of discovering and ref ut-
nig sin's falladee and impostures. If ever thou
wouldest prove famous and victorious, and worthy of
honour and reverence in thy spiritual wariare, be
well seen in the skill of fencing— know all thy wards
for every attack. Provide thyself with answers and
retorts beforehand, against tiie subtle insinuations
' and dehisions of thine enemy. For example : If Satan
tells thee, as he often wUl, that the sin is pleasant,
ask whether the gripings of conscience be so too —
whether it be such a pleasant thing to be in hell, to
be under the wrath of an Almighty Judge ? If he
tdls thee, "Nobody sees— thou mayest commit it
safely;'' ask whether he can put out (iod'A all-seeing
eye, whether he can find a place empty of the Divine
presence for thee to sm in, or whether he can blot
the tUmt oat of the book of Ood's remembrance ?
If he tells thee, ** It is a little one ; " ask whether the
majesty of the great Jehovah be a little one, whether
there be a little hell or nop If he talks of profits and
earthly advantages that will accrue, ask what account
it will turn to at the last day, and what profit there
is if one should gain the whole worid and lose his own
soul, or what one should give in exchange for his soul.^

(Matt, xvi 26.) When sin, like Jael, invites thee
into her tent, with the lure and decoy of a lordly
treatment, think of the nail and hammer which fas-
tened Sisera dead to the ground. (Judg. iv. 18, 2i,
V. 25, C6.) Be not caught with chaff; lay by thee
such memoirs, such answers and repartees, as these,
wherewith thou mayest reply upon the tempter : That
the God of truth hath other manner of pleasures,
profits, honours, to court thy love and reward thy
service with, than the father of lies; namely, true
and real, solid and eternal ones. What are '*the
pleasures that are in un for a season," to be com-
pared with "the rivers of God's pleasure, that are
for evermore at his right hand ? " And what is a '
little wealth, ** that thieves can steal," a despicable
heap of riches (which, like a fiock of birds alighting
a little while in thy yaxd, will "take wing presently
and fly away "), to be named with ** the unsearchable
riches of Christ," or that "inheritance of the saints
In light ? " Or what is the punted bubble, the fading
though beauteous rainbow, of earthly honour and
grandeur, to "a weight of glory," to an "incorrup-
tible crown of righteousness that fadeth not away,
to "a kingdom which it is the Father's good pleasure
to reserve " in the highest heaven for every sheep
and every lamb of his " little flock ? " And (to name
these considerations by cluster) remember, that the
greatest wisdomns to do (not what in some poor fe«
regards is, but) what is absolutely lovely and desirable :
that what is best of all is best for thee to love, and
mind, and prosecute; that a good conscience is n
continual feast; that GKmI alone is enough, and iaith-
aut kim nothing is enough for thy happiness; that thy
soul is worthier thy care than thy carcass, and the
life to come than this; that eternity is more valuable
than time; that not the opinions of men lulled asleep
in voluptuousness and sensuality, but God's estimate,
but the sentiments of the holiMt, best, and wisest!
men — or, if you needs will, of the worst and vilest,'
when conscience is awakened, when they come to lie^
a-dying, and when they shall stand before GK>d at the^
last day— <a« to be preferred as the wisest ; that ever-
lasting happiness cannot be bought too dear, but re-,
pentance and shame may easUy; that the bardsst
domgs or sufferings for Christ are hufinitely eader than
everlasting misery; that heaven and glory will more
than recompense all thy self-denials and mortifica-
tions—all thy watchings, fastfaags, ko.; and, in the
meantime, the very hope of it, beside "the peace
of Qod which passeth all understanding," and his
love and grace, and the comforts of his Spirit, will
certainly sweeten all the tedioosness of thy way to
heaven, with inexpressible redundance of satisfaction,
yea, sometimes with joy nnntterable and full of glory : |
in sum, that God is a good master, and his service
perfect freedom; for beside tha glorious recompense
to come, thy work. Christian, is even now its own
reward. If thou believest utrongly such aphorisms
as these — and he is madder than any in bedlam that
doth not believe them— it will be no hard matter, by
God's blessing and assistance, in their strength to."pat
to flight the armies of the aliens," at least to shield
thyself against the volleys of fiery darts, which at any
time the tempter shall pour upon thee. — Dr. Gibbon

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THiotK is a practice wbicli is fearfollj common, eren
among professors of religion, and from which, alas !
ministers of the Gospel are not always free, which
cannot be too sererel j condemned, as offensrre to
God, and injnrioos to the best interests of man. We
allode to the practice of connecting hvficroos anec-
dotes with passages of Scriptmre. We know by sad
experience, and we appeal to the experience of others
for the confirmation of the remark, that so lirely is
the impression which is often produced on the mind
by the association of something grotesqae with certain
texts of the Bible, such passages can hardly be read
in the most serious moments, without bringing up to
the mind some idea which it requires a strong effort to
prevent from producing a smile. Thu is one abuse
of sacred things not less displeasing to God, than
under the Old Testament it would haye been to dese-
crate from a holy to a common use the sacred im-
plements of the temple, the holy anointing oil, or the
hallowed fire of the altar. If to put new wine into
old bottles, or to sew a new patch on an old garment
be unwise and inoongmons, howmnch nunreso to pro-
stitute the sacred words of inspiration to point a jest
for the amusement of a social circle! To do so, in I
the presence of the young, is peculiarly injudicious. I
Here the maxim of the Roman satirist is especially
i^plicable: liaxima tUbdur puero revcrentia.

Jeremy Taylor forcibly remarks on this subject:
** Some men used to read Scripture on their knees,
and many with their heads uncoyered, and all good

n with fear and trembUng, with reyerence and
graye attention. For all Scripture is giyen by inspi-
ration of GK>d, and is fit for instruction, for reproof,
for exhortation, for doctrine, not for jesting; but he
that makes that use of it, had better part with his
eyes in jest, and give his heart to make a tennis-ball;
and that I may speak the worst thing in the world
of it, it is as like the material part of the sin of the
Holy Ghost, as jeering of a man is to abusing him;
and no man can use it, but he th»t wants wit and man-
ners as much as he wants religkm.**— Prsffty^mcM.

Whom thou lopeal—Uon than ey«r &thsr loyed a
child, and thai upon seycral justifiable aoooonts. i

And get tku into tkt land ^ Moriak^Thoof^ no
time to delibetate before thou resobrest, yet time
enough for repentance befon thoa execntest thy

War ihwJd Mi we lofyt God as weU as e?er
Abraham did? God giyes the word: «" Abraham,
take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou
byest, and offer him for a burnt-offering. And
Abnham rose up eariy in the morning,^ kc. ( Gen.
xxii. 1-3.) Had he not loyed God, so fhr as the
creaiure can loye €K)d, infinitely, eyery word would
haye been as a dagger to his heart. As if he had

**AhraiaM, — I gaye thee that name, from thy
being ' a father of many people ;* but now be thou the
death of that seed which 1 intended to multiply.^
God seemed to ohAnge his name to Abraham, as
Solomon named his son Rehoboam, ^an enlarger of
the people,** who tnlarg^ them from twelye tribes
to two!

TaJte flow— No time to demur upon it.

Thy «(m— Somany years prayed for, and waited for.

Thtne only ton— All the rest of thy children are
not worth thy owning.

/laac— The son of thy laughter, now the son of
thy sorrow.

And offer Um tJUrefor a kwnU-^ertnm — It is noi
enough to give him up to be sacriftoed by another,
but thou thyself must be the priest to kin thy loydy
child, and tnen to bum him io aahea. i

And Abraham rou up early, dx, — ^He quarrels
not with God: *« What, doth God mean to giyeme
such a command, as nerer to any one dse in this
world?** Heoonnltonoi his wife: ''O whai wiU
Sarah say?** He sticks not ai whai nughi expose
religion: *« What will the Heathen say?** Tovmay
weUsiropose gmat strugglings between naiore and
grace; out Qoa seemed to press npoa him with this
question: ^ Whether dost thou loye me or thy child
most?** Al»aham doth, as it were, anvirer, *«Nay,
Lord, if that be the question, it shall soon be decided,
how and where thou pleas ist.**— ^ nnttUy. .



Do thy passions begin to rise in arms? Do they
grow disordered and unruly? Let thy reason come
out to them, and ask, whether they know their master ;
and let thy soul bhish, with infinite soon, thai eyer
tiieee base slayes shoold nsorp the throne €i their
rightful lord, and unman thee, by deposing reason,
whidi is all thou hast to diow thai thou art not a
beast! What an extreme silly thing is a man in
passion! Nothing can be more ridieuloas and ooa- j
tempiiUe. Out of loye and pity to thjsdf, O man, I
do not affront and diagraoe thine immortal aool any
more, by suffering any malapert and saucy passion to
outrage and aewiSrinste thy reason. Thai was a
generoos rule of Pythagoras: ** Let a man
reyersnce and manners to himself.** Be
friend, to do any yile or dishoneit action before
thyself:— <7i66oi».

I p yon meet with a physician, all your discourse shall
be something about your health. If you meet with
a trayeller, you are presently inquisttiye about the :
pbkoes he hath seen. Why should not Christiaofl,
when they meet, conyerse like Christians, and pre-
sently fUl into a heayenly dialogue? Christiana.
this you know^ikere must be a forsaking of all
wicked company, ere you can pretend the lotst loye
to Christ Mistake me not: I do not mean that the
bonds of fiunily relations must presently be broken;
tiiat husbands and wiyes, pMents and children,
masters and coyenan t se r va nts, must presently sepi^
laie if one of them be ungodly. No; where the re-
lation is such as cannot be dissolyed without sin, then
those that are godly must conyerse with the ungodly,
as physicians with their nek patients. But thb is ii
I say, You must not wiUin^y and out of choice make
Goa*s enemies your familiar friends. Those thaiare
always speaking well of Gtod insensibly draw oat our
hearts in loye to him. When Christ*s qgoose had
told the daughters of Jerusalem what Christ was
more than others, they presently offer themselyes to
seek him with her. (Oant y. 9, Vi. 1.) As «*eyil
communications corrupt good manners** (I Cor. xy.
38), so good communications correct eril mannen.
— AnntUey,

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91 SkttwnL


** And whm be wm eome near, he beheld the city, and wept
over it, teylng. If thoa had«t known, ereo thoa. at leaat In
this thy day, the things which belong onto thy peare!
but now they are bid from thine ejret. For the days
$ha\\ come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a
tt ench about thee, and cmnpass thee round, and keep thee
in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground,
and thy children within thee ; and they shall not leave
in thee one stone upon another ; because thou knewest
not the time of thy visiUtlon. And he went into tlie
temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein,
and them that bought ; saying unto them. It is written.
If 7 house is the house of prayer ; but ye have made It a
den of thieves."-— Luke xix. 41 -iS.

and he was animated with the same spirit on
both occasions. He, whose heart is so full of
compassion towards sinners, is the decided
enemy of sin. And this, with the divine assist-
ance, we shall now endeavour to show. — Gra-
cious High Priest ! merciful Saviour ! be pleas-
ed to bless what may be uttered regarding
the kindness and compassion of thy heart!
Give us grace to know somethmg of thy love,

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 109 of 145)