Honoré de Balzac.

American Baptist memorial: a statistical biographical, and ..., Volume 15 online

. (page 61 of 96)
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in the Tower, been directed :

" There they read over the New Tes-

tsbient together with great deliberation
and study, on purpose to see if there
was anything that might favor that
popish doctrine of a corporeal presence.
But after all, they could find no presence
but a spiritual : nor that the mass was
any sacrifice for sin. But they found in
that holy book that the sacrifice of
Christ upon the cross was perfect, holy
and good, and that God did require
none other, nor that it should be ever
done again."

To this the questions proposed to the
three prelates at Oxford had been con-

Emphatically, then, for the pure doc-
trine of the Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper was it that these fires were, as
on this day, kindled — that doctrine
which, blessed be God I yet stands in
all its simple purity and integrity in the
formularies and the articles of our
church. Christ present to his own
people in the supper, but not in the
substance of the elements; these ele-
ments, as to their material substance,
utterly and absolutely unchanged by
any priestly consecration or divine in-
terposition; but "to such as rightly,
worthily, and with faith receive the
same, the bread which we break," " a
partaking of the body of Christ; and
likewise the cup of blessing," "a par-
taking of the blood of Christ"— that
"body of Christ given, taken and eaten,
in the supper, only after a heavenly and
spiritual manner. And the mean where-
by the body of Christ is received and
eaten in the supper — FaHh,"

In contending for this doctrine, we
contend for that which is emphatically
a doctrine of the Reformation. The
battle which we are now, after three
hundred years, called upon to renew, is
emphatically the battle of the Reforma-
tion. The more painful, but not the
less incumbent, because we have to fight
it within the bosom of our Reformed
Church. But in such a conflict — a con-
flict for truth so vital — ^we may '*know"
"no man after the flesh." Oar Oxfbrd

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martyrs well diBcemed the momentous
bearing of this truth — they well dis-
cerned that the antagonistic error of any
other than a spiritual presence to the
soul of the true believer, was so capital
a point in Bome's other gospel, that for
this truth they were tortured, '' not ac-
cepting deliverance/' Let this truth be
dimmed or darkened, and the candle of
God's truth, though never to be put out
in our world, amid all the blasts of earth
or hell, shall speedily be removed from
our own church's candlestick, and our
glory be departed. For this testimony
our martyrs died.

And stuid we here this day wantonly
and uncharitably to re-open a quarrel
with a church which drank their blood,
and, after the lapse of three hundred
years, to rekindle the spirit of enmity
against her for a crime better forgiven
and forgotten? Or, in laying at her
door the charge of blood-guiltiness, do
we ignore the fact that not in Mary's
reign only, but in Elizabeth's, religious
persecution was pursued, and that nei-
ther by a Calvin or a Cromwell, by Pro*
testant Churchman or by Puritan, were
the true prindples of religious liberty
understood 7 Nothing of all this do we
forget : nothing of all this do we ignore.
But upon us — ^upon churchman and
puritan — a fuller light has dawned. We
have cut off, in this matter, the entail of
our father's sins. Has Bome repented ?
Has Bome changed? Which of her
claims has she withdrawn or modified ?
Which of her dogmas has she renounced 7
Which of her canons has she rescinded ?
Her claim to-day is what her claim was
three hundred years ago: ''Mother and
mistress of all tiie churches ;" her bishop
Christ's vicegerent ; without her pale no
salvation. Holds she not at this moment
that heresy is punishable with death;
that the secular arm is to be called in to
execute the sentence of the spiritual
power ? Her creed and claims necessi-
tate persecution. By this she is bound
to persecute. Toleration becomes fla-
graat inconsistent ; nay, more, unchar*^

itableness to man and imfaithAilnoa to

Yes, the church which gave BQgen»
and Hooper, and Bowland Taylor, and
Bradford, and Latimer, and Bidley, and
Cranmer to the flames, is the church
with which we have to do. To shut our
eyes to this face is infatuation the most
mischievous, madness the most perilous.
Eventful have been the three hondrtd
years which have rolled away since these
heroes of Christ's church militant thus
fell beneath her rage. To every comet
under heaven have they brought change.
Nations have been added to Christen-
dom—commerce hath knit the family of
man together in an all but miiveratl
brotherhood — discoveries the most mo-
mentous, inventions the most marreloas,
have changed the face of the civilized
world; and could Bidley and Latimer*
and others of that ''noble anny," be
clothed awhile in their mortal bodies and
revisit this earth, amid what changes
would they stand 1 But one thing would
they find undianged — save in the addi-
tion of a new dogma of falsehood—
Bomb. The Boma of the aineleentfa
century, the Bome of the sixteenth-
false, idolatrous, cruel ; and if drinking
less of " the blood of the lainta and oi
the martyrs of Jesus," drinking lees, not
because her thirst is slaked, but beeaose
her hand is fettered.

Brethren, of all the canli of tiia dayw
in which we live, be it in poUtios or ia
religion, in senate or pulpit, cm the plat-
form, at the hustings or through the
press, what cant so nauseous as the cant
of liberalism on the lips of Bome? The
Bomanist who tells us, " I would bum
you if I could," we understand ; and fbf
the intelligence of bis priadples, Ibr his
honesty, and for his candor, we respeol
him. But the man who prates et liber-
ralismand toleration and liberty, while
yet he owes all^;ianoe to a church idioee
pretensions and whose principles bind
her, if consLstent, to persecota— 4iim we
regard as ignorant of the first principle
ci tha obnieh to wbiA b* UMtk <v

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recoil from his protestations as from a
Judas' kiss.

But while yet we linger on " the word
of their testimony/' there come crowd-
ing on us remembrances to which, how-
ever intensely painful, utterance must
on this day be given. In Oxford was it
that ''the word of their testimony" was
uttered. Yon college walls re-echoed
that sentence, than which none other
uninspired watchw<^rd thrills more deep-
ly through the heart of every son of the
Beformation. In Oxford's streets was
the martyr's candle lighted. And in
Oxford was it that the conspiracy was
formed to falsify the martyr's prophecy,
to put out that candle, to " unpbotest-
athtjze'^ this church and realm. By
Oxford's sons has the Reformation been
vilified, and with Oxford's precious and
blessed name must that movement stand
connected upon the page of history,
which has done Rome's work more effi-
ciently in our midst, than Rome's most
untiring energies or Rome's most inso-
lent aggressions. The thought of those
who have gone out from us, bewitched
by Rome's spell, and who are now
drinking of the cup of her sorceries, is
too intimately entwined with the fond
and mournful memories of many hearts
«— with companionships once sweet, and
ties once precious — to permit that our
stem protest against their apostacy be
tinged with personal bitterness or revU*

Friends and pupils — ^where are they ?
We marvel at the fearful power of
Home's influence over the moral sense,
which, in some cases, retarded their de-
fection ; in some, wo fear, retained them
to do Rome's work awhile in our midst,
wbUe ministering at our altars and eat-
ing of our bread. To think of such
men — idolaters, Virgin-worshipers, be-
lievers in transubstantiation and in pur-
gatory, votaries of a church which has
endorsed winking pictures and a holy
coat!— our tears for them are mingled
with our fears for our own steadfastness:
<«Hold thou ma up, and I shall be safel"

AN interesting work has been re-
centiy published in England with
the following tide : " The History of
tist Churches, from its Rise in the year
1665 to 1856 ; with a Succinct Account
of its Annual Meetings, and a Table of
Chronological Events; several Ancient
Letters to the Churches, including one
from the Rev. S. Pearce of Birmingham;
with the Confession of Faith of 1689 ;
also an Essay on Creeds. By WilUam

From some extracts given by the Bap*
tist Reporter, (London ) we extract the

''Soon after the death of the Protector,
in 1668, the condition of nonconformists
generally, and that of Baptists in par-
ticular, became dark and distressing to a
fearful degree. As one consequence, the
meetings of this Association were dis-
continued, or held in great secresy, until
the year 1690, during most of which
period it was scarcely safe for the minis-
ter of any nonconforming body to appear
abroad, and little was left them but to
retire and to mourn in silence over the
desolations of Zion. In 1660 Charles II.
landed, and he lost no time in following
up the deeds which his fawning para-
sites had already began to perpetrate;
for in that year John Bnnyan was im-
prisoned. In 1662 the Act of Uniformity
passed, and two thousand of the most
godly mimstera were driven from the
Establishment, to encounter poverty, a
dungeon, or death itself, rather than
conform to a human ritual, which pro-
teatant popery had determined to im-
pose. In 1664 the Conventicle Act
passed, and in 1665 the Five llfile Act
also became law, which, after a conside-
rable interval, was followed by a more
stringent Conventicle Act, and by the
odious Test Act. Determined, if possi-
ble, to crush the last remains of rdigious
liberty in the kingdom, a dissolute mon-
H^ leagBid with an HQfiriDoiplid tod

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merdiess hierarchy, made hateful haste
to warp the British constitution into an
approval of their cruel purpose, that
they might the more effectually accom-
plish their wicked projects in the solemn
name of law. The meetings for divine
worship were either broken up alto-
gether, or exposed continually to the
intrusion of gangs of low and vulgar
informers, and of petty and heartless
officials, who took brutal delight in car-
rying out to the very letter the perse-
cuting designs of a licentious court. —
Between the year 1660 and 1688, it is a
well authenticated fact that 60,000 non-
conformists were incarcerated by the re-
ligious despotism of the day, about 6000
of whom actually died in prison; and
that the loss of property to that injured
body of men, occasioned by fines, con-
fiscations, and other legalized modes of
robbery, amounted, according to Neal,
to between twelve and fourteen millions

''About the year 1664 they were
taken at their meeting (at Hook Norton)
and carried to the castle at Oxford. At
another time they were sent to Witney
gaol. Mr. Wilmot (the pastor) was
fined £20, for which all his goods were
seized. They not finding enough on the
premises to satisfy them, seized upon
the goods of Mr. Humphrey Gillet, a
woolman, who was taken at the same
meeting with him. Mr. Wilmot's fa-
ther, a zealous churchman, went to Sir
Thomas Pennystone, the justice who
committed him, and desired him to re-
lease his son. The justice replied, he
should rot in jail. Says Mr. Wilmot
another justice has said the same, but he
is now dead. Though ho be dead, re-
plied Sir Thomas, yet his work shall not
die. Mr. Thorpe, the gaoler at Oxfordi
was very severe. He would not permit
them to pray together; and if they
craved but a blessing on thdr meat he
would come in a great rage and disturb
them, saying, '* What, are you preaching
over your victuals ?** The goods of Mr.
'^K^lmofti who bad been imprisoDfld twica^

in Oxford gaol, were carried to Chipping
Norton, and there publicly cried for sale
on several market days, but none would
bid for them. Then they were carried
to Swansford, to one of the informer's
houses, who could make no money of
them; in the end they brought them
again to Hook Norton, and proclaimed
there, that if any one would lay down
twenty shillings they should have them
all. A friend of Mr. Wilmot's did so,
and he had all his goods again. When
Mr. Wilmot was released from Witney
gaol they excommunicated him, and
several writs were issued out agsunst
him. But he, being informed of them,
absconded, and so escaped their hands.
Mr. Eccles, the pastor of the Bromsgrove
church, was also a severe sufiferer, being
greatly abused, and put into a dungeon
in Worcester gaol And here he might
have lain, had not his Divine Master
raised him up a friend in Mr. Swift, who
was one of the county members for
Worcester. To the honor of this gen-
tleman be it recorded, that he was not
ashamed of the cause of an imprisoned
Baptist minister, but stood bound for
him in one thousand pounds in order to
procure his liberty. This persecution
continued, with a slight interruption in
1687, to the year of the glorious revolu-
tion, 1688, when, by the abdication of
James XL, the ascent to the throne of
William of Orange, and the speedy pass-
ing of the Toleration Act, religious lib-
erty was once more restored to this
unhappy kingdom. Of this gratifying
change in their fkvor the Baptists were
among the first to take advantage, and
in 1689 they met in London to consider
the condition of the denomination, and
to decide on plans that might restore it
to prosperity."

MoBAL Ability. — ^Much time, inge-
nuity and temper has been expended in
discussing man's moral ability to keep
the law of God. One thing is certain:
cotry man Tun mort than Ae usu.

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(Lttdis anlr ^tndmm.

THE true object of a creed was well
expressed in the old Latin sentence,
** Symbola crtdUa, non credenda, eacpri-
munL" Creeds express the things which
are believed, not things which mt«/ be
believed. It is rather for the exhibition
of the faith of the church, than for its
tnforcemerU on the conscience; and
though the true design has been often
forgotten and often perverted, it still
remains as useful now as in former days,
to have " set forth in order a declaration
of the things which are most surely be-
lieved among us/' Their utility is ren-
dered obvious by the very objections
which are urged agrfnst them by error-
ists. They are standing witnesses
against heresy, an abiding " testimony "
most inconvenient and disagreeable to
those who love to wander f^om the old

We extract from the History <^ the
Midland Association, above named, some
Yalnable facts with reference to their use
among early churches :

Ancient creeds or confessions of faith
are known to have been generally used
in the ageu immediately following that of
the apostles. Lord King, in his 'Primi-
tive Church," alluding to the apostles'
ereed, remarks: "But though they had
not that (he disputes the antiquity of
that particular creed,) yet they had other
creeds very like thereunto, which con-
tained the fundamental articles of the
christian faith, to which all Christians
gave their assent and consent, and that
publicly at baptism.'* The most ancient
creed extant is that of the venerable
Irenaeus, who had been a pupil of the
holy pastor Polycarp, and who flourished
as "Bishop" of Lyons from about a. d.
167 to 180, when he suffered martyr-
dom. It has been preserved to us as
follows : "The church, though it be dis-
persed over all the world, from one end
of the earth to the other, has received
from the apostles and their dimnples the
belief in one God the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and
all things in them : and in one Christ
Jesus, the Son of God, who was incar-
nate for our salvation ; and in the Holy
Ghost, who preached by the prophets
the dispensations of God and the advent,
nativity of a virgin, passion, resurrection
from the dead, and bodily ascension into
heaven of the flesh of his beloved Son
Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming
again from heaven in the glory of the
Father, to restore all things, and raise
the flesh of all mankind ; that according
to the will of the invisible Father, every
knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and -things in the earth, and things
imder thd earth, to Christ Jesus, our
Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King ;
and that every tongue should confess to
him; and that he may exercise just
judgment upon all, and may send spirit-
ual wickedness and the transgressing
and apostate angels, with all ungodly,
unrighteous, lawless and blaspheming
men into everlasting fire; but having
granted life to all righteous and holy
men that keep his commandments and
persevere in his love, some from the be-
ginning, others after repentance, on these
he may bestow the gift of immortality,
and invest them with eternal glory." In
allusion to this creed, Lord King re-
marks, that " Irenaeus having recited a
creed, or a short summary of the chris-
tian faith, not much unlike to the apos-
tles' creed, immediately added, "The
church having received this faith and
doctrine, although dispersed through the
whole world, diligently preserves it, as
though she had but one soul and one
heart, and consonantly preaches and
teaches these things as though she had
but one mouth ; for although there are
various languages in the world, yet the
doctrine is one and the same; so that the
churches in (Germany, France, Asia,
Egypt, or Lybia, have not a different
faith, but as the sun is one and the same
to all the creatures of God in the whole
world, so the preaching of the word is a
light that enlightens every where, and

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illuminates all men that would come to
the knowledge of the truth/" Tertul-
lian, who died a. d. 220, confessed his
faith in a statement of doctrine, of which
the following is but a fragment : " The
rule of faith is altogether one and the
same, entirely firm and unalterable;
namely, that we believe in one all-pow-
erful God, the Creator of the world, and
in his Son Jesus Christ, who was bom of
the Virgin Mary, was crucified under
Pontius Pilate, was raised from the dead
the third day, was taken up into heaven,
sits now at the right hand of the Father,
and will come to judge the quick and the
dead by the resurrection of the flesh."
The Nicene Creed dates from about a. d.
826, and the collection of Articles called
"The Apostles* Creed" followed soon
after. With the increase of schismatics,
who denied various great doctrines of
Christianity, such as the Gnostics, the
Ebionites, the Encratites, the Simonians,
the Marcionists, the Arians, and a host of
others, who advocated most pernicious
errors, while professing a general belief
in the scriptures; confessions of the
orthodox faith increased also, and these
are to be found in the fragmentary writ-
ings of Origen, Cyprian, Thaumaturgus,
Lucian the martyr, and other early au-
thors. In addition to thdr declaratory
purpose, they were evidently employed
to tist and expose the character of dis-
honest men, who under the plea of be-
lievers, entered the church to pollute its
doctrine, and to divide and scatter its
members. These men were the agents
of the wicked one, and crept into the
church that they might all the more
effectually do the work of their master.
The orthodox creed was employed by
the church to correct the mischief by
exposing such men. In the year 1 120,
and amidst the thickest darkness of
popery, the simple-minded, holy, faithful
Vaudois published their Confession of
Faith, and thus struck out the first ray
of light in the dawn of the reformation.
In 1580 the Augsburg Confesaon ap-
peared, and was followed, in 1682; by

that of the Moravians. In 1585 the
noble-minded Waldenses declared their
faith in a Confession of seventeen arti-
cles; in 1549 the Protestant churches of
Hungary avowed their faith in twenty
articles; and in 1556 the Swiss Confes-
sion was printed at Torgau. In 1560
the Scotch Reformed Church published
their Confession; and in 1562 the Arti-
cles of the Church of England, which
had been drawn up by Cranmer and
Ridley, were adopted in full convocation.
In 1648 appeared the Westminster Con-
fession of Faith ; in the same year that of
seven Baptist churches in London ; and
in the year 1656 the Somersetshire Bap-
tist churches published their Confession,
that of the Midland Association having
been framed and adopted in 1655. In
1660 the General Baptists published a
Confession of Faith. From this rapid
sketch it will be obvious that, in all
ages, the best men and the most noble of
churches have considered it perfectly
consistent with a full belief in the sufiB-
oiency of the holy scriptures, to dedare
their faith to the world in the form of
Creeds and Confessions. It never en-
tered into their minds to suppose for a
moment that such a practice was in the
slightest degree derogatory to divine
truth as contained in the Bible; but lov-
ing that truth with more than mortal
affection, even to a readiness to die rather
than forego its claims, they conceived it
expedient and honorable to avow before
the world the principles to which they
pledged their obedience and thdr life.
That eminent divine, John Howe, says of
creeds, that "such schemes or collections
of doctrines, reduced into an order (as
gold formed into a vessel, wheroas truth,
as it lies in the holy scriptnres, is as gold
in the mass) may be of use (as they have
always been used in the church in all
ages) more distinctly to inform others
concerning our sentiments, provided they
be avowed to be looked upon, but as a
measured rule, reserving unto the Scrip-
tures the honor of being the only meas-
uring rule, and so that we only own
than aa agreeable to the Sariptares."

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f fttria in ifrira.

IN the year 1620, a Dutch vessel
ascendttl the James River, and landed
twenty African slaves. Then for the
first time the white man, the black man
and the red man stood face to face and
gazed npon each other in the new world.
From that moment these three races
started upon a now career, which is now
in the process cf development before our

The contemplation of the career upon
which these three races started at that
eventful moment will teach us some in-
teresting and instructive lessons. There
was the white man, the type of christian
dvilitatton. He began immediately to
increase in the most rapid and wonderful
HMnner. In a very few years, he pcne-
Irated every river that opened its mouth
into the Atlantic Ocean; he ascended
vvery hill, passed every mountain,
poured along the valleys, and spread
over the conticent. But not only has he
fubdued the wilderness, and made those
vast ioHtiidet, hitherto unbroken, save

by the war-whoop of the Indian and the
scream of the eagle, vocal with the hum
of industry and the songs of christian
praise, but be has accomplished a revo-
lution which has no parallel in the
annals of the world, and laid the founda-
tion of governments which have no
model upon the face of the globe. The
kings of the old world are looking with
awe and disquietude upon this *'new
Rome rising in the West; the fore-
shadows of whose greatness yet to be are
extending darkly and heavily over their
dominions, and obscuring the lustre of
their thrones."

Where are the other parties to this
interesting meeting? The red man has
retired before the rising tide of white
population: receding from the Blue
Ridge to the Alleghany, from the Alle-;
ghany to the Mississippi, and disappear-
ing from each in quick succession, like
snow before the rising sun. He may
linger for a few years on our western
horizon, but is destined ere long to make
his "ocean grave with the setting sun.*
Bat in the mysiBrioiu providence of

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Ood, the African was "boaod to the car
of the Anglo-American/' who has borne
him along with him in his upward ca-
reer, protecting his weakness and pro-
viding for his wants. Accordingly, he
has grown with our growth and strength-
ened with our strength, until he is
numbered by millions instead of scores ;
and if the accession by immigration had
not been arrested, the black might have

surpassed the white popolatioD. In the
meantime, the black man has been

Online LibraryHonoré de BalzacAmerican Baptist memorial: a statistical biographical, and ..., Volume 15 → online text (page 61 of 96)