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"The Morning Star," and elhat they Say.
"Trust not yourself, but your defects to know
A PIQUANT Scribe in The Evening Star newspaper, who labels himself "JAQUES," gave his liberality an airing in a late issue of that respectable journal in this fashion. He first recites the well-known fable, ascribed to Benjamin Franklin, of the patriarch Abraham and the fire worshipper, which he naively suggests ought at least to be in the Apocrypha; meaning, one may suppose, that it would not be out of place in the Gospels. He then asks, " How does the reproof suit us in the nineteenth century? The compositor must have made a mistake when he set this up in the interrogative form, instead of printing it in bold type as an indignant exclamation, for as such our censor Jaques certainly intended it. He thus proceeds: "Here is a case in point which I found, I who am an unwise helluo librorum, a devourer of many kinds of literature-in the EARTHEN VESSEL, or some such godly tractate, in a letter to brother Buttery (what a name!) from the local preacher of Jireh chapel : According to invitation I visited the cause, and gave them a Sabbath. Found a kind-hearted but poor people, with a neat but wellbuilt chapel, for which they have to pay to a building society a monthly subscription, an excellent plan to obtain a freehold chapel. an open air service at Capel, a few miles from Ipswich, where we enjoyed the Master's presence. I found it good to be there. But alas! alas ! in the pretty village of East B, there is a nunnery, which puts a damper on one's spirits. O ye Baptists, arise and serve a little Baptist cause. Subscriptions received by Samuel 40, street, London.' We are not at all partial to nuns, but surely brother Samuel needs much of the spirit of the apologue above" (viz. Franklin's fable, or as he called it, a parable of Abraham's ungracious ejectment of the fire worshipper.) "In the midst of his own religious enjoyments he experiences a damper because a few Christian ladies wish in the same little village to worship God their own way. Another brother also feels that it' damps our very souls to find Satan's kingdom carrying all before it in the world and in the church.' Surely this is too general a condemnation."
It can hardly be necessary to say for the information of Jaques, who as an omnium gatherum does not disdain to seek pickings even in the EARTHEN VESSEL and godly tractates in general, that we have no illwill for nuns, but we have a mortal antipathy for nunneries and for all the crafty inventions of that soul-enslaving system which has damped the spirits and burnt the bodies of thousands of God's best servants, and humanity's brightest ornaments. We think better of Abraham than to believe he would have refused food and needed hospitality to the blindest idolater who asked him for relief; neither would we. Firm as we are in our own faith, exclusiveness is not an article of our creed; we desire the good of all men not excepting even the Pope. We would not deny to the papists any civil or political right of citizenship; we would not deny them all the liberty to " worship God their own way" which we claim for ourselves, but, passing by its theological dogmas, dangerous
blasphemous errors we count many of them to be, we abhor popery because of its intolerance, its barbarous exterminating principle and spirit, which, having the power, never ceases to torture and slay unless its domination over mind and conscience is endured with unquestioning submission.
Questions of faith or opinion we refer to the arena of polemics, where we will use no weapons but the sword of the Spirit. 'Tis there true English Protestantism fights all its theoretical battles. Popery on the contrary grasps the thunders of heaven, the sword of the magistrate and jailorship of Tophet to frighten, to ruin, to destroy. Paganism grew sick at the sight of the Christian blood it had shed; Mohamedanism, whose stern alternative was the alcoran or the scimitar, has begun to doubt the policy of its course, and its governments are gradually discovering that the state authority should be exercised for the protection of its subjects, their persons and property, whether they follow the standard of the Crescent or the Cross. Everywhere else the softening influences diffused by the doctrine of Jesus who "did no violence neither was any deceit in his mouth," (Is. liii.), whose advent was inaugurated by angelic choristers singing, "Peace on earth, goodwill towards men;" give some signs of progress. Despite atrocious exceptions which thrill and shame us, we are sanguine enough to believe an ameliorating process is at work, and that mankind are coming slowly but surely to acknowledge a common brotherhood and common rights. Rome alone remains imperious, bitter, unchanged, and unchangeable. There is a maudlin charity which dreams of improvement in that quarter. To such charity history is a label or a blank. We cannot accept the flattering fallacy. Popery through all its trumpets declares itself to be infallible, the same through all time; the same now as when it butchered the Huguenots and Waldenses; as when it persecuted to the death good men who renounced its pernicious heresies in our own country. In England, in the presence of an open Bible and a few at least who believe the Bible and the faithful records of later times Popery is wondrously civil and liberal, but in Spain and other countries where it can use its teeth, it fully sustains its claim to unchangeableness. What right then have we to give its head centre and princely officials the lie direct, and insist that like other human systems its temper is capable of modification and is brought into harmony with altered times? We will not be guilty of such an insult. We should never think of interfering with the few Christian ladies in the village of East B, who wish to worship God in their own way, in a nunnery, but we wish their number to be fewer, and their feet led into a more excellent way. We do not conclude that all cloistered sisterhoods are as bad as some we have heard of, we should be sorry to doubt that many of them are better than their superiors, and that they are innocent tools in the hands of a designing clique whose arms are power, pomp, riches, and luxury. We agree with Young that "A Christian is the highest style of man." We believe also that pure civilization is directly or indirectly the fruit of evangelical faith, but we revolt from the idea of a man or a nation becoming sincerely religious by any compulsion save that of the Father of spirits, to whom every one must give an account of himself of what he believes and of what he does. If popery were as true in its teaching as we deem it false, its encroachments on human liberty, and its practice of a divine prerogative, would
stamp it anti-Christian, and justify us in ascribing to it all the characteristics of Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. She is intriguing and struggling for precedence in these realms to punish us for our foolish dalliances with the sorceress, and to make her destruction more striking she may have a temporary triumph, but we are confident of the result. "Her plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire for strong is the Lord God whe judgeth her," Rev. xviii. 8.
We complain not of the animadversions of Jaques; there is no apparent bitterness in them; but should he look this way again we would have him to know that the sight of a nunnery is disagreeable to us because of its associations. Writers to the VESSEL may be the wiser for his criticism. They will know that they are under inspection, and they must so write as not to be misunderstood. It is well for us sometimes to climb on another's stand-point and look at ourselves through others' eyes. But stand where we may we shall never see a nunnery, a monastery, or a mass-house, without a pressure of regret that such nests of priestly mischief continue to blur the face of our once Protestant England. Blackheath.
The Great Rock of Offence.
SUCH, in thousands of instances, is baptism by immersion; the baptism of the New Testament, the baptism which our Lord Jesus Christ demanded of John the Baptist, the baptism of the day of Pentecost, and the baptism connected with believing the Gospel here, and with salvation hereafter. That the baptism of believers by immersion into water previous to their being added to the church is an ordinance enjoined by Jesus, practised by His apostles, and well-pleasing in the sight of God, is beyond all question with those who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see its mode and meaning, as recorded in the only book of appeal. That thousands of the saved ones do not so see it, we are ready to admit; that salvation is not confined to its observance, we know full well; and that multitudes believe it to be right, yet never submit to it, we are as firmly persuaded. Nevertheless, unto us, who do see it, who heartily believe it, who have embraced it, and who are authorised to baptize all who come in faith, with true repentance, and for fellowship in the church, unto us, it belongeth to be faithful in this practical part of the Gospel ministry; and while we have ten thousand sins to mourn over, while we can esteem every good man in grace, in Christ, in gifts, and in devotion to God, as being better than ourselves, yet, in this we rejoice that none of the changings, or censures, or reproaches, or arguments, of any, and of all such men as Mr. Thomas Edwards, and the party to which he has found it convenient to unite himself, has ever moved us an inch, nor shaken us for one moment. Therefore, in our humble way, we hold on, and grieve not because on account thereof we are called to suffer the loss of many friends, and to be circumscribed in the extent of apparent success. There is a large and
intelligent body of Christian men in this land, and in other evangelized nations, who are quite prepared to answer either Mr. Wilcockson's "Twelve Questions," or Mr. Thomas Edwards's weak, and simple, and contradictory assumption; and because there are many who are sincerely asking THE WAY TO ZION, with their faces thitherward," we shall, the Lord willing, issue, as fast as possible, some of the able letters which Mr. Thomas Edwards's letter has (instrumentally) produced. Our brethren Thrift, of King's Cross; Thomas Corby, of Sharnbrook, and others, have written manfully, instructively, and to the point. As these letters appear in our pages, we ask our friends to see to it, that opportunity is given to all around them, to read them, praying that the Lord may overrule this attack upon us for the accomplishment of much good, not only in the day in which we live; but as the volumes of the EARTHEN VESSEL will continue for generations after we have passed away, so, we trust, that what is now written and published in defence of this most sacred and symbolical ordinance, may be rendered useful to our children's children for a long time to come.
A Christian gentleman in Kent has written, and we have printed, and published a penny pamphlet, bearing the following title:
"Unto what, then, were you baptized ?" A reply to a letter addressed to the editor of THE EARTHEN VESSEL, by Mr. Thomas Edwards, on the subject of Baptism, by Elihu. Being a supplementary number to THE EARTHEN VESSEL. London: Published at 4, Crane Court, Fleet Street. Price one penny.
We will only give the first paragraph in this pamphlet now. The writer's spirit and power may be seen herein. He says:
"When we behold the turning away from the "faith which was once delivered to the saints," which said “faith” was not to be altered, added unto, or taken from while time shall last; when such departures are continually taking place, we may well ask with St. Paul, "Unto what then were you baptized?" Was it because you read of baptism in the Holy Scripture's? Was it because you thought it right? Was it because you thought it an act of obedience, or because others did the same? In fine, were you persuaded in this act by man, or did you think God would be pleased with you? If either of these reasons, or a thousand more of like import, was the cause of your baptism—that baptism was in vain. In fact, you have not been baptised at all. You may have been immersed, but that is not baptism according to Holy Scripture and the experience of every Spirit-taught man or woman; else the Mormons would have it. Thus it is that there are so many abortions in the Church of Christ, or turning back like the dog to its own vomit."
This pamphlet is worthy of universal reading; and for six stamps we will send six copies of it to any address which may be given us.
ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. W. PARKS, B.A., LATE OF OPENSHAW. BY WILLIAM STOKES.
It never fell to my lot to be personally acquainted with the above excellent clergyman; but I have known him for years through his varied and outspoken publications. These I never read but with interest; and on frequent occasions I much admired his manly honesty, in the assertion and defence of the old-fashioned doctrines of sovereign grace. Occasionally, his vehemence and earnestness betrayed him into
the use of expressions that many would deem coarse and vulgar, and in a few instances his exposure of error partook a little too much of scolding. But, notwithstanding these slight drawbacks, his published tracts and sermons prove him to have been no common defender of the faith "once delivered to the saints."
When, early in last year, I printed my tract on "Imputed Righteousness," I sent
him a copy at a venture, but unaccompanied with any note, as I feared it might have appeared too obtrusive on the part of a stranger. He very courteously acknowledged my little production in these words: "Dear Sir,-I was very glad to get your tract on Imputed Righteousness.' It is sound and excellent; but I question whether your zealous friends in my parish, for whom I perceive you officiate sometimes, would relish it. You are sound and they are unsound. I trust that the Lord may bless whatever means you may adopt for spreading his truth.-I am, yours faithfully, &c." It may be proper to add, that my unsound friends in his parish never, to my knowledge, objected to the "sound doctrine," which I labour to preach wherever I go. This good man has now departed to his reward; and the great Manchester district has lost a faithful servant of Christ, who to his last made it his study, "to declare the whole counsel of God."
Thou saint of God, here let thy dust remain,
Till thy great Saviour shall return again. That dust is precious in his watchful eyes, And when He comes, he'll bid that dust arise.
One Parks alone your thousands would outweigh,
For solid working in this treach'rous day. He kept the faith" with firm and manly hold; But ye, far meaner, nothing "keep" but gold.