« ZurückWeiter »
dutiful obedience to our ecclesiastical superiors, I have lived in all good conscience; convinced that in unity of discipline consists our safety; that one grand bond of union ought to knit together the hearts of our Bishops, Clergy, and People; and that as soldiers look up for orders to their general, so ought we to our Diocesans, as our Heads and Fathers in Christ.
This duty is neither violated, nor weakened, by giving the right hand of fellowship to our Protestant Brethren, who may differ from us, in matters not essential. The variations of Protestantism are indeed evils to be lamented; but, after existing so many years, they cannot be remedied, but rather may be increased by an intolerant spirit.
Duty, policy, and religion, teach us a more excellent way than invectives and anathemas, to increase our flocks,—" to strengthen the stakes, and lengthen the cords of our Zion,”—the way of charity, that divine and brotherly love, which preserves, among all true Christians, “the unity of the spirit in the bond of Peace.”— Besides, we ought not to forget, that in one sense, we are all of one community, “ Protesting against the errors or the church of Rome.” If, therefore, we be animated by the same spirit, and appeal to the same standard, there is still much agreement,and, as it has been well observed, “ Every one of us may be assured, that he also may be wrong in something ;-that our neighbours have just the same reason for desiring to be right, as we ourselves have,—inasmuch as their souls are at stake, and they know, and own it.”
May God open the eyes of all Protestants, to discern the designs and machinations of the church of Rome. The one constant view of its hierarchy is, an universal empire over the bodies, souls, and especially the estates, of all mankind. May God unite the hearts and counsels of us all, to defeat these plans and designs, that we may preserve to our country the pure and reformed Religion, and the blessing of Almighty God, who never will protect and prosper any nation which either defiles itself with the rites of idolatrous worship; or, forgetting Him, plunges itself into the mire of voluptuousness, profanity, and infidelity.
PSALM cxxxvii. 5, 6.
IF I FORGET THEE, o JERUSALEM, LET MY RIGHT HAND
FORGET HER CUNNING. IF I DO NOT REMEMBER
The unshaken fidelity and constant affection, which the Israelites in their captivity retained for Jerusalem, exhibits a rare instance of virtuous principle. This principle is that of genuine patriotism, and is described in the psalm from which I have selected my text, in language the most pathetic and impressive. The children of Israel are pourtrayed not in the festive celebrations of the temple, but as captives and wanderers in a foreign land. They are seated by the waters of Babylon, and their tears, both of regret
and penitence, add, as it were, to the passing tide, when Sion, arrayed in her former splendour, occurs to their mind. As for their harps, they suspended them upon the willows. The strings were mute; the hand of devotion was feeble, and the mind was spiritless. Little inclination would they have found to sing, even if they had languished in silent contempt; but their haughty conquerors add insult to their calamities, and demand from them an exertion of their skill “ Sing us one of the songs of Sion.” The answer is obvious—« How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land ?” The image of Sion is deeply engraven on their hearts, and the storm of persecution makes them cling the more closely to the rock of their salvation. Exiles, and mourners, they are not apostates. Sustained by this spirit of allegiance to their God, they can courageously exclaim, in the presence of their enemies, “ If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning: if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth!”
This attachment to the service of God is the more immediate lesson of instruction which I purpose to draw from the conduct and language of the captive Israelites. If we were permitted to form a conjecture from passing events, the day may not be far distant when attachment to our