« ZurückWeiter »
Temperance, or rather abstinence from ardent spirits, ale, wine &c. should not however be considered as a discharge of the whole duty incumbent upon those who have no control over their appetites. The principle should be carried to every thing, which is about to enslave them. Whatever any one finds, that may undermine his health, and actually is abused by him, if he tastes, should be abandoned. Every smoker, or chewer, or snuffer of tobacco, as soon as he discovers, that he is so enslaved as to go to excess, should abstain at once, and entirely. But, we will close our remarks for the present and take up the subject at a future day. In the mean time, an attention to these, may prove profitable - Editor.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. We occasionally meet with a brief notice of our Church, in different religious Periodicals, which evidently prove, that many of our Christian brethren of other Churches, have but a very indistinct view, and erroneous impressions, as to the extent and doctrines of our Church in the United States. As we publish documents from time to time, which in conjunction, would enable all to write a correct history, we have convinced ourselves, that the incorrect statements published occasionally, are produced by detached parts, coming into the hands of lifferent gentlemen.
It is perfectly characteristic of our Church, not to attract the attention of man. Whether we be viewed as possessing wealth, or notwhether we be extensive and enabled to rank literary men among us or not, is a matter of indifference to us generally, and hence we seldom dwell upon the subject. But, as we have seen statements, made with a design to give correct information of the different denominations, we shall no doubt confer a favor upon the writers, to point out errors, into which they have fallen. The following remarks will answer the purpose.
The Lutherans are not found, only in Pennsylvania, although in that state they are most numerous, but they have many well organized Churches in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana and Illinois. In the state of Georgia, they were found, among the first colonists. At Ebenezer and Savannah (Geo.) we have respecble and flourishing Churches.
There are at this time (to our knowledge) 205 officiating Ministers, attached to different Synods, viz. Synod, of New York, East Pennsylvania, West Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia. Each of these Synods convenes annually.
The General Synod is composed of Clerical and Lay Delegates, from the different Synods that deem it expedient to connect themselves with it, and convene at least once in three years. There are near twelve hundred organized Lutheran Churches in the United States. Two flourishing Seminaries viz. at Gettysburg Pa. and at Hartwick N. York, prove, that attention is paid to a preparation of pious persons, for the Ministry. The Professors and teachers of both, are acknowledged to be scholars. The Theological library at Gettysburg is the largest in the United States, amounting to more than 6000 volumes. Missionary and Education societies have been established, not only in Pennsylvania, as we have seen it stated, but in New York, the 'Lutherans are very active, and in Maryland, in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio & Tennessee, Missionary and Education societies are in a flourishing condition. Many other benevolent institutions exist among us,
and the cause of the Redeemer, seems to be prospering within our bounds at this time, in an unprecedented degree. We are not confined in our views of religion, (especially of nonessentials,) by human laws and creeds. The Bible is our guide, and the study of it we conceive ourselves at liberty to approach, untrammeled by the shackels of human creeds; and hence, the general, firm, and ardent attachment to the church existing among its members, is not to be ascribed, to any cause invented by man. The cardinal views of the immortal Luther obtain generally among us, and according to the language of the Pastoral Address, of our General Synod. “It is required of those who are attached to us that they hold the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel as taught in the Augsburg Confession, and in all minor points leaves them unrestricted. On the one hand we are not able to go with those, who renounce unconditionally all creeds and confessions, because we cannot see how Socinians could be effectually excluded from the Church without them. But we feel well assured, that the great majority of creeds in the christian church, by entering far too much into minor ramifications of doctrine, and attaching too great importance to subordinate and even doubtful points, have cherished in the most direct manner, and from their very nature must cherish the unhallowed spirit of bigotry and sectarianism.”—Editor...
The Treasurer of the Missionary and Education Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Maryland and Virginia, acknow. ledges the receipt of the following sums.
January 22, 1830.
5 From the Rev. Mr. Morris, of Baltimore,
LEWIS MEDTART, Treasurer.
The Rev. L. Eichelberger of Winchester takes this method of acknowledging the sum of 20 dollars from the female part of his congre- is gation, for the purpose of constituting him a life member of the American Tract Society. Also, by the same, a beautiful bound
copy of the new Hymn Book, for the use of the pulpit in the Lutheran Church.
(The above is praiseworthy. This will make upwards of 70 dollars recently raised by the ladies of our congregation in Winchester, for the most excellent of objects, $50 in aid of our Evangelical Missionary Society in our own church, and 20 in aid of the cause of Tracts. Let the females of every congregation go and do likewise.)
LETTER OF MARTIN LUTHER. We have translated the following letter from the Latin edition of the works of Luther. It contains advice of considerable importance. It is also interesting by its allusions to the theme, which was all absorbing to the mind of the Reformer-justification by faith. At the close of the letter is the following note in manuscript Ger
-Quarterly Register. “From Dr. Martin Luther's hitherto unpublished Letters,” edited from the autographs by Schultze, Leipsic, Weygard, publisher, vol.
3, page 256.
Luther's Advice in regard to the Method of sacred Studies. Read the Old Testament as carefully as possible, twice or thrice, from the beginning to the end. Delay a long time on the prophets. Then repair to the New Testament. Examine particularly how it agrees with the Old Testament. Observe in what manner all the prophets bear witness concerning Christ. When that is done, turn to the epistles of Paul. Gain as intimate and thorough acquaintance as may be with the epistle to the Romans in connexion with that to the Galatians. All the questions which occur, as well as the more difficult passages in the Scriptures generally explain by these two epistles. Regard the epistle to the Hebrews as showing the import of the different rites, allegories, figures, images, and sacrificial observances. Read our books, comparing them with the writings of our opponents ; test both by the Scripture, and try them by that as by a touchstone. The meaning of both sides being well apprehended, imagine that one is your opponent, and against him write privately for the sake of the exercise. Embellish your writings from logic, rhetoric, and other polite arts. When the divine Word has been well established in your mind, it will be of no disservice to add the ancient fathers ; also look over the decrees of the Pope, and see in what manner they have departed imperceptibly from the faith ; because, leaving the subject of justification, they have involved themselves in the business of the world.
MARTIN LUTHER, Doctor.
We extract the following from “The Friend,” a religious and Literary Journal, published in Philadelphia. We recommend an attentive perusal of it, to our people generally-Editor.
THE WATCHMAN. Although I have restricted myself, in great measure, to observations on the lesser morals of life, I never meant to banish from this series. of essays, the consideration of questions of more general and momentous interest. I have lately been beguiling the tedium of a rainy evening, by musing upon the nature and force of those ties that bind mankind together into communities. It is a subject well worthy of exam · ination for from them proceed, as from a common source, the true principles of government, the rights of the civil power, and the privi
leges and duties of citizens. It is not my present intention to investigate this subject in its broad extent, although I may observe, in passing, that there is no nation upon earth, to whose welfare a properapprehension of these points is so important as to the people of this rehardened into stability during the violence of civil war, and in the infancy of political science, the salutary energy of nature has acted as a compensating force in various ways, and alleviated the practical evils of even the most monstrous systems. On the other hand, there is a danger, that, in the pride and strength of power, the people, equally with the tyrants, may forget right, and deal with our institutions, like those book learned philosophers, who expect their engines to possess in practice their theoretical value, regardless of the resistance of the air, of friction, and the weakness and destructibility of materials.
The turn which my thoughts took,led me to contemplate that more intimate connection which subsists between the members of a religious association, in which there are comprised many ties and duties that do not exist in the simpler elements of the social compact.
That form of government is justly to be esteemed the best, which, uniting a due degree of stability with the protection of the lise, the property, and the peace of the citizen, leaves him the freest in his opinions and pursuits. On the other hand, religious societies are formed for the support of certain prin iples, wbich are esteemed fundamental points of Christian doctrine of certain forms of church government and modes of worship. They suppose an agreement among their members upon these subjects; and the system of ethics which should govern the conduct of individuals thus intimately connected, is more refined and exalted than that which suffices for our civil relations. A religious comm
munity cannot flourish, unless there prevails a considerable degree of Christian charity and fervour among its members. Lukewarmness is as the damps of death to such a body. That zeal, which is thus essential to the common welfare, it becomes the duty of each individual to cherish. Our time, our wealth, and the best energies of our mind, should be cheerfully devoted to and dispensed in its service. Whether called to an exalted or a humble station, the true Christian, as he seeks no office in the church, so he refuses no service to which he is devoted by his brethren. He knows that the single talent well employed, and the narrow field, diligently cultivated, are of as much acceptance in the divine sight as the most splendid allotment. Whenever thoughts of neglected worth, and of a right to a higher station, intrude themselves, he banishes them as the suggestions of the tempter.
It is very necessary for us all to examine closely our own hearts, and to guard against those false appearances by which we are sometimes deceived in relation to our motives. Wherever there is a social order, there must be social distinctions, and a palm of superiority to be gained. Nor can there be a doubt, that the very same passions which impel the ambitious and the selfish in the pursuit of worldly glory, may aspire to dictate in these consecrated affairs. But that love of distinction and eminence which is the soul of civil enterprise, is forbidden in the Christian code. Whenever, therefore, we find that
our ambition and our vänity are feeding upon the notice of our brethren, or devising means to rise above others in their estimation, we may be assured that we do not stand on the Christian foundation, and that we are introducing into the church a spirit alien to its nature, and destructive of its peace.
The love of the brethren is the beautiful title of that affection which binds together the members of the church of Christ. It seeks and it supposes no evil. Built upon the truth as it is in Jesus, it does not distrust the motives of a fellow believer, because of occasional difference of sentiment or contrariety of views. It advances its own opinions with firmness and modesty, neither fearing to express, nor unduly seeking to enforce them. The intrinsic weight of its sentiments is enhanced by a humble demeanour and a quiet spirit. It makes the proper allowance for that moral perspective, by which the relative magnitudes and the apparent hues of objects are varied with every change of position in the beholder. It discriminates between those errors of opinion which flow from intellectual weakness, or individual peculiarities, and those which spring from vitiated morals, or a mischievous purpose. Above all, it casts aside its prejudices, whether of favour or dislike, at the door of the sanctuary.
As such a conduct is the unerring sign of being influenced by the gospel spirit, there are indications equally sure of its decay and approaching extinction. The declension first shows itself in the want of frankness and cordiality towards each other. Men suspect the motives, they take up unfavourable impressions of others; they attribute to the desire of self-aggrandisement, conduct which may spring from the purest principles. Such prejudices increase with indulgence, and are gifted with a sure instinct in discovering wherever else they harbour. By their influence, religious societies become divided into little parties, each holding its own opinions as the sole standard of correctness, eyeing each with jealousy, speaking of others with faint and doubtful praise, and covertly thwarting each other's purposes.
The surface of affairs may be kept smooth, and a careless observer may see nothing to disturb the apparent tranquillity, yet all the while the clouds for future tempests may be fast gathering, and the desolation of the smiling landscape be inevitable.
There can scarcely be conceived a state of society more destructive, of vital Christianity than such as is here portrayed. The organization of the church may be maintained, yet men be entrusted with its affairs, who neither understand its principles, nor devote themselves to its interest. The form of sound words may be kept up, yet serve for a mantle to spread over a dead body, for a trick of priestcraft or a mask for hypocrisy.
It must be owned, that this is a picture, darkly coloured, of the last stage of decay and approaching dissolution. But the first appearances of this moral blight are so secret and insidious, that nothing but the severest self-examination will enable us to detect its existence in ourselves, and it is not usually until it has gathered strength suffieient to render it dangerous, that we become alarmed at its prevalence. And at the last it can only be successfully combated by the secret prayers and patient fortitude of the wise and the pure in heart, even as