Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ing bither and thither betrays that you are still ignorant of him, and that you place more confidence in his mother and in the saints than in him. But when did his mother ever say, “Come unto me; I will help you : I will give you rest ? ” Has she not rather said— What he saith unto you, do ye?'']

The doctrine of confession was stripped of its meritorious efficacy-grounded upon a credible profession of the gospel, and considered only an expression of sincere repentance, and a relief to the burdened and perplexed conscience. The priestly absolution connected with it was only with him the authoritative declaration of forgiveness, and the dispensing of ghostly consolation and strength, according to the scriptural prerogative of the sacred office. What intelligent Protestant would refuse his imprimatur to such a statement as this ? • People are displeased at us, because we have not always adhered strictly to the form, for instance, in absolution and confession. But we wished, first of all, to lay the foundation, more than to listen to confessions—for they had confessed, God knows how often, both to myself and others. They nceded faith more than confession. The apostles first preached to them that believed not in Jesus, and then baptized, and afterwards absolved them. Thus I sought to act, because the most of them had either no faith at all, or only a dead faith. The preaching of the gospel must therefore precede; and after I had thus laid the foundation, I built gold and silver upon it. Then the words were applicable

Thy faith hath saved thee" ... Oh! how many thousand absolutions are given in the confessional, when there is no sign either of repentance, humility, prayer, or confidence! And how many hypocritical confessions and communions are made a mere matter of forn), by which sinners are only lulled so much the faster to sleep!'.

2

We observe some allusion to the last sacramenis, in

| Pages 164 with 135.

2 Pages 78, 79, Compare p. 258, 429.

immediate apprehension of dissolution;' while, yet we cannot but believe that his habitual dependence upon his Saviour preserved him from the full positive injury of these unscriptural delusions.

He appears also to have been mercifully preserved from that monstrous figment, which distinguishes nothing between material and spiritual conceptions, and worships a piece of bread with the adoration of God. The following statement must be considered as an explicit disavowal of transubstantiation, spoken as it was to use his biographer's words) with solemnity and full of faith'-' He is not consumed, when the sacramental elements are consumed; for Jesus says, “ Abide in me, and I will abide in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him." John vi. xv.'?

We find no reference to purgatory, and only incidental mention of the mass. But his clear apprehension of the perfect sacrifice of the cross 4 must obviously have divested this impious mummery of its expiatory character, and (with the Irish Reformers) reduced the service to a mere commemorative ordinance. Surely before the great doctrine of justification, all the merit of the mass—purgatorial salvation-papal indulgences and infallibility, must have fallen, as Dagon before the ark of the living God !

How then it is natural to ask-could such a man, holding Protestant doctrines, and protesting against the tenets of his own church-still continue in adherence to so corrupt a communion?

Let us hear his own reasons, as given about two years before his death, in a letter to a friend who, it appears, had remonstrated with him upon this important point.

Sayn, Nov. 2, 1823. • The tender affection and sympathy you manifest for me, the zeal for apostolical Christianity, and the concern which 1 Pages 415, 433. ? Page 46. Compare p. 259, 260. 3 Page 224. 4 Page 258. you and others feel for me, have penetrated me with so much comfort, joy, veneration, and love, that I cannot be sufficiently thankful to God, and feel constrained to pour out my tempted and tormented heart to you, although with a lame hand-or rather with both hands.

• You advise me to abandon the church, in which I was born and bred, and in which I was bedewed with the influences of grace and the knowledge of Christ, and separate myself from her in my old age, that she may no longer have the right to bind my lame hand the third or fourth time with fetters.

To you it is evident that my church is the beast, which, according to Rev. xvii. 12., sits upon many waters. But I have not yet attained to so full a conviction of this as you, having, from my youth up, regarded and respected her as my mother, as the keeper, protector, and expositor of the doctrine of Christ and his apostles ; although it infinitely pained me that, when, in 1797, after long and fervent prayers, I had attained an entirely new and highly pleasing light respecting the article of the sinner's justification by faith in Christ alone, according to Rom. iii. Ephes.ii. Gal. iii. Phil. iii. sbe imprisoned me as a heretic, examined me for twelve months together, and at length, after a year's inquisition, in which I freely and honestly confessed this saving faith, condemned me to the priestly house of correction for another year, as a well-deserved punishment. I was then, for the first time, offended with my mother-church; for I could not regard this faith and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the great joy and peace it imparted to me, as anything evil, but as the pure grace and mercy of God. The struggle within me was so painful on this occasion, that I cannot describe what I suffered.

' But the Lord soon after comforted me, as he did the excommunicated blind man whom he had healed, (John ix.) and softened the heart of my judges. They praised me to my face, as the best and most zealous divine of the whole

diocese, and re-instated me in my pastoral office.--It is true that I am displeased with much in the Romish church ; but there is also much to be offended at in otber churches. Where shall we find no tares amongst the wheat? I would not willingly take a step, which would offend and grieve so many, for the sake of enjoying one or two years of repose, after having been accustomed all my life long to labour and disturbance rather than

repose. . If our mother really roots out you and me, as tares before the harvest—then there is certainly no alternative left, and we must be glad that another compassionate and merciful mother is willing to receive us as poor, outcast orphans. But we ought to dread going out of her ourselves, since the book of Revelation has depths, into which we dare not venture, for many have been drowned in them.

• It is true that our church, even according to the expression of Christ himself, ought to suffer the tares and the wheat to grow together until the harvest ; but since she has excommunicated the faithful clergyman V-, after a a five years' inquisition, as incorrigible, and by a pastoral letter, excluded all the believers in Bavaria and Suabia from the Easter communion, I have been more grieved than at any thing I had previously heard or suffered from her. I know V- to be the most humble and upright man in the world ; if the same thing should occur to us also, we should know where we were, and how to act.

• If we are the tares, our church ought to let us remain till the harvest; if she is so, we must also let her remain. Neither party ought to be too zealous in rooting up or separating.

According to my views hitherto, there is a mixture of tares and wheat in every church, and even those that compose the true church cannot entirely exculpate themselves. Where should we be able to find a church in which all is wheat, and no tares ? It exists in the world to come alone.

. It is therefore my opinion, that, according to the command of Christ, both ought to be suffered to grow together until the barvest: 1. Because this may be very salutary for the tares, as we may see from the example of Paul and others. 2. It is also very necessary and useful for the wheat. Does not the highest virtue pre-suppose attacks of vice? Or can we pardon and love our enemies, if we have none? Who can become (so to speak) a Saviour and Redeemer of the world, without being crucified and slain?

• Such are cursorily my grounds and reasons, why I cannot immediately accept of your invitation to leave the Romish church, and why I wait until I ain entirely cast out, which perhaps may be in a short time.'

It is remarkable, that in this letter Boos makes no reference to what we might have supposed to have been a primary reason for detaining him in his Romish connexion --his usefulness among his own people. The reasons which he adduces for his conduct will-we presome-be generally considered unsatisfactory. Early prejudices, and the force of early obligation, had dimmed his apprehensions of the gigantic evils of his own church. The vivid portraiture of the Man of Sin might have cleared up to his mind the obscurities of Apocalyptic prophecy. We wonder how such a lover of his Lord could have overlooked this opponent of the person and majesty of his Lord-his blasphemous usurpation of Divine authority-virtually dethroning the Son of God from his supreme prerogative-by the putting forth of his own claim to honour, and the intrusion of the Virgin and canonized saints of the church as the sharers of his crown.! Boos seems to have judged his church rather by her unworthy treatment of bimself, than by her rejection of the standard of “the law and the testimony.” He thought his mother wrong from a consciousness of his own purity of motives—

I See 2 Thess. ii.

« ElőzőTovább »