« ElőzőTovább »
heathens of the distant isles, the weak are unprotected from the strong, lust and rapine reign supreme, the land is uncultivated, and generation follows generation to the grave, each sinking lower than its predecessor in misery, barbarism and sin.
Nor let it be said that other peculiarities affecting these nations account for their disasters, otherwise than by the simple fact of the withdrawal of God's favor. The test has been applied to different parts of the same countries, and everywhere the same tale is told. The north and south of Ireland are the seats respectively of Protestantism and Popery,---in tlie former, the arts of industry and peace continually flourish; the latter are the favorite abodes of superstition and penury, of disaffection and crime. The Popish and Protestant cantons of Switzerland are similarly contrasted---so also are the Popish and Protestant parts of Prussia: and France, besides presenting the same distinction between several of her southern departments, can tell the tale that, with the faithful band of Protestants, whom she exiled by the perfidious revocation of the Edict of Nantes, .fled the glory and the happiness of the nation. So, likewise, Holland and Belgium, respectively, prove that there is in national fidelity, in the acknowledgment of the one true God, who has promised, "them that honor me I will honor," a silent spring of strength and prosperity; and that there is in national apostacy, and particularly in the Popish form of it, the certain source of domestic distraction and incessant depression. The events that mark the history of these countries cannot otherwise be explained. If they can,---if, indeed, peculiar advantages of climate, position, or soil, are to be deemed the causes of prosperity---or if human skill and policy be considered its efficient promoters, how shall the difficulty be solved when the same climate, soil, and position, and the same form of government, have been enjoyed by the countries or parts of countries in which different fruits have been gathered? And above all, how shall the very different influence of countries in colonization be explained, save by reference to the oper. ation of the Christian or worldly principles that distinguish their gov. ernments,---the civilization and wisdom of the rulers being in all cases much the same? England, for instance, has carried, and is carrying even now, to many a colony, her sceptre of mercy and justice. In all, the Bible and indefatigable preachers of the pure Word of God, are scattered among an intelligent and improving population. But the blood-hound tracked the way of the Popish Spaniard across the southern continent of America; at Goa the mandate of Portuguese inquisitors summoned trembling heathens to bow to idols scarcely less debasing than their own: and France has carried to Lower Canada, and, in later times, to Algiers and the Pacific, a tyranny as merciless as that which, in her now liberated colony of St. Domingo roused thousands of enervated but maddened bondmen to seize and trample on their intolerable oppressors,
This Letter was divided in the Charleston 05., and the concluding part was inadvertently given in our last No.
From the Charleston Observer:
LETTER VII. PSALMODY -- DIVINE AUTHORITY. My Christian Friends:-.-With health somewhat restored, through the goodness of God, I return to advocate the exclusive use of David's Psalms under the Gospei dispensation. Since my last letter was despatched, a new antagonist has appeared in the field under the sig. nature of “G.” To his communication the Editor directs my aften. lion, and 'G.'himself invites a candid examination of his positions, “One at a tiine, gentlemen.” I entered on this discussion to defend my Discourse, and the point which it ad vorates, against the learned and labored attack of “Charlestoniensis.” He is considered, in the up-country at least, if I mistake not, the very Goliath of the cause which he ad vocates; and if, by the blessing of God, I shall be.enabled to overthrow his arguments by Scripture, and by the application of his own principles, the consequence will be that the whole army of common opposers, with .G.' in the van, must beat a retreat, or come to an honorable surrender.
I cannot stay at present to notice in detail the positions of friend 'G;' it may be convenient to bring them up as we proceed.
The Editor speaks of the “intrinsic merit of his communication," but there are one or two things in it, which I notice at present, that certainly detract very much from the merit of the production. At the close of the article 'G' assures, us that he looks upon the question of Psalmody as in itself a very little matter! In his estimation it is only important from the difference it has produced in the Church. If the Church can be united in her Psalmody, no matter to him whose songs are sung---whether inspired or uninspired---whether from God, who knows perfectly his own perfections, and the whole extended plan of his operations in nature and grace, and what praise is due to him;--or from man, who by searching cannot find out God,---who does not
this incomprehensible Jehovah-Jesus---this King eternal, immortal, and invisible, in the imperfect effusions which men, (who see thro' a glass darkly,) pour out respecting Him, or whether we sing the dic. tates of his own Divine Spirit.
What are we to think of «G’s' indifference on the subject of Psalm. ody, when we consider the attention that God has given to this matter?
If he considers it a matter of so little importance, he surely cannot think it much of a sacrifice to abandon the use of uninspired songs,.-especially when by so doing he might promote the peace, the purity. and the prosperity of Zion. Let him say, as Paul said about the meat offered to idols;--"if singing uninspired hymns causes my weak brethren to offend, I'll sing no more such while the world stands."
There is another sentiment contained in the communication of •G’ still more obnoxious than that above quoted ---a sentiment which“ strikes at the very foundation of Divine truth, and places the Word of God on a level with that of man. He says, under his second proposition---“if á hymn, no matter by whom composed, contains the truths revealed in the New Testament, or any portion of Scripture, it is no less sacred than are the Psalms of David.” What a sentiment, Christian friends!---yet a sentiment, we have reason to fear, but too? prevalent, and its inculcation is one of the evils resulting from the use of human compositions in the praise of God.
What Satan could not accomplish by Popery, Infidelity, and other means, Christians have gradually and impercetibly effected by substituting their own in place of Divine songs in Divine worship.
They have brought down God's Word to a level with that of man--one is as sacred as the other! If a hymn composed according to the Scriptures is just as sacred as the Psalms of David, so by a parity of reasoning is a letter, by whomsoever composed, if it is according to Scripture, just as sacred as one of Paul's Epistles;---50 is a sermon, by whomsoever preached, if orthodox, just as sacred as Christ's sermon on the Mount!
The Editor says, in the Observer of August 13th, “it is freely admitted that no human composition which is employed in the praise of God, is entirely exempt from the universal charge,” that is, of defectiveness. This is true, but G'has the assurance to tell us that such defective productions "are no less sacred than are the Psalms of David.” Not to dwell on this matter, let me quote for the benefit of .G,' and others of a kindred spirit, one expression from the Rev. Mr.
Kirk's Introduction to “Theopneusty:"..."All we oppose, is, the confounding one twig, one leaf, one fibre of this wonderful production of Divine goodness, (the Bible, of which the Psalms are a part,) with any thing man has made and marred.”
Friend 'G' may consider these remarks foreign to the discussion. If they are, it is not my fault. My attention has been called to his communication, and I could not but condemn the above cited sentiments. We are likely to hear of him again.
In my last letter I entered on the argument in favor of the exclusive use of David's Psalms under the New Testament dispensation. I was able to present but one argument, which was that these Psalms are to be used exclusively under the Gospel dispensation, from the fact that they were so used under the old economy, and no change took place in the matter of Psalmody when the dispensation of grace was changed.
Let us now proceed with the discussion. I suppose that the book of Psalms was completed in a good degree in David's time, but Mr. C. argues, (No. 3,) that the Old Testament church for the space of three thousand five hundred years, was “not only not confined to the exclusive use of this book--- he (God) did not give them this book at all,” until the time of Ezra. If this be so---if this Psalter was neither collected nor compiled until the time of Ezra---until near the close of the old dispensation---then, in the second place, I contend from this very fact that it was principally and especially designed for the New Testament Church, to be employed as her book, her only book of praises. God never does any thing without design: what design had he in view in directing Ezra, the Scribe, to collect and compile the book of Psalms, so near the close of the Old dispensation? For what is a Psalm book intended? To be used in praise of course. If so, then what was the object in collecting “David's Psalms!” Was it that the Old Testament Church, about to close, might at length, after thirty-five hundred years, have some standard of praise---that the people might not be left any longer to "random choice,” to blunder on “Samuel's sermon," or "Solomon's prayer," or on other poetical parts
ra's time, say about 450 years before Christ, and if, as Mr. C. plainly intimates, it is Jewish, and devoid of christian instruction, (No. 2. $4, and No. 7 $6,) and consequently not adapted to the Christian dispensation, then we have the Divine Being acting the part of imper. fect short-sighted man. He leaves the Church thirty-five hundred years without a book of praises; at length impressed with the importance of having some standard of praise, He has a book of inimitable songs collected, but, unfortunately, they are of such a character that they do not suit the Church for more than four or five centuries of the most obscure period of her existence.
Thus we have the All-wise God leaving the matter of Psalmody from the beginning, until Ezra's time, to the management of Kings and Princes, and others, then He provides a collection himself, but it soon becomes obsolete, and the Church is left again, from the commencement of the Christian era to the end of the world, to manage this important matter! Would Infinite Wisdom act such a part? By no means. If not, and if the book of Psalms was not given by "inspired authority” to the Church until Ezra’s time, and we have Mr. C's word for it,) then we maintain that it was given with a special view to be used under the new dispensation, and consequently it will require the strongest kind of proof to show that it is not adapted: to that dispensation, that it requires any remoddelling from man, and that any thing else of man's composition or selection is to be used in addition to this Divine collection.
(To be continued);
The following extract from the Report of the New York Temperance Society contains much truth, and shows why it is that while many are taking “the pledge” intemperance has really for some two or three years been increasing in the general community
The present crisis demands a judicious application of effort. There should be a very careful discrimination between the relative importance of preventive and remedial modes of operation. It is obvious, is the preventive system on which your Society is founded, was universally operative and effectual, there soon would be no drunkards to reform, for all intemperance would soon be done away. And it is