« 上一頁繼續 »
the Lamb; and He, her Lord, shall
come forth to meet her, having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written–KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” WHAT ARE THE SIGNs of PRomISE respecting this grand consummation ? Among others, these— 1. The pure and spiritual of all lands—the children of the free-woman—are, at this day, coming to understand, in the light of actual experience, better than they have for centuries before, the true nature, extent, sacrifice and issue of the conflict awaiting them. The time has been, and not remote, when the spiritual and zealous of modern days fondly dreamed, that the world was ready for its Lord ; that his servants need only go to all lands and speak the word, and, forthwith, all crowns of all hearts and all authorities would be laid at his feet; at all events, that to such as did this, religious freedom would be readily conceded as their undoubted and unquestioned birthright. Forty years' experience of Christian effort, at home and abroad, has taught them quite another lesson—that this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting, (or the bidding of the Lord himself.) and the rending of its victims; and that, in the conflict yet remaining, Christ's true servants have no alternative, but to sell their birthright for pottage, or gird them for the fight, at the risk of a fellowship of suffering with their Master, made conformable, if need be, to his death. Now, it is something, as a note of preparation and sign of promise, to have learned thus much —to know assuredly, that it is ours, in common with all “the goodly company of the martyrs,” to fill up what is behind of Christ's afflictions for his church, and, through much tribulation, to find our way to conquest and to rest. It is true, flesh and blood shrink, and the heart of feeble faith quails, but “the promise of the Father” standeth sure. Baptisms of the Holy Ghost, of which those of primitive days were but the earnest; such in kind as have always come when the church has leaned upon her Lord alone, and such in degree as earth has never seen, are yet to descend upon the Lord's people, enduing them with the power of the Highest, and filling all adversaries with fear and trembling. With the occasion shall come the courage; with the emergency, the strength; with the trial, the endurance, and with the strife, the victory. 2. Preparatory to this, it is something to have learned, as the world has never learned before, that persecution can never die, and religious freedom never live, and the Gospel in its purity never go freely forth to every creature, so long and so far as religion of any kind or any form is in alliance with the state. It is the wont, in some quarters, to suppose that all religious persecution is the peculiarity of some one religious faith. No mistake can be greater. Romanism, in its state alliances, may have been and may still be foremost and chief in the fiendish work, but it is far from being alone. It has had and still has many notable imitators if not equals. If, today, it comes down like a bird of prey on defenseless islands in the distant sea, and takes possession of them, by the power and in the name of “His Catholic Majesty, the King of the French,” it is because missionaries from Protestant Britain have gone before, and taught the native sovereignty, by royal decree, to declare, “Let Tahiti, and all the islands of the kingdom of Pomare Vahine, the First, stand unique under that gospel which the missionaries from Britain have propagated ever since the year 1797, that is, these forty years past;” and, to give this effect, have taught and encouraged the same sovereignty to enact and afterwards to execute a law of banishment and other penalWol. III. 51
woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman”—and much less the heart and strength to gird them to the work. But it shall not be always so. Earth must have and will have men who will not be ashamed nor afraid to suffer for Christ's sake ; who will count it all joy to bear the loss of all things and esteem them as offal, that they may win Christ, and know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, and fill up in their flesh what is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body's, the church's sake. Yes, a voice shall be heard in heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues;” and she, in whom is “found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth,” shall “be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all;” and Jerusalem, the church of the free-woman, “which is above, and free, and mother of us all, shall come forth from her long baptisms of blood, clean and white, with the unadultered righteousness of the saints, ready for her marriage with
*These passages in the Revelation are commonly interpreted as applying exclusively to the Papacy. We submit whether it can with any truth be said that “the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth” is to be found any where save in state-churchism; and whether, wherever that has existed, it has not always shed righteous blood. The Papacy may stand pre-eminent among Christian degeneracies in this thing. We suppose she does. But we submit whether Lutheranism, and Episcopacy, and Presbyterianism, and every other form of Christianity in state alliance is not as really an adulterous alliance, and therefore a form of “the great whore,” as is such an alliance of Christianity in the form of the Papacy. Are not all alike an adultery of the church against her rightful and only Lord 2 And will the blood of the saints ever cease to flow, and the church ever be clothed with her “clean” garments, ready for a full union with her Lord, until all such alliances, in every form, are at end ?
ties upon all, resident or foreign, Catholic or otherwise, who shall “ persist in teaching tenets, which are inconsistent with that true gospel, which has been of old propagated in Tahiti.” Or if, without the provocation of such a law so executed against itself, Romanism fulUminates its bulls against the Bible in the vulgar tongue, and wherever it is in state alliance, gives effect thereto by civil pains and penalties, as well as religious, the civil arm of American slaveholding absolutely outlaws it from millions of its victims, and American Bible Societies and Christian leagues of every name, and American churches, to too great an extent, lay their hand softly on their mouth, and, in the next breath, are out in full cry and hot pursuit of the old Roman beast, and her offspring here, who would like to exclude it from the public schools. Or, going eastward still, if Romanism, in state alliance, as the head and representative of The Great Christian Degeneracy, even at this late day, dooms a poor Maria Joaquina, the mother of seven children, and one of them an infant at her breast, “to die on the scaffold” in Portugal, for the “heresy” of believing that the wafer is not God, but only a little flour and water, and that images should not be adored, Mohammedanism, as the head and representative of The Great False-Prophet Delusion, by the same alliance, beheads defection from the faith in Turkey, and nearly all the forms of the Great Gentile Apostasy, from Madagascar to Japan, and the world over, by like alliances, do the same ; and following these, in their several measures, and with their respective weapons of disabilities, tithes, fines, whips, prisons, confiscations, banishments, and deaths, the Greek and Armenian churches in Russia and the East; Lutheran and National and even Protestant Evangelical in France and Europe generally, and Episcopal in England, Wales and Ireland, with Presbyterian in Scotland, all in common alliance with the state, go snarlingly together in the persecution of each other, and the general plunder and extermination of all dissent; and time was, not is, thank God, when Congregationalism, by the same alliance, banished Baptists and hung Quakers in our own New England ' The world over, be the forms and kind of religion what they may, true, degenerate, or false, by alliance with the state, they become at once only another name for persecution; and, with pains and penalties varying only in degree, they are sure, with keen scent and restless step, to hunt all real freedom and honest dissent from the earth. Now it is no small thing, in the light of long ages of experience, to have learned all this, as the church on earth has never learned it before. It is God's note of preparation and sign of promise for the grand outcry, coming on all the winds of heaven, “Cast out the bond-woman and her son ; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman.” 3. It is something more to have learned, by the same experience, that state alliance is only another name, not for spiritual degeneracy, delusion, or apostasy, alone, but with them, for all abominations and uncleanness. It were easy to expand this thought by a citation of facts in detail, or by a train of remark like the preceding; but it is needless. If we would see added to all pride, oppression and cruelty, degeneracies, corruptions, profligacies, indulgences, sensualities and pollutions, that make earth sick and heaven weep, be sure we will find them amid the formalisms and idolatries of every name and kind, in alliance with the state. No pen can describe, nor pencil paint, nor sight endure, the whole of the disgusting reality. It is a chamber of imagery from which inspired and prophetic
vision starts back with horror. “Behold ! every form of creeping things and abominable beasts l and all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall round about !” Now it is not a little, in the experience of the ages, to have learned this. Strip, then, all these forms of state-allied faith, of state support and state respectability; set them forth upon their own resources and in their own loathsomeness, and let the gospel of a pure and simple faith, endued by fresh baptisms of the Holy Ghost with the power of the Highest, go forth to free and manly conflict with them, and when and where could they stand before it? How long before the sick and heaving earth would spew them from her, and the loud acclaim be heard in heaven, “Alleluia! Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand P’’ 4. It is still more, among our signs of promise, that the necessary and essential intolerance and corruptions of state alliance, and with them, such alliance itself, are every where becoming increasingly odious. To say nothing of the corruptions—if its intolerance torture and kill Jews in Persia ; or behead converted Mohammedans in Turkey; or hang converted Catholics in Portugal; or imprison a Protestant, Dr. Kalley, for “abetting apostasy and heresy” in Madeira ; or banish a spiritually minded Scott from Sweden ; or drive a Baptist, Dr. Hoby, from even a temporary visit to Copenhagen, in Denmark, except he “pledge himself neither to baptize, nor to administer the Lord's supper, nor have any communication with the Baptists of the place, nor hold any conversation with any person on religious subjects;” or, in the same place, imprison a Baptist pastor Mönster, for the fourth time within five years, with no liberty to write to or see any one except his wife, daughter, and professional adviser, while a church of three hundred members, and little kindred bands in other parts of the kingdom, are hungering for his ministrations. Or if, with insatiate grasp and general sweep, the same intolerance filch at 1,200 the year from quiet Quakers, and millions more from the easy competence, and hard earnings, and pinching want of all honest dissent in England, Wales and Ireland, and in Scotland superadds upon a poor and pious peasantry the heavy hand of Sutherland oppressions; or if, with sterner hand and a more harlot face, it rob weak islanders in the Pacific of their lawful crowns, or forbid denationalized Poles to speak their own mother tongue, and compel them by violence to renounce the faith of their fathers, and practice that of their exterminators ;-in all these, the world cries out, with one consent, “Shame ! shame, on the intolerance itself, and on the alliance that begets and inflicts it!” Even those who are guilty of it, in one shape and measure, at one time and in one land, join in the general condemnation of it at and in another. If, for instance, in Boston, a Unitarian paperarraigns Romanism on the charge of intolerance, and, after quoting undoubted cases of it, seems most shocked and sure of its argument at the strange disrespect, which, though he might worship elsewhere in what dress he pleased, would not let a Rep. Unitarian Doctor go into the Pope's own chapel with his “frock coat” on—(much as the Editor would ask, though he might not require, a Quaker to take off his hat in his meeting, and deem it great rudeness if he did not)—to all this a Catholic paper replies, that if the objector please, he may look on this picture of Protestant intolerance at his leisure, and then quotes him
to England, where, to use the Catholic's language, “all consciences are taxed to support the religion of a majority ;” to Sweden, where, “if a man changes his religion and becomes a Catholic, he and his heirs forfeit his estate forever, and he incurs the penalty of perpetual banishment;” to Russia, where “Protestantism has butchered and bound down Catholic Poland, has banished the Jesuits from the dominion, and enjoins the practice of the Greek schism, under pain of imprisonment and exile ;” to Prussia, where “the venerable Archbishop of Cologne has been flung into prison, for denying the right of the king to instruct him in his administration of the sacrament of marriage;” to Switzerland, where “the provision of toleration has been violated, abbeys sacked, Jesuits expelled, and the doctrine publicly proclaimed, that monks should be harnessed to the cannon,” and so on. Thus it is, in all Christendom. Each flings the charge of intolerance upon the other, condemning in him what in other circumstances he may himself be guilty of; each, where his own intolerance can not be denied, expresses regret at its existence, and feels and is ashamed of its odiousness; while all together make up the verdict of general condemnation, and help to swell the tides of disgust that are, ere long, to sweep it, and its adulterous mother, state alliance, from the groaning earth. 5. It is still more a sign of promise, that every where state religious establishments are crumbling to pieces, or being materially modified, for the most part, for the better. In the pagan world, they seem to be falling of their own hoary corruptions and heavy weight, and in enlightened and Christian lands by the added vigorous assaults of free and spiritual faiths, aided often by the co-operation of a goaded but honest infidel hate. It is impossible and needless to speak at length of facts here. Scarcely twelve years since, to cite a late and single case, Presbyterianism, “as by law established” in Scotland, asked government to allow it to multiply its churches, taxing dissent in common with itself, for the necessary funds. At that time, Scotch dissent, led on by Scotch independency, set itself in opposition, and made its well-directed and vigorous onset, not upon the particular measure merely, but upon the whole subject of state alliance. Among other things, it charged the state church, by virtue of that alliance, with taking from Christ's crown the right of absolute supremacy over his own house, and from Christ's people the right, subject only to his authority, to choose their own pastors and teachers. “The Evangelicals,” so called, in the establishment, with Chalmers, Cunningham, Candlish, and the like, at their head, were foremost in the defense. They, then a minority, said the state church did no such thing—that Christ's crown and the freedom of Christ's people were untouched of Cesar. Very soon they came to be a majority in the church, and then, as honest men, must make their words good. The occasion came—a plain people of a remote parish declared against the pastor, which the civil patron presented and the civil law enforced ; and the question was, shall the church, in her authorities, stand by Christ's crown and the rights of his people, or yield to Cesar. The “Evangelicals” maintained their integrity. They refused to install the man presented and sought to be enforced by the civil arm on an unwilling people; and the result was, on the one hand, a Scotch Free Church, with seven or eight hundred congregations, a praying membership, and a living ministry; and on the other, a Scotch Establishment, deserted indeed, but in her desertion, by new though late grants of power, having more of freedom from the
civil arm than she had before. A living free church, with a divided, deserted and modified state church, are the fruits to-day, under God, of the onset of Scotch “Voluntaryism” on state alliance, scarcely twelve years ago.
By a kindred spirit and movement, the Scotch Bible monopoly has been broken down, and the English seriously shaken. And now, the assault has begun in calm and measured earnestness upon the English establishment, with Irish and dissenting regium-donum pensionry. It is but yesterday, that more than six hundred delegates, representing dissent of every kind in all parts of the kingdom, abating only some elements of metropolitan aristocracy, met in conference, in London, and after sqveral days of enthusiastic and harmonious deliberation, formed “THE BRITISH ANti-STATE-CHURCH Association,” based upon the principle, “that in matters of religion man is responsible to God alone; that all legislation by secular governments in affairs of religion, is an encroachment upon the rights of man, and an invasion of the prerogatives of God; and that the application by law of the resources of the state to the maintenance of any form or forms of religious worship and instruction, is contrary to reason, hostile to human liberty, and directly opposed to the word of God.” The object of the Society is, of course, “the liberation of religion from all governmental or legislative interference;” and, placed under the guidance of a “Council of Five Hundred,” chosen men in all parts of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it has gone forth, with the strong heart and steady hand of “Christian willinghood” to do its work. Besides this, the conflict is begun also in Jamaica and British Guiana, against branches of the same establishment there. It will go to all the British dominions. Who doubts the issue 2