« ÖncekiDevam »
clothes ; another party of Mennonites ) nonites have also been charged with having being, for similar reasons, termed Button originated with the Anabaptist of Munster; Mennonites. The principal difference be- and have frequently been confounded with tween these societies consists in the former the followers of Bockhold, John of Leybeing more simple in their dress, and more den, and David Joris. This charge is strict in their discipline. In their religious equally and totally incorrect. It is not forms of worship, the different denomina- denied that many of those who have been tions of Mennonites vary but little from misled by these fanatics, ultimately joined other Protestants. They consider the scrip- the Mennonites; but they were not adtures as the only rule of faith, and main- mitted into their society until they had tain that the surest mark of the true church wholly repudiated the wild and fanatical is the sanctity of its members. They notions of the Munsterites. The many, have regular ministers and deacons, who and often bitter, controversies which took are not allowed to receive fixed salaries; place during the time of the Reformation, in their religious assemblies, however, not only between Catholic and Protestant every one has the privilege to exhort and writers, but often between the Protestants to expound the scriptures. Baptism is ad- themselves, added to the fact that the ministered to adults only, infants not being history of the Mennonites has hitherto considered proper subjects, and is admi- been written by writers of other sects, nistered by pouring water upon the head readily account for the mis-statements and of the subject. The Lord's Supper is ad incorrect accounts respecting the origin, ministerod in commemoration of the death history, and religious opinions of the Menof our Saviour. It is considered unlawful nonites. to take an oath on any occasion, as well The name Amish or Omish was derived as to repel force by force; and they con from Jacob Amen, a native of Amenthal, sider war, in all its shapes, as unchristian in Switzerland, and a rigid Mennonite and unjust. Charity is with them a reli- preacher of the seventeenth century; but gious duty, and none of their members are that he was not the founder of a sect will permitted to become a public charge. be evident from the fact, that the society
Great injustice has been done the Men who are in the United States wrongfully nonites by Protestant as well as by Catholic called Amish or Omish, still rigidly adhere writers, by imputing to them doctrines to the Confession of Faith which was which they never held with regard to the adopted at Dortrecht, in Holland, A. D. incarnation of Christ and the Millenium, 1632, (before the time of Jacob Amen,) or personal reign of Christ upon earth. by a General Assembly of ministers of That Menno Simon was charged with en- the religious denomination who were at tertaining peculiar and unwarranted opin- that time and in that place called Mennonions respecting these matters is true, (doc-ites, (after Menno Simon, an eminent trines which we deem improper to mention, preacher and native of Friesland, in Hol. but an account of which may be found by land,) but who were, (as has been well referring to article Anabaptists, in the En- established by, writers of the seventeenth cyclopædia Americana ;) but it is well century,) prior to that time, at different known to all who are acquainted with the periods, known by the names of Henri. writings or works of Menno Simon, that cians, Petrobrusians, and Waldenses. The if his written declarations are to be re. number of the milder Mennonites in the ceived as an evidence of his opinions, then United States is computed at 120,000, the said cha are entirely gratuitous while that of the rigid Mennonites is not and without foundation in fact. The Men. supposed to exceed 5000.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
BY JOHN M. KREBS, D.D.
PASTOR OF THE RUTGERS STREET CHURCH, NEW YORK, AND PERMANENT CLERK OF THE GENERAL
I. DOCTRINE, WORSHIP, AND GOVERN. | doctrine that Christ died in a special sense MENT.
for his elect people, the doctrine of justifi. The published “Constitution of the cation by the imputed righteousness of Presbyterian Church in the United States Christ alone, of sanctification by the speof America," sets forth at large the system cial and invincible power of the Holy of doctrine, mode of worship, and form Spirit, and of the perseverance of the of government, adopted by this church. saints in holiness, they differ very mate.
The Doctrines are contained in the rially from many who bear the Christian “Confession of Faith,” and in the “Larger name. In short, with regard to what are and Shorter Catechisms,” and are those commonly called the “five points” diswhich are popularly denominated “Cal.cussed and decided in the Synod of Dort, vinistic.” This distinctive title is appro- the Confession is opposed to Arminianism, priated to this system, not because Calvin and coincides with the Calvinistic system invented it, but because, among all the maintained by that body. modern advocates of it, he was undoubt. These evangelical doctrines, as they are edly the most profound and able, and be taught in the Word of God, were revived cause it has suited the policy of some to and held with singular unanimity by all endeavor to convey the idea that this the churches which arose out of the Re. system was unknown until Calvin began formation, as appears very evidently from to propagate and defend it.
a comparison of the various creeds and In the Confession of Faith there are confessions which were framed and pubmany doctrines in which the Presbyterians lished by them. Those who on the Con. agree with their brethren of other denomi- tinent adhered to Martin Luther in his nations. In regard to all that is embraced ritual views and observances, and the An. in that formula concerning the being and glican prelatists as well as the Reformed perfections of God, the Trinity of persons Churches of France, Germany, Switzerin the Godhead, the divinity, incarnation land, Holland and Scotland, equally and atoning sacrifice of the Son of God, adopted the tenets since denominated Cal. &c., they may be said to hold substan- vinistic, their differences having relation tially in common with all sect3 who de- mainly to the administration of ecclesiasti. serve the Christian name. But with re. cal affairs, the parity of the Christian spect to the true state of human nature ministry, and their subordinate topics. before God, the doctrine of sovereign, un. And the history of the church and of the conditional election to eternal life, the world, (as a constant development of this
great principle, that truth is in order to The forms of worship are simple and goodness, its great touchstone, in its tenden- scriptural, consisting in praise, prayer, cy to produce holiness, and that there is an and the reading and preaching of the inseparable connexion between faith and practice, truth and duty,) together with be made responsible for its own particular the admission of some of the most eminent and disallowed perversion. scholars and divines, and eloquent writers
“ The dogma, if such a dogma be held even of later days, even of those who by no fearlessly and securely may sin, because with
by the wildest Antinomian, that an individual means favored Calvinism, are an irrefra.
out evidence, or rather against evidence, he gable testimony to the benign influence ex. has fondly persuaded himself that he is one of erted by this much-abused system, on the the elect—that dogma is a mere perversion of illumination and salvation of those who the Genevan system. A pious Calvinist-and cordially embrace it, and on the moral bered some of the best and the wisest and the
among doctrinal Calvinists have been num. character and deportment, the knowledge most holy men who have ever adorned the and freedom, and the general prosperity Catholic Church-a pious Calvinist would and happiness of every community where shrink from it with horror and disgust
. So far it has prevailed.*
from sanctioning the blasphemous absurdity, on the real principles of his own scheme, he
would be the first and the foremost to consider * " By many ignorant and prejudiced per- its maintainance, by any pretended Calvinist
, sons a very foul, but a very false, allegation, as a black mark indicative of the wretched both before the time of the Synod of Dort, and perverter's own reprobation. He would say, also down to the present day, has occasion. Whatever may be the secret purpose of God in ally been advanced against the Calvinistic regard to effectual calling, no man can claim system. That system has been set forth as to be of the number of the elect to glory, offering a premium for gross immorality, as
unless as a clear evidence of his election, he inculcating in the case of the vainly pre
can show a life devoted to his Saviour and insumptuous, an unhallowed security, and as stinct with fruit-producing holiness. As honadvocating, to the certain ruin of the constitu
est men, we are bound, in the measure of our tionally despondent, all the wild recklessness opportunity, faithfully to investigate doctrinal of utter and uncontrolled desperation. Hence, truth; but then, we are equally bound to abin the way of summary, we have been gravely stain from the offensive shamelessness of an. assured that, according to the Calvinistic merited calumny.”—Faber's Primitive Doctrine scheme of interpretation, the elect, no matter of Election, B. I., chap. vi. sec. 2. what may be the obstinate ungodliness of
As the most powerful body of European their lives, must be finally saved even in refugees from prelatical cruelty, who originally their impenitence, while the reprobate, no
settled in the United States, were inflexible matter what may be the devoted holiness Calvinists; and as they have impressed their of their conversation, even in their godly pen- character upon all the national attributes of itence must be finally damned. Nothing can
our republic: it is indispensable accurately to be more unfounded than this vulgar allega- comprehend the cardinal principles of Calvintion.
ism in its operation and results, among the en. “ Calvinism really teaches, that the elect, tire body of its genuine disciples in this coun. even though they may be humbly doubtful of try--the original Anglican Puritans, the Scot their own individual election, after their tish and Irish Presbyterians, the Baptists, and effectual calling, however speckled with the the Reformed Dutch and Germans. In addition, remains of human corruption, will always Faber, three separate witnesses are adduced ;
therefore, to the previous testimony of Mr. lead holy and devoted and godly lives ; while and as neither of them are Calvinists, the four the reprobate, even though they may madly combined historiographers must be admitted and contemptuously presume upon their own imagined security, will always show their
as proof equivalent to moral demonstration. true character, either by an indulgence in tice of « Calvin," in the Encyclopedia Brittan.
Culvin. The author of the biographical nohabitually unhallowed practice, or by an utter nica, among other expressions laudatory of deadness to every sentiment of vitally influen- the exalted virtues, noble talents, and trans. tial religion.” — Judic. Synod. Dordrech. Con- cendant erudition of the French Reformer, clus. Cap. V.
thus characterizes him and his most illustrious “ This invariable association of holiness compeer. Luther and Calvin are « twin stars, with election, and of unholiness with reproba- the brightest of that constellation of lights by tion, is assuredly the special badge of Calvin. whose effulgence were dispelled the long night ism; and for the abuse of the system by the of darkness, under the cloud of which the enprofanely licentious, that scheme is no more ergies of mankind suffered eclipse; and having responsible, than any other scheme can justly emerged, they shone forth with a brilliance