Page images
PDF
EPUB

years, and having assented to the en- at Berlin, Dresden, Frankfort, Worms, gagement proposed to them, they were Cologne, Elberfeld, &c. Several are solemnly set apart by prayer. They engaged for large congregations which are now prepared to go to whatever city have no hospital, and about twenty are or country, to whatever hospital or sent out at the request of private faminormal institution or private family lies to nurse their sick members, &c. they may be called, the taste and Five are now at work in the German capacity of the individual of course hospital at Dalston, near London : one being consulted; for it must be care- of them is matron of the establishment. fully explained that there is nothing It can readily be apprehended how like a monastic vow of “obedience to uniformity of language, ideas, methods the Church" in this affair, and that of preparing food, &c., will render the engagement is formed subject to these acceptable nurses to their sick being set aside by the claims of nearer countrymen. domestic duties, if such should arise. In this country we lack a little of the Some deaconesses have been called

German simplicity, and are so nice away to assist their own families, some about distinctions of rank, and what have been lost to the Institution by en- belongs to our supposed station in sotering on the conjugal relation. In ciety, that it may excite strong distruth, unfortunately for their vocation, pleasure if we say that there are many they are rather too popular as making single women in Scotland, of the exexcellent wives. But while one regards cellent of the earth, who are not so this circumstance with regret as re- useful in the Church as they might be; spects the scheme, it is delightful to that the reason of this is their want contemplate the sister of charity trans- of proper guidance in selecting their formed into the rearer of her own chil- work, and of support in its prosecution, dren in the fear of the Lord.

and that the deaconess' status in soIn conversing with Mr Fliedner, ciety, and the style of character and before taking leave, on the utility of bearing expected from her, is exactly forming such an institution in Scot- what is wanted to confer the necessary land, he suggested as a fundamental and energy and steadiness. absolute necessity, that it be ascertained At Kaiserswerth there are scholars that all who are admitted to the school not only of the middle classes, are persons renewed in the spirit of veral of the higher ranks of life. The their minds, and willing, under the King of Prussia, having taken a lively guidance of the Holy Spirit, to devote view of the utility of the institution, is themselves in humility and love to the now forming a large model hospital at service of their fellow creatures for Berlin-a Baroness, trained under Mr Christ's sake. To this suggestion of Fliedner, is its destined matron; and course we gave a joyful assent. It is twelve well-trained deaconesses are withhere that the secret of his success lies; out delay to be called into active emand encouraging it is to see, that in ployment there. the centre of a world of mysticism, The principle on which the deaconess mythism, socialism, and forgetfulness, is required to act is that of willingness wherever the true doctrines of the gos- to be a servant of Christ alone; to depel are really planted, they take root vote herself to the service, without the and bring forth fruit.

worldly stimulus of pecuniary emoluOne is glad to see the decidedly Pru- ment, and without over solicitude about testant character of this society. The worldly comforts; to do the work of two Prussian provinces of the Rhine- charity and self-denial, out of gratitude land and Westphalia are united for its to her Saviour. support, and it is under the superin- Her wants are all supplied by the tendence of the Protestant Provincial institution, respectably, but without suSynod. Above one hundred deacon- perfluity; while the salary paid anesses are now at work in different parts nually for her services by the family, of Germany. Sixty are occupied in parish, or hospital, by which she is emseventeen hospitals and orphan houses ployed, is paid to Kaiserswerth. From

but se

the fund thus accumulated, the supplies The Prussian houses have no mysof the deaconess are derived, and those terious “ turn” in them by which proof them who have suffered in health, in visions are admitted, and all communiconsequence of their services, are by it cations with the outer world carried on, entirely sustained.

The doors are opened, and moral reThe exceeding simplicity and cheer- straints alone dictate who shall be adfulness of the aspect of the place and mitted. There is no nun-like exclusion the persons gives a patent evidence that of the male sex--no eye that seeks the there is neither a life-long vow of obe- ground—no demure aspect—no black dience to an oppressive rule, nor any garment. There is at Kaiserswerth the touch of self-righteousness in the cha- simplicity of real life in this workingracter of the institution. The deaconess, day-world, as exhibited by persons with her healthful, beaming, loving, whose actions are under the influence of countenance, distinguished from her grateful love to their Lord and Reneighbours only by her dark print gown, deemer, and to their fellow-pilgrims. a white habit-shirt, and cap (a bit of We quitted the animated scene with head gear that one often misses pain- hearts enlivened by grateful admiration, fully, even on grey-headed German ma- and returned to Düsseldorf to wander trons), looks all animation, attention, in its beautiful gardens, and watch the and lively collectedness of spirit. It is reflection of its foliage in the clear still in these respects, even more free from waters; while we waited for the Dampfany approximation to Popish monastic chif that was to enable us to rerule than the “ Institution des Diacon- sume our descent on the race-horse

des Eglises Evangéliques de stream of the Rhine. France,” which is established in the Rue des trois Sabres, at Paris.

esses

DOCTRINE AND FORM IN THE CHURCH,

BY THE REV. J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE, D.D., GENEVA.

On Saturday, the 8th of October, at ceedings by addressing some exhorta10 A. M., the Directors of the Geneva tions to the students, on the necessity School of Theology opened the New of labour. He then proceeded as fulWinter Session, in presence of many of lows :their friends and of forty-six students. But this is not all that I have to say Of the latter sixteen were entered for to you. What is of higher importance the first time, and the whole number than your labour, is that which ought was made up of 14 Swiss, 10 French, to be the soul of your labour. The 9 Piedmontese Vaudois, 5 Belgians, 4 question naturally occurs, what, at this Americans, 1 African (from Mauritius time, ought to be the ruling thought in or Isle of France), 1 Dutchman, 1 Ger- a youthful disciple, and even in a miniman, 1 Englishman (from Jersey).* ster of God's Word. The students, from the very multipli- In order to know where to look for city of their nationalties, preserve that this thought, let us distinguish, first of truly Catholic character which has dis- all, the elements which, if I may so extinguished the Geneva School of Theo- press myself, form the true hierarchy logy from its very commencement. of Christianity and of the Church.

After tbe invocation of the name of These elements are three in numberthe Lord, by Professor Pilet, and the doctrine, life, and form. None of the reading of the Word of God by one of three should be forgotten, and the order the students, the President of the meet- in which I place them, is at once that ing, Dr D’Aubigne, opened the pro- of their importance, and that in which they generate each other, life coming has perhaps too exclusively absorbed from doctrine, and form from both. our thoughts; but on asking myself what

* The number of students has increased beyond that of former years

Wholesome doctrine takes the pre- ought to be the ruling thought of cedence of all else. Some, indeed, put Christ's servant, it is in the field of life without doctrine before doctrine doctrine that I discover it. People are without life ; but, first, true life can- so much taken up with other matters at not possibly exist without wholesome the present day, that there is almost a doctrine, whereas, which we often see, risk of losing sight of these primitive wholesome doctrine, orthodoxy may elements. No doubt it is easier to folexist without life.

low from country to country the disFurther, supposing that there may be cussions of the day on sects and forms, a certain degree of spiritual life, without and perhaps these purely ecclesiastical a frank and thorough yielding to the pre-occupations of the present time, truth, there is much room to fear, lest have partly their source in a certain imdeprived of this salutary check, that life patience of mental fatigue. Far would may generate and even throw those who we be from encouraging this tendency. possess it into scandalous irregularities ; Does not the Spirit of God, according to a thing that has often been seen; while, the Scripture, search the deep things of on the contrary, granting at there is God, and does he not call upon us to wholesome doctrine without life, the search them along with him? First of latter cannot fail to result ere long from all, then, gentlemen, follow me into the the former, wherever there is a sincere- field of doctrine, after which we shall ly honest heart.

make an excursion into that of forms. As fur form, it evidently holds an

I. DOCTRINE. inferior place, both in order and importance, to the two first members of Dear brethren, the ruling thought this ecclesiastical trinity. It is true, of our whole lives, which I have it now that a powerful party in Christendom at heart to recall to your remembrance, maintain the contrary--namely, the is that which Paul points out to his dispapal party. The papal system is this: ciple Timothy : usya To Ths vossuías Form, the Romish form, before all, after pevothesor-Ogos. uvegále šv 0.2gxs—the which this form creates doctrine and greai swystery of gudliness, Gud manilife. Form ranks first in the Romish fest in the flesh. I do not think that, system, both in chronological and in in the time in which we live, there can logical order.

The Gospel system, on be found any thought that can be rethe contrary, states the matter thus : commended in preference to this to those Doctrine and life before all things, his- who are studying sacred divinity. The torically and logically, after which these activity of the minister of Jesus Christ create their form. I have no need, in must before all things be attached anew this place, to stop to demonstrate that to his person and to his kingdom. You of these two systems, one is true, the are not called chiefly to be the servants other false.

of an idea, but of a person. The master Now that we are opening the course whom ye ought to serve is he whom of instructions at this school of theology, John and Peter served. Cherish a I desire, gentlemen, to give the highest wholesome dread of the vague indefihonour to doctrine, as the first link in niteness of those theories, which would the divine chain by which God would lead you away from Jesus Christ ; for it connect earth with heaven. A voice, is from Christ alone, and from the man which it is not for me to praise, and who believes in him, that there shall which is dear to me, * called your atten- flow rivers of living water. Whatever tion not long ago to life, in adverting in theology, and in ecclesiastical docto the pre-occupation of men's minds trines, does not attach itself immediately with form. It is not my intention to to Jesus Christ, is but of secondary imgo back to an order of deductions which portance.

* Dr Gaussen, in his last Report on the School of Theology.

If there be a doctrine that may be from this battle before it is gained ? called the doctrine of this school, a doc- Is it not for the Church a struggle of trine that was the cause of its forma- life and death, to know if we have tion and the basis on which it was es- for our Saviour an Almighty Being or tablished, it is that of) the real divi- a mere creature-a living Christ, or a nity of our Lord Jesus Christ, manifested dead Christma God or an idol? Were in his real humanity. When people we to cease laying and defending the looked about for grounds on which they essential foundations of the faith, and could shew their malice to the founders should we give ourselves wholly to of this institution, nothing could be laid raising the forms of the Church, would hold of but this expression, employed in not this be to erect a building on lava our address to the Churches : Arianism, without caring about the volcano ? which denies at once the true bumanity It is true, gentlemen, that we have and the true divinity of the Saviour, apparently gained something, but this Arianism subverts the Gospel from its gain is rather a loss. Twenty or thirty foundation, This assertion wbich was years ago, our opponents frankly placed our crime in Geneva, we confirm and themselves with us in the domain of proclaim anew at the close of a period Jews and Socinians, and loudly mainof fifteen years, joyfully, and, if possible, tained that Christ was not God. These with greater urgency than we did then. tactics they have now changed; the

No, gentlemen, it is not that you may greater number of them durst no longer become servants of a creature that we utter their sentiments with such hardihave invited you hither, as the students hood, and content themselves with proof other schools are, but to be the ser- claiming this great question a matter vants of God become man. That Jesus, of indifference. Assuredly I would who was born of the Virgin Mary, who, rather have men who view this as an being wearied, sat down by the well, important question, even although they who walked in Solomon's porch, who resolve it in a manner that is contrary was struck by an officer of the high to the truth, for at bottom this indifpriest, who went to Calvary bearing his ference belongs to the same category cross; that Jesus who was a real man, with that which cares not about knowa man of grief, is God God over all, ing whether there be a God or no. blessed for evermore.

What is it people say in defence of This great mystery of godliness must this indifference ? That the doctrine be incessantly recalled to the Church, of the real divinity of Jesus Christ is aud it is my conviction that never was beyond the sphere of religion; that it this more necessary than at present. does not essentially affect any of the The grand cause of God manifest in the great forms of the religious sentiment, flesh is not gained. It is not gained at neither Christianity, nor Protestantism,

eneva, “ We willingly admit several nor Theism. Well, then, gentlemen, other of your doctrines,” it is sometimes we accept these terms, and we mainsaid there, but the doctrine of the real tain that without this great mystery, divinity of Christ, of his equality of there is no possibility either of Chrisesseuce with the Father-Never."

tianity or of Protestantism, or even of Neither is it gained in France. I Theism. The result is, that unless this speak not of the great mass of the mystery be in your heart, and on your French who, under the title of Catho- lips, you cannot present yourselves in licism, conceal the naturalism of Rous- the world as Christian ministers, or as seau and Voltaire ; I refer to the Re- Protestant ministers, or even in the formed Churches and to their ministers

name of the simple doctrine that there even, among whom a powerful and well is a God. Let us follow out, one after organised party rejects, with all its another, the three fields (of enquiry) force, the mystery of godliness. It is

we have indicated. much about the same among the other nations of Christendom, with some exceptions.

The opponents of this doctrine put What then? Shall we withdraw themselves first of all on the general

CHRISTIANITY.

man.

99

PROTESTANTISM.

we are

field of Christianity. “If one consi- Out of God there is no salvation for ders Cbristianity in its largest sense,

If there be no incarnation of say they, "must he not perceive and the divinity, there is no redemption of own that the divinity of Christ is not humanity. The love of God has not necessary to it ? Christianity, in fact, consisted in his giving commands to is the doctrine of the Saviour; now, in one of his creatures to redeem the order that this Saviour may pardon world ; that love has been manisin, it is of little consequence his more fested by quite other proofs. It has or less intimate relation to God; par- displayed itself in God himself having don is not the less efficacious ; I un- redeemed his Church with his own derstand these words : 'Thy sins are blood. (Acts xx. 28). forgiven ;' that is enough for me. A The doctrine of Christ's absolute bit of gold is not the less a bit of gold, divinity is not then a dogma superwhatever be the hand that gives it added to the Gospel, and which one me.”

may take up or lay down according I deny the thesis that is here main- to every man's own fancy; it lies at tained. If you require a Saviour for the very foundation of the building ; your own soul, that Saviour must be take it up we must, or else reject ChrisGod. And if you be called to make tianity altogether. You cannot be him known to the souls of your bre- Christian ministers without being the thren, you must make him known to ministers of a Saviour who is God. them as God. What! you would proclaim to the world a Saviour who is not God! But that would be to de- Let us have done with this quesprive God of the glory of saving us, tion,” our adversaries rejoin, and to give that glory to another. Protestants, and on the field of ProSuch a Gospel, instead of being a re- testantism we can at least maintain velation of the love of God, which the the doctrine we have laid down. What Gospel professes to be, would most is the offence of Protestantism, if it be completely eclipse it. Far from being not its declaring war against all superled to God by this singular Christiani- stition? The reformers rejected the ty, we should, on the contrary, be scholastic doctrines of the middle age, drawn away from him and attached to and at the head of these doctrines we some strange being, neither God nor must place that of the Trinity.”

God forbid! gentlemen ; quite the And, besides, how can we suppose

Without the absolute divinithat the merits of a creature can save ty of Jesus Christ, there is no true the Church? In order to our being Protestantism. One of the essential saved altogether, we must have a Sa- principles of the Protestant Church viour who is God altogether. If the is the nothingness of every finite being Saviour be no more than half God, half in presence of the glory and the esman, as the Arians will have it, then sence of God. That Church admits he can give us no more than a half no human mediation, no worship of salvation, a salvation which does not man, no worship of angels, or of any

The Unitarians are well aware being but God. Throughout the whole of this; accordingly, when they speak of Scripture we find an energetic proof salvation, they dare not attribute it test, a holy anger (expressed) against entirely to the Saviour, and they as- all man's proneness to deify the creasign one half of it to man. Their sal- ture; and the Protestant Church has vation is half ace, half works. In charged itself with loudly proclaiming order that you may proclaim a salva- to the world anew that voice of Jehotion which is altogether grace, you vah's thunder, which is at the samemust likewise proclaim a Saviour who time a voice of all gentleness :

"1 is altogether God-God in man. am the Lord, and besides me there is

Let people, then, abandon at last no Saviour." this absurdity, 'which has so long been Thus, then, the doctrine of Arianin vogue, of a Saviour who is not God. ism which would establish a creature

man,

reverse.

save.

« PreviousContinue »