« ForrigeFortsett »
best doings ! All our spiritual clothing; our humility, our charity, our prayers, our kindness to others, our gifts of every character, all our robes of righteousness imparted to us, as worn by us are soon polluted, and need the continual application of the blood of the Son of God, which cleanseth from all sin, that they may be made white. Thus shall we be found at the last among those who are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple.
THE JERUSALEM BISHOPRIC.
The circumstances respecting the establishment of the Jerusalem Bishopric by the English and Prussian nations, in a Hebrew Church on Mount Zion, with its first Jewish bishop, are full of deep interest, and eminently connected with the signs of the times in the East, the peculiar state of the Turkish empire, and the cleansing of the sanctuary, (as it regards a visible manifestation in the East,) at the close of the 2300 years. The full account of it has only recently come before the public, in a valuable article in the February number of the Christian Monthly Magazine and Review, a thoroughly Protestant, seasonable and able periodical. It is taken from the Prussian narrative of “The Evangelical Bishopric,” giving the Royal instructions, dated June 8, 1841, to the Prussian envoy, Chevalier Bunsen, as well as from the statement of proceedings by our own bishops.
From the Royal Instructions we learn the reasons why the King of Prussia wished the Evangelical Churches, amidst the divisions of the East, to come forward as one in faith. It is stated
• The shape which Turkish affairs have at present assumed most certainly, not without the overruling Providence of God, and especially the political position of England and Prussia, in reference thereto-have, for the first time, afforded Evangelical Christendom the possibility of demanding, as equal child of the universal Church of Christ, a position in the cradle of Christianity and in the Holy Land, by the side of the primitive Churches of
the East, and in the presence of the Roman Church, which would secure for the Gospel a free proclamation, and for the professors of evangelical truth, free confession, and equal protection. The present moment is an era in the history of the world ; and, accordingly, as it is recognised and improved, the Evangelical Church will be judged by history and by the Almighty. His majesty entertains not a doubt that the Evangelical Church owes it to herself, and to her Lord, at such a moment, and on such a theatre, not to present the stumbling-block of her disunion and dividedness; but, on the contrary, the good example of her unity in faith and her union in action. Her object in appearing there, beside the elder Church communities, and in the presence of Jews and Mahommedans, cannot be to persecute, to invade, to exclude,—not to strive, to scatter, to dissolve ; her wish cannot be to proclaim to the world her mission as a work of hatred and jealousy, but as a message of love, of peace, and of concord. *
* May not, especially at the present moment, the favourite thought of the Church's Lord be this : that in the old land of promise, on the place of his earthly course, not only Israel should be led to the knowledge of salvation, but also the individual Evangelical Churches, built upon the everlasting foundation of the Gospel, and upon the rock of faith in the Son of the living God forgetting their divisions, remembering their unity-should offer to each other, over the cradle and the grave of the Redeemer, the hand of peace and concord ?
“ His Majesty, for his part, will not hesitate, on this occasion, in full confidence, to hold out his hand to the Episcopal Church of England, which combines, with evangelical principlcs, an historic constitution, and a church existence, significant of universality.
His Majesty, in accordance with Apostolic Catholicity, and in expectation of similar dispositions on the part of the English Church, entertains no fear in expressing his readiness to allow the clergy and missionaries of his national Church, in all mission lands, where a bishoprick of this Church exists, to unite themselves with it; and, for this purpose, to obtain for themselves episcopal ordination, which the English Church requires for admission to an office. His Majesty will take care that such ordination shall always be acknowledged and respected in his dominions.
In the Holy Land, in particular, his Majesty is determined to do everything, which can on Christian principles be required, in order that united labours may be possible. The English Church is there in possession of an ecclesiastical foundation on Mount Zion, and his Majesty considers it to be the duty of all evangelical princes and communities to join this foundation, as the beginning and central point of conjoined operations; for his Majesty regards this as a ground of great hope for the futurity of evangelical Christendom. In the first place, their missions acquire thereby, throughout the extent of the whole Turkish empire, and in the primitive habitations of Christianity, a visible centre, and a living lever, whose power, once set in motion, will soon make itself felt even to Abyssinia and Armenia. But, besides this, another object of the utmost importance, and most earnestly to be desired, will also be attained. In the simplest manner possible, a Christian neutralground will be acquired, far removed beyond the bounds of narrowing nationality; and upon which, with God's blessing, by the conjoined operations of believing love, a gradual union of evangelical Christians may be prepared with greater facility than under any other circumstances.
Of course it cannot be his Majesty's intention, by such an union, to sacrifice or endanger the independent existence of the National Church of his country. According to his Majesty's view, an evangelic, true, and living representation of Catholicity, is that only which supposes this unity to be upholden by the divinelyordained multiplicity of tongues and peoples, and in accordance with the individuality and historic development of each several nation and country. Every National Church has, without doubt, like the people belonging to it, its own peculiar vocation in the great order and unfolding of the kingdom of God. Yea, every narrower, smaller Christian community in a Christian land, has undoubtedly, in like manner, the vocation and the duty to seek within the circle of the universal Church a peculiar sphere for the extension of love, and for which a particular opportunity and a particular blessing are given to her.
• But, especially, his Majesty, as German Prince, and King of his country, is penetrated with the liveliest persuasion, that the evangelical Christendom of the German people is called to occupy
an independent position in every representation of such evangelicapostolic catholicity, as long as the word of God is proclaimed in German speech, and His praise sung in the German tongue. His Majesty lives in the hope, especially, that in the present century, the position of the evangelical Christendom of Germany, as soon as it becomes conscious of its vocation, will hold a position proportionate to the general intellectual and political position of that people, from whom three hundred years ago the blessed work of the Reformation of the Church proceeded.
* In accordance with these convictions, the above-mentioned confidential conference must be governed by two leading principles. The one, the utmost possible unity of operation and labour in the Turkish empire, and especially in the Holy Land : the other, regard to the independent' existence of the Evangelical German Church, and to the individuality of the German people.
• THAT THE ENGLISH CHURCH ERECT A BISHOPRIC OF ITS OWN at Jerusalem, the King's Majesty regards as first condition and beginning of combined operations. The foundation appears already laid, as it were, by a special Providence. The first fruits of the mission in Jerusalem warrant the fairest hopes.
The Bishopric to be erected at Jerusalem would, therefore, connect itself with the foundation and buildings already begun on the Mount Zion, and comprehend all evangelical Christians willing to take part in it.'
The Reviewer well remarks :- Since the days that Cyrus published his proclamation,“ Saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built, and to the temple, Thy foundations shall be laid," a more remarkable or important document never issued from royal cabinet. It was conceived in faith, and written with Christian zeal, tempered by wisdom. The spirit of love and true charity appears in the King's willingness, for the great object in view, to concede everything that did not involve a sacrifice of honesty, or a surrender of the great Protestant principle of the right of independent existence and selfgovernment for every separate national Church. He is willing to unite with the Church of England in a missionary enterprise for the conversion of the Jews, and for the revival of Oriental Christendom; but he says distinctly, that“ no foreign prelate hath or ought to have jurisdiction” in his realm of Prussia. He offers