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him"-si forte et illis favorabilior seu exoptatior sit? Whether this "probable opinion" will have the desired effect with the disciples of the Patriot we know not; that its object has been also to quiet the Editor's own conscience, is conspicuous in his own words: Why do we say this?" asks the Editor. "To reconcile our own minds to an arduous task, which, but for the consciousness of being engaged in a worthy and exalted service, would often be insupportably irksome.' That the task of agitation should often be "insupportably irksome" to the Editor we rejoice to hear, and we earnestly hope that the weight may grow so intolerable, as at last to force this public teacher into a confession of error.
But our business is now with the canon of Christian duty laid down in the Patriot. "The sphere of religion includes every secular interest, and to divorce trade, politics, or any other affairs whatever which affect us as individuals, or as members of a community from the aims, motives, or principles which Christianity teaches and inspires, is practical infidelity."
To be required to combat this pernicious sentence, is to begin with the first principles of Christianity. It is indeed an unexpected task, to be called upon to state those doctrines and precepts, which we supposed were admitted without hesitation by all persons who had any pretence to the character of professing Christians, and such we presume are the persons for whose benefit, and by whose subscriptions the Patriot newspaper is sustained. We will, however, very briefly touch on those points which to us appear to be the mere rudiments of Christian morals in the question before us.
The first argument to be adduced shall be in the words of the blessed Saviour, words which have been most abundantly quoted, and pressed for one object by the Dissenters of late years. My kingdom is not of this
world" (John xviii. 36). In how many speeches of Dissenting agitation, and in how many pamphlets have we not seen this sentence brought forward to convict the clergy of the Established Church of their secular position! How often have we heard a diatribe of self-denial, and poverty, and eleemosynary maintenance preached to the clergy from this text, either in public or in private! It has been considered a standing confutation of the secularity of the Establishment, and in our opinion justly so; but now that peculiar circumstances have brought the practical religion of Dissent to the test, we are gravely told
that the sphere of religion includes every secular interest, and that to divorce any secular interest whatever from Christian aims, motives, and principles, is practical infidelity." What is the Archbishop of Canterbury to say to this? Shall not all the Prelates now, on the best authority, adhere to their secular interests, and that not merely as an accident, but as a proof of their religion, and to avoid the charge of infidelity? Shall not the whole body of the clergy now say to the Dissenters, "You have now taught us our duty our temporalities and our secular interests we will adhere to on your own principle, for until you, who profess to be Christians more serious than ourselves, shall withdraw your interpretation of Christian duty, and really shew in practice, and acknowledge in principle also, that you think the Redeemer's kingdom not to be of this world, we shall quietly keep that position which preceding generations have prepared for us ?"
But still further, this divine doctrine, which we contend must comprehend within its "sphere" all those who suppose they are within the kingdom of Christ, has a deduction appended to it, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." And though these words had
immediate reference to the nonresistance, by force of arms, of our Saviour's disciples, yet certainly the contentious spirit of political controversy, and the turbulent movement of civic agitation is alike 'condemned by the proposition, as almost any commentator would acknowledge. One commentator of some celebrity is at hand; and we leave his words for the consideration of political agitators. "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
But not only are politics and political agitation declared to be a part of Christian duty, so great a part, indeed, that the omission of them would be "practical infidelity," but "every secular interest" is to be a necessary portion of our religion. Let us examine this by Scripture.
When the young man with great possessions came to Jesus, and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Matt. xix. 21). This surely was advice very plainly teaching the young man to "divorce secular interests, and other affairs which affected him as an individual of the community, from the aims, motives, and principles which Christianity inspires." If the divorce
is not here recommended, how could it be effected by words? But the Patriot says this is "practical infidelity!" The advice, however, was not for the young man alone; it was for every one who feels that "secular interests" are not compatible with the call of Christ. "Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit eternal life" (Matt. xix. 29). Here, again, the " divorce"
is inculcated, if words have any meaning. But the texts or passages of
Holy Writ to the same purport are redundant. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me; for whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. xvi. 24). 'If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple...whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke xiv. 26—33).
These texts are explicit, and to the point; and certainly recommend that "divorce" which the Patriot would have us to consider as nothing better than "practical infidelity." Again,
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through, and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also....No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on" (Mat. vi.). All this is marvellously hard against "secular interests" and "trade;" and we know not what gloss would be requisite to set aside the impost of these Divine precepts. It would be needless to multiply evidence of this sort, for who that has studied the Scriptures does not know that there is a divorce already esta
* We refer our readers to our last number. "The Pursuit of Wealth and Worldly Distinction Unlawful to the Christian." p. 58.
blished, as wide as heaven is from earth, between these "secular interests" and "the aims, motives, and principles which Christianity teaches and inspires." The Word of God in the new covenant has placed riches, honour, political power, aggrandisement of every sort, in their proper place, upon the earth, in the world; and has declared that Satan is god and prince of this world, and that he is the distributor of these things; that the kingdoms of this world and their glory are his, by permission, to give to whomsoever he will; but a Christian is to be a stranger, a pilgrim, a foreigner, passing through the world as on a journey to a better country, to more durable riches, to permanent honour, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." His affections are not here; his home is not here; his "interests" are not here; and therefore it is written for his warning, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
What then could be the meaning of all the precepts of our Lord, of the doctrine of the Apostles, the practice of the early Christians, and the example of Paul and the Apostles, if to divorce secular interests from the hopes and aims of Christians, be tical infidelity? And is not the effect of such an assertion to turn the whole body of Christian divinity into a solemn hypocrisy? For if this pursuit of worldly interests is the indispensable duty of the Christian, may he not say, "I am crucified with Christ, and my life is hid with him in God, nevertheless the sphere of my religion includes every secular interest; I have taken up my cross, and am
following my heavenly Master, nevertheless all possible affairs whatever, which affect me as an individual, or a member of a community, I am still closely prosecuting; I am a stranger and a pilgrim, and I abstain from all fleshly lusts which war against my soul, nevertheless I am accumulating wealth, and earnestly seeking to make my abode upon earth a nest of ease and opulence. I am meek, poor in spirit, spirit, a peace-maker, pure in heart, a companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, nevertheless I am deeply engaged in political agitations, I am a member of election committees, I canvass, I ride, I run, I toil for the liberal cause; I subscribe to Church-rate agitations, voluntary Church agitations, general associations for the promotion of religious equality, and all other schemes for securing or extending my political importance, or the importance of my sect; and this politico-religious course I intend to pursue until I shall have levelled all things down to myself, and have secured my full civic privileges according to the imprescriptable rights
We will not pursue the scriptural confutation of the Patriot's practical divinity, because it is an easy task for any one to undertake.
Let us now proceed to some "secular" considerations of the subject before us. "" The General Association" has caused no small commotion amongst the church people, sensible as they are of the dangerous predicament of the Establishment in these days. The Church of England Quarterly Review, is so irritated by recent movements in favour of " general political religious equality," as to recommend in terms sufficiently intelligible, the capital punishment of some of the leading dissenting ministers, "unless the various churches of dissent, says that Review, "solemnly protest, in the face of the world, against the published opinion of their brethren. Government should be pre
pared with their lictors, and armed with the fasces of rebuke, since that were better than that our bishops should be deprived of their mild paraphernalia of crosier and chaplain. If dissenters will not consider the difference between them and the church as a languid question of reason, but will deem it a lively question of passion, they cannot complain if the safety of the community be ascertained at their expence. In their imaginary evil, the general good will be arrived at; or would they that the legislature should pass an annual indemnity bill, to save harmless the revilers and overt conspirators against our holy catholic establishment? To chaos we are hurrying, unless the declamations and publications of these pseudo-ministers of the gospel be checked . . . . rebellion stalks abroad like a giant at noonday, naked and unchallenged. The language used at these meeting-houses and disseminated through the country by means of their organ the press, are aggressions on the public tranquillity,"
But really there is no need of these sanguinary measures to restrain the leagued antagonists of the church, neither is it at all requisite for the lictors of authority to unbind their fasces, either for the axe or the rod; for whatever mischief the dissenters may do themselves in this agitation, and the mischief will be considerable, they will not in the smallest degree injure the Establishment. The dissenters are not au-fait in the science of political warfare; they have been altogether strangers to it in all its branches till within the last five years, and the recruits have been loth to join the grand armament till very lately. There has, indeed, been a sort of tumultuary warfare carried on by some leading agitators ever since the national era of the Reform Bill; but it has been without discipline, or, indeed, any professed or well-defined object, till the "General Association" congregated all the scattered parties into one grand rallying point.
When Lord Grey was in power, the dissenters might easily have forced the measures for which they are now vainly striving; but their leaders at that time were averse to all political agitation, and were, moreover, most cordial ministerialists. Instead, therefore, of getting up associations, and rousing the nation against the church, they exerted all their iufluence to repress the impatience and calm the indignation of the dissenting mass. For a year and a half they succeeded in " supporting the ministry," i. e. in warding off from government an unfriendly pressure; but the dissatisfaction of the laity became at last too powerful for the bit and bridle of the clergy; and then, when it was too late, they convened that meeting which has been called "The Dissenters' Parliament;" a meeting where the leaders openly declared for the total separation of church and state. Then began the Voluntary Church Associations--then the court took the alarm-and then the King expressed his famous "allocution" to the bishops, which the newspapers in the interests of the church declared he delivered not without tears. The tears of the Head of the church could not be shed in vain; the King forthwith became the bulwark of the Establishment; and from that moment up to the present, the great political controversy of the nation has been of an ecclesiastical nature. The church question in England is at the bottom. of all English politics, as the slavery question is now the secret of all the politics of America. "The Dissenting Parliament" had the immediate effect of turning out the Reform ministers, and dissolving the Reform Parliament. Sir Robert Peel came in, and by a very small majority of the Commons was rejected. The church party, since that time, has gained strength to such a degree, as to lead some of its illinstructed friends to suppose that the hour of its danger is passed away. The church is in greater danger than ever, but not from the dissenters;
they may, indeed, be a small rivulet pouring into the great ocean which is rising with its overwhelming tide against the Establishment, but as a body they are powerless, incapable, inefficient. All their manifold " agitations" have failed; their Voluntary Church Associations are all dead and buried; Sir Robert Peel's return to power killed them all at once-they are gone to the tomb of all the Capulets, and no man can find so much as a remnant of one of them on the face of the earth; not so much as a relic to preserve as a curiosity. Then came the church-rate agitation, in which vast sums of money, floods of ink, and torrents of eloquence have been expended, but all to no purpose. It is " Vox et præterea nihil"-the total want of discipline amongst the dissenters; the semi-political, semireligious feelings and qualms of their leaders; the incurable bent of their politics; the different views entertained by the clergy and the laity; the wavering sentiments and vacillating dictation of their organ the Patriot these, and many other causes, make it utterly hopeless for the dissenters as a body to effect that now which they might have effected
five years ago.
There is not, therefore, the smallest cause of fear from the dissenters: let the clergy take heart, and let them be assured by those who well understand the whole mystery, that there is no need of the lictor's axe for the heads of the dissenting leaders. There will doubtless be a great display of public meetings in large chapels, and many very powerful orations will be uttered on the subject of religious equality, but it will produce no effect except amongst the dissenters themselves; the national mind will not be affected by it. The mass of the people are either totally indifferent to all religion -either careless of Popish, Protestant, Puseyite, or Dissenting distinctions, or else have their own sects with which they are perfectly well
contented. The General Association, though it has opened wide the door to Papists and Unitarians, will not gain any; the Papists have their private agitations and their own secret plots to mind. The great papal spiderweb is well spun just now, and is in excellent order; but nothing can be done without the assent of the old Tarantula at Rome, who "feels along the line," and keeps all in order. The Unitarians are smarting too much under their late loss of property, which they have sustained by the law-suits brought against them by their dear brothers in agitation—are too much irritated with their legal oustings, even to join again in a "United Committee." The cord of union is snapped, and orthodox Dissenters and Unitarians will unite no more. What materials then remain for the General Union? What but the Independents, and Baptists, and perhaps nineteen "Friends?" The Methodists will not hear of 66 the Union," not that they love the Establishment, but they have their own affairs to mind, and their own system to watch and guard, which cannot endure agitation in any form. The Congregationalists alone then, do form, and will form, the whole of this " General Union." This is the stupendous machine which is to throw down that ancient oak, the Established Church, whose roots have a grasp in the whole soil of England whose branches afford a perch for all the fowls of every wing, and in whose rifts and knotted holes are harboured all the bats and owls of a venerable antiquity.
In the mean time, the movement party amongst the Dissenters is still divided into Ultras and Moderates; and thus do the Ultras speak in a tone of angry despair of the accredited leaders of the agitation. The extract is from the Leicester Mercury of January 12th, and has already been reprinted in many newspapers.—“We beg to call the attention of our readers