Page images

tendency of which, in our judgment, for body versus soul; the interests of is heightened rather than counter- the latter, it would appear, not need. acted by the partial, and apparently ing that strictness of deportment reluctant, dissent which the con- which certain puritanical persons ductors saw proper to record when are wont to inculcate, under the the statements of the writer (who exploded notion that Christians are they parsimoniously allow was not not to be conformed to the world, altogether judicious in the choice of Archdeacon Browne has very satishis terms ) had called from many factorily replied to some leading of their readers and correspondents statements of that work, particularly a just remonstrance and demand for on the subject of worldly conforexplanation.

mity, gaiety, frivolous amusements, But we have done; and have only, free will, human merit, converbefore we lay down the Charge be- sion, and justification, (in reference fore us, sincerely to thank its author, chiefly to the notion of a primary in the name of our fellow-churchmen and a final justification, the first of and of our common Christianity, grace in baptism, and the second of for the very decided yet moderate, works). In addition to the pious scriptural, and judicious statements author's own excellent remarks, the on a subject of prime importance reader will find a number of va; which he has seen it his duty to luable citations from standard wriimpress upon the minds of the clergy ters of our church, which may provę of his archdeaconry; and to add highly useful, not only for private our fervent prayers that his zealous edification, but as argumenta ad exertions may be abundantly blessed verecundiam in repelling the attacks by the Great Father of Lights for of those worldly-minded persons the welfare of his church, and the who choose to plead for religious glory of that Saviour who came not formalism and secular conformity, to call the righteous but sinners to under the garb of sound, orthodox, repentance.

churchman-like principles, and con

duct. Since writing the above, we have perused a subsequent publication by Letters on Prejudice, &c. the same author, entitled

6 Five Letters, addressed to the Rev. G. On the Use and Abuse of Party Wilkins, Vicar of St. Mary's, Not

Feeling in Religion, &c. tingham, containing Strictures on ( Continued from p. 104.) some Parts of a Publication enti; In opening our review of these voSon. 1823.” The work attributed tion with the respectable author of Son. 1823.” The work attributed lumes, we have already, in conjuncto Mr. Wilkins seems to be a plea the « Letters on Prejudice," apo

prised our readers how far we can sin, viz. 'Adam's sin: and if, by a very venture to go in admitting that allowable mode of speech, substituting the cause for the effect, we say that we are

mere prejudice is the cause of divi

sion amongst professed Christians; born in sin, that is, in a state the consequence of sin and as a race of beings, namely, so far as they are really collectively considered, under God's com- united in heart, and Christians inparative displeasure, theologically and ju- deed, though with some unhappy dicially now called children of wrath, distinctions and differences in name. from which we are removed into a state of The separation between the real

grace' or favour, by a quasi regeneration, followers of Jesus Christ, and those every fair construction is secured to the who at heart follow and obey the expressions used, and neither truth, or fact, or critical exposition becomes intruded world, we can never wish to be less on.” Christian Remembrancer, No. 28. wide than it is : we should rather say, vol. iii. p. 195.

we can never wish any coalition to take place between them, further The present “ Letters," written than may be for the demonstra- with an express view to heal and tion of the most perfect charity on to unite, by a person evidently of the one side, and for the improve- very large and liberal principles, ment of the other. May the light taking comprehensive and impartial of true Christianity thus ever shine views of the state of parties and of before men, that they, seeing the the state of religious feeling in these good works of its professors, may realms, admit this lamentable fact glorify their Father which is in as the very ground of the author's heaven!

most material observations. Let • The present subject, however, is us hear the writer's own statement. of a different kind, and relates rather, as we have before observed, should be very well pleased to escape, só

« We now come to a point, from which I to differences amongst Christians

much do themselves, than to the separation it without yielding to the influence of the

feel the difficulty of discussing between them and the world : and prejudice which I deprecate: I mean, a though, in the present mixed state certain jealousy of feeling, by which our of the human character, the sub- church is just now unhappily distinguishject may apply to almost the whole ed, and many of its most pious and exemcircle of human society professedly plary members are made, as it were, stranChristian, yet in our treatment of gers to each other. it we shall not the less constantly

“ This jealousy is observable in the cold endeavour to remind our readers of and suspicious intercourse which we are the true, though hidden, limits of too apt to hold with those from whom we

apprehend any question of our favourite the question. And here, though it doctrines, though they profess a submismust be doubtless painful to rip up to sion as implicit as our own, to the authothe very

bottom long standing, and rity which is our common standard; and still existing,grievances in societies, it often creates a distinction, where no of whatever kind; we are too far doctrinal difference exists, from a general committed, both in duty and con- propensity to make our own views and sistency, not to proceed in the feelings the standard of judgment for

others. track we have already laid down in our last Number, with a view to shew, degree of compliance with the manners


The controversy with respect to the 1st, The division at present lament- and customs, and amusements of the ably existing amongst orthodox world, that is consistent with the ChrisChristians ; 2d, Its source in reli- tian character, and consonant to the spirit gious prejudice; 3d, Its marked of the Gospel (though a question to be operation in one or two principal tried rather upon general Scripture prinpoints; and 4th, The best method ciples, than by the application of specific either of its cure or its due regula- precepts), has produced more of this jeation. The discussion under the first lousy, and mutual severity of judgment,

than almost any other topic of religious three of these heads will enable us

discussion. Some personal feelings on to introduce to our readers some

either side have entered into the inquiry ; leading statements from the “ Let the decision upon it has been made a disters on Prejudice.” The fourth will tinction of party, and the charges of harshgive us a very satisfactory oppor- ness and of levity have been reciprocated, tunity of referring to the admirable while a mutual understanding would perBampton Lectures of Mr.Whateley. haps have shewn, that, in many cases at

Letters, 1. That there is a lamentable di- least, both were groundless.' vision at this moment existing

vol. i. pp. 109–111.

“ It is obvious that the two great amongst a large body of, as we

branches into which our national church trust, sincere and orthodox Chris- is at present divided, (I speak here of both tians, in this kingdom, and invading sexes, and of all classes), differ as much in even the sanctuary of our own truly personal discipline, and habits of life, as catholic and apostolical church, it in their

view of particular points of docwould be vain to dissemble or deny. trine. Indeed, in some cases it appears


that this difference is the only line of well as the condition, of justificaseparation. It is (may I say it?) from a tion, and lastly, though not so certain intolerance upon this point, and

strongly, except in the case

of a proneness to judge upon principles of

of our late Seceders, to sanctificaauthority, questions which can only be de

tion. On the last but one of these cided by expediency, and by reference to individual character and circumstances,

questions, that of the period of that we find some more strict and serious justification, it is evident our author persons shrinking from the friendship and has a very strong leaning towards society of those who truly admire and re- the doctrine of a first and a final spect them, though they cannot be per- justification. His statement, that suaded entirely to concur in points of this doctrine has “many advocates opinion which they consider as rather pru

among the most eminent members dential than religious, and on which they

of the church, eminent for Christian see no precise scriptural direction. To reject all who plead for liberty of judg“ humility and piety, as well as for ment upon such points, and to place them, theological knowledge" (p. 130), upon that account alone, in the class of we shall have another opportunity light and worldly characters, does not for considering before the conclu. surely appear to be quite consistent with sion of this article.

We must the exercise of that charity which think- now only say, that the fact of such eth no evil.'

a division as our author speaks of, .“ The converse of this prejudice seems is too strongly marked in its chato have created, in the minds of another racteristic features to render its exclass of persons, a strange and capricious

istence either doubtful, or, as we fear, association of sobriety in Christian principles, and attachment to the national harmless. Harmless, indeed, how church, with a free and universal adop- is it possible for any division to be tion of the habits and manners of the that leads to chilling separation, or world. It appears in this case to be quite endless strife and collision, between forgotten, that many of the peculiar re- the professed members of the same strictions for which the more serious spiritual communion, of which the party would contend, whether their necessity be established upon the evidence and the banner is love? “ A house

very cement is doctrinal uniformity, of Scripture or not, are certainly enjoined, divided against a house falleth:” and as tending to edification, upon the authority of the church; and that therefore, Satan himself is sufficiently well-in. however some may hold themselves libe formed in that point, to warrant the rated by the change of times and manners, declaration of Milton, a charge of disaffection to the church is

« Devil with devil damned firm concord not applicable to those who continue to

holds." observe such restrictions." pp. 113-115.

“ Men," Christians, churchmen, Subsequent observations, in the they “only disagree of creatures rafollowing letter, point towards a dis- ional.” It is, we suppose, because tinction in principle between these men of the world are conscious that two great branches; a distinction they have, in fact, the same principles on points of religious doctrine, more of prejudice and discord on other especially on the momentous doc- occasions, that the existence of such trine of justification by faith; though principles in a religious community we may be perfectly assured, as our excites little wonder. We author remarks, that “no well-in- are far from any wish tò magnify formed Protestant will deliberately these dissensions, whether in or undervalue the doctrine of justifica- even out of the church,' beyond tion by faith, or degrade it from its their real size or importance. Our high and prominent place in the highest wish would be rather, if Christian system.” (p. 123.) The possible, to presume their non-ex.. other doctrinal distinctions to which istence; and to make it appear,

that he alludes, relate chiefly to bap- where we are all of one heart, we tismal regeneration,—the period, as are, or shall soon become but for


the absence of a very little mutual putation attached to the other. The acexplanation, of one mind also.tivity of Christian zeal is checked, on the But we cannot close our eyes or

one hand, lest it should pass the bounds our understandings against the

of sober orthodoxy; the extravagances of

enthusiasm are excused, if not defended, existence of a very strong party on the other, lest, in eradicating this weed spirit. In certain circles are no

from the human mind, the good seed of doubt most harmoniously painted, piety should be rooted out also.” Letters, men of very different principles, vol. i. p. 116. habits, and connexions. « Our ene

We were going to add some what mies within the church,” are in

more of our own upon the lamendeed often defined with such a free table features of this fatal misuncomprehension of particulars, as to derstanding, cherished and loved, we embrace all who have any cordial fear, too much on all sides; upon the and disinterested attachment to the sad encouragement arising from it peculiarities of Christianity, or the to false zeal, and the repression of duties of the sacred calling. In true zeal ; the food afforded by it to consequence, a counter prejudice vanity and the love of popularity; is sometimes engendered, under the famine brought upon all true which a lowly minded pastor may and legitimate efforts for the public labour without any just reason, and good; the misrepresentations, carput himself into a humble attitude ried up even to the highest quarters, of self-defence, as if his archdeacon of persons deserving a very diffeor diocesan intended to look him rent notice ; and the consequent out of countenance for having pre- fostering of exertions which will end sumed to mingle zeal with his dis

as they began in a low and calcucretion; or to rise above the level lating selfishness, and will never of a mere hireling, slumbering all avail in the dark and trying day. the week himself, and teaching his But we are unwilling to dwell furparishioners to slumber on the Sun- ther on ill omened forebodings ; and day. We write under the sober would rather endeavour to heal the consciousness, and we may add the painful feelings excited by the shame, of feeling that things must fact of the existence of such a be very different from what they division by urging the application ought to be, when such mutual of the sage admonition contained in jealousies are found in a church the passage which follows the last which has within itself, if ever church

quotation. had, the elements of peace and concord; but in which, alas ! these disa- taking the common ground on which it is

“Surely it were better for both parties, greements go a great length towards their duty to meet, as church members nullifying its highest advantages and and as Christians, to endeavour to come to best capacities for conferring the a mutual understanding: to ascertain from greatest blessings on our own coun- the Scriptute,which is their common stantry and the world. The two sentences dard, the real temper and genius of Chrisfollowing convey a just and afflicting tianity, and by the test of personal appliview of the deadening effect of these cation, to judge of its influence upon prejudices and false impressions, themselves. By this test only, wil zeal on the activities of the Christian and soberness, which are perfectly com

patible, and are both necessary features in church.

the genuine Christian character, be distin“ Under such an impression, the guished from enthusiasm and apathy, which charges of apathy and enthusiasm, though are perhaps the opposite extremes of its they may have been originally applied to abuse. By this test, it will be seen, and, in the insulated and extreme cases, come gra- spirit of charitable discussion, it may be đually to be used as the distinction of mutually demonstrated, that as he does whole classes ; and ground is perhaps af- not deserve to be called an enthusiast forded for both, by the fear entertained by who believes every doctrine and obeys each of the partiesy of incurring the im- every precept of his Bible, and only de

yotes himself more entirely to religion variety of opinions are taken up than is customary with the society around without sufficient ground, which have him, so neither is he to be charged with the unhappy effect of sowing disindifference who holds himself bound to sension amongst brethren; some of check the aberrations of zeal without knowledge, or to expose what he honestly be- which are indeed taken up very inlieves to be a deviation from the principles nocently, through certain incidental of Scripture and of the church. The impressions upon the understanding, best proof of Christian sincerity, in both from circumstances chiefly external parties, is a co-operation in works of and uncontroulable, whilst others Christian benevolence; or (if circum- are taken up with no better ground stances make this imprudent or imprac

of reason than a more questionable ticable) a noble emulation in each to

or even guilty indulgence of some surpass the oiher. "It is impossible that those who go about.

evil passion, which closes the ear doing good in their Master's name, how

and hardens the heart against light ever different may be their departments of and conviction. In the former service, should long continue to speak, or case, it must be fully allowed to be to think, evil of each other ; and perhaps a hopeful, as well as a charitable there never was a more beautiful exem- task, to remove the prejudice which, plification of the power of Christian love like an external veil, cruelly preand Christian principle, than in the sacri- vents Christians of one heart and fices of local and personal prejudice, pro

soul, of one common feature and duced by the magnificent associations, which it has been the privilege of this resemblance, from recognizing and highly-favoured country to originate." embracing each other. But, in the Letters, vol. i. pp. 116-118.

latter case, it is an undertaking of

a more questionable nature, either 2. But we proceed, in the second to prove that persons whose opiplace, to inquire how far it may be nions are severed from each other by merely prejudice which separates the intervention of guilty passions, these contending parties; and how

can ever be made friends, or that far it may be a more serious diffe. their respective peculiarities of opirence at heart which, according to'nion and practice are of a nature the limits laid down for this dis

to be otherwise dealt with than to cussion, no mutual explanations, nor be rescinded by genuine repentance even concessions, can reconcile, or and conversion of soul. ought to reconcile. An answer to Of the former kind, our letterthese inquiries will suggest itself, in writer assumes to be certain “Calinvestigating the causes of the divi. vinistic propensities of a very large, sion which we are lamenting. The and confessedly a very 'pious, porgreat object of the Letters before tion of the members of our Naus is to trace up this mournful divi- tional Church." The following exsion amongst Christians to religious tract seems necessary to illustrate PREJUDICE; and to exhibit the his ideas on the incidental causes causes of this prejudice in such a' of this alleged prejudice. manner as may best lead to a cure. Religious prejudice in general is to imbibe the general religious system of

“ I have already noticed our propensity described by the author as of two those to whom we are indebted for our first kinds; prejudice of OPINION, and serious impressions; and to this propenprejudice of PASSION; the one sity, I think, we may often trace the sudproduced mainly by incidental den and unhesitating adoption of the causes, the other by moral causes. tenets peculiarly Calvinistic, which has We do not clearly see the force of been supposed to result exclusively from this intended antithesis ; for inci

a diligent and unbiassed perusal of the dental is properly opposed to acci- Scriptures

, free from the influence of those dental, not to moral ; but, as we

human schemes and systems that are so

apt to take possession of the mind under understand these definitions, the the more regular and gradual process of a substance of them is this: That a religious education. CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 255.

2 A

« PreviousContinue »