Page images
PDF
EPUB

their followers are said to have been parties, it may be safest to waive the frightened into trying Romanism it- temptation of the topic. self; a fact on which indeed we do The Charges of our Bishops, during not dwell as of any very decisive im- this ferment of divinity, have, on the portance, (no more than we should on whole, been highly creditable to the the hundred fold as many converts in Episcopal Bench. It is true they may the opposite direction of Irvingism and not have satisfied those who, secure in Darbyism, and the other late varieties their own utter unimportance, cannot of the contrasted religious fantasy,) understand the weight of responsibility but which nevertheless clearly enough that attaches to the deliberate judgshows the propriety of at once and ments of men in high ecclesiastical utterly discouraging these fanatical ex- station ; and who accordingly conceive perimentalists, the growth it would that every trumpet (to adopt their seem) of the last three or four years. favourite text) “ gives an uncertain It is not to be endured that temperate sound,” if it do not roar in clamorous men cannot be permitted to indulge a echo to the bray of the theological right reverence for primitive doctrine mob. The majority of our bishops, and practice without having this odious like all sensible men, know well that and deformed caricature of Catholicity in the mingled course of human affairs forced upon their acceptance. Some it is usually both dangerous and unjust have talked of these foolish writers as to approve or to condemn by wholebeing concealed Romanists ; to judge sale; and in most instances they have of the effect of their performances on honestly refused to do so.* Where ourselves, we would pronounce it a they have seen error they have demore plausible conjecture that (if there nounced it, where they have seen inbe any concealment at all) they are discretion they have rebuked it; but concealed enemies to the remarkable like just and conscientious men, they movement of previous years, on which have felt bound to measure their vercertainly they are most skilfully con- dicts not by the suspicions and alarms triving to heap suspicion and disgrace. of the ignorant, but by the simple Most assuredly the divines, who are facts of the case. Of all these docuunderstood to possess the principal in- ments, and many of them are very fluence in directing the Anglo-Catho- eloquent and energetic statements, we lic party, ought without delay to mark think that that of the Bishop of St. their disapprobation of such wanton David's (Dr. Connop Thirlwall) is on figments as those to which we have the whole the most to our taste. The alluded, if they desire to preserve the prelate of a Whig government, his respect of the public. We are willing evidence upon a matter on which libestill to believe that they do not sym- ralist prejudices have been so powerpathize with these mischievous follies; fully excited, was awaited with conbut it will require more charity than siderable curiosity. It was the genewe can promise, to continue to believe ral expectation, at least of those who it, if they do not by simple and distinct had not the advantage of a personal disclaimers separate themselves from knowledge of Dr. Thirlwall, that his the responsibility of such disgraceful opinions would be found utterly and irdisciples.

reconcilably hostile to the party of preWe have a deal more to say on cedent and antiquity; in short, that they these points, but we feel ourselves would be found not a little to resemble getting a little warm; and, as we are those of our own ingenious and origiresolved to make our way through this nal-minded Archbishop. His strain of weighty article in perfect temper to all thought is however of a very differ

* In a late article in the Quarterly Review, which has amused the subscribers to that noble Journal on more grounds than one, and on none more than the droll mistakes which the writer has contrived to commit on the most threadbare subjects of discussion, this fact (the general current of Episcopal opinion) is strangely overstated. Avoiding as we have intentionally done through all this article any detailed advocacy of peculiar theological views on any side, we think it only common justice to say this. Whatever becomes of reasoning, let facts be rigorously adhered to.

ent cast. To us whose only desire is inquiries farther, but are more desirous to see the prosperity of the Church of of seeing and judging for themselves. Christ, irrespectively of all parties, it

All this indeed would be of little value, is truly consoling to observe how

if the spirit which has been awakened cheerfully this profound historian and

had been one of merely literary curiosity,

or intellectual energy. But every one divine contemplates the general ten

who has observed its workings, must be dency of the whole movement. Of

aware that the case is very far otherits literary results he speaks with the wise: that it is bent, with a deep conkeen relish of a scholar :

sciousness, and warm earnestness, upon

high practical ends. It may even be “I cannot on this account concur with doubted, whether there is not some those who would regard the controversy danger, lest this practical tendency as a subject of unmixed regret, or who should be carried to excess, and lead to think that any evil has hitherto arisen the neglect and discouragement of all from it, which has not been much more critical inquiries into theological suhthan counterbalanced by its beneficial jects, not obviously or immediately effects. I just now alluded to the bulk pointing to practical results. But it is of its literary productions : of those more important, as well as more pleaswhich may be considered as immediately ing, to observe, that the interest thus and visibly representing it. But the excited appears to have given a new mass of publications which though not impulse to the zeal of the friends of the -professedly at least-of a controver- Church, which has urged them to exsial nature, are intimately connected traordinary exertions in her behalf. It with it, and have not only taken their will hardly be considered by any, one .tone and colour from it, but could not as a mere casual coincidence, that the have existed without it, is far greater ; last ten years should have been so signally and I cannot but regard the whole, marked by 80 many important under: though including much that has no more takings in aid of her cause, begun in a than a fugitive or historical value, as a confidence which not long ago would have precious addition to our theological been deemed romantic, and accomplished literature, such as might perhaps suffer by sacrifices which would then have aplittle by comparison with all that it had peared almost inconceivable."-Charge, received in the course of a century before.

pp. 36–38. And yet it is chiefly valuable and interesting as an expression or indication of the new life which has been recently

Surely it is pleasing to hear this awakened in the Church. Others may

from a judge so competent to influence regret that public attention should have our opinions on such a subject, and so been so much turned this way, and wholly above suspicion of fear or fadiverted from the subjects which appear

vour. And after stating some of the to them of supreme importance-from “ reasons that induce him to contempolitics, or science, or political economy, plate the present state of the controor classical literature: but, speaking to versy with much more of hope than you on this occasion, I can only treat it of alarm" — such as the substantial as a matter for mutual congratulation, that, through whatever cause, a spirit

sameness of the present dispute with should have been roused, which has

that which has existed in all ages of engaged so many active and powerful

our Church, and which must naturally minds in the cultivation of theological exist in any church of moderate views; learning. As churchmen, we must re- and the reality (as he thinks) of some joice, that the study of Divinity should of the evils which the new teachers have begun to embrace a wider range undertook to oppose, he proceeds :than, for a long period before, had satisfied the greater part of those who “ And this suggests another remark, dedicated themselves to the ministry; which may possibly be of some use that it should have become more gene- toward soothing the apprehensions of rally conversant with Christian anti

persons who view the course which the quity, with Ecclesiastical History, and controversy has taken with alarm. with the original sources from which the When we hear of a school or party, knowledge of these subjects is derived; which is charged with an attempt to so that even ordinary students much less introduce dangerous innovations into frequently confine their reading to a the Church, and are informed, that it narrow circle of modern compilations, comprises a large proportion of the systems, outlines, and commentaries,

clergy, and a great number of the laity, and not only are used to carry their it is very necessary that we should

we

accustom ourselves to distinguish be. I believe no one maintains, that the tween the teachers and the disciples, the necessity is not merely general, but uni. guides and the followers: that versal and absolute. should remember that there may be a . So, language may have been used, general sympathy and approbation, which afforded just reason for jealousy which does not exclude many differences and fear, lest their dignity should be of opinion, even on important points ; so magnified as to exclude the use of that general principles may be adopted, other means of grace, or as to substitute but not in the sense or the spirit in means for ends, or as to encourage which they were propounded, and with- the belief that their efficacy is wholly out any of the inferences which are independent of internal qualifications. drawn from them, either by their advo- But since these consequences are discates, or their impugners. Indeed ex- avowed by those who have been charged amples of such partial disagreement with them, it does not seem possible to have already appeared : nor perhaps draw a line between the general prinwould it be difficult to point out indica- ciples of the opposite parties on this tions of considerable divergency in the head.” writers who are considered as the leaders and organs of the party. But at least there seems to be no reason to suspect

Would that the army of pamthat the mass of those with whom their phleteers and newspaper scribes, who principles have found favour, are not seem on both sides to live on rumours heartily attached to the Church in her and second-hand intelligence, and who present form, or that they are dis

unconsciously manifest so interesting an satisfied with the language of her formu.

innocence of the very elements of the laries, or desirous of any change in her public worship, not perfectly consistent

question at issue, could be induced to with her existing canons and rubric.”

copy the moderation of this very

honest and large-minded prelate. We The Bishop goes on to consider the

might then have an opportunity of disputed points in detail, and to show

hearing—which is almost impossible in

the din that surrounds us--the few how much more nearly adversaries agree than they themselves imagine.

who are really competent to instruct Of one which has been a subject of

the public on the subject. much bitterness he speaks thus :

On our own side of the water the

controversy has not yet produced any It is not, I believe, disputed by very extensive literary progeny. The any one, that which is called the high Archbishop of Dublin has written two doctrine of the apostolical succession Essays, now on our table, in one of (including, i. e., not only the bistorical

which he denies the right of the civil fact, that the ministry of our church is

power to concern itself with the estaderived by uninterrupted descent from the Apostles, but likewise that it was

blishment or fortunes of religion, in established by them as a permanent and

language perhaps too unqualified to unalterable institution, to be continued

instruct us much as to the real diffiaccording to certain invariable regula

culties of that profound question ; in tions)-I say that it is hardly disputed the other, discusses at considerable that this doctrine has been held by so length the social constitution of a large a part of our best divines, and has Church, which he makes altogether dereceived so much apparent countenance pendent on circumstances, and obligafrom the anxiety shown to preserve the

tory only as that of any other society; succession when it was in danger of in

and refutes the notion of a Christian terruption, that it would be unreasonable to complain of it as a novelty, or

priesthood with great ability, as against even to represent it as being now ex

the expiatory sacrifices of the Roman clusively held by a particular school. theory. We say “as against the Ro. Again, whatever ground there may be man theory,” because, as we find the for the charge brought against one expressions and ideas of some sort of party in the controversy, that it has ex. ministerial “priesthood" adopted all aggerated the importance and the over antiquity, and recognised by many efficacy of the sacraments, it does not

of our ablest anti-papal divines, we appear to involve any question of prin.

rather imagine the Archbishop someciple. Indeed, since the church herself teaches, that the Sacraments are gene

what overstates the notions to which rally necessary to salvation, it seems

he so strenuously objects. We have difficult for any one to exaggerate their always understood Mede, and Patrick, importance, unless he were to hold, what and the rest of our sturdiest adversaries

Vol. XXII.- No. 129.

are

SO

of Romanism, as well as the old Fa- commonly conceive ; that is the whole thers, to have spoken of a “priest- difference. If, however, any thing be. hood" which is as wholly subordinate yond this old liturgical notion of the to, and consistent with, that of our sacerdotium should be by any party Lord, as the function of preaching in intended, (which we need not say is inthe congregation is consistent with His tended in Popery, which supposes Christ esclusive claims to be the Prophet, and himself to be offered now as really as of ecclesiastical superintendence with on Calvary,) the Archbishop's reason. His sole right to be the King of His ing will form an useful antidote to church. The doctrine, we appre- such extravagancies. For the rest we hend, of the great denouncer of the need not add that his Grace's volume Papal Antichrist and of his brethren, contains many marks of his well-known was this, that the sacrament of the shrewdness of observation and logical Eucharist, besides being a communion, sagacity. was in early times held to be a solemn These, and the like, are interesting rite of acknowledgment of God as questions for detailed discussion. But Creator, and still more as Redeemer of the main subject upon which every the world ; and that the ministers of

man whose professional interests or the Church were the appointed officers accidental prejudices not to make this act of devotion in pre- strong as to overpower bis reason, sence of, and in union with, the peo- really desires enlightenment, is this: ple ; using for this purpose the sym- whether there is that utter impracbols of bread and wine. This, whether ticability of all conciliatory adjustapostolic or not, whether of much ment of men's views with regard to real importance or not, certainly ap- the general question of the Church, pears abundantly innocent, and not

which the party writers so studiously more liable to abuse or exaggeration maintain. Reflect for a moment. The than any other element of public re- first fundamental question of the conligious service. Ordained officiators troversy is plainly this: is the original in this simple rite may be supersti- scheme of the Church unalterable ? tiously regarded, and muy abuse their was it, or was it not, designed by its position ; but surely so may the en- Founder to subsist in unbroken perpethusiasm of their followers unduly tuity until His second coming ? Peneexalt, trust, and rest on the ordained trating through the mass of superinpreacher and spiritual adviser. Peo. cumbent rubbish, of worthless perple may give this eucharistic solemnity sonalities and unchristian abuse, there disproportionate value; but have we is the point. Of course (as we have never heard of any who made an already said) on the further question " idol" of the sermon ? All the in- as to the particular form (if any) ap: genuity of our accomplished prelate pointed for permanence, there must will scarcely succeed to eradicate the needs be a further discussion. But notion of " human mediation" of some that is another and distinct subject of sort out of Christianity ; in writing consideration ; not more disputed now his own book he is himself a “human than it has been at any other time mediator" of instruction. Subordinate since the Reformation.

The point mediation is the very law of the reli. now at issue, on which all other details gion of the Great Mediator. The whole of the controversy depend, is, whether chances of a heathen's salvation are, any form at all is of perpetual obliga. under Christ, rested upon the media- tion, so that deserting it without cause tion of a Gospel missionary as truly- becomes sinful ; whether God has not though not in the same sense-as ever only given a Gospel to His Church papist rested on the mediation of his but a Church also to His Gospel, and * priest;" the question, therefore, can intimated His will for the preservation never be mediation in the abstract, but of both; or whether He has on the the particular authority alleged for contrary commanded the Apostles to the particular kind and degree of me- preach and write, and left all else to diation supposed. The ancient Chris- human arrangements of expediency. tians thought that the minister was Is any existing visible church polity ordained to be an instrument of further an authorized ordinance as distin. blessings than the moderns, who admit guished from the rest? The Oxford him to be an instrument of many, divines, the primitive Presbyterians and Independents, most of the Roman obligation to preach. Now, thus to Church, and most of our theologians of preach universal freedom of church the seventeenth century pronounce for travelling has usually been found the affirmative. The opposite school, rather inconvenient, as it directly tends (with, as regards the primitive system, to dissolve the very congregation adsome of the Romanists who admit the dressed ; indeed, if fairly prosecuted, full papacy a later form,) most of the almost necessarily so, for no man can modern German theologians, and ap- say another church or preacher may parently the majority of our divines not be better than his own, if he will of the Reformation era, before the full only try the experiment; and it would development of Puritanism had alarmed seem, therefore, a logical deduction, us, hold the negative. The defend- that it becomes the minister's duty to ers of the affirmative, of course, de- implore every individual of his con. duce from their doctrine the practical gregation to try the degrees of spiri. obligation of upholding the peculiar tual benefit derivable from every other scheme of the Church (whatever they religious community within his reach, respectively believe it to be) as a distinct before he finally settle in his own. duty additional to the maintenance of These become practical difficulties of sound doctrine, and characterize sepa- some moment in carrying out the ration from it as a distinct evil addi- principle. And yet, murmur these tional to the maintenance of heresy. The divines, though it would be grotesque defenders of the negative, on the other thus to apply the principle, how can hand, deduce with equal legitimacy from the principle itself be surrendered their premises, that the social mainte- without surrendering the world to nance of sound doctrine is the only popery and priesteraft? To put all duty divinely obligatory; and conse- churches on a level, warrants men in quently that each individual is justic adhering definitely to none; to call fied before God in leaving any particu- any one the true and authorized form of lar church for any other where he society, is very hard upon the rest! " If thinks he will be equally benefitted, my religious community," sighs the Rev. and not only justified but bound to Mr. Poundtext, “ be but a voluntary leave it, if he think he will be in any congress, I have no right to blaine the slightest degree more so. Now we any man who pleases to leave it and set are not going to undertake any dis- up another next door ; if it be more, cussion of this great question. We upon what ground is it more, which have confined ourselves to simply stat- will not let in Bellarmine or John ing it, and its immediate results on Knox with their claims of divine either side. We have stated it with right?" And what shall we say of the solicitous fairness. No man with the numbers of excellent men that have ordinary amount of intelligence can lived under different systems, which deny the validity of the alternative : surely cannot all be permanently either there is some form of the church obligatory? permanently obligatory, or no one can Now it seems to us that a conciliation be justly blamed for leaving any one may be proposed which includes this church for any other (professing the last fact with every other truth held same general doctrines) at his pleasure. by either party. As nothing is more Just as in the obvious parallel--either odious than the conciliation which the British citizen is morally bound to sacrifices truths, so few things are live at home, or be violates no moral more valuable than the conciliation law in spending his life travelling. that combines them. To us it seems While again, since, if there be no ob- quite conformable to the analogy of ligatory form, it is the individual lay. the divine procedures, that a particuman's duty to leave any church which lar form (we do not now say which, our he thinks inferior to another ; it be- asoning holds on any hypothesiscomes, of course, his minister's cor- Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Papal) responding duty to enforce on him should be delivered as the perpetual constantly, earnestly, indefatigably, the and obligatory form of constituting propriety of instantly joining any and continuing the Church; and yet, other congregation the moment he that neither, on the one hand, should prefers it; otherwise there would be any man be bound to adhere to erro, an obligation to do what there is no neous teachers ; nor, on the other,

reas

« PreviousContinue »