Page images

age, and prior to the rise of "the great apostasy "-for asserting the truth and condemning error, might be easily shown. And when the glorious Reformation took place, and, to use the language of Milton,— "Then was the sacred Bible sought out of the dusty corners where profane falsehood and neglect had thrown it, the schools opened, divine and human learning raked out of the embers of forgotten tongues, the princes and cities trooping apace to the new-erected banner of salvation; the martyrs, with the unresistible might of weakness, shaking the powers of darkness, and scorning the fiery rage of the old red dragon;"-when Luther, and the rest of the glorious band of his coadjutors and followers, swept away the errors and superstitions wherewith the fair face of the church had been covered and deformed, and adopted the plan which had been employed before, for exhibiting truth and condemning error, that both might be contrasted with the infallible oracles of God, by publishing the Augsburg, Helvetic, and other "Confessions "--as theirs were in substance identical with those of the church in her purest times, so are these which follow, in all vital points, the same with theirs. No infallibility, nor even authority, is claimed for them on account of the men who compiled them,-however learned, eminent, and holy many of them were; they would, themselves, have been the very first to disclaim all such pretensions, and to say, "Be ye followers of us," in so far as "we are of Christ." "To the law and to the testimony.” But to every sober-minded Christian it must be satisfactory to find that, amid all the changes in outward circumstances, and all the varieties of forms and rites,-in every age the faith and the practice of the church has been identical; and it must teach such persons to cling to and contend for these, instead of attaching undue importance to modes and opinions that have been constantly varying.

The practice of exhibiting what the church has conceived to be the truth, and condemning the errors which, from time to time, were broached and propagated by its enemies, has been adopted from the beginning; and still prevails. With the view of showing, still further, the harmony which exists among those who "hold the Head," even under the most diverse forms of ecclesiastical polity, -to the more anciently published creeds adopted in these countries, is added "The Declaration of the Congregational Churches."

That "Confessions," like other things, may be abused,—on the one hand, by being enforced upon unwilling consciences by the fear of loss or the hope of emolument,-and on the other adopted, hypocritically, from sinister designs, by unprincipled individuals, -is at once admitted; but that, when properly used, they are important and warrantable, is by the common practice of all the orthodox churches admitted and sanctioned. They evince the sense in which Scripture is understood, exhibit the union of the friends of truth, in the assertion of its principles and testifying against corruptions,-and lay the foundation for harmony, in the "walking together" of those who are thus agreed." pp. vii-x.

Art. VIII. 1. The Church its own Enemy, being an Answer to the Pamphlets of the Rev. Dr. Chalmers. Particularly to his Aspersions on the Town Council of Edinburgh. Second Edition, corrected. By Adam Black. 8vo., pp. 60. Edinburgh, 1835.

2. Statement relative to Church Accommodation in Scotland: in Answer to the Representations in the Circular of the Moderator of the General Assembly, &c. By the Scottish Central Board for Vindicating the Rights of Dissenters. Third Edition, with an Appendix. 8vo., pp. 24. Edinburgh, 1835.


MOST truly is the Church-if we must give that name to an ecclesiastical establishment intended to secure a monopoly to a portion of the Church,-its own enemy; and most apposite in its application is the proverb which Mr. Black places upon his title page: Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." The infatuation of the upholders of the Church and State policy is extreme, and looks, we had almost said, like judicial blindness. Is it not pitiable to find such men as Dr. Chalmers, the sworn enemy of all compulsory payments for the support of the poor, coming forward as the champion of compulsory payments for the maintenance of the ministers of his own sect, and calling upon the Government for fresh grants of the public money, in order to outbuild and outbid the voluntaries, who have outstripped the state Church in providing for the spiritual wants of the people? We honestly confess that we have read Mr. Black's clear and triumphant exposure of the Doctor's unaccountable blunders and unwarrantable aspersions with astonishment. Never was a charge more triumphantly refuted than that which Dr. Chalmers brought against the Town Council. We have not room to go into the subject, but we strongly recommend our readers to obtain Mr. Black's pamphlet, which, though relating chiefly to a local dispute, furnishes a very strong case against the very principle of Establishments. We must make room for the following paragraph.

The Church (of Scotland) has long since lost its hold on the affections and confidence of the common people; that class which Dr. Chalmers is so anxious to recall to its communion. Give them sittings in the Established churches cheap or altogether free, they will not return. Time was when the inhabitants looked up to their ministers as their counsellors and defenders, but that was when the ministers were not the instruments of the court, or a court faction, but defenders against the corruption and the Church Establishment of the court. The people have long had to contemplate the ministers of the Establishment, not only subject but obsequious to the government that supported them; and during the reign of terror, when despotic go

vernments trenched upon the liberties of the subject, they had ground to believe that the clergy sympathized with their overbearing rulers, and encouraged them in all their despotic measures; and in the late tremendous struggle between a nation determined to assert its rights, and an aristocracy resolute in withholding them, the clergy, with a few exceptions, have thrown their influence into the scale of corrup tion, and ranged themselves against the people. Even to the present hour, the ministers of the Establishment gave their votes and their influence in favour of men whom the common people almost universally consider as the enemies of their rights and liberties.

• In regard to religious matters, they have not failed to remark the indifference which, with some bright exceptions, the Establishment has manifested, and the supercilious refusal of many of its ministers to co-operate with ministers and members of other denominations, for the advancement of objects of a benevolent and religious nature: they remember the disfavour which they at first showed to Sabbath schools, -the refusal of many of them to join with Christians of Dissenting communions in the Bible Society, the coldness and dislike with which the Establishment regarded missonary exertions, till after standing all the day idle for very shame, they at last felt compelled to enter upon the work at the eleventh hour, and then in how feeble a way! A facetious minister of the Church used to say, that the Church of Scotland's Mission put him in mind of a clocking hen wi' ae bird;" while the poor and small body of Baptists have their missionaries widely spread among the heathen. I need not again refer to the state and conduct of the Church in the Highlands and destitute districts, nor to the undue superiority which the churchmen assume over other denominations of Christians. And when they see, coupled with this, the wealthy members of chapels of ease petitioning Parliament for State endowments, that they may throw their own burden on others, their alienation from the Church is confirmed, and their opposition strengthened. pp. 47, 48.

In no point of view does the conduct of the Anti-Voluntaries appear so dishonourable, so irreconcileably at variance with candour or Christian integrity, as in the delusive statements put forth with regard to the want of Church accommodation. The palpable unfairness of these statements is demonstrated in the second of these pamphlets by a series of statistical tables, which entirely demolish the pretence upon which the application for new churches is grounded. For instance, in sixteen of the places referred to in the Circular of the Assembly's Committee, it is shewn, that instead of the alleged deficiency of church room, stated at 159,444, there is a real surplus of 35,653, according to the principle of calculation laid down by Dr. Cleland! The table attached to the Circular

keeps entirely out of view, the accommodation provided by Dissenters of different denominations, and takes up the extravagant position, that whatever may be their religious opinions, accommodation connected with the Establishment, sufficient for the whole population,

ought to be provided out of the public funds. In consequence of this omission, and by overrating the quantity of church accommodation required, the deficiency is made to appear enormous; for it will be seen from the remarks and table, afterwards given, that in the places which have been selected, while the Establishment has only provided, in both Churches and Chapels of Ease, 113,026; Dissenters, acting on the voluntary system, have provided 141,770 sittings; and it is also of importance to remark, that of the above 141,770 sittings, upwards of 130,000 are provided by evangelical Dissenters, who, it will not be denied, teach the great doctrines of the Gospel at least as purely and diligently as the clergy of the Establishment. Unless, therefore, in soliciting aid from government, the object is entirely sectarian, and with a view to proselyting from the ranks of Dissenters, this large supply cannot be disregarded.'

But that the object is sectarian there can be no doubt; for the existence of the Church accommodation provided by Dissenters is the provocative to the exertions now making to furnish cheaper seats in the Churches of the Establishment, and thus to bribe the attendance of the poorer classes. But will Parliament suffer itself to be imposed upon by such fraudulent statements, or lend itself to this desperate effort to recover lost ground from the Dissenters at the public expense! We cannot believe it.

Art. IX.-Memoirs of John Frederic Oberlin. Fifth Edition, 18mo. (with Portrait and Vignette.) London, 1835.

WE are pleased to see a fifth edition of this delightful piece of biography; and in this attractive and elegant shape, it will form a very engaging present, fit to range among the Amethysts and Amulets and Keepsakes of the Boudoir or Library-table; or, what were better still, to displace some volume of less intrinsic value. The Memoirs of Neff would form an excellent companion volume.


In a few days will be published, Ministerial Solicitude and Fidelity, a Farewell Sermon addressed to the Congregation of Holland Chapel, North Brixton, June 21st, 1835. With a brief History of the Author's connexion with that Place of Worship. By John Styles, D.D.

Shortly will be published, in two vols. small 8vo, Greece and the Levant; or Diary of a Summer's Excursion in 1834. With Epistolary Supplements. By the Rev. Richard Burgess, B.D., of St. John's College, Cambridge, Author of "The Topography and Antiquities of Rome."

In the press, in one small. Volume, foolscap octavo, Roman-British Coins; or, Coins of the Romans, struck in and relating to the Province of Britain. Popularly illustrated and explained. By J. Y. Akerman, F.S.A., author of "A descriptive Catalogue of rare and unedited Roman Coins." This work will contain an accurate description every Roman Coin having relation to Britain, and also an account of those, which were minted in this country during the dominion of the Romans. It will be illustrated by numerous plates on steel and wood.


Also, in 4to, the first part of a Series of 143 Plates of Roman Coins and Medals, comprising all the important varieties of the Consular or Family Series, and those of the Empire, from Pompey the Great, down to Trajan Decius. Including many of those struck in the Colonies and Imperial Greek Cities, embracing a period of 475 years. With Introductory Observations. By the late Rev. John Glen King, D.D., F.R.S. F.S.A. &c. &c.

« PreviousContinue »