« AnteriorContinuar »
No longer can the "thoughts that wander through infinity” be restrained from the endeavour to approach
“For ever nearer to the life divine !" Life is now not a mere summer day of pleasure and of glory to the rich and noble; nor is it a brief hour of woe to the oppressed; it is a mystery, on the unriddling of which man's chiefest joys depend. The three greatest philosophic questions—the ever recurring difficulties of speculation, have been propounded. What powers have men? What duties do these imply? What hopes do these justify? That these were truly esteemed important is evidenced by the fact of their transmission; for men do not remember and register that which they account as valueless. Strange community of thought-that men in diverse stations, in separate cities, under different circumstances, should entertain the same notions, and express them similarly! Was not philosophy latent in the age? Had not its birth-hour come? It is true that there is no evidence before us of systematic thought--of carefully-elaborated theory or logically sequent investigation-of philosophy in its present signification. But no one can dispute the fact that these concise, energetic, sparkling sentences indicate the activity of the reflective powers, and announce and foreshadow the origin of a new era—the introduction of a new element into civilization—the impress of a tendency to scientific thought. Morals are now to be restricted by other considerations than those of personal feeling; life is to be viewed as the sign of many capacities and hopes; law is to be regarded as the protector of right and justice; man is to be considered as essentially ennobled, dignified; and if
“Thoughts are things and written thoughts are seeds," may we not yet expect to find that in the after ages men shall consent to pursue the pilgrimage of life in obedience to the decisive teaching of a pure philosophy,
"Led by that hope sublime whose cloudless eye,
Through the fair toils and ornaments of earth,
Discerns the nobler life reserved for heaven?”
Thales and his philosophy shall occupy our attention next.
Rrliginn. WHICH SYSTEM IS MOST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, AND
PRODUCTIVE OF THE BEST RESULTS- EPISCOPACY, PRESBYTERIANISM, OR CONGREGATIONALISM?
EPISCOPACY.--ARTICLE II. “ All order first from unity ariseth,
useful in itself, especially when, as in the And th' essence of it is subordination; Whoever this contemns and that despiseth
present discussion, it is one wbich, emanating May talk of, but intends not, reformation. directly from our Lord himself, continued to 'Tis not of God, of Nature, or of Art,
exist for fifteen centuries, not merely anTo ascribe to all what's proper to each part."
assailed, but supported by the hearty goodTo some minds, probably, it would appear will of the entire Christian world, and has unnecessary and presumptuous to inquire for three more survived the successive onwhether an institution, which has been slaughts of an insatiable Puritanism, of proved to be authorized by the voice of wide-spread Infidelity, and of a cold, selfish scripture and the early church, be good and | Utilitarianism. But as there are others
perhaps many—who will not rest satisfied candidates for the holy office, as reducing with this kind of recommendation; men who all its ministers, high-born or ignoble, learned attach no value to a traditionary institution or unlearned, to nearly the same level; and if it lack evidence of its intrinsic worth, - therefore (5) it must ever be incompetent in evidence from facts and principles of which aristocratic forms of government to command they are cognizant, and appealing thereby the respect of, and exert influence upon, all to their own understandings,- I now proceed orders of men. In this respect also, it wants to consider the second part of my proposition similarity to the apostolic ideal of a church, respectivg Episcopacy, by endeavouring to which, nearly all expounders of scripture show that it is the most useful and efficient are agreed, was intended to meet the wants form of church government.
of all ranks of society, to be catholic in its Previously, however, and with a view to spirit, and universal in its influence and those who may have been nurtured in erro- effects. neous or sectarian opinions, it will be well Again, in addition to what has been briefly to glance at the two rival systems, already remarked of Congregationalism, the that we may note what there is lacking in advocates of that system must allow the them which is supplied in our own. Con- force of the objections urged against it:fining myself, of necessity, within the nar- that it fails as — tending to disunion among rowest limits, I shall just sketch an outline, ministers; to antagonism of sects and parties, which my readers will, I apprehend, have and of congregations; to splitting and quarrelno difficulty in filling up from their own ling, even among the individual members of observation and reasonings.
the latter, many of whom often hardly Presbyterianism appears fanlty in the know what religious opinions they hold, and following particulars :-(1) It lacks simi- when they have any crotchets of their own, larity to the primitive Apostolic Church. are for ever striving to force them upon “For who can show of old that ever any
others.* Hence, Congregationalism wants Presbyteries without their bishops were, strength as a religious teacher a!nong thoughtThough bishops without presbyteries many ful men; having in itself no principle of
At first musi needs be, almost anywhere. That presbyters from bishops first arose
self-preservation as to polity, for truth and To assist them 's probable, not these from error may be successively inculcated from
the same pulpit; and among the middle and This has been shown in our former article, lower classes, on the half-educated or illand it takes away from the system that educated, it can have no permanent hold, prestige, without which it can have no per- depending as it does on their alms, which manent vitality. (2) Its particular mode are given cheerfully and liberally by few, of synodical action allows too much room for and tend to lower the respect of those few discussion and dissension among ministers,
for their teachers. It can, therefore, make and between ministers and their flocks, and
no effective stand against-it has, in fact, for the interference of private interests in ministerial appointments.
Thus, in the
* As a case in point, I may mention, that in a Church of Scotland, while one party is chapel not a hundred miles from where I am desirous of extending the rights of patron, posed to hold views in many respects different
writing, besides that the present minister is supage, another looks chiefly to securing and from his predecessor, the denominational aspect augmenting the influence of the people in of the congregation has much altered within a the settlement of ministers. (3) It gives very few years. In my own memory there have too much secular influence to, and thereby among the members, leading occasionally to
been several changes and angry discussions interferes with the ministerial functions of, numerous withdrawals. The chapel was built by the clergy;* and yet (4) affords little or no
Church men and Dissenters jointly, on the underencouragement to persons of the highest be read, and clergymen of the Church have, if I
standing that the Church prayers should always rank and range of intellect to become am not mistaken, in times past officiated there.
The present minister, however, has introduced
--ot without violent opposition, and without, * Readers of the life of Dr. Chalmers will I believe, any legal right-extempore prayers ; remember how that excellent man was pestered, and henceforth his doctrinal views, which may as a minister of the Kirk, by applicants for offices change once a month, owith the weather, be
come of course the rule of faith to his hearers.
at his disposal.
no preservative principle from the inroads | ful of long standing, and how much less of infidelity and superstition. Further, by with the newly-fortunate, if they appear no making ministers dependent on their congre-way assorted to those with whom they must gations, it both lowers their self-respect- associate, and over whom they must exerthat upright, independent feeling which every cise, in some cases, something like an public teacher should possess—and renders authority. Our provident Constitution has them too self-seeking—too apt to draw con- therefore taken care that those who are to gregations, to please and gratify rather instruct presumptuous ignorance—those who than unflinchingly to reprove the vices and are to be censors over insolent vice, should failings of their audience.
neither incur their contempt, nor live on Thus we see that Congregationalism and their alms ; nor will it tempt the rich to Presbyterianism both want the grand essen- neglect the true medicine of their minds. tials of a true and living church,-catho- We will have religion to exalt her mitred licity and spirituality.
front in courts and parliaments ; we will Now, how are these deficiencies remedied have her mix throughout the whole mass of in the Church of England ? By the con- life, and blend with all the classes of society. servation of Episcopacy, among other things, We will show the haughty potentates of the she presents à visible and undying repre- world, that a free, generous and enlightened sentation of apostolic functions, which were nation honours the high magistrates of its never intended to be temporary, and that church; that it will not suffer the insolence more especially in (1) her ordination of of wealth and titles, nor any other species ministers, giving solemnity and strength to of proud pretension, to look down with scorn the discharge of their functions; (2) pre upon what they look up to with reverence, senting, together with the remaining (tem- or presume to trample upon that acquired poral) peers, a court of dernier appeal, and personal authority, which they ever intend thus conducing to unity in ecclesiastical and to be, and which often is, the fruit of civil questions; this she further does by her learning, piety, and virtue.”*
One of the alliance with the throne, and by her estab-chief obstacles, my readers will remember, lished formularies and ceremonies; and (3) to the progress of christian truth in the in taking care that presbyters and others of early history of the Church, was the conher ministers do their duty,* and preach at tempt entertained by the noble and educated least all the chief doctrines of the gospel; heathen for its professors, whom they saw to for bishops, and those inestimable safeguards be, in most cases, sprung from the humblest against error,
creeds, have always been found and most abject classes of society. And in company. It has, in fact, been a very surely that which is the boast of Christianity prevalent, and by no means unreasonable —that poverty, weakness, and ignorance of opinion, that the perpetuation of the apos- fashionable literature, under its banners, tolic office has been the means of preserving triumphed at length, by divine aid, over the the Church: that thus, different ages and wealth, strength, and learning of the heathen different countries have been linked together world—is no valid argument against the in chains of harmony and love: that thus employment of wealth, strength, and learning the wholeness and unity of the Church have in His service, from whom, mediately or imbeen set forth.
mediately, they are derived. Now, EpiscoFurther, Episcopacy is politically useful pacy, by affording an opportunity for the in presenting inducements for men of the exertion of the loftiest gifts, secures to the highest abilities and station to enter the service of the Church men whose energies ministry, whereby an opportunity is given would never allow them to slumber in idleto religion of reaching and influencing the ness and obscurity, and which, if not directed highest as well as the lowest classes. "The against her wholly or partially, might yet people of England,” says Burke,“ know how be turned into a neutral channel. For if, little influence the teachers of religion are as Macaulay has somewhere remarked, one likely to have with the wealthy and power
* I quote from memory, but no mistakes, or
none of consequence, will, I trust, be found by Thus, I have known a clergyman severely readers of the . Thoughts on the French Revoluinsured by his bishop for supposed delinquency. I tion."
great secret of the success and strength of | indeed, be well for religion and the Church, Romanism is its converting to its own ser- if those holding high eoclesiastical appointvice the passions and fanaticism of the lower ments would pay proper attention to the orders, is it not of the highest moment to spirit of the age, and have a due regard for secure those whose abilities might render their own character. But calumny will ever them dangerous leaders of popular opinion? dog the heels of virtue, and to be beyond its I think so; and I deem it, further, one of reach, it may at least be said, leaves small the greatest blessings of our Constitution, room for excellence. Few, however, I think, that while by the intimate union between will venture to deny that the English Episthe ecclesiastical and civil powers-the com- copate has been graced by a long succession bination of Church and State-all orders of of illustrious men—men of the most humble the people have their spiritual welfare duly piety, yet gifted with wonderful powers, cared for, the contempt or indifference of the which they exerted to the utmost in the throne and aristocracy to the accredited service of religion ;* and who have with a ambassadors of heaven is thereby also ren- daring freedom reproved moral corruptions dered impossible.
and abuses both in Church and State, and Once more; this feature in our ecclesias- among all classes of society. tical constitution affords encouragement, But lastly, I would ask, have reason and consolation, and protection to the lower religion been utterly dormant in the Catholic clergy in the discharge of their duties-- Church for nearly two thousand years? Did stimulating their exertions by the prospect a few poor men awake, three centuries back, of approval and promotion,-binding them to- to find that all, or nearly all professed Chrisgether as members of one great brotherhood, — tians before their time had been asleep; that securing them against the influence of fanati- they had at last found out the true and vital cism in their own districts, and putting them, form of real Christianity? And if any will as it were, even though they make light of dare to answer these questions affirmatively, it into fellowship with those who live in other will they be able to account for the stupendistricts. The Church, thus constituted and dous anomaly such answer involves in God's thus governed, appears like one vast theo- dealings with his Church and people; that cratic communion-acknowledging one Lord though he has proclaimed that he would be as their Divine head and ruler; professing with them always even to the end of the one rule of faith as the watchword against world, and that all things should work toerror; and inviting by her different orders gether for their good, yet this institution of ministers, and admitting by one holy should have stood unbroken for fifteen cenbaptism, all who will—without distinction turies? | For besides that there is strong to" come and take the water of life freely." evidence in scripture that Episcopacy is of
But, I think I hear some one object, Divine origin; that it is in all likelihood bishops are sometimes—nay, often—found coeval with the birth of the Christian Church; abusing the high trust reposed in them; that the Apostles transferred some portion they forget their high privileges and conse- of their own judicial and regulative powers quent obligations. Not so often, I answer, to others for the prevention of disorder and for their civil position and accountability heresy, we at least know with certainty removes temptation to a great extent out that some persons were universally recog
and what remains is common nised among Christians as possessing these to all persons placed in high trust and exer- powers in the very earliest ages, and that cising responsible functions. Are not pres- the order lived on, though the flames of
are not Congregationalist ministers persecution raged most fiercely against it, -ministers of every creed
exposed to temptation, and occasionally found yielding * Witness, as one instance out of dozens, the to it? But does that prove there should be great work of Bishop
Butler, on " The Analogy no ministers of religion at all? Were the has done, and, I believe, is still destined to do college of Apostles an useless branch of the wonders. early Church because Thomas for a while + My opening remarks on the Crusades (vol. would not believe, because Judas proved a i., p. 408) will apply with tenfold force to an traitor, and Peter denied his Lord? It would, beneficent.
institution, the spirit of which has been wholly
of their way,
and though in proportion as any one of its' it was retained by all the Latin nations, members was eminent in the Church was he by the Teutonic nations in England, in liable to be called to offer up his life on the Denmark, and in Sweden; that though realtar of God's truth. There is incontro-jected, with great reluctance, in some parts vertible evidence that bishops existed as of Germany, in Holland, Switzerland, and early at least as the second century; there Scotland, yet that in each of those countries are catalogues of very many, ascending in some witness of its existence has been preregular series up to apostles or disciples of served; that it has passed over to America, apostles, even now extant. And be it remem- has established itself in colonies founded by bered, that the institution survived the dis- Puritans and Quakers, and grew up after graceful contentions which at sundry times the influence of England had ceased in those broke out in the Christian Church; that it colonies, and without the least state patronwas recognised by all the various sects which age is diffusing the gospel from those colonies were the offspring of those contentions, not to many parts of the world."* only by Catholics, but by heretics and readers call to mind all the circumstances schismatics, exposed though they were to here mentioned; let them reflect especially every possible influence of good and evil on the strong evidence for the Divine origin fortune; that it was likewise preserved in of Episcopacy, and compare its claims and all the various nations of the West, when its principles with those of the two modern they had embraced Christianity, amid all systems by the light of scripture, of history, the diversities of race, of habits, and of and of reason, and they will, I am persuaded, climate, and notwithstanding their wars with feel grateful to Providence for having preEastern Christendom, and their conflicts served to the Church of England this noble with each other. Be it remembered that, and venerable institution, free from those even during the throes of the Reformation, corruptions which in other countries have when the religious system of Europe tottered tarnished its lustre and diminished its useto its foundation, the leaders in that great fulness.
F. J. L., B.A. movement, Luther and Melancthon, Beza Compton-terrace, Islington. and even Calvin recognised the sanctity, the utility, the necessity of this order, and that * Abbreviated from Mr. Maurice.
PRESBYTERIANISM.-ARTICLE II. From the mild and generally moderate me remind those who are opposed to controtemper displayed in the respective papers on versy of the war of words--the strife of dispu this important question much good will un- tation-maintained by Luther, " the solitary doubtedly result. The universal Church of monk who shook the world," and his conChrist has been greatly benefited by contro- patriots, who won for us the mental freedom versy or debate-a mode of eliciting truth that and spiritual independence which we cherish well accords with the inquiring spirit of an as among our dearest rights and privileges. age distinguished by unexampled freedom of The world has been permanently enriched thought, expression, and action. Controversy by controversy: politics, morals, science, relihas been deemed by many persons as incon- gion, all have been placed upon a broader sistent with the pacific character of religion; and surer basis; and religion, vital and Godbut we do not think it inimical to the inter- sent as it is, has never ultimately been ests of pure and undefiled religion, when injured in its sublime interests by free and entered upon in an earnest, honest, and candid open debate. spirit—when truth not victory is sought- Believing civil government, when rightly when righteous feelings prompt the dispu- constituted, to be in the great scheme of tants to the attainment of noble ends; then God's providence divinely appointed, we conit is that controversy clears up doubt, banishes ceive that a union or alliance between the error, throws an atmosphere of light around religious institutions and the civil establishthe truth by which men may the more readily ments of a country may exist with signal attain that knowledge and mental illumina- advantage to the population of that country. tion that dissipate prejudice, shame bigotry, The nature and objects of Government are and win the heart to charity and love. Let certainly not those of the Church, yet the