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at leisure to contribute to theological and such creeds which may be, and in past ages other literature. And we cease to wonder | have been, extracted from “God's revelation that the ministry of the Kirk is mainly re-alone,” must be legion-revolving at various cruited from the lowest and most indigent distances, and in ever-changing orbits, beclasses; and that, in spite of all its church tween the two opposite poles of truth and accommodation, it exercises little or no influ- error. Each Congregationalist, then, of eace over the better educated; when we B. S.'s views, being resolved on spiritual consider the general poverty of its ministers, independence, each being attached to no and the drudgery they are expected to go denominational form or practical procedure through. And can we hope for a better whatever, but as to all outward acts of worstate of things in England, if she should ship wholly isolated from every other being; ever trust wholly to the voluntary princi- where lies, I would ask, -in what consists ple” for the service of her altars?
the "external brotherhood ” he speaks of ? Passing now to a consideration of the Of what kind is it? “In itself, and by Congregationalist articles, we see that their itself, soul has no bonds of communion. The writers have certain principles in common Spiritualist, therefore, needs to have nothing which may be most easily evaporated. While to do with any other but God himself-nocharging those who differ from them with thing with living rational beings-nothing “ spiritual bondage-the subjection of reli- with angels or men. But he sees the utter gious belief to human authority,”: with unreasonableness of his position, and thereintolerance and bigotry, they display them fore, to hide the deformity of bis denial of a selves strong signs of that rationalism which bodily unity and its principles, he loudly is a feature of their class, and the true proclaims a spiritual unity. How antagospiritual bondage, and of that want of charity nistic to such a view is the proper notion we towards any system but their own, which is should be led to entertain from scripture of the true intolerance and bigotry; and some the bodily abode of our Lord in heaven, of of their theories, when carried out to their our own bodily state in the world to come, full extent, lead to the most erroneous con- of our bodily condition in this world. Thus, sequences. Is not B. S.'s view of religion scripture assures us that as members of the really one-sided, when considered impartially? Church we are members one of another; that Does he not, like most of his class, appear to God gives to each member his peculiar gift; regard it as consisting chiefly in mere out that we must beware of giving offence to ward impressions on the feelings and imagin- one another, of interfering with one another's ation? For though, rather inconsistently, province; must be careful to be of the same he can worship in an upper room," “ in mind, in all lowliness and meekness, paying deserts and caves," and loves “the storied all attention to our social duties."* This windows richly dight,” he yet admits of no spiritual independence “injures faith, by denominational form or practical procedure. bringing things unseen into sight through In questions of practice B. S. would profess assurance; damages scripture, by admitting to be indifferent; let us then see to what his equal truth in the interpretation of all that Congregationalist principles lead. These open it (for of course the ignorant peasant consist in “Spiritual independence, the sub- has as much right to judge of a difficult jection of religious belief to God in Christ, passage as the well-trained minister); it is and his revelation alone.” Now, wherein unfavourable to the development of pure does this consist? Is it consistent with religious feeling, by making light of appointed any kind of spiritual coinmunion (of which channels for its exercise; contributes to the B. S.'s class talk so much) between man spread of infidelity by means of rationalism; and man? Does it admit, when closely fol- and tends to the dissolution of good governlowed out, of joining in the prayers and ment in a country, by favouring the sovereignty praises of any one church or denomination of the will of the individual, by casting a Does it not thrust out of view the character- slight on antiquity, and by allowing the istics of members of a really spiritual com- introduction of novelties.”+ munion-faith, charity, and the essence of obedience-humility ?
* R. W. Evans's “Ministry of the Body," p.
252. adopt a creed for himself, and the number of + Idem, p. 456.
Now B. S. may object that the foregoing of belief before admitting converts to baptism; is informal, and introduces new matter. I and it is certain that the use of creeds was answer that the loose and obscure language general in the Church from the very earliest he has employed with respect to “external times
. Now, having disposed of B.S.'s illobrotherhood ” and “spiritual independence,” gical assumption, let us next consider the has rendered it necessary to examine how superstructure he has built upon it. He far they are compatible with each other, and says-Episcopacy, in claiming authority in that I have strictly confined myself to car- matters of faith, and yet avowing that it is rying out his theories to their consequences. not lawful for the Church to ordain anything
In conformity with his principles or that is contrary to God's written word, takes rather, want of principles --- B. S. proceeds up a position of puerile absurdity. How so? to arraign creeds and articles of faith, on the Does the judge, who claims authority in the assumption that a man cannot be brought to settling of criminal questions, and yet proadopt any belief at the will of his fellows. claims that he may not give sentence conNow, firstly, I remark, that this assumption trary to the laws, act absurdly ? Rather is only partially true. Outward circum- B. S. acts absurdly in denying the existence stances, which depend in a measure on men, of any power because that power has its have a deal to do with the inner life. How limits; and not the Church in claiming that came B. S. not to be a Brahmin or a Mahon authority which Christ himself has given medan? Had education nothing to do with her, and yet disclaiming all right to act conthe matter? This assumption savours of trary to His will, as revealed in His word. fatalism, and would strike at the root of When our Lord said, “If he will not bear Christianity as well as what the Church the Church, let him be unto thee as a bea. from the earliest time has recognized as a then man and a publican,” he gave the true expression of Christianity's fundamental Church authority, and commanded its emdoctrines, the creeds. To a half-educated ployment, though of course, not against the person, disposed to gloomy views of God and very charter and title-deeds in which it was nature, the difficulties in the Bible would secured to her. We find that this “ authority appear more inexplicable and weighty than in controversies of faith” was actually exerthe arguments for its truth. To such a cised, not only by apostles, but by bishops in person, endowed with some knowledge, sup- very early times; for one of the complaints pose, of the natural sciences, of astronomy, of St. John against the Bishops of Pergamos geology, natural history, &c., belief would be and Thyatira was that they suffered false difficult; unless, as in the case Butler has doctrines in their churches.* And this gives supposed, a long statement of arguments, some degree of probability to the opinion all tending to conviction, were carefully and that the Apostles' Creed, if not actually drawn discreetly laid before him; which even then, up, as some have supposed, by apostles themButler thinks, only would“ appear of very selves, dates from apostolic times. It may great weight to a considerate, reasonable at least account for the fact that the aposto
And children may be educated lic order of Episcopacy has almost invariably in this or that set of habits and opinions, been accompanied by set forms of belief
, as and their religious faith and feelings moulded well as of prayer. The necessity for such by the forms under which they are brought an authority is evident. From want of the up; wherefore articles of faith and creeds two concomitants — the disciplinary order are not so utterly futile as disciples of B. So's and the creeds, embodying the authority of school would have us believe. Our Lord scripture, and the consentient voice of the himself, as every reader of the New Testa- Church Catholic, which early recognized ment knows, proclaimed in the strongest them as the necessary and sufficient safelanguage the necessity of faith to salvation, guards of sound and vital faith to those who and that faith must have been capable of cannot--as very few out of the great masses being put into a form of words. There is of society can-study or inquire diligently every reason to believe that the apostles for themselves what to believe;– from want themselves used a short form or profession of these have arisen the most fearful perver
* "Analogy of Religion," Part II., chap. 7.
* Rev. ii. 14, 15, 20.
sions of scripture, the most revolting forms –2 Cor. x. 8, “Our authority, which the of bigotry and superstition, and the most Lord hath given us for edification.” St. bloody persecutions in all ages.
Paul, addressing Titus as a bishop, says, Episcopacy, however, which B. S. most ii. 15, “ These things speak and exhort, and illogically attacks through the medium rebuke with all authority; let no man despise of creeds and articles, could do without thee." And compare iii. 1, "Put them in them. Its fundamental principle, which mind to be subject to principalities and he and others have prudently overlooked, powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to is its corrective, regulative, and combinative every good work;” and Rom. xiii. 1-5. power. The fact is, it is easy to perceive, Secondly, as regards authority “in controthis is one of the principal stumbling-blocks versies of faith,” see 2 Tim. iii. 14, “ Conin the way of, at least, many of its oppo- tinue thou in the things which thou hast nents. Antipathy to being governed—as in learned, and hast been assured of, knowing the family or state, so in the Church-leads, of whom thou hast learned them;" and iv. through the spirit of lawlessness, on which 3, “The time will come when they will not T. R. has so judiciously commented, to ques- endure sound doctrine, but after their own tioning the right of the governor. This lust shall they heap to themselves, teachers feeling leads us to expect demonstrative having itching ears.” By the “itching ears” evidence where none but probable can be is meant a constant and eager desire, like offered.
the men of Athens in Paul's time, "to hear Strongly and decidedly as the general something new.” Tit. iii. 10, 11, “A man tone of scripture, (as must be known to all that is an heretick (i.e., not a heathen, or readers,) militates against the extreme views denier of Christianity, but who, as a Chrisof B. S. and “ L'Ouvrier," they have not besi- tian, held unsound doctrine) after the first tated to array against Episcopacy a variety and second admonition, reject," i. e., cast out of texts, carefully picked out, many of which, from the church's communion, excommunion a close examination, would be found posi- cate. St. Paul gave this advice, not to a tively adverse to their cause, while others congregation, nor to a mixed presbytery, but refer not at all to the question in hand, but to a single man,—to Titus, as bishop or to personal charity among Christians, as the overseer. 1 Cor. xvi. 13, 16,“ Watch ye, quotations from scripture in my opening stand fast in the faith; submit yourselves article would be alone sufficient to prove; unto such,” &c. 2 Pet. i. 20, “Knowing and the views the latter would naturally this first, that no prophecy of the scripture lead us to entertain of church government in is of any private interpretation;"-—here is apostolic times are fully borne out by other a refutation of the spiritual-independence passages, so numerous that with truth it may theory; and see ii. 1, " There shall be false he said, “ to transcribe all were to copy no teachers among you, who privily shall bring small part of the New Testament.' A few, in damnable heresies;" i Tim. vi. 2, 3, 4, however, must suffice; compare with B. S.'s " These things teach and exhort; if any texts and his views of spiritual independence man teach otherwise, and consent not to the following: First, as regards authority wholesome words, even the words of our in the Church, Christ says to his apostles, Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine whicli and as even Mr. Alford, whose views are not is according to godliness, he is proud, knowfavourable to Episcopacy, allows, to all who ing nothing," &c. Now, comparing some of by legitimate appointment are set to minister these texts, which are only a few out of in the Church, “Whatsoever ye shall bind many having the same tendency, with those on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what- quoted by b. S., especially from Rom. xiv., soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed one is struck at first sight with the apparent in heaven,” Matt. xviii. 18; and compare discrepancy; but on examination it proves John xx. 23,“ Whose soever sins ye forgive, to be only apparent, for on looking closely at they are forgiven unto them; and whose so- that chapter (Rom. xiv.) we find it refers ever sins ye retain, they are retained ;” and primarily to the disputed question of Jewish Matt svi. 19, “I will give unto thee the meats and drinks, which excited much keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Compare heartburning between Jewish and Gentile with these words of our Lord, the following: Iconverts in the first ages of the Church. On such trifles, St. Paul exhorts them to mutual | religions almost as odious as infidelity itself. forbearance; but on matters of greater con- " In 1643, Episcopacy was ' abolished; in sequence his tone is more decided:-“ Him 1644, three thousand clergy were ejected that is an heretick, after the first and second from their benefices; in 1645, the Prayer admonitions, reject,” and that advice, too, as Book was suppressed. Under Cromwell's observed, given to a single bishop. How administration, the Royalist clergy were clearly does scripture oppose the vaunted severely persecuted by the Puritans, no one right of private judgment—of spiritual inde- being suffered to receive them as instructors pendence! And how clear and indisputable of their children, while those who still reis the right of the Church to decide in con- tained an affection for the recently abolished troversies of faith, while yet it is equally ritual, were prohibited from using, either in clear she may not ordain anything contrary public or in their families, the Book of Comto God's word; and bow just is the language mon Prayer. And the London clergy, at a of our scriptural church, in proclaiming the meeting at Sion College (Dec. 18th, 1645), great truth that “ Whatsoever is not read in in a letter to the Westminster assembly, say, Holy Scripture, nor may be proved thereby, "We cannot dissemble how, upon the foreis not to be required of any man as an article mentioned grounds, we detest and abhor this of the faith, or thought requisite or necessary much endeavoured toleration. And in acto salvatiou."— Art. vi.
cordance with such sentiments all the clergy It has been said, Episcopacy was intended of Wales were ejected as malignants."* Can to be temporary. What proof have we of anything worse than this, or even equal to this ? None whatever. Rather, the fact of this, be alleged against the Established its having been kept up, and transmitted to Church? Does she not allow those conothers by those who were disciples of the scientiously differing from her to worship in apostles, as by Clement, Polycarp, &c. (see the way they deem most scriptural? Would the quotation from Chillingworth, given by Nonconformists, if they had equal powers, T. R.), proves their opinion to have been that act with the same moderation? I believe it was meant to continue. And this objec- not. From speeches I recently heard, of an tion might equally be urged, be it observed, highly inflammatory and offensive nature, against the Lord's day, the holy communion, made by leading members of the Conagainst religious meetings of all kinds, in gregationalist ministry, I am firmly confact, against Christianity itself.
vinced that Nonconformists still have among Here I could wish to have closed; but I them spirits nearly as intolerant as those of cannot overlook the charges B. S. and their Puritan forefathers. Was it not, during “L'Ouvrier" have made against Episcopacy, the usurpation, the very principles of Indethat “its spirit is persecuting; that it en pendency which mainly contributed to the forces subscription to its articles,” &c. Now, death of Charles the First—to "the grossest I deny the charge in toto. Does Episco- outrage on law, justice, loyalty, and religion pacy in England, or Scotland, actively inter- that England has ever witnessed ?
B. S. fere with Dissenters ? But if B. S. must should at least consider to what his Inderefer to transactions of two centuries back pendent principles have conducted men, beto show what Episcopacy is, I may follow fore he talks of the persecuting spirit of the same course to show what Congrega- Episcopacy. tionalism is; for on B. S.'s own showing
The latter system has now, I think, been it knows no variations; to modify it is to clearly proved to have a foundation in scripdestroy it." On such a subject, also, it is ture, to possess an admirable suitability to the easiest thing in the world for those who the wants of man in all ages, under all have the will but not the power to persecute, circumstances and forms of government; and to complain of intolerance; but the question it has also been seen to have many negative is, if the tables were turned, how would they merits, when viewed in apposition with other behave? for "men vested with unlimited systems. But its merits and defects canpowers are generally the same in all com- not stand upon anything here said. It must munions." Now, during the Cromwellian usurpation, we know that both Presbyterians and Dissenters considered toleration of other Hume's * England," vol. vii., p. 203.
*“ Report of Religious Worship, 1851," and
of the sea.
be judged by history alone. And already and circumstances, and considering the have twenty centuries given their verdict in numerous and powerful enemies that may its favour; and for anything I can see to the ere long stand up against religion and contrary, unless a fearful retrogression in the Bible, and the many and tremendous civilization, of which there are no signs, is conflicts that the church militant of the to take place, it may stand as much longer. future may be called on to wage against In every quarter of the civilized world its superstition, anarchy, and infidelity,- let us banner is being steadily borne forward. And beware of destroying her compactness and should the tempest of anarchy and infidelity strength by refusing support to those who, ever rave over England -should we be des- in her hour of trial, must be her captains tined to learn, by a long and tremendous and generals,—the guardians of order and discipline, the worth of those institutions, discipline, the true overseers of the Church delivered to us by our forefathers, which of God. And let us, when reviewing this bind men together as one society, and con- discussion throughout, bear in mind our own nect society with its Divine Author—Epis- weakness and fallibility of judgment, and copacy may rise as a beacon amidst the endeavour to follow the advice of an ancient storm, and be recognized by men once more apologist for Christianity (Octavius of Minuas the pioneer of order and civilization—the cius Felix; Holden, p. 89):restorer of paths to dwell in!” At present, “Now, as every discussion is carried on if it is not doing all that it might, or that with great trouble, and as, on the one hand, its adversaries require, it is yet fulfilling a the truth is generally obscure, and on the lostier mission than any other church system other, there is a wonderful acuteness, which under heaven. It is planting the seeds of sometimes, by profusion of language, gains future churches in every quarter of the credit, and looks like conclusive demonstraglobe,—in the gold regions of Australia, tion, — let us, suspending our judgments in China, in India, in Africa, and the isles awhile, weigh all arguments with the utmost
Let those, then, who view it diligence; that while commending shrewdthrough the false medium of sectarian ness, we may select, approve, and retain prejudices, beware of hastily or inconsider those only which are just.” ately raising their hands against it. And
F. J. L. let us all, looking beyond the present times Beach-street, Deal, Kent.
PRESBYTERIANISM.-REPLY. Had it been left to our own choice we terpiece of human sagacity in this connecwould have willingly rested the issue of this tion, and enjoying with the superlative debate on the representations of Presbyte- virtue of apostolical succession. Surely rianism already made, and on the examina- F. J. L. conceals a jest under his very grave tion of the other systems, in the course of defence of Episcopacy, for few indeed of its which so many salient points have been defenders have seen in its constitution indicated and successfully assailed; but matter for such unqualified admiration ; some of the writers so manifestly overstep we will, however, suppose all in good faith, the boundaries of discretion in stating their and reply accordingly. claims for Episcopacy and Congregationalism, Episcopacy, or the government of the that we cannot allow silence on our part to body of ecclesiastics by bishops, is without be construed into concurrence, and therefore countenance in New Testament times. The join issue with them regarding the claims pastors of the congregations, or synagogues, which they have so extravagantly set for- were called bishops also; but then they were
bishops only in their own synagogues, bishop F. J. L. sees in the Church of England answering to the office of teaching elder or an establishment free from the reinotest presbyter, and not having that extended taint of error. Scriptural in her doctrines, signification given to it in the English offices, and orders, perfect in her connection Church of ecclesiastical jurisdiction throughwith the State, subserving high political out a diocese—no such thing, in fact, exends without derogating from her still isted; a perfect parity of rank and authority higher religious mission--the embodied mas- having prevailed, except in so far as that