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are delivered to do all these abominations ? Is this house, wbich is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes ? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord." Let such consider how far theirs can be a true repentance, while they persist in any single forbidden practice ; how far they can be said unfeignedly to believe God's holy gospel, while they are going on in courses against which that gospel declares God will visit with the most signal judgments hereafter ?
My brethren! a very awful circumstance respecting wickedness, or, indeed, carelessness about religion, is, that (as the text tells us) it dishonours God. It is a direct affront to him to profess ourselves his servants and subjects, and then to live in the works and ways of the devil, which his Son came to destroy. But there is besides another sense in which it dishonours him. He is pleased to account holiness a glorification of him, because it shows the world what his law is, and what good fruits it produces; and therefore men glorify God for the blessings of his truth. In like manner an evil life brings scandal and discredit on the holiest doctrines, and on the very God who is their author. We all know how a vicious Clergyman will alienate people from the truth of God itself. It is perfectly true that this is very wrong on the part of those who do not distinguish between the holy Church and the unholy minister. But is the evil minister less to blame for the consequences ? No. The enemies of the Lord blasphemed the holiest name because his servant David had fallen into dreadful sins. Were they right? Of course not. They ought to have distinguished between the truth which David professed, and bis own forgetfulness of that truth. But this did not spare David, and an express judgment was pronounced against him on that very account. “Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die." It is not therefore vicious Clergymen only who will have to answer for dishonouring God, and bringing discredit on the Church of which they profess themselves members. When the profane Jews mingled with the heathen, the strangers said, " These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land." They thought the God and the religion of the Jews must be like what they saw of their lives; and therefore God declares by Ezekiel that they “profaned his holy name." Every vicious Churchman is used as an argument against the Church. " See,” say the enemies of the Church, “ what the Church produces ! Look at those vicious and worldly men, and think what the Church must be to which they belong ! Can her doctrines be from God? These are her fruits, and is it too much to say, she destroys more souls than she saves ?" We know these things are not so—we know that the Church does not encourage idleness or wickedness,—but we shall never convince our enemies while these things prevail among us, though we shall afford them a fearful advantage against us. We may declare our attachment to our Church, and we ought; but our lives will speak more for her than our tongues or our pens; and if we earnestly desire to keep undefiled that great national blessing, let us live as those who know how to prize it. Some may persuade themselves that they can do nothing for the Church--that they are too lowly, too powerless. That is a great mistake. There is not one so obscure, but he can do a very great deal. Let him show forth the doctrines of the Church in his life. With a heart under the gentle constraint of christian love, let him show that he can understand the Apostle's command and the Saviour's example, not to render evil for evil, or railing for railing. Let him show that he has learned from his Church to pray God for mercy and conversion on his “enemies, persecutors, and slanderers.” Let him show that the gospel which the Church has preached to him has renewed his heart and purified his affections, and that, in the midst of worldly confusions, he is walking as a citizen of heaven. Every Churchman like this, be his station what it may, is a pillar of his Church, an evidence of her purity, a proof of her power. Every Churchman who does not this, dishonours his God. Like the possessed woman in the Acts, he professes the truth; he acknowledges the apostolical authority, and the way of salvation; but he is still personally beneath the dominion of Satan.
And is it nothing, my brethren, to dishonour God ? Hear his own declaration : “ Him that honoureth me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” If Churchmen of this kind multiply, we shall need no enemies to ruin us. God himself will become our enemy-not the enemy of those holy institutions which his blessed servants and martyrs planted in our land—but our enemy, to take them from us and transfer them to those who will receive and value them. The law was as surely given by God as the gospel ;--and yet, when his people would not hear the law, but dishonoured him by breaking it, the sentence went forth, “ the kingdom of heaven shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." So has it ever been ; the Church of Christ will stand for ever; but there is no promise that she shall stand for ever in this country. Shiloh and Jerusalem are in darkness—the churches of Asia are no more-time was when they were pure as ours hath ever been ; but they forsook their first love, and the Spirit departed from them.“ He that bath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Let us be zealous therefore and repent; let us adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things ; that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And thus may we humbly hope that God will protect his Church, and that no weapon that is formed against her shall prosper ; but that Israel may dwell quietly beneath the sheltering vine; abiding in him, and bringing forth much fruit, some one hundred fold, some sixty fold, and some thirty fold.
ON THE NECESSITY OF PRESSING FOR CONVOCATION. The King's Speech at the opening of the present Parliament referred to the Legislature the consideration of the Ecclesiastical Establishment in England for the purpose of making it “more efficient for the holy purposes for which it was designed." We should have much hesitation
VOL. XVIII. NO. IV.
in saying any thing disrespectful of a speech delivered by the constitutional head of this country under circumstances so solemn, were not his position peculiar. Every body knows, however, that the speech in question is not that of the King (than whom none sees better its absurdity and injustice), but the sentiments he is compelled to deliver by a ministry of which he is the minister-a ministry forced upon him by the untoward constitution of the reformed House of Commons, which has drowned the voice of religion, intelligence, and property in the roar of a mob, and handed over to the brutal and infuriated Papists of Ireland the entire government of the united kingdom. We shall therefore speak freely, as the exigencies of the country require honest and christian men to speak, on the document in question. Let the plain sense of our readers, then, advert for one moment to that article of this speech which submits to the two houses of Parliament the consideration of making the Church more efficient for the holy purposes for which it was designed.” Such a general reference would be highly unsatisfactory, even were parliament exclusively Christian; to make an assembly numbering a very few Clergymen in the Upper House, and excluding them altogether in the Lower, exclusively judges of the best means of making the Church efficient, would seem a very lefthanded sort of legislation. But look at the persons of whom the present House of Commons is composed ! Conceive Mr. O'Connell called upon to make the Church more efficient for its holy purposes ! He who calls its very presence in Ireland a nuisance ! or Mr. Sheil, who defrauds the tithe owner of his due, on the honourable and honest ground, that, unless he committed this robbery he could not sit for the religious county of Tipperary !* or Mr. Hume, who avows that the Church has no claim to its own property! or the members of the government themselves, who say much the same, whose very tenure of office is the principle of Church robbery-and who have lately accumulated another load of insult on the Church, the appointment of Dr. Hampden to the Regius Professorship of Divinity! Refer the spiritual efficiency of the Church to these, together with the Peases, Tom Duncombes, Wilkses, Roebucks, and all the rest of that holy alliance, the tip hairs of the Popish tail! How competent to judge, how zealous to adopt, what shall make for the spiritual efficiency of the Church! If such characters as these would abstain from legislating where they could neither legislate intelligently or honestly (which it is no disparagement of them to say they could not here), there might be some plausibility, though little reason, in referring the spiritual concerns of the Church to Parliament: but the very reverse is the case; the Papist, regardless of his oath, and the dissenter, in ecstasies at the opportunity afforded him of satiating his malice, would take up the Church question as warmly as the friends of the Church themselves, and verily we should soon see the Church more efficient for the holy purposes for which it was designed (in the O'Connell-Melbourne philosophy], viz. to provide victims for persecution and aliment for rapacity. Now be it remembered that government will bring the SPIRITUALS
Serjeant Jackson read in Parliament a letter from this gentleman to a Clergyman who claimed tithe from him, which shamelessly avowed this reason for his refusal! Mr. S. admitting expressly in Parliament that the tithes were the legal property of the Clergy, and, consequently, that he valued his seat in the House above law and justice !
of the Church before Parliament: they have pledged themselves to do so in the King's Speech, by declaring their object to make the Church more efficient for the holy purposes for which it was designed. What this hypocritical language may signify it is impossible to saysuffice it to be certain, that, in a greater or less degree, the spiritUALITIES of the Church will be brought by a Ministry formed of the Church's enemies, before a Parliament, a large portion of which is similarly constituted—a majority of which is favourable to the sacrilegious administration : and that the only attempt that can be made to resist this injustice will be in the House of Lords; whence a member of the other House proposes to expel the Bishops : a motion for that highly unconstitutional step being already on the notices of the House of Commons, which might, with equal reverence for the constitution, entertain a motion for dispensing with the legislative functions of the crown.
Will Churchmen permit this assembly to be the judge and arbiter of their spiritual matters, if they can prevent it? Will they not so much as try whether it can be prevented ? Will they say, “it is of no use to try," without stirring a finger for all that ought to be dearest to them? Have they no confidence in the righteousness of their cause, and in the God of Justice, who is not, however, be it remembered, the God of the indolent? Have they no encouragement in the very instance before them? How is it that the enemies of the Church have risen to their present supremacy? The whole work has been done in less than ten years, by union, by persevering, unceasing, effort. Is not the same course open to us ? the same, we mean, in the particulars we have stated ; not, of course, in the dishonesty, treachery, mendacity and malice of the godless party: which, though formidable auxiliaries for a little while, ultimately, like the elephants of antiquity, crush the party that employs them. The advantages gained by the enemies of the Church have been gained by the supineness of its friends; it is while men sleep that the tares are sown. Let the Church shake herself from the dust, and Popery, Infidelity and Schism shall be glad to skulk out of sight.
Every Clergyman should now consider himself a watchman not for his fold only, but for his Church. Matters have now reached that height, that the mere temporalities of the Church (important as they are even to the spiritual interests of her members) have become a subordinate question. The very substance of the faith is perilled by referring the efficiency of the Church for its holy purposes to men who regard those purposes profane and blasphemous. Up, then, and awake, Churchmen of England ! earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints! Rescue the ark of your God from the idolatrous Philistines ! Crowd to the throne, and demand the freedom of that CONVOCATION whose aight to assemble, even the utmost recklessness of modern audacity has not presumed to deny !
Our readers will have seen, that the Archdeacon of Bath and the Clergy of his Archdeaconry have petitioned his Majesty for Convocation. A part of the Archdeaconry (the Deanery of Bedminster) was forward in the same good work two years ago : but the whole Archdeaconry has now risen in favour of the Church's rights. We wish them God speed. The example of such devoted and laborious men Archdeacon Moysey and rural deans Willis and Collins, cannot be
uninfluential, unless every spark of true church feeling is extinguished among us.
As to the hopelessness of obtaining Convocation, we never took that view of the subject. His Majesty's mind is sufficiently known in his memorable declaration to the Bishops. But we are quite agreed with the language of Archbishop Wake, “I cannot but think it too soon to complain of the Prince, that he does not suffer the Clergy to meet and act, whilst they have not so much as once applied to him for his permission, nor done any thing to convince him that it is needful for them to do so. Convocation is not given, because it has not been demanded. Let the experiment, at all events, be tried ; and, if it succeed not, we shall have at least the consolation of Wake's ardent and eloquent adversary, Atterbury. "If he" (the author] “succeeds in his design, he shall think that he has not lived in vain ; if he fails, yet he will satisfy himself in having honestly attempted it, and done what in him lay to preserve to the body he is of convocation) the poor remains of their ancient legal rights and privileges; for he could not stand by, and see the great rights of his Church ready to sink, without endeavouring to save them.
The events of things are not in our disposal; IT BECOMES PRIVATE MEN TO DO THEIR DUTY, WITHOUT HAVING A DEMONSTRATION THAT IT SHALL BE SUCCESSFUL.”+
As to those well-intentioned but timid persons, who talk of the danger of the experiment; what danger, we ask, do they apprehend greater than the reference of our spiritual affairs to the discussion of a hostile parliament? For our own part, we know of no greater calamity than this. Our Church opponents
are bound to make out a strong case indeed, if they would shew that this is not the time to“ make a stand. We cordially approve the wisdom of the Bath petitioners in restricting the demand for Convocation to spiritual objects. We trust that this will be borne in mind in all petitions that may follow. It is important that our adversaries may not have to charge the Church with the shadow of an interested motive, further than that she is interested for the purity of her faith, and the glory of her God.
With these brief remarks, we commend their dangers, their hopes, and their duties to the prayers and labours of our brother Churchmen.
A CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE BISHOPS AND POPES OF
to the present time.
A. D. Linus. 66 Telesphorus
127 Anacletus 78 Hyginus .
136 Clement 91 Pius I.
157 Alexander I. 109 Soterius
168 Sixtus I.. 119 Eleutherius
• Wake on Convocations, chap. iii.
† Atterbury's reply to Wake, ch. ix.