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tend, there was a time when even the Romish church allowed the reading of the Scriptures. But our business is with the practice and opinions of that church for two centuries before, and especially at the time of, the Reformation. To consider an assertion that the Romish church at that time usurped the power of prohibiting the laity from the Scriptures in the English tongue, as an assertion not proveable, and dangerous lest it should afford the Romanists a triumph, appears to me to furnish as much reasonable ground of alarm as the assertion that in London there is such a church as St. Paul's. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
INTIMACY WITH DISSENTERS. SIR,—In the “St. James's Chronicle” of Thursday last I find the following paragraph
“On Tuesday evening a public meeting was held at Surrey Chapel to commemorate the third centenary of the publication of the Holy Scriptures in the English language. The place was crowded to suffocation by a most respectable auditory. The Rev. Mr. Sherman, of Reading, presided upon the occasion. The business of the evening was opened by the Rev. G. Clayton, of Walworth, in a very im. pressive extempore prayer; after which, the Rev. Dr. Kenney, Rector of St. Olave's; the Rev. Mr. Curling, Chaplain of St. Saviour's; the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Baptist Noel; the Rev. Mr. Hawtrey, of St.John's Episcopal Chapel ; J. Elliot, Esq., the Rev. G. Clayton, the Rev. Mr. Green, and the Rev. Mr. Davis, addressed the meeting in powerful and eloquent speeches, pointing out the inestimable advantages of a careful and diligent perusal of the holy volume, and enforcing the great necessity of circulating its sacred contents throughout the whole world. A vote of thanks having been passed to Mr. Sherman for his able conduct in the chair, that reverend gentleman returned thanks; and, after pronouncing the benediction, the interesting proceedings of the evening terminated. A very handsome collection was made at the doors for the Southwark Auxiliary Bible Society.”
Now, Sir, as I have spent the most of my days in an obscure place in the country, I hope you will pardon me if I shall appear half a century behind the religious world in your great city in my views of right and wrong. For I confess myself full of astonishment at being told by a neighbour of mine, who is often in London, and is acquainted with those matters, that this Surrey Chapel is nothing more or less than a dissenting meeting-house, that the Mr. Sherman, of Reading, is a dissenting teacher, and so also Mr. Clayton, of Walworth. Moreover, that others, whose names are given, are really, as above described, clergymen of the church.
Surely, Sir, the editor of the “St. James's Chronicle” must have been imposed on by some ill-designing person, and the whole statement must be a fabrication. For only see what the facts would be if true:-1. On Tuesday evening you find several presbyters of the church in a conventicle, presided over by one dissenting teacher, following the extempore prayer of another, consenting to receive the blessing from a third,—this on the Tuesday evening. On the Wednesday morning you might go to their churches, and hear these same clergymen solemnly offering for themselves and their flocks no extempore prayer, but one which the church has put into their mouths“From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism, good Lord, deliver us."
2. You see clergymen in a meeting-house joining with unauthorized, self-appointed ministers in “pointing out to a “respectable," but (we are told) a “suffocated auditory' “ the inestimable advantages of à careful and diligent perusal of the holy volume.” Now, “a careful and diligent perusal” of the Bible, would unquestionably lead men to “ take heed what they hear,” and “how they hear;” to “mark them which cause divisions contrary to the received doctrine [of the apostolical church, and to avoid them;" and to see that “all things be done decently and in order," and in “obedience to them that have the rule over us, who watch for our souls;" and to remember that “ schism” is one of “the works of the flesh,” and that “God is not the author of confusion," and that we may not “do evil that good
3. Part of the priest's ordination vow in the British church is as follows:-“ As God is my helper, I will reverently obey my ordinary and other chief ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over me; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting myself to their godly judgments.” The worthy editor could not have been aware of this when he inserted such a statement. For the bishops certainly never could sanction the attendance of their clergy at a conventicle, be the occasion what it might. And it would be absurd to suppose that sensible and conscientious men (such as, without question, those gentlemen are,) would take so important a step without first consulting their acknowledged ecclesiastical superiors.
I hope you will excuse my troubling your readers with these my desultory remarks on a small subject. But I suppose it is one principal purpose of the British Magazine to invite attention to matters of this kind, apparently in themselves trifling, but involving important principles. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
E. P. Nov. 2nd, 1835.
MR. KNOX. SIR-A writer so ingenious and agreeable as Mr. Knox (to say nothing of higher qualities), must of course have a good deal of influence; and my intention is to suggest to his admirers one caution,not to be hasty in imagining they thoroughly understand his meaning in any matter of PRACTICE. Let me take one instance:-Suppose a person were in serious doubt (and it is no uncommon case) whether he ought not to unite himself to the Wesleyan methodists, and the writings of Mr. Knox were put into his hands as one of the most distinguished authors connected with that body of religionists; on examining the first volume of the “ Remains,” our inquirer would find Mr. Knox's opinions declared as follows:
1. That “ Providence...left an open path for John Wesley...to commence his career; and...to facilitate his [i. e. J. Wesley's) work, placed in the see of Canterbury a corrected dissenter.”—p. 50. See also p. 161.
2. That" methodism, as to its substance and essential features, is one of the most remarkable wheels in the great machine of the Divine economy.”—p. 71.
3. That “none agree with him (Mr. K.) more perfectly, than wise, pious, experimental methodists."--p. 72.
4. That “it, [methodism,] in its original design and scope, was a particular result of over-ruling wisdom and goodness ;" that “even the adjuncts of the system are unusually well adapted to the best interests of those who embrace it;"...that, “never, elsewhere, except in the apostles themselves, and in the sacred books they have left, were the true foundation and the sublime superstructure of Christianity so effectually united."-p. 74.
5. That of all collective [ecclesiastical] systems, John Wesley's has been the very best."-p. 77. “ The best that the world had seen."-p. 83.
6. That, “except at Pentecost itself,...that contagious piety,...which penetrates numbers at once," never was seen "more pure or more powerfully, than when J. and C. Wesley first began their truly wonderful career.”—p. 87.
7. That “ John Wesley's view of first principles,” and his “central Lesson,... never was, never can be excelled.”-pp. 163, 4.
Enough, (says the supposed inquirer,) it is obvious from these passages that, in Mr. Knox's opinion, Wesleyan methodism and pure religion are synonymous; I will take his advice thankfully, and join myself to the Wesleyans, as one “escaping for his life.”
Stay, (says Mr. K.,) though I have said as above, yet I wish you to bear in mind that it is also my declared opinion, recorded within the compass of the same pages
That though “in theory they (the methodists] maintain Christian perfection.... yet their common methods of piety have not a tendency to multiply living instances of it.”—p. 65. See 4, 6.
That methodists “have been much better witnesses for the truth of the thing, [Christian perfection,] than guides to the possession of it.”—p. 66. See 6, 7.
That “the plan of methodism had in it always too inuch of a kind of bellows blowing method ;” and “that the activities of the modern English methodists are not so directly spiritual as those of their predecessors.”—p. 68. See 1, 2, 4, 5, 6.
That never (but in one “single instance”) "could he note any express benefit to himself by means of the methodists;” but “ rather otherwise.”—p. 70. See 3, 5, 7.
That “to methodism itself, as a body of persons, and a scheme of rules, he rejoices he is not bound.”-p. 75. Because he would be obliged to "adopt practices which would unnecessarily abridge his Christian liberty."-p. 76. See 4, 5.
That“ John Wesley...was not able to open out consistently (though he has here and there exprest happily) a point” of essential importance in the “ Divine plan.”p. 162. See 1, 2, 4, 6, 7.
That “the catching this (the vital spirit of John Wesley's true mission] does not depend on embracing his outward system of societies, and classes, and bands."p. 164. See 4.
Now, Sir, without offering any opinion on the Wesleyan system, its merits or demerits, I may venture to assert that a person of plain understanding, comparing the above two sets of passages together, would be quite at a loss to know what Mr. Knox's real sentiments were.
The substance of his advice is
“I firmly believe that John Wesley had a special mission to communicate to the world a purer system of religion than has appeared since the days of the apostles, yet I never will submit to his rules myself; yet again, I would, on no account, dissuade others from so doing."
Bishop Butler says, that“ Persons of superior capacity and improvement have often fallen into error which no one of mere common understanding could."
This, I suppose, is the only account to be given of Mr. Knox's
singularity, not of reasoning only, but (as it seems to me) of moral feeling, shewing itself in this and in some other cases.
And I again would caution all admirers of his writings, especially young persons, not to trust implicitly to his (apparent] opinion on any important point which relates to PRACTICE.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully, A. W.
A. KNOX-DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION.--AND ANSWER TO
MR. SCOTT. Sır,*-It is admitted that, in the reformed churches, there were at an early period, (and generally it may be affirmed that there are still,) two statements of the nature of Justifying Faith. The one, that of Calvin, Beza, and their followers, resolving it substantially into personal assurance;t the other, that which the Anglican divines retained, that such assurance might be looked for as the effect, but could not be the cause of, justification; the faith by which the just shall live being a constant assent and adherence to the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, wrought in the soul by his Spirit.
It appears to me that this essay throughout runs on a comparison of these two statements and their consequences; and the language on which your query is founded may easily be accounted for by a reference to certain extreme positions which may frequently be met with in other quarters. My object being merely to illustrate Mr. Knox, and not to occupy your pages with controversy, I will merely refer to David Russell's Practical and Consolatory Letters;" particularly vol. ii., p. 75, 199.
E. C. P.S.-I have to thank Mr. John Scott for informing me that the error I had pointed out in Scott's “ Force of Truth” has, in two different editions, been corrected. Living at a distance from booksellers, it is not easy for me to examine all the different editions of modern books; but, finding the error still standing in an edition published so LATE AS LAST YEAR, by the Religious Tract Society, (see pp. 55-6,) it was not unnatural for me to conclude that it had still escaped detection, as it appears to have done through seven editions during the author's life-time. To a reader who has traced the argument of Hooker's Treatise, the error must appear a little remarkable ; and, as the impressions containing it are widely circulated, I do not regret having called attention to it. Perhaps it may now appear to
* “ E. C.” will see, by a reference to the Notices to Correspondents, that his first sentence was founded on a misprint, or slip of the pen, and is therefore omitted.Ed.
+ Calvin. Instit., iii., c. 2, s. 7. The popular language of the Homily may seem to countenance this statement, but can scarcely be deemed an accurate definition.
“ If any particular persons abroad have thought that a special and full persuasion of the pardon of their sins was of the essence of faith, let them answer for it; our divines at home are of another judgment."- Morning Exerc., vol. vi., Serm. xviii., p. 619, (an authority not to be suspected of bias to the other statement.) See also Arrowsmith's Tacita Sacra., lib. 11, c. vii. s. 4–6, where are many valuable remarks on the two statements, by a writer who had no Arminian sympathies.
VOL. VIII.- Dec. 1835.
Mr. J. Scott, that the sentence, which I still leave in the modest obscurity of its native Greek, belongs rather to the respectable society just mentioned, than to one whose only fault bas been that he relied too much on their authority.
Whether a sentence from the sixth section of Hooker's Treatise can be quoted as part of his answer to an objection first stated in the nineteenth ; or, whether a sentence aimed at the Trintine Doctors exactly suits Mr. Knox's case, are points which, I must venture to think, require a little further consideration.
LEIGHTON'S LATIN WORKS. SIR, -At the thirty-third page of Professor Scholefield's edition of Leighton's Latin Works, we read: “animamque corpori solutam non tantum non inori, sed et tum primum vivere, et tanquam exutis secardis in lucem nasci.' Read secundis, “secundæ, membrana qua fetus in utero involvitur.”—Facciol. The word occurs in Leighton's favourite, Seneca. (Ep. 92, page 324, of the second volume of the Elgevir ed.) “ Ita ille divinus animus egressurus hominem, quo receptaculum suum conferatur, ignis illud exurat, an feræ distrahant, an terra contegat, non magis ad se judicat pertinere, quam secundas ad editum infantem." Should we not also read, corpore solutam ?—Page 98. Spiraculum illud divinum, &c...terræ cætum miscet; non quidem prout phrasis illa vulgo sonat, res tam dissitas promiscue confundens, sed &c. Read, terræ cælum miscet; where terra and coelum are the res tam dissitæ.
At page 15, God is spoken of as, ávelaotov, Tòv övra. Professor Scholefield suggests ανεξέταστον ; I am termpted to propose αυθέκαστον, which is obtained from the word in possession of the text by merely rounding the bottom of v into v, and changing e into k. I must own, however, that I am not able to quote a passage where this word is applied to the Deity. Passow, after giving the meaning of it according to its composition, says, “consequently, úr loūs, simple, (i.e., uncompounded,) &c.” As it is, I must leave it to others to verify or disprove my conjecture.
At page 107, for Illi, (Scil. Homini,] which makes the passage awkward, as hominem is expressed in another clause, I would suggest Ille, emphaticè. At page 114, males would agree better with amplecteris. T'he sentence at the top of page 133, seems to require ut: quam ut....possit. At page 301, the nominative åuvnoria, cannot stand. Quære, auvnorią plenissimd obliviscendi ? At page 312, the words, omnia sint pontus, desint quoque littora ponto, should be distinguished in some way as a quotation, or an adaptation rather, of a well-known line from Ovid. At page 316, we have, “quod fidei radices quasi viritus incursans, altius figat.” Quære, rentus? I have omitted to remark that at page 128 the following distich is printed as prose :
“ Atque ita sat dignus, si quem dignatur amare,
Qui, quos non dignos invenit, ipse facit."