« PreviousContinue »
exercise the office of a Clergyman, than the natural qualities of water to make a sacrament: so that the one institution is as truly positive as the other.Pp. 133, 134.
Dr. Arnold has been pleased to tell us, that "the christian ministry is wholly independent of any pretended apostolical succession, which was a device to imitate the natural hereditary descent of the old priesthoods, by a succession of adoptions."* In this he does but follow the Bishop of Bangor; and to silence him on this head, we need but quote Law again.
Though your Lordship has told the world so much of the improbability, nonsense, and absurdity of this succession, yet I promise your Lordship an answer whenever you shall think fit to shew, when, or how, or where, this succession broke, or seemed to break, or was likely to break. And till then, I shall content myself with offering this reason to your Lordship, why it is morally impossible it ever should have broken in all that term of years, from the apostles to the present times.
The reason is this; it has been a received doctrine in every age of the Church that no ordination was held valid, but that of Bishops. This doctrine has been a constant guard upon the episcopal succession ; for seeing it was universally believed that Bishops alone could ordain, it was morally impossible that any persons could be received as Bishops, who had not been so ordained. Pp. 143, 144.
Dr. Arnold, Bishop Hoadley, Quaker Howitt, “et id genus omne," have united ever in a cuckoo cry of “ Priestcraft, Tyranny, Usurpation;" and invidious appeals have been made to the laity always, as if the doctrines of the Church of England militated against popular rights, and would rob men of their civil and spiritual privileges. What says our excellent champion ?
Your Lordship has, indeed, endeavoured to give an invidious turn to the controversy, by calling upon the laity to assert their liberties, as if they were in danger from the principles of Christianity. But, my Lord, what liberty does any layman lose by our asserting that church communion is necessary? What privilege is taken from them, by our teaching the danger of certain ways and inethods of religion? Is a man made a slave, because he is cautioned against the principles of the Quakers, against fanaticism, Popery, or Socinianism ? Is he in a state of bondage, because the sacraments are necessary, and none but episcopal Clergy ought to administer them?... If some other advocate for the laity should, out of zeal for their rights, declare that they need not believe one half of the articles in the creed, if they would but assert their liberty, he would be as true a friend, and deserve the same applause, as he who should assert the necessity of church communion to be inconsistent with the natural right and liberties of mankind.-Pp. 126, 127.
Finally, like Bishop Hoadley, Dr. Arnold has hinted at the revival of the Nag's-head story, to frighten us out of our opinions touching our sacerdotal succession. Once more, therefore, we consult the immortal pages of Law, and say to him, —
Whenever you shall please to appear in defence of the Nag's-head story, or any other pretence against our episcopal ordination, when we departed from
* Dr. Arnold's Sermons, Vol. III. Appendix, p. 425.
Rome, we shall beg leave to show ourselves so far true Protestants, as to answer any popish arguments you can produce.-Pp. 146, 147.
So complete is the parallel between the Bishop and the Schoolmaster! So identical are the mischievous opinions of Bishop Hoadley and Dr. Arnold ! So irresistible is the defence of Law! He slays the giant, and this his shield-bearer, with one stone from the same sling! The Philistine and his attendant may be buried in one grave, whilst Law alone shall have the honour of the victory; though we must not forget our obligations to those friends of our Church, who, in the reprint before us, have awakened our champion from his sleep, and recalled him to the field of battle, girt in the golden panoply of truth, again to subdue the enemies of our faith, and again to plant the banners of victory upon the walls of our beloved Zion !
Art. II.-1. New Englan, and her Institutions. By One of her Sons.
London : Seeley and Burnside. 1835. Pp. 393. 2. Journal of a Residence in America. By Frances Anne BUTLER.
(Miss Fanny Kemble.) Paris : Galignani and Co. 1835. Pp. vi. 326. 3. The Rambler in North America : 1832—1833. By CHARLES JOSEPH
LATROBE, Author of the “ Alpenstock," &c. In Two Volumes.
London: Seeleys. 1835. Pp. xiv. 321 and 336. 4. A National Church Vindicated; in refutation of a Petition from the
Dissenters of Glasgow, to Earl Grey. Part I. The Necessity of an Established Church further Vindicated, wherever the Existence of an Omnipotent Deity is believed. Part II. London: Parbury, Allen, and Co. 1835. Pp. 212.
(Concluded from p. 542.) The editor of the English edition of "New England" very properly corrects some of the statements put forth by American writers, on the subject of religion and its influence* in the United States. Our readers will not regret reading his corrections.
We cannot help appending here what Mrs. Butler says :“We went into a pew where there were two women and a man, who did not take up one half of it; but who, nevertheless, looked most ungracious at our coming into it. They did not move to make way or accommodate us, but remained, with very discourteous unchristian-like sulkiness, spread over twice as much space as they required. The spirit of independence seems to preside paramount, even in the house of God. This congregation, by frequenting an Episcopalian temple, evidently professed the form of faith of the English Church; yet they neither uttered the responses, nor observed any one of the directions in the Common Prayer-book. Thus, during portions of the worship where kneeling is enjoined, they sat or stood ; and while the Creed was being read, half the auditors were reclining comfortably in their pews : the same thing with the Psalms, and all parts of the service. I suppose their love of freedom will not suffer them to be amenable to forms, or wear the exterior of humbleness and homage, even in the house of the Most High God. The whole appearance of the congregation was that of indifference, indolence, and irreverence, and was highly displeasing to my eye."-Pp. 122, 123.
Attempts are not unfrequently made, in violation of all the laws of reasoning, to infer from the mere existence of a certain state of things in America, the expediency of aiming to bring about a similar state in the European kingdoms. It would scarcely be more absurd to attempt to prove the folly of wearing clothes, by the fact that there are many nations to be found in various parts of the world who wear none, ard whose average health and strength, and other powers, are fully equal to those of Europeans.
The facts may be taken to be just as they are here represented, with the single exception already pointed out, and we know not why the most attached supporters of our ecclesiastical institutions should hesitate or feel unwilling to admit them,-but the inference sometimes drawn, not indeed by our author, but by writers on this side the Atlantic, is altogether illegitimate and inadmissible.
The institutions of every country, to be beneficial and useful, ought to be adapted to the spirit and genius of the people. The attempt to force episcopacy on the presbyterian population of Scotland speedily proved abortive, and just as fruitless would any effort be, by whatever party made, which should now aim to take episcopacy away from the people of England.
Europe is occupied, almost entirely, by ancient monarchies; by kingdoms in which, for many centuries, every thing has been done for the people, by the King and the nobles; and in which the people have only in modern times, and by degrees, attained to a share in the management of the public concerns. It is therefore naturally a settled habit with them to look to the government to provide many things for them. These things, among the chiefest of which may be reckoned the ordinances of religion, have always been so provided, and such provision is the foundation of some of the most ancient institutions of our own country.
America, on the other hand, is a country of emigrants ;-of men who betook themselves to the distant and uncultivated wilds of that vast continent, some in quest of wealth, perhaps, but a large proportion in quest of more independence than they could enjoy here. One of the necessary conditions of their new state of being naturally was that they should « make their own laws and govern their own selves." They had the whole building of a commonwealth to erect, from the foundation to the battlements, and even now is the work far from being completed.
In fact, though the very title-page of this work speaks of American " Institutions," it ought to be borne in mind that the meaning of the word in this application is much the same when used for the “ Russell Institution" in Bloomsbury, or the “ London Institution" in Moorfields. It describes nothing more than a voluntary association of citizens, which may be altogether changed, or entirely dissolved, by the whim of the moment, and in eight-andforty hours.
Conceding, however, as we do most willingly, that this series of experiments, as far as it has gone, has been more than moderately successful; still how vast is the leap which remains to be taken before we can get from this admission to the inference that it would be wise to sweep away all the towers and fortresses of our ancient strength, in order to make a clear field on which to try just such another experiment here. The cui bono never presented itself with more overpowering force. What, indeed, have we to gain ? As well might we be asked, because the London University is not yet a total failure, to level in the dust all the pride of Oxford and Cambridge, in order to raise in their room a “ voluntary” university, free from the “canker of endowments," and unincumbered by the “ fetters of religious opinions."
No! in so far as our translantic brethren appear to proceed with present success, and the promise of even greater prosperity, we would rejoice, and heartily bid them God speed. But imitation is never in our thoughts. Each in our own course, let the rivalry be a christian rivalry, free from jealousy or ill-will ;-but still content with the system and state of things under which God has already blessed us, let us leave our brethren to the undisturbed
unenvied possession of theirs, neither aiming or desiring to force our plans or methods upon them, nor yet attempting to adopt from their experience what, under our wholly different circumstances, would be both incongruous and impracticable.—Pp. 49—52.
These remarks were induced by the statistical account the author has given from the American Quarterly Register of the various denominations of Christians in the United States. That account divides the religious population into twenty-four positive sects, exclusive of from 800,000 to 1,000,000 persons of no denomination at all. The names of these sects are all we shall find room for : they are, 1. Orthodox Congregationalists; 2. Unitarians ; 3. Presbyterians; 4. Dutch Reformed Church; 5. Protestant Episcopal Church ; 6. Calvinistic Baptists ; 7. Methodist Episcopal Church ; 8. Evangelical Lutheran Church; 9. German Reformed Church ; 10. Associate Presbyterians ; 11. Free-will Baptists; 12. Six Principle Baptists ; 13. Free Communion Baptists; 14. General Baptists in Kentucky; 15. Seventh Day Baptists; 16. Church of the United Brethren ; 17. New Jerusalem Church ; 18. Cumberland Presbyterians; 19. Associate and other Methodists ; 20. Friends; 21. Universalists ; 22. Shakers ; 23. Roman Catholics ; 24. Jews. It may be asked, to which of these twenty-five classes belong the Creed and Covenant Makers before alluded to ? They belong to the first class, which, therefore, we are to understand as the Orthodoxy of America. Of this class, there are 1100 ministers, 1250 churches, 155,000 communicants, and 1,395,000 professors, (selon l'auteur ;) whilst the whole number of the professors of all sects amounts to 17,896,905! We will let these returns shew better than we can, in what odour that which Americans call Orthodoxy is held, when only one professor out of twelve is orthodox! Now, as the editor has shewn that according to the census of 1830, the whole population of the United States amounts to only 12,866,020, (by the way, 12,000,000 is assumed by the author himself, at p. 98 ;) and as he says, if we take one-third of this amount as those who make no profession at all,* which is moderate, we shall then have eight millions and a half of professors, whereas the American Quarterly Register makes them nearly eighteen millions, or in numbers, 5,030,885 more professors than there are inhabitants ! Such is the inaccuracy of American returns, and such the evidence of the success of the American voluntary system, upon which our logical and calculating reformers would reform Old English Orthodoxy!
It is most clear, that "however true and just these representations and this reasoning may be respecting America and American society, they have very little practical bearing in the case of our own country
* We are sorry to see, in the Report of the Manchester Statistical Society for 1834, that of 4,102 families in one police division and a half of Manchester, there are 17 who make no profession of religion. But this is but 1 in 241 of the whole! Fourth Report of the British Association, p. 691. VOL. XVII. No. X.
and its institutions.” But in justice to America and American society, we must permit the author to state his case, which, we presume, is not made out except upon a full consideration of the persons to whom it applies.
There are some churches possessed of funds sufficient to support the minister, and consequently no tax is imposed upon the society. These funds generally originate in the bequest of some individual, who hopes, by the establishment of a permanent fund, to give permanency to the preaching of the gospel. But in not a few instances, these funds are already perverted to the support of a system of religion, directly at variance with that which it was the intention
most fruitful source of bickering and contention between the Church and society. And in other cases, the people, in consequence of the sufficiency of the fund, and not being called upon to make any sacrifices to sustain the institutions of the gospel, have lost their interest in those institutions. As they cost them nothing, they regard them as of little worth. In many cases, a fund has thus proved a cancer, consuming the whole energies of the church. Such societies, being unaccustomed to contribute for the support of the gospel, cherish the feeling of inability to give, and instead of manifesting greater liberality than others, in the benevolent operations of the day they are the most inoperative and inefficient societies in the land.
The cases are so rare, in which church funds are found to be a blessing, and the cases are so numerous, in which they operate most calamitously to the interests of religion, that the general impression is now, that they are far from desirable. This sentiment has been gaining strength for many years, and now the prevailing and almost universal feeling is, that churches, and societies of benevolence even, do far better to rely upon the piety of each successive generation for support. If this reliance fail, permanent funds are good for nothing. If this reliance do not fail, it is far better for the Church, that the resources of the past generation should have been expended in meeting the wants of that generation, and that its energies should not have been retarded by entailment.
The sentiment here is strong, and is daily growing stronger, that the more entirely religion is thrown for its support upon the friends of the Redeemer, the better. We do not desire a Church Establishment; for whether rightly or wrongly, we do think it would be our curse, and we do not desire to see our Clergy possessed of any peculiar privileges, and to glitter in the pomp of power, or in the rich endowments of wealth; for we believe that political power, and a princely income, would throw them into circumstances of temptation almost too powerful for human nature to resist. And though if the christian minister would use this power and this wealth, with singleness of heart, to promote the Saviour's cause, much good might be done, we fear to entrust him with them, for we think it much more probable that he would be induced to indulge in a worldly spirit, or to lay aside the self-denying toil of a servant of Jesus Christ. We wish to see His ambassadors men of faith and prayer, of self-denial, and of many labours; we wish to see them men who love their studies, and who love their flocks; men who are willing to work hard, and endure much, that they may save souls. We wish to see men of vigorous minds, and of varied learning, who will lay all their treasures at the feet of Jesus, and in the pulpit, and the dwellings of obscurity, preach Christ, and him crucified. Such men do not often come from the dwellings of magnificence, or adorned with the trappings of political power. They are men who having food and raiment, are therewith content; who as good soldiers of Jesus Christ are ready to endure hardships.
The number of such Clergymen is continually increasing. Truth being left to the sole defence of argument, the Clergy are incited to more diligent study,