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theory of the functions of the understanding, can never cease to have weight in all ages, and in every school of philosophy. Again, no theologian of the present day would think of adopting the entire system of either Clemens, Origen, Tertullian, Augustine, or Anselm, nor even the Lutheran or Calvinistic systems in all their parts. Who now maintains with Luther in his large catechism, that pestilences and diseases, hailstorms and deformities of growth, are the work of the Devil ? But where is the theologian who does not hold many of the theological opinions held by Luther and Calvin, and who does not acknowledge that these two heroes greatly advanced theological science ?
If it still be asked, what assistance philosophy can render to theology, we would, in conclusion, remark that however numerous and various the systems of philosophy may be, each system must always in its form, adhere to the laws of perception and thought, or in other words, to the laws of observation, judgment, and conclusion; while in its matter, it must always be concerned with ideas existing in the human mind. Now it is sufficiently evident that it is not according to this or to that system of philosophy that we are to judge of revelation, but that our judgment ought ever to be guided by the invariable laws of thought, and by those ideas which are the equally invariable product of the human reason. It is only that which is fixed, which is durable in philosophy, which should be and which must be employed by us in judging of a revealed theology, for it is absolutely incontestable that a body of truths derived from THE ALL-PERFECT—from. GOD, cannot contradict those ideas which the same God has implanted in the human mind.
E. R. B.
ART. IV.—THE PASTORAL OFFICE AS MODIFIED BY
THE PROGRESS OF CHARACTER AND OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS.
There are three ideas of Religion, corresponding to which there are three ideas of the Pastoral Office and character.
Religion is regarded as Salvation by the efficacy of a PRIEST; and then the Pastor is a spiritual Magician, the only authorized Performer of intercessory Rites; from whose hand alone the charm receives its virtue, by whose word and touch alone the sign of Grace opens the Fountain to the Sinner : this is the Roman Catholic idea.
Religion is regarded as Salvation by the efficacy of Faith; and then the Pastor is an Instrument for feeding and exciting the warmth of certain doctrinal assurances, for maintaining the heat of certain views at a fixed or increasing temperature, and protecting the mind from the distraction of any current of opposing thought; this is the general Protestant idea.
Religion is regarded as Salvation by the efficacy of CHARACTER; and then the Pastor is an Instrument for aiding in its formation—the friend of the Heart and Mind—the Sympathizer in all moral interests, aspirations, anxieties—a man, by his choice of a Profession, proclaiming to the world that to contribute to Character is his pursuit in life, and drawn by peculiar ties to a certain number of individuals who have chosen him to administer to their various moral states, as affected by the outward or the inward, the influences of Truth, Rectitude, and Peace : this, we believe, is the Christian idea.
It will be perceived, and to this we wish to draw attention, that with those who hold either of the first two ideas of Religion, the functions of the Pastor from generation to generation remain constantly the same; that with those who hold the third idea they are continually varying, not only from generation to generation, but from individual to individual, in adaptation to the changing states and wants, and even delicacies of character.
Those who embrace the Roman Catholic and general Protestant, or what we might call, at least so it calls itself, the Evangelical idea of Religion, never change or expand the character of their demands upon their Pastors. They are to be saved by the same means that saved their Fathers. Religion is with them. a fixed means, undergoing no modification in its successive applications to the souls of men. The Sacraments that are to save, or the Faith that is to save, are established from of old. Since first the Church established the appointed means, the Priest
has only to perform the talismanic ceremony, the Evangelical to stimulate the Assurance of Faith, and the Powers of Heaven are propitiated, the obedient child of the Church has obtained the password that admits to paradise. Religion treats now these two classes of Christians as it has done, with the Protestants from the sixteenth century, and with the Roman Catholics from the sixth. No new light has broken in, changed the spiritual wants of character, and complicated the relationship between People and Pastor. Their Pastors have felt no doubt as to the position they occupied, and were expected to occupy. No uncertainty as to the offices required from them, no delicacy of approaching unauthorized, or of discriminating unskilfully the moral states of individuals, has arrested the hand of the Priest, or the tongue of the Evangelical. Their work is definite, and they know exactly what is looked for from them. They have not to feel their way in reverence and fear, ignorant whether they are not intruding upon what is most sacred and inviolable, essaying to lift the veil upon the secrets within, which, without permission, no mortal hand is authorized to touch, ignorant whether the offices of a Pastor are desired from them at all, or, if desired, upon what ground they are to tread. Now he who does not feel at once the difference that this makes in the ease and directness of communication between a Pastor and his People, has never known by experience, or realized by sympathy, the difficulties that beset a man who is expected to hold connexions with individual minds, but who has no fixed approaches to those minds, nor Right to approach them at all-who, having no universal remedy to administer, must wait until his aid or sympathy are specifically sought-whose duty it is, by all that is sacred in feeling, to enter, unsolicited, no one's bosom, to presume upon nothing, yet always to have ready sympathies to go wherever they are needed, and to place himself in the way of whatever opportunities might be voluntarily given, of whatever hearts, only want confidence in his willingness to bring their secret sorrows into light, and to give their brooded thoughts the relief of expresion.
If it was the definite aim of the Pastor to bring his people to a certain state of Ecclesiastical conformity and obedience, as it is with the Roman Catholics, or to keep up their confidence in the doctrines of a saving faith, and to close the rents that are constantly taking place between the old and the new garments of Grace and Nature, as it is with all Protestants except ourselves, what a precision would be given to his intercourse with individual minds, how exactly would he know his work, and with what closeness and urgency might he apply himself to its per
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formance? But if, instead of this, not Faith, nor Rites, but Character is his aim, with all its infinite diversities and wants, and for the sake of this alone he administers the true, and the lofty, and the righteous, and the peaceful views of Religion, then how instantly is the definiteness taken away from his intercourse with his people.—Character is before him in all its varieties and with all its requirements, but how is he to approach it?-He has no spiritual application alike sufficient for all cases, no single remedy of faith, or priestly intercession :-Character, with all its rights, and with all its sacredness, must have its individuality respected, and its sanctuaries un violated,—in these circumstances how delicate, how vague, how undefinable are his functions? He has to “sound along his dim and perilous way,' by his own resources of address and wisdom, and gentleness and courage—and what is left but that the Pastor should merge into the Friend, claiming and possessing no official virtue, intruding into the consecrated reserves of no man's bosom, dreaming of a right of interference with no man's character or actions, but at the same time marked out by his profession as one who has made moral service to his fellow beings the business and debt of his whole life, ready to give his best energies and his quickest sympathies to as many hearts as invite him to their confidence, in the great struggle that all hearts have to carry on, whilst working out their destinies.
It is frequently observed, and sometimes as a matter of reproach, that the pastoral relation amongst us is not maintained with the same closeness as with the other classes of Christians that there is not the same assiduity to make the action of religion individual, to make household applications of its influences and doctrines, and to bring home to specific cases the generalities of the pulpit. And the reason of this is very obvious. It is a much more understood thing with them than it is with us, that the offices of a Pastor as well as of a Preacher are expected from their Ministers; and there is a universal understanding on both sides as to the peculiar ground he is to occupy, and the specific objects for which his zeal is to be directed. The certainty that such expectations are entertained from him, makes his duty easy and natural; and the very narrowness of his aims—the limitations of the single purpose for which he comes, to adjust each man's faith to the saving standard of the Church, give a directness and vigour to his ministrations, and a vividness to the impressions that he leaves behind. He enters every house for the selfsame purpose. There may be a variety in the minds he has to address, but on each and all of these he has to perform but one work. The indispensable view, the healing doctrine, the saving faiththis is the one state into which he is to bring all minds. In religion all that is short of this is nothing—and there is nothing beyond it. It is all in all—the one thing needful. Can we wonder that with the concentration of his energies and the singleness of this aim, he maintains a close though a limited action on individual minds possessed with the same views of religion as himself, and that trembling lest their Faith should in any thing fall short of the necessary sufficiency at which alone the spiritual Charm works, desire nothing so much as to be settled and fixed once more in the scheme of salvation, and to feel their Confidence glow anew within the narrow limitations of safety? We say not that these are the only ministrations of a Pastor where Christianity is regarded as Salvation by Faith, but these make his impressive and recognised introduction, these clothe him with his commission to enter every house, not vaguely and in ignorance of what he is to do, but for a most definite purpose, and they open up a way for the other and better connexions which mind may hold with mind, and heart with heart, in the critical vicissitudes, and in the familiar experiences of life in the many and eventful moments of doubt, or joy, or sorrow, of spiritual daring or perplexity.
With us there does not exist the same common ground between Pastor and People ; an understood source of mutual interest, expected and all-sufficient; a specific and recognized purpose, giving to them a common topic of capital importance, and from the very first moment that they meet, uniting them at once in this freemasonry of religion. Just as in our pulpits our Preachers have no one subject, as other Preachers have, that is always sure of catching all ears and touching all hearts,
-have no one creed or symbol that sways all bosoms, when held up as the sign of their Salvation, on which they are to look and be saved, and consequently have no resource for moving their audience, except so far as they come into contact with the individual wants and experiences of character, and send streams of light and strength through the anxieties of doubt and the feebleness of resolve-so likewise our Pastors have no universal introduction, that gives them an individual mission to each heart, no definite interest or plea, by which to make good their entrance, and, consequently, have no resources of pastoral influence, except so far as they are gradually admitted, as friends, to the intimacies of moral circumstance, and to the confidences of character. With this diffusion of their regards over so wide a surface as the varied symmetry of character, and with no single object to concentrate and indivi