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we are not qualified to judge, and the attempt can only endanger our charity and our candour. I except our own case from this alleged inability to judge of the present position of character from a view of its past opportunities because a comparison of ourselves with the moral standard erected in our thoughts, which God has made known to our ambition and our gaze, is the directest means of enlightening our perceptions and so engaging the living energy of a determined will in the cause of our moral advancement, and because, irrespectively of remorse or selfblame, the sorrow is deep and purifying when we discover that our rank as a moral being is not high, that the influences which sway us are not wide, generous, and


that we are less noble than our thought.

This view of Providence, as leading minds to God through their own perceptions, awakened by processes of education which Heaven is conducting, on a superficial look would appear open to the objection, that it is treating conscious beings as moral machines. Whatever is done voluntarily is not done mechanically. God moulds us, it is true—but never by forcing us in opposition to our own will—never by constraining us against our own convictions—no, it is by following our convictions until we find ourselves plunged in the consequences, that we learn whether we were right or wrong; and the All-Wise Teacher who educates us to be partakers of his own nature, and desires us to be morally glorious, because we are spiritually intelligent, conducts us through such processes, leads us by the hand through long and circuitous paths, until at last our own eyes descry the truth he was seeking to disclose, and He floats around us such penetrative influences that at last our perceptive faculties are thoroughly awake, the moral judgment moves in light, and our will is His. If God sought only to impress obedience on the life, an instinct would have been enough, and the living mechanism had performed its part with unvarying precision_but since He is our Father and treats us as his children, He would rule us by assimilating our wills to His, and this He does by assimilating our perceptions to His, by adapting to each mind such a course of education, that the spirit, led by moral evidence, convinced and persuaded, comes freely to the light, has no wish, no will to wander, and rejoices in his presence. It is true that the cases are numberless in which we do not perceive the slightest approach to this result-in which the processes of discipline seem rather to be estranging the heart from God than opening it to an understanding of, and sympathy with, his Spirit ;—but why should we judge thus soon whilst the end is not yet—why should we be constantly forgetting that in the depths of a dreadful experience moral knowledge may be found, and that if God will not violate our moral nature, will not impress it by physical constraint, but will lead it to have light in itself and intuitions of truth, every dire and desperate pursuance of the paths of error and woe may be hurrying on the time when instruction shall come at last, the fruit of trial, purchased at a fearful cost, and at least one ray of light, the result of that experiment, stream in on the darkness of the benighted will ? The different courses of discipline by which our wills are brought into harmony with God, only point to a truth which all observation and philosophy seem to verify, that there are original differences in the constitution of all minds, and that for the developement of the elements of each a corresponding education is required. The induction is large enough to convince us that God is seeking for all spiritual excellence, and in full faith that such is his contemplated end, we can unfailingly trust Him that the means He adopts are the very best for each separate case.

Lastly, let me ask you not to dismiss these considerations hastily —and let no mind be discouraged if it slowly and dimly receives them. That every thing is of God, is a thought which, when first presented, must even perplex the spirit—but it is enough that it brightens as we gaze steadily—that it spreads light through the soul as nothing else can—that it makes this whole universe, all that we are, all that we rejoice in, and all that we suffer, the varied beamings of His presence with the spirit in the processes of culture, and that it will not let us forget that God is seeking us, and that to enter into His spirit is the soul's life and liberty and Heaven. No one who grasps this doctrine in its integrity will ever believe that it lets its moral energies slip from its hold and lays a feeble demand on the voluntary efforts of the soul. Its legitimate practical effect is two-fold-to put a voice into every influence of nature and life to carry into our bosoms the spirit of the Lord; and to reconcile us to every experience, be it what it may, which our doctrine teaches us is instrumental to our better and happier accordance with Heaven. If there was any doubt about the end to which God is conducting all thingsif it was in the faintest degree dubious, that assimilation to Himself is His will, that holiness is happiness, and that sin is the worst of woe—then might we see some danger in the doctrine of a universal Providence; but now it combines the blessings of the most unbounded consolation, with the most intense moral action, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty; or were we to use that scholastic word which has introduced so much confusion, we might say, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is necessity, the necessity to will and to do right—because to that all our perceptions and tastes and habits would inclineand in proportion as our nature becomes morally and intellectually perfected, is our power of preferring wrong diminished, and our volitions, our judgments, in favour of rectitude are made infallibly certain.

PARKINSON'S TERCENTENARY DISCOURSES. • Thc Church of England, a Bulwark between Superstition and Schism; Two Sermons

preached in the Collegiatc Church of Christ, in Manchester, on the 4th of October, 1835, being the third centenary of the Reformation. By the Rev. Richard Parkinson,

M. A., Fellow of Christ's College.' MR. PARKINSON'S Discourses are not those rabid effusions of blended ignorance and bigotry, nor those tame and powerless ramblings of authoritative weakness, which too often proceed from English Episcopalian advocates, but the productions of a cultivated, though not a richly endowed mind, and of a heart, as free, perhaps, from the taint of illiberality, as can well be expected in the position which he holds. Persons who are in the enjoyment of the ample revenues which fall to the lot of a • fellow of Christ's College, Manchester,' and at the same time believe that they hold their commission in direct line from Jesus Christ, can scarcely be very tolerant of any diversities which might, even by possibility, tend to peril the perpetuity of their sinecures, or impeach the apostolicity of their vocation.

Mr. Parkinson's object is made sufficiently clear in his title page, . The Church of England is a bulwark between superstition and schism,' or, as he elsewhere expresses his meaning, • between the corruptions of the church of Rome, and the errors of laxity, dissent and schism,' (p. 18) between bigotry on the one hand and infidelity on the other.' (p.31.)

To produce an impression on most minds, there is nothing so potent as a bold assumption. It is far before argument. It bears to argument the relation which reason bears to intuition. Only succeed in fixing on an opponent a bad name, and, actum est, you have gained your cause. This psycological fact Mr. Parkinson has a practical acquaintance with, and therefore, with the skill of a finished disputant, he sets forth as unimpeachable, first, that Catholicism is corruption ; secondly, that Dissent is infidelity; thirdly, that the Episcopal Church is the foe of each : the conclusion ensues, that, beyond a doubt, they are lamentably wrong, and it gloriously right. We only wonder that Mr. Parkinson thought it at all necessary to illustrate the claim he puts in for his church as the bulwark of truth. This was needless. If Catholicism is corruption, and Dissent infidelity, and Church of Englandism' the object of the attacks of both, standing midway between, and avoiding the errors of, both, doubt there can be none that the said church, if not the pure church of Christ, is vastly superior to its antagonists. Perhaps Mr. Parkinson, had he not been an able rhetorician, would have condescended to advance proofs against the naughty Catholic, and naughtier Dissenter.As it is, however, much as his assertions may prevail with those who believe that he speaks with

the voice of authority, they will, of course, be regarded as groundless assumptions in every other quarter, and may be allowed, by us, to pass for what they are worth.

We did not proceed far, in reading the second discourse, before we met with a discovery, and as light itself is of no avail if kept under cover, we transcribe it for the irradiation of our readers' minds :

•The rival combatants, forgetting their mutual and irreconcilable differences, have turned their arms, with one consent, against their common peuce-maker (!!) as if she were a common enemy; and the Church of England, instead of being a bye-stander in the quarrel, has not only to defend herself against these attacks from opposite quarters, but to prevent the assailants themselves from falling, as they ultimately would do, with ten-fold fury upon each other. Long may our church maintain this proud position among the various households of Christ ! Long may she be a model of peace within herself, and of charity towards those that are without. Though they curse, yet may she still bless.'— (p. 20.)

The Episcopal Church of this country a common peace-maker between Catholics and Dissenters, and amiably blessing them while the object of their curses! Genius of history! hast thou on no occasion ventured near the Rev. Richard Parkinson ? Did he never by any chance catch a rumour of burnings, imprisonments, and degradation inflicted by his church on both Catholics and Dissenters ? This, in truth, is turning history, not into ' an old almanack,' as 'infidels' are said to have done, but into downright fable. Volumes would be occupied by the mere recitation of the acts of parliament which have been passed under the auspices of the Church of England,' to coerce both Catholic and Protestant-volumes would be filled with these, without one word being subjoined of the merciless execution which these “acts received in all manner of social atrocities. But what need is there to refer to the past? Is the Church of England' a 'peace-maker' in the exclusion of Dissenters from the Universities, and in the efforts she makes to prevent them from enjoying the full advantages of a University founded by themselves ? Is it peace or war she has stirred up on all our coasts, by the tenacity with which she clings to church-rates ? Was her influence pacific or hostile to the will of the majority of the nation in the last general election ? And, above all, what is her attitude in Ireland? What was it at Rathcormac? And then, so bland is her disposition, that she is a model of peace within herself!' All her members think alike, are of one mind and of one heart, striving together, not for the loaves and fishes, but for the defence of the gospel; no expulsion from office for venturing to suppose Dissenters admissible to her seats of learning-no evangelism struggling to get into her high places, and no bishops struggling to keep it out--no interchange of incivilities between the wrestlers! Well, if Mr. Parkinson has never heard of such things, he is marvellously ignorant of the subject on which he writes; or if he has heard thereof, we suppose we must set his mistake down to the charge of a treacherous memory.

It has been sometimes asserted by “schismatics,' that the Anglican Establishment (we cannot ourselves commit the blunder of calling it the Church of England') holds not in its integrity the right of private judgment, which is the best bequest of the Reformation to posterior ages.

And, thereupon, they have been assailed with the charge of dealing in misrepresentation. Mr. Parkinson has, however, let out the truth :

She is strenuous in denying, against many who dissent from her faith, that every individual, whatever may be his talents and opportunities, is at full liberty to put any construction he pleases upon the meaning of Scripture, and that no man is responsible to the Church or to society for the doctrines which may form the articles of his faith. We, on the contrary, maintain, that every Christian is responsible to man, as well as to God, for the sentiments which he propagates; and while he is entirely absolved from adopting any opinions which are contrary to the word of God, and the fixed persuasion of his own mind, he is equally bound to form those opinions on the soundest principlesto take up no doctrine without due enquiry, and when that enquiry is beyond his reach, to conform to the decrees of the Church, so far as he knows these decrees to have been formed on serious grounds, and after due and learned investigation.'—(p. 21.)

What a confusion of ideas have we here! We defy any tolerably competent writer, out of the pale of an Establishment, to pen a finer specimen of the see-saw figure of speech. You are entirely absolved from adopting any opinions which are contrary to the word of God, and the fixed persuasion of your own mind, but you are not at liberty to put any construction you please upon the meaning of Scripture :' in other words,

You are not compelled to see with my eyes, but equally you are not to use your own. Yet, if you see not, “ without doubt you will perish everlastingly." You are not bound to take up any doctrine without due inquiry, but on some points, at least (the Church will tell you which they are), you must conform to the decrees of the Church. When enquiry is beyond your reach, .then bow to the Church—but even where you can't enquire, you must know that the Church has spoken after due and learned investigation.'

We wish the passage was no worse than a piece of inconsistency. But it strikes at the very foundation of religious liberty. It denies, by implication, the right of private judgment: for it denies that every individual may put what construction he pleases upon the meaning of Scripture.'

If there is any exception, the right fails. If I have not the right to inter

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