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made a national blessing for centuries: that in the instance of such a Church, no reason for separation should have been admitted, but such as either sprang from her own abandonment of her fundamental and constitutional principles of vital truth, or the interposition of an insuperable barrier in the proclamation of that truth at the mouths of her ministers. No prevalence or preponderance of erroneous leaven, even in high quarters, should affect the question. No spirit of enmity or persecution should have led to such a resolve, so long as the creed of the Church of Scotland remained untouched, and her ministers were free to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The deadness, and the prejudice, and even the misguided infatuation of large and influential sections of the Church, were no argument for desertion, but rather for adherence. What, if all the salt be withdrawn, wherewith shall it be salted? We cannot get rid of our convictions: time and thoughtful reflection only strengthen them. We blush to give an opinion against the conduct of such eminent fathers in the Church of Christ, at whose feet we may gladly sit; but the conviction of truth must rise superior to all other considerations, and we could weep to see such men so misled. And let no one say that the excellence of the men is an argument in favour of the rectitude of their measures. One would gladly cling to such a principle. But we have lived long enough to guard against such a conclusion. We had our bosom friends amongst the seceders from our own Church, some thirty years ago; and they were amongst the most holy and excellent of the earth. And we knew and loved and had Christian fellowship with many who fell into the follies of Irvingism; and with some, who, in their infatuation, followed Johanna Southcote: and may we not speak of the holy and the good, even amongst those who are now endangering the best interests of the Church of England? It is a mystery that it should be so, yet so it is: and we must warn our readers against concluding in favour of any measures,

because of the high fame and reputation of their supporters. No, we must cease from man; and if the mystery we speak of admits of solution, we have it here-that God so permits things to fall out in the Church, as well as in the world, as will most effectually wean us from man, even in his best estate; and by the most humiliating exhibition of the earthen vessel in which the treasure is deposited, make it manifest that the excellency of the power is of God and not of man.

And it would be equally dangerous to conclude, that the step which the Scotch Seceders have taken is right because of their present prospects for usefulness and well-doing. We rejoice most heartily in all that we hear of their present progress. Now that all the harshness and acrimony connected with their strange and sudden transition has subsided, they are settling down, we hear, on all sides, into a course of Christian devotedness and zeal. Both at home, and abroad in the Missionary Settlements, all promises fair: and thus it is God's prerogative to bring good out of evil. But we are not the less responsible for the evil we do, and which God overrules for good. And while we thankfully co-operate with God in the good which emanates alone from Him, it becomes us heartily to deplore and repent of the evil which attaches to ourselves. And, no doubt, our seceding brethren in Scotland are thoughtfully, and perhaps in some respects, sadly considering their ways." If no other ground of sorrow presents itself, they cannot but flinch under the thought of the many righteous hearts they have made sad, whom God has not made sad. If there be attachment fully personified any where, it is in the Scotchman to his Kirk; and what scenes of bewilderment and confusion present themselves to our imagination! many an elder, and how many an aged disciple, waiting for the salvation of God, and coveting a calm and unruffled sea on which to steal into port, is thus suddenly thrown into dismay and perplexity, clinging to the Church of their forefathers, and the Church



which, as a tender mother, had never failed to yield the sincere milk of the word for their growth and sustenance, but now torn from her embrace, and driven into a sort of exile. Oh, if it be a specified evil and guilt to make the righteous sad whom the Lord has not made sad, the sin of a needless schism from a pure and spiritual Church of Christ is very great; for it offends not in scanty measure, and grieves not a solitary Rachel, but throws the daughters of Jerusalem by wholesale into weeping and lamentation.

Then we come to this conclusion: that calls to Christian union come with an ill grace from those who have just been inflicting the deepest wound of schism. We cannot wish them to have done with Christian sympathy: we hope that melancholy and humiliating experience will deepen and strengthen it. We hope that all the strange and unmeasured outbreakings of disunion and separation of which they have allowed, with all the railing accusations and vehement words towards those who will not accompany them, which have stained them in their transition, we hope all will practically and powerfully tell them what a good and pleasant thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity; and will induce, for their few remaining years, a more vigorous effort than ever to follow after the things which make for peace. But, for a season at least, would it not be better to let their sympathies give vent only at the throne of grace; for a season at least, would it not be well to call to mind the example of Moses, when fleeing into the land of Midian. Have they not too newly come up from the battle, with stained hands and harassed spirits, to be in a capacity as yet to lift up "holy hands without wrath and doubting?" Had they not better, in deep humiliation and secret prayer, be subserving the cause which we know they have honestly at heart, and be willing to consider themselves, like Moses, in an exiled position, and secluded from prominent undertakings, and waiting for time, the healing hand of time, to impart a confidence towards them in the minds of others, and thus divest

their public directions and exhortations of suspicion.

In all humility we suggest this:and we thus shew the grounds on which we had almost rather have never seen these "Essays on Christian Union."

But we pass from the Scotch view of the question to the English.

We believe that out of the eight Essays before us only one is of English origin, and that by the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham. It is a glowing and animated composition; replete with the most powerful and interesting passages, which cannot but meet with a ready response, one would think, in every Christian heart. With respect to the various projects which are suggested for visible union, we are scarcely prepared to give an opinion; and in our apprehension they are of far less moment than the increase and maintenance of the spirit of brotherly love amongst all who name the name of Christ. Let all be got right there, and then, while we have effected what will bring us to the Scripture standard of true Christian discipleship, and thus secured the favour and blessing of the God of peace and love for our community, we shall find the implanted principle of love ingenious and inventive in demonstrating its reality and its healthfulness by visible actions. We fully agree with Mr. James in all that he says regarding the blessedness and the excellence of the Bible Society and the Religious Tract Society, as affording the most prominent and successful instances of visible and happy union amongst Christians of various denominations. We never cease to feel the warmest interest in the constitution as well as the objects of these societies, or to be cheered and refreshed with the thought that Christians have agreed in uninterrupted harmony for so long a period, to lay aside their differences, and co-operate hand and heart in the circulation of the unadulterated word of God. And, whatever is marvellous, and so refreshing with reference to the Bible Society, is still more so when we contemplate an object apparently more difficult of attainment, and think that for the cir

culation of human compositions, self has been thus lost sight of, and every bias, and every thought has merged in the grand object of dispensing truth. We have ever regarded such manifestations of visible union as these, as an oasis in the desert, a quiet blessed resting-place for the mind, amidst all the storms and conflicts which harass and distress us on our way through the wilderness. "What can be conceived more striking than a society which, by the united zeal of all denominations, has put into circulation nearly four hundred millions of religious publications, in each one of which vast aggragate, the method of a sinner's salvation is so stated, that if he shall never see another book, or hear another sermon, he shall know how to flee from the wrath to come; and yet, in not one of which shall the minor points which distinguish Christians from each other be discovered." -p. 175. We have had enough to do with these blessed societies to know that beyond the noble objects of their aim, they have done much, not to damage the Churchman by any unhallowed contact, but to make the Church of England better understood, and to raise it in the estimation of those who from ignorance were prejudiced against it.

But while we never fail to rejoice in such manifestations of visible union as here present themselves, it is chiefly our wish to consider how the spirit may best be cultivated which will lead to these results. And here we cannot help thinking that our Essayist, in considering the parties in England with whom it may be desired and expected that union should be formed, speaks somewhat disparagingly and incorrectly of the established Church. The prevailing body in this country is the Church of England. It would be considered as quite contrary to her principles to enter into any kind of association or fellowship with the various communities that have separated from her ranks; the absorption of them all


into herself is the only kind of junction which would be hearkened to for a moment. Regarding all who have seceded from her communion in something of the light of rebels, she disdains to enter into any sort of negociation with them, and aims to reduce them all into entire subjection." We do not think that this is the language of conciliation, of candour, or of truth. The writer speaks of " principles;" but he is not justified in determining what her principles really are from the line of conduct pursued by a section of her members. We maintain that there is a Catholicity of principle in the Church of England which does admit of the exercise of brotherly love towards all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours; and as it regards an accordance with the principles of a Church, no one has a right to form his judgment by what he sees to be occurring in a party of that Church. There are those, and they are a goodly number, who sigh and mourn in secret over the exclusiveness and bigotry which prevail in some quarters; and who, in contemplating the mischief likely to accrue from the present unhappy movement, are not the least afraid of this its distinctive feature.

But there are barriers in the way of Christian union of a two-fold character; on the one hand presented by Churchmen, and on the other by Dissenters; and glad indeed should we be, if by any thing we can say, we could succeed in weakening their influence and producing a better mutual understanding. It cannot be denied that a spirit of exclusiveness and ecclesiastical monopoly is fearfully gaining ground amongst the members of the Church. Would that they would calmly consider the origin of dissent, and distinguish between those who are hereditary dissenters and those who are the wilful and wanton separatists of the present day. With respect to the origin of dissent, who will attempt to vindicate the act*

*"In the meanwhile, the convocation had received, and sanctioned, those few alterations in the Common Prayer-book, which it had pleased the bishops to recommend to them. They were unimportant; but one of them marks the character of the prelates of that day; for it was to the openly dissolute Charles II. that they put it into the

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by which the non-conformists were driven out of the pale of the establishment, and formed into separatists? And what is the subsequent history of dissent ? Can we get rid of the fact, that the neglect of the Church of England has been the grand cause of dissent; that a rapidly growing population, and a stationary provision on the part of the Church, for religious culture, has driven men into the necessity of seeking it elsewhere? What then is the present position of dissenters? Why, that they are so by birth and education; that generations intervene between them and their fore


fathers, who were originally driven out of the established Church'; and consequently, that all their prejudices and partialities are, as it were, hereditary and inveterate, and, may we not add, such as entitle them to some degree of tender consideration, and at all events not to the rash and unfeeling abandonment to perdition. We do honestly think, that in the feelings of Churchmen towards dissenters, a grand difference should be made between those who are dissenters by inheritance, and those who in these days of light and knowledge separate from the church of their country and

mouth of every officiating minister to apply the title of religious king, an epithet which did not stand in the Common Prayer-book, till they placed it there. **** The house of commons affected to consider the fact, of the Common Prayer-book having been thus revised, as removing all excuse for thinking any part of it objectionable; and therefore now proceeded to pass an act (14 Car. II. c. 4.) by which every minister who should not declare, before the 24th of August, his unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained and prescribed in and by the Book of Common-prayer, should be straightway deprived of whatever ecclesiastical preferment he might possess. And whereas the English bishops had been wont to acknowledge, and still do, that a priest who has received ordination from the apostate church of Rome, needs not to be ordained afresh to become a minister of the Church of England; and had also been wont to acknowledge the validity of that ordination, which Dutch or Swiss pastors had received from their presbyterian brethren; it was now declared, by this act, that any incumbent who should have received ordination from the hands of others than bishops, as all admitted into benefices during the usurpation, and under forty years of age, must have done, should be held to be "as utterly disabled" from either retaining his preferment, or officiating in his church, as if he was naturally dead," unless, besides signing the above declaration, he would publicly confess himself to have been hitherto no true priest, by applying to his diocesan to ordain him afresh. In the next place, whereas the ministers who would thus be deprived of their benefices, were likely to seek to earn their bread by preaching to such as valued their ministry, or by turning their acquirements to account as schoolmasters, or as teachers of youth in their parents' houses; this act farther declared, that if any minister, thereby ejected or disabled, should be found preaching any where, any two justices, having due information thereof, should commit him to gaol; and that no person should undertake to be a teacher of youth, either in schools or under their parents' roof, without obtaining the licence of a bishop, and subscribing the oath and declaration mentioned, in describing a former act, as incompatible with the conscientious opinions of nearly every puritan. **** The 24th of August had, however, been fixed upon, as a day which would, by usage, cut off the outgoing ministers from any claims to the tithe of corn; and as it happened to be the day of St. Bartholomew, the non-conformists, as we are henceforward to call them, gave this act the name of the Bartholomew act, that it might be associated, in men's minds, with the atrocities of popish persecution. In our law books it is called the act for uniformity; but it better deserved to be styled, the act for continuing differences in the church of Christ within this realm, and for giving additional bitterness to our schisms. *****When St. Bartholomew's day arrived, great was the surprise of Charles, and of his unprincipled courtiers, to hear that no less than 2000 of the clergy had preferred quitting their homes, resigning the incomes of their benefices, and subjecting themselves to all the rigorous restrictions of this act, rather than say that of their belief, in a solemn declaration, which they felt it would be falsehood in them to affirm. To fill up so many vacancies at once, in such a manner that the sheep of Christ's fold should be no losers by the change of shepherds, would probably have been impossible, had the deprived ministers been but ordinary men, and this the most flourishing period of the English church. But the non-conformists are allowed by their enemies to have been, generally, a very pains-taking class; and men who, being confessedly of one mind with our revered reformers in their doctrine, were also such as could resolve to expose themselves to poverty and contempt, rather than declare, what it went against their consciences to affirm, should have been esteemed the glory of their country, and reckoned among God's best gifts to this nation."---Hist. of England by a Clergyman, p. 480. 1845-APRIL.


their forefathers; and the latter are a mere handful compared with the former. And we cannot but think that this suggestion is fairly calculated to weaken materially the barrier that stands in the way of Christian union with those who differ from us. How much of the mischief of dissent is traceable to ourselves. How largely has it been made a necessary evil by our supineness as a Church! We could wish that, as we drove out and shut our doors against the dissenters, we could now open our doors more widely and hold out greater encouragements for their return. We have seen not only dissenting ministers, but their flocks, coming over to the establishment, and we long that greater facilities should be given for the return of wanderers from our communion. There is, we believe, a rapidly growing disposition to return; and if there is any consequence of the Tractarian movement that we mourn over more than another, it is, that it is directly calculated to chill that disposition, and to widen the breach of separation.

We may be thought chargeable with bigotry in seeming to connect conformity with union, and Mr. James, in no very measured language, sweepingly asserts, that the Established Church aims at nothing short of the the bending of all who differ under her own domination; but we do not take to the charge, nor think that it really attaches, when we express a hope for the return to our communion of those who originally belonged to us, and who only from untoward circumstances have been separated from us.

But in the meanwhile, there must be the maintenance of Christian charity; if we mean not to frighten from the midst of our stormy and troubled community the Dove of Christ's Holy Spirit, and tempt Him to leave us, to bite, till we devour and destroy one another. And having offered a suggestion for the serious consideration of churchmen (to which much might be added if our limits allowed) we proceed to offer a few remarks with reference to the barriers to Christian

union which Dissenters have interposed.

We again and again entreat that our Church, and the desires and wishes of her members may not be judged of by the exclusive principles of the Tractarian party. We are well aware that no discrimination will be exercised by them, and that if Dissenters conducted themselves like angels, it would make no difference in their estimation. That they are Dissenters at all is the hopeless difficulty, and not that they are Dissenters of a bad and unchristian spirit. But happily, as yet at least, it is only a small section of our Church which is imbued with this spirit of arrogant intolerance. Many-we fain hope, the many-would gladly cultivate the spirit of brotherly love to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, by whatever names they are distinguished amongst men; would gladly welcome Christ's image wherever they can discern it, and exercise forbearance and kindness to those who are apparently doing the Lord's work, and undermining Satan's, though they follow not with us.

Yet the glow of brotherly love which would fain work its way towards Christians of other communions, too often finds itself getting into a chilly and ungenial atmosphere, in which it cannot operate or exist. Mr. James must bear with us, if we are very candid and plain-spoken; for we are so, not because we have an unkindly feeling prompting our statements, but but because we wish, as in the sight of God, to remove the barriers which interfere with the exercises of Christian union, and to see a sure and solid basis laid for its establishment. But who has been more vehement, or more acrimonious in his denunciations of the Church of England and all belonging to her, than Mr. James? Who has gone greater lengths, or adopted more unmeasured language to express his uncompromising hostility towards the Established Church? Can a Churchman then be blamed, if he stand aloof from such an open and inveterate foe? Can it be a matter of wonder, if he should be unable to en

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