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that it was scarcely possible for an honest Presbyterian to make it here and there one, whose habits of thought and temper had preserved him from strong opinions, might: but for the great body no alternative remained, except to belie their conscience, or to cut themselves off from the national Church and one can hardly doubt that this must have been the purpose of the framers of the Act.
Verily, when I think of that calamitous and unprincipled Act—of the men by whom it was enacted, Charles the Second, and the Aristocracy and Gentry of his reign-of the holy men against whom it was enacted-it seems almost like a prologue to the profligacy and infidelity which followed closely upon it. But what were its direct effects with regard to the Unity of the Church? It bore the name of Uniformity on its forehead: can there have been any who persuaded themselves that a Uniformity so enforced could be a means to Unity? The only Unity that could have ensued from it would have been that of a dead level: and full of woe as have been the consequences of this Act in its failure, they would have been still more terrible had it succeeded. Therefore even we, who love and revere our national Church above every earthly institution, may bless God that it did not succeed. We may bless God, for that He has given such grace and power to weak, frail, human hearts, that meek and humble men, when strengthened by His Spirit, are not to be driven out of the path in which their conscience commands them to walk, by the leagued forces of King and Parliament and Convocation, by the severest penal enactments, or even by the bitter pang of having to leave their loved flocks. Yes, my friend, we may join in giving God thanks for the work He has wrought in such men-for they are the true salt of the earth-even though we may deem that there was much of errour in their judgements and opinions, almost as much as in our own. Yet how grievous was the wound to the Church at the time! how grievous is it still at this day in its enduring effects! Some two thousand
ministers, comprising the chief part, it seems scarcely questionable, of the most faithful and zealous in the land, were silenced in one day, were severed in one day from their flocks, were cast in one day out of our Church, for the sake of maintaining Uniformity. On that our English Bartholomew's day, the eye wandered over England, and in every fifth parish saw the people scattered abroad as sheep that had no shepherd. From that day do we date the origin of that constituted dissent and schism, which is the peculiar opprobrium and calamity of our Church, by which in almost every parish we find ourselves grievously crippled in our efforts to build up our people into a holy temple acceptable to the Lord; and which in this very year, by its frantic uprore, is rendering it impossible for our Legislature to take any efficient step toward the moral and religious education of the people, although the disclosure of the frightful condition of huge masses of our population seemed for a moment to have allayed the contentions of political parties. So terribly is the sin of our forefathers, who framed the Act of Uniformity, visited upon England at this day; nor can any human foresight discern either how or when these evils are likely to terminate. Moreover, after that we had thus cast out so much faith and zeal and holiness, after that—to use an expression which has been applied less appropriately to a later event of far minor importance we had in this manner almost cast out the doctrine of Christ crucified from the pale of our Church, we had to travel through a century of coldness and dreariness and barrenness, of Arminianism and Pelagianism, of Arianism and latent Socinianismall which we found compatible with outward uniformity-before the spirit, which was then driven away, returned with anything like the same power. And the unhappy descendants of those who were then cast out, they too have suffered wofully for the sins of their forefathers, who in the time of their prosperity had been no less blindly zealous in sacrificing faith and hope and love to the same all-beguiling idol, Uniformity. They have suffered
in being severed from the unity of the Church and of the nation: they have suffered in that narrowmindedness, those prejudices and jealousies, which are the heirloom of all sectaries: above all, they have suffered in losing the most precious part of that sacred deposit of faith, which our Lord gave to be the riches and life of His Church unto the end of the world.
"Such are the lessons taught by the history of our Church concerning the efficacy of Uniformity, when enforced as a means to Unity. Nor, it seems to me, would a thoughtful, much more a philosophical mind look for any other. For unity is spiritual, pertains to the spiritual part of man, his heart, his mind, his will. Even in lower things a unity formed by aggregation, or agglomeration, or colligation, is merely factitious, like the unity of a sandheap, or of a fagot. If branches are to form a unity, they must be organized into it by a central vital principle. Are all such men to be debarred at once from the ministry of the Church, because they entertain conscientious scruples on certain points acknowledged to be indifferent? The act of Uniformity says Yes the spirit of true Catholic Christianity says, No. The Church that does so exclude them, maims herself, by forfeiting the services of numbers who would have served her faithfully: many of these, feeling an inward call to the ministry, which they cannot follow within the pale of the Church, join the ranks of schism: and while the Act of Uniformity thus casts out many of the best fish from the net, all the bad, all the careless, all the unscrupulous, all the unprincipled may abide in it unmolested.
which enacted this rigid ecclesiatical uniformity, was addicted, as might be imagined, to the practice of uniformalizing all things. It tried to uniformalize men's heads by dressing them out in fullbottomed wigs. It tried to uniformalize trees by cutting them into regular shapes. It could not bear the free growth and luxuriance of nature. Yet even trees, if they have any life, disregard the Act of Uniformity, and branch forth according to their kinds, so that the
shears have constant work to clip their excrescences; and none submit quietly except the dead.
Hence the remonstrants were dismist unconvinced, and rather confirmed than shaken in their opposition. Whereas, if the right order had not been inverted-if the parties in the conference had set before their minds that their aim should be to cherish unity, instead of enforcing uniformity-if they had rightly understood that the blessing of a Liturgy is not, that it makes the whole congregation repeat the same words, and go through the same postures and gestures, but that it touches their hearts with the same live coal from the altar, and unites them in the consciousness of the same need, the same weakness, the same frailty, in the same cry for mercy and help, in the assurance of the same gracious deliverance, and in the same songs of thankfulness and praise-surely it would have been recognized that the primary ought not to be sacrificed to the secondary, the essential to the indifferent; it would have been felt that whatever tended to disturb and mar this heavenly unity ought to be done away. The question would no longer have been, can we find a sufficient authority in antiquity, or in the reason of things, to justify this practice? but, is this practice of such paramount importance, so intimately bound up with the life of Christian truth, that we must rather cast our brethren out of the Church, than allow them to remain in the Church, if they will not conform to it? *** In fact this very course, which otherwise would doubtless be branded as a device of modern liberalism, is pointed out explicitly in the King's admirable Declaration referred to. * Even in the two records of the Lord's Prayer, brief as it is, there are diversities for the Spirit of God is more careful to guide the thoughts of the heart, than the words of the lips."
The Archdeacon's reference to Laud is most seasonable.
"Such notions were very prevalent, when God was pleased to hasten
the judgment on our Church by placing Archbishop Laud at the head of it. This prelate is the favourite hero and saint of the worshippers of uniformity; and not without a good claim to their admiration. It was said of old, that love fulfilleth the law; but his doctrine was, that, if you make people keep the letter of the law, they will gain love. There is
something marvellous in the pertinacity with which he ever clings to the conviction, that, if the outside of the platter be cleansed, all will be right. When he was chosen Chancellor of your University, his great anxiety, evinced by reiterated earnest remonstrances, is about formalities, that is to say, the academical dress: he complains that formalities which are in a sort the outward and visible face of the University, are in a manner utterly decayed,' and says, 'If this go on, the University will lose ground every day both at home and abroad;' he charges the Heads to take care that the members of the University should fit themselves with formalities fitting their degrees, that the University may have credit by looking like itself; and then I doubt not but it will be itself too. For it will not endure but to be as it seems.' These last words, which sum up the creed of the uniformalists, are a curious mark of the outwardliness and superficiality of Laud's mind,-in his heart there was better stuff;-which same character is betrayed by the whole tenor of his most meagre Diary, by the dreary triviality and dearth of imagination in his dreams, and by many sad testimonies in his conduct as a ruler of the Church. For how else can we conceive that an honest conscientious man, appointed to discharge the office of a bishop in the Church of God, should never, as it would seem, have been disturbed by the thought, that it behoved him to dwell in his Diocese, stirring up the hearts of its clergy and other members by doctrine, by exhortation, by pastoral advice, strengthening the feeble, encouraging the irresolute, cheering the timid and desponding, and guiding those who needed counsel? that, though he was bishop of
St. David's for four years and a half, he only visited his Diocese twice during that period, for about two months each time, at a quadrennial Visitation? that, though he was Bishop of Bath and Wells for near two years, he never set foot in his Diocese? And what was he doing all the while? Doubtless, having tried to put the formalities right by his Articles at his Visitation, he trusted that every thing would go right, and so thought he might employ himself in more important business as a hanger-on at Whitehall and Buckingham House. Alas, my friend, that such a man should have been selected by our modern uniformalists and ecclesiolaters, as the pattern of a churchman and a saint! a man who, when he had carried his point of making Bishop Juxon Lord High Treasurer, wrote down in his Journal, And now, if the Church will not hold up themselves under God, I can do no more.' I hardly know what words could have betrayed a grosser, shallower ignorance of what the Church is, and wherein her power lies; as though this were the true mode of promoting the increase of that kingdom, which has been declared to be not of this world; as though one word of faith, one deed of love, one silent prayer were not far mightier to strengthen the Church, than all the Lord-Treasurerships of all the treasures that Mammon has ever piled up in any quarter of the globe. When such a man was bent to establish his views of uniformity, as the means of regenerating the Church, it cannot surprise a person, who knows anything of the strong and fervid spirits he had to contend with, that, instead of raising the condition of the Church, he overthrew it, falling himself first, with a fortitude and meekness worthy of a high place in the army of martyrs. The Church was overthrown; and her fall was hastened, to say the least, by the stubborn policy of her Primate; as it was mainly occasioned from the first by her narrow-minded love of uniformity.
"Hence it seems to me that no slight service would be rendered to the Church, if any one could help
toward setting men's minds right on the relation between unity and uniformity, and toward exploding the noxious errour that uniformity is indispensable to unity. For though the above-mentioned illustrations of the mischiefs which this error has caused, are taken from bygone ages of our Church, the need of the warning which they hold out is not gone by. At this day far too many persons are harassing themselves and their neighbours through their anxiety to establish a strict uniformity: too many are magnifying rites and ceremonies, vestments and postures, as if these were the essentials of Christian worship, and as if the peace of the Church might be compromised for the sake of attaining to uniformity in such things. At this day how few understand and recognize the great truth enunciated in the words quoted above, that differentiae rituum commendant unitatem doctrinae! Yes, my friend, let us seek unity with all our heart and soul, but not by the way of uniformity, which will never lead to it, but will waste our time by throwing up trippingstones at every other step. Let
us rather seek it] by those spiritual means which our Lord gave to His Church, by doing what in us lies to draw our brethren more and more to the one Faith in the one Lord through the one Spirit, whereby alone can any be brought to the one God and Father of all."
The Dedication concludes with the following beautiful passage to which every right-minded Christian will heartily add his Amen.
"If I may without presumption apply words, which were spoken of wiser and holier men, may the surviver of us be enabled to say, as Archbishop Bramhall said of himself and Ussher, who in like manner differed from him on sundry points of opinion and feeling; I praise God that we were like the candles in the Levitical temple, looking one toward another, and both towards the stem. We had no contention among us, but who should hate contention most, and pursue the peace of the Church with swiftest paces.
(To be continued.)
The Youths' Remembrancer.
A TRACT GIVEN AT A BALL.
A FEW years ago, on a cold frosty evening in December, the inhabitants of a country town seemed in a state of unusual excitement. It was the evening of a ball. A young lady was mounting the stairs that led to the assembly room, when a gentleman with a number of tracts in his hand advanced and offered her one. took the little book, and was putting it into her reticule, when the gentleman said to her, "Will you, ma'am, promise me one thing?-it is, that you will read this tract.' With cheerful good humour the young lady promised to do so, and passing on, was soon engaged in the mirth of the evening.
In the quiet of her chamber, she was left to her own silent, and some
times sorrowful reflections. It was one day, when thus left alone, she took up the torn and crumpled tract given her long since. Katherine's attention was arrested, and she read it carefully. The tract told her that she was a sinner; that we are all by nature enemies to God; that she might be amiable, and just, and dutiful to her parents, and kind to the poor; and yet if she did not love God supremely, if she had not faith in Christ, she would be undone for ever. It proved, from the Scriptures, that man is in a fallen condition; that " our very righteousness (the good works in which Katherine would have trusted) are as filthy rags" in the sight of a pure and holy God; that our very devotions are mingled 3 A
with sin; that the thoughts of man's heart are only evil, and that continually, (Gen. vi. 5); and, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John iii. 3.) Katherine must have heard these things before, for she had always been accustomed to attend at church at least once on every Sunday, and had often joined in the solemn response, "Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners!" but never till now had she felt anything of the sinfulness of her own heart, or the necessity of so great a change, as that which the Scripture describes as being “born again. She called to mind how many days had passed without one thought of God; how she had been amused by passing events, and never experienced one feeling of holy gratitude to the Lord of glory, who had come down to this sinful earth, to die the death of the cross, that we might be saved. But the tract did not tell the sinner that he was guilty before God, in order to leave him there. It told also the blessed truth, that life and salvation are offered by the Gospel. It showed that it was for the sinner Christ's sacrifice was offered. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet, peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. v. 7-8.) It showed that while God could not pardon the transgressor with justice, except a mediator between God and man had appeared, that God's only beloved Son had become that mediator; and that "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John, ii. 1.) Christ's own words invited the sinner to come to him. unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me." (Matt. xi. 28, 29.) Katherine found that God's Holy Spirit was promised to sinners, to bring them to God; that he was to guide them into all truth; and that our Saviour had said, "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
how much more shall God give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Matt. vii. 11.)
Every passage, as she read it, seemed to bring some new light to Katherine's mind. God was her teacher. He who had died for her soul was revealing himself gradually to her. Her illness was a long one; but she found, in communion with God, and in the study of his promises, a deep and lasting happiness. On the bed of pain and sickness she was cheered by the hope of everlasting glory; and she longed to be absent from the body, that she might be present with the Lord.
Many months after she had thus read the little tract, Katherine's happy spirit had entered into the joy of her Lord. But the good done by the tract did not end here.
Katherine had found " the pearl of great price," and she did not conceal it. She called on others to rejoice with her on finding it. She had one friend, who was much with her during her long illness, and who had been her companion from her childhood. therine endeavoured to lead her to God; she entreated her to come as a sinner to the Saviour, and to seek the Holy Spirit by prayer. Emma had not before thought seriously of religion, but from this time she began to study the Scriptures for herself. She was led to embrace the offers of the Gospel, and became a devout and humble child of God.
The mode of Emma's death literally exemplified the Scripture description. "She fell asleep in Jesus;" and her friend was reminded of the words of the good John Bunyan, in describing the passage through the dark river, which was taken by the pilgrim :"And the river was very calm at that time."
Many friends visited Emma during her long sickness. There was the decided Christian, who, if ever he feared death for himself, might look on this death-bed, and see how God supports his people in the hour of need. There were some who had but lately began to inquire for the way of salvation; some thoughtless ones, whose whole souls were engrossed by