Page images


was exacted of the prelates and lay very useful book on the subject, and leaders, they required that when the to enable us at the same time to deoath on the holy sacrament was ad- duce from facts the true character of ministered, the host should be con- the Roman Catholic system. It is secrated by one of their own chaplains, an opposition to the authority both of the secret assurance being given to

God and man. It is an opposition to the conspirators, that, as the validity the legitimate authority of man under and efficacy of the sacraments depend the mere pretence of an especial aued entirely, according to the Romish thority from God. It is an artful doctrine, on the intention of the offi- system of contrariety to the written ciating priest, so the intention of the revelation of God's will, masked by chaplain should be decidedly in their an equally artful endeavour to with favour—the wafer would be no host, draw the written word from the sight and the oath a nullity! Such facts of men; and under the profession of must be deliberately weighed, before defending them from distracting and statesmen can at all know their real overpowering light, to keep them in position in dealing with the adherents total darkness, to shut out meridiar. of Rome.

day by the deep-stained and storied Such, it appears, however, was the windows of tradition, to merge the general conduct of the hierarchy in simple, grand, and elevating truths of Ireland, down to the time of the Re- the Gospel message in the mere scenic formation. “Few generations,” says processions and pomps of a theatrical a learned historian, passed away, exhibition, frittering down the enerwithout the prelates adding some new gies of the mind from the sanative grievance to the accumulation of contemplation of great moral truths, national suffering; whilst for the tur- to the outside and beggarly service of bulence which they uniformly evinced, vestment and posture, and ascetic and they had as little aggression to plead bodily infliction. A calm and imparin excuse, as, perhaps, was ever expe- tial inspection of the system by the rienced by any community in so long written word must end in this conclua lapse of years. The sovereign, be- sion. And history, honestly read, sides endowing them splendidly, had leads us to the conviction, that the placed them next to, and scarcely be- results are analogous to the moral low himself; and the aristocracy had aspect of the scheme. It is one of enriched them with many noble bene- the infrangible truths of God's writfactions, yet they were ever setting ten code of government, that, as a an example of that rapacious violence man sows, so shall he reap; and they which was the prevailing vice of the that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh times, fermenting disaffection, braving reap corruption. If, therefore, men the executive government, stripping shall so pervert the message of sancthe law of its authority. One pur- tifying mercy, that it shall minister pose appears to have animated the

not to the spirit but to the flesh, then order; that of drawing to itself the most unquestionably shall it become domestic government of the country, a carnal and a debasing influence on and of establishing this dominion up- human nature, on individuals and on the trampled rights and preten- communities. If the Romish perversions of all other classes of men.” sion of Christianity be an opposition

We will not now follow out the to the authority of God and man, it history of the Church as reformed in will ultimately develope itself in restIreland, its conflicts with the ever- less and seditious resistance both to restless struggles of the Romish divine and human law. This is, and clergy, and the melancholy proofs must be, the direct fruit of the system; which have for so long a time existed and what is the whole history of Ireof the degeneracy of the Protestant land but a proof of this? Even while Establishment through the selfish use her Sovereign

were Romanists, and of its patronage by the successive the Romish Church exclusive and governors of the country. Sufficient dominant, the priest, in the lordly has been said to point attention to a exercise of his plastic power, and the

people, the moulded creature of his hand, ignorant, and unsubmissive to anything but priestly domination, were alike rebels against the sovereign. And ever since, so faras the repressed but tolerated Church has been able to maintain an influence in the land, that rebellion has continued skulking under the lawn of prelatic suavity, breaking forth into unbounded insolence in the “rollicking” parish priest, and streaming forth among the misled multitude, in the blood of midnight or mid-day murder.

This is no exaggeration. It flows inevitably from the system of contrariety to the sole divine rule of human conduct. The people are trained under a continual endeavour by the clergy to emancipate themselves from the control of human government, and to show their contempt for it; and they are consequently without regard or reverence for it-prepared, at any time, for any required act of disobedience. “ As with the priest, so with the people.” Nor need our observation be limited to the sister island. Over the whole continent, where Romanism prevails, the loyalty and morality of the people have no substantial principle. The French revolution was a full developement of the results to be expected in a series of years. The morals of the people became grossly corrupt through the abstraction of the divine rule of con

the multitude, untaught in the renovating system of revealed truth, became infidel to man- —the priests, as the usurping substitute for Godand, consequently, infidel to the unknown God, whose real character of holiness and mercy had been concealed from them; and at this moment, in every Roman Catholic state in Europe, instead of the existence of a healthy and moralizing loyalty, the government walks upon a scarcely hidden volcano, and the ear already vibrates to the rumbling of the threatened explosion. And in the end, doubtlessly, the nations will learn a fearful lesson: that if men will go on independently of God's infinitely wise and gracious plan, of governing the human mind, its progress and its interests, individually and collec

tively, by the rule of his almighty Spirit, through the written word, they will find the upshot to be wickedness, pollution, rebellion, and ruin.

But the tendencies of the Romish system may be fairly tested, by a comparison of the physical and moral aspect of the three countries—Ireland, England, and Scotland. The natural resources of all three are in favour of Ireland: the mineral treasures, the climate, and the soil, have an aggregate superiority. Scotland is in all these respects the least abundantly supplied ; and yet we find prosperity, activity, and moral and intellectual worth, in proportion as we recede from Popery. The only anomaly in this statement, if it can fairly be called one, is, that in the north of Ireland the state of the people is vastly superior to that of the south; but there the Scottish presbyterian has been long settled; and that in several manufacturing towns of Scotland the dense population has been sadly demoralized and degraded, but every such spot teems with emigrant thousands of Irish Roman Catholics. Wherever the victims of the system gather, there its resultant evils prove manifest. Wherever a people under the influence of Scriptural truth throw off the incubus, they improve rapidly in the process of moralization. Is it not strange then, that while the nations of the continent are heaving in convulsive agony under a pressure felt to be intolerable, and while all the history of our own country, and of Ireland especially, shows forth the anti-social and anti-moral character of Popery, a strange infatuation should be eddying so many of our statesmen once more towards its vortex, and so many of our clergy are dallying and tampering with the fringes and furbelows of its robe? Under this strange influence, Romanism has been again established amongst us. All the experience of bygone years has been in vain; still wonder after the beast,” are still led by the cunning of that Jesuit association to whom the beast has given his power; and the result is, that we have no longer a Protestant constitu


[ocr errors]


tion. One step of aggression after another has been gained; and now the Trojan horse is within the walls. This may have been permitted to humble and correct us. It certainly will be to afflict us. And it remains now to be seen, as tim unfolds he misty curtain, whether the British churches shall shake all remaining

dust and defilement from their garments, and go forth from the wilderness leaning on their Beloved, or whether they will shrink back into the polluting and stifling embrace of the Romish Harlot, be identified with doomed Babylon, and perish with her in the coming crisis of her plagues.

ST. PAUL'S MESSAGE TO ARCHIPPUS. A Sermon preached at Wel

lingborough, May 27, 1845, at the Visitation of the Venerable the Archdeacon of Northampton. By the Rev. D. B. BEVAN, M. A., Rector of Burton Latimer. Seeleys, London.

When the Clergy meet at a Visitation, honourable exceptions, too often the
and are to be addressed from the pul- case that a Visitation Sermon is ju-
pit by one of the brethren, a custom venile and tame, uninfluential and
has obtained which serves very greatly profitless. It sometimes, however,
to take off the edge of a ministration happens that the lot falls upon a man,
that ought properly to avail“ for doc- though young, of too much serious-
trine, for reproof, and for instruction ness of mind to look away, at such a
and correction in righteousness.” time, from “ the ministry he has re-
The most recently appointed incum- ceived of the Lord,” of too great
bent, and generally one of the youngest singleness of eye to occupy it with
men, is called upon to preach, in cir- anything else, and too much strait-
cumstances unavoidably calculated to forwardness to go anywhere but di-
unnerve him for so solemn a duty, rectly to the points prominently before
and to melt down the energies of his him. And in such a case, it is strange
faithfulness into the inanities of com- and sad to see the conviction, strongly
mon-place thought. This arrange- manifest upon some faces, that the
ment savours of bad, and, we hope, of wise arrangement of appointing a
almost bygone times. We conceive, junior has failed—that the young man
that if a bishop has a strong sense of has stepped intrusively out of his
the vast importance of a clerical con- place—that he has presumed to lec-
clave, the momentous value of even ture his seniors, and that little or no
one morning to some 50 or 60 minis- thanks are due to him.
ters of Christ; if the shortness of life We are glad, therefore, that the
and of the ministry be rightly calcu- recent Visitation Sermon of Mr.
lated, he would break through this Bevan, of Burton Latimer, has ap-
shabby professional rule, and seek out peared in print. He is evidently a
the man best fitted in his turn to man of the class alluded to; and if a
speak words of weighty monition, and production of the kind is likely to
of judicious and stimulating kindness. have incurred censure, it is well that
And if the clergy sufficiently regarded we should see it, and judge whether
the solemnity of a ministry, which there is any real ground for it ; whe-
must be either “a savour of life unto ther he has outstepped the legitimate
life, or of death unto death,” they bounds of a concio ad clerum, and
would not be satisfied in looking for- violated, either in matter or in spirit,
ward, in a critical spirit, to the debut the proprieties of his position.
of the young Vicar of A., or the new The sermon is plain and unarti-
Rector of B.; but they would unite ficial. It aims at no flights of elo-
in entreating that they might hear quence or niceties of composition;
some known and venerated voice, but flows naturally from a serious
saying “This is the



in though youthful mind. It might be it.” Instead of this it is, with many thought that some of its statements


might have been a little diluted, or mix. tant of high doctrine, but who have ed up in a more bland and balmy vehi- really, at the same time, been ever cle, but it is a serious question after all, cavilled at for the needless rigidity of whether they would have been bettered; their habits, should protest against and whether the clergy are the men that over easy conformity to the prewho should seek for such vehicula. It vailing recreations of less religious is hardly likely, when physicians take society, which so frequently characmedicine, that they should condemn terizes the rubrical precisians of the themselves to the large dilution of day. It has been our lot to see “four draughts” per day, for the sake sprucely cassocked incumbents of of a few grains of active treatment. important parishes arguing across the Surely if the clergy could receive in dinner-table for the priestly power of this appointed half-hour the concen- renewing the soul of every infant trated essences of pastoral wisdom, brought to the font, and at the same in “ thoughts that breathe and words time writing from the raceground that burn,” it would be for their their astonishment that any one profit. There is, however, nothing could object to such rational and improper or out of place in Mr. harmless amusements. Bevan's discourse. It savours more The grand question is (and we, the of a meditation on his own sense of reviewers, speak professionally), are duty, than an attempt to admonish we, or are we not, in earnest ? Is it others — a thinking over his own enough in fulfilling “the ministry we ministry, rather than a meddling with have received of the Lord,” to go on theirs-and, evidently, anything in it the principle of the old proverb, "letbordering on the severe,

a-be for let-a-be;" to merge in the really more of a correction honestly common places of a good-natured administered to himself, than to his neighbourly intercourse, all the conbrethren.

scientious differences of opinion which The two great features of the ser- exist? It is impossible! In promon, are the object of the ministry, portion those differences are and the conduct of the minister. As serious, they must mark and divide. to the first, let it be remembered, aye, A leading bookseller once said to a let it be a deeply cherished remem- clergyman, “I am often astonished brance, as long as the distressing at the keenness of your controversial fact exists, that there is a division divisions. Why, we often quarrel among the clergy—that there is an most heartily with each other, but we Evangelical, and that there is a always make it up again at the Puseyite or Romanizing party—and monthly dinner.” Yes," said the that often indeed has the Visitation clergyman, “naturally enough; your pulpit sounded forth the errors of the object is a mundane one, and the nonjurors or semi-Pelagian school ; heart is readily healed by the energies and the body of pastors who receive of that very selfishness in which it the 39 Articles in their “plain, literal originated. Our differences are often and grammatical sense” have listened on vital points; and the warmth of and turned homeward in sorrow-but the strife is a measure of the awfulin silence. It must not then be won- ness of the subject, and of the deep dered at, if in these days of rising sincerity with which an opinion is and rampant Popery—of Jesuitical maintained.” In the main, this is assault both without and within our true : and, in the present instance, walls, men of what are called Evan- we see very little more than an honest gelical, but which we would call re- endeavour, on the part of the preaformation or Scriptural views, should cher, rightly to occupy his position, mark somewhat distinctively the and to preach the Gospel in its proground on which they stand. Vor portion, kata την αναλογιαν της must it be thought strange, if TTLOTEWS, to those to whom, by his they who have been too readily diocesan, he was appointed to preach charged with the neglect of moral it. There is an unequivocal simpliinstruction, as the criminal concomi. city and a considerable manliness in


what he has done, and we think that surely, they are, however unangelic, the meed of approbation should not “ few and far between;" and we canbe withheld, coming as it does come

not doubt but that there are many in these pages, from one utterly un- who


differ in some respects from connected with the preacher.

Mr. Bevan, but who, on a deliberate It is here that some may take perusal of this little tract, will lay it offence — that some, sinking into down with a sigh, and say,

« l'he lethargic indifference, may

shrink man is evidently in earnest; and it from the sharp and rousing outcry of

would have been well for me, for my younger energy:

But at what do family and my parish, if a similar they cavil? Is it at the doctrine of seriousness had commenced and coneverlasting rewards and punish- tinued to characterise my professional ments ? Is it at the value, the free course. Let him go forward honestly forgiveness, or the conversion of an striving, in a wicked world, to do immortal soul? Is it at the recog

what good he may, and in the meannition of “ the moving of the Holy time, the 'precious balm’ of even a Ghost,” as a fitting motive to the junior's reproof shall not break my ministry? Is it the preference of head.” purity of doctrine and practice to a Time, time is flying. By and by, mere legitimacy of successional ordi- the delegated angel, bestriding the nation? Is it because of the open earth and the sea, shall lift up his testimony for our reformation-doc- hand and swear, by Him that liveth trines against Romanizing encroach- for ever and ever, that there shall be ments? Isit because a young man, un

time no longer. Then the great deradeep sense of the importance of his Shepherd and Bishop of souls will mission, has unhesitatingly, in a test- meet and examine all his servants; ing crisis, avowed his honest renun- and the decision of that awful scene ciation of recreations which might be will not turn upon professional etisnares to him, as they certainly are to quette and eloquent blandishments, many, and compromise his ministry but upon the question, whether the among his parishioners, which in minister has “hid God's righteousmany other instances they most un- ness within his heart; or kept back questionably do ? Are there any so his truth from the great congregapertinacious and so testy, that in the tion.” It will be a mercy indeed in face of the solemn vows and interests

that day

“to be found faithful." It of the sacred calling, they can make will be a mercy to have written, and no allowance for the honest warmth practically exemplified, this short, and sincerity of a seriously impressed simple, and correct address. mind? There may be some; but,


We have received, from an hitherto amongst the people, and will serve to unknown correspondent, in compara- show to the reckless clique of theolotively humble life, a letter on the sub- gical innovators that, wide spread in ject of Dr. Pepys' recent charge, as the less noticed ramifications of socireported in the newspapers. It is a ety-not inerely among the aristocratcandid, and fair, and reasonable let- ical and flowering branches of the ter, accompanied with the name and tree, but in those equally wide spread station of the writer. We think it ing subterrene and radical fibres, right to give publicity to a communi- which constitute its stability in the cation coming from such a quarter; day of storm, and its nutriment and because we think it shows, with the moisture in a day of drought—there spread of general education, the is a sound and Scriptural theology, a growth of serious, intelligent thought living possession of the power of Pro


3 N

« PreviousContinue »