Page images

ters, to hold a truth, and at the same time to teach a countervailing error, must be a sin—the sin of hypocrisy, or of indifference, or of unwise and unjustifiable compromise. Nor does it appear that the case is altered if the teaching is by means of an intermediate person. In this case, if in any, qui facit per alteram facit per se. It is impossible to separate the prime moving agent from the moral result. An erroneous teaching goes forth to deceive mankind and defeat God's gracious purpose, which would not but for my instrumentality; a false teacher of delusion, opposed to revelation, acquires through my act increased facilities for practising his nefarious calling ; error is declared, truth is repressed, and souls are perverted. It is inconceivable to a well halanced mind that any circumstances could induce a clear-sighted believer of a revealed truth to be thus in any way, however remotely, the propagator of an opposing or adulterating error. Men may say, this is very rigid and illiberal; but look at the elements under consideration, and their awful sanction. Give them their real weight; and it will surely be concluded that good men ought to come up to this standard; and that if they do not, it is worth while enquiring what defective and perverting agencyis at work, which can lead men with comparative indifference to circulate on the one hand the justification of the soul by faith alone, and on the other its justification by human merit. We know there are many ways of mystifying a question of this sort, and letting the inconsistency pass under the cloud of sophistication; but the point is, what does a truly honest, straightforward mind think of it--one who would not lightly lend himself to his own decep

per se sinful ;” and surely he would consider a measure far more effectually teaching vital error-doctrine differing vitally from his own--to be sinful per se. His mind therefore has taken refuge, where only it had the semblance of escape, in the essential identity of the great substance of Romish and Reformation teachingin the comforting and quieting idea “ that we hold many doctrines in common with our Roman Catholic brethren." And here again, on the justificative ground of the Bishop's original position, we once more join issue with him. Could we agree with him, we would go further than he does; but believing the Romish system to be “ an apostacy,” a falling away from the truth, “the believing of," and the propagation of, “a lie” in the cause of God: we cannot cherish a charity so virtually licentious; we would rather maintain that, with respect to every truth which we hold, the parallel dogma in the Romish scheme is not the truth-is not a truth—but is a perversion, or a contradiction, or a pollution, or an overlaying of the truth-so that the truth is not there. The union of moral truth and error is like an union of two simple substances in nature by chemical affinity. The sulphur combines with the iron, and makes sulphuret of iron, another substance of widely different qualities, utterly different from the nature of iron, and unfit for the purposes to which iron is applied; and the iron will not be iron again till the sulphur has been thoroughly abstracted.

We agree, then, here, in the main, with our correspondent, while we venture, respectfully, to differ from the mitre. And we conceive, in order to fix our relative position towards Rome, and our duty towards God and our fellow-creatures in this awfully important matter, we must permit ourselves to be brought up by right reason and the paramount authority of revelation to this distinct position : viz. we hold no truth in common with the Church of Rome. She holds no truth; because every truth which she seems to hold is nullified and perverted, inasmuch as it is essentially combined with a fatal error. A man

tion ?

It is quite evident that the Bishop of Worcester has felt the practical difficulty, as it is here put, to be a great one; because he has felt that as long as he were compelled to view the teaching of Rome and the Reformation as essentially opposed to each other, he could not take the position he has done. “Nothing," he says, “could induce me to vote forameasure

may say with me, that twice two are fourth element into the great mystery four; we seem to agree; but if he of the Godhead; and the habit of the hold also, that three and two are four, Popish mind toward the object of then his notion of the number four worship, differs essentially from that differs essentially from mine. There of the Protestant. The cherubic emis an element in his notion of four blem of Ezekiel presents to the Prowhich is at variance with mine--we do testant an adequate intimation of the not holdour arithmeticaltables in com- Triune God manifested through the mon. In all the practical results of incarnation ; but it would not fully calculation we shall differ; I can have meet the Romanist's practical notions. no safe or sound dealings with him He would be conscious of defects. till he shakes off the delusion that the He would be feeling after some preelements of five are only equivalent to sentation of the additional idea of the four. Then, only, will he hold the “Queen of Heaven," who fills so truth as to four: then, only, shall we large a portion of his confidence and be agreed; and hold the multiplica- his devotions. We hold not the same tion table in common.

notion of a Trinity with those who This is an illustration, not an argu- recognize a fourth element of Divine ment; but it carries the principle ; power and glory, however casuistiand will materially assist the develope- cally modified and subordinated. It ment of our objection to the Bishop's is impracticable in the scope of these vindication of his vote for the educa- pages to follow out this idea in detail. tion of Romish priests, on the ground But it might be very clearly shown, that they and we hold and teach many that the doctrine of a gracious salvatruths in common. There is not a tion through an atonement, is essentenet of Christianity professed to be tially vitiated by the recognized means held by the Romanist, that is not so of fastings, penances, and payments, essentially combined with an unscrip- on the part of the congregation, and tural notion as to make it not the of indulgences, dispensations, and averment which it professes to be, but pardons, on the part of the priest; a widely different and dangerous one; that the true doctrine of mediation is so that the notion held by him is not lost in the second-class mediation of held in common with us, but is exclu- hosts of canonized intercessors; that sively and peculiarly his own. The the one propitiation, by a sacrifice once Bishop says, “ we both believe in God offered, is merged and buried in the the Father ;” but be it remembered, daily sacrifice of a daily created that we do not believe in a mere Christ, for the quick and dead; that name, but in a revealed character, the belief of Christ's appointment of and if the general views entertained of two sacraments is swamped in the that character by Romanists are es- assertion that he appointed seven; sentially inconsistent with the sublime that the divine inspiration of canoninotion of revelation, if their God and cal Scripture cannot be held as we Father is a being who can sanction hold it, when the same inspiration is an adoration of demons and of images, claimed for other writings containing and contentedly divide the honours palpable error; and that a system of of worship with creatures and fig- revealed truth is diluted and lost ments, if He is not in their estimation when held together with an undefined the “jealous God” of the decalogue, and yet undeveloped depositum somethen, even on the subject of this ele- where or other in the heart of the mentary truth, we have no doctrine clergy, an “unwritten law in the in common.

Their rock is not as our Church," as Dr. Phillimore calls it, rock, themselves being judges. In which may be brought out piecemeal the same way the professed tenets of a as convenience serves. Trinity in Unity is vitiated by the Now we submit this view of Romish assumption of a woman to the throne

error most seriously to the consideof divine honours. The introduction ration of the Bishop, and all others of the genetrix Dei as a prominent who wish to entertain largely chariobject of worship -- introduces a table views of the abettors of the Romish system; for we believe this to through mercy, eliminate the associbe the gravamen of their sin, that ated poison. Pascal is an instance of they have poisoned the stream at the this; but this does not at all affect fountain. They seem to hold Scrip- the systematic teaching. “There is tural truths. They hold none. The death in the pot.” The mixture must voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands be condemned as poison; and no are the hands of Esau. They sign, mitigated notion of the virus must be swear to, and repeat the Triune Creed, entertained, because it is just possible but they also sign, swear to, and that some minds are so constituted as repeat twelve other articles, which are to separate that which is healthy from taken along with it, as of equal autho- that which is deleterious. Men may rity with the previous articles, and in this way be saved within the sysessentially modifying them, as truly tem, but the mixture is poisonous, and really as a will with a codicil to and they who put forth a hand to aid it, which can only be admitted to it, are participators in the adminismake such bequests as flow out of tration of death. the fair interpretation both of the pre- And thus we are brought, finally, vious and the subsequent documents. to the Bishop's posing question, Then, as it is evident that every state- which, certainly to a Bishop, as a ment of the previous part of the creed legislator for a population of mixed is modified, altered, and vitiated by creeds, one which must call up the subsequent statements, it must be most serious, extensive, and not easily admitted, that we hold none of the answered enquiries. “It is,” he says, previous truth in common with the "a question between teaching ChristiRomanists; because they do not hold anity as professed by Roman Catholics, them at all as they stand, but as they and teaching no religion at all.” We are modified, coloured, and trans- have no wish to cut a knot, rudely formed by that which follows.

and summarily, which we cannot unLet this view be entertained, and tie, but we do deliberately, in our we see not how an accurate mind, position, accept the atter horn of the thinking rightly over the whole mat- dilemma. The Romish system is not ter, can properly entertain any other, a Christianity, but an apostacy" and then, surely, all charity towards from it, and we say at once, that the the Romish system must cease. If responsibility attached to religious we are satisfied that the combined teaching is so awful, and the guilt of result of professed Scriptural truth teaching error so great, that it is held with and modified by adulte- clearly the duty of believers of the rating error, is not truth but false- truth, to teach nothing, if they may hood; then it is quite evident, that to not teach truth. There is no other further the promulgation of that false- way of keeping their hands clean. hood is sinful; and that it is sinful, There is no other way of using proin the very worst form of such sin, to fitably the actual state of things to support a scheme for training more further the cause of truth. Mere effectually the teachers of the system. statesmen may do what they like, and It is applying fresh power at the cen- Christian men and Christian Bishops tre of the system. It is strengthening may go the length of tolerating all and quickening the energies of the erroneous religious opinions, and reheart.

fusing to mulct men in any way in It behoves us, however, to state, their civil privileges on that account. before we altogether turn away from But a stand must be made on the this very momentous subject, that we extreme verge of truth. We cannot do not deny, that through the extra

We cannot deceive ordinary mercy of God, men may men's souls and keep them in error catch at and lay hold, even in the pre- by a compromise. Their interest is cincts of the Romish community, and directly concerned in the manifest under the upas tree of Trentine teach- horror with which Protestants should ing, of some portions of saving truth. shrink from any participation in the The alembic of their mind may, teaching of idolatrous delusion. Let


go further.


men carry out their view one step path of light that leads to heaven, by further, and look again :-Mahom- taking part in teaching them to be medanism is a modification of Christi- Roman Catholics. anity-would they teach that? And With such views we must, of in what is the false prophet at Rome course, deeply regret, not only the less criminal than he of Mecca? direct vote of Dr. Pepys for the MayVital disease calls for desperate re- nooth measure, but the general want medy. It is no concern of the Chris- of bold, prominent, uncompromising tian what religion a people will have, protestation by the Right Reverend if they will not receive the truth. the Bench against it.

“ It was as if Let the way be unrestrained for them a standard bearer fainted.” We canto maintain their own superstitions. not forget that there was an English Let the true Church provide her Archbishop, in Reformation times, agents to offer the truth to their at- who was once led to put his hand to tention, and then with the Gospel a measure of conciliatory compromise standard in our hand, we may say, with Rome; but when the day of safely and wisely, “ we demur to any calm and serious investigation came participation whatever in the teaching he rend alike the mercy

, the integrity

, a compound of truth and error. While the means of teaching truth and the Scriptural truth of the Church are provided for them, we say fear- of Rome, by the blazing faggot of his lessly, it is better for the people, as martyrdom, he thrust that hand first yet, to be anything at all, than that into the fire, saying—“Oh! this unwe should neutralize the testimony to worthy hand!" saving truth, and mystify the narrow


(For the Christian Guardian.)

The sky is a huge letter, on a ground
Of azure written, held in God's right hand,
Which to this hour undimm'd its hue retains,
And will retain it, till the world shall end.
In this majestic letter is contained
Mysterous writing from the mouth of God:
But th’ round, splendid seal thereof—the sun-
Will not permit the letter to unfold :
Now, when night from this letter takes the seal,
Then the eye, in a thousand characters,
Reads nought but one stupendous hieroglyph ---
That “ God is love, and love can ne'er deceive !"
Nought but this sentence, yet so great its depth,
That human mind can ne'er interpret it.

M. N.


(For the Christian Guardian.) We readily insert the following letter, flower-pots were bright red, which not because we have changed our cast quite a sunny glow over the opinion of the Poor Laws, which we little garden. We were first shown have from the very first reprobated into the governor's room; and upon as cruel, unchristian, and unconsti- our observing to him how much we tutional, but because we are glad to had been struck with the garden, he be able to exhibit a sperimen, for the replied, “it gives the inmates a taste encouragement of others, of what for cultivating their little gardens at may be done under humane and home; and when they see how much Christian direction. We know there can be done in small


it encouare exceptions to the general rule, rages them to try to raise a few flowand we could name some (one, at ers and vegetables for themselves, least,) ourselves. But they are not and the colour of the flower-pots is to such as the existing laws, in their show them how much brighter and strict letter, admit. We believe that more cheerful cleanliness is, than the where the Poor Law system works dirty and disorderly way they are satisfactorily, it is only by a deter- usually accustomed to at home. We mined resistance on the part of hu- then enquired about separating the mane guardians to its objectionable husbands and wives. It appeared to provisions. Happily, the Govern- us hard, that a couple, after having ment are yielding to the pressure of lived the best part of their lives toirresistible influence, and the vaunt gether, should in old age be deprived of infallibility, which has so often of that comfort. He laughed, and and so ridiculously issued from So- said, “Oh, I assure you that is not merset House, is heard no more. the case. The law provides out of There is scarcely an objectionable the house for any respectable couple feature in the Poor Laws which the who bear a good character. I have Home Secretary is not gradually, been here ten years, and have not though we fear reluctantly, compelled yet met with an instance where there to amend; so that we live in hope to was the smallest desire expressed to see the day when our nation will be together; on the contrary, the recease to treat poverty as a crime, and, quest generally is, Pray never let me in the haste to check the disorderly, see my wife again, or, I trust I shall oppress the virtuous.

be kept from my husband;


duct in one or both being the usual “We had so constantly heard com- cause of their state of destitution. plaints from the poor in every town we Drinking is the scourge of the lower visited, of the cruelty of the laws re- orders; and really I think, if anyspecting the Union Houses, and ex- thing, the women are worse in this pressed the horror of being obliged to respect than the men. They have no become their inmates, that we wish- domestic comforts to lose; strife and ed to see one and judge for our- contention, poverty, and every evil selves of the truth of these statements: which sin brings with it, is all they and being at Cheltenham for a short have known at home.' We said we time, we took the opportunity of going thought they must be very comfortoverthe Union House there, andour vi- able in such an establishment. He sit afforded us very great pleasure. We answered, 'Yes, to the aged, the sick, were struck, on entering the garden, and the children, we do endeavour to with the air of cheerfulness and the give every possible comfort; their attention to taste in the distribution circumstances require it: but to the of the flowers; and there was evi- strong and healthy, we should be dently the desire to render every guilty of a sin, to encourage them in thing both useful and agreeable—a idleness. Man must gain his bread thing too often lost sight of. The by the sweat of his brow, and there

« PreviousContinue »