Page images

modern class of Independents have any pretensions to represent the principles of either of the parties, their inveterate antipathy to all human impositions as barriers against heresy would have been held in detestation by the venerable men who, towards the close of the seventeenth century, bore the Congregational name; and who, previous to their disruption from the Union, were uncompromising sticklers for the doctrine of subscription. Still less do the modern Congregationalists represent the distinguishing principles of the great rival party, who, after the withdrawal of the Independents, retained, according to Dr. Williams, the designation of “United Presbyterians ;"* and who had not only given their respectable sanction to our Presbyterian principle of subscription to confessions and other formularies of faith; but who, after they were left to themselves, passed a resolution, which, although in strict accordance with the tenets of the Presbyterian petitioners in the Hewley suit, is utterly at variance with the usages of Independency, "That we will suffer none commonly called Laymen to preach in our pulpits.”+

Nor has the apologist of the policy of the relators any ground for maintaining, that the modern Congregationalists are the representatives of the disciplinary principles of the old Presbyterians of the Hewley era, if the following depositions, solemnly made, in 1831, by two of their principal witnesses, be correct. In his evidence, adduced to support the information of the Congregational relators against the late Unitarian trustees, who were accused of having abandoned the discipline as well as the doctrines of the old Presbyterians, Dr. James Bennett, of Silver Street Chapel, in the city of London, said, "that at and about the year 1704, the ordinary meaning attributed to the term Presbyterian referred not to doctrine but to church government, intimating that this denomination approved of ordination of ministers, and the government of the Church by Presbyters, in opposition to Prelatical Episcopacy on the one hand, and to Independent or Congregational church government on the other. . . . and that it differs from the other classes (of Dissenters) in maintaining the government of the church by a presbytery, or court of elders, while the Independents or Congregationalists, who came nearest to them, maintained the competency of each church or congregation to manage its own affairs.” I And if, on the showing of this unexceptionable witness, the Presbyterians were thus strikingly contradistinguished from the Independents in 1704, that is, in the later days of Lady Hewley, the following testimony of the Rev. Thomas Scales, a Congregational minister in Leeds,

* Williams's Works, vol. iv. p. 504.

† Ib. vol. iv. p. 382. See Evidence of the Rev. Dr. Bennett, of the Congregational or Independent Chapel, Silver Street, London, in the Appendix to Appellants' Case, before the House of Lords, p. 107.



will not only corroborate the fact, it will do more—it will satisfactorily prove that the two classes of Presbyterian Petitioners in this suit, retain every one of those ancient Presbyterian characteristics, with which the modern Congregational ministers, in common with the Unitarians, have deemed it expedient to dispense. In 1831 Mr. Scales deponed, “that the Unitarians," against whose retention of the trust, the relators were contending, do not retain any of the essential parts of Presbyterian government and discipline, any more than the doctrines of the Presbyterians at the time of the foundation of the charities; for that they have no synods, classes, nor general assemblies; nor do they recognize any catechism, or creed, or form of ordination, but, on the contrary, disclaim the one and the other, . . . And that there is, in fact, no body of Presbyterians in England as to government and discipline, except such as are connected with the Kirk of Scotland, or with the Associate Synod, of that country.'

These quotations need no comment. They show, that if we "were deceived by the word Presbyterian," as our Congregational opponent alleges, so were his friends Dr. Bennett and Mr. Scales. They show that if these rev. gentlemen formed a correct opinion of the distinctive principles of the Presbyterians in 1704, so have we. And they show, that if we can claim to general identity of principle with the benevolent foundress of the charity, and with the men to whom its administration was originally confided, we had a good right to interfere. But the two classes of Presbyterian petitioners, who were forced into Chancery for the protection of their interests, against a system of exclusion, were not deceived. They know that their congregations inherit the principles, which, according to Dr. Bennett and Mr. Scales, were descriptive of the class to which Lady Hewley belonged; that many of the congregations in whose behalf an appearance has been made, have subsisted from a period anterior to the foundation of the charity; and that they have uninterruptedly participated of its benefits, since the date of its first distribution.

Believe me to be, Sir, yours respectfully, Carlisle, 8th April, 1843.


* Evidence of the Rev. Mr. Scales, in the Appendix aforesaid, p. 119.

+ The Editor has been favoured by his friend Verus, with a rejoiner to this paper, but its length compels him to postpone its insertion, till the next number goes to press.


The Exclusire Claims of Puseyite Episcopalians to the Christian

Ministry Indefensible; with an Inquiry into the Divine Right of Episcopacy, and the Apostolical Succession. In a Series of Letters to Dr. Pusey. By John Brown, D.D., Minister of Langton, Berwickshire. pp. 560. London: Nisbet & Co.

We are glad to perceive, in the works that are written in the present day against ecclesiastical assumption, that sort of strength which consists in not attempting too much. We are persuaded that this is the right ground with regard to the present controversy, and sorry should we be to have any book put into our hands on the “ Divine right” of Presbyterianism, Independency, or of any other form which now stands forth in distinction from Episcopacy. It is enough for Episcopacy herself to have to bear the consequences of this folly and presumption ; let no other denomination be so infatuated as to share with her in this piece of fanaticism. The defensive position is the safe one, we feel persuaded, in this field of conflict. We are glad, therefore, to find exclusive claims refuted, instead of one exclusive claim being set up, in the matter of church government, to the rejection of some or every other.

It must be admitted, indeed, that with whatever ability a work is written, whatever strength there may be in the reasonings that are employed, and however moderate may be its tone, it would argue rather too great simplicity, after all that we know of the obstinacy of men’s minds, when once wedded to, and, what perhaps is more, committed to, a certain theory, to suppose that any work whatever must necessarily convince those for whom it is composed. Unfortunately, there is always one most sovereign remedy against such conviction, a remedy which is infallible as a panacea for all wavering, a catholicon to every doubt, a spell that is sure to lay every ghost of a scruple or misgiving which might rise up to annoy the partisan, were his mind exposed fairly to the ordinary appliances which it is lawful for those who controvert his opinions, to employ : we mean the remedy frequently resorted to, of simply not reading what an opponent has to say. We would strongly recommend this course to Dr. Pusey, if he wishes to feel quite free from all hesitation as to his belief in Anglo-Romanism. We think Dr. Brown's book unanswerable ; and the immense mass of evidence which he has brought to bear against Dr. Pusey, and no small portion of it from bishops and clergy of the Church of England, entitles him to the hearty thanks of all the lovers of truth and fair play.

These twenty-four “Letters" embrace nearly the whole controversy between the “Anglo-Catholic” church, and the other Protestant churches, with a more especial, but by no means an exclusive, bearing on Presbyterianism. The tone is throughout manly and moderate. The book abounds in quotations, which prove that the Puseyite or Romish notions are contrary to the articles of the Church of England, to the writings of the bishops who composed her formularies, and to those of her immediate successors. These newly-revived doctrines are shown also to have been condemned by many of the most distinguished statesmen after the Reformation, such as Cecil, Knollys, and Lord Bacon, and by the whole of the Protestant churches at that memorable period. Tindal, Barnes, Lambert, Cranmer, Tonstall, Stokesley, Jewel, Redman, Robertson, Willet, Bedel, and many more, are quoted to the same effect. The theory attempted to be set up from the platform of the Jewish synagogue, is also ably disposed of, and is shown to have been given up by some of the leading defenders of Episcopacy itself. We confess that we do not agree with the arguments adduced by Dr. Brown, to prove that the angels of the seven churches in Asia Minor were not individuals, but collective bodies : we think, on the whole, that Dr. Campbell's view is the best; namely, that the “angel" in those congregations and such no doubt there were) in which there were general pastors, was the leading pastor, or the specimen, as it were, of the presbytery. The essence of this distinction is found wherever there is more than one minister to a congregation. One must, and always does, more or less, take the lead : but this does not at all favour diocesan Episcopacy, though it might have been the germ of that which was Congregational or parochial, undoubtedly the earliest and the purest form of Episcopacy. Our author further shows, that Jewel and Stillingfleet, together with many other bishops and dignitaries, including Archbishop Whately in our own days, have confessed and maintained that the apostolical succession wholly fails as obtained from the Church of Rome, from which many of the present clergy have, in spiritual descent, derived their orders. He proves also that Scotland, in the early times of her church, and while she was independent of Rome, and was Presbyterian in her form, gave many orders to the English clergy. Thus the succession is vitiated south and north. On Dr. Pusey's principles, it follows that there is not, in the present day, a single Christian church, or a single Christian, on the face of the whole earth ; at least, that (to use a favourite Puseyite, or AngloRomish phrase) no church and no professed Christian can be “sure" that they are built on the right foundation, since the evidence of succession is a question so complicated, so obscure, so apocryphal, and so conjectural, that no wise man would think of allowing any important conclusion to rest upon it. According to the Puseyite notions, moreover, it is clear that wherever the “grace given” in baptism, confirmation, or ordination, has, through some inadvertence in the omission of these rites, failed of being conveyed, there must be a fatal defect in the chain : there is, in short, the absence of a link; the current of grace has been abruptly broken off, and though there may be a pretended chain beginning anew, the apostolic succession, and therefore grace, must be lost. It is, as in the human body, when a principal nerve, supplying some important part, is cut through : sensation ceases below the part. Alas! for the poor Anglican Church ! how does it become the clergy to trace back the line of their ordination! Suppose some bishop who ordained them, was himself ordained by some bishop, who was ordained when a presbyter by some bishop, who was himself never baptized ! or never confirmed! or never ordained ! For, you know, Dr. Pusey, that unless it be “apostolical," "catholic,” canonical, baptism is no baptism; ordination, no ordination. What if some bishop should have been intruded, and have “clomb,” like the first robber, into the Divine fold, without having been initiated into these sacred apostolical mysteries ? Alas! for the poor Church of England ! Bishop Butler had only Presbyterian baptism, and was not re-baptized: but he baptized some who were afterwards ministers, and he made several bishops! Secker was primate of England, with the same graceless baptism, which was no baptism! but Secker ordained many presbyters, and a number of bishops, and baptized two kings, who were even “heads” of the church! Tillotson was the son of a Baptist, and there is no evidence, says Dr. Brown, “that he was ever baptized at all, or ordained a deacon :” yet he was also Archbishop of Canterbury, and made many a priest! Confirmation, surely, cannot remedy this defect; for, as Cranmer states, “it was not instituted by Christ ;” nor was the Redeemer himself, nor any individual mentioned in the New Testament, confirmed : hence some of the leading English reformers acknowledged "it is a domme ceremonie, and has no promise of grace connected with it.” This was the opinion, not only of Cranmer, but also of Dr. Edmonds, Master of Peter House, Cambridge, and of Jewel, as also of Usher. Even Charles the Martyr was no Christian, according to the theory of the Puseyites, for he was baptized at Dunfermline, by a Presbyterian minister, and was never re-baptized. To bring this miserable business down to our own times, the King of Prussia lately “stood Godfather," as it is termed, to the little Prince of Wales, though he had himself never been baptized, according to Dr. Pusey; for he was not baptized by a bishop, nor by a minister who had been ordained by a bishop. We confess that we do not see, unless Dr. Pusey will vouchsafe to enlighten us, how, under these circumstances, (we mean his not being a Christian,) his majesty could solemnly pledge himself, that this young gentleman shall “ renounce the devil and all his works, and

« PreviousContinue »