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to Christ's nature, it is that we have found the Father and clung to Him too exclusively. If we withhold our assent to the popular doctrine of atonement, it is that we are unwilling to accept any doctrine which seems to impugn the divine goodness and mercy. We are to add new truth to our old, and not to lose anything we have gained; nay our fellow Christians have something to learn from us. Here we felt we were addressed by one who had some knowledge of our hearts, and had looked on our ways of thought in some measure from our own point of view. St. Paul acknowledged of the Athenian heathen, that they were much given to worship; but though you speak of some of us as possessing moral and intellectual worth, you seem to regard us as spiritually environed by darkness, as having no blessed light shining down upon us from Heaven, enlightening our minds and rejoicing our hearts. This we know, we feel is not true. You are concerned for us, and diffident of your own advocacy ; but forgive me for saying that you seem too much like a crusader, unfurling the banner of your creed, and not like a brother seeking humbly with us, hand in hand, the truth of God.
Alas, Sir, I fear we have begun at the wrong end — with our differences, and not with our points of sympathy. How much better were it to begin with our sympathy on many things, and then proceed to our differences on a few.*
* “God's temple is to be built up by a labor of construction which preserves, with jealous and loving tenderness, all that has life and truth. If only we would recognize this great law of the The chief respect, in which you make me feel how little insight you have into our actual position, is that you over and over again state or imply, that we believe Christ to be s6 a mere man." Such a view would seem to me obviously contrary to the whole tenor of the evangelical records. I know not how any words of ours can express what he is. The painter who has attempted to depict the face, or the sculptor to mould the form of the Son of God, has not more completely failed than would any description we could give of his character, liis spirit, and his glory. Not all the exalted titles that have been ascribed to him can shew him as he is. He is too great for the human mind to measure him. What most helps us to see him is a participation of his own spirit. Could a mere man receive the Holy Spirit without measure ? Could a mere man shew us the Father ? Would a mere man be placed above the Angels and all the hierarchy of Heaven, and sit at the Father's right hand ? No, the feeling with which Christ would naturally be regarded is not at all of the same kind with that with which we regard Prophets or Apostles. But here it is only just to confess that some who have not reDivine economy, full of wisdom and of love; if only we would strive to edify one another,' to add to, and raise upwards to perfection whatsoever of truth and faith exists in the most imperfect, we should win many a soul. Men are not won by contradictions, nor persuaded by refutations, but by the expansion, enlargement, and perfect exhibition of the truths they hold in germ. This is the Divine rule of controversy, the only evangelical principle of conversion, the law of unity, truth and love. Wheresoever, then, the germs of the perfect faith are sown, therein let us rejoice in hope.”—Manning, vol. iv., p. 73.
garded Christ as the Supreme Being seem to me more to realize the sanctity, the elevation, the heavenly beauty and loveliness, the true exaltation of his character than most of those have done, who call him God.
You say, Rev. Sir, that you “ long over” us ; would that it had been for a unity of the spirit in the bond of peace ! Let me say, too, that I have yearned towards you and my Christian brethren of this place; not that I would lay great stress on uniformity in our views, but I would that we could all go on in our earthly pilgrimage with harmony and mutual sympathy and help. It seems hard sometimes to live amidst so many Christian brothers and yet be treated with coldness and suspicion, and refused the name which is most dear to us, instead of being welcomed into a genial and kindly fellowship. But God forbid that I or any of my friends should magnify into a cross the social deprivations under which we labor for conscience' sake. Were our sacrifices increased a hundred fold, we ought to make them freely, and regard them as sweet for his sake who died for us. But, indeed, for any disadvantages we may experience, we are abundantly recompensed by the ready access a Catholic spirit affords us to an inward communion, by means of books, with the wisest and holiest men of all creeds and ages. We may be with Augustine in his confessions, and Thomas à Kempis in his meditations; we may form a deep inward friendship with such men as Pascal, Hooker, Leighton, and Baxter. And here I gladly take the opportunity of acknowledging how much I owe to a great crowd of witnesses which your church has produced—how much I find to aid and enlighten in the prayers of a Jeremy Taylor, in the sermons and life of an Arnold, in the poems of a George Herbert, and the sweet hymns of the Christian Year, and in many other productions both of the past and the present.*
While reading your Treatise, I could not help feeling very deeply what an infinite advantage those who cherish a Catholic spirit have over you. I could not help rejoicing with fervent gratitude to God, that while you exclude those of our faith from the number of the saved, we have nothing to hinder us from a sincere recognition of you as in the fellowship of Christ. I could not help feeling what a grievous injury I should have done to myself, if I had said with regard to such wise, holy, and devout men, as those to whom I have referred,—" They hold not this or that opinion, and therefore I look for no light and strength from them.” And, in like manner, who could measure what we should lose, if any
exclusiveness should prevent our becoming acquainted with Fenelon, through his Spiritual Letters, or singing the hymns of Charles Wesley, or tracing with Neander the history of the church ? I cannot express too strongly my sense of the benefits those are deprived of, whose views and organizations prevent them from drinking largely at such rich spiritual fountains, and who so fence themselves about with their peculiarities, as not to be able to recognize and appreciate the highest and noblest souls of all parties and names !
* Let me mention Dr. Pusey, who in his practical and devotional writings, sometimes falls into a vein scarcely less rich than that of the author of The Imitation of Christ.
But there is one thought, in connection with which it is difficult to find comfort, I mean the extent to which doctrinal differences interfere with a union of heart and hand to bring Christianity home to the suffering, the ignorant, the outcast, and the fallen. There is a conversion very different from that, which causes us to leave one visible church and join another —the conversion of the irreligious, the sinner, the prodigal, to holiness and God—the conversion of those who rely on their own strength and knowledge to him who is the wisdom of God, and the power of God —the conversion of the worldly and the selfish to the fellowship of the Cross. There is a very large class in society whose religious need is urgent and imperative; who require not to have more enlightened views of the Deity substituted for less enlightened, but to feel that there is a God at all—not to have errors about the nature of Christ dissipated, but to be made earnestly acquainted with the Saviour's name, and to have conscience and their whole better nature awakened. *
* There is, I am afraid, less co-operation amongst various sects than there was thirty or forty years ago. My father was a Unitarian Baptist minister, in Sussex, and I have often heard him speak of having had the vicar's horse lent him to go to a village a few miles off to preach. Indeed, many members of the Church of England attended my father evening service, the second service at the church being in the afternoon. The death of this clergyman was mourned by the whole neighborhood, and was referred to at considerable length by my father from the pulpit. On a sermon, at a later period, in behalf of a local charity, is written, “Preached at the request of Mrs. Rose” (wife of the