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ness with a holy love, who sacrificed to no popular idol, who cared not for the fickle breath of praise. Even those who could not appreciate his lofty character bowed before it with the rest, for they felt an inexplicable, to themselves unintelligible, conviction that they were in the presence of one higher than themselves; they were fain to exclaim, “ We fools thought his life madness, and his end without honour : how is he counted among the children of God, and his portion is among the saints !"
We do not mean to affirm that Dr. Arnold was faultless ; far from it. We know too well that all have fallen short of the glory of God, thus to speak of any man. We know how he would have rejected such a false praise-how deeply he felt his own shortcomings, when, at the near approach of death (and death, suddenly as it came on him, found him prepared), he desired that the 51st Psalm—that most deeply penitential of all David's songs-should be read to him, that by contemplation of his own sins he might be more inclined fully to appreciate the mercies of redemption. We will not trust ourselves to sum up Dr. Arnold's character, but will present our readers with the estimate of it by one who knew him well, and was fully competent to appreciate his manifold powers-one whom we have yet with us, to maintain those high principles in the support of which Dr. Arnold spent his useful life. Archdeacon Julius Hare thus speaks of his deceased friend :-" There was a mission to which Dr. Arnold seemed especially called, and for which he was peculiarly fitted-a mission of the highest importance, which he executed faithfully and dutifully, and in which he had few fellow-workers. In an idolatrous age one of the men we most need is an idoloclast—to use the word which Coleridge, in his tombless Epitaph, applies to his ideal self. Such, indeed, there ever will be some frivolous, some reckless; but the idoloclasts whom we need, and who alone will do their work effectually and beneficially, are such as are at once zealous and fearless in demolishing the reigning idols, and at the same time animated with a reverent love for the ideas which those idols carnalize and stifle. Such an idoloclast we had in Dr. Arnold-a dauntless lover of truth, in the midst of an age when few seek or care for any truth, except such as seems to pamper their already bloated predilections and prepossessions. From this unshakable trust in the God of Truth-under the assurance that God is Truth, and that truth can never be against God-he pursued it boldly at all risks, in the spirit of the sublime prayer, εν δε φαει και ολεσσον. For he knew that though he might perish, God would live—though he might fall, God would triumph; and he felt confident that every time Truth is purged with a careful and loving hand from the defilements wherewith the exhalations of the world are continually crusting her over, her form and features will come out in greater beauty and glory. This should be the spirit of all men who write, above all, on religion and philosophy; but in England it is very rare among those who treat on such subjects, whatever it may be among men of science. We are so bound and shackled by all manner of prejudices-national, party, ecclesiastical, individual—that we can hardly move a limb freely; and we are so fenced and penned in, that few can look out over their neighbour's land, or up to any piece of sky, except that which is just over their heads. Many, too, of our ablest men in these last years, instead of seeking after truth with loving patience and candour, have rather employed their best faculties in decking out their favourite idol with all the finery and tinsel they could scrape together, and in burning incense before it, until they are wrapt in a mist, and count the glare of their tapers more glorious than the noonday sun. At such a time it is especially wholesome and refreshing to find a man like Dr. Arnold, who loves the truth, and seeks it and speaks it out. I do not mean to profess an entire agreement with all his opinions ; on many points we differed, more or less : but whether differing or agreeing, when I turn from the ordinary theological or religious writers of the day to one of his volumes, there is a feeling, as it were, of breathing the fresh mountain air, after having been shut up in the morbid atmosphere of a sick room, or in the fumigated vapours of an Italian church. He did, indeed, yearn after truth and righteousness with yearnings that could hardly be uttered; and to hear of falsehood, to hear of injustice, pained him like a blow. Therefore was his death felt almost like a personal, as well as a national loss, from one end of England to the other. His yearnings now, we may trust, through the Saviour, whom he delighted to glorify, are stilled with the contemplation of perfect truth and perfect righteousness. O, that his example and his teaching may arouse others to a like zeal in the same most holy cause."*
We need no apology for quoting the whole of this noble passage, with which we are sure almost all our readers will cordially agree. It will form, we trust, an answer to the aspersions which were thrown upon Dr. Arnold when living, sometimes indeed by those who admired yet misunderstood him, but generally by those who, detesting the principles which he advocated and the boldness with which he ever maintained them, misrepresented the arguments which they could not confute, and exposed their upholder to unmerited obloquy.
But it is not for the purpose of adding our mite to the praises which have been profusely poured on the memory of this “hero of schoolmasters" that we have selected for notice the volume of Sermons at the head of our article, nor is it to bring into review the rich mines of treasure presented to us in these discourses; it is rather that we may bring forward and expatiate on one of those great principles which Dr. Arnold steadily maintained, but which he has, unfortunately for us, left less elaborated than its high importance deserves. The principle to which we allude is found in the preface to this volume-a preface in itself well worthy of diligent study and careful meditation, as being, brief as it is, one of the most complete and trustworthy refutations of the grand Tractarian dogmas which has ever been written ; and this we say, bearing in mind the many masterpieces of Christian argu
* Hare's Preface to Arnold's Hist, of Rome, vol. iii.
ment to which, through the agency of that God who moulds the wrath of men to his own will, this unhappy controversy has given birth. In direct opposition to the scheme which proposes the exaltation of the Christian clergy into a domineering priesthood, as the “something better and deeper than satisfied the last century,” Dr. Arnold boldly proposes the restitution of the rights of the laity, and not the extension of the usurpations of the priesthood,* as the best means for the revival of the Church of Christ in its full perfection, “the one great end to which all our efforts should be directed.” (Preface to Sermons, p. 2.)
We propose, therefore, to consider what we imagine Dr. Arnold to have meant by the restitution of the rights of the laity, a discussion pregnant, indeed, with difficulties, yet equally pregnant with vast and undoubted benefits. Surely, it is a worthy theme to discourse of the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth, the body of which Christ is the head, the bride of which Christ is the bridegroom, the glorious one without wrinkle or spot or any such thing, purchased by Christ with his own blood, built upon the rock of Christ's death and atonement. And if this theme be worthy to employ our highest energies, and inspire some of our noblest efforts, it can be of no slight importance to ascertain and clearly to set before the minds of ourselves and our brethren in this Church, what its privileges, rights, and duties are; who are partakers of them, and in what proportion. In this investigation it will be our object mainly to examine into the privileges, rights, and duties of that vast majority of Christ's Church called the laity, whose existence as living members of Christ's body has been so far denied or neglected, that “to enter the church” has been the common phrase for becoming a minister in and to the congregation of the faithful. And first, inasmuch as the practical is always superior to the theoretical, we will consider the privileges and duties rather than the rights of the Christian laity; and in so doing we shall, in fact, be entering upon the whole subject; for rights are merely privileges and duties asserted against questioners and disputersthe polemical aspect of the Christian life when its most important parts are denied to a great majority of Christian men. It is not therefore, in this polemical aspect that we would regard the great question before us. The subject is too important, too nearly connected with the highest and noblest relations which man can bear to his fellow, to be made the subject of loud and angry debate. Not that we would shun or deprecate discussion ; for that, rightly carried on, is one means of attaining at truth : and he who would instruct others effectually, must so form his mind and direct his temper as willingly to receive instruction from others; for a teachable mind is the best of teachers. In a word, we enter on the subject modestly yet earnestly, as feeling its vast importance and the inadequacy of any single intelligence to grasp it in all its fulness. Above all, we would wish to avoid all dogmatism and harshness, and to
* In using the word priesthood here, we must be understood to speak of a body professing (according to the Tractarian definition) to sacrifice and mediate for the laity; and this specific meaning must be carefully kept in mind through the whole course of the argument.
impress on our readers that we desire only to point out, in a Christian temper, what the increasing wants of the time appear to demand of our church system, and to suggest means and instruments, with little anxiety as to whether our suggestions are attended to, so long as we succeed in drawing attention to our great subject.
And first, as the field of research and enquiry, on which we propose to enter, is so vast, and the interests involved are so many and so complicated, we shall be saving our readers and ourselves much needless and unprofitable labour, if we portion off one part of the subject as a type of the rest, and examine it separately with a view to the illustration of the whole. And in so doing we shall endeavour to bear in mind the rule we have previously laid down; viz., in all cases to prefer the practical to the theoretical. We shall therefore choose one subject intimately connected with lay privileges and lay duties, now to a great extent neglected, and still more closely bound up with the wants and exigencies of the age; we mean the question of lay agency. It is indeed a hard task, an enquiry fraught with difficulty, “periculosæ plenum opus aleæ ;” but we enter upon it, we trust, free from all desire and love for controversy, keeping a single eye on the prosperity of our church and country, and the good of souls.
The position of the Church of England at this present time offers an exact parallel to that of the State. Both of them seem exalted to a height which scarce any other church or state ever attained to before; and both have prospects opened to them as boundless as they are glorious. And yet, as in every exaltation there are fears and dangers; and the higher the pinnacle on which we are raised, the greater is the awe with which we should be inspired, so it appears as though we of this land and church were for a moment paralysed by the honour with which the Most High hath delighted to honour us. There is an indistinct fear, an undefined emotion in every heart, as though we were on the very threshold of some new era, waiting till our change come: whether that change shall be for good or evil, we yet know not; whether we are doomed to rise higher in the scale of nations and churches, or to be hurled from our proud elevation—a warning to the world. And good cause have we to fear, little reason to be highminded, when we reflect how rotten is the core of the goodly fruit which England appears to be to the nations of the earth. While our arms and our civilisation are penetrating to the ends of the world, while our missionaries are following in their track and bearing far and wide the good tidings of great joy, what is the condition of our own country, favoured as it has been beyond all other people ? Tumult and disorder are ruling through the length and breadth of the land; the old foundations of society are heaving to and fro, and are retained but insecurely in their position; the old landmarks are being removed; the old institutions are falling to decay ; respect for rank, and reverence for authority, are becoming rarer and rarer; our rulers vacillate and are at their wits end; and though he that letteth still lets, we know not how soon the Almighty Hand that preserves us may be removed, and our mighty power fall to pieces, perhaps
in the convulsive throes of a moral earthquake. Hitherto we have escaped from the horrors of revolution and civil war; but who shall say when our turn may come? Let any man look forward into the world around him, and contemplate the shaking frame of society, and he will be a bold man if he venture to ensure its duration and permanence. Nor can we derive much comfort from the state of our Church. It is true that there is a spirit of zeal and activity among our clergy, such as has not been known for a century: it is true that there is a liberality and charity among all her members such as but a few years back we sought for in vain : it is true, too, that she is “enlarging the place of her tent and stretching forth the curtains of her habitations." Nor would we check her course : we would rather exclaim with the prophet, “Spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” But there is a reverse of the picture we have drawn, and that reverse is fearful to contemplate. Much of the zeal and earnestness of which we have spoken is being manifested in a most unhappy direction : we are torn by inward dissension and vexed by false brethren : men are crying loudly against schism, and themselves are rending Christ's robe : the learning, the earnestness, nay, the piety and labours of our more active clergy are almost all employed in violent contention and angry strife : our Church is girt with foes, and our foes are they of our own household. And while we are thus injuring our fair Church and marring her usefulness, by our own unholy tempers and devices, the enemy is raging round her gates, and battering her walls. The dissenter, his natural bitterness against the Church of his fathers increased by political causes, is plotting her overthrow by fraud or violence; the indifferent are daily induced to join the ranks of her enemies by her increased activity, disturbing as it does their sleep of death, while the revolutionist and the infidel are lashed to madness by her growing zeal and her aggressive warfare. Nor are these our only dangers. We have suffered a vast power of physical force to grow up among us, untrained and unchecked. Our population has for years so far exceeded all our means of instruction, that we have till lately given it up as hopeless. And though we are now rousing ourselves, and are girding up our loins to the task, we may reasonably ask whether it is not too late ? There is among our neglected lower classes a brutal violence, an angry rebelliousness against constituted authority, an ignorance, neglect, or disbelief of all religion, and all moral and social obligation ; together with an abject poverty at once a cause and a result of all the evils we have mentioned; which we shall find it difficult, if not altogether impossible, to cope with. And added to all this, our rulers are, perhaps necessarily, powerless to stem the torrent of change, unable to guide the spirit of the nation, and, what is perhaps of more importance to us as churchmen, avowedly unable any longer to aid the Church. We have leant too long and too implicitly on the arm of flesh, and our punishment has come upon us : the arm of flesh is entirely withdrawn. God grant that our humiliation may