Page images

our population was first introduced by a high churchman, thinking to do a service to his country. Security, my dear Sir, must be taken, not only for the master's competency to teach grammar and arithmetic, but for his religious and moral principles. If the teacher in the secular school is forbid to teach either perceptive or doctrinal religion,' why is he to be trained in church principles or in any principles at all? Morality and religion will not be in his line; he may be an infidel, and yet you expect his practice to be worthy of a guardian of youth. The children may look to him who is their companion and guide for everything but instruction in righteousness; and to supply the almost daily lack of a thought for God (for of course there are no prayers in the secular school), you give us the chance, or if you please the certainty, of a lesson in Christianity twice a week from any one who may choose to take out a license to preach and to teach. I am truly sorry, that in your eagerness to extend education, you have compromised before the world its greatest blessing, and that you should have been beguiled by those specious accounts brought over to us of continental education : it is this very plan of separating the secular school from the religious instruction, which has rendered the educational schemes of Monsieur Guizot and other philosophic statesmen abortive. The instruction given in the primary schools of France, which costs that nation about £700,000 a year, is worthless, it inculcates no fixed principle either of morality or religion; in Switzerland it makes men democrats and infidels; in Austria it is reduced to a political Catechism, inculcating submission to the House of Hapsburg; and yet because they give us, in the form of a statistical table, the proportion of one in ten, or one in eight, we are to consider ourselves as the most ignorant of all nations." -(pp. 27-29.)

" I heartily wish I could induce you to reconsider this great subject; it will be a calamity if we lose your co-operation in extending the blessings of a religious and moral education for our poorer brethren; it will grieve many of those friends, who, like myself, admire your activity, talents, and zeal, if you throw the weight of your name and influence into the scale of a 'Godless Education.' Let us keep our schools as they are in principle, and let our teachers be Christians, if not members of the Church to which we belong; let them be considered by the scholars as their examples in practice and as their instructors in the Holy Scriptures, interpreted for them in the Articles and formularies of the Church ; and to this end let us seek for more ample means from the State to increase the number of our Normal schools, and to improve the existing national and parochial schools, by asking for inspection and good books. And let us not be jealous if the Dissenters establish good schools also. But do not let us talk of two schools for the same responsible being-secular and religious! What God hath joined together let not his ministers, at least, put asunder; our dissenting brethren will have the same assistance as ourselves from the State, and they will be more satisfied to have the religious instruction of their children arranged after their own manner: in this way let education for the people be extended and improved, and then the clergy will be found ready to co-operate with the State, and the benevolence of our congregation will flow in an increasing stream."-(pp. 30-32.


A NEW TRACT FOR THE TIMES; An Answer to the ques

tion, Which do you consider the worst error of the Church of Rome, and how do you prove it to be so ?”By the Rev. G. R. Hingston, B. A. London : Longman. 1846.

This is a Prose Essay, selected by the Rev. Dr. Singer, and the Rev. R. McGhee, from various competing productions—for the Prize of the Dublin Theological Society, in its session, 1845. The subject of the Essay is, “Transubstantiation : its falsity and fatal characteristics,"

We feel some hesitation, both as to the expediency of selecting a doctrine as “the worst ” of all the errors of the Church of Rome :-—and also, as to the justice of this selection. But we are bound to admit, that Mr. Hingston has furnished us with a very valuable treatise ; and one which, in our days, and on this subject, has not been exceeded.

Let us give one extract, which, though selected from the author's secondary and subsidiary proofs, will be worth remembering:

“ The error of this doctrine is clearly discerned, as well as its evil consequences displayed in the several kinds of' defects' put forward by the Roman Missal as possible to occur in it.— These we will now notice.

“ These defects are said to be of three kinds,-in the Matter-the Formand the Officiating Priest ; I should quote briefly on each of these points from the Roman Missal de defectibus, &c.—'The Mass Book restored,' (as its title states,) 'by the decree of the Holy Council of Trent, and edited by command of Pope Pius V., published at Antwerp, A.D. 1594.

"' Of the Defects of the Bread.'

"' If the bread be not wheaten, or if it be wheaten, but mixed with any other kind of grain, in so great a quantity, that it does not remain wheaten bread, or if it be in any other way corrupted, the Sacrament is not performed.'

“ Again, as to the ' Wine.'

" If it be altogether sour, or altogether putrid, or made of bitter or unripe grapes, or mixed with such a quantity of water that the wine is corrupted, the Sacrament is not perfected.'

" As to Defects of Form.'

"'Defects may take place through the medium of the form, if anything be wanting to its perfection, that is, any diminution or change in the words of consecration of the body and blood.'

Defect of Intention.'

" " If any one does not intend to consecrate, but to practise a delusion, likewise if any wafers remain through forgetfulnes on the altar, or if any part of the wine or any wafer lie hid when he only intends to consecrate what he has,-likewise if any one have before him eleven wafers, and intends only to consecrate ten, not determining which ten he intends, he does not consecrate, because intention is requisite.'

“Now the more fearful effect of all the above views, I reserve to the con. cluding part of our argument; therefore let us at present dismiss each of them with one remark:

“Can any one believe a doctrine necessary to salvation, and as such revealed by the wise and good Jehovah, the actual inode of obeying which is attended with so many accidents and casualties, and such an almost certainty of imperfection. Here a professedly infallible Church asserts a point of belief the most essential in her whole code,- wherein the Deification of the host which she binds her people to worship as God, may be nullified by the dishonesty or mistake of a miller or a baker!

“So also respecting the Wine ; the person worshipping is necessitated to watch its original production in a country thousands of miles away, and still further to follow it through the various stages and journeys, and

processes and hands it passes, before it reaches, suppose, some retired and humble village in the extremity of the county of Cork, and if there have been the least possibility, as there always is, (nay it is even a proverbial probability) of adulterating it without the priest's knowledge, his salvation is rendered uncertain.

“Likewise regarding the Form : is it not awful to imagine the perfection of this Sacrament, on which eternal salvation is believed to depend, to be contingent altogether on the memory, and correctness of the language of a human being ?-the least transposition of a word destroys the efficacy of the sacrifice; can in any case the hopes of the poor deluded victims of such a system rise above a tantalizing uncertainty ?

“ As to the doctrine of Intention, what surety has either the priest himself or the people that the change has in any case occurred? The priest by this doctrine is prevented himself from knowing that he has been properly ordained! for if intention was wanting in the bishop who administered orders, bis ordination was invalid, and all his ministrations of each of the seven sacraments had no force.[See Con. Trid. Sess. vii. Can. ii.] Again, how can the people know that he has the intention to consecrate the host when he appeared to do it? Oh! surely it is not required to add to the statement of these facts any reasoning beyond their own expressive conclusiveness, in order to exhibit this as an unstable foundation for a poor anxious soul to rest its eternal hopes upon. Oh! how cloudy, misty, and glimmering any false light this wretched scheme emits when contrasted with those distinct and simple words of lustre and beauty and comfort, ‘ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,'— Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,'—'Where remission of sin is there is no more OFFERING for sin,'—' Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more,'—'Therefore being JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have PEACE with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,'

For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.'”—(pp. 38-40.)

The important use made of these points, will be seen in another passage,-the only other we shall offer to our readers :

“What is Idolatry? It is neither more nor less than the giving to any thing, the work of men's hands, or to any creature, or any being, but God, that worship which is due to him ;-it is defined by Isaiah ii. 8, they worship the work of their own bands, that which their own fingers have made.'

Now of this sin, even upon Roman Catholic principles, the worshipper must be guilty, whenever throngh any of the defects of matter, form, or intention above stated (p. 38), no Transubstantiation takes place; this we have already seen. In such case the adorer of the wafer worships not the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Saviour, but the mere bread and wine thus defective; this, observe, is the declaration of the Church of Rome, not mine. Is this, or is it not Idolatry ? Surely if (as asserted by the Council of Trent),

when the elements are changed into the body and blood of Christ, Christ is worshipped, it follows that when no such physical change takes place, and Christ has therefore not taken possession of this morsel, any adoration then paid, is to the mere 'work of men's hands,'-if the Scripture be true, this is Idolatry.

“Now that such defects, especially in the intention of the priest, do occur, proving an absence of Transubstantiation on these occasions, the nature of the case alone would render probable; but that it is an established fact is shown from the cases of many priests who have abandoned the communion of the Church of Rome, and who had previously disbelieved her doctrines for some time, and as they have declared themselves, did not, on several occasions, intend to consecrate the elements, and felt that such a thing in the sense attributed by the Council of Trent was impossible. We ask were the people guilty of idolatry in such cases ?- The answer that we receive exhibits the strength of our argument on this point;-it is asserted that there can be no idolatry where there is no intention to commit it; now this view sanctions every instance of idolatry ever detailed either in sacred or general history :—the veriest heathen is hereby declared a true worshipper, for he never had the intention of committing idolatry; the heathen might assert as their excuse that they thought there was a God in the wood or stone before which they bowed, and why not, (tell me,) with as good and plausible reason as the Romanist? But let us come to a remarkable illustration of this in

the law and the testimony,' Exod. xxxii.-Aaron was induced by the pressure and intreaties of the people to make a golden calf;--the people did not intend to worship the mere calf itself, for Aaron after building an altar before it, made proclamation, ' to-morrow is a feast to the Lord,' and yet for this act of idolatry · there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.'"-(pp. 44, 45.)


D.D., late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, &c. Lon

don: Hatchards. 1846. ANTI-TRACTARIAN TRACTS. By the Rev. J. SPURGIN,

Vicar of Hockham. No. I. On Church Government. London: Seeleys. 1845.

The first of these publications disappoints the reader. Its title naturally raises expectations, that the question stated is about to be discussed. But in the discourse itself no such discussion is found. Thus he who opens it with his mind in a state of doubt, as to “ What is a church?”—will find himself, in the perusal of it, not advanced one single step nearer a solution.

Mr. Spurgin's tract is much more effective. The point at which he labours, is to shew,--adopting Bishop Stillingfleet's words, “that the most eminent Divines of the Reformation never did con“ceive any one form of Church Government to be necessary," And it cannot be denied that he has gathered into one view, a great body of testimony, from the most distinguished men in our Church during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in support of the view, that “ No form of Church government is, by the “ Scripture, prescribed to, or commanded the Church of God.(Abp. Whitgift.)

We remarked in our number for last November, on some of the faults of Mr. Palmer's Treatise on the Church. The first, and most inexcusable, as we then remarked, is, that he avoids,—we fear, designedly,—to explain, at starting, what his subject really is. He talks of definitions;- he offers five ;-but forgets, after all, to state which of the five he selects as furnishing the subject of his Treatise. Thus, in fact, after promising to define his subject, he wholly evades this duty; and passes on, rapidly, to talk about “ the Church,” before he has informed his readers in which of these five different senses he means to employ that term.

The real subject of Mr. Palmer's book, however, is, the Visible Church of Christ, or, the Catholic Church. But it would not have answered his purpose to state this in plain terms; because, had he done so, some of his assertions would have revolted any ordinary reader. For instance, speaking of the Foreign Reformed Churches, he says, “ The Lutheran and Calvinistic societies were “not properly churches of Christ.” (Vol. I. p. 383.) “ The “ English dissenters could not have been any part of the Church “ of Christ, nor were they capable of forming Christian churches.”

« PreviousContinue »