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hulwark of our Protestant privileges-the Establishment of the Church of England, which so many among you, most truly-not knowing what you do -are so madly bent upon subverting ? Brethren, be persuaded ! it is the evil that has crept within the Establishments, and not the Establishments themselves-against which it is your Christian duty to exert your influence and power."'-(pp. 26—28.)
One more passage we must give,—it is the closing page of the tract,--because of the important suggestion contained in it.
And now, Brethren, for the present I have done; and, in taking leave of you, I would earnestly reiterate all I have urged.
1st, Of Reconciliation-in other words, ‘Union.'
2d, Decisive, prompt, immediate Action. “ The last without the first is useless—it is madness—it is downright sinfulness!
“And not to leave you, Brethren, with mere words, in one short sentence, I propose, in conclusion, to receive communications from all bodies of Evangelical Protestants, who feel, who mourn over, and who seek the removal of dissension from the midst of us; and, at the same time, earnestly desire the adoption of immediate measures, to stay the alarming progress of evil, by which we are on every side surrounded. In view of this great object, I now formally solicit communications from all parties, to whom this Appeal on behalf of God and Man,' is made, within the British Isles! And, Brethren, if you, in any degree, second this effort generally,--for I publicly declare to our enemies, as well as to yourselves, that any other effort is worse than useless—then, I propose, God willing, to offer to you, in a yet more tangible form, certain measures immediately applicable to every town, and borough, and city, where a body of Evangelical Protestant Electors are to be found, without distinction of sectarian differences, in order to the organization, in each several locality, of a fixed plan of combined operations, to meet the approaching crisis. In other words, to secure the return, at the coming election, of members, who will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God,' within the walls, at least, of the Commons House of Parliament of Great Britain; 'Great,' only, so long as she continues Christian Britain !! and Brethren, I intreat you, whatever you do-do it at once? do it with all your might! lose not a moment, for the enemy is already before you in the field! Delay,' you well know, is always dangerous !'' in the present instance, it is certain destruction to yourselves! and ruin to your beloved country! As Christian members of the nation, exert yourselves in this outer court-this wide circle of your Christian responsibilities ! Work' in this sphere, while it is day,' the day of your visitation' the day-time of opportunity!—' the night cometh'-the night' of evil! the night' of opportunity for ever fled! 'when no man can work!' And lastly, at all times, Brethren, reinember—that, ‘In vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains-truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel!'”—(pp. 47, 48.)
As we wish to assist this writer, unknown though he be, to the utmost of our power, in this his attempt, we will observe, that communications for him should, we apprehend, be addressed to
“ The Author of
Care of Mr. Ritchie,
LECTURES ON THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, AND ON
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BUNYAN. By GEORGE B. CHEEVER, D.D., of New York. Glasgow and London : Collins. 1846.
That Bunyan is a favourite of ours, we need not say. Next to the Bible we think his Pilgrim decidedly the best guide to the heavenly city, and hope we shall not offend against orthodox Churchmanship by placing him on this high pedestal. Coleridge himself thus writes (our eye falls accidentally on the sentence as we trace these lines)—“I know of no book, the Bible excepted, as above all comparison, which I, according to my judgment and experience, could so safely recommend as teaching and enforcing the whole saving truth, according to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, as the Pilgrim's Progress. It is in my conviction the best Summa
Theologicæ Evangeliæ ever produced by a writer not miraculously inspired.”. This is perfectly true, and we think it an ill sign of the times that Bunyan and the Bible, as original writings, are both of them less read, less understood, less felt than they once were. We hope it will not long be so: but the great multiplication of books, schools, lecturers, and teachers of all kinds, has tended very much of late to dilute the best things—and among them the Bible itself, and to a considerable extent, the immortal Bunyan—a genius who, to be duly appreciated, must be seen in his own light-a writer whose pure Saxon style and clear flowing thoughts render him his own best interpreter. We are therefore not over anxious to introduce lecturers on Bunyan; but if lecturers we must have, we know of none better than Dr. Cheever-himself a man of considerable original power, and who, as a scriptural divine and deeply experienced Christian, thoroughly enters into the spirit of his author. We have read his lectures with much interest, and think they may be very useful in recalling attention to Bunyan, and assisting those who from time to time may adopt the useful practice of making the Pilgrim's Progress a cottage or family lecturebook. Mr. Philip, who well deserves to be regarded as the historian of Bunyan, says that Dr. Cheever " has eclipsed the whole host of Bunyan's commentators, in both point and pathos, and placed himself like the Apocalyptic angel, full in the very "sun' of the vision, as well as clothed himself with its rainbows.”—He' further adds, and with considerable truth—“Such an American as
Remains, vol. iii. p. 391.
Dr. C. was just the man to make Englishmen aware of the pecu. liarities and beauties of Bunyan's prose. They would have struck him more than they do English readers, and thus have struck sparks from his own spirit, which would have set our curiosity on fire, as well as consumed the dross of our familiarity with our own idioms. For, just as American travellers make us look as with new eyes upon our own scenery and architecture, because they bring both to a standard that we never judged of them by, so they discern more readily than ourselves the force of the mother-tongue, because they have less of it in familiar use, or in its original forms, America has a vernacular of its own, and thus it is as much alive to the peculiarities of our idiom, as we are to those of the New World.” But besides this literary qualification, we can concerte that the descendants of the pilgrim fathers have some peculiar relish for a writer like Bunyan, and having probably studied bin more profoundly of late than ourselves, are thus better qualified to exhibit bis spirit, and come forth with a con amore enthusiasm as hierophants of the glorious Dreamer. On these accounts we think it our duty to make special mention of Dr. Cheever, just hinting however that there are some things in his Lectures on the Life and Time of Bunyan to which we must not be thought to set our imprimatur. At the same time there is very much truta in the following rough (though somewhat angry) sketch, and we give it for the simple purpose of suggesting to churchmen of the present day a very careful review of that important period, and a the subsequent course of events, ecclesiastically considered, up this time; the present and future not being forgotten. To every Churcbman we would say in the language of St. Bernard, kes pice, Aspice, Prospice;' and sure we are that a sketch like tbt following is well calculated to provoke to it.
BUNYAN AND HIS TIMEs are thus introduced by Dr. Cheerer. “If a man were to look about the world, or over all the world's histor for that one of his race in whose life there should be found the complet illustration of the providence and grace of God, he could hardly fix upload more perfect instance than that of John Bunyan. The detailed biograph this man I shall not attempt to present in so short a sketch as that to which must of necessity confine myself. But there are points in his life where Divine providence is unfolded so gloriously, and junctures where the grace comes out so clearly and so brightly, that nothing could simple, beautiful, and interesting than their illustration. On some o points I shall dwell, premising in order to a right view of them, a rapid important glance at the age in which he lived.
“ It was an age of great revolutions, great excitement, great genius, talent: great extremes both in good and evil: great piety and great." ness: great freedom and great tyranny and oppression. Under Cro there were great liberty and prosperity : under the Charleses there were oppression and disgrace. Bunyan's life, continuing from 1628 to 160 braces the most revolutionary and stirring period in English history.
em, a rapid but
pass before the mind within this period the oppressive reign of Charles 1 ;the characters of Laud and Strafford; the Star chamber, and the king's tyrannical men, courts, and measures: the noble defence of liberty in the House of Coinmons: Hampden and Pym : the war between the king and parliament: the king's defeat and death upon the scaffold: the glorious protectorate of Cromwell, of few years, but grand and prosperous, a freedom and prosperity united, such as England had never known: then comes the hasty, unconditional restoration of a prince who cared for nothing but his own pleasure, the dissolute tyrannical reign of Charles II, one of the most promising, lying, unprincipled, worthless, selfish, corrupted and corrupting kings that ever sat upon the throne of England: in the terribly severe language of the Edinburgh Review, a king 'who superseded the reign of the saints by the reign of strumpets: who was crowned in his youth with the covenant in his hand, and died with the Host sticking in his throat, after a life spent in dawdling suspense between Hobbism and Popery :' a king and a reign of which one of the grand climacterics in wickedness embraced the royal murders of the noble patriots Russell and Algernon Sydney: immortal be their names, and honoured ever be their memories : à reign the very beginning of which threw John Bunyan into prison, and produced a Bartholomew's-day to thousands of the conscientious ministers of the Church of England.
“The king's reign, from the time of the restoration, began in contempt of all religion, and continued in debauchery and drunkenness. Even those persons who may have taken their views of the history of this period simply from the pages of Hume may, if they will look narrowly, gather so much as this. ' Agreeable to the present prosperity of public affairs,' says Hume, was universal joy and festivity diffused throughout the nation. The melancholy austerity of the fanatics fell into discredit, together with their principles. The royalists, who had ever affected a contrary disposition, found in their recent success new motives for mirth and gaiety; and it now belonged to them to give repute and fashion to their manners. From past experience it had sufficiently appeared that gravity was very distinct from wisdom, forinality from virtue, and hypocrisy from religion. The king himself, who bore a strong propensity to pleasure, served, by his powerful and engaging example, to banish those sour and malignant humours which had hitherto engendered such confusion. And though the just bounds were undoubtedly passed, when once returned from their former extreme, yet was the public happy in exchanging vices pernicious to society, for disorders hurtful chiefly to the individuals themselves who were guilty of them.'
" This means simply that the nation, under the example of the king and the royalists, having thrown off the vices and vicious restraints of gravity, formality, and hypocrisy, so generally pernicious to society, became almost entirely abandoned to the mere individual disorders' of profligacy and sensual licentiousness. They were happy in exchanging those sour and malignant humours' for the more luscious and generous qualities of sin. The restoration, says Bishop Burnet, brought with it the throwing off the very professions of virtue and piety; and all ended in entertainments and drunkenness, which overran the three kingdoms.
" As the reign began, so it continued; and it was a period when just such men as God had been preparing in the case of Bunyan were most needed : just such men also as he had ready in Baxter, Owen, Howe, and a multitude of others, perhaps quite equal in piety, though not so distinguished as these. So was fulfilled the great principle, that when the enemy cometh in like a flood, then the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
“As to the measures of this reign for the destruction of religious liberty, with which more especially we are now concerned, it opened with what is called the Corporation Act, by which in defiance of all the king's previous stipulations, all persons whose religious principles constrained them con1846.
scientiously to refuse conformity to the Established Episcopal Church were at once expelled and excluded from every branch of the magistracy, and rendered incapable of serving their country in the meanest civil offices.
Next followed the memorable statute against the Society of Friends, by which upwards of 4000 persons were cast into prison for their religions scruples, and treated with the utmost cruelty, with even a savage barbarity.
“ In the second year of this reign, 1662, came the Act of Uniformity, suppressing by force all diversity of religious opinions, imposing the Book of Common Prayer, and reviving for this purpose the whole terrific penal laws of preceding reigns. This was to take effect from the feast-day of St. Bartholomew, in 1662; the day of a former well-known dreadful massacre of Protestants in Paris and other French cities, the 24th August, 1572, nearly a hundred years previous: and a day on which more than 2006 conscientious ministers were silenced, ejected from their pulpits, and thrown into persecu. tion and poverty. For these men to preach, or conduct public worship, was made a penal offence against the state; and among these men are such names as those of Owen, Bates, Manton, Goodwin, Baxter, and Howe: towards whom that very cruelty was enacted by the Established Church of England, which in the case of the Jewish Church is said to have filled up the measure of its crimes, and prepared the Jewish people for the Divine vengeance ; forbidding the apostles to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved.' No matter how holy nor how eminently useful the body of the non-conforming clergy might be: the act would have passed, it has truly been said, though the measure had involved the eternal misery of half the nation.
“ Of this act Hume himself says (and I like to take authorities of which it may be said, Our enemies themselves being judges); Hume himself says that in it the Church party gladly laid bold of the prejudices (the conscientious scruples) which prevailed among the Presbyterians, ' in order to eject them from their livings. By the Bill of Uniformity it was required that every clergyman should be re-ordained, if he had not before received episcopal ordination ; should declare his assent to every thing contained in the Book of Common Prayer; should take the oath of canonical obedience; should abjure the Solemn League and Covenant; and should renounce the principle of taking arms on any pretence whatsoever agaivst the king. This bill reinstated the Church in the same condition in which it stood before the commencement of the civil wars; and as the old persecuting laws of Elizabeth still subsisted in their full vigour, and new clauses of a like nature were now enacted, all the king's promises of toleration and indulgence to tender consciences were thereby eluded and broken.'
"The same historian observes that the ecclesiastical form of government, according to the Presbyterian discipline, is more favourable to liberty than to royal power :' and hence the readiness of Charles to break all promises of tolerance which he had made for the gaining of the throne, and to produce an iron uniformity of ecclesiastical subjection, in which he might break down all the defences raised against regal encroachments. The spirit of religious liberty always has been, and ever must be, the world's greatest safeguard against the oppression of political tyranny.
“Two years after this statute came the memorable Conventicle Act, 1664. It was found that these holy clergymen, though banished from their own pulpits, would preach, and that people would hear, preach anywhere, and hear anywhere, in dens and caves of the earth, in barns and private houses, so it were but the gospel. To put a stop to this, and to extirpate all publie worship not within the walls of episcopal consecration, the barbarous statute of a preceding reign was declared in force, which condemned to banishment, and, in case of return, to death without benefit of clergy, all persons refusing to attend the public worship appointed by the state. It was then enacted that if any person should be present at any assembly, conventicle, or meeting, under colour or pretence of any exercise of religion, in other manner than is