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the patient reposes a confidence, so 33 implicitly to follow his prescription; so with regard lo the Clergy, the people must look up to them according to their real character, as the authorized ministers of God, and qualified teachers of his will, or their endeavours to produce a reformation of opinion will be utterly unavailing. Unfortunately, however, among the symptoms of religious unsoundness, is to be numbered a glaring disregard of the peculiar character of the national Clergy.
"Liberty of-conscience, (says Mr. M.) ami the right of private judgment, privileges (as they are called) so dear to Englishmen, and the sound of which falls so acceptably on an English ear, operate so like a'rharm amongst ns, that to ventnre to point out even the undue application of these terms, is often to hazard the success of the object aimed at. The consequence is, that the office of those whose special province it is, among other branches of their duty, to point out, as far as in them lies, the difference between religious troth and error, is, in this particula"r, really almost lost sight of: and that too, roost especially by those who most need such help. The times we live in are sucb, that the very men whose business it is to guard the public mind against religions error, are the men whose opinions are most relnctantly received."
Mr. M. considers this preliminary difficulty, however, by no means insuperable. Looking to "that staple component in the minds of Englishmen, common sense,"—as well as to the advantages which the Clergy enjoy, (independently of their apostolic commission,) in point of education,—of intermixture in the various classes of society,—and of *' sound, chastized, unpretending, but genuine 'and substantial piety,"—he by no means despairs of their recovering that place in public opinion to which they are entitled.
He then proceeds to notice certain errors prevalent in our days, to the correction of which th« Clergy are to apply themselves; and, in
noticing these errors, takes the opportunity of refuting them by the way.
The first on the list, is the tendency to make much of inwird impressions in religion, to the disparagement of the outward fruits. This is instanced in the habit (observable as well in as out of the national Church,) of making private religious feelings matter of familiar conversation.
"In what is termed religions conversation, the popnUr mind is fond of expressing itself in such phrases ax ' having an interest in Christ,' ' being found in him;' 'whether snch a person is in a converted state, or not,' and the like: which are expressions of too near and sacred a character to be desecrated (if I may so speak) by being applied in common conversation. They are rather to be confined to the humble hope entertained by a believer privately towards God, or at the utmost, communicated only to the bosom confidant; than to be brought into unhallowed contact with the colloquial intercourse of mixed society. In making these observations, I hope I shall not be misunderstood, as if I undervalued those operations of the inner man, which are indeed most estimable sources of consolation to the believer, tb 'godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things*.' No, God forbid. What I am condemning is the practice of applying in general discourse between man and man, at least without a considerable share of modest and discreet reserve, expressions that should be for the most part only between the believer and his God: expressions that belong rather to tlic closet, than to what is called religious social intercourse." P. 8.
Mr. M. points out the fallaciousness of such a system, as " resolving every one's character into the terms which he can adopt respecting his state with God;" and its danger, as encouraging " a spirit of boasting," most foreign from every purpose of our religion ; and enjoins
• 17th Article.
the Clergy, whilst they encourage devotional feelings in their hearers, to repress the practice of expatiating on them to others, and to direct their attention at the same time to that " faith which worketh by love," whereby the good Christian '• lets his light shine before men."
The second error noticed is that of depreciating the two Sacraments.
The Sacrament of Baptism is depreciated by all such as hold the doctrine of a new birth subsequent to and independent of Baptism—an opinion held, not only by a large body of dissenters, but (unhappily, for Christian union) even by some *' in the bosom of our own Church." Mr. M., glad as he is that the communion of the Church should be extended as widely as possible, argues the unholy levity and inconsistency of many who, while they hold this opinion, yet shew a scrupulous regard for the Baptism of the Church,—as is evident from their bringing their children to be baptized in the Church, while they attend on preachers of a contrary doctrjne. To the dissenting members of our. own Church he addresses the following judicious expostulation:"
"1 would here make an appeal, respectful imlieil, but still open and unreserved, to those of the Clergy who maintain (and if tttey maintain, cannot but tram the importance of the subject be apt to promulge) opinions on regeneration more or less separate from Baptism. On tiiis delicate point, I do not wish to pull straws; to draw uice points of distinction. tint to those who can see in our formulary of Baptism (reading with eyes I cannot read with) a disclaimer of the connection between Baptism and the new* birth, to them I would say with the most arVecliun. ate earnestness: ' Beware that yon do not hi any way relax opinion as to the weight and importance of Baptism itself. You belong to a Church that requires very strict vows of the baptized: see that ye enforce these, if in no other light, yet at least as covenanted vows between the baptized person and his God, of daily and hourly obligation; and to which his mind should daily and hourly tum. In pastoral adinouition, whether public or private, fail not in some way or other to .keep up the
Ugliest respect for this ordinance, which none can consistently set at nought who professes the Christian name, if he remember, that it was the last legacy left by our ascending Lord to 'all nations' of the earth.'" P. 13.
The error, with regard to thc> other Sacrament, that of the Lord's Supper, consists, not in denying the spiritual grace attached to it, as in the former case, but in limiting the universality of its application, as if it required a degree of holiness unattainable by man in his present state. Mr. M. here adverts to the practice of some private Christians (and even of some Ministers, as he believes, of the Church) repelling others from this Sacrament by exciting undue scruples in their minds —a practice evidently in opposition to the spirit of the Church, which judges both the Sacraments as " generally necessary to salvation."
The third head of consideration is unguarded association for religious purposes. Instances of such association are to be found in " The Bible Society," «' The Religious Tract Society," "The Bethel Union," "The British and Foreign School Society," "The Sunday School Union." Upon each of these societies Mr. M. successively animadverts, and shews how, instead of forming bonds of union amongst the various sects of Christians, so heterogeneously combined in them, they are rather the means of perpetuating division, and specimens of improper compromise of principle. To his remarks, however, on these different Societies we must refer the reader to the pamphlet itself, in which he will find the objections of the writer very forcibly stated. "The Prayer Book and Homily Society," " The Church Missionary Society," and " The Society for the Conversion of the Jews," being examples, as he conceives, only of a schism .within the Church itself, do not come within the general scope of his argument.
We pass on to the fourth error
noticed, which is the laxity of public opinion on the subject of religious division. The description of persons especially liable to this charge are such as " have no pretext at all beyond the sweeping defence at present in the mouths of too many—that we are all going one road, and that it little matters to what parly of Christians men beloug, provided they d<> but think themselves right in so belonging; or, iudeed," (Mr. M. believes he may justly add,) " whether they belong formally to any body of Christians at all.'' This system of freethiuking, he urges very justly, is not only opposed to direct cautions of Scripture, but effectually undermines three fundameutal truths— the necessity of an order of ministers,—the general necessity of the Sacraments,—and the duty of social worship; and besides, encourages personal arrogance, as if each man could elicit truth as well "by the solitary operations of his own mind, as by bringing them into contact with the opinions of others." Among the sectaries he particularly alludes to the Wesleyan Methodists, as a striking specimen of this laxity, inasmuch as they separate themselves on very insufficient grounds, not knowing, in fact, where to range themselves, whether in or out of the Church.
The fifth error relates to the office, character, and revenues, of the national Clergy. Here Mr. M., in order to consider the question on general grounds, declines. insisting on the advantages derived to the Clergy from their episcopal ordination, or the support of the State; and argues the recommendations under which they appear to public notice from the circumstance alone of their superior preparation for the ministerial office, above every other body of teachers in this land. Nor does he shrink from the test of character as the standard of comparison; and maintains .that, as a general statement of the case, there
is no ground for withdrawing from their ministry on this account. On the subject of Church revenues he refers to the admirable expositions of their nature which have been already given elsewhere *, and by which it has been clearly proved that they are in no sense the property of the nation, and therefore not at their disposal; and, consequently, that all prejudice against the Clergy, on account of their possessions, is altogether unfounded and scandalous.
The last ground of complaint is the prevalent error of religious insubordination, not only as an evil in itself, but as the fruitful source of all the errors previously mentioned. To put the reader in possession of the author's meaning on this point, we quote with pleasure the following passage.
"God forbid that I should be imagined to present myself here as an advocate for subjection in opinion to any men, or body of men, against, or to the exclnsion of, rational grounds of conviction. No. What I mean to say is, that there does exist in the public, mind an undue indisposition to submit itself in a proper <tegree to religious instruction, as coming from those most competent to administer it. I say that whilst the. lawyer is consulted respecting property, and the physician respecting health, the Clergyman's sentiments on religion are treated aa of little, if of any, more value than another man's, notwithstanding his professional means of better and more accurate information: and that degree of professional deference which is shewn towards other professions, is manifestly not shewn towards his. Even if I could see the Dissenting Ministers receiving from their people the respect to which, as their chosen teachers, I conceive they are entitled, this would be a great set-off against the present statement: but, as tar as I have observed, I do not scruple to say, the Dissenting Minister ia generally looked upon as any thing rather thau the authoritative expositor of Ood's word to his congregation. And although amongst Churcb
• In several pamphlets by the Kev. Augustus Campbell, and in the 58th Number of the Quarterly Review.
men the sound and reflecting part of them are doubtless considerably alive to this branch of their Christian duty; yet these at present form a very inconsiderable proportion amongst those calling themselves Churchmen. And, with regard both to Churchmen and Dissenter*, I would pnt it to common sense, and ask, ' Is the religious Uaclur's opinion to be held in no better estimation than that of the learner r' Is the minister not to be supposed a better i judge of the niceties of that particular subject connected with his special profession, than those are whom he is ordained to teach? Let me not be thought here'to be pleading for implicit deference; but I am pleading for a greater degree of deference than is now commonly obtained or rendered." P. 43.
We now conic to the means of counteraction to the errors which have been enumerated. As insubordination may be considered the source of them all, so the remedy to all consists in a modest, discreet, and legitimate application of the principle of subordination.
To remove the first error with regard to inward impressions, the Clergy are referred to the devotional style of the Liturgy, and of ,our approved Church divines, for specimens of the tone and spirit of our Church on this point; and Mr. M. suggests the propriety of their inculcating, both in their public and private ministration, the exemplary discharge of outward duties combined with a modest suppression of motives, except in extreme cases, or on particular occasions, where a declaration of motives may and should be encouraged.
"In the hour of sickness, or of private confidential conference, the Minister will do well in even inviting more unreserved communications as to the inward state: and at that solemn crisis, when the communion between the Christian soul and its God becomes awfully near, and its everlasting destinies are dependant on its real state; when also all undue motives may well be supposed out of the question; then the spirit may be allowed to expand itself before others, as well as in solitude, in its loftiest aspirations. Such appears to me to he the course whereby both our Church *"A true religiou may be 'justified of their
children' against cither irreverent boldness of expression on the one baud, or a reserve that may seem to partake of unchristian dissimulation on the other." P. 49.
To remedy the second error, that relating to the Sacraments, Mr. M . advises the adoption of frequent exhortation on the subject of the baptismal vow, so as to give to the ordinance of baptism a practical character and tendency; and that every endeavour should be made to raise the office of sponsors above a mere formal one. He thinks, also, that the introduction of the baptismal rite in the course of the service, as appointed by the Rubric, would, in connexion with a corresponding tone of pastoral admonition, tend much to restore it to its proper estimation among the people. He considers the impediments to the right apprehension of the other Sacrament, as arising from " the unteachableness and indifference" of men, as well as from " the cavils of profane or censorious gainsayers," much more difficult of removal; but yet, that much may be effected in this point also, by pointing out the mutual dependance of the two Sacraments, and by the use of a happy discretion in conveying particular admonition.
The remedy against the third error, that of improper religious association, he regards as peculiarly within the reach of the Clergy. He states it as his opinion, that it is owing to the influence of the Clergy that those anomalous societies before mentioned, have increased to such an extent, and that, consequently, they have it in their power also to remedy the error to a great extent. Both by precept, then, and by example, each clergyman, he considers, may, in his own parish, do a great deal to weaken the influence of these objectionable associations. But still the Clergy cannot do all—
"After the endeavours of the Clergy, however, hare done their utmost in this respect, there is a great deal remaining to be done by those out of the pale of the National Church and their teachers, in trie way of redeeming their present unsettled habits of association. They have several anomalies to extricate themselves from in their licentious and unbridled ardour for inconsiderate combination. For doing this, no method more effectual occurs to me than that of reverting to the leading principles of the party in Christianity to which they belong, weighing duly with themselves the comparative moment of their principles as grounds for maintaining a sect, and then framing a consistent course of action, as to those with whom they can, or can not, properly associate." P. 54.
In regard to the opposite error of unthinking and hasty division, which was the fourth head of consideration, he recommends the Clergy to "discountenance in every way with the utmost jealousy, I he profane thirst for sectarianism."
"Even with regard to « Uic three leading denominations,' it befits the Clerical body manfully to uphold their own views, and to shew, on every suitable occasion, and in every manner they prudently and seasonably can, their conviction of the unreasonableness of separation on the grounds adduced. Many, indeed, may be the shades and degressjn which individual Clergymen may be disposed to make this manifestation: but none, I conceive, can hesitate in admitting that consistency with their own declarations and subscriptions calls for an avowal, more or less, of their principles: inasmuch as against the opinions held by each and all of ' the three denominations,' the Church, to whose opinions we are pledged, has distinctly declared itself." P. 55.
In order to remove the minor shades of dissent, *• an humbler strain of pulpit instruction" than is always adopted, he conceives, would be highly useful: but the means which he suggests as the most efficacious, is an accurate knowledge of the persons who constitute the regular flock of the parochial minister.
"I hold few things in religion to be more delusive than habits of occasional communion. Enlarged comprehension in the formation of a Church 1 can understand: but occasional anil vacillating conformity between two or more religious communities, is a practice, from wbicb no
result favourable to religious truth can possibly arise. And whilst it will be the wisdom of every parochial minister to shape both his public instruction and private discourse with such guarded and comprehensive discretion, as to invite and include Me greatest possible number of private opinions; he will on the other hand perpetuate, to a degree not to be estimated, the evil here remonstrated against, if from unworthy regard to popnlar feeling he descend to any enunciations bordering on (he enthusiasm of the Conventicle, or stray from those safe limits, which the embodied wisdom of his own Church has already prescribed to bim." P. 57.
The fifth error relating to the office, character, and revenues of the Clergy, is attributable, he conceives, in a great measure, to an improper reserve of the Clergy on these points. It is imperative on them to assert the scriptural grounds of their office ; and the civil grounds should, also beset forth on suitable occasions. The just weight also of their character would be increasedby observance of *' fitting singularity in apparel, society, and general deportment, and by coming out in a prudent degree from the mixed customs of the world." As far as concerns the revenues of the Church, it rests wholly with the Laity, Mr. M. observes, to rectify this error.
"As far as tins wrong opinion in the laity is associated in individuals with soundness of religious faith and disposition on other particulars, so far we may hope for amendment: where this result is the fruit of actual profaneness and irreligion, still higher principles must operate, before we can expect this to be improved or rectified." P. 59.
We now come to the remedy proposed for the last evil, that of religious insubordination. This evil Mr. M. considers as arising from a perversion of the heart, and as requiring, therefore, the utmost degree of discretion and prudence in every attempt to remove it.
"That the remedies to this evil, therefere, are not of easy attainment, is evident. But when it is considered that the application of these remedies is placed by Pro