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This argument is of course conclusive against the tract writers, only on the supposition of their being Protestants. To the Ro. manists we should have to prove that those miracles accompanied the new teacher, which Hooker supposes necessary for the vindication of every fresh avatar. Nor would it be impossible to point to many passages in the career of Calvin and Luther capable of being legi. timately considered in the nature of signs and wonders, as proper to the dawn of an intellectual cycle, as were those recorded in the four gospels to the evening of a sensuous age and country. But it has been too often urged against the infidel, that a greater miracle is supposed in the propagation of Christianity without visible divine interposition than with — for this argument now to avail much. The success of the Reformation without the accompaniment of preternatural exhibition therefore would, on such shewing, have been even such a greater miracle, of which all minor accompanying miracles are at all times but subordinate types and symbols. Nor can it be doubted that a religion propagated without miracle, is a greater manifestation of divine power than one propagated with. What wonder either? For are not, in fact, reason and religion their own evidence ? and all inferior corroborations but condescensions to "a carnal and adulterous generation." Even som whence it cometh also, that, whereas of aforetime miracles were the proof to umenlightened men of the truths that they accompanied, now those very truths themselves are become the tests of the miracles that attended their enunciation. Miracles then may be sometimes expedient, but are never necessary.
The blindness of the tract writers is sometimes astonishing. Thus they quote the example of Aaron in proof of ministerial succession, by transmission: Aaron, to whom an immediate divine call was vouchsafed! But, however, it is well quoted, since it defines and explains the signification of the other texts cited in connexion, as well as the meaning of apostolical descent itself. Throughout the whole order of succession, and in every instance, the immediate call is presupposed as individually vouchsafed to every candidate; and where it has not really been received, the candidate has played the part of the hypocrite, and the prelatical declaration does not, and cannot make him other than a pretender. There is no magic in the ceremony. Nor is the declaration necessary, though expedient. As sometimes it is undoubtedly wrongfully obtained; so sometimes that which it declares may be possessed withont official acknow. ledgement being sought or rendered. The unity of the divine ordinances is consistent with the utmost possible variety in their mode of exhibition. And wherefore? To shew that while the exhi. bition is physical, the ordinances themselves are spiritual!
• Observe how often these principles which are usually called, in scorn, “ High Churchmanship,” drop as it were incidentally from the pens of the sacred writers professedly employed on other subjects. "How shall they preach, except they be sent >* • Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stevards of the myste ries of God!" "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron."
The sort of apostolicity claimed by the tract writers is very much like the standard of classicality, once set up in literature, but now generally acknowledged to be untepable. The true way of becoming classical in poem or drama is not by imitating the ancient unities, nor by imitating at all; but by resorting, as the old sages and poets did, to the eternal sources of inspiration-sources as open to us as to them. “Shakspere," says a late writer, (how justly I) * is a more classical poet than Racine. To be regular, and polished, and unimpassioned, is not to be classical--but to feel, to think and write antecedently to rules as the Greeks did,—that is to be truly classical.” In like manner, to be truly apostolical is not to depend on mere historical association-but to do as the apostles did -make application direct to the Fountain of love and light and life, and receive from God himself the spiritual gifts of which he is the sole and exclusive giver. We literally shudder, when we find these tract-writers using such language as the following: “It is better and more scriptural to have than to want Christ's special commission for conveying his word to the people, and consecrating and distributing the pledges of His holy sacrifice”.... “the only Church in the realm which has a right to be quite sure that she has the Lord's body to give to his people.”_" If an imposition of hands is necessary to convey one gift, why should it not be to convey another?”.... “ heirs and representatives of the apostles by successive transmission of the prerogative of being so"...“ a gift, thus transmitted to us in matter of fact." &c. In all this, the functions of conveying-consecraling-distributing-giving-transmitting-are asserted as belonging to certain men, and to a certain society-functions which belong not to society at all-belong not to man at all-but to God alone! To every man, even as he will, he gives his especial gift; which, manifesting itself in him, he decrees official declaration of or not, according to his gracious purpose in the bestowal.
Now-a-days, the merest tyro in literature could have corrected this egregious error in the tract-writers; and the smallest smattering of philosophy would not have failed to detect the sophism of identifying the church and the world in the same methods of proceeding, and the same laws of conduct:-.g.“ The bishop has received" (received, again!] “it from another, and so on till we arrive at the apostles themselves, and thence, our Lord and Saviour. It is superfluous to dwell on so plain a principle, which, in matters of the world, we act opon daily!”
* Matters of the world, forsooth! Why, if there were no other reason, this would lead us to pause. The world, and the world's ways, are in antagonism with themselves and with the Church. If otherwise, why not carry out the principle fully? Why not hereditary succession? This question, to those who understand the subject, settles the point at once. Not by generation, but by regeneration, the Spirit proceeds. " The wind bloweth where it listeth, and no one can tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth!" The laws whereby it works are superior to those whereby Nature herself works -and, in no way even, are the former bound by the analogy of the latter, but precisely in those qualities which are essential, transcend all types whatsoever. Thus, for instance, the affirmation made in the text just cited, cannot, in these scientific days, be stated of the natural wind.
All things spiritual, however, have their types in things natural, which present them to the fullest extent possible, short of identifica. tion. Even to this extent, the historical symbolises the mystical Church- but seeing how inadequate the whole of history is to represent the idea which it is evolving, let us be careful to make our induction as extensive as may be. What a miserable limitation of the argument is it to confine the history of the Messiah's dispensation to a single society or two out of many! The Romish Church presents one class of historical facts-the Greek Church another class of historical facts—the Anglican Church another class of historical facts—the Presbyterian Churches another class of historical factsand the Dissenting Churches another class of historical facts. Our tract-writers are arguing for one small section of the historical against all the other sections : nay they are consciously doing this
-and then, at the same time, they blind and hoodwink themselves with main force, by the paltriest considerations,* such as have been too frequently exploded, to detain us now.
We call the considerations paltry ; because, if the result to which they lead were produced, it would conduct to the usurpation, by one Church, of authority over others. It claims, in a word, for the An. glican Church what the Church of Rome once claimed for itself. Those who have dreaded, from these tracts, the revival of papal domination, and proclaimed in tirade and leader, “ Treason within the Church,” have only shewn (supposing them to be members of the Church of England), the absurdest ignorance of the grounds of the whole controversy. The argument proceeds upon the basis of the Anglican Episcopal Church being the only true one; and the attack is levelled against that ultra-protestantism which leads to dissent and infidelity. But this end, however good, is sought by erroneons means and on a false principle-by the revival of certain
*" Nor need any man,” say the tract-writers, “ be perplexed by the question, sure to be presently and confidently asked, Do you then unchurch all the Presbyterians, all Christians who have no bishops ?- Are they to be shut out of the covenant, for all the fruits of Christian piety, which seem to have sprung up not scantily among them ?-Nay, we are not judging others, but deciding on our own conduct. We, in England, cannot communicate with Presbyterians, as neither can we with Roman Catholics ; but we do not, therefore, exclude either from salvation. Necessary to salvation, and necessary to Church communion, are not to be used as convertible terms. Neither do we desire to pass sentence on other persons of other countries; but we are not to shrink from our deliberate views of truth and duty, because difficulties may be raised about the case of such persons; any more than we should fear to maintain the paramount necessity of Christian belief, because similar difficulties may be raised about virtuous Heathens, Jews, or Mahometans. To us, such questions are abstract, not practical : and whether we can answer them or no, it is our business to keep fast hold of the Church Apostolical, whereof we are actual members ; not, merely, on civil or ecclesiastical grounds, but from real personal love and reverenceaffectionate reverence to our Lord and Saviour. And let men seriously bear in mind that it is one thing to slight and disparage this holy succession, where it may be had, and another thing to acquiesce in the want of it, where it is (if it be any where) really unattainable."
external observances, and on the assumption of the Church being constituted of the clergy, as the sole possessors of apostolic unction.
The endeavour is vain--the mother see of the world has doubtless been divinely ordained. In regard to the other churches also, God's providence is its own best interpreter. The Variety which he bas permitted in the Unity, carries its credential in the fact of its existence. Nor is the unity itself, together with the whole beauty of the divine arrangement, less perceptible to the philosophic mind. At no time has the Sacred Rose been scattered, although it has still enlarged and multiplied its leaves even as it has budded and blossomed. Nor is its growth yet completed. When it is, doubtless the Variety of the Many will be swallowed up in the Unity of the All. But this completion of the circle is not to be effected by human means. In all things these Orielite clergy seek to arrogate the privileges of the Divinity-in this particular indeed, reviving the worst errors of Romanism; we dwell on this the more, because it is a point on which we shall be understood by the tract-writers, and one of which they themselves have shown perception.*
Our complaint with these Oxford divines is, that they have con. founded the political and religious aspects of the question. Their motive for doing this is confessed. - The prospect of the loss of state protection made it necessary to look out for other reasons for adherence to the church, besides that of obedience to the civil magistrate.” We have cause to thank God that the agitations of these times have produced even such a result; and the more so that the Church has been thus led to depend on her apostolical privileges. Fatally, however, would these be misinterpreted, if she should be carried back to an origin in time, for authority that is ever present-or to a particular body of men for an influence that is universally diffused. "Are ye" (might the laity not demand of the clergy) « Are ye the temples of the Holy Ghost? Even so are we!"
That Christianity, however, recognises no distinction between
• It is with some gratification that we are enabled to extract the following paragraph. “It is surely parallel with the order of Divine Providence that there should be a variety-a sort of graduated scale in His method of dispensing his favor in Christ. So far from its being a strange thing that Protestant sects are not in Christ, in the same fulness that we are, it is more accordant to the scheme of the world that they should lie between us and heathenism. It would be strange if there were but two states, one absolutely of favour, and one of disfavour. Take the world at large, one form of Paganism is better than another. The North American Indians are Theists; and as such, more privileged than Polytheists. Mahometanism is a better religion than Hindooism, Judaism is better than Mahometanism. One may believe that long established dissent affords to such as are born and bred in it, a sort of pretext, and is attended with a portion of blessing, (where there is no means of knowing better,) which does not attach to those who cause divisions, found sects, or wantonly wander from the Church to the Meeting House ;-that what is called an orthodox sect, has a share of divine favour which is utterly withheld from heresy. I am not speaking of the next world, where we shall all find ourselves as individuals, and where there will be but two states, but of existing bodies or societies. On the other hand why should the corruptions of Rome lead us to deny her divine privileges, when even tbe idolatry of Judah did not forfeit or annul her temple sacrifices and level her to Israel." No. 47.-p.3-4.
clergy and laity, we are not prepared to assert-but we nevertheless contend that it recognises the distinction as transitional and not essential. Christians are not what they ought to be ; and until they become so, the better must rule the worse, the wise think for the foolish, and the learned act for the ignorant. The state, however, thus prepared will emanate in a sacred republic; in which, the aristocratic and democratic shall be resolved into their originai unity. Under such a theocracy, a priesthood, though unnecessary, may be voluntarily permitted ; and the more so as, from the spread of intelligence, their authority will be incapable of abuse, and unindigent of assertion. Moreover, as all differences of opinion will then merge in the general admission of common principles, churches will no longer be separated by national limits, and all may then hold a common bishop- a papacy that may be intrusted with the greatest 'powers, since it will be impossible to misemploy them, and their steward will indeed have no desire to exceed his office. But we are speaking of an era of government, in which humanity shall be at its highest point of perfection, morally and mentally, and only individuals of the greatest virtue and genius shall be office-bearers for the rest.
To antedate this period altogether, (by the bye, an ideal one,) is not prudent; to substitute the order of providence by any invention of human ingenuity is presumptuous. Will we be wiser than God? Nay, will we be more foolish than man need be ? Notwithstanding the testimony of history, will we seek again to promote the apparent for the real Unity? If so, by what means short of violence can it be promoted ? Nay, but we will be patient; and trust to the Father the ordering of the times and seasons, of which knoweth no man, not even the Son of Man.
And see what a loss of dignity the priesthood undergo by this substitution, of the apparent for the real! We are told, that the apostles and their successors have, in every age, committed portions of their power and authority to others, who thus become their delegates, and in a measure, their representatives, and are called Priests and Deacons. The result is an episcopal system, because of the practice of delegation."* What! Delegation ? Not long ago, under the Reform Act, an attempt was made by some of the constituencies to convert members of parliament into delegates. Was it generally, or in individual instances, willingly, submitted to ? Not it! A member of parliament was a representative indeed, but no delegate. Nevertheless, the motive of the dispute is more interesting and instructive than the dispute itself. Why seek to restrain the liberty of the representative? Because he and his constituency are not yet of one mind! Why refuse to concede the demand? Because it is not fit that the better instructed should yield to the less! And why, both the demand and the refusal ? Because there are degrees of intelligence and cultivation, resulting in differences of perception, whereof the minus generally belongs to constituencies, and the plus to representatives, so that the parties litigant stand at different poles, and a whole equator