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Congregationalism Vindicated.


taken by the Actor will depend, and ought to depend, upon his state of Moral Culture. And perhaps the best mode of deciding any particular case, is to consider how the two sides of the alternative would have affected the Moral Culture and Moral Progress of the person. Thus, in the case of Grotius's wife, Conjugal Love was in Conflict with the Love of Truth. Both of these are Moral Principles, to be cultivated in our hearts, by their influence upon our actions. If the wife had neglected an opportunity which offered itself, of saving the husband from death, the shock to Conjugal Affection would have been intense; and the irremediable evil, when it had fallen upon her, must have brought with it a self-accusation and despair, against which the recollection of scrupulous veracity could hardly have supported her. If, on the contrary, in such extreme necessity she uttered a falsehood; even if it had been to friends, it might have have remained in her mind as an exception, without weakening the habitual reverence for Truth : but the deceit being, in fact, used towards enemies, with whom the same common understanding does not obtain, which subsists among friends, it would naturally still less be felt to be an act in which the Duty of Truth was lightly dealt with; so that there were reasons to hope, that if any wound were inflicted on the Love of Truth by the act, it might heal readily and completely." — Vol. I. pp. 273— 275.

We observe among the high authorities on which Dr. Whewell relies, several American ones, especially Judge Story, Chancellor Kent, and Mr. Wheaton.

J. W.


A Dudleian Lecture, read in the Chapel of Harvard College, May 13, 1846, by Rev. ALEXANDER Young, of Boston.

The Honorable Paul Dudley, to whose forecast and munificence the College is indebted for the foundation of this Annual Lecture, and in conformity with whose bequests and statutes I appear before you to-day, was descended from one of the most distinguished families among the first planters of Massachusetts, and was himself one of the most prominent men of his time in New England. His father, Joseph Dudley, a graduate of this College in 1665, was Governor of the Province in the time of Queen Anne.

His grandfather, Thomas Dudley, who also held the same office for many years, was chosen Deputy Governor of the Colony on board the Arbella at Southampton, just before the sailing of Winthrop's fleet in April, 1630; and his admirable Letter to his friend and patroness, the Countess of Lincoln, dated in March, 1631, nine months after his arrival here, and written, as he says, “rudely, having yet no table, nor other room to write in, than by the fireside, upon my knee, in this sharp winter," is the most interesting as well as authentic document in the early annals of this Colony.

The founder of this Lecture was born at Roxbury, the seat of his ancestors, September 3, 1675, and was graduated at this College in 1690, which he afterwards served in the capacity of Tutor. After reading law for some years in this country, he went to England to finish his studies at the Inner Temple, in London ; whence he returned in 1702 as Attorney General of the Province, and in 1718 was raised to the Bench, and in 1745 was appointed Chief Justice of the Superior Court. He was not only an accomplished lawyer, but a well read theologian, and a man of learning and science; no other evidence of which need be mentioned, than his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, an honor to which very few natives of this country have ever attained, and to whose Transactions he contributed several valuable papers relating to the natural history of New England.

By birth and descent, as well as in spirit and principle, Judge Dudley was a Puritan. And sitting in the old wooden meetinghouse at Roxbury, — built probably of rough, unhewn logs, according to the primitive architecture of the country, - and in which he thought he had heard as good sermons preached as ever he had listened to be

ath the arches of the magnificent church of the Temple, where he had been bred to the law, and as fervent and effectual prayers

offered from the heart as ever he had heard read from book in the stateliest cathedrals of the mother-land, he could hardly sit quiet in his pew when he reflected that the godly and worthy pastors, who delivered those sermons and uttered those prayers, were denounced as intruders upon the Christian ministry, the ordinances of religion as administered by them pronounced invalid and


Importance of the Subject.


nugatory, their claim to be regarded as Gospel ministers set at naught, and the very exercise of their office declared to be an unwarrantable assumption and usurpation. It was this feeling which prompted him, ninety-five years ago, to institute this quadrennial Lecture, “for the maintaining, explaining, and proving," as he says, “ the validity of the ordination of ministers, or pastors of the churches, and so their administration of the sacraments or ordinances of religion, as the same hath been practised in New England from the first beginning of it, and so continued to this day. For I do esteem," he continues, “ the method of ordination as practised in the churches of this country to be very safe, and scriptural, and valid ; and that the Great Head of the Church, by his blessed spirit, hath owned, sanctified, and blessed them accordingly, and will continue so to do to the end of time.”

It was right and well that Judge Dudley instituted this Lecture. There have been times, I am aware, when the wisdom and propriety of appointing this as the topic of a stated discourse, especially before an Academical body, like this, have been questioned. It has been said, that the time for the discussion of such matters has long since gone by; that the world has outgrown them ; that this is not a practical question, in which any one at the present day takes, or can take, a real and living interest ; that it is of very little consequence how it is settled ; and that it is hardly worth while for men to waste their time about such a dry, unprofitable controversy. But it is not so. This is not a dead, inoperative question. It is a practical question, and a very serious one, too. To us, Congregationalists, at least, it is a matter of life or death; it is " articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiæ.” You will pardon us, then, if we seem interested in it, and speak somewhat plainly on the subject.

The history of the Church, too, within the few past years has shown us the value and uses of this Lecture, as well as the sagacity and good judgment of its founder. The rise of what has been called Puseyism in Great Britain, and the awkward aping of it in this country, — the appearance of the “Tracts for the Times," and their eager reception and republication in America, — the numerous secessions from the Church of England to Popery, the

posting of so many of its clergy to Rome, and the tendency of so many others that way, — and the countenance and sympathy which these measures and movements have met with from a portion, and that too a considerable and zealous portion, of the Episcopal Church in the United States, — all serve to show that this question of ministerial ordination, and the consequent validity of the sacraments, is a live question, one in which men really take an interest, that, in fact, it is the great ecclesiastical question of the day. The sons of the Puritans, at least, with their views of the matter, can see no middle ground, nothing stable and permanent, between Congregationalism and Popery. To the New England Pilgrim, Lambeth seems but the vestibule to the Vatican, and Oxford the half-way house to Rome.

It will be understood, I trust, that this is not a question about the truths and principles of religion; and that therefore the Lecturer cannot be justly charged with introducing doctrinal controversy into the College pulpit

. This is a question in which both divisions of the Congregational body, however differing in point of doctrines, are alike interested, and about which they are perfectly agreed and united. And

And may I not add, that it is a question in which we have the entire sympathy and hearty cooperation of all the other great denominations among us; all, I say, except the Roman Catholics and the Episcopalians. We plead the cause, therefore, of no fragment of a denomination, but of the great majority of the churches and pastors of New England. We present a broad, unbroken front, and raise the standard of Independency against what John Knox would call “the monstrous regiment" of bishops.

Let it also be understood, that this controversy is not of our making or seeking. For myself I can truly say that I appear here to-day solely from a sense of duty, to discharge one of those equivocal offices which are neither to be sought nor shunned, at the bidding of those whose request has with me the force of a command. In this whole matter we stand upon the defensive, to maintain our ecclesiastical rights, to assert our title to an existence as a Church, and our claim to be recognized and respected as such.

After this somewhat long, but I trust not altogether irrelevant introduction, I address myself to the main busi


The Church and its Officers.


ness in hand, and proceed to take up this question of the validity of the Congregational Ministry, the consequent efficacy of the Ordinances as administered by them, and the right of our Congregational churches to be regarded as true churches of Christ. And I hope that the remarks which shall be offered, taken together, may constitute a not unworthy Vindication of Congregationalism, of its idea, its principles, its constitution, - a vindication drawn from its history, from its nature and character, and from its tendency, influence, and effects.

In the first place, what was the Church which Christ instituted ? It was the congregation of Christian believers, whether few or many;

Where two or three of his disciples were gathered together in his name, there was he in the midst of them; and there was a Christian church, such an one as Paul recognized when he greeted "the church which is in the house of Nymphas,” and “the church that is in the house of Priscilla and Aquila," and the “church that is in the house of Archippus.” Every little band of this sort, that met together for Christian purposes, to remember Christ and worship the Father, was a church, and contained within itself everything necessary to constitute it a true church. Christ, indeed, nowhere tells his Apostles to gather churches. He commands them to go forth and “make disciples ; ” but he leaves it to the converts themselves to appoint the time and place of their religious assemblies, and to determine the constitution and arrangement of their social worship. He implies, more than once, that they will thus meet together. But he prescribes to them no organization, no government, no ritual. He does not command them to assemble on any particular day in the week, or to read a liturgy, or to kneel in prayer. On these points he leaves his followers at perfect liberty to adopt, in every age and country, such forms of worship and service as shall seem to them most expedient and edifying, and best suited to their particular condition and wants.

And what were the officers whom Christ appointed in his church? Were they rectors, deans, archdeacons, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, popes, a long line of superior and inferior clergy, to lord it over one another, as well as over God's heritage ?

No such thing. « Ye know,” says he addressing them, “that the princes of the

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