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213

Miscellaneous.
THE TWO RELIGIONS.

this Church was the child of compro

mise, that various and often conflicting The extreme diversity of opinion in elements exist in her formularies, that the Established Church has led a writer her liturgy was not framed upon any in the Contemporary Review for March consistent and logical system of thought to discuss its internal condition under or theology, and that, consequently, the above title. Dismissing the Broad schools of the most direct antagonism Church, which “rules over very small can find in her services grounds for numbers in the nation, though filled justifying their co-existence within the with men of superior ability, high cul same communion.” In an age of inture, and expansive charity,” he dwells difference, when all faith and earnestparticularly on the two most numerous ness was banished from the Church, this and most influential parties into which state of contradiction did not manifest the Church is at present divided. These itself. The whole Church was at rest, are the “High Church” and the “Low but it was the quietude of spiritual Church.” They are so unlike in doc death. The clergy, occupied only by trine and theory, that they may be the things of the world, the pleasures of designated two distinct religions. “No sense, or the dreams of ambition, cared minally, they are two varieties of for none of these things. The state in Christianity ; but Christianity is con which the Church now finds herself, is ceived by each under an aspect so radi the result of the increased mental accally different, the cast of religious tivity of the age on which we have thought, the temper of the religious entered ; and is, to some, bright with spirit, are so mutually contradictory, hope, and, to others, dark with threatthat the belief and the religious obser ened danger. vances of each, in a most real sense, “The tendency of the age to push constitute, specifically a distinct reli principles to extremes aggravates the gion.” One is described as the religion evil. Men refuse to acquiesce in an of the Bible, the other as the religion illogical and unsymmetrical body of of the church. Both, indeed, acknow opinion, even though viewing it as a ledge the authority of the Bible, and practical society, the existence of diverse both believe in the Divine institution elements in the Church offers great of the Church. But with the one the advantages for its covering the whole Bible is supreme, and as an authority in people. There is an immense earnestthe formation of opinion, absolute; ness of intellectual life now at work in with the other, the appeal is made to the world ; we sincerely believe, also, catholic teaching and the authority of that the same may be asserted of rethe Church ; and this authority is not ligious life.” unfrequently appealed to quite apart With this earnestness of life there from the teaching of the Bible, which arises “ controversy, mental heat, exis supposed, however, to be the ground ploration of first principles, efforts to on which it rests.

reject what is irreconcilable with the The conflicting opinions of these side espoused.” And the effect of all schools expose the Church to manifest this on the people is becoming apparent. danger. “A large part of this danger “ The nation is becoming puzzled, and consists in the feeling produced on the people are asking what the Church of public mind by the sight of the confu England really is, not only in respect of sion, the collisions, the seething and its constitution, but in the much more fermenting state of this ancient body. important matter of the religion which ::: Contradictory systems of theo. it professes.” The Church of Scotland, logy are struggling for pre-eminence in this respect, has a marked advantage within her bosom. Each party de- over the Church of England. There are nounces the other in the fiercest lan- numerous sects, and intense religious guage of the odium theologicum. A activity ; but, omitting small fractions series of events has practically brought of the population, the religion of Scothome to the minds of the clergy that land is essentially one. This arises

from the greater completeness of the Reformation in Scotland, and the intenser Protestantism of both the clergy and people. In the Church of England, on the contrary, “from its very origin, the seeds of prodigious diversities of opinion and practice were implanted in its essence; and as time rolled on they shot up into very substantive divergencies of religious feeling. Large and powerful elements of the old religion were left to acquire fresh vitality in the lapse of ages ; whilst the absence of a fixed and unchangeable standard furnished an open field, which has been largely occupied by numerous varieties of the Broad Church type.” Hence it follows that “the present condition of the Church of England is the direct result of the great primitive act of the Reformation. Such as institutions are at their origin, such are they in their subsequent development. This is true of scientific systems, and it is equally true of social, and, most of all, religious institutions. The Church of England is a composite body, because diverse, and on some fundamental points, discordant principles were inserted into its very essence.”

The Church is thus a house divided against itself. The bond which keeps together these discordant elements is their connection with the State. This is merely external, and neither manifests the spirit nor secures the ends of a religious institution. The true unity of the Church is a oneness of love, and an essential agreement in doctrine. Of this we have no example in the present condition of religious thought in the Establishment, and not much prospect in the future. Each party has its strong and its weak points, and the present tendency is rather to magnify the points of diversity than of agreement. "And, in the meantime, there is growing up á power in their midst with which neither of these great parties are prepared to contend. The progress of biblical criticism and inquiry has of late years been far more successfulin raising difficulties than in supplying expositions of the Bible. Objections have been raised against the very root of the matter, and have assailed the Bible itself as the inspired word of God. The High Church, occupied with the most trivial matters of external ceremony and outward adornment, offers the feeblest possible resistance to

this power. She disdains to reason, and proudly insists upon her own supremacy as the authorized interpreter of Scripture.” “The Tractarians had a theology, a body of ably reasoned and argumentative divinity; the modern High Churchmen have none. Their followers are satisfied with the bare assertion of their clergy, and the clergy feel supreme contempt for criticism and argument." Nor is the Low Church better prepared to meet the enemy at her gates. She relies upon the Bible, but interprets it by narrow and decaying systems of religious belief. She neglects also the scholarship which is essential to a correct interpretation of the letter, and thus loses her hold on the minds of cultured intelligence. “ The advantage they thus give their opponents is incredible ; for at a period when intellectual life is so powerful, to alienate the sympathy of the general body of thinking and educated men is to thrust one's self into the background, and to lose the lead in the world. Such a position is full of danger to religion itself; for what can be more disastrous than to create an impression that Christianity is at variance with knowledge, and thought, and intellect?”.

CONVOCATION. The meetings of Convocation of the two provinces of Canterbury and York have been held, as usual, on the assembling of the new Parliament. These assemblies of the bishops and clergy have no legislative power, but the opportunities they afford for the popular discussion of ecclesiastical subjects, furnish an indication of what is passing in the mind of the Church. Quite a number of subjects are introduced for discussion, and notwithstanding the several schools into which the clergy are divided, most of the discussions manifest growing attention to the spiritual wants of the people. There is upon some subjects, particularly those relating to the social position and worldly circumstances of the bishops, a sensitiveness which shows how unwillingly the holders of episcopal positions will consent to any change in their worldly position. The condition of several of the dioceses which are nearly, if not entirely, deprived of episcopal superintendence by advanced

age and other bodily infirmities, has compelled attention to the best means of supplying this lack of service. For some time the principal portions of the south and west of England have been without the active superintendence of bishops. The means of remedying this state of things led to lengthened debates, but to no practical result. The only approach to such a result was the passing of a resolution, in accordance with the recommendations of the Cathedral Commission of 1854, “That in case of the bishop's inability to discharge the duties of his office, from age or continued bodily infirmity, he may, subject to the approval of the archbishop, pray Her Majesty to appoint a coadjutor, cum jure successionis, with such proportion of the income of the see, and in such manner as may be hereafter determined.”

The question which most seriously occupies the attention of the clergy at the present time, is the proposal to disestablish the Irish branch of the Established Church. This question was introduced, and determined the elections of many of the proctors to the convocations. Men of ability, like Dr. Vaughan, Mr. Bramston, and others, were set aside, on the ground of their sympathy with the Government measure, and efforts were made, in the Lower House of the province of Can. terbury, to import into the address to the Queen a prayer that Her Majesty would not assent to any measure which would disestablish the Irish Church, or alienate to secular purposes any portion of the property or revenues which have been dedicated to the maintenance of the worship of Almighty God, and the support of His ministers. This prayer was too strong for the bishops, who constitute the Upper House. The Bishop of Oxford regarded it as “unconstitutional,” and a modified and milder resolution was in the end agreed upon by both Houses.

Change is at present the law of all public institutions. The changes in progress are, in the majority of cases, undoubted improvements. But whether evidences of progress or decline, there is everywhere movement. The most conservative institutions cannot stand still. The petitions presented to the Convocation of Canterbury, and the various subjects introduced and in

quiries instituted, all indicate an eager desire to adapt the Church to the changes that are going on in society. These questions include the improvement of the condition of the clergy, the retirement of incapacitated ministers, the establishment of diocesan synods, a larger introduction of the lay element into the ordinary working of the Church, the reform of cathedral establishments, and many other subjects.

The Convocation of the province of York last year passed a resolution expressing the feeling that “this Convocation would cordially welcome any practical attempt to effect a brotherly reconciliation between the Wesleyan body and the Church of England.” This resolution was coldly received by the Wesleyans in this country, and led to no practical results. In America, where there are three millions of Episcopal Methodists, it seems to have been more cordially welcomed, and some action taken towards union. This encouraged the leader of this movement to again introduce the subject by proposing a resolution to send to these bodies in America a copy of this resolution. The experience of the past disinclined the heads of the Convocation to undertake this correspondence, and the conversation ended by simply reaffirming the resolution of last year.

A more difficult question in this province is the question of heresy. The Rev. Charles Voysey, a beneficed clergyman in the diocese of York, has given expression to sentiments, in a publication entitled The Sling and the Stone, which are generally acknowledged to have exceeded the bounds the Church can possibly tolerate. The Archbishop stated that he had used and exhausted the means of private expostulation, and, though most reluctantly, had instituted legal proceedings. The question will, therefore, come before the Church tribunals, and add another to the perplexities arising out of her doctrinal diversities.

AMERICA. The Boston New Jerusalem Magazine for March has an article on “Practical writing and teaching in the New Church,” in which the writer indicates some of the changes which have taken place, or are in progress, in the external and social relations of the New Church

in America. The Church has had a dren, we must first seek to know the period of intellectual growth, which truth ourselves . ... and to clothe it has been of the greatest importance in in such simple forms of language and establishing the heavenly doctrines in expression as the simple-minded, the minds of men. “Those of us," whether young or old, can understand. says this writer, “who, as children, It is the duty of every one who becomes · were brought up under its influence a member of the Church to try to demust carry with us through our lives a velop in himself a true kuowledge of recollection of its delightful effect upon its doctrines, based upon his own efforts all social relations. And it was strength- to live a good life, and then to give ened by the feeling of our proscription to every one that asketh' what he askby those to whom the New Church ap eth, and in such a way that he can repeared an outburst of falsity and error, ceive it. There are many asking, -a feeling which was then so strong as though their appeals may not be audible to turn us in upon one another for that to the ear of the natural man." sympathy which, under such circum- The New Church is the Church of the stances, was so strongly developed.” future, and to fulfil its mission must

The Church has now entered on a adapt itself to the religious requirements new phase of her existence, and this of the present. “Can it be thought,” condition of things has become exten- says this writer in conclusion, that sively altered. "All, or nearly all, these doctrines which appeal so strongly who then became members of the Church to the rational mind of man are not for were constant readers and students of that very reason the better adapted to its doctrines. But within my own the needs of those whose understandings short existence,' says this writer, are but little developed ? I feel sure “ there has been a great change. Á that they are; and I think that one very large number of those who now who could hope that he might fill such come into it have but little behind a a place in the service of the Lord, as general knowledge of the leading points there is now an earnest call for men to of difference between the New Church fill, should be glad to give up every and the Old ; and some faint, glimmer other hope, and enter upon this work ing ideas of the necessity of a better joyfully. No higher use could be de. life. Our young people, educated in sired by the heart of man.” the Church, either do not become mem Dedication of a New House of Worbers, or do so from the force of example ship at Brooklyn.We extract the fol. or home influence, with but little per- lowilig account of this dedication from sonal love for the life of religion. And the New Jerusalem Messenger of Feb. this is where our religious instruction 24:-“The new house of worship of has failed to do its work. There has the Brooklyn New Church Society was been a great fear of impairing freedom dedicated on Sunday afternoon last. through the leading of natural affec- The house was crowded to its utmost tions; and almost all teaching in the capacity, a large number of friends Sabbath school has been doctrinal, and from New York, and other places in in as nearly the original language of the vicinity, being present. The serSwedenborg' as was possible. This vices were conducted by the Rev. Mr. suited our fathers and mothers, and Ager, pastor of the Society, assisted by why not their children? But they were the Rev, Mr. Giles, pastor of the New prepared for it by an already acquired York Society. At a little after halflove for a religious life, and consequently past three the two ministers passed up a strong desire and longing for religious the centre aisle to the chancel, Mr. truth."

· Ager bearing a copy of the Word, which The altered condition of things neces- he deposited in the repository provided sitates change in the modes of popular' for it. Then, turning to the congregainstruction. The Church must adapt tion, he briefly explained the reason herself to the wants of her members, why New Church societies give this and of those outside her pale which she prominence to the sacred volume in desires to influence for good. “If we their places of worship, and recited tho wish to do good to our children, and to formula of dedication as follows, the the mass of mankind, who as regards people standing :knowledge of the truth are but as chile "We now set apart and consecrate

pulpit, both of very elaborately carved wood. On the pulpit is the inscription Nunc Licet, with a crown. Under the auditorum is a large, high, and well lighted basement, containing a large Sunday schoolroom, two other large rooms, and other conveniences. On the whole, the Brooklyn Society thus feel that they have a very complete, beautiful, and convenient place of worship.

this house to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only God of heaven and earth; to the administration of His divinely ordained sacraments ; to

instruction from His holy Word, ac. • cording to the heavenly doctrines of the

New Jerusalem, as made known in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg ; and to all heavenly and spiritual uses and offices and duties. And may it henceforth be set apart and kept free from all secular and worldly uses, from all false teaching and all unholy practices; and may it ever be to us truly a house of God, in which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shall be truly and manifestly present with His people. The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make His face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen."

Then followed singing, a response service, and a lesson from the Word, after which Mr. Ager read a brief state ment by the trustees, showing that the total outlay had been 46,500 dollars, of which 29,000 had been paid, and 17,000 remains as a debt to be provided for. The Rev. Mr. Giles then preached a discourse, showing that the New Church worshipped one God, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the unity of His Church was to be built upon this cardinal doctrine. The singing of an anthem concluded the service.

The building, which was purchased of the Universalists, is of brown stone, in somewhat of the Gothic style of architecture. Inside it has a nave and side aisles, separated from the nave by quatrefoil pillars, and the roof is formed of groined arches, with clerestory. The dimensions of the auditorum are 55 feet in width, by 65 feet in length, and it 'seats 400 comfortably. At the western end, over the vestibule, is an organ gallery, in which is a fine organ, of • ample power for the church. Since the purchase, the church has been thoroughly repaired and renovated. The most important change has been in the eastern or chancel end. This was formerly occupied by an immense pulpit, which has been removed, and in its place a very rich and tasteful repository for the Word has been erected. In front of the repository stands the desk from which the lessons from the Word are read. To the left is the prayer-desk, and to the right is the

SABBATH EVENING LECTURES. The winter lectures to which we alluded in our January number have been continued in several of our societies up to the present time, in most cases with marked success. Particulars of some of these courses have reached us and will doubtless interest our readers.

Heywood.-The subjects discussed by the minister in this society have been a continuation of those previously introduced, but have dwelt more fully on the relation of the New Church to other Christian communities, on the distinctions and diversities of Christian doctrine, and on the duties of members of the New Church in their relation to the age and to the changes of religious thought and feeling at present manifesting themselves in other Christian communities. The attendance at these lectures has been good, though not marked by any large influx of strangers. The society itself has attained a good position and somewhat settled character, and its neat and commodious church is usually well-attended.

Preston.--At this town a course of six lectures, extending from November 29 to February 15, were announced by Rev. Mr. Rendell. The subjects of these lectures embraced, “ Conscience, its true nature, and how it is acquired, “The Ark of the Covenant, and why miracles were performed by its presence,” “ The Mystery of Godliness; God manifest in the flesh,” “The Ladder of which Jacob dreamed, and the phenomena which appeared upon it," " The Holy Spirit, and its operations in promoting the regeneration of mankind,” “ The digging of wells by the patriarchs, and its spiritual teaching.” The ability of the lecturer is suficient security for the interest which would attach to the discussion of these important subjects. We regret, however, to learn that the delivery of

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