Imatges de pàgina

Not less important is it to possess ourselves of the knowledge of the means by which to act as duty requires towards heretics and schismatics with uncompromising firmness, and at the same time with brotherly love and kindness. Heresy and schism, in all their degrees, are manifest and open breaches of Christian love; for where there is no unity of the Spirit, there is no bond of peace; and the Apostle warns us not only to mark those who cause divisions, but offences contrary to the doctrine which they had learned ; --to express our approval of, or give our sanction to dissent, which is schism, separation, division, a severing of the body of Christ, is a false, ay, a sinful charity,liberalism popular with thousands whose station and office would seem to demand a more uncompromising adherence to the faith once delivered to the saints, and a more rigid examination into the nature of a principle which, originating in a withdrawal of subjection to the Church, generally terminates in a withdrawal of subjection to the Queen and those in authority under her.

The standard and limit of Christian charity is clearly developed in the Bible interpreted by the Church, and Christians (I use the term as applicable alone to those who have been duly baptized into one living visible church, and consequently have been regenerated by one Spirit, who is the author, not of confusion, but of unity and peace) have attributed to them a destitution of charitable feelings, if they only cleave to the doctrine which is according to godliness—if they only maintain the truth in the love of it, as it ever has been, is, and ever shall be held by the Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.

While dissenters claim to themselves and too often have the character acceded to them-of the proper measure of that charity which the Gospel portrays, and the more readily because they are willing for a time to sink their differences, and unit one common cause against the Church, which has at least as good a right to hold its opinions as they have to hold theirs, their politicoreligious liberality is approved of ; and the more willingly, because, burying their novel and contradictory doctrines, and their diverse forms of government, in one common ground of enlarged benevolence,' they combine their forces to assail the Church, whose principles absolutely forbid any union with those who exclude themselves, or are excluded from her pale, and therefore is taxed with a breach of Christian love. That which is their boast as dissenters—freedom to hold their opinions without restraint, and openly to express them, they would withdraw from the Church and from Churchmen; and because they cannot do so, they have recourse to a popular schismatic outcry, that the “Church destroys more souls than she saves."

A clergyman preaches on the divine right of episcopacy, the apostolical succession, degrees in the ministry, the power of absolution committed to the Church, and sacramental grace, -because he conscientiously adheres to the principles of the Church, delivered to him; and he is branded as intolerant by the very separatists who everlastingly harangue their deluded congregations against Church establishments, episcopal power, subscription to articles and pre-composed prayers, --and they forsooth are generous, open-hearted, and imbued with Christian charity !

If the Churchman, honest, active, and zealous, preaches truths, and disseminates precepts calculated to uphold Christianity in its original purity, the imputation of illiberal resounds from a thousand tongues; but when the dissenting teacher circulates his tracts, impugns the dogmas of the Church in public and in private, flatters the vanity of the adult by appeals to his spiritual feelings, or by taking advantage of his political excitement, and bribes the

* This · Io Triumphi' sprung from one of their most popular living preachers,

child to desert the Church school for the meeting-school,---le is only endowed with a laudable zeal ; because, as a dissenter, he only acts consistently with what he professes to believe and do. A Roman Catholic who, feeling himself bound by the decrees of the Council of Trent, feels himself bound to consider all dissenters schismatics and heretics, out of the pale of salvation, is seldom meddled with by the great majority of dissenters ; his faith escapes their clamour; his heterodoxy and absurdities are not meddled with; he unites with the dissenter, the jew, and the infidel, in unsparing exertion to overthrow the Church. If he be a political partizan against the Church, his acknowledged idolatries (talked of, and deprecated, and ridiculed at prayer-meetings, classmeetings, and spiritual coteries), are made secondary to his political aid ;and this is true liberality!

Every sect of dissenters glories in something peculiar to that sect. Each has a little household god, to which none of the others pay any homage, though they will not intermeddle with those who do, The Independent, for instance, whose father and founder -Robert Brown-lived at the close of the sixteenth century (on the ground of antiquity the Mahommedan has much the advantage), worships untrammeled religious liberty. The Quaker (who has no pretence even to the name of Christian), sprung from Fox, who lived in 1647, worships some fanciful spirit, the creation of a heated imagination. The Baptists, or Anabaptists, in the days of their founders, about the year 1530, worshipped fanatical sedition, That this infection of their nature still remains, the late conduct of their Missionaries in the West India Islands testifies : and the Wesleyans, sprung from John Wesley, who lived in 1780, worship experience.' Strange that the worshippers of these little Penates, without any sympathy for each other, should act in such unison to overthrow, if possible, the fabric of the Catholic Hierarchy!-infinitely divisible masses-strange and barren off-shoots-combining their force against an indivisible body!! Such is their brotherly love, but where is their filial affection? It is an axiom of Christianity, that they cannot have God for their father who have not the Church for their mother;" and we are uncharitable because we will not fall down and worship some little jealous god.

It is the boast of the dissenter, that Scripture was written to accommodate men of every moral temperament, without compromising truth ;--that what they call minor differences' must be lost sight of, in the benevolent design to regenerate mankind ;--that ten thousand different sects are but ten thousand different churches, all aiming to work God's will, by means according with the reason and judgment of each. This they call Christian liberal feeling; but the conscientious Catholic, of strict integrity, who feels persuaded that truth is one and indivisible,--that we are not to ask what interpretation Scripture will bear, but what it must have,--that, as there is but 'One Lord,' so there is but

One faith and one baptism,'—that there is but one Church, and ought to be no sects or separatists,—and that we have no right to constitute ourselves judges of what are minor differences,'-is branded as uncharitably exclusive, as if his arguments and authorities were unworthy of consideration ;--and this is religious toleration !

The radical dissenter (and there are few others if their principles could be analyzed), though under any circumstances he would have absented himself from the parish church, is ready and willing to excuse himself because he dislikes establishments, because church-rates are an unjust taxation, because the parson has yoted against the liberal candidate, because he will not remit his tithes or his fees; in fact, from some exclusive political motive: this is called just retribution-punishing the tory parson; it is not revenge, it is not uncharitable, unchristian, or uncatholic, Oh no! it is only a carrying out of the principle of dissent. But if, from a religious motive, the true Catholic will not enter a schismatic meeting-house, even though urged to hear a popular preacher, or will not add his mite to benefit some dissenting missionary object, the cry is immediately raised, and re-echoed from place to place-What a specimen of a bigoted churchman!

The orthodox Catholic regards God's house as a house of prayer, he frequents that house to pray, he looks upon preaching as a means of grace subordinate to

prayer and the sacraments. Among the dissenters the capability of preaching for and with effect (as regards attracting a congregation) is the main qualification for acceptance as a public teacher. With the dissenting people an ardent desire to hear and attend " preachings," is the main qualification for membership, and promotion to some of the numerous offices created to gratify spiritual pride and ambition, and attract the unwary into their communion. The churchman, because he will not sanction by any means, or give any countenance to so baneful a principle, is accounted, and held up

to view, as a man whose aim is to retard the progress of vital Christianity. The true Catholic is liberal with St. Paul in rejoicing that Christ is preached, whether in contention or in love, by those who have authority to preach ; he cannot rejoice, nor would St. Paul have rejoiced, to hear him preached by schismatical, self-constituted teachers, who have so miserably rent and are still rending the body of the Church.

The dissenter, in the true spirit of dissent, rails at the attempt to restore a primitive and godly discipline in the Church, or to prove that any weight ought to be attached to the judgment or opinions of those pious heroes of antiquity, who conversed with or immediately succeeded the Apostles, and with whom when about to ascend on high they left their mantle of apostolicity, as a returning to beggarly elements--as a barrier against the progress of the march of intellect. No system of innovation, however absurd in itself, or opposed to decency and order and the spirit of Christianity, must be deprecated by the churchman; this would be resisting the liberal efforts of the day--retarding the progress of reform-or casting a slur on her Majesty's ministers : but as I said before, the dissenter and the churchman must have a different standard of toleration !

The temper of the times is indicated by the universal desire among separatists to lower the standard, power, and commission of the Christian ministry. The station and character of their own teachers is a guarantee against the possibility of their being honoured above measure, or claiming any extraordinary powers, except such as are given by the people who have appointed them; the assumption of any such powers, independent of its absurdity from having nothing to rest upon, would meet with a deserved congregational reprimand; for lay elder, or lord deacon John, thinks as Calvin, Knox, Fox, or Wesley thought, and William thinks as John thinks, and Samuel thinks as William thinks, etc. * Dare the Rev. Hezekiah Preachabout lift his voice to oppose his opinion to, or think differently from, men who raised him to the dignity to which he aspired, and at whose nod he must tremble and retire? There must be no such ministerial authority: this is called the preservation of the equality of religious rights-a determination not to be priest-ridden (under their system they are wise). For a dissenting congregation to be under the spiritual power (we might call it tyranny) of a dissenting teacher, would be the deprivation of liberty indeed—a slavery, such as “Siculi tyranni non invenire.”

Now the bishops, priests, and deacons of the Church, aver the ministerial power of absolution; thé sin and danger of taking upon themselves the

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* The writer witnessed such a scene, which might be called ludicrous if it were allowable to sport with serious things.

ministerial office without a duly prescribed outward call, and the impropriety and danger of lay interference in ecclesiastical matters, and the advantages resulting from obedience to church authority, and on these points they are upheld by a tradition, not inferior in authority and value, to that which evidences the truth of Christianity; nevertheless they must be subjected to the reproaches of the lawless in religion, of the combined bodies of tolerant dissenters-and this is love and forbearance !

Never was there a greater misnomer than dissenting toleration, nor than their application of the term illiberal, to Anglo-Catholic Christians; they are inconsistent themselves. Much of their so-called liberality consists of inconsistencies; and because we are not equally inconsistent, we are devoid of liberal feelings! For example, a dissension arises in some Rehoboth or Ebenezer chapel, regarding the teacher, his doctrines, or his conduct; the seceders, though uniting in the necessity of a secession, disagree as to the form or mode or character of their worship for the future, or as to the teacher they shall choose, --another split takes place; and thus arises a number of sects, each together with the original establishment (which has now lost much of its opulence) claiming public support, each appealing to a liberal public, and each accusing of a want of Christian liberality, the honest straightforward Catholic, who, believing each of them to be wrong, and undeserving of support, and the tendency of each most injurious to the cause of religion, refuses to give them any sanction. It is, indeed, a false, injurious, and much to be deprecated liberality, which will influence the Christian minister to keep back from the flock over whom he has been made an overseer, the declaration of the sin of those who cause divisions, and the awful danger attending on schism; and not less in the Christian layman, to sanction, countenance, or support dissent in any of its mongrel shapes. The Anglo-Catholic minister consistently and rightly attacks the strongholds of error, heresy and schism-such is part of his professional duty, and not to do so would be a gross dereliction of duty. But when dissenting teachers assail- they do with much virulence—the sects who split from them, or differ from them, when they impugn their doctrines or tenets, or when the Socinian and Calvinistic teachers mutually assail each other; when the Wesleyan and the Particular Baptist, the Independent and the Socialist, come to quarrel about modes of faith, they lay themselves open to censure for the grossest inconsistencies, and to the charge of a most unbecoming illiberality; and when they meet and bury their differences for a time to consult how they may best and soonest overthrow the Church and its establishment, it is but a combination of inconsistencies, a united breach of their professed Christian charity, a virtual denial of their own favoured theory of the right of private judgment—of the privilege of every one to think for himself-as regards the Church, its polity, and his religion; his interpretations of Scripture, his politics, and not seldom his obedience to constituted authorities.

There is a popular ad captandum outcry, which has done much mischief, and deceived many of the unstable and the unwary,—it is the imputation of injustice and injury done to religion, by taking from the people the appointment of their minister, or rather the not introducing the system of popular election, (for such a system was unheard of in Apostolic and primitive times). For charity's sake we must not retort-must not call it uncharitable to starve a dissenting teacher out of the meeting-house-to reprobate their open and violent ruptures in the house of worship, and on the Sabbath-day, to object to witness the desecration of religion, by going to "sit undera series of declamatory popular harangues-the criterions by which the candidate for the honours of the tabernacle is to be chosen by a congregation of spiritual critics.

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We shall pass over the charge of worldly-mindedness imputed to churchmen, and a consequent destitution of spiritual feeling: the impartial observer upon comparison will have no difficulty in coming to a conclusion at which the churchman will not feel disatisfied. But he may not make any exposé of the system of exclusive dealing peculiar to themselves, as dissenters of their common boast that they have filled their coffers out of churchmen's pockets, nor draw any comparison between the avidity of the Quaker and the Jew.

When the Catholic hears the charge of Arminianism (used as a term of reproach) echoed against him by the separarist, he must pass over in silence their Antinomianism : while he is contemptuously denominated a formalist, attached to rites and ceremonies, and sensible signs; it is illiberal and irreligious éven to think of them, as enthusiasts, fanatics, and visionaries. And whilst we are pointed at as deplorably destitute of " Christian experience," we must be liberal enough to smile with approbation on schismatic teachers and class leaders, who, having led captive silly women laden with sins, pass from individual to individual during their hours of public worship, and with a woebegone countenance, and with a voice tremulous as if with inward anguisli, inquire of each--Have you not a tear to drop for your Saviour ? have you not a groan to give for your sins ? *

In the eyes of a dissenter, à churchman's sermons are cold, dry, moral essays; the words do not proceed from a sudden impulse of the Spirit, but are put togetlier after much theological research, much deep and serious thought, and as we hope and believe generally, with much fervent prayer, and they are not to be listened to because they are "read from a book," and because their continual theme is not individual election, or Christian experience. But for the clergyman to express his doubts about a sudden spiritual influence imparted to a self-appointed teacher, in all the pomposity of his office, standing aloft addressing a gasping throng beneath-to hold the opinion that the house of God is a place too sacred to pour out the unprepared extempore effusions of an uncultivated mind-and to maintain the importance of observing that the promises of divine guidance in inquiring after truth, relate rather to the moral than to the intellectual nature, is uncharitable and unchristian.

The neglect of family worship in the house of a churchman (and it is much to be lamented that so paramount a duty should be so much neglected), is the criterion of their ungodliness : but to make better known the already too well known fact, that family worship in the houses of the great majority of dissenters, is the badge of a party, and therefore, a fearful desecration of a solemn duty, is the highest pitch of intolerance! Popery assails us on one side, and dissent on the other; by the one we are anathematized, by the other we are abused. Papists, in defiance of a law which the whigs will not enforce for reasons known to all the world, appropriate to themselves our titles. Dissenters, in defiance of their own favourite principle, begin to copy us, take to themselves our titles, and take their pattern from our canonical dress; but because the one are papists, and the other dissenters, they have a privilege which we must not gainsay.

Let us suppose a traitor clergyman could be found, collecting funds in his Church for party purposes, or preaching disobedience to the powers that be; and the trumpet-tongued voice of dissent will publish " the Church's disgrace" through the length and breadth of the land. But let the Sabbath be ernployed in collecting rent to support a demagogue in circulating sedition, and the house of God converted into a den of extortion, or let plates be held Sabbath after Sabbath at the doors of the Ebenezers and Rehoboths, to rifle the pockets of the simple misguided followers of wolves in sheep's clothing, that schism

# The writer was also witness to this scene.

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