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illustration, of course silently pervades the publication, and, we must add, renders it defective in the exhibition of the full, free, life giving influences of our holy religion. It would seem to say, Man is not so very far gone from original righteousness as some persons pretend; all therefore is not necessary that they insist upon: still he required an atonement; and that being made, if he believe in Christianity, and persist in virtuous resolutions, "every step he takes in the practice of religion will be his introduction to higher measures of grace" (p. 263); for God will not be wanting to him if he is not wanting to himself: so that at length, having duly improved the talents committed to his trust, he shall receive the reward of eternal life. It is true that our author interposes such important parentheses as, "not in the vanity of self-righteousness, but in devout reliance on the merits and mediation of the Saviour:" and we are very far from doing his lordship the injustice to view these interjected clauses as mere customary unmeaning reservations; yet they do not convey to our minds the full spirit and expanded grace of the Gospel, appearing rather as concessions than as truths zealously propounded, fully developed, and cordially dwelt upon. Should it be said that the subject of the volume did not naturally invite such a strain of reflection, we might reply, that never is such a strain alien to a work of practical piety; but it is not pretermission or inadequate notice that we feel called upon in such cases so much to remark upon, as the general deficiency of the theological system in which the omission originates. Though a writer who should feel duly impressed with those views which we firmly think the Scriptures exhibit respecting the depth of human guilt; the inability of mankind to do any thing spiritually good; the mode of pardon, justification, and salvation; the nature, extent, and necessity of conversion
of the heart to God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, for all persons, however moral or sincere, might not in a biographical notice of the saints enter into express dissertations on these subjects; yet the whole strain of his "reflexions" would suppose them, and be grounded upon them. Our present author's remarks are grounded upon a different view of the bearings of Divine truth; and if, as we believe, that view is inadequate, inadequate also will be the practical exhortations, however abstractedly excellent, which are built upon it.
But we turn to the more pleasing part of our duty, which is to quote some passages which will both interest the reader, and convey a more general impression of the character of the volume than a few controversial extracts.
The following is a portion of the bishop's practical reflexions on our Lord's manifesting himself to his disciples.
"The manifestation, of which our Lord spoke, was that spiritual manifestation of himself to the inward man, which was to be spiritually discerned; and the distinction teaches us to see, that however men may resemble each other in temporal qualities, so as to have the like perception of sensible objects, they may be very different from each other in their perception of spiritual objects...... In order to our enjoyment of a manifestation of our Sa. viour to our hearts, it is in the first place necessary that we love him; according to those numerous declarations by himself and by his inspired messengers, which represent the love of God and of Christ as the foundation of the duty of man. him: If a man love me, he will keep secondly we learn the necessity of obeying
my words.' He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.' And certainly no one sentiment is more distinctly, more earnestly, more frequently inculcated in Scriplove of God and our Saviour, which are not ture,than the futility of all pretensions to the evidenced by the keeping of the Divine commandments. To those who do love their Redeemer, and who do testify their love by their obedience, we are here further taught by him, that they shall enjoy the
love of God in return: that the Father and
the Son, by the Spirit, will come unto them, and will make their abode with them, bestowing on them greater accessions of spiritual knowledge, and continual strength and comfort in the Holy Ghost;
in a word, bestowing upon them that special manifestation of the Son of God, which, whilst it is not communicated to
the unbelieving world, or to the professing but inconsistent believer, is the peculiar property and privilege of his faithful and obedient disciples." pp. 531, 532.
The following beautiful remarks might be applied with great propriety to the duty of missionary efforts, and all other plans of Christian mercy for the benefit of the souls of our fellow-creatures; espe.cially those who are united to us in the ties of relationship or affec
"When Andrew had thus discovered the Saviour, and been received into his abode, did he conceal the discovery in his own breast, and enjoy it in selfish solitude and abstraction? Surely not. He imparted it to his brother without delay.
We have found the Messiah,' said he to Simon; and he brought him to Jesus.' True piety, as well as true benevolence, is of a communicative nature: the blessings, the delight, which it experiences itself, it is desirous of dispensing to others. Enjoying, as it does enjoy, the light of God's countenance shining upon its own tabernacle, it feels additional pleasure in believing that others are as highly favoured and as happy as itself. It rejoices on its own account: it rejoices also with and for them that rejoice; and has a manifold return of thanks to make to God for such a multiplication and extension of his goodness and glory. If Andrew exulted in having made discovery of the Messiah, who can question but that his exultation was heightened and increased by participating it with his brother? Let us not deem that the spiritual blessings which we enjoy, the religious knowledge which has been vouchsafed to us, have been bestowed for ourselves alone; what we have freely received of the knowledge of the Saviour and of the grace of God, let us freely give to others! Let us, like Andrew, bring our brethren also to Jesus, and cause them to be partakers of his fellowship, and to concur with us in acknowledging God's mercy and in uttering forth his praise!" pp. 15, 16.
We copy the following passage for the perusal of those who would kindle strife among brethren, and make a man an offender for a word. We should feel deeply dejected if we thought that, in the foregoing remarks, we had ourselves violated that "Christian charity" which the author so forcibly recommends. The measures of charity are, how
ever, bounded by the measures of truth; and our author therefore justly first makes conscience and duty the rule of decision; and then love and kindness the spirit of action. "Follow peace with all men-and holiness;" both united; not an unholy peace, or a litigious holiness. There is danger on either side; there is an unchristian liberalism widely prevalent; and therefore, there are some among us who would mend the matter by an equally unchristian illiberalism. But
to return to our extract
"Let the unhappy contention between St. Paul and Barnabas, be an admonition to us in our familiar and social intercourse. Reciprocal concessions with respect to the subjects on which we differ, so far as such concessions may be compatible with a conscientious sense of what our duty requires of us, may often prevent consequences injurious to the interests of Christian charity and brotherly love. Mildness in maintaining our own opinions, where consistently with a sense of duty we cannot recede from them, may often produce the same salutary effect. And surely in this our earthly state of imperfection and infirmity, there is inquietude enough to which we must be subject, without multiplying the occasions of it unnecessarily, of aggravating that which with all our care we may not be be able to avoid. After the journeyings, the fatigues, the perils, the works and labours of love, the hazarding of their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which Paul and Barnabas had encountered together for the space of about sixteen years, who would have anticipated any material disagreement, who would have anticipated a sharp contention,' between them? who would have expected to see them' depart asunder one from the other,' in consequence of such disagreement and contention?" pp. 310, 311.
We should be most happy if well judging readers shall be of opinion that such passages as the following neutralise much that we have said respecting the defectiveness of our author's system. We wish to write for truth, and not for party or contention; and we give both sides of the statement.
"St. Stephen was a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.' In this character we perceive the principle by which he abled him to act under its impulse: was actuated, and the power which enFaith, the principle; the Holy Ghost, the
power. As it is from the Holy Spirit of God that men derive their sufficiency to do things pleasing to God, so it is through the principle of faith that they act in such a manner as to please him." p. 68.
"A very important portion of the Christian faith is comprised in the duty of those who profess themselves believers in the Gospel, to love and obey their Redeemer; in the encouragement which they are then entitled to expect from the Father and the Son, who will come unto them, and make their abode with them; and in the communication of all spiritual blessings through the agency of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in his Son's name.' In a word, not only the existence of the three holy Persons in the Divine nature, but their co-operation also in the work of grace for the present edification and comfort, and the future salvation, of the church of Christ, is an essential article in the Christian religion and it is one, for the maintenance of which no Christian can feel indifference." p. 534.
From the numbering of Matthias with the Apostles, our author takes occasion to urge the Divine right of episcopacy; but though he considers this office as necessary to form "a legitimate church," a duly constituted portion of the church of Christ," he does not presume to say that grace may not be conveyed and salvation obtained under another form of polity, and from the services of an irregular ministry. He urges, however, that
"It may inoffensively be said, that under the episcopal form, regularly transmitted by succession from the Apostles, together with the Apostles' doctrine,' is to be found the Apostles' fellowship; that there, if any where, may be confidently expected the sanctifying influences of the Comforter; that there, if any where, may be enjoyed the perpetual presence of the Divine Founder of the Church." p. 197.
We heartily concur in the Right Reverend author's remark, that, greatly as we have reason to thank God for having by his good providence established among us a pure episcopal church, the value of the episcopal office "is altogether distinct from any privilege it enjoys as sanctioned by the laws of the land." This is the true footing on which the office ought ever to be placed. If episcopacy be a scriptural form, it is not dependent upon
acts of parliament; the Bishop of Ohio, "working with his hands," is as much a bishop, and his church as primitive, as the metropolitan of England or Ireland. It is a grievous error in the public mind, in the minds even of many zealous churchmen, that our church is the creature of the state; that its chief claim is, that it is established. If it had no better claim than this, it would not be worth contending for. Mohammedanism is established in Turkey, and Popery in Spain. A professed Episcopalian must be miserably ignorant of the nature of a Christian church, if his only dreams of a bishop are kissing royal hands, enjoying ample revenues, doing what the state bids him, and lifting his mitred head in courts The erroneous and parliaments.
secular views which the public too generally take of this spiritual office, constitute the source of one of the greatest dangers to which our beloved church is at present exposed. If men can make, men may be allowed to mar: if bishops are only officers of state, when the state does not want them it may fairly discard them, and give the patrimony of the church to pay for barrecks and epaulettes, or some centesimal fraction of the national debt. Besides, why have spiritually useful bishops, if bishopping is only a matter of civil polity? The Church of England will therefore stand most firm, and prove itself most efficient, when men learn more to understand and value it for its own sake; to preserve it as an establishment because they love it, and not to measure their love for it by the fact of its being established.
But we must conclude. We had intended to lay before our readers a specimen or two of the bishop's poetical effusions at the close of each narrative; but our limits prevent. We may possibly do it in another department of our work, in some future Number.
A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Chester, at the Primary Visitation in August and September 1829. By the Right Rev. JOHN BIRD, Lord Bishop of Chester. London. 1829.
We know not that it has ever fallen to our lot to have the happiness of perusing an episcopal charge more remarkably calculated than the present to impress and instruct a Christian minister, and indeed every Christian. Not unfrequently the charges of the most devout and spiritually-minded prelates, are of necessity conversant with matters of ecclesiastical detail, which occupy much of the time and space which the writers, if a sense of duty permitted, would gladly have dedicated to more interesting topics. The Bishop of Chester is in this respect more happy than some of his Right Reverend brethren. He is not obliged by the neglect of his predecessors to devote his primary episcopal address to a variety of official regula tions, necessary to be enforced, but rather technical than spiritual in their complexion. He has not to complain of dilapidated chancels and parsonages; to promulgate new rules of clerical residence; to explain acts of parliament; or to bring before his clergy for the first time the importance of national schools, and societies for propagating the Gospel and promoting Christian knowledge. In many cases, all this would be requisite: but the previous vigilance of Bishop Blomfield and Bishop Law had prevented there being in this dio
accumulated force, what we have said in former volumes of the Right Reverend author's previous publications. It has been remarked that there is danger, lest the Christian should allow the just respect which he cherishes for those who are placed by the providence of God in offices of great importance and responsibility, to betray him into exaggeration in estimating the value of their labours. But the character and writings of the present bishop of Chester were well known and highly appreciated long before his lordship's elevation to that post, of mingled honour and anxiety, which has enlarged the sphere of their operation for the benefit of the church of Christ. The venerable bishop Barrington always viewed the marks of respect and attachment conferred by him upon this much respected divine, as among the most satisfactory actions of his long official life; and for some years the friends of religion and of our beloved church have looked forward in ardent hope that the piety and talents which had adorned less conspicuous stations, would be consecrated to those arduous duties which have called forth the interesting Charge now before us. We abstain from saying more on the subject, than that, judging by this public document, their hopes, however sanguine, will not be disappointed.
The bishop opens his subject as follows:
"The object of the parochial ministry is, to carry into effect the merciful purpose of God in the dispensation of the Gospel: that wherever an assemblage of men is collected and located together, provision should be made for their souls; that is, provision that they be brought to God through Christ Jesus, that they be in
structed and maintained in his faith, and thus enabled to render this present life an habitual preparation for eternity.” p. 3.
The means by which this momentous object may be best accomplished, are next considered. They are stated to be two, public preaching and individual instruction.
Respecting preaching, his lord
ship distinguishes the "legal style," from the "evangelical spirit ;" and proceeds to shew, that it is the latter "which really awakens men's hearts, which converts them from this world to God, and enables them to increase in his Holy Spirit more and more, till they come to his everlasting kingdom." The grounds on which his lordship rests this fact are thus explained:
"The kingdom of which we are appointed ministers, is the kingdom of Christ Jesus: the kingdom which he purchased, he founded, he established, he instructs, he maintains. He purchased it, by his blood; he founded it by his own ministry; he established it by the ministry of his apostles; he instructs it by his written word; he maintains it by his Spirit. And this being so, we might expect that in proportion as the Founder, the Head, the Governor, the Preserver of this kingdom is held up to prominent view, in that degree the kingdom would be extended and flourish. In proportion as the value of his mysterious purchase, with all it implies of mercy in Him and of destitution in ourselves; in proportion as the holiness of his example, the superintendence of his care, the operations of his Spirit are brought forward and enforced in the same degree we might hope that effectual results would follow, and shew themselves in what all desire to see, 'repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord
"This it would be reasonable to expect; and this reasonable expectation is confirmed by experience. No prophecy is more evidently accomplished than that contained in the pregnant declaration, 1, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.' When Christ is habitually and conspicuously elevated as the Sun of the religious system, and all the graces and qualities which constitute religion, are made to emanate from him, and to revolve round him, then there will be light: while darkness will prevail in a greater or less degree, in proportion as that Sun is hid behind a cloud. Even
imperfect religious teaching; that which is defective in ability, or mixed in part with error, has considerable influence, influence in other ways inexplicable, when it keeps this 'vantage ground: whilst
without it, the most accurate statements, the most undeniable truths, the most in incontrovertible arguments are uttered and are heard in vain." pp. 7, 8.
The fact of the efficacy of this tone of preaching being thus proved by Scripture and experience, the Right Reverend author traces it to
two causes, which he specifies as follows:
First, we all agree, that no religious effect can be produced upon any heart, except by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit, we well know, is communicated to us through the Son, whose especial gift he is, whose prophetic promise he fulfils. If then we desire the gift, for ourselves or for others, we must seek it through its Author; and the Holy Spirit can only be expected through the appointed channel of communication. (John xv. 5.)" p. 8.
66 The second cause is this: that men do not so much require to be instructed in moral truth, as in religious obligation. They are no strangers to the broad distinction between right and wrong, holiness and ungodliness. They commonly acknowledge them in words, whilst they practically confound them. They need to be convinced, not what sin is, but of the sinfulness of sin to be taught that the wages of sin is death,' eternal death. And the atonement made by the Son of God, the sacrifice of the cross, is the great instrument of working this conviction. If any lower consideration, if any temporal arguments could prevail against the corruption which exists within, truly may we affirm that gross vice would long ago have disappeared, and flagrant wickedness been banished from our land......But no enforcement of law and no persuasion of eloquence can be compared with that single declaration, the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.' The blood shed,
displays the value of the soul, and the guilt which lies upon it:-the promised acceptance declares the possibility of salvation. The sinner is convinced of sin, but such is the wisdom of that remedy for sin which God has provided, the very argument which works conviction in him, delivers him from despair." pp. 9—11.
If we have not paused to remark
these facts and reasonings as upon we have passed them under review, it is assuredly not for want of feeling their importance, nor, we would trust, for want of gratitude to God that statements such as these are
heard to echo from the high places of our church. Of our gratitude to the respected prelate we say nothing; for to feel oneself the value of such scriptural truths, and to be the happy instrument of conveying them to others, is a heart-felt felicity which asks not, and deigns not to receive, any suffrage, but that of conscience, and the approbation of God.
The points thus unfolded, the