Page images

dure the inconsistency of a smooth have never grown cold in our áttachand complimentary speech on the ment to the Bible Society, because of platform of a public meeting, when its constitution; nor failed to avail perhaps within a few hours the ourselves of every feasible opportunity Church and her worshippers will be for enjoying the privilege and delight vilified and abused in the strongest of a Bible meeting. We may have language? An honest man nnot be heard occasionally a speech or a sen. blamed by any party, one would timent that we could have wished think, if he should conclude against suppressed, but besides the joy of identifying himself in any way with hearing testimonies in favour of the such an enemy, lest he should be free course of God's word throughout suspected of defective allegiance to the world, and the consequent glory his own communion. We are very accruing to its Divine Author, we sure that a Dissenter would not for a have never failed to hail the assembly moment venture to say that he could of differing Christians as a sweet expect a Churchman's cordial sympa- resting-place, as something of a forethy under such circumstances. runner of the glorious days yet to

We should be sorry if we could be come, when “Ephraim shall not envy supposed, from these remarks, to Judah, and Judah shall not vex vindicate the course which we fear

Ephraim.” many are pursuing, with regard to Yet how has friendship been interour religious charities.

We never

rupted, and how has the heart been cease to regret the defection of saddened by the conduct pursued of Churchmen from the British and late years by so many Dissenters. We Foreign Bible Society.

We never

can truly say there have been those fail to think that every dictate of rea- amongst them with whom we have son, as well as Christian principle, taken sweet counsel, and with whom should lead men to distinguish be- we have walked as friends; but they tween the grandeur and unexception- have principally been of the old able character of the object contem- school, and are now in heaven. And plated, and the awkwardness and when we see those who come after infirmity of the machinery wherewith them associating and identifying it may seem to be carried out. There themselves with Socinians and Pais something so sublime and delight- pists, in order to carry out their inful in the thought of supplying the veterate hate against the Established whole world with Bibles, that it Church; when we hear one, for ins should at once engross and absorb, stance, under his Socinian partisan, with a paramount influence, and su- decked in laurel, and acting as his persede every thought of annoyance leader—when we hear him, in his from the co-operative system by which harangues to the populace, say “that it is accomplished. Oh, that Church- he hoped he should live to see the men, if they cannot be brought to Church of England in ruins, and that stand by the side of a Dissenter in if, in his efforts to destroy her, he celebrating in the assembly the should himself perish, he would cry achievements of this great enterprise, with his last expiring breath, . Down would, at all events, make it manifest with her, down with her, even to the that their hearts are rightly interested ground!””—how is it possible to do in the object of it,by not failing to otnerwise than retire in sorrow of throw in their subscriptions in aid of heart from all identity with such a society which is the only one pur- spirits, and in secret pray and wait suing the work of the world's supply and hope for brighter and happier with any degree of adequacy.

days to come for the poor, distracted But still, we must speak of the body of Christ's Church militant here hindrances which Dissenters present

We must withdraw from in the way of that Christian union a brother that walketh disorderly, if which they would advocate, and we he be one of our own communion; can speak feelingly from our own and surely we are not justly chargeexperience. We thank God that we able with bigotry and narrowness of and say,

on earth.

spirit, if we feel constrained to with- But if union is to be placed on a draw from a Dissenter under such sure and permanent basis, we cannot circumstances. We cannot quite but think that much has to be done think that Mr. James has put the which the Essay before us scarcely Church of England in her true posi- touches upon. We are persuaded tion, when calculating upon the vari- that


reform and amendous forces that may be assembled for ment in the professing Church of the purposes of Christian union. We Christ, must begin in penitence. again repeat, the Church has no con- There must be the deep and selfstitutional principles to prevent it, and abasing consciousness of all that has she has a goodly company of faith- been amiss; there must be the ready ful children longing to reciprocate any

and unreserved and public acknowhonest call to the exercise and mani- ledgment of it. The Churchman festations of brotherly love. But must mourn and weep and pray over they cannot be blamed for guarding his bigotry and selfishness and unagainst treachery and hollowness of charitableness towards those who difprofession. Let not Mr. James sup- fer from him. The Dissenter must pose that we are suspecting the sin- do the same. Godly sorrow and true cerity of his Essay. We think, in- repentance must be the soil out of deed, after all the previous course which brotherly love must spring up. that he has pursued towards the Es- In social as well as private prayer, tablished Church, he should have the feeling must be uppermost, that accompanied such an Essay with some it is a day of rebuke and blasphemy, expression of deep regret for the bit- and that lamentation and mourning ter invectives and railing accusations are most befitting. The priests must in which he has so notoriously and weep between the porch and the altar, habitually dealt. It would have

“Spare thy people, O Lord! placed his sincerity beyond any one's and give not thine heritage over to suspicion, and it would have com- reproach.” In one word, if all denomended, beyond all conception, the minations were only ready to respond value and effect of his excellent with full and generous accord to a suggestions.

We cannot be sur- remonstrance whtch was proposed prised if a reader should let the book about five years ago by some Indefall out of his hands with the feeling pendent ministers in London, we of desponding hopelessness, however might well expect a harvest of blesshe has admired and been animated by ing. The document is so precious, what he has read, if perchance he that we do not hesitate to lay it before suddenly calls to mind that all that our readers, as we suspect it is little he has been reading, and that seems known, and we fear was suddenly to carry him into a new and heavenly suppressed soon after it came into exelement of universal love, comes from istence. We can only say for ourthe pen

of one who has been promin- selves, that we received it with such ent as a religious agitator and railer a hearty welcome, that we could not against the Established Church of his refrain from expressing our delight country; and one, too, who has never to a leading Independent minister in intimated his regret or his repentance London, when having occasion to for all that he has done. Still, we write on other business; but from that would gladly catch at this Essay of day to this we have had no reply Mr. James as an olive-branch of from the Rev. Dr. peace, and would readily regard it, not with misgiving, as inconsistent with his previous line of conduct; but rather as a document designed to swamp and obliterate all that has gone before, and to show the world the principles on which Mr. James, WE, the undersigned, feel ourselves and we trust many along with him, called upon to make the following are now resolved to act.

statement of our opinions on the pre



sent posture and aspect of the Church Church, to the angry discussion of of Christ.

comparatively minor points of disciIn doing this, we entirely disclaim pline and ceremony, to the great all party and sectarian views, and are hindrance of united exertion for the conscious of being actuated solely by spread of pure and uncorrupted a pure and pacific spirit. We desire, Christianity at home and abroad. if it be possible, the adoption of such 5. That a great stumbling-block healing principles and measures as has been laid in the way of the proshall restore unity and concord to fane world. Evil and unbelieving the distracted Christian community. men have gloried in the contentions Without assuming to ourselves any of the professing Church, and have superiority, either of wisdom or piety, not been backward in affirming that we deeply deplore the strifes and ani- our objects are all secular like their mosities which have rent brother own; the temper and language of the from brother, and brought them into respective parties towards each other, a state of distressing conflict with giving too much colour to the charge. each other. We do not lay blame 6. That a pernicious publicity and upon any one, nor do we undertake

an engrossing importance have been to affirm with whom the evils which given to the matters of dispute, as if now afflict us originated, or in which they constituted the essentials of reof all the parties the things we mourn ligion. over have most prevailed; but we 7. That a large portion of the deem the following facts to be indu- Christian community, both in the bitable:

ministry and in private life, have been 1. That a bitter and acrimonious misrepresented, inasmuch as they spirit has been extensively awakened, have been supposed to participate in which has produced a blighting and the spirit of measures publicly adoptwithering effect on multitudes of pro- ed by men, appearing to assume to fessing Christians, to the great per- themselves the right of representing sonal injury of each, and, in many the interests of the whole body of instances, to the hindrance, in some their respective denominations. to the utter extinction, of brotherly 8. That for many years antecedent love.

to these times, the cause of Christ 2. That harsh and resentful lan- was rapidly advancing through our guage has often been employed on all country; private, as well as great public sides, by which the command of the institutions were peacefully progresHoly Ghost has been fearfully violated sive; and the whole condition of before the world:

“ See that none affairs gave the promise of rising to a render evil for evil to any man, or more prosperous elevation than had railing for railing, but contrariwise ever been attained. Much of this blessing, knowing that ye are there- has now been impeded. Resistance unto call that ye should inherit a has been made to various endeavours blessing.” (1 Pet. iii. 9.)

to disseminate truth, which never 3. That the peace and holiness of would have been provoked, but for families have been exceedingly en- the angry and exasperating influence dangered by the frequent introduc- of disputations. Resources have been tion of disputes and vain janglings, withdrawn, which would have conwhich have no tendency to godly edi- tinued to flow to the advantage of all fying; and that instead of the cordi- parties, had it not been for these new alities of Christian friendship, alien

methods of reciprocal aggression. ation and animosities have, to a Lastly, The general result of the grievous extent, arisen in the private whole has been, that men have been circles of life.

driven to extremes, while the place of 4. That the preaching of the Cross, conciliation and concord has been and prevailing concern for the glory disastrously abandoned; and this at of God and the salvation of the souls a juncture, when Romanists, Infidels, of men, have yielded, in many instan- and worldly men, have been keenly ces, in the different sections of the on the watch to make the promptest

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

bond of peace.

[ocr errors]

use of our disagreements, by turning wish to participate in their property our weapons against ourselves. and possessions. We are simply

We deem this to be a simple state- concerned for our own liberty, and ment of facts, and therefore incapable the true prosperity of the Church of of contradiction. We presume the Christ, which we shall endeavour to things to which we have adverted are promote by pureness, by knowafflictive and distressing to every wise ledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, and holy mind, and very displeasing by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, to God the Holy Spirit; and that no by the word of truth, by the power of large and copious communication of God, by the armour of righteousness his influences

upon the Churches can on the right hand and on the left." be expected, till we come to a much Fifthly, To maintain and preserve nearer resemblance to the state of the most friendly relations with all the disciples which preceded the day who love our Lord Jesus Christ; of Pentecost, when they were of one persuaded that Christians, and espeaccord and of one mind—not in dis- cially Christian ministers, should be pute and reciprocal accusations, but men of catholic mind; free from secin peace, prayer, and supplication. tarian bitterness; cultivating the

Under these circumstances we con- spirit of universal love; extending sider it obligatory upon us, as it good-will to all; and endeavouring regards ourselves, our focks, and our to keep the unity of the Spirit in the connexions, to avow it to be our purpose,

Finally, To do our utmost to dimiFirst, On all occasions, as the nish the feuds and controversies which grace of Christ shall enable us, and divide us, by which our own hands in humble imitation of the meekness are weakened, and the hands of our and gentleness which he exhibited, common enemies and assailants made

o repress a bitter and retaliating strong; and by all Scriptural means tpirit, and to discountenance all ran- to promote that charity, harmony, sorous and reviling language, when- and

peace, which are the beauty and ever or by whomsoever employed. strength, the ornament and joy of

Secondly, To pursue with diligence the Spirit of the living God. Thus and zeal the proper duties of our we may hope, in a great measure, to sacred and spiritual office, giving accelerate the time when the prayer of ourselves to prayer and the ministry the Saviour, the Divine Redeemer, of the word, after the example of the shall be visibly realized, apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. may all be one, as thou, Father, art

Thirdly, To take no part in any in me, and I in thee, that they also acts of violence, tumult, or intimida- may

in us: that the world may tion, as we should deem our character,

believe that Thou hast sent me.” as ministers of Christ, degraded, and our office defiled by such procedure; We cannot wish for anything more and feel it to be our privilege and than this truly Christian document honour to keep at a distance from all embodies. Christ must strifes for secular power and political Church in tears, bitterly lamenting pre-eminence.

her neglect of His last and great comFourthly, To maintain the inalien- mand, and then he will not leave her able rights of conscience; fully yield- comfortless, he will come unto her; ing to others what we claim for and all the strongholds of prejudice ourselves, the freedom of every man and party spirit and uncharitableness, to judge and decide for himself, in being deserted and laid waste, He all questions of Church polity. We will form of ten thousand hearts one have no desire to interfere in the common, universal temple of love, regulation or adjustment of the inter- which he will beautify with his prenal affairs of other ecclesiastical com- sence and make a praise throughout munities- least of all, have we any all the earth.

[ocr errors]

“ that they



see His

[blocks in formation]

(For the Christian Guardian.)

How is it, Lord, that this vile earth,
Where pain doth meet me, more than pleasure greet me,
Should gain my heart, though by my birth
An heir of life and glory—'tis a wondrous story!

Wondrous, yet true! that all things mine,
And mine for ever; nothing now can sever
Me and my blood-bought joys; I pine,
I yet can pine, for bubbles, which must burst in troubles.

Oh, foolish, vain, and dotard heart,
Unslip thy bindings for no earthly findings
Canst thou retain, with all thy art;
Death's sickle will for ever cut off all thy treasure.

« PreviousContinue »