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appealing to the legislature; but seeks to promote all religious objects by strictly religious means. The plan is to maintain lectures, and issue various publications. It addresses the reason and conscience, and goes forth to contend against the errors of the times, simply with the Bible in hand. Both these institutions demand support; but neither have yet received a merited degree of countenance. To the latter, or rather to its publications, our attention shall now be turned. These from their merit, and the society from its anti-political character, will be likely to share the favor of many persons who adhere alike to voluntaryism and evangelical religion. Some of the pamphlets on the list, as the first and second, have already in former articles received a passing notice: we need not, therefore, refer to them again.
The third of the series, by Mr. Bridges, is ably written. It is, moreover, very useful in its tendency. Worldliness has been the crying sin of the Church of England for centuries ; a sin which, it is plainly shown, is fostered by its very constitution. The remarks contained in this tract are the more valuable as they proceed from a Churchman; the claim to which distinction the author states at the commencement of his disquisition. That the Evangelical Voluntary Church Association should have placed a production from such a quarter among the earliest of its publications, is a convincing proof that the voluntary question is not viewed by them as a mere dissenting question, but is in truth one that may be fairly entertained by Episcopalians.
Several passages contain searching expositions of the mischiefs resulting from the alliance between Church and state, and illustrate that worldliness which, as is properly remarked, afflicts the former like a leprosy. Take the following.
· Let the truth be fairly and honestly, yet respectfully stated. Is the godliness of a primitive and scriptural bishop a likely road to the episcopal bench in this country? Has not an overwhelming majority of our prelates illustrated the correctness of statements just now made ? Let the sees of England or Ireland pass in review before us ! How many nominal Fathers in God have been novices in divine things, contrary to apostolic injunctions? Has not vigilance after the fat pastures of patronage superseded or neutralized watchfulness for the salvation of mankind? Where is the host of right reverend overseers treading in the saintly footsteps of Wilson, Usher, or Bedel ? Alas! returns from Doctors' Commons tell a melancholy story. The revenues of primacies, or the palatinate; of such dioceses as Derry or Winchester, have heaped treasures together for the last day, when the rust of them shall bear frightful witness, and devour their accumulators, as with fire! Nor is there, through an establishment, any security for even cold orthodoxy of doctrine, or morality of life. Matters are better now than during the last century, or the commencement of the present,
simply because public opinion operates as a check upon public men. Yet this very public opinion is the offspring of a movement originated by the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of men, and the diffusion of sentiments, which the Establishment did its utmost to discountenance. The fact is indisputable, that when a divine in our Church, enthralled as she is by the state, has been chosen for a bishop, the magic pen of the premier metamorphoses him into an hierarch ; a lord over the heritage of God; a social nondescript, with the head of an ecclesiastical elder and the tail of a temporal politician, placed in circumstances cruelly perilous to his own soul, and injurious, from first to last, to the general community of the faithful.'—Bridges, p. 11.
Another passage is forcible and instructive.
• The professed object of an Establishment, avowed in its territorial subdivisions, is to bring home real religion to the door of every habitation, and to the heart of every inhabitant. In other words, it assumes the office and responsibility of christianizing the country, upon what its members believe to be the soundest and purest plan. In Ireland, after a trial of three centuries, the failure is at once apparent and palpable. Out of eight millions of people at the present moment, nearly seven-eighths are bitterly hostile to Protestantism in every form; but above all to our episcopal church. Romanism has there encountered the genius of what we call our Reformation, and has beaten it hollow ; an admission to be made with groans and tears of humiliation. In the reign of Charles the Second, the papists were to the Protestants in the proportion of eight to three, or little more than a large moiety: they are now approaching that of five or six to one; even including in the latter all the nonconformists! How can this be explained, conceiving as we do the Romish communion to be under an eclipse of the most serious error ? Our Church in Ireland possessed more than thirty bishoprics, consolidated into twenty-two provinces and dioceses, an enormously opulent episcopate, a fairly endowed clergy, immense glebe land, and many prelates, presbyters, and deacons, devoted to their work. The reasons given in parliament and out of parliament, upon platforms and in pamphlets, amount to no more than an enumeration of the evils arising out of any church whatsoever having the misfortune to be established. We are told that the spiritual revenues of Ireland were expended here, or on the continent, through a system of nonresidence! How could such an enormity have been dreamt of, not to say perpetrated, had not the Church become thoroughly secularized ? What was there to secularize that Church more than other churches, except her unfortunate connexion with the civil government? What did that government demonstrate, by its toleration of such an evil, but its utter unfitness to exercise any control over religious concerns ? Ireland, therefore, surely constitutes an unanswerable and unimpeachable witness against the efficacy of any union between Church and state for the realization of its professed purposes,
But let us look also at England, as a more favored country. So inadequate has proved the principle of an establishment, that with from ten to twelve thousand consecrated or licensed edifices, with from sixteen to eighteen thousand
clergy, with a revenue of from four to five millions sterling per annum, and with all the associations of temporal power and rank to support her, our episcopal Church now painfully feels and acknowledges that she is unequal to the task of dispensing religious instruction through the nation. And well she may feel it : for what does the admitted growth of Romanism from John o'Groat's house to the Land's End proclaim to Great Britain at large? What sentences of condemnation are not Chartists and Socialists inscribing upon our walls? Nor until recently was there any cry for more churches and chapels heard : at least not in our communion ; nor now that it is somewhat loudly expressed, can we continue blind to the fact, that throughout immense rural districts a majority of our morning congregations are too like that of St. Neot's, in the days of the excellent Mr. Venn. When that revival of religion occurred, for which we are all of us so justly thank. ful, and which, whilst it summoned into existence and activity Sundayschools,-inissionary, Bible, and anti-slavery societies, also quickened our two principal associations in more immediate connexion with the episcopal Church,—what was the general aspect of the Establishment towards it? Was it not one of very bitter and decided hostility ? Did not vast numbers exhibit a disposition analogous to that which actuated Demetrius and his fellow-craftsmen at Ephesus ? Alas! the consequences are no other than those predicted forty or fifty years ago, notwithstanding the extensive change that has come over the public mind for the better, as to all matters of this sort. Opposition, based upon the prejudices, and supported by so many among the members of the state-church, lasted quite long enough for the enemy; so as to permit him to scatter the serpent's teeth far and wide upon the rank soil of rising generations. Improvement, though better late than never, has found the field fearfully preoccupied. Fanaticism was able to gather its throng of deluded adherents after the person and preaching of Courtenay, or Thoms, near Canterbury itself, and lead them on even in the face of a military force: so satisfied were its victims, first that the impostor was a celebrated baronet,—then that he was the Earl of Devon,—then that he was Baron Rothschild,—and lastly, that he was the Saviour of the world! Had this happened in Connaught, or Belgium, or Spain, it would not have so easily been forgotten. In common fairness we should call it to mind, together with our assize calendars, and the report of a recent parliamentary commission, which the constabulary police is proposed to be founded; so that the failure of our English Establishment at least may fully appear.'
pp. 19, 20.
Mr. Bridges proceeds to show the superior advantages of the Voluntary over the compulsory system, in several particulars, which are clearly discussed; namely, in its tendency to render the pastorate accountable to the people, in a sense the reverse of everything secular; in its adaptation to the religious wants of a community, without exciting temporal expectations or apprehensions ; and in its avoiding all collision with the sacred rights of conscience ; whilst, without any compromise of minor
peculiarities, it might combine all orthodox denominations into one blended protest against worldliness, were its tendencies fairly acted upon. We are glad to find the writer saying, in corroboration of our own views, that these sentiments are gradually
uiring influence, not only amongst dissenters, where they have long been general, but even amongst episcopalians. Some, he states, go as yet but a little way in wishing for a severance between Church and State ; others proceed further; a small, yet increasing minority, contemplate both the possibility and even expediency of going the entire length. The only wonder with us is, that any episcopalian voluntaries should continue practically to uphold a system which they deem at once unscriptural and pernicious.
Mr. Burnet's two lectures are in reality speeches; and though destitute of the regularity and graces of literary composition, possess a certain plain spoken grappling with the subject that answers well. The spirit in which they are written is excellent; they are dispassionate and argumentative, with a sprinkling of sarcasm which, without disparaging either the intellect or motives of his antagonist, serves to enliven and give point to the discussion. They tend to prove that the interests of truth are best subserved by calmness, dignity, and courtesy, in dealing with even the most monstrous propositions, or the most artful sophisms of opponents. Mr. M'Neile, as is well known, succeeded Dr. Chalmers in a series of lectures, at the Hanover Square Rooms, on the question of National Establishments of Religion ; and, like his predecessor, afterwards presented them to the public in an octavo volume. At the
At the request of the Evangelical Voluntary Church Association, Mr. Burnet undertook to reply to some of the statements which were at the time most welcomed and applauded by a party audience, particularly as relating to the controversy on the Voluntary system. The apostolical succession, the constitution of the Church of England, the state of her formularies and other points, are left untouched, as not strictly belonging to the duty he was called to discharge. Without following Mr. Burnet through his ingenious and eminently successful course, we shall furnish what our limits alone will permit, an extract or two, by which the reader will be enabled to judge of the instruction and entertainment he is likely to derive from the perusal of the tract. We wish the advocates of national churches would listen to a just exposition of the design of some of our Saviour's parables, which they are wont miserably to pervert
• I find that our friend adduces some of the Saviour's parables as indicating the nationality of churches. Let us look for a moment at these parables. He tells us, the parables were intended to represent the national condition of the Church of England, and hence he speaks
of the wheat and the tares growing together, and the net being cast out, and the good fish and the bad being brought into it. And he speaks of these parables as showing that no discrimination of the different characters of individuals could take place with any effect so as to purify any religious community till the last day. And then he brings the parable of the wedding garment as a further illustration, and in these parables he says, we have a type of the Church of England, but not a type of the dissenting bodies; and certainly we do not envy him the result of his analogy. I regret that he should have uttered the announcement of a resemblance, and I regret the enthusiasm with which it was received. We can only promote the cause of God and his Christ, by taking the solemn ground of the glorious discoveries of redeeming love made in the word of God, and inviting the faith of a sinner; and where those discoveries are not practically embodied in the profession of the Gospel, there is' a name to live' while the parties are dead; and if we can prove that in their outward practice these discoveries are not regarded as their great guiding star, the Church of Christ and the testimony of the word of God conspire to demand that we should expel from the churches those who make such a profession, and not hold them up as the true scriptural mixture of the tares and the wheat. But when we come to look at the parables referred to, we shall find that our worthy friend has not been happy in regard to the manner in which he conducted his case, or the conclusions at which he arrived. What were these parables intended to show? · The kingdom of God is like unto,' is the ordinary introduction, or, the kingdom of heaven is like unto,' and then the parable proceeds. But according to the opinion of a very acute reasoner, and a member of the established Church of Scotland, Dr. Campbell, of Aberdeen, all these phrases to which I have alluded were intended to set forth the character, the opening, progress, and termination, of God's general administration under the gospel. He translates this phrase, The reign of God, and thus the general character of the divine administration appears to have been intended in the application of the phrase in question. Our worthy friend says of the tares and wheat which grew up together to the harvest, that they are the church, and must not be separated till God himself come forth to make the separation. Now as to the declaration, still unproved, that this parable represents the church, we go with the great Author of the parable, we take his own interpretation of it. Does he say as Mr. M'Neile will have it, · This is the church ?' No; he
• the field is the world. Here again our friend is directly at issue with the Scriptures, and the great Lord of the Scriptures. And what is the winding-up of the parable ? Not, the Head of the church shall come forward to purify the church ; by no means. Or to make a separation between the wheat and tares in the church ; by no means. He sends forth his angels to gather the whole human race,-church and no church. He separates the wheat from the tares. He lays up the wheat in his own garner, and binds up the tares in bundles to be burnt, including not the false professors of the church only, but all the world that have not accepted the Gospel. This parable, therefore, is