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and it was evidently understood on all hands that the result in this Convention was to put the question to rest forever. It may be regarded, therefore, as the settled “policy' of the Episcopal church in the United States, that Puseyism is to be tolerated, and that no effort is to be made by the highest ecclesiastical body known to it, to remove it. It is decided that this system is not to be opposed in their General Convention, and that it is not to be rebuked by a vote of that body. It is decided that the venerable House of Bishops are not to be called on to lift up their voice against it. It is decided that if a man holds all the sentiments involved in Tractarianism, and passes otherwise regularly through the prescribed course of study, and sustains a good character, as Mr. Carey had done, no obstacle is to be thrown in the way of his ordination ; and that there is no power in the General Convention ever af. terwards to call in question his good standing, or to interfere with any efforts which he may see proper to make to propagate his sentiments to any extent from the pulpit or the press. (3.) It is decided, as we understand it, that these sentiments may be inculcated in the General Theological Seminary, and that there is no power in the church to preventit, and there is hereafter to be no inquiry on that point. The matter, in fact, came before the Convention from the Seminary. The most prominent case by which it was introduced to the notice of the public occurred in the ordination of one who had been trained there, and where the ordainer sustained the office of a Professor
against the report” of the trustees, which declared “ that the Seminary has never been in a more sound condition,” and that “it was consequently adopted by a majority of one only.” The primary action of the House of Bishops, so far as they had any thing to do in investigating the doctrinal purity of the church, related solely to the Seminary. Hence they sent the questions to which we have already referred, to the professors of the Seminary, requiring distinct answers to a great number of questions in regard to what was taught in the Seminary. (Journal of the Convention, pp. 232–250.) The result of all was, that the remonstrance of the “three bishops, two presbyters, and two laymen” of the Board of Trustees, was practically disregarded, and not a single measure was adopted by the Convention to prevent the spread of Tractarianism in the Seminary. The whole action of the Convention, on the contrary, was adapted rather to protect any of the professors, who might choose to inculcate those sentiments, and to assure the students who might choose to embrace those views that they would meet with no obstructions on that account in entering the ministry of the Episcopal church. It might be inferred by a student, we think, from the action of the Convention, that if he should be so indiscreet as to peruse the “works of Toplady, or of Thomas Scott, and John Newton, and Blunt on the Articles, or any of them,” (Journal, p. 232,) he would probably meet with some obstructions in the way of his ordination on that account ; but we do not see how a young man there would anticipate hereafter any obstruction in the path to the highest honors of the church, if he were found to have perused all the volumes which the Tractarians have published, or if he had fully imbibed their sentiments. (4.) It is decided that the only security hereafter to be hoped for in the Episcopal church against the errors of Oxfordism, and Romanism scarcely disguised, is to be found in the “liturgy, offices, and articles of the church.” Yet what is all this worth 2 What security have these things furnished hitherto * What will they in time to come 2 Who has been tried by the “liturgy, offices, and articles,” and found guilty Who will be in time to come 2 Is it not known that Puseyism has existed in the Episcopal church for some six or eight years already ? Is it not known that it has found its way into the General Theological Seminary in some of its worst forms ? Has it not been openly advocated by not a few of the most prominent clergy in the church? Has it not been defended by a considerable portion of the bishops ? Has it not been proclaimed from the pulpit 2 And have not the columns of the “Churchman,’ under the editorial control of one of the most gifted ministers in the church, openly advocated these doctrines for years 2 Is it not known also, was it unknown to the Convention, that the advocates of Oxfordism steadfastly maintain that the views which they defend are in entire accordance with the “liturgy, offices, and articles” of the church, and that their arguments have been of such a character that the opponents of those views have not yet found the now orw on which to rest their demonstration that this is not so “That which hath been shall be;” and though we are no prophets, we venture to predict that it will not be soon that any minister or member of the Episcopal communion in the United States will be arraigned for error under the operation of the “liturgy, offices, and articles of the church.” Exactly what should lead to this, we do not now see. After having been tolerated for more than half a dozen years in the church ; and after the Convention itself had solemnly re
fused to express any opinion of the dangerous nature of those opinions, or even to call on the House of Bishops to testify against them ; and after the House of Bishops in their “pastoral letter' did not deem them of sufficient importance to specify them as errors,” it remains to be seen what reason there is to suppose that any course will be pursued hereafter in regard to those doctrines different from that which has been pursued heretofore. We are the more confirmed in this view by the remarkable sentiment embodied on this subject in the resolution which was finally adopted by the Convention, “ That the church is not responsible for the errors of individuals, whether they are members of this church or otherwise.” We know not how this is interpreted by the Episcopal church, but we are certain that there is not another Protestant denomination on the face of the earth which would have adopted it. How it would be inter
* It is worthy of notice that the House of Bishops did not even deem the Tractarian errors of sufficient importance to be referred to by any of the names by which they are commonly known. Their “pastoral letter' is, considering the circumstances of the case, a remarkable production. It seems to have been an old sermon of the drafter on ‘the Abrahamic covenant,' with a few remarks interpolated to give it such a shape that it might be sent out to the churches as a pastoral letter. It is written with less ability than we believe the majority of the sermons of Congregational and Presbyterian ministers would be on that subject, and is the most striking instance which we have ever seen of a production that is entirely inappropriate to the occasion. The text on which the writer seems to have written his discourse originally, is Gal. iii, 8, and of nine columns in the ‘ Proceedings of the Convention,' seren are occupied with a discussion about the meaning of the promise made to Abraham. Less than one column is given to the subject of Romanism, in which the subject of Oxfordism is not alluded to by name, and it would be impossible to tell from this what the venerable fathers of Episcopacy held on that point. All that can be interpreted as having any reference to the
preted, on the supposition that there were those in the church who held the opinions of Dr. Priestly and Mr. Belsham, we do not see. It seems to mean that it would be no matter of concern for “the church” what opinions they held. (5.) The high-church party in the church has triumphed, as it was anticipated, by all who knew anything of the Episcopal church, they would. They succeeded in carrying every point in the Convention, in which they were distinguished from the evangelical portion of the church. Not a measure proposed by the lowchurch party as such ; not an effort made to stem the progress of Puseyism in the church, succeeded. In every instance in which the matter came to a fair issue between the two parties, the high-church party was in the ascendant. The advocates of evangelical doctrines made, indeed, some eloquent speeches; they boldly proclaimed the existence and spread of dangerous errors in the church; they submitted various pro
subject is in the following passage, which has sufficient indefiniteness, we presume, to be quite satisfactory to the bishops of Maryland and New Jersey. “Being pledged by our consecration vows to drive from the church all false doctrine, that the pure faith of our fathers may be transmitted to our descendants as we received it, we can not but feel deeply anxious concerning the ordination of candidates for the ministry; for on these the character of our Protestant church, in future ages, entirely depends. We feel it our duty to declare, that no person should be ordained who is not well acquainted with the landmarks which separate us from the church of Rome; and being so, who will not distinctly declare himself a Protestant, heartily abjuring her corruptions, as our Reformers did ; and it is our solemn counsel to all professors in our theological seminaries and all others who are concerned in the preparation of candidates for holy orders, to be faithful in their duties, that neither Romanists on the one hand, nor the enemies of the Episcopal church on the other, may have cause to boast that we have departed in the slightest degree from the spirit and principles of the Reformation, as exemplified in the church of England.”—Proceedings, p. 93.
positions to remove those errors and stay their progress; but their voices gradually died away as the debates proceeded, and when the final vote was taken, we find only eleven members of the whole Convention, of whom five were from the diocese of Ohio, who remained firm to the last in the effort to make a stand against the evils and errors of Tractarianism. When the point came to be tested, the issue was what we have always feared it would be, and what it has often been predicted it would be. The love of episcopacy; the attachment to ‘unity,” where there is no unity; the dread of ‘schism,’ when every movement is of the essence of schism ; the reluctance to take a stand where there would be involved the necessity of reforming the Prayer-book—though its use tends constantly to counteract all the preaching and efforts of the evangelical party—is so great in the Episcopal church, that we fear that, rather than abjure the Episcopacy in its present form, “union' would be preferred even in that which would sanction almost any form of error. So far as we can see, the low-church party was totally crushed by that Convention, and no longer has an existence. Unless it be in the little remnant from the diocese of Ohio, we know not where now to look for it. We do not believe it can rally again. We do not see what can hereafter call it forth. We can imagine no issue that will be likely to occur hereafter more important that will summon the friends of evangelical religion in that church to stand shoulder to shoulder. From the estimate which we have formed of the piety, and zeal, and eloquence, and worth in every way, of those who were the representatives of the lowchurch party there, we can look for no better representation of these interests hereafter in that body. The strength of the low-church party was there; and they have done all that the party can hope to do in securing the ascendency in the Episcopal church, and in endeavoring to blend the principles of evangelical religion with the religion of forms; and they have added another melancholy instance to those so often furnished, that every such attempt must ultimately fail. We know that different things were hoped for; and we are pained that we can not record different things of the issue of this great trial. It would have been more manly, as far as we can see ; it would have been more what the friends of those principles in other communions would have felt they had a right to hope for; it would have been more in the spirit of Luther and Zwingle, of Ridley and Latimer, and, we add, it would have been more in the spirit of the sainted Bedell—who never flinched when truth and duty called—if they had stood firm to those principles, and recorded their solemn vote, calling on the bishops to “interpose the purity of their lawn' when the church was in danger of being overspread with error; and taking a stand to the last against those errors, even though the consequence might
be that they should never be allowed to vote in that body again. For what “union’ can there be between the sentiments of the Tractarians and those of the low-church party, as they were held by Bedell ? What is the value of that “repose’ which is obtained by giving to Puseyism every where the ascendency — What hope has the Protestant world that the principles of evangelical religion can ever now be blended with the religion of forms ? Hitherto there has been but one of two issues in all such attempts—either the evangelical party has found the ef. fort to be impracticable, and has nobly dared to go out—as in the case of the Puritans, the Methodists, the Pilgrims; or they have bowed to the ascendency of the high-church claims, and have suffered their distinctive features gradually to be absorbed and lost in the superior love of unity, and the three orders, and forms. With sad feelings do we record the fear that the evangelical party in the Episcopal church in the United States is destined to pursue the latter course.
We have long desired to see an able treatise on the Philosophy of Religious Experience. It has seemed remarkable, that so interesting and important a field of inquiry should present itself, and no one be found to enter it, with the deliberate purpose of exploring it patiently and thoroughly. It is true, indeed, that a peculiar kind of preparation is requisite to qualify one to accomplish
* Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life: designed particularly for the consideration of those who are seeking assurance of faith and persect love. By Thomas C. Upham. Second edition. Boston: Waite, Pearce & Co., 1844.
such an undertaking. Not every sound thinker, nor every nice metaphysician, nor every acute reasoner, nor even every one who is all these combined, is capable of comprehending, and still less of laying open to the view of others, the true nature of the Christian life. That life is spiritual ; and without something more than mere intellectual gifts, however great these may be, the natural man must fail to understand it. He who would successfully attempt to study and develop it, must bring also the inward illumination and spiritual discernment produced by a rich personal experience. To one in whom the power of philosophical analysis is joined to profound experimental piety, it would seem no very difficult matter, to ascertain and to exhibit, the laws which regulate the phenomena of renovated mind under the sanctisying influences of the Divine Spirit. That there are such laws, intelligent Christians will not doubt; for, since that gracious agent does nothing in his peculiar work within the soul, which is not in entire harmony with the established principles of mental action, the results of his agency must have some definite and certain modes of manifestation. What these are, will of course be learned by carefully observing and classifying facts: and for ascertaining what are the facts of religious experience in its genuine forms, the very numerous and copious biographies which our times afford, and the various other means by which the spiritual exercises of devoted Christians are made public, offer materials as ample as could reasonably be desired. Doubtless it would tend greatly to save the church from the evils of spurious experiences, and false and transient hopes, could a clearer light on this subject be generally diffused. Prof. Upham's treatise on the Interior or Hidden Life, is not precisely an attempt to write a complete o of Christian experience. ts aim is practical. It has nothing of the air of controversy, and contains but little of discussion in any form. It is a calm and simple statement and explication of the author's views on the subject of personal holiness, written evidently with the desire of doing good. And yet, an examination of some of the elementary principles of the divine life in the soul was necessarily involved, even in such a mode of treating the subject. Few men are better qualified than Prof. Upham to do justice to such a theme. His able, well-digested, and justly popular works on the Philosophy of the Mind, written
in a style even more perspicuous and scarcely less attractive than that of Dugald Stewart—which has been pronounced a model—are strong witnesses to his intellectual competency; and none who know his personal character, will doubt that he possesses in a high degree the moral, or rather spiritual preparation which is demanded. His work will accordingly, we think, be admitted, on all hands, to be written with decided ability. It bears no marks of haste. It is methodical and luminous in arrangement, transparent and tasteful in style, in spirit kind, in thought affluent, and bears throughout the marks of genuine spirituality. From some of the views which are advanced, we shall have occasion, before we have done, to state our entire dissent. But we shall first employ ourselves with the more grateful duty, of expressing our sympathy with the general object of the work, and of noticing those portions in which it seems to us, that some topics of great importance are very happily exhibited. We trust that we ourselves, we are certain that many in the various branches of the church, feel at the present time, a deep, we may say a special interest in the general object of the treatise on the Hidden Life. That object is the promotion of personal holiness; of a higher sense of obligation, and a more elevated, steady and consistent piety, among the professed disciples of Jesus Christ. Unless we have greatly mistaken the indications of the times of late, there has been kindling up among evangelical Christians generally, not only a strong conviction that there ought to be a great advance of the church in this direction —that there must be, if vital religion is to have a speedy diffusion through the world—but also not a little earnest, deliberate and fixed determination, that by the grace of God there shall be. Some of the palpable errors of the day, which in themselves