網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

observance of them, and the veneration of them were wrapt up in the prosperity, if not the very existence of the church. But it is quite clear that there might be in your heart, and in your life, a perfect conformity to all the homage, and to all the veneration, and to all the credulity required for these things, and yet you might be a very wicked man; and besides, if you only ask, how did people get to heaven before these things were invented, or introduced into the christian church, you will instantly perceive that they are not essential to the existence, or to the prosperity of that kingdom that is within you. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink: it does not consist in carnal ordinances, and ritual observances; but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost—with these you never can be lost, (be in what communion you may), but without them you never can be saved.

One form of church government may pass away, one mode of supporting the church may pass away, but the Holy Catholic church can never pass away, because those principles on which it depends for its existence, like the immortal mind, can never be destroyed by any art of man's device. There may be the alternate exaltation or depression of all human opinion, revolutions of kingdoms, and customs of nations; there may be the most wonderful upturnings of all mundane affairs, and convulsions in the solid globe, yet "nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal that the Lord knoweth them that are his, and let every one who nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity," and whosoever thou art O man that departeth from iniquity, thou hast no reason to fear that thou art departing from the faith,—or from the Holy Catholic church, or from the road that leadeth to everlasting life.

The cry may be raised, “the church is in danger,"* but that cry must always be regarded with suspicion, the money may be in danger, and priestcraft may be in danger; but the church itself is not in danger, and cannot be: if it consisted in learning, or in ignorance, in riches, or in poverty, in ceremony and in form, in the frowns or in the smiles of the princes of this world, it might be so; but by these things it never was established, and by the want of them it can never be destroyed. Through worldly policy there may be the loss of splendid endowments, or of imposing forms; as men created these things, so by men these things may be destroyed; but the righteousness of the kingdom they cannot destroy, and the peace of the kingdom they cannot destroy, and the joy of the kingdom, and all those sacred blessings in which its strength and its glory essentially depend, they cannot destroy; if all the ecclesiastical buildings were razed to the ground,-if all the ecclesiastical wealth were to be diverted into other channels, and if all the ecclesiastical relics were to be cast to the moles and to the bats, and if the church were to be driven to the mountains, and deserts, and dens, and caves of the earth,-yet from her solitary abodes she might joyfully exclaim, “as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things;" because, “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; for he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God and approved of

* The Queen having in her speech alluded to the church, there were warm debates in the house of Lords upon this question, “ Is the Church of England in danger or not" ?

Lord Rochester.—The state of Scotland, whose people are armed, and willing to invade England and to change our discipline makes me think the church is in danger.

Lord Halifax.-I cannot coincide in this opinion. The absence of the Princess Sophia is' a danger to the church. I can prove that a clergyman had said that that princess was an unbaptized Lutheran, and therefore I wonder how her coming should be such a security to the church.

Bishop of London.-I infer the danger of the church from a sermon of Mr. Hoadly's, preached before the Lord Mayor.

Bishop of Sarum.-If the doctrine of that sermon was not good I dont know what defence his Lorship will make for his appearance in arms at Nottingham.

Archbishop of York.-I apprehend danger to the church from the increase of dissenters and their academies.

Lord Wharton.-After all the cry of the church's danger, I can find nothing in it but the D of B, E of R, and E of N, are out of place.

Bishop of Ely.The clergy are undutiful to their bishops who have enough to do to keep them in order.

Bishop of Coventry.--I complain of the approbrious names the clergy give their bishops.

Bishop of Bath and Wells, -I complain of the terms, “ High Church," and Low Church,

Duke of Leeds.-The church cannot safe without the act against occasional conformity.

Result of the Debate--carried by 61 against 30 that the church is not in danger, and that whoever shall say it is, must be an enemy to the Queen, the Church and Kingdom.-Vide Calamy.

7

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]
« 上一頁繼續 »