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a character as would be likely to bring a blessing on the due observance of them.
Let her institutions be considered. Let the care be noticed with which she would fain watch over her children, and guide them, from their birth to their death, in the ways of God: how, at their very baptisın, she provides them with sponsors, who shall engage for their being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord : how she requires her ministers, by public catechising, to ascertain, while they are yet in early life, that their Christian education is not being neglected: how, in their more mature years, she bids them to her daily service, and teaches them, as with one voice, to crave their Father's blessing upon themselves and their country: how she has her days of Fast and of Festival, the one to chasten their joy, the other to lighten their sorrow : how, on her weekly sabbaths, she calls them aside from their earthly cares and anxieties, and allures them, with the very "sound of glory ringing in their ears," to higher hopes and nobler aspirations : how she has provided, with all a mother's thoughtfulness, that their souls shall be duly nourished, through the ministry of the Word and of the Sacraments: how she has left no means untried, by which she may secure a succession of pastors, both rightly ordered after the model of apostolic times, and, yet more, men of apostolic faith, and apostolic piety : how, for the attainment of this end, she has her appointed days, in which her people, humbling themselves before God, may implore for her bishops, guidance; and for those whom they shall ordain, soundness of doctrine and innocency of life ; and how, throughout the whole of her solemn services of ordination, she labours to shut up every avenue, by which unfaithful shepherds might steal into the fold; and how, with anxious and most earnest entreaty, she calls upon those who are about to be invested with the high stewardship of God's mysteries, to be men of prayer, men mighty in the Scriptures, men of whom the spirit and temper both of themselves and of their households shall be silent but effectual persuasives to godliness of life. Let these her institutions be considered, and they are but a small portion of what might be mentioned,) and who will deny that there are abundant and most reasonable grounds to believe, that, were her children to walk as faithfully in her precepts, as the Rechabites walked in the precepts of their ancestor, she would not want a man to stand before God for ever. ---Pp. 73–77.
Let the provision our Church has made for the training of her members be duly carried out; let her children be educated as baptized persons, in a knowledge of their baptismal privileges and their baptismal promises ; let them diligently use the means of grace with which she provides them; and they will find, by God's blessing, abundant reason to be thankful that they were reared within her walls and by
The subject of the next sermon is much more difficult—“Submission to the Church's authority in controversies of faith.” Say or wish what we may, we have no infallible guide in matters of faith. We have an infallible rule of faith in the inspired Scriptures, but we have no infallible interpreter of the rule of faith. The pope is not infallible; councils are not infallible ; the voice of the Catholic Church itself, examined by the rule, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, is not infallible, or, at least, if it is, we have no infallible means of judging when the quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus may be predicated of a doctrine. In strict analogy with our natural and moral state, God has made probability the very guide of our faith. We may indeed arrive at practical certainty on points of controverted doctrine, but it is a certainty which consists of probabilities indefinitely increased, and
has no claim at all to infallibility. There are, indeed, some truths so plainly delivered in Scripture, that we may thankfully receive them and act upon them as the unerring word of God; and there are others, scarcely less certain, which may be inferred from Scripture by easy and necessary inference. So far there is no difficulty. But in contro. verted points, where, through our weakness, the infallible word of God seems to different persons to speak a different voice, the decision becomes hard and painful. It is then that it is a duty and a privilege to fall back upon the decision of the Church, i. e. practically, of that portion of the Church Catholic to which we belong, and to rest our doubts on the embodied opinion of good men of all ages, enlightened, as we believe they were, by the Spirit of God. It is not because it is infallible that we have recourse to it--we know that it is not-but because this is the most probable, and, as Mr. H. endeavours to shew in this sermon, the most scriptural way of arriving at truth. The decisions of the Church are to us what precedents and the practice of the courts are to lawyers. They may err; but they embody, for the most part, the collective wisdom of ages, and are therefore far more likely to be right, than the private opinions of any individuals whatever.
What then is the submission, in matters of faith, which is due to the Church at our hands? It is this : that in all cases in which we are incompetent, of ourselves, to decide---in all cases in which we are doubtful, yea, in which the shadow of a doubt remains--we should waive our own judgment, and defer to her authority. The Church is not infallible. She may err, and many churches bave erred; and therefore, if she should require any thing to be believed as an article of faith, which, by clear and demonstrative proof can be shewn to be contrary to God's word, in that particular there is an end of her authority. We must hearken to God, rather than to man. And these are precisely the limits under which our Church claims the submission of her children ; while, on the one hand, she asserts explicitly, that “the Church hath authority in controversies of faith," she not less explicitly restricts that authority within the bounds of Scripture. "It is not lawful,"—these are her words,- it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” But then, surely, it behoves us, in common modesty, to pause long, and to examine carefully, and with all possible self-suspicion, and with many and most earnest prayers, before we venture to admit that she has proved false to her trust. And, as has been already said, while the shadow of a doubt remains, we are bound to waive our own judgment in deference to hers.-- Pp. 96—98.
If, indeed, any individual members, or any number of individual members, are still persuaded, by necessary and conclusive evidence persuaded, that the sentence given is contrary to truth, no human authority can countervail such a persuasion. There remains for them one or other of these three courses : either to hold their own opinion in silence ;-or to endeavour by lawful means to reverse the decision, which has been awarded ;-or, if the one may not, and the other can not be done; if to be silent is to conceal God's truth, or to betray the lives or the liberties or the property of their fellow men, and to reverse the decision which has been awarded is wholly beyond their power; then to withdraw from the society, and to separate themselves from among those, in whose company they should fear to be found by Him who is our Judge.--Pp. 101, 102,
But how very seldom would this be the result of humble and candid inquiry. How universally may we trace our own errors (we are not judging others) to a presumptuous and self-conceited spirit, to a want of humility, diligence, and prayer.
The fifth sermon, on “ The duty of casting out the beam that is in our own eye, considered with reference to the conduct of the various denominations of Christians towards each other,” is interesting; but our limits oblige us to pass it over.
The most valuable, however, we think, of our author's sermons, are the first two. Church principles are no substitute for personal holiness ; the union of the two constitutes the christian character. The ordi. nances of the Church are useful just in proportion as they tend to bring the soul near to God. There is an expression much used in the present day, of which we doubt the expediency and accuracy,-communion with God through the Church. Should it not rather be, communion with God in the Church? We must beware of encouraging formalism even by words, and of aiding the growth of the idea that the Church's ordinances stand between us and God; that our business is with them, and that we need look no further. The Church is no barrier, it is not even a veil between the soul and its Maker. It walls us round from the world, the flesh, and the devil; and we cannot follow them without overleaping its ramparts. It has but one outlet, and that leads directly to the presence of God, through the veil, Jesus Christ. And the sacraments themselves, though means and channels of grace, and only found in the Church, convey their precious stream from the fountain of living water immediately to the thirsting soul. Personal faith and hope, personal holiness of character, modelled by much study on the teaching of Holy Scripture, and personal communion with God in fervent prayer, should be the Christian's aim, while he clings to the fellowship of the holy Catholic Church.
The first of these discourses is on “ The Christian's sorrows and the Christian's consolations;" and the following beautiful passage, with which it concludes, will shew its connexion with the preceding remarks :
These then were the supports, which the Spirit of God ministered to our forefathers, to stay them in their hour of trial : a well-grounded hope, through their union with Christ, of eternal life, and, with this, the ever-present remembrance of their Lord's sufferings, on the one hand exciting their love, and on the other, stirring them up to seek conformity to his image. Their trials are now over, their conflict has long been ended, and they have entered into their rest, and they are with their Lord, and they are waiting, beyond the reach of sorrow, for the full and perfect consummation of their fondest hopes.
For ourselves, my brethren, who are still sojurning, as strangers and pilgrims, at a distance from our home, still encompassed by foes, and still called to endure tribulation, let us labour, with all diligence, to appropriate to ourselves those supports, which the experience of these holy men found so effectual. Let us seek earnestly that our love to our adorable Saviour may increase, and that our hope of being made partakers of his glory, and our desire of being conformed to his image, of “purifying ourselves even as he is pure,” may abound more and more. In these lies the grand secret of sanctification. We complain, it may be, that we make little progress in the divine life; that year succeeds to year, and finds us still cold and languid in our Master's service, still engrossed with the world and the things of the world, still self-indulgent, and averse to the cross. And we form resolutions, and our resolutions are broken; and we begin to think, that they, who attained to so high an eminence, were men of another mould, and that in our own case there are peculiar hindrances; and we are wearicd, and discouraged, and almost in despair. Would that we might be persuaded to make trial of a more excellent way! Do our consciences bear us witness, that it is our sincere and earnest desire to forsake every sin, and to press on towards heaven, by whatsoever road our Lord shall point out? Then let us, at once, embrace the promise of eternal life. Has not God called us to be his people ; brought us into his Church ; sealed us with his seal in baptism; and is not the bread of heaven set before us in his word and at his table? Why should we, after these tokens, doubt his good-will toward us? Let us stir up within our hearts the hope of glory. And, as our hope rises, our love will rise; and, with our love, our wish to be conformed to the image of Him who is the object of our affections; and conformity is but another name for patience; and patience~patience in doing and patience in suffering the will of God - but another name for sanctification; and sanctification an evident token of the presence of Christ's Spirit, the true Author of all these graces; and this a pledge of our adoption, and an earnest of our inheritance; which being felt within, hope will again quicken in its pulse, and dart forth fresh energy to circulate through the system.-Pp. 26—28.
The succeeding sermon, “On prayer,” is beautiful in composition and spirit. We remember hearing it delivered, and believe that few left the full church without receiving a deep, if not a lasting impression. The author urges the duty of frequent prayer from the strong exhortations of Scripture, and the reason of the case, to enable us to perform the duties both of our general calling as Christians, and of the peculiar situations in which Divine Providence has placed us, The former class of duties are thus described :
God, of his wondrous mercy, has called us to be his people, washed us in the laver of baptism, brought us into his Church, and made us inheritors of his eternal kingdom. Now there are two grand marks, at which it behoves us to aim. The one, that we may abide in that holy fellowship, into which we have been called ; that we may continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel.” The other, that as our adorable Saviour has gone back to heaven to prepare a place for his people, so we should labour to grow in meetness for that place: in other words, that, “ denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”—P. 41.
We are conscious that we are overstepping our limits, but we are so anxious to interest our readers in discourses, the spirit of which we should like to see widely diffused, that we cannot conclude without extracting two more passages. The first describes the way in which our devotions are too often performed, and may, perhaps, touch a chord in the consciences of most of us.
And here, indeed, is the reason, why the most of us make so little progress in the divine life ; because, both with regard to our stated devotions, and our habitual frame of mind, this spirit and temper are not maintained with sufficient watchfulness. It is not that prayer at set times is omitted, or that the heart is not occasionally lifted up throughout the day; but, there is a want of earnest and persevering diligence. We kneel down to our devotions in private, or we bow ourselves before God together with our brethren in those services, which it is our happy privilege to enjoy daily in this place : but a spirit of indolence creeps upon our hearts, and we arise from our knees, not, as invariably ought to be the case, with the deep calm peace of those, who have been to lay their burthen of sin at the foot of the cross, and to receive their Father's pardon, and their Father's blessing; but with the consciousness of fresh guilt. We go forth to our daily duties; we mingle in the pursuits, the business, the studies, the company, which fall in our way; our minds are engrossed; the presence of God is forgotten; the spirit of watchfulness is relaxed; and what is the result? Alas! in a thousand instances, we are betrayed into thoughts or words or tempers or actions, which wound our own souls, and, it may be, though unknown to us, wound the souls of others. And then night comes, and the accustomed hour returns, and we are again called upon to bow ourselves in God's house, or in our secret chamber; but our hearts are out of tune, and prayer is a burthen, and praise a weariness, and we are cold and formal and soon tired; and we betake ourselves to rest with a sense of unpardoned guilt upon our consciences, and then rise, to repeat the same unwatchfulness through another day. What wonder that we continue at so low an ebb in our religious attainments; nay, rather, how great an instance is it of God's mercy and forbearance, that we have not yet been given up to hardness of heart and final impenitence !—Pp. 44–46.
The other is on the important practical point of making time for prayer.
I would only remark further, before I leave this subject, upon the importance of securing time for our stated morning and evening devotion by early hours. If, through a self-indulgence, of which, as Christians, we ought to be ashamed, we pass hastily from our chambers in the morning to enter upon our ordinary duties, or even to join our family in social, or our brethren in public, worship; or if, again, through want of self-command in withdrawing ourselves seasonably from the society or the occupations in which we have been engaged, we retire to our closets late at night, with our minds filled with worldly thoughts; it is obvious how greatly our communion with our heavenly Father will be interrupted. Beyond all question, such a course as this will be as ruinous to the healih of the soul, as habits of dissipation are to the health of the body. No wonder, that they who neglect to secure opportunities for their morning and evening devotions, should find their growth in grace equivocal, and hard to be discerned. If they would be more self-denying and more diligent, they would have less cause to waste their time and their spirits in idle complaints and fruitless selfaccusations.--Pp. 54, 55.
We hope that Mr. Heurtley's appointment as Special Preacher will be the means of furnishing us with another volume of sermons like the present.
Art. III.-Church Discipline and National Education.— A Charge de
livered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Llandaff, in September 1839. By Edward, Lord Bishop of LLANDAFF. Published at the request of the
Clergy. London: Rivingtons. 1839. Pp. 40. We have seldom derived greater satisfaction and pleasure from the perusal of an episcopal charge, than has been afforded us by the last Charge of the Bishop of Llandaff. It embraces almost every topic of present general interest to the members of the Church of England, with regard to the Establishment; and although the nature of such an address of necessity precludes a full exposition of the merits of any one of those subjects in all its bearings; yet the Bishop has condensed his sentiments in so perspicuous and forcible a manner, that the reader cannot fail to gain a clear insight into his views, and the reasons on which they rest. It is very pleasing to see a philosophical mind engaged