« 上一頁繼續 »
feel convinced, that the power of that faith will preserve them as a distinct people, until the time, predicted by the Apostle Paul, (6) shall have arrived, when the present obstacle to the general reception of christianity having been removed, all Israel shall confess with their Samaritan countrymen of old: That Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (c)
There is a question which I wish to propose to the Episcopal Church, to which I think an answer will be difficult. You know how much stress is laid, by that community, upon what is called the regular Episcopal ordination; without this, no one is considered a true minister, an authorized preacher of the gospel. Now let me suppose a case. If one or several of the bishops of the church in the United States or England, were to become Unitarian, should declare that the doctrine of the prayer book is incorrect and unscriptural, and should accord. ingly proceed to alter the same, such bishop or bishops would be immediately deposed from their office, by the regular eccle. siastical authorities. But suppose they refused to respect those authorities, and should go on to preach their new faith, and to ordain priests and deacons as before, would they still be entitled to the name and office of bishops, and would ordination by their hands be accounted valid ? I suppose that every one, certainly every Episcopalian, must answer, no ; for their own ordination, with all its rights and privileges, would have been annulled by the same power by which it was conferred, and all its sanctity, whatever that might be, would have ceased. The bishops so deposed, therefore, would cease to be bishops, according to the Episcopal sense of the word, and especially, (which seems to me beyond controversy) they wouid no longer have authority to ordain others, and ordination by their hands, would be no more than ordination by any protestant clergyman.
I think that very few Episcopalians would contest this position. The powers to bind and to loose, are in this case inseparable. If the church has not power to depose, its power to ordain cannot claim much importance or sanctity. But
apply the principle to the present Episcopal Church and its Apostolic succession. In the time of Henry the VIII. its existence began. That monarch was offended, because the Pope would not sanction a divorce from Catharine, when he wished to marry another. He accordingly set the Pope at defiance, declared himself the head of the church, and ordered the clergy to continue in their offices and duties as before. The whole English church was immediately excommunicated. Its bishops and all its clergy were deposed by the highest authorities of the regular church, the same by whom they were in the first place installed. If those authorities had power to appoint, they had power to remove. If their ordination bestowed peculiar sanctity, their excommunication removed it. By that excommunication the English clergy were put upon precisely the same ground with protestant ministers in general. They no longer possessed any sanctity by right of their ordination. But it may be said, the bill of excommunication was a mere dead letter; it had no effect; the English church was able to uphold itself. In this answer we come at the truth. From the power of King Henry VIII. proceeded the actual authority of that church. His passions originated, and his power sustained it. It could no longer assert any authority derived from the virtue of Catholic ordination. Its bishops went on to ordain, but they had no ecclesiastical right to do so; their authority from the church had ceased, and that from the King substituted.
Here then, the whole Episcopal church stands in the same position that was supposed just now. It stands even more unfavorably, on account of the discreditable causes of its first separation from the mother church; for it is well known that the cause of its separation was not reformation in doctrine, but the selfish purposes of Henry VIII. It seems to me, therefore, perfectly plain, that whatever claims the Catholic church may have to an Apostolic succession, by virtue of the regular ecclesiastical ordination of its clergy from the Apostles down, such claims no more belong to the Episcopal church than to the Calvinist and Lutheran. As to the claims of the Catholics inquiry need not here be made. Every ecclesiastical historian knows that much ingenuity is requisite to support them; that many of the links in the chain are very rotten; and that, for the period before the beginning of the third century, conjecture must take the place of fact, in proving an unbroken succession. But this was not the point to which the present article is directed. In concluding, I will remarli, that I have no enmity whatever against the Episcopal church, It is undoubtedly, a
component part, as well as the other christian communities, of the holy church universal. We oppose it, only wherein it sets up unauthorized claims, to the prejudice of others.
Through night to morn—and when the dreadful gloom
Around thee, veils creation's cheerful light-
Soon shall a 'sunrise follow, mild and bright.
Through storm to rest !--and if through earth and heaven
Its thundering wheel the raging tempest roll,
A blessed stillness comes to cheer thy soul.
Through frost to spring !-and if the north wind sweeps,
And every thing of earth is chilled and numb,
The young and gentle breath of spring will come.
Through strife to victory!—and in serried rank
If thousand deaths should threaten to destroy,
In peaceful march, and victor's shout of joy.
Heavy and close upon thy path-way lies,
Bringing sweet slumber to thy weary eyes.
With troubles strong as giants threaten thee,
The God of peace shall set thy spirit free.
* The way of the cross is the way of light.
Through woe to joy!-and weep'st thou in the morn,
And weep'st thou when the midnight wraps the sky,
Who watches thee above with pitying eye.
Through death to life!--up through this vale of tears,
The earth—this thistle-field of life below,
That upper world where joys forever flow. c. P. c.
LETTERS FROM COUNTRY COUSINS.
* * * * * KEEP Washington's birth day? To be sure we shall! Ay, and keep it holy. We are too apt, my friend, to forget that holydays are holy days: and even when we cannot escape
the remembrance of this truth-as on Christmas-we get rid of it as fast as possible ; do up the religion of the day by going to church in the morning, and then rush home to drown our devotion by seas of cider, and continents of pumpkin pie. This, mind me, I say not of all, but of us that throve first under the cold skies of New England: and we have the feelings of which I speak, because, (if I mistake not,) our fathers made religion a strait jacket, "to keep the rogues in order,” which their sons have found it necessary to put off when about to eat largely, laugh, and make merry. But here in Ohio, it is our faith, that joy, light-heartedness, and love, whether they find expression in singing, dancing, laughing, or kissing, are ever good, ever holy, ever acceptable to Him who seeth the heart. In this faith we think, that by the morning prayer, the forenoon's lesson, the covered and crowded table, the walk of the afternoon, and the sports of the evening, we keep the day holy; for in all these occupations and places, we have with us, the sense of God's goodness, might, and care ; the devotion, which, like a dove, descended upon us when before the altar, broods all the day over our soul, and stills, for the time at least, its chaotic hopes, and fears, and passions, into order and beauty.
But, perhaps you will ask, how we keep Washington's birth day holy? Even as we do that of Jesus. How! cry you, compare the coming of a mere man with that of the Saviour ! My friend, we make no comparisons: we look on all such events as equally manifestations of the Almighty goodness; and though we may and should feel deeper joy at some of them than at others, we use in all the same forins, that it may be present to us that we owe all to the same being. In our view, He sent Washington to work his appointed work, as certainly as He sent Jesus, and without approaching the question of doctrinal divinity, we feel that we should worship Him for both.
And this leads me to tell you what we did last year upon the 22d of February. In the morning we had prayers read, which were selected from the bible and Episcopal service. At ten we met again, and having prayed once more, and sung a little hymn written for the occasion, I read a paper which I had drawn up, containing the evidences of Washington's mission, as they struck me. His early hardening of body, and developement of active powers, without exposure to the dangers of a camp; his perfect fitness as respects age, experience, character, and political position, to lead our armies; his wonderful power over the whole nation, with an apparent unconsciousness, on his part, that it existed; his passage through wars unharmed, and continued strength, till he had established our constitutional government, a thing which no other man could have done: these developed and detailed, appeared to me as clear marks of design as the formation of the eye, and I so attempted to present them to others. After I had done reading, some conversation took place respecto ing the facts of which I had been speaking, and of their bearing upon the adaptations which I had suggested; and this interested most of us till dinner-time. After dinner we had a ramble in the woods; and few returned without having found something curious to inquire and talk about, to say nothing of the wholesome air we had breathed. Then came tea, and after tea, singing, dancing, story-telling, and all the games that boys and girls make so much of.
This year our "ceremonies," as we call them, will be the same substantially, and I am preparing a paper to show the economy of our political leader, as I think we need much to have economy preached to us in these days. And thus we propose to have some one of Washington's wonderful powers and virtues laid before us in detail every year; an easy task, now that we have Spark's edition of his writings.