Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

“ 2. You must also further contrive that while you are withdrawing the Church from all reliance on the State, and teaching her to look solely to the voluntary contributions of her members, you may simultaneously produce such a change in her own system, as may alarm the people, and paralyze their voluntary efforts in her behalf. And thus, while on the one hand you stop all applications to the State, and teach that the Church must be extended by the free-will offerings of her children ;-you will do your best, on the other, to check the stream of such free-will offerings, and thus wholly and completely to stop the work of Extension altogether.”

Such might, with perfect consistency, be the secret instructions confided by the General of the Order, to any members of the Society of Jesus sent by him into this country. We say not that such instructions have been given, or are now being acted upon, by any of the Tractarian school; but we do say, that this line of conduct, which might reasonably be prescribed by a Jesuit chief, bent on the destruction of the English Church,-is precisely that which is now taken by those who plume themselves on the title of “ High-Churchmen ;-; “ sound Anglican divines,” and the like.

The proofs of this coincidence are too notorious to require more than a brief allusion. The efforts made in the Times, under the Tractarian influence, and the pamphlets of Messrs. Gresley and Palmer, yield abundant evidence of the first point. As to the second, take an instance in proof of it, copied from one of the daily journals during the present month :" TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD.

“London, Jan. 12. SIR,—That a crisis for good or for evil to the Protestant Reformed Religion is coming into activity, yourself, as an honest champion, have long warned the people of these realms; and now, the Times of this date writes an article to the same effect, enough to rouse the fears and the exertions of the whole com munity. I care not with what leaning or tendency that article was written; I trust its effect will be Protestant in every sense of the word, and every corner of the land. The Laity must step forward, or a portion of the tribe of Judas, under the guise of zeal for religion and truth, will put their feet upon their necks !

“To those who know the drift—the priests’utter supremacy over the laity drift-of the Puseyites, the times are truly alarming. Those who should be on the alert, seem to be sleeping at their posts, while traitors are busy in the garrison, undermining the fortress, and inviting the enemy to come in and assist them. Under this sad and appalling state of affairs, were it not indispensable to call upon all true Protestants, to suspend every effort of a pecuniary, or what nature soever they may be, making in behalf of Church Extension, till the present crisis has terminated, and they can feel assured that they are not unwittingly extending the influence of Churchmen who dare to anathematize Protestantism, and to adopt many of the symbols and practices of Rome; and who, above all, contend for the inspiration or petty divinity of the priest individually; and the sacerdotal supremacy and infallibility of the priesthood collectively, as a superhuman body corporate or institution.

“ I really think you owe it to all your previous excellent efforts to add this one more on the subject of Church Extension. The suspension for a season, of effort in its behalf, by the outraged, and in many quarters betrayed Protestants of these dominions, would be the most telling blow that the traitors to Protestantism, yet in the bosom of the Protestant Reformed Church,' could possibly experience.

“I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

«A PROTESTANT Patron."*

Nor is this at all a singular instance. The feeling is rapidly growing, both in extent and intensity. In both ways, then-by repudiating aid from the State, and opposing and frustrating the efforts of those who seek to obtain it; and in exciting alarm for the intrinsic stedfastness of the Church herself, and thus checking the stream of private benevolence,--these modern imitators of those who overthrew the Church in 1642, are now working with fearful efficiency her second downfall.

II. The second point in which the insincerity of this school is apparent, is that of a pretended dutiful allegiance to what they term “the Apostolic Episcopate.” No men that ever lived, have been so profuse, and even fulsome, in their professions of unbounded allegiance to the Episcopal rule and order ; but whenever any real difference becomes apparent, between themselves and those who are “set over them," then we instantly see that all was mere empty pretence; and that these very obedient sons of the church are prompt to resent every rebuke, and prepared to withstand every guiding admonition, that a Bishop may feel it his duty to address to them,

1. Can there be a clearer or stronger proof of this, than in their conduct in the well-known case of “No. 90”? On the appearance of this tract, not only were there various remonstrances from sundry Prelates of the Church, but their own Diocesan felt it to

* Standard, Jan. 13, 1842. Jan. 1842.

F.

be time to interfere; and he accordingly signified his wish, that the series should be at once suppressed.

Now such a step as this was a distinct, though kind, intimation, of displeasure at what had been issued. The Bishop did not say, and could not mean to imply, “I approve of all that you have done ; but I have some fears and misgivings as to what you may hereafter do.So strange an assumption of foreknowledge as this cannot even be imagined. The interference of the Bishop, however courteously worded, did amount distinctly to a condemnation of that tract, No. 90,-which had forced him thus to interfere.

And what has been the conduct of the parties thus rebuked ? They did, indeed, verbally and in profession, comply with the Episcopal prohibition. They have not, since then, issued any new tracts. But while thus, in external shew, complying with his Lordship’s injunctions, they have been, in practical effect, absolutely setting them at nought.

We have already observed, that, clearly, the thing condemned was “No. 90 ;” and any persons who really felt the condemnation as a rebuke which they were bound to feel, and to obey, would have instantly suppressed, and wholly ceased from, all circulation of the offending work. To borrow an illustration from our Lord's own words, “ If thy foot offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.” The offending thing, here, was that particular tract; and the first duty imposed upon its authors, on receiving the Episcopal rebuke, was, to put down, and entirely cease from, all further use of or connection with, that work.

Instead, however, of which, almost immediately after receiving the Bishop's monition, and after professing their own submission to it, what do we find, but the announcement of a new edition of this very tract ! Nothing could speak more plainly than did this act,the non-submission of the writers to his Lordship's decision; and their appeal to the “ultra-Protestant” tribunal, of the private judgment of the members of the Church.

Still, however, we were prepared to admit, at that moment, the existence of some trivial pretexts, by which the issue of a reprint might have been plausibly extenuated. It might, perhaps, have been alleged, that it was in the press and nearly ready for publication, before the Bishop's admonition was received. It might also have been said, that public attention was so especially called to the tract, as to render the demand for it great ; and to make it certain that a surreptitious edition would appear, should the authorized one be suppressed.

On these and such kind of pleas, we doubt not that the issue of

the second edition would have been extenuated. But what pretext of the kind can possibly be advanced, in behalf of an announcement which has recently appeared in all the London papers ? It is as follows,

“Now ready, in 8vo. price 1s. the Third Edition of

TRACTS FOR THE TIMES, No. 90." No plea whatever can now exist, which can justify this course to any rational mind. The demand for the Tract had subsided ; no probability existed of any difficulty in its quiet suppression. But even if it were thought necessary to keep it on sale—where was the occasion to beard the whole Episcopal Bench, by advertising, largely, and at a considerable expense, this fresh insult to the Bishop of Oxford ? Mr. Palmer of Magdalen, in his last tract, says, that "to assert, or to imply the assertion, of the right of “individuals to set up their judgment above the Catholic law of “ submission to the Apostolic Episcopate, is heresy.”—(p. 15.) What, then, is this act of the Oxford Tractarians ? They have put forth a work which is condemned by their own Bishop; which is reprobated by many other Bishops, ex cathedra, in their Charges; and which is defended by no single member of the British Episcopacy. And yet, while boasting of their submission, these men actually print and advertise second and third editions of this work ; thereby plainly saying to all the people of England, lay as well as clerical—“ You hear us condemned by the Bishops, now come and read our tracts, and judge for yourselves !How comes it, that Mr. Palmer can quietly witness this instance of “ heretical” contumacy? Where slumber his ready anathemas?

2. Not less explicit, however, is the language commonly addressed by them to such prelates as may come into collision with them. One of the pamphlets now before us, is Mr. Perceval's letter to the Bishop of Chester,-a prelate whose purity of life, and abundant labours, joined with profound learning and the most unquestioned orthodoxy, might surely place his Lordship,—if it were possible for any prelate to be safe-out of the reach of rude attacks and uncivil upbraidings. Yet it is with reference to this eminent and truly apostolic man, that Mr. Perceval indulges in such expressions as these :

“ The Bishop, who has flung abroad his banner of indifference to “schism, is far more deserving of blame," &c.—(p. 57.)

“Your Lordship palliates the guilt of schism, so repeatedly “ denounced in the apostolic writings,” &c.—(p. 11.)

“How can it be denied that you have violated the charter of Christianity ?"- (p. 16.)

“How can it be consistent with the truth of the Gospel to de“clare, as your Lordship has done, that baptism does not concur “ to our justification ?”—(p. 17.)

“The Scriptures expressly affirm that which your Lordship thinks fit to censure the clergy for affirming."-(p. 20.)

“Your Lordship is at open variance with the Scriptures and the “ Church.”—(p. 22.)

“How shall we reconcile your Lordship's preaching to that of “the Apostle ?"-(p. 24.)

Now we shall not give our own judgment as to the decency and fitness of this sort of language, addressed by a young Presbyter to an aged and universally-revered Bishop of his own Church. We do not desire to impose bonds of silence on the clergy; and probably our condemnation of Mr. Perceval would not extend beyond the pertness and arrogance of the terms employed. But what we are now concerned to notice, is, simply the obvious inconsistency involved in the use of such language by men who assume to themselves the merit of peculiar obedience and respect for what they term the Apostolic Episcopate.These professions have no basis of fact. No sooner does any Bishop oppose the least resistance to their encroachments, than instantly they are as ready, aye, and more ready, than the lowest of “ low-churchmen,” to treat the episcopal office with contempt, and to appeal at once to the “ private judgment” of the whole mass of the Christian community.

3. We may adduce another instance of this contrariety between professions and practice. One of our daily London journals,the Morning Post,—is a vehement partizan of the tractarian school, and delights in calling itself “high church,” and in stigmatizing all who differ from Messrs. Newman and Pusey, as churchmen."

As a matter of course, the Morning Post was an enthusiastic supporter of Mr. Williams in his recent canvass for the Poetry-Professorship at Oxford. Hence it became sorely annoyed at the Charge of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, in which Mr. Williams's tracts on Reserve were strongly censured. But take a specimen of the style and manner in which this aged and deeplylearned prelate was assailed, in this “high church" journal. A correspondent is permitted to write of the Bishop in the following terms, and his letter is printed, without any exception being taken as to the grossness of its language, in a conspicuous part of the paper :

« low

Sir-The little pamphlet of Mr. Williams has led most people to infer that the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol is perfectly innocent of having read that gentleman's two tracts, which his Lordship só sonorously denounced in his charge. I say, has led to that inference, for the author of that pamphlet

« ÖncekiDevam »