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If such is the view of Scripture, how shall we explain the perverse definition of our author, so decidedly opposed to the word of God ? How can such a notion have arisen, that a priest is one who is "necessary to our intercourse with God, without conveying any moral benefit?” There must be some reason why so strange a travestie could be taken by Dr. Arnold for a true description; and a short attempt to discover the cause of the error may throw a further light on the whole subject.
The Priestly office, whose essence is love, and its proper acts, benediction, prayer, and intercession, may reveal itself in three different forms. It may be exercised by the Sinless for the sinner, by the faithful for unbelievers, or by true Christians for each other. The first is that Divine priesthood which the author excepts from his general censure; and in this case, the intervention of the Priest is strictly and absolutely needful. For here its object is the strict and absolute justice of God, which needs a Divine and spotless offering to atone for guilt, and a perfect Advo, cate to plead the virtue of his own great and all-sufficient sacrifice. But the fulness and glory of this priesthood shows at once, with regard to every other, that it may be helpful indeed, and highly profitable, but can never be necessary to salvation. To turn the means of grace and succour for our weakness into pretensions of priestly arrogance, is one of the worst superstitions; which Dr. Arnold rightly condemns, and labours to expose. It uproots faith from its foundations, and turns the walls of the temple and the battlements of Zion into stern buttresses for a prison-house of doubt and despair.
Once apply this corrective to the former part of Dr. Arnold's definition, and its harmony with the previous remarks will appear. The priest is a person “helpful to our intercourse with God." The creatures of the Most High, even the unfallen, have their ranks and orders, and various stations in holiness or dignity, nearer to, or more distant from, the throne of heaven. In this variety of divine gifts, the law of eternal love demands that they who are higher, and nearer to His presence, use their own mercy for the good of those more distant, whether these are still under the power of sin, or weak in faith and infants in grace; or even perfect in holiness, yet receiving in a narrower vessel the treasures of the kingdom. The promise, “ I will bless thee, constitutes the Christian ; and the promise, “I will make thee a blessing,” exalts the Christian into a priest. And thus, as the mountains condense the dews of heaven, that they may descend in rivulets to the quiet valleys, those who are higher in the Paradise of God, are thereby Priests, to offer up intercession, and pronounce a blessing on those who are beneath them in the ascent of holiness. The Christian is to pray for the sinner, and to bless the persecutor. The Apostle, the Martyr, the Pastor, and the aged Christian, are to bear on their hearts the wants of their weaker brethren, as the patriarch interceded for his erring friends, and obtained their pardon. The parting benediction of our great High Priest, and His constant intercession in the heavens, repeat themselves in dim reflections within ten thousand hearts, which love has monlded into his Divine image, and made them sharers in that better Priesthood which is after the power of an endless life.
The second feature of the definition is wider from the truth, and yet a truth is hidden beneath it. We are told that the essence of priesthood lies in its work being unconnected with all moral benefit. The author has plainly in view that fatal error which ascribes to the sacraments, when administered by priestly hands, all the power of a magical charm, a viaticum that leads infallibly to salvation. Such a view is most pernicious, and has no warrant in the Seriptural view of the office; but there must be some reason why such a definition of its nature could even appear to be true.
The reason is not hard to discover. Love, as it is the highest and holiest, is also the innermost of the divine perfections. The acts of power and wisdom are more external; and love itself needs to borrow their aid, before it can fully manifest its own presence. So too with the three offices in which these attributes are unfolded in the church. The authority of a King, and the voice of the Prophet, are more direct in their operation. We can see at once the benefit, when fear has deterred from sin, or royal commands have prompted to obedience; when the wisdom of the Teacher has cleared away darkness from the soul, and lit up its secret chambers with the messages of Divine truth. The moral benefit, in these cases, appears in an intelligible form. But the benefit which flows from the utterances of love, whether the benediction of peace, or the secret intercession of prayer, is less palpable to the senses, and veils itself in a deeper mystery. Its power moves in a more hidden channel, but is not on that account the less real or true. For all created being has the same source, and depends on one common fountain. Under the veil of separation and strife which sin has thrown over it, all its parts, whether fallen or redeemed, hold perpetual communion by tide-waves of thought and feeling and sympathy, which may defy all our efforts to explain their laws, but depend, like the natural tides, on secret and powerful influences in the upper heavens. The true Priest, by virtue of his high office, stands in the inner sanctuary; and there, by the hand of faith, and the strange power of love, touches all these secret and hidden springs of being. Besides the restraint of open sin, and the stirring call to outward obedience, beyond even the range of
the Teacher's voice, when he imparts definite truths to the soul,— there are deeper blessings, wherein chiefly resides the health, the power, and the beauty, of the ransomed spirit. There is a simple and holy fragrance, mysterious, and yet powerful, in the blessing of the just; and the melody of intercession, when it rises from the true priests of God before his throne, has power, if God's word and promise be true, to awaken answering melodies, of joy unspeakable and a peace that passeth understanding, in those children of God for whom the prayer may arise; however unconscious they may be themselves at the moment what secret influence bas touched the chords of the heart. Nay, often, we may believe, they achieve a harder triumph; and the priestly intercessions of the faithful become as cords of love to reclaim the wretched prodigal from his sins, to draw him once more to his father's home and attract him to his father's bosom. The description requires therefore to be corrected only in part. The office of the priest is to benefit morally; but then it is not by an influence at the surface, where the action would be sensible and open to our view. It is rather by an electric and hidden power, conveyed along those mysterious links of being, which ever bind all created existence to the throne of God. This secret but mighty power must remain ever veiled from the profane eye of the worldling; but it is plainly revealed to us in the promises of Scripture, and is confirmed by the manifold experience of the faithful, in their hours of closest intercourse and communion with heaven.
Perhaps we may seem to have forgotten our task, and to have lost sight of the Fragment. But in a work so full of interest, so rich with the seeds of thought, and whose lamented author is now gone to his rest, it seemed really a worthier tribute to his memory, if we might extract from his very errors an occasion for clearing an important but neglected truth. We have therefore endeavoured to remove from his work the chief blemishes by which it is obscured, instead of merely echoing, perhaps with a feebler voice, the great lessons of real wisdom which both here and elsewhere he has proclaimed. This task, then, we have sought, however briefly and imperfectly, to fulfil. Once cleared from these unhappy paradoxes, the volume becomes a precious gift of seasonable warning--a voice of wisdom from the tomb, to warn us against the perilous idolatry of forms, and to strengthen our protest against the returning tide-wave of spiritual delusions. As such we trust that God will honour it; and that in the day of the Lord it will be found to have added to the lustre of the crown, which the spirit of this departed servant of Christ, whose legacy it is, will doubtless receive from the great Head of the Church, and wear for ever.
A LETTER TO A LAY FRIEND, in Answer to Inquiries
respecting the present state of things in the Church. By WILLIAM GOODE, M.A., Rector of St. Antholin. London:
Hatchards. 1815. SUGGESTIONS ON THE NEW STATUTE TO BE PRO· POSED IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD. By W.
GRESLEY, M.A., Prebendary of Lichfield. London ; Burns.
1815. A CHRISTIAN KALENDAR, for the Use of Members of the
Established Church. By A LAY MEMBER of the Cambridge Camden Society. Cambridge: Deck. London: Burns. 1845.
The times test the man. "We are rejoiced to perceive the frank and manly tone in which Mr. Goode' now speaks. While he still reminds us, that "there is one caution which in these times ought " ever to be kept in view; namely, not to let the excitement of * the moment induce us to overstep the bounds of duty and mo“ deration ;”-he himself uses the plain and explicit language which the urgency of the danger renders so necessary.
His immediate topic is, the 'turmoil recently excited by the rubrical changes attempted in Exeter and elsewhere. On these
he says, –
" For my own part, to preach in a gown or surplice is a matter of indifference, though I must add my belief that the gown has always been the usual dress in the pulpit, and that any bishop attempting to enforce the use of the surplice there would find himself utterly unsupported by the law of the Church. But the attempt made to identify the surplice with the doctrine of a sacrificing priesthood, has naturally and justly made the people jealous of any extension of its use. So as it respects other points, changes made in the mode of divine worship to which our people have long been accustomed, however sanctioned by obsolete rubrics, look like innovations; and therefore, as our venerable primate warned the Church several years ago, are full of danger. Granting that it is the weak brother only that is offended by them, nevertheless, surely even that is a sufficient reason against them ; especially at the present moment, when they are so generally and so justly connected in the minds of men with the movement made by the Tractarians.” -ýp. 5.)
“But in fact there are still stronger grounds upon which the necessity of some authoritative injunctions on the subject of rites and ceremonies may be placed.
A large, indefatigable, and unscrupulous party, among which the Cambridge Camden Society has made itself conspicuous, are straining every nerve to re-introduce into our churches the very things, which our Reformers exerted themselves to the utmost to destroy and eradicate from among us. The authorised publications of the Camden Society, circulated far and wide throughout the kingdom, and boasting, alas ! of the patronage of many who, I am bound to believe, and do believe, are entirely unconscious of the real
objects and principles of the Society (and whom, it is to be hoped, the recent withdrawal of the Bishop of Exeter will rouse to inquiry and reflection), openly and unblushingly advocate views entirely opposed to those of our Protestant Church. The adherents of this party already venture to boast of our Church being in a transition state, out of which she will emerge clothed in what they call the garb of Catholicism, but which is in fact the gaudy livery of Rome. Their language is just that of Dr. Heylin, Laud's chaplain, who, at the commencement of a similar attempt, boasted of the good work in hand,' the issue of which 'good work 'is, alas! but too well known. Their conduct remarkably brings to mind the rebuke of the venerable Bernard Gilpin, called the Apostle of the North (an authority to which they themselves, I suppose, will hardly venture to demur), addressed to those who murmured at the Reformers for removing from the churches the very things which these men are labouring to restore. They come to the Church to feed their eyes and not their souls. . . . And for because they see not in the Church the shining pomp and pleasant variety (as they thought it) of painted clothes, candlesticks, images, altars, lamps, tapers, they say,- as good to go into a barn;', nothing esteeming Christ which speaketh to them in his Holy Word, neither his IIoly Sacrament reduced to the first institution."" (pp. 6, 7.)
On the necessity of some distinct line being taken by the rulers of the Church, Mr. Goode says,
My earnest desire is to see peace restored to our distracted Church. But peace will never be restored by its being invoked, while the elements of strife, aud discord, and confusion, which are abroad, are left to take their course. Every day shows more clearly the heartfelt, deeply-seated, and growing feeling that pervades the minds of the Protestant portion of our Church that something must be done to resist the progress not merely of Romanism, but of Laudism among us. And of the latter there is, perhaps, more danger at present than of the former; for under cover of pursuing a middle path between Mr. Newman and Mr. Ward on the one hand, and those who may be in the opposite extreme on the other, the Laudean section of the Church is putting itself forward, and claiming the sympathy of churchmen for its wisdom and moderation, while in fact it is more dangerous than the authors of such works as, “ The Ideal of a Christian Church,' and the authors and editors of such a farrago of nonsense and blasphemy as “The Lives of the Saints.' True, the acts that indicate this feeling may not all be of the most sound or judicious character. But it would be a short-sighted view of the matter to suppose them on that account of little importance. They are the indications of a feeling far more deeply seated and widely-spread than is exhibited in such acts themselves. They are but the first movements of that Protestant spirit still existing among us, which, when fairly roused from the slumber of a fancied security, will, with God's blessing, vindicate, through all opposition, and all the dead weights with which lukewarmness and indifference can encumber it, the true principles and character of our Reformed Church.
“Such clearly is the nature of the conflict that has commenced in this country, and the more the leaven of Tractarianism is allowed to make its way among us, the more arduous, protracted, and convulsing is the struggle likely to be.”-(pp.9-11.)
His own proposal is of the following nature:
The only course that seems to me to afford any prospect of restoring peace, is to obtain the aid of parliament in the matter. I do not mean that parliament should be called upon to settle questions relating to ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies, but that they should take some steps to get suitable