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ples observed, both running continually into one, both mutually implying one another; both sometimes are but one and the same thing looked at from a different point of view, like the convex and concave in a circle, which are in fact one and the same: the former mode of expression is ever putting into the mouth of the sinner, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant ;" the latter is ever bringing before him, as such, the terms of his acceptance, "If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted?" Sometimes the same sentence may be considered to have an equal reference to both of the points stated, as in the words "faithfully serve Thee “in this life :” and in that penitential response to the Commandments just alluded to, for they express humiliation, and also the necessity of obedience. And as chastenings and admonitions are in this life of a remedial nature, it may be further observed, that it is this discipline of keeping the Commandments which restores us to the state of sons: "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever "I command you.”
The benefit of this Heavenly and Divine guide dwelling among us which we have in the Church, thus after a superhuman manner calling us to repent, and then regulating our repentance, may be the more strongly seen by the instance of an irregular call of the same kind, which has extensively prevailed in this country by the teaching of Wesley and his followers. For this also may be considered as a call to repentance, like the Reformation; the latter an attempt at recovery from the evils of Popery, the former from the lukewarmness which the principles of the Revolution in 1688 had infused into the Church. They differed in this, that one adhered to the protection of the Church, the other did not. One was authorized and commissioned, the other irregular and self-chosen; and it is remarkable that the latter (i. e. Wesleyanism), in conveying a call to repentance, so treats the penitent, that persons are placed thereby, not in the position of servants, but are called to strong spiritual joys and assurances, and assume at once the character, as it were, of sons and the privileges of adoption. And not only this, but afterwards internal emotions and sensibly felt assurances are considered so essential as to take the place of obedience. And these two cir
cumstances form, in fact, the very characteristic of that sect'. Instead of these false encouragements and vain confidences, the Church, like a skilful physician, has endeavoured to allay the feverish impulses and passionate sentiments which are incident to such conversions and a late amendment of life; she has gently and almost imperceptibly infused into the whole of our religious system the recurrence week after week of humbling, yet soothing expressions, and calls to duty. Contrast these with the tendencies of Wesleyanism; which tendencies are in fact nothing else but the natural effects which follow when the truth breaks in upon a corrupt state of life: whereas it is the office of the Church to remedy and correct these workings of our depraved
There is, however, doubtless in the subject in general, much more than we can comprehend: and, as in all matters of religion, whatever light we may attain unto only reveals mysteries far beyond our feeble imaginings, as a ray of moonlight to one who travels among mountains, or upon the sea at night. For, indeed, if we may be allowed reverently to take up these words in illustration," His Righteousness is as the strong mountains; His "judgments are like the great deep." " Lo, He goeth by us, and
we see Him not: He passeth on also, but we perceive Him not." For though indeed we have spoken of the guidance of the Church as of an Angel sent to lead the way, yet from the promises of CHRIST'S indwelling in His Church, we must remember that it is more than this: for though it is said indeed, "I send mine "Angel before thee," yet it is added, " beware of him, and obey "his voice, for my Name is in him."
And again, let it be observed, if the voice of GOD is addressed to the Church in England, with a peculiar and appropriate mes
1 Abundant instances of both these points might be adduced from the history and devotional books of these separatists, such as the Journal of John Wesley, &c.
sage, as it was to each of those Churches in the Book of the Revelations; and if it be not to be heard by a miraculous and supernatural sound as then, in what way can the purport of it be ascertained unless it be by putting together in this manner detached sentences, and syllables, and words, which stand out from the natural order of events? And when this is done, they do, I feel assured, convey a Divine meaning so palpable and distinct, that he who would run on in the way of GoD's Commandments cannot fail to read it.
For what great and high destinies our Church may be intended in times yet to be revealed, that she should have been so signally protected; or what "good thing" the ALMIGHTY may have seen "in us" in days that are past, it were not for us to divine; or, it may be, that any part of His Providence that comes most under our closer inspection, will be found in discernible characters, thus abounding in wisdom and goodness. However this may be, it were impossible, one would think, for the coldest heart to remain unmoved at the contemplation of such the footsteps of a mysterious and sleepless Providence, ever on the watch over us to do us good, whether we wake or sleep; and without some wish to meet with responsive feelings and efforts of obedience such a daily-working and complicated scene of goodness, ever adapting itself to provide for our wants. And surely such a keeping of the Commandments is near akin to the highest Evangelical love, for "love is the fulfilling of the law." It might seem as if it were the presiding genius of that "beloved disciple" under whose auspices some would fondly imagine our Church to have been founded, whose voice we might suppose to be still ever heard among us, still ever repeating as he was wont, and beginning and ending with appeals to love and keeping the commandments; and reminding us of his LORD's last solemn words, "Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be."
EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CHURCH COINCIDING WITH
1. Such mutual adaptation and concurrence the mark of design.
If there is any truth in the position already maintained, that the changes in our Ritual and Forms of Prayer are so much of one prevailing character as to indicate something of a Divine purpose, it appears highly probable that the peculiarities of our external condition also should coincide and harmonize with these alterations within. For such independent co-operation of unconnected means, combining to produce one effect, is considered the indication of design in an intelligent author. And if Natural Theology is wont to trace out, in things physical, such internal adaptation to meet external circumstances of life, and to dwell on such as the proofs of an over-ruling Providence, may we not venture to do the same in the Church of God, provided that we conduct the inquiry with that fear and reverential mistrust with which we must ever speak of the ways of the ALMIGHTY? And surely it were not unreasonable to expect such indications of His presence; for if He who made "the plant of the field, before it was in the "earth," and "the herb of the field, before it grew," yet continues to vary its mould and texture to meet the varying influence of clime and sky, it is natural to suppose that He would do the same in that Living Tree which He has deigned to call by His own name, and of which He has represented His Father as the husbandman.
The first point which it was the object of this treatise to show, was that the services of our Church are characterized by a peculiar tone of sadness and humiliation; and that we are throughout made thereby to use the language of those who have fallen away from the richer inheritance and the privileges of sons. In order to point out the accommodation and harmony alluded to, it will be necessary to show that the temporal condition of the Church has been that, to which Scripture has not promised such
Apparent objections to our being supposed in a state of servitude. 67
gladness of heart, or, as a Latin Collect, which our Church has omitted to retain, expresses it, "in præsenti sæculo degustare "cœlestium dulcedinem gaudiorum;" on the contrary, that our external state has been that, to which it ever preaches penitential humiliation.
The second principle, which our line of argument went to establish, was, that lessons of obedience have peculiarly pervaded all the alterations in our Prayer Book. Here therefore it will be requisite to show that, according to the analogy of GOD's dealings with mankind, as they are manifested by Scripture and experience, the external circumstances of the Church have been those to which the lesson of obedience is more particularly addressed, and which more especially require such admonitions.
CONSIDERED WITH REGARD TO THE FIRST point, of REPENTANCE.
2. Apparent objections to our being supposed in a state of servitude.
Let us consider, in the first place, the former of these two subjects. On a cursory view, it might appear difficult to reconcile this supposition with the known history of our Church and nation. For so far from our having been in a state which would be accounted one of servitude, we are met with the fact that our condition has been one, for the most part, of great apparent prosperity. It would be difficult to find a Church, where, for so long a space of time, the course of this world has been "so peace"ably ordered," that its members have been allowed "to serve "the LORD in all godly quietness." The aspect which the Church bears in any country village is, in general, that of ease and respectability. Our position, as Christians and as Churchmen, has become such as to require no self-denial on our part to acknowledge our being so: indeed to such a degree is this the case, that some are almost at a loss to explain as compatible with our experience others would explain away—that essential opposition to the Gospel which Scripture declares will exist in the world: "Ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake" (Matt. x. 22); and "because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out "of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (St. John xv.