loped it may be impossible to say, or how far external control may have been necessary in consequence'.

7. That states of servitude are Divine appointments.

But in the former agreement respecting the alterations made in the Prayers, the object was to drop all consideration of the human agents in those changes, and to turn our attention to their providential character, as implying a Divine control and purpose. It will be necessary to do the same in the present case also, though it is a matter of great difficulty, as secular influence and intrusion is of so much more palpable a nature as to awaken passions and feelings respecting persons, by reason of which we are less clearly able to discern the more than human Hand which is dealing with ourselves. That persons, at first, from a want of faith in the promised resources of the Church, and a dread of the power of Rome, courted the protection of the secular arm; and that others have since increased such an alliance from influences of worldly policy, by acquiescence, by com

This sort of compromise with the world, by which the Church has lost the greatness of her religious privileges, has of course been more fully developed since the time of the Non-jurors, but they from the first speak of the indications of it.

"The true notion," says Leslie, "of a Church and of a Priesthood has been "utterly lost amongst those where Erastianism has prevailed, and conse66 quently, the reverence due to religion and to GOD has sunk with it, and also "the benefits annexed to the holy offices of the Church, as means of grace ap"pointed by CHRIST our LORD, on which are grounded our hopes of mercy." (Regal. and Pontific. vol. iii. p. 425.)

What does this infer but that we fall thereby from the inheritance of sons? In another place he says:

"This principle of the Regale begets a secular spirit in the Clergy,-eats out "the Evangelical spirit of Christian simplicity, the rappŋoía, the open and "fearless, but modest, zeal and courage in asserting the truths of the Gospel." "This and the Court air are two elements-the Evangelical spirit must be very deeply rooted, if the secular do not get the ascendency." (p. 372.) "Erastianism," says the same writer, "has run down like a torrent from the "Reformation; the Regale being then made (though very unjustly) the cha"racteristic against Popery and fanaticism, that being supposed the only barrier "against both." (p. 447.)

[ocr errors]

promise, by conciliation, and even by worse means and motives: all these explain the mode, humanly speaking, by which these chains, laid on our spiritual strength, were formed and riveted. And the same may be said of these things, as of some of the changes in the Liturgy, that, as they arose from a want of faith, so they brought with them judicial visitations in the withdrawal of higher means of grace. But what is to be observed is, that even these judicial punishments are, in the manifold ways of Divine wisdom, the best correctives of the evil, from which they proceed, and serve also as merciful protections in that lower state out of which they arise. For, although sins are visited on children's children in a temporal point of view, (Exod. xx. 5.) yet even those visitations may become beneficial to those children, in a spiritual sense, (Ezek. xviii. 3.) working for good to those that love God. This may be explained by a parallel instance in the Jewish history. From want of a high faith they did not cast out the old inhabitants of Canaan, and not consulting GOD (while His guiding voice was among them) they made a league with the Gibeonites. These Canaanites therefore continued to be "thorns in their side;" but still such scourges were benefits to them, for they served, thus remaining, to try and prove them; to show "what was in their heart, whether they would serve God or no." It was the oppression of their enemies that made them from time to time feel where their only strength was, and served to raise them up a deliverer.

But, without presuming to point out any thing so mysterious as the designs of the ALMIGHTY, whose ways are as much above our ways, and His thoughts, we are told, above our thoughts, as Heaven is above earth; yet I suppose that, looking to temporal governments only, without respect to the Church, it may be considered that there is some invariable rule of Providence in affording persons more or less liberty as they are able to bear it; that a tyrannical monarch, or any severe form of government is, in fact, nothing else but a certain necessary result of a people requiring such severity for their chastisement or protection. In the plague which was sent in consequence of David numbering the people, we see only, at first sight, the people visited for the

sin of the monarch, but on turning to the account in 2 Samuel xxiv. 1. we read "The anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah." We may conclude therefore, that the proverbial expression, contained in the words "delirant reges plectuntur Achivi," embraces but half the truth. For that both of these are in fact only certain effects, that the "delirant reges" is itself but a mode by which the "Achivi" are punished for their offences, or restrained from their lawlessness. That harsh rulers are set over others, humanly speaking, for their punishment, divinely, for their protection and cure; "which," says St. Basil, speaking of heavenly-imposed subjection, "a just estimator of "things would not call a judgment upon them, but their benefit. "For what can be more profitable for him, who, from want of "wisdom bath not in himself the power of governing, than that "he should be in the power of another: that, being directed by "the reason of a master, he may be like a chariot that hath "obtained a charioteer, or a vessel that hath a pilot sitting at the "helm." Thus, he says, was Esau made subject to Jacob; and Canaan to his brethren. And may not the same be the case with all states of worldly subjection and captivity, though we cannot ascertain its modification or extent? The effect may be as certain and invariable as the remedies which in natural things arise out of the evils that require them 1.

8. Such best suited to the condition of the Church. Now, if this the case with the kingdoms of the world, may it not be so in the kingdom of CHRIST also? Are there not in

1 Homer seems to allude to severe monarchs being thus a retributive mode of Providence. A tyrannical governor is imprecated as the natural consequence upon those who were wanting in affectionate loyalty to the paternal sway of Ulysses:

Μήτις ἔτι πρόφρων, ἀγανὸς, καὶ ἤπιος ἔστω
Σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεὺς, μηδὲ φρεσὶν αἴσιμα εἰδὼς,

̓Αλλ ̓ αἰεὶ χαλεπός τ ̓ εἴη, καὶ αἴσυλα ῥέζοι.

Ὣς οὔτις μέμνηται Οδυσσῆος θείοιο

Λαῶν, οἷσιν ἄνασσε, πατήρ δ ̓ ὡς ἤπιος ἦεν.---Hom. Odyss. b. ii. 230.

deed, at first sight, obvious indications that our want of freedom is not greater than our want of internal strength to govern ourselves? Is not the suspension of the powers of Convocation acquiesced in, as perhaps a lesser evil than their revival would

Have not the appointments of the State been, in general, no worse than those where an elective power has been exerted within the Church? Is not the usual appeal made to the public judgment, because there is not sufficient internal energy evinced to defy the world? These are not mentioned to justify or explain the case, but as some slight indications that are on the surface,— slight indications of Him whose footsteps are in the deep waters, -implying a controlling care which suits our external to our internal condition. If the power of the world has come in, not merely in open acts of aggression and interference, but, still more, by a subtle and secretly pervading influence, to actuate our conduct, may not our position be considered, in some sense, like that of the Jews, when they rejected the more immediate government of God, and requiring a King, received one in anger; by which their unruly and faithless dispositions were set under a more palpable and visible rein, in judgment, indeed, but also by a merciful provision to correct their disorders. If the first disciples, placed, as they were, in the most favoured condition as of sons, received that Spirit of adoption, and walked in that freedom, under the oppression of the world, which was at enmity with them, armed at all points with spiritual armour to encounter that enmity; may not the lowest position of a Christian be that in which there is an apparent friendship and league, when his arms are laid aside, and he receives the green withy bands as tokens of captivity; though perhaps laid asleep he perceives it not, and, from the arts of her that binds them, forgets that it is captivity. at all? And indeed may there not be something in the case of an Establishment, that necessarily implies feebleness in the Church? To have "Kings for her nursing-fathers," it has been observed, appears to denote feebleness, such as to require them; but of course it is for her sons, not for herself, that they are required. partial recoveries from this Edward's First Book is fol

The various fallings into, and state of servitude, are remarkable. VOL. V.-86.


lowed by tampering with foreign Protestants, with sacrilege and confiscation; the consequence is the Second Book, by which the highest Christian privileges are in a manner curtailed and impaired. This is followed by the purgatorial and judicial sufferings of Mary's reign, and another Book ensues in some slight degree restorative. Then succeed the sufferings of the Church with Charles the Martyr; and these are followed by the Review of the Services in 1662, still more decidedly re-instating: witness the Oblation introduced, the thanksgiving prayer, and many points of higher Church principle. After the changes of 1688, a heavier blow appears to be impending; but, as far as the Services go, it is averted, and the Church is left to reap, in other ways, the results of a false principle. The intended alterations of the Prayer Book after the expulsion of the Non-jurors, most happily and providentially for us, did not take place: the Convocation ceases, the apparent liberty of the Church is taken away; a course of external prosperity ensues, with a famine of the word, a slavish spirit witness the timidity of the Church, the desertion of her colonies', the acquiescence in heretical Bishops.

And these instances will serve to confirm, and illustrate, the conclusion to which the former argument would lead us; which is this, if it be the case, that, in temporal governments, for a people to seek for higher degrees of freedom, while they are unfit for them, is to contend against the wind, or to turn the course of the seasons; so also, in the Church, the only way to obtain higher privileges, higher degrees of grace, is to show ourselves worthy of them. If we show ourselves meet to receive them, then we shall have them restored to us; if we do not show ourselves meet to receive them, we shall not, but instead shall have our Candlestick removed.


9. Lessons of obedience the corrective to the tendencies of the age. And now we are naturally led by these remarks to the second

1 See Dr. Pusey's Sermons for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, p. 56.

« VorigeDoorgaan »