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“ It is proposed to notice the leading errors of Death-bed Scenes under the following_heads-Justification, Repentance, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and · Evangelical Clergy' (under the author's head of Proselytism'), with further remarks on less important points.” Strictures, pp. 1-6.
We purpose, in another number, following the author through these different heads of discussion. They are unspeakably important, not merely as regards this book, or the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, or even the Church of England, but as involving the essential doctrines of the Gospel of our Redeemer. We augur much benefit from a serious consideration of the great questions arising out of such an inquiry, if only it be conducted in a Christian spirit, and with that mutual forbearance and respect which become members of the same church, and professed followers of the same Divine Master. On former occasions, of somewhat similar discussions, arising out of the Bible-Society controversy, the Baptismal controversy, the Antinomian controversy, and various others, much solid benefit remained after the strife had passed away. The noise of the flail, the whirl of the fan, and the dust of the chaff, were not agreeable; but the wheat was found clean and well sifted after the operation was over. We believe that much of the revival of pure Scriptural doctrine in our Church during the last quarter of a century, has originated in these discussions. Many laymen, and even clergymen, who before had never considered such questions, were led to apply their minds to them, and by the blessing of God discovered the Pearl of Great Price, when they were thinking of little more than of collecting shining pebbles. As a proof of the advance in Scriptural knowledge, we need only refer to the very first doctrine alluded to by the author of the Strictures”—justification through faith only. In our early volumes we had occasion again and again to prove this doctrine systematically ; whereas now, what clergyman, in words at least, ventures to deny it? In arguing with not a few of the members of the Society twenty or thirty years ago, we were obliged to begin with the beginning; and we should have had in the present instance to shew, not only that this book impugns the doctrine, but that it ought not to do so. Now our task is easier ; for if we can shew that the book does impugn that article of a standing or falling church, we shall not need more to shew that it ought not to remain on the catalogue of a Society for promoting Christian Knowledge ; for we doubt whether any accredited member of the Society would, either in his place or in print, assert that men are to be justified, in part or in whole, by their works. Muddy statements are common enough ; but few men now venture to take up the naked proposition. Surely this is no slight advance; and the same may be said of other points of doctrine and practice arising out of the discussion ; which may God over-rule to His own glory and the setting forth of His Truth*.
(To be continued.)
• While this article is passing through the press we have learned, what we were not aware of before, that, by a resolution of the Standing Committee on the 10th of June, the “Death-bed Scenes” has been withdrawn from the list of the Society. This intelligence strengthens all that we have above stated, relative to our conviction of the wish of the Society to improve its catalogue, and to listen with candour to any wellfounded and temperately urged objection which may be brought to its notice against any of its publications. This withdrawal will relieve us of some of the embarrassment which we felt in commencing the present argument, as the important questions involved in it will be divested of any unnecessary associations. We may take this occasion to remark, that we have felt much pain at some things in the controversy in the Record newspaper respecting another of the Society's works_or, more properly, a work of the Committee of Literature—the Bible Lesson Book. We think the book very ill-judged and ill compiled—(we believe it is the production of a lady, who strung the passages together as she thought best for nursery reading, but with no view of a systematic rejection or mutilation of the sacred text)—but the conduct of the Society in regard to it Seads us to the very contrary opinion to that expressed in the Record, that the members
should throw up their subscriptions. On the contrary, we see in all that bas passed relating to that little book additional reason why every friend of piety and of the Church of England should enrol himself among its members. Nothing could be more candid and Christian than the spirit displayed by the members of the Committee of Literature, in listening to objections, and expressing their wish to correct every defect. But more of this, if necessary, hereafter.
We ought to have remarked above, that Death-bed Scenes is not on the Society's regular list, but only on the Supplemental Catalogue. It bas, therefore, not undergone the Society's scrutiny, or been proposed or balloted for at the Monthly Board. Had it been proposed for the regular list, it must have been recommended in a strict form, and its merits been fully discussed; and some member would probably have objected to it, and, if his objections were valid, prevented its admission. Our own readers were aware of the character of the book, from our review of it, long before it was taken up by the Standing Committee. The members in general could know nothing of its insertion till they found it in their Annual Report.
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
NEVER, since the commencement of our positions are abstractedly true, but they are labours, has a passing month presented to relatively false ; for God works by means, us more topics of public importance, and no man can open bis Bible without especially to a Christian Observer, than seeing that not the least of those means is the present. There are those indeed who the conduct of legislation. The objector's turn with apathy from all such matters; argument goes in effect, and often practiwho, if urged to lend their attention to cally also, much further,—to an indifferquestions of great interest to the morals, ence to objects more directly religious, and religion, and general welfare of mankind, to a distaste especially for the operations coolly reply, that “they never meddle of Bible, Missionary, and Education Sowith 'politics;” thus veiling the absence of cieties, and the whole machinery of an enlarged spirit of Christian patriotism enlightened benevolence. The man who and philanthropy under the plea of finds himself becoming indifferent to such abstaining from the petty litigations of matters, instead of priding himself upon political party. Let the Christian avoid his increased spirituality, had better take vain and secular janglings as much as he shame to himself, if not as a loiterer in his is able ; but we pity the heart and the Lord's vineyard, at least as a discourager head of any man, especially a clergyman, of those who feel it their duty to labour who-when addressed upon the duty he in a portion of it for which he has no owes to God and his country in regard to predilection. such momentous topics as Ecclesiastical Reform; the abolition of the anti-Chris- The Inish CHURCH REFORM Bill has tian system of West-India slavery; the received considerable modifications, which strengthening of the laws for the better tend greatly to its improvement. In observance of the Sabbath; the moral, stating the outlines of the proposed measocial, and spiritual welfare of a hundred sure when it was first announced, we ex, millions of our fellow-men in India ; and pressed much satisfaction at several of its many other pressing subjects, involving provisions, but objected strongly to the taxthe glory of God and the bappiness of ation of the existing race of incumbents, mankind—can affect to stigmatize such the abolition of twelve bishopricks, and the considerations under the abused name of spoliatory alienation of church property “politics," wrapping himself up in his from its proper objects, as proposed in the own little selfish circle, perhaps with a viruual sale of episcopal lands, and devoting sneer at his friend's anxiety; replying, that only an annuity to the see. We are he himself is chiefly concerned about happy to say that this last proposition is spiritual things; that he leaves the pot. abandoned, and that no part of the church sherds of the earth to strive with the property is to be diverted to state purpotsherds of the earth; that it is God poses. This concession involves a most who alone can amend a wicked world; important doctrine ; for if three millions that as for legislation, he places no faith in of ecclesiastical revenue were thus seized, it ; that you cannot make men religious by and appropriated either to paying the Act of Parliament; that legislation on Roman Catholic priesthood, or Church Reform and Sabbath Observance is pauperize the poor, or to the new scheme of little consequence, with inuch more to of what is incorrectly called “neutral” the same effect; and which we venture to Education, there is no impediment in point designate as the veriest slang of a narrow of principle to abolishing the Protestant mind and an unfeeling heart. The pro- Church polity altogether, and restoring CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 379.
the legislative domination of Popery. We are glad to add, in connexion with Most heartily do we rejoice at this Irish Church matters, that the arrears of amendment, more especially as it is under- tithes of the last three years are to be stood as being likely to prevent the rejec- commuted for a land tax; so that, as the tion of the Bill in the House of Lords, law of last session, which imposes the which might have led to very alarming payment on the land-owner and not the conflicts. We are thankful also that the tenant, comes into operation next Nounjust scheme of taxing the present race vember, there will be an end, we trust, of incumbents is relinquished; and that to this fruitful source of parochial bickerthe scale of taxation future incumbents ing and clerical unpopularity. The clergy is to commence from 3001. per annum, sacrifice something by the measure ; but instead of 2001. ; though we cannot wholly there was only a choice of evils, and peace abandon(notwithstanding such high autho- and spiritual usefulness were well worth rities as Dr. Burton, and
many other zeal. even larger concessions. Upon the whole, ous Churchmen) our original scruples as to therefore, we are well pleased with the the justice of taxing one benefice to aug- chief provisions of the Irish Church Rement another. We hope that the abolition form bills as they now stand, and conof so many sees may yet be dispensed with. scientiously believe that they will tend to Mr. Shaw, speaking, he intimated, as the the promotion of Protestantism and true authorized organ of the Irish Church, libe- religion in that long-agitated island. The rally offered to reduce the sees to 40001. per plan proposed by Mr. Shaw in the name annum, but retaining their present number. of the Irish Church would, however, This had been a most salutary arrangement, greatly improve the scheme, and we trust especially as striking at the root of epis- will yet be adopted. copal translations, which, though occasionally desirable, is in its present extent We rejoice to say that the ANTI-SLAVERY one of the greatest practical evils of the PROPOSITIONS OF GOVERNMENT have also present system. The staff of the Church been considerably modified, so as greatly would thus be kept up, and Protestantism to improve them. The scheme to which be prepared to spread its blessed influences we so strongly objected, of mulcting the over the land, if it shall please God, as we slave to pay the interest of the loan to trust he will, eventually to cause His bis employer, and making him work out truth to triumph in the hearts of inen his freedom, when he is rather entitled uver the errors of Popery: Lord Althorp to compensation for the abreption of his unhappily ridiculed the idea of a bishop liberty, is, we rejoice to say, abandoned. with only twenty or thirty parishes under He is, however, to be an apprentice for a his care as an absurdity and " a scandal.” period not exceeding twelve years, and to If his Lordship had perused the records work three-fourths of his time under of Christian antiquity he would find that compulsion, and not for wages. This this scandal is of very ancient date ; and part of the measure we still consider to that the modern notions of wealth, rank, be unjust, impolitic, and impracticable ; and political power, which are currently and we trust it will even yet be amended. connected with the episcopate, do not be- We object to it upon principle; but, in long to its essence. A venerable cler- point of fact, we are not greatly alarmed gyman raised to preside in the Lord over at it, as the other parts of the plan, we fifty of his brethren, and to regulate the are persuaded, will render it the interest spiritual affairs of the large district which of all parties to abridge the term of inwould be formed by thirty Irish rural voluntary servitude, and to make the parishes, would be no unpleasing spec. slave wholly free with very little delay. tacle of primitive episcopacy ; and we As for the twenty millions of money may say this with the less offence to any proposed to be given to the slave-owners, man, because our own views do not ex- under the name of compensation, though tend, like those of some excellent friends it far exceeds any loss that we believe of the Church, to the expulsion of Bishops will ultimately attach to the abolition of from the House of Lords ; and because slavery, yet it is a mere trifle, in our we believe, that, though a bishop of thirty view, compared with the safe and satisparishes would be a bishop still, and that factory abandonment of this wicked and the spiritual dignity would not be lowered impolitic system ; and as its payment by the absence of splendid revenues, and is made to depend upon the good faith that the clergy and their flocks would be and active co-operation of the colonists greatly benefited by his constant resi- themselves, we are well satisfied in hav. dence and minute inspection and godly ing such a pledge for their right conmonitions, yet that, if our Bishops will do duct, and for the consequent prevention their duty in their present high political of much possible strife, expense, and even station, they may be eminently useful in bloodshed. Upon the whole, we feel the promotion of true religion, and all its abundantly satisfied with the progress of blessed fruits, by their power and influ- this great question, and we have no doubt ence ; more especially as there is now no that all the minor difficulties will be reaConvocation of the clergy for legislative dily made to yield. Both Houses of Parbusiness.
liament have unanimously resolved that
West-Indian slavery shall cease; and we and the extension of religion, directly may add, that this decision has given the among the Europeans, and ultimately death-blow to slavery tbroughout the among the natives; and we shall probably world; for it cannot after this last much have occasion again to advert to this imlonger in the United States or any where portant subject; but for the present we else. Thus has Justice, thus has Chris. feel satisfied, from the spirit displayed in tian principle, thus bas Humanity, tri- these proposals, in connexion, we might umphed over ill-understood sordid interest add, with the well-reasoned and excellent and false expediency. To the Author of dispatch sent out for the abrogation of the every good gift alone be the glory of this Pilgrim Tax, that the India Board will blessed consummation. The details we not be insensible to whatever can be proshall watch with interest ; but we thank perly effected for improving the condition God the principle is conceded ; and that of India. The documents quoted by Mr. the only question now is, to get rid of Grant in proof of the rapidly advancing the atrocity in the best manner. For state of native society are peculiarly ourselves, we willingly bear all the ill-will valuable; and we cannot forbear concluding and obloquy we have sustained for our our remarks with the following statement feeble efforts in this great cause of jus. by the Governor-General, Lord William tice and religion, and this at a time when Bentinck. His Lordship says: we stood almost single-handed among the “Recent events, and the occurrences periodical publications of the land ; nor now passing under our eyes, still more are we at all concerned that some even of clearly justify the persuasion, that whatour clerical readers threw up, if they did ever change would be beneficial for our not burn, their copies of our lucubrations, native subjects, we may bope to see adoptand did all in their power to impede their ed, in part at least, at no distant period, circulation. These things pass away, just if adequate means and motives be preas will our alleged clerical unpopularity at sented. I need scarcely mention the this moment in the matter of Church increasing demand which almost all who Reform ; and we unfeignedly rejoice that possess the means evince for various ara sound principle should eventually tri- ticles of convenience and luxury, purely umph, even though some of its early European. It is in many cases very reabettors should have suffered in the con markable. Even in the celebration of test.
their most sacred festivals, a great change
is said to be perceptible in Calcutta. Much While on the subject of congratulations of what used, in old times, to be distriwe must not omit to notice the proposed buted among beggars and Brahmins, is now PLANS RESPECTING INDIA, though, having in many instances devoted to the osten. already adverted to some of them in another tatious entertainment of Europeans; and part of our present number, we shall not generally the amount expended in useless at present go into any detail. Mr. Grant, alms is stated to have been greatly curin a speech of extraordinary interest, bas tailed. The complete and cordial cosketched the chief features of the intended operation of the native gentry in promoting measures, and both Houses of Parliament education and in furthering other objects have consented to them. The commerce of public utility; the astonishing progress with China is to be thrown open to the which a large body of Hindoo youth bas public; the East-India Company are to made in the acquisitions of the English continue for twenty years the rulers of language, literature, and science; the deIndia; all offices and employments are to gree in which they have conquered prebe thrown open to all persons, of every judices that might otherwise have been class and colour, without any distinction deemed the most inveterate, (the students but good conduct and public services; in the medical class of the Hindoo College equal laws and justice are to be admini- under Dr. Tytler, as well as in the medical stered to all, and as much as possible native school under Dr. Breton, in which upon one general system, the European there are pupils of the highest castes, are and the Native having the same privileges, said to dissect animals, and freely to and being subject to the same regulations handle the bones of a human skeleton); and punishments. There is to be a new the freedom and the talent with which, in presidency for the Western Provinces : many of the essays we lately bad exhibited two suffragan Bishops are to be appointed to us, old customs are discussed; the to assist the Bishop of Calcutta : and the anxiety evinced at Delhi and at Agra, and country is to be thrown open to coloniza elsewhere, for the means of instruction in tion; any person being allowed to settle the English language; the readiness every and remain there, and to trade and pur- where shewn to profit by such means of chase land, subject only to the restrictions instruction as we have afforded; the faciof such laws as are necessary for the lity with which the natives have adapted benefit of all. Much public gratitude is themselves to new rules and institutions ; due to Mr. Grant for these wise and the extent to which they have entered into liberal propositions. We think that some new speculations after the example of our other large and useful plans might be countrymen; the spirit with which many devised, for the promotion of education are said to be now prosecuting that
branch of manufacture indigo) which ministered with less gravity, with less has alone as yet been fully opened to impressiveness, with less decorousness of British enterprise; the mutual confidence manner, than it was in this country. The which Europeans and Natives evince in effect of the system had been well and their transactions as merchants and bank- truly described by Dr. Paley, who observed ers: these, and other circumstances, that the obscure and elliptical form, leave in my mind no doubt that our together with the levity and frequency native subjects would profit largely by a with which oaths are administered, have more general intercourse with intelligent brought about a general inadvertency to and respectable Europeans, and would the obligation of them.' Dr. Paley alluded promptly recognise the advantage of it.”
especially to the customs, and to the
qualifications of petty officers; in both We have not space at present to advert these cases a man could not proceed to all the important measures now before without taking half-a-dozen oaths; and Parliament, but hope during the recess to he contended that they ought to abstain discuss several of them more at large, from calling into requisition the sacred particularly one very momentous topic, sanction of an oath, except on the most which has already occupied many of our important occasions. There were two pages-the multiPLICITY OF Oaths in this species of oaths — assertory oaths and country. The Bishop of London has promissory oaths. Assertory oaths were given notice of a motion on the subject, necessary for the discovery and punishwhich we feel persuaded will eventually ment of offences; whilst promissory oaths lead to a legislative revision of the whole were not only not necessary, but were, in system. We abstain from the discussion truth, productive of the worst effects. of the question at present; but we copy To this subject Dr. Paley had called the from the newspapers the following report attention of the public more than forty of his Lordship's speech. It contains years ago. The 'Bill brought in by the the seeds of many things; and we rejoice Noble Marquis to whom he had before to find that his Lordship’s proposition alluded, had done away with the necessity has been hailed with gratitude throughout for taking 10,000 oaths in a year, but still the land. We earnestly trust that our much of the evil remained. The municipal Universities will set the example of oaths ought to be revised ; nine-tenths of reform, in a matter so closely connected them might, he was of opinion, be done with the reverence due to God, and the away with, and a simple declaration introconscience and morals of the country. It duced in their place. This very serious would be much to their honour, and to question had been pressed on the attention the just esteem of the Church of England, of the British people long before the time if, when the general inquiry comes on in of Dr. Paley. 'It had been forcibly taken Parliament, it shall be found that Oxford,
up by one of the most virtuous, learned, Cambridge, and Trinity College (Dublin), and eloquent men that ever adorned the have done all that was within their compe- Protestant Church, -he alluded to Bishop tency to correct the evil as regards their Jeremy Taylor. It was a subject well own jurisdiction, and had only stopped worthy of grave consideration; and in the short where the authority of public legis- next session of Parliament, if his life were lation is necessary to enable them to
so long spared, he would call the attention effect their object. The report of his of the House to it, unless it were taken up Lordship's speech is as follows.- by some noble Lord more competent than
“ The Bishop of London wished to he was to undertake the task. The conoffer a few observations on the subject of sideration of this subject ought, in his oaths in general, as they were administered opinion, to be intrusted to a select Comin this country. It was a matter of very mittee, or to a Royal Commission. He great importance both in a religious and would here refer to another class of oaths, moral point of view, and he was extremely which appeared to bim to be liable to sorry that the attention of the Legislature great objection - he adverted to the oaths had not been more directly called to it. taken in universities and schools. He A Bill had been brought in about two felt that to administer an oath to a young years ago by the Lord President of the
man, not of full age, except in cases where Council, which in some degree lessened truth was judicially sought, was very obthe evil to which he was adverting. He jectionable. Certainly, promissory oaths thanked the Noble Lord for that measure, should not be exacted from them. He because any measure which tended to now publicly expressed a hope that, as diminish the taking of a great number of this subject had been taken up in one of oaths was a public benefit. He could their universities, it would as soon as assure their Lordships, that there was a possible be entertained by the Legislature, strong feeling on this subject amongst the who ought to inquire how far it was conreligious part of the community in this sistent with sound religion and right prin. country. He did not think that he was ciples to enforce on young men, not of going too far when he said, that there was age, an obligation for the observance of no country in the world in which this most duties the performance of which might be solemn and sacred obligation was ad- exacted by casier means."