« PreviousContinue »
victions, might prove serviceable to pions of their faith. They erected the cause of Christ, he has published oratories near or over their tombs, it, retaining its original form of letters according to the ancient practice of from a father to his children, the heathen world; and the day of removing them from the Roman their death was set apart as a day of Catholic place of worship, and taking thanksgiving or feast. them to the Church of England.” • Though no doubt those days were Mr. Duval has prefaced that portion appointed merely to render thanks to of his work which details his reasons God for having strengthened his for abandoning the Church of Rome, Church by the example of his martyrs, by a view of the arguments for the the excitement which they causedexistence of a God and the truth of the recollection of the miraculous revelation, which we agree with the powers of Jesus Christ and his friend whose advice is mentioned in apostles, whose garments it had been the preface, in thinking he had better sufficient at times for men to touch, in omit, should his book reach a second order to be healed the belief that the edition.
blessed martys had received the same We now proceed to give some influence-all these considerations examples of the way in which Mr. D. worked upon the lively imagination of has handled his subject. He thus a people naturally inclined to believe sketches the origin of saint and relic in the miraculous interference of God worship in the Church.
even in the least matters: so the power
of healing diseases was insensibly “ That the practice was early in- attributed to those relics, which people troduced into the Christian Church, began to carry about them as a prethere cannot be the least doubt : but, servative against evil, as well as to the if antiquity was sufficient to sanction sacred body of the saint, deposited in error, we should never have known the shrine." truth, we should still be heathens, as our forefathers. The first traces of
Hear, also, his clear refutation of that veneration for the saints, which
the arguments of the Romish Church is carried to such an excess in the
in defence of the use of images in countries where the Roman Church
public and private worship :predominates, go up very likely near “But it is said, relics, images, and to the apostolic times, when a great statues are not worshipped; they are number of Pagans had already em- kept only to put us in remembrance braced the true faith. It is probably of Jesus Christ, and his saints, and co-eval with the first persecutions. to excite devotion, though that devoWhen the martyrs were dragged to tion is not directed to these objects. torture and to death, a great excite- “ The answer to this is : First, they ment naturally prevailed among the are an infraction of a most solemn members of the Christian community. and positive command, which no man All were eager to catch the last words who believes that the Scriptures were of these intrepid confessors of the given by inspiration of God, can faith, to ask for their last prayers and break without incurring the charge to preserve something which had be- of disobedience to the law of God, longed to them. Accordingly their who has said, “Thou shalt not make clothes were divided among the eager to thyself any graven image, nor the multitude : and as the martyrs were likeness of anything that is in heaven generally some of the principal men above, or in the earth beneath, or in among them, the greater was the de- the water under the earth. Thou sire of obtaining those precious re- shalt not bow down to them, nor mains or relics.
worship them. * These relics were at first kept as Second, affection is a feeling and a mere remembrance, just as an auto- not an operation of the intellect : it is graph or something which has be- blind : it does not reason. The object, longed to some great man, is kept at that moves it, must and does naturthis day. But men did not stop at ally absorb it: begin to reason, and this tender remembrance of the cham- the emotion vanishes. Look at the
little girl coaxing her doll, pressing ami,' cried he, you are mistaken, it to her bosom. The doll excites in for I know better than you, and have her the same emotion, which her had more opportunities of observing sister or mother would: and while the than you have. I have often seen feeling lasts, she loves her doll. Let some of my parishioners embrace the the most intellectual, the most spiritu- statue of a saint, and bestow upon it alized man, who is fond of praying be- the most lively marks of affection. fore an image, analyze his feelings, if he If I told one of them: “my friend do can, when he is really moved; he will you know what you are doing? this find that the image commands a much is a mere stone: you must not show greater share of them than he is so much affection to it." The answer aware of.
invariably was, Oh, I know, Mon“Besides images are consecrated : sieur L'Abbé, that this stone cannot crucifixes, &c. are blessed, have indul- hear me: but my prayers are directed gences attached to them, and are worn to the Saint, who is in heaven, whom as a preservative against evil. There this stone represents.” “So,' added must be a virtue in that consecration, the Abbé trimphantly, you see that or there is none. If there be none, they know very well what they are the consecration, the blessing, and about.' the aspersion of holy water, are an “No doubt they do, when they useless piece of mummery ; if there merely look on, or coldly reason with be any, then the image possesses a a stranger: but when the internal holy quality, which makes it resemble feeling of devotion is excited, the very much the statues or the little material object placed before their household gods of the Pagans. We eyes not only warms the devotion, accuse the ancients of having been but it entirely attracts and absorbs idolaters : if they were present among it: they cannot figure to themselves us, they would deny the charge. They any other object, but that which they would 'deny that the statuary or car- actually see. If we add to this, that ver had the power of making their looking on an image or statue, saying gods. These, they would say, only so many prayers before it, in various make the images, and when the postures, wearing a medal or crucifix, images have been duly consecrated by kissing them, pressing them to our our priests, the virtue, the spirit of bosoms, bowing our knees before the gods enters into them, and it is them, &c., are so many means recomthat virtue, it is that spirit that we mended and practised not only to exworship. Also the philosopher Olym- cite the mind to devotion, but to secure pus of Alexandria said to the Pagans and obtain the favour sought for; can under Theodosius, who had ordered we imagine any other ways of worship, the destruction of images : “The used by our heathen forefathers ? statues of the gods are but perishable Unless it be said that they believed that images, the eternal intelligences, the wood or stone was actually the which dwelt within them, have with- deity which they worshipped, and not drawn to the heavens.” It is very a representation of some invisible evident, that such must have been power.
Which I maintain is a foul their opinion, or else there would libel upon their common sense. Huhave been as many Jupiters, for in- man nature is the same in all ages stance, as there were statues which and countries." represented him. " A few years ago, I was telling my
Mr. D. thus exposes another falcountryman, Abbé S., (our old friend,
lacy: whom you still recollect,) one even- “But those who protest against ing that he slept at our house : Abbé, the superstitions and heresies of the
I have long been an iconoclast. If Church of Rome, are asked to shew I had the power of doing it, I would when and how all those abuses and remove from our churches all images errors of which they complain, sudand statues ; for they lead to so much denly overwhelmed the Church, which abuse, they absorb so much the feel. had been kept pure up to that period. ings of the people, that it is nothing Those who ask such questions, do short of idolatry,'— Halte lá, mon not attend to the progressive steps of
the human mind; for else, if truth it would seem impossible to avoid it. and not the triumph of party or of
The emissaries of the papacy are every preconceived opinions be their object, where at work. And of late their they would readily find an answer to labours, in this country at least, have their questions within themselves. In obtained a success which no one could every country, and under every clime, have anticipated at thecommencement it is not suddenly, like an avalanche, of the century. Romanism must be that manners and customs are intro- met-must be opposed-must be conduced and habits are formed. It is by quered, for the "weapons of our wardegrees that practices creep in among fare are not carnal, but mighty, individuals or small communities : through God, to the pulling down they extend further as the public of strongholds, casting down imaginaspirit becomes favourable to their re- tions, and every high thing that exalteth ception, and at last they become itself against the knowledge of God, national or general. What people and bringing into captivity every were ever more deeply rooted in their thought to the obedience of Christ." manners and religious superstitions Let us oppose Romanism by vital than the Hindoos are at the present Christianity—the crafty devices of day, or than they were two thousand men by the unerring word of Godyears ago? Yet can we doubt but the doctrine of the merits and interthose manners and superstitions must cession of saints by the doctrine of have been gradual, and were not all the prevailing mediation of a living, introduced at once? If the Brahmins sufficient, and tenderly sympathizing were to ask the Christians, who attack Saviour-and
soon through the whole those superstitions, to shew how those catalogue of Romish errors, placing errors which they wish to destroy, each truth in distinct contrast with suddenly overwhelmed the Indian its antagonist heresy. nation, they certainly could not do it, And, let the conflict come when yet they would not conclude from and how it may, we have nothing to their inability to bring such proofs as fear if only we stand true to our cause, the Brahmins required, that these are and commit the result to God. The divine institutions."
truth must prevail. Whatever tri
umphs the papacy be permitted to Before quitting the subject, we obtain, they will be but temporary. wish to reiterate the feelings which Our cause is the Lord's, and he at his we have expressed in our opening coming will establish it for ever. remarks. The Romish controversy Above all, let us exhibit to Roman is far from attracting that attention Catholics the spectacle not only of a from the English people which it purer faith, but also of corresponding, merits, and will one day command. holy, self-denying lives. Let us perHad the great principles, on which suade thein not merely by arguments, we are at issue with Rome, been but also by what has been called “ the placed as prominently before the visible rhetoric of a holy life.” Let us minds of the young men at our uni
make manifest to them the presence versities as they ought to be, and of the Spirit in our Church by his have been placed in former days, we powerful operations in the hearts, do not believe that the sad spectacle witnessed in the lives of its members. would be presented to Christendom, Let us strive to win them over to the of clergymen and laymen deserting truth as it is in Jesus, not by sinful the
pure fountain of the Holy Scrip- compromises, but by faithful exhibitures, the precious deposit of the tions in the spirit of love, and by dechurches of the Reformation, to drink vout and consistent demeanour. of the muddy pool of incongruous Let us remember that the life of traditions which Rome offers to her every professing Christian furnishes votaries.
an argument either to embrace or And, let it be borne in mind, as an shun the truth. Vital godliness avails inducement to an earnest study of the more in converting from error than controversy, that, in the present day, many syllogisms.
We have never changed our opinion abandon his conscientious objection regarding the Evangelical Alliance. to an established church; but we We have hailed it, from its first ap- have a right to expect that all bitterpearance, as a mighty engine for ness, and wrath, and clamour, and good, as it regards both its object evil-speaking should be put away by and its construction. We have re- the one as well as by the other; that garded it as a movement which the each should give the other credit Christian world specially stood in for conscientious principle; and that need of. The Lord's work through- where they cannot agree, they will at out the world can never be effectually all events agree to differ with mutual accomplished while they who ought consideration and tenderness. Hence to be carrying it forward are wasting it is our decided opinion, that the their time, and injuring their spirits, Evangelical Alliance is only valuable and, what is worst of all, provoking just so far as it effects this : and the Comforter to withdraw, with his consequently, that if it admits of a life-giving influences, by the jealou- dissenter being as loving and afsies and contentions to which they fectionate as possible in words and are yielding. Welcome, then, any professions at a meeting one day, project which contemplates the re- and the next day to be inveighing moval of such a fearful mischief. with the bitterest acrimony against But we repeat what we have said all establishments--perhaps speaking from the first, that the Evangelical of the Church of England as having Alliance will only prove a blessing to destroyed more souls than it has the world, just in proportion as it saved it just does nothing, or, leads me to reduce to practice, rather, worse than nothing; because uniformly, and consistently, and un- it gives a handle to the sceptic, and reservedly, the Scriptural rule, "For- holds forth our highest interests to bearing one another in love."
ridicule and contempt. We can never expect to be all of We ardently hope that the Evanone mind in the non-essentials of gelical Alliance will eventually prove religion, nor, under the present.dis- an atmosphere in which only the pensation, to get under the same ec- honest-hearted makers for peace and clesiastical enclosure and jurisdiction. unity can possibly exist; an atmosThere will be those who are consci- phere which will either melt, or disentiously churchmen, and those who perse the turbulent and stiff-necked. are conscientiously dissenters. There The Tractarian and the High is room enough for all, and work Churchman cannot possibly breathe enough for all, and the labours of all there, neither ought the furious and may be most usefully and success- rabid Dissenter to venture within its fully directed. But the grand thing precincts. wanted, is for the one to let the other Eventually, we fondly hope it will alone; for all to live in love and mu- become a blessed rallying point for tual forbearance. We cannot expect, all who are infinitely more concerned or for a moment require, a church- for the jewel than the casket—the man to be blind to what he considers kernel than the shell and the better the evils of dissent; nor have we a appreciated, perhaps, in the perilous right to expect that a dissenter should times which seem to be impending.
To the Editor of the Christian Guardian.
SIR,—I have perused with great in- tarianism at present assumes its most terest your well-merited strictures formidable aspect; and on this acupon Mr. Gresley's recent publica- count Mr. Gresley's pamphlet, if tion, “ The Real Danger of the undeserving of direct reply, yet merits Church.” A work so uncharitable attention, and supplies indeed abunand intolerant in its spirit, and sup- dant subject of remark as a note of ported by arguments so illogical, warning to the Church. In one recarries, I think, its own refutation spect, indeed, he deserves the thanks along with it; and might well be left even of those very men whom he to its own fate; and you have perhaps wishes to expel from her communion, honoured it too much by a refutation I mean for his plain speaking, and so elaborate. The petulant tone of for the anxiety he manifests to have Mr. Gresley's remarks indicates also the matter in dispute brought to a pretty clearly a consciousness that he speedy issue; an event much to be belongs to a falling party, and so far desired, for undoubtedly there must supplies in itself a triumph to his be danger to the Church from such opponents. And such, indeed, would unhappy dissensions as those by which appear to be the fact. Tractarianism she has now for many years been disis, in its original characteristic fea- tracted. Quiet separation (call it tures, as a theological system, evi- schism if you please,) is less pernicious dently declining. It is otherwise, in its consequences, and indeed less however, with respect to its conse- criminal in itself than deep-rooted quences. Several of its earliest and aversion, and angry recrimination, most influential promoters have al- existing among those who profess to ready joined, and others are likely ere be one body in Christ; and than such long to join, the ranks of Romanism; an exposure of the feeble influence of and thus to supply to that grand Christian principle over the hearts and apostacy such an accession of influ- tempers of its professors, as a contest ence and authority, as the proselytism of this kind generally exhibits to the of distinguished men always confers. world. But this result is as nothing, when “The Real Danger of the Church.” compared with that widely-spread How suggestive is this title at the spirit of formalism with which it has present moment of the Church's hisinfected the Church itself; and espe- tory; and how pitiful the use which cially the younger and more serious- Mr. Gresley has made of his subject ! minded portion of the clergy, who What folly to point it as a dagger to might otherwise have been expected the breast of those whom in common to unite themselves with the Evan- charity he ought to acknowledge as gelical party. This formalism, which fellow-labourers in the Gospel. Surely has also adulterated, to a great ex- he ought to know that all the energy tent, the juvenile religious literature of the Church's champions is needed of the day, is even more to be dreaded to repel the attacks of her internal and than Popery itself. It is more sub- ostensible, but yet insidious foes ;versive of earnest and heartfelt piety, that the powers of darkness are in because it possesses less fervour. It array against her; and gaining strength is more insidious, because it is appa- and courage by every symptom of rently more rational.
It is more
dissension and weakness within her likely to be permanent, because it walls. Let not the professed soldiers requires less of self-sacrifice, and pro- of the cross fight with one another, vokes neither the contempt nor the
and so become an easy prey to the opposition of the world ; and it is, common enemy. Let them admonish moreover, eminently congenial to the one another indeed, with all fidelity, natural indolence of human nature. but war only with the common foe : It is in this point of view that Trac- here is a contest worthy of the courage