« PreviousContinue »
of the bravest, and the energy of the tory, as in those which, though more most powerful, and an enterprise remote, are likely to be permanent; moreover sure of ultimate success; for it is thus only that we can hope for if the Church be only true to her- to provide that specific antidote which self, the gates of hell shall never pre- the case really requires. vail against her.
Again, it has been too common to If I may be permitted, Sir, to tres- consider Puseyism in its connection pass briefly upon the pages of one or with superstition only, and as the two future numbers of the Christian pioneer of Popery; it is, however, Guardian, I shall be glad to avail rather as allied to infidelity that it myself of the opportunity of making assumes the most alarming character, a few observations upon topics con- It is impossible to peruse the earlier nected with this important subject, writings of some of its first and most which have hitherto, I think, been too influential promoters,* without obmuch overlooked. Tractarianism has serving how close was this connection been considered too exclusively as a in the early period of its development, mere theoretical system, which may
and to the last it is to be feared this be encountered and demolished by alliance will continue. To unbelief it the mere exposure and refutation of owed its birth, and, if timely remedy those palpable and prominent fallacies be not provided, it is to be feared by which it is characterized. But that infidelity may be again indebted this, Sir, is not enough. The experi- to it for renewed vigour, if not for a ment has been tried, and has failed. new existence. The alliance of mysThe system has been logically refuted ticism and scepticism, always intimate, over and over again ; and yet it lives, is eminently so whenever the evidences and the vitality and vigour of its of religion are more immediately in nature is little impaired. It is indeed question. The real effect of every an exemplification of the truth that attempt made to exalt the authority religion is, in all its forms, a practical of the writings of what is called Cathing, and that to enable it to take
uity, must be to lower root and fix itself in the heart, it re- that of the apostolical records. The quires but little the aid of mere opi- argument of the Tractarians with us nion. No, Sir, Puseyism is too re- is an argument ad verecundiam, and mote in its origin, and too congenial goes to prove that the evidence is, in in its nature to the depraved inclina- both cases, identical.
It destroys, tions of the human heart, and conse- in fact, the exclusiveness of the eviquently likely to be too permanent in dence in favour of the inspiration and its results, to be so cursorily treated. consequent infallibility of Scripture; We are thus only lopping the bran- and if deprived of this exclusiveness, ches, and strengthening the root. what has it left? I am speaking, of
While the multitude, then, are satis- course, of the external evidences of fied to contend about rites and dogmas, Christianity. The experienced beand other prominent but less impor- liever, doubtless, possesses
other tant features of the system, let those proof, peculiar to himself, of the who perceive the real importance of the genuineness of the faith which he promatter at issue, look more deeply to the fesses; but, as regards the world in groundwork upon which it rests. It general, the great bulwark of Chrisis the remark, I believe, of Lord Coke, tianity is undoubtedly the historical that “to trace an error to its fountain evidence which we possess of the head, is to refute it.” Such an inves- authenticity and genuineness of the tigation is, notwithstanding all that sacred Scriptures. If this be done has been already said upon the sub- away with, the very groundwork of iect, greatly needed in the present Protestantism is destroyed; and then
But, above all, in order effec- how feeble the only substitute that tually to stem the tide which is still remains to the world in the boasted flowing onward and onward, from this polluted source, we must view
* I allude more particularly to Fronde's
“Remains," and Pusey's History of the question, not so much in its im
the Rise and Progress of Rationalism mediate results, which are but transi- in Germany,” published about 1830.
infallibility of the Church! And will permit the insertion of this paper when we reflect how much of truth in the Christian Guardian, perhaps there is in the remark, that “the pre- some one more competent than mysent is an age destitute of faith, and self to an adequate elucidation of the yet dreading scepticism,” it is awful subject, may be induced to underto contemplate what may be the result take it. of any unhallowed tampering with One word more as to the spirit this bulwark of the world's belief ; and temper which it behoves us, as and fearful, indeed, is the responsi- Evangelical Christians, to manifest tobility of those to whose guardianship wards our erring brethren in this unthis divine light has been entrusted, happy controversy, and I have done. to preserve it pure and undiminished, Let us not be provoked by any inin a state of society so critical and vectives on their part, nor even by perilous.
threats of expulsion, into angry reOnce more, the author of all error crimination or uncharitable censure. and delusion, the father of lies, well
Let it not be so much our aim to meaknows that, without some admixture sure our strength with them as a party, of truth, his impositions would never but rather to win them over to better gain ground extensively among man- things by the manifestation of a spirit kind. Hence it seldom happens that of meekness, forbearance, and broany system becomes generally preva- therly kindness, on our own part. lent, without containing some im- Let us, moreover, seek for ourselves, portant, and perhaps long-neglected by watchfulness and prayer, an intruth. Of this circumstance it is crease of spirituality, earnestness, and most needful that we should avail devotion; for, until this is done, we ourselves; and that we should en- can scarcely hope that our efforts to deavour to distinguish, and to sepa- stay the plague will be honoured with rate, the pure metal from the dross. success. Whenever errors and here. The principal reason why errors, once sies are permitted to assail us, we refuted and suppressed, have so often ought to view them as judgments reappeared, perhaps under another upon us for our past unfaithfulness. shape and name, but in substance the And I am sure that, in looking back, same, is, that they have been con- we shall perceive abundant reason for demned without discrimination. The self-reproach and humiliation; and corn has been rejected, and committed great cause to acknowledge the justice to the flames, along with the chaff; of the Almighty in permitting us to truth and error alike repudiated. But be visited with the tokens of his intruth, when so treated, will, by its dignation. Let us not forget to enown intrinsic worth, sooner or later quire how much of the essential spirit gain the ascendant again, and become of Tractarianism may exist within the the more firmly established from the pale even of evangelical profession; very injustice of its suppression; and and at best how flimsy and superficial the error with which it was associated, it is, as fashionably prevalent in the never having been exposed in its naked present day, when compared with the deformity, will reappear at the same deep-seated, and earnest piety of a time, and participate in its increased Leighton or a Newton. These contriumph.
siderations ought to induce a spirit of Under these several heads, Sir, the deep contrition, and great meekness subject of Mr. Gresley's pamphlet of carriage towards those who, howmay suggest ample materials for ever they may be in error, have mani. profitable reflection and discussion; fested an earnestness and deadness and may naturally lead, amongst to the world well deserving of imitaother practical questions, to an accu- tion. But how little of this, or rather rate estimate of the position which each how much of the very opposite spirit, of the contending parties at present has been apparent in the writings of occupies with reference to the Church the Evangelical party since the first to which they both profess to belong, commencement of the Tractarian conand more particularly as it regards troversy! Self-justifying and dogthe Baptismal question. And, if you matic, they have exhibited not a little
of that exclusiveness and intoler- that ever engaged in theological conance (the very essence of Popery,) troversy. This spirit of meekness, which they so justly condemn in their combined with untiring patience in opponents. It were easy to mention instructing those who oppose themat least one special organ of the selves, will generally in the end preEvangelical party as an exemplifica- vail; and this is the course which all tion of my remark; but it is enough true friends of the Church should adopt to condemn the thing. Far better at the present time; holding the truth were it to imitate the spirit in which in love, forbearing controversy, and the Evangelical Newton disputed with yet in meekness instructing those that the (in one sense) Tractarian Scott,
oppose themselves. and eventually won over to the truth Í remain, Sir, respectfully yours, one of the most untractable spirits
POPERY AND TRACTARIANISM.
To the Editor of the Christian Guardian.
REVEREND SIR,- It was with much who would undertake the proper
displeasure that I perused the articles tribution of such reports, &c., as on the subjects of Popery and Trac- might be issued. Juvenile associatarianism in the June number of the tions should be especially encouraged, Christian Guardian. With the writer because if the young are engaged in of the article signed “A Protestant," the work, we may anticipate a conI feel convinced of the necessity of a tinued and steady resistance. Popery systematic and bold exertion of Pro- will not be at once baffled, one victory testants to withstand the growing evil, will not terminate the conflict;although ere it is too late. Allow me to suggest, repulsed it will re-collect its forces, a useful hint might possibly be taken gain experience from its reverses, be from the plans which have beenadopted reinforced from head-quarters, and by the Roman Catholics. I refer to will make redoubled efforts to effect its the following extract, contained in the purpose, efforts which nothing but a article entitled “The Progress of Po- steady and uncompromising struggle pery:"-" The bond of union among can resist. I have no doubt but that the members is simply to recite a these remarks will be met by the short prayer every day, and to sub- assertion that a society for promoting scribe a halfpenny a-week to the funds the principles of the Reformation is of the Society." Could anything be at present in existence. I should be better adapted for universal exertion? glad to see this institution more Let a society be formed for taking generally supported, but still entersuch measures as shall be deemed, tain doubts as to its being adapted upon due deliberation, most efficient. to the present crisis. No one need Let branches be established in every discontinue his subscription to the town and village in England. Surely above-named society on becoming a persons might be found in the small
weekly contributor to the one in conest communities, who would be will templation. ing to collect these pence from all
DELTA. who were willing to contribute, and
FAMINE IN IRELAND. The accounts from Ireland are heart- as soon as the weather gets mild. rending. We have received letter For the last eighteen months, we had upon letter each outvying the other little or no access to the converts. A in its catalogue of horrors. We very great change has evidently taken shall not harrow up our readers' feel- place, so that no regard whatsoever ings by the perusal of them; enough is paid by them to the cursing of appears in the public papers and else- the priests. I can speak on the subwhere, to excite the fullest sympathy ject of religion to almost every one and most active benevolence.
I meet; and I now find the people But dismal as the statements are, willing to be instructed, and to admit light is breaking through the gloom. their ignorance of religion. May the There is reason to hope that this Lord enable us to go on with steadiawful calamity will be overruled by ness and perseverance, and may he the good providence of God, to the continue to acknowledge and bless giving a deadly blow to the power of the labour of his servants. We have Popery over poor, unhappy Ireland. reason to believe he has been with
We give a few extracts from our us, otherwise we could not stand letters, bearing upon this all-import- against the very powerful attempts ant point:
that were made to put us down. I “The accounts from Achill are am now convinced that nothing can most cheering. Four fresh Scrip- put down the work so successfully ture readers required; the schools carried on hitherto. Many here are crowded—all enquiring the way to made happy by the reading and hearZion, and the priest's influence com- ing of God's word, and through grace pletely at an end.” Again, “The enabled to rest on Christ our Sapriests are now silent. They will not viour and on his finished work. The help, and can say nothing against conduct of the priests, in these times those who do. Persecution is sus- of extreme suffering, has tended very pended, affliction and misery have much to alienate their affections from opened a wide door: hundreds are them. The distress and suffering flocking to the church. Oh! to be here from want of food, is far greater thankful, and humbled, and prayerful. than I could describe. The people No creature seems to know where it are literally starving, and dying very can end; and what is to be done? fast. I know some converts here Tipperary, where the firearms are living on one meal in twenty-four being purchased, is comparatively hours, and they are considered by rich; but where the judgment is some well off. I am much afraid sorest, the Spirit of grace seems that things will become worse. All poured out."
agricultural pursuits are laid aside, Here is another letter from a dif- except by a few independent farmers, ferent quarter:
so that no provision will be made for Kealmalhudad, Dec. 11.
next year. Men's hearts are failing them.
“P. CONNOR.” "I am happy to be able to tell you, that exclusive dealing and every
Ballybunion, Dec. 7, 1846. other sort of persecution has ceased “ I am sure you will be anxious through all this district, and the work to hear something of the good work going on prosperously. The school going on here. It is true that Ireand congregation here have increased land has lost nearly all her support, lately. There are now twenty con- by the good will (not pleasure) of the vert families, averaging five in each Almighty. That is a great loss; but family, and the school attended by what matter about the potatoes, if between thirty or forty children. only one soul will be saved. My We expect it to increase very much opinion is, that thousands of my
dear countrymen will be benefitted lishing peace to the captives, and this very year. The poor Romanists light to those that are in darkness." are calling on Protestants to teach Lastly, how cheering to read such them, as well as support them. They accounts as the following from Ven. do not wish to mention the name of try: O'Connell or the priests; that is a "The general impression of the great change, particularly in this people seems to be, that this visitaparish. The Roman Catholics have tion from the Lord is a judgment on put some of their own creed off the the land forthe denunciations of priests Board of Works, and appointed Pro- from Sabbath to Sabbath, for no testants; among the rest, they have reason but for reading or hearing the called on me. That is a change; word of God in their own native and they told the priest, if he said tongue. Before the inspection (of a word, to let him mark the conse- Irish schools,) was over, I could read quences. That is a change.
the Bible in many houses where I “The late storm had driven into durst not put my head under their this harbour two ships. One became a roof for the last three years.” Then, total wreck. The cargo was plun- after a touching picture of the disdered by the country people; it was tress of the people—“Many who all flour. You will be glad to hear have long been convinced of the that none of the converts put their errors of Popery, have come out and hands to anything; not even those joined our church. I think, before that are reading the Bible, and have one month is over, hundreds will not yet gone to church.
join our church, whatever their moday I visited a convert family: the tives may be; but we are happy to woman of the house told me her have them under the sound of the children had gone to bed, the night Gospel, which is able to make wise before, supperless. One of those unto salvation. Popery is shakwho plundered the vessel came to ing from its foundations, and the her to sell some flour at half price. Gospel of our Lord and Saviour No,' said she; it is written in the getting, free circulation among the word of God, “provide things honest people in their own native tongue.” in the sight of all men," and there- It is hoped that the following plan fore I'll have nothing to do with it. may be generally adopted. It is very I'll trust the Lord; for he said, that desirable to ensure the due relief of he will not forsake me.'
the Protestants, and especially the “ If ever there was a time that the converts, by placing supplies, as Lord's people had a right to bestir much as possible, in the hands of themselves, it is now; no matter who the parochial clergy. Nor is it the or what they are—clergy or laity- least important point, to uphold their they will be heard in one will. This health and spirits by such an enday I have been stopped eight times couragement. There fearful by a party of men. The last time symptoms of many a faithful standwas in a smith's shop, when I spoke ard-bearer fainting under the present for nearly an hour, telling them that severe pressure. Already we know Christ died to save sinners; and of some who have been compelled to also that while they would allow the abandon their posts. priests to rule over them, the Lord A friend writes, respecting one would be angry with Ireland. That most devoted clergyman, “I have is a change.
written to his curate, requesting him “From morning to night, I am to furnish you with a statement, for out among the people, and will have he is unable to give details, and they to go to another place the rest of the have been obliged to keep all from week. Oh! that we had more faith- him. I never saw such a wreck in ful labourers. I hope soon to bring my life. A more joyous Christian, together all the useful men of the or more robust man than he was a barony, so as to put ourselves in a few months ago, you scarcely ever proper order to go out through the
met.” length and breadth of the land, pub- We are more and more impressed