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has been but too justly said that— Socinianism reigns in the church of Geneva:' there was, however, at least one sermon preached in it on the occasion, of a very different order,-the discourse of M. Diodati, who faithfully showed that the redemption by Christ is of the essence of the doctrines of the Reformation."-Vol. ü: pp. 110-112.
The remaining part of the second volume is mostly occupied with an outline of French history, and a description of Paris ; we shall, therefore, here close our extracts by commending the volumes to the perusal of our readers. They will find much that will interest them, interspersed with many useful observations, that will afford matter for serious reflection. The style is generally good, though occasionally rather obscure from being over-laboured, and the disposition to paint every thing new “ couleur de rose," which seems to pervade the work, has frequently led the writer to make a superabundant use of superlatives.
Reasons for retiring from the Established Church. By Charles
Hargrove, late Rector and Vicar of Kilmina, in the Diocese of
Tuam. Dublin : R. M. Tims. 1836. pp. 64. An Examination of Dissent, exhibiting its Causes, Advantages,
Evils, fc. fc. By Theron. London: L. and J. Seeley, 1835.
We have classed these publications together, not on account of their agreement, but on account of their contrariety; a contrariety great in principle, but greater still in feeling. The Christian feeling of the latter commands no admiration; that of the former is above all praise.
The opening sentences of Mr. Hargrove's publication display an amiable and truly christianized state of mind.
“ It is not without much anxiety and consideration that the determination to send forth these pages has been adopted ; not, indeed, that I entertain any doubt of the principles contained in them-no, but I feel a slowness, a natural unwillingness, to distress the minds of some whom they may distress, and yet who I believe should be" (ought to be) “ distressed in the position which they occupy."-p.3.
It is not every man, nor every good man, who would have felt this sacred delicacy. We were gratified at reading the following acknowledgment.
« I cannot here deny myself the pleasure--the melancholy pleasure--of recording the uninterrupted course of affection and kindness which I received at the hands of one, under whose episcopal superintendence I was for fourteen years placed. Truly his authority was no bondage to me; and if the system could at all be redeemed by the parental affection and Christian feeling of the individual, then would it have been my happiness still to abide under the superintendence of the Archbishop of Tuam; and truly can I say, that it is not the lightest part of the cross I have had to bear in the step I have been constrained to take; that a clear sense of duty should at any time lead me into a course, either in word or deed, opposed to the wishes of one for whom I shall ever entertain feelings of gratitude, affection, and respect."-p.11.
But the delicacy of Mr. Hargrove's mind does not lead him to compromise his convictions. In a firm but subdued tone, he reprehends the church, at whose altars he had ministered.
“ In resigning my parish, and with it the position which I held in the Established Church, there were many motives influencing me; that which probably most pressed on my mind was the worldliness of the establishment. Her principle, indeed, as expressed in her article, I found true and scriptural, declaring the church to be a congregation of faithful men,' but in her practice I found no such thing; and I fear that other of her principles effectually hinder it. Faithful men, indeed, I found, and many of them, but I found no congregation of them."-pp. 4, 5.
The attempts so frequently made by some of the clergy to supply this grand defect, are exceedingly laudable, but, as our author shows, exceedingly defective.
“ I have, indeed, witnessed the efforts at discipline of those who groan under the evils of the establishment, but who do not, or will not, recognize the necessity of standing out from the system, and testifying against its evil. I have witnessed the efforts of such to satisfy their conscience by a discipline which they certainly never got from their mother church. I have seen their little companies of believers meeting together in the name of the Lord, and my heart rejoiced with them ; but when they came together to break bread-the very bond and token of discipleship-I found the holy brotherhood dissolved, and the world admitted to this dearest pledge of our Lord's dying love to his disciples.”_ pp. 6,7.
The inconsistency of the practice in view with the professions of a churchman, must have occurred to most reflecting minds : for, as our author justly shows, this forming of little churches within the great church is the strongest acknowledgment of the defectiveness and corruption of the body from which the selection is made. If, as he asks, the Establishment be the true church, which her friends assert it is, and so consonant to the divine will,'that they can not only quietly abide in it, but see no reason for separation, why do they resort to their little select classes of believers ? classes by which they virtually excommunicate a great majority of them, whom their all but adored church receives?
It is often asked, how can pious and thinking men, in the solemn presence of Almighty God, and acting as his ministers, conform to many of the requirements of the Episcopal Church? Our author's disclosures show, as, indeed, has often been shown before, that the honours and emoluments of conformity may be purchased too dearly; they show that the decorous, stately service of the English Establishment is sometimes performed by him who ministers, with an agitated, accusing mind. 6 The Lord knoweth,” says Mr. H., “ for how long a time I sought out every means that might satisfy my conscience, and let me abide in my calling."-(p. 29.)
The anxiety and distress occasioned by a ministration at the episcopal altars is vividly depicted by the author, under his second reason for separatiou from the Establishment_“ her acknowledgment of what he believes to be evil.” Speaking of the conforming minister, Mr. H. says:
“ He is obliged, in the solemnity of worship before God, to return thanks for
the regeneration of the child he has just baptized; if he refuses to do so, he is dishonest in continuing the member and minister of the church, whose requirements are imperative, and to whose ordinances he has subscribed; and if he does so-oh, I well know how I here possess the sympathies of the great body of the men of God in the establishment! What bondage they feel, and well may they feel it.”— p. 20.
“ The minister is placed in this painful dilemma, he must either be dishonest to the church, or untrue to his God: he must either be dishonest to the church, profess obedience to her, receive her pay, and still trample on her requirements, or he must be untrue unto his God, as every one is who reads the baptismal service without being fully persuaded that the child he baptizes is actually regenerate.”—p. 21.
“ The child who has been thus baptized and pronounced regenerate grows up, and is confirmed, and by every means led to consider himself as a child of God; at length he draws nigh to the close of life, and, if he desires it, then may he have absolution from his minister, and the sacrament somehow to comfort him in his dying moments; at length the poor careless worldling passes into eternity, and discovers, alas ! too late, the errors which the church had fostered in continuing him a member, and treating him as such, without any claim to the title; his body is then brought into the grave-yard, and the very beautiful service adapted by the church is performed over this poor, careless, unconverted sinner ; the church, assuming him, as she most unwarrantably does all her members, to be believers, assuming what in fact is false, causes her ministering servant to thank God' that he hath taken to himself the soul of our dear brother, here departed ;' and this while the fearful boding of the minister may be, that his poor soul is in misery.”-p. 25.
In the well-known language of Chillingworth, our author repels and returns the charge of schism, with which some of his former associates would not hesitate to assail him.
“ Nothing can be clearer than this, that if things be imposed under the notion of being indifferent, which a number think sinful, and a division follows thereupon, THE IMPOSERS ARE THE SCUSMATICS; AND THE SUBMISSION OF AN INDIVIDUAL IN SUCH CASE IS UNWARRANTABLE.” “Hence," says Mr. Hargrove, “ to me it is very plain, that THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH IS SCHISMATIC; and indeed many, very many of her enlightened ministers feel and mourn over corruption that racks their consciences, and that they earnestly desire to be rid of."--p: 47.
This racking of the conscience in the reflecting minister of the Establishment, its racking during the period of conducting the devotions of the flock, a period when, above all other times, the mind should be at peace, meets us in every page of these “ Reasons." Our author's statements on this subject, uttered as they are by one who has partaken largely of the misery he describes, may well reconcile the dissenting minister to the ills of his lot, and assure him that such of his brethren as have sought a refuge from those ills in the Established Church, have, unless conscience has become seared, encountered evils of a far more formidable character.
Conform or not conform? that is the question,
The poor cloak'd teacher's heir tomto preach-
Must give us pause."* Should the “ Reasons” reach a second edition, we trust the author will bestow some labour on the correction of his work. We have regretted to see sentiments so accurate, and reasonings so cogent, disfigured by the somewhat slovenly attire in which they are invested.
Theron, the author of the second publication placed at the head of this article, is a churchman, and probably a clergyman. In the commencement of his work, he assumes a tone of moderation which he is altogether unable to sustain. While reading the first few pages of his pamphlet, we intended to present our readers with something like an analysis of his views; but in proceeding, we encountered statements of so outrageous and irrational a character, as completely to reverse our intention. Of the competence of Theron to allay the fury of the storm, our readers may judge from the following passages :
“ Thus, in 1829, when that fatal measure was passed by which England ceased to be Protestant, threw down the barriers with which our more wise and pious ancestors had guarded the British constitution, and admitted to her senate, in order to be swayed and governed by their influence, men who profess an idolatrous faith; when what was miscalled the Catholic Emancipation Bill was passed, dissenters gave it their cordial support. UNTIL IT IS REPEALED, ENGLAND WILL NEVER BE HERSELF AGAIN.”+-pp. 35, 36.
“If (as may possibly occur) the Roman Catholic member, who told the House of Commons that the government is not Protestant, should one day move that the said government, at its own proper cost, do erect in the city of London a Roman Catholic cathedral, without doubt the motion would be supported by Dissenters."-p. 37.
Our author has let out the secret of the accumulating virulence of his production :
« When I commenced these observations, and for some time after, I endeavoured to preserve such a tone, that my own sentiments with regard to ecclesiastical polity should not be discovered; but it is difficult to do this when writing on a subject of deep interest and importance : and when I review what I have said, I cannot but feel that I have betrayed myself a churchman."--pp. 51, 52.
Considering the character of the pamphlet, this amounts to an information, that when he began to write as a churchman, he ceased to write as a Christian.
Thé errors of our author are too numerous to allow us distinctly to point them out. To assume an air of ludicrous exactness, when
* Thus the unhappy Badcock struggled with his convictions before, as Gilbert Wakefield justly expressed it, “ he could sacrifice his consistency to the delusive hopes of ecclesiastical preferment.” When we recollect the sentiments which in former days we have heard some recent conformists utter-some, whom, possibly, we may never meet in this life, we have thought that they must be strangely troubled by the doctrine of “ Recognition in the World to Come."
+ The capitals are the author's.
stating an absurd distinction between a church and a sect, or to retail all the gossip of his neighbourhood, are attainments quite within the verge of Theron's abilities; but “ An Examination of Dissent" requires a knowledge of secular and ecclesiastical history, and of the history of religious opinion, a compass of mind, and a moderation of temper, which Theron does not possess.
We must still trespass on the patience of our readers, by offering a remark on one or two of Theron's positions, simply because they are sometimes heard from quarters which may be considered as entitled to attention,
Theron says that many dissenting ministers “ of great talent and piety have been prevented from entering the Establishment through the expense of a college education.”-(p. 24.) When we recollect the unsought proffers of a university education, which were made to ourselves during the period of our academical course, we really cannot think the difficulty of obtaining such an education so great as the author imagines. Besides, such dissenting ministers as can reconcile their minds to the monstrosity of virtually renouncing their Presbyterian ordination, find no great difficulty in obtaining admission to the church, though they have not been educated at one of the English universities. Amongst the recent conformists, there are one or two whom any church would welcome; but the majority of them are by no means superior in talent and learning to the educated portion of their former brethren. Nor should we be doing these converts any injustice to say, that both in capacity and attainments, the majority of them would be found decidedly inferior to almost any equal number of their former associates.
Theron asserts that, when the faithful minister of the Establishment has succeeded in his work, “ jealous of his success, and afraid of its being discovered that gentlemen and scholars are able and willing to preach in a style which suits the poor, a dissenting minister enters the hitherto peaceful parish, and labours to show the people that he alone is qualified to instruct them in the way to heaven."(p. 32.) We are not prepared to justify the prudence or the charity of every instance in which dissenting ministers have established an evangelizing lecture; but we are quite sure that in no instance has a recognized dissenting minister intruded upon a zealous and confessedly faithful labourer in the church, in the way which our author describes. The conduct implied in his statement, unless he refers to some of the offsets of Methodism, which is rather the child of Episcopacy than of Dissent, is the mere figment of his imagination.
Theron still further assures us, that “ in a vast variety of cases dissent has spread, merely because the people have not been supplied with church accommodation.”-(p. 40.) By a vast variety, it may be presumed that he means a vast number. Theron would have done himself no harm, had he studied the graces of the English language, as well as the glories of the English church. His statement with regard to the want of church-room and its consequences, is one which has been often made, but in the rural districts, at least, without the slightest foundation in fact. In hundreds of instances dissent has increased, while the parochial edifices are not half filled. The population of