Imatges de pÓgina

parties is represented by any newspaper. And again the whole average circulation '* of both · Record' and 'Guardian'together does not amount to eight thousand, whereas the number of clergymen in England alone is above 18,000.

The address to the Archbishop in favour of the Gorham Judgment, was signed by more than 3,200 f clergymen, of the Broad and Low Church parties; that against the Judgment by nearly 1,800 High Churchmen, including laity and clergy. This latter was signed by every Tractarian clergyman in England, and we have thus a proof that their number cannot exceed a thousand, for at least 800 of the signatures must have belonged to lay men or Anglican clergy. I

As another mode of obtaining an approximation to the proportion of parties, we have gone through the Clergy List, marking the names of all the clergymen whose opinions we knew, to the number of about 500. The result of this examination has been, that supposing those unknown to us to be in the same proportions with those known, we should be led to classify the 18,000 g clergy of the Church of England as follows:Anglican

3,500 High Church. Tractarian

High and Dry'


Low Church. Recordite

* Low and Slow'

Broad Church.
S Theoretical


2,500 and about 1000 peasant clergy in the mountain districts, whọ must be classed apart.

The twenty-eight Bishops and Archbishops of England are divided in a somewhat different ratio; viz., thirteen belonging to various shades of High Church, ten to the Broad Church, and five to the Evangelical parties. But for obvious reasons we can scarcely ground any general conclusions on this datum.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

* i. e, the number sold of each separate copy. † This was wrongly stated as 2,300, in No. 193., page 66. note.

* This protest was sent for signature to every clergyman in England, by a London Committee. The address in favour of the judgment was only circulated privately by the efforts of a single clergyman, Mr. Goode; and to our knowledge it was never sent to many who would gladly have signed it.

§ The Clergy List of the present year gives the names of above 18,300 clergy in England ; this does not include the Irish Clergy.

| See No. 198. Art. 3.


But whatever may be the relative strength of these subdivisions, it is evident that the triple cord in which they interlace could not easily be untwisted; nor could either of its strands be cut, without a risk of severing the rest. The object of every wise Churchman should be to keep each of the main schools of opinion from extravagance on the one hand, and from stagnation on the other; and the existence of counteracting parties is a check providentially operating for this end. Nor should we forget that the differences which divide each from each are much exaggerated by party-spirit. Most of them can be resolved into mere disputes about terms, which might be ended by stricter definition. Those which lie deeper result from a difference of mental constitution, and belong to the domain of metaphysics rather than of religion. For it is in theology as it is in philosophy; every distinct sect strives to represent and embody a separate truth. A few great ideas are intuitively stamped on the groundwork of human reason, but not illuminated with equal brightness. The idea, which, in one mind, stands out in dazziing light, in another is dim and overshadowed. Hence each idea has its exclusive worshippers. But as the understanding logically developes its favourite truth, it at length deduces consequences which seem to contradict some other truth equally fundamental. Then follows a conflict, which in a few minds produces absolute Pyrrhonism; but which more frequently issues in one of three alternatives. First, the mind may abandon the principle whence it started, considering it reduced ad absurdum, now that its logical consequences seem to contradict another axiom; secondly, the truth of both principles may be admitted, although their consequences seem irreconcilable; or thirdly, the consequences of the first principle may be embraced, and the modifying truth rejected. This last is the course adopted by extreme parties. Thus there are different stages in the development of opinion, cach marked by the rejection or reception of some modifying truth, and each forming the halting-place of a different sect or school. Nor is there any evil in this variety, so long as the truths of morality and religion are not contradicted. And even where we might, at first sight, suppose them to be so, (as for instance, in the case of fatalist opinions,) we must be cautious of yielding to this impression. For piety has a transmuting power, and often turns the inconsistency of the understanding into food for the goodness

The same results follow, whether the principles be derived from reason or from Scripture.

of the heart. Therefore, instead of murmuring we should rejoice when we see the same character of Christian Holiness manifested under diverse opinions. For Christianity, embraced under one form, might have been rejected under another. All cannot see through the same telescope, but different eyes require the tube to be variously adjusted. And the image formed will at best be blurred and dim, unless charity furnish us with her achromatic lens, and blend all the rays into one harmonious brightness.

But is there then, it may be asked, no evil in the spirit of party? Are we preaching acquiescence in our unhappy di* visions' which are so often the subject of official lamentation? That be far from us. Strife and enmity are justly lamentable. But the mischief is not in variety of opinion, but in variance of heart; not in theological idiosyncracies, but in unscrupulous partisanship. This last, the besetting sin of all parties, is most offensive in those which are contending for religion. And yet we fear that none is free from it. On the one side, if a renegade priest will make effective speeches against the Pope, and betray the secrets of the Church which he has deserted, the foulest scandals in his private life cannot shake the confidence of his admirers. On the other side, if a champion of orthodoxy is qualified by talents or position to render good service to his partisans, they will defend him though he be convicted of more than Jesuitical mendacity, or of sharp practice which would strike a provincial pettifogger off the rolls. It is not that men consciously resolve to become accomplices in immorality, but they wilfully shut their eyes to all evidence against their favourites, and bring in a verdict of not guilty before the trial has begun. In advocating mutual charity, we advocate no such toleration of wickedness. When meanness or hypocrisy is detected, let men give the largest scope to their indignation, the freest course to their invective. But let them not confine such treatment to rogues of the opposite party. Let them excommunicate the knaves of their own following. Let them be sure that a bad man cannot make a good Churchman, a good Puritan, or a good anything. And let them remember that it is a duty enforced upon us by the highest example, to expose the interior of whited sepulchres, however fair may be their outward seeming.

Nor would we desire them to spare even lighter faults than hypocrisy, and more harmless absurdities than falsehood. For no absurdity in religious men can be entirely harmless ; nor can the follies of pietism be altogether free from moral deformity. Hence it is the duty of a Christian to abate them as far as possible. And this is the appropriate field for ridicule, which in theological argument is out of place. Its employment in this, its proper province, cannot lead to evil, provided we be careful not to forget our reverence for the reality in our contempt for the travestie. • Are some ridiculous,' says one who spoke to a scoffing generation, and for that will you turn religion into ‘ridicule? If you do, it will at last turn a Sardonic laughter.'

But while we advocate the unsparing exposure of vice and folly, let us be careful to discountenance the use of unlawful weapons in the assault. Above all, let us disavow that tendency to settle theological quarrels by Lynch Law, which has lately disgraced our countrymen. If a clergyman is foolish, he may be laughed at; if he has introduced Popish rites and illegal ceremonies, he may be prosecuted in the courts of law. In either case it is shameful to hound on the mob against him. Yet we grieve to say that this method of attack has been resorted to by men who profess to advocate freedom of conscience. We shall not be suspected of viewing the so-called Exeter Synod' with any peculiar favour. Yet we could not learn without indignation that London agitators were stirring up the populace to interrupt its deliberations by violence. It is not long since we saw the congregation of a metropolitan church disturbed in their devotions by the outrages of a crew of ruffians, for the honour of Protestantism. And, only the other day, a clergyman was prevented from administering the Communion on New Year's Eve to some of his parishioners who wished to receive it, by a threat that if he attempted a 'midnight mass' the communicants should be dispersed by violence.

This is nothing less than religious persecution; and those who employ such poisoned weapons, will find their shafts recoil, sooner or later, upon themselves.

While civil discord thus convulses the Church, many of her children are falling away from her, and abandoning the distinctive doctrines of Christianity. We have already noticed

Archbishop Leighton's Sermon to the Parliament, 1669. † This happened at Exeter, a place which was also disgraced by the notorious Surplice riots.' The latter, however, had more apology, because they sprang from a feeling on the part of the laity that the clergy had no right, without lay consent, to introduce innovations into the service. No doubt the real remedy for these disorders, as for all the diseases of the Church, (as we are forced so often to repeat) is to restore its true organisation, and give to all its members a legitimate voice in its government. They would then have less temptation to employ Lynch Law.

the diffusion of infidel opinions among the lower classes; but the mischief is not confined to them. The highest ranks and most intelligent professions are influenced by sceptical opinions, to an extent which, twenty years back, would have seemed incredible. * This state of things, as far as the Upper Classes are concerned, has been directly caused by the dissensions of the Church. • When Doctors differ, who shall

decide is the expression of an almost inevitable scepticism. These unnatural hostilities must cease, if we are ever to reconvert the Pagans of the factory, and the Pantheists of the forum. How, indeed, can we hope to move them, if we are unable to answer that most obvious retort of the unbeliever, ‘I will hearken, when you Christians can agree upon the lesson

which you want to teach me.' And how can we answer this, but by acknowledging a substantial unity of faith, and an absolute identity of holiness, in the midst of endless diversity of opinion? "Oh what are the things we fight for,' says Leighton,

compared with the great things of God!'+ Surely it is time that we should agree to differ about Prævenient Grace and Surplice Preaching, and turn to the true battle which is raging round us; a battle not between Anglicans and Calvinists, nor. even between Popery and Protestantism, but between Faith and Atheism. We believe that the end is sure, and that Truth will conquer. But who can say how many ages of defeat may precede that final victory?


Art. II. — 1. A Chronological History of Voyages and Dis

coveries into the Arctic Regions before 1818. By Sir JOHN

BARROW. 2. Arctic Voyages of Discovery since 1818. · By Sir John

BARROW. 3. Parliamentary Papers on the Arctic Regions from 1848 to

1852. WELL nigh a thousand years have elapsed since Gardar

Suaffarsan, a Swede, undertook the first voyage of Arctic discovery. A Scandinavian pirate in proceeding to the Faroe Islands, a short time previously, had been driven from his course

* It is true that, as far as the upper classes are concerned, the last half century (taken as a whole) has been characterised by a religious reaction against the fashionable scepticism of the preceding century. But in England the tide turned, ten or fifteen years ago.

† Leighton's Works, vol. iii. p. 480.

« AnteriorContinua »