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much prayerful thought, what part a Christian man should take onder such circumstances ? For myself, I know nothing rightly, save as the Lord is pleased to teach me; and as I cannot draw in advance either strength for the future day of trial, or wisdom for the future day of perplexity, I prefer to cast myself on the divine promise, and to remain quiet until my turn comes to be called on, as a member of a congregation, to decide on my peculiar duties. But, as to the movement itself, on the part of those in authority, I view it as a most mischievous device of Satan, to embarrass, entangle, and disunite us.'
. But do you see any thing very objectionable in the rubrics?
"My dear, it is idle to place it on that ground, The real question, now introduced, and about to be debated, I fear, with grievous heat, is, whether the appointed overseer, or bishop, of a diocese, has authority so to lord it over God's heritage as to compel the members of every congregation therein assembling for divine worship, to conform to usages that had become obsolete, falling into general desuetude before his or their fathers were born: whether each respective minister is to be armed with power, if so disposed, and compelled in his own despite if reluctant, to force upon his flock those obsolete usages, now become, not the indifferent things that they were a dozen years since, but the selected, the peculiar, the ostentatious badges of a party whose aim it manifestly is to subvert the gospel of Christ, and to bring upon us again the yoke of papal bondage. Mark, this is the point on which the question hinges: this is the bone of contention. The Puseyite section drew the attention of the whole
Church upon them early in the controversy, by their extravagant assumptions on bebalf of episcopal sanctity and authority: they taught that the bishop was, ex-officio, and by direct succession, an Apostle: yea the very representative of Christ himself, in a sense quite blasphemous. I need not remind you of the language used : you have only to open that noble little book, The“ Essays on the Church,” to find it all set forth, Well: these same sticklers for episcopal infallibility likewise selected as the outward and visible sign of their deeply cherished opinions, certain vestments, and modes of conducting public worship, sanctioned indeed by our old rubrics and other ecclesiastical formula, but so completely laid aside by all orders of men in the Church, as to give their revival the aspect of a strange novelty. These departures from common usage were, of course, regarded by the laity, not with a reference to their actual warranty by the letter of the rubric, but to their especial and avowed connexion with the preaching of another gospel, and the simultaneous revival of more than semi-popery in the Churches of those who adopted them. Thus the matter stood, or rather thus it grew; the clergy of this school encroaching more and more on the forbearance of a reluctant flock, until one young gentleman takes it on himself to fulminate a menace of excommunication against any of his congregation who shall dare to quit the Church before he bas proceeded to a certain length in the celebration of the Communion Service. He also refuses Christian burial to any person not episcopally baptized, and so forth. The bishop was appealed to; and he, after affixing his deliberate approval to nearly all the unchristian extravagances of
this young man, is reported to be about to make use of the circumstance to issue a synodical fiat, making it imperative on all the clergy in his diocese to adopt these same badges of the very party who advance and defend erroneous pretensions on behalf of their own order, and of the bishops in particular. In this diocesan synod, too, be it observed, the decision was carried by vote; the bishop, dean, and prebendaries dividing against and outnumbering the canons, or working clergy, who, to a man, opposed it.'
" That I particularly noticed.'
• Is it, then, a question of conformity with longstanding, though long-neglected formalities in public worship, or is it a question whether both the laity and their pastors are to lie in abject submission at the footstool of ecclesiastical dignity, armed with a despotism far worse than any stretch of mere civil tyranny?'
"I see both the nature and tendency of the proceeding : would I could close my eyes to its natural consequences !'
• It is exceedingly painful to us, and cruel on the part of them that trouble our church, to drive us to resistance on the peculiar ground chosen by themselves. The offertory, the collection of voluntary alms, is made the point at which the one party must pause, to express bis dissent from the proceedings of the other. Now, a man may go to his parish church, willing for Christ's sake to deposit even his last shilling in the collecting-plate, who yet, if he protests at all against the system sought to be upheld, the system of ecclesiastical, irresponsible tyranny, must make his protestation by quitting the church at that very juncture. Against the mode of collection
I do not object : I remember it was customary in the village churches of Ireland, where we often worshipped. Collecting-boxes were taken from pew to pew, and every one gave as he was disposed or able.'
• Ay, but, remember, that was done before the sermon.' • You are right: I had forgotten.'
The rubric, strained as it will be by such as desire to do so, will be a sad weapon of offence against some of our brethren, who are, or in their childhood were, members of dissenting bodies.'
• There is no end to the pernicious consequences to be apprehended if this bold movement in Exeter receives the sanction of higher authority, and the concurrence of other bishops. It will work great evil: yet even it must perforce be included among the “all things” that are made to work together for good to the Lord's own people: and on that anchor my troubled spirit can lean, soothed into rest.'
• And at this season, especially, how welcome is that hope, the anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast! It is Advent. I never love the Church of England so much as now, when all its members are perforce reminded of what too many would rather forget; and what others find it so exquisitely refreshing and invigorating to commemorate together-the promise, the sure promise of our Lord's return. Truly the poor flock needs the appearance of its Chief Shepherd now !'
• To judge between the fat cattle and the lean cattle ; to rebuke the pastors who scatter and destroy, and to confer upon bis faithful ministers a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Such is the intent, such
shall be the event of his coming: the men of the earth-earthly-minded men-shall then no more exalt themselves, nor the poor of the flock be neglected, misused, or misled. Oh, that the near approach of that meeting which none shall be able to elude, with Him whose word will be to each “ Inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world,” or “ Depart from me, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,”-that the approach of that hour might be so impressed on every mind as to swallow up all minor things, and apply with power the injunction, “ Prepare to meet thy God!”,
• The offices and scriptures appointed by our church are well adapted to produce that effect, dear uncle; and if all who minister to us fairly applied them, we should find it indeed a season of refreshing. But there is a sad lack of realizing fervency among us: what with those who rest in the mere form, and those who so misapply the language as to pervert the blessed doctrine intended to be conveyed in it, we are robbed of our portion in nineteen cases out of twenty.'
No, no: we cannot be robbed of what the Bible contains, while we hold unfettered the Bible itself. My brother man may with hold from me a truth that I desire to hear from his lips, but who shall silence the voice that speaks to my inmost soul the delicious promise of my Lord's approaching Advent, who proclaims, “Behold, I come quickly.”—Nay, who shall even close my eyes against the signs of the times, that on every side respond, “ Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him ! I have no more doubt of the personal, pre-millennial