« AnteriorContinuar »
without any unpleasant feeling that GOD is near; it denies the existence of a divinely-appointed Church and priesthood; and substitutes an establishment of lecturers. But it is far more easy to say what it is
not than to describe what it is. It may believe all the Thirty-nine Articles, or it may disagree with every one of them. Its object is to pull down, and not to build up. It will not lift a finger to preserve one article of the Christian faith; it will use not hands only, but feet, to trample under foot Catholic doctrine. It is not scrupulous either as to the means, and disdains logical argument. One man undertakes to prove that Popery and Paganism are identical; another, that our Book of Common Prayer is Roman, and our clergy Romanizers. Things which are equal to the same are equal to one another, therefore our clergy are pagans. The absurdity of such a conclusion does not strike the writers; or if it does, at any rate they are not ashamed of it. What matters truth when the object is to overthrow truth? If the clergy were really heathens -if they would let sin go unrebuked; if they would tell men that GOD is a GOD far off, who does not care how, or when, or where they come to Him; if they would let their churches remain unused, standing for appearance sake, merely, to make believe that this is a Christian country-then the world and the Devil would shake hands with them, though despising them. Even the Bishops or clergy cannot meet together to consult without a protestant outcry. The Record went
quite out of its mind over the Pan-Anglican Synod: that Synod was going to shiver the Church into ruin, it said. This was Protestantism, distinct from Evangelicalism. The evangelical Bishop of Winchester, on the other hand, speaking of it, said in his last Charge, "I count it gain that men of various shades of theological opinion, but all acknowledging one common Head and bound by the same sacred obligations to promote the glory of GoD and the salvation of souls to the best of their power, should have met together face to face in mutual conference, and discussed the most spiritstirring subjects with perfect openness of speech, but with no interruption of friendly feeling, and in the confiding freedom of brotherly love."* The Lichfield Synod is meeting with the same protestant opposition, and nothing can show more clearly the great value of such a church movement than the opposition of the world. When men are afraid of the work of CHRIST, and wish Him to depart out of their coasts, we may know full surely that there is a devil not yet cast out.
*Bishop Sumner's Charge, 1867.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, OR,
['Church Review,' May 23, 1868.]
Y DEAR -You ask me to give you some information about church matters in our unquiet England. I will endeavour to
do so, but the task is far from easy. Even while I write important changes are taking place, and faith and self-denial are every day shining brighter and more lovely through the dense mists of human conceit and wilfulness. You know that formerly the Church in this country was in alliance with the secular power, to the no small advantage and security of the latter. I do not say that the advantage was all on one side, for no doubt the protection of the State added to the influence of the Church; but being subject in many things to the control of the State, its freedom of action was impeded, and its usefulness contracted. Churchmen were dissatisfied; others in the Church, who had more regard for the rich endowments which the law secured to them than they had for the Church
as CHRIST'S Body, were willing slaves to the secular power. The majority of these were in nothing to be distinguished from the numerous heretical sects which infested the country. These sects had all names to mark the particular heresy upon which each was established, but all were called Protestants to distinguish them from Churchmen. The democracy did not see why the protestants within the Church should have any special privileges over the protestants without; therefore the connection between Church and State was dissolved, and the endowments of the Church were confiscated, as was done on a former occasiou in the time of the Eighth Henry. Churchmen, in general, looked on with apathy and contempt perhaps some
felt that it would be useless to complain, others that freedom would compensate for loss of wealth, and that under any circumstances GOD will provide for His Church. In the meantime however the trial may be great. In the towns, indeed, the Church flourishesnot but what some of the churches are closed and falling into ruin, or diverted to secular purposes; but this is owing to the discipline of the Church being carried out more than ever. Those who attend the churches are now all Churchmen; and though the number may outwardly seem less, I believe the faithful are more. On high days crowds of devout worshippers bow before the Presence of their Unseen LORD, and their songs of adoration rise with the fragrant incense to the heavenly Throne.
In the country, as distinguished
from the towns, it is far otherwise. Except where some noble-minded layman provides the means of grace for his dependents, or some old parish priest, resolved to die at his post, still labours on, beloved by the few and scorned by the many, church there is none. The tillers of the ground, scattered here and there, few and far between, perhaps once a year may visit a town church, or pick up now and then a few grains of truth from a travelling missionary; but the England of today is not the England you read of in history. The people are nearly all gathered together in the towns, which are very sinks of iniquity; and much of the land is thrown out of cultivation in consequence of all taxes being now levied upon it.
You ask after the once celebrated Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but I can tell you little about them. I believe there are professors there of various branches of science, but they are all infected with the prevailing heresy. These professors receive fixed salaries from the government, the endowments having been appropriated some time ago; and the last decree of the Senate enacts that in future every endowment made to any charitable institution shall at the end of fifty years become the property of the State.
The secular schools for the working classes are miserably supported, and are all schools of heresy and infidelity, and these are the only schools in existence in many wide districts, where there are no Christian schools. I wish I could have given a more favourable