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has been already said must be sufficient to point out the dangerous tendency of Dr. Arnold's scheme for prophetical interpretation: if otherwise, nothing more that I could urge could lead an unwilling mind to that conclusion. I have only to add, therefore, that in attacking the system, I hope I have not said one disrespectful word against the author, to whom every one must give credit for having had the best interests of Christianity most sincerely at heart. In spite of all bis extravagances and inconsistencies, his fatal love of paradox, his restless spirit of controversy, and his many singularities, it is impos. sible to make the acquaintance of that good and amiable man through the medium of his Life and Correspondence without admiring and esteeming him, even when we differ in opinion from him. His errors are never without a large admixture of truth about them; his Sermons on Prophecy were evidently prompted by a fervent desire to serve the cause of truth; and if his theory were purged of its sweeping generalities, and limited to a particular class of prophecies, instead of embracing the whole range of the prophetic scriptures, the author would never have been reduced to that miserable shift of fulfilments given ex abundanti which has laid him open to the charge of tampering with Divine truth. There are many prophecies touching God's elect people, which are expressed in general terms, and therefore are of general application to the church of the redeemed; of these predictions it may truly be said, that “prophecy fixes our attention on principles,” (p. 12,) while “ history is busied with particular nations, persons, and events; and from the study of these, extracts, as well as it can, some general principles,” (p 13.) We may also readily admit, with regard to those general promises and blessings which the Word of God holds out to all true believers, that, owing to the imperfections of human nature, they have never been realized to the letter in the most eminent of God's saints, or in the most palmy days, either of the patriarchal, the Jewish, or the Gentile church. And upon these principles we cordially assent to Dr. Arnold's words, that “our Lord Jesus Christ is the real subject of all prophecy for good. All the promises of God in him are Yea, and in him, Amen.” (p. 23.) We may go still further, and look forward to the time of the end, when, by virtue of his living union with Christ Jesus, every redeemed saint may be made capable of a real and substantial and literal realization of all those gracious promises and glorious consolations. And even in those prophecies, which are shown by circumstances of time and place to be primarily of an historical character, if Dr. Arnold bad freely and cordially admitted the literal and historical fulfilment, instead of stifling the literal sense, as it were, in the very cradle, and making light of the minute accomplishments of prophecy, as condescensions from a gracious God to the infirmities of weak minds, and as unnecessary superfluities to men of more matured faith, few persons would have offered serious objections to the typical application even of such historical predictions. Babylon, the scene of the first great apostasy after the flood (and perhaps founded on the very spot, as it certainly was in the vicinity of the very spot, where the serpent tempted our first parents) may fitly typify the world at enmity with God. And in a very interesting
paper in the British Magazine, for April, 1843, (vol. xxiii. p. 382, &c.,) it has been shown that Babylon, revived for a brief period, seems to be marked out in prophecy as the scene of the last great struggle between Christ and Antichrist. So Egypt may be set forth as the type of the world not in avowed enmity with God, but as beset with trials and temptations to the Christian soldier ; it is the house of bondage. In like manner, if we take care not to sacrifice the literal sense to the insatiable spirit of mystical interpretation, we may admit that “ Amalek, smiting the hindmost and the feeble of the host of Israel, when they had just been redeemed out of Egypt, and were faint and weary, belongs surely to the general idea of hindering weak Christians on their way to heaven, instead of assisting and encouraging them. And the same sin," (aggravated, however, by cruel forgetfulness of all the ties of brotherhood) “appears to constitute, in great measure, the idea of the prophetical Edom,"—(pp. 32, 33.) It is needless to add, that the whole history of Israel's establishment in the promised land of Canaan, admits of a typical application to the circumstances of God's chosen people in all ages and in all nations. But when the literal fulfilment of the most distinctly historical prophecies is frittered away into nothing, and predictions of every class and character are wrapt up in one comprehensive and cumbrous cloak of allegory, I conceive that Dr. Arnold has fallen into the very same error which he so strongly deprecates in others. Upon such a scheme, “ a door will be instantly opened to the wildest fanaticism, and no man will have any right to reproach the Jewish Rabbies with any peculiar degree of extravagance." (p. 5.) I remain, Sir, your obliged reader,
F. R. B.
THE CLERGY AND THE MIDDLE CLASSES.
SIR,—Since I sent you my former letter on this subject, I have seen, through the kindness of a friend, a letter published in the British Magazine of October, 1843, entitled “Parochial Intercourse with Tradesmen."
Not only was that letter caused by the identical remarks of Archdeacon Manning which I quoted, and which led to my communication also-(those remarks having been recently reprinted as "extracts," and fallen in my way in the Educational Journal,)-but, the opinion expressed by its writer, as to the bearing and obligation of clerical vows, is precisely the same as that which I submitted. « Clerus, however, had not divested himself of that notion against which I contended, that such persons as tradesmen are a “
very inaccessible class ;” a notion which must ever operate as a lulling opiate upon all consciences less alive than his own to the awful responsibilities of Christ's ambassadors.
Of the two methods, “ severe asceticism” and “ hospitality," by either of which he thought a legitimate influence for good might be attained, he wisely preferred to advocate the latter ; because, whilst comparatively few men “rise above the fascinations which hold the
rest of mankind in bondage," and severe asceticism “must therefore, in the nature of things, be rare or hypocritical ;" hospitality, such as he proposed, may be exercised by an ordinary Christian.
In a short examination of some supposed objections to his scheme, he introduced the following admirable remarks :-“ The clergyman ought to feel himself something far beyond a gentleman. If his education fit him for polished society, his purse rarely enables him to associate on equal terms with his wealthy neighbour. If he has time to dine with the nobleman, he has time to dine with the tradesman ; if he has the means to entertain the one, he has the means to entertain the other; if the latter should be regarded as disqualifying him for the former, then the path of duty is clear, for there is little chance of benefiting by our society those who accept it on humiliating terms. Besides, various ranks are of God's appointment. No clergyman would invite the members of different classes to meet on an equality at his table, the labourer with the tradesman, or the tradesman with the gentleman; and thus an admirable lesson would be taught, that while various ranks were of divine institution, the clergyman was of no rank at all—he was the servant of servants, the monitor of kings.”
I will just say, in reference to one of these sentences, that I well know a rector who, having himself abstained from even calling on his middle-class parishioners, discouraged his curate, with the utmost naïveté, from accepting an invitation to pass an evening at the house of one of them, a confessedly excellent man, solely upon the ground that country friends would be offended by it, and that in itself it would be an awkward experiment: the curate, though reluctant to differ from him, could not see his duty through the same medium, and braved the presumed hydra. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the evening passed off agreeably at least, and no apparent loss of respect followed from high or low : for it is plain, that upon a clergyman's own demeanour, habits, and doctrine, will mainly depend the treatment which all classes will give him; and, if his standard of duty be high, and himself in all humility an example of a well-governed mind, the worthless of no grade will trouble him with their society, or have it in their power to break off any friendships formed with him.
Without magnifying hospitality (much less such expensive and secular hospitality as is common amongst us at present) into a panacea for the acknowledged alienation, I am quite inclined, with “Clerus," to allow it a prominent place on the list of remedies; the more so, as both our Lord and St. Paul have enjoined it: the one commanding us to have respect therein rather to those who are below than to those who are above us; the other laying down a distinct canon, that the spiritual heads of all parishes should be given to hospitality.*
But I cannot agree with him when, after frankly stating his suspicion that all our own objections to free intercourse with the middle
* If any one would measure the degree of "non-naturalness" with which this direction has been interpreted, let him look round his vestry-room at the next antichurch-rate demonstration, and conscientiously ask himself, “How many of these malcontents have I ever tried to conciliate by an act of social intercourse, or the softening influence of a free and friendly conversation ?"
classes are mere “evasions of a duty," he forthwith goes out of his way to find some Zoar for our wives; I rather conceive, that the delicate ladies who, after voluntarily allying themselves to men “of no rank at all,” would dare to fall back upon their freedom from clerical vows to screen themselves, and their refined sensibilities, from all possible danger of contamination or annoyance in sharing their husbands' social labours, are either imaginary beings who do not exist, but are invented and crooked for the nonce by some one (not“ Clerus”) who wants another excuse; or unhappy beings who have miserably mistaken their vocation, and need to be provided for in a very different manner. For I cannot forget this anecdote of the pious Herbert : The third day after he was made rector of Bemerton, and had changed his sword and silk clothes into a canonical suit, he said to his wife, “ You are now a minister's wife, and must now so far forget your father's house, as not to claim a precedence of any of your parishioners; for you are to know that a priest's wife can challenge no precedence or place, but that which she purchases by her obliging humility; and I am sure, places so purchased do best become them. And let me tell you, that I am so good a herald as to assure you that this is truth." if, however, clergymen's wives are to be humoured, and, instead of regarding themselves as the English sisters of charity, and as sharing in some sort their husbands' responsibilities, are to consider themselves as mere lay-women, and to engage themselves in all the pleasures of their former companions; then, the sooner a voluntary celibacy is looked upon by clergymen far otherwise than at present, the better will it be for church and nation.
Having endeavoured, in my former letter, to show that the acknowledged estrangement of the middle classes is attributable, not to them, but to the clergy, I come now to a very brief consideration of two remedies, more popular than that of “Clerus." The first is, an extension of the order of deacons, by admitting members of the middle classes themselves, under certain restrictions, more readily than under the existing system of a University preparation; and here I will entirely overlook the question of practicability, and suppose the funds provided, the bishops willing to exercise the invidious trust of selecting those who may have purchased to themselves a good degree, for further ordination, and a body of fit men ready for the work.
What, then, would be the effect of these new ministers upon the middle classes? They would be, in a strong sense, prophets in their own country; and, as such, would have very little influence at all or their influence would be illegitimate, and rather hurtful than auxiliary to the church ; because those, be they few or many, who would listen even to the private admonitions of these deacons, though disregarding their present pastors when delivering the same message, would manifestly do so, not out of regard to the doctrine itself, but only to the propounders thereof. But would not the whole scheme be looked upon as a plausible escape from our own bounden duties, rather than as a proof of any increased love, so long as it is notorious that ourselves have not stooped to the task ? Would it not, as such, be treated with scorn? Above all, if, as Archdeacon Manning has said, the middle
classes are remarkable for their “ love of truth,” can such a measure be necessary ? or, is it not rather evident, that a love of truth includes a love of its practice; and that it has been the want of carrying out those truths of communion which we preach, by equal attention to all classes alike, that has produced the evils complained of?
Let the existing clergy first square their notions and modes of living, their families and households, to a more strict conformity with their vows; let them then make a full and fair trial of their own powers, by God's help, to win back the middle classes to the church. And should they fail, after such sacrifices, to effect the desired change, they will indeed have a strong case to back them in an application for additional assistance.
As my letter has been much lengthened by references to that of “ Clerus,” I shall only bere add, that whilst offering these observations upon the desired increase of deacons, I am far from supposing that, in other respects, such a measure might not be beneficial, especially in large pulations, where the laborious and over-burthened clergy might be relieved of much occasional duty by the assistance of ordained schoolmasters, whose training might have already, in some sort, prepared them for the office; and whose incomes, if at present proportioned to their work, would need to be but little increased on that account.
The second remedial measure, of which much has been recently said in educational reports and treatises, is the establishment of middle schools. Well, suppose them established, what have we done to secure that confidence which alone could induce the middle classes to entrust their children to our supervision ?-—what, to prevent the new masters being just in the same relative position as ourselves, with this additional impediment, that they would be looked upon as a new device to separate the classes, a purposed check upon the ambition of the pupil's parents, rather than as a fresh manifestation of the church's parental care, and a godly effort to recover lost ground?
But, suppose these fears unfounded, the new schools gladly accepted, and already filled with pupils, the sons and daughters of churchmen and dissenters alike. Can it be maintained, that they would be otherwise than abortive as remedies for the existing disaffection, unless the sound principles there inculcated by precept should be elsewhere brought into play, and fostered by the familiar example and kindly intercourse of the parochial clergy? That no church machinery can be considered perfect without such institutions, I readily allow; but the way before them must be prepared by a generous endeavour to pay off an accumulated debt of intercourse with the parents, and the way, after them, must be completed by continued intercourse with the pupils; and the sooner this is done, and an example of active humility brought home to the middle classes, by a well-born and well-educated ministry, the sooner, as it seems to me, shall we be called on to rejoice because the strayed sheep have been brought back to their fold.
There is not, neither can be, a more false or pernicious notion than that which lies hidden under the plausible saying, that “ clergymen ought to live like gentlemen;" and never, till simplicity and