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p. 238. Cardwell's Synodalia i. 126-7.) These are all formularies of the Church of England, as much as the Thirty-Nine Articles.
And as to the 'spirit of the Reformers,' it is, in the first place, unsafe, to say the least of it, to found anything, in such a controversy as the present, upon the spirit' of any private doctors. And, secondly, before we admit that the spirit' of the Anglican Reformers is opposed to that of the Tracts, we should wish to know who those are that will be held as the Reformers. Cranmer and Ridley are commonly so esteemed; and yet Mr Buchanan will easily find that they are claimed, and not without plausible grounds, by the Puseyites, as in favour of their spirit.' Parker and Whitgift are also called Reformers; but who will maintain, that in spirit' they are opposed to the Tract system? The truth is, we know not a more unsafe criterion of any dogma, than the spirit, or even the determinations of the Anglican Reformers. It is difficult to name a doctrine which could not be either impugned or defended from the works of Cranmer and some of his contemporaries. But if the spirit of these doctors is to be held a standard of appeal, it were easy to show that, especially on the doctrine of the sacraments, it is incomparably stronger in favour of the Tractarians than of their evangelical opponents. Indeed, the Tract system, if tested by Scripture, cannot stand investigation; but then it has nothing to fear from an appeal to Anglican formularies. This fact is forcing itself upon the attention of all who have studied the controversy. And we can account for the ominous silence of the evangelical party in the Church of England, only by supposing either, first, that they have imbibed the spirit of the Tracts, which we should be sorry to believe; or, secondly, that they have become convinced that the controversy, as it stands between them and the Tractarians, must be decided, not by an appeal to Scripture, which, in the circumstances, is not a legitimate standard, but by church formularies and principles, which both acknowledge authoritative, and which no evangelical man, who understands the subject, can conceal from himself are, to say the least of it, more in favour of Puseyism than of Evangelism.*
In addition to the work which heads this brief article, we would recommend a small pamphlet, translated from the French of D'Aubigné, entitled Geneva and Oxford. It is eloquent, philosophic, Scriptural, like that distinguished author's other writings. We add an extract: When England shall abandon the faith of the Bible, that instant shall the crown fall from her head. Ah! we too, the Christians of the Continent and of the whole world, shall clothe us in mourning, if this empire be brought low. We love her for the sake of Christ Jesus-for his sake we pray for her; but, if the apostasy already begun shall work itself out, we shall have nothing left for her but wailing, and sighs, and tears.
'What are the bishops doing? What is the Church doing? This is the universal
ART. V.-1. Letter from Sir James Graham, to the Moderator of the General Assembly, with the Reply, &c.* Edinburgh: Johnstone, 1843.
2. First Circular to the Friends of the Church of Scotland. 3. Second Communication to the Friends of the Church of Scotland.
Never probably in the history of the Church of Christ has an effect so instantaneous and so powerful, followed upon a single meeting as has been produced in Scotland by the Convocation of Ministers. Not only has it served, by God's blessing, to strengthen the hands and encourage the hearts of those who were present at it, and to bind them together as one man under the banner of their King: but it has sent forth an impulse to the furthest corner of
inquiry. If the Church of England were rightly organized, she would place in her offices teachers who are subject to the word of God, in conformity with the ThirtyNine Articles; and she would bring down from them those who violate her laws, poison her youth, trouble the souls of her people, and who would subvert the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A few bishops' charges are not enough. We believe, undoubtedly, that no power can take from the Christian the right he has to "search the Scriptures," and to "try the spirits whether they be of God." But we do not believe in the omnipotence of ministers; we believe not that the servants of a Church may proclaim in it doctrines which subvert it. Did it not seem good to "the apostles and elders, with the whole church," to put to silence those at Antioch, who would substitute, as now at Oxford, the ordinances of man for the grace of Christ? (Acts xv. 22.) Since what time is it that a well-constituted church lets nothing be heard from her but isolated voices? Shall the annual convocations of England's Church continue for ever a vain usage and an unmeaning ceremony? If its nature cannot be changed, must not extraordinary evils be met by extraordinary remedies? Will there not be a movement of the Church in England, as in early times in Jerusalem ? Will not "the elders and the whole church" compose a council which, as was done in other days (if a story of it be credible) by the Nicene, will display the word of God on an exalted throne, in token that to it alone does authority belong, and condemning and suppressing these fatal errors, yield to Jesus Christ and his word that sovereign authority of which usurping hands are on the point of robbing it?
If the Church shall still keep silence-if she shall suffer that, in her universities, her holiest foundations be subverted-then (we say it with the liveliest grief) shall a voice, like that of the prophet, be lifted up, and cry, "Woe to the Church! Woe to the nation! Woe to England!"
There are two ways of destroying Christianity,-one of these is, to deny it; the other is, to displace it. To put the church above Christianity—the priesthood above the word of God-to ask a man, not whether he has received the Holy Spirit, but whether he has received baptism at the hands of the so-called successors of the apostles, and their delegates,-all this, doubtless, flatters the pride and lust of power in man's nature; but is radically opposed to the Bible, and deals a deadly blow to the religion of Jesus Christ.' Pp. 23, 24.
• We can do nothing more than call our readers' attention to the admirable Reply of the Special Commission to this Letter. The Reply is in this edition subjoined to the Letter, and deserves perusal of every one for its calm, Christian-like, lawyerlike refutation of the sophistries and misrepresentations with which the Letter abounds.
the land, altogether unaccountable, if we do not admit that the same blessed Spirit who so manifestly guided the deliberations of the Convocation, has also wrought mightily in the hearts of his people. The deputations went forth, expecting to find it a heavy task to overcome the lethargic indifference with which they often before had had to contend. Instead of this they found everywhere the people most anxious to hear their explanations, crowding in numbers to their places of meeting, and willing to be persuaded that the cause for which they were now called to contend was the same as that for which their fathers suffered. Whatever
dangers may beset the Church, she has less now to fear from the supposed indifference of the people than once she had; they will be true to her in the hour of peril. May she only prove equally true to herself.
In connection with this point, we quote the following truly admirable Address to the People of Scotland, from the Second Communication to the friends, &c.
"TO THE PEOPLE.-" The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us." -Neh. iv. 19, 20.
"The movement on which we have entered is rapidly extending itself over the length and breadth of the land. It is felt as a ground of humble but devout thankfulness, that our principles and our plans, which have been the fruit of much prayerful deliberation, have met with such general approval on the part of our friends. The great duty which rests upon us, and upon all, is to work them out,-vigorously,-simultaneously,-universally. We beseech all who have any favour for the true and holy principles of the suffering Church of Scotland, to look upon the present as the great crisis, and to conclude, that with their activity or lukewarmness, hope for the future is necessarily connected.
"Men and brethren!-children of confessing and martyred fathers, so soon to be driven from your ancestral sanctuaries!—bethink you that this is no petty scheme, demanding a portion merely of your regard, entitled only to an average share of your consideration. When, through the judicial blindness to which our rulers seem to have been given over by God, they shall have annihilated, so far as in their power, the means on which, through the effectual working of God's Spirit, you suspend your everlasting all, and the several benefits flowing from which, had our rulers been wise, would have made their task of government a thing of easy accomplishment,-when they have, in effect, 'taken to themselves the houses of God in possession,'-it is yours.to arouse you to the comprehensive and magnificent work which, in God's providence, has been forced upon you; and, undeterred by the hostile attitude, or deceiving words of those, who, a thousand times, have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, to address yourselves to the glorious work, with the fixed and peremptory determination that it is to be done.
"Deeds, not words, must henceforth be our motto. Our work must be done vigorously, and it must be done quickly. We have no longer leisure to debate-we have no time to listen even to those who oppose themselves. We are in circumstances which compel us to reckon that "he who is not for us is against us." In the course of the next few weeks we must collect the means
of erecting, at the least, seven hundred humble but sufficient edifices, in which we may worship God, conformably not only to conscience, but to those high and holy oracles, without whose enlightening influence, conscience would only deceive; and not only so, but looking far beyond our own individual edification, to the best-the imperishable interests of this land, in which the steps of the Lord, which are full of majesty, have been traced by our fathers of old,— we must seek that the people of Scotland may be freed from hirelings, and that the feet of true and loyal ambassadors of Christ our King may be seen upon all their mountains.
"When the congregation in the wilderness upreared the tabernacle of witness, the people came every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing; and all the women that were wise-hearted; and all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom,' and of such things as they had, brought they offerings of willingness unto the Lord. Thus was it also in the brightest times of Jewish sovereignty, when the tabernacle was forgotten amidst the splendours of the temple reared by the house of David. Thus was it also when the despised remnant of the escaped from Babylon set themselves to restore the waste places of Jerusalem. To a similar work ye are invited, and the enthusiastic self-denial-the generous liberality-the simple devotedness-and the universal desire of usefulness, which marked those grand periods in Israel's history,-in circumstances so parallel to theirs, you are required to imitate; embarking with heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, in the cause of truth, and of God,-acting, every man and every woman, as if all depended on your individual efforts, and desisting not until all the offerings, and all the fragments of offerings have been gathered into the treasury of the Lord's house.
"In our first Circular, we adverted to the rumours of adjustment and settlement, &c, the abounding of which at such a time, past experience taught us to expect. We entreat our friends not only to believe that there exists, for the present, no ground for crediting any rumour of a favourable nature, but to ACT also on this belief. It is not likely that we shall be the last to know of any Providence favourable to our distressed Zion; and if such glad tidings reach us, assuredly we shall not be the last to divulge them. We shall, in such a case, take care that Scotland, from one end to the other, shall resound with the good news. Some will smile when we say, Wait till you hear from us; and be not deceived by the plausible rumours which even now are appearing, and which will increase in number and in feasibleness as we go onward in the path which is before us. Earth, and all that is under it, will be aroused to stay our proceedings; but let the voice of our action be onward! onward! for if the sad catastrophe-which we have not desired-the Lord knowethshall, after all, be averted, it will only be by the organization of the rightminded in the land, and the preparation of the means whereby, under the worst that can befal us, we shall be found able and determined on providing free and pure religious instruction for ourselves and for our country.
"The question is not, what Parliament will do, or what Parliament may do? If Parliament are inclined to do anything for the preservation of Church and State in the ancient kingdom of Scotland, the work of watching their proceedings has been put into trustworthy hands. But the question to the people is, what will you do? What have you done since we last addressed you? And what are you now prepared to do? What your gatherings for the Building Fund? What your organization for the support of the Ministry? On all hands, publicly and privately, you will be asked to pause-to confer-to explain-to argue; but answer the Sanballats, Tobials, and Geshems of modern times, as Nehemiah did their prototypes, We are doing a great work, so that we cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst we leave it, and come down to you?'—Neh. vi. 3.
Our enemies are beginning to perceive this. Those who treated our note of warning as merely a little piece of blustering which would pass by without any serious consequence, are now gazing in strange bewilderment at the momentous effects which have been produced by the simple yet solemn declaration, that 470 of Scotland's ministers are prepared to leave their homes rather than submit to the encroachment of the civil magistrate. Those who wrote to influential persons telling them that Government need be under no alarm, for that many who had signed the resolutions were already beginning to draw back, are now busy writing a second time to say that they were quite mistaken, that something must be done, that at least 600 ministers will leave the Church. A few indeed
are still striving to persuade themselves that when it comes to the point, the Church will give in: but they are labouring against their own convictions, and when the last stay whereon they are leaning is struck away, there will be a terrible howl of dismay.
What, then, has the Church, in present circumstances, chiefly to fear? The Moderate party? No. They are utterly effete and helpless. They have made no preparation-they are making none for the coming storm. When the blow is struck, and they find themselves with 600 vacancies to supply, every man will be looking despairingly at his neighbour. The whole country must be drained of Moderate ministers to supply respectably the city charges, and this will leave the field all the more free and open for the efforts of the Church of the people of Scotland.'*
Have we much to fear from the Puseyite party in England? Not at present. Their efforts may be used to prevent any settlement at all, but this will not seriously harm us. They may succeed in making Prelacy the established religion of Scotland, but neither will this hurt us. They may then proceed to persecution, but this is an evil that belongeth to the morrow, and sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.'
Have we much to fear from the middle party-the Forty ?' No; excepting only as they may succeed in dashing the cup of promise from our lips, and by their infatuated meddling, obstruct a settlement which might be otherwise carried through. The good easy men who love to bask in the sunshine of Conservatism, are all unfit for action in the deep waters to which we are now approaching. The wandering stars, which, in the red heat of their perihelion, alarmed the world by their fiery coruscations, in the shape of Synod sermons, &c., and then rolled away into the remoter regions of
The question has been repeatedly put, What should the new body be called? The Free Church, or the Original Church, or the Primitive Church of Scotland? We shall not presume to decide this; but the point should be maturely considered, as there is much in a name.