Imágenes de páginas

changing wants, were to be prorogued to which all parties in the Church till August, then to receive permission could agree. A short Act, or resoto slumber on for another six months. lution, might be introduced by the Happily, we can only imagine what Bishops into the House of Lords, dein this instance would be the conse- tailing the undoubted right of the quences. And yet, with all our know- Church to meet in Convocation, both ledge of what has produced this abey- to deliberate and legislate,—of course ance of the action of Convocation, and urder the ultimate control of the with all our just appreciation of the Crown and Legislature,--and stating, present state of ecclesiastical parties that as for some time past, as at and questions, we cannot quarrel with present, these powers have, for varithose who do regard this annual meet- ous reasons, been held in abeyance ing of Convocation as a perfect mock- by the Crown, and that Convocation ery, and as a species of wrong and has only met in name and form ; that injustice to the Church. We have it is more consistent with the true inourselves always read of its proceed. terests and dignity of the Church that ings with a degree of shame, and have the empty form be abandoned, and felt a conviction that it does afford a that no summons for the meeting of fair opportunity for the ridicule of the Convocation of either province he other Churches.

issued until such time as it is thought We know that very weighty grounds meet to permit the full exercise of the have been assigned for this virtual rights and powers of the Church, in extinction of the deliberative and le- her corporate capacity ;-the Act, or gislative functions of the Church, and resolution, to contain a full acknowwe know too, that many of the very ledgment and allowance of the unhighest authorities in the Church are doubted rights and claims of the not careful that these powers should be Church thus to meet, deliberate, and resuscitated. We humbly think, how- act. To this there could be no objecever, that the present state of the tion on the part of the Crown, inasquestion is most unsatisfactory, and much as the right, and all the liberthat the Church is bound to press for ties therein contained, are virtually the adoption of one of two courses,- allowed in the act of summons. either for the immediate abandonment If it be thought that the Church of the present farce, or for the actual ought not to waive its claims, or conmeeting of Convocation, in a shape sent to a postponement of its rights and with powers adapted to the pre- to what might prove to be the pesent condition of the Church and the riod of the Greek Kalends, then country,

our second alternative ought to be The first alternative tells its own pressed upon the Church, then it betale of reasonable propriety, against comes a question of the deepest mowhich only one objection can be ment, what measures can be taken urged, yiz., that if the custom were to to make Convocation a full, fair, and be departed from, the right and claim efficient representation of the Church to meet might also cease to be allowed of England. even as a theory. Against the force At present, we take it that the enof this objection, an easy remedy tire management and control of the might we think, be readily provided, Church is vested in the Government of the day. Commissions issue by its averted from the Church, may again initiative authority, to re-arrange and again be prevented by the same ecclesiastical dioceses, divide their re- authority. A few months may shew venues, and subdivide parishes; while that the reverse of such a policy may to the Minister of the Crown belongs be the result of a change of ministry. that most important of all functions, Besides, if it be true that we are to the appointment of those who are to rest our confidence, as a Church, in fill the episcopal chairs of the entire the over-ruling care and guidance of kingdom. It is true that Government God, and if we are to do this, now does not interfere with the Ritual or that the supreme, indeed all power, the doctrines preached in the pulpits is lodged in the hands of the Crown; of the Establishment; its favours have surely we ought not to flinch when been most generally conferred on the proposal is made to transfer the those who, while they may have held power, at least in its initiative and similar political sentiments, have, with deliberative character, to the more but few exceptions, been also eminent scriptural province of the Church's for learning. But a recent instance own proper councils. He who overhas shewn us that we are dependent rules the one, or rather the few indiin no small degree upon the com- viduals that compose a civil governplexion of the ministry of the day, for ment, can with equal power influence the composition of a court of appeal and govern not only the choice of which shall give a final decision upon proper ecclesiastical representatives, any interpretation of our Formularies but preside over their consultations or Articles. Happily the result was and control their acts. favourable to the present peace of If experience has taught us that the Church ;-a law of latitude up to Church councils and synods may a certain point in shades of doctrine, quarrel, err, and persecute, we have was decreed as allowable. But the experience still to shew that the acts decision and the authority of the of a civil government may set a Church court are alike still demurred to by by the ears, and, by its appointments those who claim to hold definite and to bishoprics and other important orthodox sentiments.*

offices, besides its legislative enactWe merely cite this case here, in ments, produce confusion, and perorder to argue that we may not be so haps irreparable mischief to the enamoured of our present security, or Church of which it is the governing imagine the countenance and sanc- ally. There is, moreover, another tion of the ruling power to be so un- ground why the present silent and alterably in favour of a liberal policy powerless condition of the Church is in Church matters, as not to provide unsatisfactory. Look at the constitufor the sudden, and possibly not very tion of the Legislature, of that body remote contingency of an altogether which virtually makes and keeps in differently disposed Government. power the ministry of the day. When

It may be urged, that such contin- Convocation was first silenced, the gencies are under the over-ruling Legislature was by law composed of providence of God, and that a dan- none but those who ayowed themgerous persecution which has been selves members of the National Pro* The Gorham case.

testant Establishment Tests and oaths were then in force, which, as annihilation of a Church's undoubted far as law could provide for, ensured privileges to seek in united council that all who legislated should do so as the guidance of God's Spirit. Whatmembers of the Church of England, ever view may be taken of this ques. • or, to take the lowest value of such tion, it must be confessed that it is one safeguards, as members of some Pro- which, from its very nature, is entitestant communion.

tled to receive serious attention; and However this worked, such was those who treat of the revival of Conthe theory, and the presence of the vocation are not to be frowned down, Bishops in the House of Lords gave a or met with ridicule. No one would faint show that the Church was in some be mad enough to dream of entrustdegree specially represented in the ing Convocation, in its present orLegislature. How unequal and imper- ganization, with either deliberative or fect was this representation, is another legislative power, or to confer upon question which we may treat of pre- it, however it may be formed, that sently; our purpose here is to shew ultimate authority which could be that even with this ecclesiastical com- abused, either to override the royal ponent in one branch of the Legisla prerogative or be perverted to serve ture, the position of the Church is the purpose of a narrow and sectarian entirely changed, now that the char- bigotry. acter of the Legislature itself is wholly It was said in a former number, that altered.

the whole system must be remodelled; The admission of the Romanist into that the whole Church must be reprethe councils of the Sovereign, and to sented. Bishops, and the higher orseats and votes in both Houses of der of the clergy, must not alone sit Parliament, at once placed the Church in Convocation; the lower clergy of England in a false and insecure must have their fair share of reposition, and has for ever destroyed presentation, in order that they may that theoretic argument used by those secure for themselves that proper ecwho defended the abeyance of Con- clesiastical liberty which all should vocation, on the plea, that in place of enjoy; while that vast body, the a Convocation of clergy, the Church laity, for whose welfare and serwas governed by a Parliament of Lords vice both bishops and clergy are apspiritual and temporal, and Common- pointed, must also have that just ers, all of whom were members of the apportionment of influence which will Church of England.

preserve to them and to to their chil· It may be true that few, if any, can dren, that standing in the Church at present see their way very clearly which will enable them to take their as to a revival of this legitimate power share in preserving the purity of the of the Church; but we ought not un- faith of Christ, as well as maintain scrupulously to condemn the efforts their own rights and privileges as of those who, widely differing from us members of the national Church. in ecclesiastical matters, yet have We may point to the success which their minds and their mouths open to has attended the conventions of the the inconsistency of the present posi- Episcopal Church of America; it may tion of the Church, and the more es- afford some encouragement to an expecially, as none can defend this periment for a renewal of our own

synods. It is, we believe, a fact, that forth, that God would be pleased to with very few exceptions, the whole shower down upon our Sovereign, our business of these meetings of the Government, and our Legislature, the American Episcopal Church, have gift of faith, of repentance, and of produced much of real good to that wisdom, that they may see that the body; while, by the very principle of Church, which would gladly submit, all classes in the Church being repre- under God, to their rule, wants reforsented, there is that feeling of union mation, and that they may be preand contentment engendered, which pared to give that internal power cannot but work well in promoting its which shall enable it to deliberate upon general utility.

its wants and supply its necessities. The whole of this subject is, how- For the Church, - that every member, ever, one which requires the deepest in his vocation and ministry, may humthought, and which must be ap- ble himself before the only wise God, proached with the most fervent prayer and may prayerfully seek to bring for the Divine direction.

that Church which we love, to the stern We are prone to pride ourselves as but only test of God's holy word. We belonging to the Church of England, should pray that, in Convocation, or in to a Church which is bound together any gathering of the Church, there by the unity of government, offices of may be such an abundant outpouring the ministry, Articles, and Rituals of the Holy Spirit's manifold gifts Does it not seem strange that we and graces vouchsafed, that love, wisshould have cause to dread that dom, faithfulness, unity, and concord, Church being assembled in its collec- may govern the whole councils of the tive character, to deliberate on its po- Church, and may produce those fruits sition and its wants, and to propose of joy, peace, and righteousness, such plans of comprehensive good, and which may make our Church shine such remedial measures, as may deepen forth in renewed spirituality, and beits hold upon the country, and more come a praise and a blessing in the surely extend its influence and utility earth. far beyond the shores of England ? Let us all arise to this most impor

But we are well aware, that before tant preparatory work, and then we we are entitled to expect a restora- may hope to see the finger of God tion of our rights, as members of so pointing to the means, and preparing noble a branch of Christ's Church, the way, for the re-establishing of a that much of ministerial and indivi- true Convocation of the Church of dual supplication to the throne of the England. Heavenly Grace, must be poured

C. A.

Divinity. THE TRUE PEACE OF THE BELIEVER. The words of Divine and eternal there not only many direct assertions truth,—“Thou wilt keep him in per- of what are the moral attributes of fect peace whose mind is stayed on God, but, besides this, we have a seThee, because he trusteth in Thee," ries of well authenticated acts of prowere the words of inspiration and ex- vidential influence with the events of perience seven hundred years before this world, from the study of which, the Christian era, and whoever makes when taken in connexion, we may a fair and faithful trial, will find them draw our own conclusions. And to be true now. It shall be our en there is no question, but that on a fair deavour here to open them according examination of these facts of Scripto their real meaning, and to shew ture, we shall be led to conclude the that they are practically true, and same things of God as we find directly that he actually is kept in perfect asserted in other parts of Scripture. peace, whose mind is truly stayed on We shall arrive at the conviction, that God so as to trust in Him. There the God of the universe is a God of are two points here for consideration: holiness and of mercy, a just God first, what is it to have the mind and a Saviour; a Being of infinite stayed on God? and, secondly, what purity, hating sin, even the sin by is the perfect peace which follows ? which human nature is defiled and

1. What is it to have the mind ruined, but at the same time extendstayed on God? This evidently means ing mercy in a practicable and accesleaning, relying, reposing, upon God: sible form to the guilty, so that they trusting to the eternal, omnipotent may be at peace. Being who made and governs all To know this is to know God. things. Speaking scripturally, and as There are many who talk of the Aubelieving the Scriptures to be inspired, thor of nature, the great First Cause, it is placing reliance and trust upon the Fountain of life and wisdom, and God as He is there revealed; upon go no further; but this is no knowthat character which is there set forth ledge of God; it is only the convicdoctrinally and historically of the In- tion that there is a God; it is one finite Governor of the universe, step from atheism. The real scriptu

In the outset, therefore, it is essen- ral student is theoretically assured țial to trust in God, that a man should that God has declared Himself in a know God as far as He is to be known, way which unites His justice and His i.e. first, he should know God theo- mercy over the saved sinner; and, retically as He has made Himself that infinitely just and holy as God is, known by statement in revealed He is the Friend, the reconciled FaScripture. That book points out to ther, the covenant protection of all us the character of God, and the do- who will sincerely seek Him. Even ings of God with this world; and a the Old Testament Scripture revealed general and serious study of its state this truth, at a time when the mode ments will enable us to form a very by which such mercy was to be acfull and distinct opinion of what God complished was altogether incompreis to the children of men. We have hensible. The scheme of grace was a

« AnteriorContinuar »