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ing to the general doctrine of Scripture, and must be qualified agreeably to what we know to have been his real meaning.
The same is applicable also to his remarks on 1 Pet. iii. 21, and 2 Pet. i. 9. And had the scope of my argument been more distinctly seen, there would have been found no occasion for that observation, “Who would have expected that Grotius would be a more spiritual as well as a more judicious commentator on this place than Mr. Simeon?” Not that I should think it any disparagement to sit at the feet ...} so learned a man as Grotius; but, in our interpretation of these passages, Grotius and I are perfectly agreed.
After a distinct consideration of these different passages, your correspondent observes, “My objection to Mr. S. is, that he attributes to the opus operatum the pardon of sin, and the regeneration of the soul.” My answer is, that the very reverse is written as with a sun-beam, not only in those sermons at large, but in that very part of them which is here criticised. Who would have believed that the following note was inserted there, and inserted on purpose to guard against any such misconception of my argument? " He (the author) does not mean to say, that the Apostles ascribed salvation to the opus operatum, the outward act of baptism; or that they intended to assert distinctly the salvation of every individual who had been baptised; but only that, in reference to these subjects, they did use a language very similar to that in our Liturgy; and that, therefore, our Reformers were justified, as we also are, in using the same.” It is the more strange that this should escape your correspondent’s notice, because the note is annexed to a long passage of the sermon printed in italics, and is introduced with these words, “ To guard against a misapprehension of his uneaning, the author wishes these words to be distinctly noticed, because they contain the whole drift of his argument.”
Your correspondent, toward the close of his remarks, observes, “I cannot help thinking that Mr. Simeon, in his zeal for the perfection of the Liturgy, has undesignedly abandoned the genuine interpretation of Scripture.” In answer to . this, I am happy to assure your correspondent, that if I have erred at all, it has not been through “ zeal for the perfection of the Liturgy.” but through zeal for the present and etermal welfare of my fellow creatures. I know that the Established Church aflords incomparably greater scope for the exertions of a faithful minister, than any dissenting church. I know that no person can officiate in the church who does not declare his unfeigned assent and consent to every thing contained in the Liturgy. I know that multitudes of pious men would labour in the Established Church, if they could get over these difficulties; and, that consequently, many thousands in the Establishment are deprived of their labours by means of these obstacles. I know that many conscientious ministers have gone heavily all their days, because they knew not how to act, whether to use expressions which they did not approve; or to drop the use of them; or to relinquish the sphere of usefulness which they held in the church, and leave a church, which, with these small exceptions, they loved and admired above any upon earth. I farther know, that even at the very moment I was writing my Sermons, there was a pious minister driven almost to distraction by his scruples, and actually abandoning a most affectionate and attentive people because he could not make up his mind to use these expressions any longer.
I hope I shall not be deemed presumptuous if I go further still. I thought that the subject had never yet been taken up in a right point of view. Wheatley and Nichols contain all that has ever been spoken on the subject: (a host of others there are, of minor consideration, who add little, if anything, to what they have spoken :) and I am free to confess, that they have never fully satisfied my mind. The views which I have suggested are the fruit of my own reflection; and, in my deliberate judgment, are most satisfactory to a conscientious mind; at least, they have afforded me more satisfaction than any other which I have ever heard or read. I was not, therefore, sorry to have an opportunity of contributing, as far as lay in my power, to the satisfying of the minds of others. But I have not so windicated these expressions, as to hold them up, like the rest of the Liturgy, to the admiration of mankind. I admit that they are egregio inspersos corpore marvos : and I have again and again acknowledged, that a slight alteration of some few expressions would be a benefit to the whole: but there they are ; and we have no alternative but to use them, or to leave the church: I hope then, that, if I have felt a zeal in such a cause, it is a zeal worthy of a minister of Christ. The minds of men are variously constituted: some think that to minister in the Church of England is of such paramount importance, that the use of two or three expressions which they do not approve, is not to be regarded in comparison of it: they, therefore, conscious of their unseigned attachment to the Liturgy in general, are contented to say, Ubi plura nitent, non ego paucis offendar maculis. Others say, “ Much as I admire the Church of England, and wish to minister in her churches, I
nasian Creed, he merely o: It does not satisfy him. The only attempt at a refutation of my statement is, that “ we subscribe the English, and not the Latin, copy.” But does your correspondent think that our English Reformers intended to make that creed affirm what it never did affirm; and, under pretence of giving a translation of Athanasius, to make his severities still more severe 2 He knows full well that they could never entertain such a thought. And as to the idea that we must be governed, not by the English, but by the Latin copy, what would your correspondent say to a man who should interpret our Ninth Article as assirming only a considerable, but not a total departure from original righteousness? would he find no argument in the words quam longissimé P. As he states no other objection, I may hope that he has no other to offer; and, consequently, that the ground I have taken is at least as tenable as any that has been occupied before. I am sorry, Mr. Observer, that I have been constrained to occupy so much of your time; and conclude with replying to your correspondent, Siquid novisti rectius istis, Candidus imperti; sinon, his utere mecum. C. simileon. King's College, Oct. 27, 1812.
to. It is due to the writer of the paper which has drawn this reply from Mr. Simeon to say, that it was not intended by him for publication. He sent it to us as a private communication, on which he was desirous of obtaining our private judgment. We overlooked this circumstance, and sent it to the press under the mistaken impression that it was meant to be published. We are glad to take this opportunity of apologizing for the wrong thus done to our much-valued friend and correspondent, in making him to appear before the public contrary to his own wish and intention, and consequently under the disadvantage of not having contemplated such an exhibition. We shall the less regret our inadvertence, however, if it should happily prove the means of eliciting a conclusive discussion of a question which must be regarded, by every minister of the Church of England, as peculiarly important.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
You have stated, in some part of your Review of Mr. Scott's “Remarks” on the Bishop of Lincoln's Refutation of Calvinism, that Calvinists, such as Mr. Scott represents himself to be, need no apology for professing their tenets as members of the Church of England. This is a remark, which, one would imagine, a slight acquaintance with the history of the Reformation, and of the illustrious characters concerned in it, would lead any sensible person to acknowledge to be just, and which an examination of the Articles and Homilies of our Church would serve to confirm. But notwithstanding this, we hear it perpetually and clamorously denied, that Calvinists, so called, can conscientiously subscribe the Articles, or use the ritual of our Church. In the midst of this outcry, it is cheering to hear the conciliatory voice of some, especially if they are of exalted station in the Church, who vindicate our excellent Establishment from the narrowness which many of her sons attribute to her. In the number of these vindicators of the Church, we have to reckon Bishop Horsley; a man whose authority, whether we view him as a profound theologian or acute reasoner, must be allowed to rank high. I feel peculiar pleasure in joining with his name that of a living prelate, the present Bishop of St. Asaph. Many of your readers are undoubtedly well acquainted with Dr. Cleaver's edition of Nowell's Catechism, published in 1795, and consequently with the passage I am about to transcribe; but I have thought that it may not be known to many others, and I therefore request for it a column in an early number of your work. The passage to which I wish to direct the attention of your readers occurs in the
5th and 6th pages of Bishop Cleaver's preface, and is as follows: “Porro non parum lucis in explicandis 39 fidei et religionis articulis praebilurus est hic catechisinus, quum ex hoc plane constare possit convocationem Anglicam nolle Calvintanas Scripturarum interpretationes, quicquid de ris tunc temporis senserint non pauci, iidemque unagni nominis viri, lege sancire. Quod ut lectori manifestum fiat, velim cum hoc catechismo conferat articulos praedictos, atque istos speciatim, in quibus de peccato, originis et de praedestinatione tractatum est. Tunc scilicet constabit, quam caute agitur in illis articulis a clero subscribendis, dum Nowellus noster clare et libere sententiam suam, eandemque episcoporum consensu munitam eloquilur. “Qua de causa praecipue annotationes hic illic addendas volui, ne
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
“AFRIEND to Fairness,” in your last number (p. 645), has very properly endeavoured to dissuade religious persons from the use of such expressions as are apt to occasion needless offence, or to excite prejudice against religion itself; and he has selected, as an instance of the evil to which his remarks are pointed, the inquiry sometimes made in respect to a particular parish, viz. “Whether the Gospel has been preached there in the Established Church.” Now I entirely concur with your correspondent in objecting not only to this mode of expression, but to every other which tends unnecessarily to excite prejudice, or which causes needless offence to any persons whatsoever. But while I thus cordially acquiesce in the general view which your correspondent has taken of this subject, I am disposed to question the soundness of some of the arguments by which he has enforced it in this instance. Your correspondent is of opinion, that only one reply can be given to such an inquiry, whatever be the parish concerning which it is made, and whoever may be the minister of that parish; and that is, that unquestionably, wherever our excellent Liturgy has been the medium of public worship, there the Gospel has been fully and constantly preached. But is there not a wide difference in reality, as well as in the common apprehension of men, between the sermons that may be preached by a clergyman, and the devotional forms he may perfunctorily repeat? When a person inquires, Is the Gospel preached in such a parish; (I am far from vindicating the form of the inquiry), he means, and, I apprehend, is generally understood to mean, neither more nor less than this, “ Is the doctrine which the minister de
livers in his sermons from the pulpit the doctrine of the Gospel?” This is the only part of the public exercises of the church which is properly the work of the minister himself, and which alone, therefore, must stamp his character,as a faithful expositor of evangelical truth. Suppose the question were put in other words, and the inquirer were to ask; “Do the sermons preached by the minister of such a parish accord in their spirit and tendenc with the Liturgy which he j. from the desk?” Your correspondent will allow that this would be in effect to ask, whether the Gospel was preached there. But surely he will not say that a simple affirmation would, in every case, be the correct reply to such an inquiry. The same remark equally applies to the reading of the Scriptures. Nor can it, I think, be properly said of any parish, that the Gospel is there preached, if the minister of it, though he regularly uses the Liturgy and reads the Scriptures in the congregation, either keeps out of view, or contradicts, the grand fundamental verities which that Liturgy and those Scriptures teach. In the ordinary meaning affixed to words, in that parish the Gospel is not preached in the church. Neither do I agree with your correspondent, that such language is in the highest degree injurious to the Liturgy and the Establishment; or that, except in as sar as it gives needless offence, or creates prejudice in the minds of certain individuals, it is necessarily injurious to them at all. If, as I believe is often done on such occasions, the Scriptures and the Liturgy are referred to as the standard for estimating a minister's title to have his sermons considered as an enunciation of the Gospel, then I conceive that very little injury indeed is to be apprehended, either to the Liturgy or to the Establishment, from such language. I believe, at least, that no man, who would make the inquiry to which your correspondent has objected, either could be of the opinion himself, or would willingly leave it to be inferred by others, that persons should have regularly attended for years the public service of the Church of England, and not only so, but really prayed her prayers, confessed in her confessions, adored in her adorations, sought for grace according to her instructions, looked for justification in the manner and on the basis to which she directs them, and yet, during all this time, should have heard nothing of the Gospel. I am inclined to think that such a conclusion could not be warrantably drawn from such premises: indeed, in the terms in which the inference is stated, it seems to me impossible it should ever be made. I will not detain you with any remark on that part of your correspondenu's paper in which he objects to the use of the language in question, on the ground of its fostering the extravagant preference of preaching over prayer, which is already too prevalent; because I agree with him as to the existence and pernicious tendency of the evil which he deprecates, although I do not think that it is so intimately linked to this particular mode of speech as he seems to imagine. But when he goes on to remark, that such language is calculated to raise up and to cherish pride, and pride of the darkest shade, in the persons who indulge themselves in it, I think that he employs terms which are too unmeasured. I would not pretend to say, that some who ask such questions may not be very proud of their own fancied superiority in religious knowledge. This may often be the case. But I believe, at the same time, that the persons who adopt this short and sufficiently sigmificative mode of ascertaining whether the doctrines preached from the pulpit of a certain parish accord
with the Christian scheme, as exhibited in the Scriptures, and in the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies of the Church of England; or who are in the habit, on other occasions, of using similar language; are not therejore in imminent danger of looking on the generality of their brethren with a supercilious eye, of becoming narrow-minded partisans, &c.; which, it appears to me, would be to assign effects to causes that are very inadequate to their production. This mode of speech may, perhaps, justly be spoken of as shewing a defect in judgment, or in good taste; or as somewhat coarse or canting; but I think it is hardly chargeable with all the injurious tendencies attributed to it by your correspondent. The chief ground on which to arraign language of this sort, appears to me to be that which he has very ably stated, and to which l have already adverted; I mean the needless offence which it causes, and the hurtful prejudices which it excites; and when to this is added, that it savours of cant, and is calculated to produce an impression on others of party spirit and self-preference, I should hope enough was said, as far at least as respects all conscientious persons, to discourage its use. I am, &c. A. B.
To the Editor of the ClaristianObserver.
I AM glad to find that a writer, with the acuteness and obviously laudable intentions of your correspondent “A friend to faukNess,” has commenced a series of remarks “on certain injudicious modes of expression used by religious persons;” and I trust he will proceed with his strictures: though I must confess I think he has been rather unfortunate in his first selection. I agree with your correspondent entirely, as to the mistake into which many pious persons fall, in estimating the comparative importance of prayer and preaching; and have