« AnteriorContinuar »
structions to candidates for Ordination; nor can we see what legal information, forms, or documents, the candidates can require. It certainly is not usual to get testimonials, si quis, &c., through the agency of the Bishop's secretary: to do so, would be going to a very unnecessary expense.
It will be seen that the Bishop at first states that the examination will be, not in books, but in subjects. We regret that, further on, he departs from this rule which he has laid down for himself, as he requires the candidates to study the evidences of Christianity according to Paley, Sumner, and Butler. The books themselves must, in this instance, form part of the subject-matter of examination, and no choice is left. Now to Paley, especially, we take exception: all that his works teach us is labour in vain; for we may sum up the whole in his own words :—" "The doctrine itself is by no means necessary to the belief of Christianity, which must, in the first instance at least, depend upon the ordinary maxims of historical credibility." Paley's object was to prove facts, not doctrines. He assumes that "the truth of Christianity depends upon its leading facts, and upon them alone;" and he makes use of the Apostles as witnesses only of the facts. The evil results of this line of argument is seen in those who make saving faith to consist in a mere acknowledgement of historical facts, so long as it is combined with the mere outward show of respectability of conduct.
As to evidences in general, the young clergy would do well to avoid indulging in arguments against imaginary sceptics. It can do no good to be continually putting the Apostles and Evangelists on their defence, and may do a great deal of harm, by suggesting doubts to those who have none. No amount of proof can give a higher state of conviction than that which those possessed who saw with wondering admiration our Lord's miracles, and then went back and walked no more with Him. It is, therefore, possible to see, and yet not believe; but it is blessed to believe without having seen. The most perfect knowledge of what are called the "Evidences" cannot make a man a Christian, any more than the knowledge of the various parts of a plough or a threshing machine, can make a man a farmer. When we were little children, we repeated the Creed without doubting; and evidences do not pretend to lead us further than, if so far as, the unhesitating faith we then possessed. They can never take the place of the Church which is the only effectual evidence of Scripture Truth.
FOREIGNER passing S. Paul's last Friday, could not but be aware that something out of the ordinary course was going on. The array of police, the landing stages erected for the convenience of persons alighting from carriages, the large boards bearing the enigmatical signs "D. E. F. tickets," or "A. B. C. tickets," the street boys runing about and asking every passer-by to purchase the book of the words only sixpence-all would be most puzzling and perplexing to a stranger unaccustomed to Anglican eccentricities. He would not think it extraordinary that the twenty-fifth of January should be a high day at a cathedral dedicated to S. Paul; and the notice at the north entrance, that none but workmen were admitted there, would not have been inconsistent with the proper observance of the day, were it not the fact that all the other entrances were closely barred against every one who did not possess a printed re--presentative of magic gold.
What strange festival, then, could these English be celebrating with so much fuss, and yet so secretly Were not the Churchmen of London permitted to join in the solemn services and the most holy mysteries? Alas, to the shame of the English Church, and to the lasting shame of the Dean and Chapter of S. Paul's, be it said, there was no solemn service, no celebration of the holy mysteries, no sound of prayer or praise, no company of worshippers, high or low, rich or poor, met together in that Cathedral on the Feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, 1861, before Him who is the Maker of them all.* The Cathedral clergy, instead of wearing their proper vestments, were adorning themselves in "robes," as Mr. Povah terms the academical costume; and with the civic authorities, likewise in their secular robes, were preparing to take the part of dummies in the performance of Handel's "Messiah" by some professional singers. That they were to take this undignified position, as part of the pageant, Mr. Povah unwittingly boasted. He evidently looked upon the academical dress as a guarantee for the respectability of the affair, though it was a pitiful exhibition when we remember how they gave np authorised services for an unauthorised oratorio, in which it was doubtful which had the most prominent part, Mr. Sims Reeves or the "Messiah"- an unjustifiable proceeding, for which Mr. Povah can say *Clerical Journal, February 12, 1861.
† In a letter to the Times.
nothing in extenuation, but that the words of the ora torio may be found in Scripture.
Mr. Povah is singularly unhappy in the meagre apology he makes for this act of desecration. If he calls the 7,000l. which have been raised by fair means, a comparatively small sum, what will he call the net proceeds of last Friday? Will the result be satisfac
tory even in his own estimation? The end proposed is the decoration of the Cathedral, we presume, in honour of GOD. But, is GOD honoured by an act which casts dishonour upon His house, and the priests who minister in it? Mr. Povah, however, thinks that those who have not subscribed to the fund should not urge any objections; while those who have subscribed are easily answered. Mr. Povah, when he says this, has entirely lost sight of the fact that the honour of the Cathedral Church concerns everyone in the diocese. When a Dean and Chapter speculate in professional singers and deal boards, and illegally close the doorswhen the whole thing is based on an illegal exclusion of the people from their own Cathedral, it is, indeed, time to cry out. No one, not even the Archbishop of Canterbury, had any legal right to exclude any, not even if the Dean and Chapter had taken the precaution to get a music licence for the occasion, and had painted over the west door-" Licensed pursuant to Act of Parliament." Neither Dean and Chapter, Rector, or Churchwardens, can legally take the house of
*The net receipts were about 600!.