« AnteriorContinuar »
“I can do all things through Christ gious mind. The man of worldly which strengtheneth me." "My mind is satisfied with the low and God shall supply all my need ac- meagre occupations and enjoyments cording to His riches in glory by of earth. The man whom God has Christ Jesus."
taught to love and worship Him, feels He looks to the moral nature of that the knowledge of God by faith God, as the standard of perfection to is insufficient, that it is less than that which he hopes to be conformed. for which he was fitted by his original That standard of perfection is beauti- capacity, and he longs to move nearer fully shewn forth in the spotless oben to the centre of light and perfection, dience and virtue of Jesus Christ, who and to get more sensibly within the is called “The brightness of His Fa- range of divine and holy influence, ther's glory and the express image of and calculates therefore on the period His person.” It is affirmed in Scrip- of natural death and removal into anture that the purpose of God is, that other world as the period for drawing the redeemed should be conformed to aside the veil of material things, and the image of His Son. To this, there- revealing the supreme good in all its fore, the godly man looks. It is the unclouded splendour': “When my object of daily wish and effort. He heart and my flesh fail, thou art the aims, as St. Paul says, “ To put on the strength of my heart and my portion Lord Jesus Christ;"' or, as he says in for ever.” another place, to “put off the old II. The second idea which seemed man, with his deeds, and to put on necessary to complete the notion of a the new man, which is renewed in man of godly mind is, that he is haknowledge after the image of Him bitually under a godly influence, an that created him.” This is the great influence from God. The Scriptures object of practical effort and research are full in the statement of the fact with the truly christian mind; and of such an influence. They make it every remaining proof of failure, and an essential part of God's character of uncorrected evil, and of discrepancy and operations; and, though some between him and the holy standard men deny the fact of such an influof God's law, is a subject of real dis- ence, all men of really pious, christian tress and penitence; and he looks to habits, believe it and seek humbly and God as the ultimate object for which perseveringly for it. And the Scriphe seeks. Such a mind cannot rest ture states this influence as the origisatisfied with anything short of the nating cause of true piety in any full knowledge of the infinite good. man. In the Old Testament ScripHe has set the Lord always before tures it is promised, in order to make him, as supremely worthy of his love; men holy, and in the New Testament and he calculates on being with God Scriptures it is stated, that God saves in nearer and more delightful inter- "us according to His mercy, by the course in another existence. “I will washing of regeneration and the rebehold thy face in righteousness: I newing of the Holy Ghost." We are shall be satisfied, when I awake, with authorized to believe, that when a thy likeness." "Thou shalt guide man turns from sin to God, and hame with thy counsel, and afterward bitually sets the Lord before him, he receive me to glory." Or, as St. Paul does this under divine influence. He says, “In this tabernacle we groan, is realizing this influence in the graearnestly desiring to be clothed upon dual and increasing sanctification of with our house which is from hea- his character, by which he is becomven;" “knowing that whilst we are at ing more like God, more conformed home in the body, we are absent from to the holy rule of God's law, both in the Lord : (for we walk by faith; not his outward conduct and in the secret by sight:') " and are willing rather to speculations of his heart. be absent from the body, and to be *We might refer here, as a striking present with the Lord.” And this is instance, to the case of St. Paul. Beunquestionably one of the strong fore he knew and loved God, through characteristic features of a truly reli- the knowledge of Jesus Christ, he was
a proud, haughty, harsh, and cruel it is, widely different from the natural man; to take his own account of character of men, and vastly superior himself, he was “a blasphemer, and a to the highest degrees of amiableness persecutor, and injurious;' but sub- and virtue, originating in merely na. sequently to his conversion, and after tural principles. It is the practice of he had received, as he says, the spirit virtue, arising from the knowledge of adoption, and had received the for- and love of God, as He reveals Himgiveness of sins, and had learned to self to the mind, through the knowbow the knee to the God and Father ledge of Jesus Christ the Saviour. of Jesus Christ, what a different char- And it is not merely knowledge; it is acter he became! Together with the influence. That knowledge is a gift; turning of his mind towards God, he that love is a gift; that influence is a came under a godly influence, and gift. And it is by these gifts of grace attained to a height of personal piety that a man, once altogether a stranger and virtue, at which we look with to pious thought and conduct, is thus wonder.
brought to set God always before Now a measure of this is experi- him, and to regulate all his thoughts, enced by every one who becomes, words, and deeds, by the knowledge through faith in Christ, a man of that he has of God in and through godly mind. The Christian system, His Son Jesus Christ. He is become when believed, brings a man to God, not merely a speculative religionist, brings him under the influence of God, but a man of religious principle, and and gradually makes him like God. consequently anxious not merely to He finds a practical influence arising carry a fair and reputable character from the truths of the christian doc with men, but to maintain a holy intrine, which is continually at work to fluence over his motives, his tempers, rescue him from the power of sin and his secret thoughts, and over all the to make him holy. The love of Christ words of his lips, that he may speak constrains him to live no longer to truth with his neighbour. His notion himself, but to Him that died for him of life does not extend merely to this and rose again. “The grace of God present existence, but to an eternal which bringeth salvation" teaches duration, in which natural death and him “that denying ungodliness and departure from this world, are only worldly lust, he should live righteously circumstances which never interrupt and godly in this present evil world.” the consciousness of the soul; and The sense that he has of God's mercy, the desire and the aim of his heart is, in giving him all things that pertain that the whole of his existence may to life and godliness, shews him that be an approach nearer and nearer to he ought not to be barren and un- the infinite good; and, that through fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus the covenanted grace and mercy of Christ, but to give all diligence that God, he may throw off the defiling he may add to his faith virtue. The and debasing influence to which for love that he has to a holy God, teaches a time he has been subjected, and, him to love the way of God's com- through the gradual sanctifying influmandments, and the hope that he has ences of God's Holy Spirit, become of being with Him for ever, teaches all that the Almighty Creator would him to purify himself even as God is desire His creatures to be,-pure as pure.
He is pure, and perfect as He is And this is the character of true perfect. christian piety, and a lovely character
THE LAST CHARGE OF ARCHDEACON WILBERFORCE.
Letter I. T1038 who had the privilege of holding all Popish doctrines, when, being acquainted with Mr. Wiiber- as chaplain of the Bishop of Exeter, force, the author of the well-known he endeavoured to repel evangelical “ Practical Christianity," cannot fail teaching from the Church of England to observe with anxious interest what- in the person of Mr. Gorham, and to ever en anates from his sons. When- treat as heresy* whatever did not ever truth falls from their lips, or is square with his own views. It may expressed by their pens, it is hailed be that the Bishop of Oxford, in exwith delight and treasured up and re- pressing this sympathy, means no peated; but whenever they give evi- more than that he concurs with his dence of the warp their minds must persecuting brother of Exeter in prehave received from Mr. Newman- ferring the literal to the hypothetical whose pupils I have understood they meaning of the unfortunate words of were-the heart of friendship mourns our Baptismal Service, for we trust over the sophistications that are per- that he does not exclude from his ceptible, though no surprise can be diocese those ministers who faithfully felt, than an intellect, acute and preach the unsearchable riches of powerful as his was, should have left Christ. These remarks have been an almost indelible impression upon suggested by a careful examination of minds young, susceptible, and ingenu the last Charge of his lordship's broous as theirs were, when they first ther, the Archdeacon of the West came under his blighting influence. Riding of Yorkshire.
It is curious to observe the different The first and second heads of the degrees in which this influence has, Charge are so well worth attention, unconsciously to themselves, worked that I must give them as they stand. upon the three brothers. The young. In speaking of the “ Former Lifeless est has trodden directly in Mr. New- Condition of the Church," the archman's footsteps; he has abandoned deacon says, the Church of his beloved and revered father, and joined himself to the
"Those who remember the commenceChurch of Rome, that Church which
ment of the century, will not need to be has robbed the Saviour of the distin
reminded of the lifeless condition in guishing honour of being the only one
which it found the Church of England. born without sin; has bestowed this
Her great material wealth and high secu
lar honours did but add intensity to her honour upon His Virgin Mother; and
spiritual degradation. The sacraments does not hesitate to offer her the sa
were ministered infrequently, and often crifice of praise and prayer, and to
in the most careless manner; the voice worship her as the Queen of heaven. of daily prayer had ceased in almost all
The archdeacon, preserving much churches; the Gospel was well nigh of his father's religion, has yet so im- banished from the pulpit ; the education plicitly adopted the sacramental sys- of the poor was wholly neglected ; the tem, as to place himself on the very missionary functions of the Church were verge of Popery; for there is scarcely forgotten, although the colonial empire a step between his doctrine and the
afforded the fairest opening ever offered mass.
to any nation for such exertions. Such The Bishop of Oxford has thought
was the inheritance transmitted to us by it his duty publicly to express his
a century and a half of worldliness, during
which the Church had been content to sympathy with the Bishop of Exeter, and thereby to grieve the hearts of
• Heresy is the denial, not of the authority
of any particular Church, but of the truth on Let us hope that he is not aware of which the Christian Church is built, and upon all that is involved in this sympathy
which salvation depends. Heresy, in the eye
of the Roman Catholics, is contravention to the that he forgets that Mr. Maskell was supremacy of the clergy.
be the mere tool of the State, and to cast in introducing new principles, as in giving out Kenn* and Laudt on the one side, effect to old ones. There was no change and Wesley and Whitfield on the other. in the Church's position which required But it would detain us too long to enter a modification of her laws, but the ininto the causes of that religious indiffer. creasing demands of a more earnest age ence which oppressed the eighteenth called for an alteration in her manners. century, or into the circumstances by The clergy began to feel and preach the which the national slumber was broken. Gospel; the laity to believe and obey itPersonali considerations would induce but what else had ever been the duty of me to do full justice to the piety, energy, either? there was no new creed laid down, and untiring zeal, by which public atten- nor any fresh principle promulgated; but tion was called to the realities of religion, that slumber was broken which rendered yet in rendering honour to men, we must all principles indifferent. The contronot forget that in God's hand are the versies that prevailed in that day were dispensations of grace as well as of Pro- about feelings, not doctrines dispositions, vidence. He raises up instruments, but not opinions-earnestness, not orthodoxy. the work is His.”
The whole movement, in short, was not
objective but subjective ; it did not aiın He then proceeds to “The Revival at establishing facts which have an exin the Present Century," and says, istence external to our minds, such as
the Holy Trinity or the inspiration of “The increased earnestness of the pre- the Scriptures; its end was the increase sent century, was doubtless prepared by of that earnestness of heart which is ad. those public dangers and chastisements mitted on all hands to be necessary to with which the last concluded. When salvation ; it aimed at the real and genuthy judgments are in the earth, the in- ine conversion of individuals from worldhabitants of the world will learn righ- liness to God, and at those other inward teousness.' The fall of mighty empires, movements which make up the internal the punishment of great public crimes, lite of religion. In short, what is comthe uncertainty of every worldly blessing, monly called the Evangelical movement all contributed to bring out the reality of was just such as occurs both to individuals those spiritual truths which had been and communities when they emerge from overlaid by the accumulated mass of a state of great spiritual carelessness. It worldly influences. To this circumstance, was the waking up of a whole generation under the good hand of God, we must with the question — Sirs, what must I do attribute the wonderful success of those to be saved ?' The work went on with conwho laboured to diffuse a religious spirit tinually increasing rapidity, so that men through the nation. It is needless to wondered at its growth. But while those dwell on the formation of various institu who had been its instruments blessed tions which were calculated to redress God for their success, they professed the evils which have been mentioned. they had no new principle or doctrine to The Church was roused to her plain advocate. Neither did they refer to any duty of instructing her children and con change in the Church's circumstances, verting the heathen. The Gospel was but to the primary and invisible princiagain heard in our pulpits : the sacra- ples of grace.” ment was more duly administered, the The archdeacon then proceeds to clergy ceased to be men of pleasure. the consideration of the Oxford Tracts, Such was the great work which was going and shows that the aim of the writers on in all parts of the country during the first quarter of the present century.
was to meet the new position in which
It waa a work which consisted not so much
the Church of England was placed by the events of 1828, 1829, 1833, viz.,
the Repeal of the Test and Corporation • Kenn went to Oxford, 1657.
+ Laud, when thirty years of age, maintained at Oxford, about the year 1601, the perpetual visibility of the Church of Rome till the Reformation. He was opposed by the Vice-Chancellor
incomes of the Irish Church ; and Abbott, who traced the visibility of the Church of Christ from the Berengarians to the Albi Times,' because they professed to be genses, from them to the Wickliffites, from these to the Hussites, and from the Hussites to
called forth by the existing dangers Luther and Calvin.
of the Church; and yet the writers Here is a delicate allusion to his father's invaluable work, “Practical Christianity," to
did not dwell upon the worldly claims, which I would gladiy direct attention.
the wealth and consequence of the
Church, but upon the spiritual nature ment to those who for years had been of the priestly office.
offering it up on these special days, If we compare what the archdeacon and at other times, Dr. Pusey's tract says of the feeling with which the Ox- on Fasting, which seemed to seize the ford Tracts were at first received, with spirit of our Saviour's intention, and what Elliott, in his “Horæ Apoca- to make it consist not in form, but in lypticæ,” has expressed on that point, the real discipline of the spirit as well we shall see perfect unity of impres- as the body, appeared to be in unison sion.* The archdeacon says, -" The with St. Paul in his watchfulness over writers would never have produced himself, who says, “I keep my body the sensation their works occasioned, under, and bring it into subjection, if they had not touched a chord which lest when I have preached to others, vibrated in a thousand bosoms.” El- I should myself be a castaway.” This, liott forcibly explains what this chord and his tract on Building Churches, was; he says, “When the infidel revo- were calculated to be very useful, and lutionary spirit swept like a flood there were others, showing the value across our land, and the Popish spirit, of creeds as bulwarks against infidelity combining and fraternising therewith, and latitudinarianism, the danger of swelled the torrent, the Oxford primary Socinianism, and of subtle reasonings movement was against, not for it: and upon religion, that inspired confidence hence in fact much of its early strength. in the motives and sentiments of the It was looked on by the friends of writers, and led those who had true order, religion, and the Church in times religion at heart, to look for an ausof fearful peril and agitation as an picious harvest. Alas! that the great ally of Conservatism, and doubtless of enemy should have rushed in like a its early supporters there were not a flood to turn the stream of thought few that at the time so intended it, from vital truth to deadly error; and and foresaw not where it would lead to sow his baneful tares amongst this them.”
wholesome wheat. Yet let us not This was the chord that vibrated despond. The Lord who sitteth upon amongst Christians and Church people the circle of the earth can turn the in general. I well remember the stream again with redoubled force effect of the first tracts; they seemed into his own vineyard, sparkling with to announce to the world a set of men living waters. He has now allowed willing not only to do everything in the tares to attain their full growth, their power to form a bulwark round and it may be in order to make their the Church of our forefathers, to eradication the more feasible and the lengthen her cords and strengthen more complete. her stakes, but to exert themselves to Sincerely anxious as I am to do the utmost to increase her spirituality, justice to the good motives that might and to give tone and strength to the have influenced those who joined the christian character. Little did I Tractarian movement, when in the expect to hear those who were carry- beginning it evinced a conservative ing on the Evangelical movement, character, and appeared rather to opand preaching the pure Gospel of pose than to encourage Popery, it is Christ, spoken of by these writers as yet necessary to point out the shoals sa certain set,” labouring under great and quicksands to which I cannot mistakes, and to hear of an entirely but think the great enemy of souls new principle to be infused into the and of all order, endeavoured, by the Church. Amongst the tracts that introduction of Jesuitical influence, were welcomed by religious people, into this goodly company, to wreck may be mentioned one on the Ember the vessel of our Church under the weeks, which awakened prayer for plea of preserving it. The mixture the clergy where it had not been of truth with error—that old scheme offered, and gave great encourage- for blinding the eyes of men, by gild
ing the pills that are intended to poi.
a son-is rernarkable in almost all the See “ Christian Guardian," for Sept. and Oct, 1851, p. 404.
subsequent tracts and writings of this