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• Of all God's workes, which doe this worlde adorne,
Distempered through misrule and passions base.' “But although the passions implanted within us are the occasion of so great an amount of evil, both to the physical and moral constitution, so prolific a source of disease, sorrow, and ignominy, yet fortunately are they the subjects of education, and, as when uncontrolled they become the bane and reproach of our nature, under a wise restraint and prudent culture they may be rendered our richest blessing and fairest ornament.”
ART. III.- LECTURES ON CERTAIN HIGH-CHURCH
PRINCIPLES, COMMONLY DESIGNATED BY THE TERM PUSEYISM. By THOMAS MADGE. London : Longman, Brown, Green and Longman. 1844.
The ladies and gentlemen who frequent Exeter Hall are anxious that Queen Victoria should emulate the theological chivalry of her amiable predecessor King Henry VIII., and thus earn anew the honourable title of Defender of the Faith. But they would have her to do this in a gentle, passive, lady-like manner-more by expressive silence than wordy eloquencemore by what she will not do, than by what she will do. As Henry wrote a book, or suffered somebody else to write one for him, against the Heretics, and put his name to it, so they would have Victoria to write a Bill, or suffer somebody else to write one for her, in favour of the Unitarians, and not put her name to it.* Now there is something to us inexpressibly charming in this device. But we cannot linger upon it. These " advisers” of the Queen (who, however, can scarcely be called “responsible” in any sense of the word) have an antiquity in which they rejoice. It is the antiquity which begins with the year 1688, when by the liberal ecclesiastical policy of William III. most of themselves first became tolerated, and it ends with the year 1813, when Mr. W. Smith introduced his Bill for the relief of persons denying the Doctrine of the Trinity. Now this to them is the golden age of the Church, the primitive antiquity to which they would have all things conformed, the semper, ubique et ab omnibus of the Calvinistic and Methodist Dissenters. There will be no peace to Old England till this state of things is restored, and in the meantime luckily the Courts of Law are found to continue upon this model, among changing things themselves to be unchanged, and while Legislation warded off the effect of certain oppressive and tyrannous laws from our ancestors, the Courts of Law are discovered still to enforce them. Happy disparity between Law and Legislation! May the Queen bear testimony to the voice of Calvinistic antiquity, and refuse her sign-manual to any union between Parliament and Chancery !
* “If the Parliament were deaf to their prayer, they might address a higher power, and pray!
Her Majesty not to put her sign-manual to a document which, if it did not destroy her right to the crown of her ancestors, would certainly destroy her right to the title of Defender of the Faith.”-(much cheering.) See Dr. Cooke's, of Belfast, threat from the platform of Exeter Hall against the Queen of England, as quoted in the Christian Reformer for June 1844.
Such is the character of one set of ecclesiastical absurdities which grace our æra. Mr. Madge's volume calls us to the consideration of another. A small knot of quiet contemplative men, occupying a few chambers in one of our Universities, look out upon the world from their college-greens and watch-towers (the very antipodes of the noisy Strand, and the still more noisy Exeter Hall), and discover that the principle of Free Inquiry, and the duty of individually-formed opinion, are playing sad havoc with the Church, with orthodoxy and with all ancient things. They see no natural termination to the effect of this principle but Socinianism, as they call it, or perhaps even Scepticism. They say, and say with equal candour and truth, “Give men the Bible to read, and their own eyes and hearts alone to read it with, and they will infallibly reject the received dogmas of the Church and become Unitarians. But this, though a necessary result of such a principle, would be a fatal and deplorable result. Therefore if we would avoid the result, we must eschew the principle. The authority of the Church, which is the older principle, must be restored to its wonted place, and substituted for this new, Reformation-fashioned principle of Individual Inquiry.'
Such we conceive to be the real basis of Puseyism. It is said of at least one of the Leaders of this school, that he had burnt his own fingers in the fire, before he warned his comrades of it. And certainly their productions bear witness to the fact, that they have not adopted the system from lack of thought. They know the evils which they fear. They have tasted the fruits of free inquiry, and, as English churchmen, it has been bitter to their taste. They proceed upon the scheme of their old University Logic-not as inquirers into data, but reasoners from data. They do not set themselves to ask, are the Doctrines of the Church true? But they say, the Doctrines of the Church being true, what plan must we adopt to make men believe in them? Certainly not Free Inquiry: that leads us further and further from these doctrines. Then after all, our ancestors, before the days of the much-lauded Reformation, were right. Church-authority was the principle on which they held the world so long together; Church-authority is the principle on which we must seek to recover and to save that which has been lost. They then, undiscouraged by the fate of Sisyphus, take the huge stone of English mental freedom, and beginning at the very bottom of the hill, struggle to roll it up again. In the fact, as in the fable, partial success rewards their efforts, and mankind look on and say,—who could have supposed that that stone would have ever got so high up the hill again! We always from our school-days pitied Sisyphus, and a sentiment of commiseration mingles with the unperturbed and steady faith with which we view this stone rolling up the mountain. The higher it goes, the greater will be the momentum with which it will come down again, and the Sisyphuses of the Church will not have the satisfaction of saying, “En! omnis effusus est labor," it will not be lost; the more labour they bestow on it, the more quickly will it come down again.
The Puseyites—and yet we ought not to use this name without apology. It is a nick-name. It is to them, what Socinian is to us, a term of opprobrium, though of distinction. We will call them, then, by that name in which they delight, the AngloCatholics—though we are Anglo-Catholics too. The AngloCatholics know what the principle of free Inquiry leads to, and reject it. The orthodox Dissenters do not know what it leads to, and therefore in words maintain it. What will they do, when it brings home to them, as one day it must, the strange and unexpected tidings of its mission? The Anglo-Catholics are right-we mean relatively to their purpose—when they say, if these things are to be believed, it can only be by maintaining the authority of the Church. The only question for them to consider is, whether they can maintain that authority-whether Freedom has not gone rather too far, whether the fish have not spread themselves abroad over too wide an expanse of waters ever to be caught again in one net?
What is it that they ask us to believe? First, that the Church of England is by uninterrupted spiritual descent the same Church as that founded by our Lord himself in Palestine, and that in Great Britain it is the only such Church, the only true Church, that is, the only Christian Church : that the Catholics of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the Independents, Methodists, Quakers, Presbyterians and Baptists of the same countries, not belonging to it, are not in fact Christians. Secondly, that the Rev. A. B., curate, say of Pentre Voiles in North Wales, has received certain ancestral spiritual characteristics from one of the Apostles, just as he has received certain physical characteristics from one of the sons of Noah, and that in right of this spiritual lineage he says to Mr. Madge, as he innocently passes through that beautiful region on a summer-tour, following the words of Keble : “When I took ordination, I also received the presence of the Holy Ghost, partly to guide, direct and strengthen me in all my ways, and partly to assume unto itself, for the more authority, those actions that appertain to my place and calling. Whether I preach, pray, baptize, communicate, condemn, give absolution,
Vol. VI. No. 25.-New Series.
or whatever, as a disposer of God's mysteries; my words, judgments, acts and deeds are not mine but the Holy Ghost's.” Mr. Madge, who has had as many opportunities of studying the Scriptures as the curate, and is thought by those who know him to possess some understanding and acuteness, looks for a moment astonished, but soon recovering himself, he kindly talks to the poor gentleman about the weather and the scenery, takes off his hat to him, and returns to his Inn, regretfully putting him down as insane. This is as it would be, if individuals spoke in this authoritative way to their brethren in the Christian ministry, when they encountered them on the roadside, but they ascend the pulpit or the printing-press, and say these things to the world, and we think them learned.
“By such lofty pretensions," as Mr. Madge almost by a compliment terms them, on the part of the never-changing and undying Church of Augustine and of Henry, the whole of the people of Great Britain are to be brought back to their senses and their obedience. We really and in truth feel some commiseration for the parties engaged in this silly attempt. We have so strong a sympathy with human nature in all its well-meant struggles and efforts, that we cannot see the vain errand, on which a respectable portion of it is now bent, without entertaining, not only regret at the universal waste of time which it causes, partly to those who are engaged in it, and partly to those who are opposed to it, but also a certain sense of sorrow for the sure disappointment of those many worthy enthusiasts who are thus walking so happily in their sleep.
When all the nation had one way of thinking, or rather of not thinking, and nearly all the nations too, this idea of one Apostolical Episcopal community, embracing all true Christians, had something of respectability about it. But now that the whole course of our national progress declares that no smaller fold than that of Christ himself can be made to comprehend our resolute diversities, that we will own but one master, even Christ, and that all we are brethren,—this effort to bring effete and dying theories to restrain the determined movements of mental freedom excites our pity or startles our contempt. It is as when an old actor comes forward once more in the decline of life to exhibit his decayed powers before an audience, that had in years gone by felt and acknowledged the vigour of his maturity, and the upshot of this attempt on the part of the Church will be that, like this old actor, when the farce is finished, it will make its bow, and retire, and never show its face again, to challenge an applause which it can no longer command, aim at a power of which it betrays but the loss, and