صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

deavour to mitigate the fierceness of controversy

[ocr errors]

to draw together really good men of various classes-and to infuse such a spirit into our own pages as might have a tendency, under a higher influence, to kindle the lamp of pure religion wherever it might seem to burn dimly and uncertainly.-But, here, was a task of infinitely greater difficulty; and it is here that we are sensible of a far greater deficiency. Emotions such as those to which we have referred, dwell in a far higher and less accessible region than matters of taste or mere literature; and are much less under the command of human capacity and intentions.-And the reasonings and conflicts into which the circumstances of the year have driven the spectators of the absorbing scenes continually shifting before them, are in themselves deeply hostile to that secret musing and devout communion with the Father of Spirits which alone can qualify one man to become the guide of another in the highest walks of thought and speculation.Whilst, however, we see reason to mourn over the past year in this point of view, it is not without the most serious resolution that this object shall, in future, be kept more anxiously in view. It is not, we trust, presumptuous to say, that our first hope is, that the end of the succeeding year may find both the Writers and Readers of this Work more deeply imbued with those devout feelings which are the true element of the Christian life, and the real strength of the Church of Christ.

We think, also, that we observe some defects in the literary and intellectual departments of our Work, which we may hope to see supplied; especially if those of our friends who are the most conversant with the widely-distant topics of poetry, and of Latin and Greek criticism, should be led to the conviction that the next duty to that of pointing out, as some of them have done, the deficiency with regard to these subjects, is to set themselves diligently to supply it.

But we must next be permitted to touch for a moment on the past and the future as respects the general circumstances of the Church and Country.

It will not be questioned that the past year has been a season of great and almost overwhelming events. Another scene of the ecclesiastical drama has been displayed to us; and the stage

has been crowded with men playing strong, decided, and almost tragical parts. The sentence given in "the Gorham Case" had prepared the way; and when the Judgment of the three principal Courts of Law had established the competence of the Court of Privy Council to decide, and had therefore given permanence to its Decision, some of those restless spirits, who had long hung loosely to the English Church, and who, in fact, longed for a good pretext to escape from what they called her 'state of bondage," at once burst their chains, and exchanged the "vague generalities" of the Church of England, for the awful certainties and unscriptural realitics of the Church of Rome! How incredible were the fact, if the evidence were not too palpable to be resisted, that Englishmen of learning and piety, in the 19th century, should be found bowing down to a woman, and contending for Papal infallibility, purgatory, transubstantiation, the grossest form of auricular confession, and all the other follies and impostures of Popery! Nor is this all. Misled, partly by this temporary hallucination of a fraction of our young clergy and of some of the more feeble of our laity, and partly perhaps by the concessions too lavishly made by the Government to the Irish and Colonial Roman Catholic Bishops, the Pope has ventured upon an act of which the object is at once and for ever to swamp the supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Crown and the orders and distinction of the whole body of Bishops and Pastors in the English Church.

Such is a brief history of the past,—on which, however, it is the less necessary to dwell, inasmuch as our own pages contain a frequent and full reference to these various topics; and, as at the present moment, the whole land rings with the honest cry of indignation and amazement at the rampant folly and wild presumption of "the Italian Bishop,"-held on his throne by French soldiers, and launching his thunders over the world.

In turning from the past to the future, as to these general circumstances of the Church, he must be a bold man who ventures to give utterance to the voice of prediction. The feeling of our own mind is described in the few words of the Psalmist :"My soul waiteth still upon God; for of Him cometh my salvation;" and, in this spirit, rather than attempt to seize the

:

helm, and launch into the deep, we are disposed, like the mariners with St. Paul, to "cast anchors out of the stern," and pray "for the day." It is essential, indeed, that we use, diligently, devoutly, consistently, and perseveringly, every Scriptural and constitutional means of repelling the threatened invasion of our rights and privileges. It is necessary that our Queen and her advisers should be enabled to feel that they have the strong and enduring support of all classes-and especially of that body in the Church who have been the consistent champions and defenders of Protestant and Evangelical principles-in their avowed desire to beat down the common enemy. But there never has been a case in which, if we are bound to grasp the sword in the one hand, it is more incumbent on us to keep the trowel in the other; so that, while we are resisting the assault from without, we may be at the same time building up our own walls.— Our main hope is not in Acts of Parliament-not in the often fallacious support of public men-not in the violent and factious crics of those who have neither the honor of God nor the interest of good government at heart;-but, in the presence and sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God;-in the deepening piety of our own ministers and congregations-in the manifestation, to every eye, that we are not contending merely for names or ceremonies of human institution, but "for the truth as it is in Jesus"-for the sovereignty of the Word of Godfor principles and hopes which our ancestors secured to us at the price of their own blood, and which we are resolved, God helping us, to transmit in their integrity to our children's children.

It would be most ungrateful, if we were to conclude without a strong expression of gratitude for the assistance which has been so freely and largely afforded us during the year; and which has issued, among other results, in a considerable increase in the sale of the work. The "Christian Observer" ought, we think, to be regarded as the common property -and, may we not say, the adopted child-of that portion of the Church of England who adhere closely and affectionately to the doctrines of the Reformation. As such, we commit it first to the protection of the God of Truth and Love; and then, to their earnest prayers, and their affectionate sympathy and co-operation.

December 1, 1850.

-

[blocks in formation]

69

69

...73-86

By

.307-345

354

[blocks in formation]

.461-504

519

..523-537

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »