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One of the Seven Essayists, it is well known, was the friend and supporter of Mr. Ward in the struggle which ended in the expulsion of the author of the "Ideal" from the University of Oxford. He is now the associate of the Baden Powells and Rowland Williamses! But in this there is nothing new; the days of Louis XVI. presented many similar instances, of men who vibrated between superstition and atheism; the greatest name in French literature being, perhaps, the most prominent example.
And now, at last, while the whole episcopal bench, and eight thousand of the clergy, have publicly expressed their disapproval of the Seven Essays, a knot of men, not unknown to fame, have come forward to inform the public, that they neither sympathize with the Seven Essayists, nor with their oppugners. For a dozen years past, this, the most recent of our theological parties, has been chiefly known by this characteristic,-that it disliked the High Church, and the Low Church, and the Tractarians, and spent its time for the most part in showing that nearly all the world was in error, except some few teachers and their followers,-the late chaplain of Lincoln's Inn being the acknowledged leader. In conformity with their established practice, we are now informed, that while the Seven Essayists are in error, the eight thousand clergy are equally, or even more, in the wrong; and the Evangelical party are, of course, more to be blamed or pitied or despised, than either of the other two.
Thus matters stand at present. If firmness, vigilance, and charity were ever wanted, they are wanted now. If the wisdom that teaches to "discern things that differ" was ever needed, it is needed now. It is under this conviction that we prosecute our task, and we foresee that it is not likely to be an easy one. But of the result we cannot entertain a doubt. The Church of England has passed through grievous perils, and we believe she will outride this "windy storm and tempest." In our minds the conviction is deep and strong that when the church of England perishes, the greatness of England dies with it. We wish to make no ungenerous reflections; but we cannot avoid the contrast with another country where our own Protestant faith is professed, and where the want of a state church, with its independence in the pulpit, and in every walk of ministerial life, may, in this gloomy hour of civil war and national distress, be distinctly traced. But one thing we know. Whatever may become of the Church of England as an establishment, the council of the Lord that shall stand; the gates of hell may pour forth their armed legions, but against the church of Christ they shall not prevail. We labour for the church of England with a good hope, -for the church of Christ, with a perfect confidence, that all will be well at last.
It is remarkable how frequently in the Book of Deuteronomy, when God is giving his final summary of instructions to the Israelites, the warning is repeated, that the Jewish church forget not God and His dealings with them in connexion with their deliverance from Egypt, and their wanderings in the wilderness. Such warnings strike us the more forcibly, because the people to whom they were addressed had come into the closest contact with God, and had been favoured with the clearest visible evidences of His presence in the midst of them. We are conscious, in our own case, of a painful forgetfulness of God; He seems so far off from us; we cannot get near to Him; we are inclined to say with Job, "Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him; He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him;" and hence we look upon our forgetfulness of God as a consequence of that more spiritual dispensation under which we are placed. We are called to walk by faith instead of by sight. What wonder that we fail in the attempt, when we can none of us, like the beloved apostle, speak literally of " that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have. looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life!" To have seen Jesus in the flesh, to have heard His words of grace and love, to have witnessed His miracles, these would have been privileges, the memory and impression of which could have never passed away; having once actually seen God in the person of Jesus Christ, we could never have been forgetful of Him again.
Now all such reasonings are mere self-deception; they have, through the subtlety of Satan, injured many souls, and turned them away from that life of faith which constitutes the highest and closest communion with God. That there is a
deep fallacy involved therein, is manifest from the fact that the Jewish church, which had the most abundant ocular demonstration of God and of His power, is so repeatedly cautioned against this forgetfulness of God. When the Israelites were assembled in the plains of Moab to hear the last charges of God by His servant Moses, they could not only in the case of all who were then and there present, take up the exclamation of the psalmist in later days, and say, "We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what thou didst in their days, in the times of old;" but many of the number had in their own persons passed through those remarkable scenes in which Jehovah manifested himself to the Israelites. The sentence of destruction during the forty years' wandering was graciously limited by God to those who at the time of the report of the spies, and consequent unbelief of the people, had reached the age of twenty years, "all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, doubtless ye shall not come into the land concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein...as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in the wilderness." All who at that period were from ten to twenty years old might retain a vivid impression of scenes such as man had never passed through before. They had walked, or been led by a parent's hand, through the Red Sea as by dry land, and their eyes had gazed upwards upon the towering waters which were as a wall to them on the right hand and on the left;-they had 'quaked beneath the thunderings and lightnings and trumpet-peals of Mount Sinai, when the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness, and the Lord spake out of the midst of the fire; they had seen the earth open her mouth and swallow up Korah and his company, and had fled in dread from the tents of those wicked men, and on the morrow had witnessed the desolating plague as it carried off fourteen thousand and seven hundred of those that murmured against the Lord ;and they had been present at that other murmuring against God, which the apostle tells us was against Christ, and had seen the divine wrath manifested in the plague of living serpents; in some cases, it may be, they had themselves been bitten, and had writhed in agony as the burning poison of the venomous fang circulated through their veins, and only found healing as their eye turned to the appointed remedy, the uplifted serpent of brass.
Of these and many other similar scenes no inconsiderable portion of those to whom the charges of the Book of Deuteronomy were addressed were eye-witnesses, the rest received the narrative of such wonderful things from the very lips of eye-witnesses; if they were not yet born, or were too young to