Imágenes de páginas

racter. Mr. Dodsworth himself, we apprehend, was once rather far gone in Irvingism. And here we have Mr. Drummond, who has personally founded, we believe, more than one or two conventicles, and those of more than one or two different classes of dissenters. Yet all these now find their one rallying-point in that creed which Mr. Drummond here sets forth in the following terms :

“The power of the Church consists in its being the body of Christ, the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost. The two principal means by which the Church acts are material, inanimate things, and thus men are taught that the efficacy cannot reside in the instrument, but in its being appointed for a certain end by God. These are water, through which, as the instrument, when blessed or made holy or sanctified by the word of the priest, a new and divine life is imparted in baptism; and bread and wine, through which, being sanctified also by the word of God spoken through the mouth of the priest, the nourishment of that new life is continually bestowed. Hence we learn that all its rites and ceremonies are equally efficacious for their destined ends, whether performed by good or wicked priests, because their efficacy resides not in the priest, who is only the administrator, but in their being the appointment of God. Even amongst men, the personal merit or demerit of an ambassador from one king to another, does not affect the quality of the message which he bears; the value résides in him whose agent he is, not in the agent. In civil society the power of each corporation of a city, or other corporate body, is irrespective of the abilities of the mayor, aldermen, or other of its functionaries, and cannot be diminished nor exceeded, though it may be greatly perverted and misapplied, by their folly or wickedness. The crown, however, is in the State the great corporation ; and its power, rights, and prerogatives, are nothing affected by the talents or incapacity of him who exercises them. Now as the Lord Jesus Christ is He who by His Spirit, through the ministers of His church, regenerates men in baptism, and feeds them at the communion-table with His own flesh and blood, so does he rule men by kings, and protect them by the various officers placed under kings to carry out the blessings of rule unto the remotest members of the civil family. And as His two offices are quite distinct, and never can be united but in His single person, the true Melchizedek, so must ecclesiastical persons have no rank or consideration in the state: neither must kings, nor any who are not called to the priesthood, meddle with things in the Church.”—(On Government, pp. 45, 46.)

“Christians have the fullest revelation which has yet been made of the essentially Almighty Invisible Creator, to whom He has been made manifest in His Incarnate Son: and in the Church, which is His body, He has ordained and appointed one only instrument for conferring new and spiritual life, even the sacrament of baptism, which life is conveyed by no other means; and He has appointed one other ordinance for the nourishment and sustentation of that life, namely, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, by which men feed on the very flesh and blood of His Son, and which life can be nourished in no other way; and He has ordained out of the mass of the baptized one class of men, even the priesthood, by whom alone these blessings can be administered, through whom alone He speaks the words which change the bread and wine into that flesh and blood, and through whom alone He teaches other men the knowledge of His ways, and through whom alone men can offer unto Him acceptable worship.”(Ibid, pp. 87, 88.)

“But as it is only by the sacrament of water, when blessed by the priest, that God gives spiritual life, which fact, men have now lost spiritual eyes to see, and faith to believe, and therefore debate upon the efficacy of water for any such end; and as it is by the sacrament of bread and wine, made the very flesh and blood of Christ, by the word spoken by Him through His priest, that the new life given in the former sacrament is continually nourished; so is it by those whose are in themselves no wiser than others, and who have of themselves neither greater power nor capacity to rule over others than any of the rest of their fellow-creatures, that God does, through all those whom He makes heads, rule and bless all under them in their particular spheres, whether as kings, fathers, masters, &c.”- (Ibid, pp. 131, 132.)

Very naturally, holding these views, Mr. Drummond adds, that

“ In England, many members of the Established Church, as is seen in their writings published at Oxford, and elsewhere, are going on to perfection."-(loid, p. 55.)

The praiseworthy endeavours of some at Oxford to return to the good old ways,' have been assailed with the savage virulence of the fifteenth century." --(Ibid, p. 134.)

But is Mr. Drummond, then, at one with the Oxford Tractarians, of whom he speaks so warmly ? Far from it: for when he turns towards the Papacy, this is his language :

“ Modern papists have gone the length, since the Council of Trent, of denying the evidence of their own senses, and declaring that there is no bodily presence of bread and wine in the Eucharist. This is your present faith; and it is extremely difficult to reason with any one who so puts his reason in abeyance, or rather extinguishes it altogether. Perhaps this paper is not paper; all its qualities are only accidents, and do not make its real substance after all: it may be a table, or a chair; the ink may be milk, for colour also is an accident. Yet this is the absurdity of absurdities, which is the real test of a papist. You may believe the real presence of the flesh and blood of Christ to be in the consecrated elements, or not, as you please; if you are not willing to declare that you believe the modus operandi of its presence there to be by a total withdrawing of the substance of bread and wine, although your senses of sight, taste, and smell, tell you that it is bread and wine; if you believe that there is any bread also there, you are a heretic. Now, as a man who willingly and advisedly breaks his back, makes himself unfit to exercise any function of his body, so does a man who adopts such an absurdity as this render himself mentally unfit for the exercise of his reason, or of any faculty of his intellect whatever."—(Reasons, pp. 36, 37.)

Again" In leaving the body of the clergy of the Church of England, and joining the body of the clergy of the Church of Rome, you have dissevered yourself from a corps which, compared with that of any other church, is superior upon every point in which comparison can be instituted. I am not saying that the English nation is in the state in which it ought to be; that there has not been remissness; and supineness to the spiritual necessities of those confided to the care of the pastor; but in proportion as the clergy have been efficient and have been listened to, in that proportion are the people enlightened and moral. In the Papacy, in proportion as the priests have been most unimpeded in their course, there are the people most idolatrous, superstitious, and depraved. You have joined yourself now to a band which has shed more human blood, to please its God, than ever did the priests of Moloch or Juggernaut: a band which has trampled on the rights of all mankind as a religious duty; not in moments of political convulsion merely, when violent men of all sects have given way to their personal antipathies, but a band which has made it a rule of action, at all times and in all places, to destroy by sword and by burning alive all who resisted its usurpations : á band that has laboured at the extermination of all who protested against its vices, even in the meekest manner, as in the case of Scipio de Ricci, as well as the

miserable Jews in Spain, and Portugal, and Italy: to a band which has ever excited the hostility of the civil power by false accusations of political insubordination against those who were only disobedient to the unwarrantable assumptions of arrogant priests, as in France, and as there is every reason for believing they are at this moment doing in Savoy: to a band which continues to this hour its hard-hearted immolations of young females in convents, and whilst obliged to skulk from public execration into obscure corners, in order to perform the deeds which will not bear the light, do still exercise in remote places cruelties, under pretence of ecclesiastical discipline, perpetrated by the priests of no other sect. These acts are the fleshy mockeries of the power of the keys, the proofs that the Church is no longer able to deliver over to Satan; and therefore did the priests, instead of confessing that this power is departed from her, set up the power of the stake and of the faggot, the thumbscrew and flagellations, in its stead. Should you be cajoled into the belief that the fatherly care of your new superiors will never in these days be exercised over you in some such a manner, be warned, nevertheless, how you trust yourself into any convent situated in a sequestered mountain, under pretext of enjoying a retreat for your soul's good; since, however that may fare, your bodily profit will be very different from what you anticipated, even if you be ever suffered to come out to tell the tale. And even if this be not so, the motto of the priesthood is semper eadem ; all the iniquities of the priests, as a mass-for I speak not of indi. viduals, of Alexanders, of Johns, &c., I speak of the acts of the body-all are assumed and maintained to be the very acts of God Himself by them : whatever the practices of the priests have been, they have never repented; and contend, that if God has not been with them in these things, then has He suffered His Church to be without His guidance, contrary to His promise, which cannot fail. These are the things which, called by priests the exercising of a Holy Office, have aroused the indignation of all mankind; and whatever praiseworthy sufferings may have been endured by a few martyrs, they, as a body, fully merited the vengeance they brought down upon themselves at the French Revolution. Husbands and fathers terribly requited the insults offered by priests in the confessional to wives and daughters. It is these things unrepented of, vindicated, palliated, or explained away, instead of being confessed, that force men in Popish countries into infidelity; and, unaccustomed to separate the precious from the vile, compelled to receive everything or nothing, they are urged to the fatal alternative of renouncing all belief in Christianity itself, and the rites of the Church, from proper disgust at the abominations which they see associated with it.”--(Ibid. pp. 52–55.)

Yet strangely in opposition to this, does he thus write in another place :

It would be marvellous if there were peace in that country. (Ireland), since the state can only be in the same condition that the church is in. The lay king and his parliament could not change ecclesiastical offices; they might command certain persons to pay certain sums to certain other persons, and they might upon their parchments call that payment tithe ; but it is not tithe; tithe is the offering of a Christian man to God in return for spiritual blessings which he receives from God, and which he can only pay to God through the hands of him by whom they are conveyed, and whom he knows to be the priest of God. Laymen can neither create bishopricks nor tithes; acts by which they make and call men bishops are null and void de facto ; acts by which they attempt to command payment of tithes are null and void de facio. In these days, the liberals suppressed the archbishoprick of Tuam; the Protestant man whom the laymen appointed has ceased to exercise any functions, but the archbishoprick of Tuam exists, and Dr. M'Hale is in possession of it; he may be punished for calling himself Archbishop of Tuam; the payments his flock make him may not be called tithes; but he and he alone is the archbishop, and he and he alone is entitled to the tithes. There is little doubt that if the whole history of the different dioceses in Ireland were gone into, it would be found that the thing called the reformation there was the mere overbearing, of certain bishops and maintaining them by the power of the bayonet; that their clergy and people did not follow them ; that they neither had nor have any flocks; and that they never ought to have been there, and ought not to be there now. The Church of England was no more established amongst the people of Ireland than it is amongst those of Scotland; its domination in that country is a palpable iniquity, and the root of all the discord that prevails in it.”—(Government, pp. 60, 61.)

And again, “It has been painful to be obliged to bring forward what has been here stated respecting the Roman Catholic Church, because she is commendable in many points of view: and it would be a more pleasing occupation to show her merits than her demerits. She contains every christian verity of doctrine, if not of practice; an assertion which can be proved of no other division, sect, or department of the Church: the manifestation of the power and presence of the person of the Holy Ghost has been more frequently in her than anywhere else, and as it is even now said to be in the Tre Mirabili Virgini near Trent, of whom an account has been published in Italian by Riccardi, and in English by Lord Shrewsbury, although the priests have, of necessity, misunderstood, perverted, and misused that as every other spiritual advantage. Certainly the supremacy of a bishop over other bishops, and, above all, of a patriarch over bishops, is not so great an evil as the supremacy of lay sovereigns, writing liturgies, as in Germany, appointing to dioceses and to cures everywhere. Whatever evils may be in her, however truth may be buried, smothered, and concealed, there it still may be found; which is more than can be said for the greater part of the churches which have separated from her."'-(Reasons, pp. 56, 57.)

This is all confusion. In sober truth, abounding, as they do, in brilliant and forcible passages, Mr. Drummond's two pamphlets betray a mind in the most restless and disturbed state. Not one word of truthful peace is there throughout the whole, and we should expect that the result of their study, to any susceptible and unsettled mind, would be to precipitate such a mind into either Popery or Scepticism. In fact, although it may be hard to predicate anything, of so remarkable a man as Mr. D., we cannot but feel a misgiving, that we shall yet, some day, find even himself arranged under one of these banners.

The great deficiency in these lucubrations, is, the want of any stay, any anchorage, throughout. The reader feels himself drifted about, from shoal to shoal, the scene and the danger ever changing; and still Mr. D. continues to talk of a firm hold on some great principle, "church,” or “monarchical” or what not ;—but it all proves a quicksand; for it rests not on the word of God.

Time was when Mr. Drummond witnessed a better confession than now he can. Every single “principle,"—if he will call them by that respectable name, which can be pointed out in any of the passages given above, rests upon Mr. Drummond's own assertion ; not an iota of proof being so much as offered for either ! A theory of “ Church and State,”—not the old-fashioned system of that name, but an entirely new invention,-is brought forward ; and by this figment of Mr. D.'s imagination, all things are to be tested. But were the theory itself brought to the only safe test, the word of God, how quickly would it vanish away!

Mr. Drummond has fallen into the common mode of speech with the Tractarians,-of alluding to “the Church” as something sovereign; not deriving its place or its power from the State, but from God; and rightfully claiming to teach, and to demand submission from, all who are within her jurisdiction. But before this position can be admitted, we must offer two objections.

The first is that which we endeavoured to state in our last number (pp. 208–215, namely, that this “Universal Church” or “Catholic Church,” thus proposed as an infallible guide, is a thing which itself is ever changing and fluctuating. We find this admitted in one of the latest Oxford publications, in the most explicit language. The Tractarian writer, in defending the monastic orders from the objection, that their purpose and experiment has generally failed, says,

“I see nothing in the general objection, that monastic orders “ have been failures, which will not equally apply to Christianity “ itself. But, after all, in what sense have they been failures ? “ Date the commencement of monasticism when you will, whether

among the recluses of the Thebaid wilds before the Nicene “ council, or with the rule of St. Basil after it, it was not till the “ tenth century that they grew so corrupt as to call for the inter“ference of the Church. A


is left of at least six centuries. “ Now can Catholic doctrine, the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity

and Incarnation say as much ? Are not six centuries quite a singular duration for any thing religious in a world which turns spirit into matter, and commutes the fine gold into dross so

rapidly; a singular duration, I say, for any thing but the Visible “ Church, whose existence is supernaturally secured by her gift of “ indefectibility ? Your next epoch, it is true, is short, somewhat " short of two centuries and a half. But then the times were

further removed from primitive purity and strictness; and, con“ sequently, the progress of corruption was more rapid. They

were also trying times. It was during that interval that the “ Church saw fit to take up a very different position from the one " she had previously occupied. She was casting herself into a new “ mould, that of the papacy, and many perils were naturally attendant upon so extensive a change, and many doors opened to

« AnteriorContinuar »