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and things wherewith one may edify another.”
We have lately seen the Church of England distracted
the question of the colour of a vestment :—was this worth the breach of charity which it created ? and did it matter whether the message of God to man was delivered by a person in a black or a white dress? If the message was a true one, the clothing of the messen. ger was surely a matter of no import. A fresh cause of dissension has now arisen on the subject of baptismal grace; but who can settle this question ? “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the spirit.” + If we see no good works, we have no proof of this spirit-birth, for again we are told by their fruits
shall know them,” and whatever grace may have been accorded is withdrawn if we
grieve the Holy Spirit” by our wilful wrong doing. What concern then have we with
anything more than the ascertaining by a careful examination of our life and motives, whether we
* Romans xiv. 19.
+ John iii. 8.
are bearing the fruits of the spirit? to decide how we arrive at this point is a mere matter of curiosity. Such would have been the decision of a follower of Christ, from his Master's own words. On the other hand, if we argue the point philosophically, we must assuredly conclude, that the Deity having made man capable of intellectual, or in other words, of spiritual happiness, it can only be by cultivating this intellectual part that such happiness can be attained ; and that no ceremony, or course of ceremonies, can make a gross nature spiritual, or make intellectual enjoyments acceptable to one who loves nothing but the animal and transitory pleasures of earth.
If we would lead men to Christ, we must practice no less than teach His precepts; for of common sense can suppose
that we believe things which we never do, to be absolutely necessary to our happiness ;-or on the other hand, that our ordinary and daily life is such as must bring on us irremediable misery. Will not an untaught, but rational man say, “I am convinced that fire burns, and therefore I never put my hand into it—you tell me that none but the meek and the holy can be happy, but you are neither meek nor holy :—whatever you may
tell me therefore, it is clear that you do not believe it yourself." This conclusion is frequently drawn the writer in talking with the poor has been told—“ Yes, this sounds well, and no doubt if it were so, things would be better than they are, but nobody else thinks thus," and the ill effects of this practical lesson of unbelief, meet us at every turn.
It is worse than useless to dispute over points of no practical import, while the land is fast relapsing into an absolutely pagan ignorance.* Who that loves the souls of men can turn from the great question of how they are to be made partakers of a happy immortality, to the position of an altar; or the form of a pulpit, or the compliance with an obsolete rubric, at best but an ordinance of man; or the exhibition of candles, or the attitudes of the minister, or any other of the thousand questions which have given rise to
“Whilst the clergy are wrangling on points of doctrine, Infidelity is advancing nearer and nearer its strongholds, and taking possession of the mind of the people. The state of the population is not such as to warrant them in wasting their energies on subjects that are left undecided, instead of applying themselves to their
proper work.”—Extract from the Bishop of Winchester's Charge, delivered August, 1850.
so much ill feeling between the clergy and their parishioners? It is useful and fitting no doubt, that all shall be done “decently, and in order," but these things have no influence on the salvation of souls, and should be reduced again to their proper position, as civil ordinances of the land we live in,-not questions of vital import
Let us all rather join heart and hand in the noble work of teaching those sunk in the animal life, the brighter hopes which await them : let us show them that there is a happiness of which they have as yet formed no idea, but which when once felt is not forgotten; and when they have come to that knowledge and felt that happiness, we may safely leave them to their human instincts to pursue it. They and we may then walk together in the steps of our meek and lowly Master through life, and when that is over, share together in his exaltation.
C. WHITTINGHAM, CHISWICK.
No. I. Philosophical Theories and Philosophical Experience. (Second Edition.)
No. II. On the Connection between Physiology and Intellectual Science. (Second Edition enlarged.)
No. III. On Man's Power over Himself to prevent or control Insanity. (Second Edition enlarged.)
No. IV. An Introduction to Practical Organic Chemistry.
No. V. A Brief View of Greek Philosophy up to the Age of Pericles. (Second Edition.)
Age of Socrates to the Coming of Christ. (Second
By the same Author,
No. VII. Christian Doctrine and Practice in the Second Century.
No. VIII. An Exposition of Vulgar and Common Errors
adapted to the Year of Grace 1845.