Abbildungen der Seite

maintained by it; after which we are strong as ever in the reverence of left to regulate the proceedings of her country's population, she would our great home-mission with all the be as much a church in the days of purity, and the piety and the inde- her suffering, as in the days of exterpendence, of any missionary abroad. nal security and triumph,—when a We are exposed to nothing from wandering outcast, with nothing but without, which can violate the sanc- the mountain breeze to play around tity of the apostolic character, if our- her, and nought but the caves of the selves do not violate it; and neither earth to shelter her, as now, when are we exposed to aught which can endowed with the powers of an trench on the authority of the apos- establishment. The magistrates may tolical office, if, of ourselves we make withdraw their protection, and she no surrender of it. In things eccle- cease to be an establishment any siastical we decide all : some of these longer ; but, in all the high matters things may be done wrong, but still of sacred and spiritual jurisdiction, they are our majorities which do she would be the same as before. them ; they are not, they cannot be, With or without an establishment, in forced upon us from without. We these she is the unfettered mistress own no head of the church but the of her doings. The king, by himself, Lord Jesus Christ: whatever is done or by his representative, might be a ecclesiastical, is done by our minis- looker on, but more the king cannot, ters acting in his name, and in pro- the king dare not. fessed submission to his authority. But we gladly bring our arguments Implicated as the church and the to a close. It has been well remarked, state are imagined to be, they are not that in the abstract discussions of men so implicated as that, without the about which there may be collision, concurrence of ecclesiastical courts, a it is difficult to avoid a certain tone of full and final effect can be given to harshness-a spirit the most unlike any proceedings, by which the good possible to that which should be, and of Christianity and the religion of indeed to that which actually is, in our people may be effected. There real and living exemplification. The is not a clerical appointment which vindication of our establishment, as can take place in any of our parishes, far as we have proceeded in it, till we have sustained it. Even the essarily involves the vindication law of patronage, right or wrong, is of our order from the charge, that, in force, not by the power of the because supported by the state, we state, but by the permission of the are therefore, as if by necessary church, and, with all its fancied om- consequence, a mean and a mercenipotence, has no other basis than nary priesthood. In repelling this, that of our majorities to rest upon. we cannot but assert the real indeIt should never be forgotten that pendence which belongs to us: but in things ecclesiastical the highest let not the assertion of our indepenpower of our church is amenable to dence be interpreted into an assertion no higher power on earth for its de- of disrespect or defiance. What we fence. It can exclude, it can de- say, and say truly, in the abstract, prive, it can depose, at pleasure. Ex- may in the concrete be never realized ; ternal force might make an obnoxious and for this best and most desirable individual the holder of a benefice; of all reasons—that the one party but there is no external force in these ought never to be put on the hardy realms which can make him a minister and resolute defence of its prerogaof the church of Scotland. There is tive, just because the other party not one thing which the state can do may never have the wish or the to our independent and indestructible thought to invade them. There is church, but strip her of her tempo- many an ancient and venerable posralities; persecuted and derided, she session in our land whose writings would remain a church, notwith- are never called forth from their standing. Stronger than ever in the depository, or brought into court, bulwarks of her own moral and in- just because they are never trampled herent greatness, and at least, as on: and so of the rights of our


This can

church-there may be no call, save rude and unpractised hands, when in argument in opposition to enemies these are put forth in the work of -there may be no call for the pro- reforming or remodelling our ecclesiduce and for the production of these astical institutions. The popular and rights, just because there might be prevailing cry at this moment is, for no contest, and we are left to the the exclusive application of all the individual exercise of every power revenues of the church to the support which legitimately belongs to us. of our working clergy.

It is thus that for centuries, nay, have no effect in Scotland, for, unfor a whole millennium, we can fortunately for us, by the ravenous imagine a prosperous and specific and unprincipled spoliation of our union between the church on the one church which took place at the Reforhand, and the state upon the other, mation from popery—and which, I a union most fruitful in blessing to pray God, may never be acted over both; the church rendering to the again in any land—I say, by the state that most precious of all services ravenous and unprincipled spoliation -the respect of a virtuous, and of our church which took place at that orderly, and loyal population; and period there has nothing been left in the state giving ten-fold efficiency the shape of those higher endowments, and extent to the labours of the which, however they may have prochurch by multiplying and upholding voked the hostile feelings of those its stations over all the land, and who do not calculate on all the ends of a providing it in fact with approach to church, because not aware of them, the door of every family. There is are nevertheless indispensable--that here no compromise of sacred prin- leisure, and independence, and sufficiple on the part of the church; for ciency, without which a thorough it is not in drivelling submission to professional education can never be the authority of men-it is in devout administered, and a thorough professubmission to the high authority of sional literature cannot be upholden. heaven, that we tell our people to I say, the danger is, lest in the blind honour the king, to obey magistrates, impetuosity-we had almost said the to lead a quiet and peaceable life in phrensy—of invasion, the church all godliness and honesty, and to may be deprived of its best capabimeddle not with those who are given | lities for the support of an order of to change. Neither is there any men profoundly conversant in the compromise of sound policy on the credentials, and qualified, by their part of the state : for the Christian profound acquaintance both with education of a people is the high road Christian antiquities and the original to all the best objects of patriotism. languages of scripture, to expound In such an intercourse of benefits as and to vindicate their contents, and this, there need not (we repeat) be so the substance of our faith. There much as a taint of worldliness. We is a risk in this age of demand for may retain entire our apostolic fer- mere menial and personal labour, vour, and apostolic simplicity not- with a total insensibility to the prerowithstanding as pure, as in the season gatives and the necessities of mental of our most dark and trying ordeals: and intellectual labour—there is a equally pure in the sunshine, and risk in this age that the law of theogladness, and cordiality, between a logy be altogether despised. Not that Christian church and an enlightened we look on a highly erudite scripture government.

criticism to be indispensable as an I have only one remark more, and instrument of discovery into the with that I shall conclude.

sense and meaning of the Bible ; To take down the establishment, but we look on it to be indispensable whether in England or in Scotland, as an instrument of defence : and we would be to desolate the land of far feel quite assured that if the wealth the greatest amount of its Christian which is still in reserve for the eleinstruction. But there is another ments or the reward of an elevated danger to which the cause of sound scholarship be enervated, or even Christianity might be exposed from transferred to the support of the but as

church's homelier and humbler ser- | into a display of its might. Such is vices—then will England cease to be England berself: while apparently that impregnable bulwark of ortho- passive and motionless, she silently doxy which she has heretofore proved, concentrates the power to be put forth in virtue of her many ecclesiastical on an adequate occasion. And such, champions, among the nations of Pro- I would add, are the churches and coltestant Christendom. I speak of it, leges of England; in which,- though not as an instrument of discovery, they have been termed the dormitories

an instrument of defence of literature-is fostered into maturity against the inroads of false doctrine. and strength, almost all the niassive In the peaceful and ordinary seasons learning of our nation. In these of the church, their services may not venerable institutes there lies up, if be needed; but when danger threa- not a force in action, at least a force tens, and when an attack is feared in readiness. This is the age of hosfrom heresy or false doctrine, then tility to endowments, and more espethe church does with her critics and cially so, when the alleged wealth and her pbilologists what the state does the alleged indulgence of our estawith her fleets that are lying in ordi- , blished dignitaries are looked to with nary-she puts them into commission. an evil eye; but to the church and And to these lettered and highly the universities of England the theoaccomplished ecclesiastics, more than logical literature of our nation stands to any blind or hereditary veneration indebted for her best acquisitions: on the part of the people, does she and we hold it a refreshing spectacle, owe it that both the Arian and the at any time, to behold an armed Socinian heresies have been kept champion come forth in full equipfrom her borders.

ment, from some high and sheltered And here I am reminded of one of retreat of her noble hierarchy; por the noblest passages in the whole can we grudge her the wealth, the recorded eloquence of Canning, who, alleged wealth, of all her endowments, in his speech to the corporation of when we think how well, under all Plymouth, adverting to the objection her venerable auspices, the battles of of a navy during peace, alluded to orthodoxy have been fought,--that in the mighty power which lay up in this holy warfare they are her sons reserve in those enormous floating and scholars who are ever foremost masses assembled at that port, form- in the land, ready at all times to face ing one of the most glorious of our the threatening mischief, and, by the national spectacles. Our present might of their ponderous erudition, to repose,” he said, “is no more a proof overbear it. of our inability to act, than a state of It is the general belief, that with inertness and inactivity in wbich I the destruction of our church and our have seen those mighty masses that navy, there would be an end to the float in the waters about your town, political greatness of England; and, is a proof that they have no stre th, believing, as I do, that with the deand are capable of being fitted for struction, or even serious mutilation, service. You well know," he conti- of her church and her colleges, nued, “how soon one of those stupen- there would be an end to her moral dous masses now reposing on its sha- and literary greatness, let me condow in perfect stillness, how soon, clude with the humble and honest upon any call of patriotism and neces- prayer, that sity, it would assume the likeness of against them shall ever prosper, but an animated thing, instinct with life that purified, though not destroyed, and motion-how soon it would ruffle, they may ever remain the venerable as it were, its swelling plumage, fountains of the nation's learning and how quickly it would put forth all the nation's Christianity; May God its beauty and its bravery, collect bless what has been said. its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder.Sermons by the Rev. Dr. CHALMERS Such is one of those magnificent ma- will be found in Nos. 144, 145, and chines, when spreading from inaction ' previous Volumes.

[ocr errors]

weapon formed

[blocks in formation]



2 Corinthians, iv. 2.—" By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every

man's conscience in the sight of God.

There is nothing that is wont to be ism. Meanwhile they seem to have more frequently alleged by the ene- rested in a sort of heedless domestic mies of missions than the utter hope- quietism ; and while they denounce lessness of the enterprise, and that as enthusiasm the confidence of those for the want of those miraculous who count on the miracles of grace, powers wherewith the first teachers which may well be termed the miraof Christianity were invested. We cles of every age, they will denounce can remember the day when able it as a still weaker enthusiasm to men associated the uttermost folly look for the revival of those miracles and fanaticism with the cause. Yet which, non-extinct for many ages, believing as they did, on the strength have ceased to be any thing but matof prophecy, that the knowledge of ter of solid history, since the outset the Lord was some time to cover of the Christian dispensation. the earth as the waters cover the For ourselves, we are sanguine as channels of the deep, they seemed to the effect of missionary exertions, themselves to have been actuated by but not so confident as many that the an imagination, which all others held gift of sensible miracles is again to to be most fanatical, that the church be restored. We hold that, however was again to be visited with the super- essential such miracles may have been natural endowments of another pen to the first establishment of Christitecost for the further extension of the anity, this system of faith contains gospel into the territories of heathen- an evidence within itself for its own

VOL. vi.

H н


ample and indefinite diffusion even THE ASSERTION, that it is the great, if unto the uttermost limits of the habi- not the only, instrument of Christian table world. We reckon that in the missions, both in and out of Christenvery constitution and economy of the dom. gospel there is provision made for its And LASTLY, we shall consider THE propagation, and that without any delegated virtue from on high to its CESS IN OUR MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE messengers by which they may lay -a prospect confirmed, as we hope an arrest on the known laws and pro- to show, by the actual and historical cesses of visible nature. It short it is success which has already attended it. our opinion that, for the conversion I. If by CONSCIENCE be understood of men to Christianity, whether at the moral faculty, or that which takes home or abroad, there is another cognizance of, or that makes distincpower at work than that of achieving tion between the morally good and evil pretended miracles, and even another —this may safely be regarded as a evidence than that which lies in the universal and inward feeling in man history of past miracles. We think to be met with throughout all the there is an evidence, which is distinct members of the human family, under from this, adverted to in the text; | all the varieties of life and observaand a sermon on the text may con- tion : and, with allowance for every tribute something, perhaps, towards modification of sentiment, still there its elucidation.

is a general sense of right and wrong, But, here again we are brought to which is characteristic of our species the experience how inadequate the -a feeling of approval and comopportunity of a single and occa- placency associated with the former sional sermon is for the full and -a feeling of shame, dissatisfaction, thorough and radical exposition of and remorse, associated with the any one topic in theology. At the latter. This peculiarity of our nature best we can but undertake to offer obtains in all countries and among a few slight touches, or on the whole all conditions of humanity. Whata saint and incomplete outline in a ever the practice may be, there is a sermon, of an argument, the inherent certain truth of perception as to the worth of which is not to be measured difference between good and evil by the effect of any brief or hurried every where; there is a law of rectidemonstration of ours.- A reason, tude, to which, in every nation how however valid and invincible in itself, degraded soever a universal homage may suffer from the dense rapid is yielded by the sensibilities of the statement we are compelled to make heart, however little it may be yielded of it: in which case you may have pre- to by the practical habit of their lives. sented at one view a good reason and In a word, there is a morality recogyet a feeble and impaired reasoning. nised by all men, imprinting the

First, Nevertheless, let us en- deepest traces of itself on the vocabudeavour as we may to give some lary of every language, and marking GENERAL ACCOUNT OF THE EVIDENCE the residence of a conscience in every PRESENTED IN THE PASSAGE BEFORE US bosom ; insomuch that go to any out--that is, the manifestation of the cast tribe of wanderers, and, however truth to the conscience.

sunk in barbarism, if you tell them SECONDLY, WE SHALL AT LEAST AS- of right and wrong, they will meet SERT, AND, AS FAR AS WE CAN, ESTABLISH your demonstration with responding

« ZurückWeiter »