Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Bhowing that such language is applicable in its strict sense only 'o a limited extent. Aud it is obvious, and was determined by the highest authority, that the formal dogmatical statements of a Church in her Articles of Faith, are the primary authority for her doctrines.

"Time forbids my entering upon the various considerations that should be kept in view in the conduct of our inquiries in this matter.

"But there is one point, lying at the very foundation of them all, which I must not omit to mention; and that is, that we should apply to them a principle of interpretation that will make them all harmonize with one another. If the Prayer-book is interpreted so as to explain away the Articles, or the Articles used to explain away the Prayer-book, we are using a principle of interpretation miserably different from what was intended, and which is, in itself, inconsistent with Christian simplicity and truth. There may, and no doubt will ever be some differences of view in the interpretation given to the same forms; partly from the necessary indistinctness of human language, and partly from the opening intentionally and wisely left for diversities of opinion in non-essential points. But, as we accept and assent to each Formulary independently of the rest, though they must be taken together as throwing light npon each other, none is to be sacrificed to any other. The genuine sense is a lock which has various wards, and the only true key to it is that which will fit them all. And I believe that one who is well acquainted with the scriptural views of those to whom we owe onr Formularies, will have little trouble in finding a principle of interpretation that will solve all the difficulties that present themselves." (pp. 76—78.)

It will have been seen in the foregoing extracts, that evangelical truth is brought to bear upon the prevalent heresies of the day. The great lesson which the Evangelical preachers of the present generation have to learn, is the adaptation of their principles to the erroneous currents of thought in the popular mind, which are often of a totally different kind from those with which our fathers had to contend. In this respect we especially recommend these Sermons to the careful study of the younger clergy. As an excellent specimen of such adaptation, we insert the following extracts from a sermon preached at the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, Feb. 24, 1861.

"It is the faculty of reason which raises man above the rest of the creation, and he is apt to forget its necessary limits in a finite being, and the imperfection which, to say nothing of the fall, must of necessity characterize it in dealing with matters not the objects of the senses. Hence the admonition of our blessed Saviour, 'Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

"In these words, my brethren, we see the foundation of the Christian character—the humility of mind that, in the full perception of its own weakness and imperfection, listens to the voice of the Infinite and Almighty Being to whom man owes life and breath and all things (for in Him, as the heathen themselves have testified, we live, and move, and have our being) with deferential submission.

"At the very root of all inquiries as to our duty with respect to a revelation professing to come from God, lies this question, Are we to exercise our judgment as a ' verifying faculty' (as it has been called) upon statements, shown by evidence which commends itself to our reason to be divinely revealed, and accept and reject as we please?

"If it be so, either the fact of any Divine revelation that can be relied upon must be given up, or the Divine Being himself is one who can command only a very limited feeling of veneration and respect. For it needs no proof, that if portions of that which comes to us as a Divine Revelation do not deserve that name, other parts which rest only upon the same evidence are not worthy of our confidence, and the claims of the whole are gone.

"And on the other hand, if it is a Divine Revelation, and we are to bring it to the bar of human reason, to separate the true from the false, the good from the evil, we reduce the Godhead (as in fact the heathen did) to the level of human infirmity and imperfection; we practically set the creature above the Creator. And hence it was that among the heathen, as the Apostle tells us, 'the world by wisdom knew not God.'

"The wisdom of nature led to anything but a knowledge of the nature and character and ways of God. 'The natural man,' as the Apostle says in our text, ' receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.'" (pp. 18, 19.)

DEAN MILMAN'S ANNALS OF ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL.

Annals of St. Paul's Cathedral. By H. H. Milman, D.D., late Dean of St. Paul's. London: Murray. 1869.

We have to thank Dean Stanley for the introduction of a class of works full of interest to the general reader. Previous to the publication of his Memorials of Canterbury and Westminster Abbey, those who wished for information on such subjects had to gather it, as best they could, from ponderous and expensive tomes, full of antiquarian and architectural research, or else to content themselves with meagre and inaccurate details furnished by guide-books. In either case, there was a deficiency of the historical and romantic element with which our cathedrals so abound. The charm attaching to them is indefinitely enhanced when the skill of the accomplished historian peoples them afresh with the princes and prelates who sat in their high places, and with the multitudes of former generations who thronged their aisles. We shall not readily forget the thrill of interest we experienced when one day, wandering carelessly through the chapels of Winchester Cathedral, we cast our eyes down accidentally, and perceived under our feet the large blue stone which marks the restingplace of Izaak Walton. A whole crowd of fancies was instantly conjured up; from the good old man who recorded the golden saying, that "God has two dwellings, the one in Heaven and the other in a meek and thankful heart," our thoughts roved to that other holy and humble man, Bishop Ken, his relative, and the quiet, silent chapel became instinct with life and interest.

What Dean Stanley has accomplished for Westminster Abbey, the late Dean Milman has undertaken for St. Paul's. We do not think his success has been equal, but this mainly arises from comparative lack of interest in the subject. A very few pages comprise all the history of St. Paul's up to the period of the Conquest; and when entering upon the following period, he is constrained to admit that "the Bishop of London and clergy of St. Paul's did not take much part in the municipal or political affairs of the City. The Bishop and the Chapter never obtained [he adds, 'they never aspired to obtain'] that supreme power which was exercised by many Bishops in Germany, France, and Italy over great cathedral cities. London gradually grew up to most important power and influence. But it was the citizens of London, either represented by their Mayor, or in defiance of his authority and that of his Aldermen, who asserted their independence, extorted charters from the Sovereign, or accepted them, and took the lead in the great affairs of the

realm The bishops and the clergy either quietly withdrew

from all municipal affairs, or were steadily set aside and limited to their spiritual functions by the busy, stirring, and not unambitious citizens." Thus shut out from all interference in municipal affairs, and all political interest being concentrated at Westminster, the Bishops of London and the clergy of St. Paul's for a long period—indeed, till the period of the Reformation—seem to have played a somewhat inglorious part. We hear of a council held in St. Paul's by Lanfranc, and of the opposition made by Bishop Foliot to Becket, by whom he was excommunicated; but there is little noteworthy in the history of St. Paul's, except for its being the scene in which the Papal Legates seem to have delighted to display their arrogance and presumption. It was in St. Paul's that Cardinal Nicolas, Bishop of Tnsculum, received the cession of England as a fief of the Holy See, and that the infamous John did homage as a vassal of the Pope. It was in St. Paul's that Cardinal Otho sat as dictator of the clergy of England, with her bishops and abbots at his feet; and promulgated his celebrated Constitutions, which were, as subsequently enlarged and confirmed by Cardinal Ottabuoni, to form the law of the Church of England. It was in St. Paul's the first capital sentence "De Hseretico comburendo" was pronounced by Archbishop Arundel on William Sautree. It was in the nave of St. Paul's that the English Bible was publicly burned in the presence of Cardinal Wolsey. Upon such scenes no Englishman would needlessly care to dwell. One notable scene occurs during all this dreary period. We mean what Dean Milman speaks of as "the first public appearance of the earliest champion of religious freedom, the rude apostle of principles which—matured, refined, harmonised— were to make a religious revolution in half Europe, to establish the Church of England as an important branch of the great Catholic Church of Christendom,—a revolution which was not confined to any time, to any province, to any nation of the Christian world." The citation of Wycliffe before William de Courtenay would of itself invest with imperishable interest the Cathedral in which the scene took place. An interesting account of it, extracted from the Dean's History of Latin Christianity, is inserted in his present work; but as it relates to an event in history with which most of our readers must be sufficiently familiar, we forbear extracting it. It may be more to the purpose now, when even in the Church of England men can be found full of sympathy for the pre-Reformation period, and striving to uphold its institutions, to submit what the Dean terms a tremendous increpation against the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, issued by King Edward III. "super nefandis abusibus in Ecclesia Sancti Pauli," which he extracts from Rymer's Pcedera:—

"Their refectory had become the resort of base mechanics, their inner chambers no better than hired brothels. Where there used and ought to be the daily maintenance and sustentation of the ministry in holy worship, were all kinds of foul and abominable acts of laymen. The very sacred vessels and ornaments were pilfered and held up for sale. Worse than these abuses, revenues designed for this sacred purpose were wasted, or unequally distributed; some were rolling in affluence, others were miserably poor: the chantries and altars were alienated to other uses. The manors and farms were mismanaged. The King ordered that the establishment should be placed on its old footing. The public table was to- be restored, the bakehouse, the brewery, which had gone to ruin, were to be rebuilt; the daily ale and bread distributed. The execution of this stern mandate is committed, not to the Bishop, but to th Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the city.

"Bishop Braybroke's reform, which he carried through with difficulty against the opposition of the Canons, was of an abase which had grown up out of the constitution of the Chapter. The Residentiaryship had formerly been held a burden; the Canons thought it more pleasant to reside each on his separate estate, leaving to others the irksome duty of attending the long and wearisome services of the Church, for which each had his ill-paid deputy. Gradually, however, from the great increase of the common fund, (the domus), by oblations, obits (more of these hereafter), and other sources, shared out to the residentiaries, this burden became an enviable privilege. There was a rush to become residentiaries. At this time, too, the residentiaries had an ingenious device to exclude their eager brethren. The Canon who would become a residentiary, was obliged to pay six or seven hundred marks, to be spent in feastings So the residentiary Chapter had sunk down to only two. The affair was brought before the King for his arbitration, and he ordered that residence should be determined according to the usage of the Church of Salisbury.

"But not the Chapter only, the church itself had fallen into grievous disrepute. To high-toned religious feeling, a building dedicated to God and His service has an inherent awfulness and sanctity, breathed, as it were, from its atmosphere. But in coarser, not altogether irreligious minds, this reverence either is weakened, or wears away. In all times there has been a strife, more or less obstinate, between the worldly and the unworldly, for exclusive possession of churches. The place of concourse becomes a place of trade. Bishop Braybroke issued letters denouncing the profanation of St. Paul's by marketing and trading in the church itself. He alleges the example of the Saviour, who casts the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. 'In our Cathedral, not only men, women also, not on common days alone, but especially on Festivals, expose their wares, as it were, in a public market, buy and sell without reverence for the holy place.' More than this—the Bishop dwells on more filthy abuses. 'Others, too, by the instigation of the devil, do not scruple with stones and arrows to bring down the birds, pigeons, and jackdaws which nestle in the walls and crevices of the building : others play at ball or at other unseemly games, both within and without the church, breaking the beautiful and costly painted windows to the amazement of the spectators.' The Bishop threatens these offenders, if they do not desist, on monition, from these irreverent practices, to visit them with the greater excommunication." (pp. 82—84.)

It is a relief to turn from such disgraceful records, and from the scenes of perjury and murder to which St. Paul's was doomed to be a witness during the wars of the Roses, to some brief notice of one whom Dean Miltnan has truly described as "one of the most remarkable and admirable men who have held dignity in the Church of England, assuredly in the Church of St. Paul's." Of him he says—

« ZurückWeiter »