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him, protest against his superstition; instead of calling to mind the lying and slandering, the false witness, the rejoicing in evil, the ungenerousness and unfairness which abound among us, our low standard of duty and scanty measures of holiness, our love of the world and our dislike of the Cross; instead of acknowledging that our brother has left us because we have left God, that we have lost him because we have lost our claim to keep him; we, forsooth, think we “do well to be angry," and can but enlarge on his impatience, or obstinacy, or wilfulness, or infatuation. Or if we are alarmed, as well as indignant, we dream of foes and traitors among us, when the foe and the traitor is within us; and we look any where but there, and we wonder, to be sure, that we cannot find what it implies so much address to conceal; and we are restless till we have traced the guilt some whither, to any one but ourselves, like the Prophet beating his ass because she saw, what from him was hidden, the Angel with a drawn sword. hypocrite; first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel !” « Thou satest and spakest against thy brother, yea, and hast slandered thine own mother's son.” “ Thou which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? ... thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? for the Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”
I Matt. vii. 5; xxiü. 24. Ps. L. 20. Rom. ü. 21. 23, 24. (s. D.]
For me, with these convictions, never will I sbrink, through God's help, at fitting times, and in my place, from warning my brethren of that so great sin of the day, their disregard of the grievous judgment under which we lie. If it was promised to the Church that she should be “the pillar and ground of the truth,” that her « teachers should not be removed into a corner any more," but that her "ears should hear a voice behind her, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it;" and if, to us in this country, she is not such as this, surely we have forfeited something, surely are under a judgment; and if we are under a judgment, how inexpressibly it must offend Almighty God, that we do not “humble ourselves under His mighty hand”! This being so, it is a very light thing indeed for one whose eyes are in his measure opened to see it, to find himself opposed for speaking plainly about it; and, even though opposed, it must be more difficult for him to keep silence than to speak.
And he speaks with the more freedom, because, as has been said already, the public notes of the Church are not her only tokens, and a failure or deficiency in them here or there, is no argument that the Presence of Christ is away. Such a misfortune must, indeed, ever diminish her external power in the places where it is found, but not her influence at home; it may stint her growth, and obstruct her propagation; but her present fruit may remain on her, notwithstanding, with a firm hold. For, after all, what really and practically attaches any one to the Church, is not any outward display of magnificence or greatness, but the experience of her benefits upon
himself. These private and special evidences of the Divine Presence I may have another opportunity of enlarging upon; meanwhile I will mention a personal consideration of another kind, which, though abstractedly of less influence, yet, under the circumstances in which it comes to us, surely ought to be considered not a slight argument for a Christian's continuing where Providence originally placed him, in spite of the scandals which surround him.
It is this : in various parts of our Church, various persons, who do not know each other, and who gained their religious views in various ways, men and women, have, in consequence of the miserable confusions of the time, been tempted to look out for the True Church elsewhere. They have been tempted to do so; but yet when they proceeded on, and came towards, or upon, or over the border, they have, one by one, though separate from each other, felt as it were a nameless feeling within them, forbidding and stopping them. Now did this take place in the instance of one person only, one might impute it to some accident of his particular condition ; he has been imbued with early prejudices; or he has dear ties of friends, relatives, or admirers, to detain him; or he has committed himself to statements which he is ashamed to falsify by his actions; or he shrinks from throwing himself upon strangers and the forlorn dreary life which will be the consequence. Doubtless, there are ten thousand bad motives to hinder our concurrence in the motions of grace; but I think the persons in question, viewed as a whole, have been too honest, too free in mind, too independent and fearless,
too distressed and unhappy, too acute and far-seeing, too religious, too enthusiastic, too many, to admit of this account of their common feeling. This feeling has been something singular and distinctive, and of so cogent an influence, that, where individuals have left us, the step has commonly been taken in a moment of excitement, or of weakness, or in a time of sickness, or under misapprehension, or with manifest eccentricity of conduct, or in deliberate disobedience to the feeling in question, as if that feeling were a human charm, or spell of earth, which it was a duty to break at all risks, and which, if one man broke, others would break also '.
1 Such conversions to the Church of Rome as have occurred among as, are, for the most part, subsequent to March, 1841 ; from which date our Church has, in various ways, and through various of her organs, taken a side, and that the Protestant side, in a number of questions of the day. The authorities who were parties to the condemnation of No. 90 of the “Tracts for the Times,” by that interposition, released the author, in his own feelings, of the main weight of a great responsi. bility; the responsibility, which up to that time attached to him, of inculcating religious views which, however primitive, however necessary for our Church, however sanctioned by her writers, tended, without a strong safeguard, towards the theology of Rome. Till then, whatever happened amiss in the spread of Catholic doctrine, might be supposed to flow as a direct result from that one cause which alone seemed in operation, the advocacy of patristical theology; and of its advocates the remedy and correction of all irregularities in the direction of Rome might fairly be demanded. But the state of the case was changed, when persons in station interfered with the work, and took the matter into their own hands. In saying this, the author has no wish at all to rid himself of such responsibility as really belongs to him. That in the course of his exposition of Anglican principles, statements or views were evolved which have become a disposing cause of certain tendencies to Rome, now existing, he does not deny; but theological principles and doctrines have little influence on the mind holding them, without the stimulus of external circumstances. Many a man might have held an abstract theory about the Catholic Church to which it was difficult to adjust our own, might bave admitted a suspicion, or even painful doubts
It may be added, that this attachment to our own communion is almost peculiar to ourselves among the religious professions of this age and country. Men of other communions seem not to possess this secret instinct, attaching them to the body to which they belong; but they can change about from sect to sect, or form new ones, without any scruple or misgiving. The feeling in question is ours, not theirs; and therefore is the more deserving of deference, as something definite, real, and special. And let it be borne in mind, that even if an individual who is tempted to leave us has no experience of the feeling himself, yet the mere fact that others around us bear witness to it, should weigh with himself, and he should guide himself, at least for a while, by the direction thus given to his brethren.
Let us beware of turning a deaf ear to what may prove to be a Divine token; let us not do despite to a Divine privilege. Angels are our guardians; Angels surely stand in our way, in mercy, not in wrath; Angels warn us back. Let us obey the warning. When St. Peter was fleeing from Rome, shortly before his martyrdom, Jesus Christ met him at the gate, as if entering the city; and the Apostle understood that he was to return. When
about the latter, yet never have been impelled onwards, had our rulers preserved the quiescence of former years; but it is the corroboration of a present, living, and energetic heterodoxy, which realizes and makes them practical; it has been the recent speeches and acts of authorities, who had so long been tolerant of Protestant error, which have given to inquiry and to theory its force and its edge. Such toleration of Catholic doctrine may have been impossible or wrong; that is another question, with which private persons have no right to interfere; still it may be a fact, that the want of it has been the cause of recent seces. sions.