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them. Along with the evils, that remained, some of which were induced, Episcopacy to a great extent, was sacrificed. With my present views I may be allowed to assume this, although I do not claim to impose it; and I think it will generally be granted, that the sacrifice was an evil, inasmuch as it might have been retained in those Reformed churches which now reject it, under the same general ecclesiastical economy and modes of worship, which now prevail among them. For Episcopacy, it should be kept in mind, has no necessary connexion with a Liturgy, or any particular modes of worship. These accidents are matters of taste, preference, and expediency, to be determined by the parties who adopt and use more or less of them, as their wisdom or choice may approve.
Suppose, that all the branches of the Protestant Reformed church had retained Episcopacy with all the other varieties as they now exist: this great question would then have been for ever at rest. Would it not have been a blessing? The principle of Episcopacy must obtain; the religious world cannot do without it ; it is essential in society for the management of religious enterprises on any extended scale. I have shown, that it now pervades and governs the American religious world throughout. It is even astonishing with what rapidity it has come over the land. It is the result of necessity in all such great religious efforts, associated and combined, as have characterized this country for a few years past.
In view of the position which we now occupy in relation to the past and future—the workings of the religious elements in our own land—and of that free and independent thinking which characterizes the public mind, which withal must have its influence in our public schools and theological seminaries—if indeed, there be any strong claims in Episcopacy, it cannot be matter of surprise, that it should soon obtain a respect even in this country, which it has not heretofore realized. There are at present two very influential considerations, which may lawfully constitute a ground for such an anticipation : One is, that the religious extravagances of the country will
naturally drive the more sober part of the community to this resort for protection. The other is, upon the premises here occupied, viz. that Episcopacy has strong claims to respect, sober inquiry, candid investigation, and temperate discussion, will bring doubts over the minds of numerous candidates for the Christian ministry, as to the validity of other orders, and compel them in obedience to conscience to resolve those doubts by adopting the only alternative, that lies before them. The question in their minds will be reduced to this :-Oiher ordination is uncertain—unsatisfactory; this is allowed by all to be valid ; it has a respect in the conscience, and a currency in the opinion of all mankind. Let us, therefore, adopt that, concerning which there is no doubt.
There is yet another reason, which can hardly fail to have its influence with candidates for the ministry, when it comes to be duly weighed—a reason, which, it must be confessed, does not rest in Episcopacy apart from its accidents; but which in our country, and for the most part elsewhere, is known to be allied to it. I mean the excellence and convenience of the public and authorized ritual of the Episcopal Church. The use of this, always the same and always orthodox, will be found upon reflection to constitute a facility most essential to the convenience and efficiency of the ministry. The experience of all ministers, who have been accustomed to do without this help, will abundantly certify, that all those services which this ritual comprehends and supplies, customarily make a most exorbitant and exhausting demand upon their intellectual resources and physical powers. To sustain these parts well, independent of a Liturgy, requires an ability which few men possess. In the use of this ritual, it is only necessary, that the officiating minister should carry into his pulpit a proper and a devout state of feeling. His intellect is not tasked for these services; but all his strength, in that particular, may be reserved for his sermon--for that exercise, the more specific design of which is to bring sinners to repentance, and to allure onward towards heaven the hosts of God's elect, by inciting them to active obedience on
earth. While the Liturgy prepares the mind, the sermon should have a power in it to give the impulse.
As a matter of needful economy in the public offices of the ministry, the help of the ritual is most important. For the want of this there is at this moment a greater waste of health and life in the ministry of this country, than can be estimated. I heed not the charge of laziness, coming up from the fens and bogs of uncharitableness—from those unsympathizing hearts, which would rather exult and sing, than shed a tear, over the premature grave of a minister of Jesus Christ, leaving upon the sod that covers him this cruel praise and long stereotyped cant—" that it is better to wear out, than rust out." There is no time-no room for laziness in the ranks of the Christian ministry, in this age and in this land. The great question is—how shall they be saved from becoming victims to the incessant and overwhelming demands for their private and public labours; and how shall the little power, which God has given them, be most economically and efficiently employed ? A public ritual, generally introduced, would unquestionably be a most essential relief; besides, that it would furnish a most important facility in the hands of ministers to check and control those powerful tendencies to extravagance, which are so characteristic of our religious world.
The prejudices against liturgical services, that have prevailed so extensively, are unreasonable--unphilosophical,--and it is pleasing to observe, that the public mind, which to a great extent and for ages has been lodged in the extreme of doing without any liturgical form of worship, is coming back to a more wholesome state. It is remarkable, that within a few years not a little of the talent of the most eminent private Christians and ministers, both in England and America, and of many too who are connected with denominations that reject public liturgies altogether, has been employed in preparing and publishing devotional compositions for the closet, for the family, and more or less for public use. And this work is still going on; it is patronised; and the fact proves the tendencies of the public mind. Good sense will sooner or later prevail over unreasonable prejudice.
The new and extraordinary religious state of the country.
Monsieur J. H. Merle D'Aubigné, President of the Theological seminary at Geneva, delivered a discourse at the commencement of the annual session, May 1st, 1834, entitled, The invariableness of the doctrines of Christianity, arnid the diversity of its forms—The voice of the Church one and the same in all ages.* It is a highly and purely philosophical treatise. I trust I may say philosophical, without doing prejudice to it. That it is the work of a Christian of high rank for piety and talents, and the advocate of orthodoxy against rationalism at Geneva, his relation to that seminary and the tract itself declare. M. D'Aubigné sets forth in this production four grand developments of Christianity, which he denominates--the form of Life ; the form of Doctrine; the form of the School; and the form of the Reformation. By form M. D’Aubigné evidently means development.
The first form, or development, which he calls the form of Life, comprehends the period from the Apostles onward from two to three centuries—where, as he supposes, and not without reason, we find a marked and impressive development of the vitality of Christianity. The second form, or development, he denominates the form of Doctrine, beginning with the early part of the fourth century, and running on to the middle of the eleventh ; during which period, especially in the former part of it, the great and fundamental doctrines of Christianity were thoroughly discussed and settled in the form of authorized creeds, and other literary productions of eminent individual authorities, under the sanction of the
* See Literary and Theological Review for December, 1835.
greatest names in the history of the church. Then comes the form of the School (schola), the grand characteristic of which was an effort to reduce the doctrines of Christianity to system which succeeded, and thus constituted a new development. This began in the eleventh century. And next comes the form, or development, of the Reformation.
Of course, as might be expected in such a philosophical treatise, M. D'Aubigné discerned numberless minor developments in each of these grand forms-each and all of which had their specific character, importance, and influence, and which it was impossible, within the limits prescribed to him, to bring under review. The chief interest of this effort lies in a demonstration (showing) of a providential consistency, which declares uniformity of doctrine and design, supported through all ages of the church ; or in his own language, the invariableness of the doctrines of Christianity in the midst of the diversity of its forms. He shows, that Christianity is the same always; that the progress of its history has been its providential development; that it has not been impaired, but gradually opened ; and that the Reformation of the sixteenth century restored, combined, and united its capital elements of vitality and doctrine systematized.
66 The Reformation,” says M. D'Aubigné, “ took the form of system, and carried it back upon the form of doctrine. Then it carried back these two forms united upon the form of life. Or rather, it proceeded in an inverted order. It started with life, led it forward into doctrine, and crowned the whole with system. The Reformation united the three sorts of culture which preceded it.”
This theory, thus adduced from history, leads him to a modest conjecture in regard to the future: “A fifth period, or form, has now commenced in the church, mys. terious, unknown, whose peculiar characteristics it is not yet given us to discern. But .. ... the funda. mental truths, which we have passed in review, will also constitute the essence and glory of the future form (development).
God suffers nothing to be lost in his church..
The church can no