Imagens das páginas

— the other discerns it truly, but has not the power on a large scale to attain it. But when blended into, one, the power and knowledge become happily united; the Church is become sovereign, and the State has become Christian."1 The doctrine of the Crown's Supremacy in the English Church he speaks of as " the great principle of this system," "vouchsafed to our Church by so rare and mere a blessing of God." He looks upon it however "as no other than an assertion of the supremacy of the Church or Christian society over the clergy," and a denial, of course of the opposite view, which he holds to be "one of the most mischievous falsehoods ever broached."2 No one ever maintained more earnestly than he that the clergy is for the Church, not the Church for the clergy. "I am for the Church and against the priesthood," 3 was a sentence in one of his letters, and the virtual text of some of his most earnest sermons and essays. A priesthood proper he warred against with all his might. "Any attempt to convert the ministry into a priesthood, that is to represent them as standing, in any matter, as mediators between Christ and his people, or as being essentially the channel through which His grace must pass to His Church, is directly in opposition to Him, and is no better than idolatry."4 "So far as Popery is priestcraft, I do believe it to be the very mystery of iniquity.'':' He had no belief in the apostolic succession. He thought it a most mischievous heresy.0 He rejected all pure divine episcopacy. "Viewed in the large ... I hold that one form of Church-government is exactly as much according to Christ's will as another."7 The following might almost have been written by a Congregationalist: "ASt he abstract church of Christian society is divided into a great number of particular churches, each having its own laws, in all mat

1 Fragment on the Church, p. 226.

3 Life ami Correspondence, pp. 367, 392. 'Sermons, vol. 3, p. 384.

4 Christian Life, Correspondence, etc., p. 363. Comp. Sermons, Vol. HI. p. 122. Fragment on the Church, chapter 1, etc.

5 Life and Correspondence, p. 294. 6 Same letlcr. 7 Life and Correspondence, p. 375. Comp. p. 227.

ters not already provided for by the common divine law of the Scriptures, so each church may appoint its own ministers, whether teachers or governors, in such a manner, and with such powers, as it shall judge expedient. And all ministers so appointed, under whatever different titles, and with whatever different powers, if they teach the same Gospel which the Apostles taught, and govern Christian people after the principles of Christ's law, they are the true successors of the Apostles, just as the children of Abraham's faith, not the children of his body, were the true and only heirs of the promises made to him." He objected to the whole priestly idea of the sacraments, holding strongly on the other hand the spiritual and Protestant one. He held the indispensableness of a holy ministry. "It is a grievous sin, he affirms, to appoint as a Christian minister any man who wants that quality, which is as essential to the Christian ministry as being born of a particular family was essential to the Jewish priesthood. This quality is holiness."1 He held that the Church is appropriately a holy body. "The Church has its living and redeemed members; it may have those who are craving to be admitted within its shelter, being convinced that God is in it of a truth; but beyond these he who is not with it is against it."2 He sets one against mere outward Church-extension, "the real living church itself with all its manifold offices and ministers, with its holy and loving sense of brotherhood."3 "Christ's Church, the living temple of the Holy Ghost, puts in the place of this natural and corrupt man, whose witness is against God, another sort of man, redeemed and regenerate, whose whole being breathes a perpetual witness of God."4 He does indeed say that " it is baptism . . . which makes us members of the Church."3 But he does also say: "Where repentance and faith exist there is the qualification for baptism :6 and as to any necessary regeneration in infancy connected with bap

1 Vol. on Interpretation, p. 108. s Christian Life, Its Course, etc.. p. 358.

8 Ibid, p. 361. 4 Ibid. p. 279.

5 Ibid. p. 3C2. 0 Sermons, vol. 3, p. 371.

tism, his significant remark is: "It is possible, very rare, doubtless, but still possible, that some having been brought to Christ in their infancy, and having been trained up carefully from their earliest years in His faith and fear, have never within their remembrance gone astray from Him altogether, like the sheep that was lost."1 He "dislikes Articles, because they represent truth untruly, that is in an unedifying manner, and thus robbed of its living truth, whilst it retains its mere literal form; whereas the same truth, embodied in prayers, or confessions, or even in catechisms, becomes more Christian, just in proportion as it is less theological."s He was for having everything done that could be to bring the disciples of Christ into living communion with one another and with Him. "Daily church service, frequent communions, memorials of our Christian calling continually presented to our notice in crosses3 and way-side oratories; commemoration of holy men, of all times and countries; the doctrine of the communion of saints practically taught; religious orders, especially of women, of different kinds, and under different rules, delivered only from the snare and sin of perpetual vows; all these, most of which are of some efficacy for good even in a corrupt church, belong no less to the true church, and would be purely beneficial."* We can well pardon some opinions in this direction, of questionable tendency, for the sake of the genial spirit with which he writes, his desire to make the church more effective for good, and to restore the freedom and heartiness of primitive fellowship among its members; and especially to make supreme always that which contains " the positive opposite of all their (" the

1 Christian Life, Hopes, etc., p. 179.

2 Life and Correspondence, p. 214. This was a favorite idea of his. He thought there was danger in stating the truth in any other than the Bible way. Coinp Frag, on the church, p. 1G5. ''The truths declared are wholly relative and practical" "Abstractedly nothing has been revealed about them.''

3 Christian Life, Course, etc., p. 49.

4 He was also inclined to advocate the use of images to some extent, believing the second commandment abolished by the (act of the incarnation. See Sermons, Vol. III. p. 36.

Oxford Judaziers'") idolatries, the doctrine of the person of Christ; not His Church, not His sacraments, not His teaching, not even the truths about Him, nor the virtues he most enforces, but Himself; that only object which bars fanaticism and idolatry on the one hand, and gives life and power to all morality on the otner."1



We welcome the appearance of the work before us, and are glad to see so beautiful a reprint of it from the press of the Messrs. Carter of New York. Not that it is everything we could desire, in a work for general circulation. There is too much parade of learning about it; too many learned mottoes, appendixes, and notes. Then it discusses a variety of topics, more or less connected with the subject in hand, though not directly upon it. From both these causes, the work is too large, commending itself rather to Biblical scholars, than to the generality of Christian readers.

Still, we are glad to see it, and that for more reasons than one. It treats of a vitally important subject, — "the Inspiration of the Holy Scripture;" and amidst all the laxity on the one hand, and extravagance on the other, the denials and avowals, the doubts and the dogmatism, which prevail at this day, it takes substantially the right ground, and

1 Life ami Correspondence, p. 282.

1 Tbe Inspiration of Holy Scripture, its Nature and Proof. Eight Discourses prea-hed before the University of Dublin. By William Lee, M. A., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity Collejre. 1857.

maintains it; the ground which has been held by evangelical teachers in this country for a long course of years.

Mr. Lee approaches the Bible just as the well-instructed philosopher approaches nature, to learn the truth, the facts, respecting it, and to draw such conclusions as facts justify.

Coming to the Bible in this way, we learn, first of all, that it was the work both of God and of men. That it was the work of men,— setting aside altogether the historic testimony,— of men, too, in the exercise of their own faculties and powers, — is evident from its entire contents. It bears the impress of human wit and wisdom, of human thought, emotion, feeling, and is throughout a human production.

Yet it could not have been the work of unaided man, — of man alone. This is evident from many considerations. Man, in the unassisted exercise of his own faculties, could no more have made the Bible, than he could have made the world. We most commonly found tho argument d posteriori, for the existence of God, upon the world's existence; but it is no less conclusive, when founded on the existence of the Bible. Here is the world; and here is the Bible. Both are in existence, and are to be accounted for. And we can no more account for the one, than the other, without bringing in the wisdom and the power of God.

And as the Bible is the work both of God and man, as to the substance, the subject-matter of it, so also it is as to its dress, its style, its language, its utterance. That the Scriptures were written by men, and in the style of men,— each writer having his own peculiar style, is too obvious to require proof. Nothing in point of rhetorical utterance can be more unlike, than the styles of Isaiah and Amos, of John and Paul. And yet there is something in the very style and manner of the Sacred writers, as we shall show hereafter, which tells of a power and a wisdom more than human. Besides, it might be inferred, d priori, if God was to be at the expense of making a supernatural revelation to men, and causing it to be written in a book, he would take care that the writing should be worthy of the subject; should be as free from mistake and error as the revelation itself.

« AnteriorContinuar »