« PreviousContinue »
of attaining its ultimate rewards, and even be condemned on the last A Charge delivered to the Clergy of day by those very heathens of
the Diocese of London, by JOHN, whose religious errors and defi
Lord Bishop of that Diocese, at ciencies they had so often heard. By
his prinary Visitation in 1810. this want of discrimination between
Published at the Request of the real and nominal Christians, be.
Clergy. Oxford, Parker: Lontween the profession and the practi
don, Rivington. 1810. pp. 32. cal feeling of the Gospel, a sort of The name and character of the late delusive satisfaction is produced in Bishop of London are well known the minds of those who are accus- to all our readers. Unfavourable tomed to hear religion thus imper- as the times have been to the acfectly represented, which seldom knowledgment of living worth, fails to render them zealous perhaps when connected with ecclesiastical for the form, but careless of the power dignity, his virtues seem to have triof godliness. Something more dis- umphed over the general habits of tinguishing, pointed, and awaken- the age; and even during his life, ing, is undoubtedly required in the name of Porteus was
never treating and recommending moral mentioned without the homage of and religious subjects. We may respectful veneration.
In a good otherwise convince and delight old age, he has been removed to a both the young and old, by exposing better world ; but his memory will the errors of pagans and unbelievers long be' cherished by those who of every age, and describing the knew him; few of whom hope to excellencies of the Gospel; but meet with many brighter examples our voice will only be like the sound of episcopal excellence. of “a very pleasant instrument; The successor of such a man is and, unhappily, it will be "vox, et certainly placed in a situation of no præterea nihil." We earnestly wish common difficulty. In looking back that in the concluding part of his to the prelate who is no longer with lectures, which we shall be anxious. us, the very circumstance of his ly expecting, Dr. Ireland would loss will come in aid of the revebear this observation in mind. We rence to which he was so largely scarcely know any writer, who, entitled; and the conduct of his from the thorough knowledge of his successor will naturally be brought sabject, and the strength and ani- to the test of a comparison which mation of his style, is better quali- few men can be expected to stand fied to make a salutary impression with credit. on the minds both of his hearers Suggestions of this kind force and readers. Let him only remem- themselves upon us, when we are ber, that man is corrupt and weak, presented with a Charge of the new as well as uninformed; and needs Bishop of London, delivered at his to be excited to self-examination, primary Visitation. And the effect and diffidence of his spiritual safe- of such suggestions will not be dity, as well as to be congratulated minished. if the nature of that on the speculative superiority and Charge be at all in opposition to purity of his faith. Then may we those just observations which we justly expect that the display of the have been accustomed to hear from errors of paganism, and of the truth the same chair, and with which we of “ the glorions Gospel of Christ,” have so often been delighted and will, under the divine blessing, be improved. productive not only of the assent The Bishop commences by a of the understanding, but of that statement of his reasons for calling faith of the heart, “ which worketh his clergy together upon a short noby love," and which saveth the tice, and with some inconvenience soul.
This early attention to a very im. " Though, blessed be God, whether it, portant part of his duty is worthy of has been owing, humanly speaking, to the high commendation; and if the prudence of our rulers, or to our own good substance of the Charge were cal. fortune*, we have, under providence, been culated to heal divisions, “ to allay rather spectators of the mischief which has Reats and compose differences" (p.
devastated Eufope, than parlakers of it; 11), to enforce sound doctrine and yet no man can say that we have been, or correspondent practice, we should ought to be, indifferent spectators, &c."
p. 6. hail it as a circumstance most au
His lordship, "we trust, will exspicious, not only to the diocese of
cuse us if we venture to express our London, but to the whole of the decided disapprobation of such lancountry,
guage as this. The sentence, indeed, But we were a little startled, even
is well fenced and guarded; yet to at the outset, by the cold manner in
our ear it sounds somewhat Epicuwhich the distinguished excellence
and the words of the poet of the late Bishop of London is no
seem to form no indifferent comticed, and by some of the reasons assigned by the present Bishop for
“ Deos didici secnrum agere ævum ; an early visitation.
Nec, si quid miri faciat Natura, Deos id « There were other reasons which induced Ex alto cæli demnittere tecto." me not to put of this meeting. Though
We have ever been accustomed to your late diocesan, ever altentive to the consider our national preservation, cause of religion, and the duties of his station, had, when disabled himself throngh in. which we have received from that
as one among the thousand mercies creasing infirmities, by the assistance of others, provided for confirmations through God, by whose hand we were formout the diocese, yet I was not willing that ed, and by whose providence the the opportunity (for such I consider it when world is governed; and to be transconducted in an orderly manner) of impress- ferred in our old age, like the acres ing the nature and importance of the Chris- of Achæmenides, to the guardiantian faith on the young mind, should be ship of Fortune, is little to our taste. Fanting for a longer period than necessary: Aγρος Αχαιμενιδε γενομης ποτε, νύν δε Μενιππε, and with respect to visitations, the same Και παλιν εξ ετερο βησομαι εις ετερον cause had already occasioned a longer inter- Και γαρ εκεινος εχειν με ποτ’ φετο, και παλιν mission of them than usual.” p. 4.
We are at some loss to discover Οιιται· ειμι δ' ολως εδενος αλλα Τυχης. . to what “cause” this last clause re- The parenthetic clauses, which fers: whether to his own unwils are introduced into the above senhingness that any delay should arise; tence, seem intended to imply, that or to the attention of the late dio. the providence of God is indeed cesan, when himself disabled, to the primary cause, but that a quesprocure the assistance of others.
tion remains to be solved respecting, In connection with some remarks the means of our safety. ft apon “ the present state of this church pears, therefore, that Providence has and diocese," the Bishop is led to operated by the secondary causes, notice the general aspect of the either of wisdom or accident; and times and the distractions of the na- that we are indebted, “ humanly tions around us. That we have hi- speaking," either “ to the prudence therto been preserved amidst the of our rulers, or to our good forgeneral wreck, in freedom and in- tune." Now, what is this good fordependence, is a fact which calls for tune? Is it. predestination? That our gratitude. To what circum-. cannot be the solution; for then, 'stance this preservation is owing, surely, it would bare been centhe Bishop.does not undertake to sured, and not mentioned with re. determine: he glances, however, spect.— Is it luck? In the language at the possible causes in the fol. * * Seu ratio dederit, seu fors ob jecerit.' lowing passage.
Every schoolboy can turn to the rerse.
of philosophy, this word has very observations - delivered, however, little meaning; and, it is held, we in a style most strange and unacpresume, in no very high degree of countable--upon the bad tendency estimation by the Christian. -The of a democratic and discontented truth is, since heathenism went out spirit, the Bishop proceeds to inof fashion, good fortune ” has form his clergy, "ibat it is one of been consigned, as a loose expres. their duties to endeavour silently sion, to the unthinking part of the and quietly to heal these distraccommunity, and means," nothing tions, which exist among us, each at all.” The logic will therefore within his own province; to allay stand thus: “ We are indebted for heats and compose differences; to our preservation, humanly speaking, remove or to diminish the causes of either to the prudence of our rulers, offence," &c. (p. 11.) The advice or, to nothing at all.” The conclu- is good; but we much doubt whesion may be just, but the terms are ther the example of moderation and not happy.
justice, exhibited in the subsequent The degree of influence, which pages, be precisely of that character the Bishop of London attributes to which will “
compose differences" " good fortune," or " accident and tend to union. The subject is (the words, we imagine, are synoni- well deserving of attention. mous), is rather remarkable. In p. We are informed, in the same 10, we meet with the following ob- page, that the infidelity propagated servation : “ Hence the tendency to at the beginning of these troubles aggravate every fault of govern. (viz. the French Revolution), bas in. ment, and even every untoward clined many to “ licentiousness of accident which has befallen it, as in opinion, or indifference in religion." the course of events, in such times,
“ The extreme into which others have many must occur.” We wish that run, shocked at this growing evil, has been his lordship bad furnished us with equally prejudicial to sober and sound relia few exemplifications.
gion. Men have sought for separation, For a good exposition of the when the circumstances required the strictdoctrine of luck, or chance, or “ ac- est union; and to rebuild the shaken faith cident,” or “good fortune,” we beg of Christians on the Auctuating basis of ento refer our readers to the History thusi»şın; and to heal the wounds which of Betty Brown, the St. Gjles's Christian obedience had received from corOrange Girl, as contained in one of ruption of mind, profligacy of manners, and the Cheap Repository tracts. “ Poor vitiousness of life, not by the evangelical
doctrine and Beity,” says the narrative," here
repentance, as the burst into tears of joy and gratitude, conversions, the inventions of men af
Gospel teaches, but by new and unheard of crying out,' What! shall such a poor heated imaginations, or ambitious views. friendless creature as I, be treated They have bewildered themselves and their so kindly, and learn to read the followers in the mysteries and depths of word of God too? Oh, madam! Calvinism, in distrust or contempt of the what a lucky chance brought me to simplicity of the Gospel. Hence has there your door!'— Betty,' said the lady, been engendered a new schism, halting be
what you have just said, shews tween the church and dissension from it. the need you bave of being better which, whilst it professes to follow the puiaught: there is no such thing as rity of our churclı, or even to refine upon, chance; and we offend God, when it, is continually undermining the establishwe call that luck, or chance, which ment, and acts also occasionally at the head is brought about by his will and of the most discordant sects in opposition to
it. By nothing more than this has the pleasure. None of the events of your life have happened by chance; turbed, whilst the most respectable ministers,
peace and credit of our church been disbut all have been under the direc- if ilicy enlist not themselves under this sect; tion of a good and kind Provie aje vilified by the uncharitable reflections dence.'” (Tracts p. 117.)
and arrogant pretensions of these new puri. After two or, three pages of just tans. Nothing more than this has coruzi.
buted in aid of other civil causes, to shake Again : “They have bewildered the just subordination of ranks amongst us; themselves and their followers in while it exalts the meanest and most igno- the mysteries and depths of Calvinrant of men into a spiritual superiority, ism." It is well known, that every teaches them to despise others, and draw Methodist (properly so called) in around thein a train of followers as igno- the land that is to say, every folrant as themselves. Add to this, that the notions of sudden conversion, absolute elec
lower of Mr. Wesley-is, by profestion, and the utter inefficiency of our own
sion, an Arminian, and therefore reexertions and righteousness, (whatever jects the peculiarities of Calvin. they be of themselves, as I hold them to “ Hence has been engendered a he most unscriptural,) are certainly not the new schism."— Though we cannot means of prodncing Christian innocence and in general compliment the Bishop simplicity of life, but contain within themi the seeds of pride, separation, dissension and Longinus calls oYouATWY exãoyn xal
for those ornaments of style, which mutual animosity, and for that reason, if for no other, are justly to be suspected; nor
η τροπικη και πεποιημενη λεξις, can any one shew that we are enjoined in yet we must confess that the meta. the Gospel to teach men so." pp. 12, 13.
phor in this last sentence is pre-emi. All these events, be it remember- nently happy. The schismatics ed, have arisen, according to the thus produced, have, it appears, the Bishop's view of the subject, from following marks: the French Revolution, and are 1. They profess“ to follow the therefore, in the order of time, pos. purity of the church." terior. Now let us come to the his- 2. They act « occasionally at torical fact. Is it true that men
the head of the most discordant sects have embraced wild theories of sud- in opposition to it.” den conversions, and other inven- 3. They are new puritans," tions of enthusiasts, in order « to reviling by » uncharitable reflecrebuild the shaken faith of Chris. tions, and arrogant pretensions," tians," shaken by the infidelity of those "respectable ministers" who the French Revolution? We jook will not « enlist themselves under around us in vain for the proof.- this sect.” Therefore Are the men to whom the Bishop
4. They are a
sect." alludes, in the church of England? 5. They are“ ignorant” persons. We presume that they are not.- 6. They hold the doctrine of Are they among the Methodists? “ sudden conversion :" The history of Methodism will 7.
of « absolute elecprove that sudden conversions, ac
tion :" cording to their notions of the mat. 8.
of “ the atter ineffiter, were common and notorious ciency of our own exertions and nearly half a century before the righteousness." commotions in France. We need If, with all these marks, we can. only cite, in proof of this fact, a not discover the individuals, we witness whom bis Lordship will shall have no reason to boast of our allow to be competent: we mean good fortune. Bishop Lavington. The circum- The first and eighth marks-thc stance, therefore, of the prevalence last heing taken in a certain senseof such conversions since the French apply, or ought to apply, to the Revolution, proves nothing: it is, bishops and the whole of the clergy. at the most, merely a continuation The second will suit Bonaparte; or of the old system.Does he mean the Archbishop of Canterbury, who the regular dissenters? Sudden con- stands at the head of the Naval versions are, we believe, little known and Military Bible Society. among them: we are persuaded, The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, that there is scarcely any class of seventh, and eighth-the last being these dissenters which does not re- taken in its widest meaning-apply zard such conversions with some to the Antinomians. portion of jealousy and distrust. The first, fourth, sixth, and eighth
(in a restrieted interpretation), apply out repentance, hope, love, dread, to the Methodists : perhaps also the and the fear of God, to be joined the fifth, although certainly some with faith in every man that is jusof them have no title to rank under tified; but it shutieth them out from this description.
the office of justifying."- '_" All the The fourth, and perhaps the se- good works we can do be impercond, belong to the Socinians. fect, and therefore not able to de.
Several classes of the dissenters serve our justification; but our jusmay possibly be found to divide tification doth come freely by the among them ihe third, fourth, fifth, mere mercy of God.” sixth, seventh, and eighth; but We are far from intending to afthere is little need for us to adjust firm that the Bishop dissents from their respective claims,
this view of the subject ; though his Our readers will perceive, that, words naturally lead to that conclu. with regard to the eighth mark, we sion. We think it possible, that, cannot speak with confidence. The after all, the real object of the paparenthesis “ (whatever they be of renthesis is to intimate, that, whatthemselves, as I hold them to be ever our exertions and righteousness most unscriptural)” probably means, be of themselves, he holds them to that the doctrines just recited are be an unscriptural ground of reliinconsistent with Scripture. But ance. If we be right in this conwhat, in that case, the Bishop under- jeciure of charity, we must at least stands by the words “the utter in- allow that the Bishop has marvelefficiency of our own exertions and lously failed in point of perspirighteousness," we do not well cuity. comprehend. The doctrine is cer- From our examination of the se. tainly, in some way or other, held veral marks, which have been proby our church, as might be shewn duced as descriptive of some trouby means of a certain Enchiridion blesome sect, it is evident that his published some years since by the lordship is alarmed without reason. learned author of this Charge: but No sect, we will venture to say, we know not that we can better ex- exists in this country, which will plain it, than in the words of the answer to the description. His church herself, in her Homily on lordship had before partly attributed the Salvation of Mankind.
our happiness to "good fortune”. “ Because all men be singers and that is, to nothing at all; and thereoffenders against God, and breakers fore, to strike the balance, it was of bis law and commandments, but fair to charge our miseries upon therefore can no man, by his own a siinilar phantasy. It is thus, they acts, works, and deeds (seem they tell us, that algebraists set off their never so good), be justified and made negative against their positive quanrighteous before God."--"No man,” tities, and, after engendering equasaith St. Paul, “ is justified by the tions, often produce nothing. works of the law, but freely by faith We are perfectly at a loss to conin Jesus Christ. And again he saith, jecture, where his lordship can We believe in Jesus Christ, that we be have gained his historical facts. justified freely by the faith of Christ, He tells us (p. 15), that with “the and not by the works of the law, be- old dissenters, such as Presbyterians, cause that no man shall be justified Independents, and Anabaptists”by the works of the law,"_" And “ there was honest ground of distherefore St. Paul declareth here sent;” and “ in the fundamental nothing upon the behalf of man, doctrines of Christianity they did concerning his justification, but not differ from us." only a true and lively faith; which, We are next told, that the monevertheless, is the gift of God, and dern dissenters hold the doctrines of not man's only work without God. Calvin. And did not the old dissentAnd yet that' faith doth not shuters, with scarcely an exception, do