« السابقةمتابعة »
conformists, are members of the Church of England, as they would have been of any church upon the face of the earth, whose communion the accident of birth or residence might have rendered convenient or profitable. They are attached from custom to the public liturgy, and praise it because it is customary for Churchmen to praise it, and because the eulogy is sometimes echoed back by Dissenters. They like a good moral sermon, well-delivered, if it do not exceed the canonical number of minutes, and they honour the clergy as scholars and above all as gentlemen; but they have no desire to understand doctrines, the study of which they consider obsolete, and they deprecate the trouble of being zealous. They would agree in quiet reformation to any extent. They hear without joining in the Athanasian Creed, and perhaps mark their opinion of this extraordinary formulary by smiles and nods. From indifference, perhaps from a tincture of scepticism, they care less for truth than for peace. Many of them have relapsed into the Church from old Dissenting families, who have grown too wealthy or too ambitious to be cooped up in the strait limits which law and custom prescribe for Nonconformists: the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. [Gen. xiii. 6.] Conformists of this description are sometimes found, indeed, with the high-church party, as if they could not retreat too far from the principles of their education, or prove the sincerity of their conversion except by intolerance, or obliterate the sin of their birth but by the fire of zeal; but more commonly they are contented after they enter the Church to sit down on the lowest form, not courting observation, nor wishing to be catechized in their faith and motives. Some traces of former liberality will be seen in their new profession: though they will scarcely call themselves religious churchmen, they will avow (so at least it has been in one case known to the writer), that they are still political Dissenters. In the Church they are hidden as in a crowd. They are no longer wondered at for being singular, nor called upon for personal exertion. A national establishment is a receptacle for all who wish to keep up a form of religion at the least individual cost and with most ease; and the Church of England with Thirty-nine Articles, three Creeds, a volume of prayers and a host of canons and acts of parliament, enacted and ordained" for avoiding of Diversities of Opinions, and for the Establishing of Consent touching True Religion,"* exhibits the curious spectacle of almost every species of faith delineated in Dr. Evans's yearly growing "Sketch," from the maximum of orthodoxy to the minimum of heresy. Let it not be thought, however, that we see only evil in this state of things: there are certain advantages arising from it, and amongst others this preeminently, that the Church can never make inquisition into opinions without breaking her own communion into unnumbered schisms. We should be the last persons to complain of a diversity of faith in any communion, for we regard it as one of the means under Providence of intellectual improvement and social virtue. England owes no little of her rare internal felicity to her being a land of opinions and sects. The confusion of tongues in the Church may undoubtedly produce some inconvenience, but
every expression of ridicule and contumely, that he had received the Sacrament at the hands of the minister of his parish, to qualify himself for obtaining a home in one of our eleemosynary establishments, under the guardianship of the Church of England! A Protestant Dissenter, with the piety of a Watts or the philanthropy of a Howard, would have been stopped at the door of this charity, into which an Atheist can walk with a sneer upon his countenance.
* Preamble to the Articles.
who will murmur at this that considers it as the price paid for freedom of conscience? The zealous divine, who is most likely to deplore the supposed evil, should remember, that though the "language" of the builders of Babel was "confounded" as a punishment, the disciples on the day of Pentecost spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance;" and amidst the infinity of Christian dialects, there is surely nothing to bewail but much to admire and applaud, if each " in his own tongue" shall assert liberty of speech for all, and there be one prevailing sense in all the divers tongues, that sense, a recognition of the superiority of Charity to Faith.
The more religious and learned of the Low-Church party may be considered as represented by the "Quarterly Review." This powerful journal is not always consistent, but its theology is mild and catholic. Its ecclesiastical politics are evidently accommodated to the wishes of the more liberal part of the present divided Cabinet. The "Times" newspaper is in the same interest, and its influence is incalculable.
The " Evangelical" or Methodist party in the Church, is numerous, popular and rapidly growing. It can now boast of one Bishop, who goes far to blunt the edge of a royal sarcasm. When some of the Prelates consulted George II. as to the means of preventing Whitfield from preaching incessantly, his majesty is reported to have said, "I must make a bishop of him!" Dr. Ryder is not stopped by episcopal etiquette or disabled by the weight of the mitre from ministerial labours. Of the same active and zealous party was, we suppose, the late excellent and much-lamented Bishop of Calcutta-if he may not be rather placed midway between the Evangelical Churchmen and the temperate and rational High Churchmen. The Evangelical party has in its ranks some of the nobility, especially in the female branches; many of the gentry, more particularly of the same sex; some of the inferior dignitaries of the Church; a host of the unbeneficed clergy; and a considerable proportion of the inhabitants of some of the greater towns. No one can help perceiving that the sect, for such it is, is spreading every where; the way seeming to have been opened for it by the wonderful exertions of the popular Dissenters. As a party, the Evangelical members of the Church have been, with some few exceptions, warm supporters of the Bible Society. For decorum sake, many of the clergy of this denomination are subscribers to the Bartlett's Buildings Society for promoting Christian knowledge, the example and guardian of Church-of-England orthodoxy; but their feelings are with more eager and stirring associations. Missionary Societies for evangelizing the Heathen or converting the Jews, Tract Societies, and popular institutions of the same class, are the means on which they reckon for party success. To their praise be it spoken, they are generally found amongst the promoters of popular education, which they naturally enough seek to turn to their own account, and one division of them have been laborious beyond measure in the attempt to abolish slavery and to improve the condition of negro slaves. This branch of the Evangelical Church is particularly connected with a small party in the House of Commons, lately headed by Mr. Wilberforce and now by Mr. Fowell Buxton, whom the wicked designate "The Saints." In the time of Mr. Pitt, these politicians and statesmen, as we must by courtesy at least call them, constituted a knot of voters on whom the minister could calculate on common occasions: in trying emergencies they established their own importance by trimming the balance between the Ins and the Outs. More lately, they have generally leaned to a liberal policy, whether domestic or foreign, and they may be regarded in the aggregate as not inimical to civil and religious liberty.
In the Evangelical Church some are Calvinists and some Arminians. The Calvinists again are divided into High and Low. Dr. Hawker and Mr. Vaughan are the leaders of the High Calvinist Churchmen, and are reproached by their own brethren, who are lower on the Geneva scale, with Antinomianism. The "Christian Guardian" is devoted to High Calvinism, but even this journal stops short of the ultra faith of the above-named divines. Its second title is "Church-of-England Magazine;" but notwithstanding this denomination, which is in some respects catholic, the "Guardian" sinks below the "Evangelical Magazine" in point of talent, but, to make amends, rises to a level with it in bigotry, and goes quite as far in the use of that spiritual jargon which all besides the party call "cant." The heads of the more moderate Calvinists in the Church are Mr. Simeon, the pulpit veteran, of Cambridge, and Mr. Daniel Wilson, vicar of Islington, from whom his parishioners have already learned one point of law, and may, if they please, learn the gospel, according to the Thirty-nine Articles. Their sentiments are supported by the "Christian Observer," which is a respectable periodical, containing occasionally some able and learned papers, and is favourable on the whole to freedom, though not a little blemished occasionally by the odium theologicum, nor quite free from the sectarian dialect. This journal is in the hands of the Anti-slavery part of the Evangelical Church. From the times of Toplady and Romaine, the Evangelical preachers in the Church have lowered their doctrinal tone. Arminians are not now accused by them, as they then were, with being violaters of all the Ten Commandments. The Bible Society and other like institutions have brought Wesleian ministers and members into communion with Evangelical preachers in Holy Orders, and a truce has been tacitly agreed upon between these once fierce and irreconcileable polemics. Some of the members of the City-Road "Conference" are said to look with rather a longing eye upon the high places and good things of the Established Church; and there is a disposition in certain members of the Establishment to take them into their pale, as auxiliaries in the contest with the Dissenters.
The habits and manners of Evangelical Churchmen differ by all the degrees that there are between the Vicars of Clapham and Harrow and the facetious Orator of Surry Chapel. Some read well-written and not overlong sermons; others deliver themselves extempore and let the hour-glass fairly run out, trusting to their wit or eloquence to keep the attention of their hearers from flagging. Some break through all canonical rules and "use themselves as laymen" and Dissenters, and are to be seen at prayer meetings, expounding meetings, experience meetings, if not at camp meetings;
These meetings resemble the " Prophesyings” set on foot to promote the Reformation in England, but which soon excited the jealousy of Queen Elizabeth and her bishops and ministers, and which they put down with so much difficulty. True Churchmen have always held these "bands" and "classes" schismatical. The late Bishop of Calcutta did but just tolerate them amongst the missionaries in Ceylon. "These meetings," says the right reverend censor, "are described as beginning and ending with prayer-led, indifferently, by ministers, of different sects, or by their lay friends, but not by the females; and as broken by Hymns," (singular fracture!) "in which all present join." The Bishop points out "serious dangers to which such meetings are liable." "The first is the risk of levelling the peculiar claims possessed by the holders of an Apostolic Commission--who have received the Spirit of God by the dispensation of a long line of Saints and Martyrs"! "Other inconveniences and improprieties," the Bishop adds, "are incidental to what are usually called Prayer Meetings, which have led to their rejection by the great majority of the Church of England :" among the rejectors he names, à fortiori," the late Mr. Scott, of Aston Sandford, and the late Mr. Robinson, of St. Mary, Leicester." The
others are rigid in their observance of the discipline of the Church, and are as fearful of schism and of the displeasure of their diocesans as any minister of the old Orthodox party. The Dissenters who take the name of "Evangelical" frequently complain of the hostility of their brethren in the Church who wear the kindred title; verifying the old remark, that they who are nearest to each other in opinion are most impatient of each other's errors. Jealousy between these two bodies has been strengthened of late by the frequent instances of conformity to the Church under a "Gospel ministry." There may be cases of conversion on the other side; but we apprehend that the Evangelical Church is gaining upon Evangelical Dissenters.
At one period, certain opulent men amongst the Evangelical Churchmen set themselves, we know not whether as a society or as individuals merely, to purchase presentations to livings for the sake of planting the gospel in the Church of England; in the same manner as the Calvinistic party in the Church of Scotland are now clubbing their means to buy up "Church Patronage." The tide of public feeling has set in so strong in favour of Evangelical preaching, that there is probably less occasion for this consecration to the Church of the mammon of unrighteousness."
A curious question has been sometimes raised as to the ultimate effect of the operations of this new party upon the constitution of the Church of England. Should they once imbue the Court with their own mystical notions, they might obtain a majority on the Episcopal bench and a consequent ascendancy throughout the kingdom. In this event, Churchmen of the old school prognosticate the downfal of the Establishment, or, which is the same thing in their view, its conversion into a school for Methodism; and certain Dissenters foresee a more offensive use of ecclesiastical power, a more determined resistance to liberal opinions, and perhaps the revival of intolerant measures against heretics. But we need not distress ourselves with gloomy predictions. The world (in the innocent sense of the word) overmatches the Church. Public opinion acts upon ecclesiastics as well as others, though they may be the last to feel and shew its influence; and public opinion is growingly in favour of peace and charity. It were the fanaticism of despondency, to fear that the mind of a community, like that of England, can be put back to the state of past centuries. All the tendencies of opinion are forwards. If the Evangelical Church were to become The Church, it would presently be what the Establishment is now; the possession of power would satiate the desire of change; the value of peace would be felt, and would be testified by quietness; and at any rate, the Government, in whatever custody the reins might be placed, would still see the necessity of a curb upon the Church. There is little danger, however, of ecclesiastical power passing into very different hands from those by which it is now firmly and jealously held. Religious opinions and practices would seem almost to be determined by the degree of civil and official rank. An
poor missionaries seem to have been astounded at this exercise of episcopal authority in a barbarous and Heathen island, and to have congratulated themselves, as upon an escape, in the Bishop's hesitating, doubtful permission of their continuing to hold religious conference with American missionaries and pious laymen of their own country, in this strange and "weary land." (See Missionary Register, Nov. 1826, pp. 557, et seq.) It is not without reason, therefore, that the “Society for promoting Christian Knowledge" have resolved at a special meeting, the report of which has fallen under our notice while we are writing, to memorialize His Majesty's Ministers, the Board of Control and the Directors of the Honourable East India Company, on the expediency of erecting two new episcopal sees in the East Indies, making one for each presidency!
Archbishop and a Prime Minister are laid out by their stations for HighChurchmen. A noble family is naturally of the Old Religion. We smile at the odd association of ideas which unites in the same person the courtier and the proselytist. It is more probable that the Evangelical Church party will evaporate by its own zeal, than that it will obtain political consistency and strength. In proportion as preachers of this character multiply, they become less singular and are of course less popular. The arithmetic of churches is from multiplication to division. The contending Evangelical sects in and out of the Church guarantee to the public their own harmlessness. To a certain extent, the internal divisions of the national Establishment are, as we have before hinted, a security for the liberty of Dissenters; they likewise prevent degeneracy in the Establishment; and they may sooner or later convince our rulers of the expediency and moral necessity of such changes in the services of the Church, in the appointment of its ministers, and in the distribution of its excessive revenues, as shall conciliate public feeling and make the legal form of religion popular. The euthanasia of sects within a political church is-REFORMATION. Z.
Hereafter we may glance at the various denominations of Dissenters.
ON THE USE AND ABUSE OF ANALOGICAL REASONING, BY THE REV. E. COGAN.
IT has sometimes occurred to me that something might be written with advantage on the use and abuse of analogical reasoning. But as I have neither inclination nor ability for long discussions, I can only throw out a hint or two, upon which men of greater talent may enlarge, if they think proper.
Analogical reasoning is a species of argumentation by which the understanding may be easily misled, as it carries with it the show of ingenuity and research, and by captivating the imagination may pervert the judgment. At the same time, when properly employed, it is of admirable utility, as in cases where the production of a similar instance affords the very evidence which is required. There are some propositions which it would be scarcely possible to defend except by analogy. A parallel case is the only thing which can fully satisfy the mind, and when this is found, a difficulty which before might appear insurmountable, ceases to be felt. But in the use of analogical reasoning, great care should be taken that the things compared should, as far as relates to the point in question, be truly similar. And where a general resemblance is made to stand for strict similitude, there analogy is misemployed, and the person to whom this reasoning is addressed, unless he can call in the aid of a discriminating judgment, will infallibly be deceived. In matters of criticism, it is demanded by accurate scholars that the analogies which are brought forward should be perfect in every circumstance which is essential to a just comparison; and if the same severity be not employed in moral reasoning, the cause of truth cannot fail to suffer. But the least caution is often employed where the greatest is required; and many, no doubt, would laugh to scorn the man who should reason on the most trifling subjects in the way in which they themselves reason on matters of the highest
But the justice of the above observations will best appear by an instance or two of the proper and improper use of analogical reasoning.