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tice to my beloved and honored brethren, the evangelical ministers of the Establishment. Having acted with them for many years, I can speak of their principles with confidence. Numbers of them, whose names I should rejoice to mention here with honor, are as sincere in adhering to the Establishment as I wish to be in quitting it. Of many of them I am convinced that they surpass me in devotedness to Christ." Indeed!—the author residing, as his visitors tell us, in splendor at his elegant villa, seven miles from his parish Church, has come to the conclusion, that many of the evangelical Clergy surpass (even) him in devotedness to Christ! There is no mistaking such a tone, though we forbear to characterize it as it deserves.
The general plan of this book, is, first, a statement of the author's view of the nature of the Christian Church; then a historical sketch of the practical effects of the Union of Church and State from Constantine down; next, the author's estimate of the present character and position of the English Church and government; then a picture of dissent as at present existing; and, finally, the remedy which the author proposes for alleged evils.
Now we have no controversy with Mr. Noel, in respect to the union of Church and State. In the United States such a union would be deprecated, we suppose, by every Churchman, as both unscriptural and inexpedient. But were we of a contrary opinion, the book of Mr. Noel would fail to convince us. As a literary performance it is barely tolerable. It is verbose, abounding in repetitions, into which his feelings rather than his judgment have drawn him, and wanting everywhere in that dignity and candor which become his subject. As an argument, the book is an entire failure. Its special pleadings, its garbled statements of history, its sneers and thrusts at the English Church, will give it a short-lived eclat with dissenters, and with political candidates at the hustings; but this is all-the bubble will soon burst and be forgotten. There is in the argument and in the whole book, one fundamental defect. There is no clear recognition of the Church of Christ, as divinely instituted and organized; and none of government, civil or ecclesiastical, as an ordinance of Heaven, and hence clothed with authority, and demanding obedience. This vital idea in the Christian system, in the Church, the Family, and the State, in Mr. Noel's mind seems everywhere wanting. The Church seems to him, as to its organization, a mere matter of general agreement, or of expediency; a question to be solved by a balancing of calculations as to profit and
loss. And here we say again is the prime defect in Mr. Noel's book. There is no foundation for authority on the one hand, or loyalty on the other. And hence we say, that the book itself is a silent (and to its author an undesigned) testimony against the present state of things in the English Church. There must be something wrong in the practical workings of a system, which for years nurtures a man within itself, holding views directly opposed to its cardinal principles, and then quietly permits him to retire with such an air as that with which Mr. Noel withdraws. And this leads us to speak of what is after all the worst feature in Mr. Noel's production, viz., its tone and temper. We do not now find fault with him for denying what we believe to be, the plainest doctrines and institutions of Christ; but we do find fault with him when he becomes a mere tool in the hands of infidels and Romanists to scandalize a Church at whose altars he has so long ministered, and whose awful vows are still upon him, while at the same time he sympathizes with, and eulogizes almost indiscriminately, sects which have fallen into deadly and dangerous heresies. With him, ridicule of the "Apostolic Succession," and denial of "Baptismal Regeneration," seem special tests of orthodoxy. Throughout his whole book there is no appearance of a chastened sadness over the spectacle which he professes to describe; no admission that possibly Mr. Noel and not the Church may be the mistaken party; no acknowledgment that he may have overdrawn his picture; no recognition of the gigantic missionary operations of a Church from which he has fled with such Lot-like horror; no allusion to the twenty-eight Colonial Bishoprics, and the myriad of faithful missionaries which she has sent into every quarter of the globe; no recollection of the million and a half of dollars poured annually into the treasuries of three of her many missionary societies; not a word concerning the many thousands of souls rescued from idolatry and heathenism, God's seals upon her labors; not a lisp of the memory of such men as Wilson, and Spencer, and Perry, and Short, and Field, and Strachan, and Inglis, and Medley, among the living; and the army of sainted and gifted men who have fallen with the harness on, martyrs to almost Apostolic zeal and love; not one word of all this; it is simply denunciation, and escape from the leprous body that he, Rev. Baptist W. Noel, may escape defilement.
But what are the doctrines which he rejects and denounces? and who are they with whom he now claims to sympathize? In quoting from his book, we open almost at random.
Concerning the "Church" he says,
"By this word I do not mean the building, nor the Clergy, nor the adherents to the national Establishment, nor the aggregate of the congregations adhering to any particular ecclesiastical discipline, nor the whole number of the baptized throughout the world," (all which meanings he declares to be "wholly unscriptural,")" but either a congregation of professed disciples of Jesus Christ in any place, or, secondly, the whole company of his disciples throughout the world." This of course is sufficiently latitudinarian, as it is wholly unscriptural, recognizing no fixed form of doctrine or discipline. Indeed the theory of the Church which he adopts is not only the Congregational or Independent; but it is the loosest possible form of Congregationalism. Thus any "congregation of professed disciples of Jesus Christ" is a Church; and is the only scriptural idea of a visible Church which the author recognizes. Such a Church may be either Baptist, or Unitarian, or Universalist, or Roman, so that it be only a congregation of "professed disciples of Jesus Christ." The author's quotations show us at once where he has picked up his idea of a Church. Such writers as Baird, (of no authority,) and Wardlaw, and Vinet, are the masters at whose feet he has been sitting. And yet, constantly throughout his book, he uses the term Church after a different theory than that which he declares to be the only scriptural one.
Concerning Baptism, Mr. Noel says: "An error, for instance, which is maintained by many ministers of the Establishment, and for the support of which they refer to the prayerbook, is the notion, that infants are regenerated by baptism. This error, which ought to be distinctly repudiated by the Establishment," &c. "The baptismal services, and the catechism, contain the doctrine, that infants are regenerated by the rite of baptism-a dogma which, as being contrary to Scriptures and to fact, the Churches ought to repudiate.' "Not a word is said in Scripture, clearly and explicitly, about the baptism of infants; but the prayer-book rules it, that their baptism so certainly regenerates them, that whatever happens to other infants, they must be saved. No less distinctly does the prayer-book teach, in opposition to the word of God, that baptism regenerates adults likewise." If any infants are to be baptized, they must be the infants of saints and faithful brethren."
The following is a specimen of what Mr. Noel says respecting the Apostolical Succession:
Antiquated claims to an Apostolic authority, transmitted
by descent, are now treated with merited contempt as absurd, if they are not repelled with indignation as a barefaced imposture."
"Respecting all these statements at ordination and consecration (of Bishops) which are much nearer to 'blasphemous frivolity' than to 'deepest truth,' each clergyman is obliged to maintain as follows, Article thirty-sixth, &c."
"Prelacy is a human arrangement, subsequent to the Apostolic age, without sanction of Scripture."
Speaking of the offices for the ordination of Presbyters and the Consecration of Bishops, he says, "this blasphemous frivolity' ought to be removed."
Why are 1,300 congregations in England, and their pastors, marshalled under a potent hierarchy, instead of each being distinct and independent?"
Mr. Noel speaks of the Church of England in this wise: "This single evil of patronage secures that the Churches of the Establishment shall continue as they have ever been to a great extent ignorant and irreligious." "The majority of the pastors are worldly men, who, according to Christ's law ought not to be pastors at all." "The Anglican Churches are a confused mass of believers and unbelievers, allowing strangers to impose upon them multitudes of ungodly pastors, who bring a blight upon them, and whose ministry they nevertheless support. The Scriptural discipline which is essential to the purity and vigor of Christian Churches, they have wholly abandoned." "Can we venture to hope that there are then more than three thousand evangelical ministers in the Establishment? and if so, then, as there are 13,154 Churches and Chapels, 12,923 of the working Clergy, and 10,533 benefices, there must be nearly 7,533 benefices, and 10,154 pulpits, in which the Gospel is not faithfully preached, and about 9,923 Anglican ministers who are unevangelical." But what is the actual state of the Establishment? Its 13,000 Churches are generally, without evangelistic activity, without brotherly fellowship, without discipline, without spirituality, without faith." "I fear that about 10,000 out of the 12,900 pastors of the Establishment, manifest*** that they are unconverted men." Probably three-fourths at least of the parish Churches of England, are without the Gospel."
Having thus expressed himself respecting the Church, let us see what he says about dissenters. "Anglicans are more schismatics than dissenters. Dissenters are contending for a sound ministry, in opposition to the mass of unsound doctrine admitted through patronage, into the pulpits of the Es
tablishment; but Anglicans recognize and support these unsound ministers. Dissenters claim an obedience to the laws of Christ, respecting the administration of the Churches; Anglicans overlook them. And I repeat it, that Anglicans of a brotherly spirit are therefore more schismatical than dissenters of a brotherly spirit." The "four evangelical denominations" whom he names, are the Independents, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, and the Methodists. And he says of them that they are Christ's "purest Churches, and his most faithful ministers;" that they are "the purest and most spiritual Churches of Christ in this land," that "besides 3,000 evangelical pastors of Anglican Churches there are above 6,000 evangelical pastors of free Churches."
Such being the comparative merits of the Church and dissent, what is the remedy which Mr. Noel provides for the evils which he alleges. Of course, it is the wildest radicalism. He contends for the justice of an equal division of Church endowments among all the sects and calls upon "each Church and pastor who see these evils," to imitate the course which he has adopted; parishes to dismiss ungodly pastors, and "unite with all Christians, in preaching, in prayer, in the sacraments, in benevolent action, and in social fellowship." He says "pious dissenting pastors ought to be admitted to Anglican pulpits, and pious dissenters to the Lord's Supper in Anglican Churches," &c., &c.
But we have quoted enough from Mr. Noel's book. Our object has been to show the origin of a production, which dissenters and anti-Churchmen are praising as a second gospel, and on which they are basing such large calculations; we have wished to give a true portrait of the man who has ventured to arraign almost the whole Church of England before the Christian world upon charges of flagrant heresy-scattering seeds of mischief among her noisy and greedy enemies-pronouncing so confidently upon the "errors of the prayer-book;" dividing off her 13,000 Bishops and Presbyters into evangelical and anti-evangelical, converted and unconverted men, with such marvelous precision; denouncing his own Mother Church as little else than a mass of corruption; and eulogizing dissenters as the purest and most spiritual Churches in England. And having accomplished this, our work is done.
It is needless for us to defend doctrines which he has assailed, or to vindicate that noble Church from the charges of one of her most unworthy sons. But Mr. Noel ought to know, that in respect to those very doctrines which he has denounced so confidently, he stands condemned by the very men