Imágenes de páginas

whom he has chosen as his masters; and that the Church which he has defamed, lacks not merited tribute from those who are not of her fold; and whose calm and unimpassioned verdict ought to shame him into contrition. Concerning "Baptismal Regeneration," does he not know that John Wesley, one of Mr. Noel's "burning and shining lights," used such language as this?" By Baptism we are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism, is more than barely being admitted into the Church-being 'grafted into the body of Christ's Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace.' By water then as a means-the water of baptismwe are regenerated or born again, whence it is also called by the Apostle the washing of regeneration;' our Church therefore ascribes no greater virtue to baptism than Christ himself has done." Does not Mr. Noel know what Calvin (another of his oracles) says of Baptism? "I consider it (baptism) to be a figure, but at the same time, it has the substance connected with it. For God, in promising us his gifts, does not deceive us. Therefore, as forgiveness of sins, and newness of life, are offered us in baptism, so it is certain they are received by us." Does not Mr. Noel know, that at least fifteen of the Confessions of Faith, of the Reformed Countries, at the period of the Reformation, employ language closely accordant with the English Church with reference to Regeneration and adoption in Baptism? Has Mr. Noel written so strongly and unqualifiedly on this subject, without knowing that he has the standards of Christendom against him?

And so also in respect to Mr. Noel's "four evangelical denominations," is he ignorant of the corruptions in doctrine, which have been, for the last fifty years, going on among them? that of the 258 Presbyterian Chapels in England, 235 are actually Unitarian in sentiment? and that of the Baptists called General Baptists, a majority are acknowledged Unitarians, and this on the authority of dissenters themselves? And yet these masses of Socinianism and Universalism are, with Mr. Noel, "the purest and most spiritual Churches" in England! Pray, has he ever seen the Unitarian version of the Holy Scriptures, in the pulpit once occupied by Matthew Henry? and are we to infer from his strong sympathy with dissenters, that his standard of orthodoxy in doctrine, is on a level with his standard of discipline?

And concerning the Venerable Church of England, has this unnatural son never read such tributes as the following from dissenting divines of a late period? "I must profess

my opinion that the increase of vital piety in the Established Church within the last thirty or forty years, has been proportionately, and comparing the measure of advantages, greater than amongst us."

And another says-" Knowing the clergy of the Established Church as I do, I am fully persuaded there are not amongst the Protestants of the world, more faithful, or more efficient heralds of the truth of God for the salvation of man."

Another says "The piety in that quarter is of a better cast, more deep, more solid, more simple, more scriptural, less showy than in any other."

And another says-" From its pulpits no longer occupied by slumbering watchmen, the true doctrines of the cross are proclaimed as with the sound of a trumpet. The costliest offerings for the cause of Christ are poured with generous profusion into its treasury."

Such, and we might quote ad libitum, in the opinion of dissenters, is the Church, which Mr. Noel has done what he can to hold up to the opposition and derision of her enemies.

But we take our leave of him, and of his most unfortunate book, more in pity than in anger, hoping he may yet live long enough to learn and appreciate the true spirit both of the Church and of her defamers. Nor in speaking thus plainly, will we permit the imputation to rest upon us, that the view which we feel compelled to take of Mr. Noel's book, is based upon a repugnance to what are really and truly evangelical sentiments. This is a most convenient charge. The stigma of a bad name is a weapon easily used. And it seems to be the policy of modern radicalism, to represent attachment to Christ's Church as proof positive of the absence of Christ's spirit. As if faithfulness to covenant vows, and guiltlessness of hypocrisy, of necessity presupposes absence, or dislike, of the most evangelical views! It is high time to scorn and silence forever such an imputation. Nobody can doubt that there are certain great evangelical doctrines, the humbling doctrines of the Cross, which hold up JESUS CHRIST and Him alone as the great Atoning Sacrifice for sin; and those doctrines thoroughly pervade the Prayer-Book, as they did the theology of our Anglican Reformers, and the theology of the early Church. While it would be easy enough to show, that true Church principles have ever been the safeguard of evangelical piety, against Socinianizing tendencies on the one hand, and Romanizing tendencies on the other.

In conclusion, we cannot suppress the utterance of the conviction that the real cause of Mr. Noel's withdrawing from

the service of the Church of England, lies far deeper than he even dreams. We have before us gratifying and most unmistakable evidences, that there is a spirit of life, energy, and activity, kindling up in the heart of that Communion, which is the earnest of greater things to come; and which is the sure pledge that she is girding herself for the conflict, which the Providence of God is evidently laying upon her. It is no undesigned or fortuitous event, that at least an eighth part of the human family is brought so immediately in these later times under the influence of that Communion. The hand of GOD is in it. As far as man can judge, the Church of England is destined to lead on the van in the conquest of the world to CHRIST. The extension of the Episcopate to her colonies; the chivalric and self-sacrificing spirit of the learned and accomplished men who have gone forth to Zion's distant outposts; the freeness with which the Church at home pours her riches into the treasury of the LORD; the success which already crowns the missionary work; these, with the changes which Providence is bringing about in the relative position of the nations, are the data on which we come to our conclusion. Nor is it just cause of dissatisfaction, though it be of sorrow, on the eve of such an eventful day, that men, untrue and falsehearted, men, who have no appreciation of, or attachment to the true "principles of the doctrine of Christ," should be found taking their real position with the Newmans on the one hand, and the Noels on the other. Thousands of hearts true as steel, and firm as a rock, will still remain equipped and ready for the onset. The Church may be tried as silver is tried, but she will come forth from the furnace like fine gold purified and fit for the Master's use. The Church of England, as well as the Church in this country, is beginning to feel to her inmost soul, that, as she enters perhaps the very last battle-field against Satan and his philosophizing and graceful hosts, there is no foundation on which she may safely venture, save that on which the Church's early conquests were all achieved, the Faith and Order of Apostolic times; a basis distinctly marked out and defined by her own noble Reformers. Upon these, she seems resolved to throw herself in Faith, and abide the issue. Nor should we be surprised to see "developments" hereafter, such as shall "deceive, if it were possible, even the elect." There is around her a festering morbid compound, of semi-Romanism and Socinianism, essentially the same thing in their origin and nature, which has managed to intrench itself in some of her strong places, which dogmatizes in her Parliament, which

truckles with every form of opposition, and which will, we doubt not, when the hour of trial comes, battle with the Faith of Christ and Him crucified, even to the death. The great enemy of Christ has lost nothing of his cunning or his malice, even in the form of " an angel of light." With such a foe, there must be no truce, no compromise, no concession. Every inch yielded is but another bound of the stone of Sisyphus, rendering future exactions more facile and dangerous. The policy which the Church will find herself constrained to adopt, will not be a sneaking, temporizing policy, which the world both applauds as liberal, and despises as suicidal. It must be honest and open. She must stamp her Faith upon her forehead and upon her heart. She must be willing to be known and read of all men. She needs if ever the wisdom of the serpent, and the harmlessness of the dove. Nor need she be surprised to learn in her own experience, that "a man's foes are they of his own household."

[blocks in formation]


ART. VI.—The Philosophy of Religion, by J. D. MORELL, A. M., Author of the History of Modern Philosophy, &c. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 12mo. 1849.

MR. MORELL, though it would seem yet a young man, has already achieved a distinguished reputation, both as a writer and a thinker. His "History of Modern Philosophy" far excels any other work in our language on the subject of which it treats, in the depth, the comprehensiveness, and, above all, the perspicuity of its views. When it is recollected that a part of his task is to explain the different systems of Transcendentalism, the occult Philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, and that he does succeed in making their principles at least intelligible, it is impossible to deny him credit both for a thorough mastery of his subject and a preeminently lucid intellect. By that work he has done great service to English Literature. Not only has he enabled the ordinary student to attach determinate ideas to phrases and theories which he continually meets with, but he has guided the steps of future inquirers along the dark and thorny path which he has himself so successfully traversed. German Metaphysics are still a labyrinth, but in this history we have a clue which will enable those who desire to enter it, to tread with more hope its mazy intricacies.

Yet with high merit of this particular kind, merit which we wish not merely to acknowledge frankly, but to state strongly and with emphasis, Mr. Morell does not seem, to us, qualified to effect by his own labors any important advances in Philosophy. He is rather fitted to be an Interpreter of the thoughts of others, than himself a discoverer in the world of thought. It seems to us that he showed good judgment in the selection as well as the execution of his task, when he undertook to give an account of the Progress of Philosophy, and a critical view of its present condition. His gift is to expound, not to originate, to popularize the speculations of men of genius, not to rival them. He performs very well for Kant and Hegel in Intellectual science, the office which Dumont skillfully executed for Bentham in Political Economy, and Arnold with still more brilliant success for Niebuhr in History, that of giving clearness, form, and human interest to the crude materials prepared

« AnteriorContinuar »