« PredošláPokračovať »
lease him from his subscription to the articles by subsequently requiring him to enter into two scriptural engagements
But, to drop these questions, what will any man of common honesty think, when he is informed, that Mr. Stone, posterior to his entering into these two scriptural engagements, hath actually declared, in the face of a public congregation, his solemn assent and consent, not only to the 39 articles, but to the whole book of common prayer and administration of the sacraments? He must have been ordained priest before he was capable of holding the living of Cold Norton; and, when he took possession of this said living, he must have publicly avowed from the reading-desk of his church, his “ unfeigned assent and consent,” both to the whole book of common prayer and to the 39 articles !
I respect the honesty of Mr. Lindsey, though I cannot admit his resignation of Catterick to be any proof of the truth of his opinions. But where is the common honesty of Mr. Stone ? "With his sentiments he ought never to have subjected himself to a prosecution. He ought spontaneously to have resigned his preferment in a church, which he deems idolatrous. As it is, he hath forfeited his trust, he hath violated his solemn pledge; and is therefore as justly proceeded against, as the king might proceed against any military officer who had forfeited his trust. Yet this is the man, who, without integrity enough to follow the upright example of Mr. Lindsey, talks of a “ferocious, unjust prosecution,” on the part of his excellent and venerable diocesan!
I refrain from noticing his miserable tetrastich, as I wish simply to hold up to notice his prevarication respecting subscription, and his want of integrity in retaining preferment within the bosom of a known Trinitarian Church, while preaching doctrines directly contrary to his free subscription.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, The cry of " No Popery,” has resounded through the land, The motives which raised this cry are no doubt as various as the classes of men who have made use of it. The crafty politician has in some places served his purpose, while imposing on the weak-minded bigot he has made him believe that his country is in danger from the now diminished, humbled, and degraded power of the pope. That there are some honest, mistaken people, who have united their voices with the knavish politician and drunken zealot, can hardly be doubted. But ihere is another class, who belong to neither of the former, and who while they are fearless of the decayed carcase of the papal power now residing at Rome, are not less alarmed at the spirit of Popery, which having fed from the stately temple of St. Peter's seems to have taken up its abode in our churches, chapels and meeting-houses. I shall therefore leave the papal power on the Continent, to the disposal of the Emperor of France, observing only that under his direction and guidance it is become more harmless and inoffensive, if not more liberal, than the Church of England. Its priests prey no longer on the industry of its inhabitants by a rigorous imposition of tythes, nor are those contentions, so disgraceful to any Church, which are so frequently heard in our country, to be heard any more in this papal church of France. Its policy too has more of the spirit of Christianity, or at least of its semblance, than the Church of England, for while the latter is desirous of continuing her penal statutes in their full rigour, the other has repealed them all. Under the auspices of the one, Dissenters and Schismatics of every description are considered worthy of every place of honour or profit, to which virtuous merit can and ought to aspire ; while under the mild, pure polity and influence of the church of England and her priests, none of the sectaries are thought trust-worthy, but in these critical times, are informed they are not to be trusted even with the defence of their country : allow me therefore to cry “No Popery. And when I turn over the pages of those who have stepped forward and distinguished themselves as modern champions of the church-when I read in the works of an Overton or a Daubeny, that the gospel can only be efficaciously preached within its pale, when I hear such a church and such churchmen railing at the Catholics, it excites in me a smile of pity and contempt;....and I must be allowed to lift up my voice and cry “No Popery."
Would to God I could stop here; but I find amongst dissenters the departed spirit of Rome, hovering around their assemblies and presiding in their churches. Those churches are peculiarly papal who make uniformity of opinion the basis of Church communion-whose ministers will not administer the ordinance to any of those who doubt their holy mysteries, and insist upon their belief of the doctrine of the trinity to be as necessary to the Christian's well being, as the papist does that of the more holy mystery of transubstantiation being neces. sary to constitute a good Catholic. To those ministers who
imitate the dress of the clergy of either church, who pompously ape their manners, who talk of “My People, - My Church,-My Pulpit," I reply, “ No Popery,” gentlemen, 16 One is our master, even Christ, and all we are brethren.” Í trace the departed spirit of Rome also, where it is least suspected to take up its residence, and find it lurking with an ill grace under the broad brim and plain garb of our quaker friends; and when I read the proceedings of the Society against Hannah Barnard,
when I find those ornaments to human nature, a Rathbone and a Matthews, are of the disowned, I call with a louder voice “ No Popery,” friends.
Having thus traced the persecuting spirit for which the Church of Rome has been so eminently distinguished into our various assemblies for public worship, I hope you will allow me a place in your valuable publication, which promises fair to be the rallying point for the friends of truth, liberty and peace, to concentrate their forces, and chase the monster Persecution into eternal oblivion.
I remain, &c. Hertford, July 10, 1807.
MR. WRIGHT'S REPLY TO AN OLD DISCIPLE,
PERSON OF CHRIST.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, Your correspondent, who signs himself “ An old Disciple," (see p. 469) has stated two difficulties, which he supposes to attend the Unitarian hypothesis of the person of Christ; ” and he seems to expect I should notice them. I have no objection to doing this, and it certainly would give me pleasure to satisfy so candid an inquirer after truth. How far it will be in my power to obviate his difficulties is another thing; however, I will make the attempt.
His first difficulty relates to Christ's being superior to his apostles, as the spirit was given without measure to him. It is declared (John iii. 34.) “God giveth not the Spirit by measure to him.” It is granted that in this passage the word Spirit relates to miraculous gifts and supernatural communications. It is also granted that, according to the words of Jesus, (John xiv. 12.) the apostles, after his exaltation, did greater works than he had done before his death. But then it ought to be remembered that the above words are in the present tense, and include not merely the gifts he received during his personal ministry, but those also which were given him when he ascended up on
high (Eph. iii. 8—13.) It should also be recollected that the apostles performed their miracles in his name, that it was through him they received their miraculous powers, that it was in consequence of his going to the Father they were enabled to do greater works than he had done, Peter said, “ This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore bea ing by the right-hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." It follows, that with respect to miraculous gifts Jesus bad the pre-eminence, and stands superior to all the other servants of God.
Your correspondent's other difficulty relates to the suitableness of the example of Christ. If I understand him, he argues that if Christ “ be a sinless man, possessing spotless innocence and adorned with perfect virtue,” he could not be a suitable example to mankind. That Jesus Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled, and always did those things which pleased God, that he never acted contrary to what he perceived to be the will of his heavenly Father, but pursued one uniform course of obedience, until he expired on the cross, will not surely be questioned. How this can diminish the suitableness of his example, while we believe him to be simply a man, I cannot perceive; for
1. He was made in all things like unto his brethren. The rest of mankind are no more born impure, or the subjects of moral inability, or incapable of doing what God requires of them, or under an unavoidable necessity of sinning, than he was. I know of no natural difference between him and other men.
2. Jesus was no more naturally impeccable than we are; for had he been naturally impeccable he could not have been a proper object of temptation, nor would there have been any virtue in his obedience; as, in that case temptations would have required no resistance, he would have acted right because he was incapable of acting otherwise, and could have been entitled to no reward. Either the peccability of Jesus must be admitted, or the reality of his trials and virtues is, in fact, denied.
3. Christ was not made perfect at once any more than his brethren. Like them he had to begin in infancy, to attain his knowledge, virtue, and moral excellency, gradually, by the exercise of his natural faculties, and the proper use of the means of improvement afforded him. He had to resist temptation and strive against sin in order to preserve himself pure, and to struggle through the greatest difficulties in perfecting his obedience to the will of God. We are told he learned obedience, and was made perfect through sufferings : consequently, though sinless, there was a time when he was imperfect in knowledge and moral attainment. The imperfections which are consequences of the constitution of human nature have nothing in in them of the nature of sin, and, as Jesus was made in all things like unto his brethren, such sinless imperfections were una. voidable to him.
4. Jesus continued a private character, undistinguished by any miraculous gifts or communications, for near thirty years, when at Jordan a voice from heaven marked him out as the object of divine approbation, and the person appointed to be the Messiah, the Messenger of the truth and favour of God to mankind. It was for this love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity God anointed him above his fellows. (Heb. i. 9.) Being called to the Messiahship, though it conferred dignity, did not bestow moral excellency, however much it implied the moral worth of the person so distinguished.
5. Miraculous gifts and supernatural communications confer not moral excellency; they are talents for which the possessor is accountable; they may be either improved or misimproved. With the extraordinary powers bestowed upon Jesus, his temptations and the difficulty of his obedience increased.
Whether these explanations will satisfy your correspondent I know not; some of your readers will, perhaps, think I have gone too far; be this as it may, I have said no more than I think the New Testament authorizes and the subject absolutely requires. If Jesus be truly a man, who was made like other men, in a peccable state, subject to the sinless imperfections of humanity, and had every thing of a moral nature to attain even as we have, I see not how the suitableness of his example can be questioned. These things admitted, the more perfect his character and the example he hath left us, the more fit is he for us to imitate.
On the supposition that " Christ were of the same nature in every respect with mankind,” your correspondent seems to be at a loss to account for his having attained a superior degree of moral excellency to all other men; but the same difficulty may be felt in a thousand other instances; for there is an almost infinite variety in the moral attainments of human beings. A great dissimilarity of character is perceivable among men; individuals rise superior to each other in moral worth; and why should it be thought incompatible with simple humanity for Jesus to excel all others ? Some individual must stand highest in moral attainment and perfection of character. It is quite natural to suppose that God would most highly distinguish the man who most excelled in piety and obedience: and as he has distinguished Jesus above all others it is reasonable to conclude that he excelled all other men in the excellency of his character. Perhaps your correspondent and I may not affix precisely the