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writings of a similar stamp; seeing that they suppose the reader to be, what he so frequently is, uninformed; his taking up the book generally implies that he is inquiring; and he there finds the Gospel explained and applied to his own case, in a manner almost as new and unexpected as if the revelation were made to him for the first time." We will copy the concluding paragraph of our review of those excellent sermons, on account of the tribute of respect paid in it to Bishop Barrington.
"We must not conclude our remarks
without adverting to a circumstance mentioned in the dedication prefixed to the volume-a circumstance equally honourable to Mr. Sumner and his Honourable and Right Reverend patronthat these discourses were composed under the sanction and advice of the venerable Bishop of Durham, to whose favourable opinion of his former writings
Mr. Summer states himself to be in
debted for a very valuable ecclesiastical preferment. Patronage thus acquired, and thus bestowed, confers honour upon both parties. It augurs well for the Church of England, when her guardians are thus influenced by a wise, liberal, and disinterested spirit, in distributing the honours and emoluments placed at their conscientious disposal. We shall only add our earnest prayers that both the reverend prelate and our respected author may be amply repaid for their benevolent wishes and exertions, by a wide extension of Scriptural piety among the successive generations of youth in that important public institution before whose members these discourses were delivered; and in which, at his advanced period of life, that venerable prelate still takes all the interest of early association."
The auguries which we formed in 1821 have been more than fulfilled; and much would it have gladdened the heart of Bishop Barrington, had he lived to witness the many blessings which it has pleased God to confer upon the Church through the instrumentality of his younger friend. That venerable prelate regarded his patronage, particularly the dignified
and lucrative appoinments in his cathedral, as a public trust for public purposes; he wished, he said, to collect at Durham a constellation of piety and talent; he therefore determined not to listen to political, family, or local interest; and though he favourably considered diocesan claims, he did not allow them to outweigh extensive public services; for he was of opinion that the Anglican communion is not sectional; and his biographers state that he never inquired in what portion of the common vineyard a clergyman had served God and the Church, if his services were such as he judged entitled the party to be sought out and rewarded by those who are entrusted, for the general weal, with official patronage. A like tribute of respect it would be unjust to withhold from his munificent successor, Dr. Van Mildert; who, though his views differed in some important matters from those of Bishop Barrington, exercised his patronage with similar care and disinterestedness, according to what he believed to be for the good of the Church. Mr. Faber gratefully acknowledges, in the dedication of one of his publications to Bishop Van Mildert, that he was indebted to his Lordship for a valuable appointment, which, freeing him from pecuniary cares, allowed him to devote his leisure to the service of God and the Church in the diligent use of his pen; and the Anglican communion, and our common Christianity, have in consequence been greatly benefited by his elaborate replies to the Tractarian errors, in his "Provincial Letters," and his treatise upon "Justification."
We must defer our remarks upon the Charges of the Bishop of Llandaff, and the Dean of Salisbury, to another Number, as they are too important to be dismissed in a few sentences. (To be Continued.)
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
THE Queen's Speech, at the opening of the session of Parliament, was chiefly a statement of facts with which the public were already acquainted; and the reply to it in each House was carried without much debate. Both Houses have voted thanks to the naval and military forces in China, and the Governor General of India, and the troops employed in Affghanistan, on account of their brilliant achievements. The Duke of Wellington's speeches in proposing the vote were striking specimens of the varied and ever-ready talents of that eminent man. Amidst the painful topics connected with the Chinese expedition, it is gratifying to learn that our brave countrymen acted in a spirit of justice and humanity in their intercourse with the people, which commanded their esteem, and mitigated the horrors of war. Some difference of opinion was expressed as to the Governor-General's title to thanks in the conduct of the war in Affghanistan; but the result of the investigation was in his favour. We cannot say so much for his "Jehovah, Jove, O Lord" Somnauth proclamation; which was strongly objected to by various members on account of its impolicy; and by some, especially Sir R. H. Inglis, on account of the sanction which it appears to give to the idolatrous rites of Hindoo Paganism. Sir R. Peel did not say much to defend it; and stated that a suitable letter had been addressed to his Lordship respecting it. Our solution is, that Lord Ellenborough did not very carefully consider the matter; or perhaps he had, during his voyage, been amusing himself with reading the account of the discovery of India by Vasco de Gama, in the Luciad of Camoens, in which the poet gives us as curious a jumble of mythology as that of the Somnauth proclamation; making the Pagan gods to be true deities, and Christ and the Virgin Mary (though Camoens was a Romanist) subordinate agents; the object of the expedition being to propagate Christianity and extirpate Mahommedanism, in effecting which the Portuguese are aided by Venus, and opposed by Bacchus, whom Vasco had offended; but Jupiter holds a council, and foretels the triumph of the Gospel, and the downfall of the false Prophet; and when in a storm Vasco prays to Christ and the Virgin, imploring the same aid which was given to the Israelites at the Red Sea, and to St. Paul in his shipwreck,
Venus appears, complains to Jupiter of
There have been protracted debates in the House of Commons upon the distresses of the people, chiefly the operatives engaged in manufactures; but the proposition to appoint a Committee has been refused by large majorities, on the ground that it was intended for ulterior purposes; such as to imply want of confidence in Her Majesty's advisers, or to re-open the Corn-law question; and that nothing could be effected by it but to raise hopes which could only be disappointed.
Mr. Walter also has been defeated in his endeavour to procure a vote of censure upon the present Poor-law sys
More than four millions of money are expended annually for the relief of the poor-besides endowed and casual charities-and we do not see how this enormous sum could be much better administered than it is; though many abuses still exist, and some, we fear, are unavoidable. We can only repeat, upon the general question, what we said last month in reply to Mr. Paget.
Sir R. Peel statesthat his intended measure for Church extension is confined to the rendering as available as possible the resources at present possessed by the Church. We trust that this statement does not preclude all hope that something will be granted to render those resources more efficient; for though an improved management of Church property would in many cases increase its value, it cannot be stretched so as to meet the enlarged and enlarging demands upon it.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
R. B.; W. W. H.; J. B.; T. G.; J. J.; J. E.; C. T.; CHRISTOPHILUS; W. C.; A. B.; VICANUS; A CURATE; A. R.; and READER; are under consideration.
For the Christian Observer.
UT while, as in my former paper, we assert an infinite variety of condition in the future state as most agreeable to reason, to Scripture, and to the intention of the present life, not only as a state of probation in the general, but as a school of discipline, and training, and preparation for Heaven; and while, in the very language of Scripture, we say that every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour; we should carefully guard this and similar statements from misapplication and perversion, by altogether denying that they have any reference whatsoever to the sinner's justification. Still more, we should be careful so to guard them, as not, in the first place, to encourage a servile, sordid, yet proud spirit, which would extract from our obedience all its virtue; and in the next place, not to discourage the dying penitent who has been converted to God upon his death bed, and there turned with his whole heart to the Saviour, but who may perhaps fear that the want of time and opportunity to perform those works of faith and labours of love after which his heart now yearns, though it will not bar his justification and pardon, yet must hopelessly and eternally exclude him from that nearness of access to God, in the life to come, after which his soul has now learned to pant as its highest happiness. No. Scripture everywhere contemplates our works as the necessary fruits, and therefore palpable evidence, of our faith and love, the outward manifestation and expression of inward holiness. By our works alone can man form an estimate of us. In every department, civil, military, or religious, we must pass examination, before man can ascertain what is in us, and what we are fit for. But God needs not the evidence of our works to decide upon the sincerity of our repentance, the genuineness of our faith, the fervor and purity of our love. He sees intimately into the heart. He knows infallibly what each man is. He heedeth not that any should testify of man, for he knoweth what is in man; and, at the inquest of the great day, will marshal each man unerringly in that rank for which he is exactly fitted. The man who, upon his death CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 64. 2 C
bed has turned with his whole heart to God, and who, if he lived, and providential circumstances permitted, would have been a burning and a shining light, will be viewed by the heart-seeing God, who looks not upon the outward appearance but upon the heart, not as what he was up to the time of his conversion, but as what he would have been had life been spared him. In fact he will be considered by God at the great day as what he then actually is.
The different degrees of happiness in the future state do not then, strictly speaking, depend upon the quantum of our good works; because men's gifts and opportunities of working are very various: some have five talents, some two, entrusted to them, and God requires, not according to what a man hath not, but according to that which he hath. The widow's mite equals, in God's esteem, the rich man's costly offerings. And in that very parable of the talents we see that if each equally uses and improves the talents entrusted to him, how few soever they may be, he will be equally rewarded with the possessor of talents. In that parable all equally improve, for all double, the various talents committed to them, and all are equally rewarded,—"Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," without any reference to the stock originally committed to them, but only to their use and improvement of it: while in the parable of the pounds, which differs from it but in one particular, and seems by that difference designed to teach, not only that there is a variety of condition in the future state, but also the grounds of that variety, the servants all receive originally the same sum, that is, the same means and opportunities, all make a different use of these, and all are differently rewarded, some placed over ten, some over five, cities— not arbitrarily, but in exact proportion to that use.
But, in fact, the different degrees of happiness in the future state depend upon that of which men's works are the evidence, the state of their souls. There is a meetness requisite to qualify us for being partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. That meetness consists in the love of God and of holiness, in humility and purity of heart, in hungering and thirsting after righteousness, in the possession of those tempers and graces which our Lord enumerates in his sermon on the Mount as the beatitudes of the Gospel, and which are, as it were, the appetites of the soul for that feast of celestial bliss which God has prepared for them that love him: without which they would famish in the midst of abundance, and heaven be no heaven to them. This meetness can be acquired only in this life: and just in proportion as man possesses it, whether he has or has not the opportunity of developing it in this life, he will be happy in the life to come. But were we to hold back from God now any portion of our heart or life, presuming upon such grace at a death-bed, we should be of the number of those who say, "Let us continue in sin that grace may abound, whose damnation," the Apostle tells us, "is just."
While therefore I entirely agree with the assertion that the degree of man's happiness in the future state depends wholly upon what he is in the present, I should not myself select the dying thief to contrast with St. Paul, as stars who would differ in glory in the celestial sphere; because, though he had little time and opportunity of manifesting by works his faith and love, yet I cannot but think that the roots of those beatifying graces were implanted deeply, by the Divine Husbandman, in his soul. It was a stupendous work of grace indeed, which not only instantaneously, thoroughly, abidingly, converted a dying malefactor in
his last agonies; but which enabled him, with the eyes of a living faith, to discern in the meek and lowly Jesus his Saviour and his God on His way to take posession of His heavenly kingdom: and this at the very lowest point of his humiliation, when every appearance was against Him, when He was taunted by His adversaries, deserted by His friends, condemned by man, and apparently forsaken of God. The humble and softened penitence which, at such a moment, could say to his brother malefactor, "We indeed receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man hath done nothing amiss ;"-the mighty faith which could say to his Fellow Sufferer, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom;"-the precious promise, worth more than ten thousand worlds, which that petition elicited, "Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with me in paradise :"-all these, I think, point out the dying thief as a conspicuous monument of Divine mercy-a peculiar trophy to grace the Saviour's finished work—a star of the first magnitude, to shine for ever and ever in the spiritual sphere, and with a brightness and a glory not inferior even to that of him who was not a whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles.
"God," the Psalmist tells us, "is merciful, for he rewardeth every man according to his works." Not surely according to the works of his whole life,—this were strict justice, and who could abide it?-but according to the works of that nature with which he appears before the bar of God. If converted, he receives the reward of the works of his converted life—that is, the appetites and tastes which habit or grace has established in his soul, whatever they may be, are satisfied to the full. Beyond this, God's mercy cannot do for man. God is truth, and must see man as he is. God is just, and his judgment must be according to truth. And hence it necessarily follows, that it is only by increased sanctification in this life that an entrance can be ministered to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. How then is mercy evinced? In not bringing past sins to remembrance, whether in the way of bar or penalty, but dealing with us according to our present state, without any drawback on account of the arrears of sin. And in order to this, God's justice, as Governor and Administrator of the universe, required that an atonement should be made for the past; and his mercy provided that atonement, which elsewhere man must have sought in vain, in the sacrifice of His beloved Son.
That God will adapt not only His rewards but His punishments to the state and nature in which man presents himself at His bar; that His judgments will be strictly retributive to the deeds of that nature; in short, that men, such as they then are, shall throughout eternity eat of the fruits of their own ways, and be filled with their own devices, seems to be the direct and explicit assertion of that, among other Scriptures, "What a man soweth, that shall he also reap. "And is it too fanciful to suppose that this seems obscurely shadowed forth in the respective characters of the two great typical judgments, with one of which God has already, with the other will desolate the earth. The unhallowed fire of lust was quenched by the waters of a deluge. The love of many waxed cold will be repelled by the flames of a crackling and dissolving universe. In the former instance, when God presented Himself to man but through the medium of creation or providence, and when even revelation but dimly and mystically foreshowed Him in His character of Redeemer beneath a cloud of types and shadows; then God's contro