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aims sought by the evangelical party, but from the contact of Episcopacy with the spirit of our age, and with the free developments of Christianity among the other denominations with whom Episcopalians come necessarily in contact. It is possible that the germs of these parties existed in the Episcopal Church in its incipient state in this country; but that which has now grown up into the evangelical party, we suppose would have been suppressed by the overshadowing of the religion of forms, if it had not been excited and kindled by the reflected influence on the Episcopal Church of the views and objects of evangelical Christians in other denominations. It has been apparent that other denominations greatly surpassed the Episcopal communion in zeal for those things specially commended in the New Testament; that they sought a more spiritual religion than had been common in the Episcopal communion; that they aimed more to convert and save the souls of men; and that they sought in methods that had the undoubted sanction of the New Testament, to spread the gospel around the globe. The question arose whether these objects could not be grafted on Episcopacy, and whether without producing schism, and with the maintenance of the highest respect for Prelacy and for the forms of religion, it was not possible to introduce the evangelical spirit into the bosom of the Episcopal Church, and to add to what was regarded as the nobleness, venerableness, and authority of her ancient forms, the life and vigour, and elastic energy which reigns with such power in other denominations. If so, it seems to have been supposed that there might be urged in favour of Prelacy all that is now urged from the necessity of the "apostolic succession;" all the authority of the Fathers; all its boasted power to preserve the unity of the church; and all the advantages derived from a staid and regular organization, united with all that commends evangelical religion to the hearts and consciences of
It is not to be denied that there have been and are still in the bosom of the Episcopal Church men who strive sincerely, and with a zeal not surpassed by those of other denominations, for the conversion of souls. They are men who would do honour to any cause, and whose life and labours would be a blessing to any communion. It is this party which has endeavoured to engraft the spirit of evangelical religion on the forms of Prelacy; and it is to their holy and devoted efforts that the result has already more than once occurred that the Episcopal Church has been in danger of being rent in twain. It is not that they have aimed at such a disruption, but it has been the kind of danger which would exist in a statue of marble that a fissure would be caused by applying intense heat to one portion and not to the other. It has required all the power of numbers, influence, and prelatical authority on the part of the high-church party, united with all the veneration of the low-church party for the church and her forms, to prevent such a rupture. Thus far this has been successful, and in every controversy of this kind the highchurch party has secured the victory, and the unity of the church has been preserved. We think the history thus far furnishes an omen of most portentous character in regard to the issue of such contentions at present and in all time to come. We have no expectation that the low-church party will ever gain the ascendency, or carry ultimately a single point. Our reasons for this opinion will be seen in the progress of our remarks.
The present position of the parties in the Episcopal Church is not determined precisely by the different views which characterize the high church and the evangelical party. There has been to some extent a breaking up of the old lines of demarcation, and a somewhat modified arrangement. The controversy respecting Puseyism is not precisely the same as the controversy which has hitherto prevailed. To a superficial
observer it might have been anticipated, perhaps, that the lowchurch party would have been found, without an exception, arrayed against the doctrines of the Tractarians, and that the high-church portion would have been as uniformly friendly to the Oxford theology. But this, if we correctly understand the matter, has not been precisely the case. A portion of those who have been regarded as high church have made as strenuous opposition to the advances of this system as have been witnessed in any other quarter; and some who have been regarded as leaders of the evangelical party have shown a decided inclination to vindicate the most arrogant form in which the spirit of the Oxford theology could manifest itself in this free country. Those of the high church, moreover, who have resisted these aggressions, have shown no more affinity for the evangelical portion than they did before. In the possible, but not probable, event of a rupture in the Episcopal Church, they would undoubtedly be found ranged with the friends of the Tractarian cause-no matter what their arrogance, and no matter how near they approximate to Rome, rather than with the evangelical party. This they would do, not because they love Puseyism more, but because they love the low-church principles less. We apprehend also, that, if the question of a possible rupture should actually come up in the Episcopal Church, it would be found that rather than such a crisis should occur, what there is of the evangelical spirit in the other party would be suppressed or crushed, rather than that matters should come to such a result. Such is the inborn horror in the mind of a genuine Episcopalian at the very word schism-though the whole system of Episcopacy is a schism of the worst kind from the proper sense of the unity of the church; such the love of forms and of order; such the desire not to expose themselves to the possible danger of vitiating the "succession;" and such the belief, in spite of experience, that the free-born spirit of
Christianity may live and breathe under all the incumbent pressure of these antiquated forms, and may move on to the conquest of the world, fettered and manacled as it must be, that these difficulties with Puseyism would be greatly diminished in their view, and that no one would dare to mention the word separation.
But our business now is not directly with Puseyism. We wish to refer to the lines which existed before the slight irregularity in the ranks of the parties, caused by the prevalence of the Tractarian theology, occurred. The characteristics of the two parties before the present difficulties arose in the Episcopal Church, we shall proceed to state as we understand them.
The views of the high-church party are accurately defined, and the points in which they differ from their low-church brethren, as well as from all the denominations of evangelical Christians, are well understood. They have never made any secret of them, and have never propounded them as if they wished to practice any concealment, or regarded them as mysteries to be made known only to the initiated. They hold, if we understand them aright, to the necessity of an actual, uninterrupted succession from the apostles, in order to the validity of the ministry. They hold, that the ministry of the church consists of three orders, and that the supremacy is in the bishop; that all the power of ordaining is in him, and that no one has any right to officiate as a minister of religion in any form, except in virtue of the imposition of his hands. They hold, that to him alone appertains the right of confirmation; and that grace, quite desirable, if not essential to salvation, is conveyed by that rite. They hold, that there is no church but the Episcopal Church, and that in any other body of persons there is no valid ministry, and that there are no valid sacraments. They hold to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and to the efficacy of the sacraments by some
kind of opus operatum. They hold, that those who have been baptized in a proper manner are to be brought to the bishop and confirmed, as soon as they can say the creed, the Lord's prayer, and the catechism, and are to be admitted to the church without any special inquiry into their spiritual state, or without giving any distinct evidence of a change of heart. They hold, that such is the efficacy of baptism thus administered, of confirmation, of the observance of the eucharist, and of a connection with the true apostolical church, that by this process their salvation. will be secure.
They are opposed to revivals of religion, as the term is commonly employed; to prayer-meetings; to "night-services," and to all "voluntary" societies for the spread of the gospel. They utterly refuse, as a body, to give the Bible without the Prayer-book, and religiously abstain from all connection with any association for promoting any religious object out of "the church." They take no part in a Bible, Sunday-school, tract, or missionary society, where persons of other denominations are concerned in the directorship, or where their appearance could be construed as an admission that other denominations appertain to the church of Christ. They are seen on no platform mingling with other Christians in the promotion of the common cause; and neither by their contributions, their presence, nor their names, do they lend any countenance to any meeting or association which can be construed as a union of different denominations of Christians for any object whatAs members of the church of Christ, as ministers of his religion, they hold that there can be no common ground on which they can meet others. As citizens, as neighbours, as friends of literature, as those who may be engaged in the business of mending a road, or building a bridge, they may be connected with others, because these things cannot be Episcopally done; but they go no farther.