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hatred when we say it,—but we will say it nevertheless, that our anxiety for the preservation of the Establishment is not prompted by an ambitious wish to see the ecclesiastical rainbow turned all to purple or to gold. We are speaking to the hearts of our people; and, while we do this, our thoughts are fixed on something far higher and better than the mere visible splendours of our hierarchy, and the imposing majesty of the towers and battlements of our Zion. We are pleading with this nation, in behalf of a system which may perhaps want reparation; but which, with all its alleged defects, has hitherto brought home the consolations and the hopes of religion to the cottages of the poor, with a promptness and effect, which no other system ever can accomplish. We are pleading against a destruction, which, if once achieved, would bring upon this land the abomination which maketh desolate, and would spread over our villages the curse of a spiritual destitution. Our words may be rejected by those who believe, or affect to believe, that all true churchmen are in bondage to illiberal prejudice, or mercenary craft. But, surely, our words cannot altogether fall to the ground. Surely, there must be faithful hearts yet left to echo them, and faithful hands to give then substance and effect.*
Neither are we conscious that our speech is dictated by any feeling akin to disrespect, or evil will, towards Dissenters,merely as Dissenters. We cannot, it is true, persuade ourselves that schism has altogether ceased to be a sin.
But then we well know how many circumstances there are, in our present con. dition of society, to palliate and dilute the guilt of schism. With many, dissent is a mere accident. With others, unfortunately, it almost is an absolute necessity. We know,—and we confess it with an aching heart,—that if every Dissenter in the realm were, at this moment, to profess his readiness to abandon the conventicle, and to return to the bosom of the Church, the Church would be in sore perplexity to provide an immediate reception for the sheep that had wandered from her fold. But we also know, that the Church, and the Dissenting connections together, have been hitherto found utterly unequal to the work of making adequate provision, conformably to their own respective systems, for the spiritual necessities of our swarming and surging population. And, with this melancholy fact before their eyes, why should the Dissenters accuse or suspect us of an offensive disregard for the rights of conscience, because we dread to see the Church shorn of her strength, and crippled in her means of usefulness?
* We are happy to perceive that, while we are writing, the spirit of the laity ap. pears to be rousing itself.
Equally unjust would be the surmise, that we desire to stop the ears of the legislature against the grievances of those who are separated from the Church. If grievances there be, let them be instantly redressed. But surely we may be allowed to put forth our honest opinion as to what grievances are substantial, and what are not! The Dissenters ask for the benefit of a more effective registration. By all means, let them have it, if a practicable and beneficial scheme can be devised for that purpose. They, further, desire that their weddings may be celebrated, without the religious ministrations of the Church. Even so let it be, if any other plan can be constructed, for effectually preventing the intolerable mischief of clandestine marriage. But they likewise demand the use of our burial-places, in common with the clergy of the Establishment. And this claim the Church must conscientiously resist, for reasons which have been so often stated, that they need not be recited here. They insist, moreover, that the law of the land should leave the Churches and the Chapels of the Establishment without the slightest protection against dilapidation and decay. And this too is a demand which, if there be a vestige of justice left on earth, must be rejected-upon grounds which have been of late so incessantly reiterated, that it would only weary our readers to repeat them. And, lastly, they cry out, loudly and fiercely, for a dissolution of the union between the Church and State. And, in truth, if Church-rates are to be altogether abolished, they will, virtually, have achieved the main substance of their petition. For how can the State more effectually divorce itself from the Church, than by abandoning her places of Worship to individual benevolence and disinterestedness? But there is still more than this involved in the project. There can be little doubt that the expulsion of the prelates from the legislature, and the consignment of the clergy to arbitrary and precarious support, both of them enter into this sweeping plan of separation. And, if so, all that we can say of it here, is this, that we cannot imagine a more ruinous insult to the Church, than the ejection of her bishops from a position which they have occupied from the very beginning of our Constitution,—and that, as to the voluntary system for the maintenance of her ministers, it amounts to neither more nor less than a scheme of unprincipled spoliation; to say nothing of its miserable effects in the degradation of the clergy, and the consequent mutilation of their influence and usefulness.
One word more, and we have done. We have hitherto spoken of the Church, merely as a national establishment. But there is yet a higher view of the Church, to which we must now lift up our eyes.
We must recall our thoughts to her claims upon children, as a branch of the pure, Catholic, Apostolic Church
of Christ. Whether, as an Establishment, she will stand or fall, must depend on circumstances more various than human sagacity can fully search into. Whether she will stand or fall, as a portion of Christ's inheritance, must depend only on one thing,whether or not she is prepared to be faithful unto death. Stand she cannot, if she forgets the words which the spirit once spake unto the churches. Fall she cannot, if she be worthy to hear it said unto her, I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them that are evil; and hast tried them that say they are Apostles, and are not; and hast borne, and hast patience, and, for my name's sake, hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Some few things, indeed, there may be against her. But if she suffer not the flame of her first love to expire--if she keep her lamp trimmed by the spirit of repentance and of godly fear, --her candlestick shall, surely, not be removed from its place. The Powers and Principalities of this world may, indeed, remove themselves from her light. The multitudes may go astray after strange fires, or may walk in darkness. But, even so, her lonely brightness shall still be seen in the land; and it shall gladden the countenances and the hearts of the few that may remain faithful unto her, in the season of her tribulation. The Church of England may, then, indeed, be no more. But the Church in England shall remain, to bear witness to the truth of God. It is true, that it becometh her not to rush into this furpace of temptation, or to do aught that may hasten the fiery trial of her faith. But still less doth it become her to defile her garments, or to endure that the spirit of Balaam should come among her people, to tempt them to unfaithfulness, and to cause them to do sacrifice unto the idols of the day. It is not thus that she can hope to disarm her adversaries. But it is thus that she may arm against herself Him that trieth the hearts and reins, and who shall give unto her according to her works. Let her not dream, then, of listening to the flatteries of them, who with fair and deceitful words would win from her the secret of her strength. Neither let her seek, by yielding, and by wavering, and by counsels of feebleness and of pliancy,--to gather around her a multitude, whose heart is not right with her heart. Rather let her strengthen the things that do remain. Let her, calmly and stedfastly, hold fast the foundations whereon she is built up. For thus may she best hope to hear the gracious words, Behold, I will make them, which say they are Israelites, and are not, to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the words of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
ART. 11.-1. The Pulpit, &c. &c. 2. The Preacher, containing Sermons by eminent Divines.
London: Published for the proprietors, by T. Griffith. 3. The British Pulpit; a Selection of accurately reported Ser
mons by the most talented Evangelical Divines of every
Denomination. 4. The Minister, &c. &c. 5. The Scottish Pulpit, &c. &c. From the number of these publications, we suppose that they are found profitable. The names of five we have prefixed to this article; and it is very possible that there are several more, either in existence or in contemplation. Yet, although the sale may be lucrative to the proprietors, and the circulation may seem conducive to the spread of religious kuowledge, we feel it our duty to denounce the whole system with a very decided expression of disgust and indignation.
For what is that system? It is a system either of shameless quackery, or of downright plunder. The sermons must be published either with or without the consent and knowledge of the writers. Let us begin with the latter branch of the alternative.
A man, Mr. Benson, for instance, eminent for learning, and remarkable for eloquence, preaches a discourse at the Temple, or elsewhere. Surely, as to the pecuniary value which it may possess, that discourse belongs to him, as being the offspring of his own mind, the result of bis own study, and the fruit of his own thoughts. Surely it cannot belong to a stranger, who comes, not in the spirit of piety, to hear it and act upon it; but in the spirit of piratical traffic, to report and publish it. Yet what happens?' In a week, it is put forth to the world, perhaps faithfully, perhaps inaccurately; it is committed to the press without the benefit of the author's revision, without the changes and corrections which further consideration might have suggested. Thus, not merely the intention of the preacher himself may be anticipated; but it is anticipated in a way, which on a multitude of grounds he conscientiously disapproves, and would anxiously deprecate. Nor is it easy to remedy the mischief by the appear. ance of the same production in an authorized shape, on account of the peculiar cheapness of the previous publication :-a cheapness which can be so well afforded where there is no copyright to be bought, and no labour to be repaid. It follows, therefore, that there must be a robbery of the purse, and there may be a robbery of the reputation. And to so monstrous an extent has
this scheme of plunder been pursued, that we have seen four or five consecutive sermons of the same clergymen printed in one or other of these precious receptacles of stolen goods. Their agents have rushed to seize and bear away all that should drop from the lips of a popular preacher; like sharks pursuing a ves
essel, and swallowing every unfortunate body that should chance to fall overboard. When similar attempts have been made in other cases, as in the case of medical or scientific lectures, if they could not be reached by legal penalties, they have been uniformly met by moral reprobation ; but when men are guilty of these barefaced thefts, with religious professions dribbling meanwhile from their mouths, they sink even beneath the level of the lowest and dirtiest speculators in the bookselling and publishing trade. In some instances, enough has been gathered from the composition of one man to form an entire volume, and for whose benefit, let us ask, has such volume been separately published ?
But there is the other branch of the alternative also to be regarded. These sermons may be--and we suspect, from the internal evidence, that many of them are--published with the express sanction and connivance of their authors. Here, then, there is no robbery; but the charlatanism is sickening. The title-page either runs as follows, “ The Preacher, containing Sermons by the following eminent divines,” “The British Pulpit, a selection of accurately reported Sermons by the most talented (Pah!) Evangelical Divines of every denomination," or is stuffed with rubbish of a similar description; and the impression conveyed to the public manifestly is, that the discourses are by men so distinguished in their profession, that reporters are sent to take down their valuable, or rather invaluable, paragraphs for the benefit of an admiring generation. If then a minister of the Gospel forwards his own sermon to the editor for publication, he smuggles it before the world under false pretences; or at least is not only privy to the miserable device, but is instrumental in puffing himself as “an eminent divine," "a talented evangelical divine;" a diamond of the first water in the cabinet of - The Preacher” or “The Pulpit.” Let such a clergyman reflect seriously for one moment, what feelings would be excited, if he published a single discourse in his own name, with the title-page, “ A sermon by that eminent divine, the Rev.
A sermon by that talented, evangelical divine, the Rev.
Yet what is the difference, if it appears among others with his knowledge and consent in the pages of “ The Preacher;" or, “ The British Pulpit;" except that a shuffling subterfuge is thus added to an empiricism the most awful? Unless our schoolboy recollections deceive us, Cicero reproaches the philosophers of his day