Page images
PDF
EPUB

to set off the vile and unprincipled baseness, of the moving-springs of whiggish Aristocrats, who now so vehemently conspire, to destroy the venerable institutions, and blacken the public virtue of our country.

We should, however, fail in giving utterance to our feeling, if we did not point out another cause for the present shameful delinquency of public functionaries, and the present increasing laxity of public principle. The cause, to which we allude, does not germinate from the preceding, but is itself rather the prolific parent of all our evils. We boldly avow, that a too prevalent departure from the strict path of duty, in the authorized teachers of public morals, is the abundant source of moral disorder to any state, in connection with such a nationally recognized body. Now we ask, is this great principle regarded as it ought, by the majority of our national clergy? We have no scruple in taking upon ourselves the very invidious task of declaring, that it has been either grossly neglected, or avowedly contradicted. Scarcely a day passes, that we do not see it published by numbers of our Clergy, that easy moderation is the proper banner of Christian teachers in respect to politics ; or more generally an absolute rejection is strongly inculcated. How truly difficult it is, to reconcile this conduct, with the genuine spirit of true Religion with the enlightened principles of Christian government-or with the laws of common faithfulness! In what school of jurisprudence, we may truly ask, does any jurist, even in a matter of wordly honesty, teach, that the mutual obligations of contracting parties are not to be fulfilled ? Thus, we are linked to the State to christianize our governors—to teach the sacredness of their inalienable rights--and by giving to the proper source, the origin of all power* to consecrate their sanctions,

* There is no subject, which at the present day, calls more loudly for the strictest and most vigilant attention of the Christian scholar, than that of the divine origin of civil government. To such as do not enjoy the opportunity of consulting the more elaborate treatises that have been written on this topic, we would recommend the following ;

and uphold their prerogatives :---they, in return, are to afford us the protection and continuance of Christian laws, and Christian institutions. Now do these opposers of such a reasonable, Christian polity, fulfil their engagement, and comply with the terms imposed upon them by that compact, to which they have subscribed by their oaths - by their professions—and by the very nature of their engagement? Their apathy-liberality- moderation--and express disavowal of any interest in the well-being of Christian politics give an answer, too frequently, to our question. What is the consequence to themselves ? Why, though arrayed in a glorious panoply of truth, they are unable to stem the overwhelming torrent, and rapid invasions, aye, even of error itself! The bulwarks of the apostolicity - antiquity-and primitive universality of their doctrines, discipline, and worship, are daily being fear

by a perusal of which, we are confident, that it will be apparent, that all power is absolutely of God, and therefore that the notions of Locke on this subject are unscriptural, and consequently unreasonable. They that understand this subject aright, will soon be able to refute this English philosopher's tenets, as well as the whole tribe of modern politicians, who with an increase of laxity, tread in his steps. We recommend the incomparable Sermon of Bp. Horne, entitled, “ The origin of civil government".--- from Rom. xiii. 4.--the 24th Discourse in his Works; in this the subject is learnedly and elegantly treated upon :- also compare Discourse xxxii. on 1 Tim. ii. 1-2. Rev. Wm. Jones' Works, vol. vi. p. 152-„Honour the King," 1 Peter ii. 17.; with which compare Ser. xvi, on Luke xxi. 25--26, vol. v.; Ser. iii. on Jude, 8, vol. vii. Soame Jenyns, Disquisition vii.-"On Government and Civil Liberty,” p. 257, vol. iii. of his Works. Rev. John Fry's Lectures on the Romans, Lect. xxv. P. 465. The above will be sufficient to give perfectly clear ideas of the Christian origin of power. If the Rev. John Whitaker's pamphlet on “ The real origin of Government” could be procured, the reader would be furnished with an unanswerable and scriptural refutation of Locke's ideas of government. Nor do we know any treatise on Government more clear, elaborate, learned, and philosophical, than what the great Sir Walter Raleigh has published in his almost forgotten “ History of the World,” Part i. Book i. chap. ix. In his history also there is a compendious treatise on Law, Part i. Book ii. chap. iv., which really in the dignity, variety, and sublimity of the thoughts and diction, equal if not surpass the work of Hooker. We would venture to say, that his remarks on Government and Law, are highly worthy of being published in a separate form.

fully outraged-in Ireland, in a great measure, threatened with absolute desecration and abolitionand, almost every where, a forfeiture of the affections of our very friends is the natural result! Such is the lamentable state of the interior of our venerable and sacred citadel, occasioned by the yielding moderation

-the charitable forbearance-and the sapient discretion, of too many of her watchmen and satellites. Would that the zeal and tact of our enemies might teach us an instructive lesson! If this were the case, every member of our body would be marked for unremitting labour, perseverance, and a ready and exhaustless supply of every weapon of argument and conviction, to defeat and crush our adversaries. Again-what is the consequence, of this renunciation of right principle, to the public ? Disastrous in the extreme. Lukewarmness, invariably, gives suspicion of a want of true sincerity. But a denial of interest in the Christian politics of a Christian legislature, virtually, is a surrender of the point at issue, not merely between politicians and ourselves,.but between the professors of Religion and the abettors of infidelity. For, the Christian professor thus disclaims the universality of a superintending Providence in the government of nations-he evinces his unbelief in that Revelation, which he professes to make the sole guide of his principles. That sacred depository instructs him, that the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm"*—that He shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble ; and commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, and sealeth up the stars; and alone SPREADETH OUT THE HEAVENS, AND TREADETH UPON THE WAVES OF THE SEA t-that the throne is established by righteousnesst”- that “righteousness exalteth a nation11-that His kingdom ruleth over all]—that there is no power but of God''T —that the powers that be are ordained of Godand * Nahum, i. 3.

† Job, ix. 6—8. Prov. xvi. 12.

· || Prov. xiv. 34. 6 Ps. ciii. 19.

Rom. xiii. 1.

that “ kings shall be the nursing-fathers, and queens the nursing-mothers* of the Church. But how are these express declarations treated ? Christian kings, governors, and magistrates have no right, superior to that of the mob, and are therefore removed out of the judicature of a Christian teacher! Their morality —their laws—their actions, are to have no Christian sanction! We are to ride upon the triumphant backs of the people's lawless power, and majestically swim down the passing current, with our full-set sails of moderation and charity! The desecrating orgies of a domineering rabble are to dance before our admiring eyes, and we are to pipe the tune of sympathy and love to them! There is to be no power but expediency, and that, at the discretion of the physical strength of the people, - and that, according as they may please to bring royalty, and our nobles to the block-to tear down our institutions, civil or ecclesiastical, and to strew our hallowed temples with the wrecks of holy things! The motto of our standards, is to be in the infidel language, of the great oracle, of our theological schools—"the influence of religion not to be sought for among princes,”+ and therefore to be confined merely to the obscure haunts of the unlettered and unknown, whose morality is alone deserving of the guidance of Christian principle! And so the Gospel is no longer" to exalt her mitred front in courts and parliaments”-no longer to be “mixed throughout the whole mass of life, and blended with all the classes of society”-no longer is “ the people of England to shew to the haughty potentates of the world, and to their talking sophisters, that a free, a generous, an informed nation, honours the high magistrates of its Church ; or that she does not suffer the insolence of wealth and titles, or any other species of proud pretension, to look down with scorn, upon what they look up to with reverence; or that she does not presume to trample on that acquired personal nobility, which they had once intended always to be, and which often is, the fruit, not the reward, (for what can be the reward ?) of learning, piety, and virtue !"* Such is to be the routine of our moderate, unpolitical friends; alas! how greatly it is to be feared, that the corrosive, cankering rust, which such principles have fixed among us, will not leave their wishes unaccomplished, or their toils in vain! It will assuredly then be too late to expect, when as a judgment our adversaries have trodden down the sanctuary" of the Lord, that any labours of ours can ever repair the sad desolations of the breach. It will then be too late to begin to practically regard the assurance that

* Isaiah, xlix. 23; with which compare lx. 16. + Paley's “ Evidences of Christianity," Part iii. chap. vii. The disgusting, and dangerous principles of Paley, were generally reviewed in the last No: of “The CHAMPION,” pp. 141-145, Notes.

" they that fight the battles of the Lord will have of the · Lord a sure house+--too late to hold fast the profession of faith without waveringI --and too late " to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.”' Let it be then the persevering task of every true and fearless friend of our Apostolic Church- and therefore of pure religion and order, to explode, and uproot || this degrading species of continental ration

* Burke's “ Reflections on the French Revolution :"-the truly excellent sentiments of this immortal patriot, in reference to our National Establishment, are judiciously selected, and published at the end of the first volume of “ The Churchman armed against the errors of the Time"--a publication which merits the frequent perusal of every zealous, and conscientious churchman. + 1 Sam. xxv. 28.

Heb. x. 23. § Jude, 3. || Bishop Burnet has laid it admirably down in his commentary on Article xxxvii., when speaking of the power of the Civil Magistrate in Ecclesiastical matters, that “The magistrate cannot make void the law of God; that is from a superior authority, and cannot be dissolved by him. Where a thing is positively commanded or forbid by God, the magistrate has no other authority, but that of executing the laws of God, of adding his sanctions to them, and of using his utmost industry to procure obedience to them. He cannot alter any part of the doctrine, and make it to be either truer or falser than it is in itself; nor can he either take away or alter the sacraments, or break any of those rules that are given in the New Testament about them ; because in all these the authority of God is express, and is certainly superior to his. The only question that can be made, is concerning indifferent things: it seems very clear, .

« PreviousContinue »