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doctrine ; but then we affirm that the transcendent influence thus exerted acts immediately upon the understanding and the affections in concurrence with all the powers of cur nature, and in perfect harmony with all the laws of our moral constitution ; that it is not a grace conveyed by inevitable necessity, on account of a rite performed by a certain individual; conveyed without the slightest consciousness on the part of him who is subjected to it, and without the slightest proof to the bystanders that it has been conveyed; an influence which leaves behind no appreciable trace, an influence, in fact, which influences nothing, and a cause which produces no effect. Yet it is such a sort of influence for which Mr. Gladstone earnestly contends; it is the supposed influence implied in baptismal regeneration or in the administration of the Lord's Supper at the hands of an episcopally ordained minister. And how does the reader imagine Mr. Gladstone proceeds to show the inconsistency of our denying this species of influence, because we contend that the preternatural influence we admit is exerted only in harmony with the laws of our moral nature—that it implies the active concurrence of our minds and the spontaneous admission of our hearts? Let us hear him.

• But we may call, and call loudly, upon those who have accustomed themselves to regard orthodoxy (in the sense specified) as the highest characteristic and surest guarantee of the Christian life, if they value either the truth of religion or the force and consistency of their own arguments, to join with us against rationalism in all its forms, and especially against that its subtlest form which teaches or assumes that spiritual life can only be initiated through an intellectual process. They denounce, and justly denounce, the idea of converting men by merely preceptive teaching: the truth of moral maxims and their intrinsic beauty, say they, may be unquestionable, but you present them to a being whose percipient faculties are corrupt, and who requires an antecedent spiritual influence to enable him to appreciate them. So far they are right; but are they not incorrect in imagining that the presentation of doctrine to the understanding (for to the understanding in the first instance it presents itself) is the sole and sufficient guarantee divinely appointed for the realization of that spiritual influence ? If truth of a less immediately practical nature may convey it,-i. e. truth of doctrine, why may not the more immediately practical—i. e. the preceptive truth, convey it also? Why may not the precept carry with it the power of its own accomplishment, as well as the doctrine carry with it the disposition for its own reception and likewise the power of accomplishing the precept?

• If they establish a title as against Sacramental influences, which some may deride as mystical, they cannot establish one in sound argument against moral teaching, which they suspect as rationalistic; for such a title must be grounded on the general prerogatives of truth; and on its affinity to the understanding, as subject matter to an instrument appointed for working on it. Such a title will evidently include moral teaching as a positive channel of grace; they cannot find any distinction which shall shut it out. Then will arise the danger which I have striven to exhibit ; in the active and robust play of the intellect, the more delicate conception of divine influence will be lost. Why will they not use the security, which God in his wisdom has provided for them, by constructing separate vehicles of an influence quite distinct from the understanding, and therefore permanent witnesses of its independent essence ?'— pp. 77, 78.

So, because we contend that the exhibition of the peculiar doctrines of the gospel is the necessary condition of realizing the effects of the gospel, we are incorrect, it seems, in denying that merely preceptive teaching, or the inculcation of matters, which, however true, exclude by supposition all the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, will not realize the same effects; which is as much as saying, that because we contend that a system of truth must be exhibited to produce the effects of that system, we are incorrect in denying that the same effect may

be produced if all that is peculiar to that system be excluded! What shall we say to such a reasoner as this ?—and yet into such fallacies as this Mr. Gladstone is continually falling.

Mr. Gladstone's third chapter, which is one of the longest in the book, is on the Church. It is made up, for the most part, of the elaborate commonplace which nobody would think of disputing, sometimes expressed with needless prolixity, and something very like an affectation of metaphysical obscurity. But it is commonplace which has no power whatever to determine the controversies on this subject, as it may for the most part be adopted by all of every party who admit the social character of Christianity,—that it presupposes natural sympathy and joint action ; in a word, it may be admitted with equal propriety by all who contend that there is a visible church in any sense or under any modifications. That “every inward 'principle of our nature struggles for an outward development' as our author affectedly expresses it; that it seeks for this not only for its own consummation, but also that it may be expansive and communicative, to use again his own language; that Christianity very naturally and reasonably avails itself of this tendency; that all other religions, whether true or false, have ever been embodied in an outward development of rites and of social institutions; that in the case of Christianity it seems especially necessary, considering the obstacles with which this has to contend, and which can be overcome only by a firm and general resistance; that the religion of the individual is apt to decline if he be secluded from his fellows; that adoption into a body

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tends to depress and absorb the idea of self ; that sympathy is
a principle which for the most part gives increased energy to
action, and so on, all which propositions Mr. Gladstone pro-
ceeds to illustrate with as much pomp and tediousness as if
they were now revealed to the world for the first time, will be
admitted with equal readiness by the Episcopalian, the Presby-
terian, or the Congregationalist, or by a Christian of any denomi-
nation whatsoever who admits that there is such a thing as a
church of Christ or such things as churches of Christ at all.
is difficult to tell which to feel most strongly; contempt for the
understanding which can imagine that such generalities really
have any decisive bearing upon the controversy, or indignation
at the unfairness which would leave it to be inferred that they
have. We apprehend, however, that the latter would be the
more reasonable emotion, for it is difficult to give Mr. Glad-
stone credit for so much obtuseness as not to know that all
these plausible generalities may be admitted by the warmest
opponents of his peculiar church principles. But he well knows
that there are multitudes who will suppose that these are really
arguments on his side of the question ; that they are arguments
which his opponents would not admit; and who would wonder to
find how very reasonable all appears on the one side and how
strangely unreasonable on the other; especially as he takes
care to assume all the way through that the voluntary combi-

nations which we perceive in sects around us, as he expresses
it, are simply so many aftergrowths, intended to supply the

place of the primitive and legitimate idea of the church. He also takes care to talk as if these voluntary combinations may be formed and dissolved at pleasure; whereas he ought to know and must know, that the Congregationalist, for example, while he contends that all combinations of Christians must be voluntary, in the sense that every member of it must be a willing member, yet as firmly believes that the combinations which Mr. Gladstone is pleased to call “imperfect aftergrowths,' are truly churches of Christ, and that it is his duty to incorporate himself with them, as Mr. Gladstone believes in his figment of the one visible church. Whatever advantages, therefore, from sympathy, association, &c., attach to the one, also attach to the other; and hence, as we assert, the utter irrelevancy of Mr. Gladstone's pompous declamation on the above specified commonplace topics. His duty clearly was to prove his peculiar notion of the church to be the true one, or if he would insist only on the à priori probability that that idea was the true one, he should have abstained from appropriating arguments which are just as conclusive in behalf of any form of the church whatever. We have really no alternative but that of believing Mr. Gladstone to be either one of the most obtuse or one of the most

unfair of all reasoners. But let us proceed to investigate Mr. Gladstone's views of the Church.'

His notion is not merely that there is an invisible church of Christ to which all Christians in all ages belong, but that there is a visible church which is also strictly one, or which, as he expresses it, 'is called to unity. Now all we have to ask is, which is that visible church? But here Mr. Gladstone at once deserts us.

* It is now time to pass onwards to another portion of this inquiry – to the endeavor, namely, to meet such objections to the foregoing principle as may probably be anticipated. First, let us obviate a misconception that is most likely to arise. There is no claim here made or implied for any particular local portion of the Church as such, to possess the high distinction of being invested in all minds with those plenary ideas of privilege and authority which belong in full only to the Church universal ; the full measure of regard and deference to her as a parent and guide, as qualified to be regarded like parents with affection, like guides with confidence, is only due to the body which fulfils the idea of the catholic church of Christ. We need not now inquire what are the essential conditions of membership in that church, or what is necessary to constitute her unity—these are properly subsequent considerations. It may be that she has lost that virgin beauty and harmony of her form which adorned her youth, and that, so far, the affections she once riveted upon herself are now baffled and without a home; but we must not allow ourselves to be hindered in receiving the truth of Scripture by the anticipation of posterior difficulties, which, if they have arisen at all, will have arisen only out of our own misdeeds : the object here urged is, to aim at grasping and embodying in the first instance by effort (under divine grace), and then confirming by mental habit, an effectual conception of the church as a body within which we are comprehended, as that to which we belong rather than that she belongs to us ; as a living admitted proof of the love of Christ to us, and as having the stewardship of his word and the ordinances of his grace. And by an effectual conception is here meant that which is not only allowed by the understanding and then dismissed and laid aside, but that which vitally pervades the whole mind and heart, which imbues the affections, which is ever at hand to mould even the first forms of thought as it is born, and to impress its character


and more, as it assumes a more definite shape, and finds vent outwardly in word or act.'--pp. 145, 146.

Mr. Gladstone is mighty cautious in the application of his own principles; he still with great prudence clings to his darling generalities, full of unmeaning sophistry. And no wonder ; for if he attempted to put his theory into plain language, it would at once be seen that his ‘one visible church' is an utter nonentity, and that those parts or portions of the visible church, as he is pleased plausibly to call them, are much more distinct

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churches than the separate churches of our own religious denominations. These last have at least similarity of laws and unity of spirit; the parts or portions of Mr. Gladstone's one

visible church' have neither the one nor the other. If there be one visible church,' it must have, according to Mr. Gladstone's own reasonings, unity of government, possible intercommunion of its members, one code of laws, universality of jurisdiction. We need not ask if there be anything at all like this; whether the two principal parts of this one visible church have not excommunicated one another; whether the Church of England does not act with as complete independence as the church of Rome, and the church of Rome as the Greek church, the three truly kindred bodies to which Mr. Gladstone is pleased to restrict all claim to being called a church of Christ, or whether all are not far more truly divided than any

of the churches of the Congregationalists. That they embrace a larger number of individuals has nothing at all to do with the matter.

Here we may make another obvious remark. If these, not merely independent, but actually hostile communities can be said to constitute 'one visible church,' or parts or portions of it, there is certainly no reason whatever why the separate communities of all other denominations of Christians may not be considered as being substantially one, and possessing visible unity. The simple fact is, however, that Mr. Gladstone's 'one 'visible church' is a pure fiction of his own fancy; and it is most amusing to find him admitting, in the preceding paragraph, that it may be that she has lost that virgin beauty and harmony of her form which adorned her youth, and that, so 'far, the affections she once riveted upon herself are now baffled

and without a home.' A fine admission for one who maintains that, according to the whole theory of Scripture, God designed that His church should be visibly one. If this one visible

church,' therefore, cannot be pointed out, the declared purpose of God, by fair inference from Mr. Gladstone's reasonings, has been frustrated! If it can be pointed out, we ask which is it? not 'parts or portions' of it, so unlike and so hostile as the churches of Rome and England, for in this way, as already observed, we may prove any communities of Christians to be parts of one visible church ;' but one visible church' which fulfils Mr. Gladstone's own conditions of such an institution ; having vital connexion and fellowship through all its parts, one government and one jurisdiction. He never can consistently realize his views till he becomes a Romanist, and in spirit and principle he is more than half one already.

We have already quoted one specimen of the cautious vagueness with which Mr. Gladstone is pleased to express his mystical

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