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makes him a king, but his own power. Saul was a king, when the witch knew not of it. For, as those multitudes of imperceptible stars in the milky way do all contribute to that general confused light which we there see; so the undiscerned power of unknown sins doth add much to the great kingdoin which sin hath in the hearts of men. A letter, written in an unknown language, or in dark and invisible characters, is yet as truly a letter, as that which is most intelligible and distinct; so though men make a shift to fill their consciences with dark and illegible sins,—yet there they are as truly, as if they were written in capital characters.'
*A man, at a distance, sees abundance of pleasure and happiness in riches, honours, high places, eminent employments, and the like: but when he hath his heart's desire, and peradventure hath outclimbed the very modesty of his former wishes, hath ventured to break through many a hedge, to make gaps through God's law and his own conscience, that he might, by shorter passages, hasten to the idol he so much worshipped; he finds at last, that there was more trouble in the fruition, than expectation at the distance ; that all this is but like the Egyptian temples, where, through a stately frontispiece and magnificent structure, a man came, with much preparations of reverence and worship, but to the image of an ugly ape, the ridiculous idol of that people. A man comes to the world as to a lottery, with a head full of hopes and projects to get a prize; and returns with a heart full of blanks, utterly deluded in his expectation. The world useth a man as ivy doth an oak; the closer it gets to the heart, the more it clings and twists about the affections, though it seem to promise and flatter much, yet it doth indeed but eat out his real substance, and choke him in the embraces.'
To advert to what we have suggested, at the commencement of this article, respecting the personal conduct of Bishop Reynolds, we are, perhaps, too apt to identify, in our estimate of individuals, vigorous faculty with strength of character. Yet, few things in life are more common, than the occurrence of decided discrepancies in this respect. When strong character co-exists with feeble or common place intellect, the subject becomes obstinate and intractable. On the contrary, when an accomplished mind is grafted on a feeble character, hesitancy and flexibility will be the result. Under this last head, we are the more inclined, since we bave made ourselves more intimately acquainted with his works, to place Reynolds. He was a man of rich and various faculties, adorned with many adventitious qualities of acquisition and research; but he was infirm of purpose, and the activity of his intellectual powers tended to render the feebleness of his character only the more conspicuous.
A portrait and fac-simile of hand-writing accompany this edition, upon which neither trouble nor expense seems to have been spared to render it in all respects an acceptable addition to every theological library.
Art. II. Four Years in France ; or, Narrative of an English Family's
Residence there during that Period; preceded by some Account of the Conversion of the Author to the Catholic Faith. 8vo.
pp. 443. London. 1826. W E must fairly confess ourselves to have been not a
little embarrassed by this strange and equivocal volume. We can certainly assign no sufficient reasons for questioning its authenticity, and yet, there are some peculiarities, as well as inconsistencies about it, which carry with them somewhat of a suspicious air. The publication is anonymous, and at the same time is charged with real names and specific details, that must render the suppression of its Author's name quite nugatory. The introduction involves considerations of most momentous import; and the closing scenes are of a serious, not to say a saddening cast; and yet, the character of the book is Aippant and frothy, abounding with bad puns, Aat jests, and ineffective attempts at humorous description. There are, moreover, sundry passages which have very much the appearance of having been got up for effect. We are, however, probably mistaken in this supposition. At all events, not having any other key to the volume than that which the Author has furnished, we shall take it as a genuine narrative, and discuss the work on its own apparent merits.
The Author · was born on the 21st of October, 1768. His grandfather had been, and his father actually was, at the time, prebendary of Lincoln. We are moreover informed, that they
both rest behind the high altar of the cathedral with their ' wives.' This statement serves as the text to a paragraph of bald sarcasms on the marriage of the clergy. There is more point in the description of the pomp and solemnity' of the cathedral service-the disjectæ membra ecclesia.' The Author's mother was descended from the celebrated Sir Kenelm Digby ; her family had been catholic until the time of her grandfather; and circumstances connected with this genealogy, seem to bave predisposed her son to a favourable view of Romish tenets and observances. In his seventeenth year, he matriculated at Oxford. During one of the vacations, he found, in a neglected • closet,' at home, a copy of the Rheims translation of the New Testament, of which the 'admirable' preface is charitably recommended by him to the perusal of all Bible Society managers, as tending, if not to their advantage, at least to their * confusion.'
It will be observed, from the account given of my infancy, that I had been from the first familiarized with popery ; that I had been brought up without any horror of it. This was much : but this was all. I knew nothing of the doctrines of the catholic church, but what I had learned from the lies in Guthrie's Geographical Grammar, and from the witticisms in the “ Tale of a Tub," – book, the whole argument of which may be refuted by a few dates added in the margin. My English reading had filled my head with the usual prejudices on these topics. Of popes, I had conceived an idea that they were a succession of ferocious, insolent, and ambitious despots, always foaming with rage, and bellowing forth anathemas.
I now perceived that there was some ground in Scripture for believing that St. Peter was superior to the other apostles, (“ Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than these ?” “ A greater charge required a greater love," argues one of the Fathers ;) and that, by the consent of all antiquity, the bishops of Rome were the successors of St. Peter. Of other doctrines I found rational, and what appeared to me plausible explanations. Transubstantiation was still a stumbling. block. pp. 16, 17. · It will be seen by this, that the Author was just the subject for conversion to popery. When prejudice is resolved into its elements, it will invariably present, as its main ingredients, ignorance and want of discrimination-two qualities sufficiently conspicuous in this specimen. It really excites some astonishment, that an inquirer so easily satisfied, should have felt any qualms at transubstantiation. Strong faith and the literal sense--the one as the ostensible reason, the other as the impelling motive-were all that could be necessary to prompt or to excuse' conversion ;' and both these thaumaturgic elements were present in the case before us. We are the more surprised at this hesitation, inasmuch as it is quite inconsistent. with the facility of credence displayed by the Author on other occasions. If, for instance, an authority be required, he throws the net at hazard, and brings up Gibbon, for the purpose of proving that the truth of the Christian religion rests • on the authority of the catholic church. Pity that it had not occurred to him, that the next step is into intidelity. Gibbon made it boldly, on the principle, that ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. He had taken that first step when he removed Christianity from its true foundations of rational evidence, the requisitions of human nature, and the character of the Divine Being, that he might place it on the shifting. base of human authority. This matter once disposed of, the rest was easy ;' the world was all before him where to choose;' and, so far at least as the worthless argument in question is concerned, he chose more consistently than this parader of his example.
• There are two methods of defending the reformed church of England; one is, by asserting the right of private judgement ; but
this method is inconsistent with the authority of Scripture, and with the truth of the promises of Christ ;-with the authority of Scripture, because it is absurd to allow to any body of men the right or power to say, “ this book is Scripture, and this book is not Scripture, and to refuse to the same body the right of deciding on its sense in case of dispute. Had this body the privilege of infallibility while decid. ing on the canon, and were they immediately deprived of it? Infallibility-I dispute not about words: were they providentially preserved from error during this important operation, and ever afterwards abandoned to error? Common sense and the rules of criticism may enable us to decide on the historical credit due to any work laid before us; but Scripture, the word of God,something more is necessary to men who are thus to arbitrate between mankind and their faith; and it is absurd to suppose that this something more was taken from them when called on to determine matters of faith, by the help of this same Scriplure, united to the tradition of the church. I might make my argument stronger, by remarking on the length of time which elapsed before the canon of Scripture was settled : was the church infallible during all that time, or only at intervals, by fits and starts ? I will quote the words of St. Augustin, a Father often cited by the Anglican church; “ Thou believest Scripture; thou doest well: ego vero Scripturæ non crederem nisi me ecclesiæ catholicæ urgeret auctoritas. pp. 21, 22.
We have given this paragraph, partly as a specimen of the strange bewilderment that seems to beset our peremptory polemic whenever he meddles with theology. In the first place, he assumes, that the Church has an admitted right to decide on the Canon, one of the points on which Papists and Protestants are at issue. But, if the Church had this right, the test of the true Church must be its having decided rightly. Now the Church of Rome has come to a false decision; has said, • This and that book are Scripture,' when there is the clearest proof, that they are lying legends which never formed any part of the sacred Canon. Then, according to the Author's own shewing, such a Church can have no right to decide on the sense of Scripture. It not only is not infallible, but has grossly erred at the outset. Therefore it is not a true Church. This error alone would be fatal to its pretensions. · The right
of private judgement,' however, has nothing in common with the decisions of any body of men' whatsoever; it is primarily an individual right, which, leaving untouched the question of responsibility to God, gives to every man entire freedom in the choice of bis religion. In a higher sense, it is something more than a mere immunity, and stands for the awful duty, incumbent on us as rational and immortal creatures, to“ try the spirits whether they be of God,” and, moreover, to “ eramine ourselves" concerning our motives in undertaking, and our dispositions while carrying on, this grand and indispensable inquiry. So far is this from being inconsistent with Scriptural authority, that we have formal warrant for it in the express command to subject our principles to trial, and our right reception of them to examination. We are not concerned to vindicate the ‘re• formed church of England, nor any other church, reformed or unreformed; we claim, for ourselves and for our fellow men, the right-and the only absurdity is in denying it-of determining for ourselves, apart from all human dictation or interference, the sense and bearing of Scripture. Even as a specimen of that weakest of all kinds of reasoning, the argument ad hominem, the Writer's logic halts; but, if it be brought into contact with the genuine argument in defence of religious liberty, its debility can excite no stronger feeling than contempt. With regard to the citation from Augustine, we have no doubt that the Writer meant that we should translate the words, ' ecclesia catholicæ auctoritas,' ' the authority of the • Roman Catholic Church. We read them, however, differently ; and when they are taken as simply importing the • sanction of the universul church,' we have no great objection to the phrase.
It is further affirmed by the present Author, that the right • of private judgement is inconsistent with the truth of the • promises of Christ. This formidable thesis is sustained by the following ingenious argument. Jesus sent his Apostles to • teach all nations, promising to be with them-it must be pre• sumed in their teaching to the consummation of the age.' But, on the principles of Luther and the Reformers, the whole Christian world had lapsed into error, therefore the Saviour's promise has not been fulfilled. To casuistry like this, the Reformation itself is a sufficient answer.
. In 1791, the Author took his Master's degree, and in the same year, entered into orders. Subsequently, he became a fellow of Magdalen College. While resident in this capacity, being called on to preach before the University, he chose for his text, the words—" Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” Hence he took occasion to maintain the power of absolution, as inherent in the hierarchy, and recommended its revival in practice. There was a difference of opinion about this effusion. Some, and those leading members of the Uni• versity,' were warm in approbation ; others took the unaccountable liberty of denouncing all this as · flat popery ;' and the Author himself tells the following seemly story in illustration.
• I have heard of one clergyman who made the attempt; he