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lated the transaction at Bethany at large. Instead, then, of rendering it probable that St. Luke could not have meant so much by the word zaletns, as some are inclined to think, he has produced an instance of St. Matthew's inattention to chronological arrangement, and of his having omitted to furnish his readers with the true cause of it, and by so doing has rendered it questionable, whether his arrangement is entirely to be depended on in any other instance,
But what has the professor to say more on this subject? At p. 37, the same writer expresses himself thus: " Chronology, and the arrangement of facts according to the order of time, (a matter which St. Matthew and St. Mark, at least, have totally disregarded, and to which the Evangelists in general have paid much less attention than is imagined by those who consider their Gospels as journals), is discernable only in some few passages of the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John. For instance, St. Luke has determined, ch. ii, i. 3, the period at which John the Baptist, who was at that time about 30 years of age, began to preach. Again, from a comparison of ch. 1. 8, with 1 Chron. xxiv. 10, we find that the annunciation of the birth of St. John happened in the fourth month of the Jews, which corresponds nearly to our July ; consequently the conception of St. John (which took place soon after the return of Zacharias from his service in the Temple) was in the month of August: whence it appears that John was born in May, and Jesus in October.”
The professor, we here perceive, after having premised something concerning chronology, aud the arrangement of facts according to the order of time, bas taken care to inform us,
as it were obiter, that St. Matthew and St. Mark, at least, have both totally disregarded it; and then proceeds to say, that it is discoverable in only some few passages of the Gospel by St. Luke and St. John. From St. John's gospel he has not produced one instance of such a chronological arrangement; and instead of producing from the Gospel of St. Luke any series of passages in the same sequence as the events which they described happened, as an instance of such arrangement, he has referred us to two solitary passages, so far unconnected with each other, as to relate to events thirty years asunder. Surely he does not mean to say,
that it is an instance of chronological arrangement, that St. Luke has not made St. John begin to preach before he was born. If not, why has he produced those two passages concerning John, as instances of chronological arrangement? Had there been any doubt of the Evan. gelist's having placed the principal heads of his subject in chronological order, it might not have been amiss to endeavour to remove that doubt: but as it is acknowledged on all hauds, that the Evangelist has so far made good his promise of writing xabetns, as to place the leading parts of his subject in due order, the instances produced by the professor seem to have been very unnecessary. His concession, then, in favour of St. Luke's attention to chronological arrangement, is scarce worth regarding, as the two instances of it which he has produced are totally irrelevant. And after all, we have no reason to think, that Luke has not made good his promise of writing in strict order; and some reason to think that St. Matthew, as the professor observes, did not always do so; but we see no reason to think that he was so inatten. live to it as the professor asserts at p. 37.
J. R. W. in the M. June 14th.
ON A CASE OF CASUISTRY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
MAGAZINE SIR, N the Monthly Magazine for August, 1806, page 31,
is a “ Case of Casuistry,” as the writer chuses to term it. It is, in fact, an apology for the conduct of Mr. Fellowes, an acknowleged Socinian, in continuing to officiate as a minister in the church of England. Mr. Fellowes, it seems, has been “indirectly called to account for continuing in a church, to many of whose doctrines his book (entitled, A Guide to Immortality) is described as adverse.” Now himself, or his counsel for him, in the Monthly Magazine, sets up this sort of dofence for his conduct:
« If he continues to read the prescribed liturgies, if he avoids to preach forbidden tenets, if he teaches in the public temples nothing but the religion of the state, lie is still obedient to the magistrate, and performs the contract for which his salary was set aparı by government. What reason is there for his renouncing it? If, in his official capacity of priest, he does not swerve from his original agreement, why may he not continue to avail himself of the benefice attached to that public office ?
“When a blind man hires a scholar to read to iniin, must the latter decline reading aloud Humne's Essay on Miracles, if he happens to dissent from the doctrine therein contained ? Let him read his task, and if he has a certain rank of intellect, let him make his objections. So a minister, surely, in his private capacity of citizen, may, with propriety, recommend an alteration in the very liturgies he is employed to read aloud to a blind and ignorant multitude? The rights of the individual do not merge in those of the priest : he may, in his personal capacity, conscientiously and fully advise the public to consult those interpreters of Scripture, who have combated the religion which the country has instituted, and
urge a modification of the tenure of the ecclesiastic office: else the reforiners had no right to propose their change.
• No one takes it amiss in a civil magistrate, in a justice of the peace, for instance, the subscribing of a petition for the repeal of a law which he continues to execute, or the writing of a pamphlet, or the calling of a meeting against it. Exactly parallel is the duty and obligation of the religious inagistrate : the priest is to continue executing the appointed task while it remains appointed; but surely he may complain, and loudly too, of the established service; and may write books to induce the lawgiver to innovate, and may petition the legislature for relief, and, any where but in his church, may call the people together, and exhort them to combine for an alteration in the rubric. Where could there be in such conduct any thing inconsistent with his duty? The charge of hypocrisy is only applicable to silent acquiescence.
Such is the reasoning set up to defend temporal interest against conscience. But it deserves observation, that in all this chicanery not a word is said of that duty which is paramount to all others, I mean the obedience due to God. The nonsense about a “ scholar's reading to
a blind man," and “ the magistrate's right of petitioning and writing against laws which he is obliged to enforce, would merit only silent contempt, were it not that the juggle tends to dangerous consequences. According to Mr. Fellowes, or his apologist, the Christian priest is merely hired to read his lesson as a task, without being required to believe a tittle of the formulary he delivers aloud to the people. So then, when in the desk, he invokes “ God the Son, the Redeemer of the World;" and when he solemnly, at the altar, declares on the bes half of the peopled assembled, a sincere belief; that the same Son was“ begotten of his father before all worlds, and is God of God, Light of Light, and very. God of very God,” the whole means nothing; and in his privaie capacity of citizen, he may despise the Litany and Creeds as mere mummery.
In the public celebration of divine worship, the priest may declare before God and the congregation, a belief in the doctrines of the Teinity, ORIGINAL Sin, and ATONEMENT, while in his heart he considers them as corruptions of the truth; and the services founded upon them, as erroneous and injurious to morality.
What a monstrous species of casuistry is this; and how directly does it strike at the root of that moral reetitude, which these rational believers, as they term themselves, so much affect to admire !
Were such principles as this justifiable, then the primitive martyrs, as well as the reformers of later times, were foolish enthusiasts. If continuance in a church, professing erroneous doctrines, and such as are diametrically opposite to scriptural truth, be defensible, then the separation from the church of Rome was wrong; and those persons who suffered death rather than subscribe her tenets, must be considered as, at least, men of very weak minds. Indeed, according to this flexible doctrine, those martyrs to conscience are deserving of censure, because they should have continued in communion with the Roman church, for the purpose of promoting a reform. This might be proper enough in civil concerns; and a man would be very silly, indeed, if he resigned his senatorial or magistratial character, merely because every statute did not meet with his approbation. But we have here a concern of a very different nature. The matter at issue lies between God and our souls, and the souls of thosc who either hear us, or apon whom our
principles and conduct may haye an influence. If to be lieve we know not what, and to worship we know not whom, be culpable indifference and ignorance; how much more sinful is it to profess publicly a belief of doctrines which we privately deny and ridicule, and direct the highest acts of religious worship to a being whom, in reality, we regard as only a creature! This is uniting hypocrisy and idolatry at once, and opening the door widely to the worst species of infidelity.
The author of the “ Case of Casuistry," carries his infamous principle so far as to give the priest a right to call his people together any where but in church, and exhort them to combine together against the rubric, “ that is, against the doctrines and the formularies of the church.” But why this ridiculous exemption with respect to the place of assembly? If the priest may not only privately instruct and exhort his people against the Liturgy, but may also call them together to unite their efforts to produce a change, he may as well do so in the church, openly from the pulpit. The difference of place is nothing, if the act itself be just.
This writer inveighs bitterly against the Act of Uniformity; and he laments, in that singularity of style which pretty strongly indicates the quarter from whence it comes, "that the priest and parishioners are not left at liberty, by a separate local concert, to vary at pleasure their liturgies and their rites : here, to replace the pompous pageantry of catholicism ; there, to imitate the cheerful festivities of paganism."
This is “root and branch reformation” with a witness; for were the writer's wish carried into effect, then a national religion must cease, and Popery and Paganism, Socinianism and Deism, would share the spoils of the establishment.
This casuist finds fault with those clergymen who have resigned their preferments, on account of their dissent from the doctrines of the Church of England. He says, that in this there was " a display of sincerity and disinterestedness entitled to the appropriate admiration, but not to the merit of facilitating the progress of reform.” According to this, a man should continue in any religious establishment, however erroneous, and even sin, ful, its doctrines and practices may be, merely with a view of producing a reform; that is, in other words, 'he Vol. XI. Charchm. Mag. August, 1806.