« AnteriorContinuar »
be free to worship according to the rites to which I am accustomed; if a member of the English Church comes here, he should have the same freedom. He thought there was hope of bringing this about, especially in case of the downfall of the Papacy, which he regarded as the great difficulty in the way of the unity of the Church. A book of travels is not the proper place for discussing the theories of Christian union or comprehension, but I believe Nilus struck the right nail on the head. All honour to those who, in whatsoever way, endeavour to promote harmony among Christian communions ; but when we consider the vast differences which almost necessarily exist between them, arising in great measure from temperament, from modes of thought, and from deeply-rooted associations, it is hard to conceive that a permanent basis of agreement could be fixed on any other principle than that just stated. No doubt, in such a case, the common standard of doctrine would be required, which should be accepted by all; but such a one we have ready to hand in the one only form of faith which has been established and ratified by the whole Christian Church-the Nicene creed.
“When we talked to the monks, as we often did, about their relation to other Christian churches, and to our owni in particular, the answers they gave us were almost always sympathetic and liberal. 'Do you receive the Gospels? Do you believe in the Trinity? Are you baptized ?' asked one. Very well; then you are a true Christian.' Another volunteered the remark that all the Churches are one, the test being belief in Christ. "The Ottomans,' he said, ' have also a Church, but them we cannot include, because they do not believe in Christ. These expressions, however, we must not take for more than wbat they really mean. When I was discussing the subject with the librarian of St. Dionysius', who was a rigid disciplinarian, and seized the points of difference in preference to those of agreement, I asked him at last the plain question, 'Do you then consider us to be heretics ?' 'No,' he replied, you are not heretics, but you are not of the Orthodox Church.' This exactly represents the point of view from which we are generally regarded by members of the Eastern communion; and the same thing is taught in their catechisms, namely, that the universal Church is the aggregate of all the bodies of Christians which are found throughout the world, but that to belong to one of these is a very different thing from membership in the Church to which they have the privilege of belonging. In short, they regard us almost exactly in the same way as a large number of English Churchmen regard the dissenters in their own country—that is to say, they acknowledge the reality of our Christian faith, and its vitality, as shown by the fruits it produces, and would shrink from denying that we shall ultimately be saved; but at the same time they feel themselves unable to consider us as being in the same safe and, so to speak, guaranteed position as themselves.” (pp. 124–126.)
At Salonica, Mr. Tozer saw the inscription on one of the piers of an arch, which he assigns to a date later than Vespasian, in which the unusual title of “politarchs” occurs, Acts xvii. 6; and in the Appendix to his second volume presents a facsimile of another inscription recently found at Monastir, twelve miles distant, which shows that the title was to be found elsewhere in Macedonia.
We quote some remarks upon the distinction existing between the Eastern and Western Churches, the one reprobating the use of statuary, while the latter advocates it. They are of interest, as showing the grounds upon which this distinction rests :
“When talking to one of the more intelligent of the monks of Athos on this subject, I was assured by him that the distinction between statues and icons was drawn by the Sixth and Seventh General Councils; to which he added, that the icon merely served for a likeness or remembrance of a person, while the statue expressed beauty and caused sensual gratification. In the first of these statements he was mistaken; all through the iconoclastic controversy statues were the objects of attack and defence just as much as pictures, and in the acts of the Fourth Synod of Constantinople, in 869, no such distinction is made. The change was brought about very gradually; so much so, that no trace remains to us of the steps by which it came to pass. But the latter part of the monk's statement is valuable, because it presents to us, in a Greek Christian of the present day, the same feeling which was really at work from the first, namely, an instinctive objection to a material image. In the only passage, as far as I know, in any ecclesiastical historian, where this subject has been philosophically treated, this idea has been brought prominently forward. Speaking of the time succeeding the period of Iconoclasm, Dean Milman says—To the keener perception of the Greeks there may have arisen a feeling that, in its more rigid and solid form, the Image was more near to the Idol. At the same time, the art of sculpture and casting in bronze was probably more degenerate and ont of use; at all events, it was too slow and laborious to supply the demand of triumphant zeal in the restoration of the persecuted Images. There was, therefore, a tacit compromise ; nothing appeared but painting, mosaics, engraving on cups and chalices, embroidery on vestments. The renunciation of Sculpture grew into a rigid passionate aversion. The Greek at length learned to contemplate that kind of more definite and full representation of the Deity, or the saints, with the aversion of a Jew or a Mohammedan.' What has been said about statues naturally applies to the crucifix also; and this perhaps may have been disused all the more easily, because it had not long been introduced, for the crucifix did not exist until after the seventh century.” (pp. 193, 194.)
What the advocates of women's rights would think of the following may, we think, be easily imagined. We commend it to Mr. Mill as an interesting topic for the next edition of his “Subjection of Women":
“ It roused one's indignation to see the way in which the women were treated. At one place on the road we passed a number of men, wbose wives were walking by their sides, staggering under the weight of huge boxes. The position which the female sex occupies in these parts may, perhaps, be well illustrated by a story which I heard some years ago from the late Henry Ward at Corfu. As he was riding, one day, into the country, he overtook a man who had laden his wife with a very heavy bundle of faggot-sticks; he remonstrated with him, and said, “Really, my good man, it is too bad that you should load your wife in that way; what she is carrying is a mule's burden.' 'Yes, your Excellency,' the man replied ; • what you say is quite true, it is a mule's burden : but then, yon see, Providence has not provided us with mules, and He has provided us with women.'” (p. 207.)
There is a brief but interesting account of Montenegro as an independent state, which well deserves attention; and of Mr. Tozer's visit to the Mirdite Albanians, of whom he says, that their Christianity is so superficial, that “they pray to our Lord to intercede for them with St. Nicolas, who is the leading saint of the country.” He adds a horrible account of the “ vendetta” in the family of the Mirdite prince, which, as he justly says, is “hardly unworthy of the palace of Atreus at Mycenæ ;" and also a curious description of the custom of the Mirdites, who capture their wives, usually Mahometans belonging to some neighbouring tribe, baptize, and marry them. To the scholar, the descriptions of Olympus, of Tempe, Ossa and Pelion, will be full of interest, but we cannot afford space to discuss them as we would wish. In the concluding part of his second volume, Mr. Tozer has some most readable Notes on ballads, popular tales, and classical superstitions still existing among the modern Greeks, which we commend to the notice of our readers. The map and illustrations enhance the value of the work.
BISHOP HINDS' FREE DISCUSSION OF RELIGIOUS TOPICS. Free Discussion of Religious Topics. Part II. Objections to Free
Pulpit Discussion Considered. By Samuel Hinds, D.D., late Bishop of Norwich. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1869.
BISHOP Hinds occupies a position favourable, in many respects, for the discussion of the subject which he has taken in hand. His natural abilities, his extensive acquirements, and his recent high position in the English Church, conspire to secure consideration and respect for his opinions on Church matters; whilst his independent ecclesiastical status may fairly entitle him to exemption from those suspicions which, whether
rightly or wrongly entertained, are inseparable from the position of those who are or who may be regarded as interested advocates.
We are disposed to think that it is to the measure of truth contained in the First Part of the writer's “ Free Discussion of Religious Topics," and to the amount of caution exercised in the development of his views, rather than to any general acquiescence in his “fundamental principle," that we ought to ascribe that favourable reception on the part of some, and that abstinence from dissent on the part of others, which seem to have encouraged Bishop Hinds to undertake that further and fuller exposition of his opinions which we find in the pamphlet which is now before us, and of which we do not hesitate to pronounce our most distinct and emphatic condemnation.
Before proceeding to the main question of discussion, Bishop Hinds makes a few preliminary remarks upon what should be the determining principle of the creed of a National Church. This principle, he asserts, is not the abstract truth or error of the creed, but the simple fact that it is “the existing creed of the people.” This proposition is affirmed in p. 3, without any restriction or qualification; nor does it appear to us that Bishop Hinds has, in any other part of his “Discussion,” given us ground for the belief that such restriction or qualification can, in any way, be reconciled with the views which he avows throughout it. The following passage, indeed, seems conclusive on this point: “The people's rulers, if they act rightly, are bound to take their State creed from the people, not the people from them; and, when change takes place in the nation's creed, to meet it by providing for a revision of Articles and other formularies." (p. 6.)
The existing secessions from our own National Church are ascribed by Bishop Hinds to the neglect of this duty on the part of our national rulers; and it is urged by him that the condition in which we find ourselves at this day, in consequence of this neglect, must be taken into account when we consider the question of “what latitude may be allowed to a clergyman even, in discussing sacred subjects.” (p. 11.) The Bishop then proceeds to examine, under five heads, the force of the objections which may be urged to "the liberty of free discussion" on the part of the ministers of the Church.
I. The first objection which he notices is, “that if there is no restriction on pulpit discussion, a clergyman may preach infidelity, atheism, or any wild and monstrous doctrine.” The manner in which this objection is met is so remarkable, that we should fear to incur the charge of misrepresentation were we to present it to our readers in other words than those of the writer. “If the law” (says Bishop Hinds, p. 13) “ did not interfere to prevent him” (the clergyman), “his congregation would, unless they too were infidels, atheists, or what not. They would soon silence him by leaving him an empty church, with no one to hear him. This is, in fact, the reasonable and natural limit to free pulpit discussion-not a limit defined by statute, but caused by the necessity imposed on the clergyman of going no farther than his hearers will go with him."
We do not know to what extent Bishop Hinds may be regarded as the exponent of the views of the advocates of free discussion in the pulpits of the English Church. It would be well, we believe, for the cause of truth, if all would speak with equal plainness and unreserve respecting “the reasonable and natural limit” to that free pulpit discussion at which they are aiming. Of this, however, we are well assured, that as to the probable results of that free discussion which Bishop Hinds advocates, there will be much difference of opinion amongst persons who are fully as competent as himself to indulge in such a speculation; whilst, on the other hand, we anticipate but little difference of opinion amongst the laity, as to the merits of a scheme which would constitute the clergy an irresponsible autocracy. We venture, further, to express our unqualified conviction that, on the part of those who take their stand upon the basis of God's Holy Word, there can be but one verdict upon any scheme which leaves it open to an authorized minister of that Word to “ question in his pulpit the Being of a God," to "argue against the Christian religion and advocate that of Mahomet,” subject to no other safeguards than (1) the probability of the defection of some or of all of his congregation, should the clergyman “go farther than his hearers," and (2) the axiom, on the strength of which Bishop Hinds is content to entrust the clergy with such unbridled licence, that “the may and the can are very different things."
II. The second objection to free pulpit discussion, which Bishop Hinds undertakes to refute, is announced in the following terms: “That it is dishonest in a clergyman to take the pay of his Church, and to discuss in his pulpit, as questionable, any of its doctrines.”
To this objection the Bishop suggests more than one answer. More particularly, he urges, (1) that the Thirty-nine Articles ought to be regarded as the sole test of doctrine, and that those Articles were “ so framed as to comprehend, as far as possible, all the subjects of the realm ;” and (2) that a clergyman can have “no dishonest bias” in exceeding the boundary prescribed to him, inasmuch as, by the exercise of the right for which Bishop Hinds contends, he will injure his own prospects, and alienate his neighbours and his friends. It is obvious, however, that our author is himself conscious how