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and of his own proclaimed or recorded opinion, add to that moral force which always tells in the opposition of principle, and which numbers can not overbear. All this he may do, and without forfeiting the respect, nay, even the kindness of his adversaries.
and importance of its services. These will form our best security, infinitely better than any which statesmen can devise. There were certain recent alarms (connected with Catholic emancipation, and certain other measures) in which I could not participate, because I felt that any apprehended danger from without might be greatly more than countervailed by the moral defence from within. This is the reaction by which we have hitherto stood our ground against infidelity on the one hand, and sectarianism on the other; and with such an effort, and with such an effect,that is, with enough of energy, and conscientiousness, and enlightened zeal on the part of our ministers,— that all the menace and agitation by which we are surrounded will only rivet the church of Scotland more firmly on her basis, and bring in and rally more closely around her all the
But, to go back from the courts of our establishment to its parishes, where, after all, he is on his best vantage ground for the service of Christian patriotism,-he can there expatiate without restraint, in all the deeds and the devices of highest usefulness. It is in this precious homewalk of piety and peace that he can acquit himself of his noblest ministrations for the interests of our immortal nature, and the good of human society. It is there where he sheds the purest influence around him, whether by the holiness of his pulpit, or the kindness of his household, ministrations. I cannot imagine a stronger, yet hap-wise and the good of our nation. pier ascendant, than that which belongs to a parish minister, who throned in the cordialities of his people, finds unbounded welcome at every cottage door, and, by his unwearied attention at sicknesses, and at deaths, and funerals, has implicated the very sound of his name, and the idea of his person, with the dearest interests of families. We positively know not any where else than under this mild patriarchal economy, that a scene of such moral loveliness can be found, or one where the hopes of heaven, and the best and kindest affections of the heart are so beautifully blended. To uphold the system which covers all the land with so blessed and benignant an economy as this may well be termed, the chief defence of the nation to up-root is the gothic imagination of certain unfeeling calculators, whose sole principle in their dealings with society is to follow the leadings of a heartless arithmetic, but who, in the very outset of their plodding computations, overlook what that is which constitutes the chief element of a nation's prosperity and a nation's greatness.
It is the part of ministers to vindicate the worth and importance of a church establishment to society; and this is best done by showing the worth
In regard to an establishment, it makes all the difference in the world to a conscientious man, whether it exposes the church to the evil of an overbearing constraint from without, or, in common with every other Christian society, to the evil of a spontaneous corruption from within its own bosom. If not to the former, that is, if there be no overbearing influence from without, he may carry entire into the establishment all his powers, and his liberty of usefulness; if only to the latter, that is, a spontaneous corruption from within, he may possibly have no share in the corruption; and, politically (if such be the constitution of the church that he is vested with the privilege,) he may resist; and, if overcome, may lift his testimony against it.
In all these respects we know nothing more perfect than the constitution of the church of Scotland. There is in each of its members an independent voice from within; and from without there is no force or authority whatever, in matters ecclesiastic. They who feel a dislike to an establishment, do so, in general, because of the recoil from all contact and communication with the state. We have no other communication with the state, than that of being
maintained by it; after which we are left to regulate the proceedings of our great home-mission with all the purity, and the piety and the independence, of any missionary abroad. We are exposed to nothing from without, which can violate the sanctity of the apostolic character, if ourselves do not violate it; and neither are we exposed to aught which can trench on the authority of the apostolical office, if, of ourselves we make no surrender of it. In things ecclesiastical we decide all: some of these things may be done wrong, but still they are our majorities which do them; they are not, they cannot be, forced upon us from without. We own no head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ: whatever is done ecclesiastical, is done by our ministers acting in his name, and in professed submission to his authority. Implicated as the church and the state are imagined to be, they are not so implicated as that, without the concurrence of ecclesiastical courts, a full and final effect can be given to any proceedings, by which the good of Christianity and the religion of our people may be effected. There is not a clerical appointment which can take place in any of our parishes, till we have sustained it. Even the law of patronage, right or wrong, is in force, not by the power of the state, but by the permission of the church, and, with all its fancied omnipotence, has no other basis than that of our majorities to rest upon. It should never be forgotten that in things ecclesiastical the highest power of our church is amenable to no higher power on earth for its defence. It can exclude, it can deprive, it can depose, at pleasure. External force might make an obnoxious individual the holder of a benefice; but there is no external force in these realms which can make him a minister of the church of Scotland. There is not one thing which the state can do to our independent and indestructible church, but strip her of her temporalities; persecuted and derided, she would remain a church, notwithstanding. Stronger than ever in the bulwarks of her own moral and inherent greatness, and at least, as
strong as ever in the reverence of her country's population, she would be as much a church in the days of her suffering, as in the days of external security and triumph,-when a wandering outcast, with nothing but the mountain breeze to play around her, and nought but the caves of the earth to shelter her, as now, when endowed with the powers of an establishment. The magistrates may withdraw their protection, and she cease to be an establishment any longer; but, in all the high matters of sacred and spiritual jurisdiction, she would be the same as before. With or without an establishment, in these she is the unfettered mistress of her doings. The king, by himself, or by his representative, might be a looker on, but more the king cannot, the king dare not.
But we gladly bring our arguments to a close. It has been well remarked, that in the abstract discussions of men about which there may be collision, it is difficult to avoid a certain tone of harshness-a spirit the most unlike possible to that which should be, and indeed to that which actually is, in real and living exemplification. The vindication of our establishment, as far as we have proceeded in it, necessarily involves the vindication of our order from the charge, that, because supported by the state, we are therefore, as if by necessary consequence, a mean and a mercenary priesthood. In repelling this, we cannot but assert the real independence which belongs to us: but let not the assertion of our independence be interpreted into an assertion of disrespect or defiance. What we say, and say truly, in the abstract, may in the concrete be never realized; and for this best and most desirable of all reasons-that the one party ought never to be put on the hardy and resolute defence of its prerogative, just because the other party may never have the wish or the thought to invade them. There is many an ancient and venerable possession in our land whose writings are never called forth from their depository, or brought into court, just because they are never trampled on: and so of the rights of our
church-there may be no call, save in argument in opposition to enemies -there may be no call for the produce and for the production of these rights, just because there might be no contest, and we are left to the individual exercise of every power which legitimately belongs to us.
It is thus that for centuries, nay, for a whole millennium, we can imagine a prosperous and specific union between the church on the one hand, and the state upon the other, a union most fruitful in blessing to both; the church rendering to the state that most precious of all services -the respect of a virtuous, and orderly, and loyal population; and the state giving ten-fold efficiency and extent to the labours of the church by multiplying and upholding its stations over all the land, and providing it in fact with approach to the door of every family. There is here no compromise of sacred principle on the part of the church; for it is not in drivelling submission to the authority of men-it is in devout submission to the high authority of heaven, that we tell our people to honour the king, to obey magistrates, to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, and to meddle not with those who are given to change. Neither is there any compromise of sound policy on the part of the state: for the Christian education of a people is the high road to all the best objects of patriotism. In such an intercourse of benefits as this, there need not (we repeat) be so much as a taint of worldliness. We may retain entire our apostolic fervour, and apostolic simplicity notwithstanding as pure, as in the season of our most dark and trying ordeals: equally pure in the sunshine, and gladness, and cordiality, between a Christian church and an enlightened government.
I have only one remark more, and with that I shall conclude.
To take down the establishment, whether in England or in Scotland, would be to desolate the land of far the greatest amount of its Christian instruction. But there is another danger to which the cause of sound Christianity might be exposed from
rude and unpractised hands, when these are put forth in the work of reforming or remodelling our ecclesiastical institutions. The popular and prevailing cry at this moment is, for the exclusive application of all the revenues of the church to the support of our working clergy. This can have no effect in Scotland, for, unfortunately for us, by the ravenous and unprincipled spoliation of our church which took place at the Reformation from popery-and which, I pray GoD, may never be acted over again in any land-I say, by the ravenous and unprincipled spoliation of our church which took place at that period there has nothing been left in the shape of those higher endowments, which, however they may have provoked the hostile feelings of those who do not calculate on all the ends of a church, because not aware of them, are nevertheless indispensable—that leisure, and independence, and sufficiency, without which a thorough professional education can never be administered, and a thorough professional literature cannot be upholden. I say, the danger is, lest in the blind impetuosity-we had almost said the phrensy-of invasion, the church may be deprived of its best capabilities for the support of an order of men profoundly conversant in the credentials, and qualified, by their profound acquaintance both with Christian antiquities and the original languages of scripture, to expound and to vindicate their contents, and the substance of our faith. There is a risk in this age of demand for mere menial and personal labour, with a total insensibility to the prerogatives and the necessities of mental and intellectual labour-there is a risk in this age that the law of theology be altogether despised. Not that we look on a highly erudite scripture criticism to be indispensable as an instrument of discovery into the sense and meaning of the Bible; but we look on it to be indispensable as an instrument of defence: and we feel quite assured that if the wealth which is still in reserve for the elements or the reward of an elevated scholarship be enervated, or transferred to the support of the
church's homelier and humbler ser-
And here I am reminded of one of the noblest passages in the whole recorded eloquence of Canning, who, in his speech to the corporation of Plymouth, adverting to the objection of a navy during peace, alluded to the mighty power which lay up in reserve in those enormous floating masses assembled at that port, forming one of the most glorious of our national spectacles. Our present repose," he said, "is no more a proof of our inability to act, than a state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters about your town, is a proof that they have no strength, and are capable of being fitted for service. You well know," he continued, "how soon one of those stupendous masses now reposing on its shadow in perfect stillness, how soon, upon any call of patriotism and necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage, how quickly it would put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder." Such is one of those magnificent machines, when spreading from inaction
into a display of its might. Such is England herself: while apparently passive and motionless, she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. And such, I would add, are the churches and colleges of England; in which,—though they have been termed the dormitories of literature-is fostered into maturity and strength, almost all the massive learning of our nation. In these venerable institutes there lies up, if not a force in action, at least a force in readiness. This is the age of hostility to endowments, and more especially so, when the alleged wealth and the alleged indulgence of our established dignitaries are looked to with an evil eye; but to the church and the universities of England the theological literature of our nation stands indebted for her best acquisitions: and we hold it a refreshing spectacle, at any time, to behold an armed champion come forth in full equipment, from some high and sheltered retreat of her noble hierarchy; nor can we grudge her the wealth, the alleged wealth, of all her endowments, when we think how well, under all her venerable auspices, the battles of orthodoxy have been fought,—that in this holy warfare they are her sons and scholars who are ever foremost in the land, ready at all times to face the threatening mischief, and, by the might of their ponderous erudition, to overbear it.
It is the general belief, that with the destruction of our church and our navy, there would be an end to the political greatness of England; and, believing, as I do, that with the destruction, or even serious mutilation, of her church and her colleges, there would be an end to her moral and literary greatness, let me conclude with the humble and honest prayer, that DO weapon formed against them shall ever prosper, but that purified, though not destroyed, they may ever remain the venerable fountains of the nation's learning and the nation's Christianity. May GoD bless what has been said.
Sermons by the REV. DR. CHALMERS will be found in Nos. 144, 145, and previous Volumes.
AT THE NATIONAL SCOTCH CHURCH, REGENT'S SQUARE, MONDAY, JULY 15, 1833,
ON BEHALF OF THE INDIAN MISSIONS.
2 Corinthians, iv. 2.-" By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
THERE is nothing that is wont to be more frequently alleged by the enemies of missions than the utter hopelessness of the enterprise, and that for the want of those miraculous powers wherewith the first teachers of Christianity were invested. We can remember the day when able men associated the uttermost folly and fanaticism with the cause. believing as they did, on the strength of prophecy, that the knowledge of the Lord was some time to cover the earth as the waters cover the channels of the deep, they seemed themselves to have been actuated by an imagination, which all others held to be most fanatical, that the church was again to be visited with the supernatural endowments of another pentecost for the further extension of the gospel into the territories of heathen
ism. Meanwhile they seem to have rested in a sort of heedless domestic quietism; and while they denounce as enthusiasm the confidence of those who count on the miracles of grace, which may well be termed the miracles of every age, they will denounce it as a still weaker enthusiasm to look for the revival of those miracles which, non-extinct for many ages, have ceased to be any thing but matter of solid history, since the outset of the Christian dispensation.
For ourselves, we are sanguine as to the effect of missionary exertions, but not so confident as many that the gift of sensible miracles is again to be restored. We hold that, however essential such miracles may have been to the first establishment of Christianity, this system of faith contains an evidence within itself for its own