Images de page
[ocr errors]

those cunning Presbyterians well says Leighton, but the covenanters knew what it had done in the times never considered how different the of their fathers, how it took an ell nature and model of a thing might when they gave it an inch. They be under the same name. knew the king's supremacy and not alter the names then," might a faithlessness, they knew the parlia. Scotchman reply; " so easy a thing ment's compliance and venality. may remove a part of our scruples. They knew that the English would Are the names worth fire and not be satisfied without a greater sword ?” But says Leighton, “ that conformity than existed, and that this difference should arise to a great policy alone prevented the leaders height, may seem somewhat strange of the predominant party from car- to a man that calmly considers that rying their measures farther. Will there is in this church, no change at it seem strange then, above all when all, neither in doctrine nor worship, we think of their Scotch stiffness no, nor in the substance of the disand great love for their kirk, that cipline itself.”. " Why then make they felt it necessary to make a so much ado about the matter," restand at first, if they would not aban. joins the other party.

“ Besides don a cause so dear to their hearts? who guaranties that we have reach

There was one answer which the ed the end of the changes.” Presbyterians had ready to meet the In this paper he exclaims “ who force of every argument and entrea- would not long for the shadows of ty. It would be a breach of the cov- the evening, and to be at rest from enant if they conformed. To meet all these poor, childish, trifling con. this plea Leighton, at some time or tests.” The evening of his fruitless other, probably soon after the resto- work in Scotland at length came; ration, wrote a short paper, * which and never did a servant more earappears among his works. His nestly welcome the shadow, never method of handling the subject, dis- did a bird escape more gladly from covers much candor, but we think, the fowler's snare, than did this man some simplicity also. He allows to of peace

and love from the men and tender consciences, nearly the very the scenes of strife. “My soul hath ground they wished, and then at long dwelt,” he could say, “with considerable odds, attempts to dis- him that hateth peace.” Now his lodge them from their position. His enlargement has come, he flies to a first argument is that the English retirement among his relatives in who took the covenant, did not un. England, and there divides his time derstand it to be opposed to all kinds between studious meditation upon of episcopacy. This was to a great heavenly things, and preaching and extent true; but he owns that most praying in the parishes round about. of the Scotch, both ministers and All he had, it is recorded, was dis. people, did understand it “as against tributed in charities by the hands of ail episcopacy whatever, even the others. His friend Burnet had come most moderate.” Must they not then to London to live, and occasionally keep their promise in the sense at. saw him. He spoke to Burnet of tached to it in their own country by popery, when he perceived an inimposers and promisers? “And are tention of bringing it in, with more there not deans, chapters and com- zeal than seemed to be in his nature missaries in the new church?” asks with relation to any points of cona Scotchman, “which are express. troversy.

“ He looked also on the ly abjured in the covenant?" True, church of England with melancholy

reflections, and was very uneasy at • This piece also appears as a letter at the end of Mr. Pearson's life, together an expression then much used, that with a shorter one to the same effect. it was the best constituted church in



the world. He thought it was truly munion by another, in which more so in relation to the doctrine, the than eighteen thousand persons are worship, and the main part of our said to have suffered death, exile or government. But as to the admin- imprisonment. Had he and the istration, both with relation to the truly good men who acted with him ecclesiastical courts, and the pasto- stood wholly aloof, it is by no means ral care, he looked on it as one of certain that the bad men would have the most corrupt he had ever seen. dared to move a step forwards. The He thought we looked like a fair church of Christ is wider than the carcass of a body without a spirit; bounds of a denomination. What without that zeal that strictness of then ? shall we break old ties and life and that laboriousness of the go to some other Christian sect, beclergy that became us."

cause taste or a slight offense or we After ten years of retirement he know not what whim calls us to do received the message

come up

No more than break away hither." He died, as he had wished from old friends, and an old home to die, at an inn. The pleurisy which for the same reason ; and he who caused his death, was taken on a does so gives reason to fear that he journey of mercy to London. At has neither the home feelings nor a Burnet's urgent entreaty he went to capacity for friendship. But the the metropolis to try what effect his church of Christ is wider than the expostulations might have upon a bounds of a denomination. What young nobleman, who had been a

then? If we go where no branch of promising pupil under Burnet," but our denomination exists, and where was now engaged in the foulest and the means of building us up in the blackest of crimes.” To Lord Perth faith, are lodged in the hands of the journey was unprofitable, and other Christians, must we try to he turned Catholic not long after to build up our denomination ? Nay, please James II. But to Leighton that would be worse than going off it unlocked the prison doors of the ourselves. For in this case we probody, and brought the message of duce a schism where before our areverlasting peace.

rival all were united. The life of this eminent Christian But lastly we see from the history suggests two reflections with which of Leighton's time, that if men will we will close our remarks. And wrangle, on them falls the guilt of one is that it is a serious thing to alienating the sons of peace, and of change our church, a thing certainly making men long to escape from which nothing but plain duty ought their enclosure. It is true there is a to require of us, and against the weak desire of peace in some minds, lawfulness of which there is ever a and there is a cowardly policy which strong presumption. What did would smother discord at the exLeighton, acting right as he judged, pense of truth. But there is also in gain for himself? To escape from too many others a zeal for their own jars and wrangling he fell into hot- way, which they call the love of ter disputes, until he deemed his truth, but which their ill temper usefulness at an end and withdrew shows not to be love in truth. This from active life. What did he gain spirit, all will at once condemn for the cause of religion? When when it leads those to form separate his conscience did not render con- organizations, who would be puzzled tinuance in the kirk unlawful, he to tell how they differ from their left it and thereby gave his aid, un- brethren. But the evil of it, when willingly 'tis true, but actually, to it causes others to detach themthe most lamentable persecution that selves from the body where the ever existed of one Protestant com- strife prevails, is not so much perceived, and yet perhaps is about as wonderfully potent in their results ; great. The differences between the they lost to the kirk many who otherresolutioners and protesters would wise would have died within its pale seem to have been wonderfully in quiet membership. And they unimportant; even Hetherington, were an important link in the chain who appears to think that the cove- of causes which led to the temponant is still law in the kirk, regrets rary destruction, and the fiery trial and condemns them. But they were of the kirk itself.

[blocks in formation]

In former articles* we have ex- mon with the Romish church to rehibited the views of the Roman Ca. main within her pale. Such is the tholic church upon the Scriptures, course of all revolutions, civil or ecthe church and the sacraments. We clesiastical. They are not conductnow propose, in conclusion, to pre- ed upon a previously digested plan sent those doctrines which are more comprehending all their bearings strictly theological. It would per- near and remote. Though often haps be most satisfactory to the long contemplated, they burst forth reader, should we enter at once up- suddenly at last, and sweep away on the doctrine of justification. But old institutions, leaving it for time though this was the great topic in and circumstances to give shape, dispute at the Reformation, and is order and permanence to others in always a theme of the most vital in their stead. They settle some great terest to the Christian, it is so in- principle, and leave minor points to timately connected with the doctrine arrange themselves under it in their of human depravity, that

any essen.

proper place. tial difference of opinion upon the But, says Dr. Moehler, “the more latter must lead to a corresponding harmoniously a system is framed, diversity in respect to the former; and the more consistently it is carand therefore a faithful exposition of ried out, the more will any modifi. the views of human sinfulness en- cation in its fundamental principle tertained by the Roman Catholic affect all its parts. Whoever, therechurch, must form the basis of an fore, assailed catholicism (whose intelligible exposition of her views doctrines are most closely interwoof justification.

ven) in its center, was forced by The design of Luther was not to degrees to assail it also in many frame a system of theology, but to other points, whose connection with correct existing abuses. Those abu- those first attacked was in the beses, however, sprang so legitimately ginning scarcely imagined. At the from certain doctrinal errors, that it commencement of the ecclesiastical was impossible to effect a permanent revolution of the 16th century, atreformation in practice without a tention was not called particularly corresponding reformation in faith. either to the primitive or the future He was led therefore by degrees to state of man; for a minute explana. renounce one doctrine after another, tion of these articles of faith seemed till he no longer held enough in com- to possess but a very subordinate in.

terest, and many points appeared to * Those articles bave no necessary con- be brought forward only to fill up nection with the present; so that new subscribers will suffer no inconvenience

a chasm in the general system of for want of the last volume.

belief. That great controversy,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

which still engages our attention, question whether this original holihad its rise rather in the inmost cen- ness and justice was a supernatural ter of human history ; since it turn- endowment, or the result of his own ed upon the mode whereby fallen voluntary act, aided indeed by the man can regain fellowship with divine favor, there is much diversity Christ, and become a partaker of of sentiment. Dr. Moehler inclines the fruits of redemption. But from to the latter opinion; but the Counthis center the opposition to the doc- cil of Trent has expressed itself trine of the church spread back with so much ambiguity that either ward and forward till it reached the opinion may be held without cen. two terms of human history, which sure. The subject is only touched were necessarily viewed in accord- upon incidentally in the decree conance with the changes introduced cerning original sin.

cerning original sin. “Si quis non in the central point."

confitetur primum hominem Adam, We might begin our present in. cum mandatum Dei in paradiso fuisvestigations at this central point, and set transgressus, şlatim sanctitatem show how every doctrine has been et justitiam, in qua constitutus fuedrawn into its circle. But we pre- rat, amisisse, &c."- Pallavicini infer to follow what Dr. Moehler calls forms us, that the declaration as first “the natural progress of human his. proposed asserted that Adam was tory;"—to begin with the original created holy; "sanctitatem et justi. state of man, speak next of his fall tiam, in qua conditus fuerat ;" but and its consequences, and then enter that the word constitutus, “estabupon the main point in dispute, the lished," was substituted at the sug. doctrine of the restoration of man gestion of Pacecus, who reminded from his fall through Christ Jesus, the Council that it was by no means with the appointed means of resto. settled beyond dispute that Adam ration and its consequences in a fu. possessed inward holiness at the ture state.

very instant of his creation. Dr. The first point, then, to which we Moehler insists strongly upon entire direct our attention, is THE PRIMI- freedom of the will as a characterTIVE STATE OF MAN.

istic of the first man, and affirms There is no essential difference that the Catholic church has laid between the views of Roman Catho- down the doctrine of human freelics and Protestants upon the state dom with peculiar earnestness, in of Adam before the fall; no greater order that, without any restriction, p difference in fact than exists among and without subterfuge, the respon. Protestants themselves. The lead. sibility for the existence of moral ing Roman Catholic divines are not evil might fall on the head of man. agreed upon some of the minor He spurns the idea, that God caused points pertaining to this subject, and or suffered evil to exist for the sake the Council of Trent has left them of the good which he might bring still open for discussion. The unan. out of it. He illustrates it thus : imous opinion of these divines is, “God instigates a man to murder, that Adam in his original state was that he may display, his justice in endowed with a high order of men. punishing the crime when committal and physical faculties, free from ted! We leave it to the judgment imperfection, and that his moral char- of any one, whether such a course acter was just and holy; by which is is compatible with the very notion of meant, not only that he was without the Deity. How pernicious would positive sin, but that, by the proper it be, how subversive of all human exercise of his powers in acts of morality, if men were to imitate obedience, he was in all respects God as he is here represented !" acceptable to God. But upon the We regret that the clear discrimina

[ocr errors]

tion which is shown on this impor. he was obliged to do; if he perpe. tant point does not pervade all the trated only what he could not avoid ? articles of the Romish church. But It is no easy task to explain how none of her divines with whose wri. ideas so disconnected could have tings we are acquainted, seem ever been associated in the same head." to have hit upon the mode of re- But Dr. Moehler did not rightly conconciling the doctrine of the purpo- ceive of Calvin's views of predes. ses or decrees of God with the doc- tination. Still we must confess that trine of free agency. Hence they he is much more lucid and scriptuoften sacrifice divine sovereignty to ral upon the point of man's respon. human freedom. Thus Dr. Moehler sibility in the fall than some Protes. observes, that “Calvin teaches an tant theologians. eternal, immutable predestination of In respect to the precise nature the fall of the first man; an opin. of Adam's sin, there has been a ion which is certainly quite incom- great deal of unprofitable speculapatible with the proposition that Ad. tion among Roman Catholics as am was free, that is to say, could well as Protestants. A single spehave avoided sinning.” Inability to cimen from Dens will suffice. He reconcile these two doctrines seems enumerates seven sins of Eve and to be one cause of that prominence six of Adam. Eve's sins were which is afterwards given to works pride, a disbelief of the divine in securing salvation, in distinction. threatening, assent to the charge of from a dependence on divine grace. jealousy which the serpent brought But on this point we shall say more against Jehovah, curiosity and a hereafter.

desire to gratify the palate, the We proceed next to THE FALL OF outward act of disobedience in eat. MAN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. ing the forbidden fruit, tempting her

The general sentiment of Roman husband to commit the same fault, Catholic divines is, that Adam fell and excusing her offense by charg. by the voluntary transgression of the ing it upon the serpent. The sins law of God through the temptation of Adam were pride, an inordinate of Satan. Dr. Moehler, to whom desire to please his wife, a disbelief we refer continually as the ablest of the threatened penalty, curiosity expounder of the Roman Catholic and eagerness to gratify the palate, faith, insists particularly upon the eating the forbidden fruit, and pallivoluntariness of the fall. Regard- ating his offense. This theologian ing Calvin's doctrine of foreordina- then informs us, that if we consider tion as mere fatalism, he says, “it the person, Adam's sin was the is one of the most remarkable phe. more grievous, but if we look at nomena in the history of the reli- the sin itself, that of Eve was the gious controversies of the last three most heinous and the most severely centuries, that the Reformers, ac- punished. Father Paul checks all cording to whose principles Adam such idle inquiries by the remark, in his fall only succumbed to a sen. that “ he who will take St. Paul's tence of irresistible necessity pro- words for his ground, can put it nounced upon him, should have re- (Adam's sin) in no other kind, but presented the Deity as kindling into of pure fearful a wrath, and inflicting so The doctrine of the Roman Cath. frightful a chastisement for this actolic church on original sin, may be of the first man, which, according reduced to the following proposito their own views, should be called tions laid down by the Council of rather his pure misfortune. How Trent at its fifth session. could Adam be the subject of such Adam, by transgressing the law fearful wrath, if he did only what of God, lost his original justice and

« PrécédentContinuer »