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understanding and the affections, of all who are privileged to use it, and eminently calculated to lead by the hand, and conduct into the inermost recesses of the temple those who might wander in the vague and indistinct independance of undirected opinion; she has discipline to restrain and guide without using force or despotism, and she has embodied in all her formularies, and impressed on all her services, an appeal to the Scriptures of divine truth, from which she admits of no appeal, and to which she directs all her teaching. Dreading the judgments of God which are denounced against the “ teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men,' she unites not with the fallen Church that has incrusted divine truth with human inventions, though she leaves not unassisted ignorance to the provisions of an undisciplined understanding; and while she commands respect by her apostolic hierarchy, and the connection of her establishment with the State, she uses those instruments for the purposes alone to which they are adapted, and claims affection but for her adherence to scriptural truth, for the purity of her doctrines, and the correctness of her faith. Her ministers can perform the office of an evangelist, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and in her constitution there is a provision likewise made for the useful ministrations connected with local necessities. If our Church be not a Missionary Church, it is strange that the blessing of God should have so followed her constitution and so have blessed her labours, wberever (and deeply is it to be lamented that they have been so contracted) she has sent forth her faithful servants.
In truth, she seems to have considered every one of her ministers as a sort of missionary, called on to contend with that heathenism that is enshrined in nominal Christianity, to pull down those idols that are generated by the corruptions of the human heart, and" to keep himself unspotted from the evil world” around. What parish is there so purified that the minister will not have to drive away false and erroneous doctrine-what congregation so converted, that the very elements of religion do not require to be exhibited ?. While education is all-important, and the training of the young in the knowledge and way of the Lord, and the building up adults in their most holy faith, is the important business of the minister, he is daily and weekly to remember that he must also perform the work of an evangelist and sound the gospel trumpet. And this peculiarly, applies to Ireland. Ours is eminently a Missionary country. The Roman Catholic Church calls and considers it as such, and by a more powerful reason we should deem ourselves bound so to act. We should be on the aggressive against the vices and idolatry of the reigning superstition, and employ every expedient furnished us by the situation in which we are placed, to awaken those who are slumbering in Babylon, and to call them forth from her sins and her dangers. One of these expedients we have not yet tried to any extent, and it more peculiarly concerns our present question, we mean preaching; while we appeal from the press and the plaiform, while we scatter tracts, erect schools and provoke discussions, we have overlooked another instrument, more spiritual, and therefore more likely to be blessed; more universal, and therefore more likely to be useful ; more interwoven with the character of our Church, and our religion ; and, therefore, one that pre-eminently calls a churchman to employ it.
We mean not to undervalue controversial sermons ; the utility of them has been tried and experienced : we deem them most useful; we think that they should never be relinquished, but that in every part of the country, at stated periods not very distant, the minister should occupy his pulpit, and invite bis parishion. ers to hear truth, not merely announced, but contrasted with error, and both brought to the test of Scripture. We mean not to undervalue the other agencies that an active and benevolent zeal has brought into existence and directed against error, but we cannot avoid stating our solemn conviction, that in using them we have relied too implicitly upon them, and that we have done so to the neglect of that which is peculiarly the weapon of evangelical warfare, and almost as much a matter of revelation as the very truths it was intended to expand and to defend. We have deemed it important to educate the young, and when practicable the adult, and we have done well and wisely ;we bave deemed it essential to circulate the Scriptures, and in so acting we have but fulblled the most obvious of all duties, the most crying of all charities; we have brought truth and error in controversial contact before our population, both from the pulpit and the platform, and have enabled our priest-ridden people thus to appreciate the bonesty and the acquirements of their pastors; but in appealing to the wonderful influence of education, we have, perhaps, relied too much on that most valuable auxiliary the press, for rendering our lessons permanent, and we bave neglected the living and speaking enforcement, and expansion of the word of God; we have been, perhaps, in our anxiety to detect Roman Catholic error, not quite sufficiently desirous of bringing Protestant truth in its simplicity and power before the mind. The Irish population partakes enough of the general characteristic of our nature, to feel not unfrequently offence and irritation when its favourite opi. inions are uncompromisingly attacked and overthrown, and except truth be introduced into the vacancy left by vanquished error, little in the way of improvement can be hoped for. We have seen an audience or a congregation writhing under the influence of controversy, feeling its bitterness in all the aggravated feelings of irritation and a vexed spirit, and though unable to disprove, unwilling to confess a defeat. If the mild and healing influence of the Gospel had been then applied, if the book of God with its soothing and its beneficent influence were opened before the irri. tated people, how speedily under the teaching of the Spirit would the angry passions subside into peace, and the character of the opposition to truth be changed from indignation to inquiry. In a word, we must all allow that many parts of controversy are too abstruse, many too learned for the common Roman Catholics; but the truths of the Gospel are on a level with all-her controversies are even for babes in grace, her learning is derived from each individuals heart, her appeals to each individuals affections; the inquiry that is excited by discussion she directs to the standard of unerring truth, and then divested of every selfish and of every angry feeling, and exchanges hostility against other men and other men's opinions, for self-examination and self-abasement.
We do not mean, of course, to deny that the Gospel has been preached by the excellent men who have been actively engaged in discussing controversial topics from the pulpit, but such was not their specific object, and the impression left on the mind of the auditory was assuredly of a controversial cast ;-and though even in discussion the advocates for truth have frequently introduced the grand and leading features of the Gospel, yet still, these mild and beneficent truths were generally lost in the din of controversy; now we wish in perfect consistency with all the other exertions making, that men of holy and pious lives, mighty in the Scriptures, and devoted to the service of God and man, would go forth through our land in its length and its breadth, whose only employment should be the preaching of the Gospel, whose only object the salvation of the souls of men, who not inviting but not flying controversy, might deliver the message of God to man, and declaring the inspiriting and purifying truths of the Gospel, with earnestness, with affection, and with fidelity. We think that we have not sufficiently attended to this great instrument, either as to its efficacy or its scriptural character, and that although experience has proved even from the apostolic times, that the preaching of the word has been the great means em. ployed by God to extend the Redeemer's kingdom, we have had recourse rather to the subsidiary expedients which never can supply the place as substitutes, though they are most important as adjuncts to the preaching of the Gospel, and from the period in which by an order of the Council, sermons were commanded to be delivered in English, or if the congregation did not understand English, in Latin, until the present day, there has not been made a vigorous, consistent, and continued exertion, to bring the simple truths of the Bible before the people in a way best suited to their capacities, most attractive to their affections, and most persuasive of their understandings.
We confess, that we see no difficulty in the Church of Ireland suiting herself to the circumstance of the times, and becoming more peculiarly missionary in her character, not for a moment losing her essence as to the localities of her ministrations, but adding to them, all that can meet the peculiar situation of our country. We would wish to see individuals clad in the respected sanctity of the ministerial character, and therefore objects of veneration to the people, licensed and sent forth by the respected heads of our Establishment, and therefore amenable to them, and by them made responsible, and permitted under their sanction to go into every part of their respective dioceses to preach, as prudence and circumstances may direct, to proclaim the message of salvation in the Church, or the school-room, the market place or the highway, beneath the humble roof of the cottage, or under the high canopy of the heavens, fully, freely, plainly, with affeclionate earnestness as an interested brother, with solemnity and power, as the minister and ambassador of God, with the deep conviction of a sinner, declaring the judgments and the mercies of Jehovah to his dying fellow-sinners. We are convinced, that if such men were to go forth, uninvested with any character but the ministerial, unincumbered with any official restrictions but those dictated by prudence and love to the Established Church, men mighty in the Scriptures and powerful in utterance, men trying to be made the instruments for calling sinners to repentance, with the love of God in their hearts, and his law in their lives, and his Gospel in their affections, we are convinced that their ministrations would be blessed--we are convinced that no respect for official or priestly interdictions would prevent the people crowding to the sermons, and the effect would be all-important in separating the people from error.
We would say that to our judgment, no merely official difficulties should restrain the respected heads of our Establishment from some such course. It is one that has been heretofore adopted under circumstances peculiarly similar to those of our times, and it requires but their influence to elicit many who would go forth emulating the piety and zeal of the venerable apostle of the North ;* but even though our Church had never used tbis obvious expedient for doing good, is that a reason why under such circumstances as the present, with danger pressing, to wbich we cannot close our eyes, an awful responsibility rendered still more awful by every moment during which we continue inactive, with the denunciation of our adversaries, the encouragement of our friends, the dictates of plain common sense, is it possible that our Church can hesitate to adopt some such plan, and persist in limiting the usefulness of its apostolic ministrations to those who are within its pale? Let us consider that this work will be done, and can be done by none so effectually and influentially as by the Established Church, but that it assuredly will be done.
The feelings which have so pressed upon ourselves have actuated others, and whatever the Church may
the subject, the Dissenters have taken the field ; untrammelled as they are, by the discipline which so materially contributes to the usefulness of our Establishment, they have adopted the very plan of which we speak, and have sent out many able and pious men to declare the Gospel to the poor, in the uncontroversial simplicity of its spirit. There are many such Missionaries abroad, and it is a matter of regret to many of the warmest friends, and most devoted adherents of the Church, that they cannot reckon her ministers among the number. The truth is, that the times will not admit of hesitation ; we know the people of Ireland, and we are convinced that they will listen to the voice of the preacher, who with earnestness and power addresses them on the things connected with their salvation; and we would ardently pray, that not on our Church should rest the responsibility of implicitly refusing them the Gospel. We need not now speak about the
• Bernard Gilpin.
all-important services of the resident ministers of the Establishment, nor can those who know us, suppose that our strictures can be intended to undervalue this the most influential and most permanently useful engine ever employed by the Church of God to call sinners to salvation. But there may be advantages peculiar to the missionary plan, and subsidiary to the general constitution of the Church. The local clergyman, in many instances, is prevented from addressing Roman Catholics; his exertions may have been honoured by the special denunciation of the priest ; temporary circumstances, that affect not the missionary, may, perhaps, diminish his influence over the people ; but though spiritual censures may hinder the peasantry from crowding to the church or the school-house, they never have kept them from the court-house or the market-place, whither even the novelty of a stranger's address may draw them. The missionary may thus be enabled to plough up the land, or to scatter the seeds of an harvest which the parish minister may afterwards be enabled to reap; and hence the irregular workman may become a most valuable auxiliary to the stationary clergyman. In one way, indeed, the parish minister himself may become this missionary ; he may interchange with his zealous brethren ; he and they may reciprocate congregations and parishes, and thus be enabled to carry over a large proportion of each diocese, the truths of religion, recommended to the curiosity of the people by their being declared by a stranger. Wherever the experiment has been tried, it has been blessed ; and we know that all the influence of the Carlow hierarchy was insufficient to prevent the peasantry from crowding 10 hear the gifted individual who addressed them subsequent to the discussion in that town.
It must be, we trust, unnecessary for us to say, that we have ventured on the foregoing observations, under the influence of the warmest love to the constitution of our Church, and the deepest anxiety for her glory. We would see her foremost in the struggle that is going forward in Ireland, using every means that God has given her, dismantling herself of every thing merely earthly, and adding to her missionary wreath the reformation of Erin, as well as the conversion of Hindoostan. If there be difficulties arising from discipline or form, they should give way to the all-important influence of circumstances, they cannot be so formidable as not to bend to such motives. If our form be apostolic, it must be compatible with those missionary labours that formed the grand character of the Apostles ; if our doctrines are scriptural, they will perform the office of the Word of God, and bring the light of pure and reformed Christianity to the mind of the Irish peasant. On, let the recollection of the ages of neglect and ignorance in which the national Church permitted the Irishman to liemages whose stillness is scarcely disturbed by the recollection of a Bedel or a Richardson, an Usher* or a Boyle-stimulate the sons of that national Church, to roll away the reproach of indif.
* What is the University doing about the collected works of this great man? VOL. VII.