Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

And for Schools, it would have said in like manner, “Let our Schools be built and maintained by help of the Civil Power, in all respects equally with your schools, in due proportion to the wants of the populations severally, and we will give up all attempt to intrude ourselves into your schools."

But as neither of these arrangements would have answered the purposes either of the assailants themselves, or of those "Churchmen” who promoted and aided in the assault, neither of them was adopted.

On the side of the defence, there has not been, and never will be so long as Parliament lasts, any real defence. The key to this, over and above its unfaithfulness, is about as great a piece of silliness as may be. You will not look at a disputed question from the adversary's stand - point; you will only look at it from what is, not so much your own stand-point, for then you would stand fast, but, something which, under pressure, you have made your stand-point. I think I had in my hands in some ten years about thirty drafts of Bills for settlement of the “Church-rate" question ; all of them, as I pointed out at the time, open to this fatal objection.

The issue is, that you keep telling your adversary that he asks for what he neither asks for nor cares to have ; and you offer this for his acceptance in lieu of what he does ask for, and does care to have. This folly has just been repeated in the “Burial” matter.

It tends naturally enough to irritate: has no tendency to satisfy. It is very like telling a man he is a fool : a thing which men resent much more than the being told they are knaves. And the end of it is that you lose everything, and he gains everything : as happens always when one side stands fast, and the other shifts and dodges about.

England is a great country, but it is a puzzling place too. There is nothing too monstrous for the Whig oligarch to advocate as a sop to the democracy which, for

the present, is content to have him for leader: nothing too precious for the Conservative to surrender upon demand: nothing too gross or too cloying for the democrat to eat, provided always it is found him at other people's expense.

And all this always on plea of conscience. Why, this conscience doth make knaves.

Is it said, these are hard words? I know they are hard words; but I know nothing in the law of nature, or of Grace, or of both, to tell me not only that I may not use hard words in denouncing false principles, but to acquit me if, knowing the principles to be false, I do not denounce them. In this case, hard words become a duty. Let me distinguish a little.

Man is bound by the law of natural love, and by the law of heavenly charity to his fellow-man: man is not the judge of his fellow-man. Even when he is bound by duty to deliver him over to the death of this world, the judgment does not go beyond this world; it remembers itself and says, “ The LORD have mercy on your soul." Innocent men have perished by public law, innocent, that is, of the crimes for which they have been condemned to die; and no man knows, or can know certainly, possibly not always the justly-condemned criminal himself, how it is that he stands, every particular of his case being taken into the account of Infinite knowledge, love, mercy, before the Judge of all men.

Let therefore charity, as between man and man, be the absolute bar to our “judging one another.” Hard words as against this or that man, and much more as against classes of men, are only one form of “judging."

Our Blessed LORD, indeed, denounced classes of men; but it was Infinite knowledge, and wisdom, and power which did this : it is not for us. And be it borne in mind, that in doing it, He assigned the reason that the principles and practices of the class injured and ruined souls; but man may not denounce classes of his fellowmen, however much he may denounce the principles,

which to the best of his judgment appear to him to guide them.

Now no doubt there is a difficulty in distinguishing between a man, and the principles, which he represents ; but the distinction has to be made and observed. It is contrary to Christian duty to use hard words about a man, however bad he may be, or appear to be: it is Christian duty to use hard words about an evil principle.

Our nature were indeed in worse case than it is, if the eternal principles of good were not absolutely and definitely fixed for us, delivered to us, and by Grace as definitely and absolutely ascertainable by each one of us, according to the measure of God's gifts. Everything contrary to the eternal principles of good, is a principle of evil; and it is part of the charity which cares for souls to denounce evil principles unsparingly.

The lines of good and evil are very commonly much confused among men: it is so in large measure amongst ourselves at this time. What is the account of it? It is that men are much more given to build up every one his religious system for himself, than to receive it as delivered to him by the Church. But, it is said, the Church Catholic is much divided, where then is the guidance? The answer is, that in respect of the Incarnation, and the Atonement, and the Resurrection; in respect of Apostolical order and succession, the Creeds and the Sacraments, the trust, commission and authority of the Church, all branches of the Church Catholic are at one.

I say then again, our nature were indeed in evil case if all these things were not definitely and absolutely fixed for us, delivered to us, and by Grace as definitely and absolutely ascertainable by each one of us, according to the measure of God's gifts. I say again, that it is part of the charity which cares for souls to denounce unsparingly, and in hard words—no words can be too hard-the principles of evil which reject them, either by way of direct denial, or by way of betrayal, or by way of compromise. Judge not men ; but, as much as you can, judge and denounce unsparingly the principles of evil.

If, therefore, any man says to me, as many have said, “You speak of these things as if they were known to you as eternally true, and therefore condemn all who do not hold them as you do." I reply, "They are known to me as eternally true, and therefore I do so speak of them; but I condemn no man. If he is representing a principle of evil, I condemn the representation; the man I do not judge, much less condemn. I believe the things you refer to as I believe in my own life: I believe them as I believe in GOD. God's Word tells me there is 'one LORD, one Faith, one Baptism ;' I believe what I am told in God's Word. God's Word tells me to 'hear the Church ;' I do hear it. God's Word does not tell me to hear man as against the Church; I do not hear man as against the Church. I am bound by my duty to CHRIST, to denounce as unsparingly as I can everything that would persuade me to do it."

Do men tell me that the Church is only one sect among many, having great possessions and privileges, derived from the superstition of unenlightened times. I have only one answer. I say that it is a delusion of the Devil which makes men so to speak.

So much, then, for the use of hard words. For my countrymen, the people of England, and for myself, let me say this,

Whatever my language in condemnation of principles of evil may have been and is, I have tried alwaysI know with what miserable imperfectness-not to judge my fellow-man. And however deeply and bitterly I see cause to lament the religious condition of this people, I am bound to believe, and I do believe, that it is the Bishops and Clergy who have here, as in all else, most to answer for. It would be well for us if those words of the Apostle were never absent from our minds and hearts, “Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

CHAPTER VI.

BROADWINSOR. 1838–1845.

[ocr errors]

FTER our marriage we went abroad for a little

time, and then established ourselves, till I could build a house at Broadwinsor, at Waytown, in the parish of Netherbury, the house nearest to Broadwinsor that I could find. The Vicarage at Broadwinsor was a ruined cottage, with some three habitable rooms: there I housed my first Curate, Edward Wyndham Tufnell, afterwards Bishop of Brisbane; and for two years lived a life of almost daily transit, as I had done at Cuddesdon, The site of the old Vicarage became, some three or four years after, the site of the parish schools.

There was a strip of kitchen-garden, and a glebe field of some six acres : not a tree or a shrub in the glebe field, where I began with digging the well, and making the road for the new Vicarage.

Having borrowed two thousand pounds from the Bounty Board, I had to find the rest of my seven years' outlay as I could. I had no means of my own outside the marriage settlements; so I took pupils, insured my life largely, borrowed what I wanted, and have been halfruined ever since. House, grounds, and stables, about £3,000 ; small church for west end of parish, £1,000 ; schools, £1,000. When we came to East Brent in 1845, I computed that I had left behind me at least £3,000 in seven years.

Broadwinsor is a parish of some five miles by three, lying in a very fine country, above the beautiful valley of Beaminster and Netherbury, under Lewsda nond Pillesdon hills, six miles north of the English Channel : population in 1838, about 1500. The parish church, substantially, I believe, sound, but of no beauty, and quite too small for the parishioners; locally also inconvenient to

« PoprzedniaDalej »