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utterly insufficient these answers are to remove the force of the objection in those cases which are mainly contemplated alike by the Bishop, and by the objectors,-i.e. not of a diversity of opinion on subjects on which the Word of God and the Formularies of the English Church are either silent, or may reasonably be appealed to on both sides, but of a denial of the authority of the one, or of a conscious disagreement with the other. And hence it is that, in a singular course of inconsequential reasoning, as it appears to us, by aid of the assumption that the essence of Protestantism consists in the right, if not the exercise, of universal scepticism, and yet further, of the incontrovertible axiom that the cause of truth and that of the national Church “ought to be identical ;" the writer proceeds to argue that, because the Church of England differs from the Church of Rome, in not asserting infallibility for its teaching, therefore the former not only permits, but requires, her members to discuss the truth of every doctrine to which they have given their solemn assent.
III. The third objection with which Bishop Hinds deals, is as follows:-“That a clergyman is acting illegally, and that there is a moral obligation to conform to the law of the land, as well as that of the Church, which he violates."
It is very far from our intention to misrepresent the considerations which, in the judgment of Bishop Hinds, release a clergyman from that legal and moral obligation under which he is commonly supposed to lie, to conform to that law of the land which enforces his Church's rule. Our author's assertion is, that the only purpose of ecclesiastical law is to give legal effect, in respect of its doctrines and practices, to the rule of the Church; and hence, that if circumstances exist which release a clergyman from his moral obligation to conform to the rule of his Church, they also release him from the same obligation to conform to the law of the land. As if conscious, however, of the necessity of some other argument than an inference from what had been already advanced, by aid of which to meet the objection brought against a clergyman, of acting illegally in denying the truth of any doctrine which is taught by his Church, Bishop Hinds continues thus :-“Besides, the clergyman's conduct cannot be pronounced illegal, until he has been tried and condemned by a law court. To fasten on him the brand of illegality, before any such trial and condemnation, is to contravene the principle that every man is to be accounted innocent until he is convicted of crime.” So far as the bare question of legality or illegality is concerned, we should entirely concur in the force of Bishop Hinds' argument, had it applied to cases in which the question was still at issue, whether the doctrine impugned was, or was Vol. 68.-No. 382.
not, one to which the Church had given its sanction. The case, however, with which Bishop Hinds is dealing, is that of a clergyman who exercises his supposed right of “freely discussing” (an expression which, we think, we are entitled to regard as an euphemistic equivalent for openly denying) the truth of any doctrine to which his Church, in those formularies which the clergyman has already subscribed, has given its un. doubted sanction.
It appears to us that, when considered in its application to cases such as this, the assertion of Bishop Hinds that “the clergyman's conduct cannot be pronounced illegal until he has been tried and condemned by a court of law,”-and again, that “no one has any right to say that he is acting illegally, if he does preach and publish, and is ready to abide by the decision of the proper tribunals,"—is exactly equivalent to an assertion that no one has any right to accuse of an illegal act the man who confesses that he has been guilty of the crime of theft, or forgery, or murder, until that man has first been tried and condemned in a court of justice; nay, not even then, as it seems in the judgment of Bishop Hinds, provided that the criminal is “ ready to abide by the decision of the proper tribunals."
IV. The fourth objection to free pulpit discussion, which Bishop Hinds undertakes to answer, is that derived from the inconsistency of which a clergyman is guilty in questioning in the pulpit any doctrine the truth of which he has just affirmed in the desk, or at the communion table.
To this objection the only answer which Bishop Hinds can supply, consists in the assertion, which he labours hard, but, as it seems to us, ineffectually, to establish, that the same objection applies to “the clergy and their congregations, in numerous instances, throughout the length and breadth of the land.” It can scarcely have escaped the observation of Bishop Hinds, that the utmost which such an answer can effect, on the supposition that it is capable of being maintained, is, as an argumentum ad hominem, to stop the mouth of the objectors.
The counter-charge, however, is one which is of so wide an application, and some of the instances adduced in its support of such apparent plausibility, that it deserves to be examined with corresponding care, and, if possible, to be as decisively refuted, as it has been confidently preferred.
The first example is that of the so-called damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed. Now, with regard to these, it may be well to express, in the first instance, if not our entire concurrence in the wish expressed by the late Bishop of Lichfield (to which Bishop Hinds refers), “that we were well rid of these clauses," at least our desire, either for an alteration in th
Rubric which enjoins the use of this Creed on certain days, or for the addition to it of words restricting the damnatory clauses to the rejection of the sum and substance of “the Catholic faith.” At the same time, however, that we do not scruple freely and unreservedly to express our desire for the removal or explanation of words which we deem fairly open to misconception, we feel it to be our duty to protest in the most unequivocal terms against that spurious charity which too often lurks beneath objections such as that to which the Bishop refers; and to express, with regard to those fundamental verities of the Christian faith, to which we believe the clauses in question to apply, our entire and unshrinking acceptation of an assurance which rests on no single passage of doubtful authority, or of ambiguous import; "he that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
The next example adduced by Bishop Hinds is the belief, which he thinks to be involved, alike as regards the clergy and their congregations, in the response to the Second Commandment in our Communion Office, that “in whatever evil may have befallen themselves, or may yet befall them, they may discern a judgment on them for the sins of their parents and their immediate ancestors.” The first remark which we have to make on this example of “dishonesty” is, that so far as the question bears on the consistency with God's righteousness, of inflicting judgments on the third and fourth generations for the sins of their ancestors, that difficulty is incurred in an equal degree by a belief that such was one of the characteristics of God's dealings with the Jews. Our next remark is, that such, as regards what we call the natural transmission of the consequences of sin, is still, as daily experience assures us, a characteristic of God's providential dealings with ourselves.
But further, whilst we believe that, after the establishment of the monarchy, and in proportion as the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments was more clearly announced, there was a relaxation of the rigour of that temporal system of retribution which prevailed under the Theocracy (strictly socalled), -and again, that, under the Christian dispensation, that system has been yet further modified,—we believe (and we appeal to the words of our Lord, Matt. xxiii. 35, and to the invocation of the souls beneath the altar, and the answer returned to it, Rev. vi. 10, 11), that God still deals both with nations and with individuals in the same way of righteous retribution; and consequently that, whilst "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression of sin," He still reveals Himself as a God“ visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Exod. xxxiv. 7.)
We are really at a loss to know how to deal with the next example of “inconsistency” alleged by Bishop Hinds, viz., the rehearsal, on the part of the clergyman, of the Fourth Commandment of the Decalogue, and the prayer, on the part of the congregation, that God would incline their hearts to “keep this law.” We are very far from denying the difficulty which exists in the attempt to draw an exact line of demarcation between the moral and the ceremonial portions of the Fourth Commandment. We were not, however, prepared to solve, for the benefit of a learned tbeologian, the simply puerile enquiry, whether all churchmen believe “that the Jewish observance of a Sabbath is our rule for observing Sunday;" much less were we prepared to find that a stronger objection to this portion of our Communion Service, and that on which one who still retains the name of a chief pastor in Christ's Church mainly relies, consists in “assenting to the reason given in the Fourth Commandment for this Sabbatical institution—that God rested, after having been engaged six days in the work of creation.” (p. 42.) Had Bishop Hinds contented himself with the assertion that some explanation of the terms of the Commandment is necessary to bring it into harmony, both with the ascertained laws of the universe, and more especially with the words of our Lord (St. John v. 17), “My Father worketh hitherto and I work,” such statement (though perhaps superfluous in the case of any who have advanced beyond the first class of a well-ordered Sunday school) would have been strictly correct, and such explanation not difficult to be supplied. The following passage, however, incredible as it must appear, until the charge is fully substantiated, will show that we do no injustice to Bishop Hinds in representing his objection as applicable to the statement distinctly contained in Gen. ii. 2, and repeated in Heb. iv. 4, 10,* as well as in the Fourth Commandment, that God rested after the works of creation.
“In whatever way, then,” (writes Bishop Hinds) “we may account for the Divine nature having been represented to the Israelites as susceptible of suspended agency, and that agency as having been actually so suspended, in order to enforce on them more impressively the sacred obligation of their Sabbath laws, that we, as disciples of Him whose words teach us to take a different view of His Father and our Father, and as belonging to an age
* The following extract from Note is recognized by St. Paul in his Epistle F, appended to the pamphlet under to the Hebrews, iv. 10. Was it needful review (more particularly the words for the Israelites that they should have which we have distinguished by italics), this imperfect view of the Divine nature ? will suffice yet further to show that we and was St. Paul writing as an Israelite, have neither misunderstood nor mis- still retaining his inherited impressions represented the argument of Bishop on the subject, and not yet divinely guided Hinds: “There can be no doubt that it to teach the contrary? We must presume (the Fourth Commandment) “repre that it was so. I have no more satissents Jehovah as having been in a state factory solution of the difficulty to sugo of actual rest and repose; and the fact gest.” (p. 88.)
when the advancement of human knowledge is in harmony with His words—that we, or some of us at least, should be unable to accept, as designed for us, this doctrine of the Fourth Commandment, is not to be wondered at.” (pp. 43, 44.)
We abstain from all further comment upon this passage beyond the expression of an opinion, in which we believe our readers will coincide, that whilst there may be some who think, with Bishop Hinds, that it would be an “insult” to the clergy, as a body, to suppose that none of them share in the views which he has here expressed, there are more who would think it a greater “insult,” alike to their understanding, and to their moral sense, to suspect them of any sympathy in " objections” in which ignorance and irreverence seem to us to strive for the supremacy.
We have already devoted to the consideration of Bishop Hinds' examples of “inconsistency” a larger space in our columns than could be justified by any other consideration than that of the name and reputation of the writer, and of the position which he formerly held in our Church. The remaining examples must be disposed of in a more cursory manner.
To the objection to the rehearsal of the Fifth Commandment with its accompanying prayer, we deem it an adequate answer to reply, that it is not without sufficient ground, as we believe, that it has been pronounced “the first commandment with promise.” (Ephes. vi. 2.)
To the objection to the use of the Occasional Prayers of the Church in time of excessive rain, of famine, and of sickness, we think it sufficient to reply, that we have the authority to which we have already appealed, for the belief that, alike as nations and as individuals, it is by these and like visitations that we are still “judged” and “chastened of the Lord.”
Could we conceive it possible that any person of ordinary intelligence, and of average education, could seriously adduce the use of the Collect, “Lighten our darkness” &c., at a Service which begins at 3 o'clock, as an act of conscious“ dishonesty," we should deem it sufficient to remind such that there is no absolute necessity, of which we are aware, that the darkness, which we know to be approaching, should have already begun, ere we pray that it may spiritually be lightened, any more than that the “perils” of the " night should actually have surprised us, ere we pray for deliverance from them.* The objection to
* We venture to submit to the
and all we had died this day, then it