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all the energy, and all the odium of party spirit; and we own that, apart from the exultation and excitement of party feeling, we look on such a one with pity and regret-pity, that anxiety for any objects of temporary interest should engage a minister of peace in strifes and contest-regret, that religion and her sacred cause should be forgotten, or seem to be forgotten in the shouts of excited feeling. We can conceive that society may be reduced to such a state, that the ministers of religion may be compelled to assume a permanent character; but it is not then a character of faction-it is not attended with the apparatus of names and speeches, and after dinner addresses; and we think that all clergymen, before engaging in such, even laudable associations, should ask themselves, "is society in this country reduced so entirely to its elements, as to call on me to forget my higher duties, the singleness of my character, and the devotion I have promised to spiritual objects, and to mingle together the precepts of religion and the objects of a party; or are the purposes which I ought to value, most likely to be attained by thus mingling myself up with a political body, however respectable, and communicating their character, to my own more peculiar business."
We have endeavoured to avoid the question of the necessity of such associations as those that the state of the country is so extensively producing among Protestants. To venture on such considerations would be to plunge into the interminable mass of politics that encumbers every enquiry in this country-our only object has been to ascertain, are clergymen called on to engage actively in their formation; and even though we were to concede what we have declined considering, the necessity and utility of these clubs, we hesitate not to say, that we think the Protestant clergy, more especially those of the established church, will far better consult the purity of their character, the interests of the Gospel, and the spread of religious truths, by abstaining from taking any prominent part, as individuals, in the work of re-action that is now adding to the agitated state of this country. We urge not that the Brunswick Clubs must necessarily, both in this country and England, assume the nature and character of party, and be generally actuated by party spirit; we urge not the tone of violence which has in too many instances pervaded the meetings of these Clubs, and afforded the enemies of Protestantism a triumph; nor do we allude to the union professedly for the defence of religion, of those who never have in any instance assisted a religious object before: but we must appeal to the state of Ireland, and the character of the established church; and we would beseech our clergy to reflect, before they would do any act that might cripple their attempts to meliorate the former, and may seem to change in the public eye the character of the latter. The great work going on in Ireland is its moral and religious regeneration, the extension of the Gospel, and the promotion of the principles of the reformation. We do not hesitate to say, that the most influential opponent of this work is the demagogue; and that unless assisted by the Association orator and his inflammatory harangues, the priest and his
influence are weak against the preaching and the reading of the word. If faction were removed, or its power neutralized, reformation would rapidly pervade our country; and it is in the heat and agitation and animosity that arise from faction, the enemy of truth finds his best ally. Will the clergy of the established church add their energy to increase that spirit, and afford the foes of religious truth a pretext for continuing or encreasing excitement? Standing apart from the bustle of this world they can triumphantly appeal to the purity of their motives, and the singleness of their objects, but by joining the ranks of one party or the other-we compare them not-they afford the enemies of the church a triumph, affix the name and character of political to the establishment, and sink like their adversaries to the rank of politicians. Our church has been proudly distinguished from that of Rome in this country, by the unsecularity of her character; her ministers as a body recognised higher and nobler objects than those, about which the children of this world were employed; and the candid observer of our country would see our clergy labouring in their vocations, as the ministers of peace and reconciliation, and those of the other church directed to temporal and political objects, desecrating their functions by employing them for the promotion of party objects, and seeking by the influence of their priestly character to aid the plans of the political demagogue. We trust that such an accusation will never lie against our church; that the objects of her ministers will be found as heavenly as the weapons of her warfare are spiritual: but we wish to call their attention to the fact, that the political character of some of their associates on a former occasion was employed to justify and excuse the open profanation of sacred things by the Roman Catholic clergy; and we would warn them, that although in joining Brunswick Associations, they may have only spiritual objects in view, and seek only the protection of such, that the world, and above all, the very persons on whom in Ireland they would act, can never separate in this instance political from religious purposes; both will be confounded by the enemy and the mob, and the pious clergyman will be classed with the agitator by the undiscriminating population. The exertion of Protestantism at present is to procure circulation for the Bible; the exertion of Popery is to stamp that precious book with a party character, to impress it with the name of Protestant, and thereby to call up political prejudice to assist in its rejection. If our clergy assume what we have called a permanent political character, they do much to strengthen this impression; they are the donors of that book, they are its panegyrists, they are its defenders; and if they are known to be associated with a party, whom the people are
* It is not without regret that we have seen some names that we have learned to value, affixed to the equivocal document called, a Protestant Declaration, which appears to us under the guise of moderation, and a call for enquiry, to contain an unmeasured statement of political sentiment, and political misrepresentation. While Popery continues dominant in Ireland, encreasing all its evils, and producing many, can any serious and reflecting Protestant ascribe to any cause, purely political, all the misfortunes and miseries of this country?
taught to regard as their enemies, whom with his usual foul-mouthed disregard of truth the chiefagitator has designated "blood-hounds;" let them reflect that they increase their prejudice, that the people who cannot understand that an association which he feels to be hostile, can be only defensive, will necessarily confound their doctrines with their apparent station, and the Bible will have added contempt poured upon its sacred pages, because the priest will be able to identify the Biblical and the Brunswicker. We feel that we tread on delicate ground; that some whom we value as the active ministers of God; and the friends of the reformation, have proved by their conduct that they share not with us in the opinions; but while we regret that we have not such friends to join us in this important crisis, we are the more impelled from ardent love to our church and to our cause to utter these observations, because we more especially feel that such examples must be calculated to carry weight, and to induce imitation: we give all the fullest credit for sincerity and conscientious feelings, and anxiety for spiritual objects; but we are free to own our apprehensions of the effect. We would gladly see the Protestant clergy, and more especially the clergy of the established church, free from faction in a factious period, declining to join party when party runs highest, separated from the vulgar ambition of the demagogue, and the madness of the people, pursuing in serenity and composure, their high and holy ministrations; not tossed by the tumultuous waves of the world, but from the elevation of Christian hope and Christian precepts, seeking to assuage the agitated surface of society by infusing the oil of Gospel truth,-we would gladly see them unmoved and unmoveable dispersing the blessings of religion, and applying the balm of Gospel truth wherever faction had infixed its wound, and party spirit had implanted a feeling of hostility-thus would they best manifest the spirit of their church, thus compel the enforced respect of their adversaries, demonstrate the purity of their objects, and act the ministers* of that Gospel which unites " glory to God in the highest,' with " peace on earth," and "good-will towards men."
* While these observations were passing through the press, we received from a valued correspondent, a letter, which we gladly publish as confirmatory of our opinions; and as our readers will recognise in it, the production of one of the most uncompromising advocates of pure and genuine Protestantism.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
"SIR,-In the present crisis of our country, it appears highly advisable, that those who take an active part in the dissemination of the Scriptures; and in the publication of the glorious truths which they contain, should as much as possible keep away from the arena of political contention. The servant of the Lord must be bold and decided, and uncompromising in his advocacy of truth, and in his opposition to error; but he must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient-in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves, 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. He is to take care that he does not throw obstacles in the way of his own usefulness; and I would humbly submit to this sober, and serious, and candid consideration of the clergy, whether the mixing together of politics and religion be not likely to constitute an obstacle of no common magnitude? Is not this one of the many
THE FIRST BREAK IN THE FAMILY.
What cry was that? What means that sudden trampling overhead? And why do the domestics with swift steps hurry along to the chamber of the little invalid. O that cry-it is the cry of a mother over her dying one-her first-born: that hurrying-it is the kind officiousness of hearts that feel and would do all they could; but all is vain. Yes, now indeed we find the emptiness of human helpings. The last pangs are over; thou art now beyond the reach of pain; thou, dearest babe, art happy, for thou art dead and gone, but we remain behind in sorrow.
Death! what a melancholy word! Surely, when it first echoed through the walks of Paradise, it spread a gloom around. Surely the gentle air, arrested by the sound, ceased for a time its play among the ever-verdant boughs; and all the birds checked their sweet minstrelsy; and flowers drooped their rainbow-tinted heads to look upon their graves. Death!-There is no monosyllable we utter which can compete with it for comprehensiveness of wretchedness, save one-but that one stands alone. It has not its fellow. SIN! tremendous word, which like the God whom it opposes, seems to say to us: "Whereunto will ye liken me, or wherewithal will ye compare me?" "Sin entered, and death by sin," says the Apostle, and adds no more; nor needed he. These two are among us-small occasion then to dilate upon our human misery.
'Tis they can desolate a world.
How strange the sun's light seems to the eyes of a father upon the morning of the funeral of his little one! What sickliness in
just charges brought against the Priests of the Romish Church? Is not this offensive in the eyes of the sober-minded, and moderate, and well-judging of their communion? Shall we imitate their pattern? Shall we walk in their steps? Or shall we venture to maintain the position, that what is wrong in a Romish Priest is right in a Protestant Clergyman? The glory of God is the prime object which every child of God ought to have in view, and whatever is not calculated to promote that object, ought to be avoided. It would not be difficult to find persons who once appeared full of life and zeal in the cause of true religion, who are now sadly fallen-neither would it be difficult to prove, that one grand cause of their delusion was, a too free indulgence of political feelings, and a too ardent support of political principles. The tide of Protestantism runs strongly and rapidly at the present moment, and every friend to the Reformation must rejoice at it—but the very fact which causes the rejoicing, should operate as an incentive to the examination of motives, lest self-love, or self-interest, or self in some of the various shapes it assumes, should be the influencing one, and not the love of God, or the love of souls.
"These few cautionary remarks will not, I should hope, be deemed either unnecessary or obtrusive, especially as they are made by one who will yield to no man in strong, and ardent, and admiring attachment to one CONSTITUTION IN CHURCH AND STATE.
"October 2, 1828.
his beams! Earth does not smile to him; and the sounds of a household rousing itself to perform the necessary duties of the every-day routine seem harsh and unnatural. The table will be spread too. But ah! what gaps are in its once smiling circle! The mother-where is she? Above upon her bed she lies, "eating ashes for bread, and having plenteousness of tears to drink." And the darling, the bright-eyed lively one-where is she? She too lies above upon her little bed, outstretched within the dark and narrow limits of a coffin. Never again shall her voice be heard under the paternal roof! Never again shall her light footsteps sound upon the stair! Even now, "the feet of them which shall carry her out, are at the door," to bear away her cold remains from the last lingering looks of those who loved and cherished her. Well it is done- she is carried out: the female domestics, wrapped in their hoods, have glided after the father too is reclining in the corner of the carriage which is to convey him: kind friends who love him are about him: and now the house-door closes. And will she never, never, enter it again? Ah! foolish thought of the weak unbelieving heart. She is in her Father's house. O yes,-she has entered within the "everlasting doors."
It was on a fine spring morning when the little procession moved forward. There was nothing in it to attract the eyes of those who love to stand and gaze at sights, whether of joy or sorrow. Occasionally one or two of the passers-by pause for a moment. See, there is a mother, who, with her two bounding little ones has stopped and turned to look. Yes, that is a fair and healthy child which holds your hand and clings to your side: but be not too proud-be not too confident. She who now passes by, rolled in her little shroud, was once as full of life and elasticity. Ah! consider your young offspring but as loans from day to day, and practice a facility of resignation.
But the carriage stops before the iron palisades of the parochial church. With a pleasing rapidity, yet with a solemn noiselessness, the lofty gates of the house of prayer unfold to receive us. And now we follow the minister of God, as with reverential step he passes up the aisle, uttering words of consolation, the only words which could speak peace in such a time as this, the words of the divine, the merciful Redeemer, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall be live; and he that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." Ab, these are gracious sounds. Like heavenly dew they fall upon the heart. And shall sorrow press us down while within the echo of these sentences? Forbid it, Lord-it were im piety itself. My soul, be still.
There are some who would be for separating the places where the living worship, from the places where the dead repose. We cannot feel with these. We love to think that the shadow of the sanctuary shall fall upon the spot where our sore-travelled pilgrim feet shall rest in peace. Where should the heart moulder to its dust, but near the spot where he who first made it out of earth, and shall again bid it throb with a pulse-beat coeval with