페이지 이미지

that unhappy prelate who voted himself into the episcopate in order that he might convert Presbyterian Scotland, and who is now all but an avowed Presbyterian ; who began his episcopate by denouncing “convivial intercourse” with Presbyterians, and has ended by sanctioning. Presbyterian worship in his consecrated churches ;? who tells the world, in words which appear to us to savour more of self-esteem than reverence, that “when he was rea viled he reviled not again," and at the same time reviles the Scotch clergy in the columns of a public journal, through the medium of a writer who, unfortunately, has yet to learn that it is possible to be a controversialist and a gentleman at the same time.


[ocr errors]

The Parish Pastor. By RICHARD WHATELEY, D.D., Archbishop

of Dublin. London: J. W. Parker. From the days of Bishop Burnet's Pastoral Care to that of Bishop Wilberforce's Ordination Addresses we do not remember that any great work on the subject of ministerial labour has proceeded from the pens of the Bishops of the Church of England. The example set by the latter of the two has however already begun to stimulate our Episcopate, and the first result is a volume by the Archbishop of Dublin. A more singular little book it bas not been our lot to notice, even among the productions of Irish Theologians; and as our readers are not likely to purchase or read the book, we shall give them our impressions of it exactly as they arose. Our first acquaintance with its interior was certainly not encouraging, for a defect in the sewing of the copy sent us caused it to open at page 97, where we found the following footnote :

“ It is remarkable that there is, in one point, a coincidence between some of the extreme High Church and extreme Low Church Parties; both seeming to regard the administration of the Sacraments as the principal and distinguishing office of the CLERGY. There are persons

i Sermon on S. Matthew, p. 12.

2 The facts of the Callander desecration, we are told on reliable authority, are these : the church was built three or four years ago by public subscription, chiefly from English Churchmen ; and it was duly consecrated by Bishop Wordsworth him. self. Last spring the Presbyterian parish Kirk was under repair, and there being no clergyman then resident in Callander, they applied for the use of the church. It was granted to them, with Bishop Wordsworth's knowledge and recommendation. (See Scottish Eccl. Journal for September, p. 154.) They turned the altar outside, and erected a pulpit on its site. This continued for months, and when it ended, Bishop Wordsworth licensed an itinerant English cleryman to do duty, the said clergyman being occasionally in the habit of officiating in Presbyterian places of worship. Bishop Wordsworth distinctly told his synod, that if he had had the power to stop the desecration, he would not have used it. VOL. XXII.

3 Q

who do not scruple to authorize, and to employ—in fact, virtually to ordain—any one, churchman or dissenter, to the office of publicly expounding Scripture, and holding public meetings for preaching and prayer; though they would not think of authorizing him to administer the Sacraments.

bodanger of overra Clergy to be mang their flocks

This seemed very odd, but knowing our author to be famous for “ Peculiarities” we thought it might only be a passing eccentricity, or possibly a quiet piece of satire. But going back honestly to page the first, we had not proceeded far through some rather dreary, and not very practical remarks on the Parochial system, before we came to section six, in which the antagonist of sacerdotal principles buckles on his armour with some . Cautions for the times' on the “ danger of overrating human authority :” the purport of which is to recommend the Clergy to be particularly careful in “ distinctly, earnestly, and frequently' cautioning their focks against thinking too much of them and their office, a danger which is very imminent, the Archbishop of Dublin considers, at the present period. This brought us, after a page or two, (i.e. at page 30,) to an onslaught on the Church of England doctrine of Absolution, in which it is said that as “ the power conferred on the Disciples of binding and loosing,-i.e., of enacting, altering, or repealing rules of conduct,cannot extend to alterations in the essentials of the Gospel scheme of salvation, or in the fundamental principles of morality, but only to church-regulations as to ceremonies, formularies, public worship, and religious festivals, even so, the remission of sins as sins against God, can be proclaimed by Christ's Ministers, only as promised, generally, in Scripture, to the truly and rightly penitent.” And the Church of England doctrine on this subject is then identified with the forgiveness of “ trespasses as against ourselves,” not against God, which is enjoined upon every Christian. “But as for absolving, or unconditionally proclaiming absolution, for sin as against God, not only has no man any power to do this, but it does not appear that the Framers of our Formularies had any such meaning." We must intercalate a remark by the way as to the pitiful ignorance of the force of language to which these " Framers” must plead guilty when judged by our author. All,—“ I absolve thee from all thy sins," they wrote, and yet they only meant some"-"I absolve thee from a few of thy sins.” How can one expect a modern Archbishop, if he has a philosophical mind, to respect them?

Going on a little further, we came upon another footnote.

"A conscientious Priest of the Church of Rome, who sincerely believes that Confession, and Absolution, and Extreme Unction, are highly important towards the salvation of a soul, will feel himself called on to encounter greater risks from infectious disease than it would be needful, or even allowable, for a Protestant Minister to expose himself to. This

[ocr errors]

distinction I put before the Clergy, at a time when an infectious disease was raging, and when some boastful reproaches had been cast on them.

“Thereupon it was reported—and I believe the story is still current? —that I had prohibited the Clergy from visiting the sick !”—P. 39.

From which it appears (1) that the writer considers Confession and Absolution as enjoined in his own Church to be in the same category with Extreme Unction as enjoined by the Church of Rome; (2) That none of the three-Romish or Anglican—are highly "important towards the salvation of a soul ;” and (3) That the Irish Clergy are so full of the spirit of self-devotion as to need their Diocesan's loving advice—though he will not prohibit them from doing it—against visiting their flocks when there is risk of their catching fever.

After a little breathing-time we entered upon the perusal of Lecture II., which is entitled “ Explanations of the Bible:" and soon found out there also that “one of the worst corruptions of Christianity—the converting of the Christian Minister under the Gospel-dispensation into a sacrificing or sacerdotal Priest (answering to the Levitical)—is fostered by the ambiguity of a word. Throughout our English Bible, ‘Priest,' is invariably the rendering of Hiereus, the sacrificing Priest; while in the Prayer Book the same word invariably answers to Presbyteros (from which indeed it is formed), and which is, in our Bible, always rendered • Elder."2 And when we arrived, after much exercise of patience, at Lecture III., the first words that met our eyes were,

« The duty of giving religious instruction to the people is one of the most important of our duties, and what may be said to characterize our office, as established by the Apostles, and maintained in our Church, and as distinguished from the office of the sacerdotal Priest under the Levitical law, and of the Priest in the unreformed Churches : whose chief function is, not so much instruction, as the offering of a supposed sacrifice on behalf of the people, and the administering of (supposed) sacraments.”—P. 96.

A reference at the foot of the page bade us “See Note C at the

1 It was lately republished in the work of a Romanist female convert, and without the qualifying explanation that it was an example of the peculiarities of a single Bishop of the Church of England, not of their general principles. There are Low Church and High Church Bishops too who would fall into the mistake of “hazarding their lives” for the sake of the Gospel, or “ giving up their life” for their sheep. We do not mean in Ireland.

2 How are we to characterise a sneer contained in a note on this subject at page 62 ? The note is simply in these words, “ Is it any great harm if a word be misunderstood ?' says a writer of the Tracts for the Times, No. 3.” In the passage from which Archbishop Whateley professes to quote, the writer is speaking of the word “ Hell” in the Creed, and he says, “ Is it not very easy to explain the ambigu. ous word, is it any great harm if it is misunderstood, and is it not very difficult to find any substitute for it in harmony with the composition of the Creed ?" Of course the meaning is not, as the Archbishop makes his readers believe by his alteration of the passage, that any word may be misunderstood without harm, but this particular word referred to.

[ocr errors]

end of this Lecture," and on obeying its behest we found of course) a quotation from “ Cautions for the Times” in which we are plainly told it is a mistake to suppose that it is “ officiating before GOD which forms the distinguishing function of the Christian Ministry;" that Heathens and Jews had, and the Romish Church believes itself to have, a Priesthood in the sacrificial sense ; and so they have acted consistently in not allowing any but Priests to say the public prayers; but that if we are to adopt views that can be fairly collected from the New Testament, we are to put away all notions of a Priesthood; and, believing that all have equal authority to teach, believe also that they have equal authority to minister in the public ordinances of the Church. It is, in short, mere Romanism for any one to “ consider the Priest as one who is to do something with God on his behalf, or in his stead, rather than as one whose principal office is the communicating instruction to the people.” Accordingly, to go back to the Archbishop's text,

“In our Church indeed, as in almost all others, the administration of the Sacraments is generally committed (very naturally and properly) to the Clergy. It is a thing evidently suitable that a Christian Minister should take the lead in the Public Worship, and especially in the most solemn portion of it, the celebration of the Sacraments.”

But of course, on the preceding principle, it is only a question of order, and for the sake of avoiding confusion. And to this is appended the footnote which first attracted our eye.

But even when the office of the Priesthood has been thus brought down by the power of a reductive process to that of—not a “Pastor," but—a mere “Teacher,” there is yet danger that those who hold it may think too much of themselves, or others may think too much of them. And this danger the Archbishop has provided for beforehand by a vigorous protest against anything like authoritative teaching on the part of the Clergy.

" It is evidently most irrational to confound together (as some are accustomed to do, either from indistinctness of thought, or from sophistical design) two things so manifestly different as the employment of human help in any study, and the acceptance of any doctrine on the authority of the Teacher. The distinction is perfectly well understood and universally recognized in all other departments. The student, for instance, of Mathematics, or any branch of physical science, is always glad to resort to the aid of a competent instructor; and yet he would be considered as having studied in vain, if he were to receive scientific truths on his instructor's word. The office of the Professor or Tutor is not to be a substitute for the demonstration of those truths, but to teach the student to demonstrate them himself. And so also the Christian Minister must not presume to“ teach as one having authority,' like the LORD JESUS, whose miracles were His credentials from Heaven. He must not make himself, or his Church, a substitute for Scripture, or require his interpretations of it to be received on his

word, but lead his people to an intelligent and profitable study of the Scriptures for themselves.”—P. 52.

[ocr errors]

nt experience the account and presentare

[ocr errors]

aning in any way the Scriptu. We dou

What proportion of the people who have souls to be saved are able (in his opinion) to undertake this “intelligent and profitable study of the Scriptures” on their own account, the archbishop does not say. As far as our experience goes, the proportion of labourers or labourers' wives who can read through a chapter of the Bible at all is exceedingly small; the proportion of those who can read with so much facility as to have any attention to spare for the meaning of what they read, still smaller; and the proportion of those who can in any way, or by any effort, be led to an intelligent and profitable study of the Scriptures, so as to reason out any sort of faith for themselves, infinitesimal. We doubt whether the proportion of the latter is much higher among shopkeepers and farmers. If, therefore, the parish pastor is only to teach his flock in such a manner as to lead them to this intelligent study, he will simply leave the majority of his flock in a maze of doubts, difficulties, dangers, and errors, which will leave them a ready prey to the first hireling that climbs over the wall of his fold. Does Archbishop Whateley really mean to tell the young clergyman that his work as a teacher is entirely confined to the reading classes; and, of those, to the few that are able to reason on what they read ? How he is to act upon the precept in his doctrinal teaching of the other class we are at a loss to see, as, we think, every other rational reader of the passage will be.

Not less peculiar are the dogmata pronounced by the Archbishop of Dublin on the subjects of Creeds and Sacraments. And we must take leave to say that his Grace is far from acting on the precept he lays down : for the only sense in which he teaches his readers as ope not having authority is in that of withholding the proofs of his assertions. In this sense, his Grace is well known to argue within a circle, by giving his own writings as the great authority to which all of us must refer for demonstration of his arguments. While on this point we may say too that Archbishop Whateley has, in a certain way, imitated a feature of Professor Blunt's admirable book on the Duties of the Parish Priest. That excellent teacher has a chapter on the reading of the clergyman, in which he gives a condensed guide to the treasures of Theology contained in the writings of old and modern days. The archbishop has done what he no doubt considers a similar service to the reading clergy by scattering through his volume about thirty references to, and quotations from, his own previous works. They evidently form a large portion of his Grace's own reading, and he wishes the clergy to share in the benefits he himself has derived from their perusal. But this by the way. Respecting Creeds, then, we are twice informed, i.e., at page 54 and page 116,) that the archbishop has long since treated

« 이전계속 »