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unfettered expansion of Christian love. And at the very. moment when his heart is swelling with the power of Godliness, and the immensity of its value—in the very sentence in which he claims for it the distinctive character that is impressed upon it as God's workmanship, he fully and freely acknowledges, that man's work“ profiteth a little.” This is the true Catholic spirit. It teaches us to denounce, with scrupulous fidelity, the slightest shadow of deviation from the simple Gospel of Christ; while it leaves us free to recognise, with generous approval, whatsoever is true in the theology, and useful in the systems and churches however remote from our own.
Now, let us apply these principles to a particular case. If the facts presented to us in the kingdom of Nature have their counterpart in the kingdom of Grace, then, we should expect to find in the Church of God, a Unity of plan adapted to a Variety of form.
So far as we know, there is but one ecclesiastical corporation on earth, which arrogates to itself the exclusive prerogative of being “the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, out of which none can be saved.” Let us, then, analyse this proposition, and see to what conclusion it will ultimately lead us.
As the object of this book is not polemical, it is hoped, that the reader will view, with calmness, the verdict
which the voice of reason, the promptings of instinct, and the light of truth have pronounced on the excrescences of that Church ; and that the impartial student of Ecclesiastical history will be pleased to discover some apology, for errors he justly condemns, in the circumstances by which they were produced. We trust that he will also recognise the higher attributes of Candour and Christian Charity in the further illustration of the argument.
UNITY IN VARIETY EXEMPLIFIED BY THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE HUMAN MIND.
“ Facies non omnibus una ;
Ovid. Metamorph, B. ii. L. 13.
The various modes of Christian worship that exist in the world, and the unpleasing spectacle, of rival religious parties, in conflict, with each other, constitute one of the “offences” which disfigure the external surface of the Church, and tend to keep the careless, and the thoughtless, at a distance from Divine Truth. When men of this class see the disputes, the dissensions, the controversies, the lawsuits, the animosities of hostile churches; and the evident selfishness, and ill-feeling, which so often emerge from the contest, they are apt to imagine, either, that there is no such thing as Religious truth, or, that it is not worth looking for, or, that it is impracticable to arrive at it.
The spirit of religious indifference is thereby strengthened, and augmented, and a large and intelligent body of professing Christians, are tempted to sit down like Gallio, and to “care for none of these things.”
Distracted as it were by opposite forces, they continually halt between two opinions-suspecting vital godliness, yet shrinking from the idea of open infidelity, they are content to live in a state of vibration, between the brink of the “ fountain," and the edge of the chasm. A mere touch, in one direction, might send them among the “living waters," a mere touch in the other, might push them over the eternal precipice.
A portion -and it is to be feared a very large portion - of the professing Christian world is in this state of mind.
Let us, then, endeavour to remove this “stumbling block” out of the way--to place “ the offence" in the light of God's word—to shew what is of human corruption, and what of Divine arrangement-to disentangle the wisdom of God, from the weakness of man, and thus, to turn a noxious apology for religious indifference, into a holy argument for religious belief.
With this object, we now proceed to prove, that the various modes of Christian worship have their origin in,
I. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN MIND.
II. THEIR ILLUSTRATION IN THE HISTORY OF INSPIRED RELIGION, AND
III. THEIR COUNTERPART IN THE DIVINE WORKMANSHIP IN OUR PLANET.
No one ever saw two faces that exactly resembled one another. It is far more difficult to find two human minds that see everything in the same light. The varieties of our mental structure are boundless, and these varieties give a peculiar shape, and colour, to our opinions. We cannot induce men to think alike on eyerything. They will not consent to suppress their sentiments. There must, therefore, be contention and collision. That this does, indeed, arise from the nature, and the free action of the human mind, is evident from the fact, that it takes place in every department of knowledge, as well as in religion. In science, in literature, in law, in morals, in medicine, in politics, even in the theory of light itself, there are little “ undulations” of opinion, producing differences, and debate. In the substance of these things, all reflecting minds are agreed, but in the execution and the details, there is room for variety of opịnion, and variety of opinion takes place. For example: The two great parties that alternately sway the destiny of this Empire, are perfectly agreed about the value of law, and the nature of government, and the genius of the British constitution. The one party, however, are all for change, and the other considers change an evil. This difference splits them into hostile ranks, and, session after session finds them contending with all the dexterity, and, sometimes, with all the bitterness of hereditary rancour. No man of common sense