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“ The world harmoniously composeil," &c.,
" The world harmoniously confused,
Pope (Windsor Forest). PRE FACE.
is not by any means encouraging to an Author to
feel that he is bestowing both time and labour upon an unpopular subject. This is especially depressing when he knows, before he sits down to write, that many of his readers will have but little sympathy with the principle which it is his object to discuss.
The Author of the following pages, is devotedly attached to his own administration of Religion. He believes, devoutly, that the Church of England is more in accordance with the nature of man, the Scriptures of God, the structure of society, and the Apostolic model other upon
this earth. He admires her enlarged moderation, and her distinct acknowledgment of “the Holy Church universal throughout the world." He would apply to her Liturgy, her formularies, and her system generally, the words of the poet
“ Tho' deep yet clear, tho' gentle yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.” And, though, he may doubtless be reminded of Apostolical succession, Episcopal ordination, hereditary authority, and antique resemblance—and he is glad of
these things so far as they go-yet, when he has the honesty to examine the real facts of the case, as they are placed before him in the Word and in the Works of God, and when he compares them with such examples as he sees around him in the Church and in the World he is compelled, in spite of all his ecclesiastical prepossessions, to come to the double-edged conclusion, that “there are differences of administrations but the same Lord."* An
eye for what is good in other forms of faith, is not inconsistent with the most zealous attachment for our
At all events, the effort to find out where Christians may occupy common ground, is infinitely better than to look on with indifference, or, perhaps hostility, while the distracted Church presents the sad spectacle of Samson's foxes howling through the cornfields, the vineyards, and the olive groves, tied tail to tail, with firebrands between !
There is a shallow, and it is to be feared a somewhat popular opinion, that provided a man believe nothing contrary to Revealed Truth, it is of very little consequence what he may believe in reference to the Divine workmanship in our planet. Now, assuming that the Author of Nature, and of Revelation, be one and the same, it must be evident that the analogy cature cannot be at variance with Revealed Truth. And, therefore, if any theory be adopted in reference to the work of Creation which would not harmonize with the work of Redemption, that theory cannot be a matter of indifference. Our Blessed Lord says, “ My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” If the work of the Saviour, be as nearly allied to the work of the Creator, as the relationship in these words would appear to intimate, there must be a general resemblance between the agency of Nature and of Grace. There must be a family likeness between the great principles which constitute their leading features, a uniformity which renders them fit to illustrate, and be illustrated by each other.
* 1 Cor. xii. 5,
It may be well, however, to bear in mind what the Bible was intended to teach us, or, rather what it was not intended to teach us. The Bible was not written to teach us the motions of the stars, or, the natural history of the Earth, or, the rules of criticism, or, the details of history. It was intended to teach us “the one thing needful.” And, so intent is its real Author upon this its real object, that while the meanest, and minutest circumstance connected with that one thing, is fully and clearly noticed, the mighty Monarchs, and the splendid Empires of the surrounding world are passed by in almost total silence, unless when their edges happen to come in contact with the history of God's Glory, and man's salva. tion, after which, they sink back into the obscurity, out of
which they had emerged for a moment. The main object of the Divine Spirit, was, to place our Peace, and Hope, and Holiness, in every stage of its growth, distinctly before our eyes. And, this He has done in the most brilliant evidence that ever was presented to the mind of man.
Another mistake into which persons are sometimes apt to fall in reference to the Bible, is, to imagine that the expressions applied to the works of Creation are to be taken in their strictly literal meaning. Now, it should be remembered, that the language of the Bible is not the language of science, but of commore sense. And is it not well for mankind that it is so ? For, if it were written in the technical phraseology of science, there would be very few comparatively to whom its language would be intelligible. Take, for instance, the descriptions of the sun, when it is said to “rise" and "set," or, as in the case of Joshua, where it is said miraculously to “stand still.” These words convey to every human creature on the surface of the globe the very same idea. Whether he be a New Zealander, or, an inhabitant of Labrador, or of England, or of the Caucasus, all are agreed on the fact which appeals directly to their senses, and for all practical purposes, this is quite sufficient. But, if the real state of the case were scientifically put before them, it is not too much to affirm, that, with few exceptions, as