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phemies against the Author of our salvation, his gospel, his Church, and his ministry. The immense sale which newspapers, tracts, and books of this class have commanded, is of itself a convincing proof of the extensive sway which infidelity and sensuality have acquired amongst us; and that the publication, purchase, or patronage of such works, is a fit subject for the cognizance of the spiritual tribunal, is evident, as well from the utter failure of the civil courts to check it, as from the nature of the thing itself. (2) The evils of drunkenness have of late been so frightfully apparent, that it seemed needful to invent a human device for the deliverance of its victims; a device, whose incapacity to effect any general reformation must necessarily be acknowledged, so soon as its novelty has passed away, and the excitement of a universal "Great is Diana ceases to move the multitude to keep the vow; a device, whose success, like that of all its utilitarian predecessors, being dependent on the superhuman appreciation of rò ayalòv, is simply impossible; its motive power is not sufficient to secure, in fallen man, even the comparatively low aim of bodily well-being; whilst its substitution for spiritual remedies would be a palpable act of treachery, both to the sinner, and to God; to the sinner, because it is not as a sinner that he vows to abstain; to God, because in nothing is God glorified by the pledge, nor the body of Christ vindicated. The temperance movement is essentially secular; its promoters have expressly divorced it from any creed or religious communion-men glorying in their shame, and blindly going about to pull down Satan's strongholds, by a procedure which dishonours the only Power that is stronger than he. We presume not to attach this censure to all who have gone forth to rescue degraded men from this sink of iniquity; for, doubtless, there are some, who have recommended the new vow as instrumental to the recovery of that self-control, which is essential to the observance of the older, the baptismal vow. Some few have accompanied their eulogies of temperance with acts of faith, and inculcations of religious exercises, as the sole means of returning to a permanently right mind, and peace with God; and such have this testimony, they have done what they could:' still, let them not slack their hand until they see the Church aroused to a sense of her responsibility, and branding with reprobation, and satanical possession, every slave of that carnal appetite which destroys both body and soul. But neither was it our purpose, or our gratification, to reflect upon the non-confession of God by the majority of the Apostles of Temperance,' whose zeal we fervently applaud, • Drunkenness is the assigned cause of three-fourths of the criminal offences, and half of the insanity in Great Britain.

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whilst their sin is a sin of ignorance, more justly chargeable upon their betters. Had the clergy always set forth the Church in her true character, as the divinely instituted association for temperance, soberness, and chastity; and had such members as habitually broke her rules, and disgraced her name, been regularly expelled from her body, these mimic institutions had never drawn men's minds away from the true remedy; and the disease, involving excommunication in its train of horrors, had been comparatively unknown. (3) We agree with the author of "Religious Liberty," &c., in thinking that the abortive nature of efforts made in Parliament to check, by legislation, the horrible traffic of procurers, and others connected with houses of ill-fame, should point the attention of all Churchmen to the more appropriate remedy of a well-ordered Spiritual Discipline. Moral offences, where all parties to the guilt are, in the eye of common law, willing accessories, must be met by the moral sanctions of the ordained teacher, and vindicator of morals. The same remark applies to suicide, bastardy, Sabbath-breaking, habitual cursing, and many other forms of sin, which are beyond the reach of civil officers, and human statutes, to check effectually. The recollection of Lord Ashley's, and other disclosures, relative to the moral and religious condition of the working classes, is too fresh in men's minds to render any detail necessary here. We gladly refrain from such a task; and prefer to strengthen our position as to the necessity for distinguishing between the spiritual and civil office, in the correction of such offences as we have instanced, by reference to weighty authorities of a generation past. How sadly appropriate, e. g. to England's present state, are the following observations of Comber, written soon after 1680.

"The notorious increase of atheism, faction, and debauchery, in this and the last age, is too evident to be denied, and too mischievous to be mentioned, without sad reflections. But while many express their piety in bewailing the matter of fact, few do exercise their consideration, either in searching after the causes of this deplorable evil, or inquiring into the proper remedies for it. 'Tis true, there may be many causes of so complicated and spreading a contagion, and divers methods contrived for its cure: but there is one great and eminent occasion of this universal corruption that seems to be peculiar to our times, and the mother or nurse to most of those vices and errors which are the reproach of this age; viz. the contempt of excommunication : for this being the only means that the Church hath to punish these crimes (which the secular tribunals seldom or never take cognizance of), if men, by ignorance or evil principles, can arrive at impudence enough to despise this sacred and salutary penalty, they have nothing left to restrain them from committing and openly abetting these offences;

which by this means are grown so general, and so daring, that they are the scandal of our Reformation, the ruin of many thousand poor souls, and cry to heaven for that judgment which upon earth they never meet withal. It is manifest that the schismatics and the profane, the atheistical and those who are of most profligate conversation, do all conspire to make the Church's Discipline contemptible, weak, and ineffectual; and all strive to deprive her of that power which they know she would use for the cure of those vices, which they indulge and resolve to continue in. But it is a mighty charity to these our enemies to undeceive them, and let them see that excommunication is not really less dreadful, because some men, for vile ends, do falsely represent it as brutum fulmen: and it may be a happy means of reforming the age, to manifest the Divine original, the sacred authority, and the fatal efficacy of these Church censures; which, if they were rightly understood, reverenced as they deserved, and prudently dispensed, would contribute extremely toward the rooting out of evil principles and wicked practices, and prevent the damnation of many great offenders, who die in their sins, because they despise their remedy, and trample on the means of their Reformation."—Introduction to Discourse of Excommunication, pp. 1, 2.

Again, the warning voice of the saintly Wilson, in his Convocation Charge of 1721, might, with the exception of an allusion to a Royal order, have been intended for our own day;—the evil complained of having only increased tenfold, in proportion to the age-long neglect of the cure proposed, during the interval which has divided us.

"You have read his majesty's directions. You see what a spirit of profaneness, libertinism, and heresy, is gone out into the world; a much worse plague than the other we are threatened with, and which we take so much care to keep from us. It may be, you may think that we are in no danger of ever being infected with such wild opinions and such blasphemous tenets, as are hinted at in his majesty's directions; but be assured of it, the same causes will have the same effects.

"If wickedness shall ever be countenanced, or those discountenanced, whose duty it is to oppose and punish it ;-if the unity of the Church is once made a light matter, and he who is the centre of unity, and in Christ's stead, shall come to be despised, and his authority set at nought; if the bishops and pastors of Christ's flock should not be careful to preserve inviolably the sacred rights committed to their trust; then will error and infidelity get ground; Jesus Christ and his gospel will be despised; and the kingdom of Satan set up again here, as well as in other nations."-Life, p. 27.

The same good bishop, in his Convocation Charge of the year previous, June 9, 1720, after defending himself from the impu

▾ The plague at Marseilles, even as the cholera now.


tation of a rash and uncharitable judgment, in the matter which cost him health, wealth, and liberty, if not eventually life also, thus proceeds :

"But let others judge, as they will answer it to our Great Master. This I do assure you of, that we have the entire approbation of our worthy metropolitan, who laid our cause very much to heart, and would not be at ease until he saw that I had received at least some satisfaction for the injuries I had met with; being thoroughly convinced, by the papers laid before him, that as on one hand we had been careful to put in execution the laws of Christ and of his Church, so on the other, we had not been wanting in that respect which by our holy religion is due to those whom God has set over us in the State.

"And I have his Grace's most express advice, as well as that of his Grace of Canterbury, (than whom no man is more concerned for Church discipline,) that we should not be discouraged by the troubles we have met with from going on in the way of our duty.

"And indeed if ever Church discipline were necessary it is certainly so now, when not only evil practices, (which have ever, God knows, been too rife,) but evil books, and evil notions, (not heard of before in this place,) are become very common. And people, who yet call themselves Christians, are even pleased to see the Church of Christ, which is His Body, in a fair way of being torn to pieces.

"As to the first of these, namely, evil practices, we have endeavoured, to the best of our power, to discourage them by all means becoming the spirit of the Gospel, and, by God's help, shall continue to do so. But one thing, my brethren, I beg you seriously to consider, that God rewards not those who forsake their sins for fear of judgment, but those who do so for his sake and out of choice.

"That therefore sinners are to be convinced of the evil state they are in; they are to be awakened into a sense of their danger by arguments drawn from another world, from the wrath of God, from the loss of heaven, and from the blessings of a sincere repentance. And certainly the methods the Church takes to set these arguments home upon their hearts, are most proper, provided every pastor does his duty; offenders being obliged to give glory to God in a public confession of their crimes, and solemnly to promise a reformation; and they then have the prayers of the Church for their sincere conversion.

The suspension of Mrs. Horne, before referred to. This case remarkably exemplified the advantage of such Church tribunals, as the simple and inexpensive court over which that prelate presided, in a temporal as well as spiritual point of view. It was a case of defamation; and instead of leaving the slanderer to impunity, and the slandered to undeserved reproach, with the only alternative of a probably ruinous lawsuit, in which rhetoric might overthrow reason, and virtue yield to perjury, or sin escape by a merely technical flaw, Ecclesiastical Discipline offered a ready relief to the oppressed, by the wholesome process of compurgation; and the Church was vindicated from the offence, even though the offender refused to be reformed.

9 Sir W. Dawes, Bart., whom Archbishop Sharp, by his earnest solicitation to Queen Anne, procured a little before his death to be appointed his successor, merely from his good opinion of the man, "that he would be diligent in executing the duties of his office."

"The other evils which I observed were become too common amongst us, and which I beseech you to beware of, are books and notions of a very evil tendency. The very least mischief which can be supposed to follow from, if not intended by them, is, they give people very loose notions of religion in general; and in particular some that I have seen, and others that I have heard of, seem to have no other true design than to abuse the Church of England and her clergy; to divide them in their affections and principles; and to make those to be despised whom St. Paul saith expressly, the Spirit of God has ordained to be ministers of reconciliation betwixt God and men.

"But although these are very great evils, yet I cannot think that they ought to be made the subject of our public discourses. The pulpit was certainly designed for matters of another nature; and these are the proper subjects of Church Discipline; which, however it may be weakened or despised in England, by reason of the schisms and heresies which abound there, yet here, God be praised, it is not so; we have power and authority, both from God and the laws, to rebuke gainsayers; and while we are unanimous and faithful in the discharge of our duty, we may hope that our people will not be corrupted with novel opinions."-Life, p. 26.

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To the same purpose might be quoted an authority of no mean weight with those who affect to see in the Church of England's claim to the power of the keys nothing less than priestcraft, and a substitution of the law for the Gospel,-Hugo Grotius. But space forbids it; and we shall conclude this section by simply referring the diligent reader to that careful examination of the objects of ecclesiastical censure, the persons on whom, and the crimes for which, they were inflicted, in the ancient Christian Church, which is given in Book xvi. of Bingham's Christian Antiquities, from the second to the fourteenth chapters inclusive.

VII. A forcible argument might be inserted here, drawn from the recent and continued increase of Church building; for the mere multiplication of Sanctuaries without any regard for Discipline is, to a lamentable extent, opening the door for their profanation, and closing the ear to that Word of God which requires that He be served in the beauty of holiness. But having glanced at this portion of the subject in our introductory remarks, and seeing that the whole of our propositions, if established, involve this conclusion as a necessary consequence, it seems quite needless to enlarge upon it here, further than to remind the reader that to whatever extent it is correct to compare the condition of a large portion of our rapidly increased population to a state of heathenism, to the same degree is applicable to England all that extraordinary call for the exercise of Corrective Discipline,

1 In Luc. vi. 22.


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