jestic, that we, at the distance of three centuries, find ourselves obliged, in all cases of doubt, to have recourse to the arguments, and to abide by the decisions of those who completed the Anglican Reformation.

The secret of this is, that the English Reformers were men of the most profound learning, of the most consummate judgment, and of the most Christian spirit; they were not guided by prejudice, and they were aware of the fact that nothing is so much to be deprecated as novelties in religion. They saw that the Church of Rome had erred grievously, and they yet willingly acknowledged that she was not entirely corrupt; they drew the line of distinction between Popery and Catholicity, and made out their claim, not only by their learning, but by their moderation, to be the guides and teachers-the duly authorized pastors and ministers of a Catholic, unschismatical, and orthodox branch of the great undivided and indivisible Catholic Church.

On this account, and because there were few heresiarchs to disturb their labours, the Reformation was, by these great and good men, happily accomplished. But no sooner was the work done than disturbing forces came into active operation. The discipline of Geneva was established in Scotland, and individuals of the same persuasion began to multiply in England. Gifted with a little learning, enough to object, but not enough to investigate the whole system against which they objected, they exclaimed at the "rags of Popery" which the Church of England had preserved, and conciliated the people by their tirades against the Romish apostacy. At the same time they assumed the external appearance of superior sanctity, and laid claims to a higher and more spiritual religion than that of the learned and moderate Reformers.

We by no means intend to assert that all, or even the greater part, of these dissidents were insincere in their profession-they may have really imagined that they were as holy, and the Church as unholy, as they represented; and they gave every token of disinterested, though misguided, zeal in the line of conduct they adopted. But even if we allow them all the merit of conscientiousness, we cannot look on them as other than instruments in God's hand to humble a Church, perhaps, too confident, and a nation too proud. The current of popular feeling became slowly altered the authority of the Church became the subject of warm discussions-the decisions of the Reformers were disregarded the long prayers and still longer sermons of the Puritans were looked upon as proofs of true religion—and a stern asceticism took the place of the more rational piety of those who completed the Reformation. We might trace the

onward course of this spirit till it deluged the land with blood, and terminated in the murder of the king, the overthrow of the constitution, and the destruction of the Anglican Church.

We have spoken of a period in which there was no inherent tendency to extremes. We are now looking forward to the coming of another similar period, and the prognosis is the more favourable, inasmuch as the disturbing causes which then interfered are now dying away: they were at that time in their infancy, gathering strength from all the circumstances of the times; they are now in their decrepitude-they prevail no more in the minds of the multitude, and each succeeding year diminishes their effects. There are, however, other disturbing causes, from which that age was free, and of these we shall treat briefly in the present article.

When the spirit of vital religion, of which we have just spoken, began to prevail in the middle of the last century, and a new school of theologians occupied the area of controversy, it was to be expected that a new religious literature would also arise-a literature, distinguished as much by warmth and fervour, as by smallness of theological attainment and deficiency of logical acumen. Those few who had been brought up at the feet of our English Gamaliels stood apart from the field-they saw that the formalists and the experimentalists were waging a hot controversy, and they knew that both were in the wrong-they themselves were the beacon-lights of divinity, and they shone; they were the theological champions, but they stood aloof to let the controversy exhaust itself, feeling convinced that, whichever way it terminated, the Church would ultimately triumph. From time to time their ranks were augmented by those who had been led to think and to study, who perceived that the questions in dispute were misunderstood, and who were at last persuaded that the key to the whole difficulty lay in the writings of the Anglican Fathers.

While these secessions were thus continually taking place, the dispute itself was acquiring a new character-the pervading spirit of vital Christianity was at work among both parties, and both became gradually more and more earnest, not only in defence of their own peculiarities, but also in the salvation of souls. The controversy, therefore, that had begun about the necessity and nature of conversion, now assumed a more polemic and less practical tone: the importance of apostolical discipline, the oft-disputed question of election-the authority of the Church -the meaning of the articles; these became the subjects of dispute, and they were, for the most part, handled by men who, if right, knew not that their own sentiments had been far more

ably defended before; and, if wrong, were, at least, guiltless of the knowledge that their errors had been a thousand times refuted. This is all natural and usual: the men who wage paper wars, and who carry on controversies in religious periodicals, and by means of tracts, sermons, and pamphlets, are not those who sit down and study such writers as Jewel, and Hooker, and Bingham, and Collier. No; their systems are all AVTOXOoves-they spring solely from their own brain, and partake, consequently, of its weakness and lightness-their productions are altogether ephemeral, and their influence extends no further than their own circle, or, at most, their own day of popularity.

And now we have another æra in this long and important, though ill-conducted dispute a new and better-informed class of disputants have arisen on either side, and the "Tracts for the Times" have been met by Isaac Taylor and a band of controversialists, who, like himself, are disposed to appeal to antiquity. The appeal has been made, though neither honestly nor successfully, and this we feel inclined to hope is the last stand that can be made, either by one party or the other.. The clergy at large, and the better informed among the laity, are investigating for themselves, and gradually the conviction is spreading, that neither formalist nor fanatic-neither Papist nor semi-Papist, nor ultra-Protestant, can abide the test of an appeal to Catholic antiquity and those only are able to look with satisfaction towards the termination of the controversy who are EVANGELICAL HIGH CHURCHMEN.

We have said that those who are best qualified to decide are standing aloof, and waiting till the warfare shall have expended itself and both parties be proved alike in the wrong; but, in the meantime, while we are quite convinced as to what the issue will be, and while we quite acquiesce in the silence which refuses to say what our great divines have already said so well, it is necessary for us to notice the self-dubbed Defenders of the Faith, who, from time to time

"Presume to lay their hands upon the ark
Of Her magnificent and awful cause."

And these divide themselves into such as, having read a little, and thought a little more, jump to a conclusion; and those who, having attentively examined the records of Christian antiquity, give us, in these days of supposed light, some rays from the glory

of old times.

Now, in the first of these classes, though with many palliating circumstances, do we place Mr. McNeile. Possessed of great

natural elocution, a commanding person, a magnificent voice, and talent of a very high order, he soon acquired a reputation as a preacher excelled by few; he was well acquainted with the dispute between Papists and Protestants, as managed by men of the Gregg and M'Guire school, and had been, in his own country and University, taught to look upon Popery as the one thing to be avoided. As a public disputant, his success has been ever commensurate with his merits: he has carried the million before him, and, borne onward by the energy which is a part of his fine character, he has so amalgamated all his thoughts and habits with this determination to oppose Popery, that he can rarely either preach of, or talk about, anything else. "Delenda est Roma," is the motto of Mr. McNeile; and this peculiarity is so well known among those who are in the habit of hearing him, that he is rarely expected to abstain long from his favorite topic. Not long ago he was speaking at a crowded meeting, at Liverpool, on behalf of some charitable institution, but, as usual, he contrived to bring forward, as the staple of his remarks, the abominations of Popery. "Eh, McNeile," exclaimed the shrill voice of an old woman from the end of the room; "Eh, McNeile, so you be at it again !" This peculiarity must be borne in mind, and the fact that, in Ireland, the Clergy and Dissenters of Protestant denominations join heart and hand against the encroachments of Romanism; so that Mr. McNeile having been habituated to view Dissent in a far more favourable light than he would have done, had he been born and educated in England, we shall be led to expect a less strenuous defence of the discipline of the Church than of her doctrines-we shall feel no surprise when we find what are usually called "low-church" views advocated by this powerful and popular writer.


In the year 1839, a course of lectures was delivered in London, by Dr. Chalmers, on "Church Establishments ;" to these Dr. Wardlaw, of Glasgow, replied, and published his reply. In the year 1840, an arrangement was entered into between Mr. Benson and the Committee of the Christian Influence Society, by which that distinguished divine engaged to deliver a course of lectures on the "Church of England.' Thus the previous lectures of Dr. Chalmers on Establishments at large, would seem to be confirmed, and concluded, by those of Mr. Benson on the Anglican Church in particular. Now, this course of lectures, from the Master of the Temple, we still hope to hear; but he was prevented, by indisposition, from delivering them at the time proposed. After some deliberation, whether the intended course should not be altogether postponed till another year, it occurred to the Committee, that a series of lectures on the Church of England, the

character of which should be more popular than those at first contemplated, might be productive of much good, and, under these circumstances, their eyes were turned to the Rev. Hugh McNeile.

We cannot pretend to anticipate the line of argument which might have been taken up by Mr. Benson; but we feel inclined to think that it would, in many respects, have differed very materially from that adopted by the present writer. Mr. McNeile, by replying to Dr. Wardlaw, put himself forward as the follower and defender of Chalmers; and, adopting the principles of that eminent man, has completed the argument, and made his course subsidiary to that of the Edinburgh Professor. In so doing, we think, as we have before said, that he acted unadvisedly it was in his power to have taken much higher ground, and he resembles a commander, who, observing how well a small fort is defended by a small garrison, should insist on defending a large city with a force equally small, when he might command the assistance of an overwhelming array. To defend an Episcopal Church, in which the apostolical succession is preserved, on the same grounds which serve for the defence of a Presbyterian establishment, is, in itself, a great error, and whether it were committed through delicacy to Dr. Chalmers, or from a feeling that it would be expedient to take such low ground, we are convinced that it has been injurious. We do not mean that Mr. McNeile has left episcopacy out of the question -he has fairly defended it, and shown it to be in accordance with the Scripture:

"In our Lord's address to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, we have the principle of episcopacy established. In his address to seven angels of seven churches in Asia, we have his sanction for the subdivision, the geographical subdivision of episcopal superintendence ; and, more than this, we have the foreseen usurpation of a primacy, or universal bishop over the whole Church pointedly condemned. There is an angel over all the pastors in Ephesus-this excludes Independency. There is not an angel over all the pastors in Asia-this excludes Popery."-Lect. i. p. 42.

In this extract we see quickness of thought, and much point in the mode of expression, together with a marvellously small quantum of logical power, and the whole argument spoiled by Mr. McNeile's morbid propensity to attack the Pope. The proof is good against Independency; but, insomuch as it condemns primacy, the Church of England is as obnoxious to its conclusions as that of Rome. Let us try the sentence, à la McNeile, and suppose that seven churches in England were similarly addressed—all being in the province of Canterbury—

“There is an angel over all the pastors in Exeter."

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