Mr. Churton. I did Mr. Spencer the injustice, for which I am sincerely sorry, and offer him this public apology,—to suppose that, although he did not misrepresent fact, under the influence of the authority to which he had submitted, he had suppressed as much of it as made against the interest of that authority to which he had vowed obedience.

On the bearing of the correspondence on the point which has accasioned the present contest, it is almost superfluous to engage in an explanation. If Mr. Spencer be entitled to the credit which Mr. Churton gives him, Mr. Sikes was not wanting in his exertions to give the first impulse to Mr. Spencer's movement; in which he was anticipated, in the practical effect, by Mr. Vaughan. No doubt is expressed by Mr. Spencer, that when he had gained the right road, it was that which Mr. Sikes had not only obligingly pointed out, but had laboured so strenuously to induce him to enter on. From the knowledge, acquired by experience, he likewise assures us that this road must infallibly lead all those who pursue it consistently to the goal in which his own course eventually ended. By the assistance contributed by Mr. Vaughan to his conversion, I cannot discover how his consequence is in the least compromised, or wherein the justification of Mr. Churton's squeamishness lies, in having declined to make his name public. He merely suggested, that which excites Mr. Spencer's surprise he had not himself previously discovered. In at all alluding to the late Rector of Guilsborough, or his work on Parochial Communion, whom I ever regarded as an excellent and wellmeaning person, I could have no inducement to doubt his intentions were pure, or to disparage his memory. My sole object was to prove what it was my duty to prove, if such was my conviction, that the principles of Mr. Sikes led by necessary consequence to the practice of Mr. Spencer. I am now at a loss to conceive, not merely what may be opposed to this assumption, but what is wanting to confirm it, in the testimony of Mr. Spencer, as derived from his letter to Mr. Marriott, or Mr. Churton, or from that whch I have quoted.

As my representation of the subject of the letter, on which the charge of inaccuracy is founded, appears to have struck Mr. Spencer himself in a very different light from that with which it has impressed Mr. Churton, I shall offer a few observations on the facts which have been brought to light, previously to applying myself to the duty of discharging the obligations which I have contracted to that gentleman and Dr. Hook, in whom I have very recently discovered he has found an associate. The accuracy of my account of the contents of that letter he not only does not controvert; but admits the possibility of his memory having deceived him. He has, on the contrary, specifically confirmed the leading facts to which I had deposed, as forming the subject of his disputed letter. He equally admits the fact of having written to Mr. Marriott from Rome; and that his letter was on the subject of his conversion to Romanism : and he expressly acknowledges that he cannot conceive how he could have omitted mentioning Mr. Sikes; and that he had possessed his work on Parochial Communion.

Under the conviction of the justice of this statement, even before I had received the assurance of Mr. Spencer, that it had been circumstantially confirmed by him to Mr. Churton ; can it be necessary that I should express the astonishment and indignation with wliich I beheld the following statement, appended with his permission and on his authority, by Dr. Hook, to the tail of a thing which he gravely terms, “ Popery Refuted by Tradition.”

Having referred to a passage in the preface to my late work“ On the Catholic Character of Christianity,"in which its author“ asserts that he had seen a letter written by the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Spencer, in which he attributes his conversion to the light let in upon his mind by Mr. Sikes's work on Parochial Communion :" it is roundly and unblushingly affirmed, “That it is impossible for the Rev. Dr. Nolan to have seen a letter of Mr. Spencer's containing such a statement as is there mentioned; for in fact, although Mr. Spencer possessed a copy of Mr. Sikes's work on Parochial Communion, he never gave it a perusal.” (Dr. Hook's Sermon, p. 24.)

Can credit be now obtained to the assertion, that this declaration maintains its place in the third edition of Dr. Hook's Sermon, and is made on the faith of a man who had given it, in that Magazine which is the organ of Dr. Hook's party, an implicit contradiction? For Mr. Churton's declaration respecting Mr. Sikes's work is, that “although he (Mr. Spencer) possessed Mr. Sikes's work, he never read it through," adding " that it was never his intention to invalidate the fact that he (Dr. Nolan) had seen the letter.” (British Magazine for Jan. 1840, p. 55, 56.)

Let Mr. Churton take his choice between his contradictory assertions; he needs no impeachment of his veracity besides that which he gives himself in its opposite. I need not retort on the reverend gentlemen, the charge of falsehood and calumny, with which they have so combined in assailing me. Let me, however, do them the justice they were disposed to deny me. The one, I must admit, was as superior to the turpitude of inventing a lie, as the other to the baseness of giving the calumny publicity. The physical courage, in which it may be thought they individually failed, in conspiring to do that which might have been done single handed, no one will impeach, who considers the boldness with which the man must have been endued who could brave the consequences of the present exposure.

After the part which Dr. Houk has so gratuitously taken in this affair, he will pardon my following the example which he has set me in his animadversions. It is far from my intention to enter on a . recital of the measures to which the vicar of Leeds owes his promotion to that benefice : still less to dilate on the arts to which the queen's chaplain is indebted, through his ever memorable Sermon before her Majesty, for his present notoriety. His qualifications to discharge the part in which he is ambitious of figuring, as the refuter of Popery, by an appeal to tradition, commends him to my present notice. I should far exceed the limits at present allowed me, were I to undertake to anatomise the misshapen, brainless abortion to which he has recently given existence. No small space would be necessary to do but inadequate justice to his claims, in pretending to apply the argument deduced from tradition, in which he has so far succeeded as to prove his ignorance of the meaning of the term. Some surprise must be felt at his utter inexperience not merely of the works from which his cause might be sustained, were it not superseded by our astonishment at his proving himself uninformed as to where he might look for them. In the argument which he has adduced from tradition, against Popery, he has attempted but the proof of a single assumption : by

the specimen which he has given his qualifications to meddle with the subject may be speedily decided. From the direct bearing which the subject has on the case of Mr. Spencer, I feel justisfied in bestowing a little further attention upon it.

The difference in tradition, according to the judgment of Dr. Hook, resolves itself into the weight which is due to earlier and late authorities. According to his definition, "Popery consists in novel enlargements of old Catholic truths; in novel additions to ancient and true doctrines." In his exemplification of this principle he proceeds to observe of the Papist, that "he agrees with us in maintaining the divine authority of Bishops and Priests; he adds, the supremacy of the Pope over all Bishops and Priests." In subversion of this novelty, as deduced from the text of St. Matthew, asserting the establishment of the Papal supremacy in the person of St. Peter, he musters five of the Fathers. For an evidence alike of his success in making out his case, and of the peculiar line of argument by which it is accomplished, I shall refer him to a common book which is in the hands, or open to the inspection, of every Romanist. If he will be only at the pains to consult the comment on the text which he has quoted, in the Rheims Testament, he may thence learn, that twice as many Fathers as he quotes are there cited; that all of those whom he adduces are there claimed; and of five others by which the number is there increased, three are of an earlier, and of course higher, authority. It is remarkable of these witnesses, that while they pay not the least regard to tradition, they so far respect the Scriptures as to deduce from them the argument that best suited their purpose.

By what method of indication in Dr. Hook's reasoning a doctrine may be proved “a novel addition,” in consequence of being attested by a more ancient witness, I will not take upon me to determine. But until he has directed us to some system of chronology, by which Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian, which are against him, can be proved later or contemporaneous with Augustin, Nazianzen, &c., who are on his side: we must be content to conclude, according to Dr. Hook's method of proof, that the credit of maintaining "the old Catholic truth” remains with the Romanist, and the merit of supporting “ the novel additions " belongs to the learned Dr. and the Laudians.

I shall waste no time in referring Dr. Hook to a note in the Benedictine editions of Cyprian and Irenæus, from which he may acquire some idea of the real state of the appeal to tradition, or the consequences of a reference to the authorities by which he pretends to put down Romanism. As a corollary to the preceding observations, I shall but note a few examples of the practical result of the empiricism, in which his recent essays, if they have established nothing more, have proved him a most accomplished proficient. The very first book which I opened on the subject of the ecclesiastical supremacy, to which he had drawn my attention, presented an instance of a Protestant converted to Popery, by the force of the very argument by which he has undertaken its refutation. The instances of Mr. Chillingworth in the times of Archbishop Laud, and of Mr. Spencer in our own times, afford sufficient evidence of the consequence of shifting the defence of what Dr. Hook denominates “old Catholic truths," from the rock of Scripture to the quicksands of tradition. The consequences to be apprehended from an undue estimate of the latter, even upon minds of the highest order, may be collected from some recent observations of Mr. Hallam, on the case of Grotius and Casaubon. After the specimen with which Dr. Hook has gratified us, of his qualifications, I need hardly add with what secret satisfaction the Romanists must exult that the cause of the Anglican Church has fallen into the hands of a defender who is calculated to do more mischief in a year, by his support, than could be effected in two by their opposition.

With respect to the particular case of Mr. Spencer, it is obvious, that whether, in entering on his new career, he was indebted for the first impulse to the unlucky interposition of Mr. Vaughan, or the well. meant labours of Mr. Sikes; the efforts of both of them were employed, and not without effect, to shake him in the singleness of his dependence upon Scripture, and the great principle which effected the the Reformation. That his conversion is in any respect to be imputed to his perusal of the Scriptures, or the untoward influence of our Articles, is a supposition equivalent in value to the asseveration of Dr. Hook, which, after the ceremony he has shewn me, I shall take the liberty to tell him he does not, and no one else can, believe—“That the Papists always calculate on twenty or thirty converts to their system, after a meeting in any place of the so-called Reformation So. ciety." (Sermon, p. 19.) If the Romish priesthood are thus successful, how is the consequence to be avoided that the parochial clergy are shamefully remiss or grossly ignorant, although enlightened by the works of Dr. Hook, and his fellow labourers, the Oxford divines? How, in fine, are we to escape from the dilemma in which we find ourselves, with respect to the two bishops, to whom Mr. Spencer applied for the solution of a difficulty of no real or apparent magnitude; when he abjured “the old Catholic truth" for the novelty and errors of Popery; on a point which is both fundamental, and, if Dr. Hook do not mislead us, is to be mainly sustained from tradition?

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, Prittlewell Vicarage.

FREDERICK NOLAN. April 13, 1840.



For the Christian Observer. In the interesting inemoir of Dr. Morrison, reviewed in the last Number of the Christian Observer, there is a letter upon the opium traffic, which well deserves transcription. Dr. Morrison became acquainted, in 1820, with that truly Christian merchant, Mr. Olyphant from New York, whose commercial establishment at Canton was the only one not contaminated by that prohibited and demoralising traffic. This excellent man has on various occasions acted with noble munificence in works of Christian love ; particularly in conveying the American Missionaries to China free of expence. Among those who early came to the same conclusion with Mr. Olyphant respecting the wickedness of the opium traffic, and disinterestedly acted upon their con. victions, was a young man who wrote to Dr. Morrison seventeen years ago, respecting this nefarious commerce, in terms which shew the aspect in which it could not but present itself to humane or religious minds, and which strikingly exhibit, by contrast, the guilt and shame of English merchants in continuing, enlarging, and pertinaciously clinging to it. The following is the letter :

To the Rev. Dr. Morrison.

Canton, March 3rd, 1823. My dear Sir,—The receipt of your very kind letter affected me with many complicated emotions of joy and fear-of joy, at so strong and decisive a mark of your good will and interest in my concerns--of fear, lest I should prove unworthy of your love and confidence hereafter. I prayed, however, fervently for the divine aid, and determined from the bottom of my heart to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, making his glory and the welfare of my follow-creatures, primary, not secondary, objects of pursuit during the remainder of my stay in this country. I prosecuted my Chinese studies with vigour and increased interest, rejoicing continually in the hope of one day throwing in my mite towards the propagation of Christianity in this vast Empire. To pass years in the sole accumulation of wealth, had long appeared to me unworthy of a rational being, and reflection upon the uncertainty of human life had taught me the dangers of deferring to a future opportunity those labours of love which our Lord enjoins upon all his followers. The parable of the rich man to whom it was said, • Thou fool, this very night shall thy soul be required of thee,' often forced itself upon my remembrance; and the idea of working with you as a fellow labourer in the Lord's vineyard, delighted me more than I can express during many a solitary and pensive hour. Í ardently beseeched the Almighty that I might be made an humble instrument of his providence, in enlightening this benighted people ; and since, by his assistance, all things are possible, my mind often dwelt with satisfaction upon the prospect of turning my situation to an important and truly profitable account. But vain are all the projects of man, even when they appear wisest, and least objectionable in his own eyes. A casual conversation with D-- one morning upon the subject of opium, induced me to scrutinize more narrowly than I had before done the nature of the business. I weighed it in the balance of the sanctuary, and it was found wanting. I prayed for a sound discriminating judgment, so that I might distinguish between right and wrong. I searched the Scriptures for light and information, but the more I pondered, the more I became convinced that the smuggling of opium into China is inconsistent with strict Gospel morality. By such alone must I be guided; and since it is impossible to serve God and Mammon, I find that this situation must give way to the voice of conscience, not my con. science to the situation. A Chinese author says that the truly virtuous man is one who sacrifices all earthly considerations to the maintenance of heavenly principles ;' and shall I be less virtuous than a Pagan? God forbid !

“ Could I hold out the bread of life to the Chinese in one hand, and opium in the other? Could I bestow, with any propriety, in the service of religion, that money which accrued from the demoralization and consequent misery of a large portion of my fellow-creatures ? Alas! my dear sir, this is a dreadful view of the subject; and although the trade is sanctioned by worldly usage, although wiser and better men than myself may have engaged in it, and although I naturally respect the opinions of those who advised me to come out here, I nevertheless think, that worldly duty must become secondary on this, as on every other occasion, to the injunctions of divine law. As soon as my determination was made, I talked over the matter with Harding, who agreed with me altogether in opinion, as did Mr. Hutchings; and Mr. Olyphant has since expressed himself no less strongly, so that I feel confident of your approbation.

“I have taken my passage in the Citizen,' to New York, and expect, please God, to be in England about the same time that you will return to China, Such are the changes and chances of this life. Little indeed did I suspect what a few weeks would bring forth, at the time of your addressing to Sand myself the words, · When shall we three meet again ?' Little did I anticipate such a change in my prospects; but God's will be done. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great riches without right. Perhaps I estimated money as a means of usefulness, above its real importance, and therefore the sacrifice has been more painful than it would have been, had my mind been thoroughly set upon heavenly things. If ever we meet again, I hope that you will find me improved in spiritual mindedness; and although our acquaintance has been short, I feel confident that you will not cease to regard me with affectionate and friendly interest. I, for my part, can assure you, that I shall always remember you with feelings of love, gratitude and respect, and offer up my humble prayers to the Almighty, that he may long spare your valuable life, and bless with success your missionary labours in this country. It was my intention to consecrate the first fruits of my partnership with D to the advancement of the Anglo-Chinese College, but now I am wholly dependaut upon my father, and unless he authorised me, I should not feel justified in bestowing his money. CHRIST. OBSERY. No. 30.

2 Y

« VorigeDoorgaan »