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from her, and what think you is her constant entreaty? That I will read the Bible, and nothing but the Bible ! pointing out to me the chapter hitherto so neglected during centuries, and reserved for these latter days, to be brought to light by the perfected Church! You know the chapter, Katherine; it is the fourteenth of Corinthians, in which there is certainly most distinct mention made by the Apostle of those very gifts of the Spirit, which, like the power of healing, the Irvingites contend would never have been lost but through want of faith. Now, Katherine, I have looked far too deeply into the cause of all this wild, unstable conduct, longer to suppose it the fault of the individuals who have so wandered astray. It is the system which I see is wrong,—the system of private interpretation of Scripture ; and hence, however I may pity, I can never blame, its victims."
“ There has unfortunately,” said Katherine, “ been too great license given of late to those who select detached passages of Scripture, and, by dwelling exclusively on them, give them undue weight over the other parts of the word of God. But do not judge of the Protestant Church by a few of its unruly members, or throw up the Protestant's glorious privilege of taking his faith from the Bible alone, merely from the abuses which may occur from this liberty degenerating into license."
“ I do not reason on the abuses merely, Katherine; I disapprove and am alarmed even at the uses of a principle, which I once admired as much as yourself. And why are your reasoning faculties so obscured a
as not to see, that, while we are surrounded by Bible Societies, and Branch Bible Societies, this county is torn by religious factions ? That the Established Church is here already in a minority ; and that, not seeing the madness of division at such a crisis, she keeps up the internal
disunion between the Evangelical and the High Church,—the curate often preaching in opposition to the known sentiments of his rector, the parishes divided between them, each congregation contending that their favourite minister alone preaches the Gospel;' and then, to make confusion worse confounded, the women beginning to teach, and to decide, and to subdue by clamour, the authority of their appointed teachers ! Now these refractory curates, and vociferous women, are all incessant Bible readers; and yet, even in their rebellion, they are not agreed."
“Rebellion," cried Katherine, smiling," is a strong term ; and now, Geraldine, confess to me, that the Church of England had fallen into a trance until these her own energetic children aroused her; and that what Wesley would have done for her, had he not been rudely thrust into dissent, the Evangelical body are achieving, namely, diffusing warmth and action throughout the inert mass. Why, then, be surprised and alarmed that some confusion and dissension take place during this process,-that pride and jealousy are irritated on the side of the higher powers, and that, on the Evangelical and reforming side, there is not always discovered zeal without innovation ?"
“Yes! Katherine, I have considered all this, and I have also felt myself under deep obligation to the party whose cause you espouse : it was from them I first learned to consider religion, not only as a duty, but as a delight, and felt a personal interest in all its glorious promises. Oh! what a happy being I was then, when I fully trusted my spiritual guides with all the warmth and confiding affection of my character! The awakening from this delusion has, indeed, been dreadful, and I bless God that my senses are still preserved.” “ And have you never consulted any Gospel min
ister, Geraldine, who, having remained steady to scriptural truth, would be able to prove to you that the individuals you refer to have been to blame, through want of caution and humility; and that Protestantism is not to be pronounced a faulty system on account of these bad specimens ?"
“ I cannot consider these persons as bad specimens of the Protestant system, Katherine. They were, they are, constant and fervent in prayer, searching the Scriptures with all diligence, unremitting in deeds of charity and love. What right have I to charge these pious and devoted beings with want of humility? No! I pity, I love them, through all their fearful wanderings; for, as I before said, I regard them as victims to the system of private interpretation of Scripture.”
“Is Mr. Edmund Sinclair, your relative, and your parish minister, acquainted with the unsettled state of your mind ?"
“ But partially; for I feel that he could not help me. I know too well the state of my uncle Edmund's mind, to expect relief. Piety, and tenderness, and sympathy, I have ever found, and should find again; but how could he give me that which he has not to give-stability ?"
“ Then, for Heaven's sake, Geraldine, .consult some party, amongst the Protestants, whom
you trust; try even, if you will, the High Church body, which has stability enough, if forms, and articles, and liturgies, will content you. Better side with the worshippers of the Thirty-nine,' of the Homilies, and of the Book of Common Prayer, than rush into all the fooleries of the Romish Church."
“I shall rush into nothing, Katherine; and could I hope to be satisfied with the old-fashioned Church of England, I would most gladly rest in her bosom. I have often wished to consult my eldest uncle, the Warden, who arrived here last week, and who is
considered by his university as a standard authority in points of orthodoxy; but I have ever found the High Church party wanting in fervour, in zeal! I cannot but remember how dull I used to find religion when a child, and how interesting it is made to children in the Evangelical families.”
Yes,” said Katherine, “I can never suppose that your ardent soul will be satisfied with the • venerable Establishment ?' That Episcopalian atmosphere has a soporific effect even upon me, as certain as it is indescribable. Still, as you are determined to put yourself under the thraldom of the commandments of men,' and I have no hope of winning, you over to the communion which I prefer (namely, that of Scotland), you had better consult that big-wig uncle of yours, and be satisfied with his orthodox arguments, if
you can; for Heaven knows that any thing is better than Popery !"
Geraldine remained some time in thought. At length, starting up, she exclaimed, “You are right, Katherine; I ought to endeavour, at least, to content myself with the Church in which I was born and educated, in which are my nearest and dearest ties, and in which I have been taught to know and love my Saviour. Could I be satisfied within the Church of England, what conflict, what agony, would it not save me! And I have just been struck by the coincidence of the Warden's long promised visit, deferred till now, with my present unsettled state of mind; for there is no one more capable of giving me instruction than this my revered uncle. Having promised me that, in my father's absence, and for the whole of the long vacation, he would remain at the Hall,-shut up together during the raging of this disease, with an ample library at our command, every thing is favourable to my earnest wish for instruction; and my learned uncle, with his strong bent towards deep theological re
search, is exactly the book of reference to suit my purpose, provided that he will deign to answer a woman's questions: for, though by virtue of his creed, he must allow her to possess a soul, he often treats that soul as he would the butterfly which is its emblem."
“ Are you in awe, then," said Katherine, laughing, “ of this dignified head of a college ?"
“Yes, I am; but that will not prevent my giving him my confidence: and I have only to prove to him that I am not a butterfly, but a true • Psyche,' and then prepare yourself, dear Kate, for hours and days of controversy, when, if truth be not doubly on my side, I must inevitably be foiled,—for here, like the little David, with but sling and stone, I brave the celebrated John Sinclair, of, the Goliah of Oxford !"