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CHURCH OF ENGLAND
AFTER much serious thought, devout meditation, and earnest prayers for the Divine blessing upon our undertaking, we institute a crusade against the triple alliance of infidelity, liberalism, and papistry, by putting forth the First Number of The CHURCH OF ENGLAND QUARTERLY Review. We prefer our claims to public patronage with confidence, but in the spirit of humbleness and sincerity. Neither envy nor gall, nor list to enter into controversy, nor, least of all, any vain glory, hath moved us, but the strong urgency of the times, the enforcement of conscience alone. We have searched many books, we have spent many thoughtful hours, and our studies have brought weariness and disquiet; our contemplations have been poisoned and perverted at their very source. God's blessings have sprung up out of our mother earth before our eyes, and our hearts have not showed forth his praise, nor could we eat our own bread in peace and content for the perturbation of our inward soul. We would willingly forget ourselves in the lethargy of literary solitariness, but the stillness of our leisure is struck by the hoarse echoings of changes, which are occurring in “a world we love, alas, too long," and our repose is saddened by the lengthening shadows, which the advent of night and storm casts on our retirement. Indeed knowledge is rendered worse than ignorance, owing to the awful moral confu. sion, the rudis indigestaque moles, in which the misgivings of the human race, the fundamental principles of philosophy and religion, seem to us, for the first time since the dawn of civilization, thrown back and involved ; ...“ Chaos is come again.” The primal obstinate questionings of the inward man have in our times been stirred up from the sleep of centuries, unto which a blessed revelation seemed for ever to have doomed them, to be canvassed anew, nay, perhaps after all to be left unanswered. “Our carnal reason
may well be deemed “the snare of our NO, I.
soul.” What have heretofore passed current as axiomatic truths, and been looked upon as the instinctive opinions of mankind, are no longer received upon trust, but set afloat on a troubled sea of doubt and conjecture. Men hesitate, and ask themselves what they should believe, and what not? The powers of light and the powers of darkness are struggling for the mastery. The prize is, the human soul; and antagonist prejudices of every kind are being sifted and bolted to the bran. Each constituent of our being is by turns assayed. The craniologist experiments on our material organs; the metaphysician would fain analyze our immaterial part; and our mental faculties are cast into the crucible, to be cleared and purified, as with a refiner's fire, and with fuller's soap.” Deep calls to deep; and we witness a universal upheaving of all elementary principles from the bottomless abyss, to be consigned to the common laboratory. Men would fain become “ as one of the angels," and in the pride and presumption of their imagination, think to build a moral Babel, “whose top may reach unto heaven.”
In such convulsion, it behoves every one, who feels himself appointed to the service, not to shrink from approving his birthright;... to take up the weapon of salvation, to show that he is of the fold of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to evince the vigour of his pasture, by raising the standard of the cross. We dare not shun the commission; yet oh! that the treasure of the Almighty,--oh! that his holy instruction, and the lessons of his truth, were not corrupted in a vessel of clay, but that he would plead himself with his people, teach them what dangers encompass their free will, and vindicate the spotless Gospel from an ignominious bondage. But since that may not be, we will gird ourselves in the Divine panoply; though hardly do we, without fear and trembling, lay hand upon the ark. We know that of ourselves we are nought, and ill able "to take away the reproach from Israel;” but our affiance is in the Holy Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and we auspicate our consecrated task by beseeching his blessing. We commit ourselves to his behest, with little care for the malice we shall inevitably provoke from the avowed enemies of our Ecclesiastical Establishment, or the covert ridicule we may count upon from our lukewarm or misguided friends. The shafts of hostility, whencesoever they may proceed, will recoil harmless, for we humbly trust that our vocation is of God. Still less do we seek to catch such applause as the heedless and interrupted listening of these restless times is like to yield or suffer. We shall measure the success of our sacrifice, not by popular uproar and praise,
“ The barbarous dissonance Of the wild rout, that tore the Thracian bard In Rhodope ;"
nor by the more grateful incense thrown by here and there some speculative individuals,
“ Fit audience, though few;" but by the benefits, which feeling ourselves qualified to bestow, we are persuaded that the pious and intelligent reader will receive.
We propose in this exordial address to lay open, with little regard to method, those ideas upon the vexatæ quæstiones of Church and State, which in the hush of night and solitude, we do mostly find passing in train, and to record freely opinions, which the very consciousness of violating the sanctity of long-hoarded thought, may
tend to summon up to our remembrance. Such an informal, off-hand opening will be likely to give our readers a better “ taste of our quality," than we could contrive by any more studied or cunning arrangement, to afford them.
And first as respects the bearings of certain most insincere attempts at legislation, such as the notorious “ Appropriation Clause.” It were difficult, in all history, to find such another instance of parliamentary frenzy and delusion. The artifice, which ousted Sir Robert Peel from office, can only be paralleled by that vote which declared, upon Titus Oates' evidence, “ the existence of a hellish plot for assassinating the king.” surplus revenue" is just as much moonshine as “the hellish plot.” In the disposition of the House of Commons, in the one instance, as in the other, reason could no more make herself be heard, than a whisper in the midst of the most violent hurricane.
What downright fatuity to legislate upon a minus quantity, and insist upon calling it a surplus ! a positive verification of Swift's pleasant ridicule of the “Shoulder of mutton." Peter got into one of his mad fits, and would fain palm a slice from a twelvepenny loaf into the choicest bit of the whole shoulder." ...“ The elder of the brothers" (like the more sane members of the Honourable House) “not suddenly entering into Lord Peter's" (Lord John Russell's) “ conceit, began, with very civil language, to examin' the mystery.
“ My Lord,” said he, “ I doubt, with great submission, there may be some mistake.” “Come, then,” says Lord John, “ let us hear this jest your head is so big with.” “None in the world, my Lord; but, unless I am very much deceived, your Lordship was pleased, a while ago, to let fall a word about mutton,” (a surplus,) AND I WOULD BE GLAD TO SEE IT WITH ALL MY HEART.' “ How !” said Lord John, appearing in great surprise, “I do not comprehend this at all.” Upon which the younger, interposing, to set the business aright, “ My Lord,” said he, “my brother is hungry, and longs for the mutton (surplus) your Lordship has promised us.” Pray, Sir," says Lord John,
“eat your victuals, and leave off your impertinence!" But the other could not forbear being provoked at the affected seriousness of Lord John's countenance; “I can only say,” says he, “ that to my eyes it seems to be nothing." “ Look ye, gentlemen,” cries Lord John in a rage, “to convince you what a couple of blind, positive, ignorant, wilful puppies you are, I will use but this plain argument, - By G-, it is true, good, natural mutton (surplus)."
But to leave Swift, for we have really no jesting matter in hand. It may be rejoined, that the appropriation of a surplus, which was shown to have no existence, was a mere peg, and that in fact, only on the principle, pendant therefrom, the two parties joined issue. We allow that, in a certain sense, this is a true solution of what otherwise would be inexplicable. But such an exposition implies a shuffling and double-dealing, wholly unworthy of British statesmen. How many members, betrayed into the notion that there remained a bona fide surplus, after the spiritual instruction of the Establishment had been amply ministered unto, unwarily voted under that impression !
Principle indeed! In what acceptation would they use the word ? As “ honour,” in the mouth of Joseph Surface, startled Lady Teazle, so we say, that principle “ had better be left out of the argument." With Jesuitical faith, they would fain give a false appearance of consistency to jarring motives, by the introduction of principle. If the principle of a Protestant Establishment, or no Protestant Establishment, were really the question in debate, what principle could ministers themselves pretend to, who, after having sworn “ to uphold the Reformed Church in all the rights appertaining unto it,” go straightforward, under scarce colourable pretences, to its subversion in the sister country? Their advances are conducted with all the caution requisite to the carrying a measure, which they view darkling in the future, and which, although they are resolved on, they hardly dare yet whisper to themselves. They might say with Tago,
“ It is engendered :-Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light." They feel, however, that in the present state of the country some appearances must be kept up, and that every overt act pointing to ecclesiastical revolution is beset with perils. it is not from the direction of stones, but of straws, that we discover which way the wind bloweth, so certain slight and unintentional indications of ministers betray unto such as can into them with considerate eyes,” those covert designs, whose accomplishment is in the womb of time.
We speak advisedly, and have no hesitation in saying that government (aloròs, arnpòs Nápa*) is playing an underhand game.
Sophocl. Philoc. v. 1272.