« ZurückWeiter »
: long been in the hands of the public. Having observed that the
Civil and Ecclefiaftical Constitutions of the Jews were so completely incorporated as to admit of no separation, and that the former, if in idea they could be distinguished from each other, was fubordinate to the latter, he proves, in a very convincing manner, that the case must be far otherwise in the nations profeffing the religion of Christ.
“ Now,” says he, “ was formed a community of the disciples of Jefus, which was called his church, a word that denotes no more than fociety or affembly, and is sometimes used in the New Testament with evident analogy to the common use, to signify the whole community of Christians considered as one body, of which Chriít is denominated the head, and sometimes only a particular congregation of Christians. In this general society, founded in the unity of their faith, their hope, their love, cemented, as it were, by a communion or joint participation, as occasion offered, in religious offices, in adoration, in baptism, and in the commemoration of the fufferings of their Lord, preserved by a most friendly intercourse, and by frequent instructions, admonitions, reproofs when necessary, and even by the exclusion of those who had violated such powerful and folemn engagements; in all this, I say, there was nothing that interfered with the temporal powers. They claimed no jurisdiction over the person, the liberty, or the property
any man. And if they expelled out of their own society, and, on fatisfying their conditions re-admitted those who had been expelled, they did in this only exercise a right, which (if we may compare great things with small, and heavenly things with earthly) any private company, like a knot of artists or philofophers, may freely exercise. The Christians every where acknowledged themselves the subjects of the State whether monarchical or republican, absolute or free, under which they lived ; entitled to the same privileges with their fellow-subjects, and bound as much as any to the observance of the laws of their country.--Far from being pertinacious allertors of their personal and private rights, they held it for an invariable maxim, that it is much better to suffer wrong, than either to commit or avenge it."
We agree with Dr. Campbell, that this is the true footing on which the apostolic church stood in relation to the secular powers ; but we cannot aslent to every thing asserted in this paragraph, and there is in it one expresiion, which we do not understand. The word tunayoich fignifies indeed a society; but it does not signify an. assembly, if by the word be meant a number of men met casually or even by voluntary agreement among themselves. Exnayoid, in its original sense, denotes a select fociety a concio avocata, and must therefore confift of members selected by some person or persons either authorised or, at least, assuming authority, to make the selection. Accordingly, in the New Testament, the word is used, not sometimes, but very often, to signify the whole community of Christians chosen out of the world and put under the government of Christ; but we know not what is meant by this general society being cemented by a communion or joint participation in baptism! It is indeed true, that members can be admitted into this society only by baptism; but by the very import of the word tunnugla it is likewise true, beyond congoversy, that a set of unbaptised believers have no authority to conU 3
stitute themselves members of this society by baptising one another ; and there is surely no text of scripture indicating it to be the duty of the disciples of Jesus to partake jointly, as occasion offers, in baptism, as it is unquestionably their duty to partake jointly in what is here called “the conmemoration of the sufferings of the Lord.”
When our author fpeaks of the expulsion of members from the society, and their re-adın ission into it, upon satisfying certain conditions, he must surely mean their expulfion from, and their re-admiffion into, some particular church; because it is impoffible that the merits or demerits of individuals can be immediately judged of by the church univertal; but when he compares this jariioiction of particuJar churches, to the juriidilion, of any private company, of a knot of artists or prilasophers, he is either deceiving himself or deceiving his reader. A man may be a philosopher, and universally acknowledged as such, though he be a member of no philosophical society; but no
can be a Christian, or would have been acknowledged, as such, in the apostolic age, who is a member of no particular churcb; for we are expressly enjoined “ not to forike the affembling of ourselves together as the runner of some is; but to remember them who have the rule over us, who have spoken unto as the word of God; to obey them, and submit ourselves; for they watch for our souls, as they that must give account. Hence, in the opinion of St. Cyprian," he cannot have God for his father, who has not the church for his mother."'+
A man may be expelled from one philosophical society without losing any of the privileges of another; from the Royal Society of London for instance, and yet continue a fellow of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh. "Nay, we believe it would not be difficuit, to give instances of men being admitted into some of the Scotch Universities, and even obtaining deyrees in those universities, though they were known to have been previously expelled from the Universities of England; but whoever was expelled, in the apostolic age, from ane particular church (we enquire not at present whether that church was congregational, classical, or diocesan) found himself expelled from all particular churches, or, in other words, excommunicated by the church universal. That such was the practice of the primitive church is known to every man who has looked into the earliest Christian records; and that it was a practice founded on divine authority, is evident from our blessed Lord's giving to the Apostles " the keys of the kingdom of heaven, declaring that whatsoever they should bind on earth, should be bound in heaven; and that whatsoever they should Joose on earih, should be loosened in heaven.” That power is, by those words, given to the church to expel unworthy members, and to re-admit them on their reformation, is acknowledged by Di, Campbell himself, and can indeed be denied by no man who attends to the context; but the kingdom of heaven certainly means the universal church and not a particular congregation, and therefore the expreilion, “ Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, thall be bound in Heb, X, 25 xiii. 7 & 17:
+ Lib, de unitate ecclefiæ.
'heaven,” can imply nothing less than that the canonical expulsion from one church is attended with exclusion from all churches. This is farther evident from the words immediately preceding, in which it is said, that, if the offending brother “ neglect to hear the church (or as Dr. Campell chooses to translate Tus exuAmores the congregation) " let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican ;” but if expulsion from one particular church did not imply exclusion from all churches, the expelled brother could not have been treated as a heathenman and a publican ; since we are here told, and told truly, that “the general Society, founded in the unity of their faith, their hope, their love, and cemented by a joint participation, as occasion offered, in religious offices, &c. was preserved by a most friendly intercourse, &c.
The jurisdiction of the Christian church, therefore, was not, in the apostolic age, like that of a knot of artists or philosophers; and the ingenious Lecturer, in enumerating the bonds by which that church was kept together as one body, should have added to those, which he has very fairly given, agreement in discipline administered by persons in each church (no matter at present of what constitution) whom the members of that church were by the express command of the Apostle enjoined to "obey as those who watched for their souls.”
As Dr. Campbell makes a kind of apology for comparing the jurisdiction of the apostolic church to that of a private company, or knot of artists, we should not have taken such pains to show that the comparison will not hold, had his object been, by a fair induction of facts, to discover truth wherever she might be found. But he expressly says, that the enquiry, which he thus prefaces, “may lead to the detection of the latent springs, whence originally flowed that amazing torrent of corruption, by which, in process of time, our most amiable religion has been so miserably defaced ;” thus taking for granted, at the commencement of a course of ecclesiastical history, a fact, the reality of which that course alone can ascertain. Whether our religion has been miserably defaced should have been considered as wholly unknown ; for such is the influence of a popular profeffor on the minds of his pupils, that his affertions will always be admitted as proofs. It is therefore 'necessary, when a man of uncommon ingenuity thus prejudges a cause, to point out the fallacy of every principle from which he reasons; for if the principles be admitted, a master of logic will find no difficulty in establishing his conclusion, whatever it may be.
(To be continued.)
Gleanings in England, descriptive of the Countenance, Mind, and Cha
racter of the Country. By Mr. Pratt. Vol. II. 8vo. Pp. 624. Longman and Rees. 1801..
"HIS volume is deđicated to the Marquis of Lansdown. "If I had the THERE
felicity (says Mr. Pratt) to grace my first volume with the name of a MORA, it is with no less pleasure I prefix that of a LANSDOWN to the se
cond."-" Should fortune again put it in your power, my Lord, to be in. ftrumental in composing, at this tremendous hour, the jarring interests of Europe, and to stop the effusion of human blood, which has flowed so long, fo profusely, and to so little purpose--from your uniform conduct, as an able and enlightened politician, it must be as grateful to your own mind, as it will be glorious to your fame, to forward this falutary end !!!
Though our political opinions coincide not exactly with Mr. Pratt's, yet we cannot withhold that tribute of applause which we think due to his elegant dedication.
In examining the work, we shall proceed with as little ceremony as we begun. After having expatiated fo largely on the former volume, we considered a formal or regular critique on the present, as unnecelsary. We shall content ourselves with a few desultory remarks.
In the first letter, a very odd character, at Cromer, is represented with a great deal of humour; and, we doubt not, to the life ; for we were once well acquainted with a similar character. The Norfolk plan of going “a neighbouring,” a curious system of visiting, is well described. (Letter II.) We were pleased with Sybilla's poetry: It flows from the heart. (Letter III.) The letters on Quacks and Quackery IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX) are to us the leaft agreeable in the volume. They contain, it is true, some good fatire; but in a short chapter of the spiritual Quixotte, we have the essence of them all. Sybilla's “ Snowdrop" (Letter X) is not equally happy with her foriner stanzas.—The “ Political Reflections” have nothing striking, (Lett. XI)-The lines "S to a Friend” (Lett. XI.) are the genuine effufion of fenfibility. That English charities are 's a Glory of our Isle" is a truth, to which every Briton will assent with heartfelt pleasure. And we were much interested in the perufal of the XIIIth Letter on this subject. The ftanzas to “ Suspense” (improperly called à fonnet) at the end of the XIV th Letter, we shall transcribe.
“ What art thou, dubious power, that to the earth
Now finks the sadden'd heart, now lifts it high,
Mortal, thy fire, thy mother of the sky,
Thy tyrannizing poize 'twixt good and ill ;
As each alternate works thy torturing will :
This dread delay unfits that soul to bear
And bliss deferr'd must mix corroding care.
We are not among those who would infinuate, that Mr. Pratt's politics, contained in Letters XV, XVI, XVII are introduced, with the view of swelling the velume. Venerating with him, “our good old Castle on the English Rock,” we give the Gleaner credit for
glorying in the name of Briton.” We considered with pleasure amidit the Ruins of Castle-Acre-(Lett. XV 01.) The Legends of Thetford are amusing (Lett. XIX. XX.) Letter XXI. Just Observations on English Elections. Letter XXII. Haymaking, Harvesting, &c. &c. happily delineated. Letters XXIII, XXIV. Excellent Remarks on the present Scarcity. The conduct of the AvarusAgricola deserves all Mr. Pratt's censure. His abominable greediness and rapacity ought, surely, to be checked by the Legislature. The expediency of a corn-rent, (not a maxiinum) might, perhaps, be worth confideration. Letter XXV. Legends of Bury-St.-Edmunds. Letter XXVI. Defence of our Attachment to favourite Animals. Letter XXVII. Newinarket; Horse-racing; Cock-fighting ; Bullbaiting. Here are some lively descriptions in our Author's belt man
Letters XXVIII-XXX. Descriptions of Cambridge and Oxford. Letter XXXI. A very good one; correct, elegant, in all that relates to Lord Duncan. Letter XXXII. Sketches of the Hiftory of the County of Huntingdon. Letters XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV. Homefelt Feelings. Sacred Gleanings. The Village of Woodhurst. Here the volume concludes in a style and manner characteristic of the poet of “SYMPATHY.” As a specimen of this performance, we shall extract a passage or two from the thirty-third Letter,
“ A thousand emotions, my friend, attach me to St. Ives (in Huntingdonshire.) . It is my birth-place; and, returning to my native hearthfor I write in the house where I was born-I feel at this moment, every line, every syllable of that exquisite picture of a poet's sensibility, which, as it has been fomewhere expressed, is a combination of the most pleasing ideas that calls the memory back through the subtle maze of passing events, to the place from whence we derive our existence, and there fixes it with a partial, and melting tenderness on scenes of juvenile pleasure."-"With what lince rity did I renew my intimacy with several old ftubbed trees, leading from the house to the school. These, I had been in the habit of feeing twice a day, and under every impression which the varieties of youth can take. Were a timber-merchant, or even a common carpenter ; or, indeed, mott men of business, to look at them, while I thus describe, they would think I intended every word ironically!"-" And then the garden oppofite my natal manfion-the old and unaltered part of a farmhouse--the very railing before the door, and the dilapidated wall of brick, which remains the ten z of the farm-garden; the wall of mud, likewise, gapped and tottered as it now is; with its stubble roof, and the well remembered barn adjoining with its roof of thatch, the very mofs of which came into my recollection !"_" These are all objects of ancient amity; and the very fight of them revives a variety of circumstances interesting to thought; and excites the · Local Atiachment," fosweetly painted in the poem under that title,"?