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an author. To be well performed, it calls for time and patience. It is not surprising, therefore, that the work before us should exhibit imperfections as to this particular. The faults which strike us are excess in the number of quotations, and occasional confusion of arrangement, with too frequent reference to books of small authority. The author does the reader and himself injustice when, without necessity, he says in borrowed words, what he might have expressed better in his own, and also when he makes his text a mere thread, upon which to string a series of quotations. But in all these cases he errs upon the safe side, and, we may add, upon the modest side too. Where he gives us two authorities in the place of one, there are authors of repute who would have given none at all, but dealt in mere assertion; and where he adopts the words of another to express his own ideas, there are some who would have borrowed both ideas and expressions, and forgotten to enclose them in inverted commas. The great fault of the work is one which easily besets all rapid and prolific writers. It is not so much a finished composition as an ample collection of the best materials. In the present instance, this may have arisen from the book's having been written in the form of public lectures, and corrected for the press, but not remodelled. strongly of opinion that the same form and cast of composition are but seldom suited equally for speaking and for printing. We believe that multitudes of published sermons, which are never read, would be acceptable and popular, if cast into another mould, and transformed into books. The same thing is certainly not true in the same degree of popular lectures, such as those before us. It is true, however, in a less degree ; and we believe that little more is wanting to convert this volume into a complete and standard work upon the subject, than a change of form from that of detached lectures to a systematic treatise, with a greater condensation both of matter and expression, and a little more attention to exactness of style and purity of diction, than the author, in the first flow of his composition, seems to have thought necessary. These ideas we indulge the hope of seeing realized in subsequent editions. In the mean time, however, we must not allow the reader to suppose that the defects, which we have spoken of, are any thing more than superficial blemishes. There may be too much matter; but a large proportion could not be dispensed with. Some of the quotations
might be spared; but all the rest are of the highest value, as examples and as proofs of what High-Church Episcopalianism is. The author's mind is not only strong but lively, and his book exhibits traces of both qualities. The natural and (may we not say?) national vivacity with which he seizes on his topics and discusses them, enlivens, in a very satisfactory degree, even those parts of the subject which might otherwise have proved most irksome and fatiguing. In a word, the book (which, by the way, is elegantly printed) may be freely commended to the favourable notice of the public, and we doubt not that, wherever it is read, it will be useful in apprising those who read it what the High-Church doctrine really is, and on what grounds it may be most triumphantly and easily refuted. Instead of undertaking an analysis or more minute description of the work before us, which would be not only difficult but altogether needless, we proceed to give expression to some few thoughts of our own upon the spirit and the doctrines of High-Churchism, as they are brought to light in Mr. Smyth's performance.
We begin with what may seem to be an inappropriate truism, that man consists of a body and a soul, and that these are distinct but (until death) inseparable parts of the same complex being. There is, however, this important difference between them. If you kill the body, the soul still lives; but if you can annihilate the soul, the body dies. It dies if you even take the soul away from it. There is, therefore, a vast difference between those evils which affect the body only, and those which affect the soul, or both together. Life, in its present form, consists in the union of soul and body. In the future state, they will again be reunited. But between these two, there is an interval of separation. During this interval the state of the two parts is very different. While the soul still lives, the body is not only dead, but decomposed. Now apply this to religion. Christianity has both a body and a soul. The body is that part of it which strikes the senses. The soul is the principle which animates the body. In the present state, it is the will of God that they should be united. But there are certain causes operating constantly to put them asunder; and, to some extent, the separation is effected. Some professed Christians have endeavoured to sustain the soul of piety, without the body, by rejecting ordinances of an outward kind. Others have tried as hard to keep the body alive, af
ter the soul had left it. The religion of the first class is beyond the reach of observation and experiment. That of the other bears the same relation to living Christianity, that mummies do to living men and women. The body is preserved from dissolution by the help of artificial means; but it is dead, discoloured, and so wrapped up, that you scarcely can believe it human. Yet it is not inconceivable, that the embalmers may become so fond of their own handiwork as actually to prefer a mummy to a man.
For aught we know, the old Egyptian mummy-makers worshipped the integuments and unguents which they used, and we think it not unlikely that they learned at last to look upon a human soul as of much less value than the dried and stuffed and bandaged carcass which it had forsaken. The same thing may happen in religious matters. Men may operate upon the body of religion till the soul forsakes it, and when this takes place, they may embalm it, and imagine that the whole is still in their possession. If you tell them that the body is worth nothing without the soul, they will tell you in reply that the soul cannot be kept without the body, or perhaps will laugh at the idea of a soul, as something too intangible for men of sense to think about. And woe be to the sacrilegious hand that ventures to disturb the habiliments of death. Every thread, every pin, is of essential value. An invisible church is a mere chimera; but a church which is all visible, an outside without inside, a dress without a body, a body without a soul, is something altogether rational. If you speak of spiritual and internal piety, as something necessary to religious life, something which may be fostered by the proper use of forms, but which may possibly exist without them, you are set down a fanatic or at least a puritan. But talk of religious life, as consisting in the outward forms themselves, and the stigma disappears. The “ beauty of holiness," when understood of any thing invisible and inward, is a mere cant phrase; but if it means a surplice, and an organ, and an altar at the east end, and a lectern, and a faldstool, and a candle in the day-time, it is perfectly intelligible, scriptural and orthodox. Regeneration is a transcendental notion, if restricted to the soul, but highly philosophical if so explained as to include not only the bodies of men, but those of baptized bells. It is absurd to look to Christ himself for spiritual benefit from sacraments, but not absurd to make the benefit depend upon the priest's official pedigree. That a communicant should
be refreshed, because of Christ's spiritual presence at his table, is a wild conceit; but that the same effect should follow, because the Reverend Mr. Smith was ordained by the Right Reverend Dr. Thompson, is a thing of course. In all these contrasts, the distinctive feature is the same. It is body on one side, and soul, or rather body and soul together, on the other. The antithesis is that between spiritual and ritual religion. By the former we are far from understanding the mere disembodied soul of Christianity. We mean the soul and body in a vital union. Our objection to a ritual religion, therefore, cannot possibly be met by corresponding objections to a fanatical rejection of all outward forms. We disclaim such a rejection. We hold fast to the body of religion, as the vehicle and dwelling of its spirit. But we do not hold fast to the body by itself. Because the spirit is beyond our reach without the body, does it follow that the body is enough without the spirit? Or, to change the figure, because you cannot drink conveniently without a cup, does it follow that an empty cup will slake your thirst? The grace of God is the water of life. The church, with its ordinances, is the cup. The enlightened Christian thankfully accepts of both. The fanatic dashes the cup down upon the earth, and tries to gather up the water with his hands or tongue, while the ritualist cherishes the empty vessel. Does the folly of the one excuse the folly of the other? Is the value of the vessel any reason for not filling it? Or has it any value when deprived of its contents? The solution of these questions is decisive of the issue between High-Church Christianity and what we hold to be the truth. We have proposed them in a figurative dress, not merely for the sake of illustration, but in order to enable all who will, to answer them without any bias from association. It is on this ground that High-Church errors ought to be encountered. We attach but small importance to mere questions of historical detail, until the principles at issue are determined. The question in dispute is not a question of mere circumstances, but of life and death; it is not a question as to meat and drink, but as to righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. To this fact we invite the attention of our readers. We are not sure that Presbyterians generally have correct ideas of this controversy. Some regard it as too trivial to be noticed. Others waste their strength on incidental questions. Both we think are in the wrong. It is certainly not
worth the while of Christian men to squabble about vestments, postures, and the like impertinences, simply for their own sake; but it is well worth their while to fight against a system which exalts these impertinences to an equal rank with the essentials of religion. We ought to fight against the system, not because it includes usages which we think inexpedient, but because it breathes a spirit which we think destructive. The sole ground, upon which we can be justified in waging war against High-Church, is this, that its predominance would tend directly to destroy what we believe to be the soul of all religion. This is a point on which it would be idle to address High-Churchmen, not merely because they would not hear us, but because there is a total contrariety of judgment in relation to the very nature of the matter in dispute. We divide upon the question, what is true religion ? This want of any common ground on which to fight our battles, ought, perhaps, to put an end to all direct contention, and to make each party seek the confirmation of its own friends in what it believes to be the truth. We do, in fact, regard it as the most important end of publication on the subject, to acquaint Presbyterians with the nature of the controversy, and to show them how it ought to be decided upon Presbyterian principles, or rather upon principles which Presbyterians look upon as fundamental, and as paramount in authority to all church polity and legislation. If we labour to convince the High-Church prelatist himself that his peculiar tenets are destructive to what we call evangelical religion, he will not dispute the fact, but call in question the correctness of our definition. But in writing for Presbyterians, we may take for granted the reality and paramount importance of a spiritual Christianity, distinct from all external forins, and reason on the postulate that whatever tends to its destruction must be false in principle and wrong in practice. And if this, which is admitted to be true in general, can be established in its application to the High-Church system, such a demonstration ought to have immeasurably more weight, in the judgment of consistent Presbyterians, than any possible amount of antiquarian research into the origin of liturgies, or surplices, or bishops. We do not mean to say that such points may not be discussed. We only mean to say that such discussions are of little moment, when compared with the grand question, whether High-Church principles are fatal, in their tendency, to that religion of the heart, which scripture shows to be essential,