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Of the incomparable Treasure of the holy Scriptures, with
a prayer for the true vse of the same.
to quench our heat of sinne :
when men's deuices faile:
Then be not like the hogge, that hath
a pearle at his desire,
Matt. 7.6, 2. Pet. 2. 22.
but with a single eye:
Matt. 6. 22. Psal, 119. 27, 73.
to fructifie therein,
O Gracious God and most mercifull Father, which hast
vouchsafed vs the rich and precious iewell of thy holy Word, assist vs with thy Spirit, that it may be written in our hearts to our euerlasting comfort, to reforme vs, to renew vs according to thine owne image, to build vs vp, and editie vs into the perfect building of thy Christ, sanctifying and increasing in vs all heauenly vertues. Grant this, o heauenly Father, for Iesus Christes sake. Amen.
LETTER TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
W. E. GLADSTONE, M.P.
May 22, 1874.
Right Honourable Sir,
Will you kindly allow me to submit to your inspection the sheets of my work on “PRIESTHOOD,” which is now passing through the press? And may I venture to ask you, (although I know your time is precious), to weigh well the arguments herein adduced upon a matter which is vital as well to the civil liberties of Her Majesty's subjects as to the well-being of the Church of God ? I do not know that many of the arguments are new; but I believe them to be unanswerable.
It is needful, Right Honourable Sir, that I should explain that this sermon- -(a mere outline of what it now is, of course)-was preached at Williton, Somerset, in June last; and that, being printed at a small country office, it has been nearly twelve months in hand.
I have written the sermon from a sense of duty and from deep and outraged feeling. When we, Nonconformist Ministers of Religion in this country, are told that we are no true Ministers of Christ, and that we have no power to administer the Sacraments of the Church even to the [persons whose] souls in Christ Jesus we have “begotten through the gospel”—alas ! that they are comparatively so few)—it leads us to look at the ground of matters. When, in rural districts, by a union of clergy and landowners or their wives, pressure is not seldom brought to bear on the children of our Sunday Schools and on the members of congregations of non-conforming Christian worshippers, and they are openly abducted from our pastoral charge-(see pp. 82—84) —it is time for us to write and to speak.
What I have written within concerning the established Church is written with sorrow and with anger -anger which I have striven (how far successfully the public must judge)—to keep within due bounds. It is with grief and with shame that I read and hear of the progress,
in a church with which, in the past, Methodism has been so closely connected, of doctrines and practices which are Papal in all but the name. The mischief to souls in time and in eternity is incalculable.
The only efficient remedy, it seems to me, Right Honourable Sir, is disestablishment combined with disendowment of those national funds which were given, by Act of Parliament, for Protestant purposes, but which are misused for pseudo-priestly and Ritualistic or semi-Popish ends. They that were of the sons of Levi who received the office of the priesthood of old, had a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.” But, Sir, I humbly submit that it has been—(and I venture to think that you will, after perusal, agree that it has been)clearly shown in this treatise, as also in others, that
priesthood" in the common sense (the special, ministerial sense) of the term, is not only unscriptural but anti-scriptural and anti-Christian; because it mystifies, obscures, and pretends, in some shadowy, unintelligibleI will go further and say anti-intelligible sort of
to repeat the one sacrificial and propitiatory offering of the precious body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore as there are no PRIESTS
there should be NO TITHES, or rent-charge in lieu of tithes. They are abrogated, scripturally considered, in the abrogation of the Judaic ritual, which is “done away in Christ;
and no commandment of men (not even of the High Court of Parliament) can justly re-impose them. This was done, so far as it appears, for the first time, in the dark ages, " about A.D. 586 (in the reign of King Guntheram) [at] a provincial council, attended by all the bishops of his kingdom [France]....held at Macon." *
It is true that there is a general priesthood of Christians to which you, Sir, allude in your correspondence with the late Dean Ramsay in these words : “ Also, I
* Miall's Title Deeds of the Church of England to her Parochial Endowments : p. 9.
And the ap
complain of his depriving you of the character of lepevs, which indeed I am rather inclined to claim for myself, as · He hath made us kings and priests!!" Daily News, April 8.) Thus, I praise the Lord that “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.'
I am also thankful, Right Honourable Sir, to learn (through one who is likely to be well-informed, and who indeed claims to be personally acquainted with you, the Rector of Porlock, whose courtesy is mentioned in Appendix H)—that you hate Ritualism. pointment of two Lord Chancellors in succession, who are evangelical Christians and Sunday School Teachers, gives corroborative evidence of the fact.
I earnestly pray "the great God and (=even) our Saviour Jesus Christ” may, by these arguments [of the least of his servants], in addition to many others, Right Honourable Sir, with which you are doubtless familiar, lead you to reconsider your determination not to lead the House of Commons on to the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of England.* It must-it WILL be done : and as the Right Honourable Robert Lowe, upon a memorable occasion once said, so, Sir, would I humbly say, proleptically, in reference to this far larger question“ The Hour is come, and the Man." I have the honour to be,
Right Honourable Sir,
* Several paragraphs of this letter were written in June last. "Much has happened since then.” But the time, I trust is coming, Sir, (and I, for one, believe, in the Providence of God, it will not be very long in coming), when, if the Ruler of Nations preserve your life--and, if it be not impertinent in me to say it, I do very fervently desire that He may)—you will be again at the head of a strong, united, and triumphant Liberal majority.