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THE Evangelical Alliance has lost one of its oldest members, and of late years one of its vice-presidents, by the death of Lord Forester, Canon of York, formerly rector of Broseley, then of Doveridge, and afterwards of Gedling. Those who attended the Conference of the Alliance, held many years ago at Nottingham, may remember the interesting account he then gave of his early association with the original founders of the Alliance-Bickersteth, Chalmers, James, and other leaders of the movement in favour of Christian union, which in those days was more frowned upon in high places than it is now. Those who knew him could not but love him, for he was possessed of remarkable charm of character which, added to singular attractiveness of manner, won the respect and esteem even of those who disliked his distinct Evangelical principles. To these he remained firm to the end, and York Minster will be much the loser by the cessation of his faithful testimony to the Gospel of the Grace of God. Orlando Forester, the name by which he was known before he succeeded to the peerage, has left behind him a memory fragrant of Christian consistency, of love to the brethren, and of faithful testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus.
The death of Canon Hoare, at Tunbridge Wells, in his eighty-third year, has removed a commanding figure from the Evangelical camp. Although not formally a member of the Evangelical Alliance, he was in thorough sympathy with its aims, and it was hoped that at the approaching Conference his very influential presence might have been given to express this sympathy, as it has elsewhere by Bishops and other Church dignitaries who yet have not seen their way to join the Alliance. But this hope is now at an end, and the more
substantial testimony of a life and ministry devoted to the promulgation of evangelical truth and the promotion of holiness of life and walk, remains to afford, as it no doubt will at the approaching Conference, a subject for thankful and encouraging retrospect. It is not Tunbridge Wells or the neighbourhood alone which has sustained a loss, but our whole country. Nor is it the Church of England alone, of which he was an attached member, but the Church of Christ generally which suffers by his loss.
The chief characteristic trait of Canon Hoare was the unswerving steadiness of his testimony to Evangelical truth throughout a long and influential ministry, in which respect he resembled that eminent standardbearer Charles Spurgeon. His length of ministry was not far from sixty years, having been ordained in 1836, and during that time the variations of thought, even in the Evangelical ranks of the Church of England, have been many. Canon Hoare, however, was ever found firm as a rock in opposing the tendencies which were abroad to give up or accommodate evangelical truth to the prevailing currents of opinion. Memorable was his protest at the Church Congress at Derby in 1882, against Lord Halifax's proposal to allow any of the clergy who might wish to use it to go back to the only partially reformed first Prayer-book of Edward VI., and no less memorable was his protest against the earlier tendencies to error in the Holiness movement, which of late, under the able guidance of the Keswick leaders, has been kept in more Scriptural paths.
When the movement which in those days was associated with the expression "the Higher Life," was first set on foot, under the leadership of Pearsall Smith, much prominence was given to the thought that the death to sin spoken of in the early part of Rom. vi., was an experience-a sort of state of apathy to sin such as a dead person might have to surrounding objects. Canon Hoare's clear mind and deep acquaintance with Scripture at once led him to raise a firm and yet affectionate protest against such a perversion of an important passage of God's Word. The writer well remembers the effect produced on his own mind, and that of many others, by an address which Canon Hoare gave and afterwards published, in which he showed with much distinctness that the first eleven verses of Rom. vi. speak of the facts of Christ's death and resurrection, not of an experience-facts to be appropriated by faith, not by feeling; and that the experience, which follows faith's appropriation of the facts, begins with verse 12, "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, &c." Since this clear and temperate appeal to Scripture, little has been heard of what threatened at one time to be a dangerous temptation to substitute feeling for faith when seeking to walk in the paths of holiness.
A movement has been set on foot for the promotion of Conferences at various places in England and Scotland on the subject of Christ's second coming, and the first number of a paper entitled, "Things to come" has already appeared as the organ of this movement. Judging from the contents of this first number caution will, we think, be needed to avoid mixing up the great and important truth of our Lord's personal and pre-millenial Advent with some secondary points of detail as to which many of the best and ablest prophetic students are as yet divided in opinion. If "the blessed hope and
glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ," is to be set forth in company with the doubtful and debateable expectation entertained by some of the rebuilding of a city on the banks of the Euphrates to fulfil the supposed exigencies of a literal interpretation of the mystical Babylon, we fear that sober-minded Christians will be repelled rather than attracted to the chief subject, and that the hope of anything like an united testimony to the Lord's coming will fail of its attainment.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, in speaking in the House of Lords on the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, indirectly alluded to the nature of the Papal claims in a way well worthy of attention. His words were: "The question has been asked, whether marriage with a deceased wife's sister would have been allowed by dispensation by the Church of Rome, if the Papal See had understood it to be contrary to the Divine Law ? The question shows a strange misapprehension of the claims of the Papal See. The theory is that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and that, therefore, he can dispense in regard of things which may be forbidden in the Divine Law." This puts very clearly the essential difference between the Church of Rome and Protestantism. The latter says to quote a Church of England Article-"It is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written." The Pope on the other hand acts, as it was long ago prophesied that the little horn of Dan. vii. would, on the principle described in the words, "he shall think to change times and laws." In other words, he claims the right to supersede or set aside God's law at his own will and pleasure."
It is the more important that attention should be called to this blasphemous pretension of the Bishop of Rome, as efforts are being made at the present time to reunite Christendom under his headship. He himself has issued an encyclical, in which, laying aside the maledictions which formerly characterised Papal utterances when dealing with Protestants, he appears in the new character of a suppliant inviting, almost pathetically, the wanderers to return to his fold. But (as The Record well remarks) "there is no sign of repentance for the crimes, or any consciousness of the terrible errors which the Roman Church has for long centuries committed and propagated and defended. It is too melancholy for words, this spectacle of an old man, whose personal character is as high as possible, and whose honest desire, no doubt, is to leave the world better than he found it, appealing in the sacred name of peace and religion to all Christian men to join a church which by its example and teaching has done more to disparage and to hinder the faith of Christ than any other one force in the world."
The difference between the Pope's treatment of the Oriental churches and of Protestants is a special feature of this encyclical. The former are flattered by a recognition of their Church position. He promises to uphold their rites. and their patriarchate privileges, and assures them that prosperity and greatness shall be their portion if they return to the Roman Church. Protestants have no such temptations held out to them. They are warned of their danger in possessing no certain rule of faith or of authority, and to the absence of these is traced the evils of infidelity, naturalism, and materialism. But the Pope forgets that these evils abound inside as well as outside the boundary line of professed Roman Catholicism, and as to the absence of a
rule of faith among Protestants, he overlooks what is so well expressed in the Sixth Article of the Church of England. "Holy Scripture containeth. all things necessary to salvation," as well as the similar statements in the catechisms and confessions of the other Protestant Churches both of our own country and of the Continent.
A very important manifesto, intended to counteract the unsettling effect of recent discussions on matters connected with the criticism of the Bible," has been lately issued from Oxford, signed by many of the acknowledged leaders of the High Church party, such as Canons Body, Bright, Carter, &c. It is issued in the form of eight theses-reminding one of the form of Luther's attack upon the Church of Rome-and the first of these defines inspiration thus: "By inspiration is meant a special action of the Holy Ghost varying in character and in degree of intensity upon those writers from whom the Church has received the books included in the Canon of Scripture, by which those books were directed to certain Divine purposes, and protected from all defects injurious to those purposes." Whatever may be thought of the possible defects of this definition of inspiration, it is, at all events, meant to be a faithful protest against those rationalistic notions which prevail in the present day, which treat Scripture as if it was to be regarded as on a par with other literature, and no more deserving of respect than any other human writings.
Upon a point of great importance in the controversy-our Lord's endorsement of the Old Testament-the "declaration" speaks thus: "The frequent reference made by our Lord to the Old Testament in support of His own claims, or in illustration of His teaching, is decisive in favour of its inspiration in the sense defined above." We may at least say, in not less than the sense defined above; for to some it might seem that our Lord's view of inspiration goes considerably beyond that of the Oxford "declaration." But the importance of our Lord's endorsement of the Old Testament is further set forth in words which happily go to the root of the matter. "Since the human mind of our Lord was inseparably united to the Eternal Word, and was perfectly illuminated by the Holy Spirit in the discharge of His office as Teacher, He could not be deceived, nor be the source of deception, nor intend to teach, even incidentally, for fact what was not fact." It is this insisting on the incompatibility between the theories of the higher critics as to the Old Testament, and the truthfulness of the teaching of our Lord, that forms the most valuable part of this "declaration," and makes one heartily welcome its testimony, notwithstanding some points in which the High Church tendencies of the writers make themselves only too manifest.
The Archbishop of York has been holding a Synod in York Minster, the first that has been held for 300 years, not without a protest on the part of some few of his clergy against the revival of dormant powers of Church action which may hereafter be used for evil. The Archbishop himself may not perhaps abuse this power of synodical action, but his successors may; and though there are only seven out of about 600 clergy who protest against the revived synod, their protest deserves attention, and certainly did not merit the contemptuous reply of the Archbishop: "A little more knowledge of the subject might perhaps have removed your difficulties." The Archbishop's address contains painful proof of the hold which sacramentalism has upon the
High Church mind. His Grace says that "The fundamental necessity of all spiritual life was living union with the Incarnate God, and it was the great object of the Incarnation to supply this need. The two great Sacraments of the Christian Church had for their central purpose this union of the soul with the Saviour. By Baptism the union was primarily effected; by the Holy Eucharist it was continually maintained and strengthened."
If it be right to use such language as this of the Sacraments, what becomes of the statement of St. Paul that the Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth"? ment of St. Peter that Christians are "born again of incorruptible, by the Word of God
What of the similar statenot of corruptible seed, but and this is the Word which
by the Gospel is preached unto you"? What of the saying of St. James, Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth"? What also of what our Lord teaches in John vi. concerning the spiritual feeding on His flesh and blood by faith-for the Sacrament was not then instituted-as the true means of maintaining and strengthening the union of the believing soul with Him? It is nothing short of an abuse of the Sacraments to treat them as conferring the grace they represent by virtue of the mere administration, or, as Romanists call it, the " opus operatum." It is to be feared that very many souls are misled to their eternal ruin by such teaching as that which makes union with Christ to depend upon the reception of the Sacraments, rather than upon "repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Two members of the Council of the Evangelical Alliance, one a Vicar, the other a Presbyterian Minister, being neighbours and both interested in a local school of an industrial character, have together compiled a short catechism in which it is sought to set forth the fundamental truths of Christianity in an undenominational manner. It was the want of definite religious instruction in such schools that suggested to them the need of such a compilation in which, as might be expected, many of the thoughts and even of the words of both the Church of England catechism and of that of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland are reproduced, harmoniously, side by side. As some of our readers might like to see these "Lessons on Bible Truths for Young People," we give the title of the book, and the name of the publisher (A. Bachhoffner, High Street, Clapham). It will increase the interest in it to know that its compilers are the Rev. David MacEwan, D.D., and the Rev. F. A. C. Lillingston, M.A.
THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT OF TRUE RELIGION.
THERE are certain classes of truth, indeed, which we cannot conceive to be different either in themselves or in the eye of God from what we perceive them to be. But there are other truths which, in becoming clothed in the language of men, and in penetrating to our minds, unavoidably become tinged with some particular colour -tinged with something foreign (viewed as truths in the abstract), though not inconsistent with them as truths, nay, even proper and necessary to them as truths designed to affect and influence us. "As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,