« ForrigeFortsæt »
In looking back at our long range of Volumes, extending from 1802 to the present time, one satisfaction we enjoy, amidst many discomforts, that whatever, in other respects, be their merits or demerits, they have at least been consistent. We say that we feel satisfaction in this; because being convinced that the work was based by its projectors and early writers upon the solid foundation of Scripture doctrine, and, subordinately, upon the formularies of our venerated Church, we believe we should have swerved from both, had we gone after new opinions. Of course, we speak of the essentials of truth, allowing a large margin for human frailty and error.
We are still engaged, in the main, in the same labours with our early predecessors; and with perhaps less of difference arising from the altered state of affairs in the Church and the world than would at first sight appear. In taking up their Volume for 1803, we find them stating their wish “that their work should constantly exhibit the important doctrines of the ruined state of man by nature, and of his recovery by Divine grace; of justification by faith, and the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit ; of the unsearchable love of Christ, and of the obligation of every one to live no longer to himself, but to Him who died for him ; and to promote the kingdom of Him who came to establish righteousness and peace on the earth.” They also regretted that, in the discharge of what they considered their bounden duty, they had been “ necessarily led into the thorny path of theological controversy." They frequently mention that their zealous attachment to our beloved Church, and their adherence to the doctrines of the Anglican Reformation, had not prevented their being denounced by some who assumed the exclusive right to the title of good churchmen; and that their desire to cultivate a candid and friendly spirit towards all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, notwithstanding considerable differences of opinion in matters relating to Church government, and in part to doctrine, had not shielded them from many unjust and bitter attacks from their Dissenting brethren.
In all these particulars we must iterate the language of our predecessors. Attached to the same Church, and on the same grounds ; professing the same doctrines; urging the same duties; and exposed to similar controversies; we would pray for grace and strength to follow in their steps so far as they followed Christ.
Yet amidst these broad features of resemblance between the state of the church of Christ in 1802 and 1843, there are many striking discrepancies.
In the first place, as repects those who worship not in the Anglican communion, we fear there is (however caused) a less kind spirit than was formerly exhibited towards those within her pale, whom they acknowledge to “ hold the Head," and to be faithful servants of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this altered tone has arisen in part from their having misunderstood the Church principles of these their brethren. They found them uniting with Dissenters-not, indeed, as Dissenters, but as men zealous for “the common salvation”-in promoting