« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
“ In order to appreciate fully the difficulty of effecting a general and permanent peace, in order to understand what it is that we propose to accomplish, we must consider well, how strong and how universal the passion for war has been in all ages of the world. This passion is one of the most remarkaa ble phenomena in human nature. So prevalent, so unremitting has it been, that an English philosopher of some repute was led to declare war to be the natural state of man. And truly, it would seem as if there were some foundation for this belief; at least it is not difficult to conceive how a philosopher, reasoning from facts und not from principles, should adopt such an opinion. It cannot be denied that war has ever been the most common employment and condition of nations. Seasons of peace are but brief interludes in the solemn tragedy of the world. As far back as we can trace the history of man we find him struggling with his fellow-man. The first use which he made of his godlike faculties was to forge implements of destruction. The sword was an earlier invention than the ploughshare, the bow and the spear have ever preceded the scythe and the spade; and the clods of the earth were removed to make room for the first fruits of slaughter ere ever a furrow was opened to receive the seed of the husbandman. But little has come down to us of the mighty men of old bu he record of their splendid homicides. We see them at the head of immense armies, sweeping the earth like the breath of the pestilence, withering every green hope, and devouring the ungathered harvests. They toiled for glory, and glory was theirs,
the glory of the lightning, which shatters where it shines. The heroes of antiquity, the kings of Egypt, of Assyria, of Persia, and of Macedon, what do we know of them, but how niany thousands they led forth to battle and how few hundreds returned with the boast of victory. Victory! — well did the Roman annalist describe it; 'A scene where profound and universal silence reigns, funeral mounds on every side ; distant and rare the smoke of human habitations; no one to greet the eye of the wanderer.' It might be supposed that so rude a pastime would have been relished only in a rude age and by an ignorant people ; but polished Athens and stately Rome partook of its pleasures with as keen a gust as the nations whom they pronounced barbarous. It might liave been sup. posed that Christianity would have set bounds to the tide of blood; but the progress of Christian civilization has thus far only added new importance, new skill, and new efficacy to the art of war. It is no longer the rude thing it was in the hands of Xerxes or Hamilcar ; it has been exalted to a graver beauty and adorned with a terrible grace; dignified with the honors
of a science, and enriched with the choicest results of modern invention. The advancement of society, so far from diminishing, has increased the frequency of wars.
The last two centuries have abounded more in this cruel custom than any two previous centuries of the world's history.
And even now, Christian Europe, bowed with the weight of years, grown grey in old campaigns, and scarred with thousand battles, still clutches the sword with her veteran and palsied hands as eagerly as she grasped it in the days of her youth. History has been censured for speaking only of conquerors and of battles ; but in truth, history has had little else to record. The arts of peace have always hid themselves in obscurity; the progress of human improvement has been always a secret stream revealing itself only by the superior fertility of the regions through which it passed : while all that appears on the surface, all that is obvious to the historian, the great current of human affairs has been red with war from its source until now."
Mr. Hedge supports his position by a reference to history, and gives a most animated and picturesque sketch of the famous war of the Spanish sccession, presenting, in a few glowing and magic words, all the waste of treasure and blood it occasioned, as well as the paltry nature of the objects struggled for. He dwells with servor and earnestness upon the incalculable evils of war, and upon the duty of good men to direct their efforts to abolish it. This can only be effected by the operation of great and good minds upon public opinion, and by giving more and more extent to ihe
subduing and pity-moving influence" of the Christian Religion. For the whole of this portion of his discourse, Mr. Hedge deserves the warm thanks of the friends of peace. The serinon concludes with the usual address to the Company, which is conceived and expressed with great felicity.
We are sensible that we are doing great injustice to Mr. Hedge by our brief and imperfect analysis. A popular discourse bears such treatment less well than almost any other class of composition ; but our readers will perceive from the
; specimens which we have quoted, that our commendations are amply merited. We have no hesitation in saying that it is, in its kind, one of the finest productions of the day. We are glad to bear our testimony to its merits, and to recommend it to our readers, many of whom, probably, seeing that it is an Artillery Election Sermon, have looked no further than the cover.
The reviewer's office is but half done, if he does not find some fault.
Having spoken in such high terms of the sentiments, thoughts, and style of this sermon, it will not be expected that we should qualify our praises by any general censure. We have no such intention. We have merely noticed one inadvertence. Mr. Hedge speaks of “Sir Joseph Addison.” We are not aware that Addison was ever knighted. We could have wished that another expression had been substituted (p. 28,) for that of "the infant God.”
[For the Christian Examiner.] Art. IV. — The Validity of Congregational Ordination.
A Discourse delivered before the University in Cam-
The Episcopal controversy is no longer, as formerly, an exciting theme. It may be said, in fact, to belong to history. No intelligent person, certainly no one who has not some interest to serve, now thinks of attributing any special sanctity either to the crown or the mitre. If Episcopacy is to be defended at the present day, it is not on the ground of divine right, that is an obsolete fiction, - but of its utility.
It is my duty at this time to “maintain and prove the validity of Congregational ordination, “as the same hath
* Large portions of this Discourse, including the whole historical argument on the Episcopal question, were omitted in the delivery, on account of its length, and two or three passages as not partaking of that character of abstract discussion, which the author was desirous to preserve, and which courtesy seemed to require, in a discourse ad. dressed to the members of a University devoted to no sect or party. These passages, relating chiefly to the application and practical bearing of some of the principles which it was the object of the performance to defend, or of the opposite, are now retained. It is hardly necessary to add, that for the sentiments contained in the discourse, the author alone is responsible. He speaks as the organ of no sect, or class of Christians.
I may add, what, however, the attentive reader will all along perceive, that in my observations on religious societies and churches, I speak of them solely in their ecclesiastical character. With their legal character I have nothing to do. That has been settled by the proper tribunals. VOL. XVII. -
N. S. VOL. XII. NO. II.
been practised in New England from the first." “ Not that I would,” says the founder of the Lecture, “any ways invalidate Episcopal ordination, as it is commonly called, and practised in the Church of England; but I do esteem the method of ordination as practised in Scotland, at Geneva, and among the dissenters in England, and in the churches in this country, to be very safe, scriptural, and valid."
I am not then required, and I certainly feel no disposition to impugn the validity of Episcopal ordination, but only 10 combat the exclusive pretensions of its friends. As long as they are satisfied with claiming only what belongs to all classes of Christians, the right of each to judge for itself in all matters pertaining to faith and discipline, we have no wish to interfere with their opinions or ceremonies. We would leave them, as we would the thousand other sects into which Christians are divided, to the peaceable enjoyment of their doctrines and mode of worship. But when they proceed to say to us, and to all who do not adopt their peculiar views of church polity, - You are without an authorized min
istry ; your teachers, not being lawfully called and ordained, are mere intruders into the holy office; and the ordinances administered by them are not administered according to the mind of Christ, and have no validity ; - they assume too much. Renouncing the Pope, in the language of Milton, they “still hug the Popedom.
I am no more disposed to contend for the divine insiitution of Presbyterianism, or of Congregationalism, than of Episcopacy. I do not imagine that any one of them is of positive divine institution. Of all forms of ecclesiastical polity with which I am acquainted, however, that of Diocesan Episcopacy, as understood to imply that Bishops and Priests constitute distinct orders, has the least claim to be regarded as the primitive one.
It is true the term Bishop occurs in ancient Christian writings, and in those of Paul himself. But in what sense ? Evidently in its original sense of overseer, inspector, one who has any care or charge. The primitive Bishops were persons selected from
the first converts made in any place where Christianity was preached, to superintend the affairs of the little fraternity of believers in that place, to preserve them in purity of faith, and generally to further the objects of the new religion. They are called, indiscrimi
nately, Bishops and Presbyters, the latter designation having a Jewish, and the former a Greek original. Thus St. Paul,
are informed, sent from Miletus to request the “Elders” of the Church or body of believers at Ephesus, to come to him, and when present addressed them as the “Bishops” of the Ephesian Church.* In his Epistles, too, passages occur in which the terms are evidently interchanged. In giving directions concerning the office of Bishop or of Presbyter, the connexion of his language and his general argument show that he intends one and the same office, and not two. He speaks of Bishops and Deacons, and of Elders and Deacons, as of two orders, but never of Bishops, Elders, and Deacons, as of three.
It is unnecessary to go more into detail. It is admitted by the best writers in favor of Episcopacy, and I believe by all recent critics of any note, that the terms Bishop and Presbyter are sometimes, at least, used synonymously by the writers of the Acts and Epistles ; and, as no instance has yet been produced in which they are unequivocally employed by them to designate two orders of the Christian ministry, and as it is not now pretended by the most strenuous advocates of Episcopacy, that Christ himself instituted any form of ecclesiastical polity, the controversy, so far as it relates to the names and descriptions of office occurring in the Apostolical writings, may, I believe, be considered as settled. No real friend of Episcopacy, certainly, if he knows what he is about, will now think of appealing to the use of the terms Bishop and Presbyter in the New Testament, as proving a distinction of order.
In regard to the assertion that the Apostles in their own persons transmitted the Episcopal character, it is sufficient to say, that their writings contain no intimation of this sort ; and, further, that the office of Apostles as ordained to be the witnesses of Christ after his resurrection, and by the aid of miracles to spread abroad a knowledge of his religion, was from its nature temporary. They were extraordinary teachers, deriving their commission immediately from Jesus, and having no particular charge, diocese, or see, but were sent out to preach Christ to all the world, and with them their name and office died.
* Acts xx. 17,