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emotions of gratitude in every rightly-constituted breast, far surpassing any exultation on account of the transcendent worldly prosperity to which this nation has attained. For true as it unhappily is that poverty and wretchedness abound, in striking contrast to exuberant wealth, yet the wish and the effort to abate their prevalence are universal; and, however Mammon may still bid defiance to the God of Heaven, there is undying hope in the unquestionable fact, that the accepted fortress of the British empire is the Bible, which no Briton dares any longer assail.* Our national church was never so decidedly in the ascendant as it is at present; and the puerile discussions, which engage the two distinguishable parties within its own paling, must shortly disappear before the just upbraidings of an enlightened community, who, with the Bible and Prayer Book in their hands, seek to follow with singleness of purpose the whole counsel of God; looking to One Lord and Master, * Compare " Early Years," Vol. I. p. 86.
Jesus Christ, and to his spouse, the Church, with her regularly appointed ministers, and her few, simple, and life-giving ordinances.
I have not been deterred from making these observations by the remark of some Critic, on the first volume of my "Early Years," that the work savoured more of divinity than physic; for I have full reason to be satisfied with the general reception of that volume, and am persuaded that my professional services have never been impaired by my divinity. I likewise feel, that whatever a man's profession may be, there is still the paramount consideration of religion, to which the voice of our Church is perpetually calling her lay members, not as blind followers of a blind and fallible head, making arrogant pretensions to infallibility, but as rational agents endowed with the capability of judging and determining, by the light of the Scriptures themselves to which she refers us, whether her ceremonies, institutions, and doctrines, are apostolical or not.
Taking my stand on this ground, I profess myself a sincere and conscientious member of the Church of England. I believe, moreover, that her inestimable Prayer Book is well-nigh perfect. Still, with the odour of the Sanctuary pervading every part of it, it neither is, nor does it profess to be, inspired; and, as the sun itself has spots, so in my humble opinion has the Prayer Book of our Church. Such I have long considered some of the clauses of the Athanasian Creed; one of the prayers in the Burial Service; and a few of the Articles. For instance, the fourth, eighth, and seventeenth, which may truly be called Articulum bifrons.
With respect to the fourth; does any intelligent Christian, who has thought upon the subject, really believe that our Saviour ascended into Heaven with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to man's nature ?" Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." That he mercifully assumed his house of clay for a while,* between his resurrection and final ascension, we knowfrom what passed during
* This is not, perhaps, expressed so well as it might be, since the unquestionable fact is, that in rising from the grave, Christ's mortal body was changed for a heavenly body. Even those who shall be alive at the last day, St. Paul tells us, shall be in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, changed, in a manner wholly incomprehensible to us at present, yet so as to exclude every notion of flesh and bones, and all things appertaining to our mortal nature.
In the fourth volume of Bishop Horsley's Sermons, 8vo edition, 1815, there will be found an admirable exposition of the circumstances of our Saviour's intercourse with the world during the interval between his resurrection from the dead and final ascension into Heaven. I more particularly allude to the third sermon on the text, Acts x. 40, 41 — a sermon which cannot be too strongly recommended. It is calculated to strengthen the faith of the wavering, and to make the faithless waver. It is altogether a thrilling discourse.
"Before his resurrection," Bishop Horsley says, "it was in power only, and in knowledge, that he showed himself divine. After his resurrection, the change is wonderful. Insomuch, that except in certain actions which were meant to afford his disciples proof that they saw in him their crucified Lord arisen from the grave, he seems to have done nothing like a common man. Whatever was natural to him before, seems now miraculous; what was before miraculous is now natural."
"To him who had departed from the unopened sepulchre, it was no difficulty to enter the room in which the Apostles were
the forty days that he showed himself on earth prior to that ascension. But can we deem it less
assembled with closed doors. His body had undergone its change. The corruptible had put on incorruption. It was no longer the body of a man in its mortal state; it was the body of a man raised to life and immortality.
"He was repeatedly seen by the disciples after his resurrection, and so seen as to give them many infallible proofs that he was the very Jesus who had suffered on the cross. But he lived not with them in familiar habits. They knew not his goings out and comings in. The place of his abode for any single night of all the forty days is nowhere mentioned. He was, in fact, become the inhabitant of another region, from which he came occasionally to converse with his disciples; and his visible ascension, at the end of forty days, was a token to them that this was his last visit; an evidence to them that the heavens had now received him, and that he was to be seen no more on earth with the corporeal eye till the restitution of all things."
With respect to the 17th Article, if the following may be taken, as I would feign hope, for a sincere exposition of the latter half of it, how much is the ambiguity of its present language to be deplored!
Article Xvii.—Op Predestination And Election. To him whose heart is right; whose spirit, in conformity with a holy life and conversation, has the testimony of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nothing can be more consolatory than the doctrine of predestination, which implies a covenanted certainty of forgive