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Scotland, Presbyterianism ; France tolerate all religions, and the United States recognize none.
One State may establish Trinitarianism, another Unitarianism; one decree justification by faith, another justification by works. The subjects of each nation must adopt the State religion, on pain of heresy, civil disability, punishment here, and damnation hereafter. Where would be the umpire between independent States ? What uniform standard of orthodoxy would be possible? What means of maintaining unity of faith would be left us ? Nay, what right should we have to undertake to convert to the Gospel the subjects of even a heathen prince, against his consent? Or what right would a subject of the Grand Turk, for instance, have to embrace Christianity?
This answer cannot be accepted, at least so long as we remember Henry the Eighth. Then nothing remains but the third and last answer, namely, the Individual Reason. This constitutes each individual his own judge of what is the pure word of God. And the genuine orthodox faith must be held to be what each individual judges it to be. This sets up the individual above the Church, justifies dissent in all its forms, nay, the absolute Individualism and No-churchism of our modern Come-outers. The reason of one man must be held to be equal to the reason of another, and one man's views can no more be called orthodox or heterodox than another's; heresy and schism become unmeaning terms. No established order in church or state can be maintained ; no reverence, respect, or subordination exacted. All falls into disorder, where each man is at liberty to do whatever is right in his own eyes.
The Bishop is too good a Churchman, at least too strenuous an advocate of Episcopal authority, to be able to accept this answer. The proposition, the novel proposition, which he puts forth in his last Letter, for changing the constitution of his Church, and establishing a Central Board or Council, clothed with more than papal powers, proves very satisfactorily that he is no friend of undue individual liberty, and no enemy to the
most plenary ecclesiastical authority. What, then, does he gain by rejecting the Catholic theory? He wishes to maintain the Church, to maintain it as an authoritative body, supreme over faith and conscience, over words and deeds. And can it be necessary for us to tell him, that the Church is maintainable as an authoritative body only on the Catholic theory ? The legitimacy of Episcopal authority is defensible only on the ground of its divine institution, and, we will add, only on the ground, that the Church, as a corporate body, is founded by Christ himself, who miraculously preserves it from error in faith or practice, and that Episcopacy is absolutely necessary to the being of the Church, as well as to the order of the Church. Whoso is not prepared to take this ground is not prepared to be an Episcopalian,-except at the expense of his logic. When, there
, fore, Bishop Hopkins rejects this ground, - when, in order to keep clear of Rome, he lays down principles which place any Congregational minister in as high church relations as he himself holds, he but mocks our understandings by calling upon us to become Episcopalians. He has, he can have, no solid argument, drawn from the armory of the Gospel, to show why, by becoming Episcopalians, we should be any more in the Church than we are by remaining in the Congregational Church.
But, we shall be told, if we adopt the Oxford theory, we must go to Rome. Well, if we must have a Church, and cannot have one without returning to the Roman communion, then, let us go to Rome. Either accept No-churchism and say no more about it, or have the courage to accept and avow principles on which a Church is defensible. It may be a great humiliation to return and submit to the Church which we have been for three hundred years warring against, and many of us may not yet be prepared to do so; but it is far better to return and submit to Rome than it is to remain under the dominion of absolute Individualism, the real man of sin, the very anti-Christ, dragon, old serpent, the devil, who was to be let loose against the saints, and who would, if possible, deceive the very elect. We own that we are waiting for our Episcopal friends to show us some ground on which we may defend the Reformation, or rather, the reformers, in separating from the Roman communion ; but we must tell Bishop Hopkins, and we do it with all becoming respect, that to Rome we certainly ought to go, if his is the only ground of defence his Church has to offer.
Art. V. - Come-outerism : or the Rudical Tendency
of the Day.
That all our social arrangements are very imperfect, and that there is ample room for the freest, fullest, and most energetic reforming spirit, no man in his senses can doubt. Even here, in this country, where we boast of our political enlightenment and our advanced social state, we are far from having realized the highest moral, political, or social ideal. There are causes at work among us, which, though in some respects securing a temporary and local prosperity, must ultimately, if not arrested, deprive us of all our boasted advantages. Our industrial system is working gradually, but surely, the subjection of the great mass of the operative classes; and when our new lands shall have been exhausted, and the price of land become so high that the laboring man can no longer hope to become a proprietor, as is already, to no inconsiderable extent, the case in the older States, we shall find established all over the country an industrial feudalism, of which the military feudalism of the Middle Ages was but a faint prelude. All is settling down into this new feudalism, and the whole legislation of the country, in relation to banks, tariffs, and corporations generally, is rapidly hastening it. The tendency this way is so strong that there is, at present, no power in the country able to resist it. We take up a Whig newspaper and run the eye over the programme of Whig principles and measures, and we marvel to see
how admirably all is devised to secure this result; and these principles and measures will prevail, substantially, let which party will succeed in the election. The business interests of each of the great parties are the same; and no party, except it enlist its due proportion of business men for its leaders and managers, can be of sufficient importance to exert any influence on legislation, and the general policy of the government. Your Wrights and Buchanans, when the Whigs need help to fasten an iniquitous tariff on the country, stand always ready to assist them; and a Democratic party, pledged against it, will, with a majority in Congress of nearly two to one, be unable to repeal or even essentially to modify it.
Under a political point of view, we have little to hope. Our institutions have resulted from our condition, from the general equality which originally obtained amongst us; they have not created that equality, and they are impotent to preserve it. Our government does less to aid or secure our general social prosperity and well-being, than does the Prussian government for the Prussians, or the Russian for the Russians. Prussia and Russia started in the race of nations but a little prior to ourselves, - for we must not date our national existence from the Declaration of Independence, -- and the comparison between them and us would be far from flattering to our national vanity.
In regard to religion, the case stands still worse. Religion, in any high and significant sense of the word, hardly exists among us. We have no Church, no faith; we have only miserable sectarianism, indifference, hypocrisy, or fanaticism. We have no memories that go back to the founding of the Christian Church.
Our religious establishments date from 1517. All before that we virtually disown. Our sects are mainly preoccupied each with the struggle for the ascendency. They generate very little piety, command very little religious zeal, and sustain themselves, for the most part, either by leaguing with mammon, or by the application of artificial stimulants, and cunningly devised revival machinery, which produces now and then a sort of galvanic motion, but no genuine religious life.
Such being the real state of the case with us, it is not astonishing that our land should be overspread with pretended reformers of all sorts, with men and women uttering one long and loud, deep and indignant protest against the whole existing industrial, political, and religious order, or rather, disorder. The existing order is really only a wild disorder; and it is perfectly natural that men and women, who see this fact, and feel it, should lift up the voice, and exclaim, “Come ye out, come ye out from the midst of Babylon, and be ye no longer partakers in her iniquity ; drink ye no longer of the wine of her abominations ! Here is the origin, and
! here the good side, of what has received, we know not from whom, the uncouth name of Come-outerism. Viewed solely in this light, as a protest against the existing disorder, and an earnest demand for efforts to realize a higher and truer ideal, we confess that Comeouterism is worthy of sympathy and support.
But this is not the only aspect under which we are to consider Come-outerism. This is its ideal side, not its real ; what we may term it in our closet speculations, but not what we shall find it, when we go forth to meet it in actual life. Men may have a zeal for God which is not according to knowledge, and fancy, nay, verily believe, that they are serving God, when they are in reality only following the devil disguised as an angel of light. And such we believe to be actually the case with our Come-outers. We believe them wholly deceived, and, so far as capable of exerting any influence at all, capable only of retarding the very end they are professedly seeking.
In speaking of Come-outerism, we use the word with considerable latitude, to characterize a wide and deep tendency of our times. As it presents itself to our minds, it is simply a continuation of the revolutionary spirit of the last century,-- and why may we not say, of the Protestant spirit of the sixteenth century, of which the French Revolution was only one of the necesVOL. 1. NO. III.