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fact, that not only did God not express any dissatisfaction with these "graven "images,” but He gave His approval to all that had been done by appearing to consecrate it. The relation given both in “Kings” and “Chronicles" is to the effect that, when the temple was consecrated, when the Ark was deposited in the Holy of Holies, the glory of ile Lord filled the house. The words are: “Now when “Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and con“sumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the " house.
And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of “ Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house,
they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, “and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy wendureth for ever.'
There was no rebuke uttered about the carved images, none relating to the wickedness of defiling the lIouse of the Lord by setting up such things as He bad so strictly prohibited, which is utterly unaccountable if the theory be correct that in this reign the nation actually possessed the supposed laws of Noses. The facts are that nothing like the law of Ioses was known unto Solomon. The people were satisficd to have God dwelling amongst them. Thus, as in the old time, Jehovah in glory became visible unto them. They could not look, for the blaze was so strong: Shall we gaze full upon the Sun-God and conquer his brightness, or into the mirror of gold whereon the sun shines ?
But the actual dimensions of this famous temple, considering all which bas been said of it, form the most astonishing fact in the whole bistory. Hearing and reading so much about it, we are led to conclude that in size and splendour it must have surpassed all other Egyptian, Syrian, Babylonian, and other ancient temples; whereas we find, when we come with rod and line to measure it, that it would not in Egypt have been looked upon as more than an appendage to some temple of large dimensions; it was altogether too petty for them to have called it a temple. We learn that the building was a rectangle “sixty cubits long in “the clear from east to west, and twenty cnbits wide from north to south.”+ That is, it was at the extreme 105 feet long and 35 feet wide, so that the majority of our parish churches are much larger. As to the cathedrals, they all so far surpass it that they may not be suggested in comparison. And hence, again, we are compelled to ask, if it be possible to believe in the vast expenditure set forth over a building so petty, and, as contrasted with other temples, insignificant. The explanation I gave at first fully meets the case. A temple was built by Solomon, and in his tinsel style of splendour : the onlookers called that solid gold which was only gilt, and thus an idea, a false idea, of the real value was spread abroad. Then came the division of the kingdom, and, as a natural result, greater pride in the possession of the temple. Then came the captivity, captivity after captivity, desolation after desolation, in which the people sat them down to tell the story of their former glory, Each telling added somewhat to the bulk of the story; for, as all experience shows, although there may be no set desire to exaggerate, there is a tendency that way which cannot be destroyed. The Hebrews, when they came ont of their captivity, were in no sense fitted for taking a reasonable view of the matter. Ilad they done so, then we should never have heard or read the story of the temple as told in the Chronicles. For clearly, taking the actual size of the building, it would not have been possible for them to work so much wealth into such a small compass. Had the entire temple been built of solid gold, the alleged amount would not bave been exhausted, and the silver would have built a wall round it.
* Ibid, iii. (To be continued.)
* 2 Chron. vii, 1-3.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY M. Pattie, 31, PATERNOSTER Row, AND GEORGE
GLAISHER, 470, NEW OXFORD STREET,
THE INCOMPETENT BISHOPS, AND THE ESSAYS
AND REVIEWS. Among the numerous wants of Englishmen, it is scarcely possible to single out one more glaring than this, the want of “A dissertation upon the use and
value of Bishops. Upon the Continent, we are universally taunted with being "a severely practical people ;” it is said that we " are resolved upon " keeping no more cats than will catch mice," and we are spoken of as being "utterly unable to discovers the value of anything which does not bring its "pennyworth of profit.” The taunt proves the ignorance of those who resort to its use ; for it would be difficult to find a nation in which more men are fed at the public cost, yielding no profit to the toiling millions who feed them, than are bountifully fed and richly clothed in England.
We single out for present examination the Bench of Bishops, and inquire what good they do?-what profit they yield ?what honour they confer? wherein they promote either the cause of knowledge, progress, peace, brotherhood, or true religion? It has been pithily said in their defence, that any fool can cast a stone at å philosopher, and that the success of a public man is sure to create numberless enemies. Let all this be freely granted, but does it not also stand unquestionable, that the philosopher must produce fruit which will make manifest the folly of the fool, and that the successful man must, in his works, prove himself to be superior to what his enemies have declared. Have the Bishops done so ? Where are the proofs of Episcopal wisdom ?—Where the record of those works whose beauty and nobleness exalt our Church Dignitaries above the assaults of their enemies ?—In what sense can they be said to show themselves in the character of men who make us wiser, nobler, or freer ? Their best friends have sought in vain for such fruit.
A remarkable illustration of their incompetence is now before the world. A volume has been published which is composed of Essays written by members of the Church-by leading ecclesiastics : in which, not only are the common Creeds of Christendom touched with an unsparing hand, but the Scriptures themselves are proven to be quite other than the literary works of God, and utterly unworthy of the honour conferred upon them. This is done in no vulgar or incompetent manner, but calmly, and upon sufficient evidence which is therin Vol. V. New SERIES, Vol. I,
adduced. The authors of the Essays are alike scholars and gentlemen ; they are lovers of truth, being particularly earnest in their defence of religion in its truest sense; and while, upon the one hand, they are outspoken in favour of what they know to be the actual verity, they are in no sense unjust to the men of old--they deal neither harshly nor uncandidly with the ancients, who, innocently and honestly, proclaimed the contrary of that which is now to be received. The volume, however, is nothing more than a combination of truths which have been previously received in an isolated form. We engage to point out in various modern, but generally received, religious works, every denounced statement which is found in this volume. They have all been made before and passed current. The flowers were all known to be flourishing in the clerical critical garden, and all that these authors have done is to pluck and form them into a bouquet, which in that form has proved to be unpleasant to episcopal nostrils.
The book has been denounced by Bishops and Clergy alike ; but in that it has only shared the common fate of all good works, and if it promises any larger measure of freedom and happiness to mankind, they are bound by precedent to denounce it. As a rule, the best book of an age is invariably the most bitterly denounced by the Clergy, taken as a class. All great works contain new embodiments of truth, and are signs of progress; but, as the clergy are never convinced of the need of change in any other direction than that of increasing their own numbers, especially the number of Bishops, or enlarging their pecuniary resources, there is little reason for anticipating they will ever generously and loyally accept a new truth, until it has been too firmly established for their resistance to be any longer of avail.
Thus, it is only in accordance with the common course of things for them to raise a cry against the Essays and Reviews. There is no novelty about it, and it is equally in accord with the general practice, that they should curse creply without furnishing any logical or tangible reason for doing so. They rest spon Authority divorced from Reason, and the cause thereof is palpable enough. As a class they are inefficient inen, and utterly incompetent to disprove the statements which they officially repudiate. When Columbus stood before the Council, called to examine his proposals, the ecclesiastical portion rejected every one of his statements as being unorthodox, and, although they were too ignorant to furnish even the show of argument against him, they combined their forces joyfully enough to brand him as a deceiver of the people of God.
The same, or even a more bitter course was pursued in England in relation to Harvey, when he announced the fact that the blood circulates through the heart and body. The Clergy were totally ignorant of every fact connected with the subject
, they knew neither the old nor the new theory, but their incompetence only made them the more bitter in their denunciations. So, also, with the discoveries in astronomy, geology, general physics, and those con nected with the sanitary laws and the origin of diseases. They knew nothing of the facts, and would not attempt to learn : still, with unpardonable audacity, and in the name of God, they undertook to denounce, in sermon and essay, the scientific men who proclaimed them.
Thus, as history clearly testifies, had society been left to ecclesiastical rule, it would still be sitting in darkness and misery, subject alike to the horrors of city fever, the terrors of an Inquisition, the weakness of superstie tion, and the incompetence of ignorance; the rack would even now be a favoured means of mercy in daily use, the faggots would still be piled round
the men of independent thought in Smithfield, and all those fearful scenes of horror associated with the Middle Ages, which are now so painful even in the l'eading, would form component parts of our national daily life. It could not be otherwise were the Clergy set up as our absolute guides, in place of that Reason which God gave us to serve in that capacity; for, in virtue of their official dignity, they presuppose themselves to know all which can be known, and, consequently, are ever found to be in opposition to those ideas which are suggested by the intelligent explorer and inquirer into the order and meaning of Nature. They must denounce liim as a knave, or admit themselves to have been less wise than was presupposed.
But according to the statement of the Bishops, these Essays "contain opinions, calmly and dispassionately enunciated, which tend to do the work " of the sceptic," and the Bishop of Ripon, taking that view of the matter, told the Church Aid Society at Bradford, that he considered it furnished cause of thankfulness to God, that, without one dissentient voice, the Bishops of the Church of England, to a man, had pronounced an emphatic condemnation of the infamous and blasphemous opinions propounded in these
Essays and Reviews." We do not hesitate to intimate plainly, that-without noticing his want of charity, and gentlemanly feeling—the said Bishop must have been speaking for once without book, or that he is totally ignorant of the contents of the work he denounces. He may have read it, but reading does not involve the power of understanding. He understands it not. For, above all, it is not a book of opinions, but of facts, and therein lies the sting. Had it been no more than a Bishop's sermon-merely a com. pound of borrowed sentences illogically arranged, and powerless to work changes-or nothing more than a compound of opinions unbacked by conclusive evidence, there is erery reason for declaring it would have had but a short shrift before its final execution.
This book would never have gained notoriety, were it composed of a set of opiniative essays ; that which gives force to its contents, is the fact that the authors are chary of drawing conclusions, but clever in placing the “evidence” in such a form as to compel the reader to arrive at conclusions not favourable to the existing standards of orthodoxy. They have culled from various works, and made excellent use of a number of facts which are unimpeachable; and the fact is, that the clergy, as a body, are too little informed upon the subjects, to be able to decide how justly or unjustly the selection has been made and arranged. The Bishop of Ripon can with perfect ease cast a stone at him who draws conclusions from Persian, Hindu, and Egyptian History ; but what is required to lend force to the stone, is that sort of evidence which would prove him to possess a sufficient critical knowledge of the history to justify him in pronouncing an opinion. Doubtless, this Reverend Father in God views these histories, as well as the various scientific facts used in the same volume, with the most perfect contempt; but, fortu. nately, as it lies not in his power to create, so is it out of his power to destroy them. The less he knows about them, the more contemptuously will he think and speak. And should he succeed in inducing society to close its eyes to the truth, the success will be merely temporary; he will triumph to the extent of shrouding its members a little longer in a lie; he will succeed in keeping them a little longer in submissive tutelage, content to feed upon a barren moor of episcopal platitudes ; but eventually the truth he would hide will gain currency and establish its triumph. Evidently, the Bishops have arrived at the conclusion, that it is their
sole business to denounce, and not to argue or instruct; they are to curse the authors of the Essays, not to demonstrate the unsoundness of their facts. But it ought to be known in these times of enlightenment, even by Bishops, that an ounce of proof is worth more than a ton of denunciation. They ought by this time to have learnt that the best way to convince the reasonable part of the nation of the Essayists being correct, is for the whole hierarchy to denounce them, seeing that their Lordships, as a rule, have always been found upon the opposition side when a new truth was asserted. We do not say that this should be the course of reasoning, because it is our firm conviction, that, by accident, a wise, honest, candid, innocent-minded, and practically learned man inight be placed upon that bench, and, consequently, that there is a remote chance of a Bishop actually and publicly approving of some new truth before it has become the conviction of all minds. The possibility of such an event is not to be rudely repudiated. Still the fact will stand, that, as the cry of a tory against any new measure introduced into Parliament furnishes a priori evidence of its being a liberal, wise, and progressive measure, so the cry of the Bishops against a book, supplies the same kind of proof of its being a sound and good one, and, rightly or wrongly, there are thousands in England who will not consider any other evidence to be necessary.
Will they undertake to answer these Essays? If not, then, why are they appointed as Bishops? They are the “chief shepherds, and by their own showing, wolves have broken in to slay the flocks placed under their charge, --are they ready to protect them by doing battle with the wolves? If not, then, why are they drawing the pay of shepherds ? The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed the hope that some Churchman would arise to answer the Essays, and we presume he meant some needy curate, whose time is neither occupied in feasting nor in counting his annual gains out of the “Lord's Treasury, for no pluralist or hierarch is at all likely to do so. Why does the Archbishop fail his flock in the hour of need ? He is the chief of the Church, why, then, should he wait for some poorly-paid, half-starved curate to do his work, while he is himself mean enough in soul to draw the pay and wear the honour ? If he be the wisest and best of the Clergy, as the theory of his exaltation declares him to be, then, who can be so fit as himself--assisted as he would readily be by other wise men--to write an answer ? And if he be not the wisest, then, why is he Archbishop ?
Obviously, the episcopal system must be a farce if the united Bench cannot furnish a conclusive answer to these Essays. Let the Churchman say what he will by way of apology, he must needs confess that, by their own consent, the hierarchs of the Church must be dubbed as incompetent noodles. The Archbishop of Canterbury told the deputation which waited upon him with the petition, that he had no doubt, “ every one of the Essays would be shown "to be a frivolous and answerable publication.” Be it so, and it will follow that, as these Shepherds are waiting for some competent man to answer “ frivolous" Essays, themselves being unable to do it, they have thereby voted themselves to be unworthy the lawn they wear.
If the Essays are dangerous, and likely to lead to the ruin of souls, the Shepherds should take steps to preserve their flocks ; and if the task be an easy one, how great is their sin that they have not performed it-how great should be their shame if they are unable to do go!
P. W. P.