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THE PRETENSIONS

OF

BISHOP COLENSO

TO

IMPEACH THE WISDOM AND VERACITY

OF THE

Compilers of the Holy Scriptures

CONSIDERED.

BY THE

REV. JAMES R. PAGE, M.A.

EDITOR OF
“ Burnet's Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles :".

AUTHOR OF
“ Position of the Church of England in the Catholic World,”

&c. &c. &c.
AND FORMERLY DEPUTY CHAPLAIN OF THE CHAPEL ROYAL, HAMPTON COURT.

“ For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words ?”

JOHN v. 46, 47.

LONDON:
RIVINGTONS, WATERLOO PLACE.

1863.

100. p. 104.

[merged small][merged small][graphic]

PREFACE.

BISHOP COLENSO must not be surprised or offended if I have spoken of his book in plain language. There is not, however, any thing farther from my mind than to offer him the least possible personal offence. I have claimed the same mere right to speak of his work which he has claimed, and used, in speaking of the writings of Moses. In a few places I have treated the arguments of the Bishop with irony; which some may think might have been omitted. But when I came to consider, on the one hand, the great object which the Bishop had in view, viz. to overthrow the testimony of Moses; and then, on the other hand, the most laughable arguments by which he sought to accomplish his object; memory, which, like conscience, is sometimes a most inconvenient friend, brought up the love of wit, of which, with Horace, I thought that the flying years had robbed my mind.

By Bishop Colenso's own testimony (pp. vi. vii. of his Preface) he was a kind of unbeliever before he accepted the office of a Bishop.

But he quieted his scruples by some specious explanations. When the Bishop took “Holy Orders,” he must have known what the Church requires of her clergy, before she sends them forth to “ feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” To have taken Holy Orders under such circumstances was very strange conduct; but to have gone further, and have taken the high office and emoluments of a Bishop, was not, to say the least, consistent with that respect which every man owes to himself, as well as to society. Such conduct has too much the appearance of a man voluntarily branding himself with the curse on the race of Eli,—“ Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priest's offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”

In no other way has the Church been more injured than by such practice. The manner in which too many young men are set apart for the sacred ministry, because they have interest with patrons, or because there are family livings in reserve for them; and without any serious consideration on the part of friends, patrons, or the youth himself, of the great end for which the Church has been planted in the land,—has done more to injure the Church, and to spread infidelity, than all the attacks of its worst enemies could have accomplished. And while such policy and such scandal continue, bishops, clergy, and laity may devise one scheme after another for the regeneration of the people,—but all will be in vain. Any good done, will be done because the Providence of Almighty God overrules all things for His own purposes. But the ministrations of the Church will be void of that life and power necessary to awaken a world by nature “ dead in trespasses and sins.” But it is not my province to set up as a reformer of the Church.

The Preface of Bishop Colenso does not call for much notice in addition to that bestowed on it in the several parts of my work. The public, for instance, has not any thing to do with his friendship, his feelings, and his experience; nor with his sympathy with-in his own phraseology -“ brave souls that yearn for light, and battle for the truth,” as if the light of the Revelation of God were darkness. Nor have we much to do with his “sorrow-stricken souls which require support” from his principles, because the amazingly gracious words of Him who said—“ Let not your heart be troubled ;"—“ In the world

ye

shall have tribulation; but in Me ye shall have peace;" — were mere delusion, and mockery of the afflicted race of man !

Neither need we concern ourselves much with the reasons why he did not forward his letter to his friend, because those matters, which had been doubts before he commenced his letter, had risen to certainty before its conclusion; and he was convinced that the Pentateuch was a fable; and that it was his duty to come forward, and teach that glorious fact to those“ brave minds that are yearning for light and battling for the truth!”

But there is one point in the Preface of the Bishop, on which we must bestow a short notice. We read with pain, and yet not with surprise, the way in which, in addition to his open attack on the sacred writers, the Bishop of Natal would more quietly unlearn us Christianity. To the question, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?” to which the sacrifices under the law gave some answer, the Gospel of Christ has furnished the full reply:

“ Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me;" “And whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ;” and “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” And we need not speak of that distinguishing feature and glory of our Liturgy, that every prayer contains, or concludes with, a reference to the great High Priest of the Church, Jesus Christ the Right

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