ADVANTAGES

'The particular thing had in view, is the establishment of private confession, with the full and entire power of absolution in the priest. For this, as Dr Pusey tells us, there is no want of any new appointments ; the whole may be adopted with the greatest ease, and with the best effects possible. We have only to take his statements as those of all orthodox antiquity, and as recommended by our own soundest divines. But here, again, it unhappily turns out, upon a little inquiry, that orthodox antiquity never recognised any such thing, as it likewise never did the power, in the ministers of religion, directly to absolve anyone of his sins; all that was ever professed by the true Church being, to teach the remission of sins upon the due use of the means of grace, and through the tender mercy of our God in our Saviour Christ. All here, therefore, is, as before, very promising, but quite groundless, alluring, but utterly void of truth. But then private confession would, as Dr Pusey thinks, be a good thing, no matter what the infidel Michelet or others may have said to the contrary. Medicine is good, as is also law, although these may have been so abused in unskilful or dishonest hands as even to have destroyed life. The difference, however, lies here--medicine and law are not in themselves bad ; it is the abuse of these only which can make them so. The principle which governs private confession, as here recommended, is a totally different thing ; it is in itself and can in no way be made otherwise. It necessarily puts artful and designing men--and such the school of its advocates have universally been-- into a situation the most ruinous to society, public and private . . . and to this the history of the confessional will supply the most satisfactory proofs ; while the powers of the faithful minister can in no way be increased by it. ... Of its abettors, and of Dr Pusey in particular, I myself believe nothing short of a judicial blindness as to the truth, ignorantly hoping to discover something better than the Word of God, as interpreted by Christ's Church, has to supply, can account for their conduct. It must be that secret and unseen power of error which induces men to do things which, in its earlier progress, they never would believe it possible they could do. "What," said Hazael to the Prophet, "2 Kings viii. 13. Well indeed might the man of God weep at viewing, in the young traitor and murderer, the germ of sins and cruelties he was so soon to commit, and of which he probably had then neither the slightest conception nor the will to undertake. In the absence of Divine light there ever is a progress from bad to worse ; and in nothing has this been more visible than in the progress of the Tractarian party. Dr Wiseman admonished Mr Newman of this a few years ago. He very clearly saw whither the arch-Tractarian was wending his way, and sagely told him that, as he had begun to see as through a glass darkly, the day was not far distant when he should see and feel wholly as he himself did. The day came; Newman halted no longer between two opinions; and now, in Dr Pusey's "he is serving "Baal much." The loss of spiritual sight has here, alas! precipitated both the leader and the led into the same ditch !

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