« السابقةمتابعة »
the world for attempting to reform the religion of same cause which induces state religions to maintain his country! The Jewish priesthood.- Who was it themselves as they are, induces them to maintain the that drowned the altars of their idols with the blood patron state as it is. It is the state in its present of Christians for attempting to abolish Paganism ! condition, that secures to the church its advantages; The Pagan priesthood. Who was it that persecuted and the church does not know whether, if it were to to flames and death those who, in the time of Wick- encourage political reformation, the new state of liffe and his followers, laboured to reform the errors things might not endanger its own supremacy. of Popery? The Popish priesthood.- Who was it, There are indeed so many other interests and powers and who is it that, both in England and in Ireland concerned in political reformations, that the state since the Reformation--but I check my hand, being religion cannot always prevent alterations from being unwilling to reflect upon the dead, or to exasperate effected. Nor would I affirm that they always enthe living."* We also are unwilling to reflect upon deavour to prevent it. And yet we may appeal to the or to exasperate, but our business is with plain general experience of all ages, whether established truth. Who, then, was it that since the Reforma- churches have not resisted reformation in those potion has persecuted dissentients from its creed, and litical institutions upon which their own privileges who is it that at this hour thinks and speaks of them depended. Now, these are serious things. For after with unchristian antipathy? The English Priesthood. all that can be said, and justly said, of the mischiefs of It was, and it is, the state religion in some European political changes and the extravagances of political countries that now persecutes Dissenters from its empiricism, it is sufficiently certain that almost every creed. It was the state religion in this country that government that has been established in the world, persecuted the Protestants; and since Protestantism has needed from time to time important reformahas been established, it is the state religion which tions in its constitution or its practice. And it is has persecuted Protestant Dissenters. Is this the equally certain, that if there be any influence or sault principally of the faith of these churches, or of power which habitually and with little discriminatheir alliance with the state ? No man can be in tion supports political institutions as they are, that doubt for an answer.
influence or power must be very pernicious to the We are accustomed to attribute too much to world. bigotry. Bigotry has been very great and very We have seen that one of the requisites of a relioperative; but bigotry alone would not have pro-gious establishment is a “legal provision” for its duced the disgraceful and dreadful transactions ministers—that is to say, the members of all the which fill the records of ecclesiastical history. No. churches which exist in a state must be obliged to Men have often been actuated by the love of supre- pay to the support of one, whether they approve of macy or of money, whilst they were talking loudly that one or not. of the sacredness of their faith. They have been Now in endeavouring to estimate the effects of less afraid for religion than for the dominance of a this system, with a view to ascertain the preponchurch. When the creed of that church was im- derance of public advantages, we are presented at pugned, those who shared in its advantages were the outset with the enquiry- Is this compulsory zealous to suppress the rising enquiry; because the maintenance right ? Is it compatible with Christi. discredit of the creed might endanger the loss of anity! If it is not, there is an end of the controthe advantages. The zeal of a Pope for the real versy; for it is nothing to Christians whether a presence, was often quite a fiction. He and his car- system be politic or impolitic, if once they have disdinals cared perhaps nothing for the real presence, covered that it is wrong. But I waive for the preas they sometimes cared nothing for morality. But sent the question of rectitude. The reader is at men might be immoral without encroaching upon liberty to assume that Christianity allows governthe Papal power—they could not deny the doctrine ments to make this compulsory provision if they without endangering its overthrow.
think fit. I waive, too, the question whether a Happily, persecution for religion is greatly dimi- Christian minister ought to receive payment for his nished; yet, whilst we rejoice in the fact, we cannot labours, whether that payment be voluntary or not. conceal from ourselves the consideration, that the The single point before us is, then, the balance of diminution of persecution has resulted rather from advantages. Is it more advantageous that ministhe general diffusion of better principles than from ters should be paid by a legal provision or by volunthe operation of religious establishments as such. tary subscription ?
In most or in all ages, a great portion of the fla. That advantage of a legal provision which congitious transactions which furnish materials for the sists in the supply of a teacher to every district has ecclesiastical historian, have resulted from the poli- | already been noticed ; so that our enquiry is reduced tical connexions or interests of a church. It was not to a narrow limit. Supposing that a minister would the interests of Christianity but of an establishment, be appointed in every district although the state did which made Becket embroil his king and other sove- not pay him, is it more desirable that he should be reigns in distractions. It was not the interests of paid by the state or voluntarily by the people! Christianity but of an establishment, which occasion- Of the legal provision some of the advantages are ed the monstrous impositions and usurpations of the
these: it holds out no inducement to the irreligious Papal see. And I do not know whether there has or indifferent to absent themselves from public worever been a religious war of which religion was the ship lest they should be expected to pay the preacher. only or the principal cause. Besides all this, there Public worship is conducted—the preacher delivers has been an inextricable succession of intrigues and
his discourse -- whether such persons go or not. cabals—of conflicting interests—and clamour and They pay no more for going, and no less for staying distraction, which the world would have been spared away: and it is probable, in the present religious if secular interests had not been brought into con- state of mankind, that some go to places for worship Dexion with religion.
since it costs them nothing, who otherwise would Another mode in which religious establishments stay away. But it is manifestly better that men are injurious to the civil welfare of a people, is by should attend even in such a state of indifference their tendency to resist political improvements. That than that they should not attend at all. Upon the
voluntary system of payment, this good effect is not • Miscellaneous Tracts, by Richard Watson, D.D., Bishop of
so fully secured; for though the doors of chapels be Landaff, v. 2.
open to all, yet few persons of competent means
would attend them constantly without feeling that him or not. The tendency of this last system is evi. they might be expected to contribute to the ex- dently opposed to perfect kindliness and cordiality. penses. I do not believe that the non-attendance of There is likely to be a sort of natural connexion, a indifferent persons would be greatly increased by the communication of good offices induced between adoption of the voluntary system, especially if the hearers and the man whom they themselves choose payments were as moderate as they easily might be; and voluntarily remunerate, which is less likely in —but it is a question rather of speculation than of the other case. If love be of so much consequence experience, and the reader is to give upon this ac- generally to the Christian character, it is especially count to the system of legal provision, such an of consequence that it should subsist between him amount of advantage as he shall think fit.
who assumes to be a dispenser, and them who are in Again.—Preaching, where there is a legal provi- the relation of hearers of the gospel of Christ. sion, is not “a mode of begging.” If you adopt Indeed the very circumstance that a man is comvoluntary payment, that payment depends upon the pelled to pay a preacher, tends to the introduction good pleasure of the hearers, and there is manifestly of unkind and unfriendly feelings. It is not to be a temptation upon the preacher to accommodate his expected that men will pay him more graciously or discourses, or the manner of them, to the wishes of with a better will than they pay a tax-gatherer; and his hearers, rather than to the dictates of his own we all know that the tax-gatherer is one of the last judgment. But the man who receives his stipend persons whom men wish to see. He who desires to whether his hearers be pleased or not, is under no extend the influence of Christianity, would be very such temptation. He is at liberty to conform the cautio of establishing a system
which so ungraexercise of his functions to his judgment without the cious a regulation formed a part. There is truth diminution of a subscription. This, I think, is an worthy of grave attention in the ludicrous verse of undeniable advantage.
Cowper's Another consideration is this:- That where there
A rarer man than you is a religious establishment with a legal provision, it
In pulpit none shall hear; is usual, not to say indispensable, to fill the pulpits
But yet, methinks, to tell you true,
You sell it plaguy dear. only with persons who entertain a certain set of religious opinions. It would be obviously idle to as- It is easy to perceive that the influence of that man's sume that these opinions are true, but they are, or exhortations must be diminished, whose hearers jisten are in a considerable degree, uniform. Assuming, with the reflection that his advice is “plaguy dear.” then, that one set of opinions is as sound as another, The reflection, too, is perfectly natural, and cannot is it better that a district should always hear one be helped. And when superadded to this is the conset, or that the teachers of twenty different sets sideration, that it is not only sold " dear,” but that should successively gain possession of the pulpit, as payment is enforced-material injury must be susthe choice of the people might direct ? I presume not tained by the cause of religion. In this view it may to determine such a question; but it may be observed be remarked, that the support of an establishment that, in point of fact, those churches which do pro- by a general tax would be preferable to the payment ceed upon the voluntary system, are not often sub- of each pastor by his own bearers. Nor is it unjected to such fluctuations of doctrine. There does worthy of notice that some persons will always think not appear much difficulty in constituting churches (whether with reason or without it) that compulsory upon the voluntary plan, which shall in practice maintenance is not right ; and in whatever degree secure considerable uniformity in the sentiments of | they do this, there is an increased cause of dissatisthe teachers. And as to the bitter animosities and | faction or estrangement. distractions which have been predicted if a choice of Again, the teacher who is independint of the connew teachers was to be left to the people--they do gregation—who will enjoy all his emoluments whenot, I believe, ordinarily follow. Not that I appre- | ther they are satisfied with bim or not-is under hend the ministers, for instance, of an independent i manifest temptation to remissness in his duty; not church are always elected with that unani mity and perhaps to remissness in those particulars on which freedom from heart-burnings which ought to subsist, his superiors would animadvert, but in those which but that animosities do not subsist to any great ex- respect the unstipulated and undefinable, but very tent. Besides, the prediction appears to be founded important duties of private care, and of private on the supposition, that a certain stipend was to be labours. To mention this is sufficient. No man appropriated to one teacher or to another, according who reflects upon the human constitution, or who as he might obtain the greater number of votes- looks around him, will need arguments to prove that whereas every man is at liberty, if be pleases, to they are likely to labour negligently whose profits withdraw his contribution from him whom he dis- are not increased by assiduity and zeal. I know approves, and to give it to another. And, after all, that the power of religion can, and that it often there may be voluntary support of ministers without | does, counteract this; but that is no argument for an election by those who contribute, as is in stanced putting temptation in the way. So powerful in by the Methodists in the present day.
deed is this temptation, that with a very great num. On the other hand, there are some advantages at- ber it is acknowledged to prevail. Even if we do tendant on the voluntary system which that of a not assert, with a clergyman, that a great proportion legal provision does not possess.
of his brethren labour only so much for the religious And first it appears to be of importance that there benefit of their parishioners as will screen them from should be an union, an harmony, a cordiality between the arm of the law, there is other evidence which is the minister and the people. It is, in truth, an unhappily conclusive. The desperate extent to indispensable requisite. Christianity, which is a which non-residence is practised, is infallible proof religion of love, cannot flourish where unkindly that a large proportion of the clergy are remiss in feelings prevail. Now, I think it is manifest that the discharge of the duties of a Christian pastor. barmony and cordiality are likely 10 prevail more They do not discharge them con amore ; and how where the minister is chosen and voluntarily remu- should they? It was not the wish to do this which perated by his hearers, than where they are not prompted i hem to become clergymen at first. They consulted in the choice; where they are obliged to were influenced by another object, and that they take him whom others please to appoint, and where have obtained they possess an income: and it is they are compelled to pay him whether they like not to be expected that, when this is obtained, the
mental desires should suddenly become elevated and ! a person to fill that office, they are likely to select purified, and that they who entered the church for one of whom they think at least that he is a good the sake of its emoluments, should commonly labour in it for the sake of religion.
The same observation holds of non-residence. Although to many the motive for entering the Non-residence is not necessary to a state religion. church is the same as that for engaging in other By the system of voluntary payment it is impossible. professions, it is an unhappiness peculiar to the cle- It has sometimes been said (with whatever truth) rical profession, that it does not offer the same sti- that in times of public discontent dissenters have mulus to subsequent exertion; that advancement been disposed to disaffection. If this be true, com. does not usually depend upon desert. The man pulsory support is in this respect a political evil, who seeks for an income from surgery, or the bar, | inasmuch as it is the cause of the alienation of a is continually prompted to pay exemplary attention part of the community. We will not suppose so to its duties. Unless the surgeon is skilful and at- strong a case as that this alienation might lead to tentive, he knows that practice is not to be expected: physical opposition; but supposing the dissatisfaction unless the pleader devotes himself to statutes and only to exist, affords no inconsiderable topic of the reports, he knows that he is not to expect cases and statesman's enquiry. Happiness is the object of briefs. But the clergyman, whether he studies the civil government, and this object is frustrated in Bible or not—whether he be diligent and zealous or part in respect of those who think themselves agnot-still possesses his living. Nor would it be ra- grieved by its policy. And when it is considered tional to expect, that where the ordinary stimulus to how numerous the dissenters are, and that they inhuman exertion is wanting, the exertion itself should crease in number, the political impropriety and imgenerally be found. So naturally does exertion fol- policy of keeping them in a state of dissatisfaction low from stimulus, that we believe it is an observation becomes increased. frequently made, that curates are more exemplary The best security of a government is in the satis. than beneficed clergymen. And if beneficed cler- faction and affection of the people; which satisfacgymen were more solicitous than they are to make tion is always diminished, and which affection is althe diligence of their curates the principal consider- ways endangered, in respect of those who, disapation in employing them, this difference between proving a certain church, are compelled to pay to curates and their employers would be much greater its support. This is a consequence of a "legal prothan it is. Let beneficed clergymen employ and
vision" that demands much attention from the legisreward curates upon as simple principles as those lator. Every legislator knows that it is an evil. It are on which a merchant employs and rewards a is a point that no man disputes, and that every man clerk, and it is probable that nine-tenths of the pa- knows should be prevented, unless its cause effects risbes in England would wish for a curate rather a counterbalance of advantages. than a rector.
Lastly, Upon the question of the comparative But this very consideration affords a powerful advantages of a legal provision, and a voluntary reargument against the present system. If much muneration in securing the due discharge of the good would result from making clerical reward the ministerial function, what is the evidence of facts ? price of desert, much evil results from making it in- Are the ministers of established, or of unestablished dependent of desert. This effect of the English churches, the more zealous, the more exemplary, Establishment is not, like some others, inseparable the more laborious, the more devoted ? Whether from the institution. It would doubtless be pos- of the two are the more beloved by their hearers ? sible, even with compulsory maintenance, so to ap
Whether of the two lead the more exemplary and propriate it that it should form a constant motive religious lives? Whether of the two are the more to assiduity and exertion. Clergymen might be ele
active in works of philanthropy? It is a question vated in their profession according to their fidelity of fact, and facts are before the world. to their office; and if this were done—if, as opportunity offered, all were likely to be promoted who The discussions of the present chapter conduct deserved it; and if all who did not deserve it were the mind of the writer to these short conclusions :sure to be passed by, a new face would soon be put
That of the two grounds upon which the proupon the affairs of the church. The complaints of priety of Religious Establishments is capable of neglect of duty would quickly be diminished, and examination, neither affords evidence in their fapon-residence would soon cease to be the reproach vour : That Religious Establishments deri e no of three thousand out of ten. We cannot, however, countenance from the nature of Christianity, or amuse ourselves with the hope that this will be from the example of the primitive churches; and, done, because, in reference to the civil constitution That they are not recommended by practical Utility. of the church, there is too near an approach to that condition in which the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. If then it be asserted, that it is one great advan
CHAPTER XV. tage of the establishment that it provides a teacher for every parish, it is one great disadvantage, that it makes a large proportion of those teachers negligent of their duty. There may perhaps be a religious establishment
The English Church the offspring of the Reformation, the in which the ministers shall be selected for their de
Church establishment, of Papacy-Alliance of Church' and serts, though I know not whether in any it is ac- State_" The Priesthood averse from Reformation"_Noble tually and sufficiently done. That it is one of the
Ecclesiastics-Purchase of Advowsons—Non-residence-Plu
ralities-- Parliamentary Returns—The Clergy fear to preach first requisites in the appointment of religious teach
the truth-Moral Preaching-Recoil from Works of Philan. ers is plain; and this point is manifestly better con- thropy, Tithes" The Church is in Danger"- The Church sulted by a system in which the people voluntarily
establishment is in danger-Monitory Suggestion. pay and choose their pastors, than when they do not. Men love goodness in others, though they may be bad themselves; and they especially like it in their If the conclusions of the last chapter be just, it will religious teachers: so that, when they come to select now become our business to enquire how far the dis
THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS OF ENGLAND AND
THE ENGLISH ESTABLISUMENT IS OF PAPAL ORIGIN.
advantages which are incidental to religious estab- | whether those disadvantages which result generally lishments actually operate in our own, and whether from the alliance, result in this country, and whether there subsist any additional disadvantages resulting the peculiar intimacy is attended with peculiar evils from the peculiar constitution or circumstances of Bishops are virtually appointed by the prince: the English church.
and it is manifest that in the present principles of We have no concern with religious opinions or political affairs, regard will be had, in their selection, forms of church government, but with the church as to the interests of the state. The question will not connected with the state. It is not with an episco. always be, when a bishoprick becomes vacant, Who palian church, but with an established church, that is the fittest man to take the oversight of the church! we are concerned. If there must exist a religious but sometimes—What appointment will most effectuestablishment, let it by all means remain in its pre- ally strengthen the administration of the day!sent hands. The experience which England has had | Bishops are temporal peers, and as such they have of the elevation of another sect to the supremacy, is an efficient ability to promote the views of the gonot such as to make us wish to see another elevated vernment by their votes in parliament. Bishops in again. * Nor would any sect which takes a just view their turn are patrons; and it becomes also manifest of its own religious interests desire the supremacy that these appointments will sometimes be regulated for itself.
by kindred views. He who was selected by the cabinet The origin of the English establishment is papal. because he would promote their measures, and who The political alliance of the church is similar now to cannot hope for advancement if he opposes those mea. what it was in the first years of Henry VIII. When sures, is not likely to select clergymen who oppose Henry countenanced the preachers of the reformed them. Many ecclesiastical appointments, again, are in opinions, when he presented some of them with the the hands of the individual officers of government-of benefices which had hitherto been possessed by the the prime minister, for example, or the lord chancelRomish clergy; and when at length these benefices lor. That these officers will frequently regard politiand the other privileges of the state religion were cal purposes, or purposes foreign to the worth of men, bestowed upon the “reformed” only—no essential in making these appointments, is plain. Now, when change was effected in the political constitution of we reflect that the highest dignities of the church are the church. In one point indeed the alliance with in the patronage of the king, and that the influence of the state was made more strict, because the supre- | their dignitaries upon the inferior clergy is necessarily macy was transferred from the pope to the monarch. great, it becomes obvious, that there will be diffused So that the same or a kindred political character was through the general whole of the hierarchy a sysput in connexion with other men and new opinions. tematic alliance with the ruling power. Nor is it The church was altered but the establishment re- assuming any thing unreasonable to add, that whilst mained nearly the same: or the difference that did the ordinary principles that actuate mankind operate, obtain made the establishment more of a state reli- the hierarchy will sometimes postpone the interests gion than before. The origin therefore of the Eng- of religion to their own. lish establishment is papal. It was planted by papal Upon the practical authority of cabinets over the policy, and nurtured by pervading superstition: and church, Bishop Warburton makes himself somewhat as to the transfer of the supremacy, but little credit mirthful:
:-" The rabbins make the giant Gog or is due to its origin or its motives. No reverence is due Magog contemporary with Noah, and convinced by to our establishment on account of its parentage. his preaching. . So that he was disposed to take the The church is the offspring of the reformation-the benefit of the ark. But here lay the distress—it by church establishment is not. It is not a daughter of no means suited his dimensions. Therefore, as he protestantism but of the papacy-brought into un- could not enter in, he contented himself to ride upon natural alliance with a better faith. Unhappily, but it astride. Image now to yourself this illustrious little anxiety was shown by some of the reformers cavalier, mounted on his hackney, and see if he to purify the political character of the church when does not bring before you the church, bestrid by its privileges came into their own hands. They de- some lumpish minister of state, who turns and claimed against the corruptions of the former church, winds it at his pleasure. The only difference is, but were more than sufficiently willing to retain its that Gog believed the preacher of righteousness and profits and its power.
If, then, to convert a religious establishment into The alliance with the state of which we have a means of strengthening or diffusing influence, spoken, as the inseparable attendant of religious serves only to debase it, and to introduce into it establishments, is in this country peculiarly close. numerous corruptions and abuses," these debase“ Church and State” is a phrase that is continually ments, corruptions, and abuses must necessarily subemployed, and indicates the intimacy of the con- sist in the establishment of England. Dexion between them. The question then arises, And first as to the church itself.-It is not too
much to believe that the honourable earnestness of The religious sect who are now commonly called Puritans,
many of the reformers to purify religion from the “ prohibited the use of the Common Prayer, not merely in churches, chapels, and places of public worship, but in any corruptions of the papacy, was cooled, and eventually private place or family as well, under a penalty of five pounds almost destroyed by the acquisition of temporal imfor the first offence, ten pounds for the second, and for the
munities. When they had acquired them, the unthird a year's imprisonment.”+ These men did not under. stand, or did not practise the fundamental duties of toleration. happy reasoning began to operate-Let us let well Fur religious liberty they had still less regard. “ They passed alone : if we encourage further changes our advanan ordinance by which eight beresies were made punisbable with death upon the first offence, unless the offender abjured
tages will perhaps pass into o her hands. We are safe his errors, and irremissibly if he relapsed. Sixteen other opi. as we are ; and we will not endanger the loss of prenions were to be punished with imprisonment, till the offender
sent benefits by further reformation.-- What has been should find sureties that he would maintain them no more." ;
the result ?- That the church has never been fully And they quite abolished he Episcopal rank and order, as if each cburch might not decide for itself by what form its dis- reformed to the present hour. If any reader is discipline should be conducted ! To have separated the civil posed to deny this, I place the proposition not upon my privileges from the episcopal order was witbin the province of the Legislature, and to have abolished those privileges would,
feeble authority, but upon that of the members of the we think, have been wise.
church and of the reformers themselves. The rea
der will be pleased to notice that there are few quo- | pauca.": What would Lord Bacon have said if he tations in the present chapter except from members had lived to our day, when two hundred years more of the church of England.
have passed, and the establishment still continues * If any person will seriously consider the low and
"upon the dregs of time!"— But Lord Bacon's quessuperstitious state of the minds of men in general in tion should be answered; and though no reason can the time of James I., much more in the reigns of his be given for refusing to reform, a cause can be aspredecessors, he will not be surprised to find that signed. there are various matters in our ecclesiastical constitu- « Whatever truth there may be in the proposition tion which require some alteration. Our forefathers which asserts that the multitude is fond of innovadid great things, and we cannot be sufficiently thank- ; tion, I think that the proposition which asserts that ful for their labours, but much more remains to be the priesthood is averse from reformation, is far more done."* Hartley says of the ecclesiastical powers generally true.” | This is the cause. They who of the Christian world—“ They have all left the have the power of reforming, are afraid to touch true, pure, simple religion, and teach for doctrines the fabric. They are afraid to remove one stone the commandments of men. They are all merchants however decayed, lest another and another should of the earth, and have set up a kingdom of this world, be loosened, until the fabric, as a political instituabounding in riches, temporal power, and external tion, should fall. _Let us hear again episcopal evipomp." | Dr Henry More (he was zealous for the dence. Bishop Porteous informs us, that himself honour of the church) says of the reformed churches, with some other clergymen, (amongst whom were they have “ separated from the great Babylon to Dr Percy and Dr York, both subsequently bishops,) build those that are lesser and more tolerable, but attempted to induce the bishops to alter some yet not to be tolerated for ever." |
things “ which all reasonable persons agreed stood " It pleased God in his unsearchable wisdom to in need of amendment." The answer given by Archsuffer the progress of this great work, the reforma-bishop Cornwallis was exactly to the purpose—“ I tion, to be stopped in the midway, and the effects of have consulted, severally, my brethren the bishops; it to be greatly weakened by many unhappy divisions and it is the opinion of the bench in general, that among the reformed."'$
nothing can in prudence be done in the matter." I “ The innovations introduced into our religious | Here is no attempt to deny the existence of the evils establishment at the reformation, were great and glo- -no attempt to show that they ought not to be rious for those times : but some further innovations amended, but only that it would not “ be prudent " are yet wanting (would to God they may be quietly to amend them. What were these considerations of made !) to bring it to perfection.” ||
prudence ? Did they respect religion? Is it impru“ I have always had a true zeal for the church of dent to purify religious offices ? Or did they respect England; yet I must say-there are many things in the temporal privileges of the church !-No man it that have been very uneusy to me.”
surely can doubt, that if the church had been a re. “ Cranmer, Bucer, Jewel, and others, never con- ligious institution only, its heads would have thought sidered the reformation which took place in their it both prudent and right to amend it. own times as complete."
The matters to which Bishop Porteous called the Long after Cranmer's days, some of the brightest attention of the bench were, “ the liturgy, but espeornaments of the church still thought a reformation | cially the articles.” These Articles afford an extrawas needed. Tillotson, Patrick, Tennison, Kidder, / ordinary illustration of that tendency to resist imStillingfleet, Burnet, and others,tt endeavoured a provement of which we speak. further reformation, though in vain.
“ The requiring subscription to the thirty-nine “ We have been contented to suffer our religious articles is a great imposition."S “ Do the articles constitution, our doctrines, and ceremonies, and of the church of England want a revisal !-Un. forms of public worship, to remain nearly in the doubtedly."||--In 1772, a clerical petition was presame unpurged, adulterated, and superstitious state in sented to the House of Commons for relief upon the which the original reformers left them.” 11
subject of subscription: and what were the sentiments I attribute this want of reformation primarily to of the house respecting the articles? One member said, the political alliance of the church. Why should “I am persuaded they are not warranted by Scripture, those who have the power to effect it refuse, unless and I am sure they cannot be reconciled to compon it was that they feared some ill result ? And what sense.” Another—“ They are contradicted, abill resalt could arise from religious reformation if it surd, several of them damnable, not only in a reliwere not the endangering of temporal advantages ? gious and speculative light, but also in a moral and
“ I would only ask,” said Lord Bacon, two hun-practical view.”** Another-" The articles, I am dred years ago," why the civil state should be purged sure, want a revisal; because several of them aro and restored by good and wholesome laws, made heterodox and absurd, warranted neither by reason every third or fourth year in parliament assembled, nor by Scripture. Many of them seem calculated derising remedies as fast as time breedeth mischief; for keeping out of the church all but those who will and contrariwise, the ecclesiastical state should still subscribe any thing, and sacrifice every consideracontinue upon the dregs of time, and receive no al- tion to the mammon of unrighteousness.”+t And a teration now for these five-and-forty years and fourth said_“ Some of them are, in my opinion, more.- If St John were to indite an epistle to the unfounded in, some of them inconsistent with, reachurch of England, as he did to them of Asia, it son and Scripture; and some of them subversive of would sure have the clause habeo adversus te the very genius and design of the gospel.”#1 The
articles found, it appears, in the House of Commons • Simpson's Plea, p. 137.
one, and one only defender; and that one was Sir + Essay on Man, 1749, v. 2, p. 370. Myst. of Iniquity : p. 553. This poor man found that his
Roger Newdigate, the member for Oxford. $8—And language laboured under the imputation of being unclerical, • Works : Edit. 1803, v. 2, p. 527. unguarded, and impolitic; and he afterwards showed solici. + Bishop Watson : Misc. Tracts, v. 2, tude to retract it. See p. 476, &c. of same work.
Works of Bishop Porteons : vol. 1. $ Dr Louth, afterwards Bishop of London : Visitation Ser- Bishop Burnet : Hist. Own Times, v. 2, p. 634.
Bishop Watson : Mise. Tracts, v. 2, p. 17. | Dr Watson, Bishop of Landaff : Misc. Tracts, v. 2, p. 17, Lord George Germain. &c.
++ Lord John Cavendish. #1 Sir George Sackville. Bishop Durnet : Hist. Own Times, v. 2, P. 634.
$$ Parl. Hist. v. 17. The petition, after all this, was rejected Simpson's Plca.
.. Sir William Meredith.
by two hundred and seventeen votes against seventy-one. Cin