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travelling on the Continent, or in refreshing himself in some way or other, after the fatigues of his academical studies. All that he must necessarily do, is to prepare himself for his examination by the Bishop's chaplain, previous to his ordination; and if he is idle, and conscious of his own ignorance, he tries to be ordained in a diocese where the chaplain has the reputation of not being over strict, and where he may pass the ordeal with little danger. For, the legal standard of the qualifications required in a candidate for orders being fitted only to the general ignorance of the Elizabethan age, every examining chaplain is obliged to fix a standard of his own; and thus a candidate, whom one Bishop might dismiss as utterly incompetent, may be ordained without difficulty by another. In other professions also, a man's gradual advancement is somewhat dependent on his continued exertions; he cannot at least safely afford to remain stationary, far less to go backward in knowledge, after he has once commenced his career. But when a clergyman is once ordained priest, his qualifications are subjected to no further trial; all is then left to his own sense of duty; and it often happens, with careless and unprincipled individuals, that they are worse divines at forty than they were at four-and-twenty. In such cases as these, the effect, we will not say of having been educated, but of having passed a certain portion of time at the Universities, is nothing but evil. Habits of dissipation and self-indulgence are acquired, and those aristocratical feelings which, in weak and vicious minds, are merely odious, are strongly confirmed. Thus, some of the English clergy are, above all other Christian ministers, unfit for their station. Without being superior to the humblest dissenting teachers in secular learning, they are incomparably inferior to them in that familiarity with the Scriptures, for the absence of which, in a minister of the gospel, not the greatest learning could compensate. But this is the universal characteristic of the Enga lish system of education, that while it produces some individuals of the rarest excellence, its failure in unfavourable cases is most complete.
Such then are the principal points in the actual state of the Church of England which seems to us to demand the attention, and the reforming hand of the national Legislature. No other. power can undertake so great a work; and to no other, in our opinion, should it ever be intrusted. For, what though the State has, on some occasions, as the author of the · Letters' justly remarks, abused its sovereign authority, and by the appointment of State fasts and festivals has really done an injury to the character of the Church, yet the words of Burke are here most applicable, tható it is not so much by the assumption of un
• lawful powers, as by the unwise and unwarrantable use of
those which are most legal, that governments oppose their true end and object--for there is such a thing as tyranny as well as o usurpation.'- So that after all, it is a moral and virtuous discretion, and not any abstract theory of right, which keeps
governments faithful to their ends.'* It is the exercise of this moral and virtuous discretion, 'to which we look forward with hope, for the purification of the Church of England from all those spots and stains which the State, for its own purposes, has thrown upon it, no less than from those which had their ori. gin in its own negligence or ignorance. And in our judgment the true friends to the Church should join their exertions to procure, not its emancipation from the State, but its reform by the State; as the first would involve its certain destruction as a national institution; while from the other, both in this character, and as a spiritual society, it would derive at once purity and energy.
If, in any part of our preceding strictures, we may seem to have spoken too strongly, let the peculiar circumstances of the case plead our apology. The Government has been so long accustomed to regard the Church establishment as a thing not to be touched, that nothing will ever arouse them from this apathy but the strongest representation of the evils which they are neglecting to remove. On the other hand, we have endeavoured to treat the subject seriously and calmly, not only from our own sense of its importance, but to convince if possible the advocates of existing abuses, that those who wish their removal are not all the enemies of religion or of religious establishments; that they are neither fanatical enthusiasts, nor infidels, nor jacobins, nor hold any principles inconsistent with the sincerest attachment to the main doctrines of Christianity, as held by the Church of England itself. We are not now called upon to state the partịcular nature and precise extent of the reforms which we deem desirable ; our opinions, indeed, on this point, may be partly gathered from the list of evils which we have given; but the main object at present to be accomplished, is to draw the public attention to the State of the Church, and to show to every man's understanding that it ought not to be left as it is. Above all, we wish to dispel that cloud of prejudice which, on this question, besets the minds of so large a portion, not of the clergy only, but of the gentlemen of England-to expose some of those parrot-like phrases, which, to the disgrace of human reason, so often bind men's minds with a secret and
* Speech on the Unitarian Petition, Works, vol. x. Svo edit.
Kk 2 . .
sovereign charm. Such are the expressions which we só often hear of the Constitution in Church and State,' of its vene
rable Establishment,' of its heroic Martyrs,' its pious and "learned Reformers,' and of the mild and tolerant spirit of its • Doctrines and its Ministers.' We call these parrot-like phrases, because, as they are commonly used, they are all either untrue or irrelevant. The Constitution in Church and • State!' Why it is like the feet of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which were made part of iron, and part of miry clay; the State strong and sound, gradually perfected by the care of successive generations, carefully watched, and continually repaired ;-the Church patched up in a hurry three hundred years ago, out of elements confessedly corrupted, and ever since allowed to subsist, unlooked to and unmended, as if, like the water of the Thames, it would grow pure by the mere lapse of time. We would ask, who would wish to live under our Political Government, such as it was when our Church Government was established? And if the former has required, since that time, a series of improvements, can we believe that the experience and added light of three hundred years, could now, add nothing to the perfect excellence of the latter? • The venerable Establishment !' We would ask, whether the venerable Cathedral Churches of that establishment have sustained injury from the cleaning, repairing, and removing of deformities, to which the taste and liberality of so many of our Deans and Chapters have been of late years so happily directed ? or whe-, ther the ornaments added in the reigns of Elizabeth and James the First, were all so pure and so judicious, that it would have been barbarism and folly to meddle with them? The Church of England has no doubt had its “heroic martyrs; '-but so has the Church of Rome : and so have all Christian communions; and besides, is it not a little preposterous to invoke the names of those who died in the cause of reformation, in aid of an argument that their example of reform should never be followed again? It has had too its pious and learned Reformers,' and we wish that it would produce some more-equal in piety, and superior in judgment and enlightened views, to those of the sixteenth century.
A real knowledge of those times-not such a mere heap of prejudices as so many pick up from Izaac Walton, and other such sources—would enable us to appreciate their excellences and their defects; would show us that we may admire them far more safely than imitate them; that though no period has produced a greater display of ability, yet that our additional experience of two hundred and fifty years gives us the same superiority of judgment over them, that many an or
e tooo been Poland..ed the
dinary schoolmaster possesses over a very clever boy; who, if he were as old as his master, would in all points surpass him. Such a knowledge too, would enable us justly to appreciate the panegyrics which have been passed on the mild and tolerant
spirit of the Church of England. It would tell us of the continued persecutions which disgraced the reign of Elizabeth, and of those which added an additional brand of infamy to that dark period between the Restoration and the Revolution. It would show us, above all, that in the sixteenth century a comprehensive spirit of Christian charity was unknown to all parties; and that the judgment even of the best men of that age, as to the number and nature of the points to be insisted on as terms of communion, is of very little value. · Thus, when the merits of the Church of England are reduced to their just proportions, and no longer magnified to our eyes by the mists of our own ignorance, the faults of its institutions will appear in their true colours, and we shall wonder by what strange infatuation they can have been so long mistaken for excellences. Then it will be time to discuss more particularly the exact nature of the reforms best adapted to the state of the case:-with what limitations the two grand principles of rendering the Constitution of the Church more popular and more effective, and of making its terms of communion more comprehensive, should be followed up in practice. So slowly does truth force its way, in opposition to existing prejudices and interests, that we dare not indulge the hope of seeing such a reform accomplished in our days. Yet a little impulse is sometimes sufficient to set in motion the stream of public opinion, which, gathering force year after year, from continual accessions of experience and reflection, swells at last into an irresistible current, and sweeps. away the stubbornest mudbanks of corruption and error.
NOTES AND ADDITIONS.
Since the remarks on the Man with the Iron Mask, at page 3, &c. of this volume were printed, we have learned that very serious doubts are entertained by some of the most knowing and discerning men in France, whether the Papers published by Delort ainount to a proof of the identity of Matthioli with the prisoner who died in the Bastile in 1703. We are not apprised of the precise grounds of their doubt, nor exactly of its extent. But we believe that they admit the genuineness of M. Delort's Papers ; and therefore acknowledge the treacherous seizure and cruel detention of Matthioli, his transfer
from Pignerol to Exilles, and from that fortress to the Isles St Mar. guerite. That he arrived at the last mentioned Islands on the 30th of April 1687, seems indeed to be demonstrated. (Ellis, 340.) But after that period, there is only one official despatch published by Delort, and it does not name Matthioli. The conclusive evidence of identity therefore stops at that moment. In all the rest of the chain of proofs, the links are of baser and more brittle metal. Yet we cannot help thinking that, in all ordinary cases, the circumstantial evidence, even in this latter part, though certainly of inferior force, would be deemed sufficient. The despatches show that St Mars brought a mygterious prisoner from Exilles to St Marguerite in 1687. Anaccount by a descendant of St Mars, published by Mr Crawford, shows that officer to have brought a mysterious and masked prisoner from St Marguerite to the Bastile in 1698. All accounts before published, however otherwise varying, seem to agree that the same prisoner was in the custody of St Mars at Pignerol, at Exilles, at the Isles St Marguer. ite, and in the Bastile. No other account has ever been given of the fate of Matthioli. In addition to these circumstances much importance must be ascribed to the declaration of Louis XV. to Mad. de Pompadour, that the Prisoner with the Iron Mask was the minister of an Italian Prince-and some to the fact, that the prisoner was buried with the Italian and kindred name of Maschiali. But, on the other hand, it may be asked, why the evidence of official documents is entirely wanting in the latter parts of this transaction ? M. Delort should have given such an explanation as would have made this question needless. Was M. Hauterive's jealousy the obstacle to a fuller publication? Whatever may be the real state of the case, the doubts of historians, so much and so very justly celebrated as M. Daru and M. Barante, are sufficient reasons for some pause before judgment, among foreign critics.
In reference to the passage at page 33, where the question as to the internal evidence of the authorship of the Icon Basilike is discussed, the following note should have been inserted.
This very controversy affords a remarkable instance of the ease with which the most discriminating of human judgments may deceive themselves, respecting these probabilities of genuineness flowing from the matter and manner of a writing, which are too boldly called ' In
ternal Evidence.'-' When we view the internal evidence,' says Mr Hume, o derived from the style and composition, there is no comparison. These meditations, in elegance, purity, neatness and sim
plicity, resemble the genius of those performances which we know (with certainty to have flowed from the Royal pen; But are so un• like the bombast, perplexed, rhetorical and corrupt style of Dr « Gauden, that no human testimony seems sufficient to convince us • that he was the author.'