Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

denial of allegiance to, and reliance upon, the merits of our Saviour, having an appropriate political connexion with the abjuration of kings, and the adoption of direct self-government in civil institutions." Had Captain Hall, and the Edinburgh Reviewer, read the sermon of Bishop Hobart of New-York, they would have found the worthy Episcopalian, in opposition to the slavish idea of “no bishop, no king," earnestly contending, that no two things on earth so perfectly correspond with each other, as Episcopacy and Republicanism! But, however sound such doctrine may be considered by the citizens of America, it is not judging harshly to conclude, that the individual holding such an opinion in Britain, would not be exactly the one whom “the king delighteth to honour.” Unitarianism the “democracy of religion!” This I take to be a novel charge. Time was, when those who held the Unitarian opinions, and who shuddered at the doctrine of the Trinity, were called “Monarchists;.

we, say they, hold the monarchy:" such is the language of one of the fathers. But Captain Hall knowing little, it may be, of ecclesiastical history, or of the fathers who figure in it, and assured that democracy was a bad thing, and having been told that Unitarianism was an awful matter, condemns it, by affixing to it an ugly name. The Reviewer must add his gloss too, and defines this “ democracy” to be, “ the denial of allegiance to our Saviour.” This is really a very hard case. A wrong title is bestowed, and then a most perverse definition is given of that title. Deny allegiance to our Saviour! It is because we believe in the truth of Christ's word, “My kingdom is not of this world,” that we protest against the alliance of Church and State. It is because, in religion, we will have no king but Jesus, that we are Unitarians. Reliance on the merits of Christ! We have great reliance on those merits; we deem the temptations of Jesus to have been real, and, therefore, regard his triumphs as glorious. He is the perfection of humanity, the Son of the living God. But if by reliance on the merits of our Saviour, the Reviewer have any vicarious meaning—any intention of asserting that those merits made God merciful, who, had they been wanting, would have for ever been implacable—then would I point to that passage of Holy Writ, as vindicating and best explaining the Unitarian sentiment, “ We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

In another Article, in No. 98 of the Edinburgh Review, occurs this sentence, “ Every little sect among us, Unitarians, Utilitarians, Anabaptists, Phrenologists, must each have its periodical, its monthly or quarterly magazine, hanging out like its windmill, into the popularis aura, to grind meal for the society. This

may seem a harmless passage, and some may deem it an honour to be noticed at all by the Edinburgh; but there is a mode of classing opinions together, which may have more pungent effect than reasoning. There are minds that ridicule touches, much more powerfully than argument. To say nothing of the bad taste of the sentence, there is one title, that of " Anabaptist,” which ought to have expired with the intolerance of the age which coined it. It is a term of opprobrium, and, therefore, should have had no place in a liberal Review. And whatever may be thought of pbrenology, the Edinburgh Review has admitted, that Utilitarianism is based on the New Testament, and it seems to me, that Unitarianism may lay claim to as solid and righteous a foundation. The truth is, too, that as a Sect, be it little or large, the Unitarians have never set on foot a periodical, monthly or quarterly; the Repository, Reformer, Reflector, Advocate, and Pioneer, were all the result of individual effort. “ Grind meal for the society!" Ay, truly, and a righteous occupation is it, particularly in Scotland; it is hoped it will be found to be wholesome and nutritious food, for they would mingle with it

“ milk of the Word;” and they will take good care, that no poisonous ingredient be mixed in it, even though it should be vended under liberal colours, by the great Leviathan of periodical criticism. Argument they admire; to sound reasoning they would defer; but a heartless indifference that would sacrifice the best and dearest interests of mankind, social and religious, to serve a party, they cannot away with.


the pure

Reformation of the United Church of England and


This is an age of marvels, yea, of great marvels. One day, a Minister of State expresses bis decided opposition to the removal of those monuments of the wisdom of our ancestors, Test and Corporation Acts, nay, he musters the hosts of the Treasury, and divides Parliament on the matter; and the next, having been taught in the day of adversity-of minority, to consider, he votes for that, which but a few hours previously, was to overturn the pillars of Church and State, and • fright the Isle from its propriety!" One year, a Military Chieftain declaims about unsheathing the sword to put down agitators; and the succeeding, having had his eyes opened by personal observation, and residence in a country which he would have devoted to the tender mercies of civil warfare, he calls on those whom he had before denounced, unceasingly to agitate. One month, a whole people are advised to

bury in oblivion” their wrongs and their miseries; and anon, those wrongs and miseries are made by the adviser, the leading topics of a monarch's legislative address. “ The Child and Champion” of Church-of-Englandism, proposes that, which the nurse of orthodoxy elected him to oppose; and whilst the friends of humanity applaud, the bigots casbier him for his liberality. Warriors protest against the use of coercion, and deem the civic wreath of peace more worthy of their ambition, than the blood-besprinkled laurel of contention. Parliament, voting one Session against even taking into consideration the claims of the Catholics, granting them the following one almost as much as they wished, and much more than they expected. Close Corporations electing Catholic Common Councilmen and Catholic Sheriffs. Blackwood's Magazine, and the Quarterly Review, tired of upholding corruption, admitting that reformation in the Church is needed; and, at length, a Peer of the Realm taking the Chair at a meeting of gentlemen of rank, of the County and City of Cork, and exposing, with honest boldness, the evils and corruptions of bis Church, and calling on the public and the Legislature to unite in their reformation.

A few years ago, and who would have thought that such things would bave occurred so soon? When the single-hearted and truly-Christian Priestley uttered the voice of warning, as to the abuses of the Church Establishment—when he proclaimed its need of reform, and its direct repugnance to the religion of Jesus, what an outcry was raised! In the flames kindled by licentious rioters, was it hoped to destroy both his works and their author. And now Priestley's views are held, not merely by isolated individuals in the solitude of their chamber, but are maintained openly, and their full accomplishment confidently looked for, as being more near at hand than the most sanguine could reasonably have expected. The fact shows the propriety of doing our duty, regardless of the consequences. It tells us, in language which cannot be gainsayed, that we should cast our bread upon the waters, and God's providence will cause those who come after us, if not ourselves, to find it, and rejoice in its life-giving strength. In the year 1768, Dr. Priestley published a little work, in which the centence,“ the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” is given as the only sound and benevolent principle of human action. In that same year, Jeremy Bentham, then a student at Oxford, read that pamphlet. On reading the phrase, he is said to have exclaimed, ETPHKA, and from hence has arisen bis various works and labours in defence and elucidation of principles, which the Edinburgh Review bas christened “Utilitarian.” And more extraordinary still, the very principles which the outrages at Birmingham were intended to uproot, and which exiled Priestley from his native country, are now becoming rife from men's mouths, and are the current conversation of the times. Truly prophetic, as well as beautiful, are those lines which Mrs. Barbauld addressed, to the injured patriot—the persecuted Christian,

To thee, the slander of a passing age
Imports not. Scenes like these, hold little space
In his large mind, whose ample stretch of thought
Grasps future periods. Well canst thou afford
To give large credit for that debt of fame
Thy country owes thee. Calm thou canst consign it
To the slow payment of that distant day-.
If distant-when tby name, to Freedom's join'd,

Shall meet the thanks of a regenerate land.
The main

remedies proposed for the reform of the united Church of England and Ireland, by Lord Mount-Cashel, are, the building of additional churches, an increased number of clergymen, and a more rational and just distribution of the revenues appertaining to the Establishment. Certainly there is a strange anomaly in the condition of the Episcopalian Church in Ireland, when it is not uncommon to find a church without a congregation, and a congregation without a church, and sometimes a clergyman without either. Where churches are needed, let them be built, there are funds enough which should be applied to that purpose; but at the same time, let those clergy who have no congregation, be made to minister where there is work to be done. But it would be worse than useless, to multiply churches and clergymen, if the people will not come in. Lord Mount-Cashel asserted, that “in Manchester, although the population exceeded 80,000 [is not double that number nearer the truth?], there were, a short time since, but two or three resident Protestant clergymen, and these were only an average of the present paucity of the numbers of the clergy in many parts of England.” But this, surely, is incorrect. We know nothing as to the residence of the clergy at Manchester, but we think we could reckon up a goodly number of churches in that township. We have heard and seen something, too, of its Old Church, with, as we think, a Warden and Fellows in plenty; but whether they minister or not, we cannot say.

Whether residents or otherwise, some of the clergy of Manchester were pretty active in other respects, and possibly it might be some of their doings that led Lord Mount-Cashel to say,

as to clergymen being invested with the office of magistrate, he had given the point much consideration, the result of which was, that, except where a lay magistrate was not to be had within six or eight miles of the residence of the clergyman, the latter should be left in the uninterfered-with discharge of his clerical duties; for no one could persuade him that the sacred office he had assumed, was compatible with that of the magistrate; and, therefore, the fewer clerical Justices of the Peace in the land, the better for the interests of the Church of England.”

The term, “Protestant clergymen," as appropriated by Lord Mount-Cashel and others, to the ministers of the Episcopalian communion, is very incorrect. All dissenters from the State Church, except Roman Catholics, are equally Protestants; some of them more consistent ones, it

seems to us, than those who use the Common Prayer, which, according to kingly authority, is only “ the Mass Book done into English." Their appropriate title, if they must have one peculiarly their own, should rather be, “ Reformed Catholic clergymen.” What, too, will Lord Mount-Cashel say, in defence of his project of increasing the number of clergymen, when he is informed, that, in England alone, in 1822, there were about 20,000 places of worship of all denominations, and about 26,000 clergymen, and that by the adoption of a very feasible scheme,


« AnteriorContinuar »