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itself and with Human Reason,” we must now hasten to terminate our miscellaneous observations.
From the Warden of New College, much was to be expected upon such a theme, and our expectations have been realised. The object of the Dissertation, as we are informed by the writer, is to render justice to the internal evidences of Christianity, by disencumbering them of that class of objections which, in popular discussion, are supposed to affect the cause of Revelation exclusively, but which are in reality applicable to every modification of religion. Confined by the limits of a volume to an examination of the more general and prominent topics, Dr. Shuttleworth has nevertheless sketched the outline of the argument with clearness and precision. His observations form an interesting supplement to the admirable treatise of Paley,-a book with all its defects, and they are many, never surpassed in the lucidness of its arrangement, the vigour and simplicity of its style, or the force with which every argument is directed against the opposite assertions of scepticism and infidelity. The most pleasing portions of the present Essay are, the chapters on the Mosaic History of the Creation ; of the Fall of our First Parents; of the miraculous incidents recorded by Moses; of the Miracles recorded in the New Testament, &c. As a specimen of the engaging manner in which Dr. Shuttleworth has addressed himself to the consideration of the subject, we may refer the reader to his interesting observations upon that passage in the Mosaic history, where the creation of light is related to have taken place on the first day, although it is expressly added, that the sun and moon were not created, as luminaries, until the fourth. Dr. Shuttleworth shows, from the observations of the late Sir William Herschell, that a process is, in all probability, now going on in the system of the heavenly bodies perfectly analogous with the Mosaic narrative. That celebrated astronomer, to avail ourselves of the lucid explanation of Dr. Shuttleworth, in his paper addressed to the Royal Society in 1811, on the subject of the celestial nebulæ, has given the history of his own observations, carefully followed up during the course of a long life. He has there shown, that those irregularly shaped and widely diffused masses of light, which, under the name of luminous nebulæ, had long attracted the notice of scientific men, and which are known to exist in vast numbers in various parts of the heavens, are, by a regular process of gradual condensation, made to approach more and more to a spherical form, until having acquired a bright stellar nucleus, and losing their remaining nebulosity, they finally assume all the definite brightness of a regular fixed star. From the uniformity of this operation, so far as it has been remarked, and from the vast multitude of instances in which it has taken, and is still taking place, it seems natural to infer, that a large portion of those stars, whose places have been recognised in the heavens from time immemorial, derived their first origin from the same process.
But it is also the generally received opinion, that the sun of our own planetary system is a star of precisely the same nature with the rest; and if so, it seems not improbable, from analogy, that it derived its present form from the same cause of condensation, and that its original state of existence was that of a thin luminous fluid, occupying a vast portion of the orbits of those planetary bodies of which it is now the centre. (P. 54.)
Such is the testimony borne by science to the truth of the Bible; and so beautifully does she reconcile an apparent inconsistency.
Art. X.-A Letter to the Right Honourable Lord John Russell,
on the Subject of Church Rates. By GEORGE WILKINS, D. D. Archdeacon of Nottingham. Rivingtons. London. 1837.
IF ever there were a time when the attention of Englishmen should be drawn to the necessity of basing public principles upon righteousness and morality, when the formation of just opinions upon current events becomes the duty of every man, with an eye to his own and children's happiness in this world and the next,-if ever that true source of our civil and religious liberty, the doctrines of our revered Establishment, hitherto not monopolized by those persons who can afford to pay for hearing them, but proclaimed - without money and without price” to every soul born in Great Britain, if ever those doctrines should be condensed into principles for household practice,--if ever the national religion, and all that it has done for us, and the bitter punishment which will overtake this country, if, filtered by the casuistry of some of her blind and perverse children, she repudiate the blessing, and cease to hold all temporal things of the Almighty,-if ever these considerations come home business and bosoms, and should make the breathless argument at their hearths,-if ever all private cares should be merged in a common fear, not indeed looming in the shape of an invasion of our shores, but a danger at home, an eating canker at the heart,-if ever those catholic and holy truths, which impart dignity to the fireside of the meanest hovel, and compose the deathbed of the monarch,-if ever they ought to be objective with statesmen, and influential in the cabinet and legislature, that time is now with us.
For many centuries Great Britain has been especially favoured by a superintending Providence. Our divines, poets, philosophers, statesmen, and warriors, have all shown themselves of “earth's first blood." The light of the next world was permitted to settle in our protestant establishment; the glory of this shone round about our secular institutions. Our usages and customs, whereby “ we learn to venerate ourselves as men,” have for ages been the theme of admiration with all enlightened foreigners. Speaking the tongue that Shakspeare spake, and beholding at our feet the ocean, which Nelson annexed to the British empire, we can hardly, one would think, ever have to undergo the ignominy of a foreign yoke. At least we must have drunk deep indeed of Lethe, when we cower in dread of that danger. Magna Charta has come down to us from our fathers, and we shall not find it in the bond that we are to truckle to the selfishness of tyranny in the million, any more than in a single despot. This truth indicates the question that the course of events has mooted, and which Englishmen are at this day working out. We hope to furnish a few cogent arguments to enable our countrymen to come to a right determination. Their well-being in this world, not to say the next, is on the issue of the passing session. May God open their eyes ere it be too late!
We beg the reader will bear with us while we remind him of certain essential features in the constitution of this country, which in the rush and hurry of party politics are apt to be lost sight of. That constitution presents the unexampled spectacle of civil liberty gradually developed through successive ages,feeling, as it were, its way from the era of the Wittenagemot, or great council of the Anglo-Saxons. It is no extempore matter as elsewhere. It was not hit off at a sitting,—not framed after a model, but has been the slow and irregular work of time in hardening and cementing the habits and modes of thinking, which are peculiar to us as a people, until at several epochs we have been driven to engraft on those usages and social aptitudes the institutions of positive law. Thus without system, or preconceived method, its incipient workings, often disturbed by ambition, injured by neglect, and clogged by violence, the noble fabric of our constitutional liberty, rising out of repeated acts and providential emergencies, has at last attained that stability and degree of perfection, which ought to render it the dearest, as it is the most worthy object (under heaven) of an Englishman's regard. Fixed, in one respect, on an immutable basis, it has nevertheless been found susceptible of practical deviations, corresponding with the advancement of knowledge and the diffusion of intelligence. Still such deviations have never been incompatible with the fulfilment of those duties prescribed in the word of God. Though long and fierce have been the birth-struggles and growing pains of that constitution, it is indebted to the heavenly vitality which circulates through its veins for perennial vigour and endurance. In all our reparations we have shrunk from taking from the heart's blood the very principle of its life. For Englishmen, under any imaginable plea, to commit such a sacrilege, were to risk the execration of posterity, who would have to endure those evils, which as yet are more easy for us to prevent, than they would be for them to remedy. We must bear in mind we hold not a fee-simple to do what we please with the invaluable inheritance of civil and religious liberty, but a solemn trust for whose just administration we are accountable. Το break
the foundations of the church establishment were to infringe upon both, if only because the deed would involve a violation of the rights of conscience, and must bring about a subversion of the present social system in this country. We maintain that we have hitherto been comparatively free and happy, owing to the English character being essentially that of a praying people, so that we find religion invariably to have shaped our ends, and in all our struggles intromitted liberty on the land. The steadying principle of our legislation is to be sought in the circumstance spoken of by Canning, where he says, "the proceedings of the houses of parliament have been auspicated by their prayers.” We must not, therefore, let that “ righteousness which exalteth a nation" degenerate into a mere passive conviction, a quiescent individual feeling, but, as in the old time, it should be an operative national principle. It should not only actuate the conduct of lovers of their country; they are called upon, in the peculiar crisis of public affairs, to recognise and confess her the mainspring of all their proceedings. The cause of God is so identified with that of our country, that it argues sheer ignorance to fight the battle of conservatism against the threefold league of papistry, sectarianism, and radicalism, save under the banner of our protestant church. The bodies we have enumerated, however they may differ in every other particular, conspire against the Establishment. Revolutionists chuckle to see in her overthrow that of the constitution; and who can expect that either will survive the accomplishment of projects, which have been openly and distinctly avowed? All the schemes of the enemy, and all his exertions, point this way. Hinc omn principium, huc refer exitum. Therefore, to descend from holy ground and try our tactics after the fashion of this world, did we imagine a religious establishment to be in itself worthless, instead of weighing our other institutions as tinsel against bullion in the balance, we should nevertheless cling to it with the grasp of a dying convulsion, because we recognise in the throne the keystone of the fabric of our constitution, and feel convinced that it is only to be preserved by means of the altar. If we put up that altar to the bidder who will do the work at the lowest price, the royal pageantry will not be worth a twelvemonth's purchase. From the hour when the light of that altar shall be extinguished will the British monarchy, that has stood the admiration of ages, date its decline and fall.
« The unhappy
monarch might rend his robes in the distraction of his mind, but the act would be significant of his own rejection from the kingly
It was a fatal oversight to repeal the Roman Catholic disabilities, without obtaining an equivalent security for the Established Protestant Church in the Irish section of the realm. It was a no less egregious error, for the sake of an abstract principle, which, if true, was applicable to women and to minors, arbitrarily to extend the franchise to classes who were not prepared for its reception, by having their hearts and minds duly cultivated. Men, who may still be said to be in darkness and the shadow of death, are disqualified to exercise in a Christian land the privilege of freemen. The squaring practical change to an arbitrary fancy was acting contrary to the genius that runs through all our polity. It was systematizing. Positive prescript should lag behind the necessities of the times, and only appear to affirm the general usage and inclination.
An opposite procedure might be characteristic in an Abbé Siéyes, but was what we should never have expected from a British statesman. By the anomalous legislation we speak of, the enemy of our religious and civil institutions has already a great part of his suit without a struggle, and he contends with advantage for all the rest. The arsenal, as it were, is betrayed into his hands. The consequences are only just beginning to show themselves. The first and the most portentous, but which Lord Grey, on weighing contingencies, ought, we must say, not only to have forecasted, but like a wise and good man, by holding in his lust of innovation, have averted the blow, which under one flimsy cover or another, is about to be struck at the Established Church. Whatever the hidden motives and ulterior views of dissenters, papists, and republicans, their proximate ends, which are clearly the same, are avouched in the face of day. If we do not confront these assailants with a manly and rational resolution ;-and since we are limited in our resources, first, by the parricidal imprudence of Lord Grey, in having demolished all the old outworks of the constitution, and next, virtues ;-if we fail to use all that in the circle drawn about us by our morals we are yet able to command, we fear we shall cease to be God's favoured people, and need not rely any more on his forbearance and long-suffering. Our vaunted prosperity, regarded in a human point of view, and distinct from his mysterious providence, would seem to rest on means so inadequate, as must qualify our pride with holy apprehension, and excite our alarm as well as wonder. He has not given us these manifold gifts, and wrought great marvels in our behalf,—he has not set us up so high in the earth that we should be careless of the
* Letter to Lord John Russell on Church Rates, p. 6.