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and avoiding them; that there can be but one true church of Christ, appointed by him as a means of imparting his faith; that the clergy could not fraternize with an illegal, unauthorized ministry, since it would be to recognise the validity of lay ordination, it would be virtually to admit that all denominations are equally orthodox in the sight of God, and therefore to sanction what was not in accordance with his word; in short, it would be to degrade the Anglican church to a sect, and not only so, but an usurping sect. In such a compromise as this, albeit for the sake of peace, religion herself would be brought into disrepute, nay, she must inevitably fall a sacrifice between discrepant and irreconcilable opinions, delivered on the same day, from the same pulpit or the same reading-desk. It would be next to impossible for church-goers to catch the still small voice of conscience, in the din of this moral and polemic Babel. Their minds, not being able, in " such confusion worse confounded," to reconcile contradictory statements of divines and lecturers, would soon subside into the awful suspicion, that each was alike a fable. What were this but to let the human soul drift from its moorings, and to set it afloat on a wide, fathomless sea of doubt, conjecture, and scepticism? We would much rather adopt the further Utopian scheme of Earl Fitzwilliam, of which monstrous abortion he delivered himself in the hearing of the episcopal bench on the same evening. “ If it could be proved to him," he said, “that in any parish in England, any other sect was more numerous than the church of England, then he, as a member of that church, should have no objection to surrender to that sect the ecclesiastical property within that parish. His own opinion was, that if the members of dissenting congregations were more numerous in any place for a certain length of time than the members of the church of England, then they ought to be invested with all the ecclesiastical rights and privileges. We
say, we should prefer such a plan to commingling with every variety of heterodoxy in the same place of worship. We would submit to ejectment, poverty, exclusion,-to every degradation, save intercommunity. We would, like the Episcopalians in Scotland, lose all, sooner than compromise that ministerial spiritual authority, which, whether it be established or recognised by the State or not, is the rock against which the gates of hell shall not prevail
. But although we would submit to this as a minor evil, it by no means follows, that the wild, unprincipled dream of Earl Fitzwilliam, is ever to be realized in waking earnest. God forbid! that a rash, crude, visionary, IMPRACTICABLE speculation should be palmed upon this thinking country, in the shape of a legislative enactment! Abraham did not inquire of the divinely accredited representative of the christian priesthood, ere he received his blessing and gave his tithe, whether he ministered to the majority of the inhabitants
of Salem. He knew well that he did not; but, whatever the extent of his dominions, or the degree of his political influence, he recognised him for a standing testimony in favour of the true religion, a beacon-light, elevated in view of an apostate world. In his union of the kingly and sacerdotal offices was typified the connexion between Church and State. The symbol of a recognised establishment would be perfect, though there had been no other“ priest of the most high God” than Melchizedek in all Asia, and although Abraham and his household had been the only laymen who “ kept the word of the Lord;" nay, though he himself had stood alone in “ inclining to the Lord,” and to whom it was “ counted for righteousness."
But to descend to the low ground of the practical working of this monstrous suggestion of Earl Fitzwilliam. In one parish of the metropolis, the Romish priest would have to receive the ecclesiastical dues, in another the Jewish, in another the Socinian lecturer; whilst, as a matter of course, tithes, in at least three of the provinces in Ireland, would revert, along with the glebes and churches and cathedrals, to the Romish majority; albeit a most insignificant minority, as respects the proprietorship of the soil! What a precious Utopian scheme, based on the quicksands of political expediency, is here! Is the magistrate to have no eye to the advancement in a realm, of what he deems the one holy catholic faith? to which there is nothing tends more than the establishment, by ecclesiastical and civil authority, of one sound impulsive standard of doctrine, worship, and government. So only is truth preserved in its purity, and a strong bulwark raised against infidelity and schism. Since, however, this scheme is happily impracticable, we should not, only for the high quarter whence it emanated, have thought it worth while to signify the mingled feelings of indignation and contempt which which it inspired us.
DEPUTATION OF DISSENTING MINISTERS.
An event happened a few weeks ago, which in many particulars was very ridiculous, yet, even from the ridicule and absurdity of the proceedings, it marks the more strongly the spirit of the times. We allude to the deputation of about four hundred delegates from different parts of England, who paraded the streets, four abreast, to overawe the government with their peripatetic theology. We cannot help marvelling at the restlessness of some people's consciences. Why were they not made matter of complaint before? Why, from the reign of Edward VI. till very lately, have dissenters been silent? Why have centuries passed away without leaving any record of their supposed grievances ? For the best of all reasons,-because they never felt any : nor should we now have been annoyed with the grumblings and seditions of these sectarians, if the legislature had not relieved them from their disabilities. Encouraged and emboldened by the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, they immediately set to work to find out, or devise, new oppressions; and grievances are manufactured and rise, in the market, in proportion as they are being redressed. They now come forward with a complaint that their forefathers had all along been asleep as to their real interests, but that being wide awake themselves, they had discovered, on looking about, that the tenderness of their consciences will not permit them to pay church-rates; they, therefore, beg to be relieved from that "unholy impost.” It is really very vexatious, after having given Dissent all she could fairly ask for, that her members thus turn round in avowed hostility ; and, aiming at the separation of the Church and State, would, for any thing they care, produce at once a moral and political revolution in the country of their birth! What can that seed be that brings forth such fruit! Thousands of handbills, to be purchased for almost the smallest coin in the realm, assert that the bishops are impostors, the Church an abomination, and the rates, and tithes, and offerings, iniquity. Such are the dissenting principles and doctrines of the descendants of Baxter! They inculcate wicked sentiments; they recommend sedition and schism to uneducated natures, which is nothing short of dogmatizing crime as sound doctrine to the uninformed masses,—which is itself a crime. The sectarians pretend, that if they create confusion and bad blood in every parish in the kingdom, it is for conscience' sake. We should be glad to be informed what sort of enlightenment that conscience can have received, which so palpably misinstructs its possessors. Their scruples are perfectly consistent with aiding the views of the most rabid faction, and in forming a federative alliance with sects of every diversity of doctrine. The Baptists, Independents, Quakers, Swedenborgians, are in concord, and disdain not fellowship with the Catholics, Unitarians, the Freethinkers, the Sceptics, men indifferent to all religions—the Deists, the Philanthropists, and the PseudoAtheists. “ Their withers are unwrung until they come in contact with the parent Church of the Reformation, protected by the State. Hinc illa lacryme-their lugubrious complaints of persecution! They never let fall a hint of any fault in their confederates; and although the virulence of faction acquaints a man with strange bedfellows, they find nothing wrong till they come to the Church. Alas for the Establishment! to be loaded with hatred for every thing that is withheld, and with ingratitude for every thing that is conceded. This is the result of the zealotry of secession, this is the sign of conscience, in the true, modern, revolutionary acceptation of the word. Oh let it not be said in Gath that we are to be short by the knees to this miscreant minority of the nation,--to entreat them peace ! Is it to be borne with patience, that the Church of our pious fathers, who would have preferred death,-would have, say we—who DID resign their souls to God through the medium of the scaffold and the stake, rather than see her desecrated, that this Church should be given up to the cruel sport of a Hume, a Gully, a Duncombe, a Wakley, a Grote, a Wilks, and an O'Connell, -patron saints of the association of supersensitive consciences !—that it should be handed over to the tender economic mercies of those poor ignorants, “ who know not what they do,” but who are, on that very account, the most destructive of the classes of rabid animals? Would our forefathers have borne to see the ruins of the Church that Cranmer died for, and Bishop Taylor preached in, and Baxter conformed to ? would they have endured that a junto of earthly-minded politicians should set about in cold blood, and upon system, to destroy the temple, where they fondly supposed the ark of the covenant had "set up its everlasting rest," in favour of a robbing democracy and a blind, apostate generation ? Would they have heard with patience, that the favoured soil of the Reformation, and the richest repository of all Protestant learning, that the country of Hooker, should be taught a new code in that modern academy, where wild turbulence, impious sophistry, insolent invective, and presumptuous untruths are the order of the day !*
We should not think that we discharged our duty, unless we exposed to the execration of all men who fear God and honour the king, this leviathan of revolution, which, could it obtain its ends, would overflow the land with a deluge of blood, to disport therein.
THE CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA. We regret to announce, that unless means be speedily resorted to by government, or rather, if private charity do not intervene, that a very large proportion of the inhabitants of Australia, from having been Protestants, will grow up either infidels or Roman Catholics. There has been an appeal lately circulated, showing the peculiar claims of the colony upon this country for religious instruction. The judges of the land will be awe-struck when they are told, that the words in which they pronounce the sentence of transportation virtually condemn the unhappy culprit to
# " Sonitumque, metumque
Miscebant operi, flammisque sequacibus iras.” + A correspondent of the Times says, that a Roman Catholic bishop has been officially sent out by government; that he is elevated to the same importance as the clergy of the church of England, and receives the same support. It is the same animus that is at work in Ireland and in Canada. See the Bishop of Montreal's Letter, published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, p. 11.
an abandonment of all religious ordinances and spiritual consolation. The case is urgent.
Messrs. Howe and Sir W. Farquhar have kindly consented to receive any sums, to be subscribed on account of the Bishop of Australia.
THE LONDON UNIVERSITY, GOWER-STREET. The privilege of conferring degrees has been bestowed upon this University, within whose precincts all sorts of religious opinions are tolerated, but we believe no religious principles inculcated. And yet only from the sublime preparation of the gospel can the youthful students enter upon the great journey of existence, imbued with the wisdom of immortality, or even the wisdom of this probationary world. Their future character in life, and their fate in eternity, depend upon the virtuous aspirations of their early years being condensed into religious principle. In a word, (no matter how great their carnal learning and acquirements,) they will either be the curses or the blessings of society, according as they have been imbued, in that secret recess whence the springs of vice and virtue begin their infant course, with that knowledge which passeth all understanding. And yet these youths are left to infer that one mode of worshipping the Deity is as good as another! And by this means our christian rulers would seem desirous to put a premium upon dissent. If things go on much longer on the inclined plane indicated by Heraclitus,* the difficulties and embarrassments of our holy Catholic Church will parallel those which encompassed her in the early ages of Christianity. Our hierarchy are already bearded by individuals, who in authority and insolence may well be compared with the pagan Pontifices, Sacerdotes, and Agrorum Hierophantæ. They encounter, at every turn, titular Patriarchs, Primates, and Archisynagogi.g Our common schools and universities are again, as at Athens in the time of Nazianzen, to be under the direction and control of the Sophistæ of the Gentiles; and, worse than all, our houses of parliament, like the senate of old, admit indiscriminately Paynims and Arians, Donatists and Novatians, Montanists and Sabbatians, Basiladians and Manicheans. Nay, we are likely to go a step beyond what was inevitable in the first centuries of Christianity, to "outHerod Herod;” and may shortly expect to behold the sons of Abraham seated amongst the legislators and rulers of this christian land!
Ignorant of the principles of the heavenly code of jurispru
* Η οδος κατω.
See Letter to the Bishop of Exeter.