Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

given him to receive, and on occasion to recover the same by law.

It seems that legislature considered the end of the tax was to secure and improve the morals of the people, and promote their happiness, by supporting among them the public worship of God, and the preaching of the gospel; that where particular people fancied a particular mode, that mode might probably therefore be of most use to those people; and that if the good was done, it was not so material in what mode or by whom it was done. The consideration that their brethren the dissenters in England were still compelled to pay tithes to the clergy of the church, had not weight enough with the legislature to prevent this moderate act, which still continues in full force; and I hope no uncharitable conduct of the church towards the dissenters will ever provoke them to repeal it.

With regard to a bishop, I know not upon what grounds the dissenters, either here or in America, are charged with refusing the benefit of such an officer to the church in that country. Here they seem to have naturally no concern in the affair. There they have no power to prevent it, if government should think fit to send one. They would probably dislike, indeed, to see an order of men established among them, from whose persecutions their fathers fled into that wilderness, and whose future domination they may possibly fear, not knowing that their natures are changed. But the nonappointment of bishops for America, seems to arise from another quarter. The same wisdom of government, probably, that prevents the sitting of convocations, and forbids by noli-prosequis the persecution of dissenters for non-subscription, avoids establishing bishops where the minds of the people are not yet prepared to receive them cordially, lest the public peace should be endangered.

And now let us see how this persecution account stands between the parties.

In New England, where the legislative bodies are almost to a man dissenters from the church of England,

1. There is no test to prevent churchmen from holding offices.

2. The sons of churchmen have the full benefit of the universities.

3. The taxes for support of public worship, when paid by churchmen, are given to the episcopal minister.

In Old England,

1. Dissenters are excluded from all offices of profit and honor.

2. The benefits of education in the universities are appropriated to the sons of churchmen.

3. The clergy of the dissenters receive none of the tithes paid by their people, who must be at the additional charge of maintaining their own separate worship.

[graphic]

But it is said, the dissenters of America oppose the introduction of a bishop.

Jn fact it is not alone the dissenters there tliat give opposition (if not encouraging must be termed opposing), but the laity in general dislike the project, and some even of the clergy. The inhabitants of Virginia are almost all episcopalians. The church is fully established there, and the council and general assembly are perhaps to a man its members; yet, when lately at a meeting pf th,e clergy a resolution was taken to apply for a bishop, against which several however protested, the assembly of the province at their next meeting expressed their disapprobation of the thing in the strongest manner, by unanimously ordering the thanks pf tfye. house to the protesters; for many of the American laity of the church think it spme a^yajitage, whether their own young inen ppme to England for ordination and improve themselves at the same time by conversation with the learned here, or the congregations are supplied by Englishmen, who have had the benefit of education in English universities, and are ordained before they come abroad. They do not therefore spe the necessity of a bishop merely for prdin^tipn^ an,d confirmation is deemed among them a ceremony of no very great importance, since few seel$ it jn England,, where bishops are in plenty. These sentiments prevail with many churc^me^ tjjexe, not to promote a design which they think must

/

sdener Or liter saddle them with great expenses to support it. As to the dissenters, their minds might probably be more conciliated to the measure, if the bishops here should, in their wisdom and goodness, think fit to set their sacred character in a more friendly light, by dropping their opposition to the dissenters' application for relief in subscription, and declaring their willingness that dissenters should be capable of offices, enjoy the benefit of Miication in the universities, and the privilege of appropriating their tithes to the support of their own clergy. In all these points of toleration they appear far behind the present dissenters of New England, and it may seem to some a step below the dignity of bishops to follow the example of such inferiors. I do not however despair of their doing it some time or other, since nothing of the kind is too hard for true Christian humility. I am, Sir, yours, &C. A New England Man.

A Parable On Brotherly Love, &c .

In those days there was no worker of iron in all the land. And the merchants of Midian passed by with their camels, bearing spices, and myrrh, and balm, and wares of iron.

And Reuben bought an axe of the Ishmaelite merchants, which he prized highly, for there was none in his father's house.

Antf SnneeA aaid unto Reuben his brother, Lend

me, I pray thee, thine axe. But he refused, and would not .

And Levi also said unto him, My brother, lend me, I pray thee, thine axe; and he refused him also.

Then came Judah unto Reuben, and entreated him, saying, Lo! thou lovest me, and I have always loved thee, do not refuse me the use of thine axe.

But Reuben turned from him, and refused him likewise.

Now it came to pass, that Reuben hewed timber on the bank of the river, and his axe fell therein, and he could by no means find it.

But Simeon, Levi, and Judah, had sent a messenger after the Ishmaelites with money, and had bought for themselves each an axe.

Then came Reuben unto Simeon, and said, Lo! I have lost mine axe, and my work is unfinished, lend me thine, I pray thee.

And Simeon answered him, saying, Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe, therefore will I not lend thee mine.

Then went he unto Levi, and said unto him, My brother, thou knowest my loss and my necessity; lend me, I pray thee, thine axe.

And Levi reproached him, saying, Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe when I desired it, but I will be better than thou, and will lend thee mine.

And Reuben was grieved at the rebuke of Levi,

« ZurückWeiter »