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temper, and philosophic mind of Dr. Goddard ; who assumes no supercilious elevation in his ex cathedra defence of our episcopal government, but modestly appeals to the authorities of reason and Scripture, and cautiously confines his propositions within the boundaries of expediency.
Three points are attempted to be established in this discourse : - 1. The Expediency of defining and settling by fixed Rules, whatever relates to Christian Worship, or to Christian Doctrine. 2. The Expediency of adhering to such Regulations, when Experience shall have proved them to be useful and necessary
And 3. The Expediency of investing Persons with due Authority, to superintend the Concerns of Religion, and the Government of the Church.'
A preacher in the pulpit of Lambeth chapel, addressing the highest dignitaries of our Establishment on the consecration of a metropolitan prelate, could not be more moderate in his assumptions; yet, when we advert to the state of the controversy which these subjects involve, we cannot suppose that Dr. G.'s doctrine will obtain universal acquiescence. The cir. cumstance stated in the text (Acts, xvi. 5, 6.) cannot, by any ingenuity, be made to apply to the present state of the church; and it is admitted by the preacher that our Saviour left no precise instructions as to the form or manner of celebrating divine worship.' It does not appear that our Lord or bis apostles ever contemplated what has been called the union of religion with the State, or the junction of ecclesiastical with civil authority. Christ expressly says, " My kingdom is not of this world;" and, though we are inclined to believe that this phrase has been generally misunderstood, and interpreted to mean much more than the divine speaker intended, still it is a declaration which seems to contain an absolute protest against what we understand by the establishment of Christianity. Dr. Paley, in his Moral and Political Philosophy, B. 6. Ch. 1o., has placed this subject in the clearest point of view: religious establishment is no part of Christianity; it is only the means of inculcating it;" and, if this distinction were always kept in sight, the controversy would be greatly narrowed. Archbishops, bishops, deans, and prebendaries, are no parts. of Christianity, which is purely moral and spiritual, having its seat in the mind; yet archbishops, bishops, deans, and prebendaries may be good and proper means of promoting it. It does not follow, however, that a system including a series of ecclesiastical dignities is the only one by which the interests of Christianity can be effectually promoted. As the Gospel stands distinct from what is termed the church, every body of Christian believers is at full liberty to make whatever arrange
ments may be deemed proper for their own edification ; and every form of church-government must be considered as a mere matter of human arrangement.
• If,' says Dr. G., our Saviour, who, we are well assured, must have distinctly foreseen the exigencies of his church at every period of the world, nevertheless thought it sufficient to give his apostles little more than general instructions for the propagation and maintenance of his religion ; if he left them no specific rules for the government of the church at Antioch, or at Ephesus, at Corinth, or at Rome ; nor any express declarations of his will, how they should settle the dissensions, which he knew and had foretold would arise;and if the apostles, in the execution of their high commission, appear to have been careful only to adjust those particular matters which claimed their immediate attention, without extending their view to remote possible contingencies ; — have we not abundant reason to conclude, that the government of the Christian church was designed to be carried on through all succeeding periods (under the controul, no doubt, of Infinite Wisdom;) yet (as far as we are capable of discerning) by the immediate and visiòle operation of second causes ?'
In one word, we are left in this respect to the voice of reason : prudence and good sense should alone direct us in all that concerns the externals of religion : but, though every church, or body of believers, must regulate the time and modes of Christian worship by fixed rules, the expediency of interfering in matters of doctrine is not so evident.
To some expressions employed by Dr. G. in illustrating his second proposition, strong objections will be offered. Bishop Warburton's phrase, “ the alliance of Church and State," is admitted, though nothing can be more incorrect; the Church is an integral part of the State, and its whole constitution exists by virtue of acts of Parliament: it cannot, therefore, any more than the army or the navy, make an alliance with the State. It is, as the preacher observes, in the body of his discourse, united and incorporated with the State ;' and both parties find their interest in this incorporation : but, when Dr. G., not attending to Dr. Paley's distinction, ventures to ask, "What period can be pointed out, when Christianity may be said to have flourished independently of all connection with the civil government ?', many will be ready to ask him in return, “ When did Christianity ever flourish, connected with the civil government?” Was not the age of Constantine, when this establishment took place, a period fatal to the interests of pure Christianity; and did not the Christian church then assume a form and aspect for which no provision is made in the Gospel ? Some persons are of. opinion that Christianity loses its native simplicity by an incorporation with the State ;
Dr. G. very
while others think that those ecclesiastical arrangements, which have taken place since the time of Constantine, were the necessary consequences of the conversion of the head of empires to the faith of Christ. It may not be easy to reconcile these discordant opinions : but, whether an ecclesiastical constitution exists under the patronage of the State, or altogether separated from such patronage, the necessity of internal regulations must be evident to all; and it is very natural for every church to adhere to such as have been found useful. Here, however, another question arises. When an ecclesiastic talks of useful regulations, does he mean useful to the Establishment or useful to the church of Christ at large? Test-laws may serve the former purpose, but not the latter. adroitly shifts the odium of them from the Church to the State ; considering the policy of the adoption of tests and articles to be a question purely political.'
The preacher next adverts to the “ example of our Lord and his Apostles," with whose conduct the assent required to our Articles is supposed to be at variance : but how does this appear?'
• We are told, that although different sects prevailed amongst the Jews in our Lord's time, he was solicitous only to reform the immorality of their lives, paying little or no attention to the errors which had given occasion to their religious dissensions. It were easy to disprove this assertion by referring to various passages in the Gospels : wherein our Saviour not only rebukes the vices, but corrects also many of the “ false Opinions” prevalent amongst the Jews. Yet, had He suffered them to pass unnoticed, it should, be recollected, that He came not to reform their religion, but to promulgate his own.'
This remark is more ingenious than satisfactory, and the same may be asserted of Dr. G.'s observations on the simple confession of faith demanded from converts in the apostolic age. Indeed, the Doctor himself does not seem to be thoroughly, satisfied with them: but he expresses a wish for an union with those who dissent from the national faith, and avows himself willing to co-operate in promoting so good a work. He is no great stickler for the Articles, which are very modestly represented, in the language of a learned writer, as “ Articles of Inquiry.”
As a general position, the third principle laid down by Dr. G. will be admitted; viz. ''the expediency of investing certain persons with authority to superintend the concerns of religion and the government of the church; but then the question will be, - who is to invest these persons, and what is to be the extent of their authority ? Bishops or presiding miRey. OCT. 1814.
nisters, presbyters or elders, and deacons, or subordinate officers, were appointed in the primitive church : but, as then no dioceses existed, each church or body of the faithful, assembling in a specified place for public worship and the administration of the sacraments, chose or appointed its own officers, who were invested with certain authority ; yet a faint parallelism exists between the state of the primitive church and that of modern established churches. This seems to be allowed by the preacher, who says. “Whether or not the form of our church be, in all points, precisely the same, as that which was instituted by the apostles, it will not be material to enquire,—the objection can, at the utmost, be made to apply only to the temporal power, which has been derived from its alliance with the
government. As matters are now settled in the Established Church, episcopacy is a necessary feature, and Dr. G. is eloquent in displaying its advantages. It must be admitted, setting all comparisons of primitive and modern times out of the question, that the ecclesiastical system established in this country is adapted by its politico-religious nature to answer a double purpose ; and, from the satisfaction which it gives to the government, to the nobles, and to all the rich proprietors of the land, it is in no danger of being disturbed. The character of our bishops is respectable and dignified ; and, while they strenuously plead in favour of the church as by law established, they express themselves of Dissenters with mildness and liberality, • freely conceding to every one the liberty of worshipping God agreeably to the dictates of his conscience. For the security of the national church, indeed, they would make a reservation of the offices of civil trust and power in favour of its members : but, as we have seen, Dr. Goddard regards this matter in the light of a regulation purely political. If this be the case, the Church can offer no objections to the repeal of the Test-laws, whenever Parliament may deem it expedient to expunge them from the Statute-book. Dr. G. thus concludes :
In defending our ecclesiastical establishment, in asserting our church to be pure and apostolical, we fear not the misrepresentations of its enemies : we rest not our pretensions on the partiality of those, who are in communion with us; nor yet on the declarations (however favourable) of foreign divines. Let them be decided, not by abstruse reasonings, but by incontrovertible facts : by that portion of real good, which it has so long continued to produce : by its effects on piety,, on morals, on learning, on the intellectual powers of men, and on their happiness, as individuals, as subjects, and as members of society ; by the proud preeminence, which, through the peculiar blessings of Divine Providence, has so eminently distin. guished that State, which has adopted our Church into a close and
lasting alliance. To expect a time, when institutions, laws, and government, shall be unnecessary, is to expect perfection in man : which can never be attained; “ till this corruptible shall have put on incorruption."
Several parts of this discourse are doubtless open to animad version ; and, in this age of controversy, some writers may be inclined to enter the lists with the preacher : but all must commend it as a neat and able composition, and allow it to be laudably free from that superciliousness and asperity which formerly were disgustingly prominent in disquisitions of this kind.
ART. V. A popular Survey of the Reformation, and fundamental
Doctrines of the Church of England. By George Custance, Author of « A concise View of the Constitution of England." 8vo.
PP. 565. 128. Boards. Longman and Co. 1813. WHAT is the precise meaning of the epithet popular in this
title? Perhaps we are to understand by it such a survey as the good people of England ought to read, who should not look at the Reformation, and the doctrines which it introduced, except through glasses of a particular sort. The people, it has been said, have nothing to do with the doctrines of the State, but to believe them; nor with the laws of the State, but to obey them. Philosophic investigation, and cloud-dissipating inquiry, are mental luxuries which the multitude should never be invited to enjoy : but they should be exhorted to venerate all that is established, and to suspect every man of heresy and rebellion who has the audacity to think for himself. Mr. Custance's present treatise is written in the true spirit of this principle. His popular survey of the Reformation is happily contrived to render the idea of reform unpopular, and to convince
modrót that the reformers left them nothing to do but to adopt their system in its utmost extent. Of this we are very certain, that, if those who are contented to have others think for them do not relish Mr. C.'s book, they who are in the habit of thinking for themselves will never be pleased with it. As the Devil occupies a very conspicuous station in the creed of the common people, Mr. C. has not forgotten this illustrious personage in his popular survey; for he tells us, or rather John Bull, (p.44.) that in the eighth century all the kingdoms of the world were bestowed on the Pope by the Devil, whom he worshiped.' The good Protestant money-getting shopkeeper will unquestionably be led by this information to hate the Pope who worshiped the Devil; unless, finding that his Satanic majesty