[ocr errors]

guilty connivance, and neither should be allowed. The magistrate, therefore, neglects his duty in permitting them. The

nation,' to use the forcible language of Mr. Dick, participates in the guilt of the heretic, which having a right to exclude him, permits him to labor within its boundaries, and taint the air with a moral pestilence, which may work to the dissolution of the whole body of discipline. As the priest would cast him out of • the church, so the civil ruler, charged as he also is to keep reli‘gion pure, should expel him from the soil. ... Nor is there wanting, it must be confessed, abundant occasion to resume this ‘policy, and rouse all the sleeping terror of the law. The insults which Dissenters are continually offering to the religion of the state, are undisguised and flagrant-are such as would not be tolerated in any other department of government. They make • an open boast of their disloyalty, and in their unremitting and

organized hostility, are assailing the religious branch of the constitution. Let them then be repressed by the same weapon 6 which ensures their obedience to all civil laws. Nor let it be 6 said, that a persecution would strengthen their animosity and increase their numbers. These are consequences only when it is conducted feebly, and by wavering counsels. A vigorous “persecution suppressed Protestantism in Italy; it suppressed it in Spain, and went near to extinguish it in France; and over * any faith, in any quarter of the globe, those rulers will undoubt

edly triumph who are ready for an unscrupulous profusion of • blood and treasure. The advocacy of the bitterest persecution is in truth the only course open to friends of such exorbitant interpretations of the rights and duties of the civil power.

The argument in favour of ecclesiastical establishments founded on Scripture might have been put more briefly, and perhaps more strikingly, than our author has done. The plea supplied by the example of the Jewish dispensation has always seemed to us too absurd to require any formal refutation, though Mr. Dick and Dr. Wardlaw have both devoted to it considerable attention. The mere statement of it is a sufficient answer. The reasoning is this—God himself was pleased to establish a religious system, which the Jewish people unanimously and repeatedly accepted; and to give the Levites their share of the land of promise in tithes, that, freed from the active duties of life, they might devote their time to the instruction of the people: therefore, it is concluded, a government may establish by force a system which the people do not unanimously accept, and which, in fact, many of them,—the majority of them,—repudiate and condemn. God endowed out of his own what the Jews--they, their little ones, their wives, and the stranger within their gates,' as inspiration is careful to tell us---voluntarily accepted; therefore, government must endow out of another's, what neither “he, nor his little ones,

nor his wife,' has ever believed; but what, on the contrary, he thinks the highest authority has expressly forbidden. God did it; therefore an earthly and fallible governor must do it; we must be compelled to support our establishment, because the Jews willingly supported theirs. Between two such cases, nothing but the most drivelling anility could have fancied any resemblance.

New Testament authorities in favour of them we have seen none. Such as are commonly adduced, any well-taught Sundayschool scholar would be ashamed if unable to refute. They are, all of them, strained perversions of divine truth, second only in enormity to some of the interpretations of the Romish Church.

Other forms of this argument from Scripture it will be sufficient to enumerate and refute in very few words. Hooker, for example, held that the Church and State were onema theory founded, as Mr. Gladstone observes, in mere fiction, and utterly inconsistent with fact; for, if they be one, then are all ecclesiastical canons, law, which they are not till the state has sanctioned them. Besides, in this scheme, dissent must be crime; and excommunication banishment--a confusion of thought and names which has happily not yet been allowed.

Mr. Gladstone, in his work on the Church in its Relation to the State,' has explained his views in language much more remarkable for its pomp and dignity than for its truth. He holds that the nation's conscience dwells in the person of the civil ruler; and that he is bound to sanctify all the acts of the nation by religion. He therefore must not only be a • worshipping man,' but a worshipping magistrate, and his influence, and the wealth with which he is entrusted, must be devoted in part to the maintenance of what he thinks truth, be it the religion of Mahomet, of Brahma, or of Jesus. Now, that rulers are bound to promote religion is certain, because they are men, and they may be Christians: but that the promotion of what they deem religion is part of their office, is what we are by no means prepared to allow, till it be first shown that power is fitted to promote it; and till it be shown further, that the power of his office was put into the hand of the magistrate by the whole of the people, for the purpose of maintaining and diffusing what many of them disbelieve. Even under the law, sacrifice taken .by force' was abhorred' by the people, and an abomination unto God: now it seems the offerings of force' are essential to the sanctification of the nation's acts. To forbid them is, in Mr. Gladstone's language, to avow national infidelity--to seek to preserve civil society without the sanctions of religion, or the authority of God. We hold it nothing of the kind; to forbid them is to act on the sentence of inspiration-— Let every man gire, as he purposeth in his heart; but not grudgingly, or of compulsion.'

Robbery for burnt-offering I hate.'

[ocr errors]

The eight remaining sections —or the second chapter-are devoted to the reasonings of the low-churchmen; and answer very satisfactorily the opinions of Warburton, Paley, and Dr. Chalmers. The questions they propose to solve are these-Are establishments fitted for civil utility, that is, do they by educating the people, prevent or lessen crime, and thus answer the purpose of law ?-do they secure unity and permanence of truth in the church itself—the independence of the Christian ministry - the right and universal instruction of the people -- the personal devotedness of Christians—the stability of the ruling power, and generally the happiness and good order of the governed ? Questions clearly of the last moment, but questions which neither experience nor reason can answer in the affirmative.

In reviewing and discussing these questions it is important that we remember a very common sophism by which Churchmen often try to deceive, if it were possible,' the most watchful voluntary: They begin with descanting on the blessings of religionon its influence on national character and happiness- and conclude with asking how you-a religious man-can think of questioning the utility of religious establishments. We venture to suggest a reply to this very difficult question: should they be men of business, ask them if they use bread in their families, and if so, whether they are not persuaded of its wholesomeness : and if, as is likely, they express their decided approbation of the • Article,' show them their unreasonableness in seeking the repeal of the Corn Laws. It is clear that if they love corn at all, they must be delighted to pay for it a most exorbitant price, and to have their own market narrowed by an exclusion of the corn of the continent. Love corn and hate Corn Laws ! who ever heard so gross a contradiction; or should they be country gentlemen, remind them that it is quite possible to prefer our puddings sweetened with the cane of the west, without feeling any great admiration of the wisdom that defends sugar-bounties; or should they be simply men of sense, just remind them that to love religion is one thing, and to love religious establishments is another. We never doubted that righteousness exalteth a nation,' but only that the interests of righteousness are to be promoted by injustice and compulsion.

It is happily ominous of the result of this controversy, that Churchmen have left Scripture, and taken up the lower ground of expediency. He that pleaded

public reason just Honor and empire

had not the better cause. To the term itself we have of course no fastidious objections, if only it be remembered in what cases VOL. VI.


it may safely be applied. The question of the expedient is pertinent only when justice and Scripture withhold their decisions. That injustice and sin are folly,' is one of the earliest lessons of human and of inspired wisdom : Plato taught it, and a greater than Plato. But when either justice or Scripture speaks, we know immediately what is the expedient; and our duty is unhesitating compliance. We hold, therefore, though not unwilling to meet our opponents on this ground, that there is a previous question, and that this question is answered, and, therefore, the question of the expedient along with it—by the decisions of common reason, which holds it unjust to force a man to support a religious system which confers no religious advantage, and which his conscience condemns--and by the decisions of Scripture, which teaches that all is to be done from love, nothing from force, and that the support of the ministers of the gospel is to come from those that "receive them.'

But even upon these questions of expediency we are prepared to join issue with the advocates of a state-church.

State ecclesiastical establishments, it is held, improve the morals of the people. They prevent what laws can only punish; and surely prevention, as all must allow, is better than punishment. But what establishment is it that is to secure this delightful result ? Is it the establishment of error or of truth? Of truth doubtless. Who, then, is to be judge? The magistrate or the masses of the people ? If the magistrate, what security have we, that they to whom, in the language of our own Milton, “truth is

rarely known, and more rarely welcome,' will select 'truth, the “whole truth, and nothing but the truth ?' If the people, what reason have we to believe that the preferences of unsanctified human nature will select religion "pure and undefiled ' as the bride of the state? Paley makes the question a calculation of chances, and the probabilities are as millions to one, that in any one case error and not truth will be endowed.

But still it will be replied, truth is endowed in this country, so that the establishment of the English Church ought at least to receive the sanction of all Christians, from the improvement it has introduced into the moral character of the nation. But bas it improved it? What say the last pages of the History of Ireland? What the riots of Birmingham and the north? What the calendars of Assize for the last twenty years? Why, just what might have been expected. The practice of legalized murder and legalized theft on the part of the state has been found but a very ineffective means of diminishing illegal murder and illegal theft on the part of the people. To think of teaching men honesty by annual state robberies, is a system of moral instruction reserved for the wisdom of these later times.

But establishments are necessary to preserve uncorrupted and


unchanged the creed of our fathers. The analogy of faith ’ is a phrase that has no meaning in the practice of sects, and can be illustrated only from the history and oneness of the church. Now though we have no great predilection for an entailed faith, we are willing to give this objection all the weight it deserves. Let it be taken, then, at its full worth. Suppose an inquirer is anxious to understand what this analogy of faith means, and that he is directed to seek its meaning in the history of the English Establishment. • How long,' is his first question, ' has this creed been held by the Church, how extensively, and by how many of its members in the same sense? Semper, ubique, et ab omnibus ? • Has it ever been its creed ?' Semper? Why no, says his teacher, for it happens unfortunately that though it has been framed only some three hundred years, it has been changed at least six times during that period, or on an average, once every fifty years. • But has it been held very generally within the bounds of the Church? Ubique ? Not exactly ; is the teacher's reply, for Scotland has rejected it; the Canadas have rejected it; Ireland has rejected it; whilst the greater portion of Christian Europe has repudiated it as eminently heretical. But I suppose that at • least,' adds the inquirer, “the good Churchmen of England have

understood it in the same sense as they all swore they did when they entered the Church ?' Ab omnibus ? Not just so, once more rejoins his instructor. Take your Prayer Book, and jot down for the encouragement of free inquiry, the different views that have been taken of its Articles. These first on the Trinity were not held in the orthodox sense by Samuel Clarke, nor yet by the Petitioners of the time of Lord Sidmouth. On this sixth article, Mr. Newman and Baptist Noel are by no means agreed. On the ninth, Romaine and Whately are unhappily divided. The tenth is a good Calvinistic creed, signed by an Arminian clergy. The eleventh, on justification, is very important, but interpreters are not unanimous. On the authority of the Church and of tradition, Dr. Pusey, and Mr. Gladstone, and a large party think one thing, and most Churchmen another. The twenty-fifth article, on sacraments, is lamentably sectarian say some; eminently rational and consistent say others. On baptism, and baptismal regeneration, the Rubric and Articles are divided : as were Van Mildert and Faber, and as is now, the Bishop of Exeter and his clergy. The article on the Lord's Supper is quoted for Mr. Newman and against him; it is on the whole happily doubtful. The thirty-first, on the mass, is ' rash and

hasty. On the duties of the magistrate the Presbytery and the convocation are at war; though to make up for these divisions, they all agree in the last two-that oaths may be taken with a safe conscience, and that Christian men’s goods are not common, • as touching the right, title, and possession of the same. So

« 前へ次へ »