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appeared credible to clever men like Nicodemus, St. Paul, and others ;) and that, having firmly planted the tree, he thought proper to leave all visible means of watering it to ordinary exertions. Doubtless, the Holy Spirit can, if be please, so assist the most illiterate preacher, as to cause an immediate and conclusive answer to the most learned infidel arguments to occur to his mind; but this is not usually seen to be the case; on the contrary, we look for apologies for the christian faith from among good classical scholars, historians, and mathematicians. Now I much doubt, in a country like this, with so many roads to rank and wealth through other professions, there being
sufficient number of young men, of quick natural parts, brought up to the church, if an equality, and upon a par. simonious plan, of incomes were adopted in it. One may point to this man in the Scotch Presbyterian Church, to that man among the Dissenters here; but do they not avail themselves of the books that issue from our episcopal universities? Suppose a Quaker, for instance, should be afraid that his son is inclined to the dogmas of Deism, may he not try to reclaim him with arguments slily taken from the work of some Bishop, though perhaps refusing to pay church rates the same day? Were we indeed entitled to go so farinto the forbidden" secret things," as to demand of God his reasons for not making the truth of Christianity so evident, as to make it a system of knowledge, and not of faith ;* even then that observation, now so common, that, if Christianity is really so true, and so valuable a thing, it must make its own way without human exertions, would not be cogent, for we should also have to inquire, why he has not given us minds of a more expansive nature, seeing that such mysterious and exalted subjects were intended for our contemplation; but every sensible man feels, that such inquiries are not only impious, but as childish (hear it, ye pretended philosophers !) as the remark of a little boy, who should wonder that God did not give him eyes strong enough to look at the sun at noon-day without their watering; and every well-read man knows, that let the cause of the Almighty so permitting, be what it will, the history of poor churches, since the early times, does not
* The reader will find some probable reasons given for nature and religion, as we find them, in the consideration of the 45th Canon.
encourage us to disregard the addition of temporal endowments; and I may add, that the recommendation of Deists the other way, is a great argument in favour of temporalities, for we might as well expect to see Satan himself, as them, so constantly and zealously recommending such a change of polity as is calculated to increase the number of believers.* No; were the sublime doctrines of Christianity dependant only upon the “tender mercies” of whatever illiterate enthusiasts may take it into their heads to “hold forth,” the best we could hope, would be the promise of Christ, that, even till the end of the world, there should always be some, however few, to compose his church.t So much for the expediency of retaining the principle of what have been, by friends and foes, called“ prizes” in the church.
But there is another-a worldly, it is true, in part-consideration, which I cannot overlook. I would say to every great landholder, every farmer, every fundholder, every manufacturer, and many tradesmen, every one in London, who may wish to separate church from state, “. Are you contented to be ruined yourselves, as the price of realizing your favourite scheme?" For most assuredly, if the church is destroyed, Mr. Cobbett's notion it was kind in him to be so candid) of the mowers mowing grass in Regent-street, will turn out to be something more than a jest, though perhaps it may not be literally fulfilled; for they should remember, that this is not like changing the fashion from leather to cotton gloves, or from silks to
* It is as laughable as common, to find avowed infidels affecting to be shocked at the idea of any union of church and state on spiritual grounds, that“ Christ's kingdom is not of this world.” Let their tender consciences understand, that consecration of the state and desecration of the church are not synonymous.
+ The fulfilment of the predictions in the second and third chapters of the Revelation of St. John, (which even ought to influence candid Deists, as they cannot deny the antiquity of the book,) ought to be sufficient with every Christian, to convince him, that, if this kingdom chooses to forego the exercise of the means in its power to preserve the christian faith, it may be liable to the fate of some of those seven churches, not immediately in full perhaps; but what with the infidelity, the heresy, and the schism amongst us, if those Christians, who cannot accuse themselves of encouraging directly either of the three, do not throw off the sin so severely denounced in the Laodicean church, what must be the state of this country a century hence, or less ?
muslins, which injures a few places and benefits others instead, but, so far from a few local injuries, the first effect of church extinction, (whatever eventual good may be admitted for the sake of argument, and which must necessarily be the reverse of immediate, the first effect would be to, more or less, injure every locality in the kingdom now benefited by the expenditure of any annuitant deriving his income either from the church, or from any of our colleges. Even one hundred pounds a-year would affect some villages, taken away perhaps just as the butcher, v.C., was expecting to be paid; some grazier, or other, again having a demand upon the butcher. And if so, what are we to say of the large livings, and cathedral towns, to say nothing of the expenditure of private incomes, and incomes from schools, by resident clergymen, some curates of one hundred pounds a-year spending several thousands from private incomes ? The consequence, I think, would be, to, more or less, distress, and cause to fail in their engagements, upwards of two millions not ostensibly connected with the church ; which must produce such a panic, as would cause the movement people to gain all they contemplate about the funds, primogeniture, &c., at first, and then we should not be long getting to military despotism.* Let every lover of true and rational liberty, which has nothing in common with licentiousness, (which is only present or prospective tyranny in disguise,)
let every lover of liberty only consider former events. The effect of the seizures of monastic and other ecclesiastical property, in the reign of Henry VIII., so aggravated the distress of the country, it is a mistake to suppose that the religious houses completely relieved all the distressed, as Mr. Cobbett would persuade us,) that the institution of laws for the relief of the poor became a measure almost unavoidable. In France, where, by the old revolution, so many interests were affected, we see, first, a desperately bloody state of things, with the cry for
* The amount given to the poor in rates, and through the various public charities, which would all go, must also be remembered. And it may be added, that taxation, whether spent again in pensions or otherwise, may be changed safely enough perhaps ; but with regard to absolute remission of taxation, that it must be wrong unless gradual, as the creation of it was gradual.
bread louder than the cry for blood, and, after almost every kind of anarchy we can conceive, we find it subsiding into a military despotism. So far do we find it parallel with the success of the Puritans in England, in the reign of Charles I., (to whom our infidels, and radicals, together with the more virulent of the Dissenters and schismatics are analogous ;) but there was a material difference between the two Restorations. At the restoration of Louis XVIII., in which neither the church nor the law of primogeniture were restored to the old footing, it was very easy to foresee, that such omissions would make a second revolution difficult to prevent; but they also seem to account for the comparatively bloodless nature of the last, there not being the elements necessary to distress so many interests. The restoration of Charles II., being a more complete restoration, was a greater security against a future revolution, (the calling of William III. to the throne was a subversion of nothing but the expelled family,) but, at the same time, it places us, with regard to what we are to expect if a popular revolution again takes place, in a similar situation to the situations of England in the reign of Charles I., and of France in the reign of Louis XVI. Hence it appears, that those who are always talking of a quiet and peaceable way of getting rid of (such is their modesty, or licentiousness rather) crown, coronet, mitre, and entails, all together, cannot really think such a thing possible, but only hold out such expectations to the thoughtless yeoman, or shopkeeper, to lull their apprehensions. At all events, let the London shopkeepers in particular, as also those manufacturers and others, in the country, who are interested in the prosperity of the metropolis-remember, that Paris suffered severely in the last revolution, and to this day, has not recovered from the shock, and shows no prospect at present of so doing; while in no part of France do we see any appearance of any interests being improved by the change! But perhaps they allow themselves to be gulled by what we hear so often concerning American prosperity. Opinions vary upon what will be the conclusion of the American ruplure with England; but, waving this, the difference between the two cases is exactly what ought to deter us from wishing to follow the example of America. With her large extent of country, most trifling, compared with that extent, population, (I believe a million and a half only,) with capital so insignificant, as not to be worth mentioning; in short, with that country almost a carte blanche, it was competent to the Americans to try the experiment of any theory they pleased ; but where are our anolagous circumstances, with our large capital, large property of various kinds, and large population, and little garden comparatively of extent of country ? * No! there may in England be a temperate reform of abuses safely enough, but there can be no peaceable ruining of so many different interests as the movement party contemplate, while such subversion can possibly only benefit a handful of adventurers ! Till lately, such observations as the foregoing, seemed as vain to address to the middling classes, as it is to try to reason with a drunken man; but now, surely, the trades' unions must have somewhat roused them to a sense of their danger ; and the working classes themselves will do well, ere it is too late, to reflect upon the natural end of these unions, notwithstanding their fine sounding theories about “ Labour the source of all wealth !” for it is inconsistent with the nature of things, that their theory, if ever so good in the abstract, can get air play in this country, circumstanced as it is at starting, long enough to allow it to arrive at maturity. How can they prevent the most tyrannical military despotism at home, or invasion from abroad, -- aye, perhaps even from some power they now, in the plenitude of simplicity, flatter themselves would be their grand ally to conquer the world, and which power may be, at this moment, watching for the success of the repeal of the union with Ireland, as a cat watches a mouse (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat!)
With regard to the subject of this work, my observations upon the Canons of the church will show, I trust, that I am no bigoted volunteer to defend real abuses;
* Those who, like me, have lived much in the society of those who were employed in the American war, have heard enough to convince them, that, even in America, the first effect of the rebellion was, to introduce a vast deal of distress in various districts; and that the Americans would hardly have succeeded, had our military commanders been left, at that distance, to use their own discretion, instead of being fettered by the injunctions of the government at home to avoid harsh measures as much as possible.