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the humblest docility of spirit to which our minds can be disciplined, we do not affect to approach the oracles of truth with any prostration of the understanding. Prostration of the understanding! God forbid! No, my Lord; if any one had charged us with admitting as a revealed truth, as an oracle of God, as a doctrine of Jesus, a proposition whiclı previously to its reception required a prostration of the understanding, we should have regarded it not only as more unfounded and irrevelant than any of those misconceptions under which our profession unfortunately lies in your Lordship's mind, but as a calumny more absurd and more injurious than any which the ingenuity and malignity of our bitterest adversaries have ever yet invented. If the Christian religion itself were to require this debasement of the intellect, this prostration of the understanding, in those who approach it, I, for one, would reject it with disdain.” P. 75. : Will Mr. Belsham be good enough to explain to us, so as by any means to approximate it to our understandings, the mode by. which Christ reanimated the body of Lazarus, (we will not say 6 recalled the soul," as Mr. B. is a materialist) or how his own was raised, after the lapse of so many hours, from actual death; will he inform us how and in what manner the Apostles were ena dowed with the gift of speaking divers languages, without being previously instructed ; and when he has done this, we pledge ouro selves to approximate to his mind with equal precision the mode of existence of the Trinity in Unity. In the one or two articles of Christianity which Mr. Belsham retains, there is as much prose tration of the understanding required, as in the whole system which we maintain. He must either receive them with submission, or reject them with disdain.
But here is the source of all that wretched infatuation, which at different times, and in various forms, has darkened and enslaved the soul of man. It is the feverish irritation of a captious and a conceited mind; it is the self-sufficiency of short-sighted, halfinstructed ignorance, which plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as makes the calm and thinking part of mankind to shudder. It is the same spirit of intellectual licentiousness, which taught Hobbes and Mandeville, Vanini and Hume, to deprive the Deity of his attributes, and even of his existence, which tauglit Bolingbroke and Tindal to reject revelation as a fable, has now descended upon the Unitarians of modern days, teaching them. salvation without a Saviour, and redemption without a Redeemer. It is not that the Deists are gone over in a regular body to the chapel of the Unitarians; but it is, that the same train of thought, the same mode of argunent, the same turn of mind, leading to conclusions almost the same, are observable to the commonest eye in both systems.
Regit idem spiritus arlus
Orbe alio. Mr. Belsham seems astonished that such a spirit should furin a prominent point of attack to the Clergy of a Christian Church. The legislature having emancipated the Unitarians from the penalties once attached to the publication of their opinions, it becomes still more imperiously necessary that those evils, which the arm of public justice refuses to redress, should be checked and opposed by a private hand. Most unworthy would the clergy of this nation prove themselves of the sacred cause in which they were engaged, were they to witness their Saviour and their God stripped of every attribute, degraded to the level of frail and fallible humanity, and clad, as in scorn, with the mock robe of a divine mission, without raising one voice to viudicate bis insulted majesty, or to defend his injured glory. There are still those among us who refuse, in the spirit of modern liberality, to compliment away the cause which they are entrusted to defend, who still bope, by a vigorous col. hision with the enemies of their faith, to rekindle the dying embers of a temperate and holy zeal in the interests of all which is dear to them as Christians and as men. Their contest with the Unitarians is not for a metaphysical distinction, a trifling dereliction, or a perverse separation, est inter nos non de terminis, sed de totů possessione contentio. There can be no connection or composition between us : if they are Christians, we are idolaters ; if we are Christians, they are infidels in disguise.
Mr. Belsham expresses his displeasure at being ranked among the enemies of the establishment, to which on the part of himself and the Unitarians he professes no feelings of hostility. He informs the Bishop, however, “ that a reform, a lis beral reform, adapted to the improvements of an enlightened age, and sanctioned by the legislature is all that the majority of Unitarians desire," or in other words, that all the fundamental principles of faith should be discarded, and all confessions of faith abolished, and that then the majority of Unitarians will support the establishment. We have great reason to suspect that Mr. Belsham himself, notwithstanding all his professions, is not even in such a majority; we remember to have read in his review of Mr. Wilberforce the following sentences, which express sentiments which our readers will consider of a very oppo. I site tendency: .
“ The immediate tendency of a civil establishment of religion is to obstruct the progress of christian principles, and of sound morals. When a system, whether true or false, is once established, and the profession of it is paid for out of the public purse, all in
Quiry is at an end. Integrity, and the love of truth, yield to indolence, pride, and bitter zeal, against those who attack, not the doctrines of religion, but those of the public creed. An established priesthood is, in its very nature, a persecuting order. There has been no exception to this rule. Heathen and christian, jew and mahometan, papist and protestant, episcopalian and presbyterian, when in power, have all breathed the same fiery, intempe. rate spirit; a few enlightened individuals only excepted. Men who are engaged to defend an established system are, from that very circumstance, engaged to discourage inquiry, and to oppose truth, unless (which is not often the case) truth should happen to : be the established doctrine.” P. 154.
In taking our leave of Mr. Belsham, we shall offer him our sincere thanks for giving is so fair an opportunity of laying before the public the true Unitarian creed, not tricked out in the garb of ambiguous verbosity, but stripped of all its meretricious ornaments, naked and uudisguised. We are also happy that he has enabled us to call such testimony forth, as shall not also most fully acquit the Bishop of the charges brought against him, but shall also confirm the wisdom and establish the justice of those wide and commanding views which his Lordship has taken of the subjects under discussion.
DIVINITY. ART. VII. The Claims of the Established Church, considered
as an Apostolical Institution, and especially as an Authorized Interpreter of Holy Scripture. 8vo. pp. 128. 3. 6d.
Rivingtons. 1815. HoweVER various have been the attacks to which the Church of England has been of late exposed, both by the virulence of open enemies, and the artifices of designing friends, one good effect at least has resulted from the very dangers with which she has been threatened, that a host of her faithful sons among the Laity as well as the Clergy, have rallied under her banners, and presented a phalanx of defenders, which would have done lonour even to her best ages. Among these we shall consider the author of the treatise before us, be he who he may, even in the first rank: a place to which the soundness of his arguments, the spirit of his defence, and the charity of his zeal, so justly entitle him.
In his first chapter le considers the compound nature of our inestimable constitution, as consisting of Church and State. He then represents the Church as possessing a two-fold character; an incidental character, as a temporal establishment, and as 'a part of the constitution; and an inherent character' as a spiritual society formed under a commission from Christ. He then proceeds to consider the nature of that Universal Church, the inst:tution of which was committed by Christ to his Apostles ; and the preservation of the ministry by a regular transmission of the power of ordination in uninterrupted succession froin the Apostles, to whom it was committed by Christ himself. The three distinct orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are defended with much ability and learning; and the necessity of Episcopacy is clearly proved, not only from the reason of the thing, but from the bistory of the Church to the fifteenth cen. tury. In his expatiation upon the high importance and awful responsibility of the priestly office, the author rises into a strain of manly and pious eloquence. · The state of dependence in which the great multitude of Christians throughout the nation are placed in the Establisherl Church, for the right interpretation of the Bible, is next consi. dered, with the nature and obligation of communion in the Established Church. The causes of separation from an Established Church are then reviewed, from which it is justiy concluded, that so vast are the advantages resulting from uniformity in religious worship, that nothing short of a disagreement in the essentials of faith can justify in foro conscientiæ such a separation. The want of sufficient places for public worship being often urged as a plea for separation, the author takes occasion to animadvert upon this shameful deficiency in such terms, as we hope will arrest the ațiention of the legislature itself. So admirable is the statement, that we shall present it to our readers.
" That the Established Church is grossly inadequate to the population of this country is a truth which, it must be allowed, often affords a plea for separation, the force of which it seems impossible to repel. In many parishes, chiefly in or near the metropolis, the places of worship, under the establishment, are capable of containing only a small portion-often not a fifth, sometimes not a tenth, of the inhabitants. ' In numerous provincial parishes, the churches, though not deficient in point of number or size, are often close shut up at the regular times of Divine Service; insomuch, that it is only on alternate Sundays, and then but on one part of the day, that an opportunity is afforded to the parishioners of attending public worship; who, in many cases, having no resident Minister, are left, during the week, as sheep without a shepberd. So scanty a provision for the spiritual wants of the people
might almost induce a stranger to doubt the existence of an Established Church in this country. The fault, however, rests not with the Establishment, but with the State, which, in professing to esta: blish a Church, for the public worship of God, solemnly undertakes to afford opportunity of regularly attending that worship to all the inhabitants of the country. In direct and palpable breach of this engagement, a large portion of the population, in the very heart of the kingdom, is excluded, for want of room, from the Churches of the Establishment; whilst, in many other parts, the provision made for the clergy is so inadequate, that it is often found necessary to allot the Service of several Churches to the same Minister, in order to insure him the necessaries of life; in consequence of which distribution it necessarily happens, that the labours of a minister, the whole of which are due to each parish, are divided, perhaps, among three or four parishes, only one of which can enjoy his pastoral care, as a resident Minister. After all, in numerous instances, the income on which a clergyman has to depend for the subsistence of a large family, does not exceed that of a day labourer. These are evils of the greatest magnitude, and fraught with the most direful consequences. They call for the prompt and serious attention of the Legislature, where alone resides the power of applying a remedy. The nature of the remedy which ought to be applied, it cannot be difficult to discover. New Churches must be built, with suitable accommodation for all classes, wherever they are wanted, and the Establishment must be enabled, by adem quate endowments, to furnish Ministers for the regular perform, ance of Divine Service, in every part of the kingdom. As an auxiliary measure, the division of large parishes, without, however, any infringement upon vesced rights, might, in many places, lead to the most salutary results. To effect the main purposes above mentioned, large grants would, it is true, be wanted. But, if a feeling at all proportionate to the importance of the subject were generally prevalent, can it be doubted that those grants would be forthcoming ? The Established Church, it ought to be remembered, has been deprived of nearly one-third of its legitimate property, now in the hands of lay impropriators. This property cannot, indeed, be restored, for its present possessors hold it by legal title; but, when the object is to enable the Church to realize the inexpressibly important design for which it was established, surely some compensation ought to be made to it for such a spoliation, if not for its own sake, at least for that of the community. In making, however, the necessary arrangements for the above purposes, care should be taken not to lose sight of the inportant truth, that the interests of religion cannot but suffer, when its ministers, on account of their external circumstances, fail to be. looked up to with respect;—or, to borrow the energetic language addressed by Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Queen Elie zabeth, in relation to this very subject, “ When they that serve at God's altar are exposed to poverty, then religion itself will be ex-: