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Triumph of Education and Liberality in Glasgow, - 360
S. T. B.
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Unitarianism at Padiham, -
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Unitarian Worthies, No. 9, Sir Isaac Newton, - -
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CHRISTIAN PIONEER. No. 61. SEPTEMBER, 1831. Vol. VI. .
The Church of England and Ireland. Many a long year has elapsed since the publication of De Laune's Plea for the Nonconformists, Towgood's Dissent from the Church of England fully justified, and the Protestant Dissenter's Catechism. In those works, the multiplied corruptions of the Established Church were fully exposed, the contrast between the Hierarchy of Britain and the New Testament strikingly depicted, and reasons for dissent assigned, at once scriptural and unanswerable. To their reasonings, warnings, and scriptural exhortations, the mass of the people turned the ear of deafness. Like some of their instructors, if they made it not their boast, it was at least their practice, never to read “ dissenting divinity.” If the works were noticed, it was with the contemptuous sneer of "stall-fed theology.” The clergy sat in their pride of place, and looked down on the dissenter as an abomination in the land. Fenced round with Thirty-nine Articles, and Test and Corporation Acts, and oaths against the “ damnable doctrine” of Popery, they fondly imagined their own mountain was impregnable, and that they might laugh to scorn the efforts of non-conformity.
They were mistaken. Small might be the band who bowed not before the golden image which earthly power had set up in the stead of Christ. But that band was knit together by principles which no corruption could seduce, no power overawe. The more it was oppressed, the more it multiplied and grew. It was the salt of the community, that which preserved the commonwealth from utter putrefaction. It kept alive the precious spark of liberty, it nurtured manufactures, it encouraged science, it disseminated knowledge, it separated religion from superstition, it turned men from forms and rituals to righteousness and charity.
And what has been the consequence? That Catholic disabilities have vanished—that Corporation and Test Acts are no more—that Dissenters outnumber the Church called National —and that although Thirty-nine Articles and Athanasian Creeds still remain, as monuments of the ignorance, fanaticism, and intolerance of bygone times, yet that every day it is becoming more and more questionable, whether the people will long submit to pay thousands, nay millions a-year for their support and continuance.
And can any rational mind be surprised at that accumulation of feeling which now issues in the call for Reformation? When for the support of the Church in Ireland there are appropriated, without taking into account the bishoprics of Down and Connor, Raphoe and Dromore, Four hundred and cighty-nine thousand, one hundred and forty-one acres of that land wbich resounds with the groans of a famishing people—acres, outnumbering the professors of the communion they are given to uphold; who can wonder at the outcry? Who can wonder, if in the exasperation excited by tithe exaction, the indignant people refuse to allow the burial of a tithe-collector's child in consecrated ground, and oblige the parties to have recourse to military aid, the bayonet of the soldier protecting the funeral obsequies? When Bishops threaten prosecution of Dissenting clergymen, for celebrating the marriage service among their flock, nay, when they utter this lordly denunciation, because the Dissenter dared conduct worship in his congregation at the same hour as the Liturgy was reading in another building-reprobation of such would-be despotism, is only a righteous tribute to insulted humanity. The church in which such matters can occur, cannot stand-it ought not to stand.
The members of the Established Church are beginning to feel this themselves. Lord Mount Cashel and others in Ireland, prove this cheering fact. In England, a meet. ing was some time since held by the Clergy of one district, to petition for an alteration in the Liturgy, and also as to the tithes. An inquiry was lately made in one of the Kent newspapers, after the Rector of a certain parish in that county-Woodchurch, we believe. It would appear, that the parishioners had never seen their Rector. He was content to receive the emoluments, though he did not deign to visit the payers. The “ duty” of the parish was, of course, done by Curate. If it be true, that this same Rector is also Rector of Harrietsham in Kent, and likewise possesses the donative advowson of Stoke Canon in Devonshire, and holds in addition the office of Prebendary of Winchester in Hampshire, nay, of Chichester in Sussex, to boot; and if it be also true, that this church
pluralist, instead of attending, as he is bound by oath to do, to the cure of souls, whether in Kent, or Devonshire, or Hampshire, or Sussex, is passing his time in the City of the seven hills, amidst the corruptions and abominations of the “ foul, filthy, old withered barlot,” as the Church of England in its charity designates her mother the Church of Rome; and if it be also true, as the Archbishop of Canterbury affirms, and as the Lord Chancellor confirms, that numbers of the working clergy of the Church of Eng. land have only sixty pounds a-year, and some only twentyfive-why then, in the name of justice, is it not high time that such antichristian anomalies should cease-that he who works should be fed; and he who revels at Rome, should revel there, if it please him, at his own cost, and not at the expense of his more laborious brethren-not at the charge of the tax and tithe paying people of England?
There is at Lincoln, a magnificent pile. It towers above the city in the glory of its architecture, and thousands " come like shadows, so depart," wbilst it stands defying the lapse of centuries. Amidst its architectural beauties, however, there are some incongruous images, and among the rest, there is sculptured the figure of the Devil riding on the back of a saint. Whether the sculptor was a wag, and in the spirit of Burns' address to the “unco guid," deemed that the rigidly righteous had often dealings with the Evil One-or whether he thought the Church and Satan held holy alliance-or whether, aware of the scriptural signification, he considered an Established Church an is adversary” to national prosperity and improvement, and took this strange method of conveying his ideas to posterity-must, of course, be matters of doubtful disputation. But certain is it, that the walls leading up to the Cathedral were lately placarded with this very ambiguous intimation, “ Beware of thieves and pickpockets." The association was rather striking, and in the present excited state of public feeling, the Clergy would do well to remove the ominous warning.
Among the various pamphlets lately issued, in relation to this important subject, is “ A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of York, on the present corrupt state of the Church of England; by R. M. Beverley, Esq.” The author, we understand, is an individual possessing considerable property in the neighbourhood of Beverly in Yorkshire, and is also a member of that Establishment