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lity. This purpose we consider as not ill accomplished in the history of the velvet cushion;—for we here see that a religion, strict in faith, and scrupulous in practice, may win the heart by a persuasive cheerfulness, and prove the possibility of attractive goodness. We see also the example of a parochial minister alike amiable in his attachment to his own church, and in his moderate opposition to dissenting doctrines; with opinions resolute on passing questions of controversy, yet untainted with the prejudice of sect or party; a zealous friend, a tolerant enemy, and eager to obliterate smaller differences, though sometimes perhaps not quite understanding them, for the sake of preserving agreement in more important points. Here, then, we shall take our leave of the author; and, while we encroach on the farther attention of the reader, we are bound in justice to observe, that we intend only an explanation of opinions in substantial unison we believe with our owo.
Much ill use having been made of the name of Hooker, in connection with the calvinism attributed to the fathers of our Reformation, we should always bear in mind the circumstances under which he wrote. On the settled conviction that the form of worship received by us as the practice of the primitive ages, was best adapted to the spirit of christianity; that ceremonies and postures, purified from idolatry and expressive of humility and adoration, were the most proper modes of prayer and supplication; and farther, that the gradation of episcopal and subordinate superintendence was the most effectual preservative of order, ---upon this foundation be reared the mighty edifice of his polity. In this dissent from the discipline of Geneva, in this sisterhood, as it has been invidiously described, with the Romish communion, it was necessary to mark the abhorrence of its corruptions and heresies: while, therefore, in the preface of his work he calls his opponent Calvin incomparably the wisest man the French church did ever enjoy’; in those points of doctrine, in which they united as against a general enemy, wé find a closer assimilation of opinion from a sense of common danger. If the Romish church maintained the efficacy of works to salvation, with a view to the establishment of the penances and charities, which contributed so largely to her temporal authority and af: fluence; on the side of Geneva the utter incapacity of man was held to have been absolutely fixed before the commencement of his mortal existence,-a doctrine the most mischievous, as predestipating not with Mahoinet the dissolution of our present being, but the ulterior decision to which our state of probation conducts, without any regard to human conduct. It cannot, however, be said, with truth, that these opinions were entertained by Hooker, and whatever appearances of them are to be found in him are to be at: tributed principally to his abhorrence of papal corruptions : wé
must also remember that they were qualified and limited in their extents for, to quote only one passage out of a great many, in stating the salvation of man through the all-sufficient merits of our Saviour, he carefully adds,
Howbeit not so by him alone, as if in us to our vocation the hearing of the Gospel, to our justification Faith, to our sanctification the fruits of the Spirit, to our entrance into rest perseverance in hope, in faith, in holiness were not necessary.'—Hooker's Works, 8vo. vol. iii. p. 476.
On the subject of grace, which is supposed to extinguish the nature of sin, and to preclude the possibility of future error, we know that some slender foundations, but in our judgment totally inadequate to the enormity of the calvinistic superstructure, may be discovered in the treatise on Justification. This notion, however, to whatever conclusion it may have been since perverted, must be chiefly ascribed to the deep-rooted humility of his character: sensible that, with the most powerful inducements to holiness, our nature is unequal to the conflict of its passions, he saw the necessity of the divine assistance; and, if our frailty could be so far conquered as to admit the firm conviction of faith, he trusted that the almighty mercy would supply an unalterable consistency, and preserve to their perfect accomplishment our insufficient, though constant, endeavours': but in this expectation there was no presumption of finished righteousness, no exclusive holiness-no appropriated grace; he allowed no fallible judgment to claim the sensible influence of the spirit; he betrayed not, in the daring certainty of salvation, the unholy rapture of enthusiasm; he corrected all overweening confidence by lowliness of heart, and placed the boundary of his assurance in trembling hope.
There are many persons, we believe, strictly attached to the form of our establishnient, and generally satistied with the performance of duty by our clergy, who still cling to some doctrinal errors which may in part be sanctioned by the earlier fathers of our church, and are now adopted in a fond deference to their aathority. To such we would recommend a close attention to the circumstances of the times, to the subjects of existing controversies, and to the character of the disputants; persuaded that these considerations will frequently account for those anomalies which are not unusual. to the clearest reason and the soundest judgment; forit could not have been the deliberate intention of our reformers to foster the growth of our establishment, and, at the same time, to plant the certain means of its decay; to overthrow, by invincible argument, the most deadly corruptions, and to introduce a contrary extremity of doctrine, which the weakness of human reason, and the intemperance of passion must precipitate into equally mischievous consequences;but still, if in such minds error is unable to retrace its wanderings,
YOL. XII. NO. XXIV.
if, proceeding from integrity of principle, it discards the ambition of sectarism, and confines itself to the privacy of its own thoughts, we are thankful for co-operation in other points of agreement, and we profess our respect for the honest doubts of a misguided judga ment.
We shall venture to prolong this digression with a few considerations on the subject of methodism.
There are few persons of rank or consequence, of whatever party, who, from a permanent residence in the country, and particularly in the manufacturing districts, have the means of correct information, but feel considerable alarm at the progress of religious delusion in the lower orders of the people. A counterfeited or fancied inspiration (which is only judged of by individual consciousness) is erected into a plenary qualification of a teacher. In the eyes of his followers, this divests him of every previous habit, and converts from the lowest immorality to a state of impeccable righteousness; it supplies the defects of education, and imparts to ignorance the fruits of labour and research; but above all, while it wields the denunciation of the last vengeance, it arrogates to itself the remission of sins and the election to grace; and with these powerful weapons it proceeds to the establishment of its fundamental tenet, a hatred of existing institutions, of the church which opposes it by reason, of the law which restrains it from power. Let us follow this doctrine as it shews itself in practice. Taught to sacrifice his reason at the threshold of error, and rendered irreclaimable by the arguments of common sense, the disciple is dissatisfied with the common subordination to morality, and under bis infallible director acknowledges yo genuine influence of religion without enthusiasm; into common life, also, he soon learns to introduce the same rule of special appointment, and adopts the accidental impulses of passion for spiritual admonitions: weaned from respect for all human ordinances, an enemy of rank and power, and a despiser of law and justice, he hopes for universal anarchy, and sees in fits of good and evil, in intermissions of devotion and profligacy, the desired millennium. When such doctrines are inculcated on proselytes of daring enormity, we may expect every outrage of private malice, or confederate villainy: we may see religion, taught in ignorance, and practised in blasphemy, proceeding to the dissolution of society; for while it loosens the ties of union and relaxes every moral restraint, it inculcates a most mischievous contempt of human justice, by removing the dread of divine retribution, and by teaching the atonement of crime in the rapture of visionary penitence.
We have confined our views on this subject solely to the apprehensions of danger; for however we may think that a systematic profanation of religion and a methodized fanaticism in the lower
orders, with all their consequences of immorality, of folly, and of domestic misery, are fit objects of legislative interference, we are aware that no encroachment will be permitted on the widest toleration, until self-preservation enforces the necessity. We shall probably be told that the zealous activity of the clergy is the only safe and allowable remedy to a disease which has originated in the neglect of their duty; but if the mischievous imputations of supineness, and the suspicions of self-interest have not already undermined their authority, they are often, from other unfavourable circumstances, without a chance of success; in populous places, from the scarcity of churches, and the extent of duty beyond the power of human exertion, and generally from the small influence of right doctrines
upon the weak and the wicked. They cannot calumniate establishments or laws, nor inculcate the desire of innovation, and they dare not enlist in their cause the immediate wrath of Heaven, or unconditional salvation : to the estranged affections and irritated passions of their flock (who now listen but to the most inflammatory opinions) they have only to oppose ineffectual exhortations to goodwill and subordination. Are we then, it will be asked, to commence a system of religious coercion, and as a prop to a falling establishment to enforce an exclusive faith, the koran or sword? Our sentiments are entirely at variance with all persecution in matters of conscience ; still we are of opinion that there are methods, which, if properly understood, would protect the established church, and promote the well-being of every conscientious sect.
It was proposed in parliament a few sessions past, that, as the candidates for orders in our own church were previously examined as to their competency, a similar regulation should obtain in the appointment of the dissenting clergy; and for this purpose it was thought, that if the proper qualifications for the ministry should be left to the deputed discretion of every sect, the sanction of so respectable a judgment would form an unquestionable security for capacity and character. It was the misfortune of this intention, that it originated with a nobleman distinguished by his opposition to the claims of the Roman Catholics; and as that question, mingling with the struggles of party, and appearing to involve in its decision the hopes and fears of office, had been debated with the utmost spleen and personality, it imparted to other unconnected discussions the same jealousy and suspicion of individuals. The merit of the present intention was degraded into the most unworthy motive; a respect for the scruples of the crown was construed into a wicked devotion to despotism; a vigilant regard for the church proceeded from religious bigotry, and the defence of precautionary laws breathed the very spirit of a persecuting intolerance :—the intimation therefore of interference from such a quarter touched every
spring of popular excitement, and the feeble voice of reason was overwhelmed in the united torrent of meetings, speeches and petitions. The danger of resistance to so formidable an array of opinion justly prevailed, and while its friends were contented to escape with protestations that they were actuated by no motives of intolerance, a measure the most salutary to christians of every denomination suffered a martyrdom disgraceful to the worst times of persecution and bigotry. Of the probable consequences of such an act, our limits confine us to a very summary consideration. To the established church, and to the higher orders of dissent, it had no immediate reference; it offered no privilege, it abridged no concession, but eventually it proposed equal advantages to both. Into the lower modes of worship it would have introduced reform: the hitherto self-appointed teacher must have submitted to examination the proofs of his calling; in some instances evident incapacity would have been suppressed, and in others, where knowledge might be considered as less necessary, character would have constituted the qualification. For ourselves, we entertain a sanguine persuasion, that frequently sects would disappear in the suppression of their ignorant and malevolent organs, and probably many a conscientious wanderer would return to the communion of the church ; in this case, he would probably be reclaimed from the unsocial humours of discontent to the wholesome habits of civil submission, and from hypocrisy and blasphemous fanaticism to a fervent and unaffected Christianity.
ART. VII. 1. On a new Principle of constructing His Majesty's
Ships of War. From the Philosophical Transactions. By Robert Seppings, Esq. one of the Surveyors of His Majesty's
Navy, with an Appendix. London. 1814. 2. Remarks on the Employment of Oblique Riders, and on other
Alterations in the Construction of Ships. Being the substance of a Report presented to the Board of Admiralty, with additional Demonstrations and Illustrations. By Thomas Young, M.D. For. Sec. R. S. From the Philosophical Transactions. 1814.
isted among the ancient nations of Europe ; and all the researches that have been made into its origin and progress, except for the gratification of literary curiosity, have but ill rewarded the labour and loss of time bestowed on them a confession which has been extorted from more than one of those who have expended à great portion of both in the pursuit.