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It ought, however, to be declared by the Bishops, plainly, and without circumlocution, whether or no the Psalms in the Bible version are spurious; if they are spurious, then farewell the authorised Bible! if they are not spurious, then the version in the Prayer Book must be spurious : it is impossible that two translations of one book, greatly differing from one another, can each be correct-let the Bishops make up their minds and decide accordingly.
Amongst the multitude of errors in the Psalms, printed in the Prayer Book, I shall here notice only two. We read the first verse of the twenty-ninth Psalm in the Bible thus : “ Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.”
But the Prayer Book favours us with this extraordinary version “Bring unto the Lord, Oye mighty, bring young rams unto the Lord : ascribe unto the Lord worship and strength :" ą very wide variation, indeed, and as far as possible from Scripture. Again in Psalm cv. 28, we find the Bible and Prayer Book giving precisely opposite accounts of a matter of fact. Bible: “ And they rebelled not against his word.” Prayer Book: “ And they were not obedient unto his word ?" Which of these must I believe? But what becomes of the Church of England if I cannot trust the Prayer Book?
&c. &c. &c.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
I HAVE thus, my dear uncle, given you a slight sketch of some imperfections in the Prayer Book, and though for brevity's sake it is but a sketch, and though I have omitted many things, yet you will perceive the difficulties which press on my mind in the question of conformity with the Established Church. Believe me, however, I do not confine my objections merely to the Prayer Book and Ceremonies, for I see in the workings of the Church of England enormous corruptions and gigantic evils—an absence of what one would wish, and, in lieu thereof, the presence of much which is pernicious and scandalous.
I will say nothing here of the union of Church and State; for, though I believe such a union must ever be sinful and produce sin, my business at present is with facts, and not with abstract principles. Wealth and power have done their usual mischief in the Established Church, and, if that be true which we read in Scripture, that “ the love of money is the root of all evil,” what an incalculable degree of evil must there be in the opulent and avaricious Establishment! The great body of the Bishops ever have been, and ever must be, men of worldly habits and inclinations ; either given to avarice, or living a life of political intrigue, or magnificent luxury. Of course, in every generation there always have been exceptions, and some good men have always been amongst them, but I speak of the constant majority, and I cannot help coming to the conclusion, that the Episcopal bench has been, and ever will be, till the Church shall be separated from the State, corrupt.
To begin with the beginning of the Church of England, in those days when manners were more simple, and the tone of morals amongst Churchmen more austere than at present; yet, even then, the Prelates indulged in the exhibition of secular grandeur and worldly state ill becoming their situation. They had had, indeed, their gossips*, who for them had renounced the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” but it produced no effect in their conduct; for, in the reign of Elizabeth, they drew the attention of Beza, who himself saw their
proceedings, and has left his testimony against the Church of England and its great Prelates. He notices with disapprobation the pomp of the Church worship, the sound of the organs without any meaning, the voluntaries, the gay and quirking music of the cathedrals, and adds, “Moreover, the Primate, the Bishops, and other such officers
* Godfathers and godmothers in baptism.
of the Church, are accompanied by pages, lacqueys, estaffiers, and other followers, up to twenty, thirty, forty, or a hundred, nay, even two hundred horses ;” and then he complains generally of the debauchery and vanity of the court, the luxury of the Prelates, and the pride of the nobles.
Again we hear from another witness similar testimony:-“ Archbishop Whitgift's train sometimes consisted of one thousand horse. The Archbishop being once at Dover attended by five hundred horse, one hundred of which were his servants, many of them wearing chains of gold, a person of distinction then arriving from Rome greatly wondered to see an English Archbishop .with so splendid a retinue; but seeing him the following Sabbath in the Cathedral of Canterbury attended by the above magnificent train, with the Dean, Prebendaries, and preachers in their surplices and scarlet hoods, and hearing the music of organs, cornets, and sacbuts, he was seized with admiration, and said that the people of Rome were led in blindness, being made to believe that in England there were neither Archbishop, Bishop, nor Cathedral, nor any ecclesiastical government, but that all were pulled down. But he protested that, unless it were in the Pope's chapel, he had never seen a more solemn sight, nor heard a more solemn sound.” (Paule's Life of Whitgift.)
Thus gorgeous and glittering was the Church of England in times when hundreds of pious
servants of Christ were dying in jails for declining to wear the surplice-for refusing to put on a Popish habiliment, which even the Bishops confessed was a matter of indifference !
I could in every generation, by referring to biography, bring forward similar testimony of the wealth, grandeur, and vanity of the Protestant Prelates. But, besides the effects of riches, there has always been another canker worm eating into the vitals of the Church-political infuence. Bishop Newton, in the memoir of his own life, tells us that George II. had encouraged Dr. Thomas to expect preferment from the crown, and to consult with the secretary then attending on the King, who would inform him of his wishes, and that the next time he saw the Doctor, he said—“My Lord Harrington informs me that you desire to have one of the royal prebends, but it is net in my power to get you any such thing; my ministers lay their hands upon them all as necessary for my service.” From the same life of Newton it appears that when Green, an old intimate friend of Newton, was made Bishop of Lincoln, “ Newton reminded him of a common friend of theirs, Mr. Seward of Lichfield, whom he knew that the other was well disposed to serve, and hoped that he would collate him to a prebend in his Church of Lincoln. The Bishop replied that he should always bear him in memory, and if ever an opportunity offered he would certainly give him