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inembers of the Church of England in DOCTRINE.” They mention expressly, as belonging to, or abettors. of, this class of Ministers, Romaine, Cecil, Cadogan, Goode, Scott, Wilberforce, More?, &c. &c.
It is now pretty clear then, both who are the parties, and what is the matter really in debate. And, however trite our subject may be, we are not, it appears, about to contend with a shadow. The Evangelical Teachers, of the description here specified, certainly do pretend to adhere ftri&tly to the Do&rines of the Church, and thus generally is their claim denied, and the opposite one supported.
The QUESTION therefore is, whose pretensions, in this matter, are best founded ? WHOSE DOCTRINES ARE REALLY THOSE OF OUR ARTICLÈS, HOMILIES, AND LITURGY? WHO, IN REALITY, TEACH THE DOCTRINES CONTAINED IN THESE FORMULARIES, AS THEY WERE FIRST DELIVERED BY OUR REFORMERS? - This is the question now to be investigated. It is doubtless a question of importance. Let us therefore divest ourselves of prejudice, and meet it fairly. In the words of our opponents, “ Litera scripta manet'."-Under the restrictions then, and with a view to the purposes, fpecified in our preface, we proceed.
2. Now, that the actual opinions and teaching of many in the Church do not coincide with the express and obvious doctrines of our Articles, appears, from their CONDUCT RESPECTING SUBSCRIPTION to these Articles, and the methods they have recourse to in order to reconcile themselves to this measure.
We design not here to recapitulate the names, and exhibit the history, of those Ministers of the Establilhment, who at other periods have complained of subscription as a burden; proposed their various schemes of amendment; or openly solicited a reformation. This however, were it neceffary
(t) May 1799, p. 76. (z) See Note (s); and Antijac. for Auguft 1799, p. 452 ; September, p. 34; October, p. 195; November, p. 255, and 258 and 339. (v) Ibid. A pril, 1799. p. 362. (w) See the Arian and Bangorian controverfies on the subject; the Confessional ; &c. '
on the occasion, might be done with propriety, and witte ellect; and the circumstance ought not to be forgotten. But our attention shall be confined to modern Divines, and to those authors which they recommend, and which are therefore in modern use and estimation.
By fome then, the Articles of our church are considered as little more than ARTICLES OF PEACE, which are only not to be contradicted in our public miniftrations; as mere profcrip*tions of certain fects and tenets which obtained at our first feparation from Rome, and therefore unmeaning and obsolete in proportion as these particular sects and tenets have ceased to be dangerous; as "a mere form of admission into the church?”; or, denominate them what they please, a fomething which does not require from the Minister who subfcribes them, the actual belief of the doctrines they contain.
Under this class may be mentioned, as a specimen, the learned Bishop Watson. Addressing his clergy upon the nature of the Christian doctrines, “ I think it safer," he fuys, “ to tell you where they are contained, than what they are. They are contained in the Bible; and if, in the reading of that book, your sentiments concerning the doctrines of Chriftianity should be different from those of your neighbour, or from those of the Church, be persuaded, on your part, that infallibility appertains as little to you, as it does to the church.'. . Towards the church you ought to preserve reverence and refpe&t; and in your public teaching, you ought not, whilft you continue a minister in it, to disturb the public peace by opposition to its doctrines y." And having recominended charity towards « individuals, of whatever denomination of Christians they may be," “ If," his Lordship adds, “ you do this, your discordance of opinion will be attended with no mischief public or private 2.”
To the same effect, but more strongly, speaks the eminent Dr. Thomas Balguya. “ We are not obliged,” he says,
(x) See British Critic for Dec. 1799. p. 610. (y) Charge, 95. p. 65. (2) Ibid. (a) Late. Archdeacon and Prebendary of Winchester.
« I conceive, in our discourses from the pulpit, either to explain or defend every particular doctrine set forth in the articles of religion :... But we are far from being at liberty to fay all we please. Every word that comes from our mouths in opposition to the establiíhed faith, is a violation of the most solemn engagements.... I say nothing against the right of private judgment: against freedom of thought, or freedom of speech. I only contend that men ought not to attack the Church from those very pulpits, in which they were placed for her defence b." In other places, he would not “ discourage the clergy of the established church from thinking for themselves, or from speaking, or even from writing, what they think *.” “ Some perfons,” he says again, “ care not to distinguish between terms of salvation, and terms of admiflion to the ministry. The following passage froin Clarke's Reply to Nelson, p. 32, will perhaps give them a julier idea of the nature and end of subscription. “ Particular churches require men's affent to, and use of, certain forms of words; not as the rule of their faith, but as prudential means of uniformity, and of preventing disorder and confusion among themselves.?”.
Archdeacon Paley's notions are full to our purpose. 66 Those,” he observes, “ who contend that nothing less can justify subscription to the 39 Articles than the actual belief of each and every separate proposition they contain, muit fuppose that the legislature expected the consent of ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succession, not to one controverted propofition, but to many hundreds. It is hard to conceive how this could be expected by any, who obferve the incurable diversity of human opinion upon all fubjects short of demonstration. If the authors of the law did not intend this, what did they intend? 1. To exclude from offices in the church, all abertors of Popery. 2. Anabaptists, who were at that time a powerful party on the continent. 3. The Puritans, who were hostile to the epifcopal constitution; and in general the members of such
(b) Discourse 7. p. 118.- 120. (z) Ibid. (c) Charge 5. p. 268. Note. leading feats or foreign establishments, as threatened to overthrow our own. Whoever finds himself comprehend. ed within these descriptions, ought not to subscribed.” All others then, it should seem, of whatever name or creed, may conscientiously subscribe. And those candidates for orders in the church, who will now find themselves comprehended amongst the abettors of Popery, the Puritans, or Anabaptists, will fearcely be numerous.
If this mode of representing the subject does not dispense with the necessity of any particular creed in order to honest fubfcription, and render the articles in a great mealure obsolete, it is clearly the Archdeacon's wish that this should be done. " During the present state of ecclefiaftical pa. tronage,” he fays, “ some limitation of the patron's choice: may be necessary to prevent unneceffary contentions ;.. but this danger, if it exist, may be provided against with equal effect, by converting the articles of faith into articles of peace.” His ideas on the subject are further illustrated, when he fays of established 6 Creeds and Confeffions” in general, that “they are at all times attended with serious inconveniences;" that “they check inquiry, violate liberty, and ensnare the consciences of the clergyf;" and when he to strongly objects to the doctrines of the church being 66 woven with so much industry into her forms of public worship 8.”
Mr. Gisborne, accordingly, understood the Doctor to “ intimate that subscription can be justified without an actual belief of each of the articles;" and considered it “ a gratuitous affumption." So also he is understood by the Antījacobin Reviewers. Having observed that “whenever a reference is made to the “ animus imponentis” in fubfcription, for the doctrine, it must be made to the " framers of the articles, for the law, to the enactors;" 66 this distinc
(d) Moral and Polit. Phil. p. 180-182. 4to. (e) Ibid. (f) Ibid. p. 568. (g) Moral and Polit. Philof. chap. on forms of Prayer in Public Wor. p. 66. 8vo. (h) Moral Phil. chap, on Promises.
tion,” they add, “ fweeps away at once all that rubbish of reasoning, with which Dr. Paley particularly would justify fubfcription without belief i.” Mr. Polwhele quotes him as Jaying expressly, after the mention of abettors of popery, anabaptists, and puritans,' “ These three denominations of persons, therefore, ought not to subscribe the 39 Articles: but all others may k.” This, however, although it may feem foreign to our purpose to notice it, is both a falfe quotation, and a plain misrepresentation of Dr. Paley, Mr. Polwhele wholly omits the clause " and in general, &c. ??? which follows the particulars that are enumerated. Nor does “ the Archdeacon say what is here given as his words.
To Dr. Paley, however, thus interpreted, with one other writer, Mr. P. refers, as a most fatisfactory answer to the charge of deviation from the plain meaning of the articles; “ such a reply as must fatisfy every man, who is neither an ENTHUSIAST, nor a HYPOCRITEM."
.. It is surely a little unfortunate (we cannot but here remark by the way) that what Mr. Polwhele thus considers so satisfactorily decijive, his great admirers, the Antijacobin Reviewers, consider as arrant“ rubbish of reasoning,” sheer jesuitism, a mere opening for “ Arians and Socinians !"" Commenting upon the very fame paflage, amidst niuch to the like effect, “ Such,” they exclaim, " is the confused. ness of Dr. P.'s ideas here, and such the contradictoriness of his language! A more gross, more palpable, more mafly instance occurs not, perhaps in any other author whatevero!” We will not apply to these gentlemen the appellations, which, according to Mr. Polwhele, may seem to belong to them, for this diffatisfaction with his author. They however could extol Mr. P.'s attack upon the very Divine he is here combating, as “ not more remarkable for its strength than its justice ;” and “strenuously recommend it to the perufal of our regular clergy!”
(i) January 1800. p. 19. (k) 2d Letter to Dr. Hawker, p. 22. (1) See above p. 19. (z) Bishop Burnet. (m) 2d Letter, p. 22. (n) January 1800. p. 19–21. (0) Review of Letters to Dr. Hawker, August 1799, p. 458. September 1799, p. 101.