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to fact does Mr. Haggitt insinuate, that “ the obvious effect of our doctrine is, to cut asunder the bonds of all moral obligation, and to put every man's life and property at the mercy of every fanatical audience!?” How can so many persons, under a profeflion of zeal for truth and justice, load us with such palpably false and ignominious charges on this fubje&t? How groundless are the apprehensions which are pretended to be entertained by the more respectable and moderate of those who differ from us! How little must all these persons kinow of our doctrines, or how wilfully must they misrepresent them !--From this full and extensive view of the subject of morality it appears,
That we hold equally the necessity of Sanctification as of Juftification, and consider these blessings equally provided for in the covenant of grace: that we enforce the practice of good works precisely on the same grounds which our church does : and that, whether regard is had to the Rule of Morality, or to its Sanctions, or to the degree of it absolutely infifted upon as the Evidence of a Christian state; whether we argue a priori from the natural tendency of the doctrines themselves to promote genuine virtue, or whether a pofteriori we have recourse to the effects actually produced by then, our moral system is far firicter, and our doctrines far more efficacious, than those of our opponents are.
(y) Visita, Sermon, Preface, p. 15.
The REASONS of our adherence to the genuine doctrines of
the Church of England stated; and a general APOLOGY for her doctrines.
UCH has been advanced to show, that we certainly do teach according to the plain doctrines of our Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies. It Thall be the business of this chapter to inquire, whether or not there are any solid reasons for such a conduct in the Ministers of our church. And,
· First, We cannot on any other ground justify our subSCRIPTION to these forms of doctrine and worship.
That the Articles of our Church were intended by her founders 'for Articles of belief, to be understood, and taught, in their plain and obvious sense, has been proved beyond all room for question'. And to us, her Ministers appear under very weighty obligations, fo to understand and teach them now. These forms still contain and inculcate one explicit and specific body of doctrine, and are nugatory and unmeaning if this doctrine is not believed. Still they are prefaced with the royal Declaration, which forbids any Minister from " putting his own sense or comment to be the meaning of them,” or “ affixing any new sense to any article;” and enjoins that they must be “ taken in the literal and grammatical sense,” in their “plain and full meaning.” Still the design of the imposer is declared, in the title which the Articles bear, to be, the “ avoiding of diversities of opi
nions; and the establishing of consent touching true religion.” Still our subscriptions are demanded for the satisfaction of our Ecclesiastical Superiors concerning the do&rines we mean to teach, and must therefore imply in them what is necessary for that satisfaction.
But what is more, still, in the most folemn manner, after space for the maturest deliberation, every candidate for Orders in our Church, declares in the act of subscription, according to the 36th Canon, “ that the Book of Common Prayer, containeth in it nothing contrary to the Word of God; that he alloweth the Book of Articles of Religion, and acknowledgeth all and every the Articles, therein contained, to be agreeable to the Word of God ;” and that “ willingly, and er animo, he subscribes to these Articles, and to all things that are contained in them b.” And, according to the statute which gives our Articles their legal authority, every Minister who is admitted to a Benefice is required to read them in the Church, with a declaration of his “ unfeigned alent to them."
And, if the obligation can be rendered more binding, still are we daily exhorted to teach according to the plain and genuine doctrines of these articles by the most active and eminent of our Bishops, and affured by them that a contrary procedure is equally, pregnant with guilt and danger. Thus, in his famous Sermon on the subject, Bishop Conybeare says; “ Every one who subscribes the Articles of religion, does thereby engage, not only not to contradiet them; but his subscription amounts to an approbation of, and an affent to, the truth of the doctrines therein contained, in the very sense in which the compilers are supposed to have understood them.” “ All the confiderations which can be urged to prove our obligation to moral honesty, are so many arguments of our duty to subscribe without equivocation or reserve.
(b) See the Canon. (c) See the Statute of the 13th of Eliza. beth; or Burnet on the Arts. Introduct. p. 8.
Nor can any thing be urged to justify or excuse prevarica-, tion in this respect, which will not tend to destroy all mutual trust and confidence among men. Whoever therefore, is not really persuaded that the doctrines contained in our articles are true, cannot subscribe, without an high violation of moral honesty, and a breaking in upon the fundamental principle, on which all society must be built d.”
Archbishop Secker, after observing to Candidates for Orders, that in subscribing they have acknowledged the liturgy and articles of the Church of England to be agreeable to the Word of God, proceeds: “ I hope you will think yourselves bound, as you are, to be careful that the inttructions which you give, and the doctrines which you maintain, in public and in private, be agreeable to that liturgy and those articles : that you neither contradiet, nor omit to inculcate and defend, on proper occasions, the truths which they contain.” • For," continues he, mentioning the engagements of our Ordination in general," there can hardly be a cafe in which either insincerity, or even thoughtlessness, would carry in it heavier guilte."
Bishop Barrington considers us bound, to inculcate and . maintain " the doctrines which the laws protect, ... by our duty to God, to the laws of our country, and the engagements of our professionf.”
" The Articles,” Bishop Pretyman adds, “ are to be fubscribed in their plain and obvious sense, and aflent is to be given to them fimply and unequivocally.” “ All persons when they enter into holy orders, or are admitted to any ecclefiaftical cure or benefice, are required by law to subscribe these articles, that all who are employed in the Ministry of the established church should unjei; nedly believe the
(d) See this Sermon in the “ Encheiridion Ecclefiafticum,” lately published at Oxford, and recommended by the Bishop of Durham. Ch. 1792. (e) See his Infiructions to Candidates for Orders, in the Bishop of Landati's Tracts, Vol. vi, p. 108. (1) Ch. 1792.
doctrines they contain.” And, having mentioned “ the professed object of these articles," and the “indispensable form of subscription,” and how “ it behoves every one before he offers himself a candidate for holy orders, to peruse carefully the articles of our church, and compare them with the written Word of God;" “ If;” his Lordship says, “ upon mature examination he believes them to be authorized by Scripture, he may conscientiously subscribe them; but, if on the contrary, he thinks that he sees reason to dillent from any of the doctrines asserted in them, no hope of emolument or honour, no dread of inconvenience or disappointment, should induce him to express his solemn allent to propositions, which in fact he does not believe. ... And let it,” he subjoins, “ be ever remembered, that in a business of this serious and important nature, no species whatever of evasion, subterfuge, or reserve is to be allowed, or can be practised, without imminent danger of incurring the wrath of God 8.”
All attempts therefore, under these circumstances, to justify subscription without actual belief of the plain doctrines of the articles, we cannot, but consider as gross prevarication; an attack upon common integrity ; a conduct most unbecoming the appointed Guardians of truth and sincerity, and as justly exposing the Church of which they are Ministers to the scorn of her enemies.
In answer, therefore, to the notions of Dr. Paley, Dr. Balguy, &c. that our articles were only intended for Articles of peace, proscriptions of certain ancient sects, or whatever they call it, something short of this belief of the propositions they contain", we will only further add the words of Bishop Burnet : Speaking of the time when these articles were composed, “ One notion,” his Lordship says, “ that has . fince been taken up by fome, seems not to have been then thought of; which is, that these were rather articles of
(9) Elements of Theology, Vol. ii. p. 566. p. 18–22.
(h) See Chap. i.