Page images

good sense, and knowledge of the Scriptures and of mankind, which they discover ; and on account of the very extra

large a portion of time to be trusted entirely in the hands of the common people. It is too much to be spared from that sacred day, the whole of which even when most religiously observed, is hardly fufficient to counteract the bad impressions of the other six days of the week. On tbe due observance of this day, and the appropriation of a large portion of it to sacred purposes, depends, I am convinced, the very existence of religion in this country &.”—Bishop.Horsley complains, that the Devil frequently gets one half of the people, and the Sectaries the other half, through “ the lazy practice” which obtains among the Clergy, in regard to their Sunday duties n.---From the Divines in question, however, we hear of little but the evils of excess in the duties of this day. All hours are “ unfeasonable" for religious exercises. except those in which they choose to labour; all efforts are extravagant except those which they make; and “ any additional attendance on the church, they say, “ would give a puritanical aspect to the Sabbath, and throw a pharisaical gloom over the most cheerful religion in the world h."

The 61st Canon requires that “ Every Minister shall prepare children for confirmation." This, in Bifhop Butler's judgment, cannot properly be done without personal conference j. Other Prelates ftrongly enforce the duty of catechisingk. The 59th Canon requires that “ upon every Sunday and Holiday, the Minister shall for half an hour or more, examine and inftrue the youth and ignorant persons of his · pa rith, in the ten commandments, the articles of the belief. &c.Is no more then implied in this duty than occasionly hearing children repeat the catechism? Is every thing beyond this fchifmatical ?

Another duty to which our Office obliges us is, the Visitation of the sick. For our asistance in a part of this Work, our Church has provided us a form of words, leaving us in the rest to exhort and ad. monish according to our discretion, as the case may require, to " exhort the fick person after her form, or other like." The 67th Canon says, “ The Minister shall resort unto the sick,... to inttruct and com


(8) Charge, 1790, p. 14. (n) Ch. 1800. (h) See Mr. Polwhele's Letters, p. 70; above 234 ; &c. (i) Charge as above. (k) Loa. don, Durham.

ordinary degree of talents, learning, labour, and piety, which were united and exerted in their formation :- We believe, after fully examining for ourselves, and attending to the most legitimate rules of interpretation, that they are supported by the true and genuine Jenje of Scripture.

fort them in their distress, according to the order of the Communion Book, if he be no preac er: or if he be a preacher, then as he fhall think not needful and convenient.” And thus is this duty, and this manner of performing it, enforced by our Prelates. “ In many cases, the Bishop of Durham, earnestly recommending diligence in this work, observes, “ the funeral service might be used with almoft as much propriety as the office for the fick..., It tends, therefore, greatly to iinprove this season of affliction, where the Minister anticipates the call (of the fick or their friends). Such visits of neighbourly inquiry might, I presume, easily be converted into occasions of religious instruction. The earlier visits might be allotted both to general and appropriate conversation and instruction; the office for the fick being reserved for cases of danger 2." Much good, Bishop Hordley also supposes may be done, “ by a cheerful, unwearied afliduity in the charitable office of visiting the dying and the fick." And, “ Upop these occasions,” his Lordfhip observes, “ You will not think it enough to repeat the prayers at the bed-lide, which the church has provided, but you will inake inquiry into the actual state of the fick person's foul; that you may adminifter such advice or confolation, as his calę may demand b." Yet one circumstance by which the schism and fanaticism of some Evangelical Ministers are thought to be proved unquefijonably, is, that they “ visit the fick, and use not the prescribed form c." The regard shown to the Canons which respect Simony and Residence has been noticed above

What a pity then it is, that the anxiety of any Ministers about their Brethren's supposed errors of excess, should induce them so entirely to overlook their own notorious errors of defect! What a pity it is, that in this most important of all services, remiffness should be honour

able, and only zeal a disgrace! The whole of our present object, " however, is to show, that although we have an equal regard for the

Discipline as for the Doctrine of our Church, we muft not consider every thing a violation of her Laws, and an opposition to her Governors which some persons would infinuate to be fo.

(a) Ch. 1797, p. 31. (b) Ch. 1800, p. 23. (c) See Mr. Polwhele's Third Letter, p. 26.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

H ERE then the Reader iş requested to sum up the evidence which has been adduced ; to observe its various bearings and concentration on our point; and hence to form bis conclufion. The leading Question, he will recollect, is, Whether our doctrines or those of our opponents most refemble the plain, genuine, and primitive doctrines of the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies, of the Church of England ? And, in this review of the subject, let him attend,

First, to the arguing against our opponents, from their conduet in Subscription', their own Concessions, and the Complaints of our Bishops 9. Let him consider whether they can be expected to believe and teach according to this plain and primitive sense of these Articles, who avow that they do

not consider them as propositions to be believed ; who tell us ex· pressly that they have a new and acquired sense in which

they are honestly subscribed; or, who lament that, in consequence of the errors of those times, they contain many doctrines which are objectionable, and on which they openly plead for latitude or reformation ? Let him observe the language of these Gentlemen respecting the inaccuracy and". enthusiafin of certain of our Articles, and the effects of age pn such compositions. Let him hear the most respectable

(0) Ibid. p. 17-30.. (p) Ibid. p. 30–36.

(n) Above, p. 17. (9) Ibid. p. 36-42.

of them expressly and repeatedly acknowledging, that “ a defection from the church is widely extended, and a surrender of its orthodox principles called for, even by its own fons :” “ that many are desirous, at this time, to make a change in the do&trine of the national church; some of these Philosophers and Scholars; fome even Ministers of the church :" that “our ablest Divines have gradually departed from some rigorous interpretations of the articles that prevailed at first:" that it “is justly thought to be a great and crying abuse, that our Preachers neglect the gospel, and take what they call good natural religion into the pulpit," “ more in the manner of Aristotle than of Christ :” and that it is 66 well known that the Articles lean to our side of the queftion." Let him say whether such great Prelates as Secker, Porteus, Horne, Horsley, and Barrington, are not competent judges on this subject ; and then peruse the plain, full, unequivocal, and decisive testimony by which they prove this departure from the Articles. Let him observe these most unimpeachable witnesses at once maintaining the existence of this deviation, affigning the causes of it, lamenting its evils, and labouring with all their energy for its correction ; recommending, in the place of it, with the utmost pious zeal and eloquence, the very style of preaching by which we are characterized, and which we here defend. The Reader who has attentively considered only these particulars, will perhaps have begun to think, that, whatever becomes of our cafe, the position of our opponents must be difficult to maintain. He is requested, however, for further satisfaction refpecting both, to review next,

Our investigation of the real sense of the Articles, and doctrines of the Reformers; and our appeal to these umpires, on the question'. And here he will particularly remark, that the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy of our church, each mutually illustrate and confirm the natural and full sense of

r) Above, p. 41-99..

the other that we are bound to the plain, literal, grammatical and full meaning of the Articles, and to one determined sense, by the title and preamble annexed to them: that the object and situation of our Reformers, placed between two opposite extremes, would induce them to use the greaiest caution in the expression of their sentiments; as they could not express themselves too strongly againft one class of errors without encouraging the other v: that the Confeffions of the Martyrs, Nowell's Catechisin, Jewell's Apology, and every other public and approved Writing of our Reformers, confirm the same interpretation"; that our opponents betray the weakness of their cause by the omission of this, and a recurrence to illegitimate evidence*: that the Authorities which the founders of our church respected, the common doctrines of the Reformation, the Body of the Confessions of the Protestant Churches, and especially the Works of their great model St. Austin, also fully justify our notions": that, as fully appears from the unanimous testimony of men of all sentiments, their other Writings, and the Concessions and reasonings of Arminians, the private sentiments of our Reformers were those now usually termed calvinistica; that on this ground alone we might well settle the whose queftion at issue, these sentiments being uniformly discarded by our opponents, and, under the restrictions specified above, usually recognized by us a: But, that from all these confiderations together, it appears most unquestionably,

That the founders of our Church meant, at the least, to establish all they have exprejed, in our public forms; that on many occasions they went beyond what is necessarily implied in the letter of the Articles, and discovered sentiments still further from the Divinity we oppose; but that they never, þy any means, abridged or restricted the full and natural sense

(6) Ibid. p. 45. (w) P. 55–64. (z) P. 69–93.

(t) Ibid. p. 45–48

(x) P. 57 and 68. (a) P. 93.-97.

(v) P. 48-55. (y) P. 64-68.

« PreviousContinue »