Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

they hold sentiments “utterly at variance with the tenets which are maintained in the Liturgy of the Church," and act in open defiance of their professional engagements, incur no share of the reproach bestowed on their brethren, but belong to "the upright and the wise body of unitarian and rational Christians.” The behaviour of these zealous unitarians, the critic considers as forming " a striking aception to the monotonous dulness," and“ uninquisitive indolence of the rest of the clergy, who are represented ether as selfish, dronish, ignorant, time-serving fools, or malicious and persecuting bigots. The majority of the clergy,he says, " having an infallible guide in the ipse dixit of men who lived three centuries ago, and finding themselves perfectly at their ease in the good things which are attached to ob.equious assent, vever feel the will, nor harbour the presumption, of thinking for themselves.” They are rninisters, respecting whom, he says, “ the great emoluments of the Establishment usually operate as a premium on their mental. somnolency, and indolence;” ministers whose“ orthodoxy depends a good deal upon their having a proper quantity of flesh upon their bones; which flesh," arising from the assimilation of the good things": included in the luxury of tythes, is sure to generate a disposition to swallow the Athanasiun Creed, and all other creeds which the legislature in its wisdomn may impose;" ministers, who, " while in their orthodox zeal they would readily trample on the neck of Presbyterian or Catholic, would not scruple to testify their political complaisunce by any act of servility which it might suit their interest to execute, and their employers to impose." Even the venerable Bishop of London does not escape this censure.

The sweets of nitred ease seem,”. our critics say, “ to have relaxed his holy zeal, and to have made his lordship an apostate from the righteous cause whịch he once espoused." Those of our clergy who haye defended the institutions of their Church against the attacks of Romanists and others, are charged with “malice and bigotry," and expressly characterised “the sordid, narrow, minded, and time-serving ministers of the establishment, ... who think that the worship of Mammon is very compatible with the adoration of God:” and although peers, pastry-cooks, parsons, and lawyers have handled this subject," "our critics “ have been shocked to observe that the most inflanimatory expressions have issued from the sons of the Church." Those ministers who think it their duty to adhere in their public instructions to the dactrines of their Church, are represented as tied down." Like swine” to “ that trough of reputed orthodoxy, which is filled with the mere offal of thcology;" and are "priests who do nothing but repeat she old common-place of ignorance and superstition,&c. &c. &c. (See Vol. 11, 1:. 423, 440, 441; 12, 99, 324, 374, 375; 13, 23, 30, 32, 211; 14, 169.)

In this manner do these impugners of the Divinity and Atonement of our blessed Saviour incessantly vilify every thing con: nected with our venerable. Establishment, and labour to prepare men for their meditated attack upon it. in the legislature. By such vile means are they endeavouring to alienate our attachment from the most admirable ancient institutions, and, in their own

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


, Reviewers Reviewed. Critical Review. 311 Godwinian style, "to roll us forward to some higher state of moral existence and social bliss."

But there is one stratagem by which their nefarious purpose appears to be promoted, more than by all their other means together: that is, the confounding and identifying the genuine doctrines of our Church with the extravaguncies of some modern sectaries. On this head, alas! if that consummate judge, Bishop Horsley, was not deceived (see his last Charge), some wretched generalship has been displayed by ourselves. The real case is this, while too many among us discover a lamentable indifference in respect to the vast concerns of religion; on the other hand, our nation is inuudated with enthusiasts and schismatics. A species of them, in particular, which arose about the middle of the last century, have, by artful professions of friendship for us; by a dexterous admixture of important scriptural doctrines with rank enthusiasm; by an indefatigable zeal, a subtile organization, the exterior of sanctity, with occasionally the spirit of it; by arrogant pretensions to extraordinary inspiration, supported, with nice management, in the eyes of the vulgar, by their extemporary addresses, made an unexampled progress. Yet never, perhaps, since the days of the ancient Pharisees, was there a sect of religionists, whose grimace, pride, and self-conceit; whose oba trusive and disgusting fanatacisin; whose ostentatious quackery, contempt for authority, and violation of all established order and decorum in religion; whose self-commissioned teachers, preaching children, and preaching women, threatened more mischief ultimately either to the Established Church of their country, or to all sober piety. For the peculiarities of this sect, therefore, the sincere friends of our Church, in common with the whole host of those persons who have no religion at all, justly feel a strong áversion. Against this sect it is very fashionable, and sometimes profitable, to declaim; and the minister would indeed deserve a mitre, who, by rational argumentation, the authority of Scripture, or other legitimate means, should stem the torrent of their baleful schism, and cause the whole stream of piety to move in its appointed course. But the zeal of some among us, in this employment, has greatly exceeded their knowledge. With the tares they have rooted up the wheat also: in avoiding. Scylla tliey have split on Charybdis. Instead of combating definitely and accurately; pagators of methodism, they have assisted in raising a hue and cry against some important doctrines, and strictly correct ministers, of the Church they are defending Now this, Sır, is exactly what our enemies would have it be. This circumstance they do not fail to improve against us to the uttermost. Hence is furnished an easy and infallible recipe for the damnation of our orthodox divines. Every clergyman is now a methodist, and made responsible for whatever is obnoxious in that body of people, who holds any doctrine in common with them which is not holden by his opponent. And by our Critical Reviewers, every doctrine of our Church is expressly called Methodism, or Calvanism (terms used by them os synonymous), and represented as big with every absurdity,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and every mischief that have been, or can possibly be, 'ascribed to that systen, which is not compatible with Socinianism.

Thus, in defending Mr. Stone, the reason, they say, why some other clergymen were not formerly treated as he has been, was, " that the evil genius of methodism had not then stolen into our churches and cathedrals, and made even the coat of purple and the sleeve of lawn a receptacle for superstition and intolerance." (Vol. 14, p. 166; and 182.) Now, in the name of comnion sense, are our bishops turned methodists? --So, in their critique on Mr. Nares's sermoni, preached by appointment before the University of Oxford, they break out into a most violent philippic against the absurdities of Methodism," and the "fanatics of the Erangelical school." Are then Mr. Nares, and the University of Oxford who appointed such a preacher, methodists and fanatics? So we are to believe. And why? Because this “ learned theologue," our reviewers say, " thinks it not enough” to disperse “the simple morality of the Gospel, enforced by the impressive sanction of a future life;"

though this," they tell us, “comprizes all the religion that Christ taught." “ He (Mr. Nares) must add the docirines of incarnation, of the atonement, of hereditary depravity, of the moral incapacity of man, of justification by faith, &c. &c., which would only bewilder the minds of the people in the east -as much as they do in the west. Indeed,” they add, “ for every moral purpose, the Hindoos might as well be left under the influence of their present superstitions, as have their minds perplexed and their affections chilled by that deleterious doctrine which the Evangelical missionaries would instil.” (Vol. 14, p. 432.)---In another article, in the same number, while « Unitarians” are every thing that Christians should be, those who talk tbe language of our Church are classed with “the disciples of Whitfield and and of Wesley," and represented as either “out of their senses." or “ incorrigible liypocrites." "To give colour to this chargè, quotations are produced, in common, from the Methodist and Evagelical Magazines, the works of some wild clergymen of the Establishment, whose procedure is condemned by every sound churchman, and from our admirable communion service. To supply an instance of the latter, what, they profanely ask, would a stranger think, who should hear any persons maintain that their

depravity was hereditary,” but that " a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction," had been made for them by the sufferings of a God who had come upon earth about eighteen centuries (ago, and been put to death by his own creutures; 'that the blood which this God, who made man, and yet was born of a woman, shed, was a fountain of purification,” &c.? Whio that heard this, and similar jargon, which would be talked by, a nation of methodists, would not believe that every man, woman, and child among them were out of their senses; or that they were an incorrigible mass of hypocrites, w *****, and rogues?" (Vol. 14, p. 384.) A writer who has said, that Unitarianism is the half-ray house to infidelity," is told, « hè might with more truth have asserted, that Methodism is the last stage of rice, whert

. all the rauds meet that lead to the gallows from all the sources of

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

crimes." " The truth," they say, "is, that the speculative principles of methodism about innate depruvity, vicarious punishment, imputed righteousness, &c. are of such a nature, that if they were made a practical rule of life, they woull tear up the very foundation of society, and banish every particle of truth, justice, and humanity from among men. Their belief (that of the methodists) is fundamentally and systematically vicious and viciating." It is * more pernicious” than “popery” or the “immoral poison dif, fuseid over the earth by the atheists of France." (Vol. 14, P. 381 392, &c. &c.)

And yet, besides thus representing as branches of this belief, and as constituting it, a!l the leading doctrines of the Church of England, these reviewers say, expressly, and continuallý, speaking, of the methodists, that the TeNETS OF THAT SECT, however opposite they may be to the Scriptures, ARE CONGENIAL WITH THE ARTICLES : that the « CREED OF THE CALVINISTS is, ipso facto, the CREED OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH: " and that “ before, therefore, this spurious Christianity which passes at times under the name of Calvinism, and at others is designated by that of Methodism, can be more effectually combated by the clergy, the Liturgy und Articles must be sedulously revised, and no doctrines introduced which are not izlisputably agreeable to the Scriptures, and fitted to unite the most jurring sects in the bonds of peace." &c. &c. (Vol. 13, p. 182; 14, 166, 180.) And thus are the sober and scriptural doctrines of our Church rendered odious through their association with enthusiasni: thus are her orthodox sons made responsible for principles and practices which they detest, and which they do their utmost to restrain and repress: and thus, charmingly, are promoted the pestilent projects of Unitarian Re formers.

Such, Sir, is a specimen of the manner in which these critics treat the laws and institutions, the Liturgy and confessions, the dogtrines and clergy of our venerable Charch. Such also, as it was proved in a former letter, is the manner in which they treat on subjects relating to our admirable civil goverament. And, if any circumstance be wanting to consummate this display of un, principled impudence, and scandalons falsehool, this is supplied, in the continual boast which these reviewers make of candour and liberality, and of freedom from all sectarian bias or antipathies; " in the zeal with which they inculcate the superiority of " charity to doctrine, and assure us that this is indeed the all in all with them in religion, that they " belong to no sect but that of CHARITY;" and in the confidence they express, that however they may differ in opinion from any of the subjects of their remarks, " no persons can say they do not review their productions with impartiality; and hold all personalities, as unjustifiable and ungentlemanly!!?if its editors had resolved to insult the common sense and common feelings of their readers in the highest degree possible, this blackguard publication really abounds with aggravations of this sort. (See, e. g. Vol. ll, ó. 178, 344, 448; 12, 212, 448; 14, 338; 15, 385, &c.) It would, surely, furnish an instance of unparallelled absurdity and hypocrisy, to contrast their unceasing professions

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

on this head with their uniform conduct, not only towards orthodox churchmen, but towards every other party or people who are not deists or unitarians in religion, and something very like jacobins in politics.

What then, I ask again, must not be the mischief occasioned by this publication? If, through the exertions of such critics, and the facilities afforded by book clubs and circulating libraries, unsuspecting youth, and half-attached manhood, are incessantly to receive this account of the established religion, and of every thing connected with it; if the divine service in which they are. to join, the doctrines they are to be taught, and the minister to whom they are to listen, are thus incessantly to be traduced and vilified; if all regard to truth and decency is to be neglected, and Billinsgate is to be thus ransacked for epithets of ignominy to heap on them, what can be the result but the increasing desertion and abandonment of the Church? And what could hence be expected to ensue, but an increasing inundation of enthusiasm on the one hand, and of irreligion on the other? And, if they should succeed in overthrowing the Church, how inevitably would follow all the horrors of civil discord ?-Must not such a publication also strongly tend to promote infidelity itself? If all that has been holden sacred for eighteen centuries be thus charged with absurdity and extravagance; if the general body of divines, whose pre. tensions to wisdom and integrity have so long appeared plausible and been admitted as just, are afier all found to have been such bigotted fools or interested knaves; will it not require something more than their own professions to convince mankind that our critics and their new system are any better? And will not. the natural conclusion in respect to religion be, that all is oncertainty, and folly, and knavery together

Yet even here the mischievous efforts of our reviewers do not terminate. It will not surprise the intelligent advocate of his Church, who knows how exactly her doctrines correspond with the Sacred Writings, to be further informed, that in precisely the same manner as these critics treat the formularies of this Church, they also treat the Holy Scriptures. This, however, is the fact. Upon some parts of the Sacred - Volume they lavish their most unsparing and accustomed abuse: other very important and extensive parts of it, they represent as having occasioned, by its abstruseness, many “absurd and senseless doctrines;” and maintain that, on the whole, it would have been happy for the Church to hure been rid of it: while the rest, they strip of all pretensions to inspiration, reduce to mere human compositions," which " like the other works of man subject to error,

and partake of the imperfections of humanity;which also from the circumstances under which they were composed, might be expected to contain much fiction and corruption together with their historical relations; and which, in fact, .do contain many “traditionary fictions," " fabulous narrations,” and erroneous doctrines. It has already appeared, how these critics extol as a zealous friend of truthan author, who, as the Critical Review itself had before informed us, “has reasoned himself into a disbelief of a great

[ocr errors]


« ZurückWeiter »