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judge to what articles of the Church, objection was meant to be made; and in what class of professors the objectors were to be placed.


Desirous of avoiding censorious judgment, I feel unwilling to draw any conclusion from the passages above noticed; or to allow a conjecture with respect to the particular professional tenets of the authors here alluded to, to engage my mind; because charity constrains me to think, that those who have subscribed to the articles of a Church, must believe them. The only consideration suggested to the reader on this occasion is, that the best of men are liable to error; and that writers most distinguished for their talents, will not always be found the safest guides in pursuit of religious knowledge.

A full conviction, at the same time, with respect to the nature, design, and constitution of the Christian Church, calls upon me, as an honest man, (what tribute soever I may feel disposed to pay to the abilities of the writer, from whom I am bound to differ) sincerely to lament, that in these times especially, when, if we may so express ourselves, the dissolution of establishments seems to have become the order of the day, a propagator of such ideas as are to be met with in the writings of Archdeacon Paley, should be placed, as I understand he is, in the oracular chair of a learned university.

But how ambiguous soever the language of some of our clergy occasionally has been, we must hope, till we have conviction to the contrary, that their principles were sound. For to form a conclusive judgment of any man from a speech hastily delivered,

or a sentence unguardedly written, would be not to deal with another as we would wish to be dealt by. It must be taken for granted, therefore, that every minister of the Church, in consequence of his engagement, possesses some decided judgment in favour of the doctrine and government established in it. By him, therefore, it cannot be considered to be a matter of indifference, whether man believe that doctrine, or submit to that government, or not.

If he believe himself to be in the truth, he must of course think those who differ from him in opinion, to be in error. And whilst he makes all due allowances for those who differ from him; (and large allowance will be made, when, to borrow an idea from Lord Bacon, it is considered, that the human mind takes such plies from education, and a thousand other causes, that even wise and good men rarely think exactly alike upon any speculative subject whatever) he will nevertheless conclude, if he be consistent with his profession, that where there is a standard for the regulation of human judgment on Divine subjects, two opposite opinions upon them cannot be true.

There is indeed, we are sorry to think, a wild sectarian spirit growing up in this country, which, if not properly counteracted, will work to the utter subversion of its constitution. For (as it has been excellently observed by a late writer, whose opinion I am proud to think perfectly corresponds with my own on this subject) "sects in religion and parties in the state originate in general from similar

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principles. A sect is, in fact, a revolt against the
authority of the Church, just as a faction is against
the authority of the state; or, in other words, a
sect is a faction in the Church, as a faction is a sect
in the state; and the spirit which refuses obedience
to the one, is equally ready to resist the other."
A position which will not be controverted but by
those who feel themselves indisposed to admit the
regular establishment of authority in either case.
But upon this head, it is to be feared, it may be
said, "Iliacos intra muros peccatur." What from
the loose writing of some of the clergy, and the
general silence of the body, upon the constitution
of the Christian Church, the subject is so grown
out of knowledge, as to have lost almost univer-
sally its influence upon the mind. Ask an igno-
rant man why he separates from the Church, his
answer probably will be, that he lives in a land of
liberty where he has a right to worship God in the
way he thinks proper. Ask a man of reading and
understanding, and he will quote respectable autho-
rity for the same opinion; whereas both one and
the other might, it is probable, have continued
members of the Church, had they been taught to
form a correct notion of it. But when they have
been led to consider the Church as a word of ge-
neral and indiscriminate application, and religion
itself as a subject of mere private opinion, inde-
pendent of all authority; it is not to be expected
that they should feel disposed to restrain a
licence, of which, from the latitudinarian way of
thinking and acting, in which they have been
* Boucher on the American Revolution. Discourse II.


educated, they conceive themselves, born in rightful possession, firm Megbey ann an aoqu Imst“, The minister of the Church, however, who prays constantly against schism, should in consequence think it his duty to prevent Christians, as far as may be, from falling into so dangerous a sin. And whilst he remembers of what spirit a Christian ought to b be, the means made use of by him for the purpose will be no other than what a Christian ought to employ. Following" (to make use of the words of the celebrated Mr. Locke) "the example of the Prince of Peace; who sent out his soldiers to the subduing of nations, and gathering them into his Church, not armed with the sword, or other instruments of force, but accoutred in that best armour, the Gospel of peace, and the exemplary holiness of Christian conversation."






God) h to tranded


Without pronouncing sentence, therefore, upon, or disturbing, those who are without the Church, his object will be to preserve those that still, remain in it. This he will do, by enabling them to form correct notions of the nature and constitution of the Christian Church; and by giving them such an explanation from time to time of its services, as may produce in them a rational attachment for its communion. Considering the Church as a society, which has God for its founder, and Christian faith as the offspring of Divine revelation, he will regard the varying opinions of mankind upon those subjects rather as proofs of the weakness and incapacity of the human mind, than as illustrations of the truth. At the same time, therefore,



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that he is desirous of laying no unnecessary restraint upon human judgment in religious subjects, he will take care to point out the standard by which it should be regulated; a standard which draws the line between faith and credulity; between a sober inquiry after truth, accompanied with a proper respect for authority, and that licentiousness of opinion which knows no authority but its own, in a word, between that liberty with which Christ has made us free, and the liberty which the natural man is at all times disposed to make for himself.

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But the clergy, some individuals of the body at least, have still more to answer for on this subject. A freedom of opinion on Church matters has led, as it might be expected, to a freedom of practice. Whilst some by their writings have put the establishment of the Church, as it were, quite out of sight; others by their conduct have openly withdrawn Christians from it, by becoming, in some cases, officiating ministers in the places of public worship independent of episcopal jurisdiction; in others, by their attendance at places of worship which are in an actual state of separation from the established Church of their country. How such conduct is consistent with the established government of the Church; how the circumstance of a minister of the Church taking upon himself to preach in a place of worship unlicensed by the bishop, is to be reconciled with canonical obligation;* with what propriety such a * If the oath of canonical obedience mean any thing, it means obedience to the bishop according to the canons of the Church.





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