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THE CHURCH AND DISSENT,
IDENTITY OF THE VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLE WITH DEMOCRACY.
THE CHURCH ESTABLISHED ON THE BIBLE;
FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
IN CONNEXION WITH THESE APPOINTED SERVICES.
PSALMS AND HYMNS ON THE SERVICES AND RITES OF
BY EDWARD OSLER,
BATH CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION.
I DEDICATE to you a volume which owes to to be required to support an Establishment; you its existence; and I do so with peculiar and it is unjust to tax Ireland and Scotland pleasure, because the Conservatives of Bath for upholding a Church in England. Do they and its neighbourhood have been honourably indeed think so ? Then how dare they tax distinguished for the spirit in which they have England and Scotland, to support that system maintained their principles. Acting always of education in Ireland which the Protestants upon the conviction that the constitution and of the whole Empire have so emphatically character of England are identified with the denounced—not to speak of Maynooth, and Established Church, they have been forward of grants for promoting Popery abroad. Is it on all occasions to vindicate that Church, that they support the principle of an Estato maintain her rights, and to promote her blishment only where Popery is concerned ? usefulness.
Whatever may be their real views, nothing Upon this point the whole question has at can be more clear than that the principle length centred, and here the battle of the they have avowed is fatal to a national reliconstitution is to be decided. Dissenters gion. Let the Legislature affirm that a Church, say that the Established Church in England from which any parties may dissent, ought shall be put down; the Papists, that a Pro- not to be assisted from the public funds, and testant Establishment in Ireland shall no it leaves the religion and morals of the Counlonger exist. They join to accomplish their try to the voluntary care of individuals. Howrespective objects, swelling their ranks with ever poor and demoralized any district may the anti-christian of every name; and the be, this principle would bar a grant for King's ministers have become their leaders. reclaiming it. Nay, it would restrain the Against them all we declare that the Establish- State from employing a single clergyman. ed National Church shall be maintained ! nor The colonial bishops and clergy must be cast maintained only, but extended. The State off. Chaplains can be allowed no longer to which acknowledges the principle of a Na- jails, ships, or regiments. The Church must tional Church, confesses its duty to provide be thrown entirely upon the resources she religious instruction for all. We will call has derived from private liberality, thankful upon it to perform the duty.
if spoliation should not find the wolf's Always equivocating in their professions, plea even for these. And though the muland hostile in their actions, ministers have attitudes, thickening around, perish in their length committed themselves, the avowed ignorance by millions from generation to gepartizans of the voluntary system. They ob- neration, the State is required, in the name ject to a grant from the public purse in lieu of religious liberty, to abstain from any atof church-rates, because dissenters ought not tempt to save them.
He must have read the Bible to very little integrity, and national and private honor.purpose, who does not see that God requires the Individuals may be honest, while the State Nation, as such, to serve and honor Him; by pursues its objects by trickery: they may rereverently acknowledging Him in all its laws, spect themselves, while their Government disinstitutions, and enterprises; restraining wick- graces itself: but the example of the Governedness and vice, and promoting true religion ment is of incalculable power whether for and virtue. No cause and effect have a more good or evil. When it places character beclose and certain connexion than national re-fore every other consideration, it gives a ligion, and national prosperity. This truth is general high tone to private virtue. National established on the equity of God's moral events command universal attention ; for they government. The good man may be severely have a grandeur, and permanency, commentried in this life, for his reward is in heaven ; surate with the interests they involve. Every and he may well endure the short sufferings one feels himself exalted by the glorious chawhich lead to eternal blessedness. But aracter of his Country. He cherishes the Nation, which can exist as such only in this high principles upon which she rests her world, is rewarded with temporal prosperity, honor, and History gives the example to posor punished with temporal calamity.
terity. Hare we not the proof? England glories So with national religion. The practical in the name of a Christian Country. She has acknowledgment of God by the State has a illustrated the character, abroad, by her power beyond all private efforts and example. lofty integrity, and her generous consideration | The influence of individuals generally extends for the weak : at home, by acknowledging in but a little way; but the State can all her public proceedings her dependence grapple with the most gigantic evil. The upon God. Before Parliament proceeds to christian example of an individual fills but his legislate, it implores his guidance. Before own circle; but that of the State is felt Judges administer the law, they publicly throughout the Empire. Good men rejoice at attend Divine worship. In distress, the the accomplishment of their desires, and Vice Nation has been accustomed to humble itself shrinks and pines to see Virtue prosperous with prayer and fasting: in victory and pros and honored. perity, to appear before God with thanks- Let us consider briefly the grounds upon giving. She has honored his Name. She has which Dissenters object to church-rates. They trusted in his Arm. She has promoted his contend that no man ought to be taxed for worship. What have been the fruits ? that which he objects to. Then why tax Through the horrors of an universal war she churchmen for dissenting objects? The regisfelt the security of peace. With all Europe tration and marriage bills were avowedly for arrayed against her, she achieved a triumph, the benefit of Dissent : nay, more! they were whose naval and military glories, though the conceived, and brought forth in a spirit of hosbrightest in the page of history, are surpassed tility to the Church. It was hoped that by by its moral grandeur. Uncounted millions making the people independent of her ministrahave been poured into her lap till she became tions, the ties which bind them to her commuthe treasury of the world. What Nation, nion might be weakened, or severed. Yet, if save Israel in the days of its faithfulness, was the system had succeeded, instead of proving ever so highly honored, so signally blest ? a miserable abortion, churchmen would have And shall we now cast away the fear of our been required to contribute to its yearly exProtector and Benefactor ?
penses a larger sum than the whole amount of National religion is distinct from the col- dissenters' church-rates. lective piety of individuals: It consists in They say, that they have a conscientious the performance by the State of its public objection to pay church-rates. That which a duties, upon the same religious principles christian conscientiously believes to be his which govern the christian man in his private duty, he acts upon as firmly through evil reconduct. The distinction is the same with port and suffering, as through good report that which exists between national and private and personal advantage. But dissenters submitted quietly to this payment, till the ap- / which dissenters resist church-rates is violated parently defenceless state of the Church gave by themselves : That their conscientious scruthem a prospect of attacking her with success; 1 ples resolve themselves into party hostility: and they have already warned us, that, suc- That their plea which affirms that they derive ceeding in this, they will find other ground no advantage from the Church is utterly unfor active hostility. This is not conscience, founded : and that their conduct is condemned but party.
by the Bible. They plead the grievance of being com- Let us appeal from the dissenter at party pelled to support a Church from which they meetings, to the dissenter in his closet; and call derive no advantage. No advantage! Is it upon him to consider, seriously, and in the nothing to live in a land where God's word is presence of God, why he should feel it a taught in every parish ; so that go where they grievance that his property continues to be will they have a place to worship Him ? charged with a very small assessment for the Nothing, that through all the changes and support of religion, to which it has been subrevolutions of 300 years, the whole Bible has ject from the time that England was an orbeen everywhere read to the people, where few derly and christian Nation. He objects to an in comparison, could have read it for them- Establishment! But God appointed an selves? Nothing, to live and act with chris- established Church for Israel. Christ and his tians, through an universal system of religious apostles honored it. He has declared that worship and instruction, so that their servants, Kings and Queens shall protect and support their acquaintance, their business connexions, the christian Church, its nursing fathers, are all taught to govern their conduct by the and nursing mothers. Dissent itself, in this, Gospel ? The very Bible they read was given our own day, has formed an established to them by the Church which they are now national church in the South Sea Islands. seeking to destroy.
Can that be sinful which God Himselt They profess to be guided in all things by ordained? Or is that to be deprecated which the Bible, and the Bible only. Where does He hath promised? Or can that which the Bible sanction their hostility to the is right at Otaheite, be wrong in England ? Church? Will they appeal to the example of He objects to a form of prayer! He is our Lord ? He wrought a miracle that he not required to use it; and he may well hold might pay the tribute required for the service his opinion doublfully, when he condemns the of the Temple ; a tribute which may with general practice, in all countries and ages, of strict propriety be called a church-rate. Or the purest churches, and the holiest men. to that of the apostles? They worshipped Besides, the Liturgy of the Church is used in continually in the Temple ; after the ascension many dissenting meetings, and these among of the Lord; after the coming of the Holy the most respectable. Ghost; after the conversion of the Gentiles. He thinks the teaching of the Church Though they knew that the Temple belonged defective, and a written sermon cold and to a dispensation now superseded, that it tame! Without comparing the merits of was profaned by the wickedness of the priests extempore and written sermons, he should and rulers, and that it was doomed to speedy remember that the service of the Church destruction, yet they honored it; for it was includes instruction with which no sermon built to the true God, whose word was read may compare. She teaches the people from therein ; and it stood, the visible acknowledg- the pure word of God. Every Sunday they ment by the Nation of its allegiance and hear eleven chapters and psalms, which are duty. Their precepts accord with their con- read in such orderly connexion, as to make it duct. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance easy to remember, and understand them. of man for the Lord's sake." “ Render to | Will he affirm that the clergy are ungodly? all their due; tribute to whom tribute is due ; Let the reverence of their flocks; let the custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; public subscription lists, which prove low very honor to whom honor.”
far their liberality transcends that of the Thus it appears that the principle upon laity; let the schools and the local charities,