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of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Do these parties believe that the one bestows, and the other receives, the Holy Ghost? If so, they should speak more respectfully of Methodists, Southcottians, Swedenborgians, and if not, what is the ceremony? When Christ forgave sins, he was charged with blasphemy. There was but one way of disproving the charge; i. e. by a miracle, which he immediately wrought. So let them, or allow the accusation. The priest, thus commissioned, visits the sick: he tells the ignorant trembler, “I shall rehearse to you the Articles of our faith, that you may know whether you do believe as a Christian man should or no.” If satisfied, he proceeds, “ by the authority committed unto me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
The constitution of the Church demands some attention. It is a massy and imposing edifice, not modelled, indeed, with Grecian simplicity, but shooting up, like its own Gothic buildings, into towers and pinnacles of various dignity, all of aspiring form—though while their heads are in the clouds, their foundations press heavily upon the earth, and their shade throws gloom and chilliness around on monuments of death; and all is overtopped by the lofty spire of archiepiscopal eminence; where, sometimes, to finish the resemblance, has been seen only a vane, veering
to eyery breeze of political direction. Truly this complicated apparatus of Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Chapters, Canons, Archdeacons, Prebendaries, Rectors, Vicars, Curates, &c., with their offices, oaths, emoluments, titles, and subordination, from the poor stipendiary to those who rear their “mitred front in courts and senates," is as unlike as possible to any thing in the New Testament. And though some of the means adopted in Popery to cut off the clergy from the common ties of family, friendship, and society, that they may act more decidedly for the interests of the body, are not retained by the Church of England, nor, indeed, by any Protestants, there is still too much of a separate interest. They are not one with the people, in their opinions, feelings, hopes, and fears; not even with the laity of their own church. Who knows not that the clergy have a political character; that on certain measures they act together and powerfully? These are invidious topics ; I wish to touch them lightly. Some other charges against the Romish, cannot be preferred against the English hierarchy. The latter is not guilty of the affected austerity of monkery; and the disuse of pretended miracles, if not of forged Scripture, has left to sophistry and dogmatism the defence of the faith. (5)
As the charge of persecution was applied alike to Catholic and Nonconformist Churches, an exemption will not be expected for the Church of England; nor has she any claim. Cranmer, her first martyr, but suffered what he had previously inflicted on some unoffending Baptists : penal laws of great severity are but just repealed : Scotland, too, could tell some bloody tales : but waving all this, the Church has borne her faculties with tolerable meekness. God forbid that some classes of Dissenters should have had her opportunities; nor would I prefer any accusation but of such persecution as no establishment can exist without. A certain portion is essential to its being. This is felt chiefly in privations of what is one's right; as 1. Property : man tills the ground, and from it gets his bread by the sweat of his brow : is not that produce his own? But he should support religion : well, he does so,--the religion which he approves; which, though not exalted by the State, 'has touched his heart, reformed his character, ministered to his consolation, filled him with hopes of immortality, and will, he trusts, be the inheritance of his children, and bring them to him in heaven; yet, as if he had done nothing, his tenth is wrung from him by Church-of-Englandism. 2. An honest ambition to be useful is a disposition to be cherished in every good citizen. Talents and principles should be called into action for the public weal, and honourably rewarded. They exist; there is the appropriate sphere for their
exercise; but they are kept out by the exclusive spirit of Church-of-Englandism. 3. This makes a favoured and a degraded class in society; a distinction which is often fatal to friendliness, and poisons charity. In country villages, how many poor Dissenters see their children deprived of education, unless they be also taught a religion they have abjured, by the persecuting spirit of Churchof Englandism!
Amid these censures, let me render one cordial tribute of praise, and that is to the Liturgy. Making, of course, some doctrinal exceptions, that is indeed Christian. Excluding holy writ, it may challenge competition with the devout productions of all countries and ages. It is a simple, pure, and noble composition. From the bottom of my soul do I admire it, and, as far as my private feelings are concerned, know of no fitter form of words for man to hold communion with his Maker in. Probably much of it has descended from a very early age of Christianity. However that may be, it is worthy of the best days of Christianity. Bred a Dissenter, no early associations prompt this praise. It is the dictate of unbiassed conviction, which, in such a discourse as this,' to withhold were uncandid andre unjust ; like my censures, it is honest and heartfelt. · The Church of England is but a sect, though it may be a fortunate and powerful one. It has
severed itself from the rest of the Christian world. Perhaps the question would not be easy of solution, whether it be properly a Popish or a Protestant sect; (b) for, though claiming to belong to the Protestants, it has generally been scarcely owned by them; and it stopped so far short of even what they did, and retained so much of the principles and spirit of the old superstition, as to be but of ambiguous character. Were we to review its history, the judgment passed in our hasty analysis of its constitution would be abundantly confirmed. It was the creature originally of capricious tyranny, struck out by the passion of Henry VIII., and matured by the Machiavelian policy of Elizabeth. The pride and ill advice of its prelates had their share in bringing Charles to the block; for which atonement is made by his canonization as a martyr, and by a service which makes a Christian blush at its blasphemy, and an Englishman indignant at its servility. In his son's reign was the memorable ejection of the two thousand ministers, who laid the foundation of our churches, and whose only crime was being conscientious. Against the tyranny of Charles II. and James II. no stand was made till it was ascertained that they aimed at Popery as well as tyranny; so that the part taken by this sect in the Revolution was but little to its honour. (1) From that period, much has been gained to religious liberty ; but the State has given it, and not to oppose is the