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literature of the times can be cited in favour tive lessons in history anent the infirmity of of their union. This singular concurrence of human virtue, and the instability of human opinion in those from whose opinions on purposes, - forgetting, too, that through the matters of doctrine so little deviation has lapse of time, institutions are sometimes been made should recommend the necessity thwarted from their original design, and that of candid inquiry.
the more liberal their contributions are they The matter in dispute in the first place may be fostering a worldly and ambitious is, whether Congregationalism or a State- policy in the very class they formerly looked up supported Church is the most effectual mode to with reverence. The history of our own of promulgating the gospel, supposing both country has furnished an example of this in for the present equally scriptural. This is a the corruptions of the Romish Church (in subject on which, at a hasty glance, an un- selecting this illustration, we would not have sound conclusion is likely to be adopted. It it supposed that we wish to place any sect will at once occur to the mind of the reader of dissenting Protestants in an invidious that the doctrines and government of any light, we respect them too highly to do so); Church under State patronage stand in great this church never received any endowment danger of being tampered with to suit politi- by law; gradually defections crept in, and cal purposes,—that the Church must be gradually her clergy practised on the ignodependent on and subordinate to the State, rance, the credulity, and the superstition of and doubtless sundry historical illustrations the laity, till, by means of private bounties, will suggest themselves to the memory in legacies, “ oblations from the faithful,” and proof. While such is the case as regards peace-offerings from the timid, an almost Church establishments the reverse conclusions boundless amount of wealth had been amassed in favour of Separatism will find acceptance. -wealth accumulated only to be misapplied It is natural enough to suppose that a church by luxurious and corrupt churchmen. Our depending solely for its support on the spon- sovereigns, although attached to the Church, taneous liberality and zeal of its adherents saw with uneasiness the formidable propor-altogether independent of State aid, and tions and power it was acquiring, and not owning only our Lord and Saviour as its unwillingly would have put forth an effort Supreme Head, is more likely to be pure in to restrain the system of priestly fraud, but doctrine and zealous in advocacy than the were afraid. Herein we have an example of other. We say these are the conclusions the voluntary system when possessing unwhich, on a first glance of the subject, are limited play-the domination, the avarice, likely to be entertained. We beg our readers the abuse of influence, was more willingly to suspend judgment a little, and give heed borne by the subjects of all this extortion to the arguments in favour of the position than by those placed over them in authority. we have assumed, as we feel assured that it Many efforts were made, both in our own only requires a careful examination of the country and on the continent (where the evidence on this side of the question to same experience urged the same remedy), to reverse the decisions of a hasty judgment. repress the practice by enactments, and some
Jeremy Taylor pithily says, “ If religion times by force, but, as we all know, for ages be governed by any hands with which the without effect. It may be said in reply, that civil power hath nothing to do, it may come society in Britain is happily so far advanced to pass that the civil power shall have no now, and the civil power so well eonsolidated, hands at all, or they shall be in bands.” | that the case adduced can never occur again, There is a deal of foresight in this remark, and that, moreover, it is inapplicable to the and we think it well that Congregationalists voluntary principle as seen operating in conshould be made aware of the results to which gregations at the present day. We may their favourite principles when carried out merely point to Ireland. If the priests would lead, for they are over fond of indulg- there were to have their own way, we should ing the charitable assumption that the clergy in a very few years, in that country, have a left to themselves will always remain humble, complete verification of Jeremy Taylor's earnest, devout men, whose foremost thoughts statement. Although we do not in the are for the cure of souls and for the welfare meantime fear results of the like kind from of Messiah's kingdom, forgetful of the instruc- any or all of the dissenting Protestant bodies; —their antecedents, their tendencies, their | Church, and who require to be induced to doctrines forbid the idea ;-yet we think we come out from their habitations by a houseare justified in rejecting what is with them to-house mission ? People of this stamp a necessary principle, when we find it to be there are unhappily in too great abundance, one so liable to be abused. We can have no and as congregations are not chargeable for guarantee against fanaticism taking posses- the spiritual well-being of any, save those in sion of the human mind, and therefore no their own communion, to whom are we to guarantee against the recurrence of the evil, look in expectation of the wants of such unless we recognise the right of superintend being attended to, unless to an Establishence in the civil magistrate. We know the ment, entrusted with a territorial charge? evil deprecated as a result of the voluntary Is it possible then to over-estimate the reprinciple is not one prevalent in Protestant sponsibility of those Congregationalists who, dissenting churches-very far from it. False to their own inability to benefit those, supersystems and creeds that fall in with the add a hostility to establishments, and thereby passions and weaknesses of man, may thrive deprive thousands upon thousands of gospel by it, may be richly supported, but the true ministrations, augmenting the moral depravareligion which goes against these, which tion of the country, or at least not permitting aims to correct these, to humble, to refine, the means and agencies to be employed that to christianize man, receives of his substance would be calculated to diminish the evil, more grudgingly. How much is Congre- and that for no other reason than that the gationalism hampered in its movements, and churches willing to do so acknowledge the the pastors straitened in their circumstances, right and the duty of the State to go hand for the lack of means? How much does the in hand with them in the work? We look on pastor feel his dependent position, feel con- this as a serious stain on Congregationalism. strained to adapt his admonitions to the It must be very obvious that Government, in leanings of his hearers, to “cook” his re- patronising State Churches, makes no unproofs and qualify his rebukes lest he should warrantable appropriation of the public funds. give offence to some of the magnates in the The Church as a moral institute is the fore. congregation? How very submissive does most instrumentality for good; our reformahe feel it necessary to be in the regulation tory and penal inachinery would necessarily of church business, suiting his wishes to be of a greatly more expensive character their parsimony, and practising the most were it not for its agency: so that whatever exemplary self-denial, nay, even sacrificing is given by way of endowment is saved from the interests of the church rather than have the expenditure on account of civil and his alls upon their pockets too heavy or too judicial establishments. Even placing the frequent? This of itself materially damages question upon these low grounds of expediency, the cause of Congregationalism—the clergy, it seems to us a most natural thing that the man dare not twit their consciences else they State, deriving so much assistance from the draw the purse-strings, for it is not every Church, should in turn render it assistance
, one that can bear to have unpalatable truths that the co-operation may be more complete, told them, or their secret sins exposed; and the welfare of the nation more certainly hence, the discipline of the church becomes secured. Besides, the Church being spiritual relaxed, or if enforced dissension is the in its nature, and having no means of deresult. There is evidently in the constitu- fending itself from external violence, requires tion of congregations a temptation to the the protecting shield of the State; the bond members to become arrogant, and a like of union is only strengthened, and the means temptation to the minister to become un- of usefulness increased by a pecuniary recog. faithful. Again, Congregationalism makes nition of its services. At the same time, no provision for introducing religion to the the services being mutual, the independence whole body of the people, and this from the of the Church is not necessarily comprovery nature of its organization, or rather mised. from its want of organization ;—this is a It is worse than useless for the various grave objection, for what provision is to be sectaries who have separated themselves from made for the vast numbers in every large the State Church to cavil at the endowment. town who are utterly regardless of the The differences in the Scottish Church, at
least, are non-essential, and we hold that it short of special pleading to object in this is better, for the sake of simplicity, that the manner, founded as it is on a most conState should give its support to the predomi- tracted view of scripture principles. The nant body. Baptists cannot be grouped principle of a Church Establishment has had together to one parish, Cameronians into its counterpart in the institutions of nearly another, and so on with the multiform sects all the ancient dynasties, showing that even into which Protestantism has divided itself; the “world's grey fathers” knew that to be and even though this were practicable, wbich the best way of securing the dissemination obviously is not, each would be prosecuting of a belief; and if they found this, how their various charges in ignorance of what much more ought we, who have the blessed their neighbours were about, and the result light and glorious truths of the gospel to would inevitably be unspeakable confusion diffuse, to employ every means to secure for and heart-burnings; the scheme would have our religion universal acceptance. ultimately to be abandoned as unworkable, It would extend our remarks too much to and the native irreligion of the community present the theories after which the respective permitted to develop itself.
State Churches are constituted. It may be Having said this much, we think it un- necessary, however, to say that their establishnecessary, in an introductory paper, to ment proceeded from entirely different sources, enlarge further on the impolicy of Congre- -—the one sprung from the people, and it acgationalism, or on the advantages of a State cordingly partakes largely of the democratic Church; we would merely, were it not for or republican element in its constitution; the occupying too much space, desire to adduce other was shaped to the will of the king, and confirmatory Scriptural authority. Our as unmistakeably bears the impress of its readers will gather an unequivocal sanction monarchical origin. of union between Church and State, by The almost entire subordination of the referring to Ezra vii. 21—27, 2 Sam. xxiii. Church of England to the State is fatal to 3. The fact is instructive too, that Moses, its independence; the right of appointment Joshua, and the judges of Israel united in to all bishoprics resides with the Crown; the their individual persons the offices of spiritual deaneries also are in the gift of the Governsuperintendents and civil rulers; the examples ment, as well as the nomination to a large of David, Hezekiah and Josiah give additional proportion of the parochial benefices, and weight. Even with heathen kings and rulers more than one-half of the canonries. Now, the Lord dealt according to their dealings that the State in which all this power is rewith his “ peculiar people," prospering or posed may be at variance with the Church punishing them as they deserved, -Pharoah, in point of opinion, since the removal of Cyrus, and Nebuchadnezzar will suffice as ex- religious disabilities, this immense power over amples. Keeping these in view we think the the episcopate must exercise a very dangerous conclusion is irresistible that the scriptures influence upon the Church, seeing, especially, sanction the civil ruler in succouring, main that it possesses no control over the selection taining, and countenancing the Church in his of its dignitaries. There is no safety for it official capacity; indeed, we cannot see that in the appointments of a latitudinarian an inference could be more plain, strengthened Government;-its livings may be made the as it is by the injunctions repeatedly given reward of political services to a party, and to nations as nations,-injunctions which conferred upon the secret enemies of its suppose the presence of some one having doctrines, as has already been done. The sufficient authority to give effect to the com- bishops, being indebted to Government for mands, -all of which is clearly at variance their appointments, are, as it were, commitwith the theory of Congregationalism. It ted to forward its views—indeed, there is a is common to endeavour to parry the force danger that men likely to do so will have a of these instances, by asserting that they all preference; then these lords spiritual take occur under a different dispensation, forget- part in the political movements of the day, ting that “all Scripture is given by inspira- cultivate the acquaintance of the leaders tion of God, and is profitable for doctrine, and cabinet ministers, appear at court, &c., for reproof, for correction, for instruction in all of which must secularize their minds, righteousness,” but it were really nothing and prepare them for concurring with the
views of the Legislature. A hierarchy could | This intrusion of unwelcome pastors is calnot have been devised more fortunate for culated to rob the services of half their the ends of Government than that of the influence, and create a feeling of unconChurch of England. The deans, being geniality between pastor and people. How nominees of Government, naturally reflect else can it be, when there is such a complete its views, and as a reward for an advocacy indifference as to who the patrons are, and of them it holds preferment in store. The when the bishops are compelled to induct archdeacons too-the nominees of the bishops the presentee, irrespective of his suitableness, -in great measure hold the sentiments of if his qualifications happen to be sustained their patrons. The university senates are, in civil court? We observe in the papers of likewise, very prone to study prospective the day, that the Duke of Beaufort advertises advantages, and as bishoprics and deaneries for sale by auction the right of patronage to occasionally reward a pliant course, they are benefices in his gift! How can the interests loath to mar expectations by opposition. The of the Church be secured when the rights of fact is, the system presents the strongest patronage are so grossly abused. By those temptations to the higher ecclesiastics to who retain in the family the rights of patroncurry favour with the Legislature, or at age, the Church is too often made use of as least to do and say nothing to detract from a provision for the younger members, without their eligibility for advancement. It is a regard to their capabilities and dispositions. system eminently calculated to encourage an It is perhaps fortunate for the people aggressive spirit in Parliament, and a corre- although it is certainly an anomalous arrangespondingly servile spirit in the clergy. Were ment—that these rarely officiate, that they the State a Church of England State, the principally enjoy the dignities; for what a evil would not be so bad, for then the indi- mockery is it that those who by profession vidual members of the State would feel a are ecclesiastics should be found booted and personal interest in the maintenance of the spurred, the jolliest in the chase. purity and efficiency of the Church. It may We must now turn to the Scottish Church, be said that this is an accidental evil—the by way of contrast. We there find an unforeseen operation of a law-an evil that ecclesiastical constitution which in its operamay be easily remedied, and that, no doubt, tions interblends in the happiest manner ere long, sufficient securities against innova- the interests of the laity and clergy in the tion will be exacted from the State. All we spiritual welfare of the Church. The framers have to say is, that such need not be hoped of it studied that the ministry should be for from Parliament spontaneously, and that efficient to the great end of edifying the there does not exist in the organization of people in the things of God, and made all the Episcopal Church any principle which minor considerations of assumed personal can be proceeded on for the resumption of privileges and rights of patronage subordinate privileges. If such a movement be made it to this paramount object; they did not reject must proceed from the inferior clergy and patronage or repudiate privileges — this laity,-men who are wholly independent of would have been unwisely arbitrary, but Government, and have intelligence and spirit they did what neutralized the possibility of to assist them. There is a radical evil in abuse. It was provided, as a security for the constitution of the Church at present; the appointment of proper persons to the we mean the scheme of preferments. This ministerial charge, that nominees should opens up the way for worldliness and ambi- produce a certificate of the parishioners tion — passions which should have small approval, and that previous to this, even the place in the bosoms of ministers of the person so nominated to a charge must be a gospel. From the poor curate to the pri- licenciate,--that is, must have obtained a mate of all England, there is not a Church- licence to preach from the presbytery. It man who does not covet preferment. Another further provided that the courts of the Church feature in the Anglican Church, which must of Scotland should have final jurisdiction of disgust and alienate the laity, is that they ecclesiastical affairs. These provisions and have not a voice in the choice of their own securities have been repeatedly ratified by pastors, but are compelled to tolerate the Acts of Parliament, both Scottish and British, one appointed, however dronish he may be. so that although in England no reclamation
of the parishioners can set aside, nor any, liturgy used in the Scottish Church, bishop refuse to induct, a presentee whose greater weight of responsibility rests upou manner of life, whose literature, whose doc- its ministers for the effective and acceptable trine may in a court of civil law be judged discharge of their duties, than if less had fitting, the same does not obtain in Scotland been left to their individual judgments—the - there the civil court possesses no power to one is required to extemporize the prayers overrule the decisions of a presbytery; it is and thanksgivings public worship, while even competent for the presbytery to reject the other has simply to enunciate these with a presentee upon any consideration which becoming gravity and suitable modulation they may judge to interfere with his efficiency of voice. So that to our Scottish clergy it or his suitableness for a particular charge. is most essential that they be devout men, Unlike Episcopacy, it is an unaristocratic -men earnest in their calling, and aboundestablishment, -an establishment which is ing in good words and works. In making scarcely ever made use of by the gentry as these statements, we do so with a view of a provision for members of the family; there showing that the church polity of Presbyis too much work and too little pay for this terianism securing so distinctly its freedom to be the case,--there are not any livings of action in spiritual matters, it is certain where the dignities and temporalities can be to be more thoroughly evangelical than enjoyed while the work is made over to some Episcopacy, which is so liable to be diverted ill-paid curate, and the holder is playing the from the fulfilment of its proper functions prince of indolence, learned in all the dances for party purposes and the attainment of of the season and all the mysteries of the political ends. tarf. Every minister is placed in such a We have not space left to enter upon
the station as to cornmand respect; but there comparative scripturalness of the systems, are no overgrown livings for idlers and sports- but our readers, even from the very cursory
All the clergymen of the Church of view we have been able to present of the Scotland require to be working members, no mere outworks of the different systems of inequalities of rank exist to abstract their church polity, can have no hesitation in prominds from their avocation, or create a morbid nouncing which of them possesses that unity desire for advancement; the influence of and independence, combined with purity and this on the clergy themselves is most whole- vigour, calculated to carry out effectively
All the ministers are working mem- the great purposes of a church-calculated bers, and hence the need of a proper check to bring the influence of the gospel to bear upon the possible ignorance or corruption of upon every soul with “demonstration and patrons,-a check rendered the more imper- with power.” ative from the fact, that there being no
ARISTIDES. CONGREGATIONALISM.-ARTICLE I. “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy CONGREGATIONALISM is both a policy name, and 'he followeth not us; and we forbude and a principle. As a principle“ in accordFORBID HIM NOT: for there is no man which ance with the scriptures," and therefore shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly with truth, reason, and justice, we hold it speak evil of me. For he that is not against us unspeakably dear to ourselves, and rejoice in is on our part."- MARK IX. 38–40.
“Under these fantastic terrors of sect and the present opportunity of explaining and schism, we wrong the earnest and zealous thirst urging it upon others. As a policy, to be after knowledge and understanding which God pursued in the external regulation of the bath stirred up. Wiat some lament of, we should relations of Christian communities, we believe rather rejoice at, should praise this pious forwardness among men to reassume the ill-deputed care it to be the most suited to the age in which of religiou into their own hands again. A little we live, and “productive of the best results”; generous prudence, a little forbearance of one the only one, indeed, which renders the these diligencies to join and unite in one general growing activity and freedom of the human and brotherly search after truth; could we but mind in religious speculation compatible forego this prelatical (and Presbyterian ?) tradi- with peace ard order--which (by subordination of crowdiny free conscience and Christian liberties into canons and precepts of men."
ting the intellect to the heart and Thought to Love) enables us to preserve onr Indi