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the insolence natural to men newly raised to power and conse quence, they are so far from desiring the downfal of the established religion' that they would be always ready to lend their assistance in protecting it from injury.
The effect of the Dissenter's letter on the mind of the Margaret Professor, is worthy of notice. To none of his assailants has he discovered so much of a yielding, condescending, and even of a benevolent spirit, as to this anonymous Dissenter; a proof that the most inveterate controvertist is not insensible to kind, gentlemanly, Christian treatment. While he charges
the 'Dissenter,' as indeed in his other pamphlets he has charged all his adversaries, with giving an inaccurate representation of his opinion; he exculpates him from every degree of intentional mis-statement." Though not thoroughly convinced by the Dissenter's arguments, he seems desirous of thinking with him; and even condescends to state the authorities on which he rested his opinions.'
I am (says he) so thoroughly persuaded of your good intentions, that I feel no disposition to examine the strength of your arguments. I will not observe, that the Independants, in the time of Cromwell, had the same constitution, the same unconnected societies, the same spiritual feelings, as you have here described, and yet that they eagerly sought, and eventually obtained the revenues of the Church. I will not observe, that if the present.constitution of your societies, which you have taken pains to explain to me, and with which you suppose I was previously unacquainted, is really a bar to the subversion of the Establishment" in order (as stated in your title page) to possess its honours and emoluments," it is a poor consolation to know, that you wish them not for yourselves, if your principles, as you admit at p. 6, induce you to reject "all religious establishments," and consequently must induce you, if ever you obtain sufficient power for the purpose, to abolish those honours and emoluments altogether,' pp. 11, 12. No one, of course, who maintains the expediency of continuing the present imperfect toleration, can resist the temptation of enlarging on the mischiefs that arose from the ascendancy, first of the Presbyterians, and next of the Independants, in the times of Charles the First. This topic, however, notwithstanding the use that is made of it by grave reasoning persons, such as Dr. Marsh, seems much better adapted for the basis of a school-boy's declamation, than for the ground of a solid argument. Is there, we would ask, no difference between granting the petition of a few thousand quiet, orderly, unarmed individuals, and yielding to the clamour of an enraged victorious army? no difference between repealing just, so far as the wisdom of the Legislature shall think fit, laws that have for an age heen almost entirely suspended, and being frightened into enactments, the consequence of which were entirely unknown.
In the conduct of this argument, it seems to be entirely forgotten, that the government is now more free, more regular, and better fixed, than in those turbulent times; that there is a total change in the relative state of the churchmen and dissenters ; and that the great majority of the intelligent, powerful, andwealthy classes of the community are attached to the Church of England from principle, since it appears to them not a political engine, but a divine institution. When these particulars are duly considered, it will appear that nothing but good to Church and State, can arise from the repeal of the penal laws affecting Protestant dissenters,
After the passage that has just been quoted, Dr. Marsh adds:
But I will cease to dwell upon this subject, after the friendly de. clarations which you have made in your pamphlet. I will hope, that Churchmen and Dissenters may long continue to preserve the habits of mutual friendship and affection; and that both parties may enjoy undisturbed repose, without interruption or encroachment of the one er the other.'
We should think but very meanly of the Churchman or Dissenter, who would not readily turn the hope, that Dr. Marsh here expresses, into an earnest prayer. Should distrust and alarm be succeeded by mutual confidence and good-will, the one party would cheerfully make all reasonable concessions, and the other would be satisfied with them. May the time soon arrive when Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim !
The charge of the learned and respectable Archdeacon of Stafford is of a larger compass than the tracts that we have been just considering. Its contents are not exactly indicated by the title page. It is, in fact, a formal and elaborate attack upon the methodists, Calvinistic and Arminian, with somewhat more of ability, if with no diminution of virulence and partiality, than usually distinguishes performances of a similar class. He begins by saying that the Church of England has always had to contend with difficulties;-a wise provision to make her members active and vigilant, Of late years the increase of sectaries, particularly of the methodists, has excited an unusual alarm, which he thinks' unreasonable and in no small degree pernicious,' After expressing his confidence in the stability of the Church, although it has once been overthrown by a sect, in many respects, resembling the methodists;' to see what is likely to be the operation of this sect, be proposes to trace its real nature. That it is not of God is evident, he maintains, from various considerations. The founders of the sect, soon after its rise, were divided, the one being a Calvinist and the
other an Arminian, a circumstance which to the Archdeacon seems decisive; since inspiration (a privilege to which the founders of Methodism, we believe, made no pretence except in the sense, in which, according to the Church, it belongs to all Christians) produces a perfect uniformity of opinion. Another circumstance of nearly equal moment, is the difference in the discipline adopted by Whitfield and Wesley. These modern Apostles,' though they professed attachment to the Church of England, were extremely inconsistent; for, during the whole course of their ministry, they were guilty of irregularities which, the learned dignitary contends, the urgency of circumstances' did not justify. To evince the truth of this position, he expatiates on the fatal doctrine of inward feelings,' which Whitfield and Wesley were prohibited from preaching in the Church; and which arose, it seems, from another, respecting human depravity, which the ninth article, rigidly interpreted, in reality supports. As for a supernatural call from Heaven to warrant the conduct of these rival apostles,' he finds no sufficient proof of any such thing. Though therefore he allows (which is going a long way) that even a true church may be corrupted and may require reformation,' he yet firmly believes that the chief part of the complaints of the methodists have been founded on exaggeration, or on the refusal of the clergy to adopt the wild notions or the ranting and presumptuous style of preaching, by which enthusiasts delude the ignorant.' (p. 27.) Whether the founders of Methodism were justified by the necessities of the times, is a question that would require to discuss it more space and more research than we can at present afford; and it is the less necessary, indeed, to enter upon it, as Mr. Nares has advanced nothing like proof in confirmation of the negative. 'I firmly believe," is a mode of reasoning, which though it may befit an Archdeacon, does not seem very 'urgently' to demand a reply.
Mr. Nares proceeds to consider what reason there is to fear that the Church is exposed to serious injury from the Methodists. 6 For my own part,' he says, 'I have no manner or degree of apprehension. The time, I trust, is past, when reason and religion could be overthrown by cant and nonsense; and the harangues of illuminated mechanics could be able to preach down the established church of God.' (p. 31.) We too are convinced that the Church has little to fear from the methodists; though our opinion rests on rather a different basis than that of our dignified author. Their preaching is very far from deserving the reproaches that he has heaped upon it and it is easy to perceive that he under-rates its efficacy. The zeal of the clergy has been excited to a considerable degree.' This is the acknowledgment of the Archdeacon himself, and it seems
to us, he might have said to a very great degree. The agitation of Methodism has been felt by the Church in its remotest extremities. Spirit has been communicated where before there was nothing but torpor. In every quarter there has been a visible commotion, in some places from good motives, in others from the reverse; but amendment in doctrine, life, and in the exercise of the clerical function has been universal. A multitude of zealons, active, successful, evangelical, preachers have arisen in the Church, whose number is daily on the increase, and who appear to present an effectual barrier against the efforts of all who may assault a communion, of which they are the brightest ornaments and the best defence.
There is one passage toward the conclusion of this charge, particularly worthy of attention. A part of it we shall insert; the whole ought to be studied by the ignorant declaimers on Methodism and Calvinism.
'Let us not ourselves do any thing which may tend to increase divisions. It has been too much the custom of the unthinking or licentious to give the name of Methodist to every person at all conspicuous for piety and zeal: a strong reflection against those who are not Methodists, if it were not founded in mistake. It has, however, sometimes been adopted, even among ourselves, and the error is extremely pernicious. It has been more particularly the custom so to stigmatize persons, in whom any thing of a Calvinistic faith peared: though they were not in other respects irregular or disobedient to the rules of the Church. This is exrremely unjust and erroneous. A Christian is not of necessity either a Calvinist or an Arminian, so far as the two doctrines stand opposed to each other; nor was any article of faith founded upon this distinction in the primitive times. The founders of our own church intended, I am convinced, (as some of our wisest authors have occasionally observed) so to frame their articles that they might be, in this respect, articles of union, not of separation; and might be subscribed, with a good conscience, both by Calvinists and Arminians. I would not call a Calvinist, whether a clergyman or otherwise, a Methodist or a Separatist, for that opinion only: and if there are congregations which differ from the majority of the Church, only in desiring to have Calvinistic preachers, my deliberate advice would be that they should be permitted to have them, in any regular way, to which they would accede. We know, not only by private examples, but by those of whole Churches, that Calvinists, as well as Arminians may be good and pious Christians; that they may love God and trust in Christ, and seek the gifts of the spirit as sincerely as those whose minds are not clouded by any such gloomy doctrines. pp. 35, 36, 37.
Much of this quotation is so just, so wise, and so liberal, that it is with regret we find the author in the same pages, as it appears to us, at variance with himself and with truth. Speaking of those who are called Calvinists, he says; 'I am aware that the principal difficulty consists in persuading them to tolerate us.
They regard that doctrine as not only fundamental, but as of primary importance, which I have viewed and considered as of inferior moment.' This doctrine of inferior moment,' he says two pages before, appears the most dreadful misrepresentation of God, that man has ever invented.' The worst of all errors, and yet of inferior moment!
Art VII. A Selection of curious Articles from the Gentleman's Ma◄ gazine. 8vo. 4 vols. pp. 2150. Longman and Co. 1811. THE idea of this publication was originally suggested by my friend Gibbon," as Mr. John Pinkerton very familiarly calls the historian of the Decline and Fall. tempted,' he observes in a letter from Lausanne, dated February 24, 1792, to embrace this opportunity of suggesting to you the idea of a work, which must be surely well received by the public, and would rather tend to benefit than to injure the proprietors of the Gentleman's Magazine. That voluminous series of more than threescore years now contains a great number, of literary, historical, and miscellaneous articles of real value, they are at present buried in a heap of temporary rubbish; but if properly chosen and classed, they might revive to great advantage in a new publication of a moderate size.' Such a miscellaneous collection is so well adapted to the present taste for light and casual reading, that we wonder it has been delayed so long: and, excepting that he has not perhaps sufficiently attended to the words moderate size' in the preceding quotation, we see no reason to regret that the task has been undertaken by the present editor. We cannot say, however, that we have any very inordinate partiality for this kind of literature. It encourages the bad habit of dipping into a book, instead of mastering a subject; it bewilders the memory by the continual succession of unconnected matter; and instead of informing and invigorating the mind, tends much, we are convinced, to scatter and weaken the intellectual powers. This censure cannot be evaded in the present instance by classing these volumes with works of general reference. The contents are too incoherent, too superficial, and too extraneous, to answer this valuable purpose. Still, considered as a source of innocent and frequently of rational amusement, this miscellany deserves recommendation.
The arrangement is sufficiently distinct, and is probably, as good as any other that might have been adopted. The first volume contains researches, historical and antiquarian; the second, ancient and modern literature, criticism, and philology, and in a second section, philosophy and natural history; the third, letters to and from eminent persons, and miscellaneous