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language of Scripture, he has found the readiest ways of bringing the
imaginations and atfections of his hearers under the influence of his fanatical ravings. His great aim, like that of all founders of sects, was to make himself appear the favourite of the most High; and with a shocking presumption, little short of blasphemy, he has proclaimed himself to the world, and has persuaded a vast number of weak persons to believe him to have been fed, supported, or advanced by no natural or ordinary means, but conducted through life by special providences, receiving his instructions and appointments in dreams, or inward suggestions, and avenged upon those who derided his pretensions by the rod of divine justice.
From cobbling, and carting, and coal-heaving, the finger of Providence, according to the testimony which Huntington has left of himself, exalted him to a situation in which he was enabled to draw from the bank of ignorance and credulity an affluent income, and to minister, or rather prophecy, (to use his own word) before thousands of silly beings, persuaded of his divine commission by his declarations in their favour, his adulation of the poor, his arrogance towards
persons in authority (who, according to him, are all“ blind guides,") and his cheap offers of pardon and reconciliation to the professing penitent.
We have waded, with unspeakable disgust, through the stories which he tells by hundreds in his Bank of Faith, of the special providences on which he subsisted. If he was out of tea, or had a hole in his clothes, or was threadbare, hungry, or cold, his breakfast table was supplied from an unknown hand; a pair of small-clothes, or a surtout coat, found its way to him, he knew not by what human agency, and always fitted him with exactness; the river threw its fish from day to day upon its banks; the silver eels lay invitingly on the surface of the pool; mortal combats took place in the air, and wounded partridges fell expiring at his feet; money came whenever his wants were urgent, and sometimes the “ splendid shilling," threw itself on his path. A horse to ride on, or a bed to sleep on, were equally obsequious to his wishes. He not unfrequently compared himself to Moses and Elijah, and condescended to say,
he was sometimes as bad off (this is his exact phrase) as poor Paul.” Sometimes he gave Providence, in his prayers, an alternative: he must have“ more strength, less work, or a horse.” In the end, however, the point was determined for him. He was well and gratuitously mounted by some of his followers, and obtained a pair of riding breeches, which precisely fitted him, without any measure having been taken. He was entirely maintained by these windfalls, which came always in obedience to his prayers; and his wife, being directed to pray
for a supply of child-bed linen, took care to desire that they might come ready made, as time was pressing ; and so accordingly it happened. At times, however, he deemed the hand of Providence too slow in attending to his requests, and on all such oecasions he states himself to have wayered in his faith.
It was in our power to have filled many pages with ludicrous extracts, but we feel that we are treading on the confines of sacred ground—too near to that which is tremendously awful to permit us to indulge in merriment. God forbid! that this Journal should supply one profane jest to irreligious levity--that it should seem to favour those (if there be any such) who from their couches of preferment look down with scorn upon the pious effusions of the humble poor, or the active ministry of the devout dissenter-or that it should for one moment forget that religion consists not in exterior observances, or in the cold discharge of official duty, but in the strength of a scriptural faith, and in holiness of heart and practice. And let it be once for all understood, that we love and venerate the establishment, not for its own sake, but as the depository and the source of vital and efficient religion.
What the real doctrines of Mr. Huntington were, if he sincerely entertained any, we have not been able to discover with certainty. “Natural affections” he acknowledges to be “ some of the best rags of our fallen nature;" but“ neither natural affections, nor universal charity,” according to him, “ shall be found among the redeemed of God.”
We will not sully any more paper with such profane nonsense, except to say, that his remains are buried, or rather inhumated by his own desire, without any rites of sepulture: and, according to his biographer, of whom we say nothing, because we know nothing, the following epitaph, dictated by himself, some time before his death, denotes the spot where his corpse has been de posited. “Here lies the coal-heaver; who departed this life July 1, 1813, in the 69th year of his age, beloved of his God, but abhorred of men. The omniscient Judge, at the grand assize, shall ratify and confirm this, to the confusion of many thousands; for England, and its metropolis, shall know, that there has been a prophet among them. W.H.S.S." *
Yet the chapel in which this man preached was built by the gratuitous zeal of his followers, and at his own desire transferred to the prophet himself: while the zeal of the legislature of the united kingdom affords only a receptacle to two hundred of the pious and sober communicants of the church out of a population of near fifty thousand. We may apply in a literal sense to the
church of St. Pancras, what this intended prophet used impudently to say in a figurative sense of our holy and venerable church in general, that it affords only“ a thimble-full of sound evangelical divinity.”
We will conclude these few remarks with expressing a fervent hope that the legislature, in return for the blessings bestowed on this favoured land, will make suitable provision for the honour and worship of God; that they will “set the feet” of us the children of the church" in a large room.” And as we have heard of the royal wish that every poor man in this kingdom may be able to read his Bible, may we be permitted to add our humble prayer, that every poor man may be able to read it comfortably within the walls of our national church.
Art. XIV.--An Appeal to the Protestants of Great Britain
and Ireland on the Subject of the Roman Catholic Question, first published in the Papers of the Protestant Union, in Reply to a late Address by Charles Butler, Esq. London. 1813.
We do most sincerely lament that the little room which is left us, makes it impossible for us to do justice to the anonymous pamphlet whose title we have above announced. Although there are some inadvertencies in the language, and evident marks of haste throughout the composition, we will venture to say there is scarcely a better and a fairer piece of controversial writing to be found.
If there be any thing in the internal evidence of a book which, like the lines of physiognomy, gives one a peep into the soul, we should be induced by the testimony which this publication affords, to say, that the writer must be a person highly deserving the confidence of the protestants of Great Britain and Ireland to whom he makes his vigorous appeal. But he must entitle himself to their attention on another account. As he undertakes to instruct his countrymen, he should be wise was well as good. If candid statement, sound argument, comprehensive views, and sober feelings, stamp a character of wisdom upon a literary production, then we think the pamphlet before us may be safely pronounced wise.
With the address of Mr. Charles Butler on the subject of the catholic claims no general reader can well be unacquainted, such has been the assiduity with which it has been circulated.
The object of this anonymous pamphlet is to state, in plain lair guage, why the writer is not one of those whom Mr. Butler has convinced either of the policy or safety of admitting the Roman catholics to legislative or high official power in this protestant state. Nothing that Mr. Butler, or, indeed, any of the advocates of the catholic pretensions, have brought forward in their behalf, is here without a modest, full, and sensible reply.
The anxious efforts which have been used to confound the ideas of toleration and religious liberty with positive, political power, are slightly discussed. This distinction has been so frequently and so satisfactorily explained, and, we may say, is become now so generally felt and acknowledged, that it really calls for no further illustration. It seems, indeed, to have been the main object of this address to bring universally before the public some important facts which have been hitherto viewed only through distorting mediums, altogether misunderstood, or imperfectly known, and to deduce such plain inferences from them as cannot but come home to the intelligence of every educated man.
The pamphlet does ainple justice to Mr. Butler's ingenuity in the management of his side of the argument, and gives due credit
“ the happy art with which he endeavours to press into his service both the church of England and dissenters.”
“ To the latter," says our author, “ he talks in a phraseology very little in use in the church to which he belongs. He enters into all those shades and gradations of persecution and toleration which are so familiar to the dissenters who have so well studied them, just as if the church of Rome had lectured upon them in her colleges, and supported the rights of conscience by her councils and her bulls. This is flattering to the dissenters. To our venerable national church he turns round; and notwithstanding the lowering aspect which she has ever thrown upon the church of Rome, he coquets and caresses her with all the ease and confidence of an old acquaintance; and would persuade her that a happy reunion would be a noble project; leaving her to guess how it would increase her means of fulfilling the great ends of lier institution, and whether such an amalgamation would end in making the whole mass papal or protestant."
It is difficult to say what part of the argument is most ably executed by this anonymous writer. His cautions to dissenter's against the gentle overtures of Mr. Butler are certainly not among the least powerful. He conjures them in dignitied terms not to disgrace themselves by “ attempting to obtain in an in direct manner what they might apprehend would not be conceded on an open and fair statement of their real situation, views, and claims." And cites a passage or two from the lectures at Sälter's Hall, which rank añong the best productions of the dissenters, and which were delivered for the very purpose of opposing the corruptions of popery, one of which concludes thus :
This causė (truth and liberty) protestant dissenters humbly plead with God and man, well knowing it is our interest and dutý so to do'; for it is easy to foresée, if popery should ever return hither, who are likely to be its first, though not its only sacrifice.” The writer then in a very successful strain of irony, entreats such of the dissenters as are simple enough to make a common cause with the Roman catholics, at least to ascertain beforehand, whether the Roinan catholics will ultimately make a common cause with them. He wishes them, if they commit themselves to this strange connection, to try the sincerity of their allies by proposing certain stipulations. 5. Let them," says the writer," at least demand a pledge from that class of catholics, and to receive it from those alone who have power to give it; let them require it at the hands of the pope himself, that the catholics will not accept thé boon, or, as they call it, the right they ask for, unless the protestant dissenters are included in the same act of the legislature, and benefited to the same extent. Let them ask for a concordąt or a bull to sanction the union of Roman catholics and protestant dissenters; let them require it to be stipulated, that if the catholic religion should ever prevail in this empire, that the Romish church shall acknowledge and maintain that a protestant, whether dissenter or otherwise, has an indefeasible right to worship God, and propagate his religious tenets when and as he pleases.
This part of the subject is concluded by a passage in the speech of the Marquis of Halifax to the dissenters in 1687, upon occasion of James the Second's declaration of indulgence, which is so spiritedly characteristic that we cannot help laying it before our readers.
“You cannot,' says the marquis, therefore reasonably flatter yourselves, that there is any inclination to you. They never pretended to allow you any quarter, but to usher in liberty for themselves under that shelter. "I'refer you to Mr. Coleman's letters, and to the journals of parliament, where you may be convinced, if you can be so mistaken as to doubt; nay, at this very hour, they can hardly forbear, in the height of their courtship, to let fall hard words of you. So little is nature to be restrained, it will start out sometimes, disdaining to submit to the usurpation of art and interest. This alliance, between liberty and infallibility, is bringing together the two most contrary things that are in the world. The church of Rome doth not only dislike the allowing liberty, but by its principle it cannot do it. Wine is not more expressly forbidden to the Maha. metans, than giving heretics liberty is to papists: they are no more
VOL. V. PART IX,