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were generally chargeable with a spirit of arrogance and persecution against conscientious seceders from their communion, of sycophancy toward persons of rank, or of servility to the party in power.-If he had found any such grounds as these for the apprehension of the friends to our church, he would certainly have done well-not to cry out in this frightened and childish manner, that the church will fall, but to recommend measures of reformation as highly conducive to its respectability and perpetuity. But we trust that, on a careful consideration of the subject, Mr. Thomas's apprehensive mind will become reassured and cheerful; for it may be clearly gathered from his own work, we repeat, even from his own pamphlet-which labours hard to represent the condition of the church of England in the most gloomy light, that, with some trifling quantity of exception, our church is not beset by any of the ominous cumstances we have here enumerated.
The disordered state of the faculties, which naturally ac-. companies terror, has caused an extreme confusion in Mr. Thomas's attempts to distinguish the several sorts, or hordes, in the enormous host of dissenters. Goths, Huns, Vandals, are attempted to be separately described and referred to; but the attempted discriminations are quickly confounded and lost under the one general and formidable designation of 'the barbarians.' The Wesleyan Methodists are indeed fearfully conspicuous; (to turn our allusions from profane to sacred history,) they are the Philistines of our pagan invaders. When the other tribes of the enemy are to be separately pointed out, this affrighted herald is utterly puzzled to know whether it is the Amorites, the Hittites, or the Hivites, that he wants to tell of; and is obliged at last to call the whole promiscuous hostile assemblage by the more general denomination of Canaanites. He should not, from the first, have troubled himself about distinctions, which, he was so little in the state of mind to be able to describe clearly; why not have contented himself without more ado" to use, from first to last, the denomination dissenters, or seçtaries? just as in older times the people used to talk of, theblack-a-moors,' or 'salvages, without pretending to any knowledge of the distinctions, or respective geographi cal localities, of the various nations of human wild beasts.
Our author refers us to the destruction of our national" church, effected by the dissenters at the time of the great rebellion; and plainly declares there are awful indications of a similar catastrophe threatening our present establishment, and even the state too, from the same kind of men aud operations. Now we are surprised he should need to come to us for consolation on this head, when one single sober
reflection would have dissipated all his fears. It is this; the dissenters (we are too much in good, humour to contend with him about the propriety of calling them rebels'), the dissenters of the seventeenth century, who accomplished this remarkable subversion, notoriously had among them a very large share of talent and learning, but for which their designs would have burst like a bubble, instead of exploding into a revolution; whereas the dissenters of the present day are the most ignorant, silly, and despicable of mankind, according to our author's own testimony, which we look upon, for the reason already assigned, as of peculiar weight..
We will confess that one fact, which he states, did rather at the first moment give us pause,' as appearing to prove there was more reason in his terrors than we had been willing to allow. He déposes in the following words; we know that a man, not unfrequently, by going thither,' (to the meeting-house) if he do by chance forego the vices of men, adopts those of devils.' p. 82. We are very sorry to learn this fact; from any little acquaintance we have with the dissenters, we should not have imagined it; 'and we must own such a phænomenon would seem to portend no good to our national establishment. There is indeed something that might be cavilled at in the terms of the deposition; but the plain fair construction is, that often, by going. to the meeting-house, men are converted into real veritable, devils, retaining indeed the human flesh and shape. The fact, we fear, since it is so attested, must not be denied; but we think we can again suggest to the reverend gentleman a consideration of very consolatory efficacy. He will recollect it is said, that if Satan be divided against himself,, his cause will come to nothing; the position involving, of course, the whole tribe of infernals, whether inhabiting human forms or subtler vehicles. Now it is obvious to say, that the incarnate demons in question are divided one against another; there are trinitarians against unitarians, Arminians against Calvinists; there are independents, methodists, baptists, and many other sorts, and some of the sorts differing from some of the rest far more than from the established church-we surely need not draw the inference for the learned gentleman. But even if all this were too little to allay his fears, and if he were desperately convinced that, in spite of all these divisions among them, there is still one main purpose, in which
devil with devil damn'd
Firm concord holde,
be has after all the final consolation of an assurance, in fa vour of the true church, (and it is impossible he can have
any doubt which is the true one) that the gates of hell (i. e. the meeting-house?) shall not prevail against it.
The courage of the clergy. of former times rises exccedingly in our estimation, by contrast with the panic and the mean cowardly purpose of our reverend author. In those better times, when any thing demoniac presumed to infest and alarm any place, the sacerdotal class disdained to think. of calling in any secular aid against the Satanic visitation ; but promptly addressed themselves, in their own spiritual capacity alone, to the work of combat or exorcism. No such holy daring for our rector. He confesses, and indeed loudly proclaims, that he and his brethren are totally inadequate to. cope with the legion. It is of no avail, he says, for them to write, and preach, and pray, and live like demigods; the people crowd, and, as he predicts, will crowd, to the couventicle still; and therefore he earnestly tries throughout this performance, by a mixture of rebukes and cajolery, compli ments and menaces, wailing and boasting, to stimulate the government to interfere with the high hand of authority to stop the progress, and crush the privileges, of the dissenters. This is his chief or sole aim; and, in prosecuting it, he has judged it worthy of him to employ every sort of calumny and abuse, of which the dreaded and hated class in question have at any time. been the objects. Especially, they are all incorrigible enemies to the state, and many of them are actually conspiring its overthrow; even the Wesleyan Methodists, it seems, are not a religious confederacy, but a political one. pp. 140, 112.
We shall do no more than quote a few short passages, which will give the essential spirit of the performance.
* nor will I quarrel with any man's judgment, when deciding on questions within its province but I will protest against the stupendous absurdity of elevating conceit into infallibility; of making the private judgment of any individual his own justification for renouncing the or dinances of God and man.' p. 12.
Is not that an invaluable right which either pleasure or pain, or vice, or even petulance, can command to reconcile all contradictions? a right which can assimilate all discordances, and justify alike piety and blasphemy, conformity and schism, loyalty and rebellion!!' p. 13..
By allowing to every man the privilege of thinking and of acting a he pleases, with regard to religious concerns, the distinctions between law and disorder have been nearly obliterated from the common mind,' p. 36.,
I appeal to all the resident parish priests in the kingdom, whether every ignorant or fanatical seceder do not justify his revolt from the church, by asserting the right of his private judgment?' P. 17.
Is not the latitude in which private judgment is now claimed, and allowed, a strong symptom that the "religion of this state is falling into contempt?" p. 18.
Although there is not now, among the economists of this nation, the power to degrade the clergy into dependent mercenaries, their zeal is equally hearty in the cause; and when that zeal is inflamed by the pious suggestions of the tabernacle and the meeting-house, and bursts forth in the same form, with the same fury, against the same objects, contemptible as the talents of the confederacy are, their numbers, their impudence, their rancour, and their perseverance, are formidable enough to demand vigilance and activity, not only from the clergy, but from every friend to sound religion and order.' p. 50.
The abilities and the virtues of the clergy were not, on another. occasion, sufficient to prevent the total subversion of the establishment, by the very same means as threaten it at this hour; we have seen, and we have felt, the elements of the old storm regathering around us; we forebode a second wreck,-and nothing is done." p. 21.
It has been observed of us by foreigners that, though our civil constitution is so incorporated with the church, that they cannot be se-' parated without the destruction of both, in this particular we desert common sense, by conniving at every infraction on its rites, its ordinances, and its ministers; and that, instead of asserting the priority and the obedience which a lawful establishment ought to enforce, we grant almost unconditional licence to every innovation in religion.' p. 40.
There is not one friend to the church, who can contemplate the preparations, now combining against her in so many quarters, without wish-. ing for measures, very different indeed from any that have hitherto been adopted, for her protection and preservation.' p. 32.
We wish that they who give the advice of Gamaliel, would be' pleased to say how long it ought to be pursued; for obvious it is, that if the disorderly practices which corrupt the moral honesty, and pervert the religious principles, of the common people, while they weaken their loyalty, be still encouraged by connivance, the evil must, in the course of some years, be past all power of remedy.' p. 109.
As to any decisive measures, by which the establishment may be strengthened, and continue in strength, whatever to that effect may have been devised, most certainly nothing has been done. p. 44.
1 am convinced that if ministers and parliaments had fairly heard, and not repelled, the suggestions and the arguments of many of the reverend bishops and the clergy and if the clamours for religious liberty had not drowned all sense of religious order and moral decency, the confusions, and the discontents, and the religious madness, that disgrace these times, would never have increased to such an extent as to endanger, as they have more than once, the constitution in state and church.' p. 39.
The argument is shifted from the power which can suppress, to the, example and precepts which might reclaim.' p. 112.
My object is, not to dictate what ought to be done, but to hint to, others the necessity of doing it My wish is, to prevail on those to think and act, whose thinking and acting may be effectual.' p. 115,
Lest any of our readers, after looking over these passages, should be tempted to think meatly of our discernment, when,
they see us ascribing to terror such wishes and proposals, as they will without hesitation attribute to a malicious and de- › testable bigotry; and should suspect us of adopting this palliating explanation from an undue partiality to a clergy." man of the establishment, we beg them to recollect the old observation, that cowardice naturally leads to cruelty, and to give us some little credit for a candour, in which we probably stand unrivalled.
Those readers who may think us a great deal too mild, will be highly gratified to witness the more adequate castigation bestowed on our Rector by the anonymous Layman. He does, to be sure, lay it on with a sinewy arm, and a hard heart. It is such a piece of discipline, as the galled smarting subject of it did not at all anticipate, in his lofty contempt of the abilitics of all dissentients from the established church. And, to confess the truth, neither did we anticipate any such thing; for whatever may be our opinion of the intellectual faculties of those dissentients (and we would not use disparaging expressions unless the occasion absolutely compels us), we think they have of late years borne those faculties very meekly, and have practised toward the establishment and its clergy a most exemplary and obsequious deference. We have no doubt the Layman's sense of this merit, on the part of his friends, with the surprise of finding it in the present instance so ill requited, may have con-. tributed to call forth the severity, (we might be deemed not quite impartial, if we were to call it asperity) which often prevails in his pages.
It would be unjust to the Layman to deny that he is an acute and spirited writer, well read in the divines and the history of our church, and the political history of our country; indeed furnished with almost every kind of requisite knowledge for making him a dangerous enemy. It is but justice to say that he does not, like some advocates of a party, abandon all equitable discrimination in his references to the party that he opposes; he evinces the utmost veneration for many of the illustrious prelates and writers of our church, whom Mr. Thomas had cited as its defenders; but it is to be acknowledged that the Layman's greater familiarity with their works is very unfortunate for our Rector, as it has produced from them a number of quotations of a more mortifying quality, as bearing on the dispositions and views of the Rector, than any thing the most malicious non-conformist could have invented.
The Layman will not attribute it to a spirit of prejudice, that we shorten our observations on his performance. With his zeal for religious liberty we fully accord; we VOL. V.