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proposition contained in them, must suppose, that the legislature expected the consent of ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succession, not to one controverted proposition, but to many hundreds. It is difficult to conceive how this could be expected by any who observed the incurable diversity of human opinion upon all subjects short of demonstration.' Vol. I. P. 217.
It is not a little mortifying to see a man so superlatively intelligent, and in many points so honest, as Paley, and to see: so vast a number of other men who declare themselves moved by the Holy Ghost, descending to this renunciation of the sim plicity of reason and conscience. Dr. Paley knew, and we are confident that every individual, who after serious consideration subscribes the Articles, knows, that the framers and imposers of them did intend and require that every proposition they contain should be believed by the persons subscribing them. He knew, and they all know, that in provident contemplation of the quibbles, reservations, and evasions to which men might be dishonest enough to have recourse, in order to obtain the benefits of the establishment without satisfying the intentions of its founders, the authoritative instruments of sanction and prescription which accompany these articles are expressed with the minute and pleonastic phraseology of legal precaution. They know that the assent is required precisely to all and every of them; and that in the plain and full meaning thereof, and in the literal and grammatical sense,' the least difference from the said articles' being strictly prohibited.' They know that the terms of the imposition are as precise, and comprehensive, and absolute, as language can make them; insomuch that if a series of articles, in the nature of a political or commercial arrangement, or any other secular institution, were accompanied by the definitive sanction of the institutors in forms and terms of authorization so carefully select, express, and comprehensive, the man who should pretend to raise a question, whether the institutors really meant 'all and every' of those articles to be strictly authoritative on every person entering on the benefits of that institution, would instantly come to be regarded as unfit for civilized society. It is something much worse than trifling to alledge, that the imposers could not intend to exact a full assent. because the articles contain several hundred propositions, and some of them contradictory to others. That errors, and even contradictions may, according to the opinion of the examiner, be detected in a creed drawn up by fallible men, is no reason for surmising that they did not themselves solemnly believe it in every part. And as to the argumentthat to expect ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succession, to believe all these propositions, is so gross an ab
surdity, that it is impossible to suppose the framers and imposers of the articles could really expect such a thing,-we may observe, that it would indicate an extremely slender knowledge of ecclesiastical history, to question whether the heads of churches and states have ever been capable of assuming it to be a possible thing to effect an uniformity of faith, and a reasonable thing to expect and command it. But there is no occasion for argument; the certain matter of fact is, that the framers and imposers of the thirty-nine articles did require this complete assent. Let the man, therefore, who is resolved to maintain freedom of opinion, honestly take the ecclesiastical institution as what it is, and he may fairly make, if he pleases, as many objections as it has articles, while he preserves his consistency and integrity by declining to place himself within its obligations. But it is meanly disingenuous, nor can we comprehend how it can be otherwise than utterly immoral, for this man, in order to enable himself to pursue his own interests by entering the church, to pretend that its grand law of doctrine must not and cannot mean that, which it has notoriously taken all possible care to express that it absolutely does mean, and absolutely does enjoin. By extending this privilege of conscience a few degrees further, a Mahometan or Pagan may subscribe the articles and enter the church, if he has any object to gain by it. He may say, 'Here is a large formulary of opinions, comprising several hundred propositions, not all even consistent with one another. Now it had been most absurd for the imposers to require that every subscriber should believe all these; it is absurd therefore to suppose they did require it. And since this formula, which is the only authoritative prescription by which I can learn what I am required to believe, gives me no certain information on the subject, I may fairly regard the whole affair as a matter of discretion.'
Dr. Paley represents, that the animus imponentis must be taken as the rule for the degree of assent required in subscribing the articles. Let us then, in imagination, go back for a moment to the time when the articles were solemnly appointed to be perpetually imposed; and let us suppose a man like Dr. P. to have presented himself before the bishops who framed and the legislature which imposed them, to inquire concerning the animus, the real plain meaning and intention, with which those articles were composed and enforced. Would not the reply have been most indignant, or most contemptuous? You ask the intention; why, you can read the articles, can you not? Our intention is of course conveyed in what we have solemnly and deliberately set forth. And we intend all that is set forth; for would it be
come us, and on such an occasion, to employ ourselves in the construction of needless and nugatory propositions? And we conceive we have enounced our propositions with sufficient clearness; it is not possible you are come here to insult us with an insinuation, that the result of our grave, deliberate, and combined labours, is an assemblage of jargon which needs an explanatory declaration to tell what we mean by it all. As to what you surmise about our object being to keep papists, anabaptists, and puritans out of the church, it would be no concern of yours, if that were our principal object; your business is with the articles as we have judged it proper to set them forth; but in fact the exclusion of these sects is only one among the several good ends to be answered; we mean to se cure the purity of our church by excluding all that the full and plain meaning of our articles will exclude. It is therefore your concern, as you will answer it, at your peril, to maintain all and every of them, inviolably, in their true and literal meaning.'
As to what Dr. Paley is stated to have maintained, in his lectures, that the articles must be considered as propositions which, for the sake of keeping peace among the different sects of reformers, who originally united in composing the church of England, it was agreed should not be impugned or preached against,' it is sufficient to observe, that these propositions are, by his own account, so very numerous, that it is quite impossible for any man to preach on religion at all, without either impugning or directly adopting a very great number of them. They are so minute and comprehensive, that they leave but a very small space for the practice of that reserve and avoidance implied in this 'keeping peace,' if the phrase has any meaning.
In short, the national church either has a defined doctrinal basis, or it has not. If it has not, what a mockery has been practising in its name on the nation and on Christendom for several centuries, in representing it as, next the scriptures, the most faithful depositary, and the grandest luminary, of the Christian religion; while the truth has been, as we are now called upon by some of its ablest members to understand, that it has really, during all this time, had no standard of doctrine at all, the instrument, purporting to be such, having been in fact nothing more than a petty contrivance to keep out two or three disagreeable sects. If the church has a defined doctrinal basis, that basis can be no other than the thirty-nine articles. And these articles, taken in their literal meaning, are essential to the constitution of the church; else, they are still nothing at all, they impose no obligation, and can preserve or preclude no modes of opinion whatever. And their being thus essential to the church, means that they are essential to
be, all and every of them, faithfully believed and taught by all its ministers. Therefore, finally, every man who says he cannot subscribe, or has not subscribed, the articles, in this upright manner, says, in other words, that he has no business in the church It is not the question what the articles ought to have been; he must take them as they are; and by the same rule that he must take any one of them he must take them all, as they all stand exactly on the same, authority. Till they are modified or changed by that authority which was competent to constitute, and is competent to alter, the ecclesiastical institution, any clergyman, who remains in the church disbelieving any one proposition in its articles, violates the sanctity and integrity of the church, and, as far as we are able to comprehend, must violate his own conscience. He cannot but know, that on the same principle on which he presumes to invalidate one article, other men may invalidate any or all of the remainder, and thus the church may become a perfect anarchy, a theatre of confusion and all manner of heresies. According to this view of the subject, Dr. Paley had no right to enter the church, or remain it; and by doing so, he dishonoured his principles. He is thus placed in a striking and unfortunate contrast with such men as Jebb and Lindsey, whose consciences were of too high a quality to permit such an unsound and treacherous connection with the established church; and in a parallel, not less striking and unfortunate, with such a man as Stone!
This ungracious subject has unexpectedly detained us so long, that no room is left for other observations which had occurred to us in reading these memoirs.-By means of his situations in the church, and of his writings, Dr. P. appears to have made a good fortune. His biographer loudly complains, no withstanding, of the scanty patronage and preferment in which he was fated to acquiesce; and in a strain, that really sounds very much like saying, that these things were the appropriate and grand reward for which he was to prosecute all his labours. We have no doubt, however, that Dr. Parey had motives of a higher order than his friend seems capable of appreciating; while, with all our perception of his very serioas defects, we rejoice in the benefit that present and futere ages will derive from those writings, in which he has so powerfully defended religion.
Nearly half this volume consists of reprinted tracts of Dr. Paley, and analyses of several of the single sermons published by him at different times. As all his tracts are now collected into a volume, propriety will dictate the omission of them in a second edition of Mr. Meadley's book.
Art. V. The English Encyclopedia; being a Collection of Treatises and a Dictionary of Terms, illustrative of the Arts and Sciences. 10 vols. 4to. Kearsley. 1802.
Art. VI. A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. By G. Gregory, D. D., &c. &c. 2 vols. 4to. R. Phillips. 1806.
Art VII. The British Encyclopedia, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, &c. &c. By William Nicholson. 6 vols. 8vo. Longman and Co. 1808.
Art. VIII. The Encyclopedia Londinensis, &c. &c. 4to. (In course of
Art. IX. The Encyclopedia Perthensis; or, Universal Dictionary of
Art. XII. Encyclopædia Britannica, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences on a New Plan, &c. &c. 4to. (Now publishing.) Bonar, Edinburgh. Art. XIII. The New Cyclopædia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences formed upon a more enlarged Plan of Arrangement than the Dictionary of Mr. Chambers, &c, &c. By Abraham Rees, D.D. F.R.S., &c. 4to. (Now publishing) Longman and Co.
Art. XIV. The New Encyclopædia; or, Circle of Knowledge and Science, digested in a concise and popular manner, in distinct Treatises, &c. &c. By William Enfield, M. A. 12mo. vol. 1. Tegg.
IF the age in which we live cannot be complimented with the title of Augustan, we may at least denominate it the Age of Encyclopædias: if we cannot exult in being contemporaries with Addison, and Temple, and Steele, and Pope, we can boast, nevertheless, of our geometers who rectify the whole circle of the sciences;' and can anticipate the period when our children will be as puzzled to find a house unprovided with a General Dictionary, as destitute of a window or a hearth. In former times, the liberal arts and sciences receded from the touch of plebeian hands, and only craved audience of monarchs and great men. Lately, they have condescended to visit the abodes of merchants, manufacturers, and artisans. But now, they solicit a residence with the rustic cottager. At such a period, we shall be accomplishing a task, somewhat laborious indeed to ourselves, but which may be interesting to the ma jority of our readers, if we concisely depict the nature and advantage of General Dictionaries, take a cursory glance at