Изображения страниц

he being the God of order and not of confusion. And I am sure I have at least as good prayers, and the Word of God itself as pure, as I can find it in any other church. And though it is possible I may hear a neater and more elegant sermon therë, yet besides that I do not think there is so much religion, properly so called, in hearing serman's, they being not so much in reference to God as to ourselves, and for our own benefit ; I sav besides this, if at my return home from such a sermon, I sit down, and consider what I have gotten by my wandering, I shall find, that rather my curiosity and fancy are gratified, than piety and devotion advanced in me, and that I am rather pleased than instructed, or made either wiser or better."

The editors of the Churchman's Remembrancer have fenderēd an acceptable service to the interests of sound te ligion, in reprinting this judicious and convincing tract, and we hope that it will have as extensive à circulation as the former editions had.

A SECOND LETTÉR to the Right Honourdblé Lord VISCOUNT
Howiek ; by the Author of, Unity thë Bond of Peace,
&c. 8vo. PP. 72. Rivingtons.
THÉ acute and energetic writer of this letter, though

1 he partakes in the general satisfaction produced by the defeat of the late miniftry on the subject of what is called " The Catholic Question,” is apprehensive that it may be confidered * rather a třuce than a victory." ; · He expreffés the deepett gratitude to our beloved monarch, for his steady and unaltérable attachment to the church; but at the fame time he laments that on the part of the people there has not been an equal proportion of zeal for preserving the barriers of the Constitution, which by one clause of the bill were to be entirely swept away.

* It should not have been left," says he, 's to the single voice of Majesty to decide so momentous a question; it should not in future be considered as dependant upon a casting vote. His Ma. jeśtý should never be placed in such a situation, as that he must bear all the blame of those who might seek, and be disappointed in their šim, to subvert the national religion. Such is the love and veneration that I have for his sacred Majesty, that I would not have

* The first Letter was "reviewed it our Number for Matchi

it to him that I am indebted for that preservation, which I owe at this time to the wise and seasonable exertion of his prerogative. My own love and veneration for the constitution itself, equally dear to me as to him, ought to have been awake, and sensible to the first touch which the nerves of that constitution might receive from the hostile hand of the reformer. There are two other branches of the constitution: to these we ought to look as well as to our sovereign for the protection of thai constitution, whereof they form constituent parts. Every senator, nay, every individual in the nation, is interested in its preservation, and should be watchful to prevent all encroachments and innovations that endanger the constitution in church or state. Had they done this it would. not have been left to their sovereign to stand in the gap between them and his ministers. Had the people, to whom it belongs, by their representatives, to watch the first motion of every measure that is connected with the great principles of the constitution, come forward in the earliest stage of your bill to oppose the passing of it, as they now do to express their obligations to his majesty for doing it for them—had but the city, now so ready to join with their grateful countrymen in the praises that are due to the defender of our faith, done what they might to defend it themselves— had the people at large felt the interest which they have in this question, his majesty could never have been exposed to the trying situation that he was. Those painful feelings which he has ■been forced to endure in the defence of the constitution, might have been spared; you and your colleagues might have been still in office; and all animosity and contention, so hurtful to the public interest, and so distressing^© every true friend of his country, might have been avoided. Indeed, if you had not been well aware of that great indifference, miscalled liberality, which prevailed among all ranks of people, you would never have attempted to bring forward such a measure as a minister, whatever you might do as a private member. You would have known that it must be. instantly reprobated; that yourselves would be ranked among the disaffected; and that no confidence could ever after be ■ placed in your measures. To this it is that must be ascribed the attempt that has ended in your fall, and from which alone it is that at some future time you will be more successful, if you should fce so disposed.

«' The people must take their share in the blame as well as the ministers. His majesty, amidst all the proud trophies of a nation's gratitude with which he has been surrounded on the occasion, might with a sinile of conscious superiority, "a countenance rather in sorrow than in anger," give this short answer to all the addresses tint have poured in upon him, "Go And Do Te LikeWise."

"In giving so little merit to the people, or rather throwing so much blame as I have done upon them, at a time when they are


perhaps indulging no small share of praise and self complacence from their zeal for the church, and their choice of representatives, who will be the friends and supporters of the constitution, I may be considered as wanting in justice to the loyalty of their feelings, and forgetful of the exertions which they are making to express it. My fears and apprehensions too for the future may appear as unfounded as the past; and whatever might have been the alarm, or the actual danger of the moment,, no such thing, they will say, can happen again; and if it should, the king will take care of us as he did before; and we have now ministers and members that will stand by him in the defence of the church.

'You, my lord, are too well acquainted with human nature to be surprised at my fears. Elated as the public may be by a temporary triumph, and secure as they may think themselves in the numbers that the popular enthusiasm will have added to the friends of the king, you know how soon and strong, the tide may run another way. The public rejoice, but they scarcely allow themselves to understand the subject of their joy. It isa victory, but over whom obtained, or what arethe probable advantages to be expected from it, are questions which they are too deeply engaged to inquire. I rejoice, but it is with trembling; and unite with every grateful voice in sounding the praises of our great deliverer; but at the same time I fear, and you too well know the ground of my fears. While I contemplate the danger we have at this time escaped, I look forward with trembling anxiety to what is yet to come; and the aggravation of my uneasiness is, that in proportion to the fears I entertain, is the confidence that you indulge that at some future time, the thing will be done.

"Men who have no strong principle of their own to guide them, but must be governed by the conscience of another; who are indifferent, careless, and unattached to any principles, and alike uninterested in all, cannot be very formidable opponents; cannot be expected to make any strong stand in defence of their church; cannot do much in its support against the numerous and increasing enemies that it has to encounter; but must at some time or other be found in such a state of security and weakness, of blind confidence in their safety, and inaptitude to all exertions that are necessary to defend it, that they must be overpowered by their zealous and increasing enemies—enemies that are never disheartened by defeat; that have always fresh forces to bring into the field; that have sworn eternal hatred to our church; that will never cease to harrass us with their petitions, motions, remonstrances, and demands, until they at length obtain the object oF their wish—the fell of our church, if not the ascendancy of their own." \

That these fears are very serious and well grounded is skewn not only from the general apathy of the people, bu^

fxoo from the fémárkable concessions of some of our statesmen who opposed the Catholic Question, not as intrinsically bad, but as being, only unseasonable. In thụs allowing that it is nôi the time for such a measuré, ihese politicians admit that there is nothing objectionable in the measure itself. .. : This consideration is discussed at length, and with consis derable force of reasoning in this terter. It is heré proved that the spirit of the Romisli religion is the fame that it always was, and that not even the laxity of principle in this liberal and enlightened age, which is prepared to fall in with any feligion that might have ihe ascendance, of at least to give no opposition to any, would be safe froin its tyrannous and oppressive power."

The author very ably vindicates the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge against the petulant and impérti. ment accusation of Lord Grenville. Most strange it is that any man of common understanding should presume to ceń. sure a religious Society for expressing a concern aboût å public measutê which affected élité religion they professed; and for the support and propagation of which they were at'sociated.

Yet this lofiy štátésiñañ did śo presume, and thus he is answered by the letter-writer, who is a member of that society as well as his lordship.

“ In questions that concern the religion of the country, the very existence of tRat church of which they are all members, will his 1ordship say that such å society should feel no interest ; that they should leåve these things to statesmen, to public men, and confine themselves to the distribution of prayer books and tracts, which would be no longer of any use, if there were no longer a Protestant Cliurch, and Protestants to use themSuppose that our statesmeh, our public men who arrogate to themselves the power of ruling and disposing of our church, as ta political measure, were to introduce a bill at once declaratory of its total abolition, or only of the dissolution of its alliance with the state, that it must in future take care of itself, and look to its own preservation and safety; for that the government of the country would have nothing further to do with the Church or its concerns; must not the sociéty interpose éven by an humble petition, because it is a religious society? must not the clergy complain, because političs is not their province ? must no friend of the church come forward to point out its injuries, because the measure is a political one, and religion has nothing to do with political questions : that it is a bu. sitress which must be left altogether to státesten, to public men? "They, whose object it is to promote the gospel of peace, to



support that Church which is the bond of unity and Christian love, must they feel no alarm in the time of danger ? must they express no fears? must they feel no joy when the danger is overpast? Is it to the purposes of their institution of no consequence whether the church, already too much divided, he still more divided than it is, whether the Church bę Romish or reformed; whether the church which they are associated to support, be the national church, or whether other churches prevail against them; whether there be any religion or none? It is of the very essence of their instiiution that they should uphold, strengthen, and unile the church, by law established ; and when they see a measure which has a tendency to divide rathes than to unite, to sow the seeds, of dissenzion father than the seeds of union, are they to feel no interest in such a ques tion? When they see that instead of that peace and good will which the gospel is intended to promote on earth, animosities and strifes are the necessary effects of such measures, are they to feel no interest in such questions? Must they be afraid to express, a fear, a petition, or even to offer up a ihanksgiving, lest they should be considered as interfering in the province of public men Preces et lachrymæ, sunt armæ Ecclesia, but you will not allow them ever: these. .

. The author then goes on to shew, that so far from the clergy and religious Tocieties being deserving of blame for meddling with such questions, it is the duty of every mem. her and friend to religion and the church, to feel an inte reft in a measure that concerns their religion and the church.

* Whether clergy or laity, all are interested, deeply interested in such questions. Whether the danger bę nearer or more remote, if such be the consequence that is likely to arise from the measure, it must be allowed to those who will be eventually injured, to complain; and it is a duty which they owe to them. selves and to their posterity, to oppose it with temper and firm.' ness; to appeal to the legitimate sources of protection in the time of danger; to express their grateful feelings to the same legitimata source when the danger has been averted. It might be considered as too nearly verging upon a political measure if they were to have a prospective view, to future danger, and to carry their precaulion so far as to be careful in the choice of their representatives ;' but as questions of high concern to the interests of religion have been canvassed, and may again be so by public men, and we may not have always the friend to look to who has stood our friend upon the present occasion, it might not be too great a stretch of our caution and care, to consider to whom we commit the power of de.. ciding questions on which may depend whether at a future time, the national church be the Romish or the Reformed, whether our chil. dren shall be Catholics or Protestants, whether the church have


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »