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submit to her authority in the Church? He knew from the Scripture that a woman should not bear rule in the Church; when Paul had said that he would not suffer a woman to speak, could it be supposed that he would suffer a woman to command, and to regulate all the matters of the Church? He spoke advisedly when he said, Popery was better theology, though it might be worse policy." These and other speeches of a similar tendency were enthusiastically received by a party of 500 persons assembled to commemorate the centenary; and whatever may be the merit of the opinions professed on that occasion, they would certainly have appeared to more advantage if not delivered in one of those unseemly gatherings, a religious compotation: for few things are less to be admired than ecclesiastical conviviality.
The prospect of a union between the two establishments, though that union should only be for one object, the preserving of Church property, seems therefore as distant as ever; and, indeed, we have only to read the Preface to the Scotch Directory, which age after age is printed and circulated as containing the accredited and established opinion of the general Assembly, to see what a spirit of animosity exists between the two parties. These are a few sentences in the Preface: "Long and sad experience has made it manifest that the Liturgy used in the Church of England (notwithstanding all the pains and religious intentions of the compilers of it) hath proved an offence, not only to many of the godly at home, but also to the reformed churches abroad. For, not to speak of urging the reading of all the prayers, which very greatly increased the burthen of it, the many unprofitable and burdensome ceremonies contained in it have occasioned much mischief, as well by disquieting the consciences of many godly ministers and people, who could not yield unto them, as by depriving them of the
ordinances of God, which they might not enjoy without conforming or subscribing to those ceremonies.... Prelates and their faction have laboured to raise the estimation of it to such an height, as if there were no other worship, or way of worship of God among us, but only the Prayer Book; to the great hindrance of the preaching of the Word, and in some places, especially of late, to the justling of it out as unnecessary, or at best as inferior to the reading of Common Prayer, which was made no better than an idol by many ignorant and superstitious people, who, pleasing themselves in their presence at their service, and their lip-labour in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardened themselves in their ignorance, and carelessness of saving knowledge and true piety. In the mean time, Papists boasted that the Book was a compliance with them in a great part of their service, &c. &c.
BISHOP TOMLINE'S PLAN TO SUPPRESS THE DISSENTERS.
IN our last number, we adverted to Bishop Tomline's design against the Dissenters. We now proceed to record the fact from Mr. Wilberforce's
lately published life. "1800. There are ideas of materially abridging the privileges under the Toleration Act. I am persuaded that restraints would quicken the zeal of the Methodists and Dissenters to break though them, that prosecutions would be incessant, and that the prevalence of the persecuted opinions, and the popularity of the persecuted teachers, would be the sure result. I hope still I may be able to prevent any strong measure from being brought forward. I fear the Bishop of Lincoln (this is whispered to your private ear, in the strictest confidence) will renew his attempt next year. I lost no time in conferring with Mr. Pitt on the subject; but he G 2
had been strongly biassed in favour of the measures by Bishop Tomline, on whom I urged in vain the serious consequences that must infallibly ensue. I well remember stating to him my firm persuasion, that within a few weeks after the passing of the intended law, several of the dissenting ministers throughout the kingdom, most distinguished for talents and popularity, would be in prison; and I urged on him, that even supposing them not to be actuated by a sense of duty, for which I myself gave them due credit, or to be cheered by the idea of suffering for righteousness' sake, they would be more than compensated for all the evils of imprisonment by their augmented popularity. The Bishop, however, would not assent to my view of the case; and finding Mr. Pitt intended to bring the measure forward, I begged I might have a full confidential discussion of the subject. Accordingly we spent some hours together at a tete-a-tete supper; and I confess I never, till then, knew how deep a prejudice his mind had conceived against the class of clergy to whom he knew me to be attached. It was in vain that I mentioned to him Mr. Robinson of Leicester, Mr. Richardson of York, Mr. Milner of Hull, Mr. Atkinson of Leeds, and others of similar principles. His language was such as to imply, that he thought ill of their moral character, and it clearly appeared that the prejudice arose out of the confidence he reposed in the Bishop of Lincoln .... all, however, was of no avail, and all I could obtain from Mr. Pitt, was an assurance that the measure should not be actually introduced, without his giving me another opportunity of talking the matter over with him. Happily that opportunity never occurred; of course I was in no hurry to press it, and the attempt was never resumed: but some years after, when Lord Sidmouth's memorable bill was in progress, which excited such an
immense ferment, and produced a vast number of petitions, by which it was defeated in the House of Lords, Lord Redesdale stated, that he well remembered, during Mr. Pitt's administration, a stronger bill than that then in progress had been in contemplation, and that he did not know why it had been dropped. I must say, considering everything, I have always been extremely thankful for any share I had in preventing the introduction of this scheme!"
This is a valuable page in history, and ought not to be forgotten. It would argue a very faint knowledge of human nature, to suppose that there are not others on the bench, at this present moment, who would be quite ready to resume Bishop Tomline's scheme. Mr. Pitt's confidence in this prelate seems to have been unbounded, it was the confidence of a pupil in a tutor; but truly it was misplaced, as the following facts will shew. the death of this great minister, a meeting was convened at Mr. Pitt's house, of all his personal friends, who were his creditors. Mr. Wilberforce, who, as all the others then present, held a bond of Mr. Pitt's, proposed that they should agree to burn the evidences of the debts due to them, that the nation might not become acquainted with the embarrassed state of Mr. Pitt's affairs. All present agreed to this proposition, except one; that one dissentient was wealthy Bishop Tomline, who owed all his enormous riches to Mr. Pitt's favor. This opulent prelate demurred: he said he could not well afford to make the sacrifice, but that if he might take Mr. Pitt's library, he would burn the bond he held. This was agreed to: and then and there all the bonds were destroyed. Every gentleman present at this meeting felt shocked, that the only opposition should have emanated from the Bishop. This we heard from Mr. Wilberforce.
Bishop Tomline died worth, it is said, much more than a million.
"RESERVE."-This is at present the guard-word of the Oxford Jesuits. -We are going too fast ;not gallop yet;-the people are not ready for our startling revelations ;we must go gently, lest they drive us back. This, in other words, has been plainly inculcated in one of the lately published "Tracts for the Times."
Would it not be prudent if certain dissenting ministers were to appropriate the same motto? "Reserve," in our opinion, ought to be adopted by them; and our readers, we think, will agree with us when they read the following most extraordinary extract from the Congregational Magazine, No. xxi., Sept. 1838.
"Of late years nonconformists have sometimes betrayed a suspicion of the efficacy of their own principles in the accomplishment of God's gracious purposes towards mankind; while, at other times, they have held a language which has induced the inquiry, 'Why do you not conform?' The object of this enquiry would reply, Because the episcopacy of England is established. But then all episcopacy is not established. There is a poor and an unestablished episcopacy in America; and there is a poor, a very poor, and an unestablished episcopacy in Scotland. There are, too, bishops of the Greek Church, whose orders would give admittance to the pulpits of England, which the orders of the American Episcopal Church, magnificent as they are in the estimation of their holders,nor yet, we believe, those of the Scottish Episcopacy-would not do. Matthew Henry, though he had no intention of ministering in the Established Church, unless a change should take place in the terms of conformity, deliberated solemnly, when entering into the ministry, whether he should receive episcopal ordination, provided
he could do it without subscription; a deliberation which was terminated by the conviction that ordination by presbyters is, though not the only valid, yet the best, most scripturally regular, and therefore the most eligible ordination. And although we are no friends to episcopacy, we should have been glad to see some congregational ministers episcopally ordained, since they would thereby have acquired the consistency which is an essential element of goodness." (Page 531.)
The writer evidently felt a little embarassment in bringing out the secret wish of his heart; but, nevertheless, after some tortuosity of sentiment, this at last is clearly stated,1. That some congregational ministers ought to be ordained by bishops. 2. That ordination by bishops has in it an element of goodness!
This, we think, for the Congregational Magazine, is tolerably explicit ; and is to be taken, inter alia, as a proof of the tendency to superstition, which is certainly characteristic of the present era of our religious history.
But how sad it is to find the congregational teachers, in the fourth century of their existence, thus vacillating in their opinions; and, after all that they have said and done against prelacy, now evidently exhibiting a tendency to close with the episcopal heresy and the three orders. What if certain dissenting ministers were ordained by bishops, they would have acquired the consistency which " "is ar essential element of goodness." We ask, then, what does "consistency" mean in this passage? Obviously not an adherence to principle, for the context would require a sense exactly opposite to such an interpretation: no, it must be taken in a material, not in a moral sense; and is to be interpreted as firm cohesion, compactness, solidity, closeness of constituent parts; and this, in the opinion of the writer, may peradventure be an essential element of goodness in the mystery of clerical
government for what clergyman ever thought otherwise than that a strong clerical polity is a very good thing?
The studied ambiguity of sentiment in the rest of this curious declaration, renders it difficult to offer an explanation which the writer might not evade; but the following seems to us to be a faithful interpretation :-"The only objection to ordination in the Church of England is, that the church is a State-establishment; but episcopacy being the desideratum for acquiring consistency, dissenting ministers ought to acquire this essential element of goodness, through the medium of the Caledonian or American prelates. Should, however, their services fail to secure admittance to the pulpits of the Establishment, then recourse should be had to the Archbishops and Archimandrites of the Greek Church."
The dissenting ministers who may have acceded to such a proposal must forgive us, if we indulge in a smile at the visible predicament in which they would place themselves. A virgin vessel, built for the occasion, and duly fumigated and consecrated for the voyage, according to the rites of the Greek Church, is to convey a select number of the dissenting ministers of London to Constantinople, where the patriarch of the Greek Church, with all his clergy in full pontificals, meets them on the beach with wax candles, holy water, and the pictures and banners of the saints. The venerable visitors are conducted in solemn pomp to the high altar; and after an orthodox confession of faith, and an abjuration of the Nestorian and Eutychian heresies, they worship the pictures of the Panagia and the saints; and then with chrism, holy water, ringing of bells, burning of incense, exorcism, and intonation of the litany of St. Basil, are elevated through the lower grades of acolyth, reader, subdeacon, and deacon, to the point of their ambition, a canonically-ordained presbytery, by due imposition of episcopal hands;
after which they return to England, laden with relics of the saints, and with proofs of consistency."
It would be well for the dissenters if we could thus smile away the frivolities of the priestly spirit; but, alas! that spirit may not be so dealt with. When once it has formed a lodgment in the heart, it is a strong man armed, and will not be persuaded to quit its hold for, however it may be disguised with ecclesiastical phrases, it is easily recognised as that absorbing passion, the love of power, which ought never to be admitted for a moment in the Christian fold. "He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."
To us all this is a most instructive lesson. It teaches this ascertained truth, that where there is not a perfect equality in Christian Churches; or when that equality is set aside by a monarchy, as amongst the dissenters, then the old strivings of the sacerdocy must sooner or later be made manifest. There the minister, a single ruler, will begin to be discontented with the still incomplete portion of prerogative allotted to him; and in spite of the oral tradition of congregationalism, which, in theory, places the power with the whole body, will be casting about for means to consolidate his power-will be anxious to possess "the keys”— will have an itch for "binding and losing"-will be looking with tender affection to the canonical law, and will be endeavouring "to acquire consistency" through the help of the prelacy, as an essential element of goodness.'
We are fully aware that many dissenting ministers will be little disposed to accept the Puseyism of some of their brethren, and will little admire the extract which we have here given from the Congregational Magazine; but still the extraordinary passage has been published, and is part of an elaborate paper evidently composed by a leading hand amongst the dissenting clergy:
and though it is the first time, as far as we know, that any one of the congregationalists has, in an acknowledged publication of the sect, dared to recommend episcopal ordination; yet other articles of a decidedly sacerdotal import have occasionally appeared in the Congregational Magazine, sufficient to let us know which way the current is tending.
IN Ireland, the clergy of the Established Church are too much alarmed by the menacing attitude of Popery, and too well understand the enemy, however disguised, not to know what dreaded visage is concealed by the Oxford Mask. The Irish clergy, who have visited Oxford and enquired into Puseyism, who have heard the sermons of the Puseyite Doctors, read their tracts, and seen their worship, do not scruple to say at once, "this is Popery;" neither can they be suaded to hearken to the elaborate cial pleadings of the party, by which they endeavour, for the present, to draw a distinction between the theology of the Oxford tracts and that of Rome. The feelings of the Irish clergy may be seen, in the following declaration of the clergy of the diocese of Ardagh; at a meeting convened by the vicar general, pursuant to requisition, and held in Longford, Dec. 10, 1838.
Resolved, 1.-"That we cannot but view with extreme sorrow, the progress of certain opinions which have emanated from a few divines in Oxford, and which it is to be feared has found some advocates in this country also, tending to overthrow the fundamental grounds of the Protest raised in the sixteenth century, by the blessed reformers against the apostasy
of the church of Rome."
2.-" That we should feel ourselves unworthy of the name of Protestants, and more especially of ministers of the Church of England, if we did not lift
our voice in opposition to sentiments, (proceeding from whatever quarter they may), which make light of the awful errors of Popery-errors denounced by God in his word, as making the spiritual Babylon, from whose soul-destroying abominations all Christians are commanded to flee."
3. "That venerating, as we do, the memories of our pious forefathers, who loved not their lives unto the death, in contending against the Pope as the Antichrist of the New Testament, and the Papal system as the 'apostasy of the latter days,' we can never consent to relax, in any degree, the high standard of Protestantism, bequeathed to us by those holy martyrs, or confound the everlasting distinction between the word of God and the traditions of man, which they have handed down."
4." That we have met as a diocese, to record these our unanimous and deliberate opinions, in the hope that our brethren, generally, may see fit to adopt the same course; and thus endeavour, by sounding the alarm, under divine blessing, to arrest the progress of an evil which is threatening fatal consequences to the purity of our reformed faith, and is wounding our church insidiously and dangerously, in the house of her professed friend.'
Signed on behalf of the Clergy, George Crawford, LL.D. Vicar General.
This is the old spirit reviving; but in England where the alarm is less, and where Popery appears as a rising, not an overpowering evil, the clergy are generally too much in love with sacerdotal power, which they know is best supplied by Puseyism, to feel it requisite at present thus to defend the Protestant religion. The time however is coming, when the evangelical clergy will be obliged to find out the boundary of their pretensions, and on that boundary to raise the standard