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drawn : and Christians are only now endowed with those common influences which prompt, aid, and strengthen their own exertions and co-operations. · In the present situation of the world, tben, forms have the advantage over extemporaneous prayer. They are equally dictated by the Spirit; because the Spirit may influence those who compose them in their studies, as well as another in the moment of offering unpremeditated petitions. A liturgy informs us, before we repair to the house of worship, what prayers are to be offered in our name. We have a previous opportunity of studying them; and of either approving of their excellence, or (if we dislike them) of resolving to absent ourselves from the place where they are read. And while the minister is reading them, our attention is not divided; we have nothing to think of but our devotion. How differently situated is a congregation listening to extemporaneous prayer, wherein he who is their orgap and mouth, may shock his fel. low-worshippers, while they are lifted on the wing of adoration, by vulgar expressions, or ignorant, uplawful, trifling supplications; and while communing with the Almighty in their name, make them advance opinions different from those they hold ; as well as prefer petitions foreign to their wishes or
principles. . :. Whatever beauty and propriety the original composers of a liturgy, have given it, continue with it on all occasions. All who join in it are sure, that neither incapacity, nor indolence, nor lukewarmness, nor occasional elevation or depression of spirits; neither political biass, nor malignant passions, nor want of orthodoxy, nor excess of enthusiasm in their minister, can ..communicate themselves to the supplications which are offered
in their name and in their behalf; as may obviously be done - wherever there is no form of prayer. Now, if liturgies in general be thus preferable to extemporaneous prayers, the devotional service of the Church of England is the best of all liturgies. For sublimity, simplicity, and propriety of language; for raising the humble, cheering the contrite, soothing the afflicted; for furnishing expressions to sentiments of divine affection, supplication, praise, and thanksgiving ; for reason, ableness in its progress from exhortation to confession ; from confession to an offer of absolution to sincere penitence; from thence to prayers for divine assistance; mingled with praise, thanksgiving, the reading of the word of God, and solemn professions of faith; for providing petitions for all the exigencies of men in general, and even for the various temporal wants of individuals ; for propriety in conducting public worship, by short prayers, responses, and other innocent means, which stimulate attention, and prevent devotion from growing weary; the liturgy of the Established Church, for all these excellencies, stands unrivalled amongst human compositions *.,
THE REIGN OF JAMES 11.
Contents. I. Contradictory Promises and Conduct of James.
II, Remark on the Power of dispensing with the Test, -III. The King courts the Dissenters, in order to fapour the Catholics.-IV. Court of Ecclesiastical Commission.-V, Attempts to introduce Catholics into the Universities. VI. The Nonconformists see the Designs, and reject the Protection of James.--VII. The Church Party call in the Interference of the Prince of Orange. --VIII, The Bishops are imprisoned for refusing to read the new Declaration of Indulgence.--IX. The Prince of Orange declines to sanction the Suspension of the Test.-X. Universal Odium against the King. XI. His Abdication and Character.---XII. Acts of Parliament.-XIII. Learned Divinos. XIV. Miscellaneous Matters.
1685. I. PROMISES, costing little, and being a convenient mode of conciliating popularity, are often made in profusion by monarchs, on their accession, with small, or soon-forgotten intention of performance, James II. promised to protect the Protestant religion; and (as if example were not indispensable to protection), on the second Sunday after his accession, went
publicly to mass. He filled the Parliament with men enamoured of the doctrine of passive obedience; and sent an agent to Rome to prepare the re-admission of England within the pale of the Catholic church *. To palliate these actions, sufficiently indicative of his principles, he repeated his assurances of preserving the established government, both ecclesiastical and civil: and the Parliament, in return, voted him so large a sum, as enabled him to maintain his forces, independently of their further assistance.
Parliament wished the laws against Dissenters to be enforced; but were compelled to keep silence, since that object could not be attained without including the Catholic body. James boldly acquainted them, that he had retained officers in his army, who were prevented from qualifying agreeably to the recent tests. For this speech he was thanked by the House of Commons ; but opposed by Compton, Bishop of London, in the name of the whole episcopal bench. The King, foreseeing the evils of such opposition, dissolved the Parliament; and during his reign that body assembled no more.
II. By thus dispensing with the tests, in the
* The Pontiff, Innocent XI. more prudent than the Monarch, remonstrated with him on the impropriety of a measure, impracticable in itself, and likely to involve him in difficulties. Thus, Charles II. had too little zeal, and James too much, for an instrument of Ronish ambition.
case of Catholic officers, James disgusted and alienated the church, the strongest support of monarchy; and the army, the means and guards of arbitrary government. Yet this dispensing power was vindicated by a variety of precedents, and by the opinion of eminent lawyers, chiefly of Sir Edward Coke, on the principle of the King's possessing a natural right to command the services of all his subjects. But in the general sense of the people, the test was properly regarded as the great barrier to secure the Protestant religion under a Catholic monarch.
1686. III. Many members of the Establishment now opened their eyes to a consciousness of those evils with which they were threatened, and refused to co-operate with the King in his arbitrary measures; when James, determined to be absolute, began to court the Dissenters, whom he had hitherto treated with harshness *. He encouraged the re-opening of their conventicles ; and some among them fondly imagined
* Baxter was arraigned before Judge Jefferies, for some passages against episcopal power, in his Paraphrase on the New Testament. This wretch assailed his prisoner with the most vulgar brutality of abuse. "Yonder," said he, “ stands Titus Oates on the pillory; and if Mr. Baxter were on the other side, I should say that there stood two of the greatest rogues in England." The Dissenters now held their religious meetings in rooms having trap-doors, holes in the partition, and back passages. They locked their doors, they had vedettes in the streets, and, through fear of detection, sang no psalms,