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much pains in defending our own Episcopacy in particular, from an attack, which has nothing but its novelty, and perhaps the character of its author to support it. With respect to the former, we have already said all that is necessary to show, how little strength there is in it. In regard to the latter, we could wish to say nothing; because we are well aware how much weight-will be thought due to it. - *.. • Far be it from us to say anything that could be supposed to detract from the personal worth, and purity of morals, which distinguished the character of Dr. Campbell. We know him to have been, in general, as his biographer justly describes him—“a man of a mild disposition, and even temper, and who was not much subject to passion.” We recollect with pleasure the opinion delivered by him in favour of a repeal of the penal laws, which, in times of civil commotion, had been passed against the Scotch Episcopalians, as well as against those of the Roman catholic persuasion. And as far as we were concerned in the relief which was obtained from the severity of these statutes, all due acknowledgment was made, for the friendly part which Dr. Campbell had acted in recommending the measure, as reasonable in itself, and what, he thought, would be generally agreeable to the established church of Scotland. To express our gratitude on that occasion to him, and to every one else who had any hand in procuring for us the toleration which we now happily enjoy, was both our bounden duty, and our earnest desire; and we cannot charge ourselves with any neglect of what was so justly incumbent on us. Yet our spiritual character we must regard as of infinitely greater consequence, than any temporal indulgence which we can possibly meet with: And as it was Dr. Campbell's avowed opinion, that “true religion never flourished so much, nor spread so rapidly as when, instead of persecuting, it was persecuted, and instead of obtaining support from human sanctions, it had all the terrors of the ma
gistrate, and the laws armed against it,” we have some reason to suspect, that the removal of these terrors was considered as no great support to our cause, while room was left to beat it down from another quarter, and a proof of the invalidity of our clerical orders was thought to be a severer blow than any effect of fines and imprisonments. Relieved as we have been from the latter by the clemency of government, we must still feel the weight of the former, if not repelled by the force of those arguments, which the cause we have to maintain so plentifully affords: And should these be found to fail in producing the designed effect on every unprejudiced mind, it must be owing to the weakness with which they are urged, and not to any want of strength in the arguments themselves. One thing we wish to be constantly remembered, that this dormant controversy has not been revived on our part from any other motive than what has arisen from absolute necessity: And whatever has been said in the course of our reasoning against some of the positions laid down by Dr. Campbell, has been brought forward entirely in our own defence, and to assert our right to that firm ground, on which the belief of Episcopacy as a divine institution has hitherto rested with inviolable security. Had our Professor's Theological Lectures been confined to the chair from which they were delivered, and reached no farther than the circle of his pupils, we should not have been obliged to take any notice even of that part of them which was directly intended to eppose the principles and pretensions of what he calls the “Scotch Episcopal party;” because, as an established Lecturer, he had a right to instruct his students as he thought proper, in the peculiar tenets of his own and their profession. But when these instructions were committed to the press, and published to the world, for the evident purpose of impressing on the public mind, not only a mean and unfavourable idea of the established form of church government in the other part of the kingdom, but a thorough contempt of what still remains of the ancient establishment of this country, we could not allow ourselves to be wholly silent on a subject, with which our best and dearest interests are so intimately connected, nor suffer the Episcopal church of Scotland to appear as without a friend in the day of her humiliation, complaining as it were, in the words of the prophet, “that there was none to take her by the hand, of all the sons that she had brought up.”—If it shall be said, that the appearance we have now made in her defence would not have been attempted, had the person himself been alive, out of whose hands we have endeavoured to rescue her credit and character, it may be sufficient to answer, that if he had intended the attack to be make in such an open and public manner, he would have conducted it after a different form, and so as to have exhibited a more satisfying evidence of the truth of what has been said in his favour, “that he was uncommonly liberal to those who differed from him in religious opinions.” If, indeed, he was so liberal to the infidel Hume, as “to expunge or soften every expression that either was severe, or was only supposed to be offensive,” in his controversy with that sceptical philosopher, we might hope, that he would have been no less so to a society, or even “party,” as he calls them, professing to be Christians, and avowing a sincere and uniform belief in all the great truths of divine revelation.t But if we must
* See his “Address to the people of Scotland, on the alarms which h been raised by the bill in favour of the Roman Catholics,”
* See the Account of his Life and Writings, prefixed to his Lectures, p. 16.
f We have already taken some distant notice of the favourable opinion which Dr. Campbell entertained of the sentiments professed by one of the most insidious and inveterate enemies of Christianity, and shall ‘now produce a more direct proof of it, in the following letter written by our Professor to Mr. Strahan, the printer, and dated-June 25, 1776
not presume to call in question the assurance given to the public, that these Lectures on Ecclesiastical History were transcribed, and revised, and prepared for the press by the author himself, we can only regret that we are obliged to rely on the truth of this information; and in that case may justly apply an observation which was made on a similar occasion, that “when an author charges his blunderbuss to be fired off by his executors, it looks as if he himself was afraid of the recoil.” We shall now take our leave of Dr. Campbell, with much concern for having been compelled to accompany him so long through that thorny field of controversy into which
“I have lately read over one of your last winter's publications with very great pleasure, and, I hope, some instruction. My expectations were indeed high when I began it; but I assure you, the entertainment I received, greatly exceeded them. What made me fall to it with the greater avidity was, that it had in part a pretty close connection with a subject I had occasion to treat sometimes in my theological lectures, to wit, the rise and progress of the hierarchy: And you will believe, that I was not the less pleased to discover, in an historian of so much learning and penetration, so great a coincidence with my own sentiments, in relation to some obscure points in the Christian antiquities. I suppose, I need not now inform you, that the book I mean is Gibbon's History of the Fall of the Roman Empire, which, in respect of the style and manmer, as well as the matter, is a most masterly performance.”—See Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq. &c. published in 2 vols. Quarto, by John Lord Sheffield, 1796. In this letter we cannot but observe the most unqualified approbation given to a work, which, even from what was then published of it, justified too well the remark that was afterwards made on the whole, that—“the author often makes, where he cannot readily find, an occasion to insult our religion; which he hates so cordially, that he might seem to revenge some personal injury.” Yet a coincidence in sentiment, with respect to “some obscure points in the Christian antiquities,” was sufficient to make our theological Lecturer applaud, in the most flattering terms, this avowed bater of Christianity. It was enough to secure every encomium which Dr. Campbell could bestow, that this impious scoffer at the worship and worshippers of Christ held the same opinions as those which the Doctor himself maintained, in relation to the “rise and progress” of, what they both join in making the constant butt of their raillery-the hierarchy.
we have been reluctantly dragged. Nothing could have induced us to enter on it but an imperious sense of duty, demanding every effort in our power to protect our ecclesiastical polity from the effects of that sharp and severe treatment which it has unfortunately experienced at the hands of one of the most distinguished of our countrymen. It is with pain that we reflect on a great part of the publication now before us, and hence unhappily feel a diminution of that respect which we would gladly have entertained for the memory of Dr. Campbell. He has, however, afforded us an opportunity of reviewing the grounds on which our principles have so long stood firm and unshaken, resisting all the force of irony and declamation, even when aided by the still more powerful influence of worldly interest. And having thus, as we think, fully established what was proposed as the subject of this chapter-that a part of the holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ, though deprived of the support of civil establishment, does still exist in this country under the name of the Scotch Episcopal Church, whose doctrine, discipline and worship have been happily found to agree with that of the first and purest ages of Christianity; it will now, we trust, be an easy matter to show that these ought to be steadily adhered to by all who profess to be of the Episcopal communion in this part of the kingdom; the showing which, in as plain, inoffensive, and concise terms as possible, will, in our humble opinion, form a very suitable conclusion to the design for which these persons have been addressed on the present occasion;