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POWER OF ROMANISM, AND OF ELIZABETH.
737 Julian Pe- parties in England, respecting the origin of some of the doc- Asia Minor. riod, 4799. Irinal articles of faith professed by the Church of England, Valgarðra, may be said to have been decided by the most unbending of all 96. testimonies, that of dates. It has boen affirmed by many, that
the articles in question were borrowed from the opinions which
At the time when Elizabeth in England had peacefully re-
In the reign of James, an attempt was made to unite the Romanists of England by the bond of a new oath of allegiance. The union was forbidden by the Pope.
The ancient jealousy bad pot ceased. The opinions of the people, and the wisdom of the legislature, are alike divided, respecting the extent of the privileges which may be allowed to the adherents of the corruptions of Cbristianity. This is not the fittest opportunity of discussing the question whether the genius of Romanism is altered, or if the liberality of the Protestants is degeneratiog into weakness.
When the danger which bad threatened the establishment effected by Elizabeth had nearly ceased ; another evil arose, from the opposition of the partizans of that Chureh Polity, and of thoso VOL. II.
Julian Pe- theological doctrines, which had been
submitted to the world by Asiä Nint riod, 4799. the Reformer of Geneva. The monarchy and hierarchy yielded Vulgar Æra, to the tempest. 96.
During this struggle, the people had become divided into the austere and the profane. On the restoration of the monarchy, the latter were for a time triumphant. Infidelity ravaged the higher classes, and a gloomy discontent brooded over the lower ; while the intermediate ranks of society preserved the temperate attachment of their fathers, to the institutions of the country. The utmost jealousy prevailed among them, agaiust both the extremes which had thus threatened the extinction of their Protestant Church. In the next reign, the decision of the people was irresistibly declared against the appearance of the influence of Rome; and the most solemn national act, which has ever yet adorned the annals of a great country, gave the tbrone to a Protestant; on condition of the perpetual exclusion of Romanism from the councils of the State,
It was necessary thus briefly to allude to these transactions, that we may understand the manner in which the true religion, which confirms the existence of civil liberty, and perfect toleration, has been maintained among so many fluctuations, England still continues, as we have abundant reason to offer up our prayers to God, that it may continue, till Christ shall come to judgment, to be the only powerful state whose government is exclusively Protestant. It is necessary to the existence of truth, and freedom, and buman happiness, that this sublime distinction should continue.
In the mean time, when national profligacy, in the reign of Charles the Second, had usurped the place of national austerity; the restored 'Clergy distinguished themselves by endeavouring to heal the wounds wbich religious enthusiasm bad inflicted, by introducing a better style of instruction ; and to heal the wounds which infidelity bad inflicted, by devoting their own attention, and by directing the people in general, to the study of the evidences of Christianity. They thus established religion on that firm and immovable basis, from which it can never be thrown down. While they kept tbis object steadily in view; they were no less unanimous in writing and preaching against the ancient enemy of their Church, and of the religion of Christ in general. The good consequence of their exertions was effectually demonstrated, by the overthrow of the remnant of papal influence; at a moment when they accomplished the downfal of the despotism which would have fastened the yoke on the neck of England. By the labours of the Clergy, civil and ecclesi. astical tyranny fell together; and nevor was the nation so pow. erful, or the burcb so pure, as at the period of that glorious Revolution, which sealed the charter of that political and religious liberty, for which we had contended through so many centuries.
After the period of the Revolution, till that dreadfal shaking of nations, which commenced with the convulsions in France, a general religious repose seemed to tranquillize all pations. The influence which the Church of England exercised over the people was rudely shaken by the efforts of two of her ministers, who afterwards separated from her communion; and who in different ways have strengtbened the various religious parties, which stiil survived the restoration of the monarcby. Wesley, and Whitfield wore of opinion that the Clergy were inactivo, and they endeavoured to supply their defects. Tostead of attempting to interest the hierarchy and the state in the reformation of supposed evils, they appealed to the people against their teachers, whom they stigmatized as négligent; while they ap
PRESENT STATE OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE WORLD. 737 Julian Pe-' proved of their religious opinions, and acquitted themof immoral Asia Minor. riod, 4799. conduct. The effects of the labours of ihese zealous teachers Vulgar Æra, still continue; and when the alienation of the public mind 96. from the institutions of the country, which they too much
induced, shall be removed, the consequences of their exertions
The results of the French Revolution are so extensive, tbat
Ten years have now elapsed since the great contest which
Africa and the East are still lying prostrate before the altars of the dark idolatries of their Fathers. The voice of England has been heard in the recesses of their groves. It has resounded through their temples. Their guds are trembling in their shrines, and Dagon is falling before the ark of Jehovah. The Church aná the State of England have at length adopted the only effectual plan of accomplishing good. Without repressing by useless persecution the desultory efforts of unauthorized, and sometimes of ill-judging zeal; they have clothed' the truth of God with the robes of rightful authority, and invited the beatben and ignorant, wbom they are able to influence, to receive the Scriptures, and become free, and happy, enlightened, and holy Cbristians.
It is difficult to speak of the actual religious condition of England, without appearing to design needless offence against some one party or class, among the people. This would be equally unnecessary and unwise; and'I need not say it is contrary to my intention. I well know that I cannot even mention some few facts without offence, even though, I would speak as a Christian to all classes, not as a partizan to one. I would otherwise have observed, to what extent the three great divisions of religious opinion which prevailed in the reign of Elizabeth, still exist among us—and have attempted to form an estimate of the influence of each, both upon the people in general, upon the government, and upon the various parties in our senate. All this, however, would be misplaced, and I defer such inquiries till a
Julian Pe- future opportunity. The age is characterized by benevolent Asia Miner.
greatest, most permanent, and certain good would be effected;
With respect to the future, I consider history to be the only in-