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The Union of Church and State Anti-scriptural and Indefensible :
including a particular Review of Chancellor Dealtry's “ Sermon," and of Archdeacon Hoare's “ Charge” in Defence of the Church of England ; and exhibiting every material Argument hitherto advanced for and against political Establishments of Christianity. By the Rev. W. Thorn, Winchester. 12mo.
pp. 476. London : Jackson and Walford. Amidst the splendours of alpine scenery, the highest elevations are often seen to stand forth, dressed in the light of the morning, whilst the humbler mountains, or the lowly valleys, are yet shrouded in the gloom of undispelled darkness. It is thus that reformers are in advance of the age in which they live. The loftiness of their mental stature raises them above the level of surrounding objects, frees them from the mists of error and prejudice; and allows them to catch for themselves, and to transmit to times and regions, more or less remote, the rising lustre of eternal truth. The fact, however, that they are thus in advance of their contemporaries, will often place them in a position by no means to be envied, so far as their personal tranquillity is concerned. Truth, in general, makes but a tardy advancement in the public mind : it has to encounter prejudices, imbibed in infancy and confirmed by years: the collision will often produce a feeling, more or less malignant, in the bosoms of those who have a presumed interest in the perpetuation of error towards the men by whom its quiet resting place has been disturbed. The most enlightened and benevolent friends to their species must, therefore, be prepared to receive, as a return for their exertions, the misrepresentation of the present age; and to leave it to posterity to award the meed of approbation to their name. Though truth, however, may be tardy in its advancement, its progress is certain, and its conquests will be triumphant. There is a practical good sense existing in the minds of an educated people, which inclines them, when it is presented to their view, to examine it with attention, embrace it with caution, but when once received, to hold it with an unrelaxing grasp.
Amongst those who have anticipated the age in which they live must be classed the men who first sought to place the religion of Christ on the simple but solid foundation of scripture authority, unallied to those secular associations, which have only served to pollute its sanctity and to paralyze its strength. The number of these, even amongst the Puritans, was comparatively small, principally those who adhered to the congregational system of polity. Those devoted men, the Puritans, were, in general, content with protesting against the abuses connected with secular establishments of religion, without, perhaps, perceiving that the evils of which they complained were
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the necessary consequences of that antichristian constitution; and that the principle of an establishment, by being the parent of the rest, was the greatest evil of all. Even they, however gifted, pious, and learned, were afraid to trust the religion of Christ on the only basis which is either congenial with its own nature, or correspondent with the will of its author; and they seemed to cling to the notion that its ethereal spirit would vanish, unless it were detained and enveloped in legislative enactments and material forms. It would be easy to account for this prevailing error in even their lofty minds. For thirteen or fourteen centuries, almost the whole of Christendom had been so accustomed to the practice of this unnatural alliance, between secular and spiritual things, that the principle upon which it was constituted seems to have been received as an axiom in moral science. It required, therefore, time, and experintent, and research, for even gifted minds, disabusing themselves of the fallacy by which they were entangled, to retrace their steps to the point from which Christianity commenced its successful assault on the surrounding empire of darkness; and to which it must come again ere its conquests will be complete. It is one of the most auspicious signs of the times, that this question is now brought fairly before the public view; and that it has been fearlessly advocated in this country, and in Scotland, by men of whom in truth it may be said, that, on account of their talents, learning, and piety, they rank amongst the brightest ornaments of the religion which they recommend. It has been the opinion of many, that these men have greatly anticipated their age in the uncompromising manner in which they advocated the abstract principle of nonconformity; that, however true in itself, the extensive promulgation of it at the present period was not expedient; and that the subsidiary streams which supply the tide of public opinion should have been allowed to operate somewhat longer, and raise it to a higher elevation, ere they ventured to launch a proposition, the safety of which might be perilled in the attempt. We imagine, however, that the result has falsified these groundless fears. The truth, thus announced, has startled the apprehensions of some and offended the prejudices of others; but in the same degree it has excited inquiry-inquiry has ended in conviction; and the question of the sufficiency of those means, devised by infinite wisdom for the maintenance of its own cause, has gained upon the public mind.
But we must speak of the work which has suggested these observations, and it is but justice to its author to declare, that it reflects, in a very perceptible manner, the characteristic qualities of his own mind; indefatigable patience of research; niceness of discrimination; a sound judgment to weigh in an even balance the evidence relating to truth; and a moral courage to embrace and avow it wherever it may be found. Mr. Thorn has laid under requisition a vast number of writers, to aid him in arriving at his conclusion. Friends and foes, Churchmen and Dissenters, have each been pressed into his service. He has examined, with a manly candour, the objections of the one, and placed in a forcible light the arguments of the other. If the number of the citations, proving as it
does the extent of the author's reading, should break, in some degree, the continuity of thought, the reader will be compensated for this trifling disadvantage by the ample stores of literary intelligence, collected from so many quarters, which are thus brought before his view. In fact, this volume may be pronounced a synopsis of the controversy on the secular establishment of religion; and the following extended table of its contents will show that Mr. Thorn has scarcely omitted to notice an argument that has been employed on either side of the question.
“ INTRODUCTION. " Reasons for publishing this work; And for introducing a great number of citations ; The object proposed in the ensuing discussion; Obligation of Christians to recur to apostolic order; An appeal to persons who object to religious controversy ; We are influenced by no personal antipathies; The subject of Establishments not yet exhausted.
“ Book First.—THE UNION or CHURCH AND State.
« Chap. FIRST.-A explanation of leading terms. “ The term Church and State explained; Constitutionally, they embrace the whole population; Several important and interesting deductions; The reasonings of A Layman shown to be impertinent.-The term Union explained; It does not necessarily suppose equality; The Church under the entire control of the State. The term Established explained; Institutions may be established by their age and prevalence; In this way the Societies of Dissenters are established; And so are many customs and practices.
“ Chap. SeconD.— Nature of our Church and State Alliance. “ Remarkable ignorance of many on this point. The State constitutes the religion of the Church; The clergy and their cures, as such, perfectly impotent; This position conceded by prelatical authority ; Dr. Lee, on the bondage of dissenting ministers, refuted; Dissenters exercise moral power, the State physical; The limitations of state-power shown to be merely verbal; The clergy, though enslaved, oppress their inferiors.-The State in effect, creates all the clergy; Our kings exercise papal authority in the Church; This position sustained by competent authorities; The State regulates the appointment of clergymen; A reference to the first four centuries against the Establishment; Clergy justly subject to the surveillance of the State.-- The State supports the Church; The incomes of the clergy, &c. paid by the people; The distinction between church-property and private; The Church inherits nothing directly from the Catholics ; No analogy between the Jewish tithes and our own system ; The absurdity of the doctrine of the divine right of tithes; Allusion to the ancient British church-property, absurd; Also A Layman's reference to early Catholic grants; The tithes granted by parliament, at Winchester, in 855; Difference between episcopalian and dissenting endowments; The original grants embraced the poor, &c.
“ Chap. Turd.— Deductions from preceding statements. « Alliance of Church and State unprecedented ; In the Old Testament--All divinely appointed, &c.; Church and State separate-Freely supported, &c.; In the New Testament—This universally conceded; Churchmen are contending for nothing scriptural; In the primitive churches-Pastors freely chosen ; All primitive churches congregational and voluntary ; Difference between primitive and diocesan bishops; Mr. Gibson's rash remarks on apostolical churches; In heathen nations, emperors heads of voluntary societies; Hence Constantine became the head of Christianity; The consequences of maintaining this doctrine.-This Union is no older than the Reformation; The steps from voluntary
societies to coercive establishments; The church first above, and then under, the state ; Erroneous notions on the antiquity of our establishment; The supposed mutual convention of Church and State.-- Episcopalians misrepresent this Alliance; They argue as if the Church were independent; And yet condemn Independent churches; The zeal of clergy less against sin than against Dissent; Their notions of two heads to the Church examined; Many of them defend an ideal establishment.
“ Book Second.—The SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. 66 The advocates of the Church misrepresent our object; We are pronounced worldlings for wearing gowns, &c.; Are set down as under the influence of Satan ; Several other instances of clerical misrepresentation.
« Chap. First.- What Church Reformers do not desire. “ Not to demolish ecclesiastical buildings; These are regarded by them as public property ; Not to oppress the consciences of Episcopalians; Dissenters charged with intolerance by their opponents; The design to make enemies to Nonconformists; Not to injure the religion of Episcopalians; Dissenters warmly attached to the doctrines of the gospel ; The alliance dissolvable without affecting Christianity ; Not to affect our civil institutions; Seceders charged with disloyalty and disaffection; Independents denounced as the murderers of Charles I.; This shown to be contrary to historical testimony; Independent, formerly, a civil as well as ecclesiastical term; Not to expel religion from civil institutions ; This broadly charged upon Church Reformers; Warburton's views, on this doctrine, stated; How far the prerogatives of civil rulers extend; Not to interfere with magistrates' religion ; The contrary implied in the charges of their adversaries; The domination and freedom of rulers widely different; How far rulers may go in supporting their sentiments; The conduct of David on preparing to erect the temple; Not to prevent a national system of education ; A system of moral education practicable, &c.; This materially different from a national church; Not to appropriate the endowment of the church; Dissenters believe the voluntary principle the best ; They would be indirectly relieved by a dissolution ; The views of Episcopalians on this particular.
“ Chap. SECOND.- In what this Separation consists. “ The Church prostrate at the foot of the State ; Our views summarily stated by Milton and Daubeny; To allow to all freedom of faith, &c.; Not properly the case now with any denomination ; To permit people to elect their pastors; That the people are unqualified to choose' - answered ; This privilege scriptural-evils of patronage exposed; To abrogate tithe-laws, church-rates, &c. Early churches flourished without state-endowments; The' VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLE' explained ; Free, in respect of rulers-compulsory, in respect of God; How this principle operated among the Jews; "That the Church is freely upheld' examined ; To prevent the clergy being political officers; Numerous clergymen justices of the peace-its evils; Bishops in parliament objectionable; Heads of other sects equal right to sit in parliament; To open our Universities, &c. to all parties; The Church, a system of unjust monopolies; The property of our Universities, national ; Other charitable foundations equally abused; To abolish our ecclesiastical courts; These courts enumerated-highly objectionable; Their influence diminished by public opinion ; To place all sects on an equality; This must be done before Dissenters are satisfied; Corroboration of the foregoing propositions ; The Ecclesiastical Knowledge Society'; Declaration of Church Reformers at Poole; Views of · The Congregational Union'; And of The Glasgow Voluntary Church Society.'
“ CHAP. THIRD.--Future application of Ecclesiastical Revenues. “ Clergy have incomes, but no real church-property; Their stipends fall as a tax on the community ; Ecclesiastical uses embrace charity and education ; Proved from acts of parliament and official concessions ; This the case from the earliest ages of the church ; Specific church-endowments to be untouched ; All clerzymen to enjoy their stipends for life; All national property, enjoyed by the
church, to be applied to educate and support the poor ; No reform, less than this, safe or satisfactory.
“ Book THIRD.-PARTIES MOST INTERESTED IN THIS CONTROVERSY. “ The influence of interest, &c. on the judgment; Many act under exciting misrepresentations ; This both a religious and political question.
“ Chap. First.- Natural Advocates of this Union. “ Difficulty in classifying society on the subject; Government will defend the Union ; But only under erroneous views of the case ; That a dissolution would abridge its prerogatives; The lofty position of the State over the Church; That a separation would diminish its grandeur; The imposing aspect of a state-church ; This is more in imagination than reality ; That it would lessen its influence; Clergymen would not be such servile adherents ; Legislators, &c. adverse to strict church-discipline; This illustrated ip the case of James I.; The Church, upon the whole, weakens the State; Clergy loyal only while pampered by government; Bishops have been the greatest troublers of nations ; Locke's observations on this particular; Paley's views on the design of esta. blishments; The aristocracy, advocates of this Union; They are naturally opposed to a dissolution ; Lest it should injure their property; But property, justly theirs, would not be affected; Lest it might affect their order; Church patronage their principal prerogatives; their fears for the civil constitution groundless; Lest it might affect their families; Preventing posts for their younger sons, &c. Lest it should injure true religion; This shown to be a mistaken impression; The influence of the aristocracy not excessive; Tax for secular and religious purposes widely different; The Church rests entirely on pains and penalties; The rich Clergy opposed to a dissolution; Curious assumptions in favour of establishments ; Remarkable reasonings on this point; Selfishness at the bottom of their measures ; The separation would abridge their numbers; many of them would never have been chosen; Tabular view of the clergy and their hearers; Six thousand pastors enough for the church people; It would destroy their secular independence; Their incomes secure, independent of their conduct; Their usual reasonings on clerical dependence; Voluntary episcopal chapels referred to; The clergy unconscious of real public opinion; It might seriously curtail their incomes; This, in many cases, very desirable ; Many rich ministers demanding higher revenues; Rich bishops odd successors of the poor apostles ; Mr. Scott's views of genteel clergymen; Clerical incomes paid as to civil officers; Independence of the Church desired by many; Clergy partial in enforcing laws, canons, &c.; Interested lay advocates of the Union; Cranmer and A Layman's views of Prebendaries, &c.; Cathedral institutions expensive and useless.
“Chap. Second.— Natural Adversaries of this Union. “ Many Churchmen and Dissenters agree on this head; Dissenters a legal right to act in this affair; 'That the church has worked well’---answered ; it would benefit pious working clergy; They would be in much greater request; They are at present comparatively few; Would live more in the affections of their flocks; Be more respectable, as chosen by their people; The clergy under the foot of despotism ; Would receive more appropriate incomes; The working clergy get only a fourth of the pay ; Correct returns of clerical incomes still required; Mean resources of parts of clerical support; Would be more active and successful; The present system paralyzes clerical energies ; The success of the free-system in America ; l'he American churches traduced by churchmen; Statistical accounts of American ministers, &c. ; Errors as few in America as in this country; a Layman and Dr. Lee's unconscious admission; Would benefit episcopalians generally; Would restore their just constitutional liberties; Church-people deprived of all religious power; They must keep and pay officers they dislike; Would redeem their long-injured characters; They are aspersed as covetous, ignorant, &c.; This argument exposes the evils of the