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less limited than it is at present, and the acts of despotism which it could commit with daring impunity are so strikingly displayed in the violent death of more than one Queen to gratify the passoin of a licentious monarch. That no universal resistance was made to his spiritual oppression cannot be justly urged as a proof that the majority of the people acquiesced in it, any more than that their submitting to his acts of civil oppression manifested their entire approbation of them: especially as there were many individuals, (amongst whom the most distinguished were Sir Thomas More, who had been Lord Chancellor, and Fisher, Bishop of Rochester) who did resist the ecclesiastical authority he assumed: some being beheaded, others burnt at the stake, for their non-submission, and many more, we have every reason to believe, in dread of similar punishinents, outwardly conformed to what they mwardly disliked. This is rendered highly probable by the fact, that on the king's requiring his subjects to swear, under the penalty of treason to all who refused the requisition, that he was supreme Head of the Church, two insurrections subsequently took place, one in Lincolnshire, in which 20,000 individuals refused the oath, and another in the north of England, of a still more formidable kind: and though they were suppressed, the former by the proclamation of a general pardon, the latter by an armed force, after an obstinate resistance, it cannot be supposed that the insurgents, though subdued by punishment, and overawed by fear, afterwards willingly consented to the ecclesiastical

supremacy and spiritual domination of the king: Edward VI. inherited by succession the spiritual power which his father had usurped and made hereditary: and the council, appointed by Henry's will to regulate spiritual affairs during his minority, introduced considerable changes in religion, repealing the late king's acts respecting the six articles, and passing others in direct opposition to them, by which all images were removed from the churches, a new liturgy was appointed to be read in them, and new articles of faith to be taught. These deviations from the ceremonies and doctrines enjoined by royal authority in the preceding reign, were so important, that if we suppose the people to have voluntarily submitted to the ecclesiastical regulations of Henry, they must have been adverse to those of Edward and his council: especially as the ejected images had for ages been the objects of superstitious veneration, and the lower orders of the people, particularly in country places, were strongly attached to religious processions and wakes, which were abolished at the same time with the images : and that a large proportion of the nation were strongly opposed to these changes is evident from the insurrections that they occasioned in several counties, of numerous bodies of men, those in Devonshire amounting to 10,000, and those in Norfolk to 20,000. If however, for the


sake of the argument, we suppose the alterations made in the reign of Edward, in the ceremonies and doctrines of the church, to have been acceptable, notwithstanding the opposition of multitudes, to a majority of the nation, it must be conceded, as a necessary consequence of this admission, that those which were again introduced in the succeeding reign-that of Mary, who, in the exercise of her ecclesiastical authority, annulled all the acts of her brother in favour of the Protestant religion, and restored the Roman Catholic—were unacceptable to the people, and that the head of the church, in enforcing these changes, acted in direct opposition to the will of the nation : inference which seems to be authorised by the fact, that Mary had recourse to the most bloody persecutions to enforce her edicts, which were resisted by multitudes, many of whom fled from the kingdom, many died in prison, and many were burnt at the stake. Should we again make the supposition, that the majority of the populace were brought over, by compulsory acts, to the queen's opinions, and became willing slaves of the Roman Catholic church, they must, then, assuredly, have been adverse to the ecclesiastical supremacy of Elizabeth, the successor of Mary, who, in the exercise of that supremacy, as head of the Church of England, abolished the statutes of her Catholic sister, and restored the Reformed Religion: unless, indeed, we could suppose, that the will of the reigning monarch could change the religious opinions of the nation, in a moment, by the powerful operation of some secret charm, similar to that by which the royal touch was once supposed to cure one of the most malignant diseases to which the human frame is subject. The days, however, in which the public had faith in such miraculous cures of either moral or physical evil are gone by, and it is now generally known that men are not formed of such Protean matter as to be capable of being suddenly transformed from one thing to another, either by the exercise of their own will, or the influence of that of others, however exalted the station they may occupy in the church or the state.

The acts of Elizabeth, if not altogether as bloody, were, at least, as despotic as those of Mary: and there can be no doubt that they were opposed to the wishes of a great body of her subjects. The nation was, probably, at the time of her accession to the throne, as of that of Mary, pretty equally divided in opinion on religious subjects, so that the edicts of both must have been disliked by multitudes, as is, indeed, proved by the evidence of recorded and well authenticated facts. As to the acts of Elizabeth, especially those of supremacy and uniformity, it is matter of history that they were much disliked by great numbers both of the clergy and the people, and that they consequently drove thousands out of the bosom of the church,

both ministers and laymen, many of whom endured the severest sufferings, rather than submit to them.

We are borne out then, by the evidence of history, in asserting that the exercise of supreme ecclesiastical authority by the kings and queens of England, was never voluntarily conceded to them by the nation at large: that it is an usurpation of a sacred right, which their subjects never resigned into their hands, and, as was previously observed, never could transfer to them, consistently with their duty to a higher power. Every earthly prince, therefore, who assumes spiritual supremacy, whilst he invades the most sacred of the rights of man, which no civil compact or institution can confer upon him, acts at the same time, with regard to the Deity, that most presumptuous part, which the poet, in bitter irony, calls upon man to perform, as the consummation of human pride and folly.

Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod,

Rejudge His justice, be the God of God ! A second objection which is justly urged against an Established Church in alliance with the state, is, that whilst it constitutes the Chief Magistrate the Head of the Church, it authorises him, in that capacity, to dictate what forms of worship shall be practised, and what articles of faith shall be believed! Such dictation has been practised by all princes who have obtained ecclesiastical supremacy: they have, at their own pleasure, and often contrary to the expressed wishes of the clergy, as well as the people, abolished rites and ceremonies to which both were strongly attached, and forbid the preaching of doctrines which the most enlightened ministers and pious men held in the highest reverence and esteem: they have also done the reverse of this, introducing new forms, and new tenets, unacceptable to great multitudes of their subjects, insisting upon their being regarded as sacred, and received as true. Amongst these, how many trifling, puerile, and superstitious customs have been established_how many irrational, incomprehensible, and unscriptural dogmas have been promulgated !

Subjected to this ecclesiastical dictation of the temporal power, religion has frequently been made to assume the most different aspects : at one time being stripped of much that was deemed becoming in its appearance, and imposing in its habits; at another, muffled up in the most sumptuous attire, and set off with the most pompous decorations : and always, perhaps, invested with more external ornament than is consistent with the purity and simplicity of its real nature. Its language, too, as well as its form, has been rendered various, and even contradictory: being made, in one reign, to assert as solemn truth, what, in another, it had proclaimed to be pernicious error, and sometimes, in different periods of the same reign, pronouncing

articles of opposite tendency as of divine authority, and necessary to be believed. The spirit it has manifested has, also, been changeable as its form and its language: sometimes being violent and persecuting, at others more mild and tolerant, though always too assuming in its air, and too imperious in its deportment. These changes, which have been so often made in the forms and doctrines of the established religion, by the will of the ruling magistrate, have given it the character of a statepuppet, ready to play any part, however absurd or ridiculous, which the wishes of the monarch or the purposes of the state may require; nor has this character been at all diminished by the mummery and the mysticism which have frequently been connected with it. The interests of true religion have, then, been greatly injured by the varying aspect, and more than chamelion variety of colours, which the spiritual authority of temporal princes, at different times, not very distant from each other, has communicated to it: nor can we wonder, when by one of these princes, in his spiritual capacity as head of the church, a solemn proclamation was made for the encouragement of diversions on the Lord's day, usually termed The Book of Sports,' if, by many persons, unacquainted with its real nature and evidences, religion should have been regarded altogether as a farce.

This power in the chief magistrate of dictating the forms and doctrines of religion, is further injurious to it, as such authority may be, and has been, exercised by princes of the most irreligious character: the lustful Henry and the licentious Charles were both invested with spiritual supremacy, both were defenders of the faith, both heads of the church. When such profligate men as these are allowed to lay their sacrilegious hands on the ark of God, must they not pollute it? When a wicked king stands in the temple as chief pontiff, must it not be desecrated ? When a violator of the most sacred obligations, when a derider of the most holy things, assumes the office of a guardian of religion, must it not be injured by his protection; must not its purity be contaminated by his touch; must not its authority be diminished by his support; must not its divine origin be discredited by his assumption of ecclesiastical supremacy?

This supremacy, dictating the mode in which God is to be worshipped, and the doctrines respecting His nature, or will, which are to be believed, is, moreover, inconsistent with the nature of religion and of the human mind: the latter being unable to assent to asserted truths without sufficient evidence to produce conviction, and the former being incapable of existing unless it is voluntary. A compulsory religion is no religion at all: it is true, a man may utter a certain form of words, and bend his body in a certain way, as he is commanded; but except he does it with the sincere approbation of his mind, and from his own convictions of rectitude, this is not a confession of faith, nor an act of worship-it is merely the utterance of so much empty breath, merely the unmeaning inclination of the form without the solemn purpose of the spirit: or it is something much worse, it is religious insincerity, it is religious hypocrisy. The prince may extend his sceptre, and the spiritual lord his crosier ; the one may proclaim his edict, and the other pronounce his creed; but the wand of temporal or ecclesiastical authority, however widely its rule may extend over the kingdoms of the earth, cannot exercise any command over the sentiments of the soul : the threatening edicts of kings, the anathematizing creeds of priests, cannot alter the decisions of the mind. The thoughts and the affections cannot be controlled by the most arbitrary acts of power-by the persecution of the state, or the denunciations of the church ;-and if they could, if the faith we professed were the effect of compulsion, if the homage we paid to the Deity were the result of violent measures, it cannot be supposed that such faith and such worship would be acceptable to God. True worship is the dictate of the heart—true faith the conviction of the understanding alone; and no forms of public adoration, however imposing-no professions of speculative principles, however solemn—are pleasing in the sight of Heaven, unless they are voluntarily used, and made in compliance with what we sincerely believe to be the real requisitions and true doctrines of religion. This important truth, established on the strongest grounds of reason, is confirmed and sanctioned by the express words of revelation, Christ himself having declared that the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,' and that the Father seeketh such to worship Him,' (John iv. 23); adding, in proof of this solemn declaration, * God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.'

* James I.

Another evil connected with the exercise of supreme ecclesiastical authority by the chief magistrate, which cannot but be injurious to the interests of true religion, is, that to a compliance with the forms of worship, and a profession of the articles of faith dictated by that authority, high privileges are attached; whilst to non-conformity with the one, and a denial of the other, are affixed severe penalties. Such privileges and such penalties are almost the necessary consequences of an established church in alliance with the state ; the former being deemed requisite as inducements to its support, and the latter as discouragements to dissent from, or opposition, to it. Now, as these inducements will have the strongest influence upon those who have no regard for reli

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