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gion but as it promotes their worldly interests, they may be justly considered as a sort of premium on religious insincerity; and as those who are most upright in the discharge of their religious duties will not be deterred by any discouragements from performing them, they will necessarily be exposed to much persecution and suffering for complying with the honest dictates of conscience, and doing what they believe God requires them to do. Thus, whilst many wicked men are rewarded for a mere nominal profession, many of the most pious and virtuous characters will be visited with severe chastisement for uprightness and integrity ;—so that the moral qualities, which religion most imperiously commands us to cultivate, and without which it cannot exist, are made the objects of ecclesiastical censure and state persecution. We appeal, in confirmation of this fact, to the general testimony of ecclesiastical history. We appeal to the bloody statutes of persecuting kings and queens, who reduced the most conscientious of their subjects to want and misery, incarcerated them in the gloom of dungeons, exposed them to the consuming flames of faggots, or drove them into homeless and hopeless exile in foreign lands. We appeal to the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the fires of Smithfield--to the shocking cruelties that have been committed, and justified in the name of religion, not only in this country, but in every country on the face of the earth where a church has been connected with the state. We appeal to tortures too dreadful to be described, to barbarities which savages would have shrunk from perpetrating, to acts of enormous cruelty and injustice alike hateful to man and offensive to God. We appeal to the unparalleled sufferings of unnumbered martyrs, in all countries and in all climes, whilst living, and to their violated sepulchres when dead; and we invoke their injured and indignant shades to bear witness, before heaven and earth, to the nameless torments that have been inflicted, the cruel assassinations that have been committed, and the precious blood that has been shed by wicked princes in support of state religions and established churches !

Will it be replied, in answer to this solemn charge—which, at the bar of Almighty God, shall most assuredly be urged against all the crowned heads, who, usurping His authority, have hurled the thunders of the church, and wielded the arms of the state, against the most upright of their subjects, when those subjects themselves shall appear as witnesses against them in the great day of account, appealing to the deep damnation of their taking off from all the comforts of life, and from life itself;—will it be replied, that the times and the deeds to which we have alluded, are for ever gone by, and that Established Churches now tolerate other sects? But, just Heaven! is it to be endured that men should merely be tolerated for doing what they conceive to be their most solemn duty-for imitating the noble example of the first apostles and confessors of the Christian faith, in obeying God rather than man, which, were they not to do, they must forfeit the favor of Heaven, lose the approbation of their own consciences, and justly expose themselves to universal censure and contempt? It would be wrong to suppress the indignation such a reply so justly excites :—but is it true that Established Churches no longer persecute ? Has the Pope, then, at length resigned the authority he has usurped for ages and do Italy and Spain furnish no examples of religious persecution? Is the Inquisition yet abolished-and do Catholic princes exercise no persecuting power in their dominions, as the agents of a spiritual lord, if not spiritual lords themselves ? To come nearer homewhat shall we say of the Church of England ? All must allow it has been a persecuting Church at no distant period; and that, till within a very few years, it deprived Dissenters of their civil rights, unless they would convert the most solemn ordinance of the Christian religion into a stepping-stone to office; thus virtually excluding them from all places of honour and emolument in the state, to which their well-known loyalty and abilities entitled them, by imposing on them a test incompatible with their religious principles. The Test and Corporation Laws, with many other persecuting statutes, are now happily abolished; but is there nothing of a persecuting nature remaining in this Church? Does it not make Dissenters pay towards the support of an Establishment they dislike? Does it not make the validity of their marriages, with a single exception,* depend upon the celebration of a religious service in its temples, a service involving in it assent to some of its peculiar doctrines ? Does it not exclude their sons from the only colleges in this country which can bestow literary titles and rewards? Does it not still anathematize all of them who do not believe in the Athanasian creed? And do not this exaction, exclusion, and condemnation constitute a species of religious persecution, partially injurious to the interests, and most justly offensive to the feelings of Dissenters ? Do they not involve invidious_distinctions, which ought not to exist in a free country? Do they not encourage bad feeling between different orders of men, the one being more privileged than the other, merely for professing a belief in the doctrines of the Established Church pose that these grievances did not exist, or were not really what we represent them; there is always a danger, whilst any church continues in alliance with the state, lest a period should arrive, when, from motives of state policy, relating to national or foreign objects, from the violent passions and prejudices of the monarch, or from compliance with popular opinions, which are always subject to change, it should again become intolerant and persecuting. The lion is never to be trusted, however mild a look he may wear, whilst he possesses his claws and his teeth: and no security can be felt against the future aggressions of an established church, whilst its head is a temporal prince, invested with ecclesiastical and civil supremacy.

* In favor of the Quakers, or Friends.

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A third objection to an established church in alliance with the state, arises from the splendid and expensive hierarchy usually connected with it. No example of such a hierarchy is to be found in the New Testament, and no injunctions are given for the formation of it either by Christ or his apostles. The teachers of the Christian religion in the apostolic age, were all equal in rank and privilege, or rather, they were all alike destitute of rank or privilege, in the secular meaning of those words, no ecclesiastical dignity being conferred upon one, more than upon another, and nothing like external pomp


appearance being assumed by any of them. Hence, in the simple records of the first Christian Church, we meet with no long list of titled dignitaries; no Right Reverend Prelates and Fathers in God; no Lords Spiritual and Temporal; no Archbishops, or Bishops, (the word thus translated meaning originally an overseer, or overlooker); no Deans, Sub-Deans, Prebends, Canons, Archdeacons, Rectors, Vicars, and Curates. These high-sounding names, with all the ostentatious robes, rich benefices, splendid dwellings, and worldly distinctions, connected with many of them, were never usurped by any of the ministers of Christ in the apostolic age, not even by those whom he himself had chosen as his ministers, and who were invested with supernatural powers, successfully to perform the work of their ministry. The most learned and gifted of these Divinely commissioned teachers was styled, in the simple and unpretending language of Scripture, ' Paul, the Apostle,' or 'Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ,' without any ostentatious epithet, descriptive of superior rank and authority; · Saint,' which it is now usual to prefix to his name, having been added by the idolizing reverence of modern times. This great Apostle assumed no titles expressive of spiritual domination, which he absolutely disclaimed, (2 Cor. i. 24,) in common with the other apostles, who never presumed to be, what so many, with much less claim to ecclesiastical supremacy, have made themselves—lords over God's heritage.' (i Peter v. 3.)

But though no example of a spiritual hierarchy is to be found in the primitive church, and no precept is given in the New Testament for the institution of any order of ministers, invested with the powers and privileges which those constituting such a hierarchy possess and exercise, it may, perhaps, be urged in favor of its existence, that the Scriptures contain no formal prohibition of such an institution, and that its continuance is justified by its expediency. On this principle, it may be stated, that the example of the clergy is more influential, from the high situations which some of them occupy, the lofty titles by which they are dignified, and the wealthy livings they enjoy: whilst the public services of religion are rendered more impressive, by the imposing appearance of stalled prelates, and richly robed priests. It may however, on the other hand, be replied, that high rank and affluent circumstances are not favorable to the cultivation and practice of those self-denying virtues, which ministers ought to exhibit in their conduct, if their example is to be conformed to the standard of apostolic piety, (1 Tim. iii

. 1–7. Tit. i. 7.) and to exert a wholesome influence on the people; that, whatever impression is made on the public mind by the splendid appendages of an august and titled hierarchy, (and often, it should be remembered, those appendages are looked upon with jealousy, and create envy) they can never produce so much real respect and sincere admiration, as the virtues, to the growth of which they are adverse, and to the imitation of which, they are not, therefore, likely to lead ; that, moreover, as the most industrious of the clergy, who are actively engaged in performing the duties of their profession, have but a very scanty provision made for their temporal wants, their example must necessarily be destitute of that influence which is ascribed to wealth, and their situation, contrasted with that of their spiritual superiors in the church, producing in some minds compassion, in others contempt, is inconsistent with the argument of an ecclesiastical hierarchy, grounded on the imposing effect produced by its secular privileges and dignities; the majority of the ministers in the Established Church not being in possession of these, which are monopolized by a few, neither the most talented, nor the most virtuous, whom high connexions and state patronage have promoted.

That the services of the temple are rendered more impressive by the pomp of hierarchical display may, perhaps, be in some sense true, as men in general are very much influenced by external impressions: but it cannot be doubted that such display is calculated to draw off the attention from the great object of worship to His creatures, and that, whilst the senses are so strongly affected by the imposing splendor of religious rites, the mind can scarcely be enough abstracted from their influence to be wholly fixed on the sacred business in which it ought to be exclusively engaged. That worship is the most spiritual which is the least connected with those objects that remind us of man, and hence the mountain and the desert are more propitious to true devotion than the gorgeous temple, with all its pompous decorations and ostentatious ceremonies. In retirement from the presence of our fellow-creatures, whether in the solitudes of nature, or in the seclusion of the chamber, the soul may hold the closest communion with its Maker: and silence and loneliness are more favourable to such communion, than the crowded congregation, the singing choir, or the chanting priest. The imposing services of the temple, connected with a splendid hierarchy, are indeed far from being requisite to excite or cherish devotion in the heart : since neither its existence nor its ardor depends on forms of worship, being often felt most warmly, and most deeply, in the absence of all external appearances, when they are shut out from the closed eye, whilst the spirit communes in speechless converse with its God.

It may, however, be further urged in favor of the richly endowed hierarchy of an Established Church, that it renders the clergy independent of the people, who have no voice in their election, and no power to eject them from their livings, when once inducted into them: an independence, it may be said, which adds much to their dignity and their virtue, as it prevents them from becoming wholly subservient to the people's wishes, and the passive slaves of the people's prejudices. There is something very plausible in the mode of stating this argument ; as it is certainly inconsistent with the character which a Christian minister ought to mantain, to submit to a mental thraldom, preventing freedom of opinion and speech, in order to ingratiate himself into popular favor, and to secure his place in any church: but the argument is more specious than solid. It does not necessarily follow, from a minister's being dependent for his livelihood on the will of a congregation whom he serves in the office of spiritual pastor, that he must absolutely mould his opinions by theirs : it may happen, as indeed it usually does, that their religious opinions coincide on all those points of faith and doctrine deemed important by both; this coincidence being the bond, as it was the origin, of their union, and should any changes take place in their religious opinions, it will be more generally found that it is the result of the minister's influence upon the people, than of the people's upon the minister. Even in the extreme case of the minister being led, by serious inquiry, to adopt opinions diametrically opposite to those of his congregation, which all his arguments cannot induce them to embrace, and which he; therefore, cannot advocate from the pulpit, without the risk of losing his situation, as his continuance in it is wholly dependent on the people; it is by no means a necessary consequence of this dependence, that he shall suppress his own opinions, or practise any base compliance with theirs. The conscientious man, in such a situation, trying as it must be, will

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