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a good conscience, that they may be lying idle, will have quite as large a ashamed that falsely accuse your field as the others. good conversation in Christ.” Not to leave the subject imperfect,
I will just observe, that during my time at Oxford a custom obtained,
called sporting out, that is, of shutTo the Editor of the Christian Observer. when any application was made at
ting one's-self up in his room, and, Mr. Editor,
the door, maintaining a perfect siWith many of your correspondents
lence. As the wealthy are most ex-I condemn the practice of saving posed to unwelcome visitors, might “ not at home," when the fact is not
house appropriated to this purpose, tioned on the subject, said, that the in which they might take refuge for tioned on the subject, said, that the the time, whenever they wished to first man who used the expression be invisible? If the less wealthy told a lie. I think, ihat all his followers have done the same.
would consent to be shut up in a
But I have a new and additional proposal
closet, might not this answer as well?
Yours, &c. to make for the remedy of the evil. There are two causes which produce the incorrect answer alluded to, whether volunteered by the servant, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. or enjoined by the master. It is, in the first place, the natural and direct In the account of the funeral of the answer to the usual question, “Is Queen of France, which is given in Mr. at honie?” And the nega- the public papers, it is said, that "a tive is given, because it is appre- Requiem was sung by the full hended that a denial, in any other choir of Westminster Abbey, acform, may occasion offence. Now companied by the organs.” Eithet what I propose is, that the question this passage is worded with very of the visitor should be, not, Is Mr. blameable inaccuracy, or it brings a
at home? but, Is he disengaged? strange fact to the knowledge of or, Does he see company? The natu. Protestants. I forbear all comment ral and direct answer would then be upon it at present, in the hope that in favour of truth; and the inquirer, my fears niay have anticipated soneby the very form of the inquiry, thing more mischievous in this ocwould set the mind of the servant at currence than, on inquiry, might rest, respecting the fear of offence, be justified by the matter of fact. in giving the very answer that was I therefore trouble you with this apinvited. It would answer the fur- plication 10 request that some one ther good purpose, 10 the servant, if of your correspondents, who may he had any conscience, and to the have the means of ascertaining WITH master, should it come to his ears, ACCURACY the particulars of the case, and he had any likewise,of a delicate would slate them, for the informareproof of the usual practice. The tion of vour readers, and would also last advantage, which I shall men- furnish you with a copy of the Requiem, tion is, that it will set exactly a dou- that the nature of this particular ble number of reformers to work, transaction may be known to the for, supposing visitors and visited public. to be equal in number, a very fair
I remain, &c. supposition, the former, instead of
Hints on Toleration, in Five Essays. presently return. But in respect to
1. On the Right of Society to inves- his general theory of toleration, and
4. On Licensing Persons nately; and it breathes at once a and Places for the Performance of spirit of liberty, and of subinission to Divine Worship. 5. On the Li- lawful government. The author has baty of the Press. Suggested for evidently applied himself with much the Consideration of the Rt. Hon. diligence to his subject; his style Lord Viscount Sidmouth and the is clear and simple; and though many Dissenters. By PHILAGATHARCHES. obvious things are said, we are in London: Cadell and Davies. 1810. several respects prepossessed in 8vo. pp. 367.
his favour. 'He affords however, as
we think, a striking instance of the The anonymous author of these practical errors into wbich men are essays, who is professedly a dis- apt to be betrayed, when they atsenter, aed whom we should suppose tempt to systematize, in their closet, to be a minişter of the dissentiøg on a great and comprehensive subclass
, is evidently a serious and or- ject; and to lay down the various thodox Christian. He observes in exceptions, as well as the rules, his preface, that," if his work should which ought to be adopted by those excise any considerable interest in who are engaged in political dite. the public mind, he shall proceed to The course whicb has been taken complete the task he has undertaken, by the legislators of this country, by adming some further chapters on, whose errors it is the object of this the majore, juştness, &c. of an en- writer to point out, has been directly lightened religious toleration." His the reverse of that which he has work appears to have been suggest- pursued. They have seldom had reel by thecircumstances of the times, ference to any code, while they which call, as he says, " for the ba- have been engaged in the work of nishment of every thing which could legislation. When they have disengender discord;” and more parti- covered an existing evil, or have felt enlarly by the expected agitation of a pressing danger, they have resortthe ques.ion of the licences of dis- ed 10 some enactments in order to seating ieachers, on the part of Lord remove it. They have often acted veSidmouth, to whose consideration hemently, on the spur of some occathis book is especially submitted. sion, and have not seldom delayed to lo che important point be cordially repeal or mitigate their law, when agrees with his lordship, namely, in circumstances no longer demanded the opinion that the Roman Catho- its continuance. In general, the lios ooghat not lo be admitted into voice of the public, as well as that offices of trust.
Indeed, he goes of the aggrieved party, has been very far beyond that respectable lifted up in favour of the repeal, anViscount in bis jealousy of the Ro- tecedently to its being carried in map Carbalics; for he would not Parliament. However exceptionaeven admit their evidence in courts ble the conduct of the British legisof justice ; a point to which we shall lature may sometimes bave been, is
consequence of this mode of acting, that his doctrine, though it might we have no difficulty in saying that not always be suspected of proceedit is a far safer course than that other ing so far, amounts, as we conceive, extreme, to which the present au
to a general affirmation of the unlaw. thor, in common with a great por- fulness of setting up religious estation of his dissenting brethren, is in- blishments; from whence also may clined. But it is time that we pro- be deduced the duty of overthrowceed to shew what are the tenets ing, with all convenient speed, as which he would inculcate, and what many of these as may happen to the limitations and exceptions, by exist, their existence itself, and not which he has himself feli that it is the nature of the particular institunecessary to qualify his principles. tion, constituting that evil, or sin
Our author begins his work with against society, which itis necessary a critiqne on the term Toleration, in
to put down. which, as we are in haste to enter But, happily, oor author not only into a discussion of main principles, forbears from distinctly asserting, in rather than of words, we shall not the present volume,the whole of that follow him.
duty which we have mentioned, but His first Essay is on the right of a he also introduces, in the progress of government to investigate the religi. his work, a variety of remarks well ous principles of its subjects. This calculated to supply an answer to right, which he very inaccurately the whole theory with which he sets also calls the right of controlling con- out. It is said that there is in the tail science, he generally denies, on the of some serpents, an antidote for the ground that the principles of the 80 evil of their own bite. We by no cial compact do not concede it to means wish to represent our author rulers, and that society is not injur- as any other than an upright and ed by principles while they remain well-meaning man; but if he be a in the breast of individuals,
serpent, he is one of this siøgular It might be difficult to know pre- and less noxious class. cisely what is meant either by the We proceed now to exemplify controul of conscience, or the inves our remark. After stating that even tigation of the religious principles of the more complicated duties of the individuals, if the extent of our au. legislature should not involve the thor's meaning were not made mani. exercise of any influence in the fest by various parts of his work. promotion of one system of religious “The attention of the magistrate (he opinions to the detriment of anoaffirms in one place) ought to be ex- ther," he observes that " in a refinclusively directed to these two points, ed and polished form of goveroment, the preservation of morality, and the the duties of the magistrate ought, at security of every individual's person, the same time, to embrace a regard to &c." “ He has no hesitation (he public morality, and a countenance to again says) in answering in the affir- religion in general, for these he con. mative the following question: Can siders as the firmest bond of social all the advantages which religion is 'union." Is the magistrate to coun capable of procuring to the state, be tenance religion in general? This is enjoyed without the production of a great point conceded to us: then those evils, which have always fol- why not Christianity in particular lowed judicial interference, to sapa Bui perhaps it is Christianity, though press one mode, and establish ano- Christianity in general, and not merether" We find many other ex- ly religion in general
, that this aupressions of the same sort. He evi- thor would wish the magistrate to dently, therefore, intends to deny countenance :--the serious characgenerally, the right of a legislature to ter of the present work inclines as give any kind of preference to one to the supposition. At any rate, this mode of religion over another; so Christian writer can surely have to
objection to the amendment of his which we derive from Scripture, cerin, which we would suggest. It into speculative opinions, has alis in full accordance with the lan- ways appeared to us to be the error guage of the great champion of tole- of a sceptical irreligious party, which ration, Mr. Locke.
in recent times has grown up among But we proceed a step further. us, and to be contrary to every noGeneral Christianity isoften no Chris- tion of true philosophy as well as tianity : it is apt to approach very sound religion. We do not mean to nearly, at least, to deism or to scep- affirm that all diversities of opinions ticism. The true Gospel unquesti- on religious natters are of equal enably bas some characteristic doc- moment, or even that all opinions trises, doctrines of peculiar potency, which are of some moment ought to serving strikingly to distinguish it be the objects of legislation. We both from general Christianity, com- are quarrelling only with the species monly so called, and from general of distinction with which this writer religion. This is a point which our is setting out. We are noticing an author is far too orthodox and pious error which supplies him with the not to know. He doubtless knows foundation of his system, and it is it by the experience of his own therefore necessary to dwell upon it. breast, and, if he be a minister, by The length to which our author the efficacious influence of those goes in one part of his first essay doctrines on the life and conversa- really astonishes us. “ Whether tion of his hearers, whom they have (says he) I bend.the knee to Moloch, contributed to make both better re to the sovereign of Olympus, to the latives, better neighbours, better Inca of Mexico, to the prophet of subjects, and, io every sense, better Mecca,to the Virgin Mary, to Christ men. Our author, however, observes, as a man, or to the Triune Jehovah, in one part of his first essay, that the I infringe upon none of the rights or
preservation of the morality of the enjoyments of my neighbour, and stale, and the peace of the indivi- am therefore in no degree amenable dual, are points perfectly distinct to the tribunal of political justice." from forms of worship, and systems The words used in this place, namely, of religion.” He must excuse our by bending the knee to Moloch, saying, that we entertain far too good &c. that is, by the mere act of woran opinion of him to believe that shipping Moloch, "I infringe upon this remark, so common in the bone of the rights of my neighbour," mouths of some of his more latitu- are certainly true; but it is necesdinarian brethren, can express his sary to construe all these terms with deliberate judgment. By systems a reference to what the author says of religion he surely musi mean to in other places, to what he is evidesignate nothing less than doctrines dently aining at, and to what an orof religion ; and how any material. dinary reader nay understand by doctrine of religion can be perfectly them. Now our author clearly in. distinct from the preservation of mo.. tends, not only that the law should rality in general, or how morality, not punish for ihus bending the knee in general can be distinct from the, to Moloch, but that the state should morality of the state, we profess our.. not manifest any kind of preference selves to be utterly at a loss to con- to the worshippers of Christ over the ceive. In another place he uses the worshippers of Moloch. He means words " speculative opinions ;" but that the religion of Christ has no is any sound and scriptural doctrine more title to be established by the purely speculative?,' Is it not sure state, than the religion of Moloch ; to bare an influence on the conduct, and that the one has no more tille to either more or less powerful, either be established than the other, bemore or less direct: This way of cause they are equal in respect to Iesolving seatinseuts in religion, their tendency to provide goud sub
jects to the state. We rejoice that justice. Our author would place the he has spoken so strongly in this Roman catholics of Ireland in the place, and that Moloch, that Moloch same condition, in respect 10 this to whom children used to be made great and leading point. to pass through the fire (a striking But again: be allows of excepproof of the innocency of such wor tions to be taken to the exercise of ship!), should be the competitor of that general toleration for which he Jesus Christ ; competitor, we mean,
contends, in the case even of perin the great practical point of the com sons who “extenuate vice;" and parative tendency of the two religions he enumerates, among the vices to to form good subjects for tlie state. which bis remark is specially appli
We proceed, however, again to cable, the crimes of suicide and proconfront our author with bimself. In fane swearing. “If” (says he)“ any the second chapter of his work, he man should publish to the world a studiously qualifies his principles ; system of theology so lax as to and be lays down a certain number sanction vice under any of these of specific exceptions, which he modifications, it would become the thinks that a legislature ought to duty of the magistrate to apply a admit; and declares, as we before coercive remedy for the suppression intimated, that he would exclude the of sentiments so hostile to the tranthe Roman Catholic from places of quillity of the state, so inimical to public trust, and even render inadmis. domestic happiness, and so directly sible his evidence in a court of justice. tending to universal anarchy." But He would, in like manner, pro- suicide and profane swearing do not scribe the deist and the atheist; but " directly tend" either to " univerhe would apply no such exception sal anarchy," or to the disturbance to the worshippers of Moloch, of Ju- of the public tranquillity. Indirectly piter, or of Mahomet. Is there not they tend that way: so also does something preposterous in the very heathenism; for the heathen philomention of a distinction of this sort? sophers tolerated, and even counteThe ground of it is, that the Roman nanced, both the one and the other Catholic, the deist, and the atheist, of these vices. The question is then, are alike, as he conceives, unfit to be whether those religions, or modes of trusted on their oath, since their religion, which indirectly, though principles tend to render an oath most clearly and surely, tend on the not binding on their conscience. whole to vice, are to be countenanced Thus, if we understand this author equally with those which do not. aright, a Roman Catholic,even though The passage which we have last his religion should be that of three quoted, since it excepts against the fourths of the country in wbich he inculcation of two vices, which only lives, as is the case in Ireland at the bearindirectly on the interests of the present day, is to depend for the pro-' state, seems to concede the point, tection of his properly, and of his very Our author, as we think, is somelife, on the sole iestimony of persons, what hanipered by the distinctions from whose religious communion he which naturally occur on this head. is estranged. We will venture to say, It is necessary (says be) to discrithat there is scarcely any persecu- minate “between ihose sentiments tion which could be greater than which are simply capable of being that which would follow from such prostituted to seditious purposes, a system as this. We have often (we presume he nieans also immoral had occasion to point out to our purposes) and those which involve readers the deplorable state of our
consequence as a legitimate and slaves in the West Indies. One of necessary result." The former senthe worst characters of the West- timents alone he forbids us to restrain India code is, the inadmissibility of by penal laws, though the latter, as the evidence of Blacks in courts of he thinks, ought also to be viewed