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Theological Review.

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towards God and man.
It was per
haps fortunate for them, that they
were not placed precisely in those
circumstances which led the late Dr.
Paley to apologise for retaining his
situation in the establishment, name-


conscience." But, be that as it may, the noble sacrifice to principle which they have made, evinces à disinterestedness of mind and a confidence in God which commands our veneration. It affords us satisfaction to find Mr. Cowan, the author of the pamphlet before us, following their example, and becoming a companion with them in the kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ." In his case, indeed, the circumstances are more trying, for we learn from his own narrative, that he has a family of NINE CHILDREN, p. 11. We must, however, endeavour to make our readers a little more particularly acquainted with his history, and the things which have led to his secession from the church of England.

Brief account of the Reasons which have induced the Rev. T. C. Cowan, (Late of Trinity College, Dublin) to secede from the established church: Addressed to those who composed his congregation, while he officiated in the Parish church of St. Thomas,, that " he could not afford to keep a London, Whittemore, Paternosterrow; and Bonner, Bristol, 1817. pp. 50. Octavo. 1s. 6d. stitched. AMONG the various occurrences which mark the aspect of the present times, and concur to impress upon them a discriminating characteristic, interesting to the friends of truth beyond all former precedent, may be fairly enumerated the frequent instances we meet with, of clergymen resigning their ministry in the national church, and casting their lot among the dissenters. We do not mention this as any matter of surprise, or regret; on the contrary we regard it as the natural operation of those principles which are universally diffusing themselves, and which, like "the leaven hid in three measures of meal will not cease their influence, till they We presume, from the circumhave ultimately leavened the whole." stance of his having received his Matt. xxiii. 33. The last twenty years education in Trinity College Dublin, has unquestionably been a remark- that Mr. Cowan is a native of Ireland. able æra in the moral world. Know-How long he has resided in this counledge of every kind has been gradu- try we are not informed, but we colally and increasingly diffusing itself-lect from p. 9. of his pamphlet that an ardent spirit of enquiry is become he has been nearly eighteen years prevalent throughout the lettered and engaged in the work of the ministry. even unlettered world-men are every where divesting themselves of the shackles which for centuries had kept the human mind in bondage-the decrees of Popes, and Councils, and Synods have already lost much of that reverence which was formerly entertained for them--and all human authority in the concerns of the kingdom of heaven is daily diminishing. It is now pretty generally known that about two or three years ago, four or five ministers of evangelical sentiments, who resided in the vicinity of Taunton, relinquished their stations in the established church, under a conviction that its constitution is unscriptural, and that a conformity to its rites and ceremonies demanded sacrifices from them which were incompatible with preserving a Conscience void of offence both

There is some little confusion attending the representation which he gives us of the workings of his mind, previous to his quitting the establishment, but we suspect it to arise from an error of the press. Thus when in page 6, he says "It was not, however, from the convictions of conscience, that I entered into her service as one of her ministers." We apprehend he means to say that it was from the convictions of conscience, for in the same page, he adds,

"I voluntarily undertook the sacred office of a minister, but without thought as to its importance, and without any knowledge of its duties. This, however,

of early prejudice, it was my full belief, was not all at that time, from the force the Establishment was the exclusive residence of the God of the Bible, really conceiving the term Dissenter, was syno

nymous with heretic; is it therefore, any wonder she was beheld by me, with a reverence bordering on, if not identified with, idolatry? and that I never, for one moment, imagined, her seeming beauty and her imposing pomp, was tarnished with a speck, and still less, that she was unsound within."

about ten months since, he had nearly determined on quitting his station as a minister of the Establishment. Still, however, he persevered, owing to the authority of names, and swayed by the arguments of his friends, who urged that, by quitting the establishment, he would be diminishing his usefulness-uneasy in his situation and yet afraid to move

It is much to be feared that there are thousands of clergymen in this kingdom, whose state of mind is most exactly delineated by Mr. Cowan, in this short extract. Trained up from their infancy in a reverence for the national establishment of religion, which is a mere human institution: and kept in countenance by the superior numbers of its adherents, their minds become blinded to its monstrous incongruity with the fundamental principles of the kingdom of the Son of God, and they come gradually to regard its various rites and ceremonies, not merely with complacency, but in process of time even to attach a kind of sanctity to things which are altogether unknown to the New Testament. Such are the various orders of her clergy-the rites and ceremonies prescribed in her book of Common Prayer-a liturgy plainly borrowed from the church of Rome, and various other things too numerous to be specified. To this unscriptural state of things, it is Mr. Cowan's mercy to have lately had his eyes opened; and, what is still of higher importance, his mind has been enlightened "to perceive something of the spirituality of the truths contained in the mystery of godliness, and his heart consequently enlarged with Christian feeling towards all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." With his growth in scriptural knowledge, his early prejudices gave way; and as he became better acquainted with his Bible, and attended to the reasonings of his Episcopal brethren in defence of the doctrines, liturgy, and discipline of the church of England, his mind grew uneasy at perceiving the difficulties under which they laboured to prove that her language did not mean, what to a plain unlettered man, it evidently does import-particularly in reference to her Catechism and Bap-be true. tismal service.

About two years ago, Mr. Cowan's scruples became very irksome to him, but he continued struggling against the convictions of conscience, until,

cordially disliking many things, yet attached to the establishment. But the time was now come when it was no longer allowed him to trifle with the dictates of conscience. A representation was made to the Bishop of the Diocese, that Mr. Cowan was "guilty of several irregularities" in the performance of Divine service at seven in the morning of a Lord's day-in consequence of which his Lordship thought proper to suspend him from his official duties! The charges preferred against him were, that on a particular occasion," he commenced the worship of God, with something of his own, and not according to the prescribed form." This charge does not appear to us to have involved in it any blameableness had it been true, but it turned out to be wholly unfounded, and the Bishop acknowledged that he had been misinformed upon the point. Another was that in reading the prayers he had "omitted the absolution!" which Mr. C. admits to be true but not intentionally done. A third was that he changed the proper lessons for the day, and read only one Psalm, and that one appointed for the Evening service and not the Morning. This charge Mr. Cowan admits to be true, and endeavours to justify it on the ground that he thought himself at liberty to consult the convenience of his hearers by reading shorter lessons, that the congregation might have time to return to public worship at half past ten. A fourth complaint was that he read a verse of the second lesson twice over with peculiar emphasis-and to this he pleads guilty. Lastly "that he curtailed the Service by omitting several of the Prayers, the Litany, and Communion Service"-which is also admitted to

Thus our readers have before them the "whole head and front" of Mr. Cowan's offending in this important matter, for which he was suspended by the Bishop from his ministerial

functions. Bowing submissively to the Episcopal mandate, he, nevertheless, on the 3rd of July addressed a Letter to his Lordship-couched in such language as a conviction of the rectitude of his own conduct would naturally enough dictate, but such as we suspect his Lordship is not much accustomed to receive. He might indeed be excused for complaining of the hardship of being suspended from the execution of his office before he had an opportunity of either denying the charges, or offering his apology for such parts of them as were true. But when he claims his privilege of speaking the truth in his own defence with a holy boldness," and affirms that "it is no part of a Christian's conduct to cringe to a superior, merely because the Providence of God, or the law of the land, happens to have made him so,"-and above all, when he says "I am well convinced, that had I, instead of preaching and I trust I may, without presumption, add, living as I do, been a jovial fellow, a hunting or shooting parson, I should never have had occasion to address this letter to you" -he speaks that which we can easily admit to be true, but for saying which


we do not see how he could reason

ably expect forgiveness. Our readers will be gratified with the following paragraph from this letter. Referring to some of the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, he says,

"It gives me sincere pleasure to know, that, notwithstanding all the opposition these glorious truths are meeting with, they are spreading; yes, my Lord, and spread they will, for they are doctrines according to godliness; and I am fully persuaded, that if, from the suggestions of Satan, they are prohibited from being promulgated in the Church of England, Almighty God will remove her candle stick, that she may not prove a stumbling stone, or hindrance to the dissemination of his truth. Most cordially do I adopt one of her own sentences, and pray, "hasten thy kingdom, O Lord, and accomplish the number of thine elect."

mind has been much distressed concerning the practice of Infant Baptism, on which circumstances of a peculiar nature have particularly fixed my attention. Nine or Ten different persons called upon me, unknown to one another, about the commencement of, or rather before, the period to which I have alluded, stating their difficulties concerning that practice, and intimating a desire to be baptized. I combated their views with every argument in my power, lending them such books as I thought likely to remove their scruples, and preserve them in the recommended on the opinions of others;

Establishment. Some of the books I had

but when certain extracts from these writers were brought me, and I was asked, how I could maintain such opinions, I felt grieved and ashamed at what I had done. I then examined these works myself, and though written professedly to support Pædobaptism, from their perusal, for the first time, became convinced, the arguments on that side of the question, were not quite so satisfactory, as I had had really wished to imagine. I then been in the habit of imagining, or as I determined on having recourse to my Bible alone, and not to have any confidence in the flesh,' but to search the scriptures whether these things were so." This I have now been diligently pursuing for these last three months and the result is, a conviction that the Church of England, in this particular, teaches for a doctrine the commandment of man: and consequently, a resolution of withdrawing from her communion,—a resolution, I now sincerely regret, I had not put in practice before this late business occurred.

"With my mind in this frame, your Lordship cannot be surprised, that I have

esteemed the circumstances recently passed, as tending to make my way plain. While stating Baptism as the leading point of objection to the Establishment, I have long had others of a minor nature, (if, indeed, minor they ought to be called) which, though not deemed of sufficient validity to cause me to come out from among her, have yet often given me a great deal of pain; among these, I will, at present, only mention two-her Baptismal Service, and, the connexion between Church and State. As to the

former, I will content myself with observing, (what has for some time been my opinion) that Dr. Mant and his coadjutors Having waited nearly three weeks, have much to say for themselves, being, to afford time for the Bishop either as I conceive, argumentatively right, but to reply to his letter, or take off the theologically wrong. With respect to the Suspension, and receiving no intima- latter; however excellent in a political tion of either, Mr. Cowan, on the point of view such an union may be ac22nd of July addressed another Let-counted, I have long considered it as unter to his Lordship, of which the following is an extract.

scriptural in its principle; and, permit me to observe, your Lordship has now shown, it is equally so in its practice.

"From reading the Scriptures, we

"It is well known to some of my friends, that for about four Months, my should, I imagine, naturally collect that


2 x

an (Bishop) EKONOя of the Church of Christ, was in the place of a Father to those over whom he was the Overseer; "not lording it over God's heritage,' but rebuking, in the spirit of meekness and

love, the errors incident to humanity; and never resorting to the full power of his authority, save as an act of painful necessity, a dernier resort. I beg to acknowledge the Gentlemanlike manner, in which your Lordship has conveyed to me your ipse dixit for my suspension, for what (if it must be deemed a fault,) was surely a fault in favour of the real interests of the Establishment. I cannot, however, but be struck with the contrast now before me-I mean, the power with which a Bishop of the Church of England is invested, and the consequent exercise of that power, from what marks the spirit and proceedings of the EПIEKOпо of the Church of Christ, as delineated in Scripture.

"At the same time, my Lord, though strongly impressed with this contrast, I will honestly confess, I do not think the unscriptural exercise of unscriptural authority by the Bishops of the Church of England, would have been, of itself, sufficient to dissolve that connexion, which for near 18 years and a half, has now subsisted between that Church and me. When, however, it is superadded to the fundamental difference existing between us, on the point of Infant Baptism, my mind is greatly strengthened in the resolution I have adopted; and which I take this opportunity respectfully of making known to your Lordship, viz. that I do not wish any longer to be considered as a

Minister of the Established Church. ‹

66 I trust, I shall find credit with your Lordship, when I solemnly assert, my secession from her communion is not the offspring of wounded pride, but the deliberate step of the conviction of my heart. While I unfeignedly believe her erroneous in several important points, imagine not, I hold her as an enemy, or that because I secede, I must therefore hate. No-in whatever proportion I trace the truth as it is in Jesus,' either in her Articles, Services, Ministers, or Members, in the same proportion will be my love;

and where I conceive error to exist, there

I will not hate, but pray, that those who

are in ignorance may be brought into the way, and rightly believe the truth.


Soliciting your Lordship's indulgence for having occupied so much of your time, I remain, with respect for the Bishop of Bristol,

"Your Lordship's obedient Servant, T. C. COWAN." Thus our readers are in possession of the most material circumstances detailed in this interesting narrative. The remainder of the pamphlet is occupied in stating more particularly

the reasons of Mr. Cowan's dissatis faction with the establishment-the views he now has of the discriminating doctrines of the everlasting gospel---and a concise declaration of his present intentions and future prospects; on each of which points we shall use the freedom of offering a few remarks, not indeed with the view of dictating to Mr. Cowan or forestalling the judgment of his readers---but in the humble hope that they may not be without their use in giving an additional stimulus to the spirit of enquiry which is gone forth, and in aiding the progress of truth among our fellow christians.

In stating the grounds of his dissatisfaction with the church of England, Mr. Cowan places in a very ling infants, and substituting "the prominent view the practice of sprinkgodfather and the godmother" in the room of the precious faith of God's elect. It appears that his practice had for some time past been a stumbling block to him, and he was therefore led to examine the scriptures upon the subject. He honestly confesses that, during the whole course of his enquiry, he had "a strong inclination to adhere to infant baptism, and a consequent unwillingness to receive any proofs subversive of this long cherished idea," p. 34. But his prejudices at length gave way to the force of scriptural authority and of sound reason. And here let us add, that we could not refrain from smil ing when we perceived that one of the principal sources of Mr. Cowan's conviction-and what contributed in an especial manner to make him DECIDED BAPTIST, was a perusal of our friend Mr. Taylor's Three Letters addressed to the Deacon of a Baptist church. In these Letters he found


satisfactory proofs, that the custom [of baptizing infants] had not scriphe very properly remarks) quibble in ture for its foundation, otherwise (as argument, and the authority of man would never have been resorted to, had scripture proof been extant!!" p. 35. Oh poor Mr. Taylor! what a bolus is this for "the Editor of Calmet's Dictionary." What! have you been wasting the midnight lamp, and racking your ingenuity for no other end than to make Baptists? We are quite sure that nothing was ever farther from your intention or wishes than to do so. But perhaps Mr. Cowan had

not seen your last sixpenny worth on | Christianity to a nation of this world, the subject; and we must not be un-its compilers had found themselves mindful of the old adage, Finis coro- constrained to give up this leading nat opus-'tis the topstone which doctrine of the gospel-and "to make crowns the whole building. But to her minister declare that Christ did proceed : make a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." On this important topic, Mr. Cowan has laid before his readers a comprehensive view of the doctrine taught by both prophets and apostles, which he closes with the following pointed remarks.

"As I cannot entertain the unscrip

The indiscriminate use of the Burial service, which is alone applicable to the case of those who have died in the faith of Christ, was another serious objection, as it cannot fail to be to every conscientious clergyman -for, as Mr. Cowan justly remarks, "to thank God that it hath pleased him to take unto himself the soul of one who had died without manifest-tural idea of universal salvation, in the ing faith in Jesus is a rejoicing in iniquity;"-it is in truth little better than a solemn mockery of the Almighty, and Mr. Cowan may well congratulate himself that he is freed from the necessity of doing it. He also intimates that there are various ther Services contained in the Book of Common Prayer which struck him as being objectionable, though he has not particularly specified them. He has however dwelt largely on the utter inconsistency of the scripture doctrine of particular redemption, with the Sacramental service as prescribed in the Rubrick of the church of England. And this brings us to the second particular which we proposed

to notice.

sense that all the world will be ultimately saved; neither can I assert with the Church of England, that Christ died for tained; believing as I do, most unall, and yet that the end shall not be atfeignedly, that of those whom the Father hath given him, will he lose none,' but will at the last day, declare, Behold me, and the Children whom thou hast given me.' With a full persuasion, therefore, that the view given by the Church of England is, on this point, radically wrong, calculated to speak peace to a are looking for the consolation of Israel,' you will not be surprised, that I deem it a strong reason for withdrawing from her Communion. To all the Ministers of the Establishment, who believe the doctrine of Particular Redemption, and yet read this Sacramental Service, and teach the Church Catechism, I would address the language of Dr. Wall, which he uses Let those defend it, who use it.'-I canconcerning the practice of sprinklingnot-and therefore I renounce it."

careless world, and to distress those who


Mr. Cowan informs us, that about a year ago his mind was opened to receive the clear and decided light of the New Testament, respecting the inseparable connection between Christ and his elect people-his substitution These are sentiments and declarain their stead, in virtue of which tions that do great honour to Mr. their sins were, by a sovereign and Cowan. They shew him to be a congracious divine constitution, imputed scientious, upright Christianto him, so that, he who personally who fears the Lord his God, and esknew no sin, was made sin for them, chews evil-who prefers the testithat through his obedience unto mony of his own conscience, and the death, they might be made the righte-approbation of his divine master, to ousness of God in him. Keeping his every other consideration. His coneye steadily fixed upon the scripture duct carries in it a more powerful account of Christ's death as an argument for the truth of Christianity, atonement for the sins of those with than all the Sermons he has ever whom he took part in flesh and blood, preached during the eighteen years "the many sons whom he brings to he has been engaged in the service glory"-or the sheep for whom he of the national church. It is, in its voluntarily laid down his life," and very nature, calculated to reach confor whose "transgressions he was viction to the minds of the thoughtstricken;" he perceived that the less or sceptical, and to impress them Church of England Prayer Book de- with the persuasion that real religion parted altogether from the very cha- is something more than a mere form racter of the atonement as thus de- of godliness. We can, therefore, scribed in the word of God-and that give him implicit credit for the truth in order to adopt the profession of of the following statement.

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