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ter of notoriety, “ that Bishop HỌADLY IS, IN RESPECT TO THEOLOGICAL BELIEF AND OPINION, THE PATRIARCH OF NEARLY THE WHOLE OF THE PRESENT MINISTRY OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH OF ENGLAND!!" I should call this an insolent calumny, were I not persuaded that it originated in ignorance. To hold up, as our patriarch in theological belief, a person who denied the Atonement, is a gross insult on our sincerity and honesty, to be excused only on the supposition that you have no very exact knowlege of what Hoadly's tenets really were. He had not many followers, in theological belief amongst the clergy of his own day: he has now next to none. It is true he was a bishop, though a Socinian; so was Leo the Tenth a pope, though an infidel; but the former is no more an exemplar of faith to the Protestant clergy, than the latter is to those of your own communion.
It is incumbent on me to notice a question which you desire me to answer, -Why, according to the principles which you have stated to be generally adopted in the subscription of the thirty-nine articles, all the oaths and declarations required of persons taking certain offices, should not be considered by the Roman Catholics merely as articles and symbols of peacet Excuse me, Sir, if I say that such a question hardly merits a serious answer.
It requires a great stretch of ingenuity, to discover any points of resemblance between tests, which are expressly intended to exclude, and articles, which, it is said, are purposely so worded as to comprehend. By what accommodation of conscience could a person declare, under the sanction of an oath, that he “detests and abjures, as impious and heretical," opinions which he firmly believes; or denounce, as idolatrous, practices which he holds to be not only allowable, but a necessary part of his religion? What has "latitude of construction" to do here?
You ask me whether I do not honor the Catholic body, for not having sworn that their own opinions are false and damnable; and whether I do not think that this conduct recommends them both to God and man? I honor men, who will not renounce their profession of faith, till they are convinced that it is erroneous; but I do not perceive that any peculiar praise is due to Roman Catholics, for declining to swear that they are not Roman Catholics. When a man takes credit to himself for not having committed perjury, we are naturally inclined to suspect his honesty. You must excuse me, therefore, if I do not consider this to be a “striking,” though it may be a “long subsisting proof of their integrity and worth,” the evidences of which, fortunately for them, rest on a much surer and more substantial basis than that, on which you have indiscreetly placed them.
In conclusion, I have to express my surprise and regret, that while you disclaim the intention of imputing dishonesty to the English clergy, you should not only not retract the words in which that imputation was conveyed, but deliberately re-assert the charge, both by declaring them to be the disciples and followers of a latitudinarian writer, and by contrasting their duplicity in signing what they do not believe, with the “ probity” and “ integrity” of the Roman Catholics in declining to take a false oath. To your concluding questions, after stating that the “ corner-stone of Bishop Hoadly's system is, that the articles may be conscientiously subscribed with out a belief of their truth, Is not this the very essence of the saving systems I have mentioned? Do they not generally prevail? Are they not publicly and respectably taught?"-to all and each of these questions I answer, and the English clergy almost to a man will answer with me, NO. We deny the imputation, and we defy you to prove it. Not one of the writers, whom you have quoted, maintains any such doctrine; nor by any Protestant writer could such a doctrine be maintained. We leave that to the disciples of another school ; of that school, which teaches, on the “ authority of Holy Scripture, of the Fathers, and the Canonists, and by the help of irrefragable arguments, the equity of equivocution," and considers it to be a doctrine highly consolatory to afflicted Catholics, and worthy of being taught to the faithful."
See the Archpriest Blackwell's approbation of a Treatise on Equivocation, and the Jesuit Garnet's Defence of his own Equivocation, quoted by Mr. Townsend in his “Accusations of History against the Church of Rome," p. 270.
My LORD, It gives me equal concern and surprise to find, that the expression in “ The Book of the Roman Catholic Church,” which you have noticed in your letter to me, has been considered by your lordship to be reprehensible. This, I did not expect. I really thought that, however your lordship might lament the circumstance, which it was intended to import, you did not disbelieve its existence.
As two editions of “ The Book of the Roman Catholic Church” have been published, all that is left to me is, to state exactly the real sense in which I used the words censured by your lordship, and to justify my use of them in that sense. With this view,-1. I shall copy the passage, and respectfully, but expliciily deny, that it should be construed in the sense, in which it has been understood by your lordship; then, state the sense, in which it was used by me:-11. To do which, I shall show, in what sepse the thirtynine articles were originally required to be subscribed : III. Then show the latitudinarian sense in which they are now subscribed :IV. Then, with all the deference due to your lordship, suggest, that the articles are generally subscribed with one or other of the feelings I mentioned in the Book of the Roman Catholic Church; -and state the result.
1.- Transcription of the passage. The passage to which your lordship refers, and which you have copied in your letter, is the following :-“ From the Book of the Church, I conclude that you (Dr. Southey) are a sincere believer of the doctrines of the established church of England, as they are expressed in the thirty-nine articles-the authentic formulary of her faith, You therefore believe all that the Roman Catholic church
ratio the veroro inge
believes respecting the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Divinity of Christ and the Atonement. But, are these doctrines seriously and sincerely believed by the great body of the present English clergy? or by the great body of the present English laity? Do not the former, to use Mr. Gibbon's expression, sign the thirty-nine artieles with a sigh or a smile? Is à sincere and conscientious belief of the doctrines expressed in them considered by the laity to be a condition for salvation? Indifference to the thirty-nine articles being thus universal, or at least very general, among those who profess themselves members of the established church, must not you,"—(here your lordship concludes your transcription of the passage ;-it is followed in the text by these words,)—" who deem so highly of them, admit, that, as the Roman Catholic church believes all that is said in the thirty-nine articles respecting the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Divinity of Christ and the Atonement, there existed, when the reformation peered, and all these articles were universally believed, more spiritual wisdom in England than exists in her, at this time, with her present scanty creed?"
Your lordship proceeds to assert, that "in this passage I assume, as a matter of notoriety, that the great body of the English clergy. are hypocrites and liars ;" and that, “ for the sake of preferment, they set their solemn attestation to that, which they do not believe to be true, and place their souls in jeopardy." Your lordship subsequently tells me, that “it is a stale and hackneyed artifice of writers of my communion to charge the English clergy with Socinianism; but that you are truly surprised and mortified that a person of my acuteness and candor should have condescended to repeat the oft-told, oft-refuted tale." You they say, that "you know not wbat answer can be given to such insinuations as these, except a positive and indignant denial." in broni
To the charge, which your lordship brings in this place against me, of “accusing the clergy of the established church, of solemnly attesting, in their subscriptions of the thirty-nine articles, that, which they do not believe," I confine my present defence. To your lordship’s other charges I may--perhapsreply, at some future time.
i. ** * This charge, then, I do now deny. I have never said, and I do not believe, that the English clergy are hypocrites, liars, or Soci. nians. I give this denial most positively; I give it with the highest respect for your lordship; and I most sincerely honor you for the warmth, with which, misconceiving the meaning of my words, you repel the imputation which you suppose them to convey.
Your lordship must admit, that not one of the abusive epithets, with which you accuse me, of having described the clergy of the