« 上一頁繼續 »
man or set of men upon earth, has a right to demand any such thing of a fellow Christian...
6 Can any thing in the whole system of popery be more improper, than to make every young man without exception, subscribe, when he becomes a member of either of our English universities, that he believes from his soul, exanimo, some late trifling alterations at Cambridge, excepted, that every thing contained in the articles, homilies, common prayer, and offices of ordination, is agreeable to the word of God? when in all ordinary cases, he has ne. ver seriously and attentively read either one or another of them? How is it likely, that a boy, raw from school, should be competent to such a task ? And if he is to subscribe upon the faith of others, on the same principle he may subscribe to the mass book, the koran, or any other book whatever. - “ After a careful examination, I am constrained to object, pede et manu, to several things in the 141 canons, and consider the requirement, on oath, of
canonical obedience to the bishop of the diocese where we officiate, as one of the most detestable instances of anti. christian imposition, that ever was ex. ercised over a body of clergy.* And yet, after we have gotten our education, at a considerable expence, possi. bly at the expence of our whole fortune, we must take this abhorred oath or renounce the profession to which we have been trained, after our fortune, with which we should have begun business is gone, and the proper time of life expired. These things ought not to be 80.- This is not the fault of the bishops,
• The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th,9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 38th, 58th, 720, 139th, 140th, and 141st canons, are most of them peculiarly objectionable. Prior to experience, it would appear highly incredible, that conscientious and liberal minded cler. gymen should be able to swear such kind of obedi. ence. The good Lord pardon his servants, for we surely consider not what we do.'.
Let any man seriously read and soberly consider these several canons, and then judge of their tendency. They contain the very worst species of popery, that is, a spirit of infallibility. They proceed at least upon the infallibility of our own church, while we disavow that infallibility, and condemn the pretension in the church of Rome.
but of the constitution. It is one of the existing laws of the establishment, and cannot be dispensed with as things now stand; the bishops are as much bound to administer the oath, as we are to take it.
6 There are others who object to the baptismal office.-the office of confirmation-the office for the sick—the com. munion office-the ordination officethe burial office—the common prayer the litany-Athanasius's creed-the calendar-our cathedral worship-our spiritual courts—the management of our briefs--the test and corporation acts—and our tythe laws.
66 There are some who earnestly deplore our total want of discipline, and our incomplete toleration that our church hold out others terms of com, munion than the Scripture hath enjoined—and that she is a mighty encourager of ambition among the superior orders of the clergy by the several ranks, degrees, honours, and emoluments, which prevail among us. The people of every age and country have an inalienable right to choose their own ministers; and no king, no ruler, no bishop, no lord, no gentleman, no man, or body of men upon earth, has any just claim whatever, to dictate, who shall administer to them in the concerns of their salvation; or to say-You shall think this, believe that, worship here or abstain from worshipping there.
“ For much more than a thousand years, the Christian world was a stranger to religious liberty. Toleration was unknown till about a century ago. The clergy have always been unfriendly to religious liberty : when the act of toleration was obtained in king William's time, great numbers of them were much against it:—but both the name and thing are inconsistent with the very nature of the gospel of Christ. For have not I as much right to controul you in your religious concerns, as you have to controul me? To talk of tolerating implies an authority! He is a tyrant, a very pope, who pretends to any such thing-These matters will be better understood by and by. The whole Christian world lay in darkness upon this subject, for many ages. Dr. Owen was the first who wrote in favour of it, in the year 1645-Milton follow. ed him about the year 1658, in his Treatise of the Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. And the immortal Locke succeeded with his golden Treatise on Toleration, in 1689. But notwithstanding these, and many other works which have since been written on the same subject, much still remains to be done in this country. Though we have had the honour of being among the first of the nations, which obtained a large portion of civil and religious freedom, others are now taking the lead of us, on the rights of conscience. And it does not appear that we ever can be a thoroughly united and happy people, till every good subject enjoys equal civil privileges, without any regard to religious sects and opinion. If a man be a peaceable, industrious, moral, and religious person, and an obedient subject to the civil government under which he lives, let his religious views of things