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“To whom shall we go?
Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and art sure that thou art the minister and representative of Christ, the Son of the living God.” *
It cannot be pretended that all this power is claimed, and that all this language is assumed for the people's good, and that they may occasionally be betrayed into warmth of language, or even into improprieties of religious sentiments, on accountof their ardent zeal“ to allure to brighter worlds, and to lead the way;" for the tactics—the confessions, and even the conduct of the clergy evince that the interests of piety are not so dear to them as the interests of the church, and that the exercise of private judgment is deserving of a greater degree of punishment, than the deeds of profligacy and vice.t
Now such a spirit could easily sympathize with the proceedings of the inquisition or
* Tract No. 5, p. 14. + Clergymen have recently been convicted of the most dreadful profligacy; but the punishment of some of these, has only been nominal, while Mr. Head, a clergyman of unblemished reputation only for publishing his opinions on the prayer book, has been visited with the utmost vengeance of the Church. The case is explained in the following letter; from the exiled minister. • You will have seen the cases of Mr. Marsh, and Mr. Thomas. These cases should be viewed in juxta-position with mine. Mr. Marsh amuses himself in London and Paris. I stay at my post and study the Bible. Mr. Marsh's offence is his intimacy with profligate women. My offence is that I write a pamphlet, concerning the confirmation service. Mr. Thomas's offence is that he seduces a young woman to a life of misery. My offence is that I labour to show the poor people the principles of the gospel. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Marsh are untouched by the prelates; and Mr. Marsh remains in possession of the church revenues, procured for him by his father, the bishop. I, on the contrary am fiercely hunted by the prelate of my diocese; deprived of my property for three years, burdened with an additional fine, in the shape of law expenses : threatened
star-chamber-could easily heat the furnace
And what are our ecclesiastical courts! Let the Lord Chief Justice of England answer that question.* Closely as the church and state are connected—and great as is their reciprocal affection, and much as they subserve each others interests, yet the state is sometimes with imprisonment for life, and turned out of my house, and sent with my wife and daughter to die of starvation, for anything that their lordships the prelates know or care.
Thus you see in prelatical estimation, it is a baser thing to criticize the catechism, than to seduce a young female. According to prelatical proceedings, to pass ones time in contending earnestly for the genuine truths of christianity is a worse offence than to prostitutes of Paris. Berne, March 26, 1844.
among the H. E. HEAD.
* These courts are public nuisances: and cases were not of unfrequent occurrence which would make their lordships shudder, often involving utter and irremediable ruin to the individuals affected.
Lord Denman, in the House of Lords, April 1,
obliged to hold the rod over the church-and to reprove the church, and by staying the iniquitous proceedings, and by reversing the unjust decisions of her spiritual courts* to correct the church : thus shewing that the religion of the state is far superior to the religion of the church; and that the evils of civil government are never half so intolerable as the evils of an ecclesiastical despotism.“
* See the Norwich church-rate case, and the most interesting case of Piggott, the shoemaker, cum, multis aliis.
of Of this despotism the following narrative is a most painful illustration. A few weeks ago, a pious man of the name of Terry, went from Faversham to London. His son, a youth of 17, accompanied him. While there, a large piece of timber fell upon them, by which they were dreadfully injured. Both were taken to Westminster hospital. In a few days, the father who had four of his ribs broken, recovered, but the son was soon in a dying state. The Puseyite chaplain of the hospital is sent for : He asks Mrs. Terry, the mother of the lad, whether the sufferers attended the established church, she said no, but the Baptist chapel; at which he expressed astonishment. In reply to some questions on baptism, Mrs. Terry admitted that she had been baptized in the church; but did not consider herself benefitted hy it, as she was a child and knew nothing about it. The chaplain exclaimed shocking !-shocking! receiving a similar answer about confirmation, he exclaimed, worse and worse, awful indeed ! She replied, sir, I do not see anything so awful in it, for I am now looking not to men, but to Christ alone for salvation. You are an enthusiast was the reply.
He then turned to the dying son, and said, I am sorry you have such wicked parents, they have left the only true church, and are not only going to hell themselves, but are also leading their children with them. The lad in an agony of mind, exclaimed, O mother ! mother! is it so ? Have you heen leading me to hell ? you have taught me to forsake sin, and to flee to Christ for salvation, and I was taught the same in the Sundayschool, and have you all been leading me the wrong way? His mother, perceiving his distracted state of mind, requested the chaplain to say no more to him. She was obliged to call the doctor, who prohibited this minister of consolation from visiting him again, Comment is needless. Vide Patriot, June, 1844. CHAPTER X.
A POSTOLIC SUCCESSION DEGRADES THE BIBLE.
Infidel sentiments of Puseyism-only sect not venerating the
Bible-Rule of faith—its importance-tradition-authoritative teaching—theory of developement-Bishop of London—the Fathers—their puerilities and contradictions_Creeds secure no uniformity-private judgment submission to the Clergy
poor substitute for it—none can answer for us at the last day.
True religion is the true worship and service of God, learnt and believed from the word of God only. No man or angel can know how God would be worshipped and served, unless God reveal it: but he hath revealed and tanght it us in the Holy Scriptures by inspired ministers, and in the gospel of his Son and his apostles; with strictest command to reject all other traditions or additions whatsoever. With good and religious reason, therefore the Church of England in her 6, 19, 20 and 21 articlesand
elsewhere-maintains these two points as the main principles of true religion, that the rule of true religion is the word of God only: and that their faith ought not to be an implicit faith:- that is to believe (though as the church believes) against or without express authority of scripture.
Milton's Prose Works, Vol. 2, p. 138,
“ How do we know that the New Testament is inspired ? Does it anywhere declare this of itself? No where.” (Tract 85). “It is far from being a self-evident truth that scripture must contain all the revealed counsel of God; the probability lies on the other side at first sight,” ibid. p. 34. “ The structure of scripture is so irregular and unmethodical, that either we must hold the gospel doctrine, or message is not contained in scripture, (and if so that there is no message at all given, or that it is given elsewhere out of scripture); or as the alternative we must hold that it is but indirectly and covertly recorded there under the surface.” (ibid. p. 34).
The very depth of Holy Scripture prevents its being taken by all men in one and the same sense, so that it is almost possible to draw from it as many opinions as there are readers. *
Wise men of old, wiser men than you or any of us in the 19th century, would have opened their eyes with as much contempt as holy men can feel towards ignorant fellow creatures, if any one had proposed to make you a good christian, or a good citizen by means of a BOOK.
Scripture was never intended to teach doctrine to the many." "To accept revelation at all, we have but probability to shew at most: nay, to believe in the existence of an intelligent creator."
In this derogatory manner is the Bible spoken of by these men: some of their statements and queries are certainly more agreeable to the principles of deism, than to those of the gospel. Finding the New Testament to be, (as they express it) un-sacramental, they hesitate not to speak of it slightingly and contemptuously, and even to put forth grave suspicions concerning its divine authority. By such conduct, these writers are disgraced and
* Records XXIV-2 + Sewell's morals, p. 3.