Imatges de pÓgina
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quaint and obsolete in its mode of expression, is nevertheless a store of sound sense and Christian principle. A tract also of Bishop Ellys, shewing that supremacy in matters ecclesiastical are vested in the Crown, will illustrate a leading feature in the constitution of our natural Church. On the “ Sentiments of a Church of England Man," by Dean Swift, we can only observe, that for a calm and practical view of the temper and moderation of the Church of England, both in its ecclesiastical and political bearings, a more able, clear, and persuasive statement does not exist. It is, indeed, worthy of the deep discernment, and the plain but powerful sense of its great author.

Of living authors we can say but little, their works must speak for themselves; in silence therefore we present to our readers, as the concluding article in this department, the Sermon of Dr. Rennell, Dean of Winchester, before the Sons of the Clergy, as an apology not only for the Church of England, but for the lives, the characters and the fame of those ministers, who'by the strength of their ability, and the splendour of their attainments, have left their names its brightest ornaments, and their writings its ablest defenders to each succeeding age. We trust, that in recalling the attention of the public to the Sermon, we shall not have disgraced our privilege of selection, or forfeited the attention and confidence of our readers.

THE SENTIMENTS OF A CHURCH OF ENGLAND MAN WITH RESPECT TO RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT.

BY DEAN SWIFT.

Whoever has examined the conduct and

proceedings of both parties, for some years past, whether, in or out of power, cannot well conceive it possible to go far toward the extremes of either, without offering some violence to his integrity, or understanding. A wise and a good man may indeed be sometimes induced to comply with a number, whose opinion he generally approves, though it be perhaps against his own. But this liberty should be made use of upon very few occasions, and those of small importance, and then only with a view of bringing over his own side, another time, to something of greater and more publick moment.

moment. But to sacrifice the innocency of a friend, the good of our country, or our own conscience, to the humour, or passion, or interest of a party, plainly shows, that either our heads or our hearts are not as they should be: yet this very practice is the fundamental law of each faction among us, as may be obvious to any, who will

impartially, and without engagement, be at the pains to examine their actions, which however is not so easy a task : for it seems a principle in human nature, to incline one way more than another, even in matters where we are wholly unconcerned. And it is a common observation, that, in reading a history of facts done a thousand years ago, or standing by at play among those, who are perfect strangers to us, we are apt to find our hopes and wishes engaged, on a sudden, in favour of one side more than another. No wonder then that we are all so ready to interest ourselves in the course of publick affairs, where the most inconsiderable have some real share, and, by the wonderful importance which every man is of to himself, a very great imaginary one.

And indeed, when the two parties, that divide the whole commonwealth, come once to a rupture, without any hopes left of forming a third, with better principles, to balance the others, it seems every man's duty to choose one of the two sides, though he cannot entirely approve of either ; and all pretences to neutrality are justly exploded by both, being too stale and obvious, only intending the safety and ease of a few individuals, while the publick is embroiled. This was the opinion and practice of the latter Cato,* whom I esteem to have been the wisest and best of all the Romans. But, before things proceed to open violence, the truest service a private man may hope to do his country, is, by unbiassing his mind as much as possible, and then endeavouring to moderate between the rival powers; which must needs be owned a fair proceeding with the world, because it is, of all others, the least consistent with the common design of making a fortune, by the merits of an opinion.

* One of the sextumvirate in Gulliver, part iii. chap. vii.

I have gone as far as I am able in qualifying myself to be such a moderator: I believe I am no bigot in religion, and I am sure I am none in government. I converse in full freedom with many considerable men of both parties; and if not in equal number, it is purely accidental and personal, as happening to be near the Court, and to have made acquaintance there, more under one ministry than another. Then, I am not under the necessity of declaring myself by the prospect of an employment. And lastly, if all this be not sufficient, I industriously conceal my name, which wholly exempts me from any hopes and fears in delivering my opinion.

In consequence of this free use of my reason, I cannot possibly think so well or so ill of either party, as they would endeavour to persuade the world of each other, and of themselves. For instance ; I do not charge it upon the body of the whigs or the tories, that their several principles lead them to introduce presbytery, and the religion of the church of Rome ; or a commonwealth, and arbitrary power. For why should any party be accused of a principle, which they solemnly disown and protest against ? But, to this, they have a mutual answer ready: they both assure us, that their adversaries are not to be believed ; that they disown their principles out of fear, which are manifest enough, when we examine their practices. To prove this, they will produce instances, on one side, either of avowed presbyterians, or persons

of libertine and atheistical tenets ; and, on the other, of professed papists, or such as are openly in the interest of the abdicated family. Now, it is very natural for all subordinate sects and denominations in a state, to side with some general party, and to choose that, which they find to agree with themselves in some general principle. Thus, at the restoration, the presbyterians, anabaptists, independents, and other sects, did all, with very good reason, unite and solder up their several schemes, to join against the church ; who, without regard to their distinctions, treated them all as equal adversaries. Thus, our present dissenters do very naturally close in with the whigs, who profess moderation, declare they abhor all thoughts of persecution, and think it hard that those, who differ only in a few ceremonies, and speculations, should be denied the privilege and profit of serving their country, in the highest employments of state. Thus, the atheist, libertines, despisers of religion and revelation in general, that is to say, all those who usually pass under the name of freethinkers, do properly join

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