« AnteriorContinua »
prayers in a church, instead of a land the most forward champions ineeting.house? Would Mr. Locke of freedom,-but because the Go. and Sir Isaac Newton bave de- vernment have spurned them from served beiter of their country, if them, and forced them to assume, they had vehemently admired the in seli defence, an attitude of oppo. Athanaian Creed?
sitiou? Why are the Presbyteri. Opinions are only dangerous, it ans of Scotland, once so dreaded may be said, when they shock ge- by the episcopal church of Eng. neral prejudice, or militare against land, the rainest supporters of a creed enacted by the legislature; every successive administration, in this sense, then, the opinions not excepting any one devoted of Protestant Dissenters in Eng. equally to Toryism and “No land, of Episcopalians in Scotland, Popery,''--but because Presbyte. of Roman Catholics in Ireland, of rianisın nestles and is fondled in Protestants in Canada, are danger. the bosom of government? The ous ; in the same sense, the opini- Edinburgh Reviewers need not to ons of the Reformers of popery and be in sucted in the recipe for of the first Christians were dan- curing faction. gerous; but what more is meant Let it be granted, nevertheless, by the danger in these cases, than that certain theological creeds the hazard to which the rising in. have a natural congeniality to some dependence of the human unind particular political theories; forin. puts spiritual usurpation, or to stance, thai Popery inclines to des. which even
a state may bring potism, that Socinianism leans to. itself, by opposing in certain junc- wards a commonwealth :--still, tures the progress of Opinion ? government can have no There is danger in running a right to prohibit and to attach mound across a stream; the banks penalties to the religious system, will probably overflow and the than it has to proscribe the politineighbouring country be laid un- cal doctrine, by association with der water; but the evil is to be at which alone it is confessed that it tributed to the mischievous indus. becomes pernicious; but what is try which set itself in opposition the right in this case? Just nos to nature.
thing at all; it being a tyranny But, it is said, particular reli- beyond any thing ever yet heard gious opinions may have an affini. of, to convert an opinion in favour ty to certain political opinions ; of this or that form of government and, though innocent in them. into a crime. selves, may become noxious by From one singular expression the combination. History, how- of the Reviewer's, it may be gaever, bears us out in saying that thered that his meaning, though a theological creed will, in the indistinctly expressed, is, that pardifferent circumstances of its pro. ticular forms of religion may be fessors, coalesce with widely dif- justly suppressed by the magisa ferent political predilections. A trate when united with seditious sect under persecution is invaria- practices : but would it not be sufa bly opposed to the Court; its re- ficient, for every wise and good sentments overcoming, in some purpose, to say that seditious praca cases, its natural partialities. Why tices muy and ought in every are the Roman Catholics of Irea instance to be curbed and put
On a Passage in the “ Edinburgh Review." down, in whatever company found, though not for their Socinianista whether with the followers of John but for their treason. Calvin, or Socious, of the Pretelle The suppression of the Romisla der or of Sacheverel? In con. Catholics is put as a contingent virnection with Socinianism, the Re: Tue in the government--for that viewer makes mention of Repub- sect may be infected with the love lican habits; hy which he intends, of despotism. It would be a no'we take for granted, not any par. vel spectacle if a governinent were ticular mode of dress, nut any pre- to busy itself in bunting down cise cut of ibe hair, not any pecu. this affection. No, nu; there is liar compellation wit! which Soci. no danger to the Roinan Catholics nians gieet each other, but at. from loving dispotism,-unless it tempts to reduce Republican the. be despot sm only a good way off. ories to practice on British ground: But this can be nothing else than now we see no reason why the dise a jen d' esprit of the Reviewer's, belief of the Trinity should lead who had somehow or other got In a hatred of King, Lords and into his mind the comic idea of a Cominons; it the term were not company of commissioners, aptoo quaint, the Unitarians might pointed by the llouses of Lords be filly called Monarchists, their and Commons, under sanction of constant endeavour being to assent, the Curi, to make inquisition af. according to a favourite phrase ter the love of arbitrary power, with some of the Fathers, the ab. with a view to bring the possessors solute Monarchy of the Deity: to punishment; and who could No fact is known to us that bears not persuade bimself to drop it, the writer out in bis suspicion of ull he had indulged the vision of the likelihood of Socinianism be- Roman Catholics being whipped ing in union with treason : the by their Protestant brethren into public inay lay aside all fears on his a'sense of liberty. head; sume of the Socinians are We may put a case which will rich, and wish for no change at all, perhaps illustrate our argument on not even such an one as the Edin- the dangerousness of opinions. burgh Reviewers maintain to be the We bold, in common with most of only preventive of a much worse our countrymen, the immorality change; some of them have at- as well as illegality of bigamy, tained the summit of their ambitie and think it justly punishable by on, in rising to seats in corpora. the civil magistrate. But if anotions, - up to which they have ther clergyman, following the exscrambled, with broken consci- ample of Mr. Madan, should ences, over the Lord's Table ; and write a book in defence of a plu. we believe, a still larger number rality of wives, not otherwise ob. agree with the Quakers, in depre. jectionable than in regard of this cating all violence, even as the doctrine; we might lament that instrument of reformation. But such a book should have been if, in spite of past history and pre. written, we might even fear its sent appearances, Socinians should consequences, but we could not, become traitors, let them be pun. consistently with our notions of ished, as the law has provided, right and our affection for freedom,
hold the author deserving of civil conviction, that (altering a little
with a further extract from the
Sketch of English Protestant Persecution.-Letter I, In two rebellions, the Dissenters, been a right never disputed. But without the exception of a single when this enquirer looked into the individual, showed a steady at- world, he would find a history even tachment to the present govern. of the Protestant Church stained ment; and they have, at all with the blood of pe:secution, times and seasons, and when and, like the prophet's roll, such praise was by no means due “ written therein, lamentation to the Church of England,) proved and mouruing and woe.” This themselves the steady friends of progress, or rather decline, of that mild, moderate, and toler. Protestants, from the claim of ant race of kings, by which we religious liberty to the practice of have been governed for the last religious persecution, was well. century."
described by an anonymous author, A., sixty years ago. I quote the follow,
ing passage from,“ The Retlec. Sketch of English Protestant Per. tor, representing human affairs, secutiun.- Letter I.
as they are, and may be improv.
ed." 8vo. 1750.
was orthodoxy in Christendom serted (vol. vi. p. 524.) my letter obedience to the arbitary constiiu. of May last*, at the close of which tions and injunctions of the court I proposed to offer you a Sketch of of Rome, all enquiry being then English Protestant Persecution, I looked upon as heresy or infidelity. shall now proceed to make a few But certain intrepid heroes arose selections from the too ample ma- to demolish this usurped authority, terials, which our history has af- that oppressed and enslaved Europe, forded, on that melancholy sube by power and craft. The foundation ject. One who should confine his
upon which they erected their enquiries to the New Testament, battery was the right of enquiry ; would little suspect that Christians and the duty of every man to bear had allowed themselves to assume and examine before he believes or encourage a civil controul over and judges. any man's religious, or even irre.
“ The homish clergy appealed to ligious, profession. And while he antiquity for the truth of their heard re-echoed from every anti- doctrine ; but were shown that papal community,“ the Bible, the false doctrines may be ancient, Bible alone, is the religion of Pro- they pretended, that religious distestants,” he might easily conclude putes bad long since been decided, that religious liberty, among such after the exactest scrutiny ; but Protestants, had furnished no ma. were answered, that nobody has terials for history; on the best a right of determining for another, possible account, because it had what the scripture delivers as
articles of faith ; and that whoever * As our correspondent's former letter pretends to do it, puts himself in merely proposed the series of communi- The place of the scripture. They cations, which the present Letter commiences, we have entitled this article, alleged the scriptures were dark Letter I.
in many places, so that every one
could not discover the true mean- was done with circumspection in ing; and that the generality language, though not in fact; for should be contented with ihe in. they retained the old form of terpretation of those who under. speech, that every man should stood the originals. It was replied, search the scriptures; but with that all who understood the origi. this reserve, that the discoveries nal languages did not agree in and judgments made, must entire. their interpretation, and that what ly agree with theirs; and that one learned man called right, after a free and exact enquiry, all another called wrong. The Catho. should subscribe articles settled by lics pretended, if all were allowed assemblies of divines, Which the liberty of enquiring, numerous amounts to this : You may be. erroneous sects must needs be the lieve what you find to be right; consequence ; but were told, it but nothing is right besides what was beiter some errors should pre- we believe.' Such liberty of envail, than men have no faith. For quiry is a treacherous compliment, if the common people, before the that chains down the prisoner, Reformation, were ever questioned and tells him he is free.” about their religion, they could
(Reflector, 331-333.) only answer, they believed what their priests believed ; that their It is observed by Sir Thomas priests believed what the church Browne, (Rel. Med. Sect. 4.) that believed ; and that the church as there were many Reformers, had the same belief as the pope. so likewise many reformations ; But what faith the pope held they every country proceeding in a knew not. Few of them had particular way and method." In ever seen the Bible, or heard it England, according to å remark mentioned ; insomuch, that many of the late Bishop Hurd, quoted in thought the New Testament a your 3d vol. (p. 530.) the Refor. dangerous book, compiled by Lu- mation advanced under the eye of ther. The arguments of the first the magistrate, which that prelate Reformers being therefore found considered as no small advantage. unanswerable, the Reformation had It certainly had the advantage of the good success which all the preserving the English Reformers world knows.
of the national church, from “ During the change, before the inconsistency described by the things were settled, the Reformers anonymous author lately quoted ; continued to use the same argu. for I am not aware that they ever ments, which had already procured ventured to declare for the right of them so much advantage; but as private judgment. soon as a few churches were found. Henry the Eighth, the father of ed, so as to dread no disturbing the Reformation in England, under power, the reformed began to whose eye it first advanced, though waver in their principles; and with an infant's tottering steps, employed the same kind of argu. certainly designed nothing less ments against others, who separa. than the admission of such a right. ted from them, as the Romish He acknowledged no liberty but clergy had used against the origi- that of indulging his own violent nal Reformers, This, however, passions ; and while he displaced