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of doctrine is a hindrance to the attainment of truth.* movement reached its culminating-point half a century later, in the Confessional' of Archdeacon Blackburne, and the Feathers Tavern Petition. The language of Burke, when this last document was presented to the House of Commons in 1772, might almost have been uttered yesterday, so exactly does it describe the position of those who are now complaining of a similar grievance.
These gentlemen complain of hardships. No considerable number shows discontent; but, in order to give satisfaction to any number of respectable men, who come in so decent and constitutional a mode before us, let us examine a little what that hardship is. They want to be preferred clergymen in the Church of England as by law established; but their consciences will not suffer them to conform to the doctrines and practices of that Church; that is, they want to be teachers in a church to which they do not belong; and it is an odd sort of hardship. They want to receive the emoluments appropriated for teaching one set of doctrines, whilst they are teaching another. . . . The matter does not concern toleration, but establishment;
The Independent Whig' was a periodical publication commenced in the year 1720, and principally devoted to the laudable purpose of abusing the clergy. Its authors were Thomas Gordon (the Silenus of the Dunciad), John Trenchard, and Anthony Collins. Its contents are characterised by Mr. Pattison-certainly not an unfavourable judge-as dull and worthless trash.' Those who have read Professor Goldwin Smith's 'Plea for the Abolition of Tests in the University of Oxford,' may judge for themselves how far the learned Professor's argument and temper are anticipated in the following extract from this dull and worthless trash:'
I think I may therefore safely affirm that whatever body or society of men are most restrained by themselves or others from reasoning freely on every subject, and especially on the most important of all, are the least qualified to be the guides and directors of mankind. I will now examine how far this is the circumstance of the clergy in most countries. They are no sooner discharged from the nurse or the mother, but they are delivered over to spiritual pedagogues, who have seldom the capacity, and never the honesty, to venture at a free thought themselves, and must consequently be improper channels to convey any to their pupils. From hence they are sent to the Universities (very commonly upon charity), where they are hamstringed and manacled with early oaths and subscriptions, and obliged to swear to notions before they know what they are. Their business afterwards is not to find out what is truth, but to defend the received system, and to maintain those doctrines which are to maintain them. Not only their present revenues and subsistence, but all their expectations are annexed to certain opinions, established for the most part by Popes and Synods in corrupt and ignorant ages, and even then often carried by faction and bribery, in concert with the designs and intrigues of statesmen, but become sanctified by time, and now to be received without inquiry. . . . . As clergymen, so educated, cannot, for the reasons aforesaid, be fair and impartial judges themselves of what is truth, so their authority can give but little weight to such doctrines as they may think fit to teach to others. The first question asked of a suspected witness, in every court of judicature, is, whether he gets or loses by the success of the cause; and if either appears, he is constantly set aside, and not trusted with an oath.'-' Independent Whig,' No. V., Feb. 17th, 1720; compare Plea for the Abolition of Tests,' p. 88 seqq.
and it is not the rights of private conscience that are in question, but the propriety of the terms which are proposed by law as a title to public emoluments; so that the complaint is not that there is not toleration of diversity in opinion, but that diversity in opinion is not rewarded by bishoprics, rectories, and collegiate stalls.'
In the present day, when the voice of religious doubt is again. making itself heard in English literature and in English society, there are not wanting those who tell us that the best mode of dealing with such a state of things is to permit and encourage 'free inquiry' among the ministers of the Church; to abandon those obligations which record the existence of definite religious doctrines as essential parts of the Catholic faith and which bind the clergy to teach according to that faith; and to substitute in their place a sort of roving commission to a body of chartered libertines to seek for the truth as their consciences may dictate, unfettered by adhesion to the foregone conclusions of a traditionary belief. As yet, this advice is presented to us for the most part in its fairest and most attractive aspect, advocated by accomplished and estimable men, adorned with all the glorious hues and brilliant polish with which genius and refinement can invest it, recommended by the charm of good purposes and pure intentions. We say for the most part; for there are not wanting, even at this moment, threatenings of a rougher treatment and a more hostile temper; and in one instance, at least, the claims of free inquiry have been advocated in a spirit of rudeness and bitterness towards the clergy in general, which is, perhaps, the nearest approach which the manners of the present day will permit towards the coarse invectives of a Tindal or a Collins. But whether the means be blandishment or bullying, promises or threats, the end proposed is the same,-that, namely, which in the last century was ushered in by Collins under the plausible name of Free Thinking; and which, now that that name has acquired a somewhat evil reputation, is offered to us, with a very slight change of style, under the imposing titles of 'free handling in a becoming spirit,' and 'honest doubt,' which has more faith than half the creeds.'
It is, unhappily, only too true that religious unbelief is widely prevalent at the present time; but it is neither so novel nor so significant a phase of religious thought as its apologists would have us believe. In much of what is now presented to us as the fruit of the superior knowledge and conscientiousness of the present day, we recognise an old acquaintance in a new dress: much of the teaching which boasts of its freedom from traditional methods of treatment is but the revival of an obsolete tradition, which became obsolete because it was worthless. The English
Deism of the last century, like the English gentleman of the same period, has made the grand tour of Europe, and come home with the fruits of its travels. It has reinforced the homely bluntness of its native temper by the aid of the metaphysical profundities and ponderous learning of Germany, and the superficial philosophy and refined sentimentalism of France. Yet under a good deal of foreign lacquer and veneer, we may still recognise some of our own cast-off goods returned upon our hands; and discover that free thought, no less than orthodoxy, may have its foregone conclusions and its traditional methods of
We are now told that the right mode of dealing with this state of things is to endeavour to repeat under happier auspices the latitudinarian movement which marked the close of the seventeenth century; to throw away distinctive doctrines and exclusive formularies, and to welcome within the pale of the Church the roving spirit of doubt, provided it retains a nominal allegiance to some kind of Christianity. If this be the true remedy, latitudinarianism is indeed like the spear of Achilles, which can heal the wounds it has itself inflicted. The history of English Deism is the history of a latitudinarian movement which commenced under the recommendation of qualities not less estimable than those by which it attracts us now. If brilliant intellectual endowments, a high personal character, a conciliatory and amiable temper, are the chief qualifications needed in a teacher of the truth, there is no name among our English worthies which has a better claim to be selected as the representative of these qualities than that of John Locke. And the fruits of the system which Locke and his fellow-latitudinarians inaugurated, is to be found in the history of the greater part of the eighteenth century, the age of rational religion and undogmatic Christianity; an age whose spirit, so far as it manifested itself in hostility to the Church, may be seen in the writers whose works we have been reviewing, and whose spirit within the Church may be described in the language of one who reviewed, nearly at the end of the century, some of the later phases of its influence.
'A just abhorrence,' says Bishop Horsley, of those virulent animosities which in all ages since external persecution ceased have prevailed among Christians, especially since the Reformation, among Protestants of the different denominations, upon the pretence, at least, of certain differences of opinion in points of nice and doubtful disputation, hath introduced and given general currency to a maxim which seemed to promise peace and unity by dismissing the cause, or rather the pretence, of dissension-namely, that the laity, the more illiterate
especially, have little concern with the mysteries of revealed religion, provided they be attentive to its duties. Whence it hath seemed a safe and certain conclusion, that it is more the office of a Christian teacher to press the practice of religion upon the consciences of his hearers, than to inculcate and assert its doctrines.
'Again, a dread of the pernicious tendency of some extravagant opinions, which persons, more to be esteemed for the warmth of their piety than the soundness of their judgment, have grafted, in modern times, upon the doctrine of Justification by Faith-a dread of the pernicious tendency of these extravagant opinions, which seem to emancipate the believer from the authority of all moral law, hath given general credit to another maxim, which I never hear without extreme concern from the lips of a divine, either from the pulpit or in familiar conversation—namely, that practical religion and morality are one and the same thing; that moral duties constitute the whole, or by far the better part of practical Christianity.
The rules delivered may be observed to vary according to the temperament of the teacher. But the system chiefly in request with those who seem the most in earnest in this strain of preaching, is the strict, but impracticable, unsocial, sullen moral of the Stoics. Thus, under the influence of these two pernicious maxims, it often happens that we lose sight of that which is our proper office, to publish the Word of Reconciliation, to propound the terms of Peace and Pardon to the penitent; and we make no other use of the high commission we bear, than to come abroad one day of the seven, dressed in solemn looks and in the external garb of holiness, to be the apes of Epictetus.'*
The Church of that day, as has been truly observed by a recent writer, became practically if not openly Unitarian; because, in the religion then taught under the name of Christianity, there was no proper need for a Trinity; because the belief in the Trinity, dissociated from the related doctrines of the guilt of sin, atonement by the blood of Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Ghost, necessarily lost its importance, and hung round the faith of the age as an encumbrance and a superfluity. To such a state we may expect to see the Church of England again reduced, if she consent to listen again to the voice of the charmer, to be allured again by the promise of peace and unity, and to abandon the reaction, which the present century has happily witnessed, towards the Catholic teaching of her earlier and better days. The history of the last century, the least Catholic period of English Theology, lies before us for our example or our warning. If the philosophy of that century is a model of elevated and
Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of St. David's, 1790,' pp. 5-8.
See Dr. Fairbairn's Appendix to the English Translation of Dorner on the Person of Christ,' p. 405.
comprehensive thought, if its theology is a model of pure and devout belief, if its practical religion is a model of all that is excellent in Christian life, then let us listen reverently and obediently to the teaching of those who are labouring to reestablish among us the principles by which that century was formed. But if the history of which we have attempted the preceding slight survey teaches us an opposite lesson, it behoves us to remember that like effects may be expected to follow from
ART. IV.-1. The Trans-Caucasian Campaign of the Turkish Army under Omer Pasha. By Lawrence Oliphant. London, 1856.
2. Patriots and Filibusters. By Lawrence Oliphant. London, 1860.
3. Trans-Caucasia. By Baron von Haxthausen. London, 1854. 4. Papers respecting the Settlement of Circassian Emigrants in Turkey. Presented to the House of Commons by command of Her Majesty. 1864.
GRIEVOUS calamity has befallen a brave nation little known to the British public, but invested with that romantic interest which always attaches to deeds of daring, to an unstained cause, and to an unequal struggle, maintained by a nation in defence of its liberty and independence. 'It is apparent,' Lord Napier writes on the 23rd of May last, 'that the Russian Government have long taken an absolute resolution at any risk to remove the whole of the (Circassian) mountaineers still in arms from their native places. The system pursued has been for two years past to move the troops and the Cossack forts and settlements slowly but surely up the valleys which pour their waters northwards to the basin of the Kouban, dispossessing the indigenous inhabitants at every step until at last the highest fastnesses have been reached, and the people inhabiting the watershed have been pushed over into the valleys sloping southward to the Black Sea, and have carried the savage* and sequestered people of those regions in masses to the coast.' From the coast, as we know, they are flying by tens of thousands across the sea, to perish by famine and disease under the well-meant but clumsy and inadequate protection of the Turkish Government. But, although attention has now been for the first time generally called to what is passing in the Caucasus, it would be a mistake to
*We do not concur in Lord Napier's use of this term. Vol. 116.-No. 231.