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RELIGIOUS and CONTROVERSIAL.
Art. 14. A Letter to the Rev. **** ***** M. A. Fellow of College, Oxford, on the Cafe of Subfcription at Matriculation. 8vo. 6d. Oxford printed, and fold by Rivington in London. 1772.
which have been propofed to the Author upon the fubject mentioned in the title. The firft queftion is, in what fenfe he apprehends the Convocation to have enacted, that all scholars to be matriculated, having arrived at the age of twelve years, shall fubfcribe to the articles of religion?' In reply to this the Letter-writer obferves, I think, in the first place, your Convocation did not intend a bare declaration of neutrality and promife of filence :-it remains that they intended a declaration of affent. I think, fecondly, they did not intend an affent of knowledge or opinion: for this plain reafon, because the fubfcriber is utterly incapable of fuch affent. I conclude, therefore, that your Convocation intended an affent of belief, an affent founded on tellimony and authority. Thé plain meaning then of the fubfcription they require will be this; the fabfcriber declares," that he believes, upon the authority of his inftructors, the doctrines of the Church of England to be true, or agreeable to the word of God:" by which declaration he virtually profeffes himself to be a member of the faid Church.'
The fecond question offered to examination is, Whether he apprehends the present ftatutable fubfcription to be liable to any just exception? Taking it for granted that fome fubfcription is reafonable and neceffary, the Letter-writer replies, I take your prefent fubfcription, in the fenfe in which I understand it, to be unexceptionable. I cannot fee why a young perfon may not as reafonably, upon the fole authority of his inftructors, declare his affent to the Thirty-nine Articles as to any other fyftem of religious doctrine or political opinions. And yet he has been taught from his infancy, upon the fame authority, to make a folemn profeffion of his belief in the daily fervice of the Church; and has been lately, or will foon be, called upon to repeat it in a manner as explicit and formal as any fubfcription can amount to, I mean in the office of confirmation. -So far then your fubfcription ftands upon the fame ground with the rites and ufages of the Church. At the age of eighteen, whatever be his condition and education, he may be called upon by the state to take the oath of Supremacy; to declare his affent in the moit folemn manner to a political and religious pofition, which however true, is fo far from being felf-evident, or deducible from principles within the reach of an unimproved understanding, that it is not at this day acknowledged by the one half of Europe. Now, Sir, can you imagine that one young perfon in ten, who is bound to make this declaration, can make it upon his own perfonal examination and conviction? Upon what grounds then, but upon authority, upon a
general perfuafion that thofe who enjoin it on the one hand, and thofe who recommend it to him on the other, have duly examined it, and must judge for him till fuch time as he can judge for himfelf, and all this with infinite propriety.'
Without detaining our Readers by an enquiry how much more probable and eafy it is for a youth at eighteen to understand the nature of the oath of Supremacy, than for a child at twelve to have any proper notion concerning moft of the fubjects of the Thirtynine Articles, we proceed to obferve that this Writer finds a great inconvenience, a perpetual fource of difficulty and uncertainty to the parties concerned in the fubfcription, fince there are, he fays, scarce two perfons, either in the university or out of it, who underfand the fubfcription precifely in the fame fenfe.' Here, therefore, a third question comes under confideration, namely, Whether he apprehends the prefent fubfcription to be preferable to any other telt which has been or may be propofed?' The Letter-writer remarks, that the defign in impofing a teft at matriculation is to afcertain this ingle point, that the fcholar who prays to be admitted into the univerity is a member of the Church of England. And on account of the age at which this fubfcription is required, he adds, I am of opinion that it greatly deferves your confideration, whether, though an af fent to the doctrines of the Church be the most natural teft, whenever the age and circumstances of the party put him in a capacity to give or refuse it, yet fome other may not be thought of, which fhall be at the fame time equally decifive, and better adapted to the prefent cafe. If, for instance, he "folemnly declares himself to be a member of the Church of England," he gives you that very affurance, for the fake of which you required his fubfcription to the Articles.-If, moreover, "he promise to conform to its liturgy and worship," he ftrengthens his declaration by the beft argument poflible.'
This is a brief view of the contents of the Letter before us; to which we must add, that it is written with candour and good fenfe, however the Author may or may not be mistaken in refpect to the reasonableness, in general, of the fubfcription required by the Church of England. The Writer declares that he wishes well to toleration, notwithstanding his fincere attachment to the establishment; becaufe beth, he thinks, are effential to the true interets of religion, to the good order of fociety, and to the natural rights of mankind. Art. 15. An Addrefs to the Clergy of the Church of England in particular, and to all Chriftians in general. Humbly propofing an Application to the Right Reverend the Bishops, or through their Means to the Legiflature, for fuch Relief in the Matter of Subfcription, as in their Judgments they thall fee proper: Together with the Author's Sentiments of the prefent Forms; and his Reafons for fuch an Application. By Francis Wollaton, LL. B. F. R. S. Rector of Chiflchurft in Kent. 8vo. 6d. Wilkie. 1772. The moderation, candour, and good fenfe that breathe through the whole of this Addrefs, cannot fail of giving every attentive and impartial Reader a favourable opinion of the Author. The fubject of the Address is, furely, important to every fincere Chriftian, and particularly to to our Clergy; we therefore recommend it to the ferious and attentive perufal of every clergyman in the kingdom, hear
tily withing the Author, and thofe who may affociate with him, all the fuccefs to which their well-meant endeavours are entitled..
Our Author's views and withes will appear from the following
Some of our Brethren have applied, and are expected to, apply again, to the Legiflature for redrefs. Let us, therefore, now step forward and, though we cannot go hand in hand with them, let us affift them as far as we may. Let us, with refpectful confidence, addrefs ourselves to that Bench; through whofe interpofition, relief is regularly to be expected: and, as their "Moderation is known unto all men," let us explain to them our wishes; and confide in their prudence, for obtaining the most proper redrefs for us.. This is but due to our Prelates. For as, during the late recefs of Parliament, they have had time to digeft thefe matters; and there is reason to hope, that they have revolved it in their thoughts, how to effect what is best; fo it cannot but be a proper piece of refped in us, that we fhould affure them of our good withes, and our prayers for the fuccefs of fo pious an undertaking. Let us then fhew them who. we are that with it; and what we look for at their hands. Let us entreat them, That we may no longer have a fet of Articles that ag-. grieve ourselves: though we have no objection to the fubfcribing fairly, juch a reasonable form, as fhall be thought necessary to fecure a Proteftant Church, against its being committed to the care of the Papift or the Unbeliever. That our Liturgy, though now fo excellent, may be rendered yet more pure; by correcting every remaining blemish, and removing or leaving indifferent all we can, that gives offence to others. That our Church may thus become a pattern to all churches. And that, if those who now diffent from us, will not then accept of our Terms, or. imitate our Example; we may, however, have the fatisfaction of having done our Duty, by yielding on our parts, all that in Prudence we
Or, if this be too great a happiness to be thought attainable; let us trust, that we fall at least get removed, that Form of Subfcription, which, in its prejant ftate, requires fuch a Latitude in a folemn act, as no honest man would allow himself to use in any other Contract, however, trifling.
But it belongs not to the Propofer to dictate, what shall be the particulars of our Addrefs. That, he hopes, will be confidered by his Brethren if they fhall fee it proper to join him, and accept his proffered fervices. He will be ready to receive their commands, left with the publisher: and to meet thofe, who fhall be willing to confi der the matter, and prepare the Form of fuch an application.
In the mean time, he has thus delivered his fentiments; that, however his Propofal may fucceed, which will depend upon their concurrence; he may have borne his Testimony as an individual.
And now, to the LORD he commits it: in full affurance, that He who "worketh in us, both to will and to do," will affift all our pious endeavours; and if the measure we are now upon, be a right. meafare; will bring it to a happy conclufion.' Art. 16. A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Celchefter, in June, 1772 By W. S. Powell, D. D, F. R. S. Ma
fter of St. John's College in Cambridge, and Archdeacon of Col. chefter. 8vo. 6d. Cadell, &c. 1772.
In this charge, Dr. Powell endeavours to vindicate the English clergy, from the cenfure thrown upon them for not making ufe of the prefent improved ftate of philofophy and fcience. They have ufed it, fays he, and to the greateft advantage there, where only it could be used for the fervice of religion; in providing evidence, in examining it, in felecting the founder and weightier parts of it, and in cafting away thofe which are light and corrupt. But they have wifely avoided the application of it, where fuch application is impertinent, or profane: impertinent, as in the interpretation of Scripture; profane, as in judging of God's decrees.'
The Doctor produces examples of the errors into which, he pre tends, philofophy has led its votaries, taken from two of what he calls the great and diftinguishing doctrines of Christianity, viz. the doctrine of Atonement, and that of the Divinity of our Saviour. But the whole of what he advances is fo vague and fuperficial, that the difcerning Reader will receive very little improvement from the perufal of it.
Art. 17. A Vindication of the Proteftant Diffenting Minifters, with Regard to their late Application to Parliament. By Andrew Kippis, D. D. The fecond Edition, corrected and enlarged. 8vo. 2 s. Robinfon. 1772.
The fubject of this Vindication being of great importance to the caufe of riligious liberty, we think it incumbent upon us to acquaint our Readers, that, in this fecond Edition, there are confiderable and very valuable additions, and that the compofition is much improved throughout.
Art. 18. A ferious and earnest Addrefs to Gentlemen of all Denominations, who oppofed the late Application of the Proteftant Diffenting Minifters to Parliament, for Relief in the Matter of Subfcription. By John Williams, LL. D. 8vo. 1 s. Robinfon. 1772.
After fome general obfervations upon the injuftice and abfurdity of requiring fubfcription to human articles of faith, this Author enquires into the conduct of the diffenters with regard to government, and endeavours to fhew, that they have always been the trueft and the fteadieft affertors of liberty, religious and civil. He particularly infifts, likewife, upon their uniform attachment to the houfe of Hanover. Speaking of the rebellion in 1745, Be it recorded,' fays he, to their everlafting honour, that not one fingle Proteftant Diffenter, of any denomination, either English or Welch, was found in the rebel army. In short, the Proteftant Diffenters have, in the most dif treffing times, given very fignal difplays of their loyalty to their king, and of love to their country; and furely, therefore, are entitled to the countenance and favour of both prince and people.' Thefe things being confidered, Dr. Williams cannot believe that any one of the Brunfwick line will neglect an opportunity of fhewing his esteem for a body of men, who have always been fo ftrongly attached to his family; neither can the Doctor believe that Government interfered, much lefs that it exerted its influence to throw the
Diffenters Bill out of the House of Lords. That, he thinks, could only proceed from the interference of the bishops. How far this opinion confifts with a real knowledge of the world, and an acquaintance with the fecret fprings of political tranfactions, we fhall not take upon us to determine.
- In the remainder of the pamphlet, the Author addreffes himself, first, to the Members of both Houfes of Parliament; fecondly, to the Bishops in particular; and laftly, to thofe of his Brethren who have fcruples with refpect to the late Bill.
Under each of thefe heads he has made a number of pertinent and judicious obfervations, and hath written with great moderation and candour.
Art. 19. A Letter to the Rev. Dr. Jofiah Tucker, Dean of Gloucefter. Occafioned by his Apology for the prefent Church of England, as by Law established, &c. wherein every material Article is examined; and the Plan of the petitioning Clergy, and others, is fully vindicated; upon the Principles of Christianity, all Proteflant Churches, and the Church of England in particular. By a Petitioning Clergyman. 8vo. I s. Buckland. 1772. Though feveral acute and fpirited anfwers have been made to Dr. Tucker's Apology, we do not recollect that any of them have confidered the whole of his pofitions. The Writers in oppofition to him have chosen to confine their attention to fome feparate parts of his Work, which were deemed peculiarly indefenfible, or peculiarly worthy of notice. The publication, therefore, before us, the defign of which is more extenfive, cannot be regarded as unneceffary, or unimportant. The affertion in the title page, that every mate rial article advanced by the Dean of Glouceiter is examined, is Arictly juft; and in this examination the Author has difplayed much good fenfe, and a very fincere regard to the interefts of genuine Christianity and Proteftantifm. At the fame time, Dr. Tucker is treated with great refpect. We apprehend that this performance comes from a clergyman in one of the fouthern counties of England, a worthy veteran in the caufe of fcriptural knowledge and religious liberty, whofe writings we have had repeated occasion to commend. Art. 20. Friendship with God. An Effay on its Nature, Excel
lence, and Importance, and Means of Improvement. By Richard Jones. 12mo. 3 s. bound. Dilly. 1772.
This performance is calculated to excite and cherish a pious and virtuous fpirit and conduct. The Author was defirous of giving an amiable and engaging view of religion, and as he certainly could not fix upon a more elevated idea, though at the fame time perfectly confiftent with true humility, fo he imagined he could not form a more lovely or pleafing reprefentation than this of Friendfhip with God: a manner of fpeaking fufficiently authorifed by the Holy Scriptures, and particularly the New Teftament; as it is the evident and declared purpofe of the Gofpel difpenfation to reconcile us unto God.
For the method which this Writer purfues, which is natural and proper, we shall refer to his Book; and fhall here add only a few hort extracts, by which the Reader may judge of his manner.
REV. Dec. 1772.