Imágenes de páginas




For DECEMBER, 1772.

Religious and CONTROVERSIAL.
Art. 14. A Letter to the Rev. **** *****, M. A. Fellow of

***** College, Oxford, on the Case of Subscription at Matricu.
lation. 8vo. 6d. Oxford printed, and sold by Rivington ia
London, 1772.

HIS Letter is to be considered as an Answer to some Queries

which have been propofed to the Author upon the subject mentioned in the title. The first question is, in' what sense he apprehends the Convocation to have enacted, that all scholars to be matriculated, having arrived at the age of twelve years, shall subscribe to the articles of religion' In reply to this the Letter-writer observes,—- I think, in the first place, your Convocation did not intend a bare declaration of neutrality and promise of filence :-it remains that they intended a declaration of affent. I think, secondly, they did not intend an affent of knowledge or opinion: for this plain reason, because the subscriber is utterly incapable of such aflent.-I conclude, therefore, that your Convocation intended an assent of belief, an affent founded on testimony and authority. The plain meaning then of the subscription they require will be this; the fabscriber declares, “ that he believes, upon the authority of his instructors, 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 said Church.'

The second question offered to examination is, “Whether he apprehends the present ftatutable subscription to be liable to any jut exception ?" Taking it for granted that some subscription is reasonable and neceffary, the Letter-writer replies, ' I take your present subscription, in the sense in which I understand it, to be unex. ceptionable. I cannot see why a young person may not as reason. ably, upon the sole authority of his instructors, declare his assene to the Thirty nine Articles as to any other system of religious doctrine or political opinions. And yet he has been taught from his infıncy, upon the fame authority, to make a folemn profession of his belief in the daily service of the Church; and has been lately, or will soon be, called upon to repeat it in a manner as explicit and formal as any subscription can amount to, I mean in the office of confirmation. -So far then your subscription stands upon the same ground with the rites and usages of the Church. At the age of eighteen, whatever be his condition and education, he may be called upon by the fate to take the oath of Supremacy; to declare his assent in the moit solemn manner to a political and religious position, which however true, is so far from being self-evideni, or deducible froin principles within the reach of an unimproved understanding, that it is not as this day acknowledged by the one half of Europe. Now, Sir, can you imagine that one young person in ten, who is bound to make this declaration, can make it upon his own personal examination and conviction? Upon what grounds then, but upon authority, upon a


general persuasion that those who enjoin it on the one hand, and those who recommend it to him on the other, have duly examined it, and must judge for him till such time as he can judge for him. self, and all this with infinite propriety;'

Without detaining our Readers by an enquiry how much more probable and easy it is for a youth at eighteen to under and the nature of the oath of Supremacy, than for a child at twelve to have any proper notion concerning most of the subjects of the Thiris. nine Articles, we proceed to observe that this Writer finds a great inconvenience, a perpetual source of difficulty and uncertainty to the parties concerned in the subscription, since there are, he says, ' scarce two persons, either in the univerlity or out of it, who underkand the subfcription precisely in the same sense.' Here, therefore, a third question comes under consideration, namely, 'Whether he apprehends the present subscription to be preferable to any other tett which has been or may be proposed ?' The Letter-writer remarks, that the design in imposing a telt at matriculation is to ascertain this lingle point, that the scholar who prays to be admitted into che universy is a member of the Church of England. And on account of the age at which this subscription is required, he adds, “I am of opinion that it greatly deserves your consideration, whether, though an alsent 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 some other may not be thought of, which shall be at the same time equally decisive, and better adapted to the present case.

If, for inttance, he “ folemnly declares himself to be a member of the Church of England,” he gives you that very affurance, for the sake of which you required his tubscription to the Articles. If, moreover, “ he promise io conform to its liturgy and worship,” he strengthens his declaration by the best argument posible.'

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 sense, however the Author may or may not be mistaken in respect to the şeasonableness, in general, of the subscription required by the Church of England. The Writer declares that he wilhes well to toleration, notwithstanding his fincere attachment to the eftablithmcot; becaule bith, he thinks, are essential to the true interefts of religion, to the good order of fociety, and to the natural rights of mankind. Art. 15. An Address to the Clergy of the Church of England in par

ticular, and to all Christians in general. Humbly proposing an Application to the Right Reverend the Bishops, or through their Means to the Legislature, for such Relief in the Matter of Subfcription, as in their Judgments they shall see proper : Together with the Author's Sentiments of the present Forms, and his Reasons for such an Application. By Francis Wollalion, LL. B. F. R. S. Rector of Chillehurst in Kent. 8vo. 6d. Wilkie. 1772.

The moderation, candour, and good sense that breathe through the whole of this Address, cannot fail of giving every attentive and impartial Reader a favourable opinion of the Author. The subjat of the Address is, surely, important to every sincere Christian, and particularly fo to our Clergy; we therefore recommend it to the fe. rious and attentive perufal of every clergy man in the kingdoin, hear

tily wishing the Author, and those who may associate with him, all. the success to which their well-meant endeavours are entitled.,

Our Author's views and withes will appear from the following extract:

* Some of our Brethren have applied, and are expected to apply again, to the Legislature for redress. Let us, therefore, now step forward : and, though we cannot go hand in hand with them, let us allilt them as far as we may. Let us, with re{pectful confdence, address ourselves to that Bench; through whose interposition, relief is regularly to be expected : and, as their “ Moderation is krown unto all men,” let us explain to them our wishes; and confide in their prudence, for obtaining the most proper redress for us. This is but due to our Prelates. For as, during the late recess of Parliament, they have had time to digest these matters; and there is reafon to hope, that they have revolved it in their thoughts, how to effect what is beft; so it cannot but be a proper piece of respeti in us, that we fhould assure them of our good wishes, and our prayers for the success of so pious an undertaking. Let us then thew 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 set of Articles that grieve ourselves : though we have no objection to the subjiribing fairly, Juch a reasonable form, as shall be thought neceffary 10 focure a i'roteftant Church, again't its being committed to the care of the Papist or the Unbelirver. 7bat our Liturgy, though now so excellent, may be rendered yet more pure; ly 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 fatisfuction of having done our Duty, by yielding on our parts, all that in Prudence we may.

Or, if this be tno great a happiness to be thought attainable ; let us trust, that we fall at lealt get removed, that Form of Subscription, which, in its frejant faré, requires fich a Latitude in a plemn azt, as no honejt man would allow himself to use in any other Contract, however, trifling.

But it belongs not to the Proposer to dietate, what ihall be the particulars of our Address. That, he hopes, will be considered by his Brethren : if they ihall see it proper to join him, and accept

his proffered services. He will be ready to receive their commands, left with the publither: and to meet those, who fhail be willing to consis der the matter, and prepare the form of such an application.

* In the mean time, he has thus delivered his sentiments ; that, however his Proposal may succeed, which will depend upon their concurrence; he may have borne his Tejtimony as an individual. '' And now, to the Lord he commits it: in full assurance, that He who “ workech in us, both to will and to do,” will afliit all our pious endeavours; and if the measure we are now upon, be a right. meafare; will bring it to a happy conclufion.' Art. 161 A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Archdeacorts of Colchester, in June, 1772., By W. S. Powell, D.D. F.R.S. Van


[ocr errors]

fter of St. John's College in Cambridge, and Archdeacon of Col. chester. Svo. 6 d. Cadell, &c. 1772.

In this charge, Dr. Powell endeavours to vindicate the English clergy, from the censure thrown upon them for not making ule of the present improved state of philosophy and science.—They have used it, says he, and to the greatest advantage there, where only it could be used for the service of religion ; in providing evidence, in examining it, in selecting the founder and weightier parts of it, and in cafting away those which are light and corrupt. But they have wisely avoided the application of it, where such 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, philosophy has led its votaries, taken from two of what he calls the great and distinguishing doctrines of Christianity, viz. the doctrine of Atonement, and that of the Divinity of our Saviour. But the whole of what he advances is so vague and superficial, that the discerning Reader will receive very little improvement from the perusal of it. Art. 17. A Vindication of the Protestant Disenting Minifters,

with Regard to their late Application to Parliament. By Andrew Kippis, D.D. The second Edition, corrected and enlarged. 8vo. 2 s. Robinson. 1772.

The fubje&t of this Vindication being of great importance to the cause of riligious liberty, we think it incumbent upon us to acquaint our Readers, that, in this second Edition, there are considerable and very valuable additions, and that the composition is much improved throughout. Art. 18. A serious and earnest Address to Gentlemen of all Dens

minations, who opposed the late Application of the Protestant Diflenting Ministers to Parliament, for Relief in the Matter of Subscription. By John Williams, LL.D. 8vo.

8vo. I s. Robinfon. 1772.

After some general observations upon the injustice and absurdity of requiring subscription to human articles of faith, this Author enquires into the conduct of the dissenters with regard to government, and endeavours to fhew, that they have always been the trueft and the fteadiest assertors of liberty, religious and civil. He particularly inhists, likewise, upon their uniform attachment to the house of Hanover. Speaking of the rebellion in 1745, Be it recorded,' says he, to their everlasting honour, that not one single Protestant Differter, of any denomination, either English or Welch, was found in the rebel army.-In short, the Protestant Diffenters have, in the moft dif. tresling times, given very signal displays of their loyalty to their king, and of love to their country; and surely, therefore, are entitled to the countenance and favour of both prince and people.' These things being considered, Dr. Williams cannot believe that any one of the Brunswick line will neglect an opportunity of thewing his esteem for a body of men, who have always been so strongly attached to his family; neither can the Doctor believe that Goverament interfered, much less that it exerted its influence to throw the


Diflenters 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 secret springs of political transactions, we shall not take upon us to determine. · In the remainder of the pamphlet, the Author addresses himself, first, to the Members of both Houses of Parliament; secondly, to the Bihops in particular; and lastly, to those of his Brethren who have scruples with respect to the late Bill.

Under each of these heads he has made a number of pertinent and judicious observations, and hath written with great moderation and candour. Art. 19. A Letter to the Rev. Dr. Fofiah Tucker, Dean of Glou

cefter. Occasioned by his Apology for the present Church of England, as by Law eltablished, &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 Protestant Churches, and the Church of England in particular. By a Petitioning Clergyman. 8vo.

I S. Buckland. 1772. Though several acute and spirited answers have been made to Dr. Tucker's Apology, we do not recollect that any of them hare con fidered the whole of his positions. The Writers in oppohtion to him have chosen to confine their attention to some separate 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 extensive, cannot be regarded as unnecessary, or unimportant. The assertion in the citle page, that every matem rial article advanced by the Dean of Glouceiter is examined, is fri&ly juft; and in this examination the Author has displayed much good sense, and a very sincere regard to the interests of genuine Christianity and Protestantism. At the same time, Dr. Tucker is treated with great respect. We apprehend that this performance comes from a clergyman in one of the southern counties of England, a worthy veteran in the cause of fcriptural knowledge and religious liberty, whose writings we have had repeated occasion to commend. Art. 20. Friendship with God. An Etay 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 cherith a pious and virtuous spirit and conduct. The Author was desirous of giving an amiable and engaging view of religion, and as he certainly could not fix upon a more elevated idea, though at the same time perfectly consistent with true humility, so he imagined he could not form a more lovely or pleasing representation than this of FriendJhip with God: a manner of speaking fufficiently authorised by the Holy Scriptures, and particularly the New Testament; as it is the evident and declared purpose of the Gospel dispenfation to reconcile us unto God.

For the method which this Writer pursues, which is natural and proper, we all refer to his Book; and shall here add only a few hort extracts, by which the Reader may judge of his manner. Rev. Dec. 1772.



« AnteriorContinuar »