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CHURCH AND KING.
THE CHURCH AND DISSENT,
CONSIDERED IN THEIR PRACTICAL INFLUENCE, SHEWING THE CONNEXION
THE CHURCH ESTABLISHED ON THE BIBLE;
OR, THE DOCTRINES AND DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH SHEWN IN THE
THE CATECHISM, EXPLAINED AND ILLUSTRATED,
IN CONNEXION WITH THESE APPOINTED SERVICES.
PSALMS AND HYMNS ON THE SERVICES AND RITES OF
BY EDWARD OSLER,
FORMERLY ONE OF THE SURGEONS TO THE SWANSEA INFIRMARY.
PUBLISHED BY SMITH, ELDER AND CO., CORNHILL.
BATH CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION.
I DEDICATE to you a volume which owes to you its existence; and I do so with peculiar pleasure, because the Conservatives of Bath and its neighbourhood have been honourably distinguished for the spirit in which they have maintained their principles. Acting always upon the conviction that the constitution and character of England are identified with the Established Church, they have been forward on all occasions to vindicate that Church, to maintain her rights, and to promote her usefulness.
to be required to support an Establishment; and it is unjust to tax Ireland and Scotland for upholding a Church in England. Do they indeed think so? Then how dare they tax England and Scotland, to support that system of education in Ireland which the Protestants of the whole Empire have so emphatically denounced-not to speak of Maynooth, and of grants for promoting Popery abroad. Is it that they support the principle of an Establishment only where Popery is concerned?
Whatever may be their real views, nothing Upon this point the whole question has at can be more clear than that the principle length centred, and here the battle of the they have avowed is fatal to a national reliconstitution is to be decided. Dissenters gion. Let the Legislature affirm that a Church, say that the Established Church in England from which any parties may dissent, ought shall be put down; the Papists, that a Pro- not to be assisted from the public funds, and testant Establishment in Ireland shall no it leaves the religion and morals of the Counlonger exist. They join to accomplish their try to the voluntary care of individuals. Howrespective objects, swelling their ranks with ever poor and demoralized any district may the anti-christian of every name; and the be, this principle would bar a grant for King's ministers have become their leaders. reclaiming it. Nay, it would restrain the Against them all we declare that the Establish- State from employing a single clergyman. ed National Church shall be maintained! nor | The colonial bishops and clergy must be cast maintained only, but extended. The State off. Chaplains can be allowed no longer to which acknowledges the principle of a Na-jails, ships, or regiments. The Church must tional Church, confesses its duty to provide be thrown entirely upon the resources she religious instruction for all. We will call upon it to perform the duty.
has derived from private liberality, thankful if spoliation should not find the wolf's Always equivocating in their professions, plea even for these. And though the muland hostile in their actions, ministers have at titudes, thickening around, perish in their length committed themselves, the avowed ignorance by millions from generation to gepartizans of the voluntary system. They ob-neration, the State is required, in the name ject to a grant from the public purse in lieu of religious liberty, to abstain from any atof church-rates, because dissenters ought not tempt to save them.
integrity, and national and private honor.Individuals may be honest, while the State pursues its objects by trickery: they may respect themselves, while their Government dis
He must have read the Bible to very little purpose, who does not see that God requires the Nation, as such, to serve and honor Him; by reverently acknowledging Him in all its laws, institutions, and enterprises; restraining wick-graces itself: but the example of the Governedness and vice, and promoting true religion and virtue. No cause and effect have a more close and certain connexion than national religion, and national prosperity. This truth is established on the equity of God's moral government. The good man may be severely tried in this life, for his reward is in heaven; and he may well endure the short sufferings which lead to eternal blessedness. But a Nation, which can exist as such only in this world, is rewarded with temporal prosperity, or punished with temporal calamity.
ment is of incalculable power whether for good or evil. When it places character before every other consideration, it gives a general high tone to private virtue. National events command universal attention; for they have a grandeur, and permanency, commensurate with the interests they involve. Every one feels himself exalted by the glorious character of his Country. He cherishes the high principles upon which she rests her honor, and History gives the example to posterity.
but the State can
grapple with the most gigantic evil. The christian example of an individual fills but his own circle; but that of the State is felt
the accomplishment of their desires, and Vice shrinks and pines to see Virtue prosperous and honored.
Have we not the proof? England glories So with national religion. The practical in the name of a Christian Country. She has acknowledgment of God by the State has a illustrated the character, abroad, by her power beyond all private efforts and example. lofty integrity, and her generous consideration The influence of individuals generally extends for the weak at home, by acknowledging in but a little way; : all her public proceedings her dependence upon God. Before Parliament proceeds to legislate, it implores his guidance. Before Judges administer the law, they publicly throughout the Empire. Good men rejoice at attend Divine worship. In distress, the Nation has been accustomed to humble itself with prayer and fasting: in victory and prosperity, to appear before God with thanksgiving. She has honored his Name. She has trusted in his Arm. She has promoted his worship. What have been the fruits? Through the horrors of an universal war she felt the security of peace. With all Europe arrayed against her, she achieved a triumph, whose naval and military glories, though the brightest in the page of history, are surpassed by its moral grandeur. Uncounted millions have been poured into her lap till she became the treasury of the world. What Nation, save Israel in the days of its faithfulness, was ever so highly honored, so signally blest? And shall we now cast away the fear of our Protector and Benefactor?
National religion is distinct from the collective piety of individuals: It consists in the performance by the State of its public duties, upon the same religious principles which govern the christian man in his private conduct. The distinction is the same with that which exists between national and private
Let us consider briefly the grounds upon which Dissenters object to church-rates. They contend that no man ought to be taxed for that which he objects to. Then why tax churchmen for dissenting objects? The registration and marriage bills were avowedly for the benefit of Dissent: nay, more! they were conceived, and brought forth in a spirit of hostility to the Church. It was hoped that by making the people independent of her ministrations, the ties which bind them to her communion might be weakened, or severed. Yet, if the system had succeeded, instead of proving a miserable abortion, churchmen would have | been required to contribute to its yearly expenses a larger sum than the whole amount of dissenters' church-rates.
They say, that they have a conscientious objection to pay church-rates. That which a christian conscientiously believes to be his duty, he acts upon as firmly through evil report and suffering, as through good report and personal advantage. But dissenters
submitted quietly to this payment, till the apparently defenceless state of the Church gave them a prospect of attacking her with success; and they have already warned us, that, succeeding in this, they will find other ground for active hostility. This is not conscience, but party.
They plead the grievance of being compelled to support a Church from which they derive no advantage. No advantage! Is it nothing to live in a land where God's word is taught in every parish; so that go where they will they have a place to worship Him? Nothing, that through all the changes and revolutions of 300 years, the whole Bible has been everywhere read to the people, where few in comparison, could have read it for themselves? Nothing, to live and act with christians, through an universal system of religious worship and instruction, so that their servants, their acquaintance, their business connexions, are all taught to govern their conduct by the Gospel? The very Bible they read was given to them by the Church which they are now seeking to destroy.
which dissenters resist church-rates is violated by themselves: That their conscientious scruples resolve themselves into party hostility: That their plea which affirms that they derive no advantage from the Church is utterly unfounded: and that their conduct is condemned by the Bible.
Let us appeal from the dissenter at party meetings, to the dissenter in his closet; and call upon him to consider, seriously, and in the presence of God, why he should feel it a grievance that his property continues to be charged with a very small assessment for the support of religion, to which it has been subject from the time that England was an orderly and christian Nation. He objects to an Establishment! But God appointed an established Church for Israel. Christ and his apostles honored it. He has declared that Kings and Queens shall protect and support the christian Church, its nursing fathers, and nursing mothers. Dissent itself, in this, our own day, has formed an established national church in the South Sea Islands. Can that be sinful which God Himself ordained? Or is that to be deprecated which He hath promised? Or can that which is right at Otaheite, be wrong in England?
He objects to a form of prayer! He is not required to use it; and he may well hold his opinion doubtfully, when he condemns the general practice, in all countries and ages, of the purest churches, and the holiest men. Besides, the Liturgy of the Church is used in many dissenting meetings, and these among the most respectable.
They profess to be guided in all things by the Bible, and the Bible only. Where does the Bible sanction their hostility to the Church? Will they appeal to the example of our Lord? He wrought a miracle that he might pay the tribute required for the service of the Temple; a tribute which may with strict propriety be called a church-rate. Or to that of the apostles? They worshipped continually in the Temple; after the ascension of the Lord; after the coming of the Holy Ghost; after the conversion of the Gentiles. Though they knew that the Temple belonged to a dispensation now superseded, that it was profaned by the wickedness of the priests and rulers, and that it was doomed to speedy destruction, yet they honored it; for it was built to the true God, whose word was read therein; and it stood, the visible acknowledgment by the Nation of its allegiance and duty. Their precepts accord with their conduct. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake." "Render to Will he affirm that the clergy are ungodly? all their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; Let the reverence of their flocks; let the custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; public subscription lists, which prove how very honor to whom honor." far their liberality transcends that of the Thus it appears that the principle upon laity; let the schools and the local charities,
He thinks the teaching of the Church defective, and a written sermon cold and tame! Without comparing the merits of extempore and written sermons, he should remember that the service of the Church includes instruction with which no sermon may compare. She teaches the people from the pure word of God. Every Sunday they hear eleven chapters and psalms, which are read in such orderly connexion, as to make it easy to remember, and understand them.