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for their observation by all persons, in all times and places. The qualifications required in a Bishop must be always necessary; and the ecclesiastical order divinely instituted in Crete or Ephesus must be right wherever the Christian Church exists. In the application it may admit some modification, according as circumstances change, and in this is especially needed the pious discretion before spoken of; but no lapse of time,-no change of condition can give authority to deviate in principle from that which inspiration dictated, and which, for that reason, must for ever demand the obedience of man.
4. Such is the nature of the Scriptural evidence by which the controversy is to be decided; and'in order to bring it effectually to bear upon the question, Why am I a Churchman? it will be proper to divide the inquiry into three branches. First, What do the Scriptures teach concerning ecclesiastical establishments in general ? Secondly, concerning the constitution of a visible Church. Thirdly, Does our own Church, in its form and character, correspond with the results ?— Through neglect of this plan, there is a confusion and inconclusiveness in the reasonings of some controversialists, who, by mingling these questions together, present nothing clearly and distinctly to the mind. It is necessary to ascertain, on Scriptural grounds, the lawfulness of an union between Church and State, before we can be prepared to enter upon an examina
veral que Establishducated
tion of the particular union subsisting in this realm. It is no less necessary to determine what form, authority, and rule our Saviour has instituted in his Church, before we can decide rightly respecting that which is established amongst us. But having collected the information which the Scriptures supply in reference to these general questions, we may then apply it as a test to the Establishment under which so large a majority of the educated classes of our country esteem it their happiness to live. If, when tried by this test, it be found radically unscriptural and unsound, the sons of the Church of England must at once abandon her defence ; for argument in favour of that which has no foundation in Scripture is nugatory. But if she be proved to be, in the general outline, and in all her leading features, truly apostolical, it will then be a bounden duty to hold communion with her: a few spots and blemishes,-a few motes, only rendered visible by the evangelical splendour of her beams, should not be allowed to alienate the affection and homage of her grateful children. Imperfection cleaves to every thing on earth; and should the Anglican Church be found, in some lesser points, not to correspond with the Scriptural model, it will follow, not that she ought of right to be abandoned and demolished, but that such a reformation should take place as will render the correspondency complete.
THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE'S RIGHT TO INTERFERE IN MATTERS
the principles ore in matters of
1.—The first branch, according to the proposed division of the inquiry, includes, Ist, the magistrate's right to interfere in matters of religion ; 2ndly, the principles which guide him in establishing a religion ; 3rdly, the civil privileges he may bestow; 4thly, the civil penalties he may inflict.
In entering upon this subject, it is indispensable to ascertain and define what constitutes the essential nature, the real principle of religious institutions; for that is the true ground of controversy; and till it is determined, the desired union between Churchmen and Dissenters can never be effected. What, then, is that principle of an ecclesiastical establishment to which the latter are so violently opposed ?
Does it consist in the imposition of certain doctrines, rites, and ceremonies, to which all the members are to conform ? The Dissenters, it is true, have no written articles, but they have what amounts to the same thing, each section of them having its peculiar tenets, which form the test of membership'. Does it consist in a pecuniary provision, legally appropriated for the support of its ministers, and the maintenance of its services ? This surely will not be affirmed, when it is considered that endowments, and some of them large in amount, are secured by law to many dissenting chapels, the frequenters of which would spurn the idea of their being establishments. Does it consist in the appointment of a clergy, or order of men secluded from other professions to attend upon the offices of religion ? Assuredly not; for the Episcopalians in America, the Romanists in England, and the Protestants in the Vaudois, have their regularly appointed pastors, whom it would be a perversion of terms to call the pastors of an established Church.
The same may be said perhaps of every sect, excepting Quakers; all having an order of ministers elected according to their respective forms and fashions; and yet that they are not established is their conviction and their boast.
The several particulars hitherto mentioned must exist in every Christian country, where the people are governed by known and equitable laws. Those who think alike on sacred matters, who hold the same religious tenets, will associate together for religious purposes: they will form themselves into a society or societies; they will
1 See part ii. chap. iv. § 2.
make rules for their own internal government; they will appoint an order of men to teach and minister in spiritual things; they will subscribe sums of money, give lands, or bequeath legacies, for the support of such ministers, and for the encouragement of their institutions. This will go on till at length the society will arrive at the acquisition of temporal possessions; for it is morally impossible to prevent the people from disposing of their property as their reason and conscience shall direct. One sect in the end may obtain the lead; and through the excellence of its principles, or through the superior zeal, numbers, rank, and wealth of its votaries, may obtain either a partial or complete ascendancy. Thus, wherever Christianity is nationally professed, religious societies will arise, and in process of time they naturally and necessarily establish themselves; nor is it in the power of the civil magistrate to prevent it, even where he disapproves of their formation, without a total destruction of that liberty of conscience which all have an indefeasible right to enjoy.
It is trifling to dispute about a name; by whatever designation they may be called, they are, to a certain extent, religious establishments. Governments must allow them; and therefore it is an idle dispute whether dissent be or be not legalized and established in this country. A variety of sects have sprung up and established themselves; have formed rules for their internal