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history, the advance of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny has been invariably accompanied with moral degradation; and if it were really the fact, of which we do not believe one word, that the people were beginning to show themselves mad enough to hug their ecclesiastical chains, we could not be brought to sympathize with their folly or to relax our endeavors for their freedom.

The union of Church and state, say these divines, has been found to be manifestly consonant to the word of God! Who has found this we really do not know; it is a discovery of which we had not heard. We are aware that the advocates of the union have labored hard to find the principle in the Old Testament, and have pleaded the sanction of the Jewish theocracy; but if anything ever was manifest, it is that they have been entirely and for ever beaten from this ground. As to the New Testament, although some have tried their utmost to wrest particular passages from their obvious meaning into some kind of indirect countenance of the principle in question, yet in general the plea for it has been founded upon experience and supposed utility. We believe that most reflecting Churchmen have abandoned the attempt to find the principle or practice in the New Testament, and seldom even appeal to it in the controversy. They infer from the Old Testament, whose institutions have in reality altogether a different character, and from the silence of the New Testament, that the union is legitimate and useful, though not directly authorized. But the New Testament records no church establishment; on the contrary, it exhibits the primitive church as forced into constant hostility with the state, and as an independent ecclesiastical empire governed solely by the laws of Christ. So much for this manifest consistency with the word of God !

To return to the question respecting the advance of the principle of national establishments of religion. Were this even admitted, yet if pleaded as a test of truth, it is the feeblest of all arguments. The very worst of causes have made great advances, and in the worst of times. If the voluntary principle were universally discarded and scouted from the land, and the compulsory as universally adopted, it would afford no satisfactory evidence in itself of the error of the one or the correctness of the other. An argument founded like this might prove popery, and even disprove Christianity itself. In the present instance, the evidence is otherwise. The advance of public opinion is on the side of the anti-establishment principle. Look for instance at the effort of last year for Church extension. Sir Robert Inglis utterly failed, even though the Dissenters were not roused to any very large and combined movement by the threatened imposition. And why were they not so roused? Simply because they deemed it unnecessary. They believed

that public opinion was against the monstrous measure-a measure, however, which the Church labored by petition to uphold, and which the Dissenters with little of counter-effort had the satisfaction of seeing discountenanced.

Within the period of six years, to which the Scotch divines have referred, what multitudes have actually joined the dissenting churches! Of those who in the strictest sense may be termed Dissenters-exclusive of all the borderers, the nondescripts, and the intermediate order of Wesleyans, and apart from baptized infidels and unbaptized formalists, and masses of the kind which swell the bodily form of the Establishment the bona fide additions to the real strength of the voluntary churches has been very numerous, consisting of thousands of godly, devoted, active Christians, who are shining as lights in the world. There is stamina here. Such persons are pillars in the house of God. It may be said that multitudes of this class have been born in dissenting families, and brought up Dissenters. Be it so; at any rate they are additions; and their adhesion demonstrates that the cause of nonconformity is sustained, and that all the demonstration professed to have been given of the validity of the Church and state principle has not advanced with any convincing power in this direction. Moreover, a vast proportion of the thousands added to the ranks of an unendowed and unestablished religion, have been converted from the world by the labors of voluntary missionaries and ministers, and have brought with them into the dissenting churches enlightened minds as well as sanctified hearts. Besides, although many of this second class may not be reckoned among the most obviously intelligent or very educated persons included in the enumeration, they have become greatly instructed of late years by two circumstances; and bid fair, many of them, though in comparative poverty, to display the best endowments of mind. The first of these circumstances is the general progress of knowledge. It cannot be questioned that the spirit of inquiry has been awakened since the schoolmaster has been abroad, and religious schools have multiplied over the land; for in spite of the pompous pretensions and the grasping monopoly of a state endowed Church, whose clergy have been eager to taboo the whole region of education, these schools have muliplied and prospered both for secular and pious instruction. The diffusion of every kind of knowledge among the lower classes, both by oral teaching and by the distribution of the Scriptures, has given an impulse to the popular mind, expanded the faculties, and taught even the humblest to soar above the popish and priestly doctrines which spread a dark and murky atmosphere around the free born soul."

There has been yet another source of enlightenment to which

1

we have referred. A persecuted people have been driven to an examination of their principles. The imposition of church-rates, and the incarceration of those who have resisted them, have furnished useful lessons, though intended only for evil. We do not at all regret the severe discipline that has been exercised, nor should we have done so even if it had thinned our ranks; for what the body might have lost in size it would have gained in health. We have enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing that popular resistance to unrighteous taxation for religion has become equally firm and enlightened. The veriest children are beginning to see that it is iniquitous to compel payment for the support of a system which the conscience of the individual disapproves.

There was a time when the Dissenters scarcely ventured to utter a syllable against the union of Church and state. It was hardly whispered in private; and never intimated in a public document. Those who were a little bold in mooting the subject were rebuked for their indiscretion. Whoever ventured ten years ago to talk of anything but simple grievances, was denounced as a political radical. It was continually urged that we must not ask too much; that ministers could not be expected to listen to us if we went beyond an humble desire of having the marriage act altered, or two or three other little pieces of oppression removed. We remember a deputation going to the leading authority on the subject of some of the Dissenters

' grievances, and upon their venturing to hint at the great radical grievance—the bottom and root of all the grievances, the alliance of Church and state—the minister turned pale with astonishment, and declared he had never heard of such a thing, and did not suppose it possible that such an idea could ever enter a human mind! Separate Church and state !

It would be the destruction of the country !

There is then an advance at least in freedom of speech; and freedom of speech is conducive to great good. Let the advocates of intolerance beware; “knowledge is power.' What was lately regarded as an almost interdicted topic is now universally talked of; the people will have it discussed ; and if men in priestly robes rush in to stop the current of public opinion, they will assuredly find themselves deceived; for the very resistance they offer will rouse the torrent to foaming vehemence, and increase in the end its resistless impetuosity.

It is this state of feeling which has given rise to the Society whose publications are enumerated at the head of this article. Some months ago we introduced this institution to the notice of our readers, and are happy to know that it is pursuing its course with renewed and extending efforts.

While the Religious Freedom Society wears a more political aspect, this has an exclusively religious character. It aims at the same end, without

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appealing to the legislature; but seeks to promote all religious objects by strictly religious means. The plan is to maintain lectures, and issue various publications. It addresses the reason and conscience, and goes forth to contend against the errors of the times, simply with the Bible in hand. Both these institutions demand support; but neither have yet received a merited degree of countenance. To the latter, or rather to its publications, our attention shall now be turned. These from their merit, and the society from its anti-political character, will be likely to share the favor of many persons who adhere alike to voluntaryism and evangelical religion. Some of the pamphlets on the list, as the first and second, have already in former articles received a passing notice: we need not, therefore, refer to them again.

The third of the series, by Mr. Bridges, is ably written. It is, moreover, very useful in its tendency. Worldliness has been the crying sin of the Church of England for centuries; a sin which, it is plainly shown, is fostered by its very constitution. The remarks contained in this tract are the more valuable as they proceed from a Churchman; the claim to which distinction the author states at the commencement of his disquisition. That the Evangelical Voluntary Church Association should have placed a production from such a quarter among the earliest of its publications, is a convincing proof that the voluntary question is not viewed by them as a mere dissenting question, but is in truth one that may be fairly entertained by Episcopalians.

Several passages contain searching expositions of the mischiefs resulting from the alliance between Church and state, and illustrate that worldliness which, as is properly remarked, afflicts the former like a leprosy. Take the following.

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• Let the truth be fairly and honestly, yet respectfully stated. Is the godliness of a primitive and scriptural bishop a likely road to the episcopal bench in this country? Has not an overwhelming majority of our prelates illustrated the correctness of statements just now made ? Let the sees of England or Ireland pass in review before us! How many nominal Fathers in God have been novices in divine things, con. trary to apostolic injunctions? Has not vigilance after the fat pastures of patronage superseded or neutralized watchfulness for the salvation of mankind? Where is the host of right reverend overseers treading in the saintly footsteps of Wilson, Usher, or Bedel ?

Alas! returns from Doctors' Commons tell a melancholy story. The revenues of primacies, or the palatinate; of such dioceses as Derry or Winchester, have heaped treasures together for the last day, when the rust of them shall bear frightful witness, and devour their accumulators, as with fire! Nor is there, through an establishment, any security for even cold orthodoxy of doctrine, or morality of life. Matters are better now than during the last century, or the commencement of the

present,

we have referred. A persecuted people have been driven to an examination of their principles. The imposition of church-rates, and the incarceration of those who have resisted them, have furnished useful lessons, though intended only for evil. We do not at all regret the severe discipline that has been exercised, nor should we have done so even if it had thinned our ranks; for what the body might have lost in size it would have gained in health. We have enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing that popular resistance to unrighteous taxation for religion has become equally firm and enlightened. The veriest children are beginning to see that it is iniquitous to compel payment for the support of a system which the conscience of the individual disapproves.

There was a time when the Dissenters scarcely ventured to utter a syllable against the union of Church and state. It was hardly whispered in private; and never intimated in a public document. Those who were a little bold in mooting the subject were rebuked for their indiscretion. Whoever ventured ten years ago to talk of anything but simple grievances, was denounced as a political radical. It was continually urged that we must not ask too much; that ministers could not be expected to listen to us if we went beyond an humble desire of having the marriage act altered, or two or three other little pieces of oppression removed. We remember a deputation going to the leading authority on the subject of some of the Dissenters' grievances, and upon their venturing to hint at the great radical grievance-the bottom and root of all the grievances, the alliance of Church and state—the minister turned pale with astonishment, and declared he had never heard of such a thing, and did not suppose it possible that such an idea could ever enter a human mind! Separate Church and state! It would be the destruction of the country !

There is then an advance at least in freedom of speech; and freedom of speech is conducive to great good. Let the advocates of intolerance beware; ‘knowledge is power.' What was lately regarded as an almost interdicted topic is now universally talked of; the people will have it discussed ; and if men in priestly robes rush in to stop the current of public opinion, they will assuredly find themselves deceived; for the very resistance they offer will rouse the torrent to foaming vehemence, and increase in the end its resistless impetuosity.

It is this state of feeling which has given rise to the Society whose publications are enumerated at the head of this article. Some months ago we introduced this institution to the notice of our readers, and are happy to know that it is pursuing its course with renewed and extending efforts. While the Religious Freedom Society wears a more political aspect, this has an exclusively religious character. It aims at the same end, without

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