« AnteriorContinuar »
nents it is pleasant to argue; for their opinion, though, as we think, erroneous, is formed on due reflection, on knowledge, and in conscience.
Last of all, might be mentioned a list of great and illustrious names, friends and champions of Catholic Emancipation-some of whom, perhaps, would not stickle for securities are no security-mongers-to use a rather imprudent expression of Mr Canning, when in a state of irritation with himself and others-of whom some are or were, we verily believe, true friends to the Protestant Church, and some are or were, we verily believe, to say the least of them, no friends to it at all, or, what is worse, false ones, and too indifferent altogether, too philosophical, too liberal, too much citizens of the world, on the subject of religion, natural or revealed. But far the greater number, and the most illustrious of the former, have always looked to securities, ampler or more limited, firmer or more uncertain, vague or better defined; most of the latter, of course, have spoken sneeringly or slightingly of securities, we know not if any have strenuously opposed them, or insisted that to demand them was useless and unjust. Absolute, total, unqualified, unrestricted emancipation, without salvo or security, seems to be demanded only by the most rabid of the Catholic leaders themselves, or the most idiotic of the priest-ridden, or the revolutionary radicals pretending to be Protestants, but, in all practical matters of morality or religion, men of no creed at all, that is, in one single strong word-Atheists!
Such is our classification, hastily and rudely sketched, of the heads of Catholic Emancipators; and they have been, are, and will be, opposed by three-fourths at least of the people of Britain-including far more than that proportion of the most virtuous, the most learned, the most enlightened, and the most illustrious. Let but the Church of England and of Scotland, and the Protestant Dissenters of the better and higher order, be true to themselves, and no breach will be battered even by all the light and heavy artillery of this liberal age, in the great bulwark-the fortress of our na tional well-being, a Protestant State, of which the very Citadel is a Protestant. Church.
The very Citadel. For, let knowledge spread wide over the whole land, let the discoveries of all sciences be multiplied a hundred fold, let all the people think, and feel, and act for themselves in the power of liberty, so that the conscience is as free in the hut as in the hall, and the very pauper may have familiarity in his hovel with emotions of mind that are the highest enjoyment of the prince in his palace, let the fairest visions be realized of the most enthusiastic and imaginative philanthropist dreaming of the amelioration, the perfectibility, the perfection of the race, and still the Protestant faith, the Reformed Christian religion, that is, the Christian religion restored to its original purity, as it breathes and burns in the New Testament, will be found commensurate with all the capacities and powers of the human soul,—and will still be the "bright consummate flower," in the wreath on the forehead of glorified humanity. But let the spirit of Christianity be polluted or perverted as, in the religion of Popery, it has ever been among the great body of the people, or let its light be darkened by a veil of idolatrous ceremonies, or shut up in the shrines of superstition, and then, as human reason and human knowledge and human science advance, and, we say, let them advance for ever and ever, and may no barrier be raised to obstruct their progress, Christianity will, in its perversion or obscuration, appear what it then indeed really will be, a mockery and a delusion, its priests will deserve to fall, and they will fall, with all their towers and temples, and the bare, naked, and denuded earth will again look up in blank destitution of religion, and the holy forms and shadows and symbols of religion, to the disconsolate skies.
Religion men will have, as long as the earth groans with the griefs of us transitory creatures. It is, indeed, at all times tending towards, bor dering upon, Superstition. For the passions, in their disorder, drive men sometimes to seek, and sometimes to shun, God and his vicegerent Conscience; and to soothe or propitiate those powers divine, God and the God-given, they bow down even before unhallowed altars, and fly for refuge to unsanctified shrines, in fear, or hope, or despair, blind to the only
light, deaf to the only sound, that can save: Therefore so frequent and so fell is Superstition. But, as long as the Bible lies open in its boards, as long as all eyes can read, and thousands of eloquent tongues are dedicated to expound, its pages, Religion, in her happiness, scares away Superstition, and all her train of shadowy phantoms, and thus, indeed, and not by mere fleets and armies, is a Nation truly great.
No revolutions will ever, earthquake-like, rend and rock the structures of social life to their foundations again, as long as Christianity endures in purity and in truth. Religion shall be the strength of the nations-when Reason and Faith kneel together in all her temples. But in all nations lying under the darkened clouds of Chris tianity, there will, at frequent periods, be great political earthquakes. There will be alternations of Superstition and of Atheism-building up and pulling down-pouring out of blood like water, and all in vain-intervals between of sullen servitude or fierce license for where Religion is not, her sister Liberty "will be far;" and Religion there never will be, permanent and steadfast, while there are men, afraid of Reason to guard the gates of all her temples, and to minister at all her al
Take, then, we say, any number of well-educated men indiscriminately from the population of Britain, unconnected, as far as they can be so, with political parties-with all their main opinions unswayed, as far as they can be so, by political predilections-following the dictates of their reason and their conscience-and meditating on the essential interests of this our Protestant State, and we firmly believe, that a great majority of them indeed, while they may lament the necessity of it, on account of the many thousands of enlightened Catholics, whose faith is far better than that of their priests, and, just in proportion as it is better, makes an approximation to Protestantism, will decide for the exclusion of all persons of that religion from the privileges to which they are seeking to be admitted. So far from being of a persecuting spirit, it is the spirit of persecution which they desire to keep down; so far from being bigoted, they desire that the worst of bigotry shall be shut
out from our councils; so far from being illiberal, and haters of the light, and, if we must use language that has now degenerated into slang, of the "march of intellect," they desire that light shall overflow the land, and that the triumphs of intellect shall be limited only by the extent of the human faculties, cultivated to the utmost, and applied to all the most useful and most noble objects of human pursuit and ambition.
Within these few years, the selfdubbed champions of Truth, Knowledge, and Liberty, have become more and more audacious in their abuse of every man who stands forth to defend the rights, the privileges, and the principles of the Church of England, and declares her to be an integral part of the Constitution of this Protestant State. If they did themselves venerate that Church, they would speak of her in a very different style of language, and also of those men who, whatever be the real merits of this great question, are certainly among her most distinguished ornaments. We cannot think it natural to wear a perpetual sneer on the lip-to drop perpetual rancour from tongue and pen, on all occasions when we hear the name of the object of our inward respect and admiration. Neither is it natural, in such cases, to be for ever qualifying our praises; " to hint a fault, and hesitate dislike," during the progress of a panegyric. The real feeling in the mind of the eulogist often shews itself in an apparently very insignificant word, which somewhat sneakingly gives the lie to a man's whole discourse-for one single syllable of impertinence betrays the dissembler, and converts what was beginning to be felt as fulsome flattery into silly satire, both alike beneath considerate contempt. Far better to speak boldly out-and to utter their real sentiments in abuse of the Church and churchmen, like the Examiner, and the other filthy fools and knaves of the lowest Cockney school; but to "palter with us in a double sense," at the very time they are holding up their heads, and pluming themselves on their attachment to the religious establishments of their country, is a sort of insult which a sensible man, even of the most meek and Christian temper, cannot often, without losing a little of it, stand from hypocritical
blockheads;—a wolf in sheep's clothing being all very well, but an ape in old woman's clothing intolerable, and if we must have maundering, let it at least be free from malignity.
We have now been alluding, and perhaps at rather unnecessary length, to certain poor creatures of the press; but if their cant be as disgusting as may be, the cant of clever men in another rank and station is much more odious. There, for example, is Mr Henry Brougham, a man of great talents and acquirements. His friends hoist him up on their shoulders a yard and a half towards the skies, as the most powerful prose-writer of the age. We shall grant, for the tithe of a moment, that he is so, and that Edmund Burke, as a political author, is far inferior to Henry Brougham. He is made to take his stand on the political articles in the Edinburgh Review. If none of these be of his composition, then he not only is not the greatest prose-writer of the age, but he is no prose-writer at all; for his se parate pamphlets have not been better than those of William Huskisson, who does not stand, as far as we have heard, at the head of our literature. If many of the most powerful of them be his composition, and we shall not attribute anything weak and washy to his pen, then he has shewn himself a most insolent insulter of the Church of England, and of many, most of her illustrious living sons. His vituperation has been foul-mouthed indeed, coarse, and vulgar, and certainly either most ignorant or most unprincipledin meaning and in manner disgraceful, or rather impossible in a high-minded English gentleman, not more when libelling his Church than his King. Yet, on some public occasions-ay, before all England-all the world-has Mr Brougham, when it suited some temporary purpose to do so, pronounced flaming panegyrics on the character of the self-same Church and the self-same sons of that Church, as the impregnable bulwark, and invincible champions of religion. Hopes he then her speedy overthrow, or her everlasting duration? Desires he to see bestial hoofs kicking down her altars, or her altars, for ever sacred, under the shadow of angelic wings?
But the divines of the Church of England have never been faint-hearted in the presence of the enemy; at all
times they have been ready to buckle. on their armour; their weapons are well tempered, and they know how to wield them well, both in defence and assault. There are men among them now, not to be cowed in controversy, like the mannikins whom the dread of Mr Brougham's sarcasm makes mum as so many mice when a grimalkin is in the room. The silence of the scholar's study is not disturbed by the senseless cry of-hear! hear! hear! at every new blast of bombast and rodomontade, nor by shouts of laughter-immense laughter-at wit that has evaporated in the process of printing, or by humour as dry as the ink. His words on paper are as the words of a common man-often of a very common man indeed-his logic is quite chap-fallen now his arguments, when left to stand on their own legs, are found to be of the halt and the lame-and perorations that would have left the learned gentleman on his breech, in cheers from the whole House, continuing for several minutes, are perused in a succession of small, uneasy, uncomfortable yawns, subsiding into sleep. Alas, for the fame-the glory of Oratory-Rhetoric- Eloquence! What would have been a most magnificent speech, and able for four-fivesix-or seven hours,
"The applause of listening senates to command,"
as an article in the Edinburgh Review, is sometimes felt to be scarcely worth ten guineas a-sheet.
Although, then, Mr Brougham is a dangerous antagonist, especially to those who, from constitutional timi dity or retired habits, are out of all measure annoyed with being held up alternately in mock eulogy and real satire, in sudden vicissitudes of hot and cold, wet and dry weather, blown from the "highest heaven of his invention," in presence of a full House; still there seems no necessity for falling down in a fainting or hysterical fit, on the first frown of his formidable visage. There are several instances of his face having been survived; of people having stood unscathed by his thunder; the electric fluid, attracted by the ethereal spear in the hand of a champion of the Truth, having descended it, as if it had been a conducting-rod, and with fear of change perplexing moles. Dr Phillpotts, for ex
ample, writes away merrily without the fear of this Bugaboo before his eyes; and cares no more for " certainly, the First Man in the House," than he does for any other woman-born man of terrestrial origin. That the Doctor, after several years' warfare with the Briareus and Garagantua of the Blue and Yellow, should positively and bona fide be alive, in good flesh and blood, even to this very day, must be in comprehensible to people imperfectly skilled in the properties of animal poisons. The truth is, that the bite of very few serpents is mortal. There are herbs of sovereign virtue growing in almost every garden, and loving no site so well as a crevice in some old cathedral or abbey-wall, where the air smells wooingly, a single leaf of which, applied to the wound, does with gentle lip extract the venom, as Queen Eleanor did from the wound of her Lord the King. Dr Phillpotts, therefore, though frequently bitten, is still Rector of Stanhope, and Dean of Chester; nor, mark our words, will the great Boa Constrictor himself bite him out of a bishoprick. To speak plainly, he is in talents Mr Brougham's equal-his temper, though warm-and a cold temper is an atmosphere in which noble thoughts cannot breathe, nor noble feelings burn-is always under the control of a manly mind and gentlemanly manners, which is more than can be always truly said of the gentleman on the opposite side of the House. He is one of the best scholars in England, altogether worthy to be named along with Wrangham and Copplestone, and Blomfield; and hence, his clear, classical, forceful style, is far superior indeed to that of Mr Brougham, who, by the by, has kept perpetually waxing more and more pedantic ever since the Thesis he read as Rector to the little red-gowned radicals in the common-hall of Glasgow College, so that now 'tis impossible to read a page of him either in speech or article, without being tempted to exclaim, "The Schoolmaster is abroad!"
By his talents, attainments, and station, Dr Phillpotts is entitled to speak before the people of England on all affairs affecting the well-being of
Church and State. He has often so spoken, and always with prodigious effect both on friends and foes. He is one of the most eminent men of his day, and one of the most influential.
On his first appearance in the field, a run of course was made at him by all the strength of the party. Thus have we seen at the foot-ball play," in Ettrick Forest, one single strong agile shepherd touch the globe with his toe, and after having upset in the heather or on the greensward some half-dozen players who had tried to trip him up, away he goes with the leaping leather, that, in a succession of airy and rainbow curves, keeps seeking the sky, till, amidst the acclamations of thousands seated on the hills, he makes it spin beyond the goal.
His "Letter to an English Layman on the Coronation Oath," is one of his most powerful productions. He has taken a most comprehensive view of the whole subject-one of mighty moment indeed at the present juncture and has brought to the discussion great stores of historical knowledge, which never on any one single occasion has he employed with the view of display ing his learning; for he is as familiar: with all our best constitutional autho rities as a Quidnunc_with_the_newspapers, and has evidently had more difficulty in selecting than in collect ing his materials. Along with his letter, we have read Mr Lane's most excellent Treatise on the Coronation Oath. They reflect strong light on each other; and we shall endeavour to exhibit, frequently in the form of an abstract or abridgement, nor yet scrupling to use their very words where that is necessary, some of their most important reasonings and statements.
Dr Phillpotts begins with speaking of the Church of England as an essential part of the British Constitution. Those who have inquired into the history of the British Constitution, will testify to the close connexion of civil and religious polity which has ever subsisted in it.
"From the very earliest period, the monarchy of England has always presented itself, as a government which regards its subjects in the full dignity of their real nature, as religious creatures-as beings, whose interests are not limited to this tran
sitory scene, but reach onwards to an infinitely higher and more enduring state.
Accordingly, instead of making religion the handmaid of civil policy, instead of adopting and endowing it, merely as an useful auxiliary to secure the submission of subjects, and give a new sanction to the authority of rulers, the English Lawgiver has always regarded religion as having,
by right, a paramount place and dignity in the great scheme of national polity. Hence it is, that the Gospel is reverently acknowledged to be part of the common law of the land. Hence, too, it is, that as the Gospel supposes all Christians to be members of the Church of Christ, and that Church to be a society under the govern ment of certain rulers appointed by God himself to their high office, the law of England, from the first conversion of this nation to the faith of Christ, not only has always recognised the State of England, inasmuch as it is a Christian State, to be also the particular Church of England; but it has, by consequence, regarded the Governors of the Church as an essential part of this Christian State. Whatever may have been the practice of other countries, and whatever may have been the language of private individuals even here, both the language, and the practice, of our law have been uniform and constant on this particular."
To endow the Spirituality with temporal dignities, was no essential part of the duty of the Christian legislature; but in England, from the earliest times," the King's most noble proge nitors, and the antecessors of the nobles of the realm, have sufficiently endowed the said Church both with honours and possessions." The clergy, being one of the great states of the realm," have always been called to bear a distinguished part in the great coun cil of the nation. In all the accounts which remain to us of the Mysel Synoth, the great assembly, or, as it was called at other times, Wittenagemote, the assembly of the wise men of the realm, the Bishops are mentioned among its chief members. Ina, King of West Saxons 702-Egbert, who united the Heptarchy into one kingdom-Canute, on the death of Edmond Ironside-Edward the Confessor-all, in convening the Great Council of the Realm, or on other equal occasions, thus recognised the Spirituality; and Dr Phillpotts rightly remarks, that they had thus their seat in the Parliament, or Great Council of the Realm, not by reason of the tenure of their temporal possessions, (for hitherto their lands were held by them in frankalmoigne,) but simply and merely as spiritual lords. The charters, too, of our early sovereigns are as precise in promising protection to the rights of the Church, as in assuring those of the temporality; and as their charters recognised the rights of the Church, VOL. XXIV.
so also, which more immediately be→ longs to his present inquiry, did the oaths which were taken by them at their Coronation. Henry II., Richard I., Henry III., all swore to respect and protect the Church and its ministers. But without seeking to ascertain the exact expressions in which every one, in succession, of our early Princes, swore to the maintenance and protec tion of the Church's rights, Dr Phill potts gives the fixed and regular form in which all the Kings of England, from Edward II. to Henry VIII. inclusive, pledged their faith to the Church and people of England. Whe ther by any and by what actions Henry VIII. violated his oath, is not a question, our author boldly says, in which the honour of the Reformed Church of England is at all involved. And certainly, no fault is to be found with the statutes by which he cut off the usurpations of the Pope. Lord Coke, too, has triumphantly proved, and so have many others, that Henry's assertion of his right to Ecclesiastical Supremacy was most properly and truly a resumption of the ancient, legal and recognised right of the English Crown. On the death of Henry VIII. it appears from the council-book, cited by Burnet, not only that many of the ceremonies of the Coronation were altered, in order to accommodate them to the change of laws, but also that there was some small amendment of the Coronation Oath. In that amended form it was taken by Edward VI.
Mary, having been crowned according to the ancient ceremonial, used the ancient form of the Coronation Oath, which (with one alteration introduced into it under James I.) appears to have been observed at the coronation of every succeeding sovereign, James II. included. The present Coronation Oath is in terms prescribed by 1 William and Mary, c. 6. In that form it still continues to be taken, and therefore it includes the full meaning expressly put upon it by the act of Union, 5th Anne, c. 8; and the sovereign must understand himself, and be understood by others, to swear that "he will, to the utmost of his power, maintain and preserve, inviolably, within the kingdoms of England and Ireland, the Protestant reformed religion, established by law, and the settlement of the Church of England; and the doctrine, worship, disB