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ingly. We are ready to allow, (and onder the administration of so mild a prince, and one so derdtedly attached to the doctrine and discipline of the established church, as our present gracious sorereign, hare nothing to fear from such allowance) that «the convocation ought to be assembled only by the king's writ;" and that “the clergy of this realm ought not to promulge, execute, &c. any new canons, constitutions, &c, without the king's togal license and authority, &c.” But it is most devoutly to be wished that such royal licence and authority as is necessary in that behalf would be granted by his majesty to the condocation, to enable them “ to act and proceed as a provincial council," and to take into consideration the present state of the established religion in these dominions.
The body of evidence which has been brought forward in the writings of some of our distinguished authors of the present day, friends of the established religion, and which has been confirmed by the matter contained in the interesting pages of your miscellany, must prove to the conviction of every one not entirely blinded by prejudice, that the most artful and unremitting designs of our enemies are constantly exerted to overturn the religion by law established in these dominions. It appears also, from an impartial review of the same, that not only is union and firmness requisite amongst the members of the establishment, to counteract the effect of these insidious practices against her; but that the evil is arrived at such an height, ihat unless some speedy and effective step be taken, very fatal consequences may be expected. To consider of the most wise and prudent mode of doing this, and with that solemnity and dignity so well suited to the occasion, no mode seems so likely as the one pointed at above.
The concurrent wisdom of the whole body of the clergy being concentred in the Convocation, the dangers which surround us, and the abuses which have crept in amongst us in religious matters, would meet with a full, free, and solemn consideration; and legal and proper measures might doubtless be adopted to restrain or cure the existing evils; which few I think will deny to be many and important.
It may not become so humble an individual as myself to point out the particular topics which press most forward for the consideration of such a body as is mentioned above: but an hint it is presumed may without offence be given concerning the alarming relaxation of discipline which exists in the church at this day. Who is there at this day that regards the censures of the church with any. portion of that respect and awe which they formerly commanded? On the contrary, every one sees they are become a bye-word to the sinner, and the scoff of the scorner ! Is not this a most heart-rending consideration to every good and pious man, and does it not require the most serious and deliberate consideration? In times when religion had some influence on the minds of men, an exclusion from the sacraments and worship of the church was justly considered as a very heavy calamity; now in the fearful times in which we live, it is looked on only as a matter of impious scorn and derision. Again we behold Popery, and Popish establishments,* and Popish magazines, with daring insolence erect their heads in the very heart of the kingdom, and this with impunity, and in direct defiánce ofexisting laws. God grant, Mr. Editor, that you and I may not live to see the encroachments which prevailed in the reign of James II. or the cruelties exercised in that of MARY I. But indeed I tremble for the effects of such unrestrained liberties as these, if much longer permitted. The SECTARISTS have not been less actively employed against “our Jerusalem," than have the PAPISTS, (whom notwithstanding the late Dr. Geddes's jesuitical publication called “AN APOLOGY FOR POPERY,” I must be allowed to call by that name,) as see in various passages of your excellent publication. I forbear to add more instances of dangers which surround us, being assured, that if any considerable number of the prelates of our church viewed the matter in the same light as my valuable friend the London Curate and myself do, they would not content themselves to sit down quiet and content under the existing circumstances, but would exert themselves to the utmost to ward off the threatening dangers which seem almost ready to fall down on our heads!!!
" I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
THOMAS COMBER. Creech Saint Michael, September 14, 1805.
* See your Magazine, p. p. 104, 105, &c. of the 1st volume.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's .
MAGA GENTLEMEN, IN the supplement to my essay on the church, I alluded
to the Rev. Samuel Johnson's exposition of the epistle of St. John to the church of Laodicea in a work entitled An Explanation of Scripture Prophecies, 1742.
Perhaps the following extracts from the beginning and conclusion of his exposition may be acceptable and edifying to your readers, and calculated to covnteract the poison of Mr. Evanson's publication on the Apocalypse. I know of no author who at the early period when this book was written, saw and foretold with equal sagacity what was coming upon the world, or of whose works it may more truly be said, Exitus acta probat, as I now proceed to shew.-"An exposition of Christ's epistle to the church of Laodicea, ch. iii. ver 14. And to the Angel of the church in Laodicea, write Laodicea implies, as to principle, that impious, absurd doctrine, that all government is derived not from God, but from the people, and signifies, as to practice, the ruling of the people, or a general rising up against authority; when the Vor Populi is become not only noisy and querulous, but dictating and imperious; when even Christians begin to unlearn the duty of subjection, and to throw off all respect and reverence for their governors, a character that suits no age more than the present. The loud popular cry for liberty in these days, when men are almost surfeited with it, is just like the noise of drunkards, who are then observed to be most greedy and quarrelsome after drink when they have least need of it, and have indeed no reason in the world for drinking more but that they have drank too much already: or like the murmuring of the Israelites in the wilderness, who, when they had manna to the full, longed for the flesh pots of Egypt; and God in judgment, not in mercy, gave them their hearts desire. He gave them quails to eat, and eat they did till the meat came out at their nostrils; and what they desired to please their appetite, proved their destruction. For while the meat was yet in their mouths, ere it was chewed the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the wealthiest of them. May this never be our case. Though some persons seem resolved never to leave off their cries for liberty till they have obtained an absolute, universal indulgence that every one
may do what is right in his own eyes; that is, till there be no king in Israel.
To confirm this character of the present age, I shall here produce the testimony of a learned foreigner from his celebrated oration before a judicious and august assembly. Dum quidem servituti se tantum subducere velle profitentur, confusionem & licentiam ubique disseminant. Religionem cellent absque ministris, Societatem sine præpositis, Leges sine obedientiâ, Regulas sine praxi. Auctoritas omnis
pro tyrannide, Disciplina, pro servitute, ceremonia et usus pro totidem superstitionibus æstimantur liberum se non putat hoc hominum genus, nisi omnem superiorum & legum auctoritatern abjiciant. The author in these words seems to point only at the modern sect of Freethinkers; but, alas; ihe infection is spread much farther, and the disease is become epidemical. And if we add to this the other distinguishing character of the Laodicean age, viz. that of lukewarmness, or a stupid indifference and unconcernedness in matters of religion, we shall find but few places uninfected with one or other. Gallionism has been openly defended, and the deistical and republican principles have long ago taken a deep root in this nation, and are now shooting forth their deadly branches. The only remains almost now-a-days of primitive zeal, and of ancient discipline and government, are to be found in our two famous universities. These fountains still run pure and clear, though the streams that issue from them are too often corrupted: and indeed we no sooner quit these renowned seats of solid learning, true religion, and useful discipline, but we come into an infected air; and happy, thrice bappy they, that after this escape the general contagion, that maintain their constancy, and hold fast their integrity in the inidst of so much licentiousness and lukewarmness. The truth is, (though it be a sad one) finesse and irreligion make the character of this age, which has no heat with its light, but while it shines bright and radiant, feels cold and frozen, and with all the gay appearances of life, has, the chilluess of death upon it. Thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead. Rev. iii. ]. Which plainly shews that the latter days are come upon us, whereof there is this double character that knowledge shall increase, but the love of many shall war cold. This he reproves them for, by the secret whispers of his spirit, by the convictions of conscience, by the reasoning of their own pinds, by the voice of his messengers, various
occurrences that pass in the world, by the signs of the times which are now so plain and visible, that he who runs may read them, by the remarkable evidences of the near approach of his second coming, and by his exemplary judgments upon others, whereby he gives warning to those who escape. The reward promised to the faithful or penitent Laodiceans seems to be the greatest of all. And when the world, the Christian world, is arrived to this height, or rather depth of apostacy, then will that man of sin appear, the sum total or recapitulation of all iniquity, the personal Antichrist, whose coming will be after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. For which most dreadful and most dangerous trial, do thou, O blessed Jesus, who hast mercifully foretold and forewarned us of these perilous days, fit and prepare all thy faithful servants: even so, Lord Jesu, Amen, Amen."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
AS your Magazine seems to afford liberal admission to
every subject connected with the interests of our church, I am induced to avail myself of the opportunity which it offers to convey a few remarks on some improprieties which I have with extreme concern observed in the conduct of some ministers in their administration of several parts of public worship.
One material deviation from the form of worship prea scribed in the liturgy, which I have to censure, is the frequent abbreviation of the offices for baptism and marriage. In the former it is not unusual to commence the service at the exhortation addressed to the sponsors preparatory to Vol. IX. Churchm. Mag. Oct. 1803.