Page images
PDF
EPUB

ciple, and religion is very low. Power, pleasure, wealth and splendour, engross to a great degree, bishops and ministers. Few compose the sermons they preach. High preferments are political promotions, conferred to secure friends to the reigning administration. The low church party are moderately Calvinistic, and exhibit much genuine piety. The numnber of their clergy is not far from 1800. These two parties now differ on the meaning of the thirty nine articles, and on all the great means of promoting vital piety and extending true religion-particularly, on the importance and necessity of circulating the Bible, accompanied by the prayer book. Both express and feel a warm attachment and veneration for the establishment, but the latter complain of church patronage, slight examication for orders, non-residence of clergymen, wont of churches, wealth of the bishops, and poverty of the clergy, and call loudly for reform. During the late reign of George IV., the Test act was repealed which excluded dissenters from office, and the Roman Catholics gained the political liberty for which they so long struggled.

Ireland remains to this day, in a deplorable state of ignorance and superstition. Of a population of seven millions, six are Catholics. 500,000 are attached to the establishment. The remainder are dissenters. During the last century the protestants greatly decreased But of late the Episcopal church has been gaining ground through the exertions of her clergy, the circulation of the Bible, and the establishment of Sabbath schools.

The church of England has many splendid establishments in the British colonies, in the East and West.

The King is her temporal head. He appoints her bishops. She has 2 archbishops, 26 bishops, who are, all but one, peers of the realm, 60 arch-deacons or bishop's depâties, 18,000 clergy, 10,500 livings, 1000 of which are in the gift of the king; a population of five inillions, and a revenue of three millions sterling. Her bishops have vast incomes, but the mass of her clergy are confined to an hundred pounds. The church of IreJand has 4 archbishops and 18 bishops ; few of whom, however, reside in the country. To support these clergy, the whole nation contributed their quota in tithes and church rates.

An assembly of the clergy of England, for consultation upon ecclesiastical matters, is called a convocation. It consists of two houses. In the upper house, sit the archbishops and bishops; in the lower, the clergy represented hy their proctors.in all 143 divines. It meets on the second day of every session of parliament; but has not been permitted by the king

CHAP. 18. ITS ORGANIZATION, DISTINGUISHED DIVINES, 337

[ocr errors]

for 70 years, to transact any business, and immediately adjourns. The dean and chapter are composed of a number of canons of prebendaries, and form the bishop's court, taking cognizance of all ecclesiastical offences. The leading principle of the church of England, is the sufficiency of the Scriptures, as a rule of faith and practice. Her doctrines are contained in the book of Homilies, consisting of short doctrinal discourses, and in the thirty-nine articles, which, with the three creeds and catechism, are inserted in the book of common prayer. The basis of her articles was laid by Cranmer, in the reign of Edward VI., and were passed in the present state in convocation, and sanctioned by royal authority in 1562. All persons who are admitted to holy orders, must subscribe them exanimo. Every person who pays his tithes and taxes, is legally a member of the church in full communion. Her lilurgy was composed in 1550. Her festivals are held on what are called her saint's days, and are numerous.

Her universities have retained the great principles of the reformation, while most of the universities on the continent, have utterly renounced them.

This portion of the Christian Church has embraced in her : bosom a vast body of the faithful followers of the divine re.leem

er, Many of her divines have been great ornaments to the nation and distinguished lights in the world. Besides those noblemen who fought the battles of the Reformation, the names of Usher,a Hall, Jeremy Taylor,c Stillingfeet,d Hammond, e Pearson, Barrow, Tillotson, h Prideaux,i Pocock,j South.k

mons.

(a) Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland during the reign of James and Charles I., a prelate of distinguished learning and piety. He did much to enlighten his miserable countrymen and withstand the catholics. His great work was “ Annals of the Old and New Testament.” He died March 21, 1655, ag. 80, and was buried by Cromwell in Westminster Abbey.

(6) Bishop of Norwich. He died Sept. 8, 1656, leaving many valuable works, particularly his Meditations. (c) Author of “ Holy Living and Dying” and some much admired ser

He died Aug. 13, 1667, bishop of Down and Connor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dublin.

(d) Bishop of Worcester and author of “ Origines Sacræ, or a rational account of natural and revealed religion” and many able controversial pieces against the Deists, Socinians, Papists and Diesenters. Died March 27, 1699.

(e) Author of " a paraphrase and annotation on the books of the New Testament and a part of the Old," a work of merit. Died, 1660.

(f) Bishop of Chester, author of an Exposition on the creed. Died, 1686.

() Head of the English divines. He was also a great mathematician. His sermons contain the greatest number of thoughts of any in the language. He died Vice Chancellor of Trinity College May 4, 1677, ag. 47, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Burnet, Whitby,m Clark,n Berkley,o Butler,p Lowth, Secker, Paley,s Newton,t Scott,u Buchanan,v will ever command the veneration and love of all who delight to behold distinguished talent consecrated to the best of causes.

Patrick, Hammond, Whitby and Scott, have been her most able commentators.

For her many noble, pious, charitable associations, especially for the recent efforts of some of her members in the Bible, Missionary and Tract cause, thousands and millions will rise up and call her blessed.

(h) Archbishop of Canterbury at the Revolution. He was born Oct. 1680, and educated among the dissenters. At the restoration of Charles II. he was promoted with other divines then called Latitudinarian. He was the most popular preacher of his day. He laid aside all the ancient technicalities of Theology and expressed himself with much simplicity and ease in the language of common sense. He introduced into England the custom of preaching by notes. His sermons are still much read and admired. Addison regarded them as affording the best standard of the English language. Died, 1694.

(1) Dean of Norwich, author of Connexion between sacred and profane history. Died, 1724.

(1) Bishop of Ossory. He travelled over Palestine and the East and published his observations, throwing much light on the sacred scriptures. Died, 1765.

(k) A preacher of great notoriety, because of eminent learning and keen satire. His sermons are extant in 6 vols. 8vo. Died, 1716.

(1) Bishop of Salisbury. Author of a History of the Reformation and of a History of his own times.

(m) Author of a paraphrase and coinmentary on the New Testament. Died, 1726.

(n) A distinguished metaphysician. Died, 1729. 0. Bishop of Cloyne,and author of the minute philosophör. Died, 1753.

p. Bishop of Durham, and author of the analogy of religion, natural and revealed to the course of nature. Died, 1752.

q. Bishop of London, and author of Lectures on the poetry of the Hebrews and a translation of Isaiah. Died, Nov. 1787, 76.

r. Bishop of Oxford, an elegant scholar, eloquent preacher and sound divine. Died, 1768.

8. Author of Natural Theology, Moral Philosophy, Horae Paulinae, Evidences of Christianity and other very valuable works. Died, June 25, 1805, ag. 61.

t. A wonder to many. Plucked by divine grace from awful bondage to Satan, he became an eminent minister of the gospel in London, and died, leaving many valuable works in 1807.

W. The most distinguished practical commentator and expositor of the sacred scriptures. His commentary has had a most extensive circulation in England and America. His other works are in 6 vols. He died April 22, 1821, aged 75. v. Chaplain to the East India Company. Died, 1815.

ag.

CHAP 19.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.

339

CHAPTER XIX.

Presbyterian Church of Scotland. First General Assembly. Es

tablished by law. Suppressed by Charles I. Re-established and prosperous during the Protectorate. Solemin League and Covenant. Gains a free toleration in the Revolution. Seccders Burghers, and Anti-Burghers. Giassites. Presbytery of re

lief. Scotch character. Presbyterian Discipline. English Presbyterians and Independents. Early distinguished

divines, Baxter, Owen, Flavel, Bates, Howe. Number and state of the Dissenters after the Revolution. Henry, Watts, Doddridge. Spread of Irianism, and decline of the Presbyterians. Increase and flourishing state of the Independents.

[ocr errors]

The Presbyterian church of Scotland began to assume a regular form about the year 1530. The reformation in that country was vastly greater than in England; both, as there was an entire change of religious sentiment and feeling, and also, of church government. In England the whole exterior of the Roman Church remained. In Scotland, it was all abolished. " Abbies, cathedrals, churches, libraries, records, and even the. sepulchres of the dead, perished in one common ruin."

The great reformer, John Knox, had been at Geneva, the residence of Calvin ; And had acquired an attachment to the presbyterian government, and an hatred of every thing pertaining to episcopacy and popery. The Scottish nobility were willing to see the dignifie i clergy pulled down, for they hated their persons and coveted their wealth, and the common people clapped their hands to see the reformers levelling to the dust that tremendous hierarchy which had been so oppressive.

Mary, the Queen, made great efforts to re-establish the papal dominion, but her subjects had the boldness to tell her that they abhored her religion; and even rendered it difficult for her to .worship according to the education she had received, and what she declared to be the dictates of her own conscience.*

* The following anecdote, shows the boldness of John Knox towards the Queen. “ After Mary had been dancing at a ball till after midnight, Knox took for his text Psalm II, “ Be wise therefore, Oye Kings," and inveighed heavily against the vanity and wickedness of princes. The queen complained of it to him, when Knox told her that, as the wicked will not come where they may be instructed and convinced of their faults, the providence of God had so ordered it that they should hear of their sins and reproofs by scandalous reports ;-—that no doubt Herod was told that Christ called him a fox, but he was not told of the sin which he

The number of protestant clergy was for a time very small, and they were widely scattered. Knox convened them in General Assembly, Dec. 20, 1560; but it was a feeble and irregular body which effected but little. He also composed a book of discipline which should give efficiency to their government, and he laboured to get possession of the old ecclesiastical revenues ; but these the nobility, having once seized would not relinquish. He met with no difficulty however, in obtaining for his government and all its acts the sanction of public authority, and the entire abolition of Popery.

Those who had seized the estates of the Popish bishops, contrived to uphold the name and semblance of the office. This occasioned violent contention. At length an act was passed in the General Assembly in 1781, declaring the office of bishop to have neither foundation nor warrant in the church of God.And in 1592, the Presbyterian goveroment was established by law.

James V. revived the office of bishop, though he had been educated in the kick of Scotland, which he pronounced the purest church on earth ; but he attached to it no ecclesiastscal jurisdiction or pre-eminence, only a little revenue and a seat in parliament. But when he ascended the English throne in 1603 and witnessed the splendour of the English church and its devote dness to bim, he became the warm friend of episcopacy and resolved to make Scotland conform. Three Scotch bishops were consecrated at London. The Scotch clergy were commanded to receive orders from them, and the churches were compelled to submit to the episcopal ceremonies. The old presbyterians bowed the neck with the greatest abhorance, until Charles I, pressed them beyond what they would bear. A new liturgy was appointed to be read in all the churches, July 23, 1637. At the great church in Edinburgh were assembled archbishops and bishops, and the lords of the session, and magistrates of the city. But when the dean began to read, the populace clapped their hands and cried, “a pope, a pope, down with antichrist," and greatly endangered the lives of the bish

committed in cutting off John Baptist's head, to recompense the daneing of a harlot's daughter. When the ladies of the Court appeared in all the elegance of dress, which Mary brought with her from France, Knox told them it was all very pleasant, if it would always last and they could go to heaven in all that gear. But fie on that knave death, said he, which will come whether we will or not, and when he hath laid an arrest, then foul worms will be busy with that flesh, be it never 60 fair and tender ; and the silly soul, I fear, will be su feeble that it can neither carry away with it gold, garnishing, furbishing, pearls, nor precious stones."

« PreviousContinue »