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mitted to his investigation. According to this' assumption, the first believer was an idiot, and the first difference that occurred among the primitive disciples on the subject of their common faith ought to have proscribed it for ever. For if a religion, however attested, is not entitled to credit till it is arrayed in the evidence of uniform and punctilious agreement, among all who profess to embrace it, notwithstanding the infinite variety of their capacities and circumstances, it has no claim to be believed at all; and no individual to whom it is proposed ought to yield to its influence, on the principle of its own intrinsic excellence. While we thus repudiate uniformity of opinion as a test of revealed religion, we are far from insinuating that the unhappy divisions and enmities which prevail among Christians, are not to be deplored, as greatly injurious to themselves, and to the cause they maintain. They furnish a dark page in the history of human nature; and as abuses of the most valuable boon that heaven has conferred upon mankind, are deeply to be regretted and severely censured. But as affecting the real character of Christianity, either as a divine revelation, or a system of moral influence, they ought not to weigh a feather in the scale. Christianity is responsible only for what it effects by its direct and legitimate tendency.' pp. 2–4.
The whole of the Essay merits a very attentive perusal; and its circulation as a separate tract, might, we think, do much good. This is followed by an Introduction, comprising a rapid sketch of the history of the Church from the Apostolic age to the Reformation ; abridged from the Appendix to Villars's Essay on the Spirit and Influence of the Reformation of Luther. With this sketch we have been less entirely satisfied; but it connects very well with "The Papacy or Church of Rome,' the subject of the first section. Next we have the Church of the Waldenses.' In this section, some typographical errors disfigure the pages, which demand notice. The Pelice and the Clusone are printed, Police and Chesone, (the latter repeatedly,) and the Rev. Mr. Gilly, the well-known benefactor of the modern Vaudois, is transformed into Mr. Gilby. There occur, moreover, some inaccuracies, or at least some very questionable statements of an historical kind. The Author is disposed, in common with his authorities, to make rather too much of the Vaudois, and to overlook the collateral branches of the same true Christian stock.
The Greek Church is next described, and is erroneously stated to extend over a much wider tract of country than the Romish Church. This is in no sense correct. In the East, the Greek and the Romish communions are found co-existing to a great extent; while the pale of the Papacy comprises a large portion of both the Old and the New Continents. The Russian Church, as daughter of the Constantinopolitan, follows in proper order. Then come the Monophysite and Nestorian Churches of Ar-, menia, Syria, Georgia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Koordistan, and Malabar. These are all separately and briefly described; we cannot
say satisfactorily, for this portion of the Work is the most meagre and deficient in correct and authenticated information. At page
218 of the volume, we arrive at what is called the ' Protestant division of Christendom '; and the denominations of Protestantism are treated of in the order following :-German Lutheran Church. Church of Sweden, Church of Denmark. Helvetic Reformed Churches. Church of Geneva: Calvinism ; Momiers ; Sublapsarians and Supralapsarians ; Arminian Church; Baxterians; Antinomians. Reformed Churches in France. Church of Scotland. Church of England and Ireland. Anglo-Cambrian Church. Reformed Churches and Sects unconnected with a Civil Establishment: Episcopal Moravian Church; Episcopal Church in Scotland ; Episcopal Church in America. Presbyterians: Reformed Presbytery; Associate Presbyterians; Relief Synod; Irish Presbyterians; American Presbyterians. Arians, Sabellians, and Socinians. The Three Denominations : English Presbyterians; Congregational Independents ; Scottish Independents ; Scottish New Independents; American Independents; Baptists; Mennonites. Quakers. Methodists : Wesleyans; Methodist New Connection ; Ranters; Calvinistic Methodists; Welsh Methodists. Swedenborgians. Shakers. Dunkers. St. Simonians. Irvingites.
Such are the Contents of the volume; and for the purpose of cursory perusal, the arrangement is not a very material circumstance. Nor are we disposed to complain, that, to the ugly catalogue of Protestant denominations, the Author has not added, with Dr. John Evans, ‘Bryanites, Jumpers, Universalists, Destructionists, Sabbatarians, Hutchinsonians, Mystics, Hal
danites, Free-thinking Christians, Joanna-Southcotians, Mug‘gletonians; Episcopal Seceders; Saadhs; Jerkers and Barkers;
and Millenarians.' We must, however, observe, that most of these have quite as good a claim to find a place in such a Work, as many which are honoured with a distinct notice; and our Author must therefore take his choice between the charge of having given a very imperfect and incomplete list of Denominations, and the opposite fault of having needlessly swelled the perplexing and disgusting catalogue.
Neither of these will be thought to involve a very serious literary offence. But, without meaning to impute any great blame to the Author, we must express our regret that, by the plan which he has adopted, classes and species, sects, and sub-sects, and sub-sub-sects, national creeds and obscure heresies, denominations extant and non-existent, should all be made to figure as distinct varieties of the Christian faith ; reminding us of the amusing toy of Noah's ark, in which enormous antediluvian beetles and gigantic ducks rival in stature the noblest quadrupeds, and the clean and the unclean are harmoniously paired together. This fault would
have been obviated in some small degree, at least to the eye, had there been a subdivision of the Work into chapters and sections. Still, it can only tend to mislead and perplex an uninformed reader, to enumerate mere varieties of dogmatic opinion and almost intangible differences, such as Baxterians, Sublapsarians and Supralapsarians, Antinomians, Sabellians, &c., as distinct denominations, by which is generally understood to be meant, separate sects. Again, it is scarcely less improper to confound under one arrangement, theological and ecclesiastical divisions, differences which serve as the boundaries of religious fellowship and communion, and such as do not, --errors and heresies common to the professed members of various communions, and the peculiarities of detached and isolated societies. The effect is bad, and the tendency injurious, both as making the Christian world seem more broken up into petty and hostile divisions, than it actually is, and as giving a false magnitude and unreal importance to insignificant or detestable schisms and heterodoxies.
Shall we be called upon to apologize for using this last word ? According to some persons who pique themselves on their candour and liberality, to speak of heterodox opinions is, to sin against modesty and moderation ! Orthodoxy and heterodoxy, it is said, are merely relative to our own opinions. Too frequently, indeed, have they been used in reference to human creeds and arbitrary standards.; and it is singular that, in the Church of England, an orthodox clergyman means one who is not an evangelical one. We are not, however, to be deterred from the right use of a word by its being misapplied; and heterodoxy, being a milder term than heresy, may conveniently designate those theological errors within the Church, which neither divide its communion nor contravene the cardinal and fundamental articles of the Christian faith. It may be a nice point to draw the distinction; but let us be allowed to call Sabellianism and Antinomianism, heterodoxy; while, without scruple, we assign to Socinianism, Swedenborgism, and Irvingism, the name of heresies.
We have to find fault not only with the Author's arrangement, on these grounds, but also with his having, according to our judgement, violated the law of proportion in the space allotted to each Denomination. The Arians, if introduced at all, certainly claimed more than a page and a half, when eleven pages are allotted to the St. Simonians, who have no business in the volume. We shall be suspected of feeling jealous for the Denomination to which we have the honour to belong, when we complain, that to. the Congregational Independents less than five pages are given, and to the American Congregationalists, half a page ! The Baptists are allowed to speak for themselves', and their case' occupies about fourteen pages. The Swedenborgians enjoy eleven
pages; the Irvingites, rather more; the Shakers, seven. • The
Ünited Church of England and Ireland' has no reason to complain of being slighted, ninety-two pages (a seventh of the volume) being taken up with an account of its history, doctrines, and constitution ; but that the members of that Church will be gratified with the sort of attention with which it is honoured, is more than we can venture to anticipate. Perhaps it might have have been as well, if, in such a Work, the Writer had displayed a little less of the political and ecclesiastical opponent. There is much truth, however, in the remarks with which the section opens.
Perhaps there is no church upon earth whose doctrines and constitution are so little understood by the majority of its members as the united church of England and Ireland. The leading facts in its history are indeed generally known, but what it really believes and teaches, how far it is ecclesiastical and how far secular, and how the one interferes with the other, and how strangely they are frequently amalgamated, to the deterioration of religion and the best interests of the community, very few indeed are competent to determine. The antiquity claimed for the church by a few of its more zealous advocates, on account of some fancied and mysterious connexion which they pretend to discover subsisting between it and a church more ancient than that of Rome, and purely apostolic in its character, is perfectly ludicrous. Every vestige of such a church vanished before the missionaries of the pope at a very early period of our ecclesiastical history, and at the Reformation there was no church in Christendom that was more entirely popish, tyrannical, and corrupt, than the church of England.
• It is said there is no royal road to geometry,—but Henry VIII. soon convinced the pope and the nation, that he had discovered a truly royal method of effecting the reformation of religion. It was not by a slow process of instruction, not even by writing a treatise in its favour, as he had once done in opposition to its mightiest champion ; his own sovereign dictum achieved in an hour what Wickliffe, and Ridley, and Cranmer might have attempted in vain for a century. Not that there was any thing resembling a true and scriptural reformation, effected by the violent and arbitrary changes which Henry introduced into the Anglican church. Those changes were favourable to the diffusion of evangelical light, and the reformers availed themselves of the opportunity thus afforded them, to imbue the mind of the nation with protestant principles; but Henry was as much a papist as a protestant, persecuted both with equal severity, and had nothing at heart in the zeal which he affected for religion, but humbling the pontiff, and gratifying his own avarice and ambition by seizing the ecclesiastical revenues, and constituting himself, instead of his Holiness, the Supreme Head of the Church. The clergy were alarmed, and whispered the curses they did not dare to fulminate. Henry laughed at their terrors, despised their comminations, and with an atrocious gaiety, perfectly harmonizing with the general brutality of his character, coolly said, “I will betake me to their temporalities.” He was as good as his word ;-and it would have been well had he confined himself to the spoliation of monastic and other ecclesiastical revenues. What she lost in wealth, the church might have gained in virtue; and if her mitres and her thrones had been trampled in the dust, her bishops would probably have been wiser and better men, and the successors of the fishermen of Galilee, in emulating the poverty, might have attained to the spirituality of apostolic times. But Henry was resolved to continue the hierarchy in all the wealth and splendour which was compatible with its subserviency to his own authority ; but to prove to the whole world that, as “ Defender of the Faith,” he could construct a creed as well as depose the pope, he proceeded to fabricate, with all his royal diligence and skill, a summary of Christian doctrine, the most essential article of which, however, seems to have been his own supremacy ; for whoever denied this, whether protestant or papist, was sure to suffer death in its most appalling form. History may record Henry as the first layman who took to himself, in the ecclesiastical sense of the expression, the title of “Supreme Head of the Church," and which he was not long in realizing; for he forthwith enjoined all preachers to instruct the people to believe the whole Bible, the three creeds, the Apostle's, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, and to interpret all things according to them! Odious as this appears, as an act of usurpation and tyranny on the part of the king, it opened the fountain of the Holy Scriptures to the people, and laid the clergy under an obligation to diffuse, to the best of their ability, scriptural knowledge throughout the nation.'
In what sense the King is the head of the Church, has of late been disputed. The XXXVIIth Article is very cautiously worded, and is much less objectionable than the language of the Scottish or Westminster Confession. That the King should rule all estates, ecclesiastical as well as temporal, is an essential and constitutional part of the royal prerogative, and necessarily imports only the subjection of the clergy, as well as all others, to the civil magistrate. That the civil sword' is vested in his hands, is also consonant with fact and with constitutional principles. But that much more than the Article ascribes to the royal prerogative, has been actually exercised, and may still be, by the
Supreme Governor of the Church', the Author clearly establishes.
• Great pains have been taken to remove the scandal of a lay despotism over the church, by an endeavour to prove that it is a kind of ornamental thing, more for show than use, and that it is a convenient source from whence to draw fat benefices and bishoprics, and the blessed temporalities, the prospects of which are so refreshing to those who hope
« in due time to enjoy them.” Thus Mr. Adam assures us that the title “Supreme Governor of the Church," as well as fender of the Faith,” conveys no spiritual meaning; it only gives the king authority inter sacra, not in sacris ; it only denotes the regal