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those doctrines are derived from the Bible, which we believe to be correctly derived from it. For, though, without the Bible, the Liturgy has no support, yet without the Liturgy men are left in doubt, whether the principles of our faith should be embraced by them, or not. Without the Liturgy, they want a guide, to lead them to the Established Church. Without the Liturgy, the Bible may be misapplied to doctrine and discipline most discordant with our own. Where the Church of England therefore is established, the Bible and the Liturgy should be united. For every Christian party either finds, or supposes that it finds, its peculiar tenets in the Bible. And hence the Act of Uniformity expressly enjoins, that no Sermon shall be preached or Lecture given, except in the University Churches, till after the Liturgy has been publicly read.”
It is worthy of remark, that though the Sermon, from which this extract was taken, passed through so many editions, and was generally read, I never heard of any objection, that was made to it by the friends of the establishment.' The National Society was avowedly founded on the fundamental principle of that Sermon ; and in the Address to the public, which was printed at the head of
the traditions of fallible men. But the trial, which I have uniformly made, is the trial of the Liturgy by the Bible, not the Bible by the Liturgy. But, as I was accused in my absence, and under circumstances, which would have prevented my being heard, had I been present, the whole assembly was impressed with the notion, that the Margaret Professor had so far departed from the principles of a Protestant, as to maintain that the Bible alone containeth not all things, which are necessary for salvation. It is true, that no one ventured to say so in positive terms, especially as I had declared in that very Address, which Dr. Milner then beld in his hands, that the Bible was the “ only fountain of religious truth.” But men scruple not to insinuate what they dare not assert.
| Indeed an honor was conferred on this Sermon, which I believe was without precedent : for at the first public Meeting at Bartlett's Buildings after the Sermon was preached, it was resolved (the Archbishop of Canterbury himself being in the Chair) that the publication of it should not be deferred, as usual, till the time of circulating the Society's packet, but that it should be printed immediately on account of its great importance. This resolution gave rise to the five octavo editions of it, which preceded the Society's edition, consisting of five thousand copies. But how greatly soever it may be approved by the friends of the establishment, I must of course, and indeed for this very reason, expect that it will be assailed by those, who are unwilling that the National Religion should be made the foundation of National Education,
the Resolutions, for the regulation of that Society, the Liturgy was mentioned by name, as essential in religious instruction. The principle, which, when applied to the instruction of children, had been illustrated in my Sermon by the system of Dr. Bell, was illustrated in the same Sermon, when applied to adults, by the practice of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Between the system of Dr. Bell, and the practice of this Society, which is a Society for Bibles and Prayer Books, there is the same analogy, as between the system of Mr. Lancaster and the other Society, which is a Society for Bibles alone. The application of the principle to this other Society was implied however in the Sermon, and not formally expressed. But when the Address to the Senate, which contains precisely the same sentiments as the sixth section of the Sermon, and several sentences even in the same words, exhibited an application of the principle to this Society by name, it was then discovered, that the general principle, for which I had contended, was equally directed to the Lancasterian System and the Bible Society. It was then discovered, that sentiments which were approved when supposed only applicable to the former, were matter for reproach when it was found that they applied to the latter. And the fundamental principle of the whole Sermon appeared in a new light, as soon as the extent of it was distinctly perceived. The very men, therefore, who had supported me in its application to the religious instruction of Mr. Lancaster, (among whom I may reckon Dr. Milner himself,)' were suddenly converted into zealous opponents. Even friendship was sacrificed, and it was determined that the Author of the Address should be crushed. The result is known; the Speeches made on the occasion are before the public; and I have now presented my defence.
But the analogy of this Society to the Lancasterian System, extends only to its operations at home, or where the Church of England is established. Its operations abroad are not only unobjectionable, but highly laudable: and, though I think they have been greatly exaggerated, though I think they have been described in terms, which violate both truth and candor," they are certainly
' I draw this inference from Dr. Milner's readiness, when I waited on him, to subscribe to the National Society.
See the Appendix.
productive of great and unmixed good. The Liturgy of our Church has no concern with the distribution of Bibles, where Christianity is professed under a different form. Neither duty nor interest require us, in this case, to do more than distribute the Bible. For this purpose I would gladly offer the right hand of fellowship, not only to Protestants of every description, but to the members of all other churches, dispersed throughout the world. For this purpose, we should all, as Christians, engage on equal terms. Being concerned alike with the distribution of the Scriptures, being alike desirous of promoting the general cause of Christianity, we should act on a principle, which was common to all. The welfare of the universal Church would be promoted, and the welfare of the Church of England would be unimpaired. But, when Protestant Churchmen and Protestant Dissenters combine for the distribution of Bibles at home, and a Society thus composed omits the Liturgy, because the Dissenters could not otherwise partake of it, such a Society is formed on terms of inequality, and the sacrifice is made on the part of the church.
That its dangers will increase in proportion as the Liturgy is disregarded, is not the surmise of a gloomy imagination, but a fact, recorded in the annals of our country. The history of religion in the reign of Charles the First will especially supply us with matter for serious reflection. Some time before the Liturgy was formally abolished, we may discover in the writings of the English Divines, not only of the puritanical, but even of the royal party, such traces of indifference in this respect, as will assist us in explaining the subsequent events. The very writer, who is 'quoted by Mr. Vansittart, though a godson of Archbishop Laud, and a declared enemy of the puritans, had a notion of generalised Protestantism, which perfectly accords with the notion at present entertained by the advocates of the modern Bible Society. In a passage immediately preceding the sentence, which Mr. Vansittart has quoted
from the works of Chillingworth,' this celebrated writer explains himself in the following words :“ By the Religion of Protestants I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancthon, nor the Confession of Augusta, or Geneva, nor the Catechism of Heidelberg, nor the Articles of the Church of England, nor the Harmony of Protestant Confessions." Then comes the sentence, that “ the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants." The Protestantism therefore of Chillingworth, was not the Protestantism expressed in our Liturgy and Articles, but Protestantism in the abstract, that is, abstracted from all particitlar Confessions of Faith, and among the rest, as he expressly declares, from that, which is adopted by the Church of England. Indeed it is well known that Chillingworth had objections to our Liturgy and Articles, though he was introduced, in two of the late speeches, as a companion for Latimer and Ridley, who were Cranmer's chief assistants in composing the Liturgy and Articles." But though Chillingworth, as appears from the preceding extract, rejected from his general notion of Protestantism the particular Creeds which he mentions by name, he could not refuse to admit, that some Consequences must be deduced from the Bible as Articles of Faith. For he adds, a few lines afterwards, that Protestants receive nothing as matter of faith and religion, “ besides It (namely the Bible) and the plain irrefragable and indubitable Consequences of it.” But Protestants of every description, how- . ever various and even opposite in their opinions, claim severally for themselves the honor of deducing from the Bible “ irrefragable and indubitable consequences.” The doctrine of conditional salvation is an “indubitable consequence” to the Arminian; the
" Mr. Vansittart las not mentioned in what part of his works the sentence is contained, but it may be seen on turning to page 240 of the tolio edition of 1704.
2 See the article Chillingworth in the Biographia Britannica, Note (K).
3 Nor is this the only difference between them. Latimer and Ridley, who were born more than a hundred years before Chillingworth, were educated in the Church of Rome, and became Protestants. Chillingworth was educated in the Church of England, and went over to the Church of Rome. And though be became a Protestant again, he became, as we see, a generalised Protestant.
doctrine of absolute decrees an “indubitable consequence” to the Calvinist. The doctrines of the Trinity, the Atonement, and the Sacraments, which the Church of England considers as " indubitable consequences” of the Bible would not be so, if the Unitarians and the Quakers were right in the consequences which they deduce from the Bible. But the consequences, which they deduce appear “indubitable” to them: and since they appeal as well as ourselves to the Bible alorie, we cannot, according to Chillingworth's own definition, refuse them the title of Protestants. Now, the notion of generalised Protestantism, which admits of no reference to any particular Creed, was well adapted to prepare the minds of men in the reign of Charles the First, for the subsequent abolition of the English Liturgy.' And if this system of generalised Protestantism, which is likewise maintained by Mr. Lancaster, continues to be maintained in the practice of the modern Bible Society, and in the vindications of its advocates, we may apprehend the same effect from the operation of the same cause. Men become so enamored of the Protestant in the abstract, that they abstract themselves from the Protestantism by luw established.
If we proceed in our inquiries, and examine the several steps, which intervened between the introduction of this notion of generalised Protestantism, and the abolition of the Liturgy altogether, we shall find additional matter for serious reflection at the present period. The party comprehended under the name of Puritans, which was daily increasing in numbers and power, were secretly attached, as well to the discipline, as to the doctrine, of Calvin, though they continued to affect a regard for the Liturgy, till their plans were ripe for execution. But, as soon as Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, were comunitted to the Tower, the Long Parliament began to concert measures for its total abolition. The first step was taken by the upper
1 The celebrated work of Chillingworth, entitled, “ The religion of Protes. tauts a safe way to Salvation,” which he wrote after his return from Popery, was first published in 1637. It was highly esteemed, as a controversial work against the Catholics, and was universally read as soon as published. But it served the cause of the Puritans as much as the cause of the Church ; inasmuch as the Protestantism, which it defends, is generalised Protestantism, according to thic system of Mr. Lancaster, and the modern Bible Society.