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upon the same level with regard to the civil power; and that each separate Church should arrange its own affairs without the in
terference of the State. The only way in which the opinions of modern Dissenters can be made to appear novel, is by disingenuously misrepresenting them; an expedient too often had recourse to.
It is an unhappy circumstance, that the pulpit should be made a drum ecclesiastic. In this respect, the conduct of the evangelical clergy is utterly indefensible and discreditable. Instances have come to our own knowledge, of offences of this description, which have both grieved and surprised us, as committed by men of whom we should have hoped better things. Mr. Pritchard's sermon was occasioned by a simultaneous attack which seems to have been made by the clergy of Sheffield on the alleged principles of the majority of their fellow townsmen. The question of Ecclesiastical Establishments had never, we believe, been mooted in Dissenting pulpits; and it was therefore setting a bad example, to commence the controversial brawl in consecrated places. But what Mr. Pritchard chiefly complains of is the disingenuous manner in which the question is stated; and as there is very general reason for a similar complaint, we shall transcribe his temperate and judicious remarks.
It would appear as if the essence of the controversy lay in the question, whether the State should, or should not, afford' general countenance and support to religion—to pure religion, and the public worship of the true God. Who ever denied this?
Who ever contended for “ the absolute exclusion of all and every form” of religion? Surely no one would be so absurd as to say that civil government should not extend its protection to religion in all its forms, and render it every legitimate support. If this is all that our brethren contend for, viz. “ such a constitution of things in regard to pure religion and the attendant worship of God, as secures to these the protection and support of the Civil Power;" for my part, I have no controversy with then. But you must observe that there is a careful and studied avoidance of the main points of dispute; namely, what kind of support the State shall render to religion, how far it may
interfere-and whether it shall maintain, at the public cost, an exclusive Establishment, and impose disabilities and fines, and subject to unmerited disgrace those who may conscientiously refuse to subscribe to the doctrines which it has sanctioned, attend the services which it has authorized, and approve of the ministers which it has appointed! .'
I put the case in this form, because this is really the question at issue. I have no controversy with my brethren, when they say "that it is the duty of the civil power to protect, support, and defend religion ;-that kings ought to feel it to be their bounden duty to make provision, not only that their subjects might lead a quiet and peaceable Îife, but that they might lead such a life in all godliness and honesty;' that Christian rulers must not leave it as a matter of indifference, so far as they are concerned, whether God is known and reverenced among their subjects, or whether he is not; but that this would be inconsistent with their responsibility to Him from whom their au-' thority is derived, or with the obligations under which they lie to promote the best interests of those over whom his Providence has placed them: that so far as outward decorum is concerned, it is the indispensible duty of the Legislature to exercise its authority, that those who are truly desirous to wait upon God, and to serve him in the public ordinances of the sanctuary, may in no respect be impeded in carrying their desires into effect, by the irregular and irreligious conduct of others-in short, that it is right and meet, and the paramount and peremptory duty of every Government, to support and defend, by all Scriptural means, the religion of Jesus Christ.”
• With these positions we entirely agree. The points in dispute are not necessarily involved in them. The question is, whether the State shall undertake to decide on matters of faith and practice; whether it shall compile, or order to be compiled, certain articles of doctrine and formularies of worship, and enjoin the belief and observance of them under civil penalties; whether it shall single out a particular Sect, and distinguish it by exclusive privileges, and lay the whole country under compulsory contribution to support, in worldly splendour, that sect; and whether it shall place a brand and stigma on all those who prefer an adherence to the convictions of their own conscience, in matters of religion.
• I have already observed, that there are no intimations, the most remote, in the New Testament, in favour of such Establishments.'
Pritchard, pp. 19-21. The question, put in this shape, has never been fairly met by any writer or partizan on the side of the Establishment. Nay, there is an indisposition to look at it. All discussion is spurned at, and the attempt is made to bear down the Dissenters by angry invective. It will not succeed. The question is a vital one, and the dearest and most sacred interests of the country will not be secure till it has been fairly set at rest. There is not an association for the common purposes of Christian benevolence, not an Institution founded upon the broad basis of Christian charity, which is not endangered by the anti-catholic principle of the Establishment. The Dissenters must prepare for a long and patient conflict with the errors and prejudices which are arrayed against them. A considerable time may elapse, Mr. Kidd warns them in his ingenious Essay, before the bonds and associations can be dissolved, which have been the offspring of time and ignorance; the bonds of secret attachment, not to the religion which has been the 'ascident' of the Establishment, but to the 6 outward and cumbrous appendages of that religion.' A separation must be effected between Church and State in the minds of those who have long been taught to entertain false views of
both *. The legislative connexion between the State and the Church,' he remarks, 'is nothing when compared with their
moral connexion; nothing as relates to the erroneous and dangerous effect produced upon the minds of men.'
• Between the church, scripturally considered, and between the state, considered as it really is, there can be no connexion. only be, on the one hand with the state, and on the other hand, not with the church of Christ itself, but with the frequently needless, and therefore obstructing things around it; with buildings which are monuments of a lie; with salaries of hirelings which are the pavement of the broad way to destruction ; with forms of worship which, like ornamented windows, exclude, instead of admitting the light of heaven; with pomp that may adorn the bodies of distinguished men, in order to mark, not their conformity to the church, but their conformity to the world; and with the mental associations of ignorant and distant beholders, whose notions of what is right being all falsely founded upon custom, time, and appearances, are hurtful, if not ruinous to their souls :—these are all the kinds of connexion which there can be between a thing which is composed of perishable materials, as all earthly state is, and between that eternal thing—that mass of pardoned and purified intelligence, the church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth. Kidd, pp. 29, 30.
This is strikingly, though somewhat obscurely put. The connexion between the mere forms of religion and State patronage, the connexion between the endowed order and the aristocrasy, which is the union of Church and State in common parlance, denotes no real conjunction between the State and that Church which is the body of Christ, nor any such connexion as secures the ascendancy of Christian principles in civil or ecclesiastical affairs. It is, in fact, by an unhappy misuse of terms, as Coleridge has well remarked, that the title of the eccleti, the Called of God, has been given to an estate of the realm, a clerical Establishment, which is in no proper sense a Church, but, at best, a provision for the benefit of the Church. That philosophical Apologist for the Establishment has admirably expressed the opinions which Dissenters hold, in opposition to the Church and State system, when he says: 'It is a funda'mental principle of all legislation, that the State shall leave the ' largest portion of personal free-agency to each of its citizens, that ' is compatible with the free-agency of all, and not subversive of the ends of its own existence as a State. And, though a
* We do not agree
with Mr. Kidd, however, that such intellectual separation must precede a repeal or alteration of obnoxious statutes. The mass of the people have always been opposed to great moral reformations; and wise legislation must be in advance of popular prejudice.
negative, it is a most important distinctive character of the Church of Christ, that she asks nothing for her members as Christians, which they are not already entitled to demand as citizens and subjects. The Church of Christ asks of the State ' neither wages nor dignities. She asks only protection, and to be let alone.' *
Art. III. The Poetical Works of the Rev. George Crabbe ; with his
Letters and Journals, and his Life. By his Son. In Eight Volumes, f.cap. 8vo. Vol. VIII. Posthumous Tales. London,
1834. IN reviewing the Life of the Poet, whose complete worksť are
now before us, we so fully expressed our opinion respecting the characteristic merits and defects of his productions, as to render it unnecessary to say much more respecting these Posthumous Tales, than that they will neither raise nor depress our previous estimate of his talents. Had Mr. Crabbe lived to edit these compositions, he would doubtless, as remarked in the advertisement prefixed to them, have considered it necessary to bestow on them a good deal more of revision and correction before finally submitting them to the eye of the world. A harshness of expression, an obscurity arising from an incomplete development of the idea, will be found occurring more frequently in these tales than in the former series ; but we fully susbscribe to the opinion, that, though not so uniformly polished as some of his
previous performances, these Posthumous Essays will still be found to preserve, in the main, the same characteristics on which ' his reputation has been established ;--much of the same quiet 'humour and keen observation; the same brief and vivid description; the same unobtrusive pathos; the same prevailing rever'ence for moral truth and rational religion ; and, in a word, not a few things which the world would not willingly let die.'
Apart from the merits of the poetry, the Tales possess intrinsic interest, as the lessons of a grey and reverend Moralist, who, if wont to take a sombre view of life, was far removed from misanthropy, and moved with cheerful benevolence in the sphere of unpoetical realities, which he has compelled Poetry to recognize and record. His very benevolence served to arm his mind, and sheathe his feelings, against the painful impressions which the scenes and facts he describes are in themselves adapted to produce, and thus rendered him, perhaps, in some degree insensible
* Constitution of Church and State, p. 135.
+ We refer to his Poetical Works. Two volumes of Select Sermons and Essays from his MSS. are announced, as preparing for publication.
of their unpleasing character. There is no reason to think that he delighted in satirizing human nature. He took the subjects as they turned up to his observation, and preferred those which presented the stronger lines and deeper shades. Like a true botanist, who bestows equal attention on the weed and the flower, and is less at home in the garden, where the very beauty is artificial, than in the lane or meadow, our Poetical Anthropologist found equal luxury in analysing and copying the most unsightly and worthless and the most lovely specimens of human nature. There is a pleasure in observation, as an exercise of the faculties, apart from that which may be derived from its results. Such pleasure Crabbe seems to have found in observing what he has so accurately delineated with the fidelity of a Teniers or a Cuyp; the love of nature, in his mind, standing in stead of the love of beauty, and the homeliest background being as pleasing to his eye as the loveliest landscape. Such was the mind, and such, accordingly, is the poetry of Crabbe.
By far the most interesting tale in the present volume is the first, which almost partakes of an autobiographical character. The story (if such the description of a happy holiday may be termed) is believed to have been suggested by the Poet's recollection of his own boyish visits, when an apothecary's apprentice, to Cheveley; a seat of the noble family with whom, in after years, he was domesticated as chaplain.
• Through rooms immense, and galleries wide and tall,
· Much had he seen, and every thing he saw