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rtulis HED AT THE Monthly Repository office, 3, WALBR00 K BUILD.
THE MONTHLY REPOSITORY
NEW SERIES, No. I.
ON THE STATE OF RELIGIOUS PARTIES IN ENGLAND.
PARTIEs in the religious world, as in the political, are, at the present moment, exceedingly confused. Prejudices and even principles have been melted down, and have run into one another. As yet they are scarcely amalgamated ; but when the heated and disturbed mass has cooled, settled into consistency and assumed its last form, may we not hope that public opinion, like the Corinthian Brass, will be of more intrinsic value than any or all of the separate materials of which it shall be compounded ? From the era of the Reformation downwards, there has been a constant, though unequal, ferment in the minds of the English people. Religion has not always been the avowed object of thought and zeal, but it has commonly been mingled with all other objects. At one time Puritanism, at another Romanism, now high-church, now low-church feeling, has been, in the rotation of Government, the sign either of political loyalty or of disaffection. An undefined thirst of civil freedom whetted the early zeal for religious reforms. The “Grand Rebellion,” as it has been called, with more propriety and significancy than they who coined the phrase imagined, was occasioned at least as much by ecclesiastical as by political discontents; and fears for the Church more than for the State produced the Revolution of 1688, in which Englishmen overleaped the prejudices of centuries, and welcomed maxims and principles, which, as soon as they were established, were surveyed by many o, had been instrumental in their establishment, with surprise and alarm. All the subsequent national events have been nearly or remotely connected with religious opinions and feelings, and have exercised no small influence upon the temper of religious parties. The American and French Revolutions, in Particular, led men to look at first principles, and excited novel speculations with regard to the origin of power and the utility of social institutions. - explosions of opinion and feeling separated Englishmen for a time into two great parties; the one desirous of change in the hope of improvement, the other frightened at innovation as the sure road to anarchy. Both parties have at length given way and intermixed; there is no interval between them; and on each side may now be seen at work the opposite influences of former states of mind. The classification of the religious world is thus become a work of no little WOL. I. B