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a creed drawn up by fallible men, is no reason for surmising that they did not themselves solemnly believe it in every part. And as to the argument—that to expect ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succession, to believe all these propositions, is so gross an absurdity, that it is impossible to suppose the framers and imposers of the articles could really expect such a thing, -we may observe, that it would indicate an extremely slender knowledge of ecclesiastical history, to question whether the heads of churches and states have ever been capable of assuming it to be a possible thing to effect an uniformity of faith, and a reasonable thing to expect and command it. But there is no occasion for argument; the certain matter of fact is, that the framers and imposers of the thirty-nine articles did require this complete assent. Let the man, therefore, who is resolved to maintain freedom of opinion, honestly take the ecclesiastical institution as what it is, and he may fairly make, if he pleases, as many objections as it has articles, while he preserves his consistency and integrity by declining to place himself within its obligations. But it is meanly disingenuous, nor can we comprehend how it can be otherwise than utterly immoral, for this man, in order to enable himself to pursue his own interests by entering the church, to pretend that its grand law of doctrine must not and cannot mean that, which it has notoriously taken all possible care to express that it absolutely does mean, and absolutely does enjoin. By extending this privilege of conscience a few degrees further, a Mahometan or Pagan may subscribe the articles and enter the church, if he has any object to gain by it. He may say, “ Here is a large formulary of opinions, comprising several hundred propositions, not all even consistent with one another. Now it had been most absurd for the imposers to require that every subscriber should believe all these ; it is absurd therefore to suppose they did require it. And since this formula, which is the only authoritative prescription by which I can learn what am required to believe, gives me no certain information on the subject, I may fairly regard the whole affair as a matter of discretion.”
Dr. Paley represents, that the animus imponentis must by taken as the rule for the degree of assent required in subscribing the articles. Let us then, in imagination, go back for a moment to the time when the articles were solemnly appointed to be perpetually imposed ; and let us suppose a man like Dr, Paley to have presented himself before the bishops who framed, and the legislature which imposed them, to inquire concerning the animus, the real plain meaning and intention, with which these articles were composed and enforced. Would not the reply have been most indignant, or most contemptuous ? “ You ask the intention; why, you can read the articles, can you not? Our intention is of course conveyed in what we have solemnly and deliberately set forth. And we intend all that is set forth; for would it become us, and on such an occasion, to employ ourselves in the construction of needless and nugatory propositions ? And we conceive we have enounced our propositions with sufficient clearness ; it is not possible you are come here to insult us with an insinuation, that the result of our grave, deliberate, and combined labours, is an assemblage of jargon which needs an explanatory declaration to tell what we mean by it all. As to what you surmise about our object being to keep papists, anabaptists, and puritans out of the church, it would be no concern of yours, if that were our principal object; your business is with the articles as we have judged it proper to set them forth ; but in fact the exclusion of these sects is only one among the several good ends to be answered ; we mean to secure the purity of our church by excluding all that the full and plain meaning of our articles will exclude. It is therefore your concern, as you will answer it, at your peril, to maintain all and every of them, inviolably, in their true and literal meaning."
As to what Dr. Paley is stated to have maintained, in his lectures, that “the articles must be considered as propositions which, for the sake of keeping peace among
the different sects of reformers, who originally united in composing the church of England, it was agreed should not be impugned or preached against,” it is sufficient to observe, that these propositions are, by his own account, so very numerous, that it is quite impossible for any man to preach on religion at all, without either impugning or directly adopting
a very great number of them. They are so minute and comprehensive, that they leave but a very small space for the practice of that reserve and avoidance implied in this “ keeping peace,” if the phrase has any meaning.
In short, the national church either has a defined doctrinal basis, or it has not. If it has not, what a mockery has been practising in its name on the nation and on Christendom for several centuries, in representing it as, next the Scriptures, the most faithful depositary, and the grandest luminary, of the Christian religion ; while the truth has been, as we are now called upon by some of its ablest members to understand, that it has really, during all this time, had no standard of doctrine at all,—the instrument, purporting to be such, having been in fact nothing more than a petty contrivance to keep out two or three disagreeable sects. If the church has a defined doctrinal basis, that basis can be no other than the thirtynine articles. And these articles, taken in their literal meaning, are essential to the constitution of the church ; else, they are still nothing at all, they impose no obligation, and can preserve or preclude no modes of opinion whatever. And their being thus essential to the church, means that they are essential to be, all and every of them, faithfully believed and taught by all its ministers. Therefore, finally, every man who says he cannot subscribe, or has not subscribed, the articles, in this upright manner, says, in other words, that he has no business in the church. It is not the question what the articles ought to have been ; he must take them as they are; and by the same rule that he must take any one of them he must take them all, as they all stand exactly on the same authority. Till they are modified or changed by that authority which was competent to constitute, and is competent to alter, the ecclesiastical institution, any clergyman, who remains in the church disbelieving any one proposition in its articles, violates the sanctity and integrity of the church, and, as far as we are able to comprehend, must violate his own conscience. He cannot but know, that on the same principle on which he presumes to invalidate one article, other men may invalidate any or all of the remainder, and thus the church may become a perfect anarchy, a theatre of confusion and all manner of heresies. According to this view of the subject, Dr. Paley had no right to enter the church, or remain in it; and by doing so, he dishonoured his principles. He is thus placed in a striking and unfortunate contrast with such men as Jebb and Lindsey, whose consciences were of too high a quality to permit such an unsound and treacherous connexion with the established church; and in a parallel, not less striking and unfortunate, with such a man as Stone !
This ungracious subject has unexpectedly detained us so long, that no room is left for other observations which had occurred to us in reading these memoirs. By means of his situations in the church, and of his writings, Dr. Paley appears to have made a good fortune. His biographer loudly complains, notwithstanding, of the scanty patronage and preferment in which he was fated to acquiesce; and in a strain, that really sounds very much like saying, that these things were the appropriate and grand reward for which he was to prosecute all his labours. We have no doubt, however, that Dr. Paley had motives of a higher order than his friend seems capable of appreciating ; while, with all our perception of his very serious defects, we rejoice in the benefit that present and future ages will derive from those writings, in which he has so powerfully defended religion.
Chronicle of the Cid. From the Spanish. By ROBERT SOUTHEY. 4to.
DURING the seven centuries that have elapsed since the death of the Cid, there has probably never been a time, till within the last seven months, when a large volume of half legendary history of his adventures would have had any great chance of obtaining much attention in England. Just now is the time, or rather four or five months since was the time, for calling some of the chiefs of the ancient Spanish chivalry from their long slumber, in order to assist us to extend backward into former ages our interest in the heroic character of that nation ; a nation in which we had begun to hope that almost every nobleman and every peasant, was going to perform such exploits as those of the Cid, in a more righteous cause than almost any in which that hero had the fortune to display his valour. We are never content to confine our admiration to the present spirit and actions of an individual, or of a people, that has become a favourite with us, if we can find or fancy any thing deserving to be admired, in the retrospect of its earlier times. Besides, when a people is entering on a grand and most perilous enterprise, in which it is evident that any thing less than the most heroic spirit must fail, the martial names and achievements of its ancestors have a certain influ. ence, a greater, indeed, than is warranted by the history of national character, on our hopes of its success. When summoned to vindicate the national cause, the men surely will not hide themselves from danger among the very monuments of their heroic progenitors; they can not be content to read and recite the stories of invincible champions, of their own names, and, by their nativity, reflecting lustre on their own villages and towns, and yet see these towns and villages commanded and plundered