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race of heterodoxy. Still a good understanding appears to have been kept up between the parties, till, in the earlier part of the last century, an open and avowed union was formed for the purpose of petitioning the legislature to be relieved from the burthen of subscription.

From this crisis, which excited a general spirit of inquiry into the subject more bold than critical, more subtle and sophistical, fo the most part, than either clear or deep, the clergy of the establishment, with reference to subscription, may be divided into the following cla ses :

The first consists of those who conscientiously, and ex animo subscribe the articles as agreeable to the sense of scripture, and preach accordingly. 2d. Of those, who, without the same cordial assent, subscribe them as articles of peace, and abstain from any public attacks upon their doctrines. 3d. Of those, who, secretly or openly disapproving the fundamental doctrines contained in the articles, do notwithstanding retain their preferments, and continue in the use of the established formularies of worship. 4th. Of those who, with the same sentiments, have the virtue and self-denial to act according to the dictates of their conscience, and renounce at once the emoluments of the communion of the church. 5th. Of those who forbear to inquire, lest they should be led to doubt, or who consider the act. f sub-cription merely as the means of being admitted into a lucrative and honourable profession. Of these descriptions of clergymen, the tiist, we hope and believe, will even yet be found to comprehend the most bumerous and respectable part of the order: the fourth we know to consist of few. This, too, we must in charity hope and believe concerning the last.

Theophilus Lindsey, the subject of this memoir, or rather this panegyric, appears to have been a sincere and amiable man, of a scrupulous conscience, assisted or betrayed by an understanding not above mediocrity. His early education was among pious and orthodox members of the Church of England, under the auspices of one of its brightest ornaments, the excellent lady Elizabeth Hastings. When his academical education was tinished, he was removed into the household of the Duke of Somerset, to the members of whose family he so far endeared himself by the mildness of his temper and the elegance of his manners, that the distinctions of rank

appear almost to have been apnihilated, and he was entertained by one of the haughtiest families in the kingdom, on the footing of a friend rather than a chaplain. On this, and a few of the subsequent events of his life, it is unnecessary to enlarge. The narrative is unexceptionable, and we know it to be correct. At a somewhat later period he was placed in the vicarage of Catterick, a benefice of considerable value in the North Riding of Yorkshire,

where

where he continued for several years to discharge the functions of a good parish priest, affectionate to his people, and beloved by them in return. Here, however, his anxious and entangled conscience began to distress him; while his reasoning faculties, which appear to have been neither acute nor discriminative, failed to solve the difficulties by which he was beset, and left him bewildered and miserable, secretly groaning under the burthen of the obligations which he had contracted, and condemning himself for the use of formularies which he now thought unlawful.

It is at this period that our interest in the work commences, Had Mr, Lindsey never been seized by these unhappy scruples, he might have lived and died a good and useful man, and been forgotten; had he stifled them by interest and policy, he would have passed through life a reputable knave--and in neither case would he have furnished materials for a Memoir. But the progress

of his supposed convictions-bis long and natural reluctance to quit an opulent situation-his resolute and disinterested conduct at last in leaving all, even for a mistaken conscience, entitle him to no mean commendation, while they render the analysis of bis mind, as exhibited by his biographer, during these struggles, edifying and im, portant.

At this season of doubts and conflicts, having naturally unbo. somed himself to some Unitarian dissenters of the same county, he came în contact with a man of a head and heart very different from his own: this was Dr. Joseph Priestley, then a dissenting minister at Leeds in Yorkshire, whose philosophical attainments and discoveries are known to all, while his real character, as a man and a Christian, is understood by few--few at least who are not disposed to do it more or less than justice. He was bred a rigid Calvinist: his understanding was acute and vigorous, his ardour in the pursuit of knowledge unremitted, his intrepidity unconquerable, and his confidence in his own powers elate and haughty. His morals were spotless, his manners gentle and pleasing, unless he were contradicted, when he would retort even on his own brethren with asperity. Open and unreserved, his conversation overflowed with curious and original information, which he communicated with a clearness and purity of diction peculiar to himself: for though his classical education had been bad, though he seemed unconscious of the defect, he had inade himself, by philosophical intuition into the English tongue, a great master of its nature and graces: In his theological and philosophical pursuits he seemed to be compounded of two different men. It was not to his

pe: netrating genius only that mankind are indebted for his vast discoveries in chemistry, but to a spirit of investigation exact and persevering in this department-proceeding by cautious induction which allowed much slower understandings to keep pace with his

OWN,

own, and guarding against error in his conclusions by frequent repetition of his experiments. It is not a little remarkable, however, that in his theologica, pursuits, and more especially in those of ecclesiastical history, in which he most disgracefully failed, the conduct of his understanding was precisely reversed.' He began with conclusions, and then sought for premises to justify them. Having previously made up his mind that certain doctrines could not have come from God, he proceeded by a species of analysis peculiar to himself, to demonstrate that they were not contained in Scripture. To this end the analogies of language were set aside, grammar tor-, tured, and rules of lax interpretation applied to the most decisive and convincing texts, by which any thing might be deduced from any thing. Above all, mystery was to be discarded ; and the philosopher, who knew and acknowledged that the most common operations of nature quickly ran up into causes and principles, which eluded even his own penetrating research; when he assumed the character of the theologian, and undertook to investigate subjects which are in no degree the objects of sense, would not endure that the Almighty should' veil himself in clouds,' and that` darkness should be the habitation of his seat.'

It has been already stated that he was bred a rigid Calvinist; but he had scarcely emerged into manhood when his free and excursive mind broke the fetters of that severe and servile system. Thus far all was well.- But conceiving, it seems, that to know more of religion was to discover less and less in revelation, as he proceeded in his wild and arrogant career, almost every essential article of Christianity, the doctrine of atonement, the trinity of persons in the godhead, the divinity of the second and third persons, the pre-existence of Christ, the personality of the evil being, the inspiration of scripture were gradually evaporated by his critical alembic; all the direct and pointed language of the New Testament on these awful subjects was resolved into metaphor-all the irresistible, though oblique inferences to be drawn from the language of the sacred writers, were rejected as deduced from the illogical premises furnished by weak and illiterate men; and in this wild waste of all that was peculiar in revelation, and all that was venerable in Christian antiquity, the doctrine of the resurrection alone appeared, and that too so qualified as to become an extinction of all individual essence, if not a new creation. At length, the man Christ Jesus himself, long before degraded to the mere rank of a teacher and a prophet, became a 'fallible,' nay, a * peccable' man !—In this portentous progress, he appeared, as was said of another great and prostituted genius, to have lost his wits when he lost his honesty. In the theological lucubrations of Priestley, it were in vain to seek for the acumen, the penetration,

the

the philosophic errogn of his better hours and happier pursuits. Secure of belief and admiration from a train of feeble and devoted followers, he seems to have wantoned in his tyranny, and to have tried into what depths of error and absurdity they would be contented to plunge with him. Meanwhile, his party, his little Unitarian party, was the church, a Goshen where light and sunshine prevailed, while all the Christian world beside was enveloped in Egyptian darkness. To profound learning, which detected his ignorance, to acuteness which unravelled his soplistries, and to powerful and impassioned eloquence, which sometimes attempted to arouse him to a sense of consequences-affected compassion, cool derision, and sometimes gross scurrility were the replies. To confute him was easy, to convince him hopeless, to silence him impossible. Such was the man to whom, among some inferior illuminati, the distressed and modest Lindsey applied himself, and we shall soon see how he used his

power. Here, however, in contemplating a man who honestly renounced all that he had for invincible error, we cannot but express our concurrence in Mr. Belsham's censure of Cowper's uncharitable and inaccountable blame of those

• Who quit their office for their error's sake,

Blind and in love with darkness.' If a man can no longer conscientiously fulfil the duties of his office, is he under an opposite obligation to discharge them hypocritically? Strange, that the severity of the poet's indignation did not fall on those, who by a dispensation which never issued from conscience, continued to hold their error and their office together; or those who enjoyed the dignities, and even imdertook to administer the discipline of the church, while they undermined its foundations and caballed with its enemies.

The first specimen of Mr. Lindsey's unhappy and undistinguishing casuistry is as follows:

If invocations so particular, language so express, might be softened and explained into prayer to one God only, I might, by the like supposals and interpretation, bring myself to deify and pray to the Virgin Mary, and maintain that I was still praying to the one God who was thus invoked in his creature that was so nearly united to him.'

To this poor quibble the answer is easy--Whether the authority of Scripture for worshipping the secondand third Persons be greater or less, for the worship of the Virgin there is evidently none, and therefore there is no analogy between the cases. But Mr. Lindsey is now introduced to the ductor dubitantium, the great guide and comforter of troubled consciences, Dr. Priestley. He soon discovered to me, (they are the doctor's words,) that he was uneasy in his situation, and had thoughts of quitting it. At first I was not

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forward to encourage him in it, but advised him to make what alteration he thought proper in the offices of the church, and leave it to his superiors to dismiss him.' Excellent counsel! Did then this faithful and enlightened casuist conceive that a crime was no crime till it was discovered; or that after a man had solemnly promised, as the condition of his entrance to that very benefice which fed him, that he would conform to the liturgy as by law established, to substitute another liturgy of his own was no offence? Let it be supposed, for a moment, that the minister of one of his own Unita. rian chapels, under scruples of a contrary nature, had unbosomed himself to this same confessor, and declared, that unless he were permitted to worship the Trmity, he could no longer continue to minister. Would the answer have been, 'follow your conscience till your trustees dismiss you?' No; but on the contrary, Depart from among us, lest our Unitarian walls and benches cry out upon your idolatries. But another event which the far-sighted friend unquestionably descried through the conduct prescribed, was devoutly io be wished - amely, the odious exertion of the authority of the diocesan in displacing an amiable and popular man, and the consequent outcry of persecution.

We are next treated by Mr. Belsham with a tolerable account of the Feathers Tavern Association, and of the application made to parliament for relief in matters of subscription. In this undertaking, which was supported by about 250 discontented persons out of more than 10,000 who felt no grievance, and therefore desired no relief, the leaders were Lindsey, Blackburne, Wyvil, Jebb, Law, Disney and Chambers, names, says the biographer, who would do honour to any cause.' This honour miglit have been bestowed wth a more discriminating hand; for Lindsey, Jebb, and afterwards Disney were confessors in the cause; Chambers

, by the timidity and connivance of his ordinary, (for which he is panegyrized by Mr. Belsham,) long continued a non-conformist in the church; while the conduct of the two dignitaries, to speak of it with tenderness, can hardly be reconciled to any known principles of probity and honour. In their case, there was not only this peculiarity which attaches to stations of authority in every profession, a tacit obligation arising out of public opinion and confidence that they shall not directly or indirectly betray the interests of the body over which they are placed; but in the situation of the prelate there was also this distressful and excruciating circumstance, that at every ordination he must have exacted and witnessed from every candidate a subscription to those articles against which he had actively engaged himself. Of the importance attached to this measure by the petitioners

, and of the candour and fairness of its abertors the following is no

unfavourable

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