Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE established religion

is the presbyterian, which was introduced in the year 1561, by John Knox, a disciple of Calvin. While the celebråted Scotch historians acknowledge that there were many faults in the character of this reformer, he is allowed to have possessed ardent piety, indefatigable activity, an integrity which was superior to corruption, and a courage which could not be shaken by dangers or death.|

The declared principles of the national church of Scotland are contained in the Westminster confession of faith.

The highest ecclesiastical authority in Scotland is the general assembly, which we may call the ecclesiastical parliament of Scotland. It consists of commissioners, some of whom are laymen, under the title of ruling elders, from presbyteries, royal burghs, and univerSltics.

courts in Scotland to the general assembly, and no appeal lics from its determinations in religious matters. Provincial synods, which are composed of a number of the adjacent presbyteries, are next in authority to the general assembly. Subordinate to the synods are presbyteries, sixtynine of which are in Scotland, each consisting of a number of contiguous parishes. A kirk session is the lowest ecclesiastical judicatory in Scotland, and its authority does not extend beyond its own parish. The members consist of the ministers, elders, and deacons.—A vast number of seceding congregations are to be found in the Lowlands.[ Episcopacy, from the time of the restoration in 1660, to that of the revolution in 1688, was the established church of Scotland. But the bishops refused to recognize King Wil: liam's title, which involved them in various difficulties, In 1788 the Scotch bishops

Took's View of the Russian Empire,

Appeals are brought from all the other ecclesiastical

* Monthly Magazinc for 1799, p. 19,

# Sue Robertson's and Stuart's Histories of Scotland. * Guthrie, p. 169,

unanimously agreed to submit to the government of George the third. The English bishops supply Scotland with clergy, qualified according to law. . The prejudices which gave occasion to the penal laws are now no more. A religious dissenting from the establishment is not considered as inconsistent with the safety of government.” There are in Scotland a few Quakers, many Papists, and other professions, who are denominated from their preachers. At Montrose there is a society of Unitarians, among whom are several Antipedobaptists; every member

having it at his option to baptize his children when young, or to defer that ceremony till they arrive at the years of discretion. They admit alike Arians and Socinians; but they are all fixed concerning the divine unity, and the supreme Godhead of the Father.t. A number of ministers, in and about Edinburgh, of different denominations, have lately formed themselves into a missionary society, to act in concert with another of the same kind established in Glasgow, and also to maintain a correspondence with the missionary society in London.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

poralities, and the internal economy of the church. The kings of England never intermeddle in ecclesiastical disputes, unless by preventing the convocation from sitting to agitate them, and are contented to give a sanction to the regal rights of the clergy. The church of England, under this description of the monarchical power over it, is governed by two archbishops and twenty-four bishops. The two archbishops are those of Canterbury and York, who are both dignified with the address of your grace. The former is first peer of the realm, as well as metropolitan of the English church. He is enabled to hold ecclesiastical courts upon all affairs which were formerly cognizable in the court of Rome, when not repugnant to the law of God, or, the king's prerogative. The bishops are addressed by the appellation of 3your lordships, styled right reverend fathers in God, and take the precedence of all temporal barons. They are to examine and ordain priests and deacons, to consecrate churches and burying places, and to administer the rite of confirmation.

* Skinner's Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, vol. xi. p. 688, f Lindsey's View of the Unitarian Doctrine, &c., p. 559. # It is an article in the ecclesiastical establishment of England, that the king bas the right to the nomination of bishops,

The dignitaries of the church of England, such as deans, prebends, and the like, have generally large incomes. England contains about sixty archdeacons, whose business it is to visit the churches twice or thrice every year. Subordinate to them are the rural deans, formerly styled arch-presbyters, who signify the bishop's pleasure to his clergy, the lower class of which consists of priests and deacons.

The ecclesiastical government of England is lodged in the convocation, which is a national representative, or synod, and answers pretty nearly to the ideas we have of a parliament.” The first principle of the church of England is, that the scriptures are the sole ground of faith. The articles of this church embrace the leading ideas of Calvinkm. They assert the doctrine of a divine trinity in the unity of the Godhead, and also adopt all the other articles of faith which are set forth in the Athanasian, the Nicene, and Apostles’ creed. The test-laws are still in force, and deprive of eligibility to civil and military offices all who cannot conform to the established worship.f. The dissenters have made several unsuccessful applications for the repeal of this act. It is said that the refusal of government to repeal the test and corporation acts has increased the number of dissenters. At present the proportion of the non-conformists to the members of the church of England is supposed to be as one to five.; The moderate clergy of the

* Guthrie, p. 22. t See Dr. Price's Sermon on the Love of our Country, # Evans's Sketch of Religious Denominations,

[ocr errors]

church of England treat the protestant dissenters with affection and friendship ; and though the hierarchy of their church, and the character of bishops, are capital points in their religion, they consider their differences with the presbyterians, and even with the baptists, as not being very material to salvation. Nor, findeed, do many of the established church think that they are strictly and conscientiously bound to believe the doctrinal parts of the thirty-nine articles, which they are obliged to subscibe before they can enter into holy orders. Several of them have of late contended in their writings, that all subscriptions to religious systems are repugnant to the spirit of christianity. Some doctrines, which were formerly generally considered as too sacred to be opposed, or even examined, are now publicly controverted, particularly the doctrine of the trinity. Places of worship have been established in which that doctrine has been openly renounced; and several clergymen have thrown up valuable livings in the church, assigning their disbelief of that doctrine as the motive of their

conduct.” -
The modern English pres-
byterians, in their ideas of

* Guthrie, p. 221. A d &

church-government, differ little from the independents, or congregationalists, who hold the independency of congregational churches, without any respect to doctrine; and in this sense, almost all the dissenters in England are now become independents. As to doctrine, the presbyterians are generally Arminians, and many of them Arians, or Socinians. The independents are generally Calvinists. The baptists, in England, are divided into General and Particular Baptists; viz. Arminians and Calvinists, the latter of whom formed a missionary society in 1792, for evangelizing the heathen. The Methodists still frequent the places of worship erected by Mr. Whitfield, and profess a great respect for his memory. Mr. Wesley lately erected a very large place of public worship near Moorfields; and had under him a considerable number of subordinate preachers, who propagate his opinions, and make proselytes throughout the kingdom with great industry.t It is computed, that in the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, there are eighty thousand Methodists. The body of Arminian Methodists, who derive their f Guthrie, p. 222,

[ocr errors]

name and order from Mr. Wesley, pursue the plan laid down by him. During his life, such was his personal influence, that it rendered his recommendations the general rule of their society; so that his people, throughout the British dominions, to which also America might be added, looked up to him as their president and director. He accustomed all his congregations to his plan of itinerancy, and a frequent change of ministers: a general conference annually fixed the stations of the preachers. The same steps have been pursued since Mr. Wesley's death : they admit no president, but a few of the most able preachers sway their deliberations. Their activity and zeal continue undiminished, and the impulse given to this great machine is continued in the same line of direction by those who sit in the annual conference. For some time past they have had an ordination among themselves, and now the people generally communicate with their own

[blocks in formation]

tion for the pastors whom they have chosen. The followers of Mr. Whitfield are, in the aggregate, a body nearly as numerous as the former, but not so compact and united. Their principles being Calvinistic, recommended them especially to the various denominations of dissenters, and to those of the reformed religion in Scotland and abroad. A great number of these joined Mr. Whitfield, as well as multitudes who left the established church. These were formed into congregations in divers places, who, though considering themselves as one body, have not the same union and interchange as the followers of Mr. Wesley. The first and principal of the churches at Tottenham-court observes the church ceremonials and liturgy: the others use, in general, free prayer: yet these consider themselves not as distinct independent churches, but formed under a federal connexion; and some of these have no fixed pastor, but are supplied by rotation of minis

ters. They have an ordina

tion among themselves; and the Methodists are every day growing more into bodies of

real dissenters, and losing the

attachment to the church which was at first strongly

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »