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preserved : yet they continue very different from the Independents, whom they most resemble, in a variety of particulars respecting itinerancy, church-government, change of ministers, and mutual and more open communion. This denomination have increased since the death of Mr. Whitfield, their founder.” The number of Roman Catholics in England is estimated at sixty thousand. They have about three hundred and fifty priests. Some peers of the kingdom, and several other ancient and opulent families belong to this communion,
whose exercise of religion is
under gentle restrictions: their number is said to be decreasing. There are about sixty thousand Quakers, and twelve thousand jewish families. The numerous French and German inhabitants in London form several Lutheran and Calvinistic parishes. Swedenborg's writings are admired by many in England. There is even a chapel erected in London, which is called the New-Jerusalem chapel.f There are many deists in England, though deistical writ
ings appear at present not so frequently as they did about fifty years ago. !
A society was formed in England in 1795, consisting of evangelical ministers, and lay brethren of all denominations, for propagating the gospel among the heathen. This society is formed on a new plan: for though some former societies have accepted donations from men of different denominations, the government was confined to one. But here are episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians,and Independents, all united in one society; all joining to form its laws, to regulate its institutions, and to manage its various concerns. Otaheite, and the neighbouring South Sea islands, were fixed upon by the society, as the first places for the missionaries to begin their labours. But it was resolved by them that missions as early as possible should be attempted to the coast of Africa, or to Tartary, by Astracan; or to Surat, on the Malabar coast; or to Bengal, on the Coromandel coast; or to the island of Sumatra, or to the Pelew islands.
- * Haweis's Church History, p. 260, t. Several new chapels have been built, both in London and other parts of England, since the arrival of the French clergy, which seems to indicate an increase of the catholics; but what is its proportion to their former number has not yet been ascertained.
# Wendeboru's View of Religion.
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And it is certain that the principality contains great
England. Some ancient fa- numbers of protestant dismilies are Roman Catholics. senter.” -o- IRELAND.
The established religion in this kingdom was the Roman Catholic, in which their kings have been so constant, that they have obtained the title of most christian ; and the pope, in his bull, gives the king of France the title of eldest son of the church. The Gallican clergy were, however, more exempt from the temporal dominion of the pope, than some others who professed the Roman Catholic leligion. The pope never
could excommunicate the king of France, nor absolve any of his subjects from their allegiance. The liberties of the Gallican church depend upon two maxims, which have always been looked upon in France as indisputable.—(1.) That the pope has not authority to command any thing in general or particular in which the civil rights of the kingdom are concerned.—(2.) That though the pope's supremacy is owned in spiritual matters, yet his power is limited and regulated by the decrees and canons of ancient councils received in the realm.” In the established church Jansenists were very numerous. The bishoprics and prebends were entirely in the gift of the king ; and no other catholic state, except Italy, had so numerous a clergy as France. There were in this kingdom eighteen archbishops, one hundred and eleven bishops, one hundred and sixtysix thousand clergymen, and three thousand four hundred convents, containing two thousand persons devoted to a monastic life. Since the repeal of the edict of Nantz, the protestants have suffered much from persecution. A solemn law, which did much honour to Lewis the sixteenth, late king of France, gave to his non-Roman Catholic subject, as they were called, all the civil advantages and privileges of their Roman Catholic brethren. The above statement was made previously to the French revolution : great alterations have taken place since that period. And it may be interesting to those who have not the means of fuller information, to give a sketch of the
* Zinumermann, p. 235.
f Ibid. : Guthrie, p. 423.
causes which gave rise to those important events. It has been asserted, that about the middle of the last century a conspiracy was formed to overthrow christianity, without distinction of worship, whether protestant or catholic. Voltaire, de Alembert, Frederic the second, king of Prussia, and Diderot, were at the head of this conspiracy. Numerous other adepts and secondary agents were induced to join them. These pretended philosophers used every artifice that impiety could invent, by union and secret correspondence, to attack, to debase, and annihilate christianity. They not only acted in concert, sparing no political or impious art to effect the destruction of the christian religion, but they were the instigators and conductors of those secondary agents whom they had seduced, and pursued their plan with all the ardour and constancy which denotes the most finished conspirators,t The French clergy amounted to one hundred and thirty thousand, the higher orders of whom enjoyed immense revenues ; but the cures, or great body of acting clergy, seldom possessed more than civil constitution of the clergy. This, the Roman Catholics assert, was in direct opposition to their religion. But, though opposed with energetic eloquence, the decree passed, and was soon after followed by another, obliging the clergy to swear to maintain their civil constitution. Every artifice, which cunning, and every menace which cruelty could invent, were used to induce them to take the oath : great numbers, however, refused. One hundred and thirty-eight bishops and archbishops,sixtyeight curates, or vicars, were on this account driven from their sees and parishes. Three hundred of the priests were massacred in one day in one city. All the other pastors who adhered to their religion were either sacrificed or banished from their country, seeking, through a thousand dangers, a refuge among foreign nations f A perusal of the horrid massacres of the priests who refused to take the oaths, and the various forms of persecution employed by those who were attached to the catholic religion, must deeply wound the feelings of humanity. Those readers who are desirous of farther information, are referred to
* Broughton's Historical Library, vol. i. p. 247. f Barruel's History of Jacobinism, vol. i.
about twenty-eight pounds sterling a year, and their vicars about half the sum. The clergy as a body, independent of their tithes, possessed a revenue, arising from their property in land, amounting to five millions sterling annually: at the same time they were exempt from taxation. Before the levelling system had taken place, the clergy signified to the commons the instructions of their constituents, to contribute to the exigencies of the state in equal proportion with the other citizens. Not contented with this offer, the tithes and revenues of the clergy were taken away ; in lieu of which it was proposed to grant a certain stipend to the different ministers of religion, to be payable by the nation. The possessions of the church were then considered as national property by a decree of the constituent assembly.” The religious orders; viz. the communities of monks and nuns, possessed immense landed estates; and after having abolished the orders, the assembly seized the estates for the use of the nation: the gates of the cloisters were now thrown open. The next step of the assembly was to establish what is called the
* Fncyclopædia, vol. xvi. p. 130,
t Barruel's History of the Clergy,
Abbe Barruel's History of the clergy.”
Notwithstanding the san
guinary measures which have been used to exterminate religion in France, it appears that at present the people have liberty to worship the Deity in what manner they please.t Yet, notwithstanding they enjoy this privilege, an English gentleman, who had taken great pains to investigate the present state of religion in France, whose enquiries began
soon after the dissolution of
the reign of Robespierre, and have been attentively continued to the year 1799, gives
sorded the philosophers that precious opportunity they had so long enthus, ally desired, of disseminating the principles of infidelity among the lower ranks of people. This was effected with zeal and rapidity, in deluges of pamphlets, books, and papers, from a farthing to six pence; and ‘the poor (as it was at that time observed) got rid of their religion at a very easy expense.” Thus the lower people of France became philosophized as well as their betters, and christianity became confined to La Vendee, and amongst the peasantry of the
the following account : “The distant provinces : even in late revolution in France as- those quarters it is losing
[* The causes of the French revolution, as stated by the able Barruel, are such as might be expected by a writer of his views and interests. Allowing what he has writteri in the main to be just, yet he does not appear to have taken a view of the subject sufficiently comprehensive. It has been thought that the causes of the revolution in the eighteenth century may be traced as far back, at least, as the revocation of the edict of Nantz, in the seventeenth, when the great body of French protestants, who were men of principle, were either murdered or banished, and the rest in a manner silenced. The effect of this sanguimary measure must needs be, the general prevalence of infidelity. , Let the religious part of any nation be banished, and a general spread of irreligion most necessarily follow : such were the effects in France. Through the whole of the eighteenth century infidelity has been the fashion, and that not only among the princes and noblesse, but even among the greater !. of the bishops and clergy. And as they had united their influence in banishing true religion, and cherishing the monster which succeeded it, so have they been united in sustaining the calanitous effects which that monster has produced. However unprincipied and cruel the French revolutionists have been, and however much the sufferers, as fellow-creatures, are entitled to our pity; yet, considering the event as the just retribution of God, we are constrained to say, “Thou art righteous, oil Lord, who art, and wast, and shait be, because thou hast judged thus: for they have shed the blood of Saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy *}
f On the 28th of May, 1795, a decree was obtained for the freedom of religious worship; and on the following June the churches in Paris were opened, and service was pgrformed with great ceremony,