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* kept up among us." So much for the rash' assertion of Mr. Scott, that such a Toleration was “entirely different from any thing known in Britain !"
This is a lamentable sight, and strongly indicative of the bigotry of which Calvinism, in some of its reputed mildest forms, seems to be the prolific parent. In page cxxv, I have said, concerning the moderate Calvinism of Dr. Gauden, “As the Cameronists were accounted to be a kind of middle-men between Calvinists and Arminians, so may the first sentence in the following paragraph, be recognized as partaking of the kindly nature of the quotation from Cudworth, in page Ixiii, while the latter part of it savours a little of the persecuting spirit of the more resolute Calvinists, quoted in pages lxi, Ixv.” The observation is almost equally applicable to the following sentences, from Mr. Scott's Remarks at the conclusion of his translation: « How far some “ kinds of blasphemers should be also exempted (from Tolera« tion,] may be a question; but every species of profaneness or “ impiety, is not direct blasphemy. Yet, if men outrage, or
expose to ridicule or odium, the most sacred services of the reli. “gion of their country, or if public instructors inculcate immoral “ principles, they may, as far as I can see, be restrained, so that " that the mischief may be prevented; though perhaps without “ further punishment, except for actual violation of the peace." There is not much of the semblance of liberality in these expressions. I should not wish to have my enjoyment of religious Toleration or of civil liberty dependent upon Mr. Scott's interpretation of blasphemers; for we have already seen him classing Arminians with Pelagiansand Socinians, (p.clviii,) and we know his Calvinian predecessors during the Inter-regnum required no other proof than this of a man's complete disqualification for civil rights and religious privileges. In the subsequent sentence, the sole difference between Mr. Scott, and Archbishop Laud, would be in the meaning which they might severally attach to the phrase " the most sacred services of the religion of the country.” It was only when “those most sacred services were outraged or exposed to ridicule," that Archbishop Laud considered himself engaged in the performance of his duty, by punishing the offenders, not contrary to the usage of his
predecessors, but in exact accordance with established custom. Mr. Scott, indeed, like a man in a lower sphere who has not made an experiment at enforcing obedience, meekly says, that such offenders“ may, as far as he can see, be restrained ;" but respecting the infliction of " further punishment" on them, he adds a “PERHAPS !” This is not that liberal and more extensive doctrine of Toleration, on which our Arminian rulers in Church and State have generally acted during the last fifty years; and it is still more dissimilar to that which they have avowed and practised within the last twelve years.
Several as objectionable passages as the preceding might have been selected, from Mr. Scott's notes to his beloved « Historical
Preface;" but those which I have produced are quite sufficient, to indicate the spirit and character of his performance. It may here be expected of me, that I should make some attempt at fapology for the strictures which I have passed on the unsuccessul Calvinian labours of this excellent clergyman, recently deceased. Such an apology, however, I consider to be quite unnecessary in this instance; for it must not be thought, that, in exposing the errors of a dead antagonist, I wish to imitate, even in imagi nation, the conduct of the Macedonian madman, of whom it is said,
And thrice he routed all his foes,
And thrice he slew the slain ! I have made no attempts to injure Mr. Scott's moral or religious character : I highly respect his memory for his conscientious attachment to, what he conceived to be, "gospel-truth;" though I think one of the anecdotes which his son has introduced into his Life, (p. 233,) will convey, to the minds of some readers, an appearance of trimming, or an undue compliance with the Calvin istic prejudices of his hearers.
All my observations relate to the historical errors which Mr. Scott has committed, and not personally to himself. They are mistakes of such a description, as may be exceedingly prejudicial to all youthful inquirers after the truth; and their exposure will serve to shew, that, on all subjects, a little learning is a dangerous thing,” and that caution and research are necessary qualifications in every one who pretends to elucidate the most common ecclesiastical occurrences of former ages. But there are men still living, who, by the applause which they have ignorantly bestowed on Mr. Scott's jejune performance, have virtually made his mistakes their own. I do not allude to those petty Calvinistic Reviewers, who are now very plentiful in the book-market, and whose reading, on all ecclesiastical matters brought for adjudi. cation before their Critical Tribunals, seldom extends beyond Neal's History of the Puritans, Burnet's History of his own Times, or Bogue and Bennett's History of Dissenters. To attempt to make any salutary impression upon these regular traders in misrepresentation, would be a hopeless effort. The parties to whom I allude, are of a more respectable class; yet they have praised and re-iterated Mr. Scott's misrepresentations, to the injury of their own reputation. That the Rev. John Scott, the author's son, should have committed such a venial offence, is not wonderful, when it is considered, that filial veneration for his excellent father's acquirements would naturally prevent him from searching into the accuracy of any of his assertions. Such an excuse, however, is not available for others, whose names might be mentioned, and who, if their words were quoted, would be seen to have. identified their own opinions on these subjects with the opinions of their reverend friend and the Patriarch of their body.
VIII. CONCLUSION. In the preceding article, I have been the more particular in exposing some of Mr. Scott's mistakes, because, --having been personally a sufferer from the want of accurate and extensive information on the part of some eminent writers, whom I venerated for their piety, and whose plausible assertions on ecclesiastical matters I received (when young) without due caution,-I have learnt to pity and assist those who may suffer from similar causes. " At a future opportunity, it is probable, I shall relate this chapter in my history with more minuteness. For the present, it may suffice to inform the reader, that I received my earliest religious impressions under the ministry of that apostolic man, the Rev. John Crosse, Vicar of Bradford in Yorkshire ; who, for many years and with a fondness almost parental, watched over my progress in virtue and learning. When I was in
year, and officiating as assistant in the school of the Rev. Thomas Langdon, (a most liberal and pious Baptist minister,) at the earnest request of Mr. Crosse, and by the advice and with the powerful recommendation of the late Řev. Joseph WhiteLEY, the highlyaccomplished and much-lamented Head Master of the Free Grammar School in Leeds, I consented to become a candidate for the Second Mastership in the Free Grammar School of Bradford, This was preparatory to my obtaining a Title from Mr. Crosse, as soon as I should be qualified by age, for entering into Holy Orders. By his influence, with the kind exertions of Mr. John Blackburn, and that very respectable family the SKELTONS, much interest was excited in my favour among the Trustees, who, out of above thirty candidates, selected me and another to be the competitors for the situation. My want of success on the day of examination, had the decision of the Trustees been founded on the principle of " cæteris disparibus," (which, happily, was not the case,) would not have been disreputable to one so young, since the gentleman, who was very properly preferred, became a teacher at the age of fifteen, and had been in Holy Orders above ten years at the time of his election. This last circumstance, according to the terms of Lady Elizabeth Hastings's endowment, is always decisive in favour of a clerical candidate who possesses the requisite qualifications.
The memory of the Rev. Joseph WHITELEY I shall always gratefully cherish: To him I profess myself to have been under the deepest obligations, as my sedulous preceptor, my disinterested friend, adviser and patron. To this excellent clergyman, and to another esteemed friend who has likewise paid the debt of nature, I made a promise, that, if I did not succeed to the vacancy in the Free Grammar School at Bradford, I would accept the situation of private tutor to the four sons of a gentleman near Harewood. How frequently do circumstances, in themselves apparently trivial, seem to determine the future destiny of our lives! During a residence of three years in the respected family of Richard LEAK, Esq., I enjoyed frequent opportunities of visiting my friends in Leeds, and of associating with Christians of different denominations. On one of those excursions, when dining in company with two Dissenting Ministers, I was drawn by the younger of them, a remarkably clever man, into a declaration of my views respecting church-government: It is scarcely necessary to say, that, in the hands of one who had studied the subject, several of my arguments were turned against myself, and my principles shewn to be untenable. When I subsequently reflected upon the topics of our conversation, I at one perceived it to be my duty to have something better than a mere preposses
, sion or inclination to offer, in behalf of my attachment to Episcopacy. “In evil hour,” therefore, I betook myself to this unproptable course of study, and began to peruse some of the best authors on both sides of the question.
RICHARD Baxter's incompetency to tender correct information on this subject, which ultimately turns on the practice of Antiquity, I shall prove at some other time: But to his writings against Episcopacy and Prelacy, and to Lord Chancellor KING'S Enquiry into the Constitution, 8c., of the Primitive Church, I ascribe the bias which I then received in favour of the Presbyterian form of Church-government, and which was strengthened by a perusal of some of the treatises by Episcopal Divines that are mentioned in a preceding note, page cix. I had read several of Baxter's devotional works, with pleasure and edification; but, though in that line he was deservedly one of my favourite authors, I confess, the shock which his pertinacious arguments against Episcopacy gave to my mind, was exceedingly severe. That was the first time in my life, in which the discovery of what I deemed to be Truth was. connected with painful sensations; and the remarks which I have made on the conduct of ARMINIUS, (Works, vol. I, pp. 63–66,) were dictated by a remembrance of my own tortured feelings, when, from a different cause, I was placed in nearly similar circumstances. My course of reading was, for a considerable time, directed to works written in defence of Prese byterianism and Independency. But though my paramount desire was, to be devoted to the service of God in the Christian ministry among any denomination, my mental scruples would never allow me to become a Dissenter. Several easy methods of embracing that interest presented themselves ; one of which was particularly captivating to me—that of Classical Tutor in a cele brated Dissenting Academy: But, “as my thoughts then stood," I could not conscientiously embrace the overture,—though the situation would have been highly gratifying to my wishes and congenial to my previous habits.
I was in this doubtful state of mind respecting the unedifying subject of ecclesiastical regimen, when I joined the society of the Wesleyan Methodists, in which my maternal grandfather had been one of the earliest Itinerant Ministers, and of which my
pious parents had long been members. Soon afterwards, a most liberal offer was made to me of a partnership in the bookselling business, by a person as ignorant of it as myself. But, as business of no kind had ever been in my contemplation, and as my pursuits had lain altogether in a contrary direction, I did not attempt to accept of it till I had consulted those of my friends on whose judgment and concern for my welfare I could safely rely: “ Accept of the offer," was the kind but injudicious answer of all, except my prudent father, who, in words that proved ultimately prophetic, foretold the unfortunate issue of such an enterprize as that upon
which I was about to enter. In justice, however, to those friends, whose advice I followed with a degree of reluctance and hesitation, I must observe that they were professional men, and almost as little acquainted as myself with those requisites which form a complete tradesman.
When I had contended about five years with the difficulties connected with the occupation of a retail bookseller, and with a large and unwieldy stock, and had, under the influence of a morbid sort of feeling, discarded all thoughts about the contending forms of church-government, my attention was once more unexpectedly attracted to them in the year 1811, by the Rev. Robert Cox, Perpetual Curate of Bridgnorth, at that time Minister of St. James's Church in Leeds. Although my doctrinal views differed from those of this philanthropic clergyman, yet he made me a generous proposal, to clear me entirely of all the incumbrances and engagements in which I was involved by my partnership, provided I would enter into Holy Orders. With an earnest affection, that is quite characteristic of the man of God, he tried to remove the scruples which I had unfortunately imbibed. Not satisfied with his own benevolent endeavours, he engaged his judicious and amiable friend, the Rev. John MERRY, then Curate of Rawden in Yorkshire, but now of Chettle, near Salisbury, to argue the case with me. Though at that time my understanding was not convinced by their arguments, yet their endearing behaviour won my affections; and the manner in which these truly Evangelical Clergymen demonstrated to me, from their own experience, the mildness and liberality of the Episcopal Regimen, and the advantages of a national establishment, gave the first clue to my subsequent researches, which I pursued at such intervals as business would permit. It was not, however, till a short time after the unfortunate crisis in my affairs to which I have briefly alluded, that I became fixed and decided in my attachment to Episcopacy.
Having now been settled some years as a printer in London, and entirely unconnected with any other religious denomination than that of the Church of England, I entertain such oldfashioned prejudices as to believe, that the vows of God are still upon me; and that it is my duty, though in an inferior capacity to that of a minister, to do good to all men as often as I have opportunity. These my first-fruits and earliest offerings in behalf