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Theological Asvícw.

Arr. I. The Velvet Cushion. By are various particulars, however, in

J. W. CUNNINGHAM, A, M. l'icar which they are one; such as, in adof Harrow. 8th edition. London. mitting an earthly head of the church, Cadell and Davies. 1815. Royal in direct opposition to the whole 12ino. pp. 200, 5s. 6d. bds.

tenour of the New Testament, and Art. II. -- A New Covering to the to the express command of Christ,

Velvet Cushion. 2nd edit. London. who clains the sole prerogative of Gale and Fenner. 1815. pp. 200. enacting the laws of his kingdom, 5s6 d. bds.

and the undivided obedience of his Art. III.— The Legend of the Velvet subjects. The Catholics, indeed, inCushion; in a Series of Letters to

vest the Pope with the sovereignty my brother Jonathan, who lives in of the church, while the Englisă the country. By JERE. Ringletub. Episcopalians place it in the hands of London. Williams & Son. 1815.

the temporal monarch, inale or feroyal 12mo. pp. 325. 6s. 6d. bds. male. Both churches claim autho

rity to "decree rites and ceremonies; Whether the profession of genuine and settle controversies in matters of Christianity be, or be not, susceptible faith.” And as each church assumes of establishment from human laws, is the privilege of making new laws, a question which has been warınly so they have an equal right to abrolitigated for the last fifteen hundred gate old ones, to dispense with such years. That, during the first three as Christ himself enacted, whenever centuries, the disciples of Christ it be thought necessary for the sake were, universally, dissenters from the of convenience and ease; and in established religion of the countries short, to change them as caprice or in which they lived, is a point that the fashion of the times may suggest admits of no dispute. Papists and the propriety of doing. Episcopalians alike allow the fact. About a century ago, the divine But the advocates for national esta- right of Episcopacy was ą point blishments of Christianity are far strenuously insisted on by Dodwell from being agreed among themselves and others, in opposition to both the as to the principle upon which to Catholics and the Dissenters; but rest their defence. The hierarchy of those who are acquainted with the the Church of Rome is evidently an ecclesiastical history of this country imitation of the worship that was during the intermediate period, need instituted by divine appointment not be told that there has been a amongst the ancient Israelites, im- gradual lowering of claims on this proved, as the Catholics think, by head; and that one of the latest and the incorporation of a few useful ablest writers that has appeared in ceremonies from the Pagan super- favour of the Church of England, stition! Hence the temple, the high we refer to Archdeacon Paley, has priest, the order of mortal priests, given up the divine right” of Episthe altar, the sacrifice, &c. &c. &c. copacy, as a forlorn hope, and vindithat belonged to the legal dispensa cates the Church of England on the tion, may all be found, in a tolerably grounds of expediency and finess. perfect form, adopted into the chris- This liberal and enlightened prelate tian economy. The Church of England had too much candour not to acis neither more nor less than a sect of knowledge, that there were many dissenters from the Church of Ron things in the constitution of “our exwho allow the principle upon which cellent church,” which were strangely the latter proceeded in so miserably at variance with the New Testament; judaizing the church of Christ, but but then he frankly confessed that who, as they themselves fondly ima- he could uot afford to keep a congine, have shewn superior wisdom in science !" One thing is most certain, lopping off a few superfluous cere- that so long as men find their temmonies, and purging the liturgy of poral interests involved in the consome of its improprieties. There 'tinuance of national establishments VOL. I..

2 I

of Christianity, the latter will never that in this romantic style of writing, want champions to step forwards in the author can be at much pains to their defence. A poet of our own, examine into the origin of things ; we think it is Prior, has some lines to investigate the principle of rewhich we remeruber to have read ligious establishments, and shew how many years ago, so very applicable it harmonizes with the sayings of to the case of Dr. Paley and his Christ and his apostles. In his " fond brethren, that we take the liberty of admiration” of the establishment to quoting them for the reader's profit. which he belongsa be very prudently We must, however, premise that we

overlooks these and many other do it entirely from recollection, not points, which certainly involve a having the book at hand, nor indeed variety of troublesome questions ; he knowing immediately where to find is quite content to take things as he them if we had. But we are sure finds them, and living joyfully in its they are nearly to the following communion, finds great reason to effect.

become

“ the anxious defender of Conscience, like a fiery horse,

its doctrines, and discipline.” Pref. Will stumble if you check his course; p. 12. He does not even condescend But ride him with a gentle rein, to shew us how he makes out his And rub him down with roorldly in ; own consistency in having sworn to He'll carry you through thick and thin, defend the Thirty-nine Articles of Safe, although dirty, to your inn!

his Church, and yet “agreeing with These desultory reflections have Calvin in scarcely a single point in been suggested to us by looking over which he disagrees with Arminius.” the publications which stand at the Cushion, p. 116. We certainly think head of this article. The first of that the respect which he owes to them intitled “The Velvet Cushion,” his own character should have inis, what we think may be properly duced him to do this; but he lives termed, a religious romance ; in “joyfuily,” in the possession of his which the Cushion is made to nar- vicarage, and leaves conscience and rate its own history; the various character to take care of themselves ! changes and revolutions through Mr. Cunningham has very obligwhich it passed in traversing suc- ingly favoured us with his reasons cessive ages, from the time of its for preferring an establishment to birth, in the days of bloody Queen what he calls “ Dissenterism;" and Mary, when it first saw the light in they are worth examination. They the shop of an upholsterer in Fleet- happen to be only two in number. street, down to the present times ; “ In the first place,” says ,he, how it had been swept by the tunic great maxim of the Dissenters is, that of a Pope's nuncio-had descended every man' must have entire liberty to

Now no to the pulpit of one of the first Pu- worship God as he pleases.' ritans-had been expelled by some

Dissenter is willing to give every man of the Cromwellites as an impious ble. 'Would he give it to an Atheist,

that plenary indulgence. Nor is it possiadjunct to the simplicity of primi- who assisted in teaching his principles tive worship-had risen again with

mpon

Westminster Bridge ?" Cushion, the rising fortunes of the monarchy- p. 88. , and after many chances and changes, Unacquainted as we are with Mr. had climbed the mountains of West- Cunningham's personal history, we moreland, to spend the years of its must be ignorant of the soil out of grand climacteric in the quiet and which he sprang; but to confound unambitious pulpit of the vicarage, the denial of the very being of a God V. C. p. 2, 3. Such is the basis of (for such is atheism) with the act of this little volume, which its ingenious worshipping him, is so genuine a bull, author has amplified in a very amus- that we should think it impossible ing manner, and made

to be of any other than Hibernian of“ reminding the enemies of the

growth;

and as such, we recommend Church of England of some of its it to Miss Edgeworth to give it a excellencies, and its friends of the place in the next edition of her duties which a good churchman owes is Irish Bulls." to himself, to his church, to his

Another favourite maxim of theirs country, and to his God.” Dedication is,” says he, “ that no man should be made to the Church of England.

to pay for religious instruction before he The reader will scarcely suppose himself desires to have it. This scheme

one

means

The very

REVIEW OF THE VELVET CUSHION, &c.

243 seems to me to forget the corruption of liament. Its blessings, too, have all human nature-for how few would pay a reference to a future state. The for instruction who were able to avoid design of this kingdom is not to bepaying. The establishment, on the con

stow the honours or the riches of trary, remembers that man is fallen, forces his world upon its subjects, but to him to provide the means, and trusts that the conversion may follow.” p. 88.

deliver them from the evil of it, and

save them from perishing in the deThere is doubtless a wonderful va- struction that awaits it. There is riety in the tempers and dispositions nu essential likeness between the of the human race; in their habits Church of England and the Church and modes of thinking ; and we can. of Christ. The former is manifestly not but admire the wisdom of the 1 secular kingdom; it is established Creator in the diversified construc- by human laws, and acknowledges a tion of the human mind. All that political head; it is a creature of we can say upon the matter is, that the State, is supported by the State, we ourselves are so perversely con- incorporated with the State, and go. stituted that we have ever entertained verned by a code of laws confirmed the most invincible dislike to have by the State. Its principal officers favours forced upon us, against our are appointed by the Crown, and in inclination. The case, we dare say, virtue of their ecclesiastical stations is quite otherwise with Mr. Cunning- are Lords of Parliament. ham, whose hard fate it may one day doctrines professed, and the worship be to be made a Bishop, notwith- performed in the Church of England standing bis solemn protestation, are all secularized. Ils creeds and Nolo epi copari ! !

forms of prayer, its numerous ruBut as Mr. C. has so kindly fur- bricks and various rites, are adopted nished us with his reasons for not and used under the sanction of civil falling in with the Dissenters, it is authority. Its liturgy, therefore, only fair, by way of ballancing the may be not unjustly termed an Act account, to lay before him some of of Parliament respecting religious the reasons which the Dissenters affairs, and the whole must conse. have against national establishments quently be considered as constituting of religion in general, and that of a worldly kingdom. the Church of England in particular.

2. The laws which Christ has enOur limits will only permit us to hint acted to regulate the conduct of his at them.

subjects, cannot possibly be enforced 1. They object to them on the in any national church. Take, for ground that they are inconsistent an example, the rules of discipline, with the nature of the kingdom, or delivered in Matt. xviii. 15-20. or church of Christ, which, according 1 Cor. v. 1-5. The impracticability to his own confession, John xviii. of enforcing these in the Church of 36, 37. is not of this world—either as England is almost too glaring to need to its origin; the means of its sup- illustration. Let us for a moment port and establishment; the laws by suppose the Vicar of Harrow, after which it is governed; its immunities having administered the Lord's supand privileges ; or the nature of its per to his parishioners, in passing blessings. These are all of them through one of the streets or lanes spiritual and heavenly. Its laws are of the village, is so unfortunate as to of divine origin and authority, Christ detect one of the communicants in is its only Head, Lord, and Legis- the commission of a crime; what lator. “All power is his, both in then becomes his duty? Why plainly, heaven, and on earth,” and hence according to the command of Christ, his apostles argued, “We ought to he is, in the first instance, to go and obey God rather than man. His tell him his fault, privately; and, if subjects are those, and those only, possible, bring him to repentance. who are regenerated by his word But suppose he fail in this effort, and Spirit; born not of the flesh, what comes next? Certainly he takes but of the incorruptible seed of the one or two more of his brethren word, John i. 13. James i. 18. 1 Pet. along with him, to aid him in his eni. 23.

The laws by which it is go-deavours of relaiming the offender; verned are all contained in the New and in case of contumacy, to be witTestament, and it is incapable of nesses of his behaviour.' What says receiving support from Acts of Par- the delinquent to these periods? Ten

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to one but he curses them for a sett of, tion or mental reservation, we cer-
canting hypocrites, and tells them to tainly think that consistency requires
mind their own business. Nay, 'tis he should, without loss of time, be-
well if he do not in revenge threaten come a member of the Cburch of
them with an action for defamation-Rome. But perhaps these are some
perhaps put them into the spiritual of “ the little harmless relics of
court!! But is there nothing further popery, which he honours in his
to be done? O yes: “if he will not own church, as so many monuments
hear them, tell it to the church ;" of the moderation of his forefathers."
(that is, to the whole parish) and let p. 112.
him henceforth be an excommuni- In short, for we have not space for
cated person. Did Mr. Cunningham further enlargement, the Dissenters
ever know an instance of this law of are always ready to unite with the
Christ having been followed out in Clergy of the Establishment in prais-
the church of England ? No: we ing our excellent constitution in
venture to affirm that he did not, nor Church and State,” provided it be
any other man; and he well knows not called Christianity, but is allowed
that were he to attempt it, 'twould its proper character as a worldly
place him in such circumstances that system. In this view it is an excellent
he would no longer live joyfully in scheme, and if there must be a na-
its comniunion, nor retain much of tional form of religion, it may be
his fond admiration. At least we could fairly questioned whether the present
mention a few facts which have come can be much mended. We ourselves,
to our knowledge, and which have at least, entertain no wishes for a
resulted from the conscientious dis- change.
charge of duty in some of his brethren Mr. Cunningham is really a very
that would cause him to stand aghast ! amusing writer; his chit-chat is in a
Surely then that cannot be the king high degree entertaining ; and his
dom of Christ, in which his own laws humour is so genuine and refined,
cannot be executed, and the subjects that we capnot but be gratified with
of which may live in opposition to his narrative, while our judgments
them without controul.

revolt from his conclusions. He can Now whether these objections to write not only in a very gentlemanly, the constitution of Mr. Cunningham's but also in a very masculine style, “ mother, the church;"* of which he when occasion calls for it. As a proof is so dutiful a son, and so

of this, we submit to our readers the admirer,” be not as conclusive as his following sentence. He is lashing one own objections to Dissenterism, we of the many scandalous transactions must be content to submit to the which disgrace the family of his own judgment of every impartial reader. “ mother, the church”-namely, in Their number and their validity too, allowing “the parish church to be might be very easily encreased, were filled by the second son of a noble it necessary, and had we room to pro- family, whose want of talents had secule the subject more in detail. He early designated him, willing or unwishes to be considered as “a humble willing, to spend the tythes of a condefender of her doctrines;" we really siderable living!. should be gratified at seeing his answer to the two following simple such offences are rare. Can any profession

“ Monstrous," said the Vicar, “ I trust questions. 1. Does he really and ex demand loftier talents ? Shall the repreanimo believe, that in virtue of the sentative of God be chosen from the lowest baptismal ceremony, an infant of eight orders of his creation? Shall he be selected days old is made, a' member of Christ, to enter the sanctuary, to unravel the web a child of God, and an inheritor of of prophecy, to burl the thunders of heaven, the kingdom of heaven ?" 2.“ Is he to unveil the awful image before which fully persuaded that in the sacrament angels bide their faces, to display to thouof the Lord's supper the body

and sands the interminable regions of joy and blood of Christ are verily and indeed common offices of life? If I had a son

sorrow-who has scarce faculties for the taken and received by the faithful?" | with the talents of an angel, I would carry If he can answer these questions in him, like Samuel, to the temple; or like the affirmative, without prevarica- | Hannibal, to the altar of his country, and

* A young Scotch clergyman, one day in conversation with the celebrated Jolin Glas, was assuming high airs, and at length said, “I am a true son of the Church of Scotland." Are you, said John; then you are son of a great wo!

“ fond an

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245

REVIEW OF THE VELVET CUSHION, &c. there consecrate him as the soldier of the to the northern scoffers that they cross, the eternal enemy of iguorance and have made thern feel. We equally guilt.” p. 137.

regret that they should have adopted We must beg our readers carefully this bantering style of writing. The to remark, that in the above extract subject, in our opinion, is of far too the good Vicar is not pointing his high import, to admit of this kind artillery against the Dissenters, but of horse-play, and though the comagainst his own mother, the church.” batants may shew their dexterity in Is this the behaviour of a dutiful bandying the cudgel, we are person, or can he wonder that the other suaded that a sober discussion of branches of his family should be the subject would have been more found exclaiming, “ Thus saying, zermain, and have been productive thou reproachest us also !” See the of infinitely better effects upon the British Critic.

minds of sober inquirers after truth,

for whose sake alone, there could Of the answers to Mr. Cunningham be any perceptible end in discussing we have not room to say much. it at all. There are, indeed, some The “New Covering to his Velvet excellent reflections on this very Cushion,” has been made up in haste, topic in the third letter of the Leand evidently to meet the exigency gend, and 'tis pity the whole publiof the moment. Neither the materials cation had not been more uniformly nor the workmanship appear to us of regulated by them. The traveller, very superior quality; and we shall | in the fable, could blow either hot be much disappointed if it be found or cold with the same breath! We of durable texture. As the friends were sorry also to meet, towards the of the author, we advise him never bottom of p. 49, an exclamation to despise the prudent maxim of the which borders so much upon the Vicar of Wakefield, who tells us that profane, that our faculties are too he chose his wife for the same reasons dull to comprebend wherein it is to that she chose her wedding gown, be distinguished from it. We hope to namely, because it possessed qualities see it expunged in a second edition, that would make it wear well! Yet for the reason assigned in Exod. xx. 7. it would be unjust to say that the New Covering is not worth notice. It certainly will bear examination, Dissertations on Christian Baptism; and the body of it repay the trouble in which is shewn that Antipædothat is bestowed upon it.

baptism is in opposition to the holy

Scriptures, and the general practice Legend of the Velvet of the Church of Christ in all ages. Cushion,” consists of a Series of By the late MICAIAU Towgood. Letters, seven in number, written A new edition, recommended by seafter the fashion of Anstey's Bath

veral Ministers. To which are added, Guide, except that it is not in Notes and Illustrations. rhyme. It discusses most of the 12mo. Williams & Son, &c. points at issue between the Esta- Some months ago, at the request of blished Church and the Dissenters, Dr. Cracknell, we announced this and that with very superior ability. publication among our literary noThe diversity of style is an obvious tices. The work, it appears, had indication that, in the production of previously met the public eye in reit there has been a union of talent, peated editions; but some how or and we may add, of very masterly other it never fell under our inspectalent. Sincerely do we wish that tion. The long list of respectable the writers had adopted a different names, however, by which it now mode of conducting the warfare. comes recommended, fixed our atWhy, because such a man as Sydney tention upon it, and we could not but Smith, or even the Edinburgh Re- look forwards to its appearance with viewers had, in the true style of some degree of impatience, fondly the rabble, dubbed the Dissenters hoping to see, by its means, this long “Ringletubs,” the authors of the pending controversy put completely Legend should have deigned for one to rest. We have now read the book moment to notice it, is much to be with some degree of attention, but lamented. The very circumstance of cannot say that it has altogether their doing so will be proof positive' answered our expectations. We take

The "

pp. 140.

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