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went a note higher than the Presbyterians, they could less be restrained within any bounds of temper and moderation. From this distinction, as from a first principle, were derived, by a necessary consequence, all the other differences of these two sects. ,
“ The Independents rejected all ecclesiastical establishments, and would admit of no spiritual courts, no government amongst pastors, no interposition of the magistrate in religious concerns, no fixed encouragement annexed to any system of doctrines or opinions. According to their principles, each congregation, united voluntarily and by spiritual ties, composed within itself a separate church, and exercised a jurisdiction, but one destitute of temporal sanctions, over its own pastor and its own members. The election alone of the congregation was sufficient to bestow the sacerdotal character; and as all essential distinction was denied between the laity and the clergy, no cereinony, no institution, no vocation, no imposition of hands was, as in all other churches, supposed requisite to convey a right to holy orders. The enthusiasm of the Presbyterians led them to reject the authority of prelates, to throw off the restraint of liturgies, to retrench ceremonies, to limit the riches and authority of the priestly office. The fanaticism of the Independents, exalted to a higher pitch, abolished ecclesiastical government, disdained creeds and systems, neglected every ceremony, and confounded all ranks and orders. The soldier, he merchant, the mechanic, indulging the fervors of zeal, and guided by the illapses of the spirit, resigned himself to an inward and superior direction, and was consecrated, in a manner, by an immediate intercourse and communication with heaven.
“ The Catholics, pretending to an infallible guide, had justified upon that principle, their doctrine and practice of persecution. The Presbyterians imagining that such clear and certain tenets, as they themselves adopted, could be rejected only from a criminal and pertinacious obstinacy, had hitherto gratified to the full, their bigotted zeal in a like doctrine and practice. The Independents, from the extreinity of the same zeal, were led into the milder principles of toleration. Their mind, set afloat in the wide sea of inspiration, could confine itself within no certain limits, and the same variations, in which an enthusiast indulged himself, he was apt, by a natural train of thinking, to permit in others. Of all Christian sects, this was the first, which during its prosperity, as well as its adversity, always adopted the principle of toleration ; and it is remarkable, that so reasonable a doctrine owed its origin, not to reasoning, but to the height of extravagance and fanaticism. Popery and prelacy alone, whose genius seems to tend towards superstition, were treated by the Independents with rigour. The doctrines, too, of fate or destiny were deemed by them essential to all religion. In these rigid opinions, the whole sectaries, amidst all their other differences, unanimously concurred.”
The Scottish Confession of Faith.
The reformed church of Scotland acknowledges as its founder the celebrated John Knox, a disciple of Calvin. From its foundation, it adopted the doctrine and ecclesiastical government of the church of Geneva. In 1581, King James, with his whole family, and the whole nation subscribed a Confession of Faith, with a solemn league and covenant, obliging themselves to maintain and defend the Protestant religion, and Presbyterian government. The title of this Confession is, " A General Confession of the true Christian Faith and Religion, according to God's word, and Acts of our Parliament, subscribed by the King's Majestie and his household; with sundrie others. To the Glory of God, and good example of all men. At Edinburgh, the 28th day of Januarie. The year of our Lord 1581. And in the 14th year of his Majestie’s Reign.”
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The Irish Confession of Faith.
When Henry the Eighth was declared supreme head of the church of England, George Brown, an Augustinian monk, whom that monarch had raised to the archiepiscopal see of Dublin, caused the Royal Supremacy to be acknowledged in that portion of Ireland, which was said to be within the English pale, and in many other parts of the kingdom, where the power or influence of the English Government particularly prevailed. It was further extended, by the Archbishop's exertions, during the reign of King Edward the Sixth. On the accession of Queen Mary, the acts, which established the Protestant religion, were repealed. They were re-enacted by the first parliament of Queen Elizabeth, and the Irish dioceses were filled with Protestant Bishops. But the general body of the nation continued Catholic. King James the First was very desirous of bringing over the body of the nation to the Protestant religion, and employed a multitude of missionaries in the work of their conversion. They consisted chiefly of Scottish and English puritans; and thus, though Episcopacy were the legal establishment, the reformation of Ireland had chiefly a Presbyterian foundation. It being thought advisable that, in imitation of other churches, some articles of their common faith should be framed, and legally sanctioned, it was moved in convocation to adopt the articles of the English Church : but the convocation came to a resolution of forming a confession of their own. Such a confession was accordingly framed by Doctor James Usher, then Provost of Dublin College, and afterwards Lord Primate, and approved by the houses of convocation. It passed both houses of Parliament; and, being sent over to the English court, was approved in council, and ratified in the king's name, by the Lord Lieutenant Chichester. The title of it is, “ Articles of Religion agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops and the rest of the Clergy in Ireland, in the Convocation holden at Dublin, in the year of our Lord 1615, for the avoiding of diversities of opinions and the establishing of consent touching the true religion.” This confession continued in force till the year 1634, when, by the influence of Archbishop Laud, and the Earl of Stafford, it was set aside, and the thirty-nine articles established in its place.