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port and animate virtue in the hour of trial and peril. The existence of civil liberty was deeply connected with the doctrines for which they contended and fought. While they treated with scorn an abject and cruel superstition, and lifted and sublimed the dignity of man, by calling his attention to a simpler and wiser theology, they were strenuous to give a permanent security to the political constitution of their state. The happiest and the best interests of society were the objects for which they buckled on their armour, and to wish and to act for their duration and stability, are perhaps the most important employments of patriotism and public affection. The Reformation may suffer fluctuation in its forms, but, for the good and the prosperity of mankind, it is to be hoped that it is never to yield and to submit to the errors and the superstitions it overwhelmed."
Having mentioned that the church of Scotland is composed of a General Assembly, Synods, and Presbyteries-to these must be added the Kirk Sessions, made up of the Pastor, Ruling Elders, and Deacons; though the business of the last is to attend to the temporalities of the church. Nor ought it to be forgotten that both classes of the Seceders and the Relief body, including about three hundred ministers, are strict Presbyterians, notwithstanding their secession, or dissent from the Scotch Establishment.
ENGLISH PRESBYTERIANS. BUT the appellation Presbyterian is in England appropriated to a large denomination of Dissenters, who have no attachment to the Scotch mode of church government, any more than to Episcopacy amongst us, and therefore to this body of Christians the term Presbyterian in its original sense is improperly applied. How this misapplication came to pass cannot be easily determined, but it has occasioned many wrong notions, and should be rectified. English Presbyterians, as they are called, adopt the same mode of church government with the Independents, which is the next sect to be mentioned. Their chief difference from the Independents is, that they are less attached to Calvinism, and consequently admit a greater latitude of religious sentiment.
Dr. Doddridge in his Lectures has this paragraph on the subject, which may serve still further for its illustration : “ Those who hold every pastor to be as a bishop or overseer of his own congregation, so that no other person or body of men have by divine institution a power to exercise any superior or pastoral office in it, may, properly speaking, be called (so far at least) congregational; and it is by a vulgar mistake that any such are called Presbyterians, for the Presbyte
rian discipline is exercised by synods and assemblies, subordinate to each other, and all of them subject to the authority of what is commonly called a General Assembly.” This mode of church government is to be found in Scotland, and has been already detailed under a former article in this work.
THE Independents, or Congregationalists, deny not only the subordination of the clergy, but also all dependency on other assemblies. Every congregation (say they) bas in itself what is necessary for its own government, and is not subject to,other churches, or to their deputies. Thus this independency of one church with respect to another has given rise to the appellation Independents; though this mode of church government is adopted by the Dissenters in general. The Independents have been improperly confounded with the Brownists, for notwithstanding they may have originally sprung from them, they excel them in the moderation of their sentiments, and in the order of their discipline. The first Independent or Congregational Church in England was established by a Mr. Jacob, in the year 1616; though a Mr. Robinson appears to have -been the founder of this sect.
BROWNISTS. THE Brownists, which have been just mentioned, were the followers of Robert Brown, a clergyman of the church of England, who lived about 1600. He inveighed against the ceremonies and discipline of the church, separated himself froin her communion, and afterwards returned into her bosom. He appears to have been a persecuted man, of violent passions. He died in Northampton gaol, 1630, after boasting that he had been committed to thirty-two prisons, in some of which he could not see his hand at noon day!
PÆDOBAPTISTS. BEFORE. we proceed to the Baptists, it will be necessary just to remark, that all persons who baptize infants, are denominated Padobaptists, from the Greek word stars, which signifies child or infant, and Bantw, to baptize. Of course the Established Church, the Presbyterians both in Scotland and England, together with the Independents, are all Pædobaptists; that is, baptizers of infants or children. Their reasons for this
practice are to be found in Wall, Towgood, Addington, Williams, Horsey, Edwards, and others, who have expressly written on the subject with learning and ingenuity. They rest their arguments principally on the following circumstances : That baptism has succeeded instead of the rite of circumcision; that households, probably (say they) including children, were baptized; that Jesus shewed an affectionate regard for children; and finally, that it is the means of impressing the minds of parents with a sense of the duties which they owe their offspring, upon the right discharge of which depend the welfare and happiness of the rising generation. Persons, therefore, engage themselves as sponsors in the Established Church, who promise that they will take care of the morals of the children; among other sects the parents are made answerable, who indeed are the most proper persons to undertake the arduous task, and to see it duly accomplished. Dr. Priestley published a Letter to an Anti-pædobaptist, in which he endeavours to prove the Baptism of Infants, from the testimony of the Fathers, to which the Rev. Job David, of Taunton, has, in a small pamphlet, made a reply, These preliminary remarks were necessary to render a sketch of the Baptists the more intelligible. We shall therefore proceed to that denomination.