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taken place in total silence, without I had the simplicity to believe that the smallest opposition, without one whatever was taught by the apostles, single voice being heard, without a and received unanimously by the prisingle live being written, in defence of mitive church, constituted a vital part the original apostolic divinely autho- of the Christian revelation. And rized practice. No: all that these having traced infant baptisın to this worthy good-hearted true Christians, sacred source, I was content to leave it with the learned Christian Politician there: nor is it in my power to add at their head, liave to say for themselves any thing further to the argument. is this, We believe that there is no Îf, however, through weakness of foundation for it."
judgment, I have unfortunately erred Although, however, this may be a in assuming this principle, I have only very concise way of disposing of the to request, not in my own name only, question, it is possible that some spe- but in that of many others, who would culative persons may not be altogether be “true Christians," if they could, satisfied with this solution of the case. that the Christian Politician will have But happily our Christian Politician the goodness to embrace an early ophas, with great ingenuity, devised a portunity of stating all those doctrines laypothesis which, if admitted, com and institutions which, having been pletely relieves his pious and believing taught by the apostles and universally brethren, “ the true Christians,” out acknowledged by the primitive church, of all their difficulties. It is, indeed, are now discovered to be “ strange perfectly original: none will dispute fancies,” which endanger men's salthe honour of the invention: it could vation, and “by which no true Chrisonly occur to an adventurous and en tian can be led away:" and for the terprising mind, perfectly free from promulgation of which, in opposition the trammels of vulgar prejudice. It to their better knowledge, the apostles is this: “ Had the tradition been well deserve to be severely rebuked as Peter grounded, viz. tbat infant baptism was was by Paul. A communication of an institution of the apostles, and the such importance cannot but be most universal practice of the primitive gratefully received by multitudes, as church, this could no more justify well as by, Sir, the practice than it would justify
Your Constant Reader, Peter's error, who was by Paul so
T. BELSHAM. justly condemned.”
Now it appears that the offence for Sir, Palgrave, Oct. 6, 1817. which the apostle Peter was publicly and severely rebuked by the apostle
Number of the Repository, (pp. Paul, was doing a thing which, at the 503, 504,] that the Unitarians of Kent time, he knew to be wrong. See and Sussex have petitioned Parliament Gal. ii. 11. And upon the Christian to be permitted to marry among Politician's principles, by parity of themselves, in conformity with their reason, if the apostles instituted infant religious principles; in the same manbaptism, they knowingly contravened ner as Jews and Quakers have been the explicit orders of their great for some time permitted to do. And I Master; they promulgated a strange should hope, that if this boon be fancy of their own as an ordinance of granted, and I can hardly see upon Christ; they did what they at the what grounds it can be refused, that time knew to be wrong, and instead our Unitarian divines will not introof being approved and obeyed, as it duce into their service any of the appears they were by the universal Judicrous and really indelicate obserprimitive church, they ought to have vations which pollute the present been severely rebuked, and publicly established marriage ceremony, and censured, as Peter in a similar case are quite sufficient to suffuse with had been condemned by Paul. blushes the face of female modesty.
This is an argument so novel and But before the question is carried unexpected, that I frankly acknow. before Parliament, so far as to come ledge that I am not prepared to answer to discussion, would it not be well to it. I had always been accustomed to consider, how far it might be desirable regard the apostles as authorized in- to endeavour to remove the solempi. terpreters of their Master's will: and zation of the marriage contract alto
gether out of the hands of those who Church, and, therefore, to adopt it minister in holy things, and place it would frustrate our efforts to obtain where, I confess, it appears to me it relief. Let us neither seek to " inought to be, in the hands of the magis- crease the scanty incomes of our own trate. I am not going here to discuss ministers," nor to “ deprive the church what is marriage, or what the views of any pecuniary object," but to be with which it ought to be entered eased of a burden which we ought into, or with which it is entered into. not to bear. Let us respectfully petiBut whatever may be determined on tion Parliament, not for permission to these points, if it should hereafter be solemnize our own marriages, but for necessary to discuss them, the man- relief from a ceremony which does ner in which the intention of the violence to our consciences, leaving it parties, intending to be man and wife, to their wisdom how such relief shall should be made public is a civil affair, be afforded. and is designed for the preservation If a request so reasonable should be of harmony in society. Any grievances denied, nothing will then remain for arising to married parties, as far as us, but to “ obey God rather than redress can be obtained, is sought for men." Let us be determined to do in our civil courts: the proceedings our duty, but let us do it in singleness in the ecclesiastical courts scarcely of eye as unto God and not noto men, can be said to form any exception to and with meekness and gentleness, this remark. At all events, the moral and universal peace and love. guilt of parties offending, seems to
F. K. be considered of triling importance. Their punishment is visited in degree, Marriage Ceremony, as it respects according to the supposed magnitude
Unitarians. of their civil offence. Besides, sup- This subject has attracted public pose a Unitarian should happen to attention. A better proof of this can: marry a Trinitarian, the latter must not be given than its being agitated be married (I use the term as it is in the T'imes Newspaper, a Journal
, generally used) according to the pre- which is conducted, we believe, upon sent law at church, because the mode the mercantile principle, of provoking adopted by Unitarians would not be the discussion or of adopting the side binding on the Calvinistic lady. This which is most popular, that is, most is now done by Quakers, I believe, profitable. From this paper we make when they happen to marry out of the following extracts: No. I. consists their own community. It will be of Remarks in the Times, Sept. 18; necessary that some clause should be No. II. is a Letter from Mr. W. Smith introduced into the act, to obviate this on those Remarks; and No. III. coninconvenience, provided the affair is tains the further Remarks of the Times still to be considered so far as a reli- upon the general subject and upon gious matter as to be left in the hands Mr. Smith's Letter. of ministers: but I wish to see from
No. I. any of your correspondents, a sub- Remarks in the Times, Sept. 18. stantial reason why it should not be T rather ratified before the magistrate. the close of last session of parlia
J. F. ment a notice was given by Mr.
Smith, the member for Norwich, of SIR,. Nantwich, Aug. 6, 1817. some intention to move a bill, the I
ject of the marriage ceremony de- rians, as they call themselves, or soserved the most serious consideration cinians, as they are more generally of the worshipers of the one undivided called, to marry in their own chapels
, God, and I am glad that it is again and according, we presume, to a ritual introduced into the Repository. The of their own, either already compiled, remedy, however, which your War- or to be compiled hereafter. About rington Correspondent (p. 409,) pro- the same time, we should suppose, a poses, appears to me to be worse than question relating to the same subject no remedy at all. There is something has been agitated with uncommon in it of hostility to the Established warmth in the British settlement of
Newfoundland, where marriages have cable way as may be best calculated actually been solemnized by authori- to give it solemnity and publicity, and ties deemed incompetent in this coun- that such marriages should be held try, and the legitimacy of which was valid. In Scotland, if we recollect therefore doubted. The Methodist right, the declaration of the parties ministers, it appears, have performed that they are married, added to the this ceremony, arguing, that the mar- notoriety that they live together as in riage act of England did not extend to a conjugal state, is a conclusive proof that colony; and that it was therefore that the ceremony has been performed. competent to them, or even to laymen, The Quakers, who have no priestto officiate. The matter being of great hood, marry by a simple declaration importance, application was made to of the parties, which is afterwards the government of England, from signed and attested in their meetings. which the following official commu. But it may be asserted as a general nication has been received at the co- rule, that in every Christian country lony, and has thence found its way marriage has been esteemed a religious into the mother country :
solemnity and a civil contract united, Provincial Secretary's Office, and has been performed in the face of
Halifax, Aug. 19, 1817. the Church by the Established Clergy, The following copy of a letter from with consequences as to settlement, Earl Bathurst to his Excellency the issue and relationship, prescribed and Lieutenant-Governor, is published by ordained by law. We confess that authority:
we shall be sorry to see any of these “ Downing-street, May 31, 1817. forms set aside, because we shall ap“MY LORD, -Herewith I have the prehend injurious effects to the purity honour of enclosing to your Lordship and morals of our posterity. The an order of his Royal Highness the Romish Church considers marriage Prince Regent in Council, dated the as one of its seven sacraments; and 26th ult., disallowing an Act passed when Christianity was interdicted in by the Legislature of the Province of France, then, also, was the religious Nova Scotia, in 1816, entitled, . An solemnization of marriage prohibited. Act to explain the Acts concerning Whatever respect, also, may be due Marriage and Divorce, passed in the to Dissenting ministers of various thirty-second year of his late Majesty's denominations and sects, whatever reign, and the first year of his present extraordinary purity we might, for Majesty's reign.'
argument's sake, be disposed to allow “ I have the honour to be, &c. to their creed; yet they do not them
“ BATHURST. selves, under the existing state of “ To Lieutenant-General the Earl things, pretend to put their public acts of Dalhousie."
upon a level as to general effect, as Immediately after the date of this to the power of exciting attention, or letter, a bill to the above effect was making an impression, with those of proposed to Parliament by Mr. Goul- the Established Clergy; and we are bourn, and on the 27th of June, re- convinced that every thing of solem. ceived the Royal assent. From this nity that can be added to that cereact it appears, that the interpretation mony, from which all the relations of of the Methodist ministers, upon life spring, is necessary to sanction which an act of the Provincial Le- and enforce the due observance of its gislature of Nova Scotia had been obligations. founded, has been set aside, and that If it be asked, whether we would the British marriage act has been oppose the progress of Mr. Smith's averred to extend to the colonies. bill through Parliament, we confess The subject is so interesting to the that we have such apprehension of morals of society, that we are disposed raising the terrible howl of intolerance, to say something more upon it than that we should rather recommend it what merely results from the occasion, to the sound discretion of that gentleIt appears to us, that in situations man to relinquish his intention; for where regularly ordained or liceuseu if the Socinians are allowed to marry ministers cannot be had, the ceremony in their chapels, there is no reason should be performed in such practi- why the same privilege should pot be
conceded to the other sects; some of business. Allow me, before I conwhose ministers would be obliged to clude, to embrace the opportunity of attest the performance of the cere- making one remark. You say that mony with their marks instead of their “ in every Christian country marriage names. There is no reason why the has been esteemed a religious ceresolemnization should not take place mony and a civil contract united.” in every licensed house of worship; Now, for the argument's sake, allow. though these structures often ing this to be ever so accurately true, change the purposes for which they I would wish to ask, whether the are employed; and are one time de- most logical and legitimate, as well as dicated to the worship of the Deity, the best practical inference from the at another to the consunimation of premises, would not be, that while those vices which he abhors.
for the security of social order and of We trust that the Established property, descendible or otherwise, Church will always be pre-eminent the most effectual means should be for the dignity and the solemnity of adopted to render the civil contract its ceremonies : but we should farther firm, indissoluble and easy of judicial think, that the more respectable Dis- proof, the strength and permanence seuters will shudder at the introduc- of the moral tie would not be bat tion of a custom, through which they ensured by leaving the religious cerewill certainly be disgraced by the mony to be performed in the mode practices of their ruder brethren. We most congenial to the religious sentithink it, however, our duty to add, ments of the persons themselves; by that the Marriage Act of George II. is which their most valuable feelings a very confused production.
would inevitably be more deeply ic
terested in the transaction than they No. II. Letter from Mr. W. Smith on the the parties may unfortunately have
can be by the use of a form to wbich above Remarks.
annexed the ideas of inespedience or To the Editor of the Times. impropriety? Sir, I observe in your paper of
I am, Sir, yesterday some remarks on the solem
Your obedient bumble servant, nization of marriage, the calm and
W. SMITH, dispassionate tone of which, while in Parnilon House, Essex, Sept. 19. those who most differ from you it need not provoke an angry feeling,
No. III. seems proportionally better calculated Remarks of the Times upon the general to excite useful discussion on the sub- Subject and upon Mr. Smith's Letter, ject. In this discussion, however, I It seems that Mr. Smith, the memdo not now propose to engage, but ber for Norwich, did not give notice only request to correct that part of of any motion for the purpose of al. your statement, which erroneously tering the law of the land on the sub. represents me as having “ given notice ject of marriage in favour of Socinian in the House of Commons of some or Unitariau Dissenters; but, “ acting intention to bring forward a motion,” as the organ of others," simply prefor the purpose of altering the law of sented a petition from a number of the case; and from whence occasion that body who conceive themselves is taken to appeal to what you are aggrieved by the existing law. In pleased to term "my sound discre- conformity with the request of that tion" against such a proceeding. Now, honourable gentleman, we hasten to whatever may be my opinion, I beg correct our mistake, and have inserted it may be understood, that on the oc- his letter to us in another part of the casion referred to, acting only as the journal. In that he asks, adopting organ of others, I merely presented our definition of marriage “ as a relithe petition of a number of Unitarians gious ceremony and a civil contract who conceive themselves to be ag- united," whether “ the most logical grieved by the existing law, and that and legitimate, as well as the best I did not hold out any pledge, or (to practical inference would not be, that the best of my recollection) even hint while for the security of social order a design of farther prosecuting the and of property, descendible or other
OF GENERAL READING.
wise, the most effectual means should lemnizing this ceremony with most be adopted to render the civil contract effect; and we should think, that the firm, indissoluble and easy of judicial respectable Dissenters of all classes proof, the strength and permanence would desire, as they have hitherto of the moral tie would not be best acquiesced in the practice, that it ensured by leaving the religious cere- should not now be set aside. It is mony to be performed in the mode only their respectability that can sufmost congenial to the religious senti- fer by the change; the marriages of ments of the persons theinselves ?" To the Established Church will not be this question we cheerfully reply; affected. . first, that logically, Mr. Smith's supposition would make marriage not a GLEANINGS; OR, SELECTIONS religious ceremony and a civil contract REFLECTIONS MADE IN A COURSE united, but a religious ceremony and a civil contract separated, and therefore, not necessarily co-existent; and
No. CCCXVI. that the practical inference, would be, Magnanimity of a King of Sweden at that the contracting parties would
a Publie Execution. take as much of either as they liked. The late King of Sweden had conFor example, the Socinians, we be- demned a soldier to die; and stood lieve, exist in all conceivable grada- at a little distance from the place of tions, from Christianity, or something execution. The fellow, when he heard near it, down to no Christians at all. this, was in hopes of a pardon; but There can be no reason why the lat. being assured he was mistaken, cried, ter should practise a religious cere. his tongue was yet free, he would use mony enjoined by Christ, and recalled it at his pleasure, which he did with by him to primitive purity, by the great license, accusing the King most restriction of single male to single fe- insolently, and as loud as he could male: with these, therefore, the mar- speak, of barbarity and injustice, and riage rite would lose all its solemnity, appealing to God for revenge of his and become an affair of wax and wronged innocence. "The King, not parchment. On the contrary, the re- hearing him distinctly, inquired of ligionists of an opposite description, those about him, what the soldier had the enthusiasts, would make it wholly been saying ; and was told, by a a pious rite or celebration, and limit general officer, who was unwilling to . its commencement and duration to the heighten his resentment against the feeling or experience of passion ; the miserable, that he had only repeated internal motions of what they call very often and loud, that God loves godly love, directing them and giving the merciful, and teaches the mighty them a right to the enjoyment of its to moderate their anger. The King object, With such the civil contract, was touched by the lesson, and sent affecting to bind those whom God his pardon to the criminal. But a had bound, would be superfluous, nay, courtier, of an opposite interest, took even impious; and we are not speaking advantage of the occasion, and rehere by conjecture: this has been the peated to the King exactly the licenlanguage aud the practice also of en. tiousness of the fellow's railing; adding thusiasts on the subject. Indeed we gravely when he had done, that men think it obvious, that if marriage were of quality and trust ought never, in to be considered as civil contract his opinion, to misrepresent facts to only, there can be no reason why it their sovereign. The King for some should not observe the character of time stood suspended in his thoughts; all civil contracts, and be dissoluble but turning at length toward the at the will of the parties: but as a courtier, with a face of reproof; it is divine ordinance, it obtains a controul the first time, said he, that ever I have
over the mind itself, and can only be been betrayed for my advantage! But • directed, as to form and circumstance, the LIE of your enemy pleased me better by human laws.
than your Truth does. At present the church service en- Plain-Dealer, No. I. May 12, 1724. joys by prescription the right of so