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Then own you're happy that you feel no more,
Light are your woes amidst an impious land,
666 And shall no curse for perjury be paid ? No vengeance vindicate the friend betray'd ?'
« Oh, pant not thus for his poor heart to bleed, Nor deem religion sanctifies the deed. Was such the peace a dying Saviour bought? Were such the mandates that his lessons taught? He, who for myriads lost, resign'd his breath, And seald forgiveness in the arms of death ? Were such the doctrines of the pious Paul, Who bade us watch, and weep, and pray for all ? Say, was it thus the tender John express’d The soft emotions swelling in his breast? Then learn, religion still maintains her post, Tho' moderns cavil, or tho' antients boast : Her hallow'd touch shall chase each mist away, Which passion pours on reason's clouded ray; Since, spite of all we boast, or all we know, Or all that human wisdom can bestow, True virtue must from heaven's pure fountain flow.
In the year 1806, some circumstances drew Mr. Bowdler's attention more particularly to the state of the episcopal church in Scotland, which was then emerging from the obscurity which had long hung over it. The death of prince Charles, the grandson of James II., which took place in 1788, had removed the last member of the house of Stuart who was in a situation to claim the British throne. Upon this event being made known in Scotland, the bishops and clergy in that part of the island solemnly resolved to acknowledge the reigning sovereign, and to pray for him by name in the public service. This resolution, which formed an æra in the history of that church, was followed by very important consequences; the first of which was, the repeal of those severe laws which had been passed against the Scottish episcopalians during the former half of the last century. The act by which this relief was afforded having required their subscription to the articles of the English church, their compliance with this injunction not only tended to unite more closely the two churches, but gave to the Scottish church that which it had not before, a formal declaration of its faith. Thus the way was opened for a measure which had long been earnestly desired, the union of the English ordained clergy who were resident in Scotland, and were officiating without being subject to any ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Such an accession of
members, and the interest thereby excited in many respectable persons, tended to make the merits and wants of the clergy better known than they had before been; and a subscription was set on foot for the establishment of a permanent fund for their relief. A committee being formed in England, where a very large portion of the subscription was collected, Mr. Bowdler was named among the members; and he entered into it with no common zeal, contributed largely to the fund, and took an active part in the measures which were proposed. From this time his attachment to this very interesting portion of Christ's church seemed gradually to increase : he was in the habit of continual and intimate correspondence with several of its most distinguished members; he was well acquainted with its wants, and always ready to give advice, and, as far as possible, to afford relief; by his exertions he raised up many valuable friends to the church, and assisted largely in the relief of the poorer clergy and catechists, particularly in the northern dioceses, in the building or repairing of chapels and schools, and in the translation of the Prayer-Book, and some religious tracts, into the Gaelic language; and his name has been blessed by many a poor but pious worshipper in that country, who has by his means been relieved from the pressure of want, and been enabled to worship his God in the edifying form of our liturgical service.
The episcopal church in Scotland stands in the singular * situation of a church under the direction of pastors regularly ordained, bishops, priests, and deacons, pure in its doctrine, and correct in its discipline, but without any civil establishment, or support from the state. During a great part of the last century, also, it was subjected to penalties so severe, (if, indeed, the term persecution may not be more properly applied,) as could scarcely be justified under
circumstances. Its situation, therefore, since the year 1689, has approached as nearly as may be, to that of the primitive church.
At that time there were fourteen bishops, including two archbishops, and about nine hundred clergy. Some of these were “rabbled” out of their livings during a season of great disorder, which ensued upon the expulsion of King James, and others were soon afterwards ejected by more lawful proceedings; all the bishops, and by far the greater number of the inferior clergy, preferring the loss of their preferment to that violation of their duty and desertion of their principles, which they conceived they must incur by taking the oaths to the new king. Many and great hardships were patiently endured, and many pathetic scenes took place, and much sympathy was
* This expression must not be understood to mean literally that this is the only church which is thus situated. The Protestant episcopal church in America is in very similar circumstances.
excited by the uncomplaining, resigned retirement of these sufferers. The same adherence to principles, and the same prudence and inoffensive demeanour, were observed by them after their expulsion, and by their successors. The clergy continued almost universally to officiate privately to such persons as were disposed to attend their ministrations; and the bishops, still retaining that spiritual authority which is inherent in their office, took care to preserve the succession by new and regular consecrations. They did not, indeed, attempt to keep up the number which had been before the revolution, nor to preserve the division of the country into the same dioceses ; as episcopacy naturally declined, when not only deprived of support from the state, but subjected to heavy penalties. They also dropped the distinction of archbishop, making use of the title of primus, which is bestowed upon one of the bishops, who, being elected by the members of the episcopal college, is invested with authority to call and preside in such meetings as may be necessary for regulating the affairs of their spiritual community. At present there are six bishops, who, strictly speaking, preside over eight dioceses, and from sixty to seventy clergy. Several of these officiate to two, and some to three congregations, especially in the northern dioceses, where the congregations are too small or too poor to support a clergyman; and in the highlands, where they are very widely dispersed, there