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discipline . This view of the English Test Laws in relation to the Church of Scotland is uot tajken merely by strangers at a distance ; it was agaiu and again set before the General Assembly , with great weight of argument and fervour of eloquence , iu the discussion upon the subject which took place iu that venerable body in the year 1790 . " Those of our church , " ( said an eminent minister of the Scottish -o
Church , on t ^ at ccasio n , the Rev . Sir Harry Moncrieff WeHwood , lately deceased , in the maturity of his days and his Christian reputatiou , )* " who take the Test sincerely in England , become pledged to the communion of another church , and cannot therefore be friendly to ours : those who take it insincerely , and without principle , become hardened against all religion , and return to Scotland prepared to disregard the institutions of our faith . "
The pious members of the Church of England appear to us to be no less interested in the discontinuance of a practice , which dishonours religion iu general , and makes it the jest of the scoffer , and is the peculiar burthen aud opprobrium of their own communjou . Many of them , we know , have lopg mourned in secret over this great ancl crying evil . On the
conscientious clergy it presses with a weight that is often painful and sometimes intolerable . The pious minister of the church is placed in this distressing predicament :-r-the canons and rubric , k of his church require him to warn from the Lori's Table , all immoral persons , anct even all persons unprepared for worthy
communicating j but the Test Laws make the Sacrament a sort of civil right " and privilege , and some eminent legal authorities have laid down the opinion , that were any person applying for the sacramental qualification to be refused by the minister , although on the ground of wicked character or of notorious
infidelity , an action at law would lie against the minister so refusing : f he might , in * See " Debates in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland , on taking into Consideration an Overture from Jedburgh , respecting the Test Act , May 27 , 1790 . " 8 vo . ( London , ) pp . 34 , 35 .
f See the Appendix , No . II ., to Towgood ' s " Dissent from the Church of England , " containing the " Case respectipg a Clergyman ' s refusing to administer the Sacrament to an open and notorious evil-liver , with the several opinions of Mr . Serjeant Hill , Mr . Ma-4 pcka , and Mr . JHargrave . "
consequence ; be harassed and even rained for the faithful discharge of his duty as a servant of the King of kings and Lord of ' lords . This is no new point in the argument . So long ago as the year 1704 , the Lower House of Convocation agreed in representing the legal obligation upon the clergy to administer the sacrament , by whomsoever demanded / as a civil qualification , to be one of their great grievances .
We make these statements to shew that not the Protestant Dissenters only , but all serious Christians likewise of the United Kingdom , are concerned iu the abolition of the Sacramental Test , by which the Christian sanctuary is polluted ; and to excite , if possible , a general cooperation amongst Christians , zealous for
the honour and purity of their religion , in the effort to vindicate the sanctity of the solemn ordiuance of the Lord ' s Supper , and , iu fact , to recover that " worthy name whereby we are called , " from the indiguity under which it has so long lain by the prostitution to secular uses of the sacred memorial of the Death of the Saviour of the World .
If , Christian Brethren , you agree with us in our principles and sympathize with us in our feeliugs , you will not fail to use all your influence iu promoting applications to the Legislature , iu the ensuing Session of Parliament , for the
repeal of so much of the Corporation and Test Acts as relates to the Sacramental Test . Permit us to remind you that it is ouly by an unanimous and zealous appeal to the justice aud wisdom aud Christian feeling of Parliament , that we can convince the members of the
Legislature that we are sincere in our representations of this grievance , or make an adequate and serviceable impression upon the public mind . At the same time , we implore , with all Christian meekness and brotherly affection , that you will be temperate as well as firm in both your measures and your language ; that you will keep our great question pure from the admixture of any other , aud especially political , considerations ;
and that whilst , as Englishmen , you set forth your wrongs and claim your rights , you will also , as Englishmen , testify your attachment to the civil and political constitution of your country ; and that , in the still higher character of Christians , you will manifest unbounded good-will to your fellow-christians of all denominations : —for , as our venerable fathers in the Protestant Dissenting Ministry , in and about this metropolis , declared in a Body , in their address to their Royal
Intelligence . ~ TeM and Coiyoration Acts . 65
VOL . II . F
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1828, page 65, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2556/page/65/