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The Bishop of London is well known to be a bold and busy man . The sermons before us are very characteristic . With singular temerity his lordship has ventured on applying the test of utility to the Established Church , and on appealing to the
religious condition of the United States of America in corroboration of his argument . We are ready to follow him in this application and appeal . It is by the principle of utility that the Church ought to be tried ; and the example of the United States is entitled to great weight in the discussion . So far we are agreed . Provided the fact can be made out , we allow that ' the strongest
argument for an Established Church is this ; that it is the only , or , at any rate , the most efficient instrument of instructing the people in the doctrines of religion , and of habituating them to its decencies and restraints . ' ( p . 35 . ) Moreover , should it appear that ' in no other way is it possible to make a thoroughly
effectual provision for the spiritual instruction , and moral improvement of a whole people , ' and that in this way such provision can be made , we confess ourselves in the wrong , and will beg our duty to the Bishop , and henceforth reverence the lawn , and see on it 'God ' s own stamp , ' according to the admonition of the pious Blackwood .
But it seems to us , at the very outset , that no machinery can be adequate for the purposes above described , which does not commence with universally educating the population . The connexion between education and morality , education and religion , education and national character and prosperity , is much more satisfactorily ascertained than the connexion between
preaching ( without education ) and all those blessings . The Bishop has some perception of this fact . He almost affirms that the established clergy do educate the people . His language approaches nearer and nearer towards the assertion of this magnificent falsehood as he waxes warm in his argument , and triumphant in his conclusions . First we are told of the clergy
' promoting and superintending the Christian education of the young . ' ( p . 36 . ) This struck us as a felicitous discovery . Anon we found them ' in the midst of a poor , unenlightened population / not only ' labouring solely for their good , ' but ' assistin g , superintending , perhaps conducting the education of their children . " ( p . 37 . ) This is r better sjill ; ' and there is ' better thence again ; ' for , irradiated by the light of episcopal
imagina-* ' The Uses of a Standing Ministry and an Established Church , Two Sermons b yC . J . Blomfk-ld , V . D ., Bishop of Loudon / F * Uow «» , 1 « 34 .
OX THE BISHOP OF LONDON'S DEFENCE OF THE CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT . *
No . 88 . T
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1834, page 249, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2632/page/17/