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apparently upon the same footing; his ready reply will be, that eternity shall sever them, for that God has ordained that rewards and punishments belong not always to this life. The answer is satisfactory, and facts as well as Scripture support it. Why, then, is the argument altered, if, instead of viewing the ways of God personally, we scan them in a national light. Is the eye of Omniscence weakened by gazing on a multitude ? Can he not discern, or is he unable to punish, those in whom originate, and those who perpetrate, acts which may well excite his displeasure. I would not so limit the Eternal One! I may not believe, after reviewing the character of God, that he would inflict pain on the innocent, as a punishment to the guilty. And yet such deduction can be drawn from the views of those who trace on every evil incident to human nature the immediate evidence of punitive dispensation*.
Does the cholera attack our land, then the Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin, is pronounced to have been written against us; it being forgotten that lands which, compared with ours, are but scenes of moral desolation, have yet been spared. No mention is made of circumstances calculated to mitigate the evil into comparative littleness. Its gradual progress, affording ample room for preparation, is left in the back ground. The character of the plague, so softened, so mild in its exhibition, may be but at best casually gathered. Is this giving God glory?-Again; Does political commotion excite us ? to our sins it is immediately traced. But why not, as a counterbalancing consideration, allude to a peace unbroken for years ?-Did Catholic Emancipation cause no excitement ? Did the trial of a queen exhibit our national milkiness of character so strikingly as to make us pine after a recurrence to those golden times. Nor do I here consider how many there are who, in this perturbed state of affairs, behold the elements of good, working, though it be with a strong fermentation : but enough of this. Infidelity spreads, but was it more passive when Payne scattered firebrands amongst an inflamed people; or when circumstances of time and place urged on the perpetration of deeds at which Europe trembled ?
But let us look for mercies. Is our trade on the decline ? has our land failed in its produce ? has every Christian shepherd ceased to watch his fold? Are all Christians led astray by passing follies ? No; the majority, the immense majority, continue in the good old way. Unitarianism is sinking fast; knowledge, scriptural knowledge, is spreading its empire far over the earth ; the Christian missionary has lifted up the Cross amidst the snows of polar lands, and on the sands of burning deserts, and thousands are flocking to that standard. Why then despair? There is a gallant band still resisting the world, the flesh, and the devil. Nor can I yet perceive that the favour of the Most High has shrunk from befriending them. No, through the Captain of their salvation, they march on, “conquering, and to conquer." Their outspread banner is Love; and the word of God stands pledged that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the cause in which they are en
• Alpha has got into deeper matter than he seems to suspect, and out of which he will not easily find his way. Let bim answer Butler's Analogy, if he can. Reason as we will, pain does actually visit one person by means of the sins of another; the Fourth Commandment is often literally fulfilled, and many a child suffers greatly from the vices, the drunkenness, the profligacy of a parent. The facts cannot be denied; nor can the scriptural declaration of the doctrine be doubted; and it is worse than useless to argue against either fact or revelation by our à priori notions of what befits the character of the Infinite Being. The Judge of all the earth will do right; but it does not follow that we are always able to account for his dispensations. The next passage, respecting the Cholera Morbus, was written before the extension of the disorder to France. Would the writer have penned it after ? Besides, the amount of national guilt has reference not merely to actual magnitude but to privileges and opportunities of instruction. These and other points are necessary to be considered, before we ean arrive at a sound conclusion.
gaged. If these things be so, why does courage fail? Is the Lord's arm shortened ? are the proofs of his goodness less numerous than formerly? They are not. Let us then, bedewed with the Holy Spirit, and stablished in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, come forth gladly in the name of our God, shouting his praises to the ends of the earth. There ever will be evils which we are bound to lament deeply; for until the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, even as the waters cover the sea, sin must abound : and he who forbears to lift up his voice in prayer to Him who alone can remove this plague spot, disgraces the name of a Christian. But in spite of this I see no cause for despondency. Our land has yet many a righteous ten. The pestilence which rages in the camp of our Israel may yet be stayed; we have Aarons, who, with censers in their hands, can go forth to stand between the dead and the living. Let, then, Christians take courage. Let them slew to an unbelieving world that they have yet a Divine arm to rest upon, a hope which may not be broken, and capable of supporting the most feeble though ten thousand timez ten thousand be leagued against them.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
THE CHURCH AND ITS NECESSARY REFORMS.
(Continued from p. 348.) 1. The Extension, Security, and Moral Influence of the United Church of
England and Ireland, &c. By the Rev. John Riland, M. A. . 2. The Church in Danger from herself, &c. By the Rev. John ACASTER. 3. Remedies for the Church in Danger, &c. By the Same. 4. The Liturgy Revised, &c. By the Rev. Robert Cox, M. A.' 5. Church Reform. By a CHURCHMAN. 6. Pluralities Indefensible. By Richard Newton, D.D. 7. Church Establishments considered, &c. By William M'Gavin, Esq. 8. Plan of Church Reform. By Lord Henley.
We mentioned in our last Number, that the remarks which we proposed to offer upon Church Reform would range themselves under the three following heads ; namely, its revenues, its public services, and the character and conduct of its ministers. At the moment in which we are writing, the sudden changes in public affairs have so unhinged every anticipation as to what may, or may not, be the course of proceeding in matters either of church or state, that we might perhaps with advantage have suspended our remarks on ecclesiastical reform to a more settled period. Having, however, commenced the discussion, we will not wholly suspend it; for whatever may be the course of political events, a considerable measure of ecclesiastical reform is necessary for the stability of the Church, and the best welfare of the people.
The revenues of the Church, although they form the secular, and may therefore, in some respects, be considered as the least important part of the subject; yet as they constitute one of its most distinguishing features as a national establishment, and materially affect the whole range of its operations, are, doubtless, entitled to very serious attention. The two important questions connected with the property of the Church, are, its source and its distribution, and with reference to both of these, it seems to require very considerable modification. The revenues of the Church of England prin
Curist. OBSTRV. No. 366. 3 F
cipally arise from land and tithes, with Easter offerings, and fees, generally of a very small amount, for the performance of various ministerial offices; and to all these, as a matter of civil right, the clergy have unquestionable claim--a claim as valid as that by which any other property is held. The projects of spoliation and abolition which have been broached upon this subject, are selfish, reckless, and unprincipled. But though, for the maintenance of the worship of God, and the religious instruction of the people, the Church has every right to the resources entrusted to her charge, which law and justice can constitute, so that no individual in the realm can lay claim to the smallest fraction of her revenues, the Legislature, as the general superintendant and conservator of the public weal, is, doubtless, fully warranted to make such arrangements respecting the mode in which those revenues are raised and distributed, as a regard to the security and usefulness of the establishment, and to the prevailing habits of the community, may require.
To that part of the ecclesiastical revenues which is derived from houses, lands, and other similar property, there can be no valid objec. tion; nor do we conceive that any is generally felt. But on the subject of tithes, which form the largest portion of clerical income, a strong and most injurious feeling of antipathy has been called into exercise. We do not refer so much to the lawless and murderous combinations which have been formed in many parts of Ireland against the payment of this species of ecclesiastical income, and which, for a while, have effected its virtual abolition, as to the feelings of chronic irritation to which it has given rise in the agricultural districts of England. Except in very few instances, there is no solid ground for the outcry raised against tithe, as if it were a tax upon industry, and tended to impede the improvement of land. Every political economist who has taken an enlightened view of the subject, admits that what is paid in tithe, is ultimately subtracted, in a diminished ratio indeed, from the landlord's rent, not from the farmer's profits. The latter, in the great majority of instances, pays far less in the form of a decimation upon the produce of his land, than would be exacted from him by the landlord in the shape of increased rent, if it were discharged, as is frequently the case, from this ecclesiastical burden; and in reference to this unappreciated advantage, we might exclaim,
O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint,
Agricolas! · But we fear that it would be difficult to convince a large proportion of this class of persons of their error, and that with their present notions they are as incapable of feeling its force, as of understanding Virgil's Latin. Upon such persons, therefore, our adaptation of the poet's enthusiastic burst of felicitation would be completely lost. To restore and maintain that harmony between the parochial minister and his people, which is essential to their mutual comfort and to pastoral usefulness, some species of cominutation has become absolutely necessary. Various plans for this purpose have been proposed, such as the allotment of land, equivalent in value to the tithe now chargeable upon the soil, or a rent varying in amount with the price of grain and other titheable articles. Where the first of these plans is feasible, it is doubtless the most desirable and unobjectionable of all the proposed plans. But where it would be attended with insuperable difficulties, it might be the next best plan that the land should be charged for ever with the proportion which the value of the tithe now bears to the value of the land. Difficulties and objections may doubtless suggest themselves to this plan as well as to every other; but it strikes us as the most feasible and just of those which have been hitherto proposed; and we would only add, that the clergy must not be the persons to throw impediments in the way of some such arrangements as the circumstances of the times, with a voice loud enough to rouse the most thoughtless and inconsiderate, proclaim to be indispensable. The vast majority of the clergy, indeed, would hail with the utmost cordiality any rational and practicable plan, which would relieve them from the embarrassing position which they are now constrained to occupy with respect to the feelings, prejudices, and apparent interests of their parishioners.
On the subject of those minor sources of revenue, such as dues, offerings, and other charges connected with the exercise of ministerial function, it would be highly desirable that such competent provision from other quarters were made for the whole of the parochial clergy as would justify their total abandonment. In many places they are in a great measure abolished, through a reluctance to demand what may either be inconveniently afforded, or grudgingly paid. They tend to harass and degrade the clergy, while, except in populous places, with the most rigid exaction they make a very inconsiderable addition to their resources.
But the distribution of ecclesiastical revenues, from whatever sources they may be drawn, is still more glaringly anomalous—we had almost said, more grossly injurious and unjust. It is anomalous, because it presents the phenomenon of a church possessed of ample revenues, if properly economized, to make all its ministers comfortable, though not rich or affluent; with a very large proportion—not to hazard any particular number --of its most faithful, devoted, laborious, and on every ground of talent, education, and attainment, most respectable clergy, obliged to wear out their strength for a pittance scarcely superior to the gains of the higher order of menial servants. It is injurious, because it is impossible, in such a condition of things, that the services of religion should be performed with the same regularity and efficiency as under a more equitable system ; and unjust, because it is contrary to every principle of reason and public right, that men who occupy the same standing of presumed qualification for the discharge of the arduous duties of their office, should be so unequally rewarded. Inequalities there are, and will be, in the remuneration of all professions: but in other departments, in law, in medicine, and in the various branches of the mechanical and polite arts, every man receives an amount of recompence proportioned to his supposed skill, and the diligence and efficiency of his labours. But in the Church, even assuming for a moment that patronage is always exercised on the principle of an impartial estimate of personal merit, and that the high places of dignity and emolument are in every case occupied by suitable and worthy men, the provision, owing to its irregular distribution, is so utterly inadequate to the number of claimants, that a large proportion of pious, active, and talented labourers in the Christian vineyard, must of necessity pine away their days in distraction, poverty, and want, or have recourse to some other means of meeting the exigencies of their families.
The consequence of this anomaly is, not merely the inconvenience and embarrassment occasioned to the individuals immediately concerned; it extends far more widely, and carries an influence more deeply prejudicial to the interests of the establishment, and to the spiritual welfare of the community at large. Among the clergy themselves, it has the effect of calling into action some of the worst feelings and most painful infirmities of our fallen nature, and in that proportion tends to deteriorate their character and to impede the whole work of their ministry. The few successful candidates for the higher ecclesiastical prizes, are not unnaturally actuated by a somewhat more than an adequate share of the complacence attendant on an inordinate elevation above their associates. Those, who are still in the field, urged by the combined influence of ambition and want, are under many circumstances so shackled in their movements--so much entangled by the snares lying in their way—and so much agitated in their views and feelings by the alternations of hope and fear, as to be most materially obstructed in their sacred studies, and in an uncompromising preaching and labouring among their people. Those who are utterly hopeless of preferment, on the other hand, or whose spirit will not brook the ordinary arts of pursuing it, are frequently obliged to drop the minister in the tutor or the schoolmaster; or if endowed with talent and considerable energy and elasticity of mind, to waste their health and their faculties in literary pur suits but remotely connected with the primary objects of their office. In the mean time, the public, which is the party mainly interested in the ultimate result, views this kind of irregularity and injustice with indignation and disgust; and its attachment to the church and its ministrations is weakened in proportion to the number of examples, with which every individual is surrounded, of the work performed being disproportionate to the amount of the remuneration. In a retired country district they observe an incumbent, not always of the most laborious and zealous character, in the receipt of an income which enables him to maintain a comparatively splendid establishment; while in the heart of a populous town they behold the minister of an extensive parish, who is impelled by duty and conscience to be instant in season and out of season, receiving for his services not half the sum which the minister of a neighbouring dissenting chapel is paid from the voluntary contributions of the people. On the anomalies and injurious consequences of the present system, we need say no more. They are known, felt, and deplored by every man of enlightened and unsophisticated mind.
How, then, would we proceed to remedy what is acknowledged to be so anomalous in theory, and so injurious in practice? We would begin at the fountain head. It is well known that the inequalities of the bishoprics and archbishoprics of our church are nearly as great as those which belong to the subordinate departments of the ecclesiastical economy. Some of these stations have an amount of emolument attached to them, far beyond any legitimate exigency; others are far too scantily provided to support the proper hospitality and necessary expenses of the station. The consequence is, that the richer bishoprics are regarded as a species of small principalities ; and no art or influence fails to be used by nobles and political leaders, to procure them for their friends and adherents. With the smaller and poorer sees, on the other hand, it is found necessary to associate other offices held in commendam, in order to supply the inadequacy of their resources. These circumstances are attended with very serious evil. Burke, in the lofty chivalry of his defence of established institutions, under the peculiar circumstances which called it forth, might be allowed to say that the people of England see, without grudging or dissatisfaction, a bishop receiving a revenue of 20,0001. a-year; but in plain and sober truth, the people of England-indeed every man of considerate and correct feeling-does see, with great dissatisfaction, a sum of this magnitude heaped upon one individual ; while many of his brethren on the bench, of equal talents and attainments, and with duties equally arduous to perform, have scarcely one-tenth, and many a learned and laborious parochial minister, not the two-hundredth part. We make not this statement for the purpose of exciting indignation, or of broaching any visionary scheme of levelling, which we deprecate and abhor in reference both to Church and State. The individuals who sustain such offices, are not accountable for the irregularities which at present belong to the system. So deep is our veneration for some of these excellent persons, and so unbounded is our confidence in their disinterestedness, liberality, and integrity, that personally