« AnteriorContinuar »
clamorous allegations of one party ; and on the strength of them, concluding that the matter in dispute was a mere " question of words and names, and of the Jewish law." I see little mildness of disposition, in a peremptory refusal on the part of a judge to hear a case fairly stated, before he pronounced it beyond his cognizance, or in a forcible removal of the suitors from his tribunal. Lastly, 1 see little prudence on the part of one who represented the majesty of the Roman empire, in allowing the public order to be disturbed with impunity, and the sanctity of his own court insulted by acts of lawless violence.
I am far from wishing to insinuate, that it was Gallio's duty, as a civil magistrate, to pass judgment in a religious controversy. But he was bound, as an administrator of the law, to extend protection to the weak, and correction to the offending party; and the tumultuous " insurrection" against Paul, and the subsequent ill-treatment of Sosthenes, were matters that fell legitimately under his jurisdiction, inasmuch as they compromised the peace of the community, and the authority of his own government.
If my view of Gallio's character be well founded, then the popular application of his name is correct; if Mr. Home, Dr. Doddridge, and others, who take that side of the question, interpret rightly, the current stigma is unjust, and Gallionism must henceforth mean all that is mild, prudent, and impartial. Tyro.
UTILITY OF ASSOCIATING HYMNS WITH PARTICULAR
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
The conductors of church psalmody would do well to adopt some arrangement, by which the same words shall be uniformly sung to the same tunes, the want of which appropriation destroys much of the effect of sacred melodies. In profane ballads the words and air go together: no person sings one song to the tune of another just because it happens to be in the same metre; and thus, by association, the first bar that is struck up recals the long-treasured feelings of the entire piece. The same practice is followed in sacred anthems and set pieces, and why should it not be so in plain psalmody? In the comparatively few cases in which it is so, the ear and the mind are distressed at any change, thus proving the value of the association. I lately attended a chapel, where the organist played Bishop Kenn's Evening Hymn to the tune of the Old Hundredth Psalm; and the hymns, "Jesu, Refuge of my soul," and " Jesus shall reign where'er the sun," not to the tunes usually appropriated to them, but to others which, even if better, sounded so new to my ears, that I could scarcely compose myself sufficiently to enjoy this delightful part of Divine worship.
This suggestion may hardly seem worth noticing; but I feel persuaded the more it is considered, the more important it will appear. In sacred worship every hymn or psalm ought to have one particular tune, and no other, affixed to it. The same tune may be used for different words, but not the same words to different tunes. If a congregation know that one special tune is always struck up when a given psalm is announced, they will be prepared at once to join in the singing; and even if the allotment be not originally the best, habit will render it the most agreeable: so that a change will strike on the ear like a dissonance, as it would in the case of a ballad.
There is no ecumenical court by which the whole body of religious persons can be guided into an act of metrical uniformity; but each parish or congregation, being under one director, may be uniform with itself, and this will diminish the local evil, though strangers will still find the want of their own several favourite arrangements.
Singing is often spoken of in Scripture as one of the enjoyments of heaven. We cannot, upon earth, have our melodies like those of that blessed world, continuous or free from jarring: our hearts are often out of tune, and our spirits faint in the service of our heavenly Father; but we mav avoid unnecessary impediments; and remembering that we are in the body, seek to arrange matters so that the bodily senses may not impede the operations of the mind or heart. ^
« ♦ •—
ON TAXING RICHER BENEFICES FOR THE POORER.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
In the article by one of your correspondents, entitled, "Thoughts on Church Reform," there are many excellent observations, and much useful matter for the consideration of all persons interested in the welfare of our venerable church-establishment. But in the conclusion, a plan is proposed for the augmentation of small livings by a graduated tax on all benefices exceeding 500/. per annum, to which I see very forcible objections. The clergy who enjoy livings to that amount and upwards, are by no means necessarily placed in affluent circumstances, though better furnished in some degree than their brethren. In deriving an income from their parishioners, they are expected to do good in proportion to their ability, and to make some return for benefits received: and I am sure I do not err in saying that the resident clergy do very generally so act; their exertions being only limited by their means, and in these times of abounding distress, much larger demands are made on their incomes than at any preceding period. It would therefore be a peculiar hardship, at this period particularly, to compel the resident clergy to withdraw a sum from their own parishioners, derived from them and applied to their benefit, in order to pay a tax for the augmentation of smaller benefices. Such a tax would not only be an infringement on private property in many cases, but an actual injury to the best interests of the parishes burdened. The loss of one parish would, it is true, be the gain of another; but it may often happen that the one with a taxed benefice may be really a poorer parish than that for which an augmentation is required. The poverty of a living is no criterion by which to judge as to the wealth of a parish. That wealth is frequently in an inverse ratio to the value of the clergyman's income; for the tithes of many of the richest parts of the country were originally enjoyed by the monks, and on the dissolution of their order were granted by King Henry VIII. to his favourites, and from them have descended to their lay successors in the present times. Thus the cause of the poverty of many livings is the circumstance that the great tithes are alienated from the church.
Now, I ask, whether in cases where the tithes are so granted, it would not be just to call on the lay improprietor to make up the deficiency of the living, rather than to tax the clergyman of another parish? In my humble opinion, every parish ought to maintain its own incumbent. Tithes were originally appropriated to that purpose, and if through misapplication of the funds in former times, they have been diverted from their original object, means should now be adopted to make restitution. It may be said, perhaps, that the private property of lay improprietors should be held inviolate; and so it should while clerical property remains untouched. But if, amidst the numerous changes now proposed, all livings of 500/. and upwards are to be taxed, why should laymen who hold tithes be exempted? They surely are the persons most fitted to bear the burden, as they make no return for the profits they derive from tithes, while a clergyman has always duties and expenses connected with his emoluments; and if he does obtain 500/. or upwards per annum, he finds incumbrances proportionate to the revenue. As an incumbent therefore of a benefice thus circumstanced, I must protest against any attempt that may be made to deprive me of a part of my income for the augmentation of smaller benefices. My own parish has a claim upon me to the amount of my income. I dwell among my own people, and spend and am spent for their welfare to the utmost of my means. A Rectoh.
P. S.—I have read with much pleasure your comment on the means of restoring health and prosperity among the poorer classes, as well as the long extract from Dr. Chalmers's new work inserted in your Number for September. It is really delightful to find at least one periodical thus nobly espousing the cause of truth, in opposition to the popular errors which prevail in most of the newspapers and magazines. Go on and prosper *.
—-» ♦ »—
UTILITY OF FASTING AS A TESTIMONY.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
There is one benefit of religious fasting which I do not remember to have seen alluded to—I mean as a testimony. Few persons can bear sneer or ridicule: some therefore will not even frequent church, at least in the evening or on week days; others will not come to the holy communion; some would blush to be known to read the Bible; and many are ashamed to institute family devotion. No one, however, of these solemnities carries so marked an aspect as fasting. They are in a great measure customary; but fasting is now an observance so rare, at least in Protestant countries, that unless a man is really in earnest, he will not be very likely to commit himself by observing it. He may do all the above acts, and yet not be set down by the world as decidedly an enthusiast, but to shut himself up and refrain from food, being more rare and singular, is a somewhat decisive test of his meaning something. It is true that fasting does not make a Christian; and a hypocrite or a self-justiciary may fast, and in the Church of Rome often does, for mere penance or formality. But this does not render the observance less right in itself; for it is grounded on scriptural sanction, and is an appropriate mark, and in part a result, of affliction of soul. Still, not being usual in the religious circles of our own country, it is likely to excite notice, and to put a man's firmness of principle to the proof; and for the very same reason for which our Lord taught that men were not to protrude their fasting for ostentation at a time and in a country where it was well accounted of, they ought not to be at any pains to conceal it, where they think it will be stigmatised as being righteous overmuch. In either case, the Christian is to practise self-denial, to bear the cross of Christ; to act as in the sight of God, and not to be seen of men;
• We are much obliged to " A Rector" for his good opinion. He will find, upon referring back to our volumes, that our convictions on these subjects are not of novel growth; for we have maintained them from our earliest volumes, long before the writings of Dr. Chalmers and others had begun to turn the attention of the religious part of the public to the importance of the subject, and when what we believe to be the true aspect of the question was so unpopular that many well-disposed persons would not even venture to inquire into the real bearings of the matter. Even now it is by no means generally understood, or considered with the attention due to its importance.
and as he would not exhibit his fasting for ostentation, so not to make a secret of it from false shame; but if he thinks it his duty to perform it, to do so with simplicity, just as Daniel opened his windows as aforetime, and prayed to the Lord God of his Fathers as he was wont, notwithstanding the sneers and the devices of his persecutors. ^
—• » «■—
COMPLAINT OF A ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN QUADRUPED. To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
Honoured Biped Sir,—If you have ever been at our gardens, you may have observed in one of the cages near—but I must not too minutely describe my locality, lest I should be subject to fresh annoyances—a quiet demure little animal, your present humble quadrupedalian petitioner. If you have, pity my sorrows and those of my brethren, who have not one day's rest all the year round. Would not six days in one week be sufficient for poking parasols into my poor eyes, but a seventh must be added? I always understood (so far as a quadruped could understand such matters) that you Christian bipeds rested one day in seven, and gave your cattle and all other things rest too: but to my sorrow, I find this to be quite a mistake; and equally a mistake the old notion that man may be defined to be "a religious animal," as no other animal is so; for I now see that our Zoological Garden masters are not religious animals any more than their horses, whom, as well as our two-footed keepers they work on Sundays as well as other days. Much, it seems, has been said in a religious way about this matter; but those who manage the Gardens have not felt the force of this appeal; being I suppose not of the religious genus. Our " half reasoning" elephant, a very judicious observer, who does not much mind the annoyance of company, in consideration of their dainty contributions of fruit and confectionary, is inclined to believe—so far I mean as he comprehends the question—that our worthy governors are great hypocrites for excluding the shilling-a-head public on Sunday, while they admit themselves, their families, their friends, and visitors. They have, it is true, a nicer quieter day, while their neighbours are at church; but if it be a sin to open the Gardens to a thousand persons, it must be so to five hundred, unless the God of Christians makes a distinction between guinea subscribers and the shilling-a-head people. But this is a matter for your consideration, being too puzzling for your poor persecuted servant, A Zoological Garden Quadruped.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
BISHOP OF LICHFIELD'S CHARGE TO HIS CLERGY.
A Charge addressed to the Clergy of the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry. At Ids Third Visitation, August, 1832. By Henry Lord Bishop of that Diocese. London. 1832.
Church reform publications and discussions multiply around us; and we have reason to believe that a large measure of reform is in serious contemplation upon the part of Government, in conjunction with our ecclesiastical rulers; in fact, that the heads of measures for that purpose are at this moment under arrangement. But of this more hereafter. In the mean time, it rejoices us that the local reform of many individual dioceses has of late years been in progress, and that, in several, considerable amendments have been effected. But the very inadequacy of these to meet the existing evils, is a proof that more than good administration is wanted : the system itself needs revision; and this it assuredly will have; but whether with a favourable or unfavourable result, must depend upon a variety of circumstances, not to say contingencies, which we cannot look forward to without considerable apprehension.
The Bishop of Lichfield's Charge contains so much valuable information, both local and general, upon the state of the Church, that we take the earliest opportunity of laying the substance of it before our readers.
His Lordship, after speaking most justly of " the inestimable value " of our Establishment, "the glory of the Reformation," proceeds to state the tendency to deterioration, and the duty of ecclesiastical governors themselves to reform what is amiss.
"However framed according to the best standard, and admirably adapted to its object, a system committed to human agency, cannot fail, in its complicated machinery, to contract defects through the lapse and rust of time, the frailty of its instruments, and the change of habits and manners in successive ages. A readiness to admit, and a willingness to correct, such defects, upon mature deliberation and through the proper authorities, together with a vigorous and well-considered scheme for effecting reformation within, and thus anticipating revolution from without, would then be the becoming conduct of the wise rulers of the Church." pp. 10, II.
His Lordship proceeds to notice the measures which have been devised for this purpose, and intimates that " others are about to be introduced." We will lay before our readers his Lordship's summary :—
"The sources and the distribution of her revenues, the apportionment of her stations and duties, the support of her present edifices and erection of new ones as the wont may arise, and the regulation of her internal discipline, have long been the subjects of most serious and anxious deliberation with those who may be deemed the public guardians of the interests of the Church—subjects, many of them, of much popular discussion and misrepresentation, and all deeply involving the character, usefulness, and happiness of the clergy.
"The bills for the composition of tithe, for the augmentation of benefices by ecclesiastical corporations, for the diminution of pluralities, and for the encouragement of voluntary additions to our still very scanty number of places of worship, are the fruits of the labours, and evidences of the intentions, of those to whom the care of such objects is entrusted.
"The Tithe and Plurality Bills have not yet received full legislative consideration and sanction, owing to the late absorbing occupation of the public mind in matters of a different description. The degree to which those measures will satisfy rational expectation, and remove the grounds of complaint, remains yet to be seen. No one can doubt that they were designed for these ends, combined with a fair attention to the respectable maintenance of the body whose rights are concerned. Those rights, so far as respects tithe, are happily undisputed in this country by any, whose character for judgment and candour is entitled to any influence over the intelligent public mind. Indeed, the first official and the first legal authority in the legislature have repeatedly placed those rights upon the same level with their own to their own properties, and have declared that not one atom con be diverted to any wholly distinct purpose without palpable injustice. But improved arrangements as to valuation and collection seem to be much desired; and unless any adequate and equally secure substitute can be devised, I confess that I am disposed to view with approbation—not, however, unhesitating and unqualified—a plan for a permanent compulsory composition, with the transference of the liability from the tenant to the landlord, and ample legal security by a direct charge upon the rent in case of absentees. This appears to be, in most respects, the plan proposed for Ireland, which has been supported by many of the best lay friends to our Establishment, and though, thanks be to God, the measures required for the Protestant Church in that distracted country may, some of them, be unsuitable, and none necessarily applicable, to our branch of the Church, yet, whatever could relieve the intercourse between the minister and the bulk of his people from occasions of collision, from fuel for discord, and even from dealings of a mere pecuniary description, would, I cannot but think, materially contribute to the maintenance or the restoration of a right, pastoral and spiritual, feeling
Christ. Observ. No. 371. 5 A