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Convocation was curtailed, wisely or unwisely is not now the question-of its ancient privileges as a representative body, have been frequently denominated a “rope of sand.” This renders the knowledge and influence of a bishop in relation to such objects as have been specified, of great importance to his clergy and the world. He is the eye and the mind of his diocese : he is to devise schemes of utility ; to diffuse intelligence respecting them ; to excite among his clergy a spirit of zeal and co-operation in every useful measure, and to form in his own person that bond of union among them which is necessary to give effect to their proceedings. It is often long before the clergy in a diocese become acquainted with important facts in which they do not happen to be immediately concerned ; longer still before they perceive the necessity of actively combining their efforts on the demand of the cccasion; and longest of all before they digest and concur in a suitable scheme to meet the case, and actively carry it into effect.
it into effect. A striking illustration of these positions will occur to the recollection of the reader in the instance of the general education of the poor, in which the church stood aloof till it had well nigh lost the power to recover its ground. To prevent effects like these; to excite the clergy to be
foremost in zeal and intelligence, while they are the last in innovation or parade; to impress upon them the necessity and the Christian duty of taking an active part in the great charitable plans which adorn the age; to arouse the indolent part of them from the quiescence of personal contentment to the self-denying activities of professional life; to inspire them with all that is valuable in the zeal of proselyting sects, while they cultivate at the same time the quiet and unobtrusive virtues which more naturally belong to a settled hierarchy, constitute a most important method by which our prelates may promote the extension of religion and the popularity and efficiency of the Established Church.
vi. By encouraging learning, piety, and church
principles among their Clergy. Nor is it of less moment for our bishops to encourage, by every possible means, learning, piety, and church principles among their clergy. The various methods which may be employed for this purpose it would be needless to attempt to specify; for in fact almost every word and action of those who are stationed in posts of such commanding influence may be made either to promote or to impede the great objects under contemplation. The most indirect
reproof, or the slightest encouragement, from such a quarter, will often weigh more than the strongest arguments and appeals conveyed through less venerated channels.
But there are two instruments which our bishops possess for encouraging learning, piety, and church principles, of such direct and powerful efficacy, that they ought not to be passed over even in this cursory enumeration.
The first is their official patronage.--It would be to betray a complete ignorance of human nature, or to represent the English Clergy as more than men, not to allow that the official patronage of a diocesan has a powerful effect on his clergy; directly upon those by whom he is immediately surrounded, or who have reason to hope for his favour, and remotely, through their inflaence, upon the body at large. How necessary then is it that this patronage should be conscientiously devoted to the responsible ends for which it was bestowed! As was remarked on a similar topic in a former section, official patronage differs materially from patronage gained by purchase or inheritance. It is gratuitously and confidentially bestowed ; no valuable consideration was given, and no fortune was sunk by the patron or his friends, as often happens in private patronage, for its procurement. The public lends, not gives it; and
lends it exclusively for public ends. It would be a very small and insignificant advantage resulting from the system of patronage, as it at present prevails in this country, that it prevents those parochial litigations which are witnessed where the election is made by popular suffrage, or that it tends to bring into the church individuals from among the higher classes of society, and thus to preserve its balance, and to connect it more firmly with the state, if it be not also conscientiously employed for higher purposes,-to promote true religion, to encourage professional ability in the clergy, and to add stability to the foundations of the Established Church by measures calculated to draw down the blessing of God and to minister to the eternal welfare of mankind. “ Persons ecclesiastical,” says Hooker, « are God's stewards, not only for that he hath set them over his family as the ministers of ghostly food, but even for this very cause also, that they are to receive and dispose his temporal revenues, the gifts and oblations which men bring him.” How that eminent man thought on the point under consideration may be learned from the following remarks in the Seventh Book of his Polity. “ Shall we look,” says he in addressing bishops, "for care in admitting whom others present, if that which some of yourselves confer be at any time corruptly. bestowed ? A
foul and an ugly kind of deformity it hath, if a man do but think what it is for a bishop to draw commodity and gain from those things whereof he is left a free bestower, and that in trust, without any other obligation than his sacred order only, and that religious integrity which hath been presumed on in him. Simonaical corruption I may not for honour's sake suspect to be amongst men of so great place. So often they do not, I trust, offend by sale as by unadvised gift of such preferments, wherein that ancient canon should specially be remembered, which forbiddeth a bishop to be led by human affection, in bestowing the things of God.”—The“ sale” of patronage, at which Hooker hints, is a crime now utterly unknown, and which detraction herself has never ventured to whisper against any member of the episcopal body in the present day; and not a few instances might be cited also in which“ human affection” has been as little concerned. Still many virtuous sacrifices remain to be made, before patronage, either episcopal or otherwise, will be rendered so great a blessing to the church, as it is capable of becoming when exercised under high feelings of Christian duty and responsibility.
The second means alluded to, by which our bishops may promote learning, piety, and church principles among the clergy, was the