Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Crown, including umhich are mediately or fiat though he contin

easily pay his rent, his taxes, and his poor-rates ; and the national debt itself shall be promptly liquidated.” Whilst this silly outcry (not the less inischievous, however silly,) is sounding in our ears, we doubt the wisdom of mooting the delicate questions which are now immediately before us. We impute no hostile motives to the learned Churchman under review ; but all interference with vested rights we totally condemn. What though the projected schemes of our author be entirely "prospective !" What though “benefices in the private patronage of individuals” be FOR THE PRESENT exempted from the operation of his measures of reform! What though he confine himself to those livings, "which are mediately or immediately in the gift of the crown, including under the former description all those which are in the gift of Bishops, and of Chapters !" (p. 63.) We reject this compromise. We repudiate this sop. We abominate the invasion of these rights, however limited in its power of mischief; and we hate the principle of plunder and injustice, whatever be the pretext, under which it would win our favour, and however modified be the schemes of its aggression. Thus to meddle with the patronage of the King, (than which none has of late years been more discreetly exercised,) would, in our judgment, greatly hazard the alliance of Church and State. Thus to deprive the Bishops of their patronage, would be a libel upon their sacred bench. Thus to assume the disposal of the secondary sinecures in cathedrals would open the door to universal plunder and indiscriminate rapine.

As far as the revenues of the Church are concerned, “ her strength,” we are persuaded, “is to sit still.” To talk of the riches of the Church, when all her income would not give more than the hungry pittance of 1501. to each of her ministers,—and whilst there are 3589 parochial benefices not exceeding 981. per annum, and more than 1000 livings under 601. per annum, and 422 under 301. is an insult to the understanding of a child.

But this revenue, be it small or great, might be divided in more equal proportions amongst the officiating Clergy: pluralities are scandalous, and ought to be checked: commendams are foul blots in our ecclesiastical polity, and require to be remedied with unflinching hand!

We beg leave to demur to this statement. We deny the expediency of equalizing clerical incomes by legislative enactments, and we are persuaded that the hardships here complained of may be more advantageously obviated by the judicious exercise of private and public patronage. There are many examples of this wise use of patronage, and we think we see public and private patrons more alive to the responsibility which attaches to them than they were wont to be. We are sure, at the same time, that there must always be poor curates in the Church, and still poorer incumbents, whom it will be easier to pity than to relieve, Yet, they ask not our commiseration. Pious

in their lives,--humble in their views,-prudent in their habits, they have been led to their hallowed office by other affections than the love of gain, or the hope of secular reward. Their joyous hearts are fixed on other riches than man can bestow. “More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise,” they cast no longing look upon the perishable treasures of the world. “ Having food and raiment, they are therewith content:"—the luxuries,– yea, and many of the comforts of life, they surrender without a sigh, rich in the anticipation of their heavenly inheritance, and gladdened with the approach of the auspicious day, when, “having turned many to righteousness, they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament for ever and ever.”

The Churchman has much fine feeling on the subject of fines, from which he holds it to be especially desirable that a Bishop should be entirely relieved :

It is not fitting (he writes) that the attention of a Bishop should be in any degree called off from the high spiritual duties of his office, to calculate, with the care of an actuary, the probabilities of the continuance of human life, with a view to personal emolument.-P. 103.

To remedy this grievance it is suggested, that, for the future, all the landed property annexed to any bishopric should be administered by the Chapter of the Cathedral, assisted by the Chancellor of the Diocese. But our space warns us to curtail our remarks ; and therefore we briefly observe that our author's recommendations relative to the making and the custody of terriers is very judicious, though we entertain no inconsiderable doubts about the mode of paying the “ Commissioners of Church-Property-Inquiry" by a short sequestration of the profits of the several benefices, as they happen to become void. (P. 192.) The greater proportion of livings could ill afford such a deduction ;-what with the enormous stamp duty and other levies made upon new incumbents, they have absolutely nothing to spare for any fresh payments in the shape of a tax for any purpose whatever. We could easily draw such a moving picture of the serious inconveniency even now attaching to such recently beneficed clergymen, as would convince our author of the impropriety of his proposition : but we forbear, nor can we afford room for the insertion of our Churchman's observations, excellent and judicious as they generally are, on the important and difficult subject of the commutation of tithes, the undoubted freeholds of the clergy, granted by the original possessors of the land, held by a title more ancient than any lay estate in the kingdom, and therefore not to be touched with the mischievous hand of fanciful reformers, but upon the most grave and weighty considerations.

Whilst the Churchman displays a caution amounting almost to fear touching the claims of the Church, Mr. Hull rushes to the other

extreme, and, regardless of the means of accomplishing his projects, writes as follows, with much good sense and great knowledge of human nature, though, we fear, with lamentable disregard of the practicability of his scheme :

Clergymen are most in their places where most business is to be done: and though some of them protest against being secularized, the term is as disagreeable as the notion is mistaken. The closet and the world, the church and the drawing-room, have all the same uses to Clergymen and Laymen, and all, too, the same abuses. Laymen are apt to make up for their own faults by requiring a much greater degree of holiness in the Clergy: there may be some latent Popery in the requisition. It is right to add here, that land-owners would think it a grievance if their tenants were allowed to plead against a fair rent the customary payment of an unfair rent, by the name of a modus, in cases where ancestors could not by law have bound their successors, and that reduced rent were confessedly too little for their support in a rank, which, as a body, they are expected to maintain.

Upon inquiry, many changes might be debated usefully. Full payment of all tithes should be insisted upon; and each cure should be made a living. If tithes were fully paid, the surplus so gained might be well applied to Church purposes in many ways, &c. &c.Hull's Inquiry, p. 80.

We would willingly add somewhat upon Church edifices. The subject of Dilapidations, of Parish Churches, and of Parsonage Houses, affords us a tempting topic of discussion, but our limits deny us the satisfaction of mooting these interesting themes.

We are free to confess that we are much indebted to the authors before us for the able strictures which they have made upon the questions which they investigate. We have differed—we still differwidely from them in some of their schemes, whilst to others we are anxious to afford the sanction, such as it is, of our hearty concurrence. We sincerely recommend these momentous points to the wisdom of the Episcopal Bench. Reform in some slape must come. It cannot come too soon ; and we earnestly hope that the spiritual rulers of our Church will immediately concert some measures for the consummation of so desirable an end. “ To my Lords the Bishops," we say in the language of Bacon,* as quoted by our Churchman, (p. 16) “ that it is hard for them to avoid blame, (in the opinion of an indifferent person,) in standing so precisely upon altering nothing: leges, novis legibus non recreatæ, acescunt; laws not refreshed with new laws, wax sour. Qui mala non permutat, in bonis non perseverat ; without change of ill, a man cannot continue the good. To take away many abuses supplanteth not good orders, but establisheth them. Morosa moris retentio, res turbulenta est æque ac novitas.+

* Bacon, of Church Controversies.

+ We are sorry to find that, in one instance, we have mistaken the views of Mr. Hull; and we are still more sorry to be obliged to differ, in any instance, from so candid and honest a Churchman. In a letter, which he has addressed to us, he disclaims any objection to the use of creeds in toto, though he wishes to confine them to the Communion service only. We take this opportunity of thanking Mr. H. for the obliging offer contained in his communication; which, from such a man, we duly appreciate,

cial knowledge of mas may rely onove, may

Art. II.-An Historical Account of the Thirty-Nine Articles, from the

First Promulgation of them in 1553, to their Final Establishment in 1571, with Exact Copies of the Latin and English Manuscripts, and Facsimiles of the Signatures of the Archbishops and Bishops, fc. fic. By John LAMB, D.D. Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Deighton, Cambridge; Rivingtons, London; Parker, Oxford. 1829. 4to. Price 1l. 5s.

DESPITE the vulgar outcry that the Church is the advocate and patron of ignorance, we have always endeavoured, while affectionately and devotedly maintaining the rights and claims of our ecclesiastical establishment, no less earnestly to defend the necessity of a suitable education for all classes. If the plan of the Gower Street University, and the superficial and superfluous accomplishments of the Mechanics' Institutions be the only antithesis to ignorance, then, alas ! we must contentedly acquiesce in our own condemnation. But if a steady support of such real information as the leisure of each man will bear, and the profession of each man can improve, may acquit us of the odious charge, we think we may rely on a successful defence. A superficial knowledge of mathematics is equivalent to none; and a superficial knowledge of most other things is more likely to mislead than to benefit. But if this kind of knowledge is always something less than equivocal, what must it be when attempted to be driven into the rough understandings of labourers and journeymen! All real knowledge, however, especially professional knowledge, is valuable ; and as we have one common profession, Christianity, all knowledge on that subject must be valuable to all; and, therefore, we have always most strenuously opposed religious ignorance, whether silently promoted by those who studiously proclaim it to be compatible with all useful learning, or openly advocated by the well-intentioned but indiscriminate panegyrists of days gone by, when knowledge was scarce, not because it was injurious, but because the means of acquiring it were fewer and less effective.

We have not the slightest hesitation in retorting upon the enemies of the Church the charge which they attempt to fix upon us. Their vain accusation sufficiently brands them with a voluntary and determined ignorance. With all the means of inquiry and knowledge in their power, they care not to acquaint themselves with the nature of a Church which the State still professes to be part of the constitution, and which in common justice they are bound to know before they condemn. It is their interest (and diligently do they follow it) to keep others in similar ignorance, that their own may be palliated, and their designs countenanced and executed.

Yet although knowledge on no point is so easy of access as on that of the frame, constitution, creed, and practice of the Established VOL. XI. NO. VI.

xx

Church, all which are constantly before the eyes of the world; although no inquiry can be more important than that which leads us to discover the claims of the predominating religion of our country: although such inquiry and such knowledge are absolutely necessary to those who undertake to canvass the subject fairly, either on religious or political grounds : yet how portentous is the ignorance of our ecclesiastical constitution which pervades every class of society! What opinions do we hear in conversation and read in print from men who even profess themselves members of our Church! Baptismal regeneration denied by such persons in the teeth of our Articles, Catechism, and Liturgy! We have even heard it argued that our Church defends Transubstantiation, because the Catechism teaches that the body and blood of Christ are " verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper:" when the very expression, “ by the faithful,” is a sufficient proof that the Church could mean no such thing as transubstantiation, since, if there were a corporeal metamorphosis, the unfaithful would necessarily be as much partakers as the faithful: to say nothing of the positive affirmation of the Church in her Articles, * and of her definition of a Sacrament in this very Catechism, that it is a Sign. But it is not only in the current intercourse of society, that this ignorance is found. What deplorable ignorance exists on this subject where it ought to be best understood, even in the Senate of the land, has been witnessed abundantly in the debates of late years; at no time so abundantly as in those on the late disastrous measure. And in another part of our publication we are now displaying the melancholy ignorance of those who have deserted us, and whose arguments have been pronounced unanswerable solely because the nature of our Church has neither been examined nor understood!

If those who charge the Church with promoting ignorance, would themselves acquire a little information on the subjects which they discuss so confidently, it would be advantageous to us and to them. The advantage of the Church is not an argument very likely to weigh with them for good; their own advantage may. We will, therefore, remind them of one of their own favourite maxims, that “knowledge is power :" and, we will add, ignorance is weakness ; and however currently hardy assertion may pass for awhile, ultimate and inevitable exposure must cover them with confusion, and incapacitate them from producing any impression through the influence of character and integrity. If the history, discipline, and doctrine of the Church are unknown and misrepresented, it is not because there are not abundant means of information on all, but because it is not

• Articles XXVIII. XXIX.

« AnteriorContinuar »