Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

46

COLONIAL AND FOREIGN ORDINATION. In our Number for August last, we inserted a letter from a correspondent, under the signature of “ A sincere Churchman," upon the subject of colonial ordination. The object of this letter was to draw attention to a pamphlet then just published, entitled, “ An Apology for the Colonial Clergy of Great Britain, specially for those of Lower and Upper Canada. By Samuel Simpson Wood, M. A. of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge ; Presbyter of the Reformed Apostolic Church : late of the Diocese of Quebec, in the Province of Canterbury.” We have not had an opportunity of perusing the pamphlet in question ; but from the statement of its contents as set forth in our correspondent's letter, it appears that Mr. Wood, having been admitted into deacon's orders by the late Bishop of Durham, in Sept. 1818, accepted an appointment in Canada which had been offered to him by the Bishop of Quebec, and was ordained priest by this prelate in the cathedral at Quebec, in Nov. 1819; that, having now returned to England, and being desirous of officiating here as a minister of the Established Church, he has been advised that his ordination by the Bishop of Quebec is, by the operation of the 59 Geo. III. c. 60, s. 3, rendered of no effect; and that, in consequence, he now finds himself unable to accept any ecclesiastical appointments in this country. The situation in which Mr. Wood thus supposes himself to be placed by the operation of the Act alluded to, is urged by himself, and regarded by our correspondent, as a case of individual hardship, which is not to be justified upon any principle of securing protection to our Church Establishment; especially as Mr. Wood has been regularly educated at Cambridge for the Church, and has been admitted into the number of its ministers by the ordination of an authorised Bishop.

Since the insertion of our correspondent's letter, our attention has been directed to the provisions of the Act of Parliament alluded to by Mr. Wood; and it appears to us to be quite clear that, taking the circumstances of Mr. Wood's case to be correctly stated by our correspondent, the law in question has been both misunderstood and misrepresented. We propose to point out the error into which these gentlemen have fallen, by referring to a consideration of the Act of Parliament in question. And we shall extend our observations to an exposition of the several Acts of Parliament now in operation relating both to Colonial and Foreign ordinations; as we think it may not be uninteresting to our readers to be in possession of the legal provisions upon this subject, for we believe they are not very clearly understood, and the provisions upon the one subject are sometimes confounded with those upon the other.

1. As to colonial ordination. The 59 Geo. III. c. 60, contains all the provisions upon this subject. And by the 1st sect. of this Act it is enacted

That it shall be lawful for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, or the Bishop of London, for the time being, or any Bishop specially authorised or empowered by any or either of them, to admit into the holy orders

of Deacon or Priest any person whom he shall upon examination deem duly qualified, specially for the purpose of taking upon himself the cure of souls, or officiating in any spiritual capacity, in his Majesty's colonies or foreign possessions, and residing therein; and that a declaration of such purpose, and a written engagement to perform the same, under the hand of such person, being deposited in the hands of such Archbishop or Bishop, shall be held to be a sufficient title, with a view to such ordination : and that in every such case it shall be distinctly stated in the letters of ordination of every person so admitted to holy orders, that he has been ordained for the cure of souls in his Majesty's foreign possessions.

By the 2d sect. of the same Act it is enacted

That no person so admitted into the holy orders of Deacon or Priest, shall be capable of holding any ecclesiastical preferment within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of acting as Curate therein, without the previous consent and approbation, in writing, of the Bishop of the Diocese in which such ecclesiastical appointment shall be locally situated, or without the like consent and approbation of such one of the said Archbishops or Bishop of London, by whom or by whose authority such person shall have been originally ordained, or in case of the demise or translation of such Archbishop or Bishop, of his successor in the same see.

And a proviso is superadded to this section

That no such consent and approbation shall be given by any such Archbishop, or Bishop of London, unless the party applying for the same shall first produce a testimony of his good behaviour, during the time of his residence abroad, from the Bishop in whose Diocese he may have officiated, or, in case there be no Bishop, from the Governor in Council of the colony in which he may have been resident, or from his Majesty's principal Secretary of State for the Colonial Department.

By the 3d sect. of the same Act (which is the section relating to Mr. Wood's case, and to which he particularly refers), it is enacted

That no person who shall have been admitted into holy orders by the Bishops of Quebec, Nova Scotia, or Calcutta, or by any other Archbishop or Bishop than those of England or Ireland, shall be capable of officiating in any Church or Chapel of England or Ireland, without special permission from the Archbishop of the province in which he proposes to officiate, or of holding any ecclesiastical preferment in England or Ireland, or of acting as Curate therein, without the consent or approbation of the Archbishop of the province, and also of the Bishop of the Diocese in which any such ecclesiastical preferment or Curacy may be situated.

We subjoin a few remarks upon this last section, as bearing upon cases similar to that of Mr. Wood. The effect of this provision is not, as is apparently insisted upon by Mr. Wood and our correspondent, to render ordinations by our Colonial Bishops merely void as regards the minister's power to officiate in this country; but it is simply required that, before a person so ordained is qualified to accept any preferment, or to take any church duty in England or Ireland, the consent and permission of the Archbishop of the province, and the Bishop of the diocese, in which such minister may propose to officiate, shall be procured. This is a very different thing from considering the ordination as a mere nullity. For in that view it would be necessary that the party should be ordained again : and we think the act clearly rebuts the presumption of any such necessity. We are not aware what testimonials are required by our Prelates as sufficient to induce them to grant their consent or permission. The 3d sect. of the Act does not expressly refer to the 2d: but still we may, perhaps, venture to suggest, that the testimonials, which are by the latter section directed to be given in cases where the ordination has been made by the Archbishops of Canterbury or York, or the Bishop of London, in performance of the powers given them for that purpose by the 1st section, would form some guide as to the nature of those which should be required from parties who have received ordination from the hands of a Colonial Bishop.

2. As to foreign ordinations. Until the time of the separation of the United States from the mother country in the year 1783, our law was a stranger to foreign ordinations, or the ordination by our Bishops of persons who were not under British allegiance, and did not intend to officiate within the British dominions. At that time it was required that every person, at the time of his ordination, should take the oath of allegiance. This, of course, could not be done by foreigners; and as the Americans had, by the effect of their declaration of independence, and its subsequent recognition by this country, severed the bond of national fraternity, and rendered themselves strangers to Britain and her laws, it followed, that our Bishops could no longer, as theretofore they had done, confer ordination upon persons intending to officiate in that country. From this circumstance, great and serious evils were acknowledged to result to the cause of religion ; for a great portion of the American public, having been nurtured in the doctrines and discipline of our Established Church, retained the religion of their fathers, after they had renounced their allegiance to the parent state. In order, therefore, to supply a remedy for an evil, the removal of which was called for upon principles independent of those of mere state policy, our legislature exerted a timely interference; and the 24 Geo. III. c. 35, was passed : by which, after reciting the inconveniences which were felt, it was (sect. 1.) enacted

That it should be lawful for the Bishop of London, for the time being, or any other Bishop, to be by him appointed, to admit to the order of Deacon or Priest, for the purposes aforesaid, persons being subjects or citizens of countries out of his Majesty's dominions, without requiring them to take the oath of allegiance. · By the 2d sect. of this Act it was enacted

That no person ordained in the manner thereby provided only, should be thereby enabled to exercise the office of Deacon or Priest within his Majesty's dominions. · The Americans also very soon discovered the necessity of possessing among themselves persons duly qualified to exercise the episcopal functions. · And for this purpose our legislature again interfered ; and an Act was passed (26 Geo. III. c. 85), whereby the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are empowered to consecrate as Bishops, persons being subjects or citizens of countries out of his Majesty's dominions, without the King's licence for the election of such persons, or the royal mandate, or requiring them to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. And by the 9th sect. of this Act, it is enacted · That no person ordained Deacon or Priest, by persons consecrated Bishops according to the powers of that Act, shall be authorized to exercise the office of Deacon or Priest within his Majesty's dominions. .

It is, however, the policy of the laws relating to our venerable Church Establishment, not to recognize the ordinations of any Bishops other than those of the Established Church of England and Ireland; and therefore the Scotch episcopal ordinations come within the operation of this policy. And by the 4th sect. of the before-mentioned Act of the 59 Geo. III. c. 60, the law upon this subject is declared. By that section it is enacted

That no person who, after the passing of the Act, shall have been ordained a Deacon or Priest by a colonial Bishop, who, at the time of such ordination, did not actually possess an episcopal jurisdiction over some Diocese, district, or place, shall be capable in any way, or on any pretence whatever, of, at any time, holding any Parsonage or other ecclesiastical preferment within his Majesty's dominions, or of being a stipendiary Curate or Chaplain, or of officiating at any place, or in any manner, as a Minister of the established Church of England and Ireland.

By the words Colonial Bishop, who did not actually possess an episcopal jurisdiction, must be understood, we apprehend, an episcopal jurisdiction which is recognized as part of the Ecclesiastical Establishment of this country. This clause, we therefore conceive, extends to ordinations by Scotch Bishops, since Scotch episcopacy is no part of our Ecclesiastical Establishment, and also to ordinations by the titular Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland, as well as to ordinations by the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bishops of foreign countries.

We have gone thus at length into the subject of ordinations, in order that we may correct any erroneous impression that may have been produced upon our readers by a perusal of the observations of our correspondent, who has certainly entertained incorrect views upon this subject. We have been induced also to extend our observations, in some measure, by noticing, that our contemporary, the Christian Observer, in its last number, has given insertion to a letter signed · Philarchæus ;' the object of which letter is to bring forward the erroneous statement of the law insisted upon by Mr. Wood (though without reference either to that gentleman's pamphlet, or to the letter of our correspondent, which had appeared four months before), and also to charge against the Established Church the illiberality of not opening her pulpits to all Protestant Episcopalians. Philarchæus is struck with admiration at the liberality of the Americans, whose pulpits are open to ministers of our Church; and thinks that practice is of such a nature as that it would be beneficial to the interests of religion if our Church would recognize it.

Philarchæus is, perhaps, no statesman : but it may be easily comprehended that the “illiberal and exclusive' practice of our Church is to be justified upon this principle-- that in England, at present at least, there exists a bond of connexion between Church and State; and that, in order to the preservation of this bond, which we trust never will be loosened, much less severed, by the officious hand of

liberality,' it is necessary that the occupiers of our pulpits should be under something like an engagement to uphold that state, of which their spiritual office forms an integral part. But as to the good people of America, it may be observed, that their enlightened minds are free from the fetters of such an antiquated prejudice ; and with

VOL XI. NO. I.

them truth is left, in the panoply of her naked beauty, to sustain the war of error, unencumbered by any cunningly-devised defences with which human wisdom, conscious of human ignorance and human frailty, would, in its timidity, surround her.

SOCIETY FOR PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL IN FOREIGN PARTS.

The branch of this Society for the Diocese of Ely and University of Cambridge has lately held its annual meeting. At that meeting, the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, Master of Trinity College, after detailing the successful operations of the Society, proceeded to give the following interesting statement respecting its finances :

Is our support sufficient for these undertakings? The most simple answer to this question is by reference to the expenditure, and we there find THE EXPENDITURE FOR THE LAST YEAR HAS BEEN 34,000l.; Which FORMS AN EXCESS OF NEARLY 7,0001. ABOVE THE RECEIPTS WITHIN THE SAME PERIOD. THE TOTAL EXPENDITURE OF THE SOCIETY ABOVE ITS ORDINARY RECEIPTS, DURING THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, IS ABOUT 60,000l. This is a proof of the anxious demand and pressing need for those spiritual advantages which it is the object of the Society to convey. In 1819, His Majesty issued his royal letter for collections in every parish throughout the kingdom, in aid of the funds of the Society, and in pursuance of which collections were made, the result of which was most gratifying, the subscriptions amounting to the sum of 60,0001. It was principally from that fund that the Society was enabled to extend its operations in the East, and at the same time to apply the greater portion of its regular funds in the West. It is to be hoped that as nine years have now elapsed since that letter was issued, His Majesty will be graciously pleased to repeat the same; but whether OR NOT, THE SOCIETY WILL PROCEED IN ITS OPERATIONS TO THE UTMOST OF ITS POWER.

In the month of September last, the Christian Observer put forth sundry attacks upon us, to which, as he did not condescend to back them by argument, it might seem unnecessary to reply. One passage, however, we will take this opportunity of noticing.

In the Number for June, of the same publication, there is a still more direct attack upon the Church Missionary Society, as having, it is alleged, most materially and unjustifiably injured the interests of another institution professing the same objects. The ground upon which this charge is founded,—that all the money which the former society has received would, as a matter of course, have been paid into the treasury of the latter, on account of the high official names which support it, is so palpably incorrect, that I am astonished that any writer should urge such a supposition.-P.562.

Here is no argument, but our supposition is charged with palpable incorrectness. We think we can DEMONSTRATE from Dr. Wordsworth's speech that we are palpably correct, unless the Church Missionary Society will take up with another supposition, less creditable to themselves; a supposition which has been made, though never by us. What is the cause that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel should be 60,0001, in debt, while the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge is receiving abundant subscriptions ? The two Societies have the same sanction, the same means, the same objects, the scene of labour alone is different. But the Society for Promoting

« AnteriorContinuar »