« AnteriorContinuar »
as at least a well meant attempt to give practical definition and tangibility to vague and floating speculations. Of the feasibleness of the plan, our readers will judge for themselves.
• What is to be done under existing circumstances ?
• I. Let the Established Church retain its creeds, liturgies, and - forms of worship; and let the Dissenters retain their method ; and both be alike protected.
• II. Let the state appoint no more bishops, but let the Church elect its own officers, so that state, or worldly influence being withdrawn, the Episcopal Church, seeing a large proportion of the community consider it as beautiful and glorious, might stand forth and shine in its native spiritual glory and beauty. Let the Presbyterian Church be placed also in the same position.
III, Let Episcopalians be at liberty to hold their Convocations, Presbyterians their General assembly, Congregational Dissenters their Union meetings, Methodists their Conference, and the Society of Friends their Yearly meetings; and each, either in the pulpit or by the
press, disseminate what each may consider to be most likely to promote the cause of God and truth.
• IV. Let the ministers of the Church be at liberty to resign their situations in the Church, receiving compensation for the loss, as in the case of the abolition of slavery ; or, if they choose to retain them, let them retain them, with the same local advantages, during their life..
• V. Let parishes be at liberty to provide an Episcopalian minister, such at least as have no resident minister.
VI. Let a proclamation be issued by the king in favour of the free preaching of the Word of God throughout the whole length and breadth of the land; forbidding any obstruction, and ensuring protection to every one that shall be disposed to communicate religious instruction. If, within the last forty or fifty years, such preaching has so far succeeded, as that in most of our villages the means of instruction are at least in a slight degree afforded, notwithstanding the numerous and painful obstructions in its way, what might not be expected, when the word of the Lord has free course ?
• VII. For the promotion of the public weal, as stated and proved in the foregoing remarks, let the Government see that the whole community be supplied with that great principle of religious instructionthe Word of God,—that from such fountain, streams may issue, which shall bless and gladden the whole land.
VIII. On the same ground, let them establish a system, or at least provide facilities for a system, of universal instruction, under the direction of the religious community itself,
• IX, Let the Government provide for the Rest of the Sabbath ; and for the due observance of it, without molestation or disturbance, setting an example, and proving to the community their regard to its sacredness and importance.
• X. Let judges and officers be appointed in every city and considerable town throughout the kingdom, for the due administration of justice; and let these, as well as our lord-lieutenants and magistrates, be appointed without respect of religious persuasion, whether Episco
palians or Dissenters, and let them be " able men, such as fear God, and men of truth, hating covetousness."
XI. Let provision be made that the present existing religious monopoly, as far as it is a monopoly, may be abolished; that the present existing wall of partition be thrown down, or wholly disappear; and that Christians of all persuasions may unite together in one bond of Christian love, and as friends both of the true Church and the State, or of the whole political body, both in its civil and religious interests.'
We had intended to offer a few remarks on the extraordinary appeals which are now being made by the rulers and votaries of the Establishment, to the Voluntary Principle, if this article had not already run out beyond due limits. We must briefly observe, that such appeals for voluntary contributions in aid of the Church, involve, at least, a confession of the inefficiency of the principle of taxation, and of the ill construction of the Establishment. But in some instances, more than this is fairly acknowledged. The Bishop of Chester has formed a Diocesan Society for promoting the building of churches in the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Cheshire; and has issued a printed address, which we have not seen, but which has drawn forth some sensible and pointed remarks from the Editor of the Morning Chronicle. The parliamentary grant, it seems, has been long exhausted. The Incorporated Society is ineffective. 'What, then, does the Bishop of Chester propose? That the 'inhabitants should patiently resign themselves to this state of
things?' 'No,' remarks the Chronicle," he betakes himself to the voluntary principle.'
• The act of 1st William IV. c. 38, permits the erection of a church in those parishes where not more than one-third of the inhabitants are provided with accommodation in the churches and chapels now existing. By the act, the appointment of the minister is vested in trustees, the number of whom cannot be more than five. The bishop of the diocese, when the trustees are three in number, and the bishop and chancellor, when they are four or five, would be trustees officially ; the others, whether two or three, would be chosen locally from the principal subscribers.
We wish to call the attention of our readers more particularly to the following passage in the bishop's address :
6- The stipend of the minister, arising partly from the endowment, and partly from pew-rents, will vary from 100l. to 150l. or 2001. per annum, and must mainly depend upon his talents, faithfulness, and zeal. The act requires that a fund be provided for repairs; the annual expenses will be discharged out of the pew-rents; so that the churches thus erected will be entirely free from any external hindrance which might impair their usefulness.
• The ministers must mainly depend upon their talents, faithfulness, and zeal! Ah, what a revolution is here! If the first reform.
ation in Ireland had only been undertaken on this principle, we should not now be amused with the solemn mockery of a third. The incomes, unfortunately, were abundantly provided for the Protestant Church; but the talents, faithfulness, and zeal, were not deemed necessary in-' gredients. The course adopted by the Chester Diocesan Society is fair and liberal. No Dissenter can object to churches supported on this fair principle. Differing little from the Church in doctrinal matters, he sees in the means adopted by the Bishop of Chester, a remedy for the most glaring defects of the establishment. The labourer is worthy of his hire, and the hire here corresponds to the labour.
· And let it be borne in mind, that such is the efficacy of the voluntary principle, that the treasures of the well-disposed are ever ready for aiding poor neighbourhoods unable to meet the whole of the demands on them. Thus Wales, one of the poorest portions of the island, the inhabitants of which were neglected by the Establishment, the clergy of which seldom if ever deeming it necessary to know even their language, was soon supplied with Dissenting chapels on the voluntary principle, abundant aid having always been obtained in cases of difficulty. The manufacturing districts are also poor. But the Bishop of Chester well knows that the liberally disposed have only to be satisfied that the money contributed to this Society will be honestly. and fairly applied, to open their treasures. The minister must mainly depend upon his talents, faithfulness, and zeal—the annual expenses will be discharged out of the pew-rents.
Here is at once a guarantee for an upright management. The patronage of the minister is with those who undertake the building. This precludes jobbing, and secures the appointment of a minister whose zeal will draw and keep a congregation.
** T'he affairs and funds of the society (says this prelate) are administered by a committee, consisting of the bishop as president, the treasurer, and twelve members, lay and clerical. It has received, to a munificent extent, the patronage and aid of the principal inhabitants of the counties more especially concerned. But there may be others, sensible of the importance of the measure, and less burthened with similar demands than the residents in those districts. The local demands there have long pressed very heavily upon the individuals most able and disposed to relieve them. For it will be remembered that a manufacturing population, whilst it largely increases national wealth, is not favourable to the residence of persons who have realised opulence, and are capable of promoting objects of this nature. It is therefore thought proper to make the society more generally known, and to ask the assistance of those other friends of our Church whose own neighbourhoods do not exhaust their funds, and who think that the evil which has been described is such as should not be left without a remedy."
- This is the true reformation. · This is the service which conscientious men may render to the Church. It is only when an obstinate determination is evinced to maintain sinecures, pluralities, and rionresidence-when large revenues are lavished on a clergy who have no flocks to which they can minister, that the people feel incensed against
the Church. The real danger is not from without but within. So long as the Church is not considered as bound up with the people, but a corporation appointed principally to enjoy large incomes, without rendering service in return, leaving the duties to be discharged by poor curates- - so long will it be in danger, great danger. The Bishop of Chester has fallen on the only sure way
to afford it protection and support.' Morning Chronicle, June 19, 1834.
We think so too; but the Bishop of Chester is looked upon by many of his episcopal brethren as little better than a Dissenter. He is an innovator, a reformer, a voluntary-principleman, a Bible-Society-man, a friend of Lord Henley, and with all, a puritan, and almost, if not quite, an evangelical, a methodist. We have no doubt that he would have been hissed at Oxford. His solitary exertions will neither cleanse the Augean stable nor stifle the giant of reform. We have no doubt that he would contentedly retire from the House of Peers, and abdicate his barony. Not so the political prelates, the Miguelite bishops, the Philpottses and Careys, and Bethells, and Carrs. These are thy gods, O Israel !
Art. V. Italy; with Sketches of Spain and Portugal. By the Au
thor of "Vathek.” In two volumes. pp. xvi, 752. Price 1l. 8s.
London, 1834. THESE are not volumes for plebeians, and therefore we must
not, we suppose, complain that they are put forth at a most aristocratic and exclusive price. For the cost of these two slender volumes, a poor student may now purchase the whole of Gibbon's History or of Robertson's Works, or a whole shelf of half-crown volumes. But who expects to find luxuries so cheap as necessaries? 'Non cuique contigit adire Corinthum.' These volumes are the production of a true Corinthian; and we wonder they should have been suffered to appear in the deshabille of paper boards and rough edges. They should have been clad in silk or velvet, in a dress fit
for the boudoir ; and the typography should have been made to correspond in sumptuousness to the costly price, and to the voluptuous air that is breathed by these pages. They are the letters of Vathek, the genius or demon of voluptuousness; for the oriental temperament and capricious * recklessness of self-indulgence' betrayed by the Author, will, the Quarterly Reviewer remarks, 'lead the world to identify
him henceforth with his own Vathek, as inextricably as it has ‘long since connected Harold with the poet that drew him.' If any of our readers have never seen that most extraordinary production, they may like to know its character. Many years have elapsed since we read it; and we recollect more distinctly the
powerful and uncomfortable impression it produced, than the contents of the volume which caused it. We therefore avail ourselves of the critical notice bestowed upon it by the Quarterly Reviewer :
"The tale of Caliph Vathek, which was originally written in French, and published before the Author had closed his twentieth year, has, for more than half a century, continued in possession of all the celebrity which it at once commanded. correctness of costume,” says Lord Byron, “ beauty of description, and power of imagination, it far surpasses all European ‘imitations, and bears such marks of originality, that those who have visited the East will find some difficulty in believing it to be not a translation. As an Eastern tale, even Rasselas must bow 'before it: his Happy Valley will not bear a comparison with the Hall of Eblis.” Vathek is, indeed, without reference to the time of life when the Author penned it, a very remarkable
performance; but, like most of the works of the great poet who ' has thus eloquently praised it, it is stained with some poisonspots ;-its inspiration is too often such as might have been inhaled in the Hall of Eblis. We do not allude so much to its audacious licentiousness, as to the diabolical levity of its contempt for mankind. The boy-author appears already to have “rubbed off all the bloom of his heart; and in the midst of his dazzling genius, one trembles to think that a stripling of years so tender should have attained the cool cynicism of a Candide.' Such is Vathek! Mr. Beckford's other works are,
gorgeous palace at Cintra, and Fonthill,--the unsubstantial pageant of his splendour, as Vathek is the volcanic production of his genius. His literary name belongs to another age; and these letters, in part a reprint of a volume of which a small impression was issued for private circulation forty years ago, belong to another century. They were written, for the most part, 'in the bloom and heyday of youthful spirits and youthful confidence, at a period when “the old order of things existed with all its picturesque pomps ' and absurdities; when Venice enjoyed her piombi and sub'marine dungeons ; France her Bastile; the Peninsula her Holy • Inquisition. The first letters are dated at Ostend and Antwerp in June 1780, nine years before the French Revolution broke out! This circumstance is the principal charm of the book. The remarks on the state of society, however, are mere rapid glances, light touches of description, or passing sneers. The letters are chiefly filled with delineations of landscape, and those effects of natural phenomena which it is not in the power of revolutions or constitutions to alter or destroy.' The merit of the book consists in the extraordinary vividness with which those scenes are mirrored in the Author's picturesque and nervous de scription. Nothing can be more admirable than the painting of