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humbly asking for Bishops for the Church, who are to be mere tools of the State, having no greater authority than an archdeacon, without seats in the House of Lords, and without ability to do anything but ooerce the power of the Church at the beck of the State and restrain its freedom of action. Surely nothing can be more suicidal than this proposition to increase the influence which the State now exercises over the Church, and this too at the expense of the Church, by placing in the hands of a Prime Minister, of any or no religious opinions, a number of ecclesiastical appointments to be used as mere stepping-stones to political power.
Why not demand that the Church shall be permitted to elect these new Bishops? On what pretence can the Crown claim to nominate them? Is it pretended that the Crown is going to endow the new Sees? Why not demand, too, more seats in the House of Lords? Is the Church by any means fairly represented in Parliament? In the time of Henry VIII. the spiritual peers formed the majority of the Upper House. In the reign of James I. the numbers were twenty-six to about eighty, or more than a fourth; and at the accession of George I. there were but one hundred and eighty-one temporal peers, the number of Bishops remaining the same. But now the spiritual peers are but a twelfth of the whole-too large a number for those who wish to see the House of Lords abolished, but far too small a number for the
safety of the State. Our present Parliament is like a ship without ballast: it is in continual danger of capsizing; and, amid the storms of popular caprice which threaten, we may have nothing earthly to depend upon but the Coronation Oath.
It may be said that in the present state of public opinion it is altogether absurd to ask that the Church Our may have more Bishops in the House of Lords. reply is, can that which is right be absurd? Dissenters bring forward measures which are positively absurd on account of their manifest injustice; and yet they hope by constant clamour, and by familiarizing the public ear with their demands, that because of their importunity they will gain their ends. There is nothing to be lost by demanding our just rights to ask for less is a positive sin; and in this instance we are much better as we are than with such Bishops as Lord Lyttelton would give us.*
* After calling forth various conflicting opinions, the bill came to nothing. Some fears which Lord Derby expressed for the dignity of the Episcopacy, if the number of Bishops was largely increased, sounded childish; but it is worth remembering that the Bishop of Carlisle thought with his brother of Gloucester that, if a Bishop had too much time on his hands, he might degenerate into an injudicious and mischievous meddler. These prelates were able to speak on the subject, and they no doubt did so feelingly. That Bishops are amenable to public opinion is no safeguard against meddling, for public opinion oftener encourages this sort of thing than otherwise. They ought to be amenable to the Church, which unhappily they cannot be so long as they receive their appointments from the State. The question of endowment is quite beside the subject if the Church may have Bishops of her own, funds will be forthcoming. The Coronation Oath has proved but a frail staff to depend upon.
It has been suggested to us that a Bishop in these days is able to superintend a larger diocese than formerly, because "Church discipline" refers now to the clergy only, or more especially to an arbitrary power over curates who are denied the ordinary protection of common law. Therefore, so far as relates to Church discipline, the laity are not a part of the Church, and the labours of a Bishop are very materially lessened. And certainly, the idea that a Bishop has any power of spiritual correction over any lay member of his flock would be scouted in this latter half of the nineteenth century. Even in such a matter as the "Essays," the Bishops feel so powerless that they are glad to hand over all their authority to public opinion, and public opinion is not slow to grasp the opportunity and express itself in unpalatable truths directed against those rulers of the Church who bow before it.
THE "RECORD" AT FAULT.
['Union,' April 12, 1861.]
UR funny contemporary, the Record, has been more than usually amusing this week. It has discovered that, occasionally, silly and profane "Evangelical advertisements" have found their way into its columns, as the rule is to admit "all advertisements not openly contrary to good morals," a very good rule, having strict regard to the finance department. To show, however, that it is wide-awake, it has given a prominent place to one that it considers a "barefaced attempt to raise a laugh at those who consider it important to attend to the injunction, He that leadeth a godly life shall be my servant." The advertisement is of the usual Evangelical type, and we are rather inclined to think that the Record, in regarding it as a hoax, is in fact hoaxing itself. Our readers shall judge :
GARDENER'S PLACE. -Wanted, a sound Evangelical servant; must be able to sing while at work. A modest salary will be compensated by a Christian home.
N. B. Any knowledge of gardening would be a pleasing addition.Address, &c.
To this the following remark is appended :— silly writer of this clumsy hoax has thought it worth while to pay for his whistle by enclosing postage stamps; and, as we give him the benefit of publicity, the amount shall be handed over to some Reformatory of which he might usefully become an inmate." The Record evidently intends to be severe; but is it so very absurd or unusual (except among the Puritans) to sing psalms and hymns while at work? Are songs and idleness always fellow-companions? Is there, besides, anything remarkable in paying for an advertisement by postage stamps, or are Evangelical advertisements inserted gratuitously? We shall certainly expect to see the Record compelled to make an apology for all this next week. Why is not the "good cook," who advertises in the same paper for a situation and values religious privileges-which, of course, are cold Sunday dinners and a walk with a pious friend in the evening-set down as a fit inmate for a Reformatory? Or why should not the governess, who offers her services "to any real brother in Christ, of Evangelical sentiments, who can offer the comforts of a home," to whom she "presents a rare opportunity of obtaining the very best instruction for his family," be also adjudged to be worthy of wholesome restraint? Here is certainly profanity, conceit, and absurdity enough and to spare.