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bers of it, that the following remarks are directed. If it could be proved, that every clergyman now in existence, was a perfect paragon of virtue and piety, such proof would not in any degree invalidate our argument. For, since man is prone to error, and power liable to abuse, the true question is this : Does the system of Church Government, established in this country, afford adequate securities against misrule? Does it encourage or prevent immoral, dishonourable, and anti-christian practices ? The solution of this question is of deep interest to those who desire to know the primary causes of national demoralization.
The first consideration to which we desire to call the attention of the reader, is the aristocratic character of the clergy. The religion which they profess to inculcate, breathes the spirit of simplicity and moderation, and the Founder of it and his disciples are represented as humble and unassuming. They despised ostentation and parade, because their “ kingdom was not of this world,” and when “the fox had its hole, and the bird its nest, the Son of Man had not where to lay his head.” Now let us ask, what resemblance can the most ingenious apologist discover between the dignitaries of the Church of England, and the fishermen of Galilee? In the two essential
characteristics of an aristocracy, titular dis tinctions and pecuniary emolument, the constitution of the established hierarchy differs in no respects whatever from an institution purely political. The two Archbishops are distinguished by the useless, and perhaps, profane titles of “ Grace, and most reverend Father in God, by Divine Providence :” the Bishops, by those of “ Lord, and right reverend Father in God, by Divine Permission.” The Deans are all “ Very Reverend :" the Chancellors “ Most Worshipful;" and to these may be added the inferior dignitaries, known by the appellation of Prebendaries and Canons. If the frame of our ecclesiastical polity were modelled according to the spirit of the Christian religion, as it may be collected from the Testament, we might expect to find a republican rather than an aristocratic form of government. Pompous titles appear inconsistent with the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth, nor should we, reasoning from his precepts, conceive that the teachers of his religion ought to be distinguished by any other character than those of piety and virtue. Still less can we see the propriety of giving to one man more money than to another, especially in cases where the emoluments are in an inverse ratio to the duty. To a real and sincere Christian, whose hopes of happiness are centered in the promised joys of a future state,
the riches and splendor of this world are as dross. How, then, is the gross inequality which exists among the clergy to be justified? How can we reconcile the translation of a Bishop from a poorer to a richer diocese, with the spirit of the doctrines of Christ? Men of noble families, or needy adventurers, who are ever willing to vote with the Ministers, invariably succeed, while the working clergy find that piety and talents are disregarded in the appointment of the capital prizes. It not unfrequently happens, that a Bishop, over and above his episcopal revenues, enjoys the profits of a Prebendal Stall, and the revenues of a rectory. Now, as a mitre cannot confer ubiquity, why, in the name of common sense, is a man to hold offices, the performance of the duties of which, are absolutely impossible. Is it expedient for the public interest ? No. Is it just towards the labouring curate ? No. Is it ordered either by the letter or the spirit of the Gospel ? No. Why, then is the practice tolerated ? Simply, because it forms a striking feature in the political system, and ensures the support of the relatives of the favoured pluralist.
There is a certain class of the public who are éternally enforcing the necessity of maintaining closely rivetted, the connection between the Church and the King, the Altar and the Throne. The standard, or test, by which these politicians judge the utility of any measure, is loyalty; an expression so vague and indefinite in its meaning, that it conveys no elucidation whatever of their tenets and principles. But from the general conduct and language of these “ preux chevaliers,” it may be inferred, that loyalty signifies an exclusive attachment to the monarchical and aristocratical members of the constitution. These persons approve of an hierarchy, and titles of honour in the ecclesiastical establishment. In alluding to the opinions of the loyal class, we do not intend to inquire generally into the reasonableness or unreasonableness of their political creed, but simply to. confine ourselves to the particular question which arises from the present union of the hierarchy and the aristocracy. Let it be assumed that this identity of interest ought to be preserved. We then ask, does the present system conduce to that end? All government consists in opinion; that is to say, the governed will continue to obey their governors, so long as they are of opinion that their governors are actuated by disinterested motives. Whenever that opinion ceases, a revolution will follow, because the physical force resides in the governed. If then it be expedient that an identity of interest
should be preserved between the aristocratical and ecclesiastical bodies, it behoves all who desire the permanency of that union, to avoid every act which may tend to persuade the majority of the people that the connection produces more evil than good. It becomes then a matter of prudence in the admirers of the “ Church and King” school of politicians, not to shock too violently the feelings of the public; for though bayonets and dungeons may postpone the explosion, they cannot prevent the final catastrophe. When, therefore, it is complained that the lower orders do not sufficiently respect their spiritual guides and guardians, the apologist may reply, that the fault arises from a defective system, and not
innate immorality in the poor. If a good example were shown, it would be followed; if the clergy acted as they preached, their parishioners would obey their injunctions; but when Bishops die, leaving behind them more property than many of the most successful merchants, it cannot excite surprise, if the public remark, that the worship of God and Mammon appear to be compatible.
“ A Church establishment,” says Dr. Paley, “ forms no part of Christianity; it is only the means of inculcating it.” In the formation of an unobjectionable and effective establishment,