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the work should proceed gradually and quietly, by the infusion of a truer and nobler spirit into several contemporaneous minds. The spirit of Luther shall thus pass into many separate teachers; and each of these may become a centre of influence, from which shall radiate the light of a higher and purer theology than that which is now prevalent amongst us. And we have little doubt that when the history of religious progress, during the nineteenth century, comes to be written by some future historian of the Church, who can look back with unprejudiced mind upon the disputes through which we are passing, the name of Frederick Maurice will not be the least conspicuous amongst those who, in our day, have fought nobly and valiantly in the vanguard of religious reform.
Wanted, an Independent Minister ! MY DEAR SPECTATOR,—In certain circles the slender remuneration which even able ministers of the gospel receive for their labours, is still the question of importance: many imagine that a fair and just settlement of it may now be hourly expected, while others, who know something of the Church, as well as of the world, sceptically smile, and leave the matter as a legacy to posterity. Certainly enough has been said and written lately, if those specially concerned had only ears to hear, to bring about wbat is much needed in many churches—an entire revolution in their pecuniary arrangements. The contrast which too frequently exists between the pecuniary position of a minister and that of some of the poorest members of his flock, has been presented in the most indignant words, and such descriptions of ministerial grief and wretchedness have been given as to awaken deep and general sympathy. It has been shown that small tradesmen and labourers are perfect millionaires compared with their pastors, and that even the young factory girl in a good thriving town earns far more than the minister who has received a college education, and whose working hours, moreover, every day exceed the number allowed by the Factory Act.
How the hope has arisen that this state of things is suddenly to be changed for the better I know not, but many fondly imagine that, from recent revelations, discussions, and resolutions, the reign of stinginess is to cease in the Church ; that the dawn of an ecclesiastical millennium is at hand, in which ministers will be treated in such a manner as shall more than make amends for past miseries and heartbreakings. The deacons will no longer be churls, but full of kindness, liberality, and justice; there will be a rivalry amongst church members in making their ministers happy and comfortable, and as for money, why-it is to be 'no object.'
Of course, my dear Spectator, all honest men will cordially join in
the hope that the day is coming when in every field of labour there shall be a fair day's wages for a fair day's work, and all will rejoice in the pleasant prospect stretching out before those whose special work it is to declare, with ever new distinctness and power, Christ's message to this generation. Beyond a doubt the men who can do this successfully are the greatest benefactors of their age, ard are worthy of a recompense, indeed, which the world cannot give. That many of them have hitherto wanted food and raiment, in return for the faithful utterance of truths to which many of their hearers profess to owe even their hopes of heaven, is a fact, however, which the churches are about to repent of. All good angels hover near them in their day of fasting and humiliation !
I am very unwilling to disbelieve in the promised reformation of the churches, but sure I am that some considerable time must elapse before the repentance of not a few can be properly tested, and pronounced to be genuine. They have been so outrageously mean, so manifestly unjust, such selfish Corinthians, so dead to all generous and delicate feelings, and so thoroughly heartless in all that concerns a minister's comfort, that their conversion would be as wonderful as “the Ethiopian changing his skin,' or the leopard his spots. We do not doubt the possibility of the change, and it may be prayed for with all one's strength of soul; but a list of churches might speedily be made out, whose conversion it would be worth while travelling from one end of the world to the other to witness.
But while this most desirable work is going on, if it be going on, it may be well if ministers of the gospel would aid its progress a little. The present is a fitting opportunity for all those who are without a charge,' and for all those who are making known to their friends that they are “moveable,' by their character and conduct, and by a pious, manly independence, to teach a wholesome lesson to all proud, stingy, and dishonest churches. Though that other time may not yet come, I do sincerely believe that the time has come for dishonest congregations to hear the exact truth about themselves ; when those who pro
; fess Christianity must be taught, without any meally.mouthed modification, that the morality of the exchange is not to put to the blush the piety of the sanctuary; that common honesty is as binding upon a Christian as upon a worldling; and that the minister of the gospel, at least, will be no party to fraud and injustice. Therefore, I repeat my advertisement — Wanted, an Independent
" Minister! Wanted that man, throughout the length and breadth of the land, who has faith in the barrel of meal that wasteth not, and in God's ravens being yet alive, to say boldly to the churches, “The ministers of the Lord will no longer go hand in hand with those who insult his very attributes, and commit robberies the most unblushing, in connexion with his service in the sanctuary. Rather than do this, they are prepared to betake themselves to whatever labour may present itself, and preach the gospel without charge.'
It may be said in reply, this is just what certain mean churches would rejoice in. Let them do so if they will, but I am persuaded
that the course suggested would put ministers in the way of acquiring and exercising an influence over the world at large which would be mighty for good. Hitherto a minister has been too much the perquisite of a few; his voice has not reached beyond his own little chapel ; and the large world outside has looked upon him as belonging to the few people who attend his ministry, and as having little or no sympathy with anybody else. If, through manifest injustice, he is forced to take the step, let him throw himself upon the world, and widen, at the same time, his field of work; for one thing is certain, he will not be dealt with more unfairly by that than he has been by the church.
It is just now, my dear Spectator, while public attention is being strongly directed to the question, that the noble and worthy amongst
the chargeless' and 'moveables' have an opportunity of doing immense service to their denomination, and, to what is better, the cause of truth and righteousness. If there is one period more important than another in the life of a Dissenting minister, it is when he is seeking a charge; then it is that, without care and prayerful resolution on his part, he runs the risk of becoming utterly contemptible, and despicable in his own eyes and in the eyes of others. Innumerable are the temptations thrown in his way, and the shifts to which he may resort, if he will, to gain a pulpit and a people. The chief rulers of the religious world,' secretaries, treasurers, and officers of large societies, have many snug berths at their disposal, and, like so many St. Peters, they stand with the keys in their hands, ready to give admission to those who, hat in hand, humbly repair to them. Rich deacons will, upon entreaty, consent to gain a hearing for the candidate if he will be deeply, that is, servilely sensible of the honour done to him, and consent to make Paul tremble before Felix, in defiance of Scripture history and commandment. Brother ministers,' with whom he has been known never to sympathize, and by whom, perhaps, he has been called “unsound,' may be conciliated by a letter or two, with a little deference paid therein to their particular theology.
But such temptations are slight when compared with those which assailed the heart of Mr. Toady, when he was obliged to look out for another pulpit—his people having rather peremptorily insisted that he was of no use to them. The ladder by which he gained his new position was made of soft soap; I stop not now to inquire into the amount
self-respect he must have lost in constructing it, but content myself with stating how he got to B- He was not a man in poor circumstances; indeed, he was far beyond the reach of want and its severe temptations; but, nevertheless, when he heard that the church at B-was vacant, although there was another candidate in the field before him, whose superior thoughtfulness and threadbare suit seemed most sadly combined, the generous Mr. Toady found means to come in between him and the church, on the best part of which he had made considerable impression, and to obtain a hearing for a Sabbath-only just for a Sabbath, as he was so fully occupied. It was quite a boon, I assure you, to obtain the services of such a man ; he had to look to his diary to see the first Sabbath he could spare
them ; 'they' wanted him here, they' wanted him there, and the theys,' or churches, which waited for his appearance were, I am sorry to say, almost mythical in their number and importance. I need not tell you, though, that he gave up several of them at once, when the acting deacon of the church at B- asked him to come and preach to them. Well, he didn't mind if he would, just for a Sabbath ; he had long felt a deep interest in the cause at B- and for the sake of the sacred reminiscences belonging to the place, and just to say he had preached in the chapel where the eloquence of So-and-so and So-andso had resounded, &c. &c.—why-he would come.' And, when the appointed time came round, how did he act ?
My dear Spectator, to quote the language of Mr. Kingsley, the devil got hold of the heart of Mr. Toady. He forgot that he was Christ's man standing up before a number of people who were in league with the world, the flesh, and the devil. According to him, there never had been anywhere such a saintly society as that which, quite unexpectedly, he had the high privilege of addressing. He had contrived to find out the kind of sermons the influential people in the church liked, and he preached them with such an unction. He flattered the congregation to an amazing extent, and thanked Heaven they had such managing men. He was asked again, and his willing feet obeyed; he improved his opportunity, and buttered the people's bread so thickly, that many became quite disgusted and left the place. He did not mind about that, for the managing men greedily swallowed what he said, and encouraged him to go on. There was nothing that would give him greater pleasure than to spend his life in co-operation with such characters! He went on for several Sabbaths, and the place was his ;-his, through means as servile, mean, and contemptible, as the most wretched trickster and truckler could ever use.
My dear Spectator, “Wanted, an Independent minister !'
Rather than gain a pulpit by anything approaching such despicable means, let the minister of the gospel, in the spirit of Simon Peter of old, when his outlooks were so dark and dreary, exclaim, 'I go a fishing” Toil is honourable and glorious, though of the hardest kind, and even martyrdom may be cheerfully submitted to when truth and honesty are at stake. If forced to take the step, let the minister do Christ's work as a tent-maker, a fisherman ; or through any of the trades which good men in every age have consecrated by their steady faith, humility, and self-denial. It will be infinitely better to do this, than to lose self-respect, or to follow, even at an immeasurable distance, in the footsteps of those hirelings who put Him to an open shame who had not where to lay his head, by making the truths which his blessed lips proclaimed the channel through which a snug nest may be obtained ; -obtained, alas! for what? only that the soul of the socalled successful one may rot away, and diffuse an atmosphere of death on every side. 'Verily I say unto you, such have their reward.'
The time, I trust, will one day come, Sir, when ministers of religion will be so valuable as to be sought after, instead of having to sound their own trumpets, and to seek settlements through unworthy, and,
suffer me to add, almost through unworldly means. As it is, they are at the mercy of the most uneducated, and of those very moderately spiritual men who, having obtained power in a church, gratify a petty and selfish nature by lording it over their ministers. All compassion on the man who is exposed to the tender mercies of such! All grace be with him, lest their selfishness communicating itself to, and tainting his spirit, he fall from his own ideal, and be reduced to treat as a mere livelihood that grand work upon which whosoever enters should start with this as his motto, 'I seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.' Having, through contact with the mean and selfseeking, lost sight of the high aims which once animated him, he can no longer tower above those whom he teaches, and command their homage to the truths he proclaims ; and he is henceforth like salt without its savour. It is a sad, sad reflection that some of the most promising spirits in the world have frequently lost the brightness and strength which belonged to them, through contact with the churches of which they have been pastors !
Therefore, my dear Spectator, I repeat, Wanted, an Independent minister! If we had such at the present moment, a number of dishonest and impertinent practices might be speedily reproved. Can any one doubt that even a moderate amount of independence and self-respect, to say nothing of brotherly feeling, on the part of ministers would not long ago have put a stop to what I for one consider to be one of the most finished insults that has ever been offered to our denomination ? There is a church in a large town which has now been without a minister for years. It is not a very large church, nor is the income perfectly astounding, but it is regarded as one of those very important churches which have histories attached to them. The congregation consists of a few professional men, a number of tradesmen, and a sprinkling of poor people; not such a very astounding set of people for any minister to talk to. But there is a history attached to the place; yes, there's a history, as you are told ad nauseam when you go there ; and further, it will be a distinguished honour for any one to become the pastor of our place!' The managing men, I assure you, have become quite important, since they have had this place to let, and delight to show ministers over it, and delight to make their mouths water too by pointing out the beauty of the situation, the perfection of the arrangements, and, above all, the charming, yea, aristocratic society that would be found in it. We are only waiting for the right man, Sir; it is a fine chapel, as you see, a very fine chapel; and as for the people, why we have the cream of the town.' Then, more mysteriously, but with profound dignity, ‘There's a history attached to this place, Sir; here long years ago the gospel was first preached in its purity and simplicity; since then, this place has been a city set upon a hill, and we have been as it were a centre of light in the midst of a thick circumference of darkness. Able men have laboured here, Sir, men whose praise is in all the churches, and we are still in search of an able man; and we trust in due time we shall have one sent among us.' This church has been without a pastor for
- years, and is still with