Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

incomes and little duty were put in the one scale, | present with a severe caution to be more careful. large duties and little incomes formed the equivalent And this is being liberal in church matters! Why in the other? Or, as Paddy said, when his noble the last new piece of furniture purchased for but childless master was endeavouring to console fashion's sake, or the last new horse bought to him on the birth of his eighth child with the pious eclipse some neighbour, would have cleared off sentiment that whenever God sent the mouths he all his difficulties and made him happy! sent the food to feed them—" Arrab, my lord, But it may be said the laity have done much! that may be thrue, but he sends the mouths to So they have. They have built handsome churches, one, and the mate to another.” “Oh but," it will with the least allowable legal endowment; they be said, “ times are changed; it used to be so." have built large, fanciful, expensive houses for the Yes, and it is so still. Pluralists, it is true, are much clergy; they find men, also, but too glad to get an more scarce than formerly; church dignitaries appointment; and then people say, “ See what Mr. receive nominally a much smaller income than in A, has done ; how liberal Mr. B. is; that steeple the good old times; but who gets the benefit ? was built entirely at Mr. C.'s expense.” Yes--tbat Much bas been done to increase the number of is it; these men build their own monuments, instead livings, as they are somewhat satirically styled. of leaving it to their heirs to do. Gothic parsonages perk up their heads in unaccus. But, say some, the church ought to support tomed places, which cost more to maintain than the itself. Very good. Granted that salvation is rent of an ordinary house; and a little has drained worth having, but not worth paying a little of through the Commissioners' sieve, which was not this world's wealth to obtain-granted that the required for beautifying "palaces,” laying out church funds equitably distributed might and would gardens, building stables and offices attached to afford a comfortable maintainance to all her clergy. Episcopal residences; but what has been done for She doesn't do it, and in the meantime, what are the the bulk of the “fat livings?”' War comes, clergy to do? They are shut out by their profesprovisions rise, the poor are out of work, the sion from helping themselves-except within such income tax is doubled, and to whom do the poor very narrow limits that the help is only available look in the emergency ? To the rich parson who to a few. Placed in small towns and villages, as luxuriates upon his fat living of say a hundred or the majority of them are, they are too often the a hundred and fifty pounds a-year !

victims of everybody. The parson must pay. Oh, Oh, what a bitter mockery is it to see constantly charge him so much. By education and profession “Wanted a clergyman, &c.; he must have some a gentleman, with refined feelings and with keen private means.” Or, " None need apply unless he sensibilities, above chaffering, by principle

, preferring possesses an independent income." Why not ? to be imposed upon rather than to impose, he is The labourer is worthy of his hire; the clerk is fleeced in every direction. Does an impostor wish worthy of his salary; the physician is worthy of to earn a lazy sixpence? “Oh, go to the parson, his fee; the lawyer is worthy of his—(at least he he's sure to give you something." If he doesn't he thinks so). But, then, theirs is work for this life; is abused. Does a starving family want a meal ? and the clergyman, the rich parson, must support Whither do they go but to him who would rather himself while he is labouring to save the souls of share his meal with them than send them hungry others. Is there a funeral ? Oh, perhaps the away? Is he unkindly treated ? He must not parson will excuse the fee. Is a certificate wanted ? resent. Is he unjnstly dealt with? He must not Half-a-crown is grudgingly given. Why should he defend himself. Does he resist imposition ? He is not be placed above all this ? Let everything be litigious, unchristian. without fees, and give him an adequate income. Oh, but some will say all this is a gross exIt is a reproach and a disgrace to Englishmen, that aggeration. Is it so ? Who will assert it? Not the man who has devoted himself to the Gospel of the hundreds who toil on in the Master's vineyard, Jesus should be placed upon a level with a groom patiently, unostentatiously, in those less favoured or a gardener. Upon a level, do I say? Wbat and more populous districts, which a man of in. gardener could a nobleman get for sixty or eighty dependent means would turn up his nose at. Not pounds a-year? What groom would get less than the men who pioneer among the manufacturing or a guinea a-week, besides his board and lodging ? mining districts, or the long neglected “slums” of But grave gentlemen, good gentlemen, pious large towns. No: but he who is the pet and gentlemen, can meet in their elegant drawing rooms, darling of some town or city congregation; who and discuss church matters, and talk of poor So holds up his finger, and scores await his bidding; and-so (their rich parson) and his large family, and or he who looks out on life from some lovely his want of economy, and how, when he knows his rectory; who knows no will, among the two or income, he ought to live within it, and how very three hundred farm servants, but his own. Such vexing such frequent calls upon their liberality are; may set down these statements as exaggeration ; and one says he'll give five pounds, and another but of the majority they are not so, they are ditto, and a third, and a fourth, until at length they literally true. do manage to screw out for their “spiritual guide, And upon whom do Government alterations for him who watches over their soul's welfare, press more hardly than the working clergy? The some twenty or five and twenty pounds, which they l burial ground, the clergyman's freehold, must be

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

If you

shut up, because it pleascs God to visit us for our compare the humble fisherman, or the evangelical iniquities with a pestilence ;* at the imperious nod tent maker, with the unapproachable and lordly of a Home Sccretary, a portion of his scanty in. | Bishop; and their “hired lodging" with the come is taken away: and what about compensation ? | baronial palace : we might suggest that a large It is not the people's matter ; bread remains at its reduction in their income, and consequently in usual price—therefore, they do not interfere. It their “ state” and style, might present them from is not an Episcopal matter. Episcopal revenues becoming totally oblivious of their position some are not derived from burial grounds, therefore, years ago,” and render them more accessible and there is little or no Episcopal interference. It is less lordly to their younger brethren. All this we a matter of too little importance for statesmen to miglit do; but as, especially among “their lordtrouble themselves with ; and so the “rich par-ships," plain outspoken truth is uncourteous, we son" must quietly submit. The doubled income- will, at present, with all courtesy, refrain. Again, tax is, we are told, proportional to the income. tlc clergyman is expected to speak boldly, without But it does not seem to enter anybody's head to fear of man; and certainly, as an ambassador for calculate; or it might easily be shewn that Christ, it is his duty to do so. "Ah,” says a poor £10 is a much more serious deduction from man, roused by some sentence of the scrmon," why £200 than £100 is from £2,000. The one leaves doesn't be preach against the rich as well as the £1,900, the other £190. " The last straw it is poor? Why doesn't he tell them their duty to that breaks the camel's back.” And, again, how us, as well as ours to thein ? Ah, be goes to the unjust has been the pressure of the poor-rates upon Hall, and gets good dinners, and they send him that invaluable Protestant Evangelical body of presents, and so he lets them alone.

He knows on men, the clergy of Ireland ? But, because there are which side his bread's buttered!" Friend, do you

agitators” among them—because, from their expect a clergyman to be more than man? quiet habits, they do not render themselves for- make him a dependent, do you expect him to be midable to statesmen, no one cares for them. Is independent ? Can you wonder that many are some cotton lord pressed by some existing law? sycoplants and time servers ? Is it erery man He agitates, and makes himself formidable, and that has the principle to enable him to resist the compels the Government to listen to him. Is a | temptation ? Is it every man that had rather see dissolution of Parliament pending? Some sop his children upon “ half-rations,” than procure must be given to the Roman Catholics, or every whole ones by smothering his conscience? The priest becomes a political bully, and uses all his wonder is that so many are found faithful, —not influence to defeat the Government. But the poor that a few succumb. So, again, it is said, “See how "rich parson,” must suffer every oppression, nor Tractarianism is spreading in every direction ; raise his voice above a whisper. And then we what a fearful thing it is !" Yes, it is fearful; are cuttingly told to "practise what we preach” but can we wonder when we know how it is - that we decry wealth, yet covet it! +

spreading in high places ? A young man who We well know that our blessed Master said — enters the ministry naturally looks to his Bishop "In this world ye shall have tribulation;" and we for patronage, or reckons on his influence, which is expect it—but not from those who call themselves far larger than the patronage. He is a curate; Christian brethren-yet we endeavour cheerfully he has £90 or £100 a.year. Unless he gets a to endure it. He has also said "It must need living he can never hope for more. He must be that offences come;" but he also added—"Woe either remain unmarried, or, by marrying, add to to that man by whom the offence cometh.” his cares by the maintainance of a wife and family.

There can be no question that some alteration Give him £200, and he might manage, and lift up is necessary, so far as the support of our clergy is his head; give him £100, and he is constantly concerned. When the necessary education is hoping and expecting that some vacancy may be taken into account, the majority of the clergy offered to him. Can you wonder if he tries to are not getting much more than interest for their please his Bishop? Can you blame him so very money, and many a man would have been much much? better off as a merchant's clerk.

But is not such a state of things a shame and It is true that there are two or three benevolent a reproach to our nation, and, more than all, a soul men who have come forward as our advocates. blot on our church? Why must a Bishop bave Committees are appointed, reports brought up, five, or ten, or fifteen thousand a-year? What suggestions made, alterations recommended. But, necessity is there that one who claims to be a sucwhile the grass grows, the steed starves. One might cessor to Him who said “Call no man master," certainly compare St. Paul's description of his and who had not where to lay his head, and who want and sufferings with the pomp and luxury of was ministered to by a few poor women, should bis would-be apostolical successors. We might be called “My Lord Bishop," and dwell in a

palatial residence, and be protected from the vulgar * One of these iniquitics being the existence of the grave

herd by liveried fluukies, who “patronise" the yard in an objectionable position.--Ed.

humble curate when he has occasion to present † Agitation is creditable work, if a man have a gocd himself in his shabby hat, and rusty, threadbare cause.-ED.

coat, at the dwelling of him who styles himself, in

POSITION OF TIE POORER CLERGY.

37

bitter mockery, and on paper, "your faithful friend Church of England efficient or beloved? Does it and brother." Just follow liim. With thoughts help to win souls ?-to heal schisms ?-to silence (is it wrong to say ?) of almost envy, with con. adversaries ? Is it likely ? For the working sciousness of talents buried, and energies crushed clergy are the very men, as we have heard over bencath the load of care attendant on pecuniary and over again, who constitute the connecting link difficulty, and the wants of a wife and family- between the Church of England, as a system, and generally new to that sort of pressure; passivg her laity; and men receive it as an axiom, that through the lodge gate, lie wends bis way through | “those who do the work get the worst paid." the “park," beneath some stately avenue of noble It may be said --- this is all about money. trees, or through acres of rich pasture-land, until, Decidedly it is. It is the Scripture principleat length, the “baronial” residence gradually re- “ The labourer is worthy of his lire;” and when veals itself to his eyes in all its stately grandeur. his hire is insufficient, is be, alone, of all classes Timidly he rings the bell. The porter opens-if to be silent? Besides, and beyond all, too, how he had not so condescended, le might have been is he to feed bis people's souls with spiritual food, taken for a Dean at least, so faultlessly white is while all bis own energies are directed to the his linen, so respectable his grey powdered head, solution of the questions, “what is the minimum so glossy his black suit, so portly his person--and limit to which household expenses can be reduced : with door in hand, flung wide open, but filling up what is the price of butter : how much overcharge two-thirds of the vacant space himself, he scans is there in the hutcher's bill : low are my boys the visitor (I bad almost said intruder) from top and girls to be educated ?"--while bis wife, & to toe, as it to make sure he is right in listening lady by birth and education, who could render to so very shabby a person, and whether such most efficient aid to her poor, overworked huscondescension may not lessen his respectability band, and who longs to be engaged in parochial among his fellow servants. However, he at length details, is compelled to fritter away all her valuable asks the “ fellow" in, and showing bim the door of talents and expend her best energies in darning the waiting room, it may be, he vanishes. In stockings, patching and mending her boys' clothes, about a quarter of an hour (if the visitor is lucky) and making frocks for her girls out of old things the butler appears—a counterpart, it may be, of sent by friends out of charity, making pics and his friend the porter, only, by reason of his closer puddings, and studying Soyer's cookery book-to attachment to his lord's person, a trifle sleeker, see whether bones can be got to do duty for meat, and a thought more consequential—and, with an and by what process a little may go a great way. authoritative “ This way, Sir, if you please” (An- Churchmen of England, this is a frightful picture glice, “ Now I please") precedes him, stopping in of the position of numbers of your ministers. Is his way, perhaps for a minute or two, to exchange it right? Is it creditable? Are there not men a word and a laugh with the porter, and, it may enough in our Senate of sufficient sympathy to be, a pinch of snuff, to show the poor parson how take up the subject in earnest ? Granted we are thoroughly he is at home, and to increase his own to practise sell denial; where is the merit in it, if importance by keeping him waiting. At length compulsory? he opens a door with a swing, and informs his But why should things remain in this state! lordship that the intruder is the Rev. Mr. There is property enough in the Church of EngHis lordship is most courteous—in words; most land to remedy it without the slightest help from civil—in manner; smiles in the blandest possible free or State contribution; and in this age of way; listens with well-feigned attention for the utilitarianism, although we do not object to ornapoor man has only come to ask his lordship's advice ment, provided it be useful, we need not pay so about some parochial difficulty, which gives him dearly for it. Let us begin at the beginning. great anxiety, and hampers his ministry—and, Assuming the annual revenue of the Church of having heard him to the end witla exemplary pa- England roughly to be twelve millions sterling, and tience, offers a few words of the merest matter of her clergy to number 20,000, every clergyman fact character, apologises for having an engagement might have an income of six hundred a year! But (his lordship was walking in the "grounds” per- we have no desire for this levelling system ; while chance, when he came), and the "friend and we have a desire, and a strong one too, that so foul brother” of his lordship, feeling lis room is more a blut be removed from England's Church. coveted than his company, is ushered by a process Why might not something like the following the converse of the former ceremonial out of the be accomplished ? Suppress all the Deaneries, “ Palace," without the offer of even “ a glass of Canonries

, Prebends, and every other sinecure. beer and a crust of bread and cheese" (wine would They are all utterly useless, residentiary or not, be too strong for a poor parson), although he has unless as pensioned places for political friends, tó come, it may be, many miles for the express pur purchase or reward services which, perbaps, were pose of the interview. Is this exaggerated ? Some better not rendered. Let no clergyman, dignitary may say "ges;” others, most emphatically, and or other, have more than one cure upon any coufrom experience, “no”—their answer depending sideration whatever; and Ict all church property upon their position in the scale. But is this what be under proper, legal, honest, supervision and it ought to be? Is this calculated to render the control. Lct cvery diocesc be consttuted an

[blocks in formation]

Ecclesiastical division ; for that division, let three | Episcopal food for Episcopal stomachs, and to commissioners be appointed ; one a paid lawyer, shelter sleek horses to lighten the labour of the other two laynen of high standing and Episcopal dignity. Upon this hypothesis (alas ! responsible position. Empower them to let all

Empower them to let all we ought rather to say upon existing facts), bis church lands, to grant all leases, receive all fines, lordship is right. But if we take the Apostolic lease or sell all minerals, and collect all rents and standard, and reckon so much a-year (we dare not other monies accruing from church property name any sum) for Peter, James, and Jolin, within that diocese. Let a scale for the payment fishermen and apostles, so much for Paul, tentof the clergy be drawn up, based upon population maker and apostle, &c., &c., we still, obstinate --no Incumbent receiving less than £300 a-year, or heretics that we are, cling to our opinion that more than £600, or at the most, £700 a-year, and there is ample wealth in the actual possession of every Curate £150 a-year; the two Archbishops the Church of England, as a corporate body, to £5,000; the Bishop £2,000; the Archdeacon maintain all its working clergy, and their overseers, £800; the rural Dean £400 a-year-in addition to in comfort and respectability. their livings in the two latter cases, to be paid by But if it were not so, if it should be found the Commissioners out of the funds in their upon accurate examination, and after every expossession, in quarterly payments. This would crescence in the shape of dean and chapter, sinecure enable the clergy to relinquish all fees, and abolish and immoderate income, had been removed with all pew-rents. All tbis might be done with about unsparing hand that there was not enoughseven millions a-year. And if we allow three what then? We fear we must appeal to the millions as the deficiency arising from loss of fees public. Oh! but that is the voluntary principle! and pew-rents, it still leaves a surplus revenue of That is contrary to the genius and constitution of two millions. Apply this surplus : first, to re- the Church of England! Even if this were so, munerate the patrons of those livings which are we read of the Church's Lord, that women adminreduced in value by reduction of income, either by istered unto him of their substance ; of the great present payment or terminable annuity, or annuity apostle of the Gentiles we read that, when he was for life, and afterwards to supply increased church in want at Corinth, the brethren of Macedonia accommodation, and to keep in repair churches, supplied him. But we demur to it. What is an rectories, etc., instead of the present system of endowment but a gift ? What is a gift but the dilapidation damages for the latter, and of church- result of a voluntary principle? How are new rates in the former case. If the surplus were churches built, endowed and maintained, but by insufficient at first to remunerate the patrons of the application of this principle! We apprehend diminished livings, sell all Chancellor's and Crown that the voluntary principle, or the principle of livings, and this would probably also enable the free will offerings, has been, and iş, strictly in Government to effect a reclamation of alienated accordance with the genius and character of the tithes, by placing a sum of money at their disposal Christian Church. What we do object to is the for that express purpose.

contingent principle, which holds the lash of Thus we assert that the church has elements caprice over the heads of its victims; or, to borrow within herself, so far as the loaves and fishes are from a favourite amusement, to give just so much concerned, of placing herself in her proper position, line as the victim will run out, and no more, and and her clergy upon at least a footing with the by ever keeping before the eye of its spiritual conference Wesleyan ministers, which at present, servant the fear of being "starved out,” succeeds except in empty honour and legal statute, they cer- in producing doctrine to order, at so much per yard, tainly are not.

according to the demand of the majority. But we are told, by the Bishop of St. Asaph, If, therefore, the resources of the Church upon that as far as he can venture to form a judgment, the reduced estimate are insufficient to meet her or to express it, "the funds at the disposal of the wants, nolens volens she must, unless she can coax church are utterly inadequate to provide for that some Government to grant a national church rate, which is required for the well-being of the Christian condescend to appeal for voluntary aid, and to feed community of the country." Here we are clearly her sons to some extent upon voluntaryism. at issue with his lordship. We have endeavoured With regard to a few other details—to every to prove one thing, aud he asserts the direct con- Cathedral Church appoint one of the most popular trary. Whence the contradiction? If the Church and talented men of the day, with a staff (if the of Eugland goes on increasing the number of her size of the town required it) of real working Bishops at the present threatened rate, his lord-curates, and let duty be done in them as in other ship is right. For, with every new Episcopal churches, where there is no need of singing men appointment, away goes £5,000 a-year, or the to pray for other people's souls as an amusement. support of about twenty vulgar parsons at the With regard to the appointment of Bishops ; let suggested rate, or nearly fifty at the actual; and every rural dean be elected by a majority of the we should not have the temerity to speak of the clergy of the rural deanery. Every archdeacon, cost of the new palace for each new Bishop of the number of whom might be increased, by each new diocese--the gardens and plantations, the clergy of the archdeaconry, from among the the kitchens and the stables necessary to supply I rural deans; and on the see becoming vacant, let

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

must be wrong.

the clergy elect two or three from among the We would not willingly be guilty of disrespect to archdeacons to be presented to the Crown, for its any of those who are over us, either temporally or selection and appointment ; such selection and spiritually, but when men have to attest and enappointment to be vested actually in the Crowu, force, if they can, their claim to respect, something and not virtually in the hands of the Prime Minis. ter. The Bishops would still sit in the House of Let not the demand be “Give us more power Lords; this we could not interfere with, as, rightly my lord,” but “Lord give us more grace.”

Let exerted, this influence might often be most valuable; us not bear of Bishops' carriages on the race-course, depending for the respect of their peers rather of Bishops' daughters at county balls; of clergyupon their Christian consistency of character, men excelling in horsemanship, or farming, or than their wealth ; their magnificent palaces and graceful dancing; of curates idolised by the castles might be sold, and other residences ladies--realising the old jest about the sign. post; furnished, fully befitting their station and require- but let us hear of earnest, devoted men of God, ments.

seeking to win souls to Christ; knowing nothing If something of this sort could be carried out, among men save Jesus and Him crucified; of men we should indeed rejoice, and something must be dead to the world, living only to Him who died for done. The clergy indeed are bound by their position them; of men emulous rather of apostolic docto remain tolerably passive, but the laity have no trine and apostolic grace, than of apostolic power ; such fetters ; and, after so many specimens of Epis- let the light of Divine truth shine brightly and copal intolerance, peculation, and imbecility, as we fervently in the lives of the ministers of our have recently had on the one hand, and with so Church as it does in her inimitable liturgy and many instances of successful toadyism and unsuc- articles, and then her abuses will correct themcessful and crushed merit on the other, who can selves; her Bishops will be but fellow presbyters doubt but that the position of the Church would be in their intercourse with their clergy; her revenues immensely improved, and her influence incalculably will be distributed according to our Saviour's own extended ?

law of doing to others as we would that they But-here we must speak seriously, respectfully, should to do unto us; and then, if after all, under and earnestly—is it consistent with the character this altered condition of things, her revenues are of ministers of the Church of England, of overseers found insufficient to support those who watch and of the flock of Christ, that their love of wealth labour for souls, we confidently predict that any and power should be such a standing reproach ? appeal she may make will be abundantly responded Would that our Bishops could remember the high to by the voluntary efforts of those who benefit by and responsible position as before God they occupy! her ministrations.

WINTER.

Grey Winter hath a thousand charms for me;
The frost is passing lovely in the morn,

Nor are the wilder scenes of Winter less
Replete with pleasing features. Yon dark cloud

When every twig doth yield
A crop of glistening pearls.

That glooms the face of Heaven,
Unfolds her pregnant charms.

Yon stately thorn, stands, lavish of her gems,
Robed like a maiden on her bridal day ;

Like a rich carpet spread
The silver tissued lawn.

And, fairy scene, far as the eye can reach
Extends the mazy dance. I fancy oft

These flakes are but the chaff
From Heaven's thrashing floor.

I tread upon the components of crowns;
This walk appears a jewelld avenue,

For every pebble seems
Dropt from a diadem.

Awful the charm of those fierce storms, that tear
The silvan monarch from his iron throne ;

Old ocean dreads the scourge,
And prays in smothered groans.

At ere I sweep the cloudless firmament
With raptured eye. Her host of pensive stars,

Like tears of angels, brim
My soul with poesy.

Verily, Winter, I do love thee well;
But, on thy lap, one scene delights me most;

'Tis this—a blazing heartlı,
And young hearts smiling round.

T. N.

« PreviousContinue »