Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ duty within a few years reduced from twice each Sunday 66 to once.”

"A Vicar who holds a consolidated living (and took the oath to reside) worth about 2001. per annum ... had a “ license for non-residence, expired near two years : lives “ four miles off: holds also another vicarage, (whereon he took the oath to reside,) within these few years there was

a house on this also : its value was about 1501. per an“ num: now there is said to be no house, and the duty on “ each is reduced from twice each Sunday to once.”

VI. Ely Diocese. State of its Discipline anno 1813, compared with the year 1728. [From Mr. Wright's Letter V. Jan. 18th, 1814.] “ The following statement of one “ small diocese, of which I have with infinite trouble, col“ lected the particulars, for every parish except four, from authentic sources, will prove the necessity of some serious “ enquiry as to the performance of those sacred duties for “ which such large sums are paid out of the labours of the « industrious.”

[ocr errors]

« duty.

Io 1728.

In 1819. « On 140 livings 70 Resi- “On the same 140 livings, “ dent locumbents.

« 45 Resident Incumbents. “ Thirty-five who resided « Seventeen who reside near and performed the “ near and perform the duty.

“Thirty-five curates, some “ Thirty-one curates who “ of whom reside seven, “ resided in the parish or “ eight, ten, or twelve miles “ near it. “ The population was

The population is “ 56,944 souls. The duty“ 82,176 souls. The service

was performed 261 times “ is performed about 185 every Sunday.

6 times every Sunday. “ And their Income was « And their Income is now “ 12,7191. per annum." “61,4741. per annum."

[ocr errors]

66

Extract of a Letter, signed, An Apologist :- Morning Chronicle, 1st February, 1814:

After accusing Mr. Wright, in general terms, “ of fal“ lacious and malignant conclusions"_“ The Diocese,” (he says)“ if I am not mistaken, is Ely. In this Dio“ cese,” (continues be) “ is the University of Cambridge, " and the churches are more generally served, or the “ livings held, by Members of that University. These “ gentlemen are resident in their respective Colleges, and « all the Statutes applied to Residence have recognized a

just respect for literature, and have granted indulgences So to men thus engaged in its pursuit.”—Is this genuine ? or is it not Mr. Wright himself in disguise ?

" I cannot,” (says he,) “ make out from what docu"ments Mr. W. has acquired his statement of the rela“ tive amounts of the Ecclesiastical Revenues of this “ Diocese in the year 1728 and at the present time .... “ The increase of a Rectory, from 8001. to 12,0001. a year,

arose,” “ from drainage of fens."

$ 9. Vices of Excellent Church recapitulated.

In the next section, that which presents itself as the best and easiest mode of effecting the change,—which, by the nature of the case, appears to be so imperatively demanded, -will, in its general features, be brought to view. of the radical corruptions and other imperfections, of which the demand is composed, a conception not altogether uninstructive will, it is hoped, by this time have been conveyed. But, the examination having insensibly drawn itself out to a length, so much beyond what at the outset was expected to be found necessary, a summary recapitulalion, in the form of a list of these same corruptions and im

perfections--say in one word vices-of which the fabric of Excellent Church has been seen to be composed, may, it is hoped, for the purpose of a simultaneous view, be found not altogether without its uses.

1. Vices having relation to DOCTRINE.

I. 1. Infallibility, virtually and to every practical purpose, ascribed to a set of men, on no other ground than that of the temporal power possessed by them: men, in whose time the state of the human mind, in the scale of improvement, was to such a degree low, that scarcely on any other subject than this, confessedly the most obscure of any, is it at present an object of regard : all hope of correction being thus as effectually as possible taken away from whatsoever errors it may have happened to them to have fallen into. Say, for shortness, prostration of understanding and will, before the blindly assumed infallibility of a comparatively unenlightened age.*

II. 2. To an extent, proportioned to that on which these men of imputed infallibility may at present be deemed to have fallen into error,—the existing generation of professed instructors in matters of religion,-and the people at large, in quality of their pupils,—are, one and all,-by. Catechismst Creeds, and Subscriptions to articles of faith, together with fixed forms of devotion, replete with practically useless tenets, on subjects, many of them, confes

• Chargeable (this vice, No. 1.) to the Scottish Established, but not to any of the Non-Established Churches.

+ So far as concerns Catechism and Subscription, but with the exception of Creeds, this vice has been found chargeable on the Established Church of Scotland, though not to so great an extent as to that of England. Sec fur

ther on.

sedly out of the reach of human comprehension,--forced into probable error and certain insincerity,-engaged to keep themselves debarred from the free exercise of their judgments,-and pledged to the delivering, as being in their eyes right and true, those tenets, to which it may, to any proportion, happen to be in those same eyes wrong and false; and to reject, as wrong and false, tenets which in those same eyes may come to be right and true.

Perpetuity endeavoured to be given to that mixture of error and insincerity,* which was a necessary result of an assumption so unsuitable to human weakness.

II. Vices having relation to Service.

III. 1. Spiritual Instructors and guides in matters of religion, appointed, -not by those for the salvation of whose souls it thereby becomes their duty to labour,--but, each of them, generally speaking, by some one stranger, whose own appointment is at best the work of chance,-and whose interest it is, to the extent of whatever number of relatives he may have, for whom he stands inclined by worldly interest or affection to make provision, to provide for them in this way, notwithstanding any degree of unfitness by which it may happen to them to be characterized: this in. terest being the stronger, the more palpably they are unfit for every occupation to which the successful exercise of intelligence or active talent is necessary. Instructors and guides in religion, appointed by persons more likely to appoint unfit than fit ones.

IV. 2. Fixed forms established for every thing : and

* See Note (+), p. 369.

these exclusively allowed : ideas, if ever imbibed, soon evaporating, -remains à caput mortuum composed of signs. Thought excluded from instruction and worship by the exclusive establishment of fixed forms.

V. 3. In large tracts of country, under the name of Extra-parochial places, the benefit of the instruction and worship, such as it is, never communicated to the inhabi

tants. *

To whole districts (viz. all extra-parochial ones) the benefit, such as it is, denied.

VI. 4. In many parishes, the whole population left without a Church to resort to,—though in these, as in other places, religious instruction and worship, otherwise than in a Church, continues to be treated as a crime.* Parishes without Churches : worship out of a Church not the less a punishable crime.

VII. 5. In a large proportion of the whole number of the parochial districts, the districts left without a dwelling. house for a Minister; while, in respect to exposure to pu. nishment for Non-Residence, he has been left upon a foot. ing of no less danger than if there were no such obstacle to his Residence. * Parishes without Parsonages : yet Residence, if not in a Parsonage, as punishable as NonResidence.

VIII. 6. In a great multitude of instances,-the capacity of the house of worship, compared with the number of the parishioners, so large, that to a large, and even to by far the largest part of that number, participation in the benefit of religious instruction and worship has thus been suffered to become physically impossible.* Parishioners excluded by want of Church-room.

* See Note, p. 373.

« PreviousContinue »