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80 ever there may be in it, do any of these men stand in need of penal laws, or Bishops, to keep them out of it? - Look at the plan above proposed in this work. The Parish Clerk-or the Bell-taught School-boy-could he be a farmer? would there be any need of penal laws, for keeping him out of the business ? together with Bishops, for keeping him out of it, or letting him into it?
From which of the two opposite courses has piety—has sacred duty-most to fear? from patriarchal, though it be profit-seeking industry? or from prodigality ?—from carefulness in the shape of husbandry ? or dissipation in the shape of fox-hunting, shooting, gaming, drinking, or amorous intrigue ?-In which place has it most peril to encounter in the market-house, or in my Lord's diningroom, with my Lady's drawing-room by the side of it? Questions these as fit for the meridian of the British Forum, as unfit for that of either House.
Of these inconsistences, flagrant as they are, we shall not have far to look for the cause. For covering the cherished profligacy, a veil of sanctity was therefore requisite. For decency_Church-of-England decency!--something in the shape of a veil was thought necessary: but, so the shape were in that sense decent, no matter how thin the texture.
A pretence was found in the already mentioned statute (21 H. 8. c. 13.). In this most curious effusion of transparent hypocrisy,-antecedently to those provisions by which, “ For the more quiet and virtuous increase “ and maintenance of divine service, the preaching and
teaching the word of God, with godly-and-good-ex“ ample-giving ... the increase of devotion and good
opinion of the lay-fee toward the spiritual persons," i sinecurism was established, -eight sections full of details and words (f 1 to 8.) are occupied in the labour of preserving from this profanation the sacred brotherhood. For giving effect to all this piety, the force of penalties was of course employed. When, by the malice of Informers, the peace of Excellent Church came, as above, to be disturbed, —that part of the Act had, along with the rest, engaged the notice of those invited servants of the law. By the Act of 1803, for defeating their endeavours in that service, arrangements of a temporary nature were, in this as in the other cases, provided. That done, common sense and common honesty called for a pure repeal. Policy,-beholding matter, capable of being employed with advantage in the composition of the yoke which was in preparation, took up this part of the Act with the rest, and in the manner that will be seen, converted it to that pious use.
$ 5.-VI. Over Incumbents and Curates, lodging despotic
power in the hands of Bishops. In Number IV. of this Appendix, $ 6, p. 294, four occasions may be seen, on which, the means that appear to have been employed for the attainment of this end, come into operation :-Examination for Holy Orders--License ing for Non-Residence-Apportionment of Curates' Stipends—Determining, in the instance of each Parish or other Priest, whether he may have, or shall not have, land in his occupation, and the produce of land under his management.
I. As to Examination for Holy Orders :-power there
upon of granting or refusing admission. Confined as it is in its exercise to a single point of time, -in the character of an instrument of eventual vexation, this power can scarcely be in any considerable degree formidable :-the result being—(see p. 295) habitual and general laxity and inefficiency in the whole system of the discipline, not undue severity in the exercise of it.
II. and III. As to Licensing for Non-Residence, and Ap
portionment of Curates' Stipends. It is by the joint operation of the powers exercised on these two occasions, that, among Incumbents who are Non-Residents, of all those, whose condition is that of an habitual and never repentant sinner, men's wills have so plainly been endeavoured to be kept, and doubtless in no inconsiderable proportion are kept, in a state of “ prostration” at the feet of their respective Bishops. Of these, the number indicated by the above discussion, seems to beabout one half of the whole number of existing Incumbents.
- To these add, without any exception, the whole body of stipendiary Curates.
IV. As to the determining, in the instance of each Pa
rish or other Priest, whether he may, or shall not, have land in his occupation, or the produce of land under his management.
Respecting the origin of this power, and the principle on which it has been conferred, see the last preceding section.
In respect of its extent, and incidental consequences, this power has much more of efficiency in it, than to a first view may be obvious. In the class of Incumbents,-especially the more opulent,--are to be seen, in no small proportion, those who, to the sacred office of Parish Priest,-converted or not, as above, into a sinecure,-add the profane office of a Justice of the Peace. In the exercise of this profane office, such of their wills as, by the virtue of their sacred office had been laid prostrate, as above, at the feet of the Bishop, found their way of course, and without need of any special intimation, on every “decent” and “ useful” occasion, from those holy feet to the feet of the Minister : viz, in the first place, these same holy wills themselves, and, in the next place, along with them, in general, the wills of those, whose lot, in virtue of the powers attached to that Lay Office, is more or less at their disposal : and, in particular, the keepers of those houses of general resort, in which, in so large a proportion, along with the bodies, the minds of the people receive their food.-And here may be seen one of the knots of the family alliance, by which Excellent Church, -and her not much less Excellent Sister, State,-are knit together in such mutually delightful harmony.
Bent down together under the double yoke, all these amphibious functionaries, by an attraction altogether natural, aggregate themselves to the class of “ useful Magistrates :" Magistrates useful, in that official sense of the word, the explanation of which, may, in the Plan of this work, pp. xlv to xlix, be found in the joint case of the worshipful poisoner, and the Very Reverend the declared scorner, of aledrinkers.
In this way it is, that—by the same sacred hands, by which, without prejudice to his Godhead, the body and blood of a God are put into the mouths of prostrate sinners-indication may, on each proper occasion, be given -given to Victuallers and others of the side on which it is proper to vote at Parliamentary and other Elections.
Judicature--and in so many instances to the value of a man's whole subsistence-judicature exercised by a Judge, acting singly, in secret, without need of discussion or examinable evidence--and without appeal, unless it be to another such Judge, acting in the same unbridled manner-such is the sort of judicature committed to each Bishop.-Now if this be not despotism, what else is despotisın? If, acting in such a situation, a Judge be not a despot, who else is? If this be not establishing despotism, in what other way can despotism be established ? If for its object the power thus conferred had not the establishment of this despotism, what other and better object had it? what other and better object could it have had ?
Looking this objection, together with another, in the face—“ seeing it urged with great force," and even by those who would otherwise have been "friendly to the object
of the measure,”—“even if the provision had been more
general, (says the Noble Reformer, p. 18) I should not “ have felt it :" “ I should not have felt it,” (says he) and this is all he deigns to say of it. In the President of the Council, behold here then a man, who brings in, and causes to be passed into an Act, what he calls (p. 1.) “a system 6 of measures for strengthening the establishment of the 6 Church of England;" —and who, upon its being observed to him, that, by this system, the greater part, if not the whole of the Clergy of the Established Church are put in subjection, under the individual and arbitrary will of six and twenty men of their own order, laid prostrate by this and other means, under the separate, sinister, and corruptive influence of the Crown,-coolly observes, that < even if these provisions had been more general, he 6 should not have felt the objection!” Such are the laws by which—such the men by whom we are governed !-Men whose uncontested object-men whose thus avowed object it is—to hold their fellow-subjects to hold an entire class of their fellow-subjects in a state of the most abject servitude !-An entire class ! and what class? even that class, on whose instructions it is moreover their avowed object to cause all the others to depend, for their eternal, and in