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“ The electric telegraph, day after day, during the session of the Convention, will send forth throughout America the record of its proceedings. And within a fortnight we shall, perhaps, hear that the communication from the London Church Union (printed in the Guardian), has kindled a train of sympathies in the remote West, the result of which can hardly be foreseen. In the meanwhile, let us contemplate the working of the Convention now that it is really in action.
“ The General Convention consists of two Houses, of which the Upper is constituted by the Bishops alone, and the Lower by equal numbers of Clergy and Laity, elected (as above) in the Diocesan Conventions. It is probable that the Lower House, if full, would comprise 140 Clerical and as many lay delegates. But as all the members will not be able to attend, we may suppose that the Upper House is actually composed of 25 Bishops, and the Lower of 80 or 90 Clergymen, and 60 or 70 laymen. Among the latter are found many persons distinguished by their talents and influence as statesmen and lawyers; the celebrated Henry Clay, for example, having late in life been baptized, is one of the delegates from the Diocese of Kentucky. Great numbers of spectators of both sexes will undoubtedly be present.
“ The General Convention is simply a legislative body, and is in no respect a supreme court of appeal. No case like that of Mr. Gorham can therefore come before it. The Upper House sits with closed doors, and has for its president the oldest Bishop by consecration. The Bishops can originate and propose acts for the concurrence of the House of Deputies. The Lower House elects some able Clergyman as its chairman, and all parliamentary forms are strictly observed. This House can also propose acts, upon which the Bishops have a negative. All acts of the Convocation must be authenticated by both Houses. • In all questions, when required by the Clerical and lay representation from any Diocese, each order has one vote; and the majority of suffrages by Dioceses is conclusive in each order, provided such majority comprehend a majority of the Dioceses represented in that order.' The effect of this last provision is, that, on the one hand, the Clergy are protected against any possible aggression on the part of the laity, while the latter are relieved from any foolish dread of priestcraft, and from any reasonable apprehension of undue predominance on the part of the Clergy. A similar provision exists in the Diocesan Conventions.
“The General Convention enacts, modifies, or repeals canons of a general character, as distinguished from the local canons of each particular Diocese. These canons are seventy or eighty in number, and have been passed in reference chiefly to the following subjects:—The Election and Consecration of Bishops-Episcopal Visitations, Charges, and Pastoral Letters-Missionary Bishops—The Organization of New Dioceses—The Extension of the Church at Home and in Foreign Parts—Candidates for Orders—Their Learning and other Qualifications—The Times of Ordination—The Titles and Testimonials of those who are to be Ordained— Parochial Instruction Election and Institution into Parishes and Churches-Differences between Ministers and their Congregations-Clerical Offences and DegradationThe Trial of Bishops—Crimes and Scandals to be censured— The Publication of the Bible and Prayer-book- The General Theological SeminaryAmenability and Citations—The Due Celebration of Sundays—The Method of providing for the Contingent Expenses of the General Convention—The Mode of securing an accurate View of the State of the Church from time to time.
By way of contrast to these, I will give, for example, an account of the local canons of the Diocese of Tennessee, as they stood in 1830. The canons of the other Dioceses are similar in their object and character.
“ The first of these is respecting the admission of new churches us parishes into union with the Diocese. It provides that they shall accede to the doctrines, discipline, and worship of the Church, to the constitution and canons of the General Convention, and to those of the Diocese of Ten
It requires that every parish shall have a suitable name, and shall appoint a certain number of vestrymen; and declares that, on complying with such terms, the parish may be admitted intoʻunion with the Diocese, and its delegates be admitted to the Diocesan Convention.
“ The second states the conditions on which a Clergyman may be received into the Diocese.
“ The third defines minutely the mode of proceeding in the trial of a Clergyman.
" The fourth requires that due notice shall be given to all the Clergy and congregations in the Diocese of the suspension or degradation of any Clergyman.
“ The fifth requires the Clergy to attend regularly the meetings of the Diocesan Convention.
“ The sixth makes it the duty of every Clergyman to keep a register of all persons in his congregation, specifying those who have been baptized, confirmed, and received to the communion, and containing a record of the births, marriages, and deaths among them; the date of baptisms, and the names of the parents and sponsors (or witnesses in the case of adults). The register is to be provided by the parish. Every Clergyman is also to make a precise report of the state of his parish to the Bishop at the Annual Diocesan Convention.
“The seventh provides for the election of the delegates to the General Convention.
“ The eighth requires certificates of lay delegates to the Diocesan Convention.
“ The ninth provides for the contingent expenses of the Diocesan Convention.
“ The tenth directs the mode of organizing the Diocesan Convention, and provides that it shall be opened with prayer, and that after organization it shall attend services and listen to a sermon by the Bishop.
“The eleventh provides for Missions within the Diocese. “The twelfth provides for changing the place of meeting when necessary. “ The thirteenth and last provides for a book depository.
“ It may be asked how obedience to the General and Diocesan canons is secured. I answer, that this is effected altogether by the force of public opinion and ecclesiastical feeling within the Church. The State is in no way concerned in making canons or in enforcing them. But its assistance is useful in protecting the property of the Church, as of other corporations and trusts. "In some of the states any parish may become (on application to the Legislature of that State) a corporate body, like a railway company, for example, in which case it may hold property to a certain specified amount, and may sue or be sued. This enables pew-rents and subscriptions to be collected, if necessary, by law, and as an encouragement to endowments. In other States all ecclesiastical corporations are forbidden, and Church property is held by trustees. I am not, however, aware that any great practical inconvenience arises from this arrangement. The General and Diocesan Convention are not corporate bodies in the legal sense, and therefore are not entitled to hold property. But the endowments of individual parishes have, in many cases, already amounted to a very considerable sum in houses, lands, or money. The same may be said of the funds by which the Bishops are maintained or assisted, and which are gradually increasing by individual donations.
“I have now written a long letter, and am unwilling to occupy further space. I will, however, mention that the union of the laity with the Clergy in Convention does not prevent the enactment of canons which seem to bear hard upon the laity, as well as upon their wives and daughters. Thus, in the recent Conventions of Virginia, it was enacted that all persons shall be rejected from the communion in that Diocese if proved guilty of attending balls, dances, theatres, races, or other places of public amusement. It is, however, doubted whether this canon will stand, since it is considered by able judges to be contrary to the constitution of the Church, as limiting the terms of communion more than the Rubrics and Offices of the Church will sanction."
Reviews and Notices.
Discourses on Colonization and Education, &c. By JAMES CECIL
WYNTER, M.A. &c. London: J. W. Parker.
It is long since we have seen these two important subjects treated with the ability which characterises Mr. Wynter's little work. He brings to bear upon them a vigorous mind, stored with the wisdom of antiquity, and conversant with the perplexing problems of social life in our own days. And many and dark as are the perils which now impend over our beloved country, and still dearer Church, no human safeguards have been suggested so promising, in our judgment, as those which Mr. Wynter points out. We are living in times of peace indeed, but not of rest. Day after day new events are unfolded, increasing the complexity of our religious and social relations, and stimulating to new exertions every observer who feels that he has at stake future interests either in this life or in the next. We cannot, we dare not, in such times repose a vague trust in the labours of national societies at home, or of societies for the propagation of our religion abroad. The age calls for the active, cordial cooperation of every individual member of the bodies civil and ecclesiastical. It is time for those who hear the call to interchange their thoughts and feelings in such a tone as that of the pamphlet before us. We will give our readers a few extracts from Mr. Wynter's preface, and trust they will make themselves acquainted with the masterly, thoughtful, and eloquent discourses which are thus introduced :
“ Unless a wise and far-seeing prudence shall lead the nation in general to make a timely provision for its safety, the increase of the people will bring with it either the paralysis or the dissolution of this
mighty empire, just as in past ages the same cause has wrought the same effects in empires almost as mighty.
“ There would appear to be but two modes of dealing with our vast accumulation of human life,-first, by providing a healthy outlet for adventurous spirits ; secondly, by providing careful teaching for those who stay at home.
“ The question, as it seems to me, is this :- Is the nation generally, as distinguished from its government, really alive to the necessity of making these provisions for its own safety, as well as for the moral and physical well-being of its various classes, advisedly, but with speed ?
" And first, with regard to colonization, do people in general care about it, or think about it? I will not now, however much I may desire, enter upon the broad and valid distinction between what is called emigration, and what is called colonization, although at present there does appear to exist considerable confusion of ideas as to the precise meaning of this latter complex term. Some regard it as a brilliant fancy, or eidolon : others, as a well-meaning, but wild enthusiasm, quite respectable in our forefathers; in us ridiculous: others, once more, conceive it to be some crafty, subtle, covert scheme, for party propagandism, or for clerical domination. It has hostile foes craving to hunt down their victim, reckless of weapons, so only they do but wound or serve to brand it with the odium of folly or superstition ; it has a few otiose admirers—here and there, an active and intelligent ally; but the time will infallibly come, although, perhaps, not until after the empire shall be dismembered, when the doctrines of those who first traced out the principles, and then fearlessly advocated the necessity of colonization, will be vindicated as true, and they themselves receive a tardy, but not unmeet reward.
“In the year ending 31st December, 1849, 299,498 souls emigrated from the United Kingdom, of whom 219,450 went direct to the United States.
“ These legions of men and women go forth, principally, but not altogether, through the agency of private resources ; of course, those who go to America, go entirely at private expense.
Now, in speaking of this latter species of emigration, that which is carried on by private resources, (for emigration can be conducted by private resources, though colonization, it seems, forsooth, may not) the Commissioners make the following striking remark: The emigration which is carried on by private resources is usually resorted to as an escape from the pressure of poverty, or as a means of relieving a neighbourhood from a superabundant population, and is therefore conducted exclusively with a view to the intere ts of the emigrant himself, or of those at whose expense he leaves the country.'
“ Yes ! with a view to the interests of the emigrant himself, and of those at whose expense he leaves the country! But meanwhile, the interests of the nation from which this mighty volume of human life is thus continuously rolling forth in a turbid, angry torrentwhat becomes of them the national interests—the future security of
the country ? The nation itself ignores them, as if too paltry and contemptible to be taken into account.
“ Little need be added here upon the subject of the second of these discourses, although education itself, not less than the want of it, will in time work great and unexpected changes in the framework of our social system. But on the other hand, to stop short in the work of education, or to educate scantily, will in its turn produce consequences which one would rather not contemplate, much more experience, yet contemplate rather than experience.”
MR. MASTERS has recently added to the useful collection of small works which he publishes, an excellent little volume entitled Tracts on the Church, by the late Rev. W. JONES of Nayland. It is most instructive to listen to the sound and moderate teaching of a good man, long since gone to his rest, on subjects too commonly handled with exaggeration or bitterness. A Catechism on the Holy Scriptures exemplifies a mode of teaching which will be found useful to many who are engaged in our Sunday and National Schools. At the end of each question is a reference to the Bible, which each child is required to look out, and from it to supply the answer. The Way through the Desert
, or the Caravan, is a highly imaginative allegory, from the pen of the Rev. R. MILMAN. We should think that it would need something in the way of interpretation to bring it home to the understanding of those for whose instruction it is intended. Messrs. Rivington have issued a valuable volume, which deserves to be well known and extensively used, Family Reading, by the Hon. Sir Edward Cust. It is an explanatory comment on the Life of our blessed Lord, extracted chiefly from the Notes of D'Oyly and Mant, and forming a continuous exposition intended to accompany the reading of Holy Scripture in the family devotions of members of the Church. We might imagine a volume better adapted to its purpose than the present; one, for instance, containing more direct personal application; but we gladly accept this as one of the most trustworthy books of its class. It has another recommendation, which all volumes designed for early or late reading should possess, viz. that the type is unusually large and distinct. We know of nothing better calculated to raise the tone of the Church, both at home and abroad, than greater regularity and more earnestness than now generally prevails in our family devotions. And we thankfully accept any work which conduces to this end. We have read with interest Archdeacon Williams' Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff on the Peculiar Wants of the Diocese. Accustomed as we are to deplorable instances of spiritual destitution in the Colonies, here