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to live; that at Brechin, the minister, having overworked himself, has been deserted by his congregation,--and so on.
Dr. Waugh (Memoirs, p. 319,) tells a young man, that he may be useful in the Secession churches, “if he can submit to the prospects of a small and precarious income, and yield to the humour and caprice of the people.”
As to all these matters, let the friends of the voluntary system be assured, that the facts are not brought forward for the sake of criticizing the system as it affects them. If people and ministers like it, they can go on with it. They are brought forward simply to shew what the system is.
Anglo-Scotus goes on to allege facts, shewing that these persons who accuse the church establishment of all sorts of evils, themselves tolerate shameful laxity in their own members; and that they are guilty of begging for money on the one hand, and a profanation of scripture and unseemly jesting at their public meetings, disgraceful to persons calling themselves Christian ministers. As one specimen of the temper shewn, he quotes the words of one of the saints of the voluntary system,-" I do not expect that we shall succeed till seas of blood flow"!
THE WORKING OF THE VOLUNTARY SYSTEM AMONG THE
RESISTANCE TO Priests' DUES. — We have been just informed that on Christmas-day a rather novel exhibition of party feeling occurred in the chapel of Lisdowney. After the celebration of mass by the Rev. Mr. Tobin, the Roman Catholic curate, he proceeded to call the names of several respectable parishioners, who had, it appears, neglected to pay the customary dues; whereupon one of them, a Mr. Bray, backed by several others, came forward and offered some very strong observations on the impropriety of such a proceeding as that adopted by the Rev. Mr. Tobin, stating that the time was gone by when the priests could expect to get paid by such means, and that he and his friends were determined no longer to submit to it. The Rev. Curate was greatly astonished at this unexpected opposition ; however, in a short time a party, superior in numbers to Mr. Bray's, made their appearance, determined to back the priest through thick and thin; the consequence of which was, that a violent contest arose in the body of the chapel between the contending parties, in the course of which Mr. Tobin is said to have fainted at the altar. His friends, however, were victorious, and Bray and his party were driven from the chapel, several of whom received cut heads, and bloody noses, during this disgraceful affray.-Kilkenny Moderator.
DISSENTERS AND CHURCH REFORM,
(From the Christian Advocate.) Rumours of a change of Ministry have been very rife during the past week. The members of the Cabinet differ respecting foreign policy, and also respecting church reform. The unnatural mixture of ci-devant tories which the administration contains, must certainly be got rid of, and be replaced by something more homogeneous with Lord Grey and the other reforming members.
What will become of the Church-and-Dissenters' question, we cannot tell. There is reason to fear that Mr. Stanley and others may prove the means of making the measure of church reform less efficient than it ought to be; while there is still stronger evidence to shew that the self-styled united committee of dissenters have betrayed the cause which they pretend to advocate. We are glad to perceive that their conduct is viewed with much dissatisfaction by many of the country dissenters. The Nottingham meeting was a decided
protest against their proceedings. Mr. Gunn's letter is worthy of an “Independent” minister. We subscribe to every syllable of his brief denunciation. It would have been improved, however, had the writer noticed the fact, that this committee, so arrogant on the one hand, and so truckling on the other, has no authority to speak the sentiments of the dissenters. It is composed of the representatives of the London churches, and not all of them; and, therefore, had its members spoken out ever so boldly, Lord Grey would have had no ground for receiving their statements as those of the dissenters at large. Much less has he reason to put this construction on their “ brief statement, since, as we presume he is aware, the Nottingham and many other dissenters have taken a much higher ground, and have made much more extensive and urgent demands. And yet what interpretation can be put upon the following sentence, which appears in a well-informed provincial journal
“Lord Grey does not find the dissenters so numerous nor so powerful as he had expected: THEREFORE, his bill will be squared accordingly." What other interpretation can be put upon this sentence, than that the united committee approached his lordship with a timidity that convinced him they were conscious of want of force? If we are asked, what reason we have for placing any reliance on the information of a country paper, we will turn to the reception which the deputation from the united committee met with from the premier, in his closet. They were received with urbanity, condescension, and what not? But the sum of all that his lordship could promise was, a general registry, and liberty to marry! The rest was “under consideration !” Nothing, to our apprehension, can be plainer than it is that Earl Grey, deriving his notions of the strength of the dissenters from the demonstrations made by their self-elected representatives, entertains an opinion that he need not make any but the most trifling concessions to them. But, notwithstanding the treachery of the united committee, the dissenters have it yet in their power to correct his lordship’s erroneous conceptions of their number in rank and file, and of the moral force which they can bring to bear in any cause which may call forth their energies. Let them do this without delay. Let the Nottingham meeting, and the Nottingham memorial, be adopted, as models for the imitation of all those bodies of dissenters which have not yet declared their sentiments. Above all, let us have a bumping (!) meeting at Exeter Hall. Why, we wish to know, should the London dissenters only, suffer themselves to be nose-led by a small knot of whig-enamoured citizens? Have they not leisure to attend to their own affairs in a cause of such magnitude and importance as that of religious liberty?
A SCENE AT THE CONGREGATIONAL LIBRARY.
(From the Christian Advocate.) Our report of Dr. Bennett's discourse respecting the moral state of the metropolis, has been long enough before our readers to enable them to form their opinions concerning it. It appears to us that the statements it contains are but too true ; while the suggestions of the preacher deserve the immediate attention of his brethren in the ministry, and of London Christians in general. The whole, let us add, reflects great credit upon the worthy Doctor; and we are glad to hear that he intends to give it to the public in a printed form.
Such being our opinions, we have been exceedingly surprised to hear of the manner in which Dr. Bennett and his discourse were treated by several ministers with whom he dined after the delivery of it. When the congregational ministers and others, to the amount of sixty or seventy persons (of whom the lay portion paid three-and-sixpence each), had eaten a little cold beef, bread, and cheese, to which, except in a few cases (for the supply was
insufficient), was added one glass of wine, it was proposed by Dr. Morrison, seconded by Mr. Tidman, that Dr. Bennett (who, by the bye, presided) be requested to print his lecture. This motion proved the signal for a general commotion, which has been described to us as exceedingly disgraceful. Mr. Yockney protested very loudly against the statements made by Dr. Bennett, and gave a sort of pledge to disprove some of them. Mr. Blackburn objected to the mixture of ironical and devotional sentiment which, as he alleged, was contained in the sermon in question. Some inveighed against the spirit manifested by the preacher, others against his facts and statements, and a third party against both. The storm, we are told, attained such a height, that it seemed far from improbable that words might give place to blows ! In the midst of the uproar, Mr. Hunt, of Brixton, declared that Mr. Binney had betrayed them! This was the signal for a fresh display of party feeling; some giving loud tokens of their assent to the observation, while others pronounced the name of the gentleman thus attacked in his absence, as who should say, “Binney for ever!" A belief has been expressed that so lively (.) a meeting was never before held in the Congregational Library; and as to the harmony, it would seem to have resembled that of what is called a Dutch medley. When Dr. Bennett could obtain a hearing,—which he found it exceedingly difficult to obtain either for himself or for others,-he emphatically declared that he would print the sermon-as if he had said, whether they wished it or no; and, as for bringing down any of the statements, it was much more likely, he said, that he should bring up others yet stronger. Whether this declaration influenced the decision of the meeting we do not know, and, to be perfectly candid, we do not care; but, from the issue, it may be supposed that the Doctor's opponents made a virtue of necessity; for the motion of Messrs. Morrison and Tidman was ultimately carried.
Why, it is natural to ask, did Dr. Bennett's discourse produce so much and such violent dissatisfaction among his brethren? In some parts, it is true, it conveys an imputation upon them. The whole body of dissenting ministers in London are charged with having neglected the spiritual welfare of the metropolis. This may be true of all, though in different degrees. We should like to see that man among them who will venture to affirm that he has done all that he could, or all that he ought, to promote the salvation of the inhabitants of London. But have those who have ventured to impugn the discourse of Dr. Bennett distinguished themselves above all others, by their efforts and their usefulness? We will mention no names ; but we cannot help suggesting, that people who do not know the gentlemen will be apt to imagine, that the preacher exhibited a cap which conscientiously fitted more than one of them. Again, was the suggestion about the duty of out-door preaching “ against the grain ?" Have some of the brethren been too delicately, too politely educated, to think of imitating the example of such coarse preachers as Wesley and Whitfield, not to mention the apostles and their Divine Master? We put these questions, because there appears to us to be a notion prevailing in the minds of many men, that the world, and, by consequence, London, may be converted by committees, sitting in carpeted rooms, and quafsing “the cups which cheer but not inebriate.” This, however, is an awful error, as, sooner or later, it will be found.
Whatever else the scene of uproar above described may indicate, it shews, at least, how admirably fitted the London ministers are to represent the entire body of dissenters! Dr. Bennett is well known. Is he, or is he not, a dissenter? is he, or is he not, one in whom the dissenters repose confidence ? Does he, or does be not, express the sentiments which distinguish that vast portion of the nation? Mr. Binney's address, too, has been widely circulated. Has he, in it, betrayed the dissenters? We confidently anticipate the answers to these questions. It is such men as Dr. Bennett and Mr. Binney that are dissenters. Those who assail them are not dissenters—they are a compro
mising, timid, apostate race, whom, till we can find a more appropriate name, we shall call assenters. Mr. Hunt declared, that he had authority to say, that more than fifty clergymen of the Church of England have come to a resolution, to withhold the right hand of fellowship from Mr. Binney, wheresoever they may meet him. Very probable. And if Mr. Hunt himself were to act and speak consistently with his avowed principles as a Protestant dissenter, the same immense persons would refuse the same incalculable honour to him also. Even “evangelical church publications, as well as individual clergymen, are already proposing secession from the Bible Society, and from the Tract Society. *
CANTERBURY DIOCESAN GENERAL FUND.F As many expenses are incurred by those who take the most active part, or assist in the first arrangement of measures for the general good, a fund has been established, under the sanction of the Archdeacon of Canterbury, for general purposes connected with Church Societies and Church affairs in that diocese. The rules are few and simple, and it seems likely to be largely supported.
I.-A subscriber of 58. annually is a member of the fund.
II.-The committee to dispose of it is to consist of the archdeacon and a clergyman from each deanery, to be appointed annually by the members present at the several visitations.
III.-Application for aid from the fund to be made by a member to the secretary, who shall communicate the same to the committee in such manner as he may think fit.
IV.-No grant without the consent of two-thirds of the committee, among whom must be the archdeacon.
V.-Committee appoint secretary and treasurer.
VII.-Subscriptions due on the 25th of March, and to be collected by the committee-man of each deanery and remitted to the Treasurer.
SIR,—Considering, as I do, the communications made through the medium of your Magazine, respecting the value of church property, as evinced by the experience of individual incumbents, to be of importance in enlightening the public mind on the subject, I feel that I should do injustice to my profession and the public, if I were to withhold the statement of my own particular case.
Being the holder of only one benefice, being in the number of those who (by a distinction founded on no very pure or enlarged estimate of the nature and extent of our spiritual calling) are called the working clergy, and having moreover during the six years which have elapsed since I came into residence, lived in the parsonage, and done the duty of the parish myself, on an average,
. It is necessary to state that the word one, before glass of wine, is given in italics in the amiable journal from which this is taken--for churchmen would not condescend to attacks on personal character. Had this scene taken place in a chapter room or college library, what would the un-Christian Advocate not have said or insinuated ! One may say, however, that if all other temperance was entirely observed, temperance in language or demeanour does not seem to be reckoned necessary in the friends of the voluntary system.
+ A fund of this kind should surely exist in every diocese, as in the preparation and transmission of addresses and other public documents, the expense falls very heavily in general on some one individual. -Ed.
eleven months in every year, I am not called upon to defend myself personally against attacks which, under the pretence of pluralities and non-residence, are levelled against many who are more efficient guardians and dispensers of our common trust than myself. Still, however, I feel it no less incumbent on me to guard against the imperfect and false estimate which may be formed of the situation of myself, as well as of many others, who may be likewise affected by all or any of those circumstances, to which, without his own choice, the holder of one valuable benefice may be liable, even when placed in his natural and proper situation of residence on it (omitting any reference to the capital expended on a clerical education).
I will venture to premise two general observations, which, however obvious, are perhaps seldom kept in view by those who value church property, for the purpose of finding out how much may be obtained out of it for other purposes, public or private.
First-That whatever be the value of ecclesiastical property in the aggregate, its real value as respects particular incumbents can then only be correctly estimated, when considered with reference to its characteristic feature-viz., as a life interest held in trust for certain purposes, and contrasted with the same or other property held in perpetuity, under no conditions connected with it.
And, secondly–As a practical consequence of the former proposition, that the view of any particular benefice which shall be directed to a certain limited period of time, such as three years, must necessarily in many cases be most imperfect and fallacious, as the conditions under which the property is held may be such as for the time to annihilate it, as a means of maintenance to its holder.
I will now proceed to add my own case to the many examples of the above stated proposition, which, in the highest as well as the lowest situations of the church, the experience of every individual concerned could daily furnish, more especially when an early removal of the incumbent, by death, makes them more prominent.
I was in March, 1826, inducted into the rectory of B which, in every point of view which concerns the personal comfort of the incumbent, must be considered to be one of the few prizes which the church affords, and for which, and still more for the kind manner in which it was conferred upon me, I am under the highest obligations to a venerable and distinguished personage, than a member of the government.
Its value was reported commonly, but not by the patron to myself, to be 1000l. per annum; and I found in the hands of the churchwardens one year's income, amounting in a gross sum to little less. I could not then have believed that after the lapse of seven years I should feel it necessary to annex the following statement to my reply to the inquiries of his Majesty's Commissioners for inquiring into Ecclesiastical Revenues. However, a very cursory examination of the circumstances of the living convinced myself, though not my friends in general, of my real situation; and even at the outset I merely anticipated in my private accounts the following particulars, which I copy from a document, now public property.
“Question 30th.—Being desired to state such further particulars as I deem necessary, I conceive it will further the intentions of his Majesty in issuing the commission, if I add an explicit statement of the circumstances of my benefice during my whole incumbency, with a view of affording that insight into the value of the property, as regards individual incumbents, which inquiries relating to three years only must in many cases fail to afford (for I do not conceive my own to be an unusual case).
I took possession in March 1826, and then of course became liable to all the burdens and responsibilities incident to the benefice, my predecessor having unfortunately died insolvent. I found, however, one whole year's revenue due to me, and that collected, without much loss on a composition, exceeding