Page images
PDF
EPUB

RESOLUTIONS.

who seek the aggrandizement of the Metropolitan Court, has charged the local tribunals with ignorance and carelessness in making grants of probate or administration. But even those Commissioners have not been able to found that charge upon a single statement of fact. It was necessary to their purpose to annihilate the local tribunals; and, acting as judges in their own cause, they have pronounced those establishments guilty, without calling for any defence, or having before them even the shadow of any evidence to justify their sentence.

Inasmuch, therefore, as the bill in question, thus proposing innovations which must in every point of view be attended with great inconvenience and expense to all persons resident in the country parts of England and Wales, affects to be founded upon the alleged incompetency of the local courts to transact the testamentary business hitherto confided to those tribunals from a period beyond the memory of man, the Registrars, Deputy Registrars, and other officers of the country courts, do hereby resolve and declare :

I. That the charges brought against the Local Courts of Testamentary Jurisdiction in the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, dated the 15th of February, 1832, are founded on the mere unsupported opinions of individuals not having actual personal knowledge on the subject, and whose evidence would on that account alone be inadmissible in any court of justice in this kingdom.

II. That it is shewn by the evidence of the Solicitor to the Bank of England, that the Prerogative Court of the province of Canterbury has already extended its jurisdiction in those cases where the alleged bona notabilia cousisted solely of stock in the public funds; although it would appear that the title to such stock follows the person of the testator, and, therefore, that the grant of the country courts as to such stock, would be perfectly valid. Hence, it follows, that the due authority of the country courts has been already invaded ; and that instead of being further limited, it ought to be fully protected by a clear definition of the law upon the subject.

IÙ. That if the Legislature consider the country courts now existing to require consolidation or improvement, we hereby pledge ourselves to render all the assistance in our power, in order to effect those objects, and thus to increase as much as possible the manifold advantages which Local Tribunals for the administration of justice in every shape are calculated to confer upon the people of this kingdom.

IV. That if any such local establishments be in want of suitable depositories for the safe custody of wills, and for allowing easier access to the same, we bereby resolve that such depositories and facilities of reference shall be provided without any expense to the country.

V. That the Committee do meet from time to time, in order vigilantly to watch the progress of the proposed bill, and firmly to resist any clauses which may tend to impair the efficacy of the local testamentary tribunals, and so to diminish the great public advantage of bringing home justice in a cheap and convenient form to every man's door.

(Signed)

ROBERT SWAN, Secretary to the Associated Registrars,

Deputy Registrars,

and other officers of the Country Courts. RICHARDSON's Hotel, Covent GARDEN, 5th February, 1834.

CHURCH AND DISSENT. “Dissenters of Dudley and its neighbourhood !-Arouse ! for God commands you to · arise from the dead ;' and 'awake to righteousness ;''to be strong, and of good courage, and fear not!' 'to quit you like men ;' working while it is called the day ;' and 'whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.'

“ Fellow Dissenters l_Read the sayings and doings of your brethren in other parts of the country, and go ye and do likewise.' Perus the annexed extract from the Christian Advocate of December the 2nd. Dudley, Dec. 25, 1833.

“ AN INDEPENDENT."

NEWSPAPERS, It was earnestly hoped when this Magazine was established, not only that churchmen would communicate facts in order to put down falsehood, but that they would circulate the facts which were thus communicated, in those country journals which were favourable to the church. Even our enemies, who affect to be so violently enamoured of truth, must be satisfied with this proceeding, or, what comes to the same thing, must affect to be so. In order to save trouble, a list of some such papers is given below, but it is probably incomplete. Any additions or corrections will be thankfully received.*

In addition to the Bishoprics of Madras and Bombay, about to be established by Act of Parliament, as was stated at the Meeting, on Tuesday, of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a hope may be entertained that the addition to the Indian Prelacies may be followed up by the appointment of a prelate for the spiritual government of the important and extensive island of Ceylon.Bath Chronicle.

In consequence of the withdrawal of the Parliamentary grant from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the Committee of the Society have adopted a resolution, recommending “That, after the year 1834, 1001. be annually paid out of the funds of the Society to each clergyman in British North America, who now receives an allowance of 2001.

A King's Letter has been issued, authorizing a collection to be made in the various places of worship belonging to the established church, on behalf of the “ Society for Promoting the Enlargement and Building of Churches and Chapels in England and Wales.”

By a recent decision in the Exchequer, in a cause between Kemp and Pechell, a parson can claim tithes of turnips when pecked up in advance of the fold; though only for the purpose of withering before being fed. This is a claim which hitherto has by no means been generally insisted on, it having been considered that tithe turnips depastured by sheep on the land where grown, whether pecked up or not, was fully paid either in agistment tithe or in that of lambs and wool.--Exeter Flying Post, Feb. 4.

Colonel Evans, the Member for Westminster, intends again to move the repeal of Mr. Sturges Bourne's Act respecting Parochial Voting, by which the number of votes is determined according to value.Hull Advertiser.

Dr. Hale, the Roman Catholic Bishop, at a recent dinner, made the following observations :—"Besides iny reverence for his station, I have a right to feel a particular regard for the person of our gracious Sovereign. He was the first monarch since the Revolution at whose crowning a catholic Bishop was seen habited, at the express desire of the Earl Marshal, in the same peculiar costume in which they appear in the centre of the Christian world.”Christian Advocate.

Felix Farley's Bristol Journal ; Exeter and Plymouth Gazette ; Exeter Western Luminary ; Derbyshire Courier ; Carlisle Patriot; Dover Telegraph ; Durham Advertiser; Brighton Gazette; Essex Standard; Leeds Intelligencer; Preston Pilot; Manchester Courier; Manchester Guardian ; Dorset County Chronicle; Hampshire Telegraph ; Bath Herald ; Cuinberland Pacquet ; Salisbury Herald; Kentish Observer; Cambridge Chronicle ; Northampton Herald ; Birming. ham Journal ; Liverpool Standard; Merthyr Guardian ; Bridge-water Alfred ; Cambrian; Worcester Journal; Macelesfield Courier; Bucks Herald; Gloucester Chronicle. Irish Papers : Dublin Evening Mail; Dublin Warder; Belfast Guardian ; Derry Sentinel ; Cork Constitution.

351

REPORTS.

MEETING OF THE LAITY AT NOTTINGHAM. A meeting of the lay friends of the Established Church, convened by circular, took place at the Rutland-street school-room, on the evening of the 21st ult., for the purpose of expressing their attachment to, and declaration of, the Church of England, as by law established. After some remarks from the Chairman (John HorseFALL, Esq.),

Mr. WILLIAM FLEWKER rose and said:--I think it an honour and a privilege to stand up thus early to address you upon the present occasion ; and although I am much incapacitated by indisposition, I trust I shall be able to prove to you that the resolution just read is worthy the adoption of this meeting: We are called upon to stand up in defence of our venerable institution, the established church of England. "It is well to use the word defence, for we stand up not as aggressors, but defenders of “the faith once delivered to the saints ;” and, Sir, if, in olden times, the cry of “ For our hearths and altars !" made every heart respond, and every hand unsheath its sword in their defence, surely our zeal will not be less, when the ark of God is threatened with spoliation, and the venerable church of our forefathers is attacked with a fury which seems determined to “raze it, even to the ground”—Cheers). I rejoice and feel happy to see around me so many who are older and wiser than myself, under the sanction of whose wisdom and experience our lines of defence may be prepared and strengthened, and more than a hasty effervescence or a sudden and sanguine excitement may be offered to our country. But, Sir, the young are more especially called upon to stand forward at the present crisis, because upon the young more particularly the brunt of the battle will fall, and upon them will lie the shame and ignominy of defeat, if we allow it to come upon us. Our forefathers transmitted to us in glory untarnished, in lustre undiminished, the rich jewel of which ruthless sacrilege would now deprive us and they demand of us to hand it down, alike unsullied, to our children ; and shame to the recreant faith of those who, in this crisis of the church, stand not forward to defend her, even to the last! (Cheers.) Our assailants have moved to the attack under the banner of “Church Reform.' Reform, Sir, has often been the watchword of revolution; I speak not only politically, but spiritually. What means, Sir, I would ask, that cry of “ Church' Reform"? What means it in the mouth of the intolerant Romanist ? Does he wish that Establishment to be rendered more efficient in faith and discipline, which he stigmatizes as an excommunicated schism? What means the cry of “Church Reform” in the mouth of the liberal dissenter, who tells us that an established church is a curse and incubus upon the land?—and what means the cry from the lips of the intidel leveller, who is the first to aim at its fall, because he hath nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by the demolition of all that is good, and great, and sacred in the land ?-(Loud Cheers.) My opinion is, that Church Reform” is but the watch-word for anarchy, destruction, and annihilation.—(Loud cries of “ Hear, hear,” and “ No, no.") Gentlemen, I beg to state once for all, that, as men and as Britons, we will not be put down with clamour, but we will state our opinions with firmness and decision ; we will not give up the boon which God has granted us, nor allow the venerable institution which our fathers built to be borne down and trampled upon by the enemies that now oppose us. I am sure I speak the sentiments of the majority present, when I say, that to agitation, and violence, and fraud, we will oppose firmness, and decision, and truth. I would just advert to two bodies, who are taking an especial lead in the sectarian crusade against our establishment. In the first place, Sir, we have arrayed against us all those who are bankrupt in character and destitute of moral principle—the infidel in religion, and the desperado in politics-men of every grade of infamy, who are banded together in ignorance and malignity, under leaders, if not equally ignorant, at least equally malignant-from the pamphleteer of Beverley to the pamphleteer of Nottingham.-(Loud Cheers.) I wish not to be personal, nor to use one single expression that should hurt the feelings of any person. God is my witness that I stand here from principle. I conceive the church of England to be the true church of the living God, which He has established in this land, as the great bulwark of the Protestant faith, under whose shadow the schismatics who now attack her have more than once been glad to shelter themselves ; but, Sir, when I find such malignant rancour exhibited by the enemies of the church-when I find men so ignorant as even to make Selden a bishop, and Tillotson a member of the Asseinbly of Divines (which ignorance you see manifested in a work published not many miles from Nottingham)—I say, Sir, when I find such men to be the chosen leaders of this party, it becomes us to declare who and what they are who so maliciously or ignorantly defame the venerable holy men that God has raised up in our land to be the chief conservators of the Christian faith.-(Hear.) It would be worse than a waste of time, as I hope you will be addressed by many others beside myself, to enter into any thing like a refutation, I say not of the arguinents, for they have done, but of the assertions they bring

forward against the church- assertions, Sir, often refuted, but still continually brought forward, concerning the immense riches of the English establishment, her pampered and haughty hierarchy, and her vicious and indolent ministers. I can prove, Sir, by Parliamentary documents, that this enormous wealth, which they tell us is thirty, or twenty, or five millions (for they vary mightily in their statements), is only two millions, or at the most two millions and a half; and with regard to the archbishops and bishops of the church, with the venerable Primate at their bead, I fearlessly assert, in spite of the sneer of the scoffer, that there never was, in the history of this or any other church, a more guileless and righteous body of men ; and I am sure that our enemies themselves must admit, if they were honest enough to do so, that our land could never boast of a greater number of pious and laborious ministers of truth than she can shew at the present time, in the persons of the inferior clergy.-(Cheers.) But allowing that the assertions of this body of the enemies of the church were true-I have ye. to learn that a good and valuable machine must be demolished, merely because it is worked by an indolent or dishonest workman. The clear duty here would be, to keep your machine in order, and to look out for a moral and skilful mechanic. I think, Mr. Chairman, we have long since had the character of these ignorant railers pointed out to us in the scriptures of truth: they are truly, Sir, the “presumptuous and self-willed” of the last days, “who are not afraid to speak evil of dignities;" they “şpeak evil of things which they know not, sporting themselves with their own deceivings," and “their mouth speaketh great swelling words of vanity, having men's persons in admiration, because of advantage. But I will leave this class, and turn to a second, which consists of men more respectable, more moral, to whom we can give, as Christians, the right hand of fellowship, and whose reasons and opinions deserve consideration, being, at all events, professedly based upon the Word of God. They tell us that a church establishment is unlawful, because unscriptural; and inexpedient, because Christianity would flourish better without the protection and assistance of the State. I do not recollect, Mr. Chairman, that an attempt was ever made to give us a text of scripture which directly and point blank forbids the interference of the State in providing religious instruction for its subjects—and this, by the way, is a negative argument in our favour : but several texts are mentioned as affording a direct and plain inference against such an interference. Time would not allow me to go through an examination of them all; but one I will dwell upon, which appears their chief strong-hold—I mean that passage in the 18th of St. John, verse 36, “ My kingdom is not of this world.” You will remember, Sir, that our Divine Lord was standing before the bar of Pilate, just before the last mysterious scene which completed the redemption of man : he was asked by the Roman Governor if he were a king ? and in his answer we find him using the expression I have mentioned, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The expression is, in the Greek, "out of,” or “from.” My kingdom is not earthly in its origin, but heavenly, for it comes from the throne of the Eternal; nor is it earthly in its aiın, its object being to restore to man the lost image of his God;" and from this text the inference is drawn, that rulers are not to provide for the religious instruction of their people. Alas! for the logic which could draw such an inference from such a text. I say, Sir, the veriest tyro on the forms of Eton would stamp an obvious “non sequitur” on such a conclusion. But we are generally met here by the confident assertion, that a union of the church with the State tends to secularize and corrupt it--that it is wrong in principle, and has been found pernicious in effect. It always appears to my mind, Mr. Chairman, presumptuous in vain man to blame an ordinance of God. A political and religious union of church and State, he once not only sanctioned, but also commanded; and what was once done by a God of infinite wisdom, cannot be essentially wrong. It is no reply to this argument to tell us that the Jewish was a peculiar case-a Theocracy, under the immediate government of Israel's God. The fact of the union is not touched by the peculiar feature of the case; nay, Sir, when the monarchy was set up, we have it still more forcibly brought before us, and the union we advocate exhibited. To ascend still higher in the history of the Hebrew nation, we find Abraham commended for commanding his household and his children to serve and obey the Lord; and descending in the long line of the rulers and kings, we see the nation flourishing, or the contrary, as the rulers sanctioned or neglected the true worship of Jehovah. We have had proof upon proof, Sir, in our own land, of the certainty of the curse of God accompanying the national sanction of idolatry. I allude to the signal reverses which have always attended the before victorious arms of England, whenever she has taken to her bosom the harlot of Babylon. It is a fact, Mr. Chairman, which a reference to historical documents will prove, that to be partaker of her sins is sure to bring upon the land a participation in her plagues. Those of this assembly who would wish to read for themselves, would do well to consult the admirable preface to Mr. Croly's work on the Apocalypse; the preface is reprinted in the form of a cheap tract, entitled, “ Protestantism the Polar Star of England.” “But we will turn to the example of our blessed Lord. Do we find him discountenancing religious establishments ? No, Sir,-quite the contrary. We find him, from twelve years old, when he conversed with the doctors in the Temple, continually frequenting that sacred edifice, and joining with the Jewish ritual in the synagogue of the land; for we have historic evidence to prove the using of a Liturgical form of worship by the Jewish church. We find him, also, bidding his disciples observe and do the commandments of their established teachers, “ because they sat in the seat of Moses.” If we consult, also, the

example of the great apostle of the Gentiles, we behold him, on a memorable occasion, asserting it was wrong in himself to have spoken evil of the ruler of his people. We should remember that it was the High Priest (an ecclesiastical ruler) to whom he gave that title. Ah! if the dissenters of our day possessed more of his spirit—more of the spirit of his Lord they would rather weep at the danger of our church, than exult in anticipative triumph over her downfal—(Loud Cheers.). I think I have said enough to shew that an established church is not unscriptural, and, therefore, not unlawful. Sir, it is as plainly and evidently the duty of a Christian king to provide religious instruction for his subjects, as it is for you and me to provide it for our own household. Nay, the obligation is beyond comparison greater, because of the enlarged sphere of responsibility. God works by means, and he expects the talents and opportunities of a king to be used for his people's good. He is the Lieutenant of Christ, "until He comes whose is the right;" and woe will be the portion of that man, whether a king or a private individual, who “occupies" not for him. The moral obligation of a Governor requires him to do what is most for his people's good; and if the concerns of eternity be of more moment than the fleeting concerns of time-if the soul be of more worth than the perishing and mortal body—if the knowledge of God be the "one thing needful,” even “eternal life”- then does it behove the Government of any land to send to every village and hamlet a minister of righteousness. Sir, if the abuse of a thing were an argument against its use, I will own that the corruptions which Courts and Kings may have caused to be mingled with Christianity, form a valid argument against our principles; but, Sir, the facts here are generally mis-stated. “Corruptions," says the church historian, Milner, “ should be laid at the door of man's degeneracy, and not of church establishments; without the establishment of religion, more than half the Roman world would have continued destitute even of the form of religion."-(great applause.) Were there no corruptions in the church before the time of Constantine ? Was the union of church and State their chief or only cause ? Sir, we have heresy upon heresy rife in the professing church, long before Constantine was born; and I suppose it will be admitted that heresies are the worst kind of corruptions. But if we look at later ages, what is the fact? There were far more awful heresies without than within the pale of an establishment. Voluntary support kept not the places of our ancient Nonconformists pure. What are the churches of the West?--the very hot-beds of Socinian blasphemy! What are the churches of the south-west of England, which have existed on voluntary support ?—they are wallowing in the filth of Antinomian licentiousness! But, Sir, there is a conservative principle in our establishment which has kept it free from these corruptions-(a laugh.) I hear, Sir, a laugh at the other end of the room; it will be well, Sir, if the individual who could laugh at an argument on such a subject as this, is not himself laughed at when his calamity cometh. The old Nonconformists “all (I use the words of Bishop Stillingfleet) thought it right to communicate with the church of England, and that to separate from her communion was a sin, whatever they might suppose her faults." But this is an age of light and intellect !—our forefathers saw not clearly !-we are wiser than they! Such is the “heady and high-minded" spirit of our times. I admit, Sir, it is an age of light; but the light is weak in proportion to the extent of its diffusion, just as the material light of the candle which is before me. It is, Sir, a time of knowledge, but it is a superficial knowledge—a knowledge of newspapers and sixpenny and halfpenny pamphlets, a knowledge which brings no fear to God, no honour to the king; and I detest and abjure with all my soul the false and wicked philosophy of the day—it is an article of French manufacture, Mr. Chairman, and it will pay us in French coin. Before the first French Revolution, we had the same spread of a like unsanctified knowledge; and the cheap works of Voltaire, D'Alembert, and Rousseau paved the way for the dreadful scenes which soon followed : the eyes of the King and Queen were closed in blood, upon a scaffold, and the demon of anarchy clapped his sable wings over the land, exulting in his prey, until he was satiated with gore !-(Loud applause.) God avert such a fate from our once happy country, upon whose lap the full horn of heaven's choicest blessings has long been emptied? Oh! Sir, if my voice could reach every corner of our empire, I would cry, “ Meddle not with them that are given to change”_" fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” -(Loud Cheers.) Before I sit down, I will say a few words as to, I was going to say, the expediency of national establishments of religion ; but I will not uze the term, Sir, for it, along with its twin sister, liberality, has been deified-and I yield it not my worship. These are the “two golden calves,” Sir, which are “set up in Bethel,” and men adore them, “from Dan even to Beersbeba !" There is an expediency, Sir, which is good, based on real principle; but I will use the term necessity, notwithstanding, in its stead. Men seek not after religion as they seek after food and raiment; it must be brought to their very doors, and obtruded on their notice. Men are dead in trespasses and sins, naturally averse from spiritual knowledge, ignorant, and of course willing to continue in their ignorance; an appliance from without is necessary, and this the ministrations of the church provide. The ever-recurring Sabbath tells hin of a heavenly rest—the tinkling bell calls him to the house of God the spire, adorning our landscape, as a poet of our town has beautifully expressed it, is as “ wisdom's finger, pointing up to heaven." But let the desires of our sectaries be fulfilled- let the armies of the church's invaders succeed, to use the words of inspiration, while before them is as the garden of Eden, behind them would be a desolate

« PreviousContinue »