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character has withstood, for above a men, will pronounce the labours century, the corrupting influence of of the English Church the most all the causes which singly proved astonishing monument of Christian fatal to her predecessors in that beneficence that ever has existed dazzling career; conquests greater upon earth. It is institutions which than attended the standards of Rome, make men. The efforts of the Engeven in the days of Cæsar; com- lish Church have been so astonishmerce more extensive than flowed ing, because its Establishment is into the golden horn of Constantino. admirably calculated to combine ple; wealth more boundless than practical beneficence with speculaEastern riches poured into the La- tive research, and unite humble gune of St Mark. While France, usefulness with dignified exertion. her equal in years, was immersed in If its members had been exclusivethe corruptions and infidelity which ly of the aristocratic classes, it induced the desolating tempest of would have sunk into the corrupthe Revolution; while Spain, debili- tions of the French Hierarchy; if of tated by prosperity, had sunk into the lower, it would have been lost an inglorious old age; while Italy, in the jealousies of the English Dig. her elder born in national existence, senters. It is by the happy comunmindful of her immortal prede- bination of the two,-by the adcessors, had yielded to the deadly mixture of plebeian vigour and abipoison of long established refine-lity with patrician lustre and dement, — England alone remained scent,—by the union of the elevated comparatively pure and unchanged character and simple habits of the in its public character, and exhibit- old English gentlemen with the taed, though grey in years of renown, lents and energy of its rising urban the energy and vigour of youthful society, that its admirable and digcivilisation. What is the chief cause of nified character has so long and duthis singular exception in favour of rably been imprinted on the Church the British Empire, of that tendency of England. Remove the operation to decay which seems the common of these causes, by the destruction lot of earthly things? The purity or mutilation of the Establishment, and practice of her Established and how soon would this character Church; the incessant efforts which be lost, and this usefulness extinits teachers have made to struggle guished, and these virtues cease to with so many and varied causes of bless mankind ? corruption; the principles which Where is now the Church of they have implanted in the minds of France ? In that revolutionized and youth, and exemplified in their own regenerated realm, what are the chablameless and blessed career. It is racter, utility, and prospects of the here that we are to find the secret Christian clergy ? What barrier of the long duration of British pros- have they opposed to the flood of perity; of the matchless progress licentiousness, profligacy, and corshe bas made in arts, and usefulness, ruption which broke in upon the and arms; and the unexampled re- State with the triumph of revolu. sistance she
has opposed to the many tionary principles ? Where are now principles of decay fermenting in her the Bossuets and Fenelons, the Masown bosom. Extinguish these foun. sillons and Bourdaloues, the Fletains of living water; mingle them chiers and Saurins, the Malebranwith the bitterness of sectarian zeal, ches and Pascals of the best of reor the indifference of foreign infic publics ? Buried in the vault of all delity, and how rapidly will the ihe Capulets ; overwhelmed in the unresisted principles of corruption ruins of the Establishment; drownspread-how speedily will her long ed in the ceaseless struggle for the averted old age fall upon the British necessaries of life, which is imposed Empire!
on pastors in their wretched cir. Ignorant men may rail at the cumstances. French talent is unsloth and indolence of the Esta- questionably not extinct; the glory • blishment; sectarian zeal may mag- of her arms is indelibly engraven in nify the vices or weakness of a the records of history; the researfew of its unworthy members; butches of her philosophers have rivalhistory, judging by the actions of led all but Newton's fame; the taste
of her people attracts all the pas The argument which supposes tions of Europe to her capital. How that religious instruction is not ne. has it happened, that no addition cessarily dependent upon national whatever has been made to her reli- support, and that you may leave the gious celebrity, nor any men arisen people to choose and pay their own to bear the standard of the Cross pastors, as they choose and pay their abreast of the ensigns of temporal own butchers, bakers, and tailors, is glory? The cause is to be found obviously and palpably unsound. It in the destruction of the Establish- presupposes that the people are quament; in the consequent casting lified to judge what is good for them down of religion into the lower in religious tuition ; that an unerring walks of life; in the ceaseless and instinct will lead them to church, as humble toil imposed upon the de- it leads them to breakfast or dinner; graded members of the present and that they will provide theme Church. No man in France would selves with the requisite supply of make his son an ecclesiastic who spiritual food, just as certainly as could get him as an apprentice into they will provide for the physical a grocer's shop, or had the pros. necessities or desires of their being. pect of making him a sergeant of Does any one's experience of hu. artillery. The Church, the first and man nature, any one's knowledge of most important of professions in the world, any one's acquaintance every Christian state, is abandoned with history, support such an opi. to the lowest classes of society; and nion? Is it not certain, on the conso humble are their means, that they trary, that mankind, if left to them. are unable to give to their younger selves, will, in general, make uo members even the decent education provision whatever for their spiriwhich in Britain is placed within the tual necessities; tbat, engrossed with reach of every peasant. Such have the necessities of their present conbeen the effects of destroying the dition, and pressed by the wants of Establishment in the first of Euro- their animal desires, they will utterpean monarchies.
ly neglect the weightier matters of And has the boasted spread of the law; and that to apply the prineducation, have the efforts of the ciples of free trade and unlimited schoolmaster been able to supersede competition to religious instruction, the necessity of Christian instruc. is, in other words, to deliver both tors in that great and varied com- poor and rich over to the unremunity ? The rapid progress of de. strained influence of passion, senmoralization, the frightful increase suality, and wickedness? of profligacy, afford decisive evi. Self-preservation is the first law of dence that it has not; and that, nature; but it is preservation in this with the destruction of the National world, not the next, which is the Church, the national regenerators ruling principle. The clergy, dehave destroyed the seeds of lasting prived of all steady support or fixed prosperity, or even durable exis- incomes, and driven to depend on tence.* In the condition of France, their flocks for their subsistence,'must therefore, we may see a living in- adapt themselves to the tastes and stance of the effect of demolishing dispositions of the mass of the peothe Church Establishment upon ple; and what that is we may every public morality, and, of course, by a day see. They must teach, not what is rapid process, upon national safety; true, or in the end useful, but what is and if we would follow the course agreeable, and at the moment profitof corruption upon which they are able. Fanaticism, extravagance, and now so far advanced, we have now absurdity-stimulus to the imaginaonly to imitate their example, tion-food for the passions--must
* The proportion of illegitimate to legitimate births in Paris was, in 1824, as nine to eighteen nearly ; in 1831, under the influence of the Revolution of the Barricades, it had become as eleven to nineteen, or as one to one and a half nearly, and is daily on the increase. See Obit. Ann. 1832. In the county of Middlesex, including London, it is as one to thirty-eight only.-PORTER's Part. Tables, ii. 53.
become the predominant character. unpalatable doctrines, might be reistic of the theological instruction of duced from a thousand to a hun. the great bulk of the people. Rea- dred a-year ? son, justice, beneficence, self-com- Of all the numerous delusions that mand, and devotion, will be speedily democratic ambition has succeeded discarded. David Hume himself has in palming off upon mankind, there said, that a Church Establishment is is none so utterly extravagant as the necessary to preserve religious in doctrine, that an Established Church, struction from extravagance and er- and the payment of the clergy by ror; and the observation is perfectly means of tithes, are aristocratic injust in all ages, because it is founded stitutions, and that the lower orders on the experienced inability of the would gain by having the revenues human mind, in the multitude, when of the Establishment applied to other left to itself, to resist the inroads of and secular purposes. Who pays imagination and excitement upon the the clergy in the Established Church? domain of religion and reason. The landowners in the country, and
Nor is it only upon the middling the houseowners in towns; that is, and lower orders that the ruinous the richest classes in both situations. effects of the want of a religious Es- The tithe, apparently paid by the tablishment would be speedily felt. farmer, is in reality defrayed by the Consequences, if possible still more landlord; if it did not exist, the rent disastrous, would inevitably follow he receives would be proportionally upon the higher orders—upon the advanced : the Scotch farmer who noble, the haughty, the affluent. pays no tithe, pays more in rent They would speedily draw off from ihan the English does in rent and their humbler brethren-an aristo- tithe put together. The clergy cratic religion would arise_fashion. are, in truth, landed proprietors, able preachers, in highly rented who draw their share of the produce places of Worship, would attract on the condition of furnishing gra. brilliant audiences the temple of tuitous instruction to the people in God would become the theatre of the momentous subjects of religion; vanity. Those who know how much while the landowner draws the rethis has alrcady taken place in the mainder under no such condition. metropolis, even with all the equa- In what way the labouring or induslizing effect of parochial places of trious classes are to be benefited by worship and an Established Church, depriving the clergy of the landed may conceive, how rapidly it would estates which now enable the poor spread if the Establishment were to receive from them the blessing of annihilated, and the different classes religious instruction for nothing, and of society were scattered abroad to throwing them directly as a burden seek each their own places of devo- upon the hard-earned wages of the tion, according as their finances, poor, we leave it to the advocates of their habits, their inclinations, led such a change to explain. them. A King's Theatre of religion The effect of such a change must would speedily arise; the avenues be either to extinguish religious to certain churches, favourites with instruction altogether, and leave the the higher orders, would be throng- people in a nominally Christian ed with carriages, while the unno- state, without information on their ticed poor were allowed to slink duties or the other world, but what away to their humble meeting- they could pick up from the Mechahouses through lanes and alleys. In nics’ Institutes and Penny Magazines, such fashionable places of worship, or to force every congregation to could we expect truth to be openly maintain its own clergyman. If the and fearlessly spoken, or vice right revolutionists intend the first, we ly and sincerely stigmatized ? Is it understand them. They wish to likely that prevailing vices would be reduce Great Britain to a heathen loudly condemned, and agreeable state ; to allow the human mind, weaknesses sternly reprobated, and deprived of the light of revelation, fashionable indulgences vehemently to recur to the absurdity and grossexposed, by pastors who, by the ness of polytheism: they would propagation of such wholesome but restore us to the barbarous rites of the Hindoos, or the brilliant mytho- the catalogue of Ministerial delin. logy of the Greeks, or the austere quencies against Ireland, he placed superstition of the Druids. If not, in the very front rank the extinction they are doubtless prepared to shew of the ten bishops, " almost the only how the human mind, consumed as remnantofresidentlandowners leftin it is with ceaseless anxiety on the the country.” Such are the inconsistgovernment of this world, and the encies of the revolutionists; and the events of the next, is to be prevented opinion to which the great Agitator from relapsing into error, heathen has now arrived as to the propriety superstition, pagan belief, the inva. of not extinguishing the clergy, riable attendants, in every former and depriving the people of the in. age of the world, of the extinction estimable benefits of such a body or neglect of the worship of the one of landowners constantly residing true God. If this is not the design amongst them, will be universal, of the revolutionists, and they really when the voice of passion is stilled; desire to preserve the Christian but not perhaps before the great religion in this country, they are work of spoliation is effected, and the doubtless prepared to shew how the Church has ceased to be numbered working classes, whose interests among the landowners of England. they pretend to advocate, are to be Incalculable would be the evils benefited by confiscating the proper- to the poor, if the present race of ty which now pays for the religious resident clergymen were extirpainstruction of the poor, and laying ted by the dissolution of the Estathe maintenance of the clergy as a blishment, and their place supplied direct tax upon the wages of indus- only by dissenting ministers, or try.
curés, as in regenerated France. Of all the classes of landed pro- Would such a body, hardly equal in prietors, the clergy are the one who point of acquirement, family, eduspend their incomes most directly cation, or income, to the humblest and immediately among the people class of present schoolmasters, be of their own vicinity. This is a most expected to perform the functions, important circumstance, especially or discharge the duties, or carry on in an age when the tendency to fly the beneficence of the present parish abroad, and forget the anxieties of priests ? Connected as the clergy Britain in the dissipation and luxury now are with the landed proprietors, of foreign capitals, is so extremely and frequently the aristocracy, by prevalent in the landed proprietors. family, university education, and How strange, then, that the clergy society, and with the poor by duty, and bishops, who are the class of proximity of residence, and Christian all others of the landed proprie- benevolence, they form a link, bindtors who are most resident, and ing together the higher and lower orencourage domestic industry most ders, of inestimable value and imporlargely by their wealth, should be tance; whose influence has done the one against whom so great a cla- more than that of any other class to mour is raised, and that the lay own- knit society together, whose value ers, who are subject to no obligation could only be fully appreciated if of residence, and do nothing what they were removed, and an irrepaever for their incomes, should be rable chasm left in the place which allowed to range the world over in they occupied. Suppose a tax-gaquest of pleasure or excitement, therer sent down to every county, without raising any jealousy of to collect the tithes for behoof of their possessions! O'Connell sees the consolidated fund, or in aid of this clearly, though frequently for the establishment for the diffusion party purposes he thinks fit to con. of politico-economical and scientific ceal or suppress it. When the Irish disquisitions; will such an officer Church Reform Bill was brought in supply the place of a Christian clerlast session, he said that he hailed it, gyman, living in the several parishes, and especially the suppression of the visiting the poor, heading all the ten bishoprics, as the greatest boon undertakings for their improvement, ever conferred upon the Emerald instructing them in their religious Isle; but, this session in summing up duties, rejoicing with them when
they rejoiced, and weeping with them information to their brethren in Engwhen they wept? Are the farmers land, and often marvel that, among likely to compound their tithes for a thousand men of good education, a twentieth instead of a tenth of the and decent competence, so few produce with such a Government names of general celebrity should collector, as the Parliamentary re- be found that so few Chalmerses turns prove they now do with the or Thomsons exist in the land of Established Clergy? Widely, wofully Robertson and Blair. It would be different will be their situation, when a most lamentable circumstance if, the parsonage-house is in ruins, from the triumph of democratic prin. the parish church going to decay, ciples, a similar equality of income its pulpit occupied by a dissenting and intellect were to be found under zealot, or a Catholic bigot, maintain the Church of England. The įned by themselves, and their tithes equality in the livings of the Church paid besides to an inexorable collec. of England, the brilliant prizes in its tor in the county town, from what it lottery, the numerous blanks which now is under the shadow of the great threaten its members, and invigorate and venerable Establishment of Eng. their exertions, are the best security land, with grateful feeling and social for general and unflinching exertion, interchange of kindness, endearing and perfectly suited to the varied, the pastor to his parishioners, and and, at first sight, heterogeneous mixthe Christian shepherd and his affec- ture, which distinguishes the lay sotionate flock living and dying to- ciety of the empire—that singular gether.
union of aristocratic feeling with deThe inequality in the emoluments mocratic ambition, of patrician pride of livings in different situations, and with plebeian vigour, of general the abuse of pluralities, is the inces- equality in rights, and excessive difsant theme of declamation. But while ference in condition, which charac. we admit that something should be terises English society. A more equal done, and that, too, right speedily, to distribution of livings may be gratiraise up the numerous small livingsfying to democratic envy, or suitable to a level with the incomes requisite to republican equality; but it could for a clergyman's family, we are pre- not fail to diminish the varied acpared to maintain, that if all livings quirements and high standard of exare made of the same, or nearly the cellence which has so long distinsame size, and pluralities are abo- guished, and now more than ever lished, the peculiar dignity and use. distinguishes, the
Church of England, fulness of the Establishment will be and would rapidly extinguish those in a great measure destroyed. It is illustrious names which, in every a most perilous thing to extinguish branch of knowledge, and theology emulation in any class of men, or say more than any, have immortalized its to a man put down at five-and-twenty history. The present is an aspiring in a living, “ Here you are for life: and an energetic age. No class in exertion can neither better, nor in- society can slumber with impunity at dolence injure your fortunes.” If its post. So great are the efforts you have a complete equality in making in every line of life, under livings, beware lest you have at the the pressure of overbearing necessame time a similar equality in the sity, that to remain still is to reintellectual qualifications of their in- trograde. If the English Church, cumbents. If every clergyman is under the paralysis brought on by bound for ever to one spot, is there the extinction of all great objects no danger that they will often be of ambition to its members, is rereduced to the contracted ideas and duced to comparative obscurity and narrow views, hardly avoidable by indolence, it will rapidly fall into those constantly chained to a limited contempt, and, like the revolutionized set of objects ?' We have the highest Church of France, fail in possessing regard for the respectability and any influence over a corrupt comutility of the Presbyterian clergy of munity, or discharging the most esScotland; but we cannot shut our sential duties of a Christian Estaeyes to their obvious inferiority in blishment. theological acquirement and general When we reflect how respected the