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vent; his goods perish in his warehouses, and his hands are thrown out of employ, because with a view to keep up the landowners' rent, he is not allowed to send his wares to the best market, and to bring back cheap bread in return, to provide for the dense masses of population who ask him for employment. The farmer gains nothing by this arrangement; for his profit in the main is the same, whether corn is dear or cheap: the monopoly benefits only the receiver of rent and tithe. We feel the extreme difficulty and delicacy of this question: we would that the bearings of it were otherwise; but it is useless to shut our eyes and to sophisticate it, till ruin falls without the possibility of escape. Put it as we will, there is at present a degree of monopoly, under the gentler name of protection, in favour of land; and public opinion is running strongly against all monopolies and partial protections, and most of all those which restrict the necessaries of life. The receiver of rents is thus placed in an artificial situation: he gains more, and takes a higher place in society, than he would do if every man might do what he pleased with his own; especially if the manufacturer were placed on equal ground with himself. It should however be remembered, that land is subject to peculiar charges, which are not sufficiently considered by those who are raising a clamour against the agricultural interest: but, allowing for all peculiarities, the general fact is clear, that the pressure of public opinion is, to place land on a level with other investments, which will forcibly affect the condition of those who derive their income from it in the shape either of rent or tithes. We think the fairest compromise would be for the land to give up its monopoly, other interests agreeing to take their share of its peculiar burdens. Some such arrangement we are persuaded will be necessary before long otherwise the cry for cheap food, and export markets in our towns and manufacturing districts, will abolish the protection, without conferring any boon in return. It is a question which deserves to be seriously weighed, and by no class of persons more than the clergy.
So much for the case of towns, and more or less of all the labouring community, as respects procuring employment, markets for their produce, and cheap food in return. The case of the population of the agricultural districts, is more remotely affected by commercial restrictions, but they are lamentably affected by the poor laws, which, under the name of a benefit, reduce them to misery and degradation by as certain an operation of cause and effect, as if twenty men were made to earn only the wages, and to eat the bread, of ten. We cannot go into the details at present; nor need we, as we have often urged them before. The poor laws are a violation of the simple principle of justice: at all times
therefore they are based on a wrong foundation, and lead to evil effects; but in periods of difficulty they cannot be carried into execution, and therefore mock the hopes which they had imprudently raised. At this moment the agricultural disturbances arise in no small measure from the effect of these laws: You are bound, says the labourer, to give us work, or to maintain us without it. The law had taught him to say so; for there is nothing in natural justice or Christianity that says so. Individual charity is bound to relieve misery, so far as practicable, wherever it exists, but it is not just that any man should be authorised to marry improvidently, and then to make the public give him work or support his family. The poor laws are also the chief cause of the depression of the labourer's wages: he cannot understand how this operates, but every person who looks at cause and effect can. Good wages cannot be kept up, while poor laws disturb the balance which in the providence of God, unless interfered with by human intermeddling, adjusts supply and demand, produce and population. But we quit the topic, only adding, that the lamentable ignorance of the labouring poor, which reflects much disgrace upon their superiors, is one great cause of their poverty, and the crimes and miseries which spring from it. Look again at our game laws, which lead to offences innumerable, and fill our prisons, all to keep up a feudal distinction, by which shooting a bird by an unprivileged person is made a serious crime.-Other topics occur to us, but we are obliged to postpone them.-We only add, that the times, though serious and eventful, are not to our minds hopeless; far from it: only let Christians learn their duties, and practise them, and with earnest prayer to Him who maketh men to be of one mind in a house, who is the Author of peace, and lover of concord, commit their beloved country and all its interests to his power and grace, to overrule all to his glory, and the welfare of his erring and sinful creatures.
We must pass over foreign affairs. Belgium is irrevocably separated from Holland, and has adopted a limited constitutional monarchical government. In France, we regret to say, that there has been a change in the ministry, by the rejection of Guizot, Molé, and the duke de Broglie, on account of that very moderation which made us hail with delight their taking office. Hitherto, however, matters proceed with quietness and temperance, and we trust they will so continue. We have just learned, that a portion of the Catholic church in France, under the auspices of M. de Mennais, are determining to form a church independent of the public assistance, like Episcopacy in Scotland and the United States, or Popery in Ireland, and to trust to the zeal of the faithful for its support.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
E. P.; E. D. J.; D. M. P.; Y. M.; and J. M. B. ; are under consideration. We are obliged, though we have added a large quantity to our present Number, to postpone Literary Intelligence and many other articles. The publication of our annual Appendix with our next Number will enable us to make up our arrears. It has been suggested to us, that in consequence of the vast number of sermons which issue from the press, the plan of printing a Family Sermon in each of our Numbers, is much less necessary than it was when we commenced it. We are quite willing to listen to any suggestion that may tend to render our pages more useful, and shall therefore, in future, print a sermon only occasionally, unless we should find it to be the wish of our readers that we should resume our usual practice. We learn that the French Protestants propose to translate the Christian-Observer "Forty Family Sermons" into French, "pour favoriser la belle et evangelique institution du culte domestique."
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
THE extensive home tour in Wales, and the foreign tour from Mexico to Canada, shew abundantly the necessity and value of this blessed institution. There is an affecting allusion in the letter from Abo, to the first bishop and martyr of Finland, who was an Englishman.
Palliations of the enormities of colonial slavery are so pertinaciously and confidently obtruded on the world by persons interested in its continuance, that we are much indebted to the conductors of the Anti-Slavery Reporter for such exhibitions of its laws and manners, as we find in No. 71; but still more valuable and important is No. 70, which shews how vain are the real or pretended fears of evils likely to arise from its abolition. The same Number announces the publication of Mr. Stephen's second volume of Slavery delineated. We cannot exhibit the great value of this volume in a passing note, but shall recur to it on a future occasion. Anti-slavery publications are multiplying around us; among which, we strongly recommend a powerful and energetic sermon, by the Rev. D. Wilson, whose zeal and ability in this sacred cause are well known to our readers. It would be premature for us to offer any remarks upon the present state of the Anti-slavery question, as affected by the recent change of ministry. Among the members of the new cabinet are several who are unquestionably anxious and earnest in the cause; but the opposition will be formidable, even to the most prudent incipient measures, and the continued zeal and energy of the country may still be required to prevent the question sliding back from its present just elevation, of speedy and total abolition. Let not our readers relax in their prayers to God, that he would dispose the hearts of men to this great act of justice and mercy.
The Extracts exhibit a very interesting account of the discussions which have taken place in various parts of the country. The society wishes to extend its plans to France.
RIGHT HON. EARL GREY, FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY, &c. &c. &c.
T has pleased Divine Providence to place your Lordship at the helm of this mighty empire, at a period of extraordinary peril and difficulty. It is impossible for a Christian observer to survey the aspect of the times without blended feelings of hope and apprehension; and many are the topics upon which, had he the audience of a responsible statesmán, he would feel it his duty to express an earnest and honest opinion, regulating his principles and moulding his sentiments by that infallible standard of truth, which is not less a directory for the guidance of nations, than a code of morality and a record of immortal hopes, for private life.
But, passing by these topics, there is one portion of the responsibility committed to your Lordship as prime minister of this country, and to your colleagues, more especially the Right Honourable the Lord Chancellor, which is justly regarded by every right thinking, not to say religious man, with a seriousness which belongs to no other portion of your official patronage the allotment of ecclesiastical preferment, whether to private benefices, or to the higher stations in the church.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 348.
It is not necessary to inquire what may be the private theological. principles of your Lordship or your right honourable colleagues; for one thing is abundantly clear, that whatever they may be, your official patronage is entrusted for objects not private but public,-not secular but religious. The prostitution of ecclesiastical preferments to political purposes is a crime which no man will defend: wherever it is done, it must be with a knowledge that it is an offence against God and man; and it would, therefore, be an insult to argue the solemnity of this principle, often as it may have been violated in fact.
But supposing, my Lord, that the conscientious principles of a minister should have determined him honestly to pursue that course which the voice of public opinion, the stability of the Established Church, and the civil and religious welfare of the country, alike demand; namely, to employ his official patronage for the high ends for which it was given, to discard all party interests, to truckle to no time-serving influence, but to select for posts of ecclesiastical dignity and responsibility those only whom he has reason to believe best qualified to fill them: still the question arises, Where is he to look for suitable candidates? Who are to
be his advisers in the choice of them? And how is he so to divest himself of prejudice and party feelings, as to discover, amidst conflicting claims, those who are most likely to promote the interests of religion, the morality and happiness of the people, and the security and honour of the Established Church?
To endeavour, my Lord, to point out by specific features of designation who are the proper persons to receive official countenance as ecclesiastics, would be beside the object of this address. Your Lordship is not invited to discuss points of doctrine, or to involve yourself in the entanglements of opposing schools; but it is intended to urge frankly, and without reserve, that there is one large and growing class of clergymen, whose claims have not merely been neglected but systematically opposed; opposed, not for wise and just reasons, but by ignorance, prejudice, and party spirit, to the great injury of religion, and the unpopularity of the Established Church. The subject involves some delicacy, but it is important; and so important as to demand the fair investigation and adjudication of your Lordship, and those who share with you the public ecclesiastical patronage of the land.
Abstracted, then, from all considerations of doctrinal systems, it is obvious to the most superficial observer, that the clergy of the Church of England do not, as a body, occupy that high station of universal popularity which is desirable for the great purposes of religion and an established church. In too many instances there is an avowed hostility to them, and in others a coldness, little short of hostility as to its practical effects. Yet, amidst all, there are innumerable examples of crowded churches, affectionate pastoral union, and an earnest zeal in those religious objects apart from which a national church is but a shadow without substance, a body
without a soul. Now, in a large proportion of these instances, especially where the people have happened to have the selection of their own minister, the clergyman who has thus succeeded in the great objects of his spiritual appointment is denounced by one of those vaguely and stultitially applied terms which go to discountenance all interest in religion, all that advances one step beyond the decent generalities of social morality, and cold obedience to a ritual. Scriptural piety, activity, and pastoral usefulness, being thus made a bye-word and a proverb, the injurious identification operates to the serious evil of the pastor, his flock, and the public at large. In vain is the individual regular in his ecclesiastical conduct, devout in his behaviour, and exemplary in his social relations,—in a word, a true Christian, a sound churchman, and a faithful minister of Christ; for, notwithstanding all this-or, rather, as the consequence of it,-he acquires, by his zeal for the best interests of his parish, one of those absurd names which ignorance and prejudice have ever at command: he is a methodist, or Calvinist, or evangelical; and this alone is sufficient to render him obnoxious in quarters where, if Christianity and the principles of our church were understood, he would be hailed as a bright ornament to his profession. Had he been ignorant or careless, a sportsman or an idler, there had been nothing to prevent his rising to the highest stations in his profession; but to be "righteous overmuch" is an offence not to be forgiven: he is denounced as an enthusiast; and the more fondly his affectionate flock cling around him, the more he is sought in the abodes of poverty and by the beds of the dying, the more the pews and aisles of his church are crowded, the more his parish is saturated with Bibles and Sunday schools, the more the Dissenter is beaten off the ground, and the youth of the
place grow up devout and attached churchmen; the more has he been marked as a man to be scornfully passed over by the distributors of official patronage.
It has already been stated, that it is not intended to invite your Lordship to discuss theological controversies, and much less to make your official patronage a premium for the candidates of some particular school. But it is complained that hitherto the public patronage has been too much thus unjustly and unwisely employed; that even where political influence and private interest have not operated, another species of partizanship has operated, and a partizanship the more injurious because it was the offspring of ecclesiastical prejudice and sectarian bigotry. It cannot but be well known to your Lordship, that in the distribution of spiritual preferments by the state, even where a corrupt use of patronage was not intended for civil purposes, there has not been in general an endeavour to promote those clergymen who were best known to the public, and most beloved by them; at least where the piety and zeal of the individual had earned for him one of the above-mentioned titles.
It would be to trespass upon delicacy to go far into this matter; but it is notorious that where popular appointments have taken place they have been generally in consequence of private interest, and not from the free choice of the cabinet. Lord Sidmouth, from his friendship for Dr. Burgess, and his private knowledge of his learning and character, made him a bishop, notwithstanding his Bible-Society predilections, which have often-such has been this wretched system-proved fatal to excellent clergymen; but how little of public virtue there was even in this excellent appointment, may be gathered from a reply of Lord Sidmouth's, when congratulated upon it: "Do not compliment us upon Dr. Burgess, for we appointed Pelham too." Dr. Pelham, it is
now matter of history, was nearly as unpopular a bishop, and as little adorned the office or was qualified for it, as any prelate of the last fifty years; but he had political influence, and could give his vote for ministers, and deliver, if not compose, a vchement charge against evangelicals and Bible Societies. If we might judge of the public estimation of a bishop by requisitions to preach charity sermons and to assist at the meetings of charitable and religious institutions, there has probably no prelate been called so often into this kind of honourable notice by his countrymen, during the last fifteen years, as Dr. Ryder, of Lichfield: but that highly esteemed and excellent prelate was nominated by his brother, against the wishes, or rather prejudices, of Lord Eldon and Archbishop Sutton; both of whom had notoriously proscribed, so far as was in their power, from all official patronage, a portion of the clergy amounting to several thousands; numbers of whom were eminently qualified in every respect for the highest offices in the church, and against whom nothing worse could be alleged, than that they had spoken at a Bible Society meeting, or were reputed Calvinistic, or methodistic, or probably both; the objectors not knowing that the peculiar tenets of Calvinism and methodism are in utter hostility. Some of the late king's appointments were highly honourable and popular; but they were royal, not ministerial. The Bishop of Winchester probably attended more public meetings and preached more charity sermons. during last year's parliamentary residence in London, than his cabinet-appointed predecessor Bishop North did in his whole life. Public meetings and charity sermons are not, indeeed, tests of character or episcopal qualification, and are not meant to be urged as such; but they shew the public feeling, and evince-putting matters of doctrine out of the question-who are the persons best capable of serving the