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they belong, does not extend beyond their positive assurance that its existence is indispensable for the interests of true religion. And that this assurance is rarely afforded, you may easily collect from what has been already said respecting the deficiencies of their professional education, In fact, upon this, as upon every other important subject, they are divided. Their High Churchmen of the present day merely approve of the Church as a political institute;their Low Churchmen disapprove of it as a religious incumbrance.
make during their progress through the University-and thus find, generally speaking, that they are not behind their contemporaries in either the skill or the knowledge that is required for exercising their new craft with profit or with eclat. But with us these things are not so. Our clergy are those who, from early childhood, have been marked out for the sacred office; and who, from their youth up, have received a training such as peculiarly qualifies them for entering upon it with advantage, They are men whose attention has been confined to one pursuit, not Who is right or who is wrong, in dissipated over several; and whose thus subordinating the gospel to the acquisitions all have a direct or an Church, cannot, my dear friend, be a indirect bearing upon the great cause question between you and me; but to which they are devoted. What- as little, I deem it, can it be a quesever be the capacity of any one of tion who has the advantage in the our clergy, we contrive to make him position which we respectively occupredominantly professional, by so py-our people, who must acknowconfining his attention to professional ledge the authority of the Church of topics, that the sum total of his know- Rome, preparatory to their being ledge upon other subjects may bear Christians; or our adversaries, who but a small proportion to his pole- conceive that they may be Christians, mical acquirements. The very re- while yet they are very indifferent verse of this takes place amongst our about the Church of England. No adversaries;—and their wisest and pains, as I before told you, are here most learned men are, generally taken to shew-even if it could be speaking, wise and learned much shewn-that the Church, as by law more as pertains to the things of this established, is essential to the inteworld than of the next, and pride rests of true religion, or even very themselves much more upon their considerably conducive thereto; and, classical, historical, or scientific at- therefore, it never will be defended tainments, than upon their proficien- with the zeal with which we defend cy in the knowledge of divine things, our We feel that all is lost in comparison with which every other if our species of human learning is mere "hay and stubble.”
But the most important point of distinction between the orthodox and the heretical clergy in this country, is, that we put the Church where they put the gospel. We make the gospel but an instrument for the exaltation of the Church; they make the Church but an instrument for the publication of the gospel. You may easily conceive the immense advantage of our position in this respect. In the first place, all our clergy must, necessarily, be good churchmen; they must recognise the supreme authority of one living and divinely appointed commentator upon holy writ, and yield to his commands the most implicit obedience;-while our adversaries are divided according to their several whims or fancies; and their real regard for the Church to which VOL. XXXI. NO. CLXXXI.
is overturned. The decided overthrow of Catholicity in Christendom, (if I may presume for a moment to contemplate such an impossibility,) would not lead to Protestantism, but to infidelity. The Church-the Church by Christ established-is that which is always uppermost in the thoughts of true believers. They find it as difficult to separate its interests from those of "the faith once delivered to the saints," as heretics to identify them together. And, if the alternative were proposed to them to-morrow, to choose the one and reject the other, I am as well persuaded their cry would be " perish the gospel, and live the Church," as that the cry of the heretics, under similar circumstances, would be, " perish the Church, and live the gospel."
Well, my friend, we will not part with the gospel while we preserve
the Church. Received as we receive it, with due submission to ecclesiastical authority; and interpreted, as we interpret it, in due conformity to the dictates of the apostolic see, it is by no means opposed to, but, on the contrary, altogether consistent with the doctrines of our holy religion; while our adversaries, having departed from the Church, may be said, also, to have departed from the gospel, for they reject the only guidance under which it could be truly understood. In sacrificing the Church, because of their attachment to the gospel, they are altogether unconscious that they are sacrificing the gospel from their hatred to the Church.
And long may they continue in that delusive state of self-confidence, which causes division amongst themselves as well as separation from the centre of Catholic unity. Thus may they best be eventually brought from the errors of their ways, and led to recognise, from the contemplation of the harmony which prevails amongst true believers, the only source of certainty and security in matters of faith and doctrine, by the meek and reverent submission to which men may have peace upon earth, and attain, after their mortal pilgrimage, the blessedness of heaven.
Our position here, therefore, is abundantly consolatory at present. It is surely a cause of grateful thanksgiving, that our adversaries should experience embarrassment and weakness from what might be supposed to give them strength, while we experience strength and confidence from what might be supposed to embarrass and impede us.
Of liberality upon the continent you have some reason to complain. And I fully agree with you, that the present state of our Church would be less deplorable, if the defection from the faith that has taken place carried men the whole way into infidelity, without suffering them to touch, on the road, at any of those resting-places where they become enamoured of the follies of some fantastical sect, and persuade themselves that, by becoming attached to it, they may still be Christians. Those who have been, in this way, inveigled from us, we rarely if ever reclaim,
while stark-staring infidels are very frequently re-converted-to be sure, in most instances upon the deathbed, but then, one such conversion is better than a dozen sermons. Besides, infidels, in this country at least, have been of amazing use to us. Without them, I do not think the Parliament would have ever passed the Catholic Bill; and, I assure you, their hatred of the heretical church exceeds that of true believers. They are known here by the name of li beral Protestants; and you may be sure that we do not refuse to bic them "God speed," when they vo lunteer to act as pioneers for the de struction of Protestant institutions.
There is, therefore, a wide difference between the meaning of the word "liberality" amongst us and amongst you; or rather, the differ ent circumstances in which we are placed give it a different application With you, it is anti-popish; with us it is favourable to popery. With you it is the mask under which infidels carry on their designs against true religion; with us, it is the mask un der which the faithful, who are for. this one purpose in league with infi dels, carry on their designs agains the Established Church. With you it starves religion; with us, it feed: it. With you, it has deprived the Church of its own property; with us it has taxed an heretical community for the purpose of educating ou clergy, and is about to appropriate part of the revenues belonging to the heretical establishment for the purpose of conferring upon them a reputable independence. Therefore, say I, long live "LIBERALITY," in the sense in which it is understood in Ireland.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I said in my last, that there was something in the discipline of the Church of England adverse to its stability. You shall judge. The patronage of the bishoprics and of the higher dignities is vested in the government, who also have the disposal of a vast number of the inferior preferments. The remainder are shared between the bishops and the lay impropriators. Now, we may lay it down as a certain truth, that the condition of the Church will be determined by the manner in which the patronage is employed. If it be conscientiously used, the Church must prosper;-if it be sacrilegiously abused, the Church must decay.
What, then, are the motives which influence the government in the choice of bishops? For, as are the bishops, so will be the Church. Are they appointed for political or for spiritual considerations? A man would here be laughed at who seriously asked such a question :—so notorious is it, that family connexion and parliamentary influence are the only passports to that lofty station! The consequence of this is, that in the Church of England real merit is overlooked, or scantily and inadequately rewarded; while individuals, by no means eminent either for learning, or piety, or talent, or eloquence are promoted, not only beyond their deserts, but despite their deficiencies, and without the slightest regard to those peculiar qualifications which can alone ensure a wise discretion in the management of ecclesiastical affairs. Now, the advantage which we derive from this is twofold. It excites a just clamour against the heretical Church from without, and it weakens its defences within. The same arts which fill its high places with incapables, augment the hatred and strengthen the hands of its ene
The bishops, you may be sure, follow the example that has been set them, and do unto others as the government has done unto them. Their best benefices are seldom conferred upon any one beyond the circle of their kinsfolk or acquaintance. Thus, from the top to the bottom, a system of partiality and persecution pre
vails, such as, in the days of Luther, furnished the most plausible of the accusations which were levelled against our holy Church, and which, more than any thing else, contributed to the event miscalled the Reformation.
At present, when a man who is eminent either for learning, piety, zeal, or eloquence, begins to be professionally distinguished, the sons and relatives of the bishop, in whose diocese he is, immediately begin to take the alarm. They consider him as a kind of interloper, who is disposed to interfere with their legiti mate claims, and nothing is left undone, which petty artifice and malevolence can accomplish, to injure him in the opinion of his diocesan, who, indeed, too frequently is disposed to view him in the same light; so that, as Shakspeare says, “his virtues are his enemies," and he soon begins to learn from experience, that "that which is comely" may 66 envenom him that bears it." He sees that the sycophant and the parasite thrive, while he is compelled to subsist upon a scanty pittance, scareely sufficient to ward off actual famine from his wife and children!
It has, I know, been said, and it is thought by many sensible persons, that the lay impropriations are a great means of giving stability, and ensuring permanency, to this accursed system. I never have thought so; and least of all can I think so now. Of all the English Church preferments, the lay impropriations are the most notoriously and scandalously abused. The government sometimes, even the bishops sometimes, have regard to merit in their choice of rectors. They become ashamed of being influenced in every instance by sordid and unworthy motives, and they endeavour to gull the public, and at the same time throw a sop to their conscience, by sometimes promoting an honest man; but lay impropriators never. I say, therefore, that the part of the system that is most objectionable can never permanently uphold the rest. No CHURCH CAN EVER BE PROTECTED AGAINST ITS OWN ABUSES;
and amongst the rottenest abuses of the Church of England, I look upon lay impropriation. I have no doubt the
individuals to whom they belong would like well to continue possess ed of them, and must be blind indeed, if they do not see that their interest in this respect is linked inseparably with that of the Established Church. But if that Established Church be felt to be a public nuisance, not merely by us, but by Protestants also, from the manner in which its patronage is administered, to the neglect of those ends for which it was appointed, and to the scandal of true religion, the lay impropriators will find themselves in a miserable minority, if their temporal interests should inspire them with the hardihood to stickle for the continuance of such a system, in opposition to the judgment and the feelings of the community at large. Depend upon it, it cannot last; and the lay impropriators, so far from being a protection to it, are a dead weight, which must accelerate its downfall, and ensure its destruction.
Nor is this all-as soon as the Church tumbles, the lay impropriations must cease. We are acquainted with every acre of Church property which has thus undergone sacrilegious alienation; and, think you, that we shall be slow to put in our claims when the day of retribution comes? No, truly. If what was appropriated to religious purposes may be resumed, -much more, what was misappropriated to secular purposes. If churchmen, who perform spiritual duties in consideration of the possessions which they enjoy, may yet be deprived of those possessions;-much more those who perform no such spiritual duties. The lay impropriators reason right in saying, “our property is part and parcel of the property of the Church; let us, therefore, unite to defend it." But we, also, reason rightly when we say, you cannot defend the property of the Church; and, therefore, a fortiori, not your own possessions." They are an engrafted shoot, which all the care that can be taken of them will not enable to survive the extinction of the parent stock. So may we pronounce, with at least equal certainty, of those vested interests which have been acquired out of the patrimony of the Church, and the security of which cannot be greater than that of the property of which
they once constituted part and parcel, and which, if an heretical govern ment had a right to alienate it for the support of heresy, the faithful may surely reclaim for the maintenance of true religion.
Now, compare all this with the practice which obtains among us in similar cases, and recognise our su periority. In our Church merit ob tains its due reward. An able and efficient minister never is neglected The curate, after a certain routine o service, if his conduct be approved of, is certain of becoming a paris] priest;-and the parochial clergy according to their merits, may enter tain an equal expectation of bein elevated to the mitre. But this is no all. We not only provide for ou clergy according to their merits, bu dispose of them according to thei fitness. We endeavour, as far as i us lies, not only to give good thing to good men, but to put proper me in proper places. This, as you may well suppose, gives us a prodigiou advantage. It is a consideration whic never enters into the mind of a Pro testant patron, who only thinks o the living as a good thing for the fa voured individual who is appointe to it. Now our only consideratio: is, whether the individual appointe is good enough for the living. Wher ever a vacancy occurs, and befor any promotion takes place in conse quence of it, we consider all the cir cumstances of the case-the exten of the parish, its population, the dif ferent denominations of heresy tha are to be found in it, what particula species at that time happens to be epidemic; how the people are di vided into parties; the characters and abilities of the Protestant clergymen; the names and the dispositions of the principal Protestant gentry; it is unnecessary to tell you that we enquire very particularly into all those things, because you know that we are under obligation to make a regular return of them to the Holy See; and you may easily imagine. the advantage which we possess, from the knowledge which we thus acquire, in choosing the individual upon whose conduct in his sacred charge so many important consequences may depend, and who may so considerably either promote by his discretion, or injure by his inca
pacity, the cause to which we are all so earnestly devoted.
You may be sure, therefore, that our flocks are not "scattered like sheep not having a shepherd." They are well attended and carefully preserved. Is there a doughty controversialist, some scatterer of pestilent heresies, in the neighbourhood? We are not slow to depute the cause of the Church to some champion who has been trained in polemical warfare, and with whom, if he should presume to break a lance, he is sure to come off worsted in the conflict. Is the charge of the Protestant congregation committed to some incompetent person, who from ignorance cannot, or from heedlessness will not, be a guide or a pattern to his flock? We take good care that our own people shall experience a striking contrast in that particular, and learn to appreciate the watchfulness and the ability of learned and laborious pastors.
Indeed I may say, that if our adversaries were disposed to imitate us in these particulars, they could not do so; such are the deficiencies in their professional education. If the government were as earnest as they are indifferent respecting the choice of good bishops; and the bishops as earnest as they are indifferent respecting the selection of good rectors, they could not find them-at least not without remodelling the whole system of their universities. What a militia or a yeomanry is, as compared with the regular service, they are as compared with us. There is amongst them no esprit du corps." Whatever zeal or ability, or professional devotedness they evince, arises out of the personal character of individuals, and not out of the training which they undergo.
duce a remedy." They do, my friend, attract notice, and they have caused the suggestion of a remedybut-a remedy worse than the disease!
The proposal which seems most popular at present is, a seizure of Church property, and the creation of a fund for increasing the stipends of the curates and inferior clergy; while those of the bishops, and of the clergy who hold the larger benefices, are diminished. Now this would only complete the ruin that threatens them from the evils already in existence. The only part of their system which works unexceptionably well, is that which is in the hands of the present race of curates and inferior clergy; who appear, indeed, to do them but justice, to have entered into the Church with single views, and who certainly do not owe their present appointments to secular considerations. As long as they subsist upon their present footing, there will always be a certain degree of activity and earnestness which keeps the system just alive, and compensates, in some measure, for the indolence and carelessness by which their more richly endowed brethren are distinguished. let their stipends be increased so as to average even two hundred a-year, and from that moment their appointments will become worthy of the notice of many who at present despise them; and, whenever vacancies oc
cur, they will be filled from the
They are not content to act like our
which thus exposes them to con-
Remedies no doubt have been suggested which would indeed have a tendency to prop this tottering
say, ' these are all deficiencies so obvious that they Church, and enable it to endure a must surely attract notice, and pro- little longer. But there is not the