Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

—not his, the individual deceased's body, but ours, the bodies of all mankind.—But if the words did imply a hope of salvation, and even of the salvation of the individual, is it wrong to express such a hope? who will be so uncharitable, so presumptuous, as to limit the mercy of the Almighty? 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.' When this cavil was once mentioned to Dr. Johnson, he replied—' Sir, we are not to judge determinately of the state in which a man leaves this life. He may, in a moment, have repented effectually; and, it is possible, may have been accepted of God. There is, in Camden's Remains, an epitaph on a very wicked man killed by a fall from his horse, in which he is supposed to say—

"Between the stirrup and the ground I mercy asked, I mercy found."'* But even if the doctrinal point were dubious, would nothing be due to the feelings of the living—to a consideration of the scandal and strife which must ensue, if the minister were to act pro re nata, according to his notion of the spiritual state of the deceased? Or is one inexorable form to be adopted, which—for the sake of including the rare, the almost impossible case, where there can be no hope—should deprive the friends, of the millions who die in hope, of the consolation of hearing it revived and confirmed at the awful moment when the grave is closing on their departed friend? Are their ears to hear no soothing voice to mitigate the dismal and discordant sound of the earth shovelled upon the coffin?

Mr. Kiland, with that blundering flippancy which distinguishes him, tells a story which he thinks supports his view of the question, and which, in our opinion, so entirely disproves it, that it is worthy of notice.

'Once,' he says, ' many years since, and only once, I omitted some expressions in the burial service—it was at the grave of a suicide, canonizt d by a coroner's certificate: a person, present on the occasion, complained of my conduct, because the soul of the departed was a loser by it.'—p. 26.

Mr. Riland tells this anecdote for the purpose of sneering at the complainant for ' being sunk into such a hopeless depth of ignorance as to imagine that the dead were beatified by a minister's prayer.' But whether Mr. Riland has accurately reported the complainant's objection or not, we have hardly words to express our reprobation of Mr. Riland's own conduct. In the first place, to gratify his own, perhaps peevish, fancies about the individual case, he forfeited his sacred pledges, and mutilated a divine office which he was bound, by the most solemn obligations, to perform without

* See Croket's Boswell, v. 92; and Mr. Markland's very judicious note on the passage.

deviation. deviation. In the next place, he insulted the laws of the land, in presuming to treat as felo de se one whom the legal authority had—not canonized, as he irreverently phrases it, but—acquitted of that shocking crime. And, lastly, he violated every feeling of Christian charity, in inflicting on an already miserable family the additional horror of not only seeing their father, brother, friend, refused the legal rights of Christian burial, but of hearing even his memory blasted by the charge of the most atrocious of felonies; and it is to tit this gentleman's conscience that the rituals of the Church of England are to be reformed!

We have exhausted our space and, we fear, the patience of our readers—certainly our own—but not, alas! the mischievous mass of ignorance and folly which these pamphlets contain. We have omitted, we believe, no essential article; though we have declined to take advantage of many additional evidences of inconsistency and discord. We have overlooked many vague puerilities, to discuss the leading practical propositions: and that discussion has, we boldly assert, led to this decisive and irrefragable conclusion, that, amongst such various and discordant plans, we had better—even for the purpose of satisfying individual scruples and of keeping as many as possible in communion with the Church—stand as we are!

AH these reformers profess their desire to conciliate dissenters —our first object, we humbly think, ought to be to satisfy ourselves. How can men who differ so widely from each other, hope to bring a third and most reluctant party to an unanimous opinion? But the fact is notorious and avowed, that no alteration which did not divide the Church would attract one single dissenter. Mr. Yates, a respectable dissenting minister, has lately published a sermon, under the candid title of ' The Grounds of Dissent from the Church of England not materially diminished by the present prospect of Ecclesiastical Reform.' And a Mr. Binney, in an address recently delivered on laying the foundation of a Congregational meeting-house, after charging against our Church, in very bitter language, the scandal, schism, and apostacy of her clerical reformers, clearly shows that the only union which the Dissenters contemplate is an accession to their own strength by the dissolution of our 'discordant and divided ' establishment*.

The Rev. Dr. Arnold, late master of Rugby School, has pub

* On the other hand, be it observed, there are numerous and important examples (and particularly a recent one of a respectable miniliter and large dissenting congregation at Plymouth) to prove that many orthodox Presbyterians and other Trinitarian Dissenters are satisfied to adopt our liturgy at il itamls, and, by its mediation, to reconcile themselves with the Church. Ihese valuable acceders are, perhaps, attracted (as we ourselves, in their case, would, be) by some of the very thin^ which the reformers would expunge.

i lished

lished a work on the Principles of Church Reform, which, although it does not fall within our present scope, (as it proposes no specific alterations in the Liturgy,) deserves attention as revealing the real and ultimate end of all Church Reform. Dr. Arnold is very eloquent on the evils of dissent, and is for maintaining a well-endowed establishment; and carries farther than even we should be inclined to do the union of Church and State. These doctrines surprised us in a reformer; but all surprise (except at Dr. Arnold's candid extravagance) ceased, when w-e found that his established church was to be one, so comprehensive, as to include not merely the churches of England and Scotland, with • Presbyterians, Methodists of all denominations, Independents, Baptists, Moravians,' but even—(though that might be more difficult)—' Quakers, Roman Catholics, and Unitarians.'{Prin. of Ch. Ref. p. 31.) At first sight, 'the schoolmaster' seems so very much ' abroad,' that he might be suspected of monomania—but it is no such thing—he opens to us with perfect consistency the real Principle of Church Reform. Our worship is to be altered and amended, abridged and lowered, till it shall suit all appetites—the sour tastes of the Unitarians on one side, and the luscious palates of the Papists on the other. Doctrines, discipline, and service, must be brought down to this common level. In short, the Church of England is to be so reformed, as to become an amalgamation of all churches—that is, no church at all! Archdeacon Berens—Prebendary Wodehouse—and Messrs. Hall and Price, will no doubt protest against being supposed to favour such a change. But Dr. Arnold is a more consistent reasoner— he views the whole, where the others see but a part—they work, each at his own little job—he unrolls the general plan—thev deal with details—Dr. Arnold, as his work professes, with principles; —his plan is impracticable—as wild as Laputa,—but it w orks out the only true theory of comprehensive Reform.

There are some of Dr. Arnold's suggestions—particularly on the mischiefs of sectarianism and the advantages of an establishment—in which we should concur; many more which we should utterly reject; and the conclusion to which he comes is visionary; but we thank him for showing, in a general proposition, to what the details of all the piecemeal reformers ultimately tend.

We, on our part, have endeavoured to expose these details— first, as being in themselves either futile or mischievous; secondly, as being contradictory and irreconcilable; and thirdly, as inevitably leading to the final principle of a deistical Establishment. This is the real question. And we earnestly implore and adjure every sincere member of the Church of England—and especially those who may have been led away by plausible objections, jections, or disturbed by alleged blemishes—to consider candidly the answers to such objections, the explanations of the sup-, posed blemishes—and to judge whether, on the whole, there is anything in our present practice, so seriously erroneous or even inconvenient, as to justify our incurring the enormous, the inevitable danger of such a career of unsatisfactory change as is opened before us—whether for the sake of petty repairs, on which no two architects can agree—we should—in the awful tempest which now shakes all our institutions—risk both the superstructure and foundation of our beautiful temple? NOTE ON A PAMPHLET ENTITLED 'A Refutation of the Calumnies against the Lord Chancellor contained in the last Number of the Quarterly Review.'

We do not pretend that our Liturgy, any more than our temporal Church itself, is infallible: but we have seen, heard, read, of nothing which approaches so nearly to perfection. It is, to repeat the eloquent language of Comber, it is, in its present state, 'so 'judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their 'knowledge and devotion; and yet so plain that the most ignorant 'may pray with understanding: so full, that nothing is omitted 'which is tit to be asked in public; so particular, that it com* 'prises most things which we would ask in private; and yet 'so short as not to tire any that hath pure devotion :—Its doctrine

'that most of the Christian world may agree in them; its method 'is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous; 'most of the words and phrases being taken from Holy Scripture, 'and the rest being the expressions of the first and best ages.' * But if, again, as in the grand rebellion, the Church of England is to undergo a persecution—and if, by the fraud and force of her enemies, and by the weakness, indifference, and disunion of her members her strength is doomed to be for a season trammelled, and her splendour eclipsed—we shall have the same consolation that mitigated the adversity of our forefathers,—' We shall,' in that dark season, ' call to mind the pleasures of the temple, the order 'of her services, the beauty of her buildings, the sweetness of 'her songs, the decency of her ministration, the assiduity of her 'priests, the daily sacrifice, and that eternal fire of devotion which 'went not out by day or by night. These were the pleasures of 'our peace; and there is a remanent felicity in the very memory f of these spiritual delights +!'

[graphic]

ceremonies so few and innocent,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

As the lawyer who wrote this pamphlet holds 'truth to he a libel,' we are not surprised that he should call our statements calumnies; but he has signally failed in disproving any one of those statements. We think the I#ord Chancellor unwise in selecting an advocate who 'had no further knowledge of the ministerial Reform pamphlet, than was derived from the article in our last Number;' and really s writer in defence of Lord Brougham ought to have some better evidence than the noble lord's own speeches. With the aid of the<e one hundred and seventeen pages are eked out; and they contain, we must admit, many shining declarations of the legal ability, indifference to pecuniary concerns, and high reforming qualities of the noble lord.

In regard to the offices held by Mr. James Brougham, the solemn charge against us is, that we asserted, untruly, that there was a recommendation of a Committee of the House of Commons in favour of the salary of 14,000/., grounded upon the (living up of those offices. It is said that we called Lord Brougham's examination before that Committee a mountebank examination, 'because he proceeded from the House of Lords with the mace, which he-left at the door of the committee-room, and was examined sitting on a chair, and covered;' whereas, we so termed it, because the noble Lord did conduct himself on that occasion like a mountebank, and eloquently discoursed upon his drunken coachman, additional house-maids, the embroidery of his bag, and such like ' moving accidents by Hood and field.' But to the charge—it is asserted that the Report of the Committee contains 'not one iota respecting the giving up of these offices,' and 'that it is incontestable that the extinction of those places was not taken Into account.' Now the Committee reluctantly reported in favour of the 14,000/. a year, but they referred to the Lord Chancellor's evidence as their justification; and he consoled them with the assurance that all the expenses of all the judges of the court, and of the speaker of the Lords, &c., &c., should come out of the Suitors' Fund! Lord Lyndlinrst's average was only 14,177'- 0s. Oil. a year, collected from various objectionable and uncertain sources; not paid, as Lord Brougham would say of his own 14,000/., in 'a slump sum' by the Bank, without deduction* Lord Brougham, in his evidence, stated what sinecure offices were held by the connexions of former Chancellors, and his catalogue included the offices in question. 'Every one of these offices,' he said,' it is my great disposition to have abolished, and I am now in negotiation to endeavour to reduce the amount of some of them even with the present holders; but, at all events, I hope to see them cut off entirely for the future. The Great Seal will, in this way, he stripped of all that patronage which would Itave enabled it to provide fur a family, as the instances of former Clumcellors show, and the Chancellor will then be left without any such means whatever.' Strong as this statement was, the Committee were not Satisfied with it. 'Are the Committee,' they asked, ' to understand that it is your intention to divest the office of Lord Chancellor of all those situations which hitherto have been considered as sinecures, and as affording a provision for his family ?'—' If,' says his lordship, ' I can obtain the concurrence of Parliament, my strongest disposition is, to divest the Lord Chancellor of all that patronage, without any exception, which has hitherto gone to the maintenance of the Lord Chancellor's family.' Referring to this evidence, the Committee report in favour of 14,000/. a year; yet now the Lord Chancellor and his friends assert openly, that he was under no engagement to relinquish the offices in question, and he actually received into the family chest a few thousands for two of those very offices. Was it, we ask, necessary to pay such a sum, 'in order to affix to the office-copy of an affidavit a valid and legal stamp and signature?' Could not a clerk have effected that operation? Will any man dare to say that Mr. James Brougham had a vested interest in those offices which entitled him to compensation? Could the accidental falling in of the offices long after the report of the Committee fixing the salary, vary the right? Is it material when the 14,000/. was secured? The salary was granted on the footing of the report. In truth, the Lord Chancellor not only

'talked

« ElőzőTovább »