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practices—nay, should hold opinions displeasing to his bishopthe latter can at his own private will or caprice (mero motu, as the lawyers say,) remove him from his spiritual post, and entirely exclude him from the diocese. Are we to presume that the State regards such discipline as wholesome to the church, since it has not interfered ? No: but the State did not care a farthing about a curate, whose revenues would not yield a farthing to be cared for. The proof is this. If a rector is guilty of the same iniquities, or even a parish clerk, the bishop has no summary power of removal allowed to him; because these worthies possess freeholds! They can appeal to the ecclesiastical courts; dens of darkness into which it is dangerous even for a lord bishop to chase them.
The origin of the whole fabric of church revenues is however too significant, and its connexion with present evils too close, to be dismissed without farther remark. The bishoprics of England boast of being a historical development; a statement which poorly conceals the momentous truth, that they rose out of conquest, by the policy of a barbarous age. When William the Norman so successfully trampled down the brave nation who had received him as their constitutional king, he brought-in his Norman prelates, and aggrandized the hierarchy after continental fashion, with the spoils of the Saxon barons. The ecclesiastics had indeed been powerful enough in Saxon times : their lordly might was exceedingly advanced under the new dynasty. We can trace how, from time to time, new bishoprics have been made at the will of the Crown, from policy or from caprice, and from no action of the church itself as a spiritual society; and yet its modern advocates would blind themselves and others into the belief that this institution is of apostolic growth. As a consequence of the principles which originated it, down to this day, the revenues of the church are distributed on the feudal maxim, to provide for the splendour of the great, and let the little people shift for themselves. A most memorable illustration of episcopal sentiment was seen in the proceedings of the government committee, which, soon after the Reform Act, was appointed to inquire concerning reforms in the church. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London were among its most active members; and the first measures which they thought needful for Church-Reform were, so to alter the distribution of the episcopal revenues as to secure that no bishop should have less than £5,000 a year.
Their second measure was to aggrandize the bishops by transferring to them some of the patronage of the chapters. No other reform emanating from that committee has reached our ears. Justly indeed did this call into use the satirical pen of the Rev. Sidney Smith; only that the case is too gravely shocking to be ridiculed. Excellently as it is in harmony with feudal notions—with the idea of a bishop who appears before his sovereign to do homage for a barony-himself mounted and in full armour, with a train of knights and squires following him ; we can scarcely conceive a distribution of church-revenues more grossly offensive to every christian principle, than this pampering of the bishops with wealth, while the mass of the labouring
clergy are in the most narrow circumstances : many of them in extreme anxiety, or forced to labour for their bread at occupations which steal away their time from their sacred office. The bishops, we are told, are the almoners of the church ! What would have been thought of the apostles if, when rich men laid down their fortunes at their feet, they had reasoned as modern defenders of the establishment ?
" It is expedient for apostles to be rich and keep their carriages, in order that ignorant people may respect them. It is right that they should be able to keep a handsome table, and receive the inferior clergy at it: therefore we will keep all the money as our private possession, taking care not to have less than £5,000 a year apiece, (but as much more as we can get,) and will leave the working clergy to manage as they can, or to be pensioners at our table--without their wives and children.'
In saying this, we do not blame the existing bishops personally, unless they uphold the system. We blame all who do not see this aggrandizing of the few, side by side with the indigence of the many, to be worldly, heartless, and hateful in the sight of God.
Again; let us for a moment advert to the noble and only admissible idea of a Hierarchy, and ask what pretension the established church makes of fulfilling it. If a hierarchy admits of any christian meaning, it surely is a system in which there is established a graduated authority, with successors of apostles at the head, and ministers of things secular in the lowest place. * It is not meet for us,' said the real apostles, 'to leave the word of God, and serve tables. The elders who rule well,' says Paul, count worthy of double honour, specially them who minister in the word and doctrine.' Orthodox commentators are careful to insist that double honour' means a double salary;' conceding this, (though it certainly was the last sort of honour that could have been prominent in Paul's mind), the fact remains, that the direct ministry of the word was regarded by him as the highest spiritual office. In the church of England this is totally reversed. On the curate and the poorer vicars and rectors rests the main permanent burden of spiritual instruction. Above these are the richer rectors, who keep curates and a good table; and who, by greater wealth, rank higher in the church, though they are far less active in the word and doctrine. Among but above these, are Rural Deans, whose duty it is to inspect the state of church-buildings; and Archdeacons, who now and then preach to the clergy, enforcing upon them to wear or not to wear surplices, to join or abstain from the Bible Society, to baptize or not to baptize dissenters' children; or in some other way echoing the inanity of epis. copal charges. Somewhere on a par with the Archdeacon is the Prebendary, whose chief business, as far as we can understand, is to perform the part of a chanting-boy or organ-pipe in the cathedral for some months in the year, whether the vast building be full or empty. Services so important, and so tending to sustain the self-respect of man, deserved, it seemed, an elevated rank, and are, on the whole, rewarded by higher pay. But loftier still sits the Dean, head of the chapter, and pro tempore proprietor of the cathedral. Far seldomer does he make his voice even an organ-pipe. Spiritual care he has none; except on the hypothesis that the cathedral itself has a soul to be saved or lost. Good men holding the office will no doubt make for themselves opportunities of good. Some have been able theological writers; a few, able preachers from time to time; but these are rare works of supererogation, with which the dignity of dean is quite unconnected. The deanery, in fact, when very rich, -as that of St. Paul's, London,-in rank closely approaches the episcopate itself; and but for the dignity of Peer of Parliament attached to the latter, we almost suspect that the dean's office would have been the more coveted; for he has decidedly more of a sinecure than the Bishop. This last great functionary no doubt will have a very busy life, when either ambition or fantastical feeling or a sense of duty leads him to take in hand the unpromising task of remodelling the conduct of his clergy. Nor do we deny that there is work for a judicious bishop, which, if well performed, would deserve high honour; but, we apprehend, the rules of the church are such as to secure that he shall not perform them efficiently. First, in the admission of candidates for orders, the jealousy of the State has reduced the bishop's power to a minimum. Next, the episcopal charges, which might, under a wellordered system, be of much value, are deprived of nearly all their moral weight by the fact that the bishop is not a parishpriest himself; their influence therefore is only ecclesiastical, seldom spiritual. But, when the bishop's duty is best discharged, the fact nevertheless is glaring, that as a peer of the realm, a landowner, lord of a princely mansion, superintending a large establishment; as a prelate, vexed with canon law, and courts falsely named spiritual ; he is in very many ways neces
sarily far more concerned with things secular, and 'the service of tables,' and far less able to give himself to the word of God and to prayer,' than the humblest of the curates who can make a shift to live without taking private pupils. Some practical modification of our allegation is no doubt involved by the hard necessity against which the curate has to struggle; yet it is not such as to invalidate the general truth of the statement, that the higher a clergyman rises in office, the less has he, by virtue of his office, to do with spirituals, and the more with temporals.
Such is the secularization of the Established Church. We must now see in detail how it affects the character of the clergy at large in their different positions.
We begin our survey from the Universities, which, in the absence of separate episcopal seminaries, must be regarded as the nurseries of the clergy. In them, we are justified in expecting the clerical character to stand peculiarly high, unless we can suppose our Venerable Mother to commit the blunder of breeding from her worst stock. Yet nowhere else has the secular spirit, which the union of Church and State has sanctioned and necessitated, been more intense and more glaring than in the universities. It has made bad clergymen and bad professors ; it has afflicted literature, erudite theology, and practical ministry with mischief so impartial, that it is hard to say which has suffered most. One thing only seems to have flourished under the system, viz., the mathematics, at Cambridge and Dublin: perhaps, because these sciences, having nothing moral in them, cannot be ruined by the ruin of the moral and spiritual man, if only a general intellectual energy pervades the nation. Or, to take a more favourable view, it is because these are studies in which the blighting interference of Church or State authority is impossible (at least now that the inquisition, before which Gallileo trembled, is no more); and therefore the mathematician is likely to be as successful in his investigations as if he were not an academician. But whatever the value of the mathematical sciences (and we rate them exceedingly high), it would be ludicrous indeed to extol the church system for its cultivation of such a branch of knowledge, which is indeed a feature of the prevailing secularization. We would not use this word invidiously. Assuredly a mathematical professor, or a lecturer on Greek sculpture, may be as good and holy and honourable a man, as one whose office and whole life is employed in the direct service of religion. But this does not undo the essential absurdity of confounding and perverting duties solemnly conferred. By the bishop's hands and voice a man receives the Holy Ghost for the office of a priest,' with power to remit or retain sin ;' having first declared that he truly believes he is inwardly moved thereto by the Holy Ghost.' He is farther charged (as he knows he will be) to lay aside, as far as he is able, all other studies, and give himself solely to the work of the ministry. Moreover, to nail all this for ever, an 'indelible character' is confirmed upon him, by the law both of church and state. In profession, he is signally set apart for one thing only, and that, for his whole life; and yet in practice no one thinks it wrong if the party in question intends to be neither more nor less than a religious schoolmaster or professor of some science : religious, in the sense in which every man ought to be religious. This is to turn the Ordi. nation Service into hypocrisy. The man subjected to its operation is simply hampered in his secular profession by it, without benefit to any one whatever. There are very many excellent persons entangled in such a position, in whom we find every thing to approve, if we could but forget that they are clergymen. But the vows and profession of that order suit so ill with the actual employment of the parties, that they become stiff, awkward, and unprofitable, the moment they begin to remember their theoretic character. In the vast majority of instances, this secret consciousness forbids their looking on a literary life as their ultimate design, and eminence in it as their chief external ambition; consequently, they cannot give themselves to their literary work with single-hearted earnestness, nor make any proficiency, even in the professed academical studies, at all commensurate with what might be expected from national universities possessed of advantages so signal.
We are aware that many causes within the universities themselves,–Oxford in particular,—co-operate with the incubus of clerical professionalism in retarding the advance of valuable studies; and this is too large a question to be here treated. But we cannot avoid touching on several topics which belong expressly to the process by which the clergy are secularized. We find, for instance, in these universities, so many unseemly inducements to take holy orders, which insure a regular supply of secular clergy. A young man who has gained a Fellowship in one of the colleges, finds that he must vacate it with extreme inconvenience and loss,-involving perhaps the loss of the col. lege Tutorship,-unless he is ordained : although not one of the offices which he is filling is pretended to be the proper employment of a clergyman, or to be for a moment contemplated in the Ordination Service as fulfilling a clergyman's duties. perhaps he is about to succeed to the college Tutorship, and can retain his Fellowship without ordination : yet the head of the college makes ordination an essential condition of the tutorship,