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ON THE ASSUMPTION OF THE TITLE OF "REVEREND."
MR. EDITOR,-I am desirous of calling your attention to a subject not so often animadverted on as its double-dealing requires,-the assumption of the title of "Reverend " by schismatic teachers. Is it not enough, Sir, that they are ceaseless in their endeavours to delude away flocks from their own shepherds, but must they appropriate also the dress of those shepherds, and come in their semblance? Is the Church, then, even in their opinion, so exclusively the organ of scriptural authority, that to prevail at all against her they must shelter themselves behind the ramparts they are endeavouring to undermine? What a humiliating confession of weakness is this! what hypocritical deceit! what contemptible dishonesty! "Mutemus clypeos, Danaumque insignia nobis aptemus." The Church arbitrarily selects a prefix, not in itself the least honourable, but made so simply by its indicating her own episcopal ministers, and then, forsooth, the enemies of that church, the opponents of those ministers, coolly choose the same title, and cloak themselves under the same colours! This may, indeed, be a successful mode of warfare ad captandum vulgus; but it is not therefore the less fraudulent or mean. Let every one who is not ashamed of his own banner display it. But, alas! Mr. Editor, what shall we say―we, who weep to see the seamless garment of our Lord rent now into a thousand pieces,-when we find the citizens of our own Zion opening the gate to her adversaries, and joining hands with her besiegers?-when we behold, for instance, a publication, purporting to be conducted by members of the Establishment, (truly they may be, and so was Tarpeia a Roman), boldly recommending to the clergy resistance to, and defiance of their Bishop, and the selfassumption of powers never entrusted to them: and this simply because that Bishop presumed to exercise his own judgment, and dared to dislike what St. Paul disliked before him?* (2 Thess. iii. 6.) What shall we say when we find it ranging together "the evangelical clergy and the dissenting ministers and laymen who symbolize with them in their leading views of christian doctrine and piety?" Ergo schismatic teachers are not laymen, and the constitution of the Church is a minor point-when we read of them declaring themselves desirous indeed of adhering to episcopacy as a scriptural institution, but nevertheless receiving those who rebel against it as sharers of equal spiritual privileges in the covenanted mercies of God? (vide, I suppose, St. Jude and all the Fathers); and telling us that we may go hunting about on Sundays till we find a preacher suited to our itching ears, if in our estimation the gospel is not preached in our own parish; nay, and ought to do so? § in other words, that we should be the judges and critics of him from whom scripture bids us seek knowledge "in humility-when we hear, in the same work, of the "Methodist Church," and find the two venerable Church Associations, the Baptist, the Wesleyan, &c. ranked together, en masse, as our missionary societies?" || and in whose every page of every Number we
* Christian Observer, No. CCCXXXVII. Notice to Correspondents.
† Ibid. No. CCCXXVI. p. 130.
§ Ibid. No. CCCXL. p. 231, and No. CCCXLIII.
Ibid. No. CCCXLI. p. 310.
may discover the same encouragements to schism, both in the Church and out of it? And it is not, if without profaneness we may apply the sacred words of scripture to such a case, "it is not an open enemy that does us this dishonour, for then peradventure we could bear it; but it is our own familiar friend in whom we trusted, who eats of our bread and joins our service in the house of God." Ps. xli. 55. Well observes Bishop Horne, "The treachery of pretended friends is generally to the Church, as it was to her Lord, the beginning of sorrows. Yes, these same writers never fail to sicken us with hypocritical affection for their "beloved Church," whose hallowed precincts they are exposing to every ravager- "And forthwith he came to Jesus and said, Hail, master! and kissed him." Matt. xxvi. 49. Alas! what can the true children of Zion expect, when they find their own false brethren thus quitting their high ground of Apostolical authority to embrace those they are commanded to rebuke in their own forbidden borders? "Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine ye have learned, and avoid them," says St. Paul. Join with them, salute them, make common cause with them in all their societies, says this "evangelical" publication; yea, though a century ago your own church combined in other associations of her own for similar purposes, and still demands your allegiance, and needs your support in them. Who shall wonder now that the lower classes are led astray, when they witness the heaven-ordained ministers of Christ's holy church holding out the hand of equal fellowship, sanctioning, saying "God speed" to, and recognizing the titles and claims of, every self-appointed teacher, who mounts the rostrum at Bible or soi-disant "Church" Missionary Societies; where the dissenting preacher is esteemed above the layman of the Church (Bible Soc. Reg. Rule 13.); a preference is given in the very constitution of the Society to sectarians (Rule 11); and where one "who denied the God that bought him," and had published blasphemous attacks on the all-adorable and sacred Trinity, was by that constitution retained, at the loss of the respected rector of St. George's (Norris's Exp. p. 216, 2d edit.) Who, I say, shall be surprised that the temple at Jerusalem is deserted when its own priests thus bow to the golden calves of Dan and Bethel? What, then, remains for us? How shall we oppose the torrent of heresy and schism which others pray against and encourage? How, but by taking every opportunity of putting forward the dignity of our apostolically-descended authority, till, instead of its being considered the dream of an interested priesthood, the world returns to its former acknowledgment of that which, through neglect and fear of giving offence, it has been permitted almost wholly to forget; by abjuring the spurious churchmanship which, "ambitious of the fame of liberality of sentiment, in a mean compliance with the humour of the times,"* raises up every sect in depressing the Church to them; by treating schismatics in all mild
*Bishop Horsley; and thus in the original, "Non studemus paci in detrimentum veræ doctrinæ, ut facilitatis et mansuetudinis famam colligamus." Gregory Nazianzen. And thus also Hilary, "Speciosum quidem nomen est pacis et pulchra est opinio unitatis, sed quis ambigat eam solam ecclesiæ et evangeliorum pacem, unitatemque esse quæ Christi est;" and see some inimitable remarks, British Critic, New Series, Vol. X. p. 115.
ness, not as equal brethren, but as erring and misguided wanderers, and by clearly marking, in all our intercourse with them, that we agree with the words of life, in deeming it offensive for an Uzziah to burn incense; in believing that to obey is better than unhallowed sacrifices, and to hearken, than the fat of rams; and in declaring that rebellion from God's ordinances is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness therein as idolatry and iniquity. I am, Sir, your very obedient humble servant, E. B.
THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
ON Thursday, August 19, the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry presided at the eighth anniversary of the Coventry Bible Society. His Lordship said, that although it had occasioned him some inconvenience, he could not suffer the present anniversary to pass without coming forward to express his constant and unceasing attachment to the British and Foreign Bible Society, supported as it was by the most respectable inhabitants of Coventry and its neighbourhood. He highly approved of the Society, and of the object which for five-andtwenty years it had uniformly pursued; and it was gratifying to him that it had a tendency to promote a union of Christians of all denominations, without compelling them to compromise their principles. He would repeat, that the Society should have his unceasing support, and he wished to see it extend itself through the whole of his large and populous diocese,-a diocese containing not less than 1,000,000 souls. A few days before the meeting, the Rev. W. F. Hook, of Christ Church Oxford, Vicar of Trinity Parish, Coventry, and his curate, addressed the following Remonstrance to the Bishop:
"My Lord,-We feel it to be our duty respectfully to represent to your Lordship the mischief that is likely to result to the cause of religion in this city, from your determination to preside at the meeting of the Bible Society, on Thursday next. Surrounded by dissenting teachers, your Lordship will not be supported by the clergy of this town, with perhaps one solitary exception. And we do earnestly request your Lordship to reflect on the impression which will be made on the minds of our people, when they see their Bishops cooperating with sectarians in promoting measures uncalled for by the exigencies of the place, and inconsistent with the principles inculcated by their more immediate pastors. As far as our own parish is concerned, if your Lordship's object is to supply us with Bibles, we can obtain all that we require from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; if it be to levy contributions for the speculations of the Society in Foreign Parts, we beg to inform your Lordship that the demands upon the charity of our more opulent parishioners for local purposes are already greater than can be easily met, and that the poor will be injured in proportion as the Society is benefited. We will take the liberty further to observe that your Lordship compels us, in self-defence, to state, to those persons committed to our charge, what our reasons are for declining to support a Society at which our Bishop presides. If we fail to convince them that we are right, we shall expose ourselves to their contempt, and our ministrations will
become ineffectual; if, on the other hand, we succeed, we shall do what is equally to be deprecated, by rendering our Bishop obnoxious to their censures; or, at all events, those who hold to the one side will despise those who hold to the other; and while we are humbly endeavouring to promote harmony and good will in our parish, your Lordship will, unintentionally, be the means of exciting a party spirit, than which nothing can be more detrimental to the sacred cause in which we are engaged. So important it is, in an extensive parish like this, to maintain unanimity and concord, among churchmen at least, that we seriously and solemnly, in the name of our common Lord and Master, entreat and implore your Lordship not to sow among us the seeds of discord. Your Lordship is so honest in the discharge of all that you conceive to be your duty, that we feel assured you will not be unnecessarily offended at our maintaining our own principles with equal honesty and zeal, or at our endeavouring to avert what we have reason to know will be attended with the most mischievous consequences, by causing a division in our flock, and by affording a triumph to Dissenters. On the merits or demerits of the Bible Society, we, at present, say nothing. Our observations have reference only to your Lordship's supporting it, so far as our parish is concerned, in opposition to our wishes, and in spite of our well-known opinions and principles. With our humble but hearty prayers to Him from whom all good councils as well as all just works do proceed, that he may vouchsafe to direct your Lordship to a wise decision upon the subject, we have the honour to remain your Lordship's obedient servants,
Signed, The VICAR and CURATE.” [We submit this letter, without note or comment, to the consideration of every true Churchman.]
A MAN need not hunt long in Madrid without finding some church door equipped with its " Hoy se saca una alma," --this day a soul has been released from purgatory. It is curious to inquire what has been the ransom, and how many have been the catholic souls ransomed under this scion of the Jewish dispensations in the days of the Maccabees. A bank has existed in the Spanish metropolis ever since the year 1724, and up to the year 1826 it had rescued 13,030,595 souls from purgatorial pains, at an expense-not exceeding one hundred and seventy one millions, five hundred thousand reals! * Of a truth, the road out of purgatory must be far better paved than the sublunary highways in his Most Catholic Majesty's dominions.
From the 1st of November, 1826, to the same day in 1827, it is stated that 11,402 souls had been redeemed from their durance, and that the ransom amounted to 14,2761. sterling, or twenty-five shillings and one half-penny, little more or less, per head. The number of masses by which, at the instance of the bank, this expurgation had been effected, did not exceed 548,921: being somewhat more than four-tenths of a mass for each soul.
years had disclosed of Bentley's character, that it might have been hoped that the opportunities which it afforded for study would have determined the fate and the fame of the illustrious possessor. But Trinity College happened, at that time, to be manifestly declining ; and the Master's irregular zeal to render worthy of his high reputation the society over whom he was called to preside, alloyed, apparently, by some motives of baser material, unfortunately converted this promising scene of peace and studious wisdom into a theatre of exterminative war.
From this period to the latest years of Bentley's protracted life, his time was wholly divided between his critical pursuits, and a struggle to subvert the liberties of his college. The latter object he pursued and achieved with a perseverance, sagacity, and ability, not unworthy a Cromwell or a Napoleon. We shall not attempt even a sketch of his policy in this respect; the subject is far from grateful, and we shall readily resign it for the consideration of those literary and theological undertakings which immortalize his name, and the commemoration of which is best suited to the designation of these pages. Bentley's public "principles" were, in point of "liberality," a century in advance; commencing whig, he afterward dedicated to the Earl of Oxford, and again in the reign of George I. got up a whig address to that monarch on the suppression of the rebellion. This conduct maintained, of course, his interest at court; it was otherwise, however, with the university, where the first scholar of his day was deprived of all his degrees; but the patronage he had secured was ample for effecting his restoration. To his ejection from his Mastership he paid no manner of attention. It is curious that he was enabled to retain the emoluments and privileges of this office solely by a lapsus calami in the college statutes, which, had it occurred in a classical author, would have been subjected to his critical castigation. The letter of the Fortieth Statute of Trinity College is as follows: "Porro si dictus Magister coram dicto VISITATORE examinatus, et vel de Hæreseos, vel læsæ Majestatis crimine, &c. vel denique de alio quovis consimili crimine notabili coram prædicto VISITATORE legitimè convictus fuerit, sine morâ per eundem VICEMAGISTRUM officio Magistri priveter." It is obvious that for Vicemagistrum we should here read visitatorem; yet this clerical error afforded Bentley the means of escaping the Visitor's sentence, by tampering with the Vice-master for the time being, and electing, on the earliest opportunity, a creature of his own to sustain that office.
Before, however, we proceed to the more honourable part of Bentley's life, we will afford our readers a summary of the articles on which he was arraigned and convicted by the Bishop of Ely :-Notorious neglect of public worship in college; neglect to appoint lec