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case is rendered desperate. There is on the other hand a danger, lest too much in[JAN. dulgence should be misconstrued into licence to sin." pp. 29, 30.
"But your zeal for the salvation of others will be of little avail, if it is not accredited by your own example: when the life of the teacher exhibits a contrast to his doctrine, his instructions lose all their weight. Irreproachable purity of morals, habitual piety, a gravity suitable to his calling, and the strictest propriety in all his demeanour, are required, and not without reason, of the professed teacher of godliness, the steward of the mysteries of Christ. levity, is criminal indiscretion in a clergyman. Addiction to worldly pursuits, or What may seem in a layman excusable frivolous pleasures, occupations and habits inconsistent in any respect with the clerical character, will diminish the reverence due to his office, and expose him to the suspicion of hypocrisy. A more than ordinary caution is requisite at this particular season, when no folly or fault, no act that is capable of misconstruction, no departure from rule, no omission of duty, can escape notice." p. 31.
"I am well aware that I have been insisting on topics familiar to all who have thought on these matters; and in the presence of many, whose practice will not admit of improvement from any suggestions of mine. But subjects like these are never
unprofitable." p. 35.
Lastly, recurs the question of Church Reform, respecting which the Archbishop will have greatly damped the hopes of the public, if this Charge is to be considered an authoritative manifesto and ultimatum.
His Grace objects to the revival of the Convocation, and we think wisely. It would either be a time-serving assembly, or it would come into speedy collision with parliament, government, and the public; and thus bring on the downfal of the church establishment. We have no hope that under existing circumstances it would in any way contribute to the spiritual efficiency of the Church.
His Grace concurs in the proposal in the Report of the commissioners on ecclesiastical law, to form a tribunal in which the bishop shall preside in person as judge for the trial of delinquencies in clergymen.
Next follows the momentous question of Pluralities, on which his Grace thus records his deliberate decision:
"The question of Pluralities, especially in their relation to non-residence, is of much greater real importance, and, if considered abstractedly, must undoubtedly be determined against the Pluralist; but the holding of more benefices than one by the same individual has been always allowed under certain restrictions in our church, with a view to the more liberal maintenance of its ministers, the encouragement of sacred learning, and the remuneration of professional merit. tical matters have the friends of the Church been more divided, while some persons On no subject connected with ecclesiasobject to the least alteration in the present system, and others contend for the entire abolition of Pluralities After much consideration, I still retain the opinion, that
the law, as it stands, allows an unjustifiable latitude, and yet I am persuaded that great inconvenience would be occasioned by falling into the opposite extreme. measure which has twice received the approbation of one branch of the Legislature, was framed on this view of the case, and, though dropped for the present, I still The entertain the expectation that it will pass, with some modifications, in a future session." pp. 42, 43.
We have read this paragraph with extreme pain. It is a plea for what is utterly indefensible; what is disgraceful to the Church of England, and is not tolerated in any other. abortive plurality bill will pass His Grace's expectation that the late modifications "with some modifications," unless those go far towards the extinction of the system, can only have been founded on an extraordinary inattention to the signs of the times. The public demand, and will have, a resident incumbent in every parish; and not one rush will the argument weigh with them that what is utterly unjust, injurious, and indefensible, is to be perpetuated "for the encouragement of sacred learning and the remuneration of professional merit." Besides, with all deference to his Grace, does any man, either in or out of a cathedral, believe that the cumulating system has really been thus applied? There was an amply endowed cathedral some years since, in which it was a current jest that there was but one divine in it who composed his own sermons, and he was a semi-Methodist; and yet there was
no lack of very handsome pluralities and ample "hospitality." It is hard enough for a poor meritorious clergyman who is working diligently in his vocation, to be turned adrift and half-starved, while he sees many an "ape of idleness," who happens to have powerful friends, jumping into a profusion of golden preferments, without being taunted with being told, that it is in consideration of superior "sacred learning" and "professional merit," that the latter is thus overwhelmed with benefices while he is passed by. If any thing could convert the unendowed and poorly-endowed clergy, and the well-disposed body of the laity, into radicals, and make them hail instead of loathe the personal expositions in The Times newspaper, it would be language like this. For surely most remarkable is it, and a thing to be responded to with loud acclaim, that so large a portion of the "sacred learning and professional merit," of a diocese should so often run in particular families; that fathers, sons, nephews, cousins, and grand-children, all of one honoured name or lineage, should by their pre-eminent piety and virtue engross all the best livings and sinecures within fifty miles round. The newspapers have been blundering about the duplicate, triplicate, and multiplicate holdings of the Sparkes in Ely, and the Norths in Winchester, and we know not what beside, which they could not account for; not being aware that in these names must have centered all the sacred learning and professional merit which some pious and disinterested bishop was able to find among his clergy. Was there a stall that was not in a smile when his Grace delivered this portion of his Charge?
We are sorry to say that the above is all that we can find in the actual shape of reform. We do not indeed think that it was necessary for his Grace to specify every detail; but if he touched upon the matter at all, we cannot but think it had been both right and politic to promise that, so far as his influence extends, the reform should be ample, adequate, and leaving nothing to be nibbled at hereafter. But instead of this we find only the following vague statement.
"I am aware that in respect to the measures best calculated to meet the present emergency, and settle the Church on a secure footing, there is great diversity of sentiment. On a question of so much importance, and opening so many considerations both of principle and detail, it will not be expected that I should give my opinions at length on this occasion. Nor am I disposed to examine the merits of the various plans, which have been proposed for the reform of the Church, the improvement of its constitution, the renovation of its discipline, or the regulation of its property. But I can truly aver, that from the hour in which I was called to an office, at all times of the most awful responsibility, and more especially in these days of rebuke and peril, my attention has been fixed on the subject, with an earnest desire for the correction of abuses, and the removal of blemishes, yet with an anxious sense of the dangers attending a single false step. The Church, like all institutions under the direction of man, has unquestionably defects and imperfections. But that which at first sight offends, is not always wrong. Parts, which singly considered are pronounced to be faulty, may be found on a larger survey to possess a relative excellence, and to contribute by their bearings on the whole of the system to a beneficial result. A system again, far short of theoretic perfection, may be exquisitely adapted to the combinations of circumstances in this mixed state of things. In respect to the conduct of affairs more especially some allowance is necessary; and things really objectionable may possibly be altered for the worse, if we forget that perfection in wisdom and virtue is not the lot of man. With these reflections present to my mind, and looking to the claims of our Church to just veneration, from the character of its clergy, and the services they have rendered to religion, to liberty, and to literature; from the beneficial influence of its principles on the institutions, the laws, and the manners of the country; and from its prominent station as the bulwark of Protestantism in the Christian world, I am unwilling to hazard its safety by rash innovation, nor could I venture to act without full consideration of the probable consequences of any given change. These feelings have rendered me cautious, but, I trust, not inactive. Availing myself of useful suggestions from every quarter, I have made it my object not only to devise effectual remedies for real and acknowledged evils, but to remove all grounds of a dissatisfaction, which, whether founded in reason or not, has a tendency to defeat the success of our
spiritual labours. And though my progress has met with obstructions from various causes, and especially from political excitement absorbing all other interests, I have seen nothing as yet to deter me from continuing my exertions in pursuit of the greatest attainable good, by the least violent methods. Whatever course I may take, I anticipate strong opposition, amidst the conflict of opinions which no man can have failed to observe, who has paid the slightest attention to the various projects which have issued from the press in regard to the concerns of the Church." pp. 37–40.
His Grace is right in thus expecting opposition on all sides. And why? because he does not propose to legislate upon large and liberal principles. When the Duke of Wellington determined-whether wisely or not—on the measure of Catholic relief, he concocted such a full and final plan, that every man knew whether to say yes or no, and there was no opening for constantly-recurring vexatious questions. And so Lord Grey, Lord Brougham, and Lord Althorp, when they had determined, whether rightly or not, that parliamentary reform was requisite, united together the whole body of heretofore discordant reformers by proposing such a scheme as almost all acknowledged to be adequate to the necessity. And thus, if his Grace of Canterbury, instead of a few shreds and parings of church reform, would boldly take up and prosecute some such series of measures as we have above proposed, he would find himself strong and irresistible. Even the veriest Whigs, Radicals, and Dissenters, would say, This is doing the work honestly; and every true friend of the Church would rejoice at his determination; and our spiritual Zion might yet be spared.
WE announced in our volume for 1829, (p. 123 and p. 514,) the formation of a most valuable institution, the Clergy Mutual Assurance Society; and our readers will have perceived by a paper stitched up with our last Number, that the Directors have proposed some new and very useful species of assurance, in addition to those which we before specified. As the income of most clergymen is in a great measure dependent upon their lives, they ought in almost every case to insure them for the benefit of their families. A tradesman leaves his stock behind him, and his business may be carried on for his widow and children; but income derived from church property expires with its frail tenant. The present Society offers facilities to clergymen which are not to be met with in the ordinary offices; it is in fact a large friendly society, and comes under the legislative provisions of such institutions. It is guaranteed, not only by the character of its officers, but by their voluntary donations and bonds to a large amount; and we doubt not but that it will prove, by the blessing of God, a great comfort to many clerical families.
Among the new heads of insurance, is one for affording to a clergyman a certain provision in time of illness, which the conductors strongly recommend to the consideration of the clergy. The contingencies of illness are, we presume, calculated by the known laws of illness in Benefit Societies; and if clergymen, by their moral and regular habits, are more healthy than other men, this will be a greater se
curity in the Society's calculations, which are very moderate. We fear, however, that some difficulty may arise in the application of relief in illness which does not apply in ordinary Friendly Societies, both on account of feelings of delicacy resulting from the station of the parties, and from its not being ascertained what degree of illness on the part of a curate ought to disqualify him for retaining his curacy, or on the part of an incumbent makes it necessary for him to employ a curate. The matter is very different to the well known habits and casualties of workmen in a common Friendly Society. For example, A. B., though not a strong man, always managed to serve his curacy (we are speaking of a fact) till the age of thirty-five, when coming into some property, he found out-which was truethat he was an invalid, and in consequence has not held a curacy for the last twenty years. He could conscientiously procure medical certificates of illness in abundance; and if his health had been assured years ago, we see not how the Society could reject his claim to assistance and yet, if he were to-morrow reduced to poverty and had no insurance, he would possibly manage to resume his profession, and to hold a curacy. Difficulties of this kind do not equally exist in Friendly Clubs for the poorer classes of society. Those associations are generally local; the parties are known to each other; the society can assemble in a mass; there is no feeling on either side of delicacy in the matter: but we do not
believe it would be possible to have a general Friendly Mechanics' Society for the whole kingdom to be managed at an office in London. The chief check is the local observation and knowledge of the parties. We have freely stated for the consideration of intelligent readers, the difficulty which occurred to us in regard to this head of insurance; but we do not press it, as we doubt not it has been fully weighed and disposed of; and as there is a reference of all disputes to five arbiters, we should trust that no serious impediment or jealousy will in practice arise in regard to the assurances upon health.
But there is one feature of the society's plan which we look at with some apprehension; though we feel reluctant in adverting to it because it is grounded on those truly Christian graces, brotherly kindness and charity. We shall be glad to find that we are mistaken in our alarms, but it would not be doing justice to our clerical friends or to the society itself, not to mention them; in order that, if unfounded, the society may pass the ordeal of inquiry in safety before it is finally committed to its system, or, if there appears reason for them, this part of the plan may be so modified as to secure the good without the possible evil.
We allude to the mixture of business with charity in the same institution. Two thirds of the profits of the various assurances are to be divided among the assurers; but one third is to be retained by the managing officers, to dispose of as they shall judge befitting among the assured members or their families, as a matter of charity. They are empowered to authorise "a reduction of premium where circumstances are such as to require it." We see in this provision an endless source of future contention. A high-spirited family will struggle on to pay its premiums, while a mean cringing one will plead poverty, and make the self-denying and virtuous pay more than was requisite, that it may pay less. This is the very system which vitiates poor-laws, and causes a man to vote for a parish organist, not because he plays well, but because he is poor and has a large family. It is stated in the rules, that the division of profits shall be "equitable" among the assured; but whatever charity there may be there is no equity in making X pay one shilling more than is requisite because Y is poor. If a fund wholly unconnected with the society were instituted, to be supported merely by charity, for assisting clergymen or their families in distress to keep up insurances, though it would be objectionable on a large and national scale upon much the same principles that poor laws are so, it would not injure the Assurance Society; but the mixture of this element in that institution, is, we fear, a serious defect, and may eventually ruin it. CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 373.
No person who considers the ordinary laws which regulate pecuniary transactions, can believe that such a plan will cause the society to operate "as a band of union, and create a kind sympathy among clergymen." Unhappily too many of the clergy and of their orphan families will be found in such a state of necessity as to make honourable relief truly welcome; and how are the directors to decide amidst contending claimants? and what is to become of the popularity of the society when obliging ten they offend a hundred, who think their claims equal to those of their fellows? The directors and all the other officers discharge their duties gratuitously, and there is not the slightest doubt but that the respective claims will be weighed with the greatest attention and impartiality; but we speak of the institution simply as a matter of business, apart from the guarantee of living names, and as it will probably be after a few years, when, its concerns being enlarged, it comes to be managed chiefly by stipendiary officers; the honorary officers only coming down on a day when charitable money is to be divided, as they do in an Orphan Asylum, to give their vote for the party who has most successfully canvassed them by an appeal to their feelings or through an influential friend. The directors will be most inconveniently assailed by applications, circulars, and every species of appeal. This source of eventual weakness ought, we think, to be cut off; and the whole placed on the abstract grounds of science. Charity may and should do its office elsewhere; but an Assurance Society is not its place. In such an institution, strict rule and equity are the best charity. The next race of directors will have enough to do if they are to award bounties to rival, and perhaps all of them deserving, claimants, instead of simply adding up their books, and adjudging by rule. The plan of devoting a third of the profits to the more needy members, holds out, as we have said, a bounty upon improvidence; and even the most skilful apportionment of the relief will not prevent public suspicions; more especially as the institution is not like the case of ordinary Friendly Societies where the whole body of the assured may assemble; but the charity fund rests with honorary officers, who will always be exposed, after their charitable and disinterested labours, to the charge of obliging friends and converting the funds into a source of patronage. There is not the slightest ground for any such surmise; the whole is at present, and is likely to continue, in the hands of those whose name and character are an ample guarantee for right management; but no excellence of administration can cure a defective principle: do what we will, gravity will not be cheated. Parties who have no reasonable prospect of keeping H
up their payments will begin insurances, hoping for the easement of eleemosynary bounty as soon as they feel unable to proceed; whereas the fraction of one third of the profits will be a mere nothing towards gratifying such expectations; and if, as must be the case, subscriptions thus lapse, there will be an outcry that the society is cruel and exacts upon poor widows and orphans, because it cannot do what is impossible. The danger is in holding out any expectation, even the slightest; for persons ignorant of business will not calculate, but will buoy themselves up with vain hopes, and rely on a sort of gambling chance of getting a bonus. Any man of right feeling would readily sacrifice his third of profits, or all his profits; it is not a question of money, but it involves a principle, and that principle is untenable in matters of pecuniary calcu lation. So at least it strikes us; but we shall be glad to learn that we have misapprehended the matter, as our remarks are not intended to injure, but to establish, this excellent institution. The directors of such a society ought, in our view, for their own comfort to be able to say, We have no discretion; we act only ministerially, and by strict law. If they swerve from this, they will soon be glad to lay down their office under the weight of ingratitude and misapprehension which will too probably assail them for not accomplishing impossibilities.
We know little or nothing of the merits of the Hampstead (Downshire) Chapel case, respecting which some of our correspondents inquire, except from the reports of the proceedings in the newspapers. It appears that Dr. White, the incumbent of Hampstead, refuses to license Mr. Wilcox to a chapel in his parish, and that Mr. Wilcox officiates in it without his permission. There is no question as to the regularity of the chapel, it having been officiated in by Dr. White's permission before Mr. Wilcox's appointment; and it is stated to be greatly needed for the wants of the population. The incumbent of the parish, therefore, with more souls under his charge than he can attend to, we should have thought would have rejoiced to have a portion of his serious responsibility shared with him by a fellow-labourer. But he objects, it seems, personally to Mr. Wilcox, on the ground, it is understood, of a difference of religious opinion. We are not ourselves acquainted with the particular doctrinal sentiments of either party in the suit, but we gather that Mr. Wilcox is somewhat highly Calvinistic, and Dr. White the reverse; and that upon this ground the incumbent of Hampstead determines to act, in reference to Downshire Chapel, as the rector of St. Pancras did respecting Percy Chapel, and to banish Mr. Wilcox, as the latter did Mr. Stewart. (See Christian Observer for 1829, p. 232.) But there is
not a shadow of doubt, that, as the law stands, he has a right to withold his permission, and proceed against Mr. Wilcox for officiating without it; and that Mr. Wilcox has acted uncanonically and illegally in so doing. The bishop of the diocese is understood to have strongly urged Dr. White to grant his permission; but without effect. The result, we presume, will be an application to Parliament to amend the law on the subject; for it is a serious evil, that the incumbent of a parish, in which perhaps thousands of souls are perishing for lack of knowledge, should be permitted, of his own mere determination, in opposition to the opinion of his diocesan and the anxious wishes of his parishioners and the public good, to prevent the supply of their spiritual wants. The best remedy for the evil, is to break up our large parishes into independent pastoral districts; which would set aside much of this painful collision.
A cause was lately tried in the Consistory Court of Lichfield, the result of which is important to the clergy. The Rev. R. Taylor, a highly respectable clergyman, was charged with having refused to read the Burial Service over a suicide, respecting whom a coroner's jury had pronounced a verdict of Insanity. Mr. Taylor considered the party as a man of notoriously vicious life; and he did not believe him insane when he committed the awful deed. He pleaded the Rubric, which decisively prohibits reading the service over any suicide whatever; but the matter was determined against him, chiefly on the strength of the 68th Canon. The clergy ought to be aware, notwithstanding all they read in Wheatly and other expositors of the Prayer-book, that according to the uniform modern opinions of counsel, and the decisions of the courts, the Rubric, strong as it is, is no protection where the coroner's verdict is Insanity. We need not say how greatly many of the clergy have felt the pain of reading the service in similar circumstances; and it is much to be regretted that some plan has not been long ago devised for relieving their consciences. The Service, according to its present wording, was never designed to be read over any known wicked man: the Church recognizes no such person in her ranks: the anomaly has arisen from the defect of discipline, as far as regards ordinary cases, and by the worse than laxity of coroners and juries as regards verdicts over suicides. All evil-doers are supposed by the Church to be excommunicated; but this is at present only a fiction. In regard to the supposed difficulty of so arranging the service that it shall be appropriate to the faithful and yet not be inappropriate for promiscuous use, the Episcopal Church in America has omitted the thanksgiving to God for taking the departed, and the allusions to his safety; and these alterations