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taker with the altar. But how great was his self-denial! How honourably would he appeal to his own disinterestedness in pleading with the Church! I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered to my necessities. Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought, but wrought with travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to you; not because we have not the power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you. I preached unto you the Gospel of God freely; I was chargeable to no one; I was not burthensome.' Such was Paul's glorying! Yea, and he counted it better for him to die, than that any man should make his glorying void.
"And yet, it is for the contrary of all this that we are assailed, and are most assailable; for it is here, in which we have most departed from Apostolic purity-in which we have least followed Paul, as he followed Christ.
"The great body of the parochial clergy may, indeed, not be obnoxious to this charge. They may regret the difficulty in which they are sometimes placed between their duty to a professional interest, of which they are only the life representatives, and their willingness to sacrifice even just claims for the sake of peace. But they are not further responsible for the system, than as they do not protest against its evils, and pray for its commutation.
"It is not so, however, with those, whose disproportionate revenues arrest the public eye, and furnish a perpetual butt for the shafts of infidelity and disaffection; or with those whose multiplied pluralities involve the spoiling of their poorer brethren -who live of the temple at which they have never ministered, and are partakers with the altar, at which they never waited. Alas! it is such blemishes that have done the mischief-that have dealt the parricidal blow-that have eat as cankers into our goodly fabric, and caused it to totter to its fall. For the waters are abroad-the foundations are out of course-the storm is gathering, that is to be on every thing that is high, and on every thing that is lifted up, and that is to root up every plant that our heavenly Father hath not planted.
"Oh! then, that we were wise, that we would understand this-that there were in us such a mind as would lead us to meet this crisis, not in stern defiance or paralysed supineness, but in the spirit of manliness and truth: to correct our own abuses, and reform our own corruptions, and exscind the eye and hand, that are a stumblingblock, and cause of offence. For then might we be a glorious Church, worthy our Apostolic constitution-then might the good work prosper, which has so long slept upon our hands- then might the Dove, the messenger of peace, again visit our shrines, and nestle within our sanctuaries.
"Suffer me, my reverend brethren, thus far; for, in venturing these remarks, I know that I am uttering the sentiments of the wisest and holiest members of our communion, of all who are waiting for deliverance in Israel,-who have long mourned over the desols of our Church, and are even now expecting, that, out of our own Zion, shall the deliverers who are to turn away iniquity from Jacob. The day for indifference and inactivity is past-it is a question now between reform and destruction; and he is now the best churchman, as well as the best patriot, who is the first to acknowledge the abuse, and call for its correction.
"The necessity of the Society which has brought us together to-day, is itself a proof of the existence of a fault. For, what is it, in fact, but a compensation for injustice a sort of opiate to the conscience of spiritual opulence-a partial prop to a system which is essentially unsound? We are aware that an equal distribution of church property is chimerical; that it would be mischievous, even if it were practicable. But why so disproportionate an arrangement? Why the unseemly anomaly between the excessive, though doubtless overstated wealth of a few dignitaries, and the comparative destitution of many of the most laborious and deserving clergy? Why are some overcharged with the cares and riches of this life, while others want bread?" pp. 23-26.
XXIII.- Reform without Re-construction; being an Inquiry into the Advantages of a safe and practicable Arrangement for removing, to a great Extent, Inequalities in the Temporalities of the Established Church, without Legislative Interference, with a Plan for the Compression of the Liturgy; by Uvedale Price, M. A.
Mr. Price thinks Lord Henley goes too far in his interference with Church property. He would himself be willing to render Episcopal translations less frequent, but not to abolish the system. He would annex in perpetuity the first six stalls in Westminster Abbey (worth 1500l. a year each); three in St. Paul's (in value 2000l. each); six in St. George's, Windsor; and six in Canterbury, to the worst-endowed bishopricks. thinks the Welsh Bishops and Clergy ought to know something of the
language and manners of the people over whom they preside-certainly no violent hypothesis-and he therefore proposes disuniting the Welsh dioceses from the province of Canterbury, and making the Bishop of St. Asaph "Primate of Wales." He expressly declines saying much of the disproportioned incomes of the parochial clergy, an evil which certainly cannot be remedied "without legislative interference." He wishes the Liturgy shortened, chiefly by leaving out the Ten Commandments, which he considers merely Jewish, and not fit to be used in a Christian assembly, especially the Fourth Commandment; the application of either the letter or the spirit of which to Christian times, Mr. Price considers an absurd Puritanical notion, the very thought of which leads him into a zealous denunciation of "factious religionists and persecuting fanatics." We modern Puritans, who venerate the command, "Six days shalt thou labour and do all that thou hast to do, but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," are not very much inclined to listen to the opinions of a writer who considers Archbishop Laud as "one to whom the Church of England must ever look back with more than common veneration; one whom she must ever acknowledge as one of the most distinguished of her Prelates;" and who thinks it the height even of Puritanical absurdities to believe in a special Providence, or to apply the spirit of the Old Testament to modern times.
The author recommends a variety of minor alterations in the Church Service, too numerous for us to recapitulate; but we do not think them in general happy. Why, for instance, omit the word "shortly" in the Burial Service ("shortly accomplish the number of thine elect"), and yet leave wholly unnoticed those other expressions in that service which give extreme pain to many conscientious clergymen ?
We for the present lay down our bundle of pamphlets; but there is one point which, amidst so many plans for Church Reform, we are anxious should not be forgotten-namely, that we have a church well worth reforming; and with regard to abuses, it is a slander to speak of them as increasing among us. On the contrary, we believe that for a century and a half past there were never fewer, and that they are daily diminishing. The times are more searching than formerly; there is also a wider diffusion of religious feeling; and hence all improprieties are made more known, and are more keenly felt and animadverted upon. Pluralities, commendams, sinecures, and other things which ought to be amended, were never regarded with greater jealousy than at present; and there is more reason to fear lest some would-be reformers should strip the Church to penury, than that the days will be revived when prelates raised armies, and besieged castles, and captured palaces, and bearded monarchs; and when a Dunstan was not thought less a saint for holding the see of London annexed to his princely Archbishoprick of Canterbury, which had not then suffered the spoliations of modern encroachment. Let us correct abuses; but let us not exaggerate them. Radicals and infidels, and some who ought to know better, will do that to our hands.
One word, also, to those who are pleased to charge the Church of England with practical Popery, and who see no remedy for abuses but that of subverting all national Ecclesiastical Establishments. With such persons we contend, that the system of the Church of England stands fairly and scripturally between the two extremes of the Papist and the Dissenter. Popery forces the people to regulate their watches by the town-clock, without allowing them to look at the sun; and the hands are never suffered to be altered, let the sun say what it may. Dissent, to avoid this evil, has no town-clock at all. The Church of England keeps a town-clock, but
regulates it by the sun, and invites every person to see whether it goes rightly; but forces no man to set his watch to it, unless he is convinced that it is true to the dial. There is much convenience in having a townclock, though the sun is the real and only regulator. Our Church Formularies-to drop the figure-are not intended to take the place of the Bible, or of the teaching of the Holy Ghost: they are not the sun but they are valuable as forms of sound words, compressing much Scriptural knowledge for popular use, and as a standard of what the generality of the town consider to be true time by the authentic gnomon. The clock does not supersede the meridian, and may be corrected at any time by it. A simile, we know, is not necessarily an argument; but we think ours partakes of the complexion of one.
(To be continued.)
WM. WILBERFORCE, ESQ. IT has been the lot of the Conductors of the Christian Observer, in the course of more than thirty years, to raise memorials over the tomb of many eminent servants of Christ and friends of mankind; but, without disparagement to any other name, however highly and justly esteemed, never was their difficulty so great as in endeavouring to express the thoughts and feelings which arise in connexion with that of Mr. Wilberforce. He was one of those remarkable individuals who are raised up from time to time to give a new and permanent stamp to the concerns of large portions of mankind; who have not passed through life and left behind them no distinct record of their existence; but whose name is traced upon the tablets of history, and is blended with the affairs of mighty nations. In the application of this remark to Mr. Wilberforce, we do not allude merely to that great question of justice, religion, humanity, and national policy, with which he is most currently and popularly identified; but also, and we might say more peculiarly, to the influence of his character and conduct as a Christian, which affected, to a degree far beyond what ordinarily falls to the lot of an individual, the moral and spiritual habits of his contemporaries, and through them of posterity. We shall have occasion to advert to this matter in the remarks which we purpose introducing in relation to him as a Christian Senator, and the Author of the " Practical View of the prevailing Religious System of professed Christians in the higher and middle Classes in this Country, contrasted with real Christianity;" one of the most valuable and useful publications of this or any age, and which, by the blessing of God, has been rendered the instrument of religious benefit to multitudes of persons, who could not be induced to look into any religious book which came before them less strongly recommended.
We are not disposed to draw up too
hasty a memoir of such a man. chief features of his public life are, indeed, already before the world in many forms; and a fuller and more personal narrative, compiled from authentic documents and recollections, and including selections from his correspondence, is, we understand, in contemplation by his family. There will, therefore, be no deficiency of interesting materials with which to combine those reflections and statements which may occur to ourselves in connexion with the memory of this beloved and revered friend, and ample opportunities will occur for resuming the subject. In the mean time, and in the absence of the full and accredited narrative which we may hope for, we shall transcribe, for the information of those of our readers who are not acquainted with the general outline of Mr. Wilberforce's life, a very interesting account of him, which has been communicated, apparently from an authentic source, to the "Christian Advocate." There may be a few minor errors in the narrative, and some of the statements might furnish occasion for comment; but we transcribe the whole as we find it, gratified in laying before our readers so able and eloquent a sketch, and doubly gratified at the preference which the writer gives to the religious portion of his friend's character above those splendid qualities, and even those amiable and philanthropic virtues, which beautifully harmonized with it, but had been a delusive substitute for it. The following is the narrative:
"The loss of private friends is too absorbing an event to be immediately instructive. It is too long before the wounded feelings of the survivors will permit that calm retrospect, which first teaches resignation, and then guides the thoughts to eternity. The vivid recollection of features that we loved, and last beheld convulsed in the agony of approaching dissolution; the memory of recent kindness, of domestic enjoyment, gone, perhaps never to return; the fond,
endearing associations of a long, united home, now for the first time severed and dispersed; all combine to raise painful and tumultuous emotions, inconsistent with that tone of deep and solemn interest, with which we contemplate the loss of our public men.
"Few, indeed, could be mentioned whose names are more calculated to elevate the mind to a devotional, as well as an affectionate temperament, than Mr. Wilberforce's. He was intimately connected, in the remembrance of every man, with all that is great and good. He was a bright star in that galaxy of talent that shed a lustre over our political world at the end of the last century. He shone with brilliancy in our senate, even when men were dazzled with the splendour of Pitt and Fox. He was the ornament of society when Burke was in the meridian of his glory, and Sheridan in his zenith, and Canning in the spring of his radiant career. But honours like these were the least that distinguished the course of this venerated man. He achieved for himself a triumph far more illustrious, even for its earthly value, than all that eloquence, or learning, or wit, can obtain for their possessors. At a time when religious sincerity was not understood in the higher walks of life, and piety was stigmatized in aristocratic circles with scarcely less reproach than in the days of the Second Charles; when the heat of politics and the rage of party almost excluded Christianity from sight, and banished her professors from fashionable life; Mr. Wilberforce, with a courage and a consistency worthy of an Apostle, exerted himself, by his writings and his example, to work a moral reform in the sphere in which he moved and his exertions were crowned with success. He established around him a circle of pious men, which has gradually but constantly been extending itself, till it has at length included within it many, as we hope, of our distinguished characters in every class of life, political, literary, and scientific. With many shades of difference in opinion, and even perhaps in principle, there is undoubtedly a large body of men now existing, who take a prominent part in every scheme of benevolence or religious instruction, and who have acquired for our country a reputation for charitable and pious exertions beyond that of any other nation in the world. We attribute the merit of this, under the blessing of God, more to the example and influence of Mr. Wilberforce, than to any other secondary cause. While others have given to him that meed of praise which is justly his due, for his great exertions in the cause of the enslaved Negro, we have always considered this to be his highest honour, and one which will shed a glory on his name when the existence of Colonial Slavery is a mere matter of historical research.
"We have endeavoured to glean a few facts of the biography of this celebrated man, to satisfy the anxious wishes of our readers.
"His ancestors for many years were successfully engaged in trade at Hull. His great-great-grandfather was a Mr. William Wilberforce, who was one of the Governors of Beverley in the year 1670. The grandson of this gentleman married Sarah, the daughter of Mr. John Thornton, about the year 1711; and hence, we believe, originated that intimate connexion with the Thornton family which continued to the end of Mr. Wilberforce's life. There were two sons and two daughters, the issue of this marriage. William, the elder son, died without issue in the year 1780. Robert, the younger, married Miss Elizabeth Bird; the aunt, as we believe, of the present Bishops of Winchester and Chester. The late Mr. Wilberforce was the only son of Mr. Robert Wilberforce. There were two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah the former died unmarried; the latter was twice married, first to the Rev.
Clarke, and then to Mr. Stephen, the late Master in Chancery.
"Mr. Wilberforce was born at Hull in the year 1759, in a house in High Street, now the property of Mr. Henwood. He went to St. John's College, Cambridge, as a fellow-commoner, at the usual age, and there formed an intimacy with Mr. Pitt, which remained unbroken till his death. Mr. Wilberforce did not obtain academical honours; and, in fact, such honours were rarely sought at that time by those who wore a fellow-commoner's gown: but he was distinguished as a man of elegant attainments and acknowledged classical taste. Dr. Milner, the late president of Queen's College in the same University, was another intimate of Mr. Wilberforce, and accompanied him and Mr. Pitt in a tour to Nice. We believe Miss Sarah Wilberforce was also of the party. This little event deserves particular mention, even in this hasty memoir of him; for he has often been heard to acknowledge that his first serious impressions of religion were derived from his conversations with Dr. Milner, during the journey. Milner was a man worthy of the proud distinction of having thus led Mr. Wilberforce's mind into paths of pleasantness and peace.
"Mr. Wilberforce was chosen as the Representative of his native town as soon as he attained his majority. We first find his name in the Parliamentary Journals in the year 1781, as one of the Commissioners for administering the oaths to Members. We believe that he represented Hull for two, if not three parliaments. He does not appear to have taken an active part in the business of the House
• Dr. Milner would not have approved this phrase.
till 1783, when he seconded an address of thanks on the Peace. The next occasion on which he came forward was in opposition to Mr. Fox's India Bill, in 1783. We have never seen any report of his speech: we have heard it mentioned in terms of approbation, but as marked with more asperity of style than generally characterized his oratory. It cannot but be interesting at the present time, to find that in 1785 Mr. Wilberforce spoke in favour of a reform in Parliament, when that subject was brought forward by Mr. Pitt. The plan then suggested was infinitely short of that which has since been carried into effect. Mr. Pitt proposed to suppress thirty-six decayed boroughs; to distribute their members among the counties; and to establish a fund of one million for the purchase of the franchise of other boroughs, to be transferred to unrepresented towns. It is worthy of remark, that Mr. Fox, who avowed himself favourable to the principle of reform, but resisted the plan of purchasing it, complained of Mr. Wilberforce for not taking the most conciliatory mode' of acquiring strength in the cause, and for reproaching characters of the greatest weight in Parliament.'
"In the following year Mr. Wilberforce succeeded in carrying through the Commons a Bill for amending the Criminal Law. It was crude and imperfect in its forms, and opposed by Lord Loughborough in the Upper House, principally for this reason. It was rejected without a division. Its principal object was to give certainty to punishment; but, if we may judge from Lord Loughborough's comments upon it, it reflected more credit upon Mr. Wilberforce's benevolent feelings than upon his legal skill: nor is this improbable; Mr. Wilberforce was not a man to subject his enlarged views to the trammels of special-pleading precaution. It is not, indeed, likely, that he was qualified by any professional study for that petty dexterity which is necessary to adapt legislation to the correction of abuses strictly legal.
"It is instructive to observe the early Parliamentary career of this great man. If there ever was a being gifted with more than human kindness, it was Mr. Wilberforce. His tone, his manners, his look, were all conciliatory, even to persuasive tenderness; yet we have already seen him reproved for undue severity by Fox, and we next find him tutored in meekness by Pitt! In 1787, in a debate on the commercial relations with France, Burke had provoked Mr. Wilberforce into some acrimony of retort, when Mr. Pitt checked him for his imprudence, telling him that 'it was as far beyond his powers as his wishes, to contend with such an opponent as Burke, in abuse and personality.'
"We have not space to follow in detail the Parliamentary history of Mr. Wilber
force. We must hasten on to that great question, to which he devoted his best powers and his best days; the Abolition of the Slave Trade. It was in 1788 that Mr. Wilberforce first gave notice of his purpose to draw the attention of the Legislature to this subject; but indisposition prevented him from executing it; and, on the 9th of May in that year, Mr. Pitt undertook the duty for him. A resolution passed the House, that it would proceed in the next session to consider the state of the Slave Trade, and the measures it might be proper to adopt with respect to it. Even at that early period of his life, so well acknowledged were his talents and his character, that both Pitt and Fox expressed their conviction that the question could not be confided to abler hands. Before the House proceeded with the inquiry, Sir William Dolben, the Member for the University of Oxford, moved for leave to bring in a bill to regulate the transportation of slaves. The bill was lost upon a question of privilege; but, in its passage through both Houses, evidence at great length was examined, proving all the horrors of the system. We have been much struck, in the perusal of the debates, by the identity of tone and sophism between the pro-slavery men of that day and their successors in the present. Lord Thurlow talked pathetically, not of the murder of the slaves, but of the ruin of the traders; Lord Sydney eulogized the tender legislation of Jamaica; the Duke of Chandos deprecated universal insurrection; and the Duke of Richmond proposed a clause of compensation!
"On the 12th of May, 1789, Mr. Wilberforce again brought the question before the House, introducing it with one of those powerful and impressive speeches which have justly classed him among the most eloquent men of his day. He offered a series of resolutions for their consideration and future adoption; and on the 25th of May the debate was renewed. The usual evasion of calling further evidence was successfully practised by his opponents, and the further consideration of the matter was adjourned to the following session. Sir William Dolben's Act, however, for the regulation of the trade, was passed.
"In 1790, Mr. Wilberforce revived the subject; but, though more evidence was taken, and on this occasion before a select committee, nothing effectual was done, and the question was again postponed. In the following year, another committee above stairs was appointed to prosecute the examination of witnesses; and on the 18th of April Mr. Wilberforce again opened the debate with a copious and energetic argument. Pitt, Fox, William Smith, and other members, came forward to support him; but in vain: slave traders in 1791 were not more accessible