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VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
With much pleasure we commence our which forms the act now before us, and notice of public affairs with abstracting which passed both houses with scarcely the leading provisions of the act recently a word of opposition. Its provisions passed for building churches. They are ought to be familiar in every parish of most important and seasonable ; and, had the kingdom where the want of churchthey been in force twenty or thirty years room is telt. His lordship and his Right ago, would probably have prevented no Reverend brethren, with his Majesty's small number of those evils which, as Commissioners and the Government, deChristians and churchmen, we now de- serve, and will receive, the warmest graplore. Even yet the measure will be titude of the public—of all at least who productive of great benefit. Large sums are anxious for the promotion of_true of money have been legislatively devoted religion, and the stability of our Estato church building, and much has also blished Church, forthis invaluable measure. been done by individual benevolence, The only objection that occurred to us, through the Church-building Society:
as to its details—for we had none as to but the aggregate is little compared with its principle—was in regard to the clauses the exigencies of the case ; and the whole wbich allow an irresponsible veto to each plan, till lately, proceeded very much upon bishop in his own diocese, without any the false principle that people were to appeal either to the archbishop or the privy have churches built for them, instead of council; and which, even for the sake of being allowed—for it was only permission the bishop himself, we thought not a that was asked—to build them for them- desirable provision. In point of practice, selves. While every sectary might erect however, we do not think that, in the a place of worship wherever he chose, a present circumstances of the times, and large district containing tens of thousands under the provisions and checks of this of immortal souls could not be privileged large and liberal act, it is likely to prevent to build a church for itself, unless by any church being built where it is clearly ineans of an expensive act of parliament, needed; especially as, in case of real not to be secured without much litigation, grievance, should such ever arise, both satisfying a variety of contending and houses of parliament would be open to often sordid interests, and then only on petition : which would elicit from the condition of the resignation the patron- party accused a public statement of his age into other hands than those of the reasons; and this before a far less delicate founders, perhaps into the very hands of court of appeal than that which we should those whose negligence, or worse, had have proposed. caused, or prevented the redress of, the The act declares, that in parishes where evil. Of late years much attention has the population amounts to two thousand been devoted to the subject, and even and the churches do not afford accomunder very imperfect enactments numer
modation for more than one third ; or in ous churches have been built, and much parishes, whatever the population, where good effected. But far more was wanted, there are three hundred persons residing and accordingly a short act was passed in more than two miles from the church, if 1827, creating great facilities for church- any person or persons belonging to the building; but on account of some legal Church of England, are willing to build dithiculties, and we fear we must add some a church or chapel in a convenient situavexatious obstacles which were thrown in tion, and to endow it with a thousand the way of its operation by some who pounds besides the pew rents, and to disliked the measure, it remained dormant provide a repairing fund of five per cent. and inoperative. Last spring the Bishop on the cost of erecting, and to appropriate of Loncion brought in a bill to repeal it
, one third of the sittings as free sittings; and to replace it by new enactments. His the bishop may declare the right of nomilordship appears to have regulated his nating the minister to be in this person provisions, rather by what was considered or persons. This cuts short all difficulties necessary for their passing the scrupulous and delays with patrons, incumbents, and ordeal to which they were exposed, than boards of commissioners. The only further by what might be abstractedly desirable. stipulations under this head are, that the The bill was, however, a retrogradation nuinber of trustees shall be limited to from the act of 1827, and by no means five; and that when the church is for satisfied the great majority of those who three hundred persons resident two miles were anxious to promote church-building; from the church, the new structure shall and the sudden dissolution of parliament not be nearer to the old one than that having prevented its passing the kouse of distance. A certificate of the facts signed commons, his lordship, on the meeting of by a surveyor, or two householders, is all the new parliament, brought in the bill that is necessary to carry to the bishop. The pews may be let at such rates as the being endowed to his satisfaction.trustees shall see fit, with the approval We need not expatiate upon the value of the bishop; the parishioners having and utility of this important act ; but we the first claim, but, in case of any being view in it a gratifying proof that our ruunoccupied, persons in neighbouring pa- lers both in church and state (for the conrishes may rent them.
currence of both was necessary to the To provide for any cases where it may passing of this act) are zealously alive to be desirable to build, but which do not the momentous duty of increasing the fa come under the above regulations, the cilities for the worship of God throughout commissioners, if they see fit, may, with
the land, in connexion with the scriptural the consent of the bishop, give the nomis doctrine and scriptural services of an nation to persons building churches under apostolical church. The people have such particular circumstances. This will been perishing for lack of spiritual knowtake in a large variety of cases which ledge; and, in the manufacturing districts could not be well reduced to any given especially, they have been left to grow up rule. In such cases copies of the appli- little better than heathens, except so far cation to the commissioners are very as private benevolence and the zeal of properly required to be sent to the patron pious Dissenters ministered to their reliand incumbent, and the commissioners gious necessities. Now the members of are to allow those parties three months our own communion will have only themto send in any statement which they may selves to blame, and theirs will be the wish, upon the merits of which the com- disgrace and the guilt, if they do not missioners are to use their own judgment. forthwith provide churches wherever they No interested impediment, therefore, is are needed. The right of choosing their allowed to prevent building where the own clergyman, which was the chief concommissioners think it desirable.
cession required, is now fully accorded to In all cases, notice is to be given to the the founders of new churches. Let, then, patron and incumbent of a proposal to those friends of religion who have mourned build a new church ; and if the former over the spiritual necessities of their agrees within two months to build to the neighbourhoods, be promptly “ up and satisfaction of the bishop, he is to have doing.” In many instances, two or three the preference over strangers. In the judicious and active individuals or parish case of churches built or endowed by vestries might, before the season of spring subsưription, the application to the bishop arrives for building, procure the promise of or commissioners of the major part in funds, fix on an eligible scite, and arrange value of the contributors shall be deemed the whole matter with the bishop or the to be the application of the party or par- commissioners, so as not to lose another ties building. In some cases, where en- year, or waste an hour, in putting forward larging the old church would accommo- this great work. Let not our readers be date one third of the inhabitants, a suit- displeased with us for our earnestness, but able offer to do this is to supersede a pro- unite with us in prayer to God that he posal for building a new church. The would abundantly bless this important churches built under this act are to be set measure for his own glory, and the benefit apart for ever for the service of God, ac- of the present generation, and of ages yet cording to the rites of the Established unborn. Church. The bishop, with consent of The only other church bill that passed the patron and incumbent, or the com- last session was the augmentation-of-bemissioners, with the consent of the bishop, nefices bill. The tithes-composition bill are to assign a district to every church (ex- and the plurality bill not baving gone cept where they consider it better not) through their stages before the dissofor visiting the sick and other pastoral lution, it were premature to discuss their duties; and to determine whether bap- merits till we see in what form they tisms, churchings, or burials shall be per- are again introduced: we hope it will formed. The new churches or chapels be in one much amended, especially are to be perpetual curacies; and, if a dis- as regards the plurality bill. The trict is attached to them, may not be held augmentation-of-benefices act is an act with the original church, or with any other to allow bishops, chapters, and other benefice having cure of souls; and if no ecclesiastical corporations, and also coldistrict is attached to them, they shall not leges, hospitals, &c. to augment vicarages be a legal exemption from residence on and perpetual curacies out of the tithes of any other benefice. The fees, where impropriate rectories. The measure is there are baptisms, churches, or burials, optional; but if widely acted upon, it shall go to the original church, except such might enable these corporations gradually portion as the bishop, or the commission- to increase the value of the smaller eccleers, with his consent, shall attach to the siastical appointments in their gift out of new church. Churchwardens are to be their superfluous revenues. appointed. The bishop, with the consent Parliament opened on the 6th of Deof patron and incumbent, may make a cember. The first and chief topic in the chapel of ease a parish church on its king's speech was the necessity of parliaOf late years
mentary reform, for which an amended bills on education and church affairs shall bill has been brought forward, and has have come under parliamentary discussion. passed the second reading in the house of One thing is painfully clear, that Procommons by a majority of 324 to 162, ex- testantism has never yet done its duty in actly 2 to 1. Parliament is adjourned to Ireland, and till recently our own church the 17th of January. The present bill is in that island was almost wbolly apathetic in many respects a great improvement on to every thing but worldly dignity and emothe last. It proposes to disfranchise as lument; and now disgrace and retribution many small towns as the last bill; but as it bave fallen upon her. Even as late as takes as its standard of relative impor- the passing of the Catholic relief - bill tance, not the number of inhabitants, but much might have been done; but has it the joint proportion of the number of even been attempted ? Let our readers houses and the amount of assessed taxes, refer back to Mr. Daniel Wilson's excela few towns before retained are now pro- lent suggestions on the subject in our voposed to be disfranchised, and the con- lume for 1829, and inquire if any one of trary. The number of members for Eng- them has been acted upon ? Protestantism land is not to be reduced, which allows was sent to Ireland originally not as a of some towns having two members that boon but a tax, and the blessing of God were to have had but one. Resident has never seemed to rest upon its carefreemen are to retain their votes. There less and hollow labours. are various other regulations, which will something has been done, and well done, be better noticed when the bill goes into in the way of Scriptural education, but the committee. Serious difficulties beset nothing compared with the wants of the the question on all sides; and thoughtful people. At length our statesmen seem and prudent men feel some hazard in de- to consider that Protestantism and the ciding either for or against the measure. Bible in Ireland have been but a name, Our own minds, upon the whole, and and that it would be better to pass them under all the circumstances of the case, are by, and to legislate as if for a Romaninclined to the affirmative; but it is im- Catholic colony. Even as statesmen possible not to see, that, whether we have there are two sides to this question, for reform or no reform, a mischievous spirit Protestantism comprises the mass of the is abroad which is at war with all social wealth, intelligence, and good morals of order and every established institution. the land; but in a higher view there can Our earnest hope is, that so large a mea- be no hesitation on the subject. If we sure of reform will amply satisfy the great believe Popery to be what we profess to mass of the British public, and cause the believe it, we ought to hold no national affairs of the nation to settle down into terms with it. Let us yield the people tranquillity. It is clear, however, that every temporal privilege; but rather let some ample measure of reform could not them slip from our political embrace, bave been withheld without imminent dan- than that we should legislatively unite ger of something worse. The evil lies deep- ourselves to their unscriptural creed, and er than the surface ; and we fear that who become abettors of their delusions. ever are the ministers, or whatever may be We have read with much delight and their measures, the country has to un- gratitude the new order in council sent dergo a fearful ordeal, more especially in out to the crown slave-colonies, and regard to its religious institutions. The which it is understood are proposed to be state of Ireland, in particular, is at this enforced by parliament upon those which moment full of peril; and our dread is, that have local legislatures. The order, wbich our public men are on the verge of mea- is dated Nov. 2, is accompanied by a cirsures of most doubtful and dangerous cular from Lord Goderich even more disportent. We are unwilling to go at tinct and gratifying as to the views of length into the subject in our present im- Government than the order itself. As the perfect state of information ; but enough papers have only just been printed we can has already transpired on the question of merely give a transient glance at them. education, the Protestant church esta- Protectors of slaves are to be appointblishment, and kindred topics, to exciteed, under adınirable regulations. Sunday considerable alarm. Our chief fear is, shops and markets are prohibited, except that there exists a disposition in some of for bread, fish, milk, and meat, not in the those who are at the helm of affairs to hours of service. No slave is to be forced view the question of religion and Protest- to work on Sunday. Women are not to antism as too sectarian for the considera- be corporeally chastised, or men to receive tion of enlightened statesmen; or that, at more than fifteen lashes, and that not twice all events, the peculiar circumstances of for one offence or on the same day. A Ireland require an entire re-adjustment of slave cruelly treated may be manumitted ; the balance of political and ecclesiastical and on a repetition of the offence the interests. We shall be speedily enabled whole of the slaves may be set free, and and required to go more at large into the the offending party be prohibited possubject, when the report of the Irish sessing slaves in future. Records of putithe-committee and the intended bill or nishments are to be kept. Slave mar
[Dec. riages are to be legalized; and masters may sinneth against me;" and surely no man not without due cause forbid them, and will say that our own land has not grieany minister of religion may solemnize vously sinned, if not actually more than them. Relatives are not to be separated other lands, yet more compared with our by sale. Slaves may compel their owners means of knowing the will of God, and in to allow them to purchase their own free- co!trast with his peculiar mercies to us. dom at a valuation. Humane regulations What shall we say of our national pride, are proposed respecting food, clothes, and, covetousness, self-will, self-indulgence, above all, labour, which is not to exceed Juxury, commercial fraud, carried to an nine hours in the twenty-four. The slave extent never before known, Sabbathmay also frequent Divine worship without breaking in all its multiplied forms, our molestation. A few of the above and connivance at West-Indian bondage, our other regulations may not be perfect, but political ancour, our religious animosities? as a whole they are invaluable; so much Shall not God visit for these things ? shall so that the West-India body has stated to he not be avenged on a nation like this? Government, that if they are carried into And how does he declare that he will effect slavery is at an end in all but the avenge himself on a sinful nation? He will name, and that they would rather the bring on them, he says, one or more of his slaves were at once emancipated with due four sore judgments. Most remarkably compensation. We await with impatience has he for many years dealt with us in this the discussion of the matter in parlia- respect, allowing us as it were to behold ment. In the mean time, let us thank his sword unsheathed and impending over God and take courage.
The friends of us ; yet affording a space for repentance, the oppressed slave, we feel persuaded, and not permitting the threatening venhave only to exert themselves with zeal geance to fall with all its weight upon our and prudence and unanimity, and the heads. Famine has not visited us; yet the dawn of the day they have so long wished extreme poverty and want of many of our for is not far off.
thickly-peopled districts, have shewn that It is with deep concern we record the he might in one moment have let loose progress of the Cholera in Sunderland and
this plague among us; and not many months sonje other places in the north. By the since it actually entered the dwellings of mercy of God, it has not been so rapid or thousands and tens of thousands in the depopulating as in many other countries ; sister island. Noisome beasts (by which but we fear it is gradually extending and the Scriptures mean whatever animal is may too probably in the end visit many noxious to man. from the lion that makes if not most of our towns, cities, and vil. him his prey, to the lowest, the caterpillar, lages. No barrier has hitherto been dis- the most despised vermin, and the unseen covered to stop its progress, or specific to blight that nips bis harvests) are also still counteract its malignity; but cleanliness, as much as ever at his command to destroy ventilation, and cheerful spirits, with sui- the fruits of human toil; yet their ravages table food, clothing, and temperate habits, have not been suffered io fall upon us. are found to be, to a considerable extent, The sword also has been warded off: for safeguards against its rapid extension; many years we saw it from afar, and our and we trust that, by the general attention widows and orphans felt its keen edge in which is being devoted to the wants of those who were their dearest earthly hope the poor, good will in part result from the and stay; but it reached not our shores. visitation, and many plans of Christian But is it impotent? have we not for a and enlightened benevolence be adopted, year and a half been daily fearing lest the which, in the end, will save more lives and troubles of other lands should cause it to avert more misery than this expected leap from its scabbard, and this country pestilence will produce. Our chief dread should be involved in the desolation; nay, is, that it is not a disease of to-day or to- has it not gleamed in our streets ? has not morrow, but a new malady upon the earth, intestine strife caused blood to flow around which, like the small pox or the plague, the walls of our sanctuaries? has not citizen may continue to prove a terror to our been armed against citizen, and the fury of children and children's children, till it flame been called in to aid the savages of wears itself out, or is reduced to manage. plunder and fratricide? Yet, has not mercy able security. It is one of those national spared us here also; or what had there been visitations to check which the arm of inan to prevent London being as Bristol, and has been hitherto almost powerless; and Bristol as was Moscow ? The pestilence in we can only say, with meek resignation like manner impends, yet lingers ; touches and filial confidence, “ O Lord, our eyes our shores, bui seems reluctant to spread are up unto thee!” We would earnestly its ravages over them. In all this do we recommend our readers to study what not trace judgment mingled with merey ? God has revealed respecting his four sore is it not a solemn call to humiliation, and judgments of fainine, noisome beasts, the to look in the anguish of our spirit to sword, and pestilence, in the fourteenth our offended God? It is not one of God's chapter of Ezekiel. The thirteenth verse sore judgments that has been sbewn us, is the key to the whole: “When the land but, at a distance at least, several of them ;
be filled up.
which we may not unscripturally conclude, ing Mediator, a respite for the guilty ; it from the chapter above alluded to, purports will also deliver the soul of the individual, a settled controversy with us. “ How and may be blessed to many around him : much more," says Jehovah, "when I send" but nationally it will not avail, unless the not one, but "all my four judgments?" And nation also repent and turn from its wickhow are they to be averted ? Let the same edness, before its measure of transgression chapter answer. By human intercession ? Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were to Here, then, is warning blended with intercede for a guilty iinpenitent land, they consulation. On that our beloved counshould not deliver it. Noah prevailed to try may take that warning and turn to the saving of his own house, but not of an God witli fasting, humiliation, and prayer; ungodly generation who despised the warn- and who can say but he will turn to us and ing. Job was heard for his penitent friends; bless us, and ward off every impending and Daniel prevailed to receive the inter- evil? But in the mean time each Chrispretation of the dream, by which his com- tian has individually a refuge. In the very panions and the wise men were saved. chapter before cited, we read the promise, Thus we see that the effectual fervent
* Behold a remnant shall be brought prayer of a righteous man availeth much; forth, both sons and daughters ;" and "
ye but it avails not every thing. It may assist, shall be comforted concerning the evil by the Divine blessing, to check national that I have brought upon Jerusalem." This wickedness; it may promote a spirit of is the christian's retreat in troublous public repentance and reformation; it
may times : in the world he has tribulation ; gain, through the merits of the all-prevail. in his God and Saviour he has peace.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. G. A. B.; QUARTUS; A. B. C. ; SEMAJ. ; A LIFE GOVERNOR; A CONSTANT
READER AND PossessoR; SUMNER; C. B.; Colin; T. K.; A. Z.; T. G.; J. K.; J. D. B.; F. C. ; H. J. H.; G. N. ; T. D. ; S. E. A.; VIATOR; T. K. H. A.; Bath ; A Constant READER; A. Z.; O. B. ; and ASYNCRITUS, are
under consideration. Several versions of Psalm xix. 7, 8, have been sent us, but we doubt whether any of
them will answer the conditions prescribed by the transcriber. There was a version of the verses by one of our correspondents in our Vol. for 1818, p. 669. We are requested to state, that the Rev. D. Wilson purposes replying to Dr. Burton's
letter in our next and ensuing Numbers. Our publisher (whose general vigilance is exemplary) has inadvertently admitted,
among the advertisements on the cover of our last Number, the title of a book which, notwithstanding the obtrusion of the name of Calvin, is offensive, and we
should rear Socinian. We have seen the statement alluded to by D. C. respecting Mr. Montgomery West,
who preposterously affects to have been consecrated a bishop by Dr. Chase ; and this notwithstanding the incredibility of the thing, and Dr. Chase's own most solemn and repeated assertions by letter, in print, and in his episcopal addresses, that Mr. West's statement is a pure fiction and falsehood. Our reason for not having reviewed whole heaps of pamphlets and other publications, English and American, which have been sent us from time to time respecting Mr. West, is, first, that we really did not think the subject worth noticing; secondly, that we felt unwilling, unless in an extreme case, to go into a matter of private character; and, thirdly, that we could not have even alluded to several of the charges in the pamphlets without offending against the law of libel. It is for those to whom Mr. West addresses himself to examine into his character, not for us; nor should we have even alluded to his name, but that his well known connexion with Bishop Chase, and his absurd affectation of setting up a new system of Episcopacy in Liverpool, have induced us
to notice D. C.'s query. For the reason specified in our Number for March, p. 163, we cannot make
any use of the printed discourse sent us by E., purporting to be a sermon recently preached by Mr. M`Neile, but not stated to have been published by his authority. Nor indeed is it necessary to refer to any unauthorised report of a sermon for his views, since he has frankly and candidly expressed them in our own pages; see his letter as above, p: 154; in which he says that it is a “substantially correct statement,” that he believes that “ the miraculous gifts of healing and speaking in unknown tongues, are a regular part of the Christian dispensation, and that nothing but our want of faith prevents our using them." And in reply to our serious interrogation, “ Were it not wiser to turn from such questionable gifts to the solid practical realities of vital, saving, sanctifying truth?” Mr. M. Veile, not admitting