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each other of "soul-destroying doctrine," "deadly heresy," and "infamous and blasphemous teaching." In two of these cases immense expense has been incurred in the vain attempt to eject their respective opponents from their church preferment. From various causes this Church Establishment has been supposed to be in danger, and an institution has been formed for the one object of its defence. The very first article of this association declares that no allusion is to be made to any doctrine held by its members, but that, sinking all minor differences, one united effort should be made to preserve the "rights, privileges, and status” of an Establishment.
At the conference, I alluded to the form of electing bishops. I will quote an extract from the Church and State Review on this subject, edited by a well-known archdeacon in the Establishment: "We now pass to the mode of election (of bishops). It is a solemn form, surrounded with a series of official acts, every one of which presumes that the guiding spirit of the dean and chapter is to discharge the responsibilities laid upon them of choosing, of their own independent judgment, the person whom they shall deem to be most fitted for the office. The proceedings are opened with prayer to Almighty God to help them to a right judgment; next comes, as a matter of course, the election of the person named in the letter missive,' and the shameless farce is wound up with a Te Deum in the Cathedral.”
Such is an account of the proceedings of an election of a bishop from the pages of a leading Church newspaper.
Let us next allude to what the Vicar of Greenwich, Dr. Miller, at this very conference, deliberately termed the "accursed system of selling livings.” In one single paper I counted nineteen of these sales by auction or by private contract. It has been proved, by the recent decisions of our law courts, that what has been pronounced by our bishops“ infamous and blasphemous teaching," is no impediment to the “cure of souls” in the Establishment. The living of Ashton was lately advertised for sale, value £900 per annum, population 25,353.
It is of no consequence to my argument whether these figures are correct or not. I take them from the Clergy List, 1864. This living might be sold to any buyer, and given to an “infamous and blasphemous teacher.” This vast number of souls may be handed over to such a man for thirty or forty years; not only would he take the emoluments of the living, but the bishop himself could not send any other minister of his own church into this large geographical district.
An order of men who profess to have received a Divine commission to "preach the Gospel to every creature" positively cannot execute this commission within this vast area under the accursed system.” We cannot take into account any spiritual labour of Dissenters, for they are held to be unauthorized persons, and cannot be recognized : they are said to " do evil that good may come." What impression must all this make on the minds of intelligent artisans and mechanics ?
In our Church Catechism young persons are made to say that they are “born in sin and the children of wrath," and that they are “children of grace”
by baptism ; by baptism they are said to be “made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.” The necessary inference is that, should they die before baptism, they die not members of Christ, children of God, or inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is asserted of baptized infants who die, that they are certainly saved. No one, therefore, can say, according to Church principles, whether those who die unbaptized are saved or not. Assuming that the ministers of the National Church really believed this awful doctrine, it would necessarily be one of their greatest objects to bring the means of baptism, as far as could be, within the reach of every Christian household. The parish of Clifton, Notts, consists of four hamlets-North Clifton, South Clifton, Spalford, and Harby. The living is only £176 a-year, and the incumbent has long been non-resident. The late curate told me he had twelve miles to travel every Sunday-one mile and back from South Clifton to the parish church, and five miles and back to and from Harby chapel. Now, in case of emergency to get an infant baptized at Harby, twenty miles must be travelled over-ten miles for the messenger and ten miles for the minister.
Some years ago the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold land in this parish to the amount of £5,000, and a landowner at Harby applied for assistance to obtain a resident minister there, which the Commissioners at once refused. After this, a deanery became vacant, and was given to a gentleman who had no public claim. The appointment was defended in Parliament, on the ground that as this deanery was only £1,000 a-year, and the residence was very large, it was absolutely necessary to appoint a rich man; and we find riches a necessary qualification for a ministerial office. Within a short time of this appointment, and this defence of it, the same Commissioners, voluntarily and unasked, added another £1,000 a-year to this rich man's large income. It is not my intention to go back to this case as a waste of public property, and a misappropriation of Church funds; but is it possible to expect the day-labourers or working men at Harby to believe that the bishops, who so disposed of these trust funds, really and heartily believed the doctrines professed by the Establishment as to the penalty of original sin and the unspeakable blessing of infant baptism?
Except dangerous illness can be alleged, no infant can be baptized without three sponsors, and by a canon of the Church the parents are forbidden to stand. From the conscientious scruples of one portion of our people, and the irreligious character of the other, it was found, in a vast number of cases, impossible to obtain sponsors, and Convocation proposed to alter the canon. This was never done; and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his place in the house of Lords, explained it by saying it depended on the Home Secretary, who had probably not had time to attend to it. Years have thus passed away. We come, therefore, to this: the certainty of the salvation of dying infants depends on baptism, obtaining baptism depends on getting sponsors, getting sponsors depends on altering a canon, and altering à canon depends on the Home Secretary; and consequently the
salvation of dying infants does or may, like the lives of murderers, depend on the Home Secretary. Can we expect intelligent working men to understand this “system"?
One of the leading practical doctrines taught by the Scriptures is that the “love of money is the root of all evil.” Christianity would appear to be especially calculated to mitigate that intense thirst for wealth, that abject worship of riches, which is said to be the special sin of this our country. How is our Church system fitted to teach us this scriptural lesson ? Many thousands of souls are abandoned by the Establishment to their fate, and left to live, as sheep having no shepherd, from lack of means to support a minister : 5,000 curates must exist with scanty pittances, to say nothing of the harrowing distress revealed by the Clergy Relief Society, and yet we pay £15,000 a-year to our chief minister. This immense revenue, appropriated to one single person, might have been expressly designed to inculcate that respect for wealth which we are as expressly commanded to avoid.
Dissenters will probably tell me that these observations may apply to the National Establishment, but not to Nonconformity, which has adopted opposite principles. Be it so; but let us try to put our. selves into the position of an intelligent working man, outside of all religion, whose heart has never been touched by any religious impressions, has never been brought under any religious influence. All belief depends on probability; and if such a man is naturally led to conclude that there is no truth in Christianity as it is offered to him, through the means of the National Church, the professed religion of the Queen, the aristocracy, an immense majority of the higher classes, the universities, and public schools throughout the kingdom, is it probable that he would attach himself to any of the various sects of Nonconformity, except under some special circumstances ? Should this reasoning be just, are we not destroying souls by thousands in our political capacity, whilst we are endeavouring to save them by hundreds by our individual exertions ?
Are we not incurring a responsibility which no words can adequately express, by maintaining the National Establishment in its present state? Whether the excuses put forward by the working classes for neglecting religious ordinances are, or are not, reasonable, is not our first consideration. The parable of the beam and mote may surely be applied to us, in all its force. We are all responsible for the state of the National Church, according to our respective political power and influence, and the worse we think of it the greater this responsibility. Long ago Mr. Binney asserted that the Established Church destroyed more souls than she saved. I must be allowed to express my own opinion in my own words, and I shall die with the conviction that she has lost far more souls indirectly by her “system" than she has saved by the exertions of her many conscientious and laborious ministers.
CHRISTOPHER NEVILE. Thorney, April 12, 1867.
ON READING THE BIBLE.
To the Editor of the CARISTIAN SPECTATOR. SIR,--Much as I admired the piece in your March number, entitled “ Thank You," I could not help fearing its possible influence on young and hasty readers. I am aware that the last few sentences in the piece seem to ward off the necessity for such anxiety, yet the ten. dency of the article is, I think, to encourage what surely in these days needs no encouragement—the inordinate love of novel and magazine reading; and I, as an old woman, am desirous to be allowed to offer a few words of warning upon the subject, dictated, I may truly say, by no wish to lessen the pleasure and benefit some of our serials afford. My object is to impress upon the young the immense advantage and blessing of a description of reading which shall, under God's blessing, strengthen their faith and hope in the truths of revelation, and give them the daily courage they need to fight the battle of life. The abundant supply of weekly and monthly maga. zines is so great, and is so fast increasing, that it is difficult to find time to read a portion of them. Consequently the tales (often two in one magazine) are read first, because they are amusing, and the other, and in many cases valuable pieces, are left unread. The story begun must, of course, be read to its conclusion, and when read within the time that may rightly be given to such reading, we may well say, “ Thank you” to its author for the refreshment given to us. But if religious works of standard and well-known value are neglected, if, especially, the Book of books is scarcely opened, we are robbing our souls of food most needful for them, and setting at nought the express command of God in His Word—we are, though at the time unconscious of it, losing the great enjoyment and blessing which the attentive and prayerful reading of the Scriptures is sure to afford. And for what? That which is often forgotten as soon as read, and not seldom condemned by our better judgment even as we read. We are like persons who, when invited to a feast, shall dine off the small dishes composed of froth and sugar, while the chief and most nutritious delicacy is left untouched. Imagine yourself in a large circle of your acquaintances, and that you inquire by turns of each how much time they had spent during the last month in magazines and other light reading, and how much to the study of the Scriptures ? We well know the result of such a question. I would
entreat my young friends (and I am sure the clever author of " Thank You” would agree with me in this) to be strict in making, and keeping when made, such an arrangement of their time as that they may be able to review with satisfaction that part of it which is apportioned to reading. I remember how much impressed I was, when a child, by witnessing the delight with which my venerated grandfather read the Word of God. He told me it was his custom to read it through three times every year. Up to the age of forty he lived regardless of its existence; but when brought out of such darkness into light, its pages were his best refresliment and delight. Permit me to close my few remarks by the words written in his own Bible by the learned and pious Sir William Jones : "I have regularly and attentively perused these Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion that this volume (independently of its Divine origin) contains more true sublimity, more excellent history, and finer strains of poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been written.”
Yours, &c., London, April 10, 1867.
BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Bible Teachings in Nature. By the Rev. Hugh MACMILLAN. Mac
millan and Co. This book is an excellent example of a class which deserves genera encouragement. The author combines an evident passion for the study of nature, and a certain proficiency in one of its branches, with an equal zeal for scriptural theology. One of the chief evils of our time is, that the men of science are usually deficient in Biblical lore, and the theological men are unskilled in special knowledge of nature. In the present volume Mr. Macmillan gives a series of chapters on natural objects, in which he first expounds the present views of science in relation to them, and then uses them in illustration of the higher truths of Revelation. His speciality is in the department of vegetable physiology, in which he has earned, by other publications, golden opinions, and the more interesting parts of this work are those in which he treats of the “ trees of the Lord,” and the general economy of plants and flowers. But the chapters on Astronomy and Mineralogy will also be found very interesting, and fitted to educate the eye to divine views of the material system. The style is always clear, sometimes rising into rich eloquence; and the full knowledge of the author enables him to present a book which, though destitute of engravings, is yet illustrated in every page with picturesque writing that is certain to win the regard of younger readers. It is not easy to imagine a book better designed as a school-prize, or one more calculated to train susceptible minds to a love of nature. Best of all, nature is here represented as a flight of golden steps up to the gate of Heaven. Ritualism and its Related Dogmas, by Rev. ENOCH MELLOR, M.A.
London: John Snow and Co. MR. MELLOR knows where to hit and how to hit. With clear eye and strong hand, resolute purpose, and uncompromising principle, he