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can lift up his voice to read ceremonial laws in the congregation, who can burn incense upon the golden altar, or apply his lips the silver trumpet to announce by a blast of metallic music tl appearance of the new moon.
But so do not think the generality of the Dissenters. To tl greater number of the members of their churches it is, we fear, matter of indifference what their ministers receive. That is th affair of the deacons; and if the deacons are, as they occasionall are, a company of contracted and economical' financiers, th people say, “Behold, we knew it not!' The man whose heart life they are living upon from week to week, and from year to yea may be sorely troubled to meet his rent, or his taxes, or his bills fd the clothing and education of his family; but to 'beg hei ashamed,' and, therefore, he hides his sorrow, and looks out for 'call in Providence to a wider sphere.' Meantime, have not th 'dear hearers,' well warmed and filled, paid their twenty shillings year for their sittings (or peradventure 'thirty pieces of silver,' th very same sum for which Judas sold his Master), and have the not given half a crown, or even one pound one,' to the missionar collection, and two shillings at each collection for incidentals Yea, verily! And have they not, most of them, given five or si times as much as all these noble sums together annually for mer amusements and luxuries, and expensive furniture, and food, an ornaments, while the minister of God has been vexing his soul wit a battle between the instincts of nature, and the influences of gract But the ministers reap as they have sown. They have not taugh the people the divine rules of giving, and the responsibility of th whole church for an ungodly parsimony in its officers. They hav withheld the apostolic doctrine on the Christian finances, they hav abandoned the secular affairs' too much to 'secular' and ung nial men, fonder of office than of duty; as if the affairs of God temple ever could lawfully become 'secular,'—they have made the Heavenly Father's house a house of merchandize, a place of bargai and sale, of high and low-priced sittings—they have allowed to often the domination of a race of 'deacons' who, notwithstandin the piety of many, and the wisdom of not a few, are guilty great ecclesiastical trespasses; until at length the results are see in nearly universal dissatisfaction, in an ever 'moveable' ministry and in a disgust, not loudly expressed, but deeply felt, by most! the better instructed adherents of Nonconformity.*
*“Not long since,” says Mr. Stanford, of Camberwell, in his rece address to the divinity students of Bristol, published with the title of " Instri mental Strength," " not long since, not far away, in a certain associatio embracing eighteen churches, fifteen of the number dissolved their pastor connections within five years, and four of them changed twice within the sam period. Six vacancies occurred during four months; and only three minister remained undisturbed amid the general perturbation.”—p. 31.
And one evil always breeds another. Corrupt trees have, like good ones, their seeds within themselves upon the earth. The low remuneration of the generality of ministers, the low type of many of those ministers themselves, the smallness of the churches, and the sovereignty of deacons, are all woven together in one web
calamity. Let us expound this mystery to the uninitiated. Here and there a man arises, like the apostle Paul, who will preach the Gospel, earns his own crust by tent-making, and defy all the regions of Achaia to say that they have contributed a penny to his Deed; but when once you have admitted that such martyr-like sell-denial is not to be expected as the usual type of service, and that the ministry ought to LIVE by the gospel ; you have admitted the further principle that it is best to establish this support on a wteral footing. If you wish for men who, like Jeroboam's priests, shall be of the lowest of the people, offer a beggarly stipend, and You will infallibly obtain them. If on the other hand you wish for, at least a strong admixture of men of good birth, good taste, migu thought, and good education, you must offer them a mainteDance of at least moderate respectability. There seems, so far as we can understand the Bible, to be no objection in heaven to a Teal Christian, simply because he is a gentleman; and on the earth there are often many reasons for preferring the public ministrations of such a person, if he only be the equal of his humbler brother n the graces of the Spirit. Now very low salaries, raised by very stall churches, and administered by perfunctory officials, are cerlain to operate on a wide scale, so as to discourage Christians of good station and education from desiring the office of bishop, and $0 as to raise up a numerous order of ministers, who, with whatefer other qualifications endowed, are certainly not debtors to the 9. There are some indeed who will think this not undesirable, and who will denounce as most snobbish and 'worldly' the openly expressed desire for preventing the ministry from sinking to be the peculium of aspirants from an inferior position. We cannot help
We maintain that while it is most desirable for ministers to exist, taken from, and suitable to, every class in the community, it * also to be desired that the teaching of religion and the guidance of churches should, to a great extent, devolve in this age upon men who are the equals of the public in position, in intelligence, and in cultire ; men of mark, men of mind, men of knowledge, as well as men of self-sacrifice and of earnest piety. The plan which gives up all government, and all appointments in Church and State, to the order and the intelligence of small shopkeepers, never did answer, w it never will. Any one who will take the pains to become ktensively acquainted with the Dissenting ministers of the empire, till infallibly conclude that the lower you fix your stipends, the bwer will be the social and intellectual type of the occupants of your pulpits.
Further, a man who stands alone in a small community, subsisting on a very trifling income, cannot possibly exert, as human nature is generally found to exist, a very strong moral influence upon those who support him. The less income he has, the less Englishmen think of him. They commonly respect a tolerably sup§: minister, if a good man; but nearly all Dissenters perhaps ecause they are Englishmen, look down upon a very poor one— though his poverty be of their own fabrication. Every one has very occasionally, regarded with a mixture of amusement and mortification, the relations subsisting between such an ill-sustained pastor and a company of wealthy supporters. The poor fellow, if timid, seemed like a mouse among a number of cats, permitted indeed to run about at liberty, and squeak at his pleasure, yet never to forget that the great money-power which keeps him a little way on this side the gates of death, could in a moment abandon him to his fate, and leave him to the before-mentioned desperate expedient of a “wider sphere.” Still again; a low class of ministers collects a low class of congregations; either people, who on principle, hate refinement, thought, and progress, or who make a conscience of disgusting away by their manners or by their psalmody, all members of the superior and educated order that approach the sanctuary; people who demand a weekly stimulant and spiritual dram, rather than scriptural and spiritual instruction,-a strong dose of High-Calvinism, or of meretricious eloquence, or of pretended philosophy. Among such, a pernicious revivalism always flourishes; and, not being accustomed to exact thinking or to correct exposition, they are easily carried away by the tide of enthusiasm, or by the renown of some stump-orator, who proclaims himself a special intimate of the Almighty. Thus, all things work together for evil, when once men begin to mock God, in the matter of tithes and offerings, and to set up in every fourth street of a town independent churches, which are of the size of small chapels. Hence come high deacons and low presbyters, moveable ministers, and churches without any reverence for their Elders; and finally, Plymouth brethrenism, or apostasy to the established church. Now, for the abatement of these evils we venture to make three suggestions, which shall be delivered in the form of an imaginary discourse by the religious financier of our Reformed Church at the town of St. Charles the Martyr. It must be understood that at this town the dissenting ministers have recently all died, very happily, and have gone to heaven. The churches are “vacant'—that is to say, they have no pastors. By a singular fatality and coincidence the excellent deacons have all died too, and have been buried, amidst every demonstration of public respect. In this town the Nonconformists are numerous, but divided. There are two Independent churches, two Baptist churches, and specimens of every description of Methodist and Episcopal church-worship. It is a sort of ecclesiastical Noah's Ark. Now, in this ancient town there is a reading society, to which the more considering people of all these “denominations' belong. Among other books, papers, and magazines lying during last autumn upon the green tables of this society, was Mr. Stoughton's essay on Lessons for Nonconformists, Mr. Ross' Prize Essay on the Churches of the New Testament, and the October number of this straw-covered miscellany. In each of these the members read statements on the working of modern Independency and on the Apostolicity and desirableness of the local aggregation of Christians, which took such an effect upon them, that they resolved to see if anything could be done, now that the ministers and deacons were dead, to introduce the elements of a new and better organisation of Nonconformity. Accordingly they appointed a large central meeting of all the most pious and intelligent persons of the several communities, taking care to furnish them first with materials for reflection on the many evils of a divided government. They met for discussion again and again, evening after evening, not omitting the resource of prayer to the Supreme Father, which they found to exert a singularly harmonizing and uniting influence. They at once agreed that if there were to buildings, they would not hesitate a moment, but would instantly form a CHURCH of CHRIST at St. Charles the Martyr. They next were brought to admit that if the spiritual advantages of the union of as many Christians as possible in one community would be so great, it could not be right to lose those advantages, on account of considerations derived only from property in bricks and mortar. And the next step was to resolve that they would not forego them. A lawyer, who was also a man of God, opened a way of escape from their difficulties. He showed them that if their present trusts were kept up, and no violence offered to the great truths designated in the trust deeds, there was nothing to hinder the members of these several communities uniting themselves into a general association for religious ends, just as the London colleges were aggregated into New College at St. John'sWood. They therefore, after taking time to gain the assent of the less instructed members of the churches, resolved to become one numerous and powerful Ecclesia, to proceed to the election of bishops, deacons, and deaconesses, with a presiding primus or elder, after the model of the Apostolic churches. It was at the great final meeting of the church members of the ‘Independent’ and ‘Baptist’ societies, and of those Christian disciples of other connections, Episcopal and Methodist, who resolved upon falling in with the general movement, that the following address was delivered by a certain aged man, held in reputation by the believers. “Christian brethren,” said he, “before proceeding further in this
blessed work, which I thank God that I have lived to see, it is necessary that we should arrange our financial system. With this view, permit me to remind you of the expenses to be incurred. We propose to maintain four ministers of God, pastors and evangelists, forming a united presbytery, and to supply the funds requisite for sustaining our schools, our city missionaries, and our weekly worship in a variety of buildings. The ministers, if young or single men, ought not to have a less income, considering the
present expenses of living in the south of England, than — hundred a-year; if married and with families, – hundred ; allowing
for augmentation in cases of larger households. These expenses
will demand a far larger average of contribution from all of us,
high and low, than that to which the present system has accustomed us; but then we design not to consent to the appointment
of cheap and inferior men, and have resolved upon rendering the
ministry in this town a post which ought not to be occupied except by men of character, attainment, ability, and proved piety. If we obtain the right ministers, they will be well worth their maintenance. If we were so unhappy as to appoint hirelings, they
would be too dear at the lowest remuneration of their services. Let us resolve to abolish the custom of letting seats and pews. Seats can be appointed and reserved to regular attendants at the different churches, but let the association of ideas between the sittings and the support of the ministry be completely and for ever dissolved. Let the support of all the earpenses of the church be thrown upon weekly offering to God made at the doors, and let those offerings all be thrown into a common fund. ‘Let us bring an offering and come into his courts.” Let there be a sacred emulation between us who shall be most generous and open-handed, according to his means; and if, as is improbable, the sums collected at the doors by fragmentary but incessant contributions should prove insufficient, then let us make up the difference by a special collection. Let us teach one another to regard these weekly offerings as part of the “worship, one of the most practical expressions of allegiance to heaven. Let the poor cast their “mites’ into the treasury, let the rich cast in ‘much.” Let the artizan cast in a tribute from his weekly earnings, the servant from her wages, and the tradesman from his profits. Let it be accounted a shameful thing among us to pass the treasury of God. Let giving be as established a part of divine service as singing and prayer, and we shall enjoy in the advantages which these offerings will secure for us, the invaluable blessing of an able, well-instructed, and varied ministry, the benefit of a well-organised and laborious presbytery. We shall no longer expect one man to possess all gifts and excellencies, but we shall be partakers in the diversified talents and graces of a body of mu*ually stimulating and able ministers of God. By these means of