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is superannuated, or otherwise rendered incapable of performing the duty of his parish, he may be said (if the strong language in which you indulge may be allowed) to be little else than the steward or the tithe-taker for the curate. The incumbent collects the tithes, incurs all the odium which unbappily attaches to that mode of payment, keeps the curate's house in repair for bim; his widow or orphans are saddled with dilapidations after his death ; he is compelled to pay over all his emoluments to a man over whom he has no control, who enjoys all the comforts of bis station, and leaves him nothing but--responsibility. It is irrefragable, that the only hope, the only chance of preserving a part of his inconie, of retaining any prop to his declining age, is the discretionary power which the law gives to the diocesan. But which one half of bis profession (according to your estimate) would refuse him.

Įt should be remembered too, that small or moderate livings are generally given to curates, as the reward of good conduct; to men who bave little or no interest in the state, but whose labors, and quiet usefulness, have given them a claim to the notice of their patron: yet this must be wrested from the poor incumbent, if sick, ness or intirmity ensue, or the strength of his constitution surpass that of his mental powers. He is to be stripped of all; the visitations of providence are to be considered as crimes; and he is to be left to sustain the accumulated weight of age, helplessness, and poverty, bereft of those means, which he fondly thought would have comfortably, though they never could have splendidly, supported him. This, in the common course of events, must be a frequent case within a very few years. And yet “the pretence that bishops sought the curates' good is not justified by facts.”. Why, Sir, the curates of the present day are the very people who will hereafter have to complain, that their benefices are taken from them. And if their complaints be couched in language similar to that which is put into their mouths now, “ the legislature, the bishops and the public,” will have no reason to admire the quiet forbearance and patient meekness of the inferior clergy.

56 That the laborer is worthy of his hire” no one will dispute ; it “ js, a maxim,” to use your own words, as accordant with the principles of humanity and justice, as it is with the Scriptures, But what,” you ask, " is the history of this case? And what is the fact, as it now stands ?” I have already stated it; and will compress it in a single sentence. After a clergyman is past his labor, he shall be, de facto, superseded by a curate, who shall have power to leave his cure whenever be thinks fit, who shall take the whole emolument of the living, and leave the old superannuated laborer nothing to subsist upon.

Your cases I must beg to pass sub silentio ; not as irresistible

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arguments in support of your appeal; for they might be met by numerous others, more hard and distressing to incumbents; but because I think it culpable to expose the frailties of my own order; because I remember the rebuke of St. Paul: “There is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another: why do ye not rather take wrong?" If the primitive Christians were blamed by an Apostle, for asserting their rights in Courts of Law, what would have been said to those, who stirred up strife, and appealed to a whole kingdom, when their superiors determined any point against them? Perhaps I am wrong in speaking of your superiors. If we may judge by the tenor of your language, you own none; for in boldness we cannot conceive that of the coppersmith of Ephesus to exceed it. Could those who withstood the Apostles have said more, than you have said of the bishops ? « They have no evidence upon which to prove our guilt; and their conduct makes it manifest that they have not.”

I have already intimated my opinion, and I trust it rests on solid grounds, that a removal of a curate may be expedient and proper, without proof, or suspicion of actual guilt. But allowing that something may bave been alleged against you, though it have been by “ a knot of atheists,” you have not told us plainly and fairly what that something is. You assert that the bishops assume guilt without evidence. You assume, in those to whom you appeal, a knowledge of a criminal charge, where no crime may have been imputed to you. Surely it would have been consistent with the eandor you claim, and wish to appear to exercise, to tell us the real state of the case. Certainly you must be aware of what was said against you by the “ profane and bad characters in your own parish !" Why do you hide the accusation? You complain of tyranny, and refuse to say upon what pretence that tyranny was exerted. You speak of charges, but conceal their shape and nature. When a man is disarmed, it is fair to turn his own weapons against him. I shall, therefore, retort your own words upon you. Your conduct in publishing your appeal, and especially in endeavouring to make it considered as the act of the whole body of curates, when you cannot prove, that you are joined by a single member of that truly respectable and useful class of men, “ in whichever way we view it, is wholly indefensible.” You have done “ either too much or too little ; too much, if you cannot prove" by facts; by open, clear, notorious facts, that you have been unjustly treated : « and too little if you can." Your accusations are too general; your language inflammatory. The world will not be content with charges without evidence ; nor will it allow that to be authority, proof, or conclusion, which rests on informa

have put

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tion that is anonymous :--but will impute the charges to intemperate rancor and merited chagrin.

Having examined your arguments thus far with the candor you claim; though I cannot admit you

“ the same liberal construction on the spirit and practice of the “known laws and honest judges” of your country; I think myself warranted to deny the assumption on which your most serious question is grounded.

Why,” you ask, are curates shut out from the rights and privileges of other subjects, when their conduct affords no ground for such an exclusion 7” I trust I have made it appear that they are 'shut out from no rights and privileges which are allowed to the generality of his Majesty's subjects. And I am quite ready to admit, that, if they were, “ the sentiments and habits of the general body” afford no ground for such an exclusion. I deny, as flatly as yourself, that they have done any thing to forfeit the rights of Englishmen; and I also deny that “ they live under a continued suspension, or rather abolition, of the Habeas Corpus.” I allow it to be an undeniable truth, that the curates of England have proved themselves to be loyal, regular, diligent, orthodox, and moral; that they have shown themselves in times too that have been tremendously alarming) to be both true Britons and good Churchmen." But I cannot allow that any law which has been recently enacted, has any affinity to the suspension of that palladium of our liberties, to which, in my opinion, you so unnecessarily refer. The Habeas Corpus Act was passed to prevent the tedious or improper confinement of any Englishman : under the operation of it no man can be imprisoned for any length of time, without being brought to trial. A curate, if he were imprisoned, would have the benefit of the Act as fully as any other subject. How does a removal from a curacy assimilate to the suspension of this law? The fact is, you felt yourself called upon to put a strong case; and you knew of none that would awaken public attention, or alarm the country more than a reference to this.

In the same strain of vehemence you ask questions that are needless, and on points that have seldom, if they have ever, been subjects of dispute. Who ever asserted that the curates of England were “democratical, schismatical, or heretical ?" If they had been, or had been so supposed, would so many Acts of Parliament have been recently enacted for their support? What would you say, if the few, the very few, subaltern officers, whose names we sometimes see in the Gazette, as superseded, were to maintain, that by thus depriving them of their commissions, the government virtually asserted that all of the same rank as themselves were disloyal, and improper to be employed in the service of their country? Would it not at

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once strike you, that they were endeavouring to prop up their own characters by libelling their superiors, by making their own cause common with the profession, whose principles and conduct were diametrically opposite to their own?

The case of every man, whose success in life is impęded by untoward circumstances, whether they are the effects of misfortune, or of inconsiderate conduct, is always, by himself, regarded as one of “ extreme hardship.” But I have proved that the curate's case is not " without parallel :" and I trust we need not recur to “ the conduct of the Jews towards our Saviour," nor that of the Pharisees towards St. Paul, to prove that it is not " without precedent." You are fond of primitive examples ; let me refer you to the practice of the Church, as soon as it had assumed a regular form. You will find that the bishop's leave was necessary to warrant any one to preach in his diocese. Cave, in the 8th ch. of his Primitive Christianity, asserts, and proves from good authority, " though presbyters by their ordination had a power conferred upon them to administer holy things, yet, after that the Church was settled upon foundations of order and regularity, they did not usually exercise this power within any diocese, without leave and authority from the bishop.” It may not be amiss to request your attention to this author's remark respecting the conduct of the inferior clergy in these early times. He tells us; “ when some of them began to take too much upon them, to distribute the sacrament before the bishop or presbyter, and to take place among the presbyters, the Council of Nice took notice of it, as a piece of bold and saucy usurpation, severely commanded them to know their place, and to contain themselves within their own bounds and measures.' His description of the authority and duties of a bishop is so plain and pertinent, that I trust I shall be excused in transcribing it. main work and office of a bishop was to teach and instruct the people, to administer the sacraments, to absolve penitents, to eject and excommunicate obstinate and incorrigible offenders, to preside in the assemblies of the clergy, to ordain inferior officers in the Church, to call them to account, and to suspend, or deal with them according to the nature of the offence; to urge the observance of ecclesiastical laws, and to appoint and institute such indifferent rites, as were for the decent and orderly administration of his Church.” “ These, and many more, were the unquestionable rights and duties of the episcopal office.” And in treating of the office and authority of a primate, his words are “ to him the last determination of all appeals, from all the provinces, in differences of the clergy, and the sovereign care of all the diocese, for sundry points of spiritual government, did belong." So that it appears the process you complain of is not “ without rule,” nor without precedent. It is not contrary to "every moral code, and every civil usage;" but is strictly consonant with the constitution and practice of the primitive Church. Because you consider your own case a hard one, you are induced to suppose every exertion of ecclesiastical authority “ arbitrary, unjust, and tyrannical.” And though your pamphlet is written with as much point as acrimony, you often forget yourself; you imagine some evils which could have no existence; and augment the weight of others, which ought not to influence the determination of the diocesan. Who would have expected, after maintaining in one page, that “ the eloquence of Cicero, and the vehemence of Demosthenes, might be well employed in pourtraying the mischiefs of this system ; or rather the divine ardor and holy energy of St. John and St. Paul;" you would dwell, in the very next, on the domestic and parochial evils attached to the removal of a clergyman, who “ had married a lady, all whose connexions lived in the town ?" And what occasion was there for those marks of admiration, when

6. The

you

inform us, that the petition of the curate's friends in the parish did not affect the decision of the bishop, nor induce him to swerve from the principles, on which no doubt so unpleasant and necessary an exertion of authority was grounded, and that his reply was" I cannot permit him to remain curate among you !!!” Does pot this prove, if it prove any thing, that there were urgent reasons why he should not; and that much “ ecclesiastical mischief" would probably have resulted from the prelate's wavering in the execution of his duty, and of listening to the numerous comexions of the curate's wife?

Instead of the “ summary judgment” you reptobate so severely, would you wish these cases to be tried by a jury of the parishioners ? I am led to suppose so, by a remark in the earlier

part

of

your pamphlet, " that trial by law and by jury is a fair, reasonable, and necessary mode of conviction." A position which no Englishman will deny in civil and criminal cases; but which never has been resorted to, nor ever can, with propriety and usefulness, in matters purely spiritual. “ This would introduce mischiefs of a very serious nature indeed :” and be absolutely“ destructive of the unity of the Church." Though the Bible be the statute book of every man's conscience, while the modes of interpretation are so various, it cannot be expected that twelve men in humble life, and taken fairly and indiscriminately out of society, would be unanimous in determining a point of doctrine. They would not probably read a single page of the Bible with precisely similar feelings; how then can we suppose that they would accord in their decision, and interpret abstruse doctrines alike? Nothing could tend more to the destruction of the established rules and laws of the Church”

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