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.... ON BRIEFS. .. TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX MAGAZINE.. ! Sir,
Letter in the Gentleman's Magazine having ealled A my attention to the inefficiency of briefs, I trouble you with a few loose hints upon that subject, under the hope that the loss which is evidently sustained by that mode of collecting money for the relief of sufferers by fire, and for the reparation of churches, may lead to a revision of the present system, which from the expences attending it, is inadequate to the purpose intended. Among the briefs which I received sometime ago from my churchwarden, is one for rebuilding the parish church of Adderley, in the county of Salop, the charge of which is 12481. 18s. 6d. Before this last brief was applied for, it appears that letters patent had been granted three different times, by which the several sums of 1141. Os. Od..)
127 9 11 Samounting in the whole to 3131. gs. 10d.
72 6 had been obtained. If this be the only source from which the parishioners of Adderley expect to raise a fund for the re-building of the church, they will require at least eight more briefs, supposing them all to be as productive as the three first, to complete their undertaking; and what is still more important, the sum of 50001, (I use round numbers) will be collected from the public, when only a fourth part of that sum is required by the estimate. As I have no means of ascertaining the fact, I take it for granted, that the charge of suiøg out a brief as stated in Burn's ecclesiastical law, is correct. That for Ravenstonedale in Westmorland, amounted to 3301. consisting of the following items: 1 ...",
Patent charges : 761. 38. 6d. .
at sixpence eachi. Jut
*330 766 and I conclude that each succeeding brief is subject to a similar charge; I wish that I may be mistaken in this particulars, I shall be happy to learn that the salary for
Vol: VIII. Churchm. Mag. Feb. 1805. Pco.l.eting
collecting in the second instance is less enormous, but I am afraid from the sums received by the parish of Adderley, that there will be no abatement of charge, eren if an unfortunate parish should be obliged to realize my suppositions, and obtain letters patent for the twelfth time. In a circular letter distributed at the last visitation, the non-productiveness of briefs was stated, and imputed, if I recollect rightly, to the omissions of the clergy and the negligence of the churchwardens, but surely the circumstance I have mentioned must operate very powerfully; for who does not give a shilling with reluc. tance, when he knows that not inore than one fourth of it will be applied to the purpose for which his charity is solicited ? As the re-building, and in many instances, the reparation of churches, depends very much upon the funds that are thus collected, it is of extreme' importance to endeavour to reduce the heavy charges with which they are attended, and which threaten their annihilation. The salary for collecting amounts upon an average to 2500l. per annum. A fifth part of the sum would be an ample compensation for the trouble. I know. nothing of the individuals who enjoy this lucrative office; I only wish ţhat they had twice the income from any other source, for I am afraid they will dry up the fountain.
Feb. 12, 1805.
Qucries to the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, with a Hint to the
MAGAZINE SIR, T ADDRESS the following queries to you, rather than to I the Editors of the Christian Observer, to whom it might seen more' natural to address them, because I am pretty well assured, thạt they would neither answer them, nor insert them in their work. They would no more do either of these, than they would make mention of the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine';, respecting
the existence of which, Mr. Editor, you must have obe served a marked and determined silence in the Christian Observer. The reason of this silence is obvious. The Editors are well aware, that, if their readers in general should get to know much of the nature and design of the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine, there would soon be an end of the Christian Obseryer. The queries, which I wish to put are these :
1. Do not those ministers of the Church of England, who are distinguished by the term Evangelical, generally neglect to instruct children in the Catechism of the Church of England ?
2. Do not such ministers generally discourage the use of the Church Catechism in the schools, over which they have any controul? - 3. Do not the Editors of the Christian Observer approve of this conduct? . 4. Is not this hostility to the Church Catechisın (the authorized, and the only authorized form of instructing youth in the principles of religion) rightly accounted for by the fact, that the Catechism contains an artidote against Calvinism, and particularly against the doctrines of election and salvation by faith only, as they are erroneously and absurdly explained by Calvinistic or Evangelical ministers?
I do not expect these questions to be answered; but I cannot help thinking, that, if they should be answered in the affirmative, which I fear they must be, if answer- , ed truly, it behoves their Lordships the Bishops, to make particular enquiries, at their next visitations; on the important subject of catechising:
SUSPICAK. Jan. 16, 1805.
:: SIR, ..
DEFENCE OF SIKES's DIALOGUËS. TO TIE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCUMAN'S
Nov. 15, 1804. VOUR correspondent Juvenis, I conceive is not pera, I fectly correct, in his remark upon a passage in
Mr. Sikcs's Dialogues on Edification, inserted in your Review for September. If you will do me the favour to give a place in your next nuinber to the following observations, they will probably meet the eye of Juvenis, and I trust will afford him some satisfaction. Your correspondent considers that Twilight's question, viz. “ What is a man to do, whose parochial minister preaches false doctrine?” is not satisfactorily solved, but by another question is evaded. As it is, says the writer, it goes in my opinion, to oblige persons to abide in their parish churches, even though Arianism or other false doctrine be preached therein. I have carefully perused the Dialogues in question, and must confess, that I have laid, 'them down, feeling myself very satisfactorily instructed upon these points.' • Who is to be judge," is not an evasion of Twilight's question; for says the minister, “ There are many circumstances which must be thoroughly examined before a proper answer can be given. . In the first place, “who is to be judge of the doctrine you may hear in your parish church?" It is a preliminary step to be taken before the answer can be given, not an evasion of the answer; for if we consider that hitherto in all ages up to the present anomalous times, it has been the office and prerogative of Councils, Bishops, and learned Doctors, not of " any man of common sense" alone, to decide upon what is, or is not false doctrine; if we call to mind what extreme care and anxiety the Christian Church has always manifested, in allowing an authority to decide in matters of faith, it seems to ine that Twilight's question is virtually almost answered not evaded by this short question, “ Who is to be judge?". In this question the minister seems to aim first at repressing that spirit of presumption which now-a-days leads unlearned and unstable men, to give their decision upon theological questions with more confidence than formerly popes, or councils, have done ; and then proceeds to instruct his man how to act as a Christian ought to act in such a case; intimating at the same time, by thus turning the conversation, that that is often called false doctrine, which is not, and that he who commits the decision into the hands of the proper judge, will not often be pressed by the supposed difficulty. Much pains are taken by the ininister, to shew that revery man of common sense," as Juvenis speaks, is not a competent judge; -my advice, says he, is this: Remember
that a seryant
Twincommission false dore probabis that an Use yo
foldee clergy atill strongerch heresy,
that I have Christ's commission and authority to teach you; receive my instruction, therefore, as the instruction of him, whom Christ hath appointed to his office," and is not the advice and counsel given by the authority of God infinitely preferable to any other ? '". Use your senses then,” says he, « and confess that an appointed minister of Christ will more probably be a much better judge of true and false doctrine than an ordinary Christian uncommissioned, whose duty it is to hearken to him.”
Twilight, like many others, thinks this doctrine a little stiff and papistical : the mainister clears it from that reproach and shews that the true Christian 'steers his course between the errors of the Papist, who is led by his clergy blindfolded, and that of the Dissenter, who will not be led by the clergy at all. The countryman is now made to put his question still stronger;“ Suppose," says he," the preacher were really to broach heresy and error?" And then the minister enters upon the solution of the difficulty, and thus instructs him: “He observes that when this case really happens, it is an hard one; yet it very seldom happens; hut when it does, it must generally be in the sermon.” The minister still anxious to inculcate that it is not for every man to determine what is false doctrine, proceeds to instruct his pupil “ what is to be done, if in the preacher's sermon any thing should be advanced which may appear to be heresy. « He would first tell him his suspicions, and hear wbat he has to say;" if the preacher clears up the matter, all his well, if he does not, then says he, "take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, as our Lord says, every word may be established. If he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; for the cliurch is the only competent judge of doctrine.” Twilight is not yet satisfied, but pushes his instructor home upon this point, and asks what a sincere Christian is to do, when a clergyman preaches such doctrine as the church esteems erroneous ?" I see not the least evasion in his following reply; -* If the man preaches such doctrine as the church condemns, the niatter is very soon settled. Tell it to
the church and the thing is done. But if he perform - not his duty, in preaching pure church doctrine, yet
remember that the minister of a parish is not an hired servant of the people, but the divinely cominissioned servant of Christ, and though he neglect his duty; that does not make pull bis cominission to do it; he is still