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second living is not reckoned in sect. 15. amongst the exemptions; and to notify exemptions is the purpose of sect. 25.—Still, such doubt has actually arisen, and has been matter of debate amongst neighbours.—Under the fame section a copy of the notification is to be filed; but copies are sometimes very incorrect: who would be accountable for incorrectness in this cafe? and what evil would arise from it to the writer? this may be too trifling; but if one reads with a pen in one's hand, one makes remarks sometimes that are not very important.
If I do not misunderstand sect. 29, non-residents may be prosecuted in both civil and ecclesiastical courts for the fame offence. This may be the cafe with other kinds of offenders; civil and ecclesiastical laws having been formed, in ancient times, independently of each other: but that a new law should be made, distinctly and positively ordaining such double prosecution, strikes my ignorance aud stupidity as something extraordinary.—Section 35 seems purposely to disclaim applying two remedies to one evil.—This 29th section seems to give great power to the archdeacon, considering the station of life in which that officer is usually found.
With regard to the Monitions enjoined in sect. 30, they appear to me to be measures truly episcopal: they warn, and only proceed gradually to punishment, when it must appear to every impartial observer that punishment is unavoidable. This observation, as well as some others, goes upon the supposition that the plan of compelling residence is generally right. Commendation of particulars, on such a supposition does not bind a man to support the general plan.
By section 36, a Monition, though it cannot annul a suit already begun, can prevent its ever beginning.—Were I engaged in so arduous a task as that of framing a law on residence, after a determination to enforce it had been made, methinks I should consider very attentively whether the whole business of law-suits and informers might not be cut off by the use of Monitions. Law-suits, in every respect but as a check on bishops, might pretty clearly be dispensed with; and as much is trusted to the discretion of bishops, I should ask myself (supposing it agreed upon that Residence mu/i be enforced) might not this use of Monitions also? Or might not some other check be provided? The offence of non-residence is of a spiritual or ecclesiastical nature, might not the censure be wholly ecclesiastical ?—One may see, that if a bishop had any suspicion that a rector would be prosecuted, he might prevent the prosecution by issuing a
monition; and thus might serve a friend, or do a kind office to any clergyman in his diocese.
In like manner, a friend to one who had been non-resident ■without exemption or licence, might sometimes save expence by turning informer or prosecutor, supposing imminent danger of prosecution from an enemy: as the whole penalty goes to the informer, (by section 12,) he might return it to his friend; and in such a case the costs would be much less than in a real and earnest contention.
Section 34 speaks of an Order from the diocesan to the rector to reside in his parsonage-house; overlooking the common case of a rector's having two livings; for if a rector has two parsonage-houses, he is not obliged to inhabit both.—The words are, "by order of the archbishop or bishop as aforesaid;" but does such an order make any part of the present Act? Is it contained in a monition? When the parsonage-house is let [which parsonage-house? when, the rector has two ?) this order is to be transmitted to the churchwarden, and to be " served on the occupier;" in which case, any contract between the rector as landlord and the occupier as tenant becomes void. But if landlord and tenant can trust each other, as might happen in such a letting, the stipulated rent might still be paid.—Yet the tenant is liable to pay forty shillings a day whilst he continues to inhabit the house. Some one must sue for this; might the landlord, or rector, himself? . and so get all the forfeitures, and return them to the tenant ?—How great an evil it is for a rector who has two livings, to be unable to let that parsonage-house at which he does not reside, I have endeavoured to shew in my remarks upon the Curates' Act. —For want of some distinction between this house, where the rector is not at all obliged to reside, and that at which, whilst resident, he does reside, this 34th section causes great confusion in my mind.
Although it is said generally in this 34th section, that the sums of forty shillings each are to be recovered and applied as the other penalties are, yet Sequestration is mentioned as if it were the first measure tor recovering them; whereas I have conceived it, from what was said in preceding sections, to be a kind of dernier>refort: my idea, got from reading those sections, was, that lome one is supposed, in the first instance, to sue; or, it the censure comes from the bishop, a monition is supposed to issue; but the sequestration is to come last; when nothing else will succeed.—Doubts of this kind we common country clergy would be glad to have •; cleared cleared up. And those who thought it right to sue for the penalties to be paid by an occupier of a parsonage-house, who continues in it against the order of the diocesan, would feel some hesitation on observing, that the 'occupier is excused if he does not continue in it "wilfully;" a term admitting great latitude of construction; and enough to alarm any one who recollects, that if an incumbent is sued, and gains a verdict, according to section 27, he receives treble costs.
The 39th section, I am afraid, I do not understand.— Those which follow it, being of a temporary nature, calculated only for the first execution of the Act, need not be noticed.—The 41st, concerning non-residence of bishops, may be considered as belonging to the subject of exemptions.
July 6, 1807. RECTOR.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ON THE SECOND "IMMUTABLE THING."
tO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN S MAGAZINE.
I think myself not a little indebted to my friendly competitor for the credit by him expected as due to the person who shall be so fortunate as to ascertain the second immutable thing, for having incidentally (by his note at vol. xii. p. 374.) afforded me a tolerably lair opportunity of explaining my reason for having offered you my thoughts on this subject. When my true reason is known, it will, I hope, be considered as an apology for my taking the liberty of requesting your attention to this subject a third time. It was at first suggested to me that I ought to do it. I then did not see any necessity for it. I now begin to be apprehensive that there may have been a greater necessity for it than I was aware. It was not, I assure you, merely for the purpose of proving that our translation of t\t.tfiTE\jatv opxu is erroneous; nor.that commentators have mistaken one of the two immutable things; had I not thought I perceived a much greater reason than either of those, you would not have been requested to publish my thoughts on this subject. 1 flattered myself that
ifif my conjecture concerning the true meaning of the phrase tfiÆfirtvfev opttw should happen to be well founded, the deniers of the divinity of our Lord would have another obstacle to surmount, which if it could be surmounted, would cost them a little more pains, than they think it necessary to bestow on some others, among which that adverted to by our friend, may, perhaps, be not very improperly reckoned: t« which, I thought, it might be allowed by some to impart more light than it could receive from it. If God, thought I, mediated; that is, as Leigh and others fay, became a Mediator, or, acted the part of a Mediator opvtto by oath—and this ought to be understood as implying " by way of making his oath good," it may seem to imply a more intimate and continued union of two natures than some care to allow.
Having now availed myself of this opportunity of assigning my real motive for offering you my thoughts on this subject, I trust, your readers will be more inclined to excuse me for holding out a little longer in defence of my conceit.
By our friend's last letter, it appears, that he has no objection to express himself in a less questionable manner on one or two points. He admits that the oath mentioned Psalm ex. was not made to David personally but to Christ. Perhaps he would not hesitate to admit that there is no great reason to suppose that it was attested to David by a messenger better accredited than him by whom the oath to Abraham was made known. And perhaps he would have no great objection to admit that there seems to be room to doubt whether David was so impressively assured of it as Abraham. Though David is said to have been a prophet himself, in one instance we perceive he appears to have obtained his information from the Prophet Nathan. Our friend will excuse me from doubting whether David received information on this point immediately from heaven. And also—for leaving it to him to ascertain the time when this oath was made to our Redeemer. I do not take it upon me to fay that it was made to Christ when the oath was made in savour of all the nations of the earth.—I only think that it may have been then made.—Without some proof I cannot be expected to think that it was not then made.
As the hypothesis of two oaths seems to be rather questionable, our friend now " makes it to be a promise, confirmed by an oath"—that is, he would perhaps fay the promise to Abraham was confirmed by the oath to David" "which, he observes, is good fense." And so indeed it may be. But as an oath was certainly attested to Abraham,
and and as David (even admitting him to be a party who has an undoubted right to be present) does not appear to have had a distinct oath made in his savour, and lived ages after Abraham, ought he not rather to have made it "an oath confirmed by a promise?" In which case our friend would perhaps allow, it ought to have been iptcnevatv not cgH» but BTtafyzXiu. But who confirmed it ?—God. And how did he confirm it ?—f/xssvTsvirev, which surely seems to imply something more than his having done it by a vicegerent, either human, or angelic. For my own credit, I would not appear to be incapable of apprehending a very plain thing. But at present I cannot help thinking that this is something like the skeleton of my friend's argument. This perhaps is my dull day—of which we Moorlings are supposed, by our in-a- long neighbours, to have not a few. Nemo fapit omnibus horis.
In my first letter on this subject, I endeavoured to prove that the distinction usually made between the promise and the oath, was without good authority—and that, if there was a difference, the oath appeared to have preceded the promise; as no objection has been made to that attempt, I could fee no impropriety in taking it for granted that it appeared to be not clearly objectionable. Of course, before I am expected to allow that the promise and oath were distinct, and that the promise preceded the oath, and that the oath was not the first immutable thing, I ought to be convinced of the inconclufiveness of my logic on this point.
Besides having transposed the oath and promise, in such a manner as to render the oath consequent to the promise, though the oath appears pretty clearly to have been attested in a much more impressive manner to Abraham than to David; and David, at best, appears to have had nothing more than an assurance of the oath to Abraham by a human messenger—our friend dbserves that "it does not seem good sense to say, with respect to a fail, which God has done, though done in virtue of his oath, that It Was impossible for God to lie in doing it." But, if a person who lived at the time when God did the fact which he had before sworn to do, should happen to have said to his cotemporaries, "By these two immutable things, it appeais clearly that it is impossible for God to lie," would not this seem to be something like good sense? Now if the sacred writer did really mean to express himself thus; why should our translators be justified for having taken the liberty of saying it