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It should seem also, that any Patron, who sells an advowson, embezzles as much of the property of the church as the price amounts to. If there is any exception, it is in the cafe of him who has bought the living at the fame price.-—What makes me speak here with some degree of diffidence is a difficulty which came into my mind whilst I was musing on the subject; namely, that the church seems to be as rich after the sale as before it; because if a living was worth £5*0 a year before it was sold, it is worth £500 a year after it is fold. But still, on farther consideration, I think the value of the living is diminished by the sale. For suppose the buyer gives £2,000 for it; though he receives £500 a year from the living, yet he loses the interest of £2,000; so that the living is now only worth £400 a year, reckoning interest at five per cent.—Besides, if the nomination is vested in A as a trustee, because he is the most likely person, to answer purposes of public utility, he has no right to trnsfer that trust to B, perhaps a very unfit person to hold it, without permission from that authority which judged him, A, to be a proper person.—Nor does the evil stop with B; as he paid£2,ooo for the benefice he will expect to be reimbursed; and so it becomes a marketable commodity, and gets into the lowest hands, widely different from those to* which the public wisdom first entrusted it; the church is fobbed of an £100 a year, which goes into the pocket of the original Patron; and the fitness of the minister is a point totally forgotten.
When the Patronage of a benefice comes into a family with which the profits are the principal object, it approaches to the cafe of Reversions, all which must be wrong, at least in clerical employments, as it can never be known beforehand, that a man not yet born, or not yet educated, will be the most fit to fill any office; the probability must be extremely great against such a presumption.
These corollaries may be sufficient to illustrate the general account of Patronage here given; let us then proceed to something else. AnA first, it may be proper to consider what objetlions are likely to be urged against what has been advanced: could they be cleared away, any additional considerations would find a better reception.
The objection which I should suppose most readily to occur, is this. The Theory of Trusts here laid down, is vision-, pry, groundless, Utopian.—Language of this sort has acquired some credit by the disloyal attempts of seditious reformers; formers; but it is mere eloquence, or rhetoric; it does not contain any solid reason. If this objection were to be allowed, many old foundations and old wills must be set aside. —We are by no means in "the fairy-land of fancy" when we fay, that one tenth part of the produce of the earth was designed, and ordered by good authority, to be employed in promoting virtue and religion in the nation, by supporting in a decent independence those who could most effectually teach and reform the people; or when we say, that pious persons have by will left property for the fame purpose. Changes in government, civil or ecclesiastical, may occasion alterations in modes and subordinate circumstances, as will be observed by and by; but the main general end of such provisions continues, and must be perpetual. To give us a right feeling of this, we need only put ourselves in the place ot those, who, with the best intentions, made the provisions, and ask ourselves what we should wish to have done, in case we were to make any similar ones. Several professorships, lectureships, prizes for compositions, have been lately founded in our universities. If you founded any, did you not wish above all things, that your professorship should be given, in spite of partiality and self-interest, to him who would best •perform the duties of it? and that your prize should be adjudged to that composition which had the most merit, by whomsoever it was written? and did it ever strike you as reasonable that your ardent wish stiould lose its force and effect by time? or that men should hereafter be derided as fanciful visionaries who endeavoured to execute your wish after some centuries, as exactly as when it was first published? It is impossible to conceive that any institutions, however beneficial, should answer their ends, if those who conduct them, refuse to consider themselves as Trustees. In universities, professors are to he chosen; in colleges, fellows are to be elected; in hospitals, medical advisers, surgeons, matrons, are to be fixed upon; patients are to be admitted and attended: can any of these things be carried on according to the true intent and meaning ot the several institutions, if those who have power, act on any other principles but those of trustees? Why should an uncommon thoughtlessness and disregard of original intention, be allowed with respect to the appointment of ministers of the church? You may as well fay that commissioners for roads, canals, taxes, are not trustaes, as that Patrons of livings are not.
Supposing rhexe were good reason tor calling thia notion, that Patrons are mere :r~::ees, a Theory, I mail own thai I stotdd not be so rr.'.ich si:iiurfced by it as some might be. A Theory is often or.!y a set of observations and conclusions, drawn from experiments, and reduced into some regular shape : and in tbin^* moral, it is only a set of rules, very useful, found out by degrees, after several corrections, each correction occasioned by some actual inconvenience, and each rule adopted as uritity appeared, and as men could be prevailed upon to practise it; and the whole moulded into some form, in which it can be plainly seen and easily applied. When a set of useful rules is so fabricated, men look, back tipon it, and can perceive, that it would have been best if they could always have acted from such a system, or plan. 7"hi» is my idea of a theory; therefore when once it is formed, referring to it must be the easiest method of ascertaining wherein our duty consists.—But if any are so averse to every thing called theory, as not to admit what has been advanced in its favour, they still do not overthrow what has before been established, that for the right performance of clerical duties in parishes, tithes and glebe have been actually appropriated, and legacies bequeathed.
Another objection might be couched in the following terms; if the alliance, of church and state be intended to confer advantages on both, mutually, has not the state, or crown, a fair right to appoint those to the benefices in its presentation, who have the most influence in the country, whether they he the best clerical characters or not? we might answer, it does not follow from two parties forming an alliance, for mutual advantages, that each party is to have all possible advantages of every kind, which he can gain from the oilier without any restrictions: two partners in trade are not to touch each other's houfhold goods: the advantages in question are qniy such as belong to the natjre of the alliance. Now I conceive that the advantages which the state receives from the church, are properly suen as arise from principles of virtue and religion; these wil do infinite good to a state, by making the subjects loyal, honest, faithful, temperate, chaste, gentle, obedient to the laws, seen or unseen, without spies, or superintendence; without punishment. Such benefits to a slate, are inestimable! And it is farther to be observed, that only the best clerical characters can produce these inestimable blessings: in comparison of which the little momentary advantages arising from election-influence,
is is perfectly contemptible: besides that such influence is by no means a steady support of the crown: it veers so about, that, in any contest, there is almost as much of it acts against the crown as for it. Not to speak of that which neither aims to support nor to oppose the executive power.
Another objedion may be, that when chapters and colleges have Patronage, their practice is, to present, not according to merit, bat seniority. This is an evil, and I know no justification of the practice but that it is considered as the haft evil. If every member was to be constantly intriguing for a presentation, there would be no peace, no friendly agreement in the corporate body. If any member is not competently qualified for a benefice, the fault is to be charged on those who elected him, and in some extreme cases the rule of seniority is set aside. And in the end, whatever good there is in the members of the corporation will devolve upon some parish or other. Hereditary succession in a monarchy is upon the fame footing with that now before us; it is an evil, but the least evil: much less would arise from the clashing of parties, though contending in favour of those whom each party esteemed the most worthy.
'It may be objected to what we have said with regard to Jelling benefices, that such sales are confirmed by law. But many contracts must be confirmed by law, which cannot be approved by conscience. Suppose a gentleman of fortune had brought up his son and heir in all habits and accomplishments which might best qualify him to make an honorable figure in life, as the head of the family, and was afterwards induced by the arts of a concubine, to make over to her the whole of his property: if the deed of gift was legally drawn and executed, the law must confirm it, though every spectator would detest the action. Sir William Blackstone mentions as one of the improvements in law made by Edward I. that " He effectually provided for the recovery "of advowsons, as temporal rights; in which, before, the "law was extremely deficient." And rendering that definite in law which had been disputable, must always be a great benefit to the public; but the uncertainty of the law with respect to advowsons, must have arisen, in all probability, from their having been really the property of the church. Still, if there was no law to hinder a Patron from transferring his right of Patronage, his transfer should be valid. To fay that all the acts which are not forbidden by law should
be be valid, is the fame thing as to fay, that, if disputed, the law should confirm them.
RECTOR. [To be contined.)
ON LICENSING DISSENTING TEACHERS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN**
I HAVE been lately reading Mr. Pearson's letter to the chancellor of the exchequer, and though I do not perfectly coincide with him in all his suggestions, I feel myself under obligations to him and to every other friend of the establishment, who do at such a time turn their minds to the subject, and give themselves the trouble to suggest any thing that may appear to be likely to strengthen the walls of Jerusalem, and enable us to sustain the fliock which I have long been expecting, and have every year seen more and more reason to expect, as our enemie* are increasing, their works advancing, and the time approaching when they may be able to bring all their guns to bear upon us. Whether this generation shall pass away before the grand attack be made is not within the reach of human foresight to determine, but one thing is certain, and we must be very insensible to what is passing before our eyes if we do not fee it, that our enemies are daily increasing, and our own numbers in proportion diminishing j that they are constantly gaining strength, while we are gradually losing; that they are active, while we are asleep; that they are making their regular approaches, which must one day or other render our position no longer tenable; while such is our confidence in the strength of the place, and our power to hold out against any numbers or combination of force that may be brought against it, that we seem scarcely ensible of any danger, and too secure in our own strongholds to think it necessary to make one sally to destroy the works that are raising, or retard the advances that we