Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

whole truth: and particularly tfcev should allow, that iaferior merit well iioara, may reasonably be preferred to that which is seemingly somewhat superior but not well known. Experience tells us, that some men, popular for their abilities and acquirements, have in the end disgraced their protectors. We must not forget Dr. Dodd; nor some trials for critn. con.—Hence, though preferring a Sen, as such, in order to provide for him, is extremely wrong; yet if the Patron has a sirong persuasion, that the merit which appears in his son, is fully to be depended upon, that persuasion may rightly be set against some appearance of superior merit in a competitor. And this is applicable to such as have performed services;— to pay anv one who has served us, out of the church-purse, entrusted to our care, is downright dishonesty: but if a person has been a Tutor in our family, we have much better proof of his abilities and moral character, than wescould have of those of a stranger. And the same is true of" a friend. Men should use great caution and candor before they blame a Patron; but then the Patron should not presume upon that to allow himself in what his conscience must disapprove.— There is a great difference between establishing principles and judging persons: to state principles is a proper business for man; he wants them; for himself, for those whom it is his duty to instruct, and for all who ingenuoufly consult him; but judging persons requires something more than human wisdom: it is the least hazardous on a calm review of a number of facts, or experiments. Yet though spectators should be ready to confess that Patrons have great difficulties to surmount, the Patrons themselves should see their difficulties in another light; as incitements to vigilance and exertion; they should use every endeavour to obviate and overcome them; and they would find them give way to hearty endeavours, more readily than had at first been expected.

The duty here considered, of using Patronage according to its true intent and meaning, has been gradually undermined, by an affectation of liberality, by false politeness, and by that levity in conversation, which has relaxed all discipline, and weakened all authority. I am no enemy to.liberality, or cheerfulness, or wit, or humour, when they are seasonable; nor to doing good without pedantic boasting; but when it becomes illiberal for a son to respect his parents; for a man civilly to claim what is his due; or for a person in office to refuse a foolish or wicked request; when obligations ths most important are turned aside by a ton mots

when when the magistrate is called churlish for impartially promoting the general security and happiness; when the Patron is called upon to confer a benefice in the fame spirit in which he would give a bottle of Champagne; then I own I am jealous of all these gentlemanlike doings: I suspect the liberality of trickishness, and the mirth of hypocrisy. I then am not ashamed to profess, that serious evil oftentimes arises from what wears a light appearance.—In truth, it is thus that a spurious and frivolous morality has greatly weakened the foundations of that which is genuine and rational.

Nevertheless, however lamentable the fact may be, yet every prevailing practice should mitigate our rigour in condemning men's conduct, as the generality guide themselves chiefly by imitation. The morality that is in use, though faulty in itself, will be all that even the well-meaning, amongst those who do not think, will aspire to. And if we view the manners of many different nations, we shall frequently have occasion to condemn the customary rules of action, when we shall be unwilling to blame, in any high degree, the individuals who comply with those rules.—Still, those individuals become blameable if they continue in the fame course of action after they have clearly seen the rectitude of better principles. Men have by degrees become so thoughtless about betraying the trust of Patronage, men who would not betray any other trust, that I verily believe faults much less pernicious would shock many, who allow themselves in that: propose to a reputable man some venial fault, to the harm of which he has attended, and he will be greatly shocked; he will ask, "is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing?" (2 Kings viii. 13.) and yet he will immediately commit a much greater offence, by perverting to wrong uses, that which the public authority hath confided to his discretion and his conscience; and thereby will rob society of much important good.

One thing which misleads some well meaning Patrons, is confounding the duties belonging to Patronage with the duties belonging to distribution oljavours. When we confer favours, we distribute only what is strictly our own; but Patrons, as before shewn, are trustees. If a guardian, who had a thousand pounds stock in the public funds, standing in hit name, but belonging to his ward, was to give a hundred pounds of that stock to his friend in distress, no one would fay that such a gift came under what is commonly called distributing favours; it is dishonestly betraying a trust, in order

tr

to benefit a person, perhaps very deserving in himself, but by means which the giver had no right to use for such a pur

f>ose. The Patron who confers a benefice as a favour or re« ief is equally dishonest. Favours ought to be distributed with a regard to the nearness of the object to ourselves; with a regard 10 the calls of gratitude and compassion, as well as with a regard to merit; but the execution of any trust should stand quite clear of all claims but those of worth and fitness. And to this exclusive regard to worth and fitness, many trustees, commissioners, and electors, bind themselves expressly by solemn oaths.

Public Patrons, such as kings and bishops, may have difficulty, though they be men of peifect integrity, concerning the regard which should be paid to worldly Rank, in what is called distributive justice; that is, as I conceive, in distributing emoluments and rewards for the public good; which may mean much the fame as according to men's merits, according as they deserve of the public. I do not by any means fay, that such difficulty is unreasonable, or trifling. The general end to be aimed at I should imagine to be this; to gain the greatest possible benefit to the public from all the abilities of all the subjects taken together. Now if you discourage men of high rank, you lose all the good which might be derived from their influence, and you turn away their property and their powers from promoting the general good, to pursuits of pleasure, or to idleness and sensuality. If you discourage the lower orders, you stupify and paralyze the faculties of great numbers, many of them richly endowed by nature, able to procure the best educations, possessing sufficient leisure, and much more temperate, studious, industrious, generally speaking, than their superiors in worldly rank. Yet putting those who are eminent by rank or property under those to whom birth or fortune has made them superior, unless in the way of education, or temporary discipline, must produce mortification and discouragement j which is the less necessaiy, though the inferiors may be more industrious, as the great can more easily than their inferiors, associate with men of improved minds, and so acquire knowledge by conversation, instead of hard study. And I would not be thought superstitious if I ventured to intimate a possibility, that high birth and polite education may produce lofty sentiments. And then, a warm and nice fense of honour would naturally impel the great to gain distinction by arduous and noble achievements. Nevertheless, on the

o^ner

other hand, it seems necessary to the public welfare, that no man should feel himself wholly excluded from public distinctions and rewards; that all men should perceive openings to fame and eminence; and should be sensible of incitements and encouragements to cultivate to the utmost those talents with which they find themselves born, and those advantages which their connections are calculated to produce. The feeling of perpetual servility, of being deemed insignificant and despicable, of labouring under an irreversible condemnation to obscurity, must deaden every mind, and make it sink into languor and listlcsness.—One thing in favour of raising men of rank in the church is, that it conspires with the supposed design of the law in creating different orders amongst the clergy; the design h understood to be, that the higher ranks of citizens should have corresponding ranks in the church; so that he "that is taught," should never have any temptation to insult " him that teachefh," but should communicate unto him in all good things. (Gal. vi. 6.) When persons of high rank become ministers of the church, this end is the most fully answered. For it must be confessed, that churchmen raised from low ranks have not always given the best specimens of Christian humility; and that ecclesiastical dignity hath been generally found to sit with ease and gracefulness upon high birth and superior opulence.—On the whole, I know not that more can be done to alleviate the difficulty in question, under which the Patron may labour when worldly rank occasions his doubts, than taking the two views here given, of the great and their inferiors, keeping them in mind, and tempering them together, as circumstances may require. Only one thing should be well observed; that both views militate against preferring those of high rank but very low merit; because that would discourage great numbers of able and worthy men in inferior ranks, and would frustrate the whole intent of honouring their superiors by advancement: it would relax the efforts of all ranks; the lower would conclude merit to be wholly useless for the purpose of advancement; and the higher would see that it was totally unnecessary. The great and noble would set up their rank as a sufficient title to advancement; and any benefice worth their having conferred on their inferiors, they would consider as an injury done to themselves.

RECTOR. (To be continued.)

FOR THI ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN S MAGAZINI.

Family Prayirs, colleiled from the Holy Scriptures, tit Common-Prayer-Book, the Whole Duty of Man, Bishop Andrews's, Bishop Kenn's, and Dr. Hickes's Devotions.

For the Morning.Being Jianding.

Master. T N the name of the Father, and of the Son, and ot X the Holy Ghost.—Answer. Amen. M. Glory be to thee, O God, for watching over us the night past.—A. Lord, raise us up at the last day to life everlasting.

Then Jhall follow the Introxt. M. O God, thou art my God: early will I seek thee.—« A. I will magnify thee, O God my^Cing: and I will prais» thy name for ever and ever.

As. Every day will I give thanks unto thee: and praiit thy name for ever and ever.—A. I laid me down and slept, and rose up again: for the Lord sustained me.

As. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing, and give praise.—A. Awake up my glory; awake, lute and harp: I myself will awake right early.

As. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord: and to sing praises unto thy name, O most highest.—A. To tell of thy loving kindness early in the morning: and of thy truth in the night seasons.

■As. Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the lute: upon a loud instrument, and upon the harp.—A. Have I not remembered thee in my bed: and thought upon the* when I was waking?

M. I have thought upon thy name, O Lord, in the night season, and have kept thy law.—A. Praised be the Lord daily; even the God who helpeth us, and poureth his benefit! upon us. -''

As. Sing unto the Lord, and praise his name: be telling of his salvation from day to day.—A. I will sing of thy

L L power

Vol. XIII. Churchm. Mag. for Oclobtr 1807.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »