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Art. V.-1. Reflections upon Tithes, with a Plan for a General Commu
tation of the Same. By George Henry Law, D.D. F.R.S. and
F.A.S. Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells. 8vo. pp. 27. Wells.. 2. A Brief Inquiry into the Question, Whether a Christian can reason
ably and conscientiously object to the Payment of Tithes ; addressed in a Letter to a Member of the Society of Friends. By the Rev. Samuel Lee, B.D. Prebendary of Bristol, Vicar of Banwell, Somersetshire ; Domestic Chaplain to the Earl of Munster; and Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge.
12mo. pp. 24. Bristol, 1832. 3, A Brief Inquiry into the Question, Whether the Clergy of the
Church of England can reasonably and conscientiously consent to the Receiving of Tithes. (In answer to a Tract entitled a Brief Inquiry into the Question, Whether a Christian can reasonably and conscientiously object to the Payment of Tithes. By the Rev. Samuel Lee, B.D. Prebendary of Bristol, &c.) By Joseph Storrs Fry, a Minister of the Society of Friends. 12mo. pp. 36. Lon
don and Bristol, 1832. 4. A Plan of Church Reforin. With a Letter to the King. By Lord
Henley. Fifth Edition, with Additions. 8vo. pp. xx. 97. Lon
don, 1832. 5. A Letter on Church Reform, addressed to the Regius Professor of
Divinity in the University of Oxford ; with one Remark on the Plan of Lord Henley. By the Rev. Charles Girdlestone, A.M.
Vicar of Sedgley, Staffordshire, &c. pp. 16. Price ls. London, 1832. 6. Sequel to Remarks upon Church Reform, with Observations upon
the Plan proposed by Lord Henley. By the Rev. Edward Burton, D.D. Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Ox
ford, &c. 8vo. pp. 76. Price 2s. London and Oxford, 1832. 7. Safe and easy Steps towards an efficient Church Reform : more
efficient than that of Lord Henley. By a Clergyman of the Church
of England. 8vo. pp. 71. London, 1832. 8. A Letler to the Rt. Honourable Lord Henley, containing Remarks
on his Plan of Church Reform, &c. By Rev. C. Stovel, Dissenting Minister, Little Prescott-street, London. 8vo. pp. 96. Price
2s. 6d. London, 1832. THE sensation and commotion produced by Lord Henley's
Plan of Church Reform, are greater than we can recollect to have been produced by any single pamphlet upon any topic, polemic or political. And yet, a publication more entirely free from every thing intemperate, inflammatory, or breathing of the partizan, has seldom solicited public attention. “We believe,' say the Edinburgh Reviewers *, that no reader will rise from
the perusal of his able, pious, and interesting work, without an 'intimate persuasion that he has been contemplating the genuine • and heartfelt sentiments of one who writes in the discharge of a
* Ed. Review, No. CXI. (October 1832.) p. 203.
solemn duty ;-who would be the very last man in all England 'to approve, or even to endure, the ribaldry with which the • Church of England is so frequently assailed, and who has
nothing in common even with the more temperate and argu'mentative of its opponents. This last clause of the sentence, we scarcely know how to understand. We hope that Lord Henley has much in common with many who on some points differ from him. The Writer of this article-a very singular one, considering the Journal in which it appears-goes on to remark upon the crisis at which the publication has been put forth. "The state of the Church has never, at any period since 'the Reformation, excited more general and more anxious soli• citude. The admitted abuses of the Establishment are as 'anxiously canvassed by its adversaries, as its merits are stre'nuously asserted by its friends ; with this difference, however;
that among the latter scarcely any can be found hardy enough 'to deny that some reform is wanted, while a very large propor'tion of the former are disposed to allow it little, if any praise. • The state of Ireland, where every question almost, in political
controversy, bears immediate reference to some ecclesiastical * abuse, and all men are agreed, that, as they now exist, things • cannot by possibility go on, renders the discussion and the
speedy settlement of this great question no longer a matter of choice. But, if that part of the empire could be wholly left out of view, the people of this country have become resolved, that the evils allowed to exist in our own Church shall no longer be suffered to pass uncensured, or to remain without a remedy.' It is a great mistake, however, the Reviewer subsequently remarks, to conclude that all Scotchmen are willing to
see the Church of England destroyed, because their own Establishment is abhorrent of Episcopacy. They, and we believe ' we should be warranted in adding, the bulk of English Dis
senters also, have no enmity to the institution itself: they only • desire to see its abuses reformed. But both the one class and • the other are naturally more ready to admit the existence of
those abuses, than the members of the Establisment can be ; s some of whom benefit by them, and others become blind to • them through habit.
It has become very much the practice of late, for writers and orators to take upon themselves to answer for the sentiments and feelings of the Dissenters. Upon some recent political occasions, certain very busy individuals have come forward in the name of * the Dissenters. We have heard of the Dissenters being opposed to this candidate, and having pledged their support to that candidate. Just as if the English Dissenters were a mere political party, acting under leaders who could ensure their obedience, instead of forming a very large portion of the English
nation, including several distinct denominations, among whom is to be found a very wide difference of opinion on all subjects, political as well as ecclesiastical. We imagine that we know something about the English Dissenters; but we have never presumed to speak for them as a body, and should rarely feel warranted in putting forth any specific proposition or sentiment as that of even the bulk of the Dissenters, unless it related to some simple question of moral right and wrong-Slavery, for instance, or any infringement on the rights of conscience. Upon the subject of the Church as by law established, a very material difference of opinion exists among those who practically dissent from it, in reference to which they may be divided into two great classes ; those who object to the Church as it is, but who do not hold ecclesiastical Establishments to be inexpedient, and those who object to all ecclesiastical Establishments. Each class has its subdivisions of sentiment. Under the former class range, 1. Presbyterians, who would not object to an established Church upon their own platform, but who are abhorrent of Episcopacy.' 2. A large proportion of the Wesleyan Methodists and a smaller number among the other denominations, whom certain specific reforms would reconcile to the Church of England polity, and many of whom even profess to be churchmen. 3. Unitarians, whose cause is kept alive only by endowments, and whose patriarch, the late Mr. Belsham, wrote in defence of Establishments : their ground of dissent is the doctrines of the Church. 4. Those who conceive that the existing Establishment is indefensible, but that some species of ecclesiastical Establishment is desirable. Of the second class, the subdivisions of opinion are, 1. That which founds the main objection against Establishments on the alliance of the Church with the State. 2. That which goes further, and objects against all endowments and 'compulsory * support, whether by tithe, glebe, rate, trust-property, or state allowance, as anti-Scriptural and inexpedient. This extreme opinion is held by those mild and peaceable sectaries, the Society of Friends; and it is also very general, we believe, among the Congregational Dissenters of Scotland, and the Baptists in England. It is by no means, however, a necessary consequence of any Dissenting principle ; and a large proportion of those who maintain it in theory, would deprecate any measures either of spoliation or of resistance. Still, we should not deem it consistent with truth, to affirm of this large section of the Dissenters, that they have “no enmity to the Institution itself.' Lord Henley, on the contrary, affirms of ‘most of the Dissenters, that they are de• cidedly, and upon principle, hostile to the very existence of the Establishment. Whether they form the bulk,' the majority, or not, they must be admitted to constitute a very numerous body
With those who maintain this extreme opinion, it is known that we by no means agree: for, though we must concur in nearly all that may be urged as to the evils connected with existing ecclesiastical Establishments, we are not prepared to jump to the conclusion, that 'the voluntary principle' ought to be exclusively relied upon ; that all endowments are purely mischievous; or that any principle of injustice is necessarily involved in the existence of a religious establishment. Still less, whatever were our opinions upon this point, should we feel authorized to demand, that the opinions of those who consider an Ecclesiastical Establishment as beneficial to the interests of religion and good government, should go for nothing with the Legislature; or to pray the Parliament, that it would be pleased to consider in what way
the property now held by Government for the support of a * State religion, may be disposed of for the relief of the poor and
the liquidating of the national debt.' This modest, conciliatory, and tolerant petition, which Mr. Stovel puts into the mouths of the Dissenters, (p. 61.) we must, at the hazard of our reputation with all who think with him, utterly disclaim; nor can we reconcile it with this same Writer's disavowal of hostility to the Establishment in another part of his pamphlet. Referring to Lord Henley's representation, that Dissenters are, at best, indifferent
to the welfare of the established Church, and that most of them ' are decidedly, and upon principle, hostile to its very existence, Mr. Stovel says:
In this, my Lord, I most sincerely hope that you have been mistaken. As long as there are men who wish for an establishment, so long will the Dissenters wish to see it preserved ; so long will they be prepared to defend it from any injury. Nay, more than that, notwithstanding all that they have suffered, they will be ready to assist and to promote its welfare, wherever their abilities and their conscience will allow them. But they must beg to be relieved from compulsory measures, whether open or covert. If the clergy like to force their own members, let them; but to force those who have no connexion with the Church, is cruel and unjust. The Dissenters would not use compulsion even with their own brethren, much less would they impose it on those who, in conscience differ from their sentiments. If, therefore, this species of injustice be essential to the existence of an establishment, it must be confessed that they wish it removed, for this is a disgrace to religion ; but if this be not necessary, then they only wish to see the establishment purified. Let the members of the establishment support the establishment, and they will always have the prayers and the blessing of their brethren.' p. 55.
Before Mr. Stovel undertook thus to negotiate with the members of the Establishment, in the high character of a plenipotentiary on the part of the Dissenters, we think that he should not only have furnished himself with credentials, but have taken more
pains to ascertain the precise terms of amity he was empowered to offer. At the commencement of the passage we have cited, he engages far more for the Dissenters, than we could venture to promise in their name; to wit, that, so long as there are men who
wish for an establishment, they will wish to see it preserved, and will be prepared to defend it from injury, to promote its welfare, and to give it their assistance. Nothing can breathe more of harmony and liberality than this assurance; and Lord Henley must be convinced that he is quite mistaken in supposing Dissenters to be hostile to the very existence of the Established Church. But towards the close of the paragraph, it would seem that the Writer, not having quite made up his mind whether injustice is not essential to the existence of the Establishment, would qualify the concession with this important condition, that the Establishment should first cease to be an establishment, by the alienation of the whole of its property, and the total withdrawment of the support of the State.
- Your Lordship’ (adds Mr. S.) is also greatly mistaken in stating to his Majesty that some healing measures may bring the Dissenters into the pale of the Church. This can never be, unless the Church be first reduced to an entire dependence on voluntary support and the blessing of the Saviour. Those who cannot submit to compulsion themselves, will never join the Church in imposing it upon others.
p. 55. By submitting to compulsion, Mr. Stovel seems to mean, submitting to be rendered independent on voluntary support. This is not a very clear or usual mode of expression; but, to use compulsion, or to submit to compulsion, is, throughout his pamphlet, identified with every species of endowment, which he represents as a compulsory provision, unjust in principle and noxious in its consequences.
- Were I,' he says, to allow the justice of the thing, yet I should object to its expediency. For how fine soever it may be to rhapsodize over the magnificence of cathedrals, and the grandeur of the priesthood, more is needful to convince me that all this is advantageous to religion. Experience rather seems to say, that property, entailed upon the Christian Church, is the very poison that destroys it. Thus it is seen, from the trifling endowment of a dissenting meeting-house, to the bloated exuberance of the wealthiest bishopric. Such, indeed, is the dreadful influence, that nothing seems able to withstand it. Scarcely a school in the whole range of our country, whose charitable funds have not been diverted from their proper object. Witness the number of gentlemen's sons who are annually educated at those public schools, which were founded as hospitals for the reception and education of the indigent poor. Look over the whole map of our country; and scarcely will you lay your finger on one single place, in which an endowment has been left to a dissenting interest, which has not proved the very VOL. VIII.-N.s.