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was alleged that it was the priest's duty to obey, with the poor consolation of appealing to the episcopal Synod which meets ordinarily once a year. But to what good purpose would an aggrieved priest appeal to a despotic and irresponsible body, every member of which was armed with arbitrary and irresistible power, and demanding the same implicit obedience from the whole body of the priesthood, as the bishop from whom he appeals. From such a body so consituted he could expect little redress and less sympathy; for all their sympathies would naturally be enlisted on the side of their right reverend brother." Besides if the supreme synod should reverse a bishop's uncanonical acts ; yet the implicitly obeying priest might have his appeal hung up for twelvemonths before that court can meet; and all this time the “rebellious priest,” has no other remedy than to obey unlawful commands.
After a long and not very amiable correspondence upon all the subjects in dispute, and after the bishop had unsuccessfully attempted to deprive Mr. W. of his church by insinuating to the trustees that by one of their rules, they could cashier him, he summoned a diocesan synod to meet on November 14, 1849, for the trial of this case. The Canons appoint the Dean to be the prosecutor ; but if he is otherwise letted then one of the clergy is to act for him. On this occasion however the bishop appointed no less than four clergymen as prosecutors, which might have secured a majority of the synod had it not been ruled that their votes should not be taken. The Rev. Mr. Pratt, on whom the principal part of the duty devolved, stated with great ability and much ingenuity the doctrine of implict obedience; and accused Mr. W.of" flagrant, frequent and open defiance of his ordinary's authority, by which he had presumptuously set at nought all ecclesiastical discipline;" the counts in the charge were five in number.
To These charges Mr. Wagstaff replied in a speech of ex
traordinary length, power, and eloquence; in which he ably criticised and demolished the principle of implicit obedience and defended the system which he had pursued as incumbent of St. Andrews, by the written opinions of the greatest men in the Scottish, the English, and in foreign churches. Exclusive of the bishop of the diocese who presided, the Synod consisted of eighteen members, four of whom being the prosecutors, and two not yet having been instituted to their benefices were not entitled to vote. After a very able reply from Mr. Pratt, the Synod, the voters in which were reduced to twelve, acquitted Mr. Wagstaff of all the charges by a majority of eleven ; one vole only,the dean's, the bishop's son-in-law, being given against him. By this verdict the Synod virtually ignored the doctrine of implicit obedience; but established that of canonical obedience.
The Synod was adjourned till December 4th, in order to give the bishop time to prepare his judgment, which simple folks, following the dictates of natural equity, might think ought to have been in accordance to the all but unanimous verdict of the Synod. But such was not the judgment of the Bishop of Aberdeen; after reviewing the opinions expressed by the members of the Synod, and severely censuring them for the verdict which they had given, he pronounced a judgment directly opposed to their verdict; but which he said seemed to him" the mildest sentence he could possibly award,” which is that the accused “must be adjudged and he is hereby adjudged and required, to express a full and distinct acknowledgement of his sorrow for having offended, accompanied by the renewal of his former solemn promise before God, that in all time coming he will gladly and ex animo pay respect to and obey the godly admonitions of his ecclesiastical superior-the ordinary of the diocese; ... And this acknowledgement of sorrow and promise of future canonical obedience shall be made, written and subscribed by him &c."
But the Synod by a majority of eleven to one had decided that Bishop Skinner's admonitions were neither godly nor his orders canonical ; and his “rebellious presbyter" now declined to sign this extraordinary document and appealed against the judgment of his bishop to the Episcopal Synod; because, among various reasons alleged, he had broken no canon or rubric of the church ; but that “the bishop's judgment proceeds on the direct assumption that, because he gave a command, all further enquiry is superseded :-that the enquiry in the Diocesan Synod must be whether the bishop had issued an admonition ; and therefore, that the accused party is to be held as guilty of a breach of his ordination vow."
Well, we have apostolic authority that our ecclesiastical governors hold their commissions, their graces, and their treasure in earthen vessels ; and sure enough there can be no mistake about that in this Aberdeen case; for human passions seem to have been most predominant; and perhaps a greater or more unblushing exercise of judicial power was never more despotically exercised. The jury, that is the Synod, acquitted Mr. Wagstaff; but the bishop of Aberdeen condemned him in the face of their verdict, and sharply rebuked the members of the Synod for giving such a verdict. What would be thought of the Lord Chief Justice of England if he condemned a man to imprisonment, transportation, or death, after the jury had brought in a verdict of not guilty? Yet the Primus Scotiæ Episcopus has sentenced a priest to a humiliating punishment, who had been acquitted by a majority of his co-priests of eleven to one.
From This sentence Mr. Wagstaff has appealed; but our limits will not admit of our pursuing this subject any farther ; therefore we shall probably resume this business in our next.
DIARY OF A JOURNEY THROUGH KENT, WITH MY FRIEND, A COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER.
“ Comes jucundus in via pro vehiculo est.”
“ As one who long in populous City pent,
Tuus sang the anthor of “Paradise Lost;" and how delightfully has he described the citizen, “ forth issuing on a summer's morn:
“ To smell of grain or tedded grass, or kine,
Or dairy—each rural sight, each rural sound;" Yet how many are there, in-dwellers of London, who lean with aching heads over their time-worn desks, or are otherwise engaged in their various occupations from morning till night, who scarcely know what it is to look into the fair and open face of Heaven ; who never saw a green tree but the one at the corner of Wood-street, Cheapside ; around which tree hundreds will assemble in spring to watch the old rooks take possession of their yearly tenement, when but a short distance from them
“ The hawthorn every day
Spreads some little show of May;" Who are inwardly lovers of Nature, but have not the means of making themselves acquainted with the beauties of rural scenery ; pent up in the city 'mid “houses thick,” they know nothing of the “ little show of May,” but what has been purchased in the street, and has probably been snatched froin the way-side by the brown hand of some hay-carter, which is eagerly carried home, and carefully placed in a small bottle of water to ornament the mantlepiece of the worthy citizen; and how loath is it to be parted with even when its beauty has fled. They have never smelled the fragrance of the hawthorn-tree perfuming the air in the wild wood,
• Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,
There are others who may, perhaps, once a year spare a few days from the city, which is nothing more than merely saying they have been into the country, than the actual benefit derived therefrom; for no sooner do they recover the fatigue of the journey, and the change which the difference of air effects on the system, than they are obliged to return to town, again to shut themselves up for another twelvemonth.
How DIFFERENT every thing appears in the sweet green country; one could almost fancy the very linen taken from the portmanteau had been placed by some wag on the chimneytop. When after having been once washed and hung out upon the golden-blossomed furze to bleach, smells quite a nosegay; the dimity, too, around the bed, looks really white, and the towel which hangs across the horse by the washhandstand invites you to rub your pale face into a healthful ruddiness. To one used to live in the City, the charms of the country are so exquisite that the mind is lost in a certain transport which raises us above ordinary life, and is yet not strong enough to be inconsistent with tranquillity. The love of Nature is implanted within us; every thing that surrounds us bears a freshness, and we welcome our long-lost associates with a pleasurable delight, while looking upon the beautiful little pinky-striped daisies, or the yellow buttercups carpeting the meadows around us.
“Ye field-flowers! the gardens eclipse you 'tis true,
Ye wildlings of Nature, I dote upon you;