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deceased; and what a bitter mockery is it, that / formation and salutary working of these sothis insensibility should be found where civil cieties, inherent in the mind of those whom they polity is so busy in minor regulations, and would obviously benefit. But the combinations ostentatiously careful to gratify the luxurious of masters to keep down, unjustly, the price of propensities, whether social or intellectual, of labour would be fairly checked by them, as far the multitude! Irreligion is, no doubt, much as they were practicable; they would encourage concerned with this offensive disrespect, shown economy, inasmuch as they would enable a man to the bodies of the dead in France ; but it is to draw profit from his savings, by investing mainly attributable to the state in which so them in buildings or machinery for processes of many of the living are left by the absence of manufacture with which he was habitually concompulsory provision for the indigent so hu- nected. His little capital would then be workmanely established by the law of England. ing for him while he was at rest or asleep; he : Sights of abject misery, perpetually recur- / would more clearly perceive the necessity of ring, harden the heart of the community. In capital for carrying on great works; he would the perusal of history, and of works of fiction, better learn to respect the larger portions of it we are not, indeed, unwilling to have our com- in the hands of others; he would be less miseration cxcited by such objects of distress tempted to join in unjust combinations; and, as they present to us; but, in the concerns of for the sake of his own property, if not for real life, men know that such emotions are not higher reasons, he would be slow to promote given to be indulged for their own sakes: there, local disturbance, or endanger public tranquilthe conscience declares to them that sympathy lity; he would, at least, be loth to act in that niust be followed by action ; and if there exist way knowingly: for it is not to be denied that a previous conviction that the power to relieve such societies might be nurseries of opinions is utterly inadequate to the demand, the eye unfavourable to a mixed constitution of governshrinks from communication with wretched. ment, like that of Great Britain. The demo. ness, and pity and compassion languish, like cratic and republican spirit which they might any other qualities that are deprived of their be apt to foster would not, however, be dangernatural aliment. Let these considerations beous in itself, but only as it might act without duly weighed by those who trust to the hope being sufficiently counterbalanced, either by that an increase of private charity, with all its landed proprietorship, or by a Church extendadvantages of superior discrimination, would ing itself so as to embrace an ever-growing and more than compensate for the abandonment of ever-shifting population of mechanics and artithose principles, the wisdom of which has been sans. But if the tendencies of such societies here insisted upon. How discouraging, also, would be to make the men prosper who might would be the sense of injustice, which could belong to them, rulers and legislators should not fail to arise in the minds of the well-disposed, rejoice in the result, and do their duty to the if the burden of supporting the poor, a burden state by upholding and extending the influence of which the selfish have hitherto by compul- of that Church to which it owes, in so great a sion borne a share, should now, or hereafter, be measure, its safety, its prosperity, and its glory. thrown exclusively upon the benevolent. This, in the temper of the present times, may
By having put an end to the Slave Trade be difficult, but it is become indispensable, since and Slavery, the British people are exalted in large towns in great numbers have sprung up, the scale of humanity; and they cannot but and others have increased tenfold, with little or feel so, if they look into themselves, and duly no dependence upon the gentry and the landed consider their relation to God and their fellow- proprietors: and apart from those mitigated creatures. That was a noble advance; but a feudal institutions, which, till of late, have retrograde movement will assuredly be made, acted so powerfully upon the composition of the if ever the principle, which has been here de- House of Commons. Now it may be affirmed fended, should be either avowedly abandoned or that, in quarters where there is not an attachbut ostensibly retained.
ment to the Church, or the landed aristocracy, But after all, there may be a little reason to and a pride in supporting them, there the people apprehend permanent injury from any experi- will dislike both, and be ready, upon such inment that may be tried. On the one side will citements as are perpetually recurring, to join be human nature rising up in her own defence, in attempts to overthrow them. There is no and on the other prudential selfishness acting neutral ground here : from want of due atten. to the same purpose, from a conviction thai, tion to the state of society in large towns and without a compulsory provision for the exigen- manufacturing districts, and ignorance or disrecies of the labouring multitude, that degree of gard of these obvious truths, innumerable wellability to regulate the price of labour, which is meaning persons became zealous supporters of indispensable for the reasonable interest of arts a Reform Bill, the qualities and powers of which, and manufactures, cannot, in Great Britain, be whether destructive or constructive, they would upheld.
otherwise have been afraid of; and even the II. In a poem of the foregoing collection, framers of that bill, swayed as they might be by allusion is made to the state of the workmen party resentments and personal ambition, could congregated in manufactories. In order to re- not have gone so far, had not they too been lieve many of the evils to which that class of lamentably ignorant or neglectful of the same society are subject, and to establish a better truths both of fact and philosophy. harmony between them and their employers, it But let that pass; and let no opponent of the would be well to repeal such laws as prevent bill be tempted to compliment his own foresight, the formation of joint-stock companies. There by cxaggerating the mischiefs and dangers are, no doubt, many and great obstacles to the that have sprung from it: let not time be wasted
in profitless regrets; and let those party dis- and probably will continue to be, it is no small tinctions vanish to their very names that have advantage to have youthful servants, who will separated men who, whatever course they may work upon the wages of hope and expectation, have pursued, have ever had a bond of union in Still more advantageous is it to have, by means the wish to save the limited monarchy, and of this order, young men scattered over the those other institutions that have, under Pro- country, who being more detached from the vidence, rendered for so long a period of time temporal concerns of the benefice, have more this country, the happiest and worthiest of leisure for improvement and study, and are less which there is any record since the foundation subject to be brought into secular collision with of civil society.
those who are under their spiritual guardi III. A philosophic mind is best pleased when ship. The curate, if he reside at a distance looking at religion in its spiritual bearing; as a froin the incumbent, undertakes the requisite guide of conduct, a solace under affliction, and responsibilities of a temporal kind, in that a support amid the instabilities of mortal life ; modified way, which prevents him, as a newbut the Church having been forcibly brought comer, from being charged with selfishness: by political considerations to my notice, while while it prepares him for entering upon a treating of the labouring classes, I cannot for- benefice of his own, with something of a suitbear saying a few words upon that momentous able experience. If he should act under and topic.
in co-operation with a resident incumbent, the There is a loud clamour for extensive change gain is mutual. His studies will probably be in that department.
The clamour would be assisted ; and his training, managed by a entitled to more respect if they who are the superior, will not be liable to relapse in matters most eager to swell it with their voices were of prudence, scemliness, or in any of the highest not generally the most ignorant of the real state cares of his functions; and by way of return of the Church, and the service it renders to the for these benefits to the pupil, it will often community. Reform is the word employed. happen that the zeal of a middle-aged or deLet us pause and consider what sense it is apt clining incumbent will be revived, by being in to carry, and how things are confounded by a near communion with the ardour of youth, l.ax use of it. The great religious Reformation, when his own efforts may have languished in the sixteenth century, did not profess to be through a melancholy consciousness that they a new construction, but a restoration of some- have not produced as much good among his thing fallen into decay, or put out of sight. flock as, when he first entered upon the charge, That familiar and justifiable use of the word he fondly hoped. scems to have paved the way for fallacies with Let one remark, and that not the least imrespect to the ierm reform, which it is difficult portant, be added. A curate, entering for the to escape from. Were we to speak of improve- first time upon his office, comes from college ment, and the correction of abuses, we should after a course of expense, and with such inexrun less risk of being deceived ourselves, or of perience in the use of money, that, in his new misleading others. We should be less likely to situation, he is apt to fall unawares into fall blindly into the belief, that the change de- pecuniary difficulties. If this happens to him, manded is a renewal of something that has much more likely is it to happen to the youthexisted before, and that, therefore, we have ful incumbent; whose relations, to his parishexperience on our side; nor should we be ioners and to society, are more complicated ; cqually tempted to beg the question, that the and, his income being larger and independent change for which we are eager must be advan- of another, a costlier style of living is required tagcous. From generation to generation, men of him by public opinion. If embarrassment are the dupes of words; and it is painful to should ensue, and with that unavoidably some observe, that so many of our species are most loss of respectability, his future usefulness will tenacious of those opinions which they have be proportionably impaired: not so with the formed with the least consideration. They who curate, for he can casily remove and start are the readiest to meddle with public affairs, afresh with a stock of experience and an unwhether in church or state, fly to generalities, blemished reputation; whereas the early indisthat they may be eased from the trouble of cretions of an incumbent being rarely forgotten, thinking about particulars; and thus is deputed may be impediments to the efficacy of his to mechanical instrumentality the work which ministry for the remainder of his life. The vital knowledge only can do well.
same observations would apply with equal force "Abolish pluralities, have a resident incum- to doctrine. A young minister is liable to bent in every parish,” is a favourite cry; but, errors, from his notions being either too lax or without adverting to other obstacles in the way overstrained. In both cases it would prove of this specious scheme, it may be asked what injurious that the error should be remembered, benefit would accrue from its in liscriminate after study and reflection, with advancing adoption to counterbalance the harm it would years, shall have brought him to a clearer introduce, by nearly extinguishing the order of discernment of the truth, and better judgment curates, unless the revenues of the church in the application of it. should grow with the population, and be greatly It must be acknowledged that, among the increased in many thinly peopled districts, regulations of ecclesiastical polity, none at first especially among the parishes of the North. view are more attractive than that which pre
The order of curaies is so beneficial, that scribes for every parish a resident incumbent. some particular notice of it seems to be required How agreeable to picture to one's self, as has in this place. For a church poor as, relatively been done by poets and romance-writers, from to the numbers of people, that of England is, 'Chaucer down to Goldsmith, a man devoted to
his ministerial office, with not a wish or a only is in fault. If a Christian pastor be comthought ranging beyond the circuit of its cares! petent to deal with these humours, as they Nor is it in poetry and fiction only that such may be dealt with, and by no members or characters are found; they are scaitered, it is society so successfully, both from more frehoped not sparingly, over real life, especially quent and more favourable opportunities of in sequestered and rural districts, where there intercourse, and by aid of the authority with is but small influx of new inhabitants, and little which he speaks; he will be a teacher of modechange of occupation. The spirit of the Gospel, ration, a dispenser of the wisdom that blunts unaided by acquisitions of profane learning and approaching distress by submission to God's experience in the world, -that spirit, and the will, and lightens, by patience, grievances obligations of the sacred office may, in such | which cannot be removed. situations, suffice to effect most of what is We live in times when nothing, of public needful. But for the complex state of society good at least, is generally acceptable, but what that prevails in England, much more is re- we believe can be traced to preconceived interquired, both in large towns, and in many tion, and specific acts and formal contrivances extensive districts of the country. A minister of human understanding. A Christian instrucshould not only be irreproachable in manners tor thoroughly accomplished would be a standand morals, but accomplished in learning, as ing restraint upon such presumptuousness of far as is possible without sacrifice of the least judment, by impressing the truth that, of his pastoral duties. As necessary, perhaps In the unreasoning progress of the world more so, is it that he should be a citizen as well A wiser spirit is at work for us, as a scholar; thoroughly acquainted with the A better eye than ours.--MS. structure of society, and the constitution of Revelation points to the purity and peace of civil government, and able to reason upon both a future world; but our sphere of duty is upon with the most expert; all ultimately in order carth; and the relations of impure and conto support the truths of Christianity, and to flicting things to each other must be understood, diffuse its blessings.
or we shall be perpetually going wrong, in all A young man coming fresh from the place of but goodness of intention ; and goodness of inhis education, cannot have brought with him tention will itself relax through frequent disapthese accomplishments; and if the scheme of pointment. How desirable, then, is it, that a equalising church incomes, which many ad- ininister of the Gospel should be versed in the visers are much bent upon, be realised, so that knowledge of existing facts, and be accustomed there should be little or no secular inducement to a wide range of social experience! Nor is it for a clergyman to desire a removal from the less desirable for the purpose of counterbalancing spot where he may chance to have been first and tempering in his own mind that ambition set down: surely not only opportunities for with which spiritual power is as apt to be tainted obtaining the requisite qualifications would be as any other species of power which men covet diminished, but the motives for desiring to or possess. obtain them would be proportionably weakened. It must be obvious that the scope of the And yet these qualifications are indispensable argument is to discourage an attempt which for the diffusion of that knowledge, by which would introduce into the Church of England an alone the political philosophy of the New Tes- equality of income, and station, upon the model tament can be rightly expounded, and its pre- of that of Scotland. The sounder part of the cepts adequately enforced. In these times, Scottish nation know what good their ancestors when the press is daily exercising so great a derived from their church, and feel how deeply power over the minds of the people, for wrong the living generation is indebted to it. They or for right as may happen, that preacher ranks respect and love it, as accommodated in so among the first of benefactors who, without great a measure to a comparatively poor country, stooping to the direct treatment of current through the fur greater portion of which prepolitics nd passing events, can furnish infal- vails a uniformity of employment; but the aclible guidance through the delusions that sur knowledged deficiency of theological learning round them; and who, appealing to the sanc- among the clergy of that church is easily actions of Scripture, may place the grounds of its counted for by this very equality: What else injunctions in so clear a light, that disaffection may be wanting there, it would be unpleasant shall cease to be cultivated as a laudable pro- to inquire, and might prove invidious to deterpensity, and loyalty cleansed from the dishon- mine : one thing, however, is clear ; that in all our of a blind and prostrate obedience.
countries the temporalities of the Church It is not, however, in regard to civic duties Establishment should bear an analogy to the alone, that this knowledge in a minister of the state of society, otherwise it cannot diffuse its Gospel is important; it is still more so for soft- influence through the whole community. In a ening and subduing private and personal dis- country so rich and luxurious as England, the contents. In all places, and at all times, men character of its clergy must unavoidably sink, have gratuitously troubled themselves, because and their influence be every where impaired, it their survey of the dispensations of Providence individuals from the upper ranks, and men of has been partial and narrow; but now that leading talents, are to have no inducements to readers are so greatly multiplied, men judge as enter into that body but such as are purely they are taught, and repinings are engendered spiritual. And this “tinge of secularity" is no every where, by imputations being cast upon reproach to the clergy, nor does it imply a de: the government'; and are prolon cd or aggra- ficiency of spiritual endowments. Parents and vated by being ascribed to misconduct or guardians, looking forward to sources of hon. injustice in rulers, when the individual himself ourable maintenance for their children and
But if any
wards, ofţen direct their thoughts early towards Were the parish church and the chapels of the the church, being determined partly by outward Establishment existing there, an impediment to circumstances, and partly by indications of the spread of the Gospel among that mass of seriousness, or intellectual fitness. It is natural people? Who shall dare to say so? that a boy or youth, with such a prospect before one, in the face of the fact which has just been him, should turn his attention to those studies, stated, and in opposition to authentic reports to and be led into those habits of reflection, which the same effect from various other quarters, will in some degree tend to preparc him for the should still contend, that a voluntary system is duties he is hercaster to undertake. As he sufficient for the spread and maintenance of redraws nearer to the time when he will be calledligion, we would ask, what kind of religion ? to these duties, he is both led and compelled to wherein would it differ, among the many, from examine the Scriptures. He becomes more deplorable fanaticism? and more sensible of their truth. Devotion For the preservation of the Church Estabgrows in him; and what might begin in tem- lishment, all men, whether they belong to it or poral considerations, will end (as in a majority not, could they perceive their true interest, of instances we trust it does) in a spiritual would be strenuous: but how inadequate are mindedness not unworthy of that Gospel, the its provisions for the needs of the country! and lessons of which he is to teach, and the faith of how much is it to be regretted that, while its which he is to inculcatc. Not inappositely may zealous friends yield to alarms on account of be here repeated an observation which, from its the hostility of dissent, they should so much obviousness and importance, must have been over-rate the danger to be apprehended from frequently made, viz. that the impoverishing of that quarter, and almost overlook the fact that the clergy, and bringing their incomes much hundreds of thousands of our fellow-countrynearer to a level, would not cause them to be- men, though formally and nominally of the come less worldly-minded: the emoluments, Church of England, never enter her places of howsoever reduced, would be as eagerly sought worship, neither have they communication for, but by men from lower classes in society; with her ministers! This deplorable state of men who, by their manners, habits, abilities, things was partly produced by a decay of zeal and the scanty measure of their attainments, among the rich and influential, and partly by would unavoidably be less fitted for their station, a want of due expansive power in the constituand less competent to discharge its duties. tion of the Establishment as regulated by law. · Visionary notions have in all ages been afloat Private benefactors, in their efforts to build upon the subject of best providing for the clergy; and endow churches, have been frustrated, or notions which have been sincerely entertained too much impeded by legal obstacles: these, by good men, with a view to the improvement where they are unreasonable or unfitted for the of that order, and eagerly caught at and dwelt times, ought to be removed ; and, keeping upon, by the designing, for its degradation and clear of intolerance and injustice, means should disparagement. Some are beguiled by what be used to render the presence and powers of they call the roluntary system, not seeing the church commensurate with the wants of a (what stares one in the face at the very thres- shifting and still-increasing population. hold) that they who stand in most need of rc- This cannot be effected, unless the English ligious instruction are unconscious of the want, Government vindicate the truth, that, as her and therefore cannot reasonably be expected church exists for the benefit of all (though not to make any sacrifices in order to supply it. in equal degree), whether of her communion Will the licentious, the sensual, and the de- or not, all should be made to contribute to its praved, take from the means of their gratifica- support.. If this ground be abandoned, cause tions and pursuits, to support a discipline that will be given to fear that a moral wound may be cannot advance without uprooting the trees that inflicted upon the heart of the English people, bear the fruit which they devour so greedily? for which a remedy cannot be speedily provided Will they pay the price of that seed whose har- by the utmost efforts which the members of the vest is to be reaped in an invisible world? A Church will themselves be able to make. voluntary system for the religious exigencies of But let the friends of the Church bc of good a people numerous and circumstanced as we courage. Powers are at work, by which, are! Not more absurd would it be to expect under Divine Providence, she may be strengththat a knot of boys should draw upon the pit- ened and the sphere of her usefulness extended; tance of their pocket-money to build schools, or not by alterations in her Liturgy, accommodated out of the abundance of their discretion be able to this or that demand of finical taste, nor by to select fit masters to teach and keep them in cutting off this or that from her articles or order! Some, who clearly perceive the incom- Canons, to which the scrupulous or the overpetence and folly of such a scheme for the agri- weening may object. Covert schism, and open cultural part of the people, nevertheless think nonconformity, would survive after alterations, it feasible in large towns, where the rich might however promising in the eyes of those whose subscribe for the religious instruction of the subtilty had been exercised in making them. poor. Alas! they know little of the thick Latitudinarianism is the parhelion of liberty of darkness that spreads over the streets and conscience, and will ever successfully lay claim alleys of our large towns. The parish of Lam- to a divided worship. Among Presbyterians, beth, a few years since, contained not more Socinians, Baptists, and Independents, there than one church and three or four small pro- will always be found numbers who will tire of prietary chapels, while dissenting chapels, of their several creeds, and some will come over every denomination were still more scantily to the Church. Conventicles may disappear, found there; yet the inhabitants of the parish congregations in each denomination may fall amounted at that time to upwards of 50,000. 'into decay or be broken up, but the conquests 563
which the National Church ought chiefly to of those clubs, runs the risk of becoming an
Moreover, the force of public opinion is Of these, said I, shall be my song; of these, rapidly increasing: and some may bend to it, If future years mature me for the task, who are not so happy as to be swayed by a Will I record the praises, making verse higher motive ; especially they who derive Deal boldly with substantial things-in truth large incomes from lay-impropriations, in tracts And sanctity of passion, speak of these, of country where ministers are few and meagerly That justice may be done, obeisance paid provided for. A claim still stronger may be Where it is due. Thus haply shall I teach acknowledged by those who, round their superb | Inspire, through unadulterated ears habitations, or elsewhere, walk over vast estates Pour rapture, tenderness, and hope ; my theme which were lavished upon their ancestors by No other than the very heart of man, royal favouritism or purchased at insignificant As found among the best of those who live, prices after church-spoliation ; such proprietors, Not unexalted by religious faith, [few Though not conscience-stricken (there is no Nor uninformed by books, good books, though call for that) may be prompted to make a In Nature's presence: thence may I select return for which their tenantry and dependents Sorrow that is not sorrow, but delight, will learn to bless their names. An impulse And miserable love that is not pain has been given ; an accession of means from To hear of, for the glory that redounds these several sources, co-operating with a well. Therefrom to human kind, and what we are. considered change in the distribution of some Be mine to follow with no timid step parts of the property at present possessed by the Where knowledge leads me; it shall be my pride church, a changescrupulously founded upon due That I have dared to tread this holy ground, respect to law and justice, will, we trust, bring Speaking no dream, but things oracular, about so much of what her friends desire, that Matter not lightly to be heard by those the rest may be calmly waited for, with thank- Who to the letter of the outward promise fulness for what shall have been obtained. Do read the invisible soul; by men adroit
Let it not be thought unbecoming in a lay. | In speech, and for communion with the world man, to have treated at length a subject with Accomplished, minds whose faculties are then which the clergy are more intimately conver- Most active when they are most eloquent, sant. All may, without impropriety, speak of And elevated most when most admired. what deeply concerns all : nor need an apology Men may be found of other mould than these ; be offered for going over ground which has Who are their own upholders, to themselves been trod before so ably and so often : without Encouragement and energy, and will ; pretending, however, to any thing of novelty, Expressing liveliest thoughts in lively words either in matter or manner, something may As native passion dictates. Others, too, have been offered to view, which will save the There are, among the walks of homely life, writer from the imputation of having little to re- Still higher, men for contemplation framed; commend his labour, but goodness of intention. Shy, and unpractised in the strife of phrase :
It was with reference to thoughts and feel. Meek men, whose very souls perhaps would sink ings expressed in verse, that I entered upon Beneath them, summoned to such intercourse. the above notices, and with verse I will con- Theirs is the language of the heavens, the power, clude. The passage is extracted from my The thought, the image, and the silent joy: MSS. written above thirty years ago : it turns Words are but under-agents in their souls ; upon the individual dignity which humbleness, When they are grasping with their greatest of social condition does not preclude, but strength frequently promotes. It has no direct bearing They do not breathe among them; this I speak upon clubs for the discussion of public affairs, In gratitude to God, who feeds our hearts nor upon political or trade-unions; but if a For his own service, knoweth, loveth us, single workman-who, being a member of oneWhen we are unregarded by the world.”
SANSON AND CO., PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.