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a prebend ; but at present he stood engaged eleven deep to the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Hardwicke, and their friends.” I will not waste time by commenting on these anecdotes,—they speak for themselves without any assistance from me; but, alas! they are only specimens of what always is going on in the Establishment, and ever must it be so till the Church is separated from the State ; for it is a moral certainty that Prelates who are elevated by the influence of the great nobles must give away their preferment to suit the wishes of their patrons; so that in fact Episcopacy is a perennial fountain of bitter waters to the nation, the source of a corrupt priesthood, the origin of a great spiritual evil.
Dr. King, master of a college at Oxford, who died in 1763, has spoken out plainly concerning what he saw and knew in his generation :-" To speak freely, I know nothing that has brought so great a reproach on the Church of England as the avarice and ambition of the Bishops. Chandler, Bishop of Durham ; Willis, Bishop of Winchester; Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury; Gibson, and Sherlock, all died shamefully rich, some of them worth more than one hundred thousand pounds. I must add to these my old antagonist Gilbert, predecessor to Drummond, the present Archbishop of York: some of these Prelates were esteemed great Divines, but they could not be called good Christians. The great wealth which they had heaped up, the fruits of their bishoprics, and which they left to enrich their families, was not their own; it was due to God, to the Church, to their poor
brethren." All this may be said of this generation in which we are now living. Look, for instance, to Bishop Tomline and other Prelates who have died within our memories enormously rich; see the account of the Bishop of Limerick,* who died in 1826 with vast possessions, though he began life as the son of a strolling beggar; and take a glance at the Bishops now wearing the mitre, to ascertain how they dispose of their preferment, and what they are doing with their wealth. What did the Bishop of Durham do with his seventy thousand pounds fine for the renewal of the lease of Mrs. Beaumont's lead mines ? What has the Archbishop of York done with thirty-five thousand pounds which he received no long time ago ? They will tell us it has all been laid out in heavenly purposes, which I care not to question; or they will say that Prelates ought to be rich gentlemen, and to keep up their station in a lordly way, which would be quite true if Jesus Christ of the seed of David had not been crucified at Jerusalem, and if that Gospel had not been preached by which men shall some day all be judged.
A foreign nobleman, Prince Muskau Pucklin,
* Beverley's Letter to the Archbishop of York, p. 14. Eighteenth edition.
has lately visited England, and has published his observations on what he saw in ecclesiastical as well as in civil matters. The impression left on his mind evidently is that the Church of England is an establishment of vast wealth, and that its ministers are men of pleasure ; for he, moving amongst the aristocracy, saw only Bishops, Deans, and Prebendaries, and opulent pluralists. He tells us of the fine things he saw at Bishopsthorpe in Yorkshire ; he talks of the Archbishop's superb hot-houses and green-houses, and all the luxuries of that Prelate's palace; he comments on the wig
the costume and the drapery, the ceremonies and the equipage : in short, he talks of the
pomps and vanities of this wicked world, but of the cross of Christ he says nothing, for he saw none of its effects at Bishopsthorpe, and therefore he has not recorded that which he did not see.
From Bishopsthorpe let us pass on to Lambeth, and there we shall behold a grander palace, and a more glittering show. The whole of that stately edifice has lately been refurbished and made complete at a great cost; but I must leave a description of its apartments, corridors, galleries, banqueting halls, and library to architects and upholsterers; and the sumptuous feasts which are placed on the metropolitan tables on public days let the clergy describe who are invited to those high solemnities : for it ill becomes me with a Non-conforming stomach to attempt the lofty theme.
The Irish Primate Beresford is not behind the English metropolitans in state and expenditure; his table and all the et-cetera of his episcopal magnificence are quoted as an example of what a noble Prelate ought to do : for wherever we turn amongst the Bishops we hear chiefly of their grandeur, their luxuries, and their palaces; all is imposing on the senses, all is laid out for the best advantage to secure the reverence of sinful man, who in his fallen state pays respect to these things. "It is not in vain that we see Bishops riding in purple coaches in St. James's Park, with two stalwart footmen standing behind, dressed in violet-tinted habiliments, and carrying two huge canes ;—it is not in vain that “my lord” is driven by a fat purple coachman, with a cocked hat and a flaxen wig ;—it is not in vain that a gold mitre is blazing on the panels of the coach, and on the hammer-cloth; it is not in vain that "his grace"
my lord” carries some yards of muslin for his sleeves, for all these things help to rule men by deception, as turkeys are ruled by a long pole and a bit of red rag.
From the pride and luxury of the higher clergy I pass on to say a word respecting their titles against which our Lord has left us an express prohibition, which not only is conclusive on the sub
ject, but destroys the whole system of prelacy. "Be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”. Now, after this prohibition, to give a Bishop the swelling title of “Right Reverend Father in God,” is doing the very thing which we are expressly commanded not to do; and, as if we wished to show our studied contempt of Christ, we have selected the identical titles which he forbade us to use !
History, however, records one instance of an Archbishop whose eyes were opened to see these things, which indeed are so plain that it is wonderful how any person can help seeing them. Burnet says of the excellent Archbishop Leighton," he hated all the appearances of vanity; he would not have the title of 'Lord' given him by his friends, and was not easy when others forced it on him. He went round his diocese every year preaching and catechising from parish to parish, and gave all his income, save the small expense of his own person, to the poor."
Having thus brought forward my objections to the visible state of the Church of England, and more particularly amongst its dignitaries, I cannot find a better conclusion to this letter than in the words of the great Milton :-“There be those in