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confining its attacks to civil govern- were denominated Synodsmen, and, by ment, bas extended its influence corruption, Sidesmen, and sometimes to ecclesiastical establishments, and Questmen, from their dnty of inquiring, sought to endanger the permanence offences as were cognizable by the ec.
as a kind of special jurors, into such and safety of our own. Such a spirit clesiastical court, and of making preas this is apt to regard all privilege sentments, or, agreeably to the civil as - usurpation, and all power as law, a return of true bills, accordiogly. misrule. The circumstances which While this practice continued, the of. occasioned these remarks probably fice of Church-warden, as the title iminduced the author to notice a dis. plies, was confined to a due repair of tinction which it appears equally de- the church, to the preservation of the sirable to us to preserve, but which church and church-yard from profane we think requires to be drawn with abuses, and to the providing, as well as
to the custody and care of such articles a very nice and careful hand. We allude 10 a spirit of conciliation, bration of the ordinances and rites of
as were required for a reverend celeand one of compromise: the former religion-and to whatever could promay promote order and union, the mote a greater decency and solemnity latter tends to disugite and confuse. in all the acts of public devotion and To concede privilege, is often to worship. In process of time, however, invite'encroachment: its effect is and under a Jaxity of discipline which often to acknowledge weakness, or preceded the Reformation, the citation to produce it; and we apprehend of synodsmen was discontinued, and that the subject under considera- their duties transferred to the churcbtion furnishes an illustration of these time the offices became consolidated,
wardens by a special canon ; from which statements.
and have so remained to the present In tracing the history of these day." pp. 7, 8. ecclesiastical functionaries, the author remarks:
There must be, we think, some
little inaccuracy in this account: “ The appointment of lay officers in at least we recollect no special the Christian church is of very ancient canon transferring the duties of the usage; so that the very antiquity of the sidesmen to the church-wardevş. institution may seem to give a venera- In the last collection of the canons tion to it, even were it less intimately coue in the time of king James, A. D. nected with the promotion of morals, and with the sacred sites arid services 1603, the 119th and others speak of our holy religion, for the better ad. of questmen and sidesmen as before, ministration of wbich, and for the main with a particular reference to the tenance of decency and order in their duties we have been adverting to: performance, it was originally intended. and although, in the few canons
" In earlier times, the bishops, at their made in the convocation in the stated synods or visitations, were ac reign of king Charles, A.D. 1640, cnstomed to cite from every parish some the mention made of these officers, given number of the most discreet and is in the words, « Church-wardens respectable inhabitants, to report on the state of religion and manners in their and other sworn men,” (which may respective parishes, and to present such by implication identify the offices, offenders 'as might be amenable to the though to us they seem rather to cavon or ecclesiastical law; that by recognize a distinctness of persons censores and penance they might them. qualified for them,) yet there is no gelves :be reclaimed, and that others, special canon whatever that we can admonished by their convictions, might find uniting them, and transfering be protected from that baneful infection the duties of both to one, unless it which vice uncontrolled, an irrevereuce be one in the year 1571, where this for religious institutions unregarded, or a profane impeachment of Christian duty is enjoined more particularly doctrine and faith unrestrained, cuu
on them; but church-wardens had not fail to diffuse through the different presented many years before this. tanks of society. The wep so cited We also ihink the reverend author
has in some degree, by the history in the parisbioners, on the ground of of the offices just quoted, obscured church-wardens being a lay corporathe original functions of the church- tion, and entrusted with the goods warden. It would appear from and money belonging to the parish; his statement, that they were at yet the capon law (Can. 89.) speaks first confined exclusively to secular a different language, and ordains a duties, and were appointed to the joint election by the minister and remaining and more important part the parish; or, if they cannot conof their trust, only on the abolition cur, it appoints that the rigbt shall of the synodmen or sidesmen. The be exercised by both in tbe apstatement of Godolphin, in his Re- pointment of one by each. pertorium, a statement on which The learned Dr. Prideaux has relied custom, and as the parishioners cannot,
“ This," says our anthor, " is a good in his valuable little work on this
so neither ought they to wish to disturb subject,-places the matter in a dif- it; for where there is an inter-comferent ligbi*. In larger parishes, munity of interests in the duties of the he says, sidesmen are only such office, it appears reasonable tbat there as are annually chosen and added should be an equally divided right in to the church-wardens, to be their the appointment : and the right of the assistants in that part of their office minister in this case being a right of which obliges them to inspect the usage, and not admitted in common law,
it is highly incumbent upon the clergy manners of the parishioners, and to present wbat they shall find pre- intermission, nor lost by negligence."
neither to suffer it to be impaired by sentable among them at the next visitation. And these are they wbo
On that part of the church in the canon law are called 'testes warden's oath which relates to synodales, because their business “the due and faithful execution of was to attend diocesan synods, as
his office," in his care of the church, now they do at visitations, and to
its fabrick and appendages, the observe and present whatever they place of burial, and the orderly found amiss in their respective disa performance of all ecclesiastical tricts. These diocesan synods were services, our author's remarks are kept up in the diocese of Norwich, strong and interesting; and we re, till the Rebellion; aod all the clergy commend the admonitions in the of the diocese constantly met at Charge to ibe consideration of all them every year,—The clergy of "Lay-ecclesiastics," not of Cola Suffolk at Ipswich, and those of chester only, but throughout the Norfolk at Norwich. In the tinie kingdom. The Archdeacon bas of bishop Reynolds, however, they pointed out various instances of inwere discontinued. It appears then decorum which vo well-disposed that the duty of presenting bad mind can notice without regret. Jong formed a part of the church. Among others he mentions the warden's duly, a circumstance broken fences and mutilated mowhich we deem it of importance numents of the repositories of the to bear in mind. Our author's ob- dead, occasioned by the unseemly servations on the discharge of this practice of pasturing caltle in duty, we shall consider afterwards. churcb-yards; and he recommends
The remarks of Archdeacon Sef- a compensation to be given to the ferson, respecting the joint election incumbent from the parish, in lieu of these officers by the minister and of this privilege. We wish that in the parish, are correćt; for although noticing the proprieties to be desirthe common sight, unless there be ed in the ornaments of the church, the intervention of a custom to the 'the author had adverted to the ob contrary, vests this election solely noxious practice of suspending the * See Godolphin's Rep. 4to. p. 163,
colours of volunteer corps in our and Pride anx's Directions, p. 110.
sacred, edifices, We are at a loss
to ascertain on what principle the who acquits bimself of his obligacustom can be justified. They tion, as a conscientious man, will are not suspended as trophies ; still involve himself in perplexities of less, we should imagine, can they do trivial kind ; we regret it, bebe intended as decorations : the cause he who does not incurs the church-warden, therefore, should guilt-we can call it by no softer not allow the practice. The house name-of perjury; and we regret of God, the temple of the Prince it, because this oath is too often of Peace, should be preserved; as an effectual bar to the discharge of far as possible, from all secular as- this important office, by such men sociations, and most of all so from as, from their characters and printhose which recal ideas of war aud ciples, are the most likely to be of human glory.
service to their neighbours. We On the Archdeacon's observa- heartily wish that those who possess tions respecting the mode of as- the power to effect some modificasessing the parochial rates, we must tion in so obnoxious a feature in make one remark, as a mistake may our ecclesiastical discipline, would possibly arise,' and occasion a dif- avail themselves of that power, and ficulty which a little previous cau- would not allow, we do not : say lion would prevent. The repairs, a blind attachment to old forms, for which rales are assessed upon for that we are sure they disclaim, the parishioners, should not be but a wholesome dread of innovamade before the rates are collect. tion, to prevent their exchanging a ed, but the repairs and assessment requirement, the compliance with should be co-temporaneous with which, in such a way as a religious each other. We do not say that in man would interpret his duty, is, by no case would the church-warded the great increase of population, be justified in first iocurring the and other altered circumstances of expense, and afterwards demand- the age, rendered impracticable for ing the reimbursement: but as a one of a less arduous and doubtful difference is known to exist in the character. We say doubtful, bedoctrines maintained in the spiritual cause, after all, we consider not only and temporal courts in relation to the growth of neighbourhoods 10 this matter, it is better to make be a serious impediment to the disihe rate coeval with the repairs, not charge of this duty, but that the to reimburse the church.warden, very fulfilment of it might not in lest the account might be regarded modern times be attended with all in the light of a private debt. the benefit which formerly accom
In advancing to the duty of panied it. The censures of the presenting, as forming part of the church are now become almost church-wardens' obligation, the obsolete : presentable offences are reverend author, while he admits far more multiplied, and far less' the difficulty attending its fulfil- gravely regarded, than in former ment, strenuously urges the duty of times: the very proceeding upon so doing, on account of their oath,' presentment would be now conwhich pledges them to its perforınsidered an innovation, and it might ance. It is true the sentiments and be prejudical, in the present spirit usages of the times are changed. of the times, to attempt to revive It is true, that obstacles of a for- it. Our author remarks as follows midable nature stand in the way ; on this subject. but the oath remains-remains un.
« In times when the lierarchy was' altered, unmodified. We do not in its strength and vigour, when the say we do not regret this; for it is constitution of the church was unena subject of deep tegret to us, as feebled by the empiricism of theorists. it must be to every considerate in ecclesiastical polity, while the canon mind. We regrel it, because he law was less restrained by the jealousies,
of the civil, before the spiritual courts is the more unaccountable, because the were paralized by the prohibitions of punishment should in all cases corre the temporal, the procedure by pre spond to the degree of guilt; and guilt, sentment was easy, simple, and anper in the consideration of the law, is to be plexed : and it may fairly be presumed measured by the injury done to pubthat the censures and penalties wbich lic or private rights and immouities." ensned on proof and conviction, were far from being inefficacious in checking
It is on this account, we doubt those scandals against religion, and those offences against morals, which felt not, that our author has offered a more immediately under the jurisdica suggestion, in which we cannot tion of our courts. It is certain, how. agree with him, both because we ever, that blasphemies and crimes of think that the ends for which prethis description were then more seriouse sentments are to be made, will, by ly considered, more unfrequently com- its adoption, be much more cermitted, more sedulously concealed from tainly obtained, and because the the public eye, less flippantly spoken unpleasant difficulties which might of in common conversation, and less otherwisé attach to the presenter lightly esteemed in common opinion. will be thereby avoided. The It is true the capon law continues in this respect in its former force; but suggestion is, that in every case in having been rarely resorted to for which the law has given an election, nearly the last century, it may be said that is, in which both the civil to be becoming obsolete. But while and the canon law bave provided the oath continnes in its present form, a punishment for an offence,,the church-warden cannot otherwise be church-wardens would do well to discharged from it than by ' presenting prefer an application to the civil such persons and things as according to magistrate, rather than to the echis skill and knowledge are presentable, clesiastical judge. This is noticed He will so far have done his duty and in p. 18, and repeated in p. 45. discharged his conscience; and it will We could have wished somewhat remain with the Ordinary, whether bishop, archdeacon, chancellor, or
more of detail in this part of the commissary, to require or dispense address; but there is sufficient to with, at his discretion, the institution trace the author's meaning. There of such further proceedings as the case cases where not only the and age may justify, and the law has church has pronounced her cendefinitively pointed out." pp. 13, 14. sures, but the statutes have im
This last 'remark leads the posed their fines. In these cases Archdeacon to comment on the the latter are to be preferred. But inequality which exists in the scale the generality of cases which bave of punishments awarded to viola. excited animadversion, and call for tions of the laws of the state and the correction of the canon law, are those of the church, or secular untouched by the civil. These then offences and spiritual crimes. are proper subjects for present. “It is perhaps a singular anomaly in ment; for, as our author remarks, our civil code, that, while for the pro
“ The church-warden is to the eccle. tection of the person and the security siastical law, what the peace-officer is of the property of the subject, it has been considered as inflicting a punish: for 1821, recently published, on the ment more than commensurate to the subject of adultery and divorce, by offence, some of the grossest crimes of Mr. Tebbs, of Doctors' Commons. The the Christian institute, crimes more
nature of the work does not allow of deeply affecting the happiness of the quotation in our pages; but the reader individual, more injurious to the well.
who wishes for information may refer being of the community, remain un
to Mr. Tebbs's elaborate Dissertation, noticed and disregarded in the criminal pp. 239—242, for some remarks on the jurisprudence of the country. This
defective state of our criminal laws with
respect to the punishment of a crime This last remark is strongly exem- most deeply offensive in the eyes of plified in the St. David's Prize Essay God and man.
to the civil. As the one has the charge done; and for the method of doing of the peace and good order of the coin- it, we may quote the following suga monwealth, the other may be regarded gestions from an essay, lately pub, as the guardian of religious decency lisbed, on the “Claims aud Duties." and morals. From hence it follows, of the Cburch. that matters presentable may, as the form of the oath signifies, relate either
“It might not be impracticable, to persons or things. In regard to especially if the clergy were made persons, the right of presentment extends agents in the duty, to procure to all blasphemers, to all oppugners honest replies to such questions as of Christian doctrine and faith, to all night properly be asked, and which licentious offenders against Christian could be answered without entering deportment, and against the purity of into personal accusations. And Christian manners. In things presents surely no pastor who is conscienable are comprehended all such irregn- tiqusly anxious for the promotion larities, defects, and abuses as are
pro. of religion and church principles in hibited by the canons and constitutions of the Church, whether they respect the his parish could think much of the structure itself
, the church-yard, the labour of occasionally reporting to vestments of the minister, or any articles his diocesan, or seeing that his consecrated to sacred uses, and which are church-wardens did so, such partinecessary for a dae administration of culars, for instance, as the average the various rites of worship." p. 16. number of the communicants and
A more particular enumera- attendants at church, compared tion of presentable offences the witb the population of the parish > Archdeacon considers unnecessary, the progress of the schools and because a practice has hitherto charitable societies; the regulations survived the too prevailing remiss- for the observance of the Sunday, ness in discipline, of supplying the and the degree of success attending churchwarden at stated periods them; with similar particulars relawith articles of inquiry for their in- tive to the state of religion, educaformation and guidance. Unhap- tion, and morals. These the clergy pily, however, we are compelled and their church wardens might preto remark, that this is the very sent without incurring the pain of circumstance which increases our making personal accusations, which regret. These papers contain inqui- as things are at present managed ries arranged under various heads, do little or no good. At the same applying to the state of the church, time, the
power of presenting nothe parish, its habits, morals, and torious offenders should doubtless similar particulars, to all of which be retained ; and a solemn injuncis reported the consolatory, if it tion also should be added to do so, were not delusive, statement, “ All without fear or favour, so far as well.". It must be deeply painful may be really practicable in the to a diocesan to find his visitatiou present circumstances of society." table covered with papers contain- In such suggestions, we doubt not ing so many falsehoods. We can- that Archdeacon Jefferson would not call them otherwise. Who, that heartily have concurred. For obknows any thing of our neighbour- vious reasons, however, he might hoods, believes them to be other. not think a visitation charge the wise? And where is the apology proper vehicle for conveying them. to be found for this? In the im- His was an address to churchpossibility of doing anything else! wardeos upon their existing duties ; Then why continue to compel a and however much he might wish conscientious man to take an oath a modification of them, he could to do what is allowed to be morally only officially press a discharge of impracticable? Wby not abolish, the obligations of sheir oath. or at least modify, the oath? It In conclusion, we again recomis clear that something should be mend the Addressi to the petusal CHRIST. OBSRRY. No. 247.