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would it abate the still more pernicious fanaticism of the monks and lay orders? Would it relieve the people of any pecuniary demands made upon them in the shape of fees and dues, which now form the main support of the Romish clergy? Clearly not. It would but multiply the rival claimants. For every stipendiary priest, there would spring up two or three expectants or mendicants; and the flocks would be as much mulcted as ever.
The ministers of religion may be divided into three classes, as viewed under three different characters; teachers of religion, ecclesiastical functionaries, and priests. It is not generally perceived, how the question relating to their maintenance is governed by the nature of their office. If it be that of the priest, the dispenser of sacraments, whose main business is to baptize, marry, absolve on confession, administer the Eucharist, and inter, these services are invariably connected with fees, which form the most cherished property of the Church, an essential part of the sacerdotal system, and the very basis of the Seven Sacraments. The fee system enables every priest to enforce his maintenance. It is strictly a compulsory system of ecclesiastical taxation, sanctioned by the most fearful penalties; as compulsory as any tax levied in the shape of excise or customs. It is obvious then, that no Church, with the framework of whose polity this system has been intertwined, is likely to be induced to part with it for stipends or endowments. The Episcopal clergy of the English Church, even when drawing large revenues from the tithes, shew no disposition to relax their hold on the parochial fees; although the abolition of the Confessional in the Protestant Church has deprived them not only of one material source of profit arising from fees, but of the power of enforcing their ghostly claims upon the laity. Endowments enjoyed by the Romish Church are applicable to the support of colleges, convents, missions, and other establishments; but the stipendiary system is not adapted to the functions and position of the priesthood, and could not, at all events, be substituted for the fee system, without a relinquishment of the distinguishing features of the sacerdotal theory.
Ecclesiastical functionaries whose office is limited to the discharge of a certain routine of specific duties, must be paid by a stipend or fixed salary. If it is deemed, for instance, a part of Protestant Christianity, to keep up the daily iteration of the musical service of the choir in our Gothic temples, albeit no congregations are now attracted by the obsolete performance, it is obvious that funds must be found to pay the choir, and defray other expenses, which neither compulsive fees nor voluntary contributions can furnish. Again, a state clergy, as forming a species of magistracy or spiritual police, may claim support from the State. The idea of a Protestant clergyman is very much that of a parochial magistrate, whose business it is to administer
the authority of the State in sacred things. The tithe-holding clergy look upon themselves-and such is the theory of the Establishment as an order of gentry; a very different character from that of either priests or popular instructors, and scarcely compatible with theirs. To the stipendiary clergy, for the most part, are abandoned the instruction of the people and the performance of the other offices; and experience amply proves, that tithes, however suitable a fund for education, the relief of the poor, and other general purposes,-or for the maintenance of a Levitical order of literati,-will never provide a country with efficient religious instructors.
But if the question be, what is the best mode of securing a competent maintenance for the Christian pastor or the Christian missionary, that is quite another matter. Fees and Tithes are alike out of the question; and it being admitted that they are entitled to a stipend, the inquiry resolves itself into this-whether that stipend should be derived from the voluntary contributions of the Church, or from the taxation of the community by the State. The Curate of the Established Church is supported by a stipend, and so is the Dissenting minister. The latter depends for his stipend upon an agreement with his people the former holds it by a bargain with the State through the medium of the incumbent. Which system works best, as regards the comparative amount of stipend? Which secures the most faithful and competent discharge of the pastoral office? Let these questions be fairly met, and decided by the test of fact; and it will be seen that the voluntary system is better for the Church, better for the State, better for the people.
But, although the Christian pastor may ordinarily look for support to his own congregation, the Voluntary System does not suppose that this can universally be the case. On the contrary, it calls upon the churches collectively to provide both for the assistance of ministers in poorer districts, and for sending missionaries and itinerant teachers to districts unprovided with religious instruction. The South of Ireland is at this moment very much in the condition of a heathen country. To meet the state of the case, the theory of an Establishment must be abandoned. The only Establishment defensible upon that theory, is that of a national church, and the national church of the Irish is the Roman Catholic. The Protestant clergyman in the districts where the bulk of the people are Papists, stands in the predicament, and ought to go forth in the spirit, of a Missionary. How is he to be supported? By tithes levied upon the people he is sent to instruct and convert? Preposterous notion! And yet, we sometimes hear the perpetuation of the tithes defended upon this ground, as requisite for the support of a Missionary Pro
testant Establishment! The Church of England in Ireland is, forsooth, a Missionary Church! Very military missionaries must those be deemed, who quarter themselves upon the territory they are sent to conquer. What an admirable plan for propagating Protestantism, by tithing the Papist, and exacting this tribute in earnest of his conversion! Why not set up a Missionary Establishment of the same Apostolic kind in India, and levy tithes in support of the Episcopal Church upon the Hindoos and the Moslem, in order to persuade them the more readily to embrace the Christian faith? Why not divide Bengal into Protestant benefices, in order to make it at once, ipso facto, a Christian country? There need not be churches-for there are 210 benefices in Ireland in which there is no Church; nor converts, for there are in Ireland 41 benefices without a single member of the Established Church. Let there be Christian tithes, and a goodly corps of four or more archbishops, with bishops, deans, prebendaries, canons, &c., who may all reside at Calcutta, with such a Missionary Church-the United Apostolic Church of England, Ireland, and India,-that country would be Christianized at once. And then, there would be need of the obtrusion of Missionaries sent out by the abettors of the voluntary system.
In Ireland, the theory of an Establishment has been refuted by facts which have all the force of the argumentum ad absurdum. We speak not now of the political evils connected with the injustice and iniquity of the tithe system. As a scheme of instruction, as even a scheme of police, the Establishment has worse than failed: it has left the people in ignorance; it has provoked their hostility against the Government; it has led them to identify Protestantism itself with injustice and oppression; it has alienated them from those pious clergymen who, had they gone forth as missionaries, seeking not theirs but them, would have been listened to with respect, if not with conviction; it has inflamed religious animosities, obstructed all social improvement, overthrown successive administrations, and all in the abused and dishonoured name of Religion! As if religion consisted in tithes, and could be supported by bayonets! How long will the country be deluded by words and names? The Irish Establishment is of no service to the Protestant Religion, but rather a dead weight upon it. If Episcopacy be Apostolic, let her come out of her state fortress, and undertake, at her own charges, the conflict with Error and Papal Ignorance.
Art. VII. 1. Dissertation on Church Polity. By Andrew Coventry Dick, Esq., Advocate. 12mo, pp. 245. Edinburgh, 1835.
2. The Posthumous Letters of the Rev. Rabshakeh Gathercoal, late Vicar of Tuddington. Now first published, with Explanatory Notes, and dedicated to the Lord Bishop of London. 12mo, pp. xxxii. 288. London, 1835.
3. Thomas Johnson's Reasons for Dissenting from the Established Church: in Three Dialogues. A New Edition. To which is now first added, a Fourth Dialogue on the Voluntary Principle. 18mo, pp. 52. Price 4d., or 3s. 6d. per dozen. London, 1834.
4. The Church: a Dialogue between John Brown and William Mason. By A. T. 12mo, pp. 20. Price 2d. London, 1835.
T will at once be perceived that these works, though bearing upon one topic, the grand topic of debate, are of very dif ferent character and pretension. Mr. Dick's Dissertation is a masterly piece of sound and eloquent argumentation. It is a volume which deserves, we had almost said demands, an attentive perusal from every Member of the Legislature who wishes to understand the pending question between the Compulsives and the Voluntaries. Mr. Dick has fairly grappled with the subject in all its bearings, planting his foot upon ground from which it will not be easy to dislodge him. The Dissertation is divided into the following sections.
§1. Authority of the Magistrate in Matters of Religion. 2. The Argument from Scripture. 3. The argument from Civil Utility. 4. Idea of an Established Church. 5. The Creed of an Established Church. 6. The Endowment of an Established Church. 7. The Subordination of an Established Church. 8, 9. An Established Church as a Scheme of Instruction. 10. Political Effects of an Established Church.'
In the first section, the opposite theories of the High and Low Churchmen are discriminated and contrasted; but Mr. Dick has, in the outset, examined and combated the tenets of the High Church Party, which are retained, in the shape of an indistinct prejudice, by many who would not defend them. The theory of High Churchmen implies, that Government has authority over subjects in matters of religion. The Moderate Churchman nts himself with insisting that Government is bound to proligious instruction for its subjects. In opposing these as, some advocates of religious liberty have run into the xtreme of denying that Government had any thing to ters of religion. We are glad to find Mr. Dick steerhis absurdity, while he thus throws back upon the an the charge of atheistic doctrines.
Here we may pause for a moment to learn how we may best fulfil the meaning of poets, philosophers, and jurists, when they warn us to lay the foundation of civil society in an acknowledgement of Divine Providence. It is by owning first of all the rights of Providence. Observing that it has framed man a religious being, and in that department of his nature subjected him to no intermediate superior, but directly to God, we are taught neither to prescribe, nor limit, nor enforce the inward or outward homage to which that subjection calls him. The state, which, acting upon this lesson, anxiously provides for freedom of worship, and sensitively withdraws its rulers from the province of conscience, is of all states the most holy and religious, presents in its laws a perpetual homage to Divine Providence, and may be truly said to have laid its foundations in an act of worship. This is not to rear an atheistic constitution. Commit to an atheist the erecting of a commonwealth, and he will assume without scruple the control of religion, because he thinks God a dream, and conscience a prejudice. Such a man, owning no rights of conscience, yet unable to cure his subjects of their religious propensities, will make provision for giving them indulgence according to his own ideas of what is pleasing and politic. He will therefore erect and set in motion a kind of religious pageant. Thus the principles of the atheist and the principles of the High Churchmen lead to the same result, the one from disbelief, the other from superstition. They concur in erecting a species of civil constitution, to which alone, if to any, the epithet atheistic applies; for it subverts the laws of heaven; and, whereas in religion, nature has given us God only for our master, his will for our law, and conscience to guard and enforce it, this constitution presumes to intercept our allegiance, and, presenting us with some miserable mortals for rulers, fulminates its anathema against all who will not tie themselves to their parchment-creed and policy-begotten worship.' pp. 16-18.
It ought never to be lost sight of, that ecclesiastical establishments are now ordinarily defended upon principles totally different from those which led to their original institution.
Those institutions arose, or at least attained their final strength and organization, through the prevalence of an opinion, that men were in religion, no less than in civil life, subjects of the national governments. Their history informs us of disputes between the civil magistrate and the ecclesiastical authorities regarding the bounds of their respective jurisdiction, and regarding also the right of supremacy over society, which both claimed, and each alternately exercised; but that, while the authorities, civil and sacred, thus quarrelled about their shares of power, of the duty of the citizen to obey the religious edicts upon which they might agree, scarcely a doubt was breathed by a solitary speculatist, and no question was stirred before any tribunal of Christendom. Those were times when the doctrine of Hooker was true in law and in fact, that every man who was a member of the commonwealth, was a member also of its church, subject equally to the one and to the other; when the Church of England elevated the King to an ecclesiastical throne, and when the di