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no consequence to our faith whether the truth be in them or no: but it is of every consequence to those mistaken beings who grasp at the arguments, and make them stand in the place of the truth itself;-who, through the deceptious influence of such inconclusive reasoning, regard a revelation not only as unnecessary, but also as an imposition. That we may have it in our power to give such persons a direct and decisive answer to their systems, is the object of my contention against natural religion. We can prove that nations would not retain the knowledge of the Deity, and this proof is a powerful argument against those who contend for the religion of nature. Were we to go a step farther, and put them upon the proof of a God, we might break down many of their strong-holds, and drive them to the revelation of his own being. As an instance of the evil which such philosophy tolerates and increases, it happens that the reviewer has taken the same course of argument by which Volney proves that there is a God of nature, for the purpose of superseding a revelation. Thus weapons are put into the hands of bad men by those who the most deprecate their use. And this evil has a wider extent than many may imagine. How strongly fixed was the unhappy man who lately answered in a court of justice on this position. There is a God, he exclaimed, and he endowed him with attributes; and we are not allowed by our school philosophy to put him to the proof. We allow his data, and his consequences appear to him to flow naturally therefrom. Now did our philosophy submit to the truth, and, overcoming our pride, proclaim and maintain that God and his religion were only to be known from his own revelation, how decidedly we might answer the infidel, defy his boasted reason, and trample upon his delusive systems. Nor is this evil confined to professed unbelievers. The poison is dropped upon the intellectual food after which all our ranks of society are marching, and is silently but surely diffusing its pernicious qualities in the public mind. One object, most sedulously pursued, is to establish in the minds of the operative classes, the being of a God, from the mechanical facts of nature. For what purpose ? To shew from natural religion the needlessness of a revelation!* If there be not such a thing as natural religion, and it is worth the time of its advocates not to let a truth so momentous rest upon inconclusive metaphysical arguments,-but if there be not "such a thing," should we suffer an error of such importance to be consecrated in the philosophy of ages? If in the proper use of our reason we can show that God only can be known through his own revelation, let the advocates of Christianity stand upon their 'vantage ground, and no longer throw away the vast power with which this single truth would arm them.
Another effect of the evil arising from that philosophy which advocates natural religion is forcibly shown by Mr. Rose's letter to you (in October) on the Rationalism of the Germans. Our operatives do not philosophize so phlegmatically as their neighbours, but the effect of a false conclusion on this subject is extending among them. In the Boyle's Lectures of the present Bishop of Durham, a course of argument is followed to show that when the enemy of mankind cannot take away the truth, he will corrupt it. Has he not through philosophy, falsely so called, darkened many hearts to the understanding of the truth as it is in the revelation of the Deity?
A LARGE portion of the most wealthy inhabitants of our metropolis are accustomed to attend the service of the Church in proprietary chapels. Many of these edifices belong to people of wealth and rank, some even to Clergymen. Such persons are perhaps not fully aware of the objections against the system of proprietary chapels. They are ably stated by the excellent Bishop Middleton, in a passage which we extract from his address to the parishioners of St. Pancras.
Of proprietary chapels, whatever praise may be due to the zeal and talents of the Clergy who officiate in them, I do not profess myself to be friendly to the principle. Wherever they exist, they have arisen out of the deficiency of our parochial establishments, for which however they afford but a very inadequate substitute, while they contribute to perpetuate the evil; they cannot but render the more opulent parishioners, in many instances, indifferent about wants which they no longer feel. The principle to which they owe their origin is no other than that of commercial adventure. A builder, observing that the spirit of Christianity is not wholly extinct, invests a portion of his capital in erecting a place of public worship. To what particular description of Christians it is to be appropriated, needs not be determined beforehand; trade is not fastidious about the opinions of a purchaser; and such is the tenure, that it is not permanently confined to the Church, even though a churchman should be the first to license it; in the failure of success, it may be subsequently applied to any other more profitable purpose whether sacred or profane. I am afraid, however, that the evil does not always rest here; I am afraid that even while buildings of this kind are in the hands of churchmen, the system has tendencies which are greatly to be deprecated. Whether the proprietor be a layman or a clergyman, while his emoluments depend upon the letting of the seats, he is under a strong temptation to give to divine service attractions which do not properly belong to it, and which, while they recommend it to those who are in quest of amusement, degrade it in the estimation of the serious and reflecting. Christianity, in its native and noble simplicity, addresses itself not to the taste or to the imagination, but to the understanding and the heart; it is not studious to adapt itself to the variable standard of popular sentiment, but is, like its author, "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." In this view, nothing can be more conducive to the maintenance of its true character, than that independence of principle and practice, for which our establishment usually provides. A clergyman who does not labour under the consciousness that it is his interest to attract hearers, has to blame himself alone if he deviate from the track of solid and sober instruction. The system has also other tendencies which are not to be desired. The great variety of preachers in some of these chapels, while it stimulates the religious appetite, cannot fail to deprave it; nor is public instruction productive of the greatest possible good, where little or nothing is known of the preacher except from his sermon. might also add that these chapels sometimes interfere with the province of the parochial clergyman; the parishioners are not always aware that the preacher of a proprietary chapel has no connexion with them beyond the duties of the pulpit, and avail themselves of his ministrations to the exclusion of their constituted pastor, and the extinction of order and regularity. In this part of my subject I desire to be understood as every where speaking of the system and its tendencies. In my own parish, these chapels appear to be very well conducted; in my occasional visits to them, I have found them most respectably attended; and I have constantly rejoiced that some at least of my parishioners have such a resource; but it will be remembered that whatever is good in these chapels is the peculiar merit of the proprietor, while that which is objectionable is connected with the system; and that the one is changeable, while the other is permanent.-Middleton's Sermons and Charges, p. 297.
To this we would add the remark which the Bishop in the next page
makes on free chapels, as applying with equal force to those of which we now speak:
Whatever tends to separate the rich from the poor in the presence of Him who is "the Maker of both," is so far exceptionable: let them at least on one day in the week "meet together:" to the rich it teaches humility, while it inspires the poor with confidence; and it serves to unite both in the bonds of mutual dependance and esteem.
STAMFORD HILL CHAPEL OF EASE.
We have quoted these remarks on Proprietary Chapels with a view to introduce to our readers a case which has lately occurred in the parish of Hackney, which proves the practicability of giving to these buildings the character and efficiency of parochial chapels. The chapel which we have named above was in the year 1825 the property of a Clergyman. A friendly arrangement was entered into, under the sanction of the rector of the parish, between this individual and certain gentlemen frequenting the chapel, they agreeing to advance money for the purchase of the chapel; the capital to be secured on the building, and to be repaid with moderate interest out of the pew rents. The building was thus settled with them in trust for the parish, and they immediately issued to the pew-holders the following circular :
Having taken possession of Stamford Hill Chapel for the sole purpose of securing to the neighbourhood (too remote from the Mother Church for convenient attendance on its services) the benefits and accommodation of a Chapel of Ease, to the fullest extent to which the circumstances of the case may enable them to go, the undersigned think it right to lay before the holders of sittings in the Chapel the nature of the arrangements they have entered into, which, it will be seen, must prevent any present reduction of Pew Rents.
It is intended to divest the Chapel of all private and proprietary character, and to place it entirely and for ever under the regularly constituted authorities of the Church. For this purpose, the undersigned trust that they shall be able to offer the Chapel for conseeration to the Bishop of the Diocese, and to settle the appointment of the Minister in the Incumbent of the parish for the time being.
To this end, such a permanent Endowment out of the Pew Rents will be first made, as may ensure the residence of a respectable Clergyman in the district. And the remainder of the Pew Rents, whatever be their amount, will then be made over in Trust for the under-mentioned purposes alone:
1st, For defraying the necessary expenses of the Chapel ;-2dly, For the payment of interest, at the rate of 4 per Cent. per annum, on the amount of the purchase money, until the same be redeemed;-and, 3dly, For the creation of an accumulating Fund for the redemption of the said purchase money, with a view to the eventual diminution of the
To this declaration of the objects, for which alone the Pew Rents are henceforth to be taken, the undersigned have only to add, with unfeigned satisfaction, the entire concurrence of the present Rector, the Rev. Archdeacon Watson, in all which they thus contemplate, most strongly manifested by a kind offer to contribute towards their accomplishment, now and hereafter, as well by an immediate assignment, during his own incumbency, of all the fees arising from duties which may be transferred from the Mother Church, as by an offer to provide at his own charge, for the better accommodation of the poor of the neighbourhood, in the event of the Chapel being enlarged; a measure to which the attention of the Trustees is now directed.
April 25, 1826.
J. C. POWELL,
These objects have been already accomplished as follows:-in January 1827 it was shut up for several months, during which it was considerably altered and enlarged. It now contains 1100 sittings; of which number 300 are free and unappropriated for the use of the poor for ever, and 100 more are set apart for the children of the district.
VOL. X. NO. II.
Happiness, by Bishop Heber.
The expense thus incurred, with the exception of 4001., was provided by an increase of the capital advanced and secured on the building : of the additional 400l. two were given by the Rector, and the other two by the Commissioners for Building Churches, with the express proviso that the number of free sittings mentioned should be secured to the poor.
A permanent endowment out of the pew rents of 150l. per annum, and the amount of the surplice fees, has been settled on the minister for the time being, who is charged with the cure of souls of a certain district of the parish attached permanently to his chapel. The remainder of the pew rents amounts to such a sum as to afford a fair prospect of providing for the incidental expenses of the chapel, paying the interest of the capital advanced, and ultimately redeeming the whole. The only difficulty that has occurred, has consisted in a friendly contention between the Rector and the Trustees, each party wishing the other to appoint the minister. It is settled that this appointment should rest with the Rector; a veto upon it being granted to the Trustees, and the consequence of any continued disagreement being its lapsing for the time to the Bishop. As soon as the principal shall have been redeemed, the appointment will rest entirely with the Rector.
On the 22d of November 1827, the building was consecrated by the Bishop of London, as a Chapel of Ease to the parish of Hackney. We have stated thus minutely the particulars of this transaction, not merely out of a wish to record an instance of such judicious and beneficial exertion on the the example held forth at Stamford Hill may be followed in part of the persons concerned, but in the hope that proprietary chapels. We feel convinced that there are few cases to which the same measures with different modifications might not be many other successfully applied. Every proprietor might not be so willing to treat liberally with a view to the success of the undertaking; it is not in every parish that the incumbent would have either the will or the ability to assist so largely; but we venture to say, that if a few active members in the congregation of any proprietary chapel would arrange their plan prudently, endeavour to obtain the co-operation of the proprietor, or wait for an opportunity when the chapel is offered for sale, they might, by the outlay of a small capital at reasonable interest and no very bad security, obtain' for themselves, their congregation, and their poorer neighbours, the full benefits of a consecrated building, and the parochial ministrations of a resident pastor.
ECCLESIASTICAL CORPORATIONS AND COLLEGES;-RIGHT TO CUT TIMBER.
I. Ecclesiastical Corporations.
THESE Corporations, whether sole as Bishops, Deans solely seised, Prebendaries, Archdeacons, and Parsons, or aggregate, as Deans and Chapters, and Collegiate Chapters, have not an absolute but a qualified right in the timber growing on their estates; the law considering such timber as a fund for maintaining and repairing the edifices and other possessions of the Church. Hence it was said by Lord Chancellor Eldon, in the case of Wither v. the Dean and Chapter of Winchester,
Ecclesiastical Corporations may fell timber for repairs, and apply either the timber itself or the produce of the sale for that purpose, but that so far only have they a power over the timber; it is the inheritance of their Church, and they have no authority to cut it down and divide the produce among themselves.
In the case of Jefferson v. Shute, Bishop of Durham, in the Common Pleas in 1797, the principal question was, whether that court had, on the application of Jefferson, a person not interested, jurisdiction to restrain the Bishop from cutting down timber, and converting part of the wood ground into arable land; and it was decided it had not. But Chief Justice Eyre concluded his elaborate judgment with some observations, which have been commended by
Lord Chancellor Eldon, and which are deserving of general attention.
I need not say whether this application has been made on mere splenetic, or on more worthy motives; nor whether the Bishop of Durham in this instance, unintentionally doubtless, may not have done that which the law does not sanction, even though it should turn out clearly that the annual revenues of the See have been improved. Most certainly it is not to be concluded that provided an increase of the annual revenues of the See is obtained, a permanent fund of real property in woods may be utterly destroyed. Few who know the Hon. and Rt. Rev. Prelate, who have been witnesses to the munificence which he has displayed in repairing and beautifying the fabric of his church, of his castles, and his palaces, will suspect him of having intentionally wasted the possessions of the See of Durham. At the same time it is by no means impossible that he, as well as many other Churchmen, may unwarily have slid into this heavy ecclesiastical offence, which all agree to be a cause of deprivation, and which may probably be found to be also an injury cognizable by some of the King's temporal courts.
I do not at all regret the expense of time and trouble in this proceeding, since I cannot but think it may be productive of very good effects. It may awaken men's minds to the consideration of this sort of question, to which, at this time, it is of importance that they should be directed. We have already seen one Cathedral Church almost in ruins, and we have seen with what