« PreviousContinue »
dianship, rather than to a body, in in the discussion or conversation, which it is implied that there are some which the Archbishop of Dublin on who might make an evil use of the this occasion invited, were the Bishop opportunity afforded them to do barm. of Salisbury, who supported, and the In a word, we could understand the Bishop of Ossory, who dissented from, reasonableness of praying the House the prayer of the petition. Of the of Lords to adopt a scheme which had speech of the latter learned prelate, been previously formed ;-we could the archbishop has furnished a report understand the reasonableness of pe- from his remembrance of it:titioning the queen, that her majesty would be graciously pleased to devise “ The Bishop of Ossory's speech, a system of ecclesiastical government;
though inaudible in the gallery, was we confess ourselves incapable of dis.
heard by those near him. cerning wisdom in the course which
“ His lordship expressed his hearty the petitioners adopted.
assent to the principle of the petition; The Archbishop of Dublin, although
but was averse to its being applied at
the present time, on account of the exhe p esented the petition to the House
cited state of party feeling now existing of Lords, and in a certain sense advo- in the church, and which he feared might cated its prayer, is by no means to be be aggravated by the assembling of any held responsible for its reasoning. commission, synod, convocation, or other His grace's views, as they appear in
body of men for the purpose of either the report of his speech, are perfectly acting as a government for the church, intelligible and consistent. He would or framing any such government." require of the parliament permission, only, for another body to legislate for Having given this report, as con. the church, and he would, probably, taining the substance of Dr. O'Brien's propose an address to the crown, with reply to his speech, and, apparently, 3 view to effect such arrangements as considering it as representing the the circumstances of the times ren- strength of the argument against him, dered necessary :
his grace the archbishop enters upon
ths task of refuting it :" He begged their lordships' indulgence in declaring solemnly that rights “I have heard the same language carried with them duties, and above all from many others; not only from those legislative rights; and if the parliament, who are merely seeking a pretext for which had alone the power of legislating getting rid of the measure, by indefinite for the church, did not consider its in. postponement, but from persons whom tervention on this subject proper, it was cannot doubt to be sincerely convinced the duty of parliament to permit some of the anomaly, the discredit, and the other body, whose province it should danger of leaving the church virtually legitimately be, to interpose with a re- without any legislative government, and gular and recognised authority for the sincerely desirous of remedying the evil settling of the disputes and dissensions on some favourable occasion which they now unfortunately prevailing. He als expect will actually offer. luded, of course, to spiritual matters * Such persons cannot, I think, but alone -matters of doctrine or discipline. perceive, on more attentive reflection,
“ Were he permanently in this coun. that the very same argument would aptry, and in their lordships' house, he ply equally in civil affairs; and yet it should feel it his duty to submit a sub- would be thought ridiculous for any one stantive proposition to their lordships' to say, that though parliaments are a on this momentous subject; either for very beneficial institution, he deprecates an address to her majesty, praying that the assembling of a parliament just nou, a commission might issue for inquiry, because there is so much political ex&c., or some other course. But as it citement in the country, and the hostile was, he commended the matter to his
parties are so violently opposed, that it brethren of the English bench, conscious is to be feared there would be a very that if they did not concur with him it stormy session, and that mutual hostiwould be in vain for him to moot the
lity would be aggravated rather than question; and that if they did, they allayed ; let us therefore have no ses. were, if for no other reason, certainly sion of parliament this year. for that to which he had just alluded, “ No one in the present day would, best fitted to undertake it.
on such a question, use such arguments.
But it is not unlikely that they occa. The only prelates who took a part sionally had weight with the unhappy
Charles I. and some of his advisers. He “ It is hardly necessary, I suppose," dreaded the probable violence of a par. says his lordship, “to say, that this is liamentary session, after having for a very imperfect account of what I at. some time endeavoured to carry on the tempied to urge, in support of my dis. government without parliaments. It is sent from the prayer of the petition. not unlikely that some of his advisers But that is a matter of very little im. hoped to avoid the evil by waiting till portance. . What is of real importance men's minds should be in a somewhat is, that it is a very imperfect account of caliner state: and if at any time there the objections which actually lie against did appear to be a comparative calm- the measure. And it is only in this a remission of the murmurs, and of the respect that I shall attempt to correct agitation of the public mind, this would it. ' I shall make no attempt to give a naturally supply a renewed ground for faithful report of what I said on the hope that the discontents would blow occasion. I should probably not sucover, and the nation submit to the want ceed in the attempt if I made it. I of parliaments. And the result, as we shall merely endeavour to present disall know, was that every remedy was tinctly the reasons which were in some deferred till too late, and that the par- shape present to my mind, and which I liament, which ultimately it was neces- attempted to state, against the expesary to summon, overthrew the consti- diency of restoring to the church, at the tution.
present time, the privilege of self“ Certain it is, that in all cases of this
As I endeavour to rekind, we must expect to meet with the state them in this more deliberate way, cry of NOT Now,' on occasions of the I am sure they will appear in a more most opposite character. When men's orderly form than I was then able to minds are in an excited and unsettled give them, and probably in more fulness state, we are told .not now ;' wait for too. This is obviously unavoidable; a period of greater tranquillity: when and I should make no attempt to avoid a lull takes place, and there is as little it if I could. For what I am reaily of discontent and party animosity as one anxious about, is to give something like can ever hope to find, again the cry is, a fair representation of the chief objecnot now ;' why unsettle men's minds? tions to the measure, which is so earWhy not let well alone? Quieta ne nestly pressed for at the present time." morete—it will be time enough to take steps when there is a general and ur. The Bishop of Ossory's main ob. gent cry for it. In short, when the
jections to the projected experiment waters are low, we are told that it is
upon the church are these : he thinks useless trouble and expense to build a bridge; when they are high, that it
it would not prove remedial, that, on is difficult and hazardous to build a
the contrary, it would aggravate and bridge."
confirm the very evils it was expected
to remove or cure, and that it would Before presenting the reader with interrupt a sanative process, of which some observations of the Bishop of his lordship imagines he can discern Ossory on these arguments and ana- unambiguous symptoms, and from logies, we think it right to apprise which, if not rashly interfered with, him, that our abstinence, in this arti, he anticipates a favourable issue :cle, from all expressions of praise, is intentional and deliberate. When ad- “I need not enlarge upon the divi. versaries of " so high front" contend,
sions which harass, and disgrace, and
weaken our church at the present day. or rather, we should say, when so
No one, unhappily, can be ignorant of high parties are at issue, the reviewer
them. And in fact I presume that, (as is most faithful to his duty when he is
appears by the speeches of the prelates least intrusive of laudatory comments. who supported the petition,) one of the Let us not be supposed, then, insensi. chief reasons for so earnestly desiring ble to the ability displayed on the one the restoration of a self-governing power side or the other, because we express
to the church now, is the hope that it no admiration of it.
would be the means of healing them. I The Bishop of Ossory, while deny.
have said enough to show that I consiing that his speech in the House of
der this as a very delusive hope. My
opinion on the contrary is, that such a Lords, has been accurately or ade
measure would be likely to exasperate, quately reported, is careful to place
and prolong, if not perpetuate, these the discussion between the archbishop unhappy divisions. And that this is and himself on higher grounds than not a vague or random apprehension, those of merely personal altercation : but one which rests upon grounds which are very intelligible, whether upon ex- vernment which we need consider; while amination they will be found sufficient a new and most powerful source of into support it or not, will I hope appear terest and excitement would be added, by what follows.
in the infinite importance of the results “ Whatever be the constitution of the to be hoped or dreaded from the prebody to which it is proposed to give valence of opinions, and the victory of such powers, it must, so far, I presume, parties, in the present case. The conpartake of the nature of convocation, nection of such struggles with religion as to be an elective body. Any body would no doubt chasten and regulate that did not represent the church, would the ardour of some, and make them be plainly unfit to legislate for it-50 watch anxiously and jealously over their plainly indeed that I do not think it ne. own temper and conduct. But with cessary to consider any plan of church- others, and many others, it would only government of that nature, if such a serve to exalt their zeal, and to justify plan has been conceived. Now, it can every measure which it prompted-s0 hardly be doubted that the elections that it could not be doubted that such by which this governing body, or a very contests would be carried on with no important part of it, was to be formed,
less energy, and hardly, if at all, less would materially affect our unhappy bitterness, than secular conflicts-endivisions, and be materially affected by kindling the same passions, and sowing them; that they would widen the divi. the seeds of the same heart-burnings, sions, and the divisions embitter them; and jealousies, and animosities. that they would, in fact, at once carry “ This would be a sad state of things our existing differences into every dio. while it lasted. But it might well be cese, and every archdeaconry, and every borne with if it were to end with the rural deanery, and every parish in the elections ; and to end in providing the kingdom; and in a form, compared church with a deliberative assembly, with which, the controversial contests from which we might reasonably expect a to which they at present give occasion, calm consideration of the various points are tranquillity and harmony. In fact, which divide us, and a fair and imparall the evils which attend upon parlia- tial adjudication upon them. This is mentary elections in heated times, short the result hoped for by the petitioners. of absolute personal violence, might be But no such expectation can, in my opidrvaded in such contests. And not the
nion, be reasonably entertained. Such less that the opposing parties were not contests might be expected to terminate, contending for any objects of worldly not in providing a calm deliberative honour or emolument. Indeed in the
body, from which the church might reparty struggles which convulse the coun. ceive the stability and repose which she try at a general election in seasons of needs, but in engaging upon a new arena great political excitement, every one the representatives of exasperated parknows how very few comparatively, of ties, and the advocates of their conflict. those who are most deeply and despe- ing opinions. These representatives, rately engaged in them, have any defi. returned, not to deliberate but to connite hope of personal advancement, or
tend, and carrying on their contests on personal advantage of any kind—at least
a public stage, would keep throughout how very few there are who have any the land their constituents, and the large hope of such advancement or advantage proportion of the laity who would every as could le regarded as at all commen
where range themselves under them, in surate with their exertions and their the same hostile position with respect sacrifices, in the cause to which they to each other to which the elections had devote themselves. It is the success of brought them, And how absolutely ina man's friends the elevation of those
compatible such a position of parties is to whom he has attached himself as his
with any thing like a calm consideration, leaders—the predominance of his party or a satisfactory settlement of religious -the triumph and the influence of his differences, I need hardly say." opinions and his principles—which are much more the object and the reward So much for the dangers attendant of the intense interest, and the despe
on an enterprise such as the archbishop rate exertions which are made on such occasions, than gain or ambition. These
proposes. The hopes cherished by last are tbe motives of comparatively
Dr. O'Brien of good to be effected few, the others embrace and sway the
through agencies even now at work, many. Now, it can hardly be doubted
are declared in the following pasthat all the former class of motives sage:would be called into action by the contested elections, which must attend upon “But what are we waiting for? it is the only mode of restoring church-go- asked. Is it until divisions, which have
to aggravate those evils, and I have attempted to give some reasons for this opinion, be they sufficient or insufficient.
“ And if it be asked, what hope is there that under a state of things which has permitted the rise and growth of such evils, any relief from them will be obtained ? I answer that if there were no such hope, that would be no reason for altering the existing state of things in the way proposed, if, as I apprehend, and have attempted to show, the change is likely to lead to worse evils than any that we now endure, or under existing circumstances can reasonably apprehend. If it be wholesome, though homely philosophy, which
-makes us rather bear there ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of ;'
grown up under the present state of things, beal themselves? I have seen,' the archbishop says, 'also in a recent publication a forcible representation of the discrepancies prevailing in the several dioceses-of the doubts, perplexities, and heart-burnings that exist—and of the discredit and danger to the church thence resulting, while the conclusion drawn was that no commission, assembly, synod, or other church-government should be appointed ; but that the bishops should be left (as now) to decide . pro re nata,' each according to his own judgment, on matters coming under his control. In short, that because the ex. isting state of things produced great and notorious evils, therefore it should be left unaltered !'- Appendix, pp. 35, 36.
“I have never seen the publication to which his grace rcfers, and therefore, though this summary of the argument of it wears the air of a caricature much more than of a fair representation, I cannot of course say that the writer may not have given some colour for it by his mode of stating his views. But of course it can only apply to the form into which he has contrived to throw his argument; it does not apply to its substance.
“The archbishop states that the wri. ter pleads to have the existing state of things left unaltered, because it has produced great and notorious evils.' It seems tolerably safe to conjecture that what he does plead for, at least in substance, is, that the existing state of things should for the present be left unaltered, although it has permitted gross and notorious evils. This, at least, is my plea. It is the one with which the archbishop has actually to deal ; and however the unskilfulness of some who sustain it may have supplied him with it in a form in which it seems too absurd to be seriously treated, it is presumed that, whether it be well-grounded or not, it is in itself neither inconsequent nor ridiculous. It may be rash to de. cide whether, if the convocation had always continued to exercise its powers, such evils would have been prevented from arising in the church; but it is very plain that that is an entirely different question from the practical one with which we have now to deal_namely, will the evils which have grown up during the suspension of the powers of this body, be removed or mitigated by reviving these powers—whether by convening the convocation, or an elective body of the same functions, but differing from it in some respects in constitution ? I have already said that my apprehension is that the result would be greatly
the prudence of patience under existing ills, is still more evident, when we have good reason to fear that the ills to which we are urged to flee, are worse than those which we are enduring.
“ But I do not think that we are thus without hope of some alleviation of the evils of our present condition. The present time is one, no doubt, of ardent conflict to some; and of course, as in all such cases, the passions which inflame the actual combatants, extend to many who do not share actively in the struggle. But it is a period of calm thought to very many--a time of inves. tigation and reflection-out of which, if it be left uninterrupted, a much greater measure of harmony and peace than we now enjoy, may be expected to arise. The course of the fierce controversy which has been, and is still carried on, supplies numbers who are not actively engaged in it, with such materials as their own industry and research could hardly have provided, for coming to a sound judgment upon the various points which are so hotly contested. Among those who are thus seriously, and it may be hoped prayerfully, reviewing these questions, are many who exercise an influence upon others—many especially who exercise the influence which belongs to the ministerial character- the im. portance of whose opinions extends far beyond themselves. And without entering inconveniently into a consideration of existing differences, it may be said, that there are not a few reasons for hoping that the great mass of the mi. nisters and the members of the church are at this moment in a fair way of set. tling in a sound and moderate view of them, if they be suffered to go on forming their judgments in the way in which this process is at present going on. And that we may hope to arrive gradu.
ally and quietly, not at a state of perfect vourite with his grace, and it is not surunanimity and perfect peace, but at a prising that he builds somewhat more much more united and tranquil state on it than he is able to sustain. That than we at present enjoy: such a state he does so, I think is very certain, and I as wowd make it safe and advanta. should hope that it cannot be very diffigeous to restore to the church her synod cult to make it apparent. Looking only (with whatever modifications of its con- in a general way at the church and the stitution may appear expedient)—the state, and their respective legislatures, office of which seems to be much more it might, no doubt, seem that we had to give stability to such a state of har. an analogy sufficiently exact to warrat mony, than to bring it about out of any such inference as the archbishop such a state of division as at present
draws; and that when we find any ge unhappily exists.
neral principle, established by experi. “ Such harmony can never be brought ence with respect to parliament and the about by debates, and votes, and enact- state, we may without further examina. ments. It must be the result of sober tion assume it of the church and convo. and sincere convictions, formed by more cation. But when one considers the ease tranquil investigation and thought than a little more narrowly, he will see that the contests of rival parties in a public this is proceeding too rapidly ; and that assembly allow; by such a process in we ought to require in every instance fact as I believe to be going on at this some better reason to warrant such a moment in the minds of honest and transfer. And as I cannot but appre. thinking men throughout the empire. hend, that what I must take the liberty My desire is to leave this process for a of saying has much misled the Arch. time to its natural course. But with bishop of Dublin, may have the effect of the commencement of such contests as misleading many others, I shall endeathe restoration of her synodical func. vour to show, as briefly as I can, where tions to the church would at once neces- the fallacy of his application of this sarily give rise to, all calm inquiry must analogy lies. come to an end. Men must in such a “ If at any time, any one were to decase support the side with which they precate the assembling of a parliament at the time agree most, if they would just now, because there is so much politinot see the one to which they are op- cal excitement in the country, &c., there posed, however moderately, prevail and is no doubt that, as the Archbishop of rule. And when they are once engaged Dublin says, 'it would be thought ridi. in such a conflict, how hard-how im- culous.' And moreover, which is not possible indeed, speaking generally-it exactly the same thing, and is more im. is, to maintain the seriousness, sobriety, portant-there is little doubt that it and moderation which are essential to would really be ridiculous. And I have coming to a sound judgment upon the as little doubt that there are many who points in dispute, needs scarcely be will agree with his grace in thinking, said. Indeed, thenceforth the means of that therefore it is ridiculous to depreforming opinions would not be the ob- cate the assembling of convocation just ject for which men would seek, but the now, on the ground of the religious exmeans of asserting and defending them. citement which prevails in the country, And I need not repeat what I have be- But this, as I said, is going on much fore said of my apprehensions that such too fast. It is true that parliament warfare could not be carried on in this bears to the state the same relation that new form without grievously, if not ir- convocation does to the cburch, so far as reparably, widening and exasperating this, that parliament is the state-legisour wide and angry divisions."
lature, and convocation the church-legis
lature. But a great deal more is necesSuch are the hopes of the Bishop sary to warrant such an inference as the of Ossory, and such his apprehensions; archbishop proposes to make. Such a his observations on the analogies which general agreement is perfectly compati. appear as arguments in the pamphlet
ble with very important differences
and differences in the very points in of his metropolitan, are conceived and
which these legislative bodies must be expressed in a similar spirit. They
assumed to agree, in order to render the appear to him incomplete and inappli- inference a valid one. And in fact such cable. On the analogy of which par- differences do actually exist. The two liament furnishes the subject, the bodies differ so widely both in their gebishop observes:
neral nature and in their actual circum
stances, as to make the inference wholly “The analogy on which this mixture unwarrantable, of raillery aid argument relies, is a " And to begin with their circumvery tempting one. It is a great fac
stances. In considering the question, it