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strength of mind to go through such labour, fewer still have acquired the fame which enables them, by such a collection, thus to present å last and finished and maturer picture of their minds to the world.
MR. HOLDSWORTH is bringing out a second edition of Mr. Simeon's Horæ Homileticæ, or Discourses digested into a Series, so as to form a Commentary on the Old and New Testament, in twenty-one volumes. The first volume has appeared, and is very well and handsomely printed.
DR. BLOOMFIELD has brought out a second edition of his Greek Testament, in which, with his usual zeal and industry, he has introduced large additions and improvements. As there is likely to be a call for a third edition very soon, he would be glad, as he states, of corrections, &c., directed to Messrs. Rivingtons, his publishers.*
VOLUNTARY SYSTEM. [The Editor earnestly hopes that it will not be supposed, that, in printing passages like the following, there is any wish to continue an attack on dissenters. The sole object is, at a time when it is wished to carry the voluntary system much farther, to show, by the evidence of those who have seen its operations, its fearful evils.]
“Almost every form of petty tyranny has been practised in what are called dissenting churches; the very entrance into the society is a bowing the head beneath a yoke; and the majority of those who are already members impose a summary of faith and practice to which every one who seeks to attach himself to them must conform; aye, and often promise to it his continued conformity, his determination to walk therein as long as he shall live. Then the mutual tyranny that is exercised under the pretence of church discipline, continually bringing a man under examination and censure for the most trifling concerns, and for concerns in which no one has a right to interfere with any other, which has obtained in all denominations where this church discipline has been established : been issuing its fulminations at the cut of a coat, there at the colour of a ribbon; and so descending to minute particulars in the exercise of this grinding authority, that some present could tell of a church in this metropolis where a man has been lectured till the tears rolled down his cheeks on the sinfulness of taking two spoonfuls of sugar with one plate of gooseberry tart. And while this mutual tyranny has been exercised over each other, the minister offers a mark for the vexatious power of all to exercise upon, in a large proportion of dissenting congregations. There is no positive or negative, in the whole round of human actions, for which his ministerial or personal conduct may not be, and has not been, called to account-and that, such is the nature of a power connected with boundless diversity of taste and opinion, in the most opposite ways,-so that the impossibility of even a peaceful submission to it was no little aggravation of its vexatiousness. For à sermon too long, or too short,--too oratorical or too dry; and for particulars, the enumeration of which would be as absurd as it is disgusting, are individuals of this class, especially in small congregations in the country, kept in a continual worry, from which the only place of rest is the grave, to which they at length are borne. There is much interesting matter on this subject in
Some notices, too late for this department, will be found in the last page.
a work called the 'Autobiography of a Dissenting Minister;' a work which has been most vigorously cried down, as the writer predicted it would be, because it was known, not to be false, but to be true; the very truth of itthe searching truth of it-being that which excited against it the animosity of parties who endeavoured with all their might to stamp it with opprobrium. I believe the descriptions of that book not only to be substantially correct, but to be very much below what might have been depicted with more extensive observation than the writer seems to have possessed.
“ And what is the foundation of the power which is exercised by the select bodies calling themselves "churches," or by the larger bodies termed congregations ? There is, I think, little proportion between the ground of it and the extent of it. A man pays his few shillings a year, or a pound perhaps, for his own personal accommodation, having for this, what of course he regards, as he pays for it, good, religious, and moral instruction, from year's end to year's end. To even opulent dissenters the minister seldom costs more, or so much, as his sboeblack; and yet not only does he obtain the instruction which is thus paid for, but, according to the custom of dissenting congregations, there arises out of this transaction an extraordinary, and not very justly derived, authority ;-in consequence of this very small purchase-money, already repaid by the instruction, these people become at once the disposers of a building, which was not raised by their subscriptions, and of endowments which are not the accumulation of their funds. They exercise a right of appointment ; they exercise a power of dismission; they exercise a paramount control, and that with no responsibility whatever. They may plunge the place into debt by expenditure upon it to any amount whatever, and then quietly take themselves off, leaving others to extricate themselves from the embarrassment as best they may. This seems to me an exercise of power altogether without any basis in reason. I am not apologizing for anything which can be called priestcraft. I see no occasion-I think it is a great evil-that there should be a class of men so broadly marked out as the priest has ever been marked out from his fellow-creatures : but I say that if congregations are to be regarded simply as voluntary societies, constituted by such payments, they exercise a most unwarrantable extent of power in consequence of their payments; or that if-and this is a more rational view of the case-or that if chapels and pulpits are to be regarded as public trusts for the keeping up moral and religious instruction, by giving to qualified persons an opportunity of explaining their views to the community at large, this is one of the most cumbrous, one of the most inefficient, and one of the most troublesome modes by which such trusts can be carried into execution ; and I say, that, with every responsibility which the most determined friend of responsibility can demand-and among such I class myself—with every responsibility on the part of the teacher, there might be many other modes adopted for facilitating a wholesome influence on public opinion and on the public character, which should be liable to no such exception. Mental independence may be asserted anywhere ; and in large towns, where the secession of individuals is comparatively unimportant, the dissenting minister may probably be in fault if it is forfeited. The power which puts him under the temptation is not the less pernicious to its possessors. They sometimes meet their appropriate punishment in the reaction upon their own minds of that which they have broken down and degraded.”- Finsbury Lectures, No. III., by W. I. Fox.
CONFORMING DISSENTERS. In one solitary point this journal agrees with the “ Patriot” and “ Christian Advocate,” though not exactly on their grounds. They are exceedingly angry at the number of dissenting ministers (the “ Christian Advocate” talks of twenty) who have conformed to the church, and are saying all sorts of bitter things against them, with that gentleness and Christian feeling which so honourably distinguish these two journals. But if it is true that any church works have been making a boast of these conversions, the “Patriot" and “ Christian Advocate” are not at all wrong in reprobating such boasting. To all respectable converts (although some of them may feel it their bounden duty to bear witness to the truth, and may do great service to the cause of truth, by so doing) nothing can be more painful than under such circumstances to be held forward for admiration. By God's mercy, they have been rescued from error, and, except where duty calls on him to speak, beyond all doubt the Christian who has been so rescued, in remembrance of his former errors would far prefer silence and retirement, as most adapted for strengthening and confirming his new views. For us, we must always joyfully hail those who will embrace the truth, and rejoice that it flourishes and abounds; but can we, for a moment, think that the truth requires such confirmation, or derives any strength from it? This perpetual referring to opponents, and valuing ourselves on the admissions which they make, or the impressions made on them, is one of the common but dangerous errors of the day. A corrupt church, like the Roman, which too often is ready to effect its object by any means, may boast of the conversion of a man of rank, like Mr. Spenser ; but, in the eye of reason, does Mr. Spenser's change of opinion bring any strength to his new friends, or take any from his old :* Is not the same thing generally true ?
THE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE.
A SPECIMEN OF CHRISTIAN LANGUAGE AND FEELING TOWARDS THE CHURCH. The Irish church resembles that class of philosophers who, since they must die, care not how soon. But she is as reckless of the lives of others as of her own; is as murderous as she is suicidal. In short, she is the spiritual Lacenaire. She has reduced human slaughter to a trade ; she gets her livelihood by shedding blood. Truly has she been called the bloody church of Ireland.
But that the system allows of such hellish deeds, and indeed cannot be maintained without them, is reason enough why the execrations of all good men should be heaped upon it. Humanity, to say nothing of religion, loudly demands the instant, the total annihilation of such a mass of blood-cemented wickedness. Nor will she demand in vain. The unanimous voice of three indignant nations will soon insist upon the extirpation of the monster. Heaven's hottest thunderbolts and reddest wrath are in reserve for the most pestilential pile of practical hypocrisy that ever mocked the righteousness of the Eternal. If the Jewish temple was reduced to total ruin, razed to the foundation, for being turned into a mart of commerce, a ball of swindlers, a " den of thieves,” what doom may we not anticipate for a church that, besides all these, has become a human slaughterhouse?
Nor shall the church of England, as she calls herself, escape. True, she does not take men's lives, she only incarcerates their persons. But has she not disowned divine prerogatives Has she not committed treason against Christ? She has ; and Mr. Crybbace, whom the “ Times” cannot put down, awards her no more than is due to traitors, when he proposes that she be beheaded.
The “ Patriot” has found an authority very congenial to his tastes in feeling and style, the Rev. Peter Hall, who, in reference to a paragraph expressly abstaining from any comment on a pamphlet by a Mr. Baker, who had left the church, on the express ground that its weakness was such that one could only comment on it in terms which would be painful to employ, says, in his polished and Christian way, that Mr. Baker was “ literally hunted like a beast," in the “ British Magazine."
The following memorial is said in the newspapers to be prepared under high authority in the archdiocese of Dublin. At all events it is a remarkable document.
[The annexed memorial to the King, and similar petitions (mutatis mutandis) to both Houses of Parliament, will lie at Messrs. Milliken's, Grafton-street, for signature, which may be affixed there by the clergy, or transmitted.]
“ MEMORIAL TO THE KING. “We, the undersigned clergy of the established church, beg leave to approach your Majesty with every feeling of loyalty and respect, and humbly but earnestly to solicit that your Majesty will be graciously pleased to take into your early consideration the prayer of the petition which we now present.
“ Hitherto that part of the united church which is in Ireland has not only suffered much inconvenience, but has ever been exposed to much reproach, from not having a power within itself of re-constituting, from time to time, according to circumstances, the districts committed to the charge of the several incumbents, or of apportioning income with any reference to the duties assigned to each. Much insecurity of income has also resulted, and much odium has been incurred, besides minor difficulties and inconveniences, from the incumbents and parishioners being thrown into collision, in consequence of pecuniary payments to each individual clergyman by his immediate neighbours, thus creating a never-ceasing source of mutual dissatisfaction and agitation.
“So clearly, indeed, was this evil discerned by a committee of your Majesty's House of Commons in the year 1832, that they recommended, in their printed report, a provision remedying it, similar in principle to what we now venture to propose. A measure still more fully in accordance with these suggestions was proposed last session in the House of Commons by the Hon. Bingham Baring, moved in the form of clauses to be introduced in the Tithe Bill then before the house, and his amendment met with approbation of its principle, even on the part of many who considered this adoption at that stage of the proceeding unadvisable.
“We therefore humbly pray, that our episcopal rulers be allowed to nominate ecclesiastical commissioners, who shall be constituted into a body corporate-empowered, 1st, to collect the revenues of the incumbents for them; 2nd, under the sanction, and in each case with the approval of the bishops, to alter and correct parish divisions, and also to assign to each clergyman hereafter (preserving vested interests) such income out of the general fund as may, in their judgment, be proportioned to the amount of duty and the weight of responsibility allotted to each.
“ In order to carry this measure into effect, it is evident lay presentations should be entirely abolished, which might be accomplished by your Majesty's graciously consenting to relinquish those few livings in Ireland which are in your Majesty's patronage--arrangements at the same time being made for the purchase of advowsons in lay hands.
“ In addition, we humbly solicit your Majesty to take into your gracious consideration whether a further advantage might not be conferred on the nation at large by the following arrangement-namely, that Government should purchase the whole tithes of Ireland, substituting for them a land-tax, whose proceeds might be applied to those several local expenses in Ireland which are now defrayed out of the revenues of the united empire,-such as grants to public institutions, payment of police, &c.
We would humbly suggest that Government possess facilities for effecting this purchase on such terms as would produce (even after making provision for the purchase of advowsons) a very considerable surplus to the nation ; while on the other hand the purchase money paid over to the above-mentioned ecclesiastical commissioners would, if employed by them in the purchase, from time to
VOL. IX.- Feb. 1836.
time, of land or rent charges, produce a revenue nearly equal to the aggregate amount of the present income of incumbents. Thus, while the church would be improved in its efficiency, and relieved from danger, misrepresentations, and odium, the nation at large would not only effect a considerable pecuniary saving, but would secure the far more important advantage of putting an end to a source of perpetual jealousy, discord, and turbulence.
“We, therefore humbly pray your Majesty graciously to take these circumstances into your early consideration, and to adopt such measures for effecting the proposed objects as in your Majesty's wisdom may seem best.
“ And your petitioners, &c."
CAUSES FOR REGRET IN THE EVENTS OF THE LAST YEAR.
(From the Record.) “We think his (the enemy's) work may be traced in the temptation which it appears to us is laid before the truly evangelical preachers of Christ's gospel, to abstain from declaring certain portions of truth which they themselves believe to be clearly revealed, or to be silent when other portions of the truth are misstated or perverted. Peace, or a deference to the opinion of those in high station in the church, are the usual reasons given for failing to declare the whole counsel of God as it has been manifested to the judgment and understanding of the preacher. We think we have seen the progress of this evil more distinctly marked during the past year than at any former period. We consider it one of a most malignant character. Peace, purchased at such a price, is the peace of the devil, not of God.
“ In intimate connexion with this subject is the measure of currency and popularity which high church principles are obtaining over minds which till recently saw them in their true character of worthlessness and error."
This last is melancholy news indeed !
CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE. No notice has been taken of this periodical for some time, because it appeared that all argument with it on the ordinary plan, which supposes something of decency and something of candour, was out of the question, and because it was very little worth taking notice of. On looking into the January number, one cannot find any change for the better, or any reason for increased respect. But it may be well to notice one point, which has a good deal of moment, in our consideration of the temper shewn by the dissenting body. The fact is, that, in all probability, if left to themselves, they would evince a much better spirit; but they are lashed and goaded on to violence and hatred every month by fresh torrents of abuse, and unchristian bitterness, poured forth in their Magazines. The writers know that their craft would be in danger, and the great goddess, Dissent, would be despised, unless, Demetrius like, they can stir up an uproar. They, too, like him, have a very natural love for the silver shrines of chapels and periodicals, which bring no small gain to the craftsmen, and must, therefore, at whatever cost of charity, keep up the spirit which leads men to worship at the shrine of schism.
Take the following specimens of the kind of feeling which the“ Congregational Magazine" endeavours to inspire :-It seems that “ Fraser's Magazine," and the
Church of England Magazine," which, in a note, is said to have as its first title the Christian Guardian, have taken the great liberty of criticising Dr. Read and Dr. Matthison severely. This is complained of by the “ Congregational Magazine" as a terrible offence on part of the Church of England ;" and the pious of that church are asked, if they can endure the shameful want of courtesy and kindness always shewn to the poor, mild, per