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one end of the land to the other, there be not the smallest integral part or division, however sequestered or thinly peopled, where the vivific rays of the gospel do not penetrate, .. where, by means of a national clergy, the glad tidings of salvation do not resound. The form of worship, which it were meet to select and establish, would seem to be that, approved of by the majority of the nation; but whatever the mode of doctrine inculcated, to afford to the generalty, by means of the rites and ordinances of a church, every possible facility for hearing the word of the Almighty preached and expounded, is not only strictly within the province of the christian legislator, but the chief object of his administration,.. because religion is indispensable to a right view of the polity of states, and moreover comprises those fundamental truths, which form the groundwork of the temporal duties of the entire community.
Undoubtedly out of this regulation may arise some very nice and intricate questions of state policy. It will be seen, that under certain contingencies, it may be impossible in practice to follow out the principle; at least without some modification. We conceive nevertheless, that in the very nature of things some such rule, with whatever accidental differences, ought to obtain ; and as no society could hold together without a sacrifice of freedom and compromise of opinion on the part of all and several of its members, we can recognise no obstacle in a christian land, that should preclude its coming into operation.
To take the extreme case, where members of divers religious persuasions happen to be so nearly equinumerant, that it would be hard to say which denomination of Christianity most prevailed in the State . . . were they actuated by the humble spirit of the Founder of their common faith, each would alike consent to dispose in due relief the particular rite or tenet, which, wisely or without adequate grounds, he affected; and thus as it were the ordonnance of religion being set right, they might consult à l'aimable about that, which would come home to all their bosoms; namely, the legal endowment and establishment of a christian church throughout the realm, . . the appointment of a parochial clergy for the enlightenment, guidance, and example of their simple and unlettered fellow-countrymen, whose souls, but for politic and pious institutions of the sort, must remain to the end of their hard duresse, uninformed of their conditional salvation in an after state. The poor every where could ill afford the necessary funds, even if they could apprehend the importance to their secular and eternal weal of pastoral tendance; but alas! that were an idea which, however momentous in its bearings, would seldom spontaneously present itself to their minds. The vital verities of holy writ, a knowledge of the mission of our Saviour, . the revelation of our lost condition at our birth, and redemption through faith ... all that relates to the apostasy, the Trinity, the origin of evil, and the Incarnation of the WORD... though these be articles needful to learn and inwardly digest, and which cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, precious onyx, and the sapphire, in their bearing upon the forlorn condition of the poor on earth, . although of immeasurably more consequence to them than any advantages that wealth can purchase, or which by any other means can be ascertained, . . these particulars, of such import to their temporal and future happiness, .. to their putting up contentedly with their lot in this world, nay to their obtaining an earnest of that endless felicity and joy, which is held out to "the poor in spirit” in the world to come,.. they must, so to speak, be necessitated to arrive at. The opportunity for acquiring the peace of God must be forced upon them. Religion must intercept them at every step, must interpose her offices, and interweave herself with, and sanctify every important event in life and death ... from the cradle to the coffin. She must mingle the waters of baptism with the mother's milk warm on the infant's lip; nor cease her hallowed ministrations till she hang about his hearse 'mid plumed pennons.
The less men care about receiving pastoral instruction, the more in reality do they stand in need of it. There is a vast and note-worthy distinction between a morbid distemper of a man's soul, and any bodily ailment he may be afflicted with, or a derangement of his temporal affairs. Has he dislocated a limb ? he will of his own accord apply to the nearest surgeon.. Is he subject to repeated visitations of disease ? he is very likely to place himself under the constant attendance of an able mediciner. Have his rights been infringed, . has his property been encroached upon, or has he been injured in any of the relations of society? he will naturally avail himself of the best legal assistance to extricate him from his difficulties. In every particular that bears upon the brief interests of time, what immediately concerns his welfare may, as a general rule, be safely left in his own keeping,. to his own discretion. Being not only conscious of the grievance, but fully alive to its pressure and extent, it is obvious he will seek at some expense and trouble the proper cure and remedy. He will not shrink from the lancet; he will open his purse-strings wide. But the infinitely more momentous claims upon him of his soul's health may continue undetected to the end of his days. His case may be desperate, but he will only resort for advice when the physician be expressly appointed for his recovery: he will be subject to relapse, unless the waters of salvation be unceasingly administered.
By transgressing the ordinances of the Most High, he may incur a fearful load of responsibility, and at length mortgage his birthright for a mess of porridge; but the deeper he plunges into the mire and slough of iniquity, the further will he be off from understanding how greatly he stands in need of spiritual aid, .. the more will he feel loth to get the opinion of counsel how to recover his forfeited reversion.
But it would seem, after all, that we are fighting with shadows; and what we have been saying must be taken as a mere abstract speculation, because in this country we are happily blessed with an apostolic Church, the mode of whose worship is professed by the great majority of the empire ... Esto perpetua !
And this brings us to an article in the last number of the London and Westminster Review, on the argument of which we take leave to join issue. " Private endowments" [says the writer we refer to]
“ obtain a resemblance to public; and the State is justified in diverting funds arising from private endowment to purposes different from those prescribed by the donors, where those purposes are not beneficial."
Perhaps so, if the fact of an injurious tendency admits not of a doubt; but the allegation should be proven, . should be correctly ascertained, or (and that is the least evil consequence) we give encouragement to dispositions of an ungenerous nature. We ought to call for very solid and convincing proofs of the truth, ay and of the magnitude of the libel, ere we cancel the bond to which Death hath set his seal, . ere we rip the charter of the rights of the “ dry bones” that will yet live, and trouble the sleep of the grave, lest we strike an irremediable blow at the spirit of all testamentary benevolence, which, however easily damped, is hard to be excited. Before we give sanction to any measure affecting rights which, prima facie, have all the character of sacred and inviolable, the verdict of guilty should be unanimous ; the veto of a single juryman must be allowed to quash the indictment.
Such is the light in which the subject presents itself to almost every unprejudiced eye, but the gentleman we have to deal with would seem to behold it askance.
“ We do not now intend” [he proceeds] to discuss the policy of allowing the creation of perpetuities for (what are termed) charitable poses; but we will only remark that after a certain period the influence of the donor over the property bequeathed must be considered as at an end, and endowment ought to be viewed as having passed into the guardianship of the State.”
This is nothing more than a private asumption, which we set aside with the remark, that if it were held universally, and acted upon, it would virtually have the effect of preventing all endowments whatsoever, and thenceforward there would be no holy benefactions, no sacred teuévn,* obnoxious to indigent cupidity
* Tepévn: vid. Niad, B. V. 696... and Plato, lib. vi. de Legibus.
“ Old private endowments are in fact national property."
Here the assertion of the writer looks out more confidently, as if he hoped to have familiarized the mind of his readers with the appearance of an ambiguous and at the best only half truth, which, by the cautious way in which he introduces it, he can hardly have perceived; and what he does leave to be inferred, he himself misdoubts.
In one sense, although assuredly not that which was meant to be conveyed, private endowments are national property. But under that epithet National, applied as above, there lurks a practical error. On its right definition depends, we apprehend, all the difference between the Westminster and ourselves.
And here we must be allowed room and verge enough to explain our meaning.
All the comforts and elegancies of life, . all that contributes to civilization and luxury, take their rise from that fertility of our mother Earth, whereby, through the blessing of God, she yields a harvest over and above what is requisite for the maintenance of the immediate cultivators. If we regard the earth as a passive instrument, and would assign to all parties their due share in the produce, it follows that this surplus belongs by right to the Great Being to whom it owes its existence. It is in fact nothing more nor less than a gratuity from Heaven, vouchsafed partly, as we are led to infer, with the object of promoting the comforts and happiness of man, .. of advancing him in the scale of civilization, but mainly, we maintain, to enable certain superior spirits to cultivate at their leisure an understanding heart. By this merciful dispensation, a portion of the commonweal, absolved in a literal sense from the original curse, and relieved from any necessity of tilling the soil, or labouring for their individual subsistence, are possessed of the means, and can afford time, to sharpen their natural powers, until, by training discipline and study, they bring to comparative perfection those immortal attributes, which distinguish the moral and intellectual faculty of the human animal, from the vital workings and instinctive intelligence of the animal dog or horse. Thus set apart from ordinary and sordid cares, and having issued, . each man from his “pensive citadel” a finished CLERK, persona kar’ étoxov,. the exemplar of the personal character of his immediate sphere or district, . they set about the instructing and enlightenment of the rest of the community.
In token of acknowledgment of this spontaneous effect of nature, as influenced by the fiat of Divinity,.. as a small return, requital is out of the question, for the opportunities thereby afforded of mental improvement, .. of kindling from the white embers, the pas voepòv in the mind of man, .. for these, and other incalculable benefits, involved in this prolific power of the
soil, we find that most nations have applied a portion of the produce in furtherance of what they conceived (and in our opinion rightly) to have been God's object, viz. their own spiritual and eternal welfare;. and as one means to ensure the same, they have adopted the principle of division of employments. A few amongst them have devoted their time and attention to the cultivation of their mind; and this partial and vicarious erudition hath been turned to the account of the whole community, and made to subserve their souls' felicity after the coil of the flesh shall be cast aside. Persons thus endowed were anciently supposed to be deputed by the gods to instruct men ; épunyevrai mapa 0£ūv å vOputous. (Plato, Polit.)
Whatever funds might be reckoned upon from individual benevolence and piety towards the maintenance of such important institutions, it was not thought fitting or advisable that they should be left obnoxious to the vicissitudes of time, or the currents of opinion.
Private benefactions were therefore only permitted to come in aid of God's exchequer. They were bounties which might augment the public offerings, but not supersede their necessity. The particular faith to be inculcated was an accident which depended upon the age, climate, or other considerations; but the sacred principle of a national establishment, however modified and leavened by circumstances, seems to have sprung up restless feeling of eternal gratitude in the human breast, and to have been acted upon almost universally.
On recurring to certain passages in the article which has called forth the present observations,.. we find an allusion made to “ the Hellenic commonwealths of Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy, possessing no sacerdotal order distinguished from the rest of the community.
We may expect therefore that the practice of those nations of antiquity will be brought in evidence of the unsoundness of the principle we would wish to establish. Nevertheless we would stand on our case. We are not so easily to be put out of court .. we are at issue, and desire to go to trial. Let these classical authorities then be taken for what they are worth. Greece and Rome, . how small a space do they cover on the earth's surface compared even to the aboriginal empires of Peru and Mexico! Granting the Westminster to be right, they would scarcely deserve to be cited in exception to the rule, which obtained with the other tribes of Japheth, to what was practised by all the more civilized descendants of Ham, and perhaps universally adopted by the races who trace from Shem.
We should not suffer the brilliant halo which surrounds these celebrated people to dazzle our mental gaze. We are of opinion, however, that the Greek states “ possessed a sacerdotal order distinguished from the rest of the community.".. Men whom