« הקודםהמשך »
his constitution, and was coeval with his existence.” In his funeral sermon, preached by Mr. Greatheed, we are informed that the text, “God hath set forth Jesus Christ to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God,” arrested Cowper's despair; and that, while meditating upon it, he obtained a clear view of the Gospel, which was attended with unspeakable joy,—a happy and peaceful interval which lasted for nine years. This statement aroused the ire of the British Critic and of the Quarterly Reviewers in 1824; but we feel quite assured that in this offence Bishop Thirlwall would not sympathize ; nor, indeed, could so precious and comforting a promise of the Gospel be productive of aught but peace and consolation even to those who might be but as “ bruised reeds and as smoking flax” in their own esteem.
The Irish Church Bill has been read a second time in the House of Lords, and we suppose that scarcely ever did a Bill of this importance reach that stage with so little independent support.
With the exception of the six Cabinet Ministers, there was scarcely any one who spoke in the course of the Debate who approved either of its principle or its details. Strongly however as the Bill was disapproved, it was felt by many that, having in the course of the last session rejected the Suspensory Bill on the express ground that the sense of the People ought to be taken on the question, the Lords were bound to yield so far to the opinion so strongly expressed at the late election, as to take the Bill into consideration, and to endeavour to remove some of its worst features, and to render its provisions somewhat more consistent with justice and sound policy. No one can have read the reports of the Debate without being struck by the extraordinary ability which was displayed. The speeches were not more remarkable for their eloquence than they were for the breadth of view which was manifested. Above all, it was plain that the speakers were in earnest. They were not speaking to please constituents, but were speaking for what they felt to be the truth. And, with scarcely an exception, they evidently spoke under a sense of responsibility befitting the occasion. Grievous would be the loss if any great measure could acquire the force of law in this country until it has passed through the ordeal of a debate in the House of Lords.
But now comes the question,- What are the amendments which, consistently with the main principle of the Bill, can be introduced ? Never was there an occasion which called for the exercise of more wisdom. It is clear that the opponents of the Bill, if united, have sufficient strength to carry any amendments they may determine to support. They will of course insist upon the unconditional conveyance of the glebes and glebe houses. They will have a perfect right to require that the Church body should receive an amount equal to fourteen years' purchase of the annual income of the Church. This cannot in decency be refused by those who have agreed to compensate the trustees of Maynooth on that principle. They will never admit that the Protestant Church had its beginning in the year 1660, and all endowments from private sources from the time of the Reformation must therefore be contended for. Nor do we see on what just principle the Ulster Grants can be withheld. It was upon the faith of those grants that colonists were induced to settle in that province ; and by their industry, and by their loyalty, the gift has been repaid a hundredfold. What will be the fate of the Bill in the Lower House, if these alterations are made, it is impossible to say. If the same unconciliatory spirit should be manifested which has hitherto prevailed, we trust that the Lords will adhere to the amendments which, on full consideration, they may determine to adopt, and upon the Commons then will rest the consequences of the continued agitation which will follow the rejection of the Bill.
France has gone through the agony of a General Election. The Emperor still retains an overwhelming majority in the New Chamber, but the elections have shown increasing discontent. The towns bave, for the most part, returned members avowedly opposed to the Government, and above three millions out of seven millions of electors have recorded their votes in their favour; and this has been done, although the whole influence of Government has been somewhat unscrupulously exercised in support of the Government candidates. The Emperor has still with him the army and the clergy, and he gains no small strength from the fears which the violence of his opponents excites in the minds of those who have anything to lose.
Spain has completed the framing of its Constitution, and, not having succeeded in finding a King, has established a Regency. The difficulty of finding a sufficient Revenue seems not less than that of finding a Sovereign, and yet the resources of that country are immense, if only they were properly developed. A recent article in the Edinburgh Review shows how both its commerce and its agriculture have been all but destroyed by misgovernment.
FIFTY YEARS AGO. In the south transept of Bath Abbey, and in close proximity to what is called the Waller Monument, there is affixed to the wall, on a slab, a female figure in marble, standing by the side of a column whose summit is lost in the clouds. In her left hand, like Britomart, she holds a shield, bearing on it a cross ; in her right hand is a Bible, with the sacred monogram. High up on the column, in Greek, is written, “ The pillar and ground of the Truth."
Strange recollections are evoked by a contemplation of this monument. It was erected, nearly fifty years ago, by friends in honour of one who, in their judgment, had been " valiant for the truth upon the earth,” and was a manifestation of their reverence and regret for his departed worth. In his lifetime he had been Archdeacon of Bath, and Chaplain to His most gracious Majesty King George the Fourth. It may be interesting to recall the circumstances which summoned this dignified churchman to cast aside inglorious ease, and to come forth to do battle for what he, and many others with him, felt to be the sacred interests of truth. We would wish, in doing so, to render all possible justice to the influencing motives, however mistaken, in our judgment, may have been the course pursued, as questions are involved which are not even yet completely set at rest. There is a propriety in summoning up the past for present and future guidance and instruction.
What, then, were the causes, what had been the injury inflicted, what the provocation given, which had constrained one so distinguished" to cope with wrong," and, as Professor Conington curiously enough translates it in his Virgil, "to turn the wheel”?
Vol. 68.–No. 380.
here in pod whicharo be
It seems that on the 1st of December, 1817, some persons had undertaken to hold at the Town Hall, by permission of the Mayor of the city, a Meeting, under the presidency of the Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, for the purpose of forming a Church Missionary Society in that city. So much is this now a common everyday occurrence throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom, that we fear that in some cases where exertion is not used and sympathy evoked, comparatively little interest is excited beyond the circle of those who feel a special interest in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. Goodly assemblages are still found filling the halls of our chief provincial towns when anniversaries are held in places where hearty friends take pains to gather them, and many whose hearts are but slightly kindled with sacred fire can be found in the midst, but it was not so “fifty years ago.” Hearty sympathy and bitter opposition divided each community.
The crisis was a serious one. Those who had taken the matter in hand were terribly in earnest. They had not scrupled to write to the Bishop of the diocese and to solicit his patronage, from whom they had received a courteous reply, declining, it is true, but intimating neither objection nor disapprobation. Nay, they had even ventured to call upon the Archdeacon himself, and had (nefas !) asked for his countenance and support. The Dean of the cathedral, himself a Bishop of the Church of England, was to preach for the Society in the city, and to take the chair at the Meeting. The civil magistrate had so far been carried away as to lend the Town Hall, and to give his sanction to the assembly. Nor was the object a trivial one. It was one which might compromise essentially the whole Church of England. It was “to diffuse universally the knowledge of the mercies of God in Christ Jesus ;' and in prosecution of this object “to authorise persons to go about collecting pence and farthings from servants, school-boys, and apprentices, in order that the collectors of one shilling per week, or five shillings per month, might be elevated into members of a Church of England Society; and, moreover, be tempted to the additional honour of voting at meetings, of receiving copies of the Annual Report and Sermon, and one number of the Missionary Register."*
But, if the crisis was serious, there was one faithful and equal to the emergency. The Bishop of the diocese might abrogate his responsibilities, the clergy of the city might hold aloof and hesitate to interfere, but such was not the policy of the Archdeacon. “While he quarrelled with no man for his religious creed, and loved honesty, though he thought it per
* Protest of the Archdeacon of Bath, p. 6.
horeover, be teming copies of thonary Register." Faithful and
Fifty Yearen he thoughbous dissent eno
The Hero, h and to hjeriod in, the the Bishoplo
563 verse, and venerated piety, though he thought it erroneous, and therefore had no quarrel with conscientious dissenters, whose meaning he knew,” or thought he knew, he could not submit thus to be wounded in the house of his friends, and took his measures accordingly. One serious difficulty presented itself; he had no apron, or rather “short cassock, to mark his official character."* One had been sent for to London. But tailors are dilatory and disappoint. Fifty years ago coaches were slow, and waggons still slower. In the month of November the days are short, and the ways were miry. “It did not arrive in time.” Many a stout heart might have quailed under such circumstances, and shrunk from the strife. But Achilles, when despoiled of his armour, had yet presented himself upon the fosse and shouted thrice, and the Trojans and their allies had fled in confusion, falling from their chariots and upon their spears; hopefully, therefore, did the Archdeacon resolve upon presenting himself in the Town Hall. More fortunate than the Hero, he had still his hat and shoebuckles, and trusting to them and to himself he set out.
We do not know at what precise period in the meeting he arrived. Whether it was the “mitis sapientia” of the Bishop of Gloucester that was influencing the hearers, or the burning eloquence of Daniel Wilson, not yet Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India, as with unmitred brow and fiery tongue, storming all hearts with glowing appeals to the Church of England as the glory and bulwark of the Protestant faith, he led the way in the glorious enterprise of communicating to the whole earth the salvation of God. Upon this point we are uninformed; but in the midst of the proceedings, as “he was not in the habit of attending such meetings, and did not choose to talk without book," the Archdeacon pulled out a roll of paper, and proceeded to read his protest. We can only quote his concluding sentences. “As ARCHDEACON OF BATH (sic), in the name of the Lord Bishop of this Diocese-in my own name-in the name of the Rectors of Bath, and in the name of nineteen-twentieths of the clergy in my jurisdiction, I protest against the formation of such Society in this city. Whether or in what manner the Hon. and Right Rev. Vice-Patron and his friends will condescend to notice this protest, I shall not stay to see.”
“Nor more he deigned to say, But stern as Ajax' spectre strode away.' Some, during the reading of his protest, had had the temerity to express their disapprobation in audible terms. A prompt threat to call in the Mayor's officers to turn the assembly, with the Bishop at its head, out of the Town Hall, showed å mind
* Le tter of the Archdeacon of Bath to the Rev. W. B. Whitehead, p. 53.