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posed to the measures of the Conference ; but the writers in that journal persist in the assertion, that unmarried preachers receive 1001. per annum; and that “three years since, a finance committee was appointed by the first London West Circuit to investigate the income and expenditure of the circuit, which they did for three previous years; and taking the averages, the cost of each married preacher was upwards of 3501., besides what is allowed from the Kingswood and Grove House schools, for the education of the preachers' children." We cannot say whether this is the rate of expenditure throughout the kingdom ; but certainly it rises higher than the average income of Dissenting Ministers in the Metropolis.
The salaries of Dissenling Ministers of the three denominations greatly vary, and we know of no certain data by whicu we might strike the average. The Presbyterian ministers, who are usually Unitarians, appear in general to be but poorly paid. A writer in the Monthly Repository says: “ There are some scores of old Unitarian chapels that scarcely shew signs of life. The number of hearers in them is about thirty :--the salary of the minister not more than seventy pounds per annum, which, with much toil and solicitude, he may, perhaps, but not in all cases, raise to above a hundred ! Nor is this insignificant sum to be obtained without sundry and constant vexations from trustee influence and trustee domination." Again: “ Perhaps one-half of the insignificant stipends paid to their ministers, proceed from the charity of preceding ages. In many instances, the whole of the salary proceeds from endowment.”
• Concerning the incomes of Congregational Ministers, we cannot supply certain information ; but, while we know that some of the most talented, laborious, and influential brethren in the metropolis and other large towns have salaries of from £300 to £600 per annum, and, in a few rare instances, £700, yet, we fear that the average income of the whole body would not much exceed £100 per annum, as we regret to know many worthy men whose stipends fall much below that sum.
Of the pecuniary affairs of our Baptist brethren, we have still more imperfect knowledge; but we may venture to state, that, as their congregations are generally smaller, and we believe poorer than those of the Independents, so the support of their pastors is necessarily less. There does not generally exist in the Baptist churches, that strong objection to their pastors engaging in trade, which prevails in other communions; and thus a number of them assist to support their families by such engagements. Distressing as it doubtless is, to witness welleducated, upright, and sensitive men, struggling on the very verge of poverty to appear respectable in society, and to train up their children with credit, -yet, it is evident from the preceding documents, that those who are ministers of voluntary churches, are not in worse circumstances than the working clergy of a richly endowed Establishment, whose dignitaries monopolize that wealth which, if equally diffused, would impart comfort to all.'* Congregational Magazine, 1830, pp. 689, 90.
* From the parliamentary documents, it appears, that there are 679 curates whose professional income does not exceed 501. ; and that of The total amount raised for the support of the Christian Ministry among the several classes of orthodox Protestant Dissenters in this kingdom, cannot, on the most moderate computation, fall short of half a million sterling. The total number of the Dissenting congregations of every Protestant denomination in England and Wales, has been estimated, on no uncertain data, at upwards of 7,500; while the churches and chapels of the Estab lished Church amount to only about 12,000. Nearly two-fifths, then, of the public provision for the religious instruction of the nation, as regards places of worship and teachers, are supplied by the Dissenters.
Is it necessary to add a single word in illustration of the national importance of Methodism and Dissent ?
Aye, but of what quality is the supply? 'If men desire ', says a 'British critic', 'to see the ministers of religion acting and
talking like the Wesleyan preachers in the country, and like the ' Independent and Baptist preachers in the metropolis and other
large towns, let them vote with Cobbett for the downfall of the
Church. If men wish to make us Puritans in doctrine, and * Mendicant Friars in life and conversation, let them vote with * Mr. Hume for the abolition of tithes.'* There is more boldness than discretion in this arrogant challenge. None but the blindest partizan would have the extreme temerity to stake the cause of the Establishment upon this issue. Our own sentiments have little in common, we apprehend, with those of either Mr. Hume or Cobbett,—both Church of England men, we presume, for they belong not to us; but this we must frankly avow, that we do most earnestly desire to see the ministers of the Establishment act, and to hear them (if not to ' see' them) talk, like many a Wesleyan preacher in the country, and like most of the Independent and Baptist preachers in our large towns; for, in that event, they would both act and speak in a much more consistent and useful manner as ministers of religion, than the majority of
the beneficed clergy, there are 3998 whose livings do not produce more than 1501. per annum.
* Brit. Crit., Jan. 1832, p. 185. Not more blind than fierce and mendacious is this thorough-going party-writer. · The Dissenter is • dependent upon his flock, and consequently he flatters them and • truckles to them. ..... Again, both the Dissenter and the Irish • Priest are almost always politicians, agitators, factious panders, or « practisers upon the gullibility of the mob. Is it possible that a man pretending to the education or character of a gentleman, to say nothing of religion, could bring himself to pen this scandalous calumny upon a body of Protestant ministers, A more audacious falsehood never proceeded from the most reckless infidel.
beggars, off his folly', it wod that tithes exa
the clergy do at present. Would to God that they were all Puritans in doctrine, and Puritans in life and conversation,holding the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in
righteousness of life ; '-or at least, that they were on a par, in point of theological attainments and the most essential qualifications for the sacred office, with the Mendicant Friars' of our Protestant coummunities. To talk of married friars, it is true, sounds something like a solecism; and mendicants who labour hard for their wages, and who, before God and man, are not judged ‘unworthy of their hire',-must be regarded as a very honourable sort of beggars, or solicitors rather. Were we to answer this Writer . according to his folly', it would be a fair retort, that it is better to beg, than to plunder; and that tithes extorted by violence, or a scanty stipend grudgingly paid by an indolent rector, are not preferable, in our view, to the free gift offerings of a flock to the pastor of their choice, or the fairly stipulated and honourably earned income of a Dissenting teacher.
It formed no part of our intention, when we commenced this article, to engage in controversial broils, or, to exalt the institutions of Dissenterism at the expense of the Establishment. This same phrase, however, “Mendicant Friars', as sarcastically employed by our contemporary, tempts us to point out the analogy which may be observed between the relative position of the Established clergy and the Dissenting ministry at this period, and that of the possessioned church' (as Mr. Sharon Turner designates it) and the mendicant orders, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Among the causes which led to the popularity of the latter, the impartial Historian is constrained to enumerate, the non-residence of the clergy,—their exaction of all the pecuniary emoluments, without any regard to their spiritual duties,-their luxury, and their oppression. The spirit of the British Commons was roused by these notorious abuses; and in various petitions, they laid the grievance before the Sovereign. When repulsed by the royal negative under the civil form, Le • Roi s'advisera', the Commons were not discouraged. They ' represented again, that divers men of holy Church had not been ‘ resident on their livings; and expressly added, that, by this ne
glect, the people had fallen into lollardies and heresies, for de' fault of teaching. The Government was as unable as unwilling ' to remedy the evil, and chose therefore to meet this last applica* tion by an assertion, that the existing laws were sufficient, if ' executed, and to join the Church in repressing its opponents. ....... The Crown did not choose to be neuter, and leave
the Church to the only weapons they ought to have used; rea‘son, law, and wise reformation. The Crown determined to ' fight the battle for it, and fell with its steadiest supporters in the conflict.' * They who drew the sword, perished by the sword. We live, blessed be God, in wiser times.
In the mean time, the rise and progress of the mendicant orders multiplied the embarrassments and dangers of the Church. At first, angrily discountenanced by the established clergy, these friars were left to endure the miseries of famine and the oppres
sions of wealthy power'. But their appeal to the sympathies
of the public, and the moral contrast which they exhibited be“tween their voluntary poverty and humility, and the pride and • luxury of the monks and prevailing clergy,' continues the Historian, soon raised them to high veneration and importance.' They were soon in a condition to begin a steady and pertinacious attack upon the established clergy, and to contest with them for the exercise of all their sacred functions. They delighted to expose the ignorance and illiberality of the Establishment, and to display their own superior attainments. For, that they were superior to their opponents, in their intellectual attainments, is unquestionable t. These hostilities on the part of the friars, excited in the established clergy a vindictive animosity, which they vented in bitter invectives against mendicity, aimed at these intruders, in ominous predictions of their speedy downfall, and in the most injurious and even romantic calumnies. Nevertheless, the popularity of the friars continued to rise. "The religious
part of the public poured their pecuniary favours on the new • orders, in preference to the hierarchical church, or in conjunction with it; and from this liberality, the Dominicans and Franciscans, in the fourteenth century, became rivals to the Establishment in the very affluence and luxury for which they had so unsparingly reviled it.' I The reflections with which Mr. Turner closes this section of his History, are so replete with seasonable instruction and admonition in reference to the present times, that we make no apology for transcribing them.
• The reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV. afford a melan• choly illustration of all the ill effects of both religious and po
litical persecutions; and as violence so generally fails, and is so often pernicious to its employers, how much wiser would it be,
• Turner's History of England, Vol. III. 4to., pp. 201, 2.
t . When we recollect', remarks Mr. Turner, that St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican, and that all the great schoolmen arose from the mendicant orders, we shall immediately perceive, that the triumph of mind and knowledge was indisputably theirs. The mental superiority of the new orders naturally resulted from the fact, that, becoming the most popular and energetic, the intelligent youth of the country joined their schools and communities, in preference to the less applauded establishments.' History of England, III, 206.
Ibid. p. 203.
‘in the unfortunate periods of these mental collisions, to try to
separate the conscientious from the interested; and to concede • such improvements and reforms as the most dispassioned minds
of both parties, looking only at truth, reason, and utility, and ' suspending all personal considerations, would agree to be wise ' and necessary! Much that is obsolete, unimportant, offensive, * or injurious, becomes progressively attached to all Establish'ments; and might be pruned with advantage both to them
selves and to their contemporaries. Such meliorations would take away the largest portion of the actual grievances and pernicious evils which, while man exists as he is, will be always arising from his former errors, present ignorance, and the course of time, and which no one ought to wish to continue: this con'duct would satisfy and tranquillize the well meaning and the • sincere, who, amid all their mistakes, are ever the great bulwarks
of society, and are those whose countenance and feeling give the 'greatest danger to public clamour and political opposition. " While these are kept steady, the more noisy and boisterous will but fret and fume, without real danger or effective power. To act otherwise, is to fight the battle against nature and provi. dence, two adversaries but little adverted to, yet against whose ' unceasing agency, although governments, hierarchies, and na
tions have often struggled, it has been but to be defeated with • irreparable discomfiture and annihilating destruction.' *
The civil wars between the Two Roses, suspended for a while the ecclesiastical debate, and threw back England into compara tive barbarism. When the partial spoliation of the Church took place, it came not from the Mendicant Friars or their adherents, but from the Crown, and was the act of the son and successor of that monarch whom the clergy had harassed with repeated conspiracies. The Reformation changed the character of the struggle between the possessioned church' and those who, in the seventeenth century, rose up against its abuses and the tyranny of the prelates. The controversy between the Church of Elizabeth and the Puritans, resembled that which had preceded the Reformation, between the clergy and the Lollards : it was chiefly a polemical or theological warfare, in which the weaker party were stigmatised and persecuted as heretics. The dispute between the advocates of Episcopacy and the Presbyterian party, again, was partly doctrinal, partly political : it was a contest between two rival communities for the ascendancy, neither of whom disclaimed alliance with the State. Whereas the dispute between the secular clergy and the mendicant orders involved few points of theological difference, lying between different orders of
• Turner, Vol. III. pp. 231, 2.