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Blackburn, Undercliffe near Bradford, Exeter, and New-Town, Montgomeryshire. The Baptists have academies at Bristol, Stepney near London, Bradford, and Abergavenny. Most of these institutions are in part supported by endowments; but by far the greater portion of the expense of conducting them, is defrayed by annual subscriptions and donations. The London Missionary Society received in the year previous to their last Anniversary, 41,590l.; the Baptist Missionary Society, 12,7201.; and the Wesleyan Missionary Society, 50,017. The aggregate of these sums subscribed by the Protestant Dissenters of Great Britain for the propagation of the Gospel abroad, will be found considerably to exceed the total subscribed by the members of the Church of England for the same object *' But besides these, there are societies supported jointly by Churchmen and Dissenters, to which the latter are not unequal contributors. The sums raised by the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Religious Tract Society, the British and Foreign School Society, and the Hibernian Society, during the year last reported, formed an aggregate of 132,6501. ; of which, we may assume that a moiety is contributed by the several denominations of Dissenters. There are other smaller societies, such as the Sunday School Union, (about 70001.,) the Home Missionary Societies, (10,0001.,) the Book Society for promoting religious Knowledge, &c. which are supported either entirely or chiefly by Dissenters. Taking these into account, we shall have a total of between 180,0001. and 200,0001. annually subscribed by orthodox Protestant Dissenters and Methodists for these public Institutions ; in addition to what they raise for the support of their own Ministers. In relation to this last point, we shall transcribe the following statements and remarks from the Congregational Magazine for 1830.
• The Wesleyan Methodist Connexion provide for their preachers, upon a system peculiarly their own. The ambulatory character of their ministry has led the circuits usually to provide preachers' houses, which are furnished at the Society's expense. The allowances for their ministers are on a graduated scale, proportionate to the size of their families. The quarter-rate allowed to the preacher for himself, his wife, and his servant, appears but small, 21l. each per annum. But then there is “ Board Money", allowances for children, postage, travelling, and many other items, which go to make up a considerable sum, as the aggregate income of a married Methodist preacher. It would, perhaps, not be candid towards that Society, implicitly to credit the statements of “ The Circular to Wesleyan Meihodists,” a monthly paper published in Liverpool, and generally op
* The Church Missionary Society received 47,8401. ; the Jews' Society about 14,0001. ; the Christian Knowledge Society, for foreign objects, (1828, 9,) 9,2001.; the Gospel Propagation Society, 6,2501.
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 Dissenting 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 sevenly 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: “ Per. haps 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, wbich 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 Magasine, 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 Mi. nistry 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 Established 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 tban 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.
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 du. ties,-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; reason, law, and wise reformation. The Crown determined to • fight the battle for it, and fell with its steadiest supporters in
friars were left discountenance and dange
o endure tihed by thengers of the
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 between 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 conjunc'tion 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.' | 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 melancholy illustration of all the ill effects of both religious and political 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.