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the houses in a very mean condition, it differs very much from that already mentioned ; for here the reason of the law, which requires strict residence, must be considered. The main thing aimed at by the law is the maintaining the houses in good repair ; and if there are at present many mean glebe houses, I am afraid it has been chiefly owing to the neglect of this law. Had the clergy been always obliged to live in their own houses, they would at least have been duly repaired, and probably long before this much improved, and rendered convenient habitations. We see in places where this law has been observed, many houses improving daily by additional conveniences to them from time to time; but we must never expect to see any thing like this where the glebe houses are deserted by the incumbents, and let to poor miserable tenants.
But it is in vain to look back and to reflect what might have been done to prevent this mischief, which is now but too sensibly felt by many. It is of more consequence to consider what may be reasonably attempted towards retrieving this evil.
In strictness of law, wherever there is a glebe house, the incumbent is obliged to live in it; the law has no respect to the goodness or badness of the house : but in the condition things now are, it would be thought hard to drive a minister and his family to live in a wretched cottage, or to put him under the necessity of building a new house, to the ruin or impoverishment of himself and family. What then can be done ? Ought the ordinary to suffer things to go on in the present course from bad to worse ? Ought the clergy to desire it? What reason can any man give now to excuse himself from being put to charge in repairing his glebe house that will not be as strong or stronger in the mouth of his successor ? The house perhaps has been long neglected, and you think it hard the expense should fall on you; but if you continue in the neglect, would not the case be still harder with those that come after
? So that the only question is, whether the present bad state of those houses ought to be a reason why the ordinary should let them fall quite. If not, there seems to be no other equitable means left to remedy the present evil but that prescribed by the injunctions of Edward VI, 1547, and by those of Queen Elizabeth 1559, to set aside a part of the revenue yearly for the re
pairing the glebe house. The portion allotted to this purpose by these injunctions is a fifth part, which may in many cases perhaps be too great; but something of this sort, within the bounds of equity, should be done.
You may ask, perhaps, whether the ordinary can by law compel the incumbents to submit to this method ? My answer is, that I think he cannot. An incumbent may say that he is not obliged to alter the state of the glebe house, or to add any thing to it; if he repairs it, he does all the law obliges him to. But consider on the other side, what answer the law has furnished the ordinary with : he may say, if you like the house as it is, you must live in it. And this condition, if accepted, will answer all purposes ; but in many cases it would, I fear, be a greater hardship than allotting a reasonable portion of the revenue towards making a habitable house in time.
I want not to be told, and I am sorry it is so evident a case, that
many of the clergy have so poor a subsistence for themselves and families, that they have nothing to spare from their daily maintenance, to be applied to the improvement of their livings. I wish it were in my power to increase the maintenance of such of the clergy; I am sure I never shall have the will to diminish it. But having mentioned this, give me leave to observe to you that probably the poorness of many livings is in a great measure owing to want of a convenient habitation for the incumbent within his parish ; and that, being destitute of conveniences for gathering in his legal dues, he is often forced to compound for what he can get; and by this means moduses and prescriptions have grown on the church; and where they have, it is well if the parson, in lieu of the tithes of the parish, receives the tithe of his own dues. In many cases he receives much less.
All incumbents then, whether rectors or vicars, being thus obliged to continual residence, the law has provided for some extraordinary cases ; and ordinaries have a power to dispense with residence in the cases and under the restrictions prescribed by the law. But such cases as the law has not specially provided for, must be left to the general reason of the thing and the judgment of the ordinary.
But supposing all circumstances to meet that may make it
reasonable and proper to grant a dispensation for residence, yet there are certain conditions annexed to the grant which must be observed.
Every beneficed man licenced not to reside on his benefice, must have a sufficient curate to supply his place. We need look no farther than the canons of 1603, to see that this is law; and I will suspect no man's judgment so far as to go about to prove it to be reason.
These curates must have sufficient ability to discharge the duty; and
Sufficient maintenance to support them in it.
In both these cases the ordinary is made the judge. And if it will be of any service to you to know my opinion in these cases, I will in general declare that I can think no man fit to be admitted a curate, against whom there would be a proper objection, if he came for institution : the reason is, because he is to perform the same duty that a person instituted is to perform.
As to maintenance, it ought to be, what it is called, such an allowance as a man may live on, without being driven to seek help from methods unbecoming his profession.
It sometimes happens that a curate is employed to serve two parishes; a case never to be admitted but on evident necessity, as bringing great reproach on the clergy, and necessarily introducing a great neglect of religious service in the country, When a man who has a good living leaves it himself, and puts in one of these half-curates to supply his absence, what can the people think, but that their minister has no regard to any thing but the cheapness of his curate ? And when churches are thus half attended, and are deprived either of the morning or evening service, the people of the parish who are religiously disposed, will probably go to the meeting-house if there be one near; those who are not religiously disposed will probably go to the ale-house. And with what face can we complain of the people for neglecting the service of the church, when the service itself is neglected by those whose duty it is to see it performed ? This is an evil that must be remedied.
The 48th canon of 1603 has decreed, that “ no man shall serve more than one church or chapel on one day, except that
chapel be a member of the parish church or united thereunto; and unless the said church or chapel, where such a minister shall serve in two places, be not able in the judgment of the bishop or ordinary to maintain a curate.”
Here are two exceptions; of which the first speaks for itself, the second is referred to the judgment of the bishop. I do therefore expect to be consulted in this case, and that all who think themselves intitled to the benefit of this exception in the canon, do lay their reasons before me.
Where a resident minister wants a curate for his assistance, I should be less inquisitive in both respects, relying on the ability of an experienced incumbent to advise and instruct his curate, and his hospitality to support him.
All incumbents, whether resident or non-resident, are bound to uphold and maintain their houses; but there will be particular reason to inquire into the condition of the houses that belong to those who are legally dispensed with from residing. I need give you no reason for this : common experience in the case calls for this care, and will justify it.
I have now gone through what I proposed to say on this head. I have been the more particular, that I might show you not only the rule of your duty, but the rule of my own also. It will always be a pleasure to me to assist, with the utmost of my power, the meanest clergyman in the diocese in the discharge of his duty. Where it is reasonable to dispensé with any man's constant and personal attendance on his cure, the terms of the law must be pursued; beyond which there is nothing for any clergyman to ask, nothing for any bishop to grant.*
It is scarcely necessary to say that the laws relating to the residence of the clergy were all revised, consolidated, and amended in an act of parliament passed in the 57th year of the reign of George III.; but it may be useful to remark that the provisions of that act are all clearly stated in Mr. Hodgson's excellent work, intitled 6* Instructions to the Clergy,” &c.; and that an excellent abstract of the act, with a commentary on it, forms the subject of Bishop Marsh's Primary Charge to the clergy of Llandaff. -ED.
The relation in which the writer stands to the inhabitants of these great cities, mentioned as a daily call on him to consider their spiritual state. It is the duty of every man, and of him in particular, to pay attention to all the warnings which God in his mercy sends to a sinful people. Such a warning has been given by two great shocks of an earthquake. Thoughtless or hardened sinners may be deaf to these calls, and little philosophers may think they see enough to account for what happens, without calling in a special providence; but let their imaginations be to themselves; the subject is too serious, and calls us off to other views.
If we consider God's general government of the world, or recollect the examples made by the divine power in sacred or profane history, and then refer our own case to either for comparison, we shall soon discover whether there be any just cause for apprehension : these points enlarged on.
Exhortation of the writer to the people that they would attend to him with patience, not as an accuser,
but as their faithful minister in Christ, warning them to flee from the wrath to come.
If this part of the world had less light and less knowlege, they might have some excuse ; but they have had the light and loved darkness; they have had the gospel, and the promised aid of the Holy Spirit, &c.; but all has been rejected and treated with scorn: evil influence of the press in its attacks on religion noticed.