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the Imperial Exchequer; while on his side the landlord may perhaps question an arrangement by which, for the next fifty years at least, he must pay the tithe for which he receives no consideration, and at the same time support in a great degree his parish church.
One result of the recent exceptional condition of Church affairs has been that the clergy are more unsettled than of old. There is now and then a jealousy of lay interference, and a disinclination to work heartily with the new system. On the other hand, some are too much, perhaps, occupied with the new machinery of vestries, councils, and synods, and are, as it were, 'playing at parliament;' perhaps here and there the revision movement has had an injurious influence on the minds of others, and engendered a temper of criticism rather than devotion, and a habit of free rather than rational handling in their use of the Prayer-Book. But these results are from their nature only of a temporary character, and may be considered passing evils. A good work, notwithstanding all drawbacks, would seem to be going on in most parishes; the principal danger to the Church is undoubtedly the lowering of the religious influence of the clergy in consequence of the inferior culture, which may be apprehended in future; but we will not dwell on these melancholy anticipations. A new generation, both of clergy and laity, must have grown up before the working of the present system of the Church of Ireland can be fairly tested.
In conclusion, the disendowment, or, to speak correctly, the robbery of the Church of Ireland, must be the cause, for many years at least, of comparative poverty to most of the Bishops and clergy who have been elected since the date of the Act, and from hence the evils inseparable from poverty must be expected to follow. The independence of the clergy may be (notwithstanding the wise arrangements which have been made with respect to the collection of the sustentation funds) to a certain extent affected, and the choice of the electors and nominators restricted. Thus, in the case of a bishopric, heretofore by the piety of former ages richly endowed, the large episcopal residence is vacant. Some one
is wanted who will not only wisely govern the diocese, but can afford to live in the palace. Can we wonder should undue weight be given to the last consideration, and the best man, perhaps, not chosen? The same danger obtains, in a minor degree, in lesser appointments; in fact, poverty in some shape forces itself into notice in every department of the Irish Church. But by no means in an equal degree, for in
some dioceses they were enabled largely to reduce the number of parishes and clergy, while others were obliged to increase theirs. Some had a much larger amount of commutation capital to deal with, and much younger annuitants on the average, whose life-service was of much greater value, and whose annuities, by judicious promotion, were made the most of; others had a much older average of clergy, a smaller amount of commutation capital to manipulate, and were thrown almost at once on the new system by death, while no advantageous promotion or change was possible. Other accidental circumstances pressed heavily on some dioceses, as, for instance, where parishes large in extent and population prevailed, young men, seeing the impossibility of paying curates, moved to other dioceses or compounded. These were the very cases in which such a proceeding became ruinous; and yet there was no remedy.
It is obvious that, at present, the arrangements which have been made are barely sufficient to carry on, as it were, the everyday working of the Church, and totally inadequate for any extraordinary pressure. There is no provision in the case of sickness of an incumbent, and little help can be expected from the friendly services of neighbouring clergymen, as of old; economy is cut down to the very quick; nothing appears as yet to be done for the widows of the clergy, or for what too surely will be wanted-a superannuation fund. It is perhaps too soon to pay much attention to the rewards for 'good services,' but some approach in this direction has been made in some dioceses, by the extra stipends provided for the deaneries, archdeaconries, and canonries.
Under the most favourable circumstances, the dangers to the Church are great, for from the very low amount at which the incomes of the mass of benefices in Ireland have from necessity been fixed, and the great paucity of what may be termed ecclesiastical prizes there, a dead uniformity will be produced, which may lead to mediocrity in the status of the clergy themselves. It has ever been the glory of the Catholic Church that men from the very lowest condition have risen to the highest posts in it; but, on the other hand, noble birth has ever been represented. This was, and where it is possible still is, the policy of the Church of Rome, and so it has ever been in the Church of Ireland (not unaccompanied, it is to be feared, sometimes with very considerable abuse). Still, on the whole, it cannot be doubted but that the Church has benefited from the fact that men of all ranks
and stations have ever been found in her service; but this state of things is more to be hoped than expected for the future in the Irish Church. Gentlemen of position and family will be unwilling to send their sons into a profession where the general amount of a living is but 2007. a year, and where the highest incomes, very few and far between, do not exceed 1,500l. or 2,000l. per annum. It is, therefore, to be feared in future that the clergy will descend in the social scale, if they do not reach that lower depth which Macaulay has so graphically, though perhaps not very accurately, described in his sketch of the clergy in England at the latter part of the seventeenth century.
Still, with the blessing of God, we believe that young men of sound sense and learning, if not of high lineage, will yet be found to labour in that glorious field, which is in truth the cause of God Himself--the Holy Catholic, Apostolic Church of Ireland; and although this world's wealth cannot be expected in her Ministry, though a certain degree of anxiety as to worldly prospects must, it is to be feared, somewhat interfere with more congenial work, the very absence of worldly inducements will have its effect upon some noble minds, and we may still hope to see the names of Ussher, Jebb, Leslie, Beresford, Synge, Bagot, Daly, Nugent, Reeves, Kennedy, Stack, Alexander, Fitzgerald, and a host of others dear to the recollection of Churchmen, enrolled among the clergy of Ireland.
What, then, will be the future of this most ancient Church of S. Patrick and S. Columba? this Church, of which the first foundations are so remote that no one can tell with certainty when they were first laid--this Church of Ireland, to which at one period men came to be instructed in the Christian religion, and to whom a great part of Europe was indebted for evangelists and teachers of the Faith-this Church which in early ages sent forth so many saints and martyrs, that even their names are unknown at Rome, and it requires the learning of a Reeves or O'Hanlon to disinter them from the mists of antiquity
Saints, who under their grey stones
this Church which for so many years, it may be sometimes
1 An Irish writer would here add " Protestant," and we must add, for the benefit of purely English readers, that the term is used in Ireland in a purely local sense, in which it would be denied to Presbyterians.
with very feeble light, has kept the living Faith, almost crushed out by the constant wars and bloodshed of the middle and later ages, and what, perhaps, was of more deadly influence, the formal Erastianism of the eighteenth century, and yet can show at all times a goodly roll of saintly names—this Church, originally not endowed by the State, but by the liberality of Irish princes, nobles, and private persons, stripped and robbed at the Reformation, and afterwards re-endowed by royal munificence; again so entirely plundered in our own times by the State that at least its poverty will for the present ensure it from a repetition of the process? What can be foretold of its future condition? We may answer in faith and hope that so long as she holds to the true foundation of the Catholic faith, the Word of God; so long as she fears not to teach the doctrines set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, Baptismal Regeneration, and the real spiritual presence of our Lord to the faithful receiver at the Holy Sacrament of the altar; so long as she is not afraid of reciting in her services the creeds of the Church, which she confesses in her Articles' ought thoroughly to be received and believed, for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture; long as she is not ashamed of the apostolical succession of her orders through the ancient Church of Ireland, which Rome in Ireland does not possess, and which Protestant sectaries treat with contempt; so long may she trust that the right hand of the Most High will still shield her from destruction; and that so long as she shows by the conduct and life of her ministers that these truths are not empty forms, and are after all only means to the end, for the true worship of God is to be found in righteousness and holiness of life, so long will she set both Rome and Geneva at defiance; though plundered of lands and tithes, her hearers will increase and multiply though poor, she will make many rich'-and slowly, but surely, her borders will be enlarged, and the blessing of God continue to rest upon her.
VOL. V.-NO. IX.
IN THE CHURCH OF HISTORICALLY AND LEGALLY
1. Report of the Committee of the Upper House of Convocation of the Province of Canterbury in the matter of Confession. July 24, 1873.
2. Confession and Absolution as taught by the English Church and by her most eminent Divines. Sermon by the Rev. H. MARTIN, M.A.
3. Declaration concerning Confession and Absolution put forth by Drs. Pusey, Liddon, and King, and Rev. T. T. Carter and others.
4. Dr. Pusey on Confession. Letter to the Daily Express, July 21, 1877.
5. Address of certain Peers to the Archbishops and Bishops, August 9, 1877.
6. The Confessional and the Prayer-Book. Published by the Association for Revising the Prayer-Book, July 18, 1877. It is not intended in this article to consider, except incidentally, the spiritual value of Confession, nor in what manner, with what restrictions and safeguards, it should be received, and the grace of Absolution administered. It is intended to consider the subject principally under its historical and legal aspects.
'Men little think how immorally they act by rashly meddling with things they do not understand.' So wrote the greatest man of the eighteenth century. To the subject before us Burke's aphorism of moral and political science is especially applicable. If ever there was a matter which required caution, sobriety of thought and diction, delicacy and tenderness in handling, knowledge of mankind, acquaintance with ecclesiastical and civil history, it is the penitentiary discipline of the Church, and especially that portion of it which relates to Confession.
But it has most unfortunately happened that this question, which touches the very life-blood of the Church, and, though less indirectly, the welfare of the State, has, during the course of this year, been freely, baldly, shamelessly, discussed by many who were wholly wanting in these necessary qualifications.