« ÎnapoiContinuă »
stipulated for a separate and independent management of their own collections; engaging, in return, to send no more paupers to the fund by assessment, and to provide for every new applicant by church-alms alone. They succeeded in extricating the parish from the city-system, in spite of opposition from the General Session, the Town Hospital, and the Presbytery. It was with difficulty, and only by personal vindication before the General Assembly, that Dr. Chalmers obtained the privilege of trying his experiment. These, he often states, were the only difficulties: When,' says he, ' instead of the old managers of the poor, we had but the poor themselves to deal with, all went on smoothly and prosperously.'
The population of the parish, in 1819, was 10,304; it has since reached 14,000. It was and is the poorest as well as the largest parish in Glasgow. The annual expenditure for the whole city sometimes exceeded £14,000. The produce of the church-door collections at St. John's, had averaged £400 a year: with this Dr. C. agreed to meet all future claims for relief, besides laying out an annual sum of £225 on the actual pauperism. He further engaged to secure the Town Hospital from the burden of any new pauperism from his parish. There were these conditions, however, which were very equitable, that in those rare seasons of general depression, such as call for a general subscription to eke out wages, the St. John's parish should be left to provide for its poor as in ordinary times; that paupers from other parishes should not invade theirs; and that when surviving hospital-paupers died off, the parish should be relieved from further assessment: a most advantageous bargain, truly, for the administrators of the old system with the poorest parish in the city.' Not one of these conditions was ever fulfilled. The scheme was by many regarded with disdain; but it was executed, and the method was this: the parish was divided into twenty-five parts, under the management of twenty-five deacons, each of them having charge of about four hundred persons. No case was brought before the deacons, as a body, till the individual to whom it belonged had made sure what each applicant could do for himself. The Sabbath collection amounted to £600 a year; but this whole sum went, in the first instance, towards the expenses of the old pauperism, with which they had charged themselves. The deacons were concerned solely with the new pauperism. The only fund at their disposal was
from a small evening-collection of half-pence at the churchdoors, from a worshipping assembly of poor people, altogether distinct from the wealthier congregation which assembled in the morning from all parts of the town: it fell short of £100 a year. The grand difficulty, it is obvious, must have been in the disposal of the new cases, but the success of the trial was triumphant. At the end of four years, in a population at that time of about ten thousand, the whole of the new pauperism, in this the poorest parish, never exceeded in expense, £66 6s., or, deducting cases of lunacy, disease and the like, never exceeded £32. The number of new paupers was thirteen. And what is far more extraordinary was the facility of the operation, as discovered when an inquiry was made by circular of the deacons themselves, the answers to which are given, at length, in the sixteenth volume. The time spent by each deacon in this matter did not average more than three hours a month. The system was by far the most popular among the indigent classes. The enemies daily predicted failure: but it did not fail. When, in 1823, Dr. Chalmers left Glasgow, they predicted that the loss of his personal influence would be fatal to the system; but the recorded testimony of his successors, Dr. M'Farlane and Dr. Brown, shows that its vitality was undiminished and effective. Surely we do not wonder at the enthusiasm of Dr. Chalmers, nor at his repugnance to a change of the Presbyterian method. If England,' says he, will so idolize her own institutions, as to be unwilling to part even with their worst vices, she must be let alone since she will have it so. But let her not inoculate with the vices of her own moral gangrene, those countries which have the misfortune to border on her territory, and be subject to her sway: and, more especially, let not the simple and venerated parochial system of our own land lie open to the crudities, or be placed at the disposal of a few cockney legislators.'
We have gone into these statements, notwithstanding our clear apprehension of the disregard with which details so foreign and so dry will be treated by some even of our own readers; but with the encouraging hope that the number of Christian economists is perpetually on the increase, and that to such as merit the appellation, discussions of this kind will never be unwelcome.
ART. III. The Kingdom of Christ delineated, in two Essays on our Lord's own account of his person and of the nature of his Kingdom, and on the Constitution, Powers and Ministry of a Christian Church, as appointed by himself. By Richard Whately, D. D. Archbishop of Dublin. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 161 Broadway. 1842.
THIS Volume comes commended to our diligent attention by the previous reputation of the writer, by his high official standing in the Church of England, and by the eagerness with which some have done their best to prepossess the public mind against it. It is worthy of remark, that the same class of persons, who would make the Presbyterian system of Church Government responsible for all the inconsistent views of individual Presbyterians, are forward to disclaim the work before us as possessing an episcopal authority. The earnestness with which this disavowal has been made is well adapted to excite curiosity, and to suggest the question, what could a bishop or archbishop write, to throw his own camp into such confusion? This curiosity, so far as it exists upon the part of our own readers, we shall now proceed to satisfy by stating, as briefly and as clearly as we can, the main points of Archbishop Whately's doctrine as to the "constitution, powers and ministry of the Christian church." The first of the two essays, " on Christ's own account of his person and of the nature of his kingdom as set forth at his two trials," we shall leave unnoticed, as less interesting to our readers.
In the second essay, the Archbishop first attempts to show that Christianity was designed to be a social religion, and the Christian church an organized society, as such possessing officers by whom the church itself was represented, bye-laws obligatory on its members as to matters in themselves indifferent, and a power of determining the qualifications of its members. These, he maintains, are essential attributes of every voluntary organized society, expressly recognized by Christ himself, in the appointment of the first church officers, and in the grant of the power of the keys and of remission. His language on these subjects would of course be understood by his disciples in accordance with that system under which they lived, and in which
there were not only ordained officers, but powers analogous to those conferred on Christian rulers. The legitimate authority of these Jewish rulers our Lord recognized, while he condemned their abuse of it in putting tradition on a level with the law. Judging by this analogy, the apostles would understand our Lord's commission as empowering them to make regulations for the internal government of the church, and to inflict or remit the punishments of all offending against such regulations. In this sense only would they understand him as empowering them to bind and loose, to forgive sins, and to hold the keys of the "kingdom of heaven,' i. e. of the church, which is the meaning of that phrase in the New Testament. This view of our Lord's meaning is confirmed, as the archbishop thinks, by the actual course pursued by the apostles in the execution of their great commission. And here we are met by the first of those original and novel views of a familiar subject, by which the work is specially distinguished. From the very scantiness and absence of detail in the scriptural account of the primitive churches, the archbishop argues that the matters thus omitted were expressly intended to be made the subject of discretionary regulation. In connection with this argument he animadverts upon the error of neglecting to observe the omissions of scripture in interpretation, upon which point he refers to a former publication of his own, in which, it seems, he has endeavoured to show that "that these omissions present a complete moral demonstration, that the apostles and their followers must have been supernaturally withheld from recording great part of the institutions, instructions, and regulations, which must in point of fact, have proceeded from them-withheld on purpose that other churches, in other ages and regions, might not be led to consider themselves bound to adhere to general formularies, customs and rules, that were of local and temporary appointment, but might be left to their own discretion in matters in which it seemed best to divine wisdom that they should be so left." He then proceeds to state as highly probable, if not morally certain, that wherever a Jewish synagogue was broughtthe whole or the chief part of it-to embrace the gospel, the apostles did not there so much form a Christian church or congregation, as make an existing congregation Christian, by introducing the Christian sacraments and worship, and establishing whatever regulations were requisite for the newly adopted faith, leaving the machinery of government
VOL. XIV.-NO. IV.
unchanged, the rulers of synagogues, elders, and other officers, being already provided in the existing institutions. In this way the archbishop thinks that several of the earliest Christian churches did originate; that is, they were converted synagogues; the attempt at this conversion being made wherever synagogues existed. The course pursued in the formation of Christian churches is not minutely stated, though the fact of their formation is distinctly recorded, and the principles on which they must be governed clearly stated, while the precise mode in which they shall be carried out is studiously left undefined. In Paul's Epistles, the archbishop thinks he has observed, that the apostle was left unrestrained in recording particular directions in those cases where there was no danger of his directions being applied in all ages and countries, as binding on every church forever. He also adverts to the remarkable fact, that there is no such description on record of the first appointment of the higher orders of Christian ministers, as there is of the ordination of the deacons; from which he infers that the mention of the latter is merely incidental, and designed to introduce the account of Stephen's martyrdom. In connexion with this part of the subject, he expresses an opinion that the deacons mentioned in the sixth of Acts were only the first Grecian deacons, and that there were Hebrew deacons before. In confirmation of this opinion he quotes an argument of some length from the article on Ecclesiastical History in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana. From the latter part of this quotation we extract an ingenious theory as to the scriptural use of the word deacon and primitive nature of the office so entitled.
"After all, it is most likely that the word deacon was originally applied, as its etymology suggests, to all the ministers of the gospel establishment. But the Apostles having from the first a a specific title, it more properly denoted any minister inferior to them,-any, however employed in the service of the Church. Between these, also, there soon obtained a distinction. If we suppose, then, that the seniors, or superior class, were distinguished by the obvious title of elder deacons, (geoßúregoi diúxovo) the generic and unappropriated term "deacon" would devolve on the remaining class. And thus the present order in the Church, to which that name is applied, may be truly asserted to be deacons in the apostolical and primitive sense of the word; and yet, nevertheless, much may be said about deacons, both in the New Testament and in the writings of the early fathers, which will not apply to them."
The use made by Whately of the alleged fact that the deacons mentioned in the sixth of Acts, were not the first who held that office, is to illustrate the intentional silence of the sacred volume as to the details of church organization.