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persons, we imagine, believed this; certainly none who were acquainted with the intense partizanship of the Lecturer. And those who entertained any such expectations were speedily undeceived. In his first Lecture, the Doctor, with a sort of sledgehammer energy,' (to use his own phrase,) assailed the economi
cal and arithmetical reformers of our age,' as 'coarse utilitarians, acting under the influence of frenzied delusion,' or distempered speculation;'>machine-breaking reformers, far more mischievous in their higher walk, but hardly more intelligent, be
they in or out of Parliament, than the machine-breakers of • Kent, the frame-breakers of Leicestershire, or the incendiaries
of a few years back in the southern and midland counties of • England. (pp. 22, 23.) The parties to whom these gentle epithets and complimentary intimations are intended to apply, are not very distinctly designated; but it is evident that those who would abolish church-rates,' and all who oppose the Churcbextension scheme, fall within the scope of his invectives.
In the third Lecture, however, all reserve or disguise is laid aside, and the Doctor comes to the point.
• After having obtained from the good will of our countrymen the sum of £200,000 for the erection of places of worship, and that in behalf of a people unable to build churches of themselves,-we now knock at the door of our rulers, in the hope of propitiating their good will to a grant, and that too on behalf of the same people, quite as unable of themselves to maintain their clergymen. We stand before the ministers of the crown, not so much in the attitude of supplicants, --for we ask nothing for our own personal advantage, but rather in the attitude of donors, telling them what is our contribution, and asking what is theirs, to the religious education of the community,' p. 97.
Having so recently laid before our readers a full exposition of the history and mystery of this notorious project, we shall not now stop to animadvert upon the delusive character of the above statement, or upon the fallacy involved in speaking of parliamentary grants as a contribution from Government, as if Government could contribute from any other funds than those which are drawn from the people. It seems, however, to have escaped observation, that this Church-extension scheme is precisely the counterpart of the system that has been for some time in operation in Ireland, where the Presbyterian clergy of Ulster occupy, by the Regium Donum grants, that very position as stipendiaries of the State, in which the grants sought for would place the ministers of the new churches. According to the regulations adopted in 1803, by which the distribution of the bounty was taken immediately into the hands of Government, any minister of a new congregation duly enrolled as belonging to the Presbyteriau body, has only to present a memorial, properly attested, to the Lord Lieutenant,
soliciting the stipend usually granted, which bears a certain proportion to the number of families in the congregation; his having subscribed the oath of allegiance being also attested by two magistrates; he thenceforward receives his £50 or £70 yearly, as a recognised stipendiary minister. The natural consequence of this system of endowment has been to multiply the number of Presbyterian congregations. Those under the care of the General Synod, which amounted in 1804 to 177, had risen in 1835 to 237. Little, however, can be said in favour of the working of the system in other respects. As the stipend undergoes no alteration, whatever may be the increase or falling off of the congregation, it forms no incentive either to ministerial fidelity or diligence, or to the liberality of his flock. On the contrary, we are told, in many instances, the members of the congregation feel discharged from all obligation to contribute much, if anything, to their pastor's support; and he is therefore compelled to have recourse to farming, grazing, or some other secular employment, for the support of his family. The operation of the system is thus, in too many instances, at once degrading to the character of the minister, and prejudicial to his interests, by paralysing the zeal and public spirit of the people; and to its unfavourable influence, the inefficiency of Presbyterianism in Ireland has, with apparent justice, been ascribed.* Yet, if any where the helping hand of Government might seem to be required by the circumstances of the country, if any where a bounty upon the increase of Protestantism might be deemed necessary or advisable, it would be in Ireland.
In order to judge of the efficiency of the stipendiary system, however, as compared with that which trusts to the force of the voluntary principle in connexion with the moral obligations arising out of the relation between the Christian teacher and his floek, it is necessary only to bring into comparison the history of Presbyterianism in Ireland during the last century, and that of the Presbyterian churches of Scotland. In 1731, the population
"The people among whom these endowed ministers labour, are not among the poorest and meanest of the inhabitants; they are the middle classes ; in some cases, the gentry; in most, the farmers of the North ; and yet how little is done by them!... Think of a congregation of one ihousand families, many of them large and wealthy farmers, not raising £40 per annum, for the support of Christian ordinances among themselves and their families; and perhaps not £3 per annum (for this is considered liberal) for the extension of these ordinances through all nations of the earth.'--Congregational Mag., May, 1838, p. 274.
Many Presbyterians, it is said, subscribe more toward the support of the Romish priest, than they do for their own minister, on the avowal that the former is poor and has no state provision, while the latter is a pensioner on the Regium Donum.
of Ireland was little more than two millions, of whom rather more than a third were Protestants. Of these, the Presbyterians may be assumed to have formed about one-half; and if so, they have, within a hundred years, doubled their numbers. The congregations under the care of the General Synod in 1725, were 148; in 1830, they had risen only to 216. The Protestants of all classes, according to the First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, amounted, in 1835, to little more than a million and a half, having only doubled their numbers, while the Roman Catholics were nearly quintupled, having increased from 1,310,000 to 6,427,712.
Now let us turn to Scotland. The Secession Church, founded by the congregations of the eight seceding ministers deposed by the General Assembly in 1740, together with those forming what is termed the Relief Synod, now comprises between four and five hundred congregations, including not less than a fourth part of the population of Scotland. That is to say, in Scotland, while the population has increased scarcely more than a million in the course of the century, one section of the Presbyterian community, unconnected with the State, has advanced from a handful of seceders to at least half a million of souls. In Ireland, while the population has increased from two to eight millions, the Presbyterians of all classes have risen in number only from, say 300,000 to 650,000; and instead of comprising, as in 1731, a sixth of the people, now bear the proportion of less than one-twelfth! And let it be recollected, that, although the present arrangements of the Government bounty are of recent date, the system has been in operation during the whole of last century, the grants having been augmented in 1784 and 1792. It has, therefore, had its fair trial. In Scotland, it is unnecessary to say, that the seceding congregations that have sprung up, have been entirely planted and maintained by voluntary contributions.
We might adduce the rapid decline of endowed Presbyterianism in England, together with the corresponding expansion of unendowed Congregationalism, as a further illustration of the comparative efficiency of the opposite systems. But, as this country is so very differently circumstanced from either Scotland or Ireland, we will not press the argument that might be fairly drawn from these facts in its religious history. As a second and most remarkable exemplification of the energy of the voluntary principle, we would direct the attention of our readers to the statistics of the Principality. The rise of Methodism in Wales dates from the year 1735. At that time, the number of Dissenting congregations was small : in 1716, they were under fifty. The population, up to the middle of the century, appears to have been almost stationary. It was only 541,546 in 1801, but had risen in 1831 to 805,000, chiefly through the influx of manufacturing labourers.
The poverty of the people is proverbial. The Established Church, however, has its territorial arrangements all compact, with its four bishops, its chapters, and its full corps of dignitaries and sinecurists.* What is now the religious distribution of the people? The Dissenters of the Three Denominations have about 550 congregations; those of the Calvinistic Methodists, according to a list published by them some years ago, are 360 in North Wales, and 212 in South Wales; and those of the Wesleyan and other Methodists are about 220. In the course of little more than a hundred years, therefore, by the simple efficiency of the preaching of the Gospel, the congregations which support their own pastors have risen from fifty in number to upwards of 1340, being three times the number of Presbyterian places of worship in Ireland, in the midst of a population ten times as numerous. In fact, almost the only evangelical instruction enjoyed by the natives of the Principality in their own language, has been supplied by the Dissenting ministry.
In Wales, as in Ireland, the Established Church is an alien, mocking the poverty upon which it draws for its wealth, while contributing next to nothing toward the spiritual benefit of the people. It deserves remark, that the congregations of the Calvinistic Methodists have erected and supported all their places of worship at their own cost. It is an invariable rule in this Counexion, that each county shall bear and discharge the expense incurred in building its own chapels, unless it be too poor. In that case, if it be in North Wales, the other Northern counties assist it: if in South Wales, the other Southern counties. And the only assistance which the other denominations may have received, has been in the shape of voluntary contributions. Compare these spontaneous exertions of Christian zeal on the part of a poor but warm-hearted people, thirsting for the bread and the water of life, and gratefully attached to their pastors whom they maintain out of the depth of their poverty, compare these noble manifestations of the voluntaryism taught and inspired by the Gospel, with the languid struggles for existence of endowed Presbyterianism in Ireland, or with the pompous munificence of opulent churchpatrons or church-building associations in this country;--in either
* A large portion of the church property of Wales has been alienated to the support of sinecures and bishoprics in remote parts of England. Thus, the Bishop of Litchfield draws £1,100, and the Bishop of Chester £560 from the Bangor diocese; and the Dean and Chapter of Winchester £2400 from that of St. Asaph. In these two Welsh oceses, the bishops, chapters, colleges, sinecurists, and absentee clergy engross a larger amount than the stipends of all the working clergy put together. See A Letter to Lord John Russell on the Established Church Bill with reference to the Interests of the Principality of Wales.' 8vo. 1836.
point of view, the advantage will be immeasurably on the side of the poor Welsh mountaineers, and the conclusion drawn by every dispassionate inquirer must be in favour of the principle which is found so mighty in its practical efficacy.
If, then, the Cambrian mountaineers have found the means of building upwards of 1,300 places of worship for themselves, and of maintaining their ministers, what pretence of truth can there be in the allegation, that the Scotch people are unable to build churches of themselves, and equally unable to maintain their clergymen? Why less able, why less willing than the Welsh ? But in point of fact, taking together those erected by the Presbyterian Seceders, the Congregationalists, the Episcopalians, Scottish and Anglican, and other classes of Scottish Dissenters, the people of Scotland will be found to have built not fewer than from 750 to 800 places of Worship, the ministers of which they also maintain ; and a large number of the churches for which endowments are sought, have existed for forty or fifty years, and have been adequately supported without any aid from the State. Ministers, too, are procured for the new churches as fast as they are erected; and means are found of paying them; so that the only effect of their being endowed by the State would be, to convert into State pensioners those clergymen who now subsist by their pastoral labours.* Dr. Chalmers has slandered his countrymen, who are both able and willing to support the pastors of their choice, while they disdain, with decided aversion, the gratuitous sittings for the poor and working classes, ostentatiously tendered to decoy them from the Dissenting places of worship.
In these Lectures, however, Dr. Chalmers stands forward not only as the advocate of Regium Donum grants and Parliamentary endowments,-of such modest ecclesiastical establishments as the stipendiary church of Ulster, but as the champion of National Establishments in general; not excepting the deeply injured • hierarchy' of the Irish church, although, while the machinery is eulogized, nothing, it is admitted, could be much worse than the working We must here forestall a little, to introduce the Author's honest account of the main cause of the present embarrassing state of things in Ireland.
· Had this Establishment been what it ought to have been, a great home mission, with its ministers acting as devoted missionaries, we
* Dr. Chalmers proposes, that every shilling of the Government grant should go, not in augmentation of the minister's stipend, but in deduction from the scat-rents which it is now necessary to demand from the general population. Now it is a remarkable fact, that the mean or average rate of seat-rents is considerably lower in the unendowed, than in the endowed churches. And, of the unlet seats in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the lowest priced form the larger proportion.