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“ my knowledge or consent: So help me God, " through Jesus Christ.”
It is extraordinary, that Bishop Gibson should have thought this oath to be against all promises whatsoever, when the terms of the oath expresly restrain it to fimoniacal promises; and the law alone must pronounce what promises, as well as what payments, and contracts, are simoniacal, and, consequently, come within the oath ; and what are not
hen the teromises; and thens what pay.
Now the law adjudges to be simony,
1. All payments, contracts, or promises, made by any person, for a benefice already vacant. The advowson of a void turn, by law cannot be transferred from one patron to another : therefore, if the void turn be procured by money, it must be by a pecuniary influence upon the then sublisting patron in the choice of his presentee; which is the very practice the law condemns.
2. A clergyman's purchasing of the next turn of a benefice for himself, " directly or indirectly,” that is, by himself, or by another person with his money. It does not appear, that the law prohibits a clergyman from purchasing the perpetuity of a patronage, more than any other person; but purchasing the perpetuity, and forthwith selling it again, with a reservation of the next turn, and with no other design than to posless himself of the next turn, is in fraudem legis, and inconsistent with the oath.
3. The procuring of a piece of preferment, by ceding to the patron, any rights, or probable rights, belonging to it. This is fimony of the worit kind; for it is not only buying preferment, but robbing your succeflor to pay for it.
4. Promises to the patron of a portion of the profit, of a remission of tythes and dues, or other advantage out of the produce of the benefice: which kind of compact is a pernicious condescension in the clergy, independent of the oath; for it tends to introduce a practice which may very soon become ge
neral, of giving the revenues of churches to the lay' patrons, and supplying the duty by indigent stipen, daries.
5. General bonds of resignation, that is, bonds to resign upon demand.
I doubt not but that the oath is binding upon the consciences of those who take it, though I question much the expediency of requiring it. It is very fit to debar public patrons, such as the king, the lord chancellor, bishops, ecclesiastical corporations, and the like, from this kind of traffic, because, from them may be expected some regard to the qualifications of the persons whom they promote. But the oath lays a snare for the integrity of the clergy; and I do not perceive, that the requiring of it, in cases of private patronage, produces any good effect, sufficient to compensate for this danger.
Where advowsons are holden along with manors, or other principal estates, it would be an easy regulation to forbid that they should ever hereafter be reparated ; and would, at least, keep church preferment out of the hands of brokers.
CH A P.
OATHS TO OBSERVE LOCAL STATUTES.
hich observanceance of ihes are requi
MEMBERS of colleges in the univerfities,
land of other ancient foundations, are requir. ed to swear to the observance of their respective statutes ; which observance is become in some cales unlawful, in others impracticable, in others inconvenient.
Unlawful directions are countermanded by the authority which made them unlawful.
Impracticable directions are dispensed with by tb necessity of the case.
The only question is, how far the members of these societies may take upon themselves to judge of the inconveniency of any particular direction, and make that a reason for laying aside the observatioa of it.
The animus imponentis, which is the measure of the juror's duty, seems to be satisfied, when nothing is omitted, but what, from some change in the cire cumsances under which it was prescribed, it may fairly be presumed that the founder himself woud have dispensed with.
To bring a cafe within this rule, the inconveniemy inuit,
1. Be manifest; concerning which there is no doubt.
2. I must arise from some change in the circum. fances of the institution ; for let the inconveniency ties what it will, it it cxilled at the time of the foun. dation, it must be presumed, that the founder did not decin the avoiding of it of sufficient importance to alter his plan.
3. The direction of the statute must not only be inconvenient in the general, for so may the institution itself be, but prejudicial to the particular end proposed by the institution ; for it is this last cir. cumstance which proves that the founder would have dispensed with it in pursuance of his own purpose. .
The statutes of some colleges forbid the speaking of any language but Latin, within the walls of the college ; direct that a certain number, and not fewer than that number, be allowed the use of an apartment amongst them; that so many hours of each day be employed in public exercises, lectures, or disputations, and some other articles of discipline adapted to the tender years of the students, who in former times resorted to universities. Were colleges to retain such rules, nobody now-a-days would come near them. They are laid aside there. fore, though parts of the statutes, and as such included within the oath, not merely because they are inconvenient, but because there is sufficient reason to believe, that the founders themselves would have dispensed with them, as subversive of their own designs.
CH A P.
SUBSCRIPTION TO ARTICLES OF RELIGION.
CUBSCRIPTION to Articles of Religion,
though no more than a declaration of the lubscriber's ailent, may properly enough be considered in connection with the subject of oaths, because it is governed by the same rule of interpretation : Which rule is the animus imponentis.
The inquiry therefore concerning subscription will be, quis imposuit, et quo animo.
The bishop who receives the subscription, is not the impofer, any more than the cryer of a court, who administers the oath to the jury and witneúcs, is the person that iinposes it; nor consequently as the private opinion or interpretation of the bithop of any rignification to the subscriber, one way or other.
The compilers of the thirty-nine articles are nct to be confidered as the impolers of subscripuon, any more than the framer or drawer up of a law is the person that enacts it.
The legislature of the 13eb Eliz, is the imposer, whose intention the subscriber is bound to fatisty.
They who contend, that nothing less can just Subscription to the thirty.nine articles, than the ai tual belict of each and every separate propof:. 3 contained in thein, muit suppose, that the legia. ture expected the consent of ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succellion, not to one can:IOverted propolition, but to many hundreds. It is difficult to conceive how this could be expected by any, who observed the incurable diversity of huma opinion upon all subjeds thort of demonílrarion.