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that may grasp (as the hands of many of the sons of Adam are inclined to do), how can we be surprised to find these hands, though employed occasionally in conveying the contact of the apostolical succession, very diligently at work in the labour of accumulating gold, and filling bags that the moths may consume, with treasures that the thief may rifle? Every thing is done that can be well imagined to corrupt the high clergy, and to elicit the pride and evil passions of the human heart, by placing within their reach all those things that foment the evil of our nature. This is so obvious, that even a prebendary of the Establishment, and a very rich one too, has thus commented on the condition of a bishop
"He is all of a sudden elevated from being a tutor, dining at an early hour with his pupil (and occasionally, it is believed, on cold meat), to be a spiritual lord. He is dressed in a magnificent dress, decorated with a title, flattered by chaplains, and surrounded by little people, looking up for the things which he has to give away: and this often happens to a man who has had no opportunity of seeing the world, whose parents were in very humble life, and who has given up all his thoughts to the Frogs of Aristophanes and the Targum of Onkelos. How is it possible that such a man should not lose his head? that he should not swell? that he should not be guilty of a thousand follies, and worry and teaze to death (before he recovers his common sense) a hundred men, as good, and as wise, and as able as himself."
Thus does the family of Mammon speak of its own members, when money questions bring them into collision!
Here, then, we may take a glance in the pages of history at the representation of Christianity through the means of the prelacy in England, beginning first with very ancient times, because it is now all the fashion for the clergy to refer to Episcopacy before the Norman Conquest, in the ages before the Papacy had, as they say, corrupted the Nicene purity of the Church. We go back then as far as the year 660, two hundred and fifty years before the Conquest, and there we find Egfrid, the king of Northumberland, quarrelling with Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, and the quarrel ending at last in the deposition of the prelate, and the confiscation of his goods. Eddius, who wrote the life of Wilfrid, and was a partaker with him in all his troubles, tells us that the true cause of the king's deposing the Archbishop, was to gratify the avarice of his queen Elmemberg, "who coveting the immense wealth of the prelate, left nothing unattempted to inflame the king against him, railing on all occasions at his secular pomp, his riches, the multitude of his abbies, the magnificence of his houses, and the innumerable army of his followers, clothed and armed as nobles." Now this is not the account of an enemy, but of a most partial friend and admirer, and therefore, being authentic, may furnish some idea of the true state of the priesthood, even in the remotest periods of our history. Those were days of poverty and abject servility for the people: none but the bishops and the nobles could accumulate riches; but in the race of cupidity the prelates generally kept ahead of their lay competitors.
In later days, when the Papal power was omnipotent, we do not seek for examples of this sort, for then all was avowed avarice; the whole land was, as it were, a pasture for the clerical order. In the reign of Edward I. the clergy possessed considerably more than one-half of the landed property of the realm; and with the landed property they enjoyed, of course, all the substantial power which accompanies territorial possessions. The splendour, ambition, opulence, and grandeur of the great abbots and bishops meet us in every chapter of English history; and indeed the power and riches of the clergy were so constantly on the increase, that the kings of England were obliged to bestir themselves to check the growing evil, and to ward off the impending danger of an unmixed sacerdotal despotism. Passing over, therefore, the reigns of the Plantagenets and the Papal Tudors, and naming, as the last of the mighty popish Prelates, the renowned Cardinal Wolsey, the very type of magnificence and priestly pride, we hasten on to the Church of England, reformed and refurbished in that pattern of excellence with which it now astonishes the eyes of its admirers.
In the reign of Elizabeth, we hear Beza complaining of all the secular parade of the reformed clergy of England. He notices with disapprobation the pomp of the church worship, the sound of the organs without any meaning, the voluntaries, the gay and quirking music of the cathedrals, and adds, "Moreover, the primate, the bishops, and other such officers of the church, are accompanied by pages, lacqueys, estaffiers, and other followers, up to twenty, thirty, forty, or a hundred, nay,
even two hundred horses," and then in general terms he complains of the vanity of the court, the luxury of the prelates, and the pride of the nobles.
Again, we hear from another witness as follows: "Archbishop Whitgift's_train sometimes consisted of one thousand horse. The Archbishop being once at Dover attended by five hundred horse, one hundred of which were his servants, many of them wearing chains of gold, a person of distinction then arriving from Rome greatly wondered to see an English archbishop with so splendid a retinue; but seeing him the following sabbath in the cathedral of Canterbury, attended by the above magnificent train, with the dean, prebendaries, and preachers in their surplices and scarlet hoods, and hearing the music of organs, cornets, and sacbuts, he was seized with admiration, and said that the people of Rome were led in blindness, being made to believe that in England there were neither archbishop, bishop, nor cathedral, nor any ecclesiastical government, but that all were pulled down. But he protested, that unless it were in the Pope's chapel, he had never seen a more solemn sight, nor heard a more solemn sound" (Paule's Life of Whitgift).
In the reign of Charles I. the bishops, as they always have done, and always will do, faithfully represented the pomps of the age. "Take notice," says a clever writer of the Caroline era, and an eye-witness of the things which he describes, "take notice of the sumptuosity of their service at meals, their dishes being ushered in with no less reverence than the king's, their lord's and master's; their sewers and servants going before and crying out, Gentlemen, be uncovered, my lord's meat is coming up!' so that all are forced to stand uncovered to his platters; and no more state can there be in a king's palace. To say nothing of the Bishop of London (Juxon), that was put into his office with such supreme dignity and incomparable majesty, as he seemed to be a great king or mighty emperor to be inaugurated and installed in some superlative monarchy, rather than a priest; having all the nobility and the glory of the kingdom waiting on him. But see the prelate of Canterbury (Archbishop Laud) in his ordinary garb, riding from Croydon to Bagshot, with forty or fifty gentlemen, all mounted, attending upon him; two or three coaches, with four or six horses apiece to them, all empty, waiting on him; two or three dainty steeds of pleasure, most rich in trappings and furniture, likewise led by him; and wherever he comes his gentlemen ushers and his servants crying out, Room, room, for my lord's grace! Gentlemen, be uncovered, my lord's grace is coming!' Again, if you should meet him coming daily from the Star Chamber, and see what pomp, grandeur, and magnificence he goeth in, the whole multitude standing bare wherever he passeth, having also a great number of gentlemen and other servants waiting on him, all uncovered, some of them carrying up his train, others going before him, calling out to the folks before them to put off their hats and give place, tumbling down and thrusting aside the little children a-playing there, flinging and tossing the poor costermongers' and souce-wives' fruit and puddings, baskets and all into the Thames (though they hindered not their passage). You would think, seeing and hearing all this, and also the speed and haste they make, that it were some proud Nimrod, or some furious Jehu, running and marching for a kingdom, rather than a meek, humble, and grave priest."
After the restoration of Charles II. to the throne of his ancestors, the bishops and the clergy returned lean and empty to their old pastures, but soon accumulated vast wealth. Bishop Burnet speaks in terms of high disapprobation of the avarice of some of the bishops; and he was personally acquainted with most of them. Further information on episcopal curiosities of that period may be seen by reference to several articles in the British Magazine of this year, headed, "Disposal of Higher Church Preferment," in which the writer has with much diligence collected memorabilia of the Bishops in the reign of Charles II. The motive of the author for publishing these strange records is not apparent; he must either be reckless of the disgrace he inflicts on the Established Church, or else be insensible to the appearances of covetousness and baseness when exhibited by high churchmen.
In 1763, Dr. King, master of a college at Oxford, thus describes the Bishops, his contemporaries "to speak freely, I know nothing that has brought so great a reproach on the Church of England as the avarice and ambition of the Bishops. Chandler, Bishop of Durham; Willis, Bishop of Winchester; Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury; Gibson and Sherlock, all died shamefully rich, some of them worth more than one hundred thousand pounds. I must add to these my old antagonist
Gilbert, predecessor to Drummond, the Archbishop of York; some of these prelates were esteemed great divines, but they could not be called good Christians. The great wealth which they had heaped up, the fruits of their bishopricks, and which they left to enrich their families, was not their own; it was due to God, to the Church, to their poor brethren."
Of course similar operations of cupidity are going on at this present moment: it cannot be otherwise; there will ever be Chandlers, Willises, Potters, Gibsons, Sherlocks, and Tomlines on the bench; and we can very well comprehend the meaning of the present Bishop of Durham's lamentations, delivered and published in his primary charge; in which his lordship bitterly complains that the revenues of his diocese are so reduced, that a Bishop of Durham cannot exercise that hospitality which is expected from one holding his high station.
The Bishop of Durham's revenues, as settled by Act of Parliament, are now ten thousand pounds sterling per annum-besides occasional fines, which, in the diocese of Durham, have in one year alone amounted to 72,000. The revenues of Durham before the late "Reform,” as it is called, were twenty-four thousand pounds per
A bishop that mourns over his short commons, and finds himself a poor man on ten thousand a-year, besides fines, must have very enormous ideas of " 'hospitality," or of something else.
In the matter of clerical wealth, however, things have come to this pass, that the clergy now openly advocate the possession of riches, and their accompaniments, as most befitting their sacerdotal character. Mr. Rose, the late principal of King's College, London, and Chaplain of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a Latin sermon, preached before the Archbishop and the clergy, in St. Paul's Cathedral, Feb. 20, 1835, without hesitation advanced the following sentiment in the pulpit, and afterwards published it, by desire of the Archbishop:-"Riches, wealth, and dignity should especially be sought after by us Christian priests; that by the means of these things the functions imposed upon us may be more fully and perfectly executed.”* And, in the prospect of a possible loss of these props of the priesthood, the reverend chaplain reminded his venerable auditory, that all would not be lost; for if wicked men should take away from them their revenues and dignities, still they might betake themselves to the eternal mercy of God, and the consolations of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Rose, as is well known, was considered one of the chief ornaments of the ultras in the priestly party, and is one of the names most reverenced in the regions of Puseyism.
Hear also a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral pressing the same doctrine:— "Shall the Gospel be preached by men paid by the State? Shall these men be taken from the lower orders and be meanly paid? Shall they be men of learning and education? Shall there be some magnificent endowments to allure such men into the Church? which of these methods is the best for diffusing the rational doctrines of Christianity? not in the age of the Apostles; not in the abstract, timeless, nameless place-land of the philosophers; but in the year 1837, in the porter-brewing, cotton-spinning, tallow-melting kingdom of Great Britain; bursting with opulence, and flying from poverty as the greatest of human evils. Many different answers may be given to these questions, but they are questions which do not end in mammon, but have a powerful bearing on real religion, and deserve the deepest consideration from its disciples and friends. Let the comforts of the clergy go for nothing. Consider their state only as religion is affected by it. If upon this principle I am forced to allot to some, an opulence which some writers would pronounce to be unapostolical, I cannot help it; I must take this people with all their follies and
* As the whole passage is a curiosity, we give the original
"Divitiæ enim, opes, dignitas, eapropter potissimum Christianis sacerdotibus sunt expetenda, ut earum ope munera nobis imposita plenius ac perfectius exequamur... Nobis quod potest vis et injuria et sceleratorum hominum furor detrahere eripiat, auferat, dissipet. Quod viris Christianis adimi non potest, id manet et permanebit. Est enim nobis, Viri Spectatissimi, est perfugium, æterni Dei sempiterna misericordia: sunt semper præsto Divini Spiritûs solatia, est portus jam paratus, quo velis passis pervehi licet." "Concio ad Clerum Provinciæ Cantuarensis in Æde Paulini habita. 20 Feb. 1835. Ab Hugone Jacobo Rose, S.T.B. &c. Rivington, London.
prejudices, and circumstances, and carve out for them an establishment best suited for them, however unfit for early Christianity, in barren and conquered Judea" (Rev. Sidney Smith's Letter to Archdeacon Singleton).
Surely Satan himself, arrayed in cassock, surcingle, bands, and gown would preach no other doctrine; for every word of this wisdom is from beneath-every syllable of it breathes avarice, and argues for the flesh; and yet it is with arguments like these that the Church of England, whose portion is this world, is now defended by its most approved advocates.
We have seen the sentiments of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Chaplain on the riches of the clergy; let us now compare them with the kindred views of a Pope, Eneas Sylvius, Pius II. Thus does the Roman Pontiff write :-"Do you wish that the Supreme Pontiff should be a poor man? Be it so: but we think that the Supreme Pontiff, although he be the best of men, cannot duly perform his office unless endowed with wealth? It is the duty of the Roman Pontiff, the chief priest, to take care that the gospel of Christ be sincerely preached to all; that all errors and blasphemies be eradicated; that all impugners of our religion be expelled from the Christian territory; that schisms be removed: wars lulled to rest; and thefts and rapines repressed. Moreover, the Roman See, as the patron of the whole earth, and the safe harbour of the afflicted, ought to afford attentive ears to all that run to it, and willingly supply the need implored. And who is he who would affirm that a poor and impoverished Pope could do all these things ?"*
The accidental similarity of sentiment in the words of the Pope and of Mr. Rose is truly remarkable: the same wishes produce the same opinions, the same opinions produce almost the same words. The sacerdotal language has been the same in all ages and nations.
But it will be said, perhaps, that we have, in the course of these remarks, adduced the examples of antiquated days, and that the pomp of a Whitgift or a Laud could not be enacted now—true; the bishops of the nineteenth century never would think of riding to Croydon or Lambeth with five hundred gentlemen in cavalcade, bareheaded; nor would they send their grooms and ushers before them to cry out, "Make way for my lord's grace!" nor do the clerks of the kitchen in the Bishop of London's establishment in St. James's-square bawl out, as dinner is served up, "Gentlemen, be uncovered, my lord's meat is coming up!" but why are these ceremonies of magnificence now laid aside? Why? simply for this reason, that it is out of the fashion of the age to perform such shews of grandeur; and a bishop who should now imitate the state of Laud or Wolsey, would not be reverenced as a magnificent prelate, but laughed at as a mountebank. The taste of the age does not allow such practices, but all that the taste and fashion of the age do allow is carefully attended to by the great bishops now living. None of the high nobles surpass the Archbishop of Canterbury in the appointment of his household. The dinner parties of his grace are sumptuous and superb in a high degree. Two splendid servitors, dressed in full court costume, with bag-wigs and swords, stand behind his grace's chair during the repast; the tables glitter with every thing costly and luxurious; a regiment of footmen in purple habiliments perform the servile functions of the gorgeous repasts; and the palace of Lambeth is in every respect an abode fitted for a prince of the most exalted rank. All that the fashion of the age allows may be found in many of the episcopal palaces, and more than one of the bishops are mentioned in the fashionable world as examples of "splendid hospitality" fit to be imitated by the greatest grandees.
We are not, however, to suppose that pageants are relinquished by the prelates of this generation when an opportunity occurs; take, for example, the following description of the enthronisation of the present Archbishop of Canterbury into the see of London, which he held before his present dignities:
Yesterday, Oct. 3, 1813, Dr. Howley was consecrated Bishop of London, at Lambeth palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sutton). Her Majesty (Queen Charlotte) having signified her intention of being present at the ceremony, arrived
* An pauperem tu Pontificem maximum esse volueris ? At nos Pontificem maximum quamvis optimum, non putamus officio suo satisfacere posse nisi facultatibus præditus sit. Convenit Romanum Pontificem, magnum sacerdotem, curare ut evangelium Christi omnibus sincere prædicetur," &c. "Et quis est qui hæc agere posse pauperem et inopem Papam affirmaret?"-Eneas Sylvius de Ritu Germanorum.
at the palace at twelve o'clock, accompanied by the Princesses Augusta and Mary. They were received at the entrance of the grand hall by his grace and Mrs. Manners Sutton, who conducted them through the guard chamber, presence-chamber, and grand lobby, to the principal dining-room, where they remained a short time, and proceeded through an elegant suite of apartments to the gallery over the chapel, which was fitted up in a very elegant manner for the occasion. The procession moved from the guard-chamber a little before one o'clock, to the chapel, in the following order :
Porters with staves.
"A most excellent and appropriate sermon was delivered by the new bishop's chaplain. [Did he preach from 1 John ii. 16?]
"After the sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attended by two of his chaplains, proceeded to the altar to perform the ceremonies of consecration, communion service, administer the sacrament, &c. Mr. Jenner, the registrar of the province, read the mandate from the Prince Regent, in the name of the King, for the consecration. Dr. Howley retired to an ante-room and put on his rochet, having been previous to that only in his doctor's robes. He was then introduced by the Bishops of Oxford and Gloucester to the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the altar, where he went through several ceremonies, and then retired to the ante-room again, where he was invested with his full bishop's robes, by Mr. Webb, the King's robe-maker. He was then introduced again to the altar, and a number of questions put to him by the archbishop, which he readily answered. The imposition of hands by the archbishop and the other bishops present concluded the ceremony. The sacrament was then administered to him by the archbishop, of which the other bishops present partook. A most superb collation was prepared in the principal drawing-room, consisting of all the delicacies of the season, of which her Majesty and the Princesses partook.
"At three o'clock her Majesty and the Princesses left the palace, on their return to Windsor.
"His grace gave a grand dinner to the Bishop of London, Bishops of Gloucester, Salisbury, Oxford, and Peterborough, the Judge Advocate, and a numerous party." But in all this superabundance of Popish parade and mummery, what do the bishops perform in the way of "religion ?”
The archbishop asks the bishop elect this, amongst many other questions, “Are you persuaded that you be truly called to this ministration according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ and the order of this realm ?"-Answer: "I am so persuaded."
They then sing the following hymn "over the bishop elect:"
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
Thou the anointing Spirit art
Who dost the sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above