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and I do not forget often to enforce the necessity of their shewing, by their behaviour at church, at school, and at home, that they derive benefit from my instructions. At all events, the half hour passes without being irksome to either party.

The sketch which I send you is very imperfect, and, on the other hand, enters into details which perhaps are quite subordinate questions. But I should be happy if I could be the instrument of calling attention to what all must admit is a most important subject. Political events, if any would wish to appeal to them, but too forcibly prove this assertion; and we miserably neglect the signs of the times, and, may I not add, the merciful warnings of God's providence, if we confine our attention to the education of the poor. Any great expenditure of money is not required; the classes of society with which we are now concerned have the pecuniary means for educating themselves. The great object is, to regulate that education. I have shewn, in one instance, how that may be done without sacrifice of capital, and with but little sacrifice of time. Let me earnestly exhort my brethren in the ministry, if I may do so without presumption, in this respect to follow my example. The great point to be attended to is, the character, principles, and capability of the schoolmaster. I believe that there are numbers of schools, of both sexes, of the same description as that to which I have alluded, that, with a little management, might be brought under the guidance of the church. I propose, with your permission, to continue this subject in some of your future numbers, and then I will take the opportunity of suggesting the expediency of adopting the proprietary system, with some modifications, in those places where the establishment of a commercial school may be required.

C. M.

SIR, -Allow a Parish Priest to offer his thanks to


your correspondents for the manner in which you and they have shewn how churchmen and the clergy are aggrieved by the new registration acts. The parish registers were sufficient for churchmen, and might have been made complete by the addition of a column for registering the time of birth in the baptismal register (which many clergymen now insert), and by the addition of two columns in the burial register for noting the time and place of death. The insertion of the names of the parents of the parties is an improvement in the marriage register, and might easily have been adopted in the other registers. But there can be no doubt the object was to gratify the dissenters, by taking things as much as possible out of the hands of the clergy of the established church; and accordingly we find this resolution of the Church Rates Abolition Society passed October 19, 1836—“ We disclaim all hostile feeling to the present administration, and are grateful for the enlightened measure on marriages and general registration which has been introduced and carried into law."

Your correspondent, p. 288, has made some good remarks on the circular of the registrar general, whose long lecture to the clergy bears a resemblance to the advice we may suppose a schoolmaster or schoolmistress of some preparatory school to give to good, nice, tidy little boys. It is a more serious offence his attempting, by certain notices, to shift the responsibility of putting the acts into execution from himself and his officers to the people.

But these are trifles; what really wounds the consciences of pious persons is, the tendency of these laws, with the recommendation of the registrar general, to teach the people that the most important transactions of their lives may pass and be recorded without any reference to religion. The unbaptized child is registered by a name which cannot be called a Christian name; the marriage may be merely a civil ceremony, towards the expenses of which churchmen, much against their religious feelings, are obliged to contribute in the general taxation. Thus the citizen may go from his cradle to his grave without a prayer, until the funeral service is read over him in an unconscious state. It is to be feared too many have always been irreligious, but this is the first time that in England the absence of all religious duties and rites has been legalized. Could any one who wished to unchristianize the nation suggest more suitable measures for beginning to effect this purpose, especially when they are coupled with the abolition of church-rates ?

I trust that a higher than any human power will direct and strengthen the laity and clergy of the church of England in these times to maintain and extend the cause of scriptural Christian truth, so that it may grow and prevail in the hearts of men.

I shall not trespass further on the time of your readers, except to ask what use and benefit can be expected from this registration ? In Prussia and France it may enable the government to assess a taxation upon persons, or to call out the children of private persons, when of mature age, to fill a military conscription. But here in England, of what possible use can it be for the superintendent registrars throughout the kingdom to send“ four times in every year to the registrar general all the certified copies of the registers of births, deaths, and marriages which he shall have received”? Of what use can it be that “ such certified copies shall be kept in the general registry office" ? and that “indexes of the respective register books shall be kept in the offices of the superintendent registrars, and in the general register office”?--Act, sections 34, 36, 37.

Has it been considered what piles of voluminous tomes will accumulate year by year in London, with dry catalogues of millions of names, which only persons of the most slavish and mechanical drudgery can attempt to examine ? The mind of the most patient and laborious scholar sickens at the sight of those vast interminable collections of records, examinations of witnesses, and details of what are called facts, which have been published by authority of parliament of late years, with little benefit, except to the commissioners, the compilers, and the printers.

The multitudinous ocean of names, instead of facilitating the tracing of family pedigrees, will itself be a chaos of confusion. The attention of the examiner will fail under his toil; his mind and his eye will wander; mistakes will be discovered or suspected; forgeries will spring up: a baptism and a burial presume the presence of a human being, but a registration of birth and death is only an entry in a book, and may be made for fraudulent purposes of a nonentity. I doubt not that some good laws have been made of late

years, and that amendments have been made in the old laws; but a trifling, busy-body, “ fussy,” spirit of law-making is itself a great evil; and on some late occasions legislation and philosophy seem to have entered into a conspiracy against common sense.

The mass of the community do not want this registration; although they do not attend divine service as could be wished, they are not dissenters, but like the churches of their forefathers for baptisms, marriages, and burials.

A Parish PRIEST.

REGISTRATION ACT. Sır,--The registration act makes it penal in a clergyman to follow his profession; he is placed under the supervision of a justice of the peace, instead of that of the bishop. Marriage, from beginning to end, is an ecclesiastical service, regulated exclusively by the church; the clergyman's duty with respect to it is pointed out in the canons, in the construction of which parliament was not consulted, nor was asked to ratify them. In the respect paid to these canons by the state consists its acknowledgment of the church. The spirit of marriage is expressed in the liturgy, “ that those who are joined together otherwise than God's word doth allow, are not joined together by God, neither is their matrimony lawful;” and the ecclesiastical courts are bound to recognise that principle, and acknowledge no other marriage. Parliament cannot legislate for the church; it may regulate the connexion between the church and the state, but not interfere internally with the former, and dictate to its ministers on their ecclesiastical duties. Parliament has exceeded its legitimate authority (as long as it continues to respect the church, or to observe the principles of religious toleration towards any religious society,) in enacting that a clergyman shall in some cases proceed to the performance of the marriage service without publication of banns in church, or licence from the ordinary, by the mere authority from an officer created to supersede the church in many important respects, and now is used to extinguish it by turning the clergyman into a civil officer, making him co-operate in the working of that engine destructive of the church, and forcing his conscience into participation with the abomination of a civil marriage.

The rubric declares, also, that a clergyman shall, under pain of suspension, bury all who die, not unbaptized, but excommunicated, and who have not laid violent hands on themselves. The act interferes with his duty in this respect, and if the enactments of the act be not respected, and a clergyman do not, in violation of his character and conscience, associate himself in a ministerial capacity with an office in open hostility to the church and to Christianity, he is to be carried before a justice of the peace. The liberties of the church, still part of the common law, are thus broken through, and the reformed VOL. XII.--Nor. 1837.



catholic church in these kingdoms is not placed on a level with sects, but oppressed below them.

The state, in the person of one of its ministers, has proclaimed this persecution against the clergy. Lord John Russell, from his seat in parliament, declared to the country, that an interpretation of the law of registration would shortly issue from the register office, and the clergy soon afterwards find pasted on the church doors a placard proceeding from that office, in which it is recommended that parents give the baptismal name of their children at the time of registration, when the first lesson taught by the church to her infant members is, that the Christian name, the new name, and sign of a new nature of regeneration in baptism, is and can be given only at the time of baptism. Here is the church overturned from its foundation by the denial of a Christian sacrament; and the clergy are forced into unhallowed communication with such an engine of the state, and made to do its “ earthy and abhorred behests." We are not servants of the state, but ministers of the church, and cost the state nothing; yet those who wear the livery of the crown, and receive its wages, (the military,) cannot be required to do any public act out of their profession, nor can parliament impose upon the clergy civil services contrary to their ecclesiastical duty. The placard on the church door could be viewed only in the light of Cromwell's—“ This house to let'-on the door of the House of Commons, after his armed band had expelled the members; for if power had preceded the will, the announcement of the placard would have sealed the churches against the clergy.





SIR,—When we come now to examine the working of Mr. Noel's scheme respecting schism, we find that he labours hard to lay the fault on churchmen. Well, what churchmen deserve, let them bear; for they must do so ultimately, and it is useless attempting to avoid it

But let us act fairly; in order to which, it is imperative to inquire what separation is, and who are the authors of it.

I confess I have seldom seen a man more free from guile than Mr. Noel appears to be in the whole design of his “ Tract on the Unity of the Church ;" and yet I never saw anything wound up with more apparent art and sophistry than are the arguments by which he contrives to make each person in these endless sections arrive at their respective and opposite conclusions, both in sentiment and conduct, without sin and without schism. We before saw that Mr. Noel does not make the separation to consist either in the parties arriving at their respective opinions, or in their acting upon them. The antipædobap

. tist, who, by reading, conversation, and prayer, has come to the determination « that he will not baptize his infant child," and the man who, through the same means, has rejected episcopacy, and become a “ presbyterian minister,” (pp. 10, 12,) are both justified and commended. He tells of each “ he did not sin in the formation of his opinion; and he sinned not in following his opinion;" he only“ did bis duty.” (pp. 10, 12.)

Where, then, lies the schism and the sin ? According to Mr. Noel's reasoning, they do not at all belong to this part of the subject, or to the parties here concerned. “ Under these circumstances,” (named above,) Mr. Noel asks, “ Am I to separate from him ?” (p. 12.)

« Is this a reason why I should separate from him ?” “Instead of separating from him, we are obliged, if we would not resist the command of God, to receive him as Christ has received us.(p. 10.)

Thus, then, we see it is the churchman, and the churchman only, who can, “ under all these circumstances,” become the offender, or be guilty of schism ; that is, if, as a churchman, he should separate from him who,“ in fidelity to Christ, was obliged to act as he did; and (Mr. N. proceeds) if I separate from him, I do it only because he did his duty.” (p. 12.) This is the sophistry of which I complain. For the churchman and the dissenter, and all others" who conscientiously disagree on such“ trifling undecided points," are to be excused and justified in like manner, since they, under a change of “these circunstances,” become, in their turn, entitled to honour, “ for their fidelity" in acting as they were “ bound to act according to their conviction of the meaning of scripture," in those points on which they are found differing from us.

According to this reasoning, then, the inference is as plain as evidence can inake it, that every division from any church or congregation, if they should amount to hundreds, and can be formed on any conscientious scruple, however insignificant, must be justified on the supposition that all men are not only allowed, but “bound to act according to their conviction of the meaning of scripture.” And thus every “schism" which a man can lay to his conscience not only becomes no sin, but is an absolute duty.According to this notion, it is perfectly certain, therefore, that schism and the sin of schism are banished out of the world. For one does right in separating on account of infant baptism," a second, in rejecting “ episcopacy;" and the pious “dissenter," in hating and wishing to pull down the national church. And a second inference will low (though not as Mr. Noel writes)--viz., that as many as can find in their hearts to differ from each of these, will find it to be their “duty' to divide and subdivide, without limit, and without end! One does not see, therefore, how we can avoid concluding, that the separation, and consequently the schism, consists in these very divisions and acts which Mr. Noel justifies, and which he designates as “ no sin,” but a duty.” But who are the authors of this separation ?

Had Mr. Noel acted fairly, and placed schism where the scriptures place it,-in divisions and separations,—we should then more readily have seen where to fix the guilt of schism-viz., on those who cause the schism. Mr. Noel asks, feelingly and scripturally, “ Should they (namely, questions respecting • infant baptism, episcopacy,' and the

established church,') separate Christians ?” He answers, God forbid," He tells us, and tells us truly, that they ought no more to separate

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