Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

moved at a distance from all local case of Principal MacFarlane, to oband personal feelings upon the oco serve, that I verily believe both parcasion, and, in as far as such a thing ties, on this occasion, are not only is possible, elevated, I hope, above perfectly in earnest, but have very that party spirit from which not even plausible grounds upon which to the Church of Scotland is exempted, found their reasonings; and, at this I read with something bordering moment, with all my decided leanupon surprise and regret, those ex- ings towards the general principle on pressions of controversial heats and the one hand, and the application of animosities, in which some publi- this principle to the particular case cations, which now lie before me, under consideration, on the other, abound. “ The gross misrepresenta- I find myself not a little embarrastion of the principles and motives of sed betwixt the two. On the one the Presbytery and Synod,"_"An hand, the inexpediency, upon geneutter disregard to truth and every ral grounds, of such a union of offihonourable feeling,"_" An absurd ces of the most important and laand malicious calumny,"_" An un borious description, presents itself merited slander *,” &c. &c: these, strongly before me; whilst, on the and similar phrases, however ex other, the clear and distinct delipressive of the excited and indig- verance of the law compels me to nant feelings of the worthy indivi- hesitate, and to consider whether or dual, who, in the quietude of his not it be safe and proper to make an closet, and under all the advantages Act of the Church give way before of bis official situation, makes use of the expediency of a particular case. them, fail, I am afraid, from their I see an object which I myself wish, very strength, to convey the impres- I have no hesitation in stating, to sion intended, and prove, incon- reach, and which the Church has testably, that a cause which relies been trying, at intervals, for years to upon its own intrinsic merits, is ge- reach—the abolition, namely, of“ all nerally injured by all such expres- Pluralities"-I see this hanging, as sions. The venerable author of these it were, upon a particular case ; and strong terms talks in this manner, yet, when I cast my eye upon the in consequence, however, of provo- very last deliverance, not of the Gecation, of which I have not thead neral Assembly alone, but of the vantage to be informed,--for, with majority of Presbyteries legally conthe exception of the above-mention- sulted, and this deliverance confirmed pamphlets t, which are principal- ed by a solemn and printed Act of ly occupied with his own speeches, Assembly, I am staggered in my aim, or with those of his adherents and and begin to consider whether or not supporters, I have not yet even the thing can be accomplished withheard of any publication upon the out doing an act of injustice to an subject. Situated as I am, I can- individual, who is entitled, as every not help contemplating the Pro son of the Church, and every British fessor in the light of one who has, subject is, to the benefit and cover of what Scotland is termed “the the existing laws, whether. nese sair chap, and the loud cry ;" for, laws be good or bad, founded in wiswhilst he is smashing away with the dom, or concocted in folly. fore-hammer of Johnson's Diction The question, then, as the case now ary, and dealing about his “ verba stands, seems to amount to this : sesquipedalia" con amore, he is ever Does the existing and unrepealed and anon making the roof of his law of the Church render imperative, study ring with direful and doleful upon the Presbytery of Glasgow, the vituperations and complaints. settlement of Principal MacFarlane

In the next place, I beg leave, be- in the High Church, or does it not ? fore entering upon the merits of the I am quite aware, and have alquestion, in its application to the ready admitted, that it can be shewn,

* Vide Professor MacGill's preface to Dr Chalmers' speech-(Passim).

+ The publication of the Speeches of the Presbytery and Synod of Glasgow, compiled by Mr MacPhun, together with Dr Chalmers' Speech, given to the public un. der the patronage and sanction of the very Reverend Professor MacGill.

both from Acts of Parliament, and bound, in this case, to follow ; and from those of the General Assembly, it is conceived, in as far as concerns that Pluralities, except in cases par the matter before us, in the following ticularly specified as exceptions, were words: uniformly considered as inconsistent with the original character and best

Act anent Uniou of Offices." interests of our Church ; and I will “Whereas, apprehensions have been ingly admit, likewise, that those ex- generally entertained, that the perceptions which have from time to mission given, in a few recent instantime been made, have originated in ces, to Clergymen holding a Profesa a real, or supposed necessity, and sorship in an University, to hold, at have afterwards been permitted to the same tiine, a parochial charge in multiply per incuriam. I will go the country, may introduce abuses further than this, and aver, that of hurtful to the interests of religion late in particular, (within these and literature ; the General Assemlast forty years,) this inattention on bly, conceiving that it is their duty to the part of the Church has been watch over both these interests, and construed into a sanctioning, as it feeling a becoming solicitude to mainwere, of a practice, which that tain, inviolate, the residence of MiChurch, under the existing laws, and nisters in their respective parishes, in reference to the spirit of her con which the fundamental laws of this stitution, had no authority to sanc church require, and by which the tion. And now that the matter has people of Scoiland enjoy, in full meacome to a crisis, as it were, and that sure, the comfort and edification of the evil spirit of innovation and plu a Gospel Ministry, direct all the rality, is rallying on the one side, Presbyteries of this Church to emand the old and better principle of ploy the means competent for them, residence and complete efficiency has in order to prevent the same person been brought up into array, and into from holding, at the same time, a Procontrast over against it-I say dis- fessorship in an University, and a tinctly, that it appears to me to be the "Parochial charge which is not situaduty of every true son of the Presby- ted in the city which is the seat of that terian Church to look to the bulwarks University, or in the suburbs thereof; of Zion, and to blow the trumpet of and that this direction may be unialarm and of defence. Yet there formly carried into effect, the Genemay be more haste than good speed, ral Assembly do, with the consent of even in a good cause. “ Festina lente” a majority of the Presbyteries of this is good Latin ; and, by a blindfold Church, enact and ordain, that if a precipitancy, the interests

of the very Professor in an University be herebest cause may be injured, if not after presented to a Parochial charge finally ruined. “ Fiat justitia ruat which is not situated in the city that colum." Let us execute justice or is the seut of that University, or in law to the best of our judgment in the suburbs thereof, he shall, within the meantime, and then let us legis- nine months after his being admitlate, if legislation appears necessary,

ted to the said charge, resign his with the view of preventing the re Professorship, and at the next ordicurrence of the like evil in future.

nary meeting of Presbytery thereThis, then, conducts me at once to after, shall produce to the Presbythe jet and key-stone of the argu- tery a certificate that his resignament. Is the Church of Scotland tion has been accepted ;” and—(here authorized, under the existing law, follows the converse or the election to deny Principal MacFarlane induce of a Minister to a Professorship, in tion into the High Church-yes or which case, the Minister's resignation no? What is that existing law ? must take place within six months,) The last, namely, which has been then it is observed in conclusion, passed by the Assembly upon the " that Chapels of Ease are included, subject ; for, in all cases, specified or and that the Old and New Towns of implied, it either confirms or su Aberdeen shall be held as forming persedes all others. It is, in short, one city, so far as respects the provithe rule, to the full and fair amount sions of the overture. of its import, which the Church is Now, it is asserted by those who

oppose the settlement of Professor crept in, in favour of such unions, MacFarlane, that this “ Act" does acquired a right of expectation which not, in fact, refer to the case in ques- it was not expedient, though it tion; but that it refers to that of re might, in strict law, be competent sidence, and to that only, leaving all for the Assembly to disappoint. other points connected with settle. There was, in short, as the Church ments, except that of residence, in general is well aware, an almost which, to the extent of the import of universal outcry for “ a new law,” the Act it enjoins, to be determined for the express purpose of preventas formerly, before the passing of ing in future any such glaring abuthis Act, and according to the then ses as had then occurred. That new existing “rules of the Church.” law was immediately overturned, and

That this preliminary question, remitted to the various Presbyteries which still “ leaves these rules” of of the Church, that it might be reguthe Church to be considered, may larly passed, by receiving, at last, the be determined, it is necessary to sanction of the Asseinbly, which actake a short retrospective view of tually took place in the year seventhe circumstances under which, and teen. Now, this Act thus obtained, in consequence of which, this over was, after all, a mere compromise, ture was sent to the Presbyteries, for there were some members of Asand passed into a law. It is well sembly who argued loudly for the known, and indeed not denied by restoration of things to what they either party, that however hostile conceived their primitive state, and the spirit of Presbytery might be to were for cutting off all pluralities double offices, these have, in every whatever; whilst other members boldperiod of her history, under one form ly and explicitly justified the estabor another, existed,” and it is likewise lished custom, upon the ground of equally unquestioned, that, for many expediency, as holding out an enyears past, Professorships and Prin- couragement to Clerical eminence, as cipalities, which are, in fact, Profes- well as to Professorial soundness of sorships in all but the title, have ac faith *. The “ medio tutissimus” tually existed in connection with was adopted ; and whilst the abuse of Church livings, and this, too, unchal. an old custom, sanctioning the union lenged. Abuse, however, is apt to of Professorial and Clerical offices, advance upon use, and an indulgence, was clearly and explicitly provided or accommodation, lias ultimately against, the former use was left still been converted into a distinct and in force-in other words, things were most unconstitutional accommoda- brought back to the state in which tion, to the convenience and inter- they were previous to these extreme ests of individuals. Professorships cases, which had so deeply interested, began to be united with Church live and so widely agitated the Church. ings, not, as formerly, in the same In Ferrie's case, the two parties, city with the Universities, but in the each contending for their own facountry, and at a very considerable vourite schemes, were so equally badistance from the University seat. lanced, that both were disposed to The cases of Dr Arnot and of Mr Fer- depart something from the extent of rie were, at a considerable interval their full demands, and hence the of time, keenly contested, and were compromising spirit” which is ewith difficulty carried, on the avowed vinced in the Act 1817. It is and expressed ground, that no law of from this circumstance, provisioned the Church existed to prevent the in the Act in as express terms as General Assembly from sanctioning could be adopted, that “all Pressuch unions. The individuals, it was byteries of the Church shall employ said, had, from the absence of any the means competent for them, in distinct and explicit law upon the order to prevent”-what? not the case, and from a practice which had union of Professorial and Clerical of

It was argued by Dr MacKnight and others, “ We are the better for a few prizes in the lottery of Church preferment; and by placing Churchmen in, or over, Univer. sities, you have the best possible guarantee of their orthodoxy, and of the communi. eation of wholesome and moral instruction to the youth committed to their care."

fices in general, and in every particu- where his University seat is : and lar case, for that is not submitted, by does not this, by a plain, and a the Act of the Church, to their cog common-sense inference, imply, that nizance,-it is left, in other words, if the Pastoral charge is not beyond precisely where it was before; but it the limits marked out by the act, is competent for the Presbyteries to such a union of offices may be at prevent this thing in particular- least tolerated ? Take any other si** the same person, painely, from milar case in illustration. A custom holding, at the same time, a Profes- has crept in, I shall suppose, of sorship in an University, and a Pa- spearing fish during what is callrochial charge which is not situate in ed close, or spawning time; and the city which is the seat of thut Uni- in order to prevent this outrage in versity, or in the suburbs thereof." future, a new law is passed, by which And, lest any person in the circum- every person is expressly prohibited stances described should receive pre- from spearing fish " before the 23d judice from the definition of city and of February.What is the inference suburbs mentioned, it is added, that which will naturally be drawn from the New and Old City of Aberdeen such an enactment? May it not be are to be considered as one city, so reasoned in this manner : “ my right far as respects the provisions of the to spear salınon was formerly a matAct. Now, I ask every impartial ter of doubt; there was nothing but person, wherefore all this guarding, use and wont in its favour; hut now, and definition, and limiting, if these in the specification of this new law, Clergyınen who are not placed with- it is, by implication, ratified, as, after out the city in which the seat of an the twenty-third of February, there University, where they hold a chair, is no penalty announced upon my is, are to be considered as precisely exercising my fish-spear as formerly." in the same predicament, and under Or view the matter thus:--You are the same incapacity with those who in the habit of walking by a footare so situated ?

path across your neighbour's field; But I may still be told, that there out he comes, however, of a morning is a difference betwixt the situation in harvest, and tells you plainly, of those included in the Act, and that after such a day, you are not to those who are excluded ; in as much walk, or, that beyond such a boundary as the former are positively prohibit- you are not to come. Is not this in ed from holding such offices ; where- timation of his tantamount to a peras the latter are still left in the mission to walk up to the date, and power of the Presbytery, with re to the extent specified, particularly gard to double livings.

as the man transgressing had been It is not true, however, that those known to be in the habit of exercising who are excluded by the limitations this privilege formerly ? of this Act remain precisely in the But granting, after all, every inch same situation in which they would of ground which Professor MacGill have been bad no such law been pass has demanded, and allowing that, ed. Theexpress title of the overture is, even after the enactment of this law, “An Act anent the Union of Offices;' in the year 1817, the general quesand if, whilst it expressly abolishes ·tion comes still to be tried by the one species of union, it as distinctly laws and the usages previously existexcepts from this abolition another ing, it appears to me, that even here species of union, then it would ap- Principal MacFarlane's right is a pear to follow, as a matter of unavoid- clear one. I would ask, how came able induction, that the instances ex. the Principal's predecessor into his eepted are to be considered as ex. double offices ? and how happened it, empted, at the same time, from the that, possessed of the power to predisqualifications upon which this law vent, in consistency with the

laws of of "prevention” proceeds. Residence the Kingdom and of the Church, is the law of the Church, and to pre- such Unions, the Presbyteries, and vent an infringement of this law, it the General Assemblies of former is enacted, that no Professor shall times, were so supine and ineffibe permitted to undertake a Pastoral cient, as, in the language of act charge at a distance from the city seventeen, not to prevent them? The

answer is simply this,—these men, Presbytery to proceed with his setlooking, at the same time, to the tlement, whilst they were employed practice and to the laws of the in devising and concerting an overChurch, did conceive that there ture, to prevent the like settlements was a discretionary power commit- in future. And has not the measure ted to them, which, (whether right which they then adopted been suc. ly or erroneously it is not neces cessful? Where is the man who, sary to say) they exercised, and by whilst the law of 1817 stands unrethis exercise they created a reason- pealed, will dare to insult a Presbyable expectation in the mind of Dr tery, by demanding admission into MacFarlane, and of all whose talents a church, under circumstances simi. or interest might place such contin- lar to those in which Arnot and Fergencies within the sphere of their rie were placed ? And what have we ambition, that the practice of past to do more, but to follow out, in the Presbyteries and Assemblies would year 1824, what was partially, and still continue to regulate the practice only partially, accomplished in the of those to come. Dr MacFarlane year 1817 ? Let the 1824 Assembly was entitled to expect, that if any direct the Presbytery of Glasgow to change should take place in the proceed with the settlement of Dr views and in the conduct of Presby MacFarlane, and then address them. teries, in regard to such unions, of selves incontinently to the reparation this change he should have due and of that, breach through which he, timely warning, as, without “ a de- along with so many more, has passclaratory act,” at least, the use and ed. Let them concur in remitting an wont of the Church was decidedly in overture to the Presbyteries of the his favour. When Mr Ferrie's case Church, in consistency with the Barwas under consideration, this was rier Act, providing, that, in future, exactly the tenor of argument which no pluralities, in any case, shall be the learned Law Lords uniformly tolerated, or at least that they shall pursued ; and even by those amongst be declared illegal in all cases not the members of both sides who were particularly and specifically exempt. most anxious for the prevention of ed. Should any stand be attempted such occurrences in future, it was against such an overture as this, distinctly allowed, that the law then there will be a most opportune bout to be made" could not have season for overwhelming the Assem“ a retrospect," and that the Profes- bly with arguments of expediency, sor of Civil History was entitled, with those deductions from scripfrom several precedents which were ture, reason, history, and common adduced, to enjoy his double living. sense, which may all be brought to The case of MacFarlane is nothing bear most urgently and directly to this. But, were it even more ag upon this point. Then the vener. gravated than it is in all its features able and patriotic Professor Macand circumstances, yet still, as the

Gill may urge

" the ministrations practice stands, and has long stood, of the sanctuary,” the important dualtogether independent even of the ties of “ visiting and catechising,". express act of 1817, Dr MacFarlane “the visits to the house of mourning, is entitled to all the benefits of induc. “ the duties to the sick and the dytion into his Pastoral charge at Glas ing,” “ the consideration of personal gow.

duties,” “the need of improvement". Is, then, it will be asked, and in. and

extended knowledge,” deed has often been asked, in a tone“ the dreadful consequences attende of triumph, Is the Church quite ing negligence”—“weaknesses, corhelpless on such occasions ? Has she ruptions, sins,” and all this with an nothing for it but to admit one case, opportune and overwhelming effect. to carry into execution one presenta Then the fervid and irresistible Chaltion after another, till the evil has mers may talk with propriety of attained that head and maturity a churches built and to be built,gainst which it may ultimately be of an encreasing population, and an vain to struggle ? By no means. encreasing demand for efficient and Wbat did the Church do in Profes. Gospel Ministers,-of the “indepensor Ferrie's case? They ordered the dence of the Patron on the Presby.

a

more

« AnteriorContinuar »