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Embosom'd in celestial light
And we may aye approach IIim, till we see
Unharm’d, and Faith be lost in boundless Charity.
From grave or death-bed dear,
That cherish'd form in heart to bear,
So may we watch Thy steps, till, unreproved,
We too may drink Thy light, and love as we are loved.
May I in thee grow bold,
And the soul's anchor, and behold
While o'er thy breast no ruffling gales draw near,
Nor earth-born clouds come o'er to dim that vision clear.
Suggesting visions vain,
ye heart-stealing schemes, with syren ways,
ye that lay on prayer the chain !
And clothe with wings, till, all her wanderings o'er,
She sits at home and sighs to find that she is poor.
And thoughts that haunt the wind
Wrecks and decays which fancy bind,
As we would live, to pray,--and as we pray, to live.
Thus walk'd the good of old ;
'Mid kindred, home, and pastoral fold,
Firm fix'd the pilgrim eye, and yearning still
TO A ROBIN WIIICH SETTLED ON THE AUTHOR WHILST
MINISTERING AT THE ALTAR.
Poor trembling bird ! thy instinct doth not fail thee,
He that hath made thee still doth guide thee best; When all thou trustest threaten to assail thee,
Here art thou sure of pity and of rest.
O that whome'er the heartless world hath slighted
Would watch thy wings, would wisdom learn of thee !
Would bid them thitherward for comfort flee!
Securely here to ask repose and healing
The restless, weary, wounded soul may come;
May pray for shelter, and will find a home.
S. P. R. +
The Editor begs to remind his readers that he is not responsible for the opinions
of his Correspondents.
ON CHURCH RATES.
MY DEAR SIR,—My position, to which one of your correspondents (Mr. Goode) in the April Number has called the attention of your j'eaders, (namely, that of “the one churchman who has asserted that church-rate is only a voluntary offering on the part of the people,") must appear, at first sight, so questionable, and has been rendered só unenviable by the kind of praise which the “Edinburgh Review” has awarded me, at the disparagement of abler and better men than myself, who, I am sure, have entered upon the question of church-rates with as much sincerity as I could possibly do, that I hope I shall not be charged with egotism if, in my own vindication, when my name is thus obtruded upon public notice, I request permission to insert in the “ British Magazine" some documents upon the point which have fallen in my way since the publication of my pamphlet, and which have, necessarily as it seems to me, tended to confirm me in the view which I then maintained. I do not make this request in ignorance or disregard of the fact, that I have to reckon the “ British Magazine" as one of the authorities with which it has been my lot to differ on this occasion; but as, I suppose, truth, and not victory, is the object of us all, I trust that you will not think me unreasonable in making it.
I have not, (at least I trust I have not,) on other occasions, shewn myself so unmindful of the rights and interests of the church as to leave room, in any candid mind, for a suspicion that my present position is the result of any wavering or hesitation in her behalf. Some, at least, will give me credit when I say, that nothing but what has seemed to me the compulsory force of truth has induced me to take a line at variance with so many whom I love and esteem, and with whom I had much rather find myself ranged in this as in other matters.
My position is, that the obligation of the people to contribute to the repairs of the parish churches, up to the year 1813, was altogether
what-except in the cases specified by that act—I believe it to continue still, a religious, and not a civil, obligation-an obligation which can only be enforced by those appeals to conscience with which only the spiritual courts, as such, have to do; that the idea of church-rates forming part of church property, in the sense in which that term is used, to imply something recoverable by an action at common law, cannot be maintained; and that, if there was at the first (as some learned men have asserted) an endowment to that effect on the part of the original lords of manors, who built on their estates our present parish churches, such endowment was so soon and so wholly lost sight of, that no claim can be rested upon it.
1. The first document I will cite is the “homily for repairing and keeping clean, and comely adorning churches,” put forth in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The mere fact of there being a homily at all upon the subject seems corroborative of my view, for if it were a civil right, a lien upon estates according to the law of the land, it should seem a superfluous and roundabout way to enforce it by a set homily. But if we read the homily itself, the view is still further confirmed, for there is no allusion whatever in the homily to any such claim. It is throughout an appeal to conscience, on the score of the indecency and impropriety of the neglect, not on the score of fraud or dishonesty. I will only cite part of the last sentence (the homily is short, and those who feel interest in the matter can turn to it):
“ But have God in your heart, be obedient to his blessed will, bind yourselves every man and woman to your power toward the reparations and clean-keeping of the church, to the intent that ye may be better encouraged to resort to your parish church."
II. The Eighty-fifth of the Canons of 1603–4, which makes espe. cial reference to this homily, and may therefore, I suppose, be construed as concurring in the position apparently maintained in it.
“85. Churches to be kept in sufficient reparation.— The church wardens, or quest men, shall take care and provide that the churches be well and sufficiently repaired, &c., as best becometh the house of God, and is prescribed in an homily to that effect."
The canons are in everybody's hands, so I need not trespass upon your space by quoting more at length. What means the high conmissioners had of enforcing the decrees of the ecclesiastical ordinaries, as they are enjoined to do in the next canon, I do not know; but as the bill of rights has declared all such courts to be illegal and pernicious, I prestime we cannot avail ourselves of it, whatever it may have been.
III. A metropolitical letter of Archbishop Abbot, (1619,) in which this passage occurs :
“ And because I do receive complaint almost out of all countries, that the churches are neither repaired, nor seemly adorned, as is fit for the house of God, I pray your lordship that, together with this other charge, your subordinate officers may stir up your clergy in solemn sort, in their sermons, to call upon the people, for reforming this so irreligious an abusc."-Wilkins, iv. 460.
Is this the course which a man would take to vindicate a right of property ?
IV. A petition from the inferior clergy-viz., of the rectors, vicars, and curates of this nation, (1664,) in which this passage occurs :
“ That you would compel such obstinate persons as refuse to pay their due rates and assessments to the repair of their respective churches, and other charges relating to the worship of God, to be responsible for such stubborn refusal to the civil magistrate, seeing they undervalue and despise all ecclesiastical authority.”— Wilkins, iv. 580.
I ask again, if there was endowment and right of property, or if there had been at this time common law of the land, in the matter, is this the course that would have been taken ?-or how could such a petition have been necessary ?
V. My last is from the valuable volume just published by Mr. Round, of Bishop Ken's prose works. At page 492—4, we have his Articles of Visitation and Inquiry. This extract must be given at greater length :
“You, the church wardens and sidesmen, are to maintain the church in sufficient repair, which is to be done by a tax, made by the church wardens and parishioners, after public notice given of the time and place where they meet; and those that refuse are to be sued in the ecclesiastical court only. And for the better direction of persons concerned, here followeth the particular consultations of the learned civilians about church-rates :
“1. Every inhabitant, dwelling within the parish, is to be charged according to his ability, whether in land, or living within the same parish, or for his goods there that is to say, for the best of them, but not for both.
“ 2. Every farmer dwelling out of the parish, and having lands, or living in the said parish, in his own occupation, is to be charged to the value of the same lands, or living, or else to the value of the stock thereupon, even for the best, not for both.
“3. Every farmer dwelling out of the parish, and having lands, or living, within the parish, in the occupation of any farmer or farmers, is not to be charged; but the farmer or farmers thereof are to be charged, in particularity, every one according to the value of the land which he occupieth, or according to the stock thereupon, even for the best, but not for both,
“4. Every inhabitant and farmer occupying arable land within the parish, and feeding bis cattle out of the parish, is to be charged with the arable lands within the parish, although his cattle be fed out of the parish.
“5. Every farmer of any mill within the parish is to be charged for that mill; and the owner thereof, if he be an inhabitant, is to be charged for his liability in the same parish.
“6. Every owner of lands, tenements, copyhold, and other hereditaments, inhabiting within the parish, is to be taxed according to his wealth, in regard to a parishioner, although he occupy none of them himself; and his farmer or farmers also are to be taxed for occupying only."
It should seem from this last clause, that rent was not chargeable with church-rate unless the owner resided in the parish-only the farmer's profit. This seems contrary to the meaning of Archbishop Stratford's canon; and seems to make the rate a charge on persons rather than on property. The same seems the effect of clause 3, and perhaps also of clause 2; while the first, which leaves it at the option of the vestry to rate lands or goods, seems to witness so strongly against any lien upon the land, that I shall be curious to see how those who will come to the consideration of these extracts with different views from those which I have been led to entertain will think it possible to set it aside. Perhaps some of them will be kind enough to give us the benefit of their thoughts upon the extracts I have here VOL. XIII.—May, 1838.
collected. I need not, I trust, assure them, that any observations of theirs will receive attention and respect from,
My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,
ARTHUR PERCEVAL. P.S.-My attention was called to the first two extracts by an anonymous pamphlet, privately printed in Cornwall; to the writer of which I beg to take this opportunity of returning my thanks for his courtesy in sending me a copy of it.
Eust Horsley, April 4, 1838.
ON THE RATING OF TITHE COMMUTATION RENT CHARGE.
SIR,— Your correspondent “Judex,” in his exposition of the law of rating lands and tithes under the new parochial assessment act, has conferred an obligation on the community by the perspicuity with which he has brought the matter before the public. The following observations are intended as supplemental to the statement which he has made, and they may probably be serviceable in putting the titheowner on his guard against the infliction of an excessive assessment, and in furnishing him with arguments to support his appeal against it, should circumstances render such a proceeding necessary.
1. It is decided in the case of Rex. v. Joddrell, the charter of the tithe-owner's rights in the matter of rating, that “the sessions ought to ascertain the ratio which the rent of land bears to its average annual profit or value, and assess the tithe-owner for his tithe in the same ratio." Now it may be observed that the appeal which was thus decided was against “ the occupiers of lands” in the parish of Yelling ; but as other profits besides those arising from lands were assessable to the poor previous to the passing of the Parochial Assessment Act, it may be inferred, that had the appeal been against the occupiers of any other species of property yielding an annual profit which was rateable, the learned judge who decided the case would have directed the sessions to ascertain the ratio which the rated value of such profit bore to its average annual value, and to rate the tithe-owner for his tithe-rent in the same ratio. It would appear, therefore, that the method to arrive at the amount at which the tithe-rent charge ought to be assessed should be to ascertain the ratio which the rated value of all lands, and of other rateable profits accruiny in a parish, bears to the annual profit or value of such lands, and such other rateable profits, and to assess the tithe-owner for his tithe-rent in the same ratio. The case of Joddrell applies to real property only; this would apply to all rateable property; a distinction which may be of consequence in many cases, in fact in all parishes which are not wholly agricultural.
2. The Poor Law Commissioners, in their reply to an inquirer as to what sum should be deducted from the tithe commutation rent charge on account of rates, say, that the amount of rates paid in the preceding year is a true criterion to calculate what may be the amount for the