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“explanation" of that very point which Mr. P. has bere brought it forward to disprove. These are Bishop Gibson's words:
“A rate for the reparation of the fabric of a church is real, charging the land and not the person ; but a rate for ornaments is personal upon the goods, and not upon the land. . . . . In consequence of the foregoing position (that a rate for reparation of the fabric of a church is a real charge) the rate shall be laid upon all lands within the parish, though the occupiers inhabit in another parish.
As a FURTHER EXPLANATION of the two last heads, I will set down at length the directions in those cases given by the body of the civilians in Doctors' Commons.”
Then follows the document cited by Mr. Perceval, (i. 196—7.)
In the extract from Bishop Ken, Mr. P. gives the words “ to be sued in the ecclesiastical court only" in Italics-on what account I cannot conjecture, because, previous to the act of 1813, already alluded to, the ecclesiastical court was, of course, the only proper place in which to sue a recusant for the payment of church rates, and still remains so, for sums above £10. But in what way this affects the question under discussion I cannot see.
How far, then, these documents can assist the anti-church-rate cause I leave to any impartial reader to judge.
In return for them, let me point Mr. Perceval's attention to some which, I think, he will allow to be of a more decisive character on the other side ; and to which, with one exception, I have not before alluded.
I would refer him, then, first to the formulæ in use in the ecclesiastical courts in church-rate cases, which, I suppose, will be allowed to shew at least the animus of those courts, respecting any matter customarily affirmed in them. Many of these formulæ are given in Oughton's Ordo Judiciorum. One instance, however, will suffice here. Thus, then, runs a “ libellus subtractionis ratæ" of the year 1686:
“ Imprimis, quod tam de et ex quibusdam Constitutionibus Provincialibus..... quam ex longa, laudabili legitimaque prescripta consuetudine, A TEMPORE IMMEMORATO HUCUSQUE, inviolabiliter et inconcusse usitata et observata, ac in contradictorio judicio sæpius seu saltem semel obtenta, Parochiani cujuslibet Parochiæ Cantuariensis Provinciæ,terras, tenementa, possessiones, bona, jura et credita in eadem habentes obtinentes et possidentes, consideratis possessionum suarum prædictarum quantitatibus, ad reficiendum restaurandum et reparandum easdem ecclesias suas parochiales, et ad quævis alia onera, quando et quoties opus fuerit, contribuere et pecunias suas exponere tenebantur et tenentur. Et ponit Pars ista, &c. &c. (No. 361, vol. ii. p. 352.)
Similar formulæ may be found at pp. 342 and 397. Could stronger language be used in affirmation of the position for which we contend?
A still more important and decisive class of documents may be found in the decisions of the Court of King's Bench in this matter; of which I would commend to the reader's attention the five following:
The first is the case of Boothly v. Bailey, (Hobart's Rep. p. 69,) in which it is said
“ The use of the body of the church, and the repair and maintenance of it, is common to all the parishioners."
This is a decision of the supreme common-law court.
The second is the case of “ Parish of Aston v. Castle Birmidge Chapel," which is thus reported :
COMMON LAW THE HOUSE AND ALL LANDS
“ The church of Aston being in decay, the parishioners of Castle Birmidge were taxed towards the reparation thereof with the rest of the parish of Aston, and obtained a prohibition upon surmise that there was a chapel parochial, and that they alone had used, time out of mind, to repair that at their own charge, and, by reason thereof, had been discharged of the reparation of Aston church.
The court awarded a consultation. ...... It was apparent to the court that they were, to all purposes, part of the parish of Aston, and THEREFORE de communi jure, were liable to reparation WITH THE REST ; for though they had this chapel for their ease, yet they might resort, if they would, to the mother church,” &c. (Hob. Rep. ed. 1683, p. 67.)
The third is the case of “ Peeter v. Rose Edmonds," where a prohibition was moved for on the same ground as in the last case ; and,
“ The chief justice said, That it is contrary to common law, that they who have a chapel of ease in a hamlet should be discharged of the repair of the mother church; and it might happen that the church, being built of stone, might not need reparation in the memory of man, and yet that would not discharge them without some special cause of discharge were shewn.” (Et le Chief Justice dit que est encounter common droit que ils que ount un chappel de ease in un ville serront discharge de repairer le Mother church, et poet estre que l'Esglise estcant build de stone ne unques need reparacion deins memory de home, et uncore ceo ne discharge eux sans special cause de discharge monstre. Rolle's Rep. Mich. xx. Ja. B. R. ii. 265.)
The fourth is the case of “Holland and Kirton," in which it was said by Haughton, Justice, and not contradicted, that, “A CUSTOM IN PREJUDICE TO THE REPARATIONS OF A CHURCH IS VOID, FOR BY
ARE CHARGEABLE WITH THE REPARATION.” (“ Custom in prejudice del reparations del' Esglise est voide, car de common droit le meason et touts terres sont chargeable a ceo reparation." Rolle's Rep. Mich. xxii. Ja. B. R. ii. 463.)
In these cases let it be observed, that the ground on which the judgment was founded was, that by common law the parishioners were bound to keep their church in repair.
It is very possible that the custom which throws the burthen of repair upon the parishioners may have arisen originally from the parishioners voluntarily taking it upon themselves; but the cause which gave rise to it is immaterial. Nay,
• It is one of the characteristic marks of English liberty (says Mr. Justice Blackstone) that our common law depends upon custom; wbich carries this internal evidence of freedom along with it, that it probably was introduced by the voluntary consent of the people." (i. 74.)
But this does not make it the less binding when it is once established.
The fifth is that to which I have already alluded in my former letter, and is one which no ingenuity can explain away-viz., the case of Newson v. Bawldry, 1 Ann, (Farresley's Rep. p. 69, or Mod. Rep. vol. 7,) where it is distinctly affirmed, that the parishioners
ARE COMPELLABLE TO PUT THINGS IN DECENT ORDER;" and that the “rule for the degrees of decency' is “the judgment of the majority;" a sentence which very clearly shews the nature and limits of the power belonging to the parishioners in this matter.
These authorities I beg to commend to the serious consideration of all who have entertained any doubt of the common-law liability of parishioners to keep their churches in repair.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, William Goode. London, May 11, 1838.
CHURCH FASTING AND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY. SIR,—While the practice of fasting has, at all times, been recognised by our church, and has been advocated by her greatest divines, it has of late years fallen into too general disuse, partly owing to the dread of popery having made us suspicious of every practice of the church of Rome, partly because the clergy have neglected to call public attention to it as an ordinance of the church of Christ.
I have not, however, taken my pen for the purpose of advocating the general principle; that has lately been done with a strength of argument, and an earnestness of persuasion, which cannot be improved upon by more than one able member of our church. My object is to offer a few considerations to those of my brethren in the ministry, (who, while they feel, as far as they are themselves concerned, the importance and benefit of the practice, yet feel a delicacy in bringing the subject before others,) calculated to overcome their objections to speaking publicly of it to their people.
It was while reflecting whether I ought myself to introduce the subject to my congregation at the beginning of Lent, and while feeling the greatest reluctance to touch upon a point which I had never hitherto alluded to in public, that it occurred to me, that while the clergy, with the authority of the church, and the example of the wise and good of every age to support them, were fearful of making a requirement so likely to be unpalatable to their flocks as that of fasting, other men, on grounds not necessarily religious, took hold of this very means to produce a change in the bad habits of the lower classes, and have extensively applied it as a remedy to the desolating practice of drunkenness. The remedy proposed by the advocates of the Temperance Society—a remedy agreed upon, and responded to, by thousands and tens of thousands in this country and in America—was fasting, not fasting at set seasons, or for a religious purpose, but fasting altogether from what, to very many, formed a large proportion of their daily consumption; the loss of which, too, would be felt more than perhaps anything else in the shape of meat or drink. To this yoke tens of thousands have cheerfully submitted, and, notwithstanding its rigour, (so much greater than that of any ordinance of the church,) have continued to bear it, and no doubt have, in many instances, derived great benefit from it. The exercise of self-denial, in one particular, has had a wonderful effect upon their whole manner of living. Many thoughtless spendthrifts, who were in the habit of squandering their earnings on drink, and 80 robbing their families of their proper support, while they were ruining their own health and character, have, through this means, become frugal, careful, and industrious, their families have rejoiced in the change, and unite in blessing the Temperance Society. "Do 1, therefore, advocate this society? No, sir ; far from it; on the contrary, I should be inclined to consider it really calculated to undermine Christianity by substituting something else in the place of the gospel of the grace of God as a remedy against sin. But while we regard the Temperance Society with fear and suspicion, there is no reason why we
should not learn a lesson from it. And I do think that the success that has attended it does prove that the humbler classes of the community would not feel so opposed as we imagine to the church's rule of fasting; and that the self-denial thus voluntarily undergone, in obedience to the advice of their spiritual teachers, would be attended with many happy effects; and amongst these, perhaps, not one of the least would be, a closer attachment to that church, and that ministry,to whose teaching they gave such substantial proof of regard and reverence.
Many persons have been satisfied, and I myself have been of the number, by replying to all advocates of the Temperance Society, that the motives which the gospel furnishes are the only weapons which it is lawful for Christ's ministers to use against sin, whatever shape it may assume; and that, consequently, there is no other authorized means of deterring men from the crime of intoxication than is weekly employed by the clergy in the services of the sanctuary, and in the admonitions and warnings which they have an opportunity of giving individually to their people in the course of their pastoral visits. Now, Sir, while I think this is, in a great measure, true, it may be that it is not the whole truth. Does the church provide her members with no other weapons, wherewith to fight against sin, the world, and the devil, than the ordinances of the house of God? I think she does. I think she prescribes a remedy exactly suited to the case in point, and yet a remedy untried and neglected. She would subdue intemperance and every other fleshly lust, not only by addresses to the understanding, but by disciplining the sensesby laying divinelyappointed restraints upon our animal nature. She knows that man is made
up of two parts, body and soul; that between these there must be always a struggle for the mastery. To the end that the flesh may be subdued to the Spirit, our divine Master has taught us, both by example and precept, to join fasting to prayer, that by statedly denying ourselves some accustomed indulgences, as a religious duty, and as means to an end, we may the better learn to curb our desires in the hour of temptation.
When I hear the great apostle of the Gentiles saying, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection,” I cannot but feel a fear lest we have been “ wise above that which is written,'' and have been the occasion of great mischief to our flocks, by refraining from enjoining upon them a practice ordained by our church, according to the authority committed to her, sanctioned by our Lord and his apostles, and universally observed in the purest days of Christianity.
Instead of associating fasting with the abuses of the church of Rome, should we not have taught our people that it does not consist in exchanging one sort of food for another-as, for example, substituting fish for flesh on certain days--but in denying ourselves, by laying a restraint upon our appetites, that by practising self-command when danger is far off, we may the better be able to exercise it when danger is near. Few yield to the vice of drunkenness under the idea that there is nothing wrong in it, but because the temptation to strong drink overcomes their weak resolution. Now, what I would humbly suggest to my brethren whose charge lies principally amongst the poor, VOL. XIII.- June, 1838.
and who have to lament the sad prevalence of intoxication, is, that they would endeavour to apply the remedy of religious fasting to this evil; that they would lay before their people the importance and efficacy of this means of subduing their irregular desires and appetites, and earnestly recommend to those who have found strong drink their snare, to refrain wholly from it on the fast days appointed by the church. Perhaps it would be sufficient to mention every Friday to be observed in this way; its being the day on which our Saviour was crucified would furnish a reason sufficiently plain for the meanest capacity to comprehend why that day in particular should be thus kept. Abstinence in this particular would perhaps be a sufficient demand to make upon the working classes; and it would be no small act of self-denial. The regular recurrence of this weekly fast, and the opportunity thus afforded of exercising self-restraint, would, I feel persuaded, through God's blessing, fortify the mind against temptation more than the most awakening sermon, and nerve it with a resolution never felt before, to fight manfully against the world, the flesh, and the devil. While thus prepared to resist the enemy, they will have the comfort of thinking that they are not following a scheme of man's contrivance, but are simply acting in obedience to the church, and walking in the steps of their pious forefathers. This last I conceive to be a point of no small importance. Much of the vigour with which we follow up any counsel depends upon the source from which it
The rules which the Temperance Society enjoins have no higher sanction than that which man has given them. It is the frequent failure of engagements entered into to maintain temperance that has driven its members to total abstinence; and not a few who have taken such vows upon them have felt the yoke too heavy, and have cast it off altogether. In all such cases there is great reason to fear that “the last end of such men is worse than the first.” This, however, is only what was to be expected. Voluntary undertakings, the suggestion of man's wisdom, can never have the force of efforts made in obedience to the commands of God, and in a spirit of submission to his church. Every individual effort of the latter kind brings its blessing with it, while it goes to confirm a habit of doing right; while practices of a painful nature, undertaken at man's bidding only, will always lay us open to the rising thought—“Who hath required this at thy hands ?" But, sir, I have already extended this letter too far, and must conclude, earnestly hoping that some of your correspondents may take up this subject, and treat it as its importance deserves. We are daily seeing great names added to the list of the supporters of the Temperance Society; and there is need of having its true character and ultimate tendency exposed. I think the church has shewn “a more excellent way" for the cure of this evil of drink, and it is time to make trial of it. If any suggestion that I have thrown out remove one obstacle out of the way of a return to the observance of a church ordinance, it would afford unspeakable satisfaction to your correspondent.