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THE CHURCH ROOKS AND THE ESSAYS AND REVIEWS. Judging from the ludicrously indignant tone of “the public press," as well as from the plethoric protests entered by official churchmen against that wellabused work the Essays and Reviews, it appears to have become a sort of popular opinion that the writers are a body of men who malignantly conspired together in order to do their utmost toward destroying the peace of the Church, and the national respect for truth; towards extinguishing all sense of religious claims and duties, and to the end that a blank denial of God and goodness should gain an ascendancy. The charges are very bitter and painful to repeat, but it is difficult to perceive how they could be otherwise than bitter when it was the clergy who preferred them. It has been both unwisely and impertinently set forth that the worst and most unscrupulous enemy it is possible for a man to have is a bad woman. This is a groundless theory, for the fact is, that, as an enemy, she is not half so relentless as a clergymanthan whom it is impossible to find any who are less merciful and forgiving. They who are taken before the bench hear it as a piece of good news that the parson is not sitting; for while he is absent there is some chance of mercy being extended toward them by the gentlemen of the county. When he sits they are certain that no mercy will be shown. And as it is the clergy who, for easily understood purposes of their own, are specially engaged in hunting down this volume, it is only natural to anticipate the use of language involving the severest censure, and that the English vocabulary of vituperative terms will be most diligently ransacked in order to obtain the bitterest which it is possible to employ.

Theological controversy is proverbially uncandid and ungenerous. In the entire range of theological writing there is no instance recorded of as many as six clergymen dealing candidly with each other in regard to points upon which they differed. The rule is, that a clergyman shall close his eyes to the defects of his own system, and apply a powerful magnifying glass when contemplating its better portions, but when estimating the case of his opponent he shuts his eyes to all the good points, and uses the magnifying glass in connection with the weaknesses. There is neither giving nor taking of quarter. The law of total extermination seems to reign in all its perfection in the theological sphere, and when, as in this case, the entire Church has been VOL. V. NEW SERIES, VOL. I.



aroused from its long slumber, roused from its somnolent enjoyment to defend its time-honoured source of ease and plenty, it is but according to the common course that there should be a free use of the imputative and scurrilous. It has been so, and we could expect no less.

One of the arguments now employed against the writers—an argument dressed up in language wbich we cannot copy into our pages—is in relation to their continuance in the Church. The reverend calumniators are anxious to destroy the reputations of the men whose arguments they cannot reply to. They endeavour to induce their readers to believe that none other than selfish or roguish men could have written as the Essayists have done, while eating the bread of the Church. And gathering impudence as they write, they are charitable enough to advise that “to save what of reputation remains to

them, they shall quit the sanctuary which has been dishonoured by their “intrusion and unfaithfulness.” Oily sermonisers are always delicately moral when marking out the course of conduct to be followed by other men, and we doubt not that many who offer this advice are of the Joseph Surface school, who would make all the world moral in order to claim the virtue of the work as a set off against their own delinquencies. They do their morality at the expense of other people. They would have the Essayists surrender their preferments, and then, when standing without the pale of the sacred congregation, “if it pleases them they can join with their friends the infidels,” and be absolved from all mere worldly blame. The Reverend Barnacle Zionbluster is perfectly assured in his own somnolent mind that no other course could be pursued by honourable men; and shall we doubt that Barnacle would act thus if he had written such a volume? It is, however, perfectly certain that no such treatise will ever appear under that signature, and thus Barnacle is safe in suggesting what would be his course as an upright man,

There is no doubt of this being, to the thoughtless at least, a very telling argument. In England, the majority of persons find themselves to be incapable of tolerating that their contemporaries shall pass uncondemned when possessed of that miserable spirit which enables men to defame those whose servants they are-to defame those whose livery they wear, and whose bread they eat. The unuttered, but general sentiment, is in favour of abandoning the service of those whom we cannot avoid abusing-love them and be honest unto them, or be candid enough to leave their flesh pots. We grant the general soundness and nobleness of the principle, while at the same time recognising that these authors are not guilty, in the ordinary sense, of violating it—at least as only violating it in precisely the same measure that it is violated by nine out of every ten clergymen. We can honour the man as earnest and noble who boldly gives up his living, saying, I cannot believe the dominant theology, and, therefore, henceforth I shall cease to minister at the altar; but we cannot say that they are necessarily dishonest who continue to officiate. Our question is, Are they earnest in promulgating the new truths which have enlightened their minds ? In what way are they who go to church to be taught the truth, if every clergyman quits the fold directly he has discovered it? It may be suggested, as a question fairly open for discus, sion, whether a clergyman like the Rev. John Macnaught, of Liverpool, would not be guilty of a dereliction of duty were he to quit his church. The ground is dangerous to tread, but nevertheless it must be debated, for the time is not far distant when he, with the Essayists, will find many fellow-preachers to share and inculcate the denounced opinions.

It is certain, as a rule, the Church has not been very particular upon this


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point, for the majority of English clergymen are eating the bread which was designed for other men. The greater part of the wealth held by the Universities and the Church, was obtained in the form of Roman Catholic endowments. Religious men dying, left money and lands to be applied for educational purposes, or for the annual repetition of a given number of Masses. The Roman Catholic sysiem has been blotted out, and this wealth is otherwise applied ; but no clergyman within our knowledge has ever felt any qualms of conscience, as to the impropriety of “eating the Roman “ Catholic bread," and there is no reason why the Essayists should be a whit more particular. The Protestant defends the present use of the old endowments upon the theory that the Anglican Church teaches more of truth than was taught by those who were masters of the position when these monies were bequeathed; he justly argues that it would be absurd either to cling to old and false doctrines because there is money to pay the preachers, or to refuse to pay the teachers of a nobler truth with that money; and his argument is equally available for the Essayists as for the orthodox Anglican Churchmen. In each case the men settle the point with their own consciences by assuming that, in the highest sense, they conform to the will of the original donor in teaching that religious truth which is of importance to mankind. And if these Essayists, as we doubt not they are doing, teach conscientiously, we know of no reason why they should not use the money which was left by Roman Catholics, as they may, who, according to the Catholic theory, are more unfaithful than the freethinkers."

But although reasonably able to defend the Essayists upon this score, we are far from believing they can be honestly defended from all the charges which their assailants have preferred against them. We are by no means certain they are not actually guilty of conspiring against what is technically called the peace of the Church, and which, as we understand it, means the convenience and comfort of Church dignitaries, with the maintenence of the easy-going preaching style of rectors, deans, and bishops. The hierarchy must actually work a little in return for pay received. The Essays have impaired the digestive powers of half the Bench of bishops, and as to the deans, there is no kuowing how much mischief they have suffered, threatening a complete suspension of their much-loved usual indulgence in wine and nuts. But unhappily human history affords no parallel to this case of disturbance. In our boyhood we remember a jocular sailor resolving to destroy the peace of a number of crows which had taken up their abode in the tall trees which grew in a cathedral yard; to effect his fell purpose, he, with great skill, rigged out a soldier, supplying him with the accoutrements, musket and all, with an excellent mask; when complete, he fastened the figure up to a branch, so that while standing it would be swayed slightly backward and forward. It was a formidable looking affair, and utterly regardless of dicta uttered by Broderip and Swainson, we are perfectly sure the birds were deceived and rendered most unbappy; they believed that their deluge had come at last. From every nest they could see the soldier, and the noise made by them when discussing his quality, while estimating his intentions, and the probable length of his visit, was most intolerable. There was not one bird in the rookery that slept without dreaming of that devilish soldier. Some of them got up and went out to spend their time, screaming over the distant fields, as if the day of judgment had come, and they had lost their ticket. Day succeeded day, and there was no peace for them, no cessation of the horrible din and disorder, until the dean, having discovered the cause of the commotion,


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ordered that the figure should be destroyed, when, as a natural result, the old rooks, though greatly disturbed about the past, were enabled to sleep in peace.

In much the same way, although by no mere stuffed figure, has the peace of the Church Rooks been disturbed by these Essays. The authors have rendered it impossible for the hierarchy to sleep in peace, for they threaten its existence. The bishops can see the destructive gun, they can scent the inevitable consequences, and hence the episcopal cawing. Formerly a bishop had a very easy time of it, but now there is a skeleton laid upon his table, that speaks audibly enough of the end drawing near. And is it not time?

. England has paid scores of millions for its bishops, and hundreds of millions for its churches ; but no man can show a corresponding return of good achieved or of virtue developed. Hitherto both of them have been like the druggists' window bottles, more for show than use. The poor have paid freely out of the proceeds of their toil, yet have not been benefited. The rich have had a spiritual aristocracy to flutter through their saloons, but, we fear, without ever finding their hearts softened or their motives elevated. The only persons who have derived benefit are the washerwomen, unto whom the getting up of so much lawn has been a matter of high importance, and we trust, as a rule, of considerable profit. But remembering the amount of disturbance caused in the episcopal mind, we shall confess that it is but natural to expect a show of irritation. No man likes to be disturbed while enjoying the after-dinner nap; and in like manner the hierarchy have resented the action of the Essayists, which has destroyed the peace of the bishops' minds, and rendered it necessary for them to make, at least, a show of doing something for the bread they eat,

P. W. P.



In speaking of the Mendicant Orders of Monks it must not be forgotten that the Dominicans as well as the Franciscans were mendicants and preachers; though the objects proposed in their establishment and their after-developments were entirely different. It is true that both Orders had at first a common object--to preach. The Dominicans, however, made it their peculiar business to preach against heresy, they were from the first, and ever continued to be, the auxiliaries of the Papacy; whereas the Franciscans, who remained true to the rule of St. Francis, became the opponents of the Pope, and the founders of more than one heretical sect. “ The office of the Dominicans," says Michelet, "was to regulate and repress. Theirs was the Inquisition;

and to them was confided the teaching of philosophy, even within the

pontifical palace. Whilst the Franciscans hurried over the world in the “ wildness of inspiration, alternately sinking and rising from obedience to

liberty, and from heresy to orthodoxy, firing the world, and agitating it " with the transports of mystical love, the sombre genius of St. Dominic " buried itself within the sacred palace of the Lateran, and the granitic “ vaults of the Escurial.”

These two Orders afford an excellent example of the policy by which the Papacy sought to retain its influence in Europe. The Dominicans undertook the work of keeping down heresies; while to the Franciscans was allotted the


task of bringing into the Church, so far as could be, the progressive and freethinking elements; their work was, if possible, to reconcile to the Church those from among whom opposition and heresy would otherwise be likely to spring.

Spread by thousands throughout every country of Europe, these Mendicants might be met with on every road, in every town, and in every village, soliciting alms or preaching to the multitudes, ever ready to listen to these men, glib of tongue, speaking a language they could comprehend, and after the manner of the Spurgeons of modern days, interlarding their discourse with jests, imaginary conversations, and illustrations calculated to take the ears of the ignorant populace. In this way they became useful to the Papacy in preaching up the goodness of the Pope, and the duty of obedience to him, and also in collecting the moneys which, either in the shape of Peter's pence or otherwise, went to swell the revenues of the Papal treasury. We shall meet with them in a later age as the vendors of Papal Indulgences; and through all the ages in which they continued active they were the great manufacturers and purveyors of Saint's miracles, and it was doubtless the more imaginative or mendacious of_their respective followers who have adorned the lives of Dominic and Francis with the extraordinary legends which good Catholics now receive as veritable history.

It has been remarked with great truth, that these miracles, of which the monkish writers in the Middle Ages were such profuse retailers, should not always be taken as gratuitous falsehoods; that there may frequently have been a ground-work of truth on which they were based. It is easy to conceive how an ignorant and superstitious generation would change natural incidents into stupendous miracles, without being in anyway desirous of deceiving The intense realism of the Middle Ages, too, was ever seeking to externalise the subjective; and no doubt frequently the writers merely intended to convey, in the form of allegory, some truth regarding the person spoken of, which succeeding ages accepted in all its reality, and called a miracle. There is no doubt the Church fostered the spirit of miracle-mongering ; but we think fairness demands that we shall allow a rational explanation to be possible of much that was stated and believed, without in all cases deeming it necessary to resort to the theory of intentional falsehood.

It may be interesting to some of our readers for us to state here that the mendicant monks were variously known in England by the names of Minorites, Grey Friars, Cordeliers, Black Friars, and White Friars. The tradition and evidence of their existence in large numbers is found in most of our cities and towns. In London, for example, we find the Minories, and the districts of Blackfriars and Whitefriars, all named from the existence of Franciscan or Dominican monasteries on those spots. Close to the Minories, too, may be found Crutched Friars and Austin Friars, the latter being the site of the house of the Augustinian Hermits, an Order of a later date, but memorable in the history of the Reformation from Luther being one of them. They, with the Crutched Friars, were, in fact, offshoots of the Franciscan Order. The name of Minorites, or Friars Minor or Lesser, was the proper designation of the Franciscans, being the name given to his Order by Francis as a mark of humility. Cordeliers was a name derived from the cord worn round their waist ; Grey Friars, from the colour of their robe. The Black and White Friars were Dominicans; the first name was that they were usually known by, black being the colour of their ordinary garb, and the other was given to them on account of a white habit afterwards adopted by them, and

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