« EelmineJätka »
English, but made no provision for a Welsh version; one reason for this, probably, being that, from the Reformation to the time of Elizabeth, English bishops reigned over the church in Wales. The people were, therefore, left without the Scriptures.
“For upwards of seventy years after the settlement of the Reformation by Queen Elizabeth, or nearly one hundred years from Britain's separation from the Church of Rome, there were no Bibles in Wales, but only in the cathedral or in the parish churches and chapels. There was no provision made for the country, or for the people in general, as if they had nothing to do with the word of God, at least, no further than they might hear it in their attendance on public worship, once in the week; this is astonishing !"*
Astonishing it really was; but history assures us that this arose from a desire to annihilate the Welsh language. The subject was solemnly debated in the councils of Queen Elizabeth, and the ancient British tongue had a narrow escape from proscription. Escape it did, however, and in 1563, the four bishops of the Welsh sees, and the Bishop of Hereford, were ordered to prepare a Welsh version of the Bible by the first of March, 1566, under a penalty, in case of failure, of forty pounds each. The year 1566, and even 1586, passed away without the episcopal version making its appearance; but, so far as we are aware, the penalty was not enforced. In 1567, the New Testament appeared. It was mainly the result of the labours of William Salesbury, a gentleman residing at Cae du, Llansanan, in the county of Denbigh, the Epistles to Timothy, to the Hebrews, of James, and of Peter, being translated by Dr. Richard Davies, Bishop of St. David's, and the Book of Revelation by Thomas Huet, precentor of the same place. What share the other bishops had in this version is not known, though Salesbury writes in his dedication to the Queen :
“Wher as I, by our most vigilant Pastours the Bishopes of Wales, am called and substituted somewhat to deale in the perusing and setting fourth of thys
* Llewelyn's Historical Account of the British or Welsh Versions of the Bible, p. 37. Edit. 1793.
so worthy a matter, I thynk it my most bounden duetie here in their name to present to your Majestie, (as the chiefest fiyrst fruict) a book of the Newe Testament of our Lorde Jesus Christ, translated into the British Language, which is our vulgare tongue."
This version was printed in London, in the year 1567, by Henry Denham, at the costs and charges of Humphrey Toy. For its publication, therefore, the Welsh were indebted neither to the Government nor to the bishops. In 1588, the whole Bible appeared, but without the assistance of the Welsh prelates. The translator was Dr. William Morgan, afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, who persevered, under extraordinary difficulties, in his laudable enterprise. It is not meant to affirm that Wales is not indebted to churchmen for the Bible, but these facts are adduced to show that it has to thank the Establishment for very few of its spiritual privileges. At the end of thirty-two years from the publication of Morgan's version, or in 1620, Bishop Parry, aided by Dr. John Davies, of Mallwyd, issued another edition in folio, like the first. Parry was entirely a volunteer in this affair, and was induced to undertake the labour from a consideration of the urgent necessities of the country. Many, if not most, of the churches were then without Bibles.
We have now arrived at a period when other agencies began to work. Dissent had found “ local habitation and a name” previous to the Civil War, and the eventful day of St. Bartholomew, in 1662, greatly lengthened its cords. Three or four years before the date of Dissent, two patriotic Welshmen published an octavo edition of the whole Bible. These were Rowland Heylin and Sir Thomas Middleton, both residents in London. For the first time the Bible was now placed within the reach of the people. So low was the state of religion in 1641, that, among all the clergy in the Principality, only thirteen could preach. In fairness to the English people we ought state, that the bishops at that me, and for a considerable time previously, were not Englishmen. We are, however, thoroughly convinced that the state of the episcopate only affected the moral condition of the people to a very slight degree. It
is true that the sees were filled by Englishmen, during the progress of Dissent; but they were not so at the time of its rise. The Church, being useless for any religious purpose, was supplanted by Dissent; and thus another demonstration was furnished of the important fact, that worldly agencies cannot minister to spiritual necessities. When the people began to hear the word of God, they desired to have it in their possession; hence, edition after edition was brought out to supply the demand.
During the reign of the Stuarts, Welshmen were generally selected for the episcopate; but, since the accession of the House of Hanover, no Welshman has been mitred. This policy is attributable, not to ingratitude, but to political stratagem. The Welsh bishops, in general, had been firm adherents of the Stuarts, and having, from their birth, connexion, and station, great influence over the people, it was thought desirable to remove such a source of danger. And now the political patronage is too valuable to be relinquished. Two of the present bishops profess to understand the Welsh language, and read sermons in it; but it does not clearly appear that either of them can enter on a familiar dialogue with their flocks.
Such, then, is a cursory view of the History of the Church Establishment in Wales. The people were never attached to it, except in the darkest and most degrading period of its history. As a spiritual agency, it has entirely failed-failed in all times, and under all circumstances. Where it found darkness, it left it quite as palpable; where it met light, it did its best to put it under a bushel. And now, finding the dews of evening, and the chillness of dissolution, approaching it, endeavours to rekindle its ashy embers with fire taken, without acknowledgment, from the altars of Dissent.
ITS REVENUES AND THEIR DISTRIBUTION.
We are told that the Establishment could not have done more for the morals and religion of the people because of its impoverished revenues; and as some institutions cannot be worked so economically as others, there may be some force in this defence, such as it is. But let us see what are the facts of the case.
The following table exhibits the whole amount of the ecclesiastical property now held in Wales and Monmouthshire, and the classes by whom it is enjoyed. This abstract is the result of a table prepared at the Tithe-Commutation Office, which, it is expected, will be shortly published :*
to Lay Proing Colleges
prietors. and Schools.
£ 8. d. £
8. d. £ 8. d. 88,573 10 944,613 6 3 29,539 18 0 14,420 5 9 45,214 11 6 20,090 19 11 9,438 11 4 5,684 19 3
59,605 13 11 33,981 1 2 14,181 15 6 11,442 17 3 111,159 19 4 46,771 7 0 28,479 11 1) 35,909 0 5
304,553 15 6 155,456 14 4| 81,639 16 9 67,457 2 8
Although this table is the latest and best index to the amount of Rent-charges, still, it does not show the whole aggregate of property which the clergy have at their command. It exhibits the Establishment in a less favourable position than it really occupies. Fees,
Sir Thomas Philips' Wales, p. 202.
and all kinds of extraneous aids, are not taken into account; the consequence of which is, that the average clerical income, in the different dioceses, appears lower than it actually is.
The division of the Principality into dioceses is very unequal. St. David's extends over five entire counties, and embraces nooks and corners in others. It is subdivided into four archdeaconries—Brecon, Cardigan, Carmarthen, and St. David's. Llandaff comprehends the whole of Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire, with the exception of Swansea and the adjacent English district called Gower. Its two archdeaconries are Llandaff and Monmouth. Bangor embraces the island of Anglesea, the greater portions of the counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth, and from twenty to thirty parishes between the counties of Denbigh and Montgomery. Bangor and Merioneth are the two archdeaconries. St. Asaph extends over the whole of Flintshire, the greater portions of Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire, about a dozen parishes in Merionethshire, and a few in Carnarvonshire. The archdeaconries are St. Asaph and Montgomery.
Sir Thomas Philips, in the work already referred to, and to which we are indebted for many of the statistics embodied in this tract, gives the area of the several dioceses as follows:
700,000 St. Asaph
1,000,000 The population of the different dioceses are thus estimated :
in 1841. in 1848, St. David's
389,786 410,000 Llandaff
259,852 300,000 St. Asaph
201,082 220,000 Bangor.
1,032,739 1,130,000 The number of benefices in the diocese of St. David's is 419, and they are thus situated :