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however, to our real point, we have to ask, what is our present position in respect of Church Wants on the ground already stated, and by what means can an effectual remedy be had ? The ground is the complaint that sufficient facilities are not given for the provision desired : that it being patent to all that the want or grievance exists, a proper liberty of action is not given to those by whom it is considered a grievance. Now, in the first place, it is true enough, as alleged, and as the very appointment of the Committee referred to testifies, that the Parochial System does require in very many instances a careful revision, with the view of adapting it better to its purposes, so far, that is, as relates to increased facilities for Church Ministrations, and next, that it is essential to lay down some specific rules by which this object is to be attained. We may begin with saying that it is impossible in every case, and it may be in the great majority of cases, to put all parties where the wants exist into the full original conditions; this has been done to a very great extent, but there are numberless instances where it cannot be done. Churches cannot be provided in all places; but that is no reason why that should not be done for which means do exist. It is obvious that our meaning points to the foundation of Districts and the Establishment of Ministrations wherever inhabitants are so situated as to be placed out of the fair reach of the Parochial Church and Minister : and that power should be given in any such case for the setting apart of a Building for the use of such district, and the appointment of a Minister. The Bill introduced in the last Session of Parliament meets this view of the case more adequately than any proposal we have yet seen : it proceeds upon a right principle ; it does not seem to us to interfere improperly with any right; it simply says that where means of Religious Service do not exist by reason of distant or inconvenient situation, proper authority should assist in providing them. If the area of a Parish be so large, and the Population so scattered, that the one Minister cannot cover
the whole, surely the means offered for a remedy ought not to be disregarded. We cannot conceive any one objecting; if one man cannot do the work, how can he deny the claim of those to whom it is due, and to whom it is not given, to other means of provision ? So, also, where the one Church is not sufficient for the whole, how can he refuse the offer of an additional Church, or of an additional Service under proper safeguards ? A common right almost necessitates a common provision. We are now speaking of cases in which the assistance is proffered, so as to constitute no charge on the Benefice concerned ; and we hope that we need not say that in any such case, no difficulty will be found. Wherever the Bishop, the Chief Minister of the Diocese, has such a proposal made to him, he should be authorized to consider and decide upon it: he should have the means of due inquiry, and where he sees that the want is real, and the means are at hand, he should be enabled to sanction the scheme, and take order for the due carrying of it into effect. This refers to voluntary doings only-voluntary provision without touching the Benefice. With respect to the part of the case we have just discussed, we do not appre. hend the difficulty which usually arises from the idea of objectionable interference; the actual interests of no one are touched, and all that is done is to supply a deficiency or to correct a very perceptible grievance. Indeed, we have an example in point exhibited by the Ecclesiastical Commis. sioners. They, where they are interested as Possessors of Property, and the Benefices are not sufficient to the finding of Funds for the employment of Curates, and the work is too large for performance by the respective Incumbents, do provide Curates, and in no instance have the Incumbents refused the assistance; indeed, they have both sought and thankfully received it: thus, the principle is established, and no reason can be given against similar proposals, though in somewhat extended manner, where similar wants exist. The difference between them is simply this: that, in the
instance of aid given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the Curate is not independent of the Incumbent, and may be employed in such way as the Incumbent shall direct, the Commissioners only stipulating that the additional duties shall be performed. In other cases, the addition is of a more independent character. An independent Cure is formed, whether by means of a district, or otherwise ; whether by means of the erection of an additional Church, or of some temporary structure. And thus it will be seen that the advantage lies on the side of the Provision now advocated. And this circumstance calls to our mind the fitness, we would say, the necessity, if the work is to be effectually performed, of the full assignment of the Cure of Souls. We mean that the external should not be abstracted from the internal work; that is, that the Services of the additional Minister should not be confined within the walls of his Church or Chapel or otherwise provided Place for Public Worship. We know no separation or abstraction in the Cure of Souls; and we know that arrangement to be anomalous which confines the exercise of the ministerial office to the Public Service only. It has been very usual, and we have always wondered at the mistake, to characterize the Cure of Souls as not included in the Public Worship: that is to say, that the Ministers of what are called Chapels of Ease should be assumed as having no Cure of Souls. Public Worship, nay all Worship, is a Cure of Souls; all is intended as a means and an instrument of Spiritual Good. On this principle we insist that the Minister who performs the Public Service of his Office should have the full charge in the Cure. His Service cannot otherwise be effectual, and he stands forth to the world as an idler when he is not publicly engaged in duty. This, it will be at once admitted, should not be; and we shall be exonerated from any appearance of having in the discussion of this point, stepped needlessly out of our way, besides which it will help us in our further case.
As already intimated, the other part of the question is one of considerable delicacy, and, it may be, difficulty; but there seems to us no reason why a satisfactory settlement of it should not be hoped for. We have as high a respect as any for vested interests; we would by no means deal injuriously by them. Where, however, such interests are not immediate, that is, where to interfere with them would not damage existing parties in a personal manner, we at the same time think that the public good, or wants, or necessities, should be effectually considered. It will be readily understood that we now refer, not to the case of an Incumbent in possession, but of the Patron, the party with whom the nomination rests. We think the rights of Patrons may be carried somewhat too far; that they may be construed too largely. To get at the real point we must look back to the rise of Patronage, to its intention, and the obligation which accompanied its grant. A Benefice was formed, we need not enter into a disquisition how, inasmuch as the purpose of it will give us all the information which will be useful. It was formed for the service of those whom it comprised within its limits; we will suppose a Church thus formed, and thus endowed ; and thus placed under one Ministerial arrangement. Is this to be taken to exclude future wants, future and enlarged objects within these limits ? To suppose this, would be contrary to all sense and fairness. The endowment, a material provision, must be stretched, as it were, to meet the circumstances; that is, to speak in plain language, where the one Church and the one Minister are insufficient, it must be well inquired into whether the endowment is able to meet the additional requirement; if it is, the supposed right of the Patron must not be allowed to interfere, but he, as holding a public trust for the benefit of the Public, is bound to co-operate; he is bound, by every true principle of common sense and common justice, not to regard his own right in the matter to be one of personal advantage. It is very important for us to bear in
mind that in the origin of Ecclesiastical Patronage, no personal advantage was contemplated; it was simply the right, or, as it would be better to call it, the duty, of the Patron to select a fit person for the Service of the Church. Sales or Assignments were not dreamed of, As time went on, Patrons began to see that they had in their hands what might be called a personal advantage; and so Ecclesiastical Preferments became of personal use. Still it was long before they acquired a legal recognition ; it was long before Lawyers taught that they were Hereditaments : it was long before the Legislature caused settlements and arrangements regarding them to be recognized; as, however, this has been done, we admit the legal right of obstruction to improvement; but, what rightly thinking man can permit himself to be an obstacle to improvement, especially in a matter of so responsible and so sacred a character? We may at least claim the assent and the co-operation of those who cannot claim a personal right, who cannot desire a personal advantage, we mean the Public or Official Patrons; and we ought to presume that, when once persuaded of the necessity of any case, they will readily give it the full benefit which is sought; and there will be this further advantage, from their acknowledgement, and conduct in it, that both the necessity and the advantage will be better felt and understood also by those who are called Private Patrons. A great step will then have been made in a right direction : in truth, this will be looked upon as the first step which ought to be made. We now come to the case of Parishes where the means of Religious Services are inadequate to the requirements, but where the means of providing for them are sufficient; that is, where the Area or Population, or both, may not be met by the means properly disposed, while yet the funds are adequate to their provision. Here is undoubtedly a difficulty, and one of no ordinary importance; not because the rule of justice cannot meet it, but because it is or may be construed to interfere with personal rights, or the rights of Patronage ;