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She gladly accepts of all the assistance the laws will give her, to prevent even an approach to it. In whatsoever sense not only the Scripture, but the law, considers Simony---She earnestly joins her efforts to suppress it.
She speaks of it as “detestable” as “execrable before God”; and before her bishops will admit any Clergyman into a benefice (whether on his own presentation or that of others) they require of him the following solemn oath.
“I do swear, that I have made no Simoniacal payment, contract, or promise, directly or indirectly, by myself, or any other, to my knowledge or with my consent, to any person or persons whatsoever, for or concerning the procuring or obtaining of this ecclesiastical dignity, place, preferment, office, or living ; nor will at any time hereafter perform or satisfy any such kind of payment, contract, or promise made by any other without my knowledge or consent: So help me God through Jesus Cbrist:“'
Moreover it is enacted that all such contracts and promises are null and void.
What must be the shameless audacity, or dense stupidity of dissenters' advocates, who actually quote this oath as an evidence, that the Church encourages Simony. Can she do more to prevent it, and to shew ber abhorrence fof it? If a man will commit the offence, notwithstanding such a dreadful appeal to bis God, can She be responsible for such wickedness, any more than dissent can be responsible for the acts of fraud, licentiousness, or hypocrisy which may be perpetrated under its cloak, and in spite of its denunciations?
But these worthy champions of dissent have the consummate wickedness to insinuate, that the Clergy of the Church are in the babit of committing Simony and perjury, in the face of this oath, And now let us see the facts and arguments by which they attempt to establish such an infamous accusation.
Ist. They produce an advertisement that an advowson with the next presentation is to be sold.
They assume from this advertisement that a Clergyman must be the buyer.
They assume that if a Clergyman were the buyer it would be an act of Simony.
2nd. They evidently expect it to be inferred, that if the Clergy were guilty of such acts, the hands of dissenters are quite clean.
Let us examine each of these positions.
I. The advertisement is evidence, that advowsons with the right of next presentation are bought and sold. But this is not Simony in the scriptural, no not even in the legal, sense of the word.
Advowson “is the right of presenting a clerk (that is a person already in holy orders) to the bishop, as a Church becomes vacant.” It was gained originally by founders, benefactors, or maintainers of the Church. In giving the endowment for ever to the Church they reserved a right, which they might transfer under certain conditions to whom they pleased, and which right therefore could be inherited or assigned as any other property. There is no Simony in this.. The benefactor is allowed a privilege, very different from that of conferring holy orders. present to the Bishop a person already in holy orders, wbo
may be maintained by his benefaction in this particular cure. But, before the Clerk so presented can be admitted, he must have already proved his filness to receive holy orders---he must moreover at the time of institution to the benefice solemnly declare his faithful adherence to the discipline, doctrine, and liturgy of the Church---and he must also take the anful oath, that he has not been, and will not be, guilty of any act of Simony for the procuring of it. The proprietor of the advowson can not introduce bis presentee without these securities, as to both bis docirine, his filness, and his faithfulness. There is here nothing like Simony, either spiritual or legal--
there is no giving of money for holy orders; for the bishop is not paid, or does the person presented then receive holy orders---he must be in orders before he can be presented to the Bishop. Neither is there any thing here which the law prohibits. For the law allows any person to purchase advowsons. And they are continually bought and sold by laymen and clergymen, but more commonly by the former,
But if a Clergyman buys an advowson with the next presentation, which these slanderers assume without a shadow of evidence, and indeed contrary to the fact, to be generally the case, there is neither a giving of money for holy orders nor even Simony in the sense which the statute law has attached to that word.
The purchase of an adowson even by a clergyman while the living is full is not, even in law, Simony, unless under peculiar circumstances, which do not concern the present question.
The malice, therefore, or the gross ignorance, of the dissenting champions is palpable.
But, even could they have brought proof of acts of Simony by the Clergy, would it not be the most glaring dishonesty to charge the Church with encouraging such a sin, when her laws, both ecclesiastical and statute are opposed to it, and when the oath we have recited shews her detestation of it, and her anxiety to prevent it. · Nay more--- how destitute of either common sense, or common decency, or both --must they be, who quote that oath as an argument, that the Church encourages Simony.
But the bighest pitch of impudence is yet to come under our consideration, when we examine the inference intended to be drawn; that the system, of which these slanderers are the self-constituted champions, is quite pure from the sin, which they would fix on the Church. We are not as other men are, or even as tbis publican”; is the inference they expect the Reader to draw. “Common Sense however will not be satisfied with clearing the
accused; we must next bring the accusers to the Bar. We are to slew not only that the Church does not encourage Simony; but that dissent does encourage Simony in its worst form, and in the most flagrant
We will prove, not merely that among dissenters this or that individual may, by dint of dreadful perjury, be enabled to evade the law and commit the sin of Simony, in spite of every precaution taken to prevent it; but that the system of dissent itself does not provide any barrier against it; nay more, that it actually LEGALISES and COUNTENANCES IT! This we will prove from facts found in the publications not of Cburcbmen, but of dissenters themselves. In our next nuinber our Readers shall bebold the "beam that is in the eye of those “hypocrites," who pretend to see so clearly the “mote" in their “brother's eye.” (Matt., VII., 3–5.)
STRAINING AT A GNAT AND SWALLOWING A CAMEL.
(Continued from page 21.)
We resume this subject, and earnestly recommend it to the dispassionate consideration of the many really conscientious dissenters, who have been hurried by the heat of party and blind hostility against the established Church, into proceedings, which conscience directed by “Common Sense” and the word of God, never can justfy. We do not here enter the question, whether their rancour and impatience against Church rate be groundless or not-nor even whether they themselves seriously believe, that conscience calls upon them to oppose it. We are not now dealing with their opinions, but with their actions, we are not discussing the lawfulness of the end they have in view, but the lawfulness of the means they use to accomplish it. The doctrine that the end sanctifies the means has indeed been held in the Romish Church, but protestants have universally condemned it as opening the door to every kind of fraud, and wickedness; and the word of God in clear, and express terms forbids, to do evil, that good may come, a practice which St. Paul disclaims the imputation, as wicked slander on Christianity.*
Now can any thing be more gross and disgusting than setting up the plea of “Conscience,” for acting in direct opposition to those plain rules, by which an honest man's conscience ought to be regulated ? What must “Common Sense” judge of those who make such a plea? To what conclusions can it come, but that they are deceived or deceivers, dupes or hypocrites? We have shown their proceedings as abettors of deception and perjury in respect of the appointment of Churchwardens. Now let us take a sample of their conduct in a Christian Church.
As we have already hinted one of the means, which the dissenters under the plea of Conscience use, is that of bringing, or at least abetting, mobs in the Church to hoot, and hiss, to insult the Clergyman, to profane the place with brutalities and blasphemies
a disgrace to civilized beings, and outrage not only to “Common Sense” but com. mon decency. The poor, ignorant, and thoughtless instruments of this sacrilege, and impiety, who are made the tools of others to outrage man, and defy God, are frequently not only countenanced, but led on, by dissenters, and even by dissenters who dare to call themselves Ministers of the Gospel! In Rochdale Church (we assert facts within our own knowledge and capable of easy proof) the parties have been supported by wealthy dissenters, whose position in society ought to have restrained them (to say nothing of decency and religion).
sons of such dissenters have been seen exciting the rabble. A Quaker, and a man calling himself a minister, have been the usual bear
Rom., III., 8.