« VorigeDoorgaan »
most prodigious production of orthodox scholarship that ever saw the light. As a literary curiosity, it is not less worthy of preservation than an antediluvian fossil or a Babylonian brick Nay, a contemporary journalist has gone so far as to affirm that nothing like it has appeared since Vishnu, in the form of a "gudgeon dived into the sea of milk and fished up the four vedas. The theory of Dr. Silver respecting property and the social powers, may indeed fairly vie with the cosmogony of the Hindoos. In his political system, the Church-rate is the tortoise which supports the elephant which supports the globe. His reasoning reminds us of that luminous and admirably connected chain of sequences, of which the cardinal proposition is, This is the House that Jack built."
Reasoning indeed becomes superfluous, when a Writer has to deal with such incontrovertible facts or self-evident truths as the Divine origin of freehold property, established in the days of Peleg, and of the rights of primogeniture, about which Cain and Abel quarrelled *. Now with the right of primogeniture,' says the Ancien Anglo-Saxon Professor, or freehold property, the Church Rate is closely connected; for, without the baptism and the marriage, both religious contracts made in the Church, the primogeniture conveying the religious title also would never have existed. This is the reason why that species of property "was alone considered real property; why, till lately, it alone "was trusted with the legislative vote; and why, till within a century, freeholders alone were jurymen.' That Cain was the first heir to a freehold estate, cannot be denied; and he was moreover, it appears, the first hereditary clergyman; for, says Dr. Silver, primogeniture had another privilege joined to it by Divine appointment; it inherited the priesthood, and a right of superiority in consequence of both powers. Abel would seem to have been the first Dissenter; and he was treated accord ingly. The religion attached to this priesthood,' continues our learned Antediluvian antiquary, was an earlier, though more imperfect state of the Christian covenant, where ministers indeed are not formed by succession in families. ** au ploua
A SOLIS BAS Thus the foundations of government were laid, and the union of what we call Church and State began. A divine right was given to the occupation of the land by families, but that right was conveyed, only through the first-born male who had the rule and the priesthood and these three rights arose together, the right of appropriation of land, I balm to zrel s
Jealousy concerning its possession,' says Dr. Silver, as it brought with it a superiority and command, occasioned the shedding of blood in the first family, and the contention concerning it will continue probably in the last that shall be formed'!! ·
of priniogeniture, and of the priesthood in the State. They are essentially connected with and support each other, and the whole frame of human order, from the very earliest times, was built upon them. To these was added, perhaps even before the flood, the institution of tithes, which was an ordinance of God, for the support of the Priest in the State as a public officer, that government might be rendered secure by religion, and by those particular powers which religion brought with it into the government. Abraham paid his tithes to Melchizedec as king as well as priest; and when the Israelites were settled in Judæa, God divided the priesthood from the primogeniture, maintaining them both as privileged orders in his State, uniting them still in the government, but separating the two offices, leaving the double inheritance in land to support the first-born son in his prerogative and superiority, and the tithe and a rich endowment of other possessions and advantages to maintain the public character of the priest. In this state the polity of the Jews remained at the coming of our Saviour, who clearly established the Christian priesthood in his native land in the State to take the place of the Levitical priesthood. The twelve Apostles corresponded with the state of the twelve tribes, and the Seventy to the ancient Sanhedrim or council of state; and no other part of the Jewish polity but the ceremonial law would have been changed. The very punishment of the Jews, as a nation, declares the intention of our Saviour. For there were many private churches in Judæa; but the Jews were ejected from their lands and dispersed, because as a nation they rejected him, and the State was in hostility with him. Yet this state of Christ's Church intended to have been established at Judæa, would have been the model of all other Churches, as that at Jerusalem really was whilst it continued. There was an express command to the Apostles to begin in Jerusalem and Judæa and in Samaria, (countries in which the Church and State formed one government,) before they went forth to the end of the earth; and St. Paul did not go forth to the Gentiles and their Kings, until he had been rejected of the rulers of the Jews. The Christian priesthood came and were received in this country, and in most of the Gothic kingdoms in Europe, by the public authorities and the people. They were embodied as an estate into their governments, having public rights; and it is to the existence of this body of privileged men, and the influence of their religion on the public mind, that our own constitution and those of other European states owe their freedom and security; and the Christian faith has indeed proved itself the friend of man, and brought peace on earth, by the effects it has produced on government.' pp. 10–12.
Our Saviour sent his Apostles to teach nations, and by the nation the Clergy, their successors, were publicly received. And as St. Paul was sent to Gentiles and to Kings, to use the words of our Lord in revealing his mission; so the Clergy were received from the beginning by the existing authorities, were incorporated into the State, invested with landed property and vested rights, and with lands and rents for the support of the cathedrals and parish churches. p. 5.
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” are the 3 T
words of our Saviour's promise to the Apostles; and their successors, by being admitted as a state body into the law and land of the country, secure the community against a vacuum in the one, or a want of sue cession in the other. This body, from a fear of incurring the charge of being worldly minded, are afraid of defending their possessions on the most secure ground, and that which it is most proper for them to take; by this wrong notion they render all other property insecure, and all social institutions unstable. All kinds of public and private right combine to make their title good, but it is not probable that any one of them will be held legal, if the sacredness of the Donum Deo et Ecclesiæ is disregarded. Our Saviour has said his kingdom is not of this world, but he has not said in this expression, it is not of this earth. There is a temporal kingdom, so far as relates to the human means of supporting the spiritual kingdom on earth, which Christ has established when he told the Apostles that they should receive houses and lands, together with persecutions. This expression is a recognition of the right of the priests to take as a body landed property, when given them; and the punishment of Ananias and Sapphira by death for the robbery of the land when once given is a confirmation of this right, The clergy, therefore, are to take the lands, and, together with them, the persecutions to which the holding of these lands would expose them, aud they are to undergo with Christian patience and fortitude such persecutions as will grow out of that property: and historic experience teaches us, that our Saviour was not without meaning when he coupled these expressions, for the priests receive these gifts both from public and private sources. When they receive them from the State, they accept them as ambassadors sent to nations and kings from their great Master and Lord, and the gift in its very nature recognizes the right of that power in the soil. By taking that gift, they execute part of their Master's work. The Donum Deo et Ecclesiæ calls into public notice the nature and intent of the gift, and the gift itself is a standing witness of the State recognition of the Deity as the Creator of the soil, and of the purposes for which he placed man upon it, and permits him to occupy it in his families; and the nation having owned this right, is less likely to take possession of it in full sovereignty, and of confounding every law, both divine and human, on entering on their own demesne. The Donum Deo et Ecclesiæ, when properly established, brings a full and immediate return to man from its establishment. It decides the disputed and dangerous question as to the origin of power, and disposes of it, so that its discussion is no longer a source of sedition nor an instrument of revolution to the incendiary. The spring, the source of power, is in the religion of the State. Round this sacred fountain the pre-existing authorities of the kingdom are cold lected; they recieve from it additional strength and authority in points, where they were weak and incomplete before, and they can give clear and definite answers to all enquiries as to the origin of power! The Donum Deo guards the people from being misled by the delusion, that all power rests in them, and from the interminable confusion, ruin, and poverty, which must attend on their attempts to exercise it. The establishment of the Donum Deo is to the family hearth what the mark on the door-post was to each house in Israel. It turned the angel
of destruction from them, and left their brains uncrazed by his power over them. In our generation
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,
and remove the sacred enchantment, and expose the minds of those who listen to them to every mischievous impression. From these political day dreams our forefathers were preserved by the feelings which led them to pay their Church Rates. The evil spirit in consequence, that now misleads their children over mountain, fen, and brook, never tormented their fancies. By keeping the parish church entire, they in their simplicity thought that they shut out the foul fiends from the village; and experience has proved that their simplicity was wisdom, and their religious sense superior to political knowledge; for, wherever the Donum Deo has been disputed, doubts as to the nature of all other rights, and especially as to those that secure landed property, have shortly followed.' pp. 57--60.
But, to return to the Apostles, of whose character and mission the most erroneous notions have hitherto prevailed. It was messengers of State, they were sent to Jerusalem,' to set up the Church and State system there: they were rejected, and Jerusalem is not.' A fearful warning to all rulers who should intermeddle with tithe or church-rate. Our Saviour ordered his disciples to begin to form their churches in Jerusalem, in ← Judæa, and in Jamaica, where the state duties of keeping the national festivals 6 were admitted to be necessary." And for what purpose was the Holy Spirit given at the feast of Pentecost, but with a view prophetically to confirm the Christian tenures which, before the end of the earth, should be made in its most distant ⚫ regions.'
Hence, and with great propriety and truth,' continues Dr. Silver, (we cannot but give his own words,) the baptism in which our Church asserts the Holy Ghost, is always given; and the tenure of land became connected, a connexion recognized in our freehold property, as an original part of the Anglo Saxon system, that can be traced in the Winchester laws for 1100 years.
Had the nation of the Jews been converted, (and they were driven from their land because they were not converted,) the feast of the Passover must have become the feast of Easter, and that of Pentecost our Whitsuntide; and their circumcision, our baptism; it could not by possibility have been otherwise; these all must have been established as State ceremonies, as public, political, as well as religious institutions. As a proof of the dependence our mixed institutions of Church and State have on the divine law, a government such as ours may be deduced very consistently and logically from the fifth Commandment. It is allowed universally, that the Decalogue is binding on all mankind; now these Commandments were given on Mount Sinai intermediately between the Patriarchal and Jewish covenants, when Jehovah descended expressly to form the Jewish families into a pation under himself; and this Commandment is issued, "Honour
thy father and thy mother." But the Jewish family had been from the time of Abraham so constituted, that this obedience included an5 observation of the political and religious duties attached to the family, to the birthright, the primogeniture, the blessing, and the priesthood; and to this obedience not long life simply is promised, but a prolonged. inheritance in the land. These families were to inherit as a powerful nation a land, of which God gave them only the usufruct, the Dominium Utile, retaining for himself the Dominium Rectum, and recognitions of that right by ceremonies analogous to our own. Now the fifth Commandment and the Church Rates have common objects and expectations attached to them. For the Church is necessary to the marriage from which the family is formed, and baptism for the entrance into the Christian covenant. The latter is necessary for the legitimacy of an oath, which must be that of a Christian, and both the marriage and the baptism are requisite for the inheritance of the land, and the privileges of the first-born, to whose custody, or to whose representative, the defence of the State was chiefly entrusted. All these legitimate authorities were permanently supported through the Church Rate. Hitherto no man has attempted to make himself a Christian to claim his inheritance, without a legal entry into the Church ; a title deed to his estate, without a Christian name; or the privilege of his oath on the Gospels, without a public proof of his faith. Men may assume these distinctions as they commit forgeries, but they can have no right either divine or human to them, but through the Church; and if the institutions that convey legitimacy are to be disturbed or overthrown, the nation will soon be blind to all law and order. Thus the fifth Commandment is binding on all Christian families; those families stand under circumstances similar to the Jews; their Christian obligation bind them to the baptism and the marriage, and consequently to the priesthood; and if they intend reaping the advantage of the lengthened inheritance in the land, they must continue to unite to the family the title and the blessing which is still attached to the primogeniture, because it is patriarchal, and universal, and perpetual. The Commandments are actually part of the laws of Alfred, as extracted from Exodus, and inserted in his Domboc.'
PP. 50 52.
We believe that we have now given a tolerably fair and complete view of the learned Doctor's theory of the Church and State system. Alas! for the Dissenters, if the redress of any of their grievances depends upon the concurrence of Dr. Silver. To any change in the system of registration, he is not less hostile than to the abolition of church-rates. A separation of the registers of the births and marriages from the parish church, could be proposed, he says, only by those whose minds are pre-occupied with the intention of separating the Church and State. The 6 Register is that of the Church of Christ: its assistance to the State as to matters of property are secondary objects. It is the memorial and enrolment of a sacrament; and it is impossible that the parish Register can ever notice the birth, if separated 'from the sacrament of baptism.' But the priest' cannot admit