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population, belonged especially and exclusively to her. Not the least symptom of any such notion can be adduced.
It was, we believe, about the close of the war, that the late Dr. Yates took the alarm at the prodigious masses of heathenism which he saw accumulating on every side, and endeavoured to draw the attention of the government and the people to the peril, by his work entitled “The Church in Danger.” But Dr. Yates, highchurchman as he was, never once thought of calling upon the Church itself to supply the urgent need. He called on the Executive, and on the Legislature. The government of that day responded to the call, and made two grants--the first of £1,000,000, and the second of £500,000, for building new churches. To those grants we owe four new churches in Islington, four in Lambeth, eight or ten in the Tower Hamlets, two in Clerkenwell, one in St. Luke's, one in St. Giles's, one in St. George's, one in Camberwell, one in Newington, one in Greenwich, and several in Westminster; besides various others in the remaining suburban parishes, and a great number in the provinces. All this, according to the writer in the Times, was done in error! This duty was one exclusively belonging to the Church, and which, we are now told, “the State cannot discharge for her.” We beg to ask any reasonable man, in what sort of a condition would this vast metropolis have been, in 1810, if the State had not thus interposed, between 1815 and 1830 ? Would it have been habitable at all ? or, if it had not been wholly heathenish, would it not have been predominantly Dissenting? But, however these questions may be answered, we demand to have these two points conceded,—that, in 1820, the Church never thought of taking this duty upon herself; nor did the State imagine that the duty was one which the Church alone could discharge.
We proceed to 1835. In that year, a royal commission, specially appointed to take into consideration the wants and circumstances of the Church; and in which commission the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London were conjoined with Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell,—thus described the state of the metropolis :
“ The most prominent, however, of those defects, which cripple the energies of the Established Church, and circumscribe its usefulness, is the want of Churches and Ministers, in the large towns and populous districts of the kingdom. The growth of the population has been so rapid, as to outrun the means possessed by the establishment, of meeting its spiritual wants: and the result has been, that a vast proportion of the people are left destitute of the opportunities of public worship and Christian instruction, even when every allowance is made for the exertions of those religious bodies, which are not in connection with the Established Church.
" It is not necessary, in this report, to enter into all the details, by which the truth of this assertion inight be proved. It will be sufficient to state the following facts as examples. Looking to those parishes only, which contain each a population exceeding 10,000, we find that in London and its suburbs, including the parishes on either bank of the Thames, there are four parishes or districts, each having a population exceeding 20,000, and containing an aggregate of 166,000 persons, with church-room for 8,200, (not quite onetwentieth of the whole ;) and only eleven clergymen.
“ There are twenty-one others, the aggregate population of which is 739,000, while the church-room is for 66, 155, (not one-tenth of the whole ;) and only forty-five clergymen.
“There are nine others, with an aggregate population of 232,000, and church-room for 27,327, (not one-eighth of the whole ;) and only nineteen clergymen.
The entire population of these thirty-four parishes, amounts to 1,137,000, while there is church-room only for 101,682. Supposing that church-room is required for one-third, there ought to be sittings for 379,000 persons. There is therefore a deficiency of 277,318 sittings: or, if we allow 25,000 for the number of sittings in proprietary chapels, the deficiency will be 252,318.
" Allowing one Church for a population of 3,000, there would be required, in these parishes, 379 Churches; whereas there are in fact only 69, or, if proprietary chapels be added, about 100, leaving a deficiency of 279; while there are only 139 clergymen, in a population exceeding a million.”
Two hundred and seventy-nine new churches were thus declared, under the hands of the Primate and the Bishop of London, to be required for the population of the metropolis alone. Allowing only £5000 for the erection of each of these, (and the ultraLaudians detest “cheap churches,") we find the sum required to be £1,395,000! And allowing only the small endowment of £200 a year for each, we should need an annual income of £55,800, representing a three per cent stock of £1,860,000. A total sum of £3,255,000 would have accomplished the whole !
Now is not this a task of a distinctly national description ? One year's devotion of the tax on tobacco and snuff would nearly effect this great work. But who in his senses dreams of raising three millions and a quarter by the voluntary contributions of individual Christians, and that for the wants of the metropolis only ?
We do not wish to forget the fact, that regarding that period (1835) and that government (Lord Melbourne's) as clearly offering no prospect of success in any application to parliament,—the energetic Prelate who is charged with the spiritual governance of the metropolis, took the only other course that offered itself, and made an earnest appeal to the sympathies of churchmen as private individuals : but his Lordship could not even venture to propose such an undertaking as the full supply of the ascertained deficiency: He did not even proceed so far as to ask for the £1,395,000 required to build the 279 Churches; still less, for the £3,255,000 which would be needed to build and endow them.
His lordship only proceeded so far, as to propose a scheme for raising fifty Churches, out of the two hundred and seventy-nine ; and the question of endowment be left altogether untouched. To raise 50 churches, at an estimated cost of £5000 each, required the sum of £250,000, even if sites could be obtained gratuitously. This plan was offered to the public, with all the advantage it could derive from the highest patronage, in the month of June, 1836. How far has even this moderate and reduced scheme succeeded ? It was propounded on this small scale, say the committee,“not that this number would adequately meet the pressing wants “ of the metropolis,-for that purpose, at least six or seven “ times the number would be required, but his lordship “ thought it better to decide upon a plan which might appear
practicable; and which might be carried into effect to the full extent proposed.”
Has even this hope been realized ? Assuredly not. It is now more than five years since the commencement of the undertaking, and we doubt if so many as five and twenty churches have yet been completed. The last report we have seen, is that of 1840, in which the total sum subscribed is stated at £149,438. 158. 3d.,or little more than half the necessary sum. A supplementary subscription had been opened for Bethnal Green, which had realized £35,939. 14s. 10d., making a general total of £185,378. 10s. ld. And at that period seventeen churches had been completed; four were in progress; twelve about to commence; and eight others were in more distant prospect; total, forty-one.
The Bishop's plan, then, had not been carried into effect to the full extent proposed.” The voluntary effort, even under the guidance of a prelate of such remarkable talent and energy, had failed to achieve even this moderate effort, of fifty churches, out of two hundred and seventy-nine. And yet we are now to be told, after this painful lesson,—that “the Church must extend herself," for that “this is a duty which the State cannot perform for her.”
But perhaps it may be said, that at least something considerable has been done; and some progress has been made, in “ fetching up lee-way." This is a point which is worthy of consideration. Let us devote a few moments to it.
It is now abundantly clear that the full extent to which the Metropolis Churches Fund will reach, in June, 1846,—that is, in ten years from its commencement,--will be, to complete the fortyone churches now stated to be either opened, in progress, or in contemplation.
We hear nothing of any further plans or intentions, and we may therefore, in the words of the last Report, “ calculate upon forty“one churches as the result of the effort which has been made.” We may also further quote the Committee's words :
“ Taking 1200 as the average number which each church will contain, a provision will have been made for 49,200 persons; and if it he computed that church room should be provided for one-third of the population, the result will be, that 147,600 persons will have been brought within reach of the ministrations of the Church and the pastoral superintendence of her clergy.”
But this is not a reduction of the spiritual destitution of the Metropolis, to that, or to any other extent. The Committee candidly admit this, in their very next observation :-
Gratifying as this statement may appear, it must be remembered that, owing to the rapid increase of population in the metropolis, the actual extent of spiritual destitution is greater now than it was when the operations of this fund commenced; so that, while we may justly feel grateful to the Giver of every good gift for the measure of good which has been accomplished, the demand upon our efforts to forward this great work is still as strong, or stronger, than ever.
The plain fact is, that while 147,600 persons are thus provided for—or rather, will be provided for by 1845 or 1846—the population of the Metropolis, which was not quite 1,500,000 in 1831, is now 1,792,137. So that while this great effort has succeeded in providing for nearly 150,000,-more than twice that number, or 300,000, have been added to the masses of our rapidly-augmenting suburbs. Most certain, then, is it, that the state of London, as it regards the number of persons excluded from the means of grace, will be worse, and not better, in 1846, than it was in 1836 !
And just at this moment is it, when the full power of the Voluntary Principle has been thus tried, and found insufficient; and when all sound churchmen were uniting to call upon the State to do its duty,—just at this moment is it, that the professedly “highchurch” party steps in ; interposes its absurd objections, and aims to frustrate the well-founded hopes which appeared on the very point of being realized! Are we to be told that these men are really friends to the Church !
“ The Church,” says the Times, “has some duties which the “ State cannot discharge for her; and this of self-extension, or “ rather of self-continuation, is one of them.”
The first assertion is not denied ; but its application, in the second, to the present question, is quite preposterous. To build the 279 churches in the metropolis, which the Primate and the Bishop of London declare to be needed, requires a certain sum of money, say 61,395.000, and to endow them a further sum of rather larger amount. Were the State to grant one million per annum for three years, the whole work would be achieved. What, then, are we to call the assertion,--that this is a duty which the State cannot discharge,-but mere words without meaning?
In what we have said we have confined ourselves to the higher view; postponing the question of expediency to another occasion. Yet much might be said under this head. The State must spend money :-its choice is merely between expending it upon prevention or cure: In other words, upon so educating and instructingthe people as to repress and banish crime; or else upon police, and gaols, and hulks, and criminal colonies, to receive and restrain those whom the want of proper instruction has allowed to deviate into vicious practices. We are well assured that the latter is the more costly system of the two; just as it is cheaper to observe temperance and regularity in diet, than to revel first and physic afterwards. These, however, are considerations to which we may advert on some other occasion.
Our present subject is, the alleged faithfulness of the Tractarians to the Church. We have shewn that in the main question of the present day, they are merely fighting the battles of the Dissenters, and retailing their arguments. Not one word has been uttered by the Times, or by Messrs. Gresley and Palmer, against seeking the aid of the State, which had not been already far better said by Dr. Wardlaw and Messrs. Burnet, Binney, and Co.
We dislike the suspicions, which are frequently thrown out, of the existence of actual Jesuits among us. We have never seen any sufficient grounds for such surmises, and we therefore are sorry to listen to the expression of them. But we have not the least hesitation in saying, that if there were such secret agents of the court of Rome in our camp, they could adopt no more artful or efficient course than that to which we have been adverting. No General of the Order could by possibility invent more apt or ingenious modes of action than such as these :
1. “The Church of England is awakening herself to the need of great extension of her labours. She is endeavouring to raise churches, and to train up ministers, for the six millions of people which have been added to her population within the present century. She is applying to the government, with every prospect of success, for funds to enable her to effect this great work. Your duty, therefore, must be to counteract this design. To do this most effectually, work within the Church. Persuade some of her weak members that this is a duty peculiarly belonging to herself. Insist upon it that by accepting aid of this kind she will forfeit her independence. Maintain constantly, that the work of Church-extension is an obligation attaching to the Church herself, and which the State cannot discharge for her. Thus raise up a controversy within the Church, and then there will be little difficulty in inducing statesmen to postpone the question, until churchmen shall have settled their own differences."