« PreviousContinue »
Our readers will pardon us if we refuse to give a more particular detail of the excellent treatise on our table ; for in our necessarily short abstract we could afford but little of instruction or of amusement, however we might display our legal lore by quoting the
Parergon Juris Canonici Anglicani,” or the Legatine Constitutions,* or by a critical digest of the various statutes which bear upon the subject under discussion. Doubtless the Provincial Constitutions of Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, passed A. D. 1236, 21st Henry III., and the injunctions of Simon Mepham, who was advanced to that dignity in the reign of Edward III., and Lyndewode's Gloss on them, would afford us an ample field of disquisition; but we think it better to refer those, who are desirous of instruction on these points, to the learned pages of Mr. Elmes. The cases, which our author has reported, on ecclesiastical dilapidations and waste, are well worthy of perusal as illustrative of the principle, which governs them. What is the constitution of the spiritual courts, before which suits for ecclesiastical dilapidations are most properly to be sued, embracing the Archdeacon's Court, the Consistory Court of the Bishop, the Court of Arches, (so designated from the place where it was anciently held, viz. in the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, Sancta Maria de Arcubus,) the Court of Peculiars, the Prerogative Court, the Court of Delegates, and the Commission of Review, our author has succinctly stated ; and we refer our readers to him, in the full assurance that he will satisfy all their expectations. If it be asked why the spiritual courts, in cases of dilapidations, are now for the most part deserted, preference being given to the civil courts, we think we can find an answer in the prompt and not costly decision by a jury, which is to be had in the one court and not in the other. Again we beg leave, with all humility, to summon the attention of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners now sitting to this fact, and we crave at their hands the obvious remedy.
After all the pains, however, that labour can insure, and after all the provisions which ingenuity can suggest, there will ever be many practical difficulties to surmount in assessing dilapidations, and accurately determining what belongs to the clergyman, and what to the
* “ These Legatine Constitutions of our church, which have still the force of law among ecclesiastical persons and affairs, were made and published in England in the time of Otho, who was legate from Gregory IX., and Othobonus (afterwards Pope Adrian V.) the legate from Clement IV., A. D. 1268. These constitutions were published in Latin, under the title of Otho et Othobonus Papæ Legatinæ in Anglia, eorum constitutiones Legatinæ, cum interpretatione Domini Johannis Athon.'
The Commentary, Annotation, or Glosses of John Atho, is cited as of equal authority with the text, by all ecclesiastical law writers, from his time to the present. These legatine constitutions extended their authority equally to both provinces, having been made and acknowledged in the national synods or councils held bere by the respective legates, who have given their names to them, in the reign of Henry III., about the years 1230 and 1268.”- Elmes's note at p. 19.
freehold of the living. Upon this part of his task our author has given us the following rules, ably abbreviated from the cases decided; and we close our notice of his valuable work by a quotation thence, which may serve as a sample of the manner in which Mr. Elmes has written upon a topic, which we doubt not will interest our clerical friends.
If a parson sows his glebe land, and dies before it be fit for reaping ; and his successor is admitted, instituted and inducted before the corn is cut: it shall go to the executors or administrators of the deceased ; but, they must pay tithes thereof to the successor.
Things that are affixed to the tenement, and are made parcel of the freehold, belong to the successor and not to the executors or administrators. Therefore, the glass annexed to the windows of the house, and offices, belong to the successor, and any dilapidation or defects thereunto belonging must be valued, because they are parcel of the house, and descend to the next incumbent. And although the predecessor himself shall have put them in or glazed them at his own expense, yet being parcel of the house, neither he nor his executors can take them away without danger of punishment for waste. Neither is there any material difference in law, whether the glass be annexed to the windows by nails or in any other manner; because having been once affixed to the freehold of the church it cannot be removed, but must be considered as the property of the new incumbent for his life and dilapidations thereon assessed accordingly.
The same is to be observed with regard to wainscot, for being annexed to the house, by whomsoever it may have been, even by the late incumbent himself, it is parcel of the tenement. And whether it be affixed by nails great or small, by screws, or by irons or holdfasts driven through or into the walls, posts or partitions, it is parcel of the freehold however it be affixed, and if the executors remove it they shall be punishable, for having committed waste and dilapidations.
And not only glass and wainscot, but any other such like affair affixed to the freehold, or to the ground, with mortar and stone, as tables dormant, leads, mangers and such like ; for these belong to the freehold, and are to be left for use of the successor, and dilapidations are to be assessed thereon accordingly. So also millstones, anvils, doors, keys, window shutters, &c. are considered in law as parcel of the freehold and appertaining thereunto, and therefore belongs to the successor. Pictures and glasses, though generally speaking are not part of the freehold, yet if they are put up in the lieu of wainscot, let into and instead of a panel, or affixed where otherwise wainscot would have been put, they must go to the successor; for the law holds that the house ought not to come to the successor maimed or disfigured.
If an incumbent enter upon a parsonage-house, in which are hangings, grates, iron backs to chimneys and such like not put there by the last incumbent, but which have gone from successor to successor; the executor of the last incumbent shall not have them, but they shall continue in the nature of heir-looms: but if the last incumbent fixed them there only for his own convenience, it appears, that they are to be deemed as furniture or household goods and go to his executors.—Pp, 57, 58.
We had almost forgotten to state that Mr. Elmes has made a copious Index to his Treatise ; without which, indeed, it would have lost half its value, and been a labyrinth without a clue, or a forest without a riding; in short, as a book of reference, utterly useless.
Art, IV.-Discourses on the principal Parables of our Lord. By the
Rev. James KNIGHT, A.M., Perpetual Curate of St. Paul's Church, Sheffield. . Seeley and Co. 1829. pp. xxiv. 511. Price 12s.
Works published by subscription are generally considered as beyond the pale of public scrutiny, having become the exclusive property of those at whose charges they have been brought into existence. We do not, however, allow the justice of this exemption ; for, if an author, through courtesy, is, on such account, exempt from the risk of a severe examination of his pretensions, the joint-stock company
of patrons who so shelter him under the protection of their favour and encouragement, may properly be called before the bar of public censure, if they are instrumental in the dissemination of opinions at variance with received ideas, or prejudicial to the interests of society. And if, on the other hand, their patronage be praiseworthy, the object of their civilities can have nothing to fear from the impartiality of unbiassed criticism. With this excuse for the non-observance of that indifference which subscription-works usually meet with, we beg to state our opinion of the volume before us.
We are very glad to see the tastes of our present clergy, as to the style of pulpit oratory, so generally formed according to that model which the first teachers of the Gospel left on record, as the safest guide for those that should come after them. Notwithstanding the tendency of some doctrines, and the object of some teachers, of the day, to inculcate opinions more speculative than necessary; the peculiar feature of most printed discourses of the present time, is, practical illustration of the subjects treated. It is a good sign, and one, which, under due circumspection as to aptness of application, promises fair for the benefit of the community. We do not wish, however, to extend this judgment to every volume that comes from the press with this profession of utility; for, undoubtedly there are some which it would have been better to have left in the obscurity of that darkness in which they were composed. Had the present work been of that class, it should have shared such a lot; but it possesses claims to our respect, and it is a pleasant exercise of our privileges to declare as much.
The plan pursued by the author in the arrangement, explanation, and improvement (it is a cant word, but we like it) of the Parables, is that suggested by one of the continuators of Poole's Annotations. The remarks quoted from this authority, do not differ from those to be found in other writers; therefore there can be no necessity to
6. It has been the desire of the author to compose his Discourses according to the tenor of these judicious observations, which cannot, he believes, be too highly valued.” If he means the
purport of those observations, we fully agree with him ; but we see nothing particular in the authority itself, from whence they come. By many persons, however, and we suspect Mr. Knight not to be entirely free from this mania, a certain class of writers are looked upon as those who sit in the seat of wisdom, to the exclusion of others equally orthodox, equally sincere, but not equally enthusiastic. It must have been something of this which introduced the remark in the Preface of the volume before us, that “ the circumstance of his not being aware of the existence, in print, of any series of Discourses on the Parables of our Lord, adapted to the purposes of domestic reading, induced him to accede with the greater readiness to the requests which were repeatedly made to him, to give publicity to his own." He possessed, indeed, the “ Lectures on Scripture Parables,” by Dr. Collyer. He probably was not aware of Mr. Bailey's “ Exposition of the Parables," which excellent work was reviewed in the Christian Remembrancer, Vol. XI. p. 539; and praised for a feeling which certainly does not always seem to have actuated the present writer—a feeling of independence in the understanding of certain passages which bear a peculiar meaning in the minds of nonconformists, but objectionable, to say the least, in the eyes of ministers of the Church of England, who ought to rightly divide the word of truth. We must not, however, reject all a writer advances, because we may differ in one point. In spite, therefore, of our idea that Mr. Knight leans to the party against whom Mr. Bailey seems to have defended the language of St. Paul, we give him praise for what he has done, and proceed to show why, by quoting a few passages in illustration.
We cannot find a more pleasing instance than the following, taken from the introductory discourse upon the Nature of Parables. The text is, Matt. xiii. 3.
While we thankfully receive the general instructions of our Lord, and strive, in dependence upon divine grace, to regulate our conduct thereby ; let us learn to set a special value on the excellent and
impressive illustrations which his parables afford. Let us peruse them frequently, seriously, and attentively. Let us diligently compare them with the observations which He himself makes upon them, and also with the general tenour of his doctrine. But above all, let us frequently implore a right understanding of them by the teaching of his Holy Spirit; that they may be conducive to the important end of making us unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”. This object they are admirably calculated to promote under the direction of that Spirit, and cannot therefore be too highly valued in connexion with fervent prayer for his illuminating grace.
Let us, in the next place, admire and endeavour to imitate the wisdom of our Lord, not only in making natural objects subservient to spiritual instruction ; but in a guarded and cautious intimation of spiritual truths to those whose minds are not prepared for a full and copious developement of them. This is a direction which is perhaps of equal importance both to the minister of the word, and to the private Christian. "To the former it is often a matter of no small moment, that he should conciliate the minds of his hearers, in every way that is
consistent with strict fidelity, in the discharge of his ministerial functions : declaring indeed to the sinner, the awful danger to which he is exposed; but at the same time endeavouring to win him over to Christ by persuasive and affectionate arguments, such as may reach his understanding, and under the divine blessing find their way to his inmost heart,-rather than abruptly attacking his strongest prejudices, and needlessly irritating the worst passions of the soul. It may truly said of our Saviour, that in delivering instruction to his followers, he“ drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love :" and that in every successive stage of that instruction, he “spake the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.” To the private Christian it is also highly important that he should follow the example of his divine master, in having respect to times and seasons, and especially to the particular circle in which he is placed. Never, indeed, should he be ashamed of his Master, or afraid to bear testimony to the importance of vital godliness : but he needs, and should therefore diligently seek, much wisdom from above, to enable him so to speak, and so to time his observations, that he may not indiscreetly injure instead of promoting the cause of his God and Saviour, and the interests of those whose salvation he has at heart.
Finally. In contemplating the parables of our Lord, let us seek and pray that we may know more of our Lord Himself. From Him those heavenly instructions proceed; concerning Him they frequently treat: and while they direct our attention to his character, his purposes, his kingdom, and his everlasting glory; they commend Him to our reverence, our admiration, our gratitude, and our love, as“ made of God,” unto those who believe in his name,
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” At the same time they no less clearly inform us, that if we reject Him as our Saviour, and trust to any thing instead of Him for our acceptance with God, and our admission tó future glory,--He will reject us in the day when He shall come to judge the world in righteousness, and will appoint us our portion in the dismal regions of eternal death.—Pp. 12–14.
There are numerous and very interesting specimens of the author's skill, in application of Scripture truths, which we might select; but there is something so connected with a topic lately discussed in our work, and to be resumed by and by, that we take one of the parts of the Discourse on the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, (Luke xvi. 25) as giving a fair example of our author's manner, and of his testimony on the subject we have alluded to.
This parable teaches us, in the first place, that the outward condition of individuals this world is not the test of their real state in the eye of Almighty God. Those who have not the fear of God before their eyes, may yet have a large share of his providential bounty, and may partake in abundance of what are commonly considered the good things of the present life. On the other hand, those who are the true children of God, may have an unusually afflicting and troublesome passage through this evil world. Such a distribution of things, especially when the prosperity of the wicked, or the distressing situation of godly characters, is remarkably conspicuous, may excite surprise, and even in some degree stagger the faith of the righteous. But such feelings ought not to exist; and when they arise, every effort should be made to restrain and suppress them without delay. In regard to temporal concerns, it is not unfrequently so ordered, that there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. It may be the case that outward prosperity shall attend the wicked all their days upon earth ;—that there shall be “ nó bands in their death," and that “ their strength" shall be “ firm ;"—that they shall not have been“ in trouble as other men, neither shall have been plagued like other men.” On the other hand, it may be that the righteous shall have many sorrows; and though it