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were treated. At one place on the road we passed a number of men, whose wives were walking by their sides, staggering under the weight of huge boxes. The position which the female sex occupies in these parts may, perhaps, be well illustrated by a story which I heard some years ago from the late Henry Ward at Corfu. As he was riding, one day, into the country, he overtook a man who had laden his wife with a very heavy bundle of faggot-sticks; he remonstrated with him, and said, 'Really, my good man, it is too bad that you should load your wife in that way; what she is carrying is a mule's burden.' 'Yes, your Excellency,' the man replied; 'what yon say is quite true, it is a mule's burden: but then, you see, Providence has not provided us with mules, and He has provided us with women.'" (p. 207.)
There is a brief but interesting- account of Montenegro as an independent state, which well deserves attention; and of Mr. Tozer's visit to the Mirdite Albanians, of whom he says, that their Christianity is so superficial, that "they pray to onr Lord to intercede for them with St. Nicolas, who is the leading saint of the country." He adds a horrible account of the "vendetta" in the family of the Mirdite prince, which, as he justly says, is "hardly unworthy of the palace of Atreus at Mycenae •" and also a curious description of the custom of the Mirdites, who capture their wives, usually Mahometans belonging to some neighbouring tribe, baptize, and marry them. To the scholar, the descriptions of Olympus, of Tempe, Ossa and Pelion, will be full of interest, but we cannot afford space to discuss them as we would wish. In the concluding part of his second volume, Mr. Tozer has some most readable Notes on ballads, popular tales, and classical superstitions still existing among tho modern Greeks, which we commend to the notice of our readers. The map and illustrations enhance the value of the work.
BISnOP HINDS* FREE DISCUSSION OF RELIGIOUS TOPICS.
Free Discussion of Religious Topics. Part II. Objections to Free Pulpit Discussion Considered. By Samuel Hinds, D.D., kite Bishop of Norwich. London: Longmans, Orecn, and Co. 1809.
Bishop Hinds occupies a position favourable, in many respects, for the discussion of the subject which he has taken in hand. His natural abilities, his extensive acquirements, and his recent high position in the English Church, conspire to secure consideration and respect for his opinions on Church matters; whilst his independent ecclesiastical status may fairly entitle him to exemption from those suspicions which, whether
rightly or wrongly entertained, are inseparable from the position of those who are or who may be regarded as interested advocates.
We are disposed to think that it is to the measure of truth contained in the First Part of the writer's "Free Discussion of Religious Topics," and to the amount of caution exercised in the development of his views, rather than to any general acquiescence in his "fundamental principle," that we ought to ascribe that favourable reception on the part of some, and that abstinence from dissent on the part of others, which seem to have encouraged Bishop Hinds to undertake that further and fuller exposition of his opinions which we find in the pamphlet which is now before us, and of which we do not hesitate to pronounce our most distinct and emphatic condemnation.
Before proceeding to the main question of discussion, Bishop Hinds makes a few preliminary remarks upon what should be the determining principle of the creed of a National Church. This principle, he asserts, is not the abstract truth or error of the creed, but the simple fact that it is " the existing creed of the people." This proposition is affirmed in p. 3, without any restriction or qualification; nor does it appear to us that Bishop Hinds has, in any other part of his "Discussion," given us ground for the belief that such restriction or qualification can, in any way, be reconciled with the views which he avows throughout it. The following passage, indeed, seems conclusive on this point: "The people's rulers, if they act rightly, are bound to take their State creed from the people, not the people from them; and, when change takes place in the nation's creed, to meet it by providing for a revision of Articles and other formularies." (p. 6.)
The existing secessions from our own National Church aro ascribed by Bishop Hinds to the neglect of this duty on the part of our national rulers; and it is urged by him that the condition in which we find ourselves at this day, in consequence of this neglect, must be taken into account when we consider the question of "what latitude may be allowed to a clergyman even, in discussing sacred subjects." (p. 11.) The Bishop then proceeds to examine, under five heads, the force of the objections which may be urged to "the liberty of free discussion" on the part of the ministers of the Church.
I. The first objection which he notices is, "that if there is no restriction on pulpit discussion, a clergyman may preach infidelity, atheism, or any wild and monstrous doctrine." The manner in which this objection is met is so remarkable, that we should fear to incur the charge of misrepresentation were we to present it to our readers in other words than those of the writer. "If the law" (says Bishop Hinds, p. 13) "did not interfere to prevent him" (the clergyman), "his congregation would, unless they too were infidels, atheists, or what not. They would soon silence him by leaving him an empty church, with no one to hear him. This is, in fact, the reasonable and natural limit to free pulpit discussion—not a limit defined by statute, but caused by the necessity imposed on the clergymau of going no farther than his hearers will go with him."
Wo do not know to what extent Bishop Hinds may be regarded as the exponent of the views of the advocates of free discussion in the pulpits of the English Church. It would be well, we believe, for the cause of truth, if all would speak with equal plainness and unreserve respecting "the reasonable and natural limit" to that free pulpit discussion at which they are aiming. Of this, however, we are well assured, that as to the probable results of that free discussion which Bishop Hinds advocates, there will be much difference of opinion amongst persons who are fully as competent as himself to indulge in such a speculation; whilst, on the other hand, we anticipate but little difference of opinion amongst the laity, as to the merits of a scheme which would constitute the clergy an irresponsible autocracy. We venture, further, to express our unqualified conviction that, on the part of those who take their stand upon the basis of God's Holy Word, there can be but one verdict upon any scheme which leaves it open to an authorized minister of that Word to "question in his pulpit the Being of a God," to "argue against the Christian religion and advocate that of Mahomet," subject to no other safeguards than (1) the probability of the defection of some or of all of his congregation, should the clergyman "go farther than his hearers," and (2) the axiom, on the strength of which Bishop Hinds is content to entrust the clergy with such unbridled licence, that "the may and the can are very different things."
II. The second objection to free pulpit discussion, which Bishop Hinds undertakes to refute, is announced in the following terms: "That it is dishonest in a clergyman to take the pay of his Church, and to discuss in his pulpit, as questionable, any of its doctrines."
To this objection the Bishop suggests more than one answer. More particularly, he urges, (1) that the Thirty-nine Articles ought to be regarded as the sole test of doctrine, and that those Articles were "so framed as to comprehend, as far as possible, all the subjects of the realm;" and (2) that a clergyman can have " no dishonest bias" in exceeding the boundary prescribed to him, inasmuch as, by the exercise of the right for which Bishop Hinds contends, he will injure his own prospects, and alienate his neighbours and his friends. It is obvious, however, that our author is himself conscious how utterly insufficient these answers are to remove the force of the objection in those cases which are mainly contemplated alike by the Bishop, and by the objectors,—i.e. not of a diversity of opinion on subjects on which the Word of God and the Formularies of the English Church are either silent, or may reasonably be appealed to on both sides, but of a denial of the authority of the one, or of a conscious disagreement with the other. And hence it is that, in a singular course of inconsequential reasoning, as it appears to us, by aid of the assumption that the essence of Protestantism consists in the right, if not the exercise, of universal scepticism, and yet further, of the incontrovertible axiom that the cause of truth and that of the national Church "ought to be identical;" the writer proceeds to argue that, because the Church of England differs from the Church of Rome, in not asserting infallibility for its teaching, therefore the former not only permits, but requires, her members to discuss the truth of every doctrine to which they have given their solemn assent.
III. The third objection with which Bishop Hinds deals, is as follows:—" That a clergyman is acting illegally, and that there is a moral obligation to conform to the law of the land, as well as that of the Church, which he violates."
It is very far from our intention to misrepresent the considerations which, in the judgment of Bishop Hinds, release a clergyman from that legal and moral obligation under which he is commonly supposed to lie, to conform to that law of the land which enforces his Church's rule. Our author's assertion is, that the only purpose of ecclesiastical law is to give legal effect, in respect of its doctrines and practices, to the rule of the Church; and hence, that if circumstances exist which release a clergyman from his moral obligation to conform to the rule of his Church, they also release him from the same obligation to conform to the law of the land. As if conscious, however, of the necessity of some other argument than an inference from what had been already advanced, by aid of which to meet the objection brought against a clergyman, of acting illegally in denying the truth of any doctrine which is taught by his Church, Bishop Hinds continues thus :—" Besides, the clergyman's conduct cannot be pronounced illegal, until he has been tried and condemned by a law court. To fasten on him the brand of illegality, before any such trialyand condemnation, is to contravene the principle that every man is to be accounted innocent until he is convicted of crime." So far as the bare question of legality or illegality is concerned, we should entirely concur in the force of Bishop Hinds' argument, had it applied to cases in which the question was still at issue, whether the doctrine impugned was, or was
Vol. 68. -No. 382. 5 F
not, one to which the Church had given its sanction. The case, however, with which Bishop Hinds is dealing, is that of a clergyman who exercises his supposed right of "freely discussing" (an expression which, we think, we are entitled to regard as an euphemistic equivalent for openly denying) the truth of any doctrine to which his Church, in those formularies which the clergyman has already subscribed, has given its undoubted sanction.
It appears to us that, when considered in its application to cases such as this, the assertion of Bishop Hinds that "the clergyman's conduct cannot be pronounced illegal until he has been tried and condemned by a court of law,"—and again, that "no one has any right to say that he is acting illegally, if he does preach and publish, and is ready to abide by the decision of the proper tribunals,"—is exactly equivalent to an assertion that no one has any right to accuse of an illegal act the man who confesses that he has been guilty of the crime of theft, or forgery, or murder, until that man has first been tried and condemned in a court of justice; nay, not even then, as it seems in the judgment of Bishop Hinds, provided that the criminal is "ready to abide by the decision of the proper tribunals."
IV. The fourth objection to free pulpit discussion, which Bishop Hinds undertakes to answer, is that derived from the inconsistency of which a clergyman is guilty in questioning in the pulpit any doctrine the truth of which he has just affirmed in the desk, or at the communion table.
To this objection the only answer which Bishop Hinds can supply, consists in the assertion, which he labours hard, but, as it seems to us, ineffectually, to establish, that the same objection applies to "the clergy and their congregations, in numerous instances, throughout the length and breadth of the land." It can scarcely have escaped the observation of Bishop Hinds, that the utmost which such an answer can effect, on the supposition that it is capable of being maintained, is, as an argumentum ad hominem, to stop the mouth of the objectors.
The counter-charge, however, is one which is of so wide an application, and some of the instances adduced in its support of" such apparent plausibility, that it deserves to be examined with corresponding care, and, if possible, to be as decisively refuted, as it has been confidently preferred.
The first example is that of the so-called damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed. Now, with regard to these, it may be well to express, in the first instance, if not our entire concurrence in the wish expressed by the late Bishop of Lichfield (to which Bishop Hinds refers), "that we were well rid of these clauses," at least our desire, either for an alteration in th