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place. The following extract from the church book of one of the Congregational churches at Yarmouth shows the light in which that event was viewed by our non-episcopalian forefathers of that period, and the dangers they apprehended in consequence :
September 7th, 1658.—The Lord having caused a great change of providence to pass upon this nation in taking away the late Lord Protector, the church appointed the 9th instant, in the afternoon, to be spent in seeking the Lord for the settlement of the nation, and for humbling ourselves before the Lord for our sins, as they had a hand in the same, to begin at two of the clock, which meeting was accordingly held,” also a similar one on the 30th of the same month, “ For seeking the Lord and humbling ourselves for the nation." Our anxious godly forefathers had not long to wait to know whether the sweets of liberty of conscience, were to be continued to them or not. The Restoration took place in 1660; the scene again changed, and we find the bitter waters of persecution again flowing from the mouth of the dragon, to afflict the people of God; for during the reign of Charles II., the sufferings of those who resisted or refused to comply with the arbitrary laws affecting their consciences that were then enforced were bitter in the extreme. Some idea of the severity of the measures adopted against them may be formed from the following statement, which is said to be imperfect, and rather below than beyond the truth :-“From 1660, the year of the Restoration, to 1668, when William and Mary were called to the throne, sixty thousand persons suffered for dissent, of whom five thouBand died in prison. Property to the amount of two millions was wrung from dissenters within the space of three years, in the shape of fines, for absence from church, or attending their own meetings for worship. That being so, the total loss of life
and substance for conscience' sake, from the rise of the Puritans to the accession of King William, must have been incalculable. The fines above referred to were most exorbitant, and recoverable on the action of a common informer, so that there was no need for thieves and pickpockets to pursue their nefarious occupation in their customary nanner; à mode of lawfully plundering their neighbours was provided for them by the rulers of the land; a third of every fine being handed over to the informer, whose unsupported oath was sufficient to ensure conviction. The fine for any person above the age of sixteen being present at any meeting for worship where there were five persons present other than the household, was five pounds, or three months' imprisonment; double for the second offence; and for the third, one hundred pounds fine, or seven years' transportation; and if they returned from banishment, to suffer death. So much for the worshippers in general; but as for the poor pastors and preachers, they, in addition, were subject to a fine of £100 for administering the Lord's Supper; for preaching, £20 for the first offence, and £40 for the second. They were also liable to a penalty of £40'if they came within five miles of any city, corporate town, or borough.
There were also heavy punishments enforced for not attending “church;' so that persons were not only prohibited worshipping, as their consciences approved, but punished if they declined to unite in what their consciences disapproved. For this latter “offence,” they were finable one shilling for each time of non-attendance, and £20 per month for continuous absence: those who had servants, £10 per month for their nonattendance. These fines were also recoverable by very summary, process; the person offending might be put in prison, or even his lands, if he ħad any, be seized by the crown; and in the event of certain acts of contumacy, might even be hanged like an atrocious malefactor.
* Bogne and Bennett's History of the Dissenters, vol. 1, page 87
Two extracts from church books are After ten years of these harass. given by Mr. Browne, which relate to ments under Charles II., a breathing these days, when the witnesses for the truth in this country had to pro- to the persecuted Dissenters by the phesy in sackcloth and ashes. One is proclamation of an “Indulgence," from the “Bury church book," being which permitted preachers and preachthat of the Congregational Church in ing places to be licensed. Immedi. Whiting-street, and is as follows :- ately application was made for licences “July 10th, 1681, being Lord's-day, for forty-six preachers, and eighty ye church gave solemn thanks for for preaching-rooms in thirty-eight God's delivering brother Bowers out parishes. In Suffolk, sixty licenses of prison, who had been detained for preachers, and one hundred for above three years upon ye Writt-de preaching-rooms, in sixty-seven parexcom capiend, and was brought out ishes, were obtained; thus showing by a supersedeas, at which time yo that persecution had not damped the church freely distributed (contributed) zeal of the godly ministers of that day towards ye charge." The good man, in preaching the gospel of the grace it seems, was about 73 years of age of God, nor the desire of Christ's when the ecclesiastical authorities sheep to hear the voice of their Shepseized upon him and thrust him into herd by the mouth of their faithful prison, lived nearly three years after his pastors. They knew not the voice of Liberation, and was“faithfulunto death." strangers, and notwithstanding all
The other extract is from the Yar- the efforts of their cruel persecutors mouth Congregational Church book, to compel them, strangers they would and reads thus:"1676, September not follow. The Lord give His faith20,-Agreed at a church meeting, ful followers in the present day grace held at Mr. Albertson's-1. That at to hold fast to the truth of God, and what church meeting convicted, what to listen to no voice, however soft and should be paid for the house and min- bewitching, but that of the good ister should be allowed by the church Shepherd of the sheep, delivered and friends. 2. Whatsoever charge in the oracles of eternal truth. should be spent for the benefit of the church should be allowed by the church and friends. 3. That what- THE NEW BURIALS ACT. ever fine should be on any poor in
By W. J. Styles, Keppel-street Chapel. deed should be allowed.”
The explanation of this is, that if a meeting GREAT things have been achieved was surprised by the officers of the in the present century in the cause of law, the fines incurred by the master religious liberty—a cause which must of the house where it was held, and claim the hearty suffrages of all the officiating minister, should be paid intelligent nonconformists. out of the common fund. They would That the State should exalt one not be deterred from meeting by the section of the professing church into a fear of the infliction, but would meet position of honour, favour and emoluand risk the consequences, such love ment to the disparagement of all others, had they to the means of grace, and is a violation of the most sacred regard to the apostolic injunction, principles of truth and righteousness. “ forsake not the assembling of your- Our Episcopalian brethren are but a selves together.” Personal fines im- sect; and no valid reason, scriptural posed on those who were convicted of political, or social, can be alleged for being present at the meetings they the elvation of one sect, to the deprewould each pay for themselves, ex- ciation of the thousands who do not cept in the case of the poor indeed, accept its liturgy, admit the authowhose burden the church would take rity of its dignitaries, or believe in the
rectitude of a religion which claims
popular homage on the ground of the patronage of the Government.
In our large towns, however, the days are gone bye in which dissent was regarded as a thing of scorn and obloquy. Noble men fought for, and have won, the prize of religious liberty; and in the great seats of civilization, the tyranny of former days is unknown. a different state of things unhappily obtains. The parish clergyman is too often a proud, arrogant, and bigoted despot, regarding all non-church goers with contempt, and omitting no opportunity to insult them. The line of demarkation between the " spectable” part of the population who attend his ministrations, and the common nobodies who decline to do so, is maintained with the utmost diligence. If the latter are poor, their children are treated with marked disfavour, and care is taken that the united influence of parochial bigotry, beef, and blankets, is brought to bear upon the work of proselytizing them to a religion that they must hold in contempt.
There are yet unrepealed laws, which, if enforced against dissenters, would make their lot hard indeed; and we hail with satisfaction the labours of the Liberation Society to obtain perfect religious equality in our beloved land.
The dis-establishment of the church of England is, indeed, the far-off goal to which all such endeavours should tend; the ultimatum without which enlightened dissenters will never be satisfied. We do not, however, think the time ripe for so momentous a change. Other and far more pressing matters claim the attention of Government. We have, therefore, small sympathy with the violent and ill-judged things that have been said in certain quarters on this question. The time for Episcopalianism to throw away her state crutches, and to walk erect like her sister churches, will, however, we are persuaded arrive; and we are mistaken if the cry for her liberation, which shall
to show itself in its most hateful form in connection with rural churchyards, and the interment of dissenters therein. The power to insult mourners, over the coffined remains of their loved and lost ones is, however, now taken from the Church of England for ever; and we beseech every intelligent Baptist to master the provisions of the enactment which came in force on the 7th of September in the present year,
The Liberation Society has published the following abstract. It is freed from the legal technicalities of the Act, for the guidance of those whose duty it may be to make arrangements for the burial of deceased persons. Summary of the Burials Laws Amendment
Act, 1880. 1.—THE NOTICE OF BURIAL.
1. The notice of an intention to bury in accordance with the Act, in either churchyards or the consecrated parts of parochial cemeteries, should be given with as little delay as possible, and must not be later than forty-eight hours before the time proposed for the burial.
2. The notice may be given by any relative, friend, or legal representative baving charge of, or being responsible for, the burial.
3. It must be in writing; must be endorsed on the outside “Notice of burial;" must be signed with the name and address of the person giving it, and be in the form, or to the effect, following:“I,
of being the relative (or friend, or legal repre“sentative, as the case may be, describing the “ relation, if a relative), having the charge of,
or being responsible for, the burial of A.B., " of
who died at “ in the parish of
* Copies of which may be obtained of the Society for the Liberation of Religion from State-Patronage and Control, 2, Serjeants' Inn, Fleet-street, London, E.C. Our thanks are due to the Society for the excellent compendium above printed.
“ day of
“ day of
do hereby give you “ notice that it is intended by me that the body “ of the said A.B. shall be buried witbin the " [here describes the churchyard or gruveyurd in which the body is to be buried] on the
at the hour of without the performance in the manner
prescribed by law of the Service for the Burial " of the Dead according to the rites of the " Church of England; and I give this notice “ pursuant to the Burial Laws Amendment Act, 1880. " To the rector (or, as the case muy be] of
[N.B.- While it is desirable to keep to this form, the person receiving it will not be at liberty to object to its sufficiency because the exact words are vot used; the Act requiring that the notice shall be in the form,
or to the effect,” of the above.]
4. In the case of a churchyard, the notice is to be left at the house of the clergyman, or, in his absence, of the clergyman in charge of the parish, or of any person appointed to receive sueh notices.
5. In the case of a parochial cemetery, if there is a chaplain for the consecrated ground, the notice is to be addressed to bim, but is to be left at the office of the clerk of the Burial Board.
6. In the case of a pauper, notice may be given to the incumbent, or the chaplain, and also to the master of the workbouse, or to the clerk to the guardians by the husband, wife, or next of kin. The guardians will be bound to allow the burial to be in accordance with the Act.
II.-CHANGE OF TIME FOR BURIAL.
7. The person receiving the notice may object to the time proposed for the burial in the following cases:
(a) As to burials in both churchyards and parochial cemeteries; if the burial be inconvenient on account of some other service having been previously to the receipt of the notice appointed to take place.
(6) As to burials in parochial cemeteries only; if the time proposed infringes any regulations in force limiting the times at which burials may take place. Unless some other time be mutually arranged witbin twenty-four hours from the time of giving the notice, the person from whom the notice has been received must be informed, in writing, at what other hour on the same day the burial is to take place. But if no such intimation of change of hour is sent, the burial is to take place at the time named in the notice. There is therefore no necessity for receiving the consent of the clergyman; as, in the event of his not objecting, within the time named, the funeral may take place in accordance with the notice as a matter of course.
EN.B.-Unless it be otherwise mutually arranged, burials must be between 10 and 6
o'clock from April 1 to October 1, and between 10 and 3 from October 1 to April 1.)
8. In the case of a churchyard, if the Incumbent objects to a burial on Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day, he must name a time on the following day. He must also state his reason for doing so, in writing, to the person froin whom he has received the notice. This objection cannot be taken in the case of cemeteries, unless Sunday funerals are prohibited by the cemetery regulations.
III.-CHARACTER OF BURIAL SERVICES. 9. A burial may take place either without any
“religious service,” “ with such Cbristian and orderly religious service," at the grave, as the person responsible for the burial may think fit, and
any person or persons," — whether ministers orlaymen—who may be invited, or authorised, may conduct such service, or take part in any religious act thereat. The words i Christian service” include “every religious service used by the church, denomination, or person, professing to be Christian.”
10. Ail burials must be decent and orderly, and any one guilty of riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour, or of obstructing any service, will be guilty of a misdemeanour.
11. Šo also will any person who sball " deliver any address, not being part of, or incidental tó any religious service permitted by the Act; or who wilfully endeavours to bring into contempt, or obloquy, the Christian religion, or the belief, or worship, of or denominations of Christians, or the members, or any minister, of any such Church, or denomination, or any other person."
12. The clergymen, the cemetery authorities, and all other authorised persons, will have the same power to preserve order, and to prevent, or to punish, disorderly behaviour, or obstruction, as they now possess in the case of burials in accordance with the rites of the Church of England. All persons may have free access to the place of burial.
(N.B.-It is most desirable that those who are responsible for the conduct of funerals should carefully avoid, not only the commission of any legal offence, but any proceedings w.ich may afford just ground for complaint.] IV.-THE REGISTRY OF BURIALS.
13. The person having charge of a burial under the Act must, either on the same day, or the day after, send to the Imcumbent, representative—or, in the case of a cemetery, to the clerk—a certificate in the following form*:“I
of " the person having the charge of for, being " responsible for) the burial of the deseased, do " hereby certify that on the 188
aged " buried in the churchyard for graveyard) of " the parish Cor, district) of
" To the rector for as the case may be) of
Any person making a false statement in such certificate, or any person whose duty it is to makes such entries refusing, or neglecting to enter the burial in the parish, or cemetery, register, will be guilty of a misdemeanour.
V.-SERVICES BY THE CLERGY OF THE
14. The clergy of the Church of England are at liberty to use the burial service of that Church in any unconsecrated burial ground, or in the chapel therein. The relatives may have such service performed in unconsecrated ground by any clergyman of the Church of England who may be willing to perform the same.
15. In cases where the Church of England service cannot legally be used, and in any other case, at the request of the relatives, the clergy, may use some other than the ordinary burial service of the Church of England; provided that it has been approved by the Bishop and is taken wholly from the Bible and Prayer Book.
16. The Act does not entitle anyone to be buried in any place in which he would have no right to be buried if the Act had not passed. The Act relates only to burial services.
17. Neither does it affect previously-existing regulations or authority iu regard to the position of graves, inscriptions on gravestones, &c.
The same fees will also have to be paid as though the burial were in accordance with the rites of the Church of England.
18. The Act applies only to England and Wales and the Channel Islands.
Thus those who see the hand of an ever-ruling and over-ruling God in all that transpires, may thank Him and take courage at this new victory in the cause of truth and righteous
[A difficulty has arisen under the operation of this Act with regard to non-parishoners.
In several cases the incumbent has refused to permit a dissenting minister to officiate in the church-yard over the remains of a person who did not live in the parish in which it was situated, alleging that the new Act gives no such right to non-parishioners. At present this seems a point not quite clear, although legal opinion has been given in favour of the action of the clergymen in question. Mr. Williams, however, the secretary of the Liberation Society, thinks that a court of law, if appealed to would decide the other way.--Ed.]
6 CHURCH MEMBERSHIP."
of the truths only which we hold in common.” Surely there is no section of God's church on earth in which all its members fully agree alike on every theological subject, and yet where there are differences of religious thought existing on subjects not immediately connected with salvation there may be at the same time perfect harmony on the great matters of eternal interest. How many churches of truth are there in which all the members “agreein all points ; on such questions as the millennium, the preexistence of Christ, degrees of future glory and punishment, days of creation, chronology of the Bible, the literal fulfilment of prophecy, as also the correct mode of interpreting prophecy ? Is it not possible to agree to differ" on such matters, and yet live as a church in unity of heart and action ?
To the Editor of the “ Gospel Herald.”
DEAR SIR,—The excellent paper on “ Church Membership” published your last issue, is well worthy of an attentive reading by every member of Zion. It ought, in fact to be re-printed in bookform and extensively circulated. The author, Mr. W. J. Styles, thing more than passive acquiescence in what he has advanced,” and here I take the liberty, with your generous permission, of saying how right glad I should have been had Mr. Styles more fully explained the last paragraph on page 221. Mr. Styles considers it "impossible," (if I rightly understand his meaning) for church members to “agree to differ," and at the same time" consort on the ground