TR'S ALIRZOO. Or A BISHOP
Is an able work ; extensive in its knowledge, full in its matter, close though sometimes rather heavy in its style, with touches of a sardonic humour, and much rationality of judgment in its criticism of what is and what ought to be. At the same time, there is rather too much of abstract theory in the writer's views of what Bishops should be in these days, and something of exaction in his demands upon them, con- sidering men and things (as they have a right to he considered) by the circumstances of the age and the character of the laity. Proressing to attribute the evil to the system and nothing to the men, the writer does indeed attribrUe mull to them, .reprosenthg them as animated by the spirit which Sydney Smith ascribed to ecclesiastics, when dilating on the advantage of prizes in the lottery of the Church. The author before us, however, wants the animation and even the good-natute of the reverend wit.; and, whereas Sydney Smith seemed to look open the worldly parts of the Church as a recommendation, this writer bitterly censures them as spiritual evils of no light kind. The author of The Mirror if a Bishop is .a Churchman opposed to tome, opposed to sectarianism, and looking upon the Tractarians with a contemptuous pity ; while he attributes their backsliding, the strength of iliseant, Dud the killing against an Fatablisluneet, to the misconduct of theilielespe. As the title implies, a great portion of the book is devoted to displaying the Bishops, and men's ideas of them. The author begins with sketching a Bishop as -he appears in the imagination and judgment of the mechanic, the rustic, and the small narrownfinded tradesman: all which portraits are clever, and true enough ia a sort of mechanical truth, but the style- of delineation is operose, and the picture not effective in pro- portion to the labour. The official and country gentleman's notions of episcopal employments and duties are then illustrated, from one of Sir James Graham's speeches, opposing an addition to the number of Bishops : and very cleverly illustrated too. After a few more hits of this kind, the author takes the Episcopal Bench in band himself; and arranges its occupants in three classes,—the Prelate of family, of high university reputation or professional Prelate, and the party Bishop, sometimes promoted from the public school. He then proceeds to try these several classes of the Episcopacy ; testing them by the Canons, and the character of many of their predecessors in the times preceding the house of Brunswick, as well as exhibiting them On various occasions as they are, with intimations of what they ought to be according to the foregoing tests. After painting "the palaces," the ministering officials, the "exemplary" conduct of the Bishops on all occasions, with the feelings of their clergy, and indicating many abuses in the Church which a different " overlooking " would remedy, he closes with his proposals of reform. Two or three of these are tangible. To increase the numbers and reduce the income of the Bishops, giving the Church fifty overlookers withaut additional cost ; and to relieve them from attendance in London, so that they might reside in their diocese. To deprive the Ministry of the Episcopal patronage, since the Cabinet may now be of any religion or no religion ; and to vest the nomination lathe Crown as the head of the Church, assisted by a council of lay and spiritual men. The other suggestions are the most difficult matter to accomplish : they consist of hortatives to Apostolical conduct.
The value comprised in such an outline as this must depend on the filliog up—the execution. Bating the faults of occasional ponderousness and overdoing, already alluded to, this filling up is clever, and something mere. The writer is familiar with the biography of the olden Bishops and the requirements of the Church : what is of more consequence as re- gards the vital character of his book, he seems to be acquainted with the actual practice of Episcopacy and the feelings of Churchmen. The sort of Anti-Prelatic animus, and the presence of the writer's arts, are not altogether critical faults, at least of a kind to detract from the read- ableness of the book. We subjoin a couple of specimens.
THE BISHOP OF FAMILY.
His educatiOn has been softly and tenderly provided in the lap of opulence and lathy; hla associations have been uniformly with high-born connexions: amiable,
polite and moderately learned, aristocratic in demeanour, refined in manners, blameless in morals, !neuters upon a rich family living, with infinitesimal duties, which for the most part he delegates to a respectable curate, and figures in the clergy list as a rector, tied by conscientious obligation to the delivery of a Sunday. morning sermon, until a vacant deanery transports him to a cathedral town. where, as the "Honourable and Very Reverend the Dean," he immirts an atl! ventitious grace to county society, and lives in easy familiarity with his fellow dignitaries the Canons. In the course of time, by the continual pressure of his family and connexions upon the Government, in consideration of Parliamentary support, cheerfully and consistently rendered in sunshine and foul weather, he a congid'ilired into a bishopric. He felicitates himself and is felicitated by his noble relatives upon the advantages he has obtained; a high station, an ample in_ come, and a peerage, which, under other circumstances—as a younger son...wss beyond the horizon of human probability. Into his diocese he carries the easy habits of the rector and the polished urbanity of the dean. His clergy know and feel themselves to be inferior clergy: that is not his intention, his good-bred, and courtesy would revolt from the idea; but his birth and " manner of life froi. his youth" dissolve the common tie of priesthood, which should bind together in a cord of mystical sympathy bishop, priest, and deacon; and erect an artificial barrier, cold and unyielding upon the one side, bashful and school-boyish on the other, in their official intercourse.
He performs his functions with exemplary and scrupulous exactness; ordains confirms, visits triennially, consecrates churches, and preaches occasional charity' sermons in the plenitude of lawn sleeves; he is punctual in his attendance at the House of Lords, and at the committee meetings of the great Church Societies. He stands out before the world an Episcopal statue, chiselled, as it were, by the very hands of Sir James Graham, a model and faultless specimen of an Anglican Bishop.
CHARITIES OF THE BENCH.
His Lordship's revenue, under existing and propooed arrangements, is supposed to be commensurate with the exigencies of his diocese; and, as the Bishops them- selves counselled and !natured the plan, we may reasonably infer that these iteros [subscriptions] were not omitted in the calculation. So much to maintain the state and dignity of a bishop; so much to enable him to live in London during the session, for the discharge of his Parliamentary duties; so much for public charities, and for what is expected from a bishop. We have never heard a com- plaint even whispered against the Ecclesiastical Commission upon this head; not its judgment questioned, nor its discretion arraigned. The general mass ef Episcopal revenue was to he measured out and levelled, as men in barns use what is called a strike to level the surface of the corn, thrown at random into a bushel or other measure. By the operation of the strike the superfluous quantity falls upon the threshing-floor, and serves to supply the deficiency in other bushels. There can be no unfairness, because the capacity of the measure is determined before the strike is applied; and thus the Ecclesiastical Commission acted as a strike, justly and impartially, to the Episcopal revenues of England and Wales. We conclude, then, that a Bishop's public charities, such as are extorted, we had almost said—but that is not the word, because the Bishop thinks it becoming his station and .imperative upon his conscience to assist in carrying foriv,■rd those great objects to which Societies dedicate their funds; but the word is, drawn from him by public opinion,—we conclude, therefore, that these charities are pro- vided for in the computation of revenue to be appropriated for the necessities of his diocese.