« VorigeDoorgaan »
a wish to discourage religious conduct amongst the troops under his command, this most distinguished and experienced commander comes forward, in the letter just quoted, with the most open and candid declaration, that, from his own knowledge, the advantage of religious instruction "is the greatest support and aid to military discipline and order." The Duke felt and expressed the apprehension that there was a possibility that religious meetings might, under the influence of ignorant and fanatical teachers, degenerate into what might become injurious, rather than beneficial, to the great cause they intended to advocate; and all who have the interests of true religion at heart, must experience the same jealousy upon a subject of such paramount importance. At the same time, we must guard against involving, in a sweeping censure, all those truly God-fearing and pious individuals, many of them the very salt of the earth, who, through want of judgment or better instruction, may have fallen in with the usages of sectarian forms of worship; our business should be rather to provide them with instruction than to censure them-and this, it is clear, was the feeling entertained by the Duke when he wrote to General Calvert upon the subject.
Before we turn to the Navy, we shall give a brief extract of the admirable arrangement of the East India Company's service, in the matter of chaplains, which appear to hold up an example, which we can only fervently desire to see followed as regards all our Colonies. We should premise, however, that no chaplain, at least of the Church of England, performs duty in India but those of the regular army establishment.
Chaplains for the British territory in India are appointed by the East India Company, there being none in India belonging to her Majesty's service: the chaplains belonging to the honourable Company doing duty, both for the Queen's and the Company's troops. They are sent, in certain proportions, to each Presidency, and distributed to the different stations of the army by the Governors of each Presidency, at the suggestion and recommendation, generally, of the Bishop: there being one at each Presidency. Chaplains on their arrival in India draw the regimental pay, allowances, and batta of a major of infantry, rather more than 7007. per annum. The senior-chaplains at the Presidency, generally from three to four, are expressly appointed by the Governor, and draw the pay, &c., of a lieut.colonel upon full batta, about 1,1507. per annum; they are only under the immediate controul of the Archdeacon, Bishop, and Governor, who is supreme in the ecclesiastical arrangements. Their duties are the same as of clergymen in general,
and they are expected to visit the regimental hospitals, &c., at their respective stations. Chaplains are allowed a furlough to Europe, after seven years actual service in India, and draw the pay, without batta, of a major. If ill-health should prevent their returning, they are (on certain certificates) allowed to retire on (we believe) 1807. per annum. All chaplains, after fifteen years actual service in India, are entitled to retire upon the pay of a major, or 3001. per annum. All stations in India where there are European troops, as well as some civil stations, are provided with churches regularly consecrated by the Bishop, and built by the East India Company. We believe, in fact, that the regulations respecting the ecclesiastical establishment in India are as perfect, in all respects, as they possibly can be made. The army in India is infinitely better provided with the means of religious instruction at present by the excellent arrangement of the late Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of York, than it was in former years. All regiments are provided with a schoolmaster, who is paid and mustered as schoolmaster-sergeant; according to the strength of the school he is allowed assistants from the ranks, selected by the commanding-officer, under whose control alone regimental schools are. The chaplains are expected to visit them, and to examine the scholars at their respective stations; and any suggestions which they may make for their benefit, are generally attended to by the commanding-officer. Chaplains are, moreover, authorized to lend and issue religious books, &c., to soldiers, their wives and children, from a liberal store placed at his disposal by Government, for which he passes his receipt through the Archdeacon and Bishop, to the Secretary to Government.
It is quite unnecessary to comment upon the delightful contrast which this state of things presents, as compared with the condition of the army elsewhere. We can only express a hope that something may speedily be done towards following so admirable an example.
There are few more painful subjects of contemplation to the Christian philanthropist than the thought of how little has been done for the eternal welfare of those who carry, from their very profession, their lives in their hand-who must be ready at any moment to lay them down at their country's call. We too often suffer ourselves to be carried away by tales of arms and deeds of valour, till we forget that the field of fame has been the scene of the sudden departure of numberless myriads of spirits to their awful account. That from amidst the wildest excitement and the hottest fervour of the passions, and the tu
multuous perturbation of the whole human fabric, they have retired in a moment to the still solemnities of the separate state-have entered upon the dread certainty of a condition eternally fixed.
It is not because death has been met with unflinching bravery and firm daring of soul, that we are, therefore, to forget that he is still the King of Terrors. We would have men ready to meet him, but it should be with the heroism of Christians, not with the savage recklessness of wild beasts. We know that excitements manifold have power, under sudden circumstances, to remove, indeed, the fear of death, so that the timid fights like a hero, and the brave as though he were immortal. Were we to walk amidst the camp-fires on the solemn eve of battle, and had we access to the inmost feelings of the armed companies who cluster around them far and wide, we should know, by the occasional quicker beating of many an anxious heart, that there was something like nervous depression at work in the breasts of not a few amongst the groups who were, nevertheless, prepared to quit them like men on the morrow-as the fond remembrances of home, and country, and relations, came crowding and thronging, and the thought would force itself in, that before another sun had set the soldier's course might be run. But were we to shift the scene, and go forth amidst the host when the strife had begun, and the first blood had been drawn, and the first roar of cannon had bellowed along the plain, we should find no depression in the hearts of those who rushed to the onset; we should see the flashing eye, and the expanded nostril, and the firm-set limb, amidst scenes of fell carnage, and wounds and massacre, as steel clashed fierce against steel, and the death-shot came hissing and crashing over the plain. We should behold the fearless rush of martial manhood into "the imminent deadly breach," where blood is poured out like water, and Death looks forth grim and ghastly from amidst heaps of mutilated corpses and shattered limbs, and the thick sulphureous clouds which gather around the earthquake of strife and there would be no gesture of fear, no sign of dismay, no shadow of terror upon the visages of the mighty. The fear of death is lost amidst the fierce excitement of the strife, and the grim-visaged king, in all his ghastliest forms, is fearlessly defied. But there is only one stimulus, one ground-work of assurance, which can safely remove the fear, and for ever—one principle of triumph which can, indeed, prevail, to swallow up death in victory and that not the wild excitement of the moment which blinds men to danger, but the possession of that faith, and with it that holiness without which no man shall see
the Lord. Unsupported by this principle, though a man in worldly phrase may fall like a hero, in the sober sadness of reality, he dies as the fool dies. We have been dazzled by the halo of victory which sheds its light upon the warrior's parting hour, till we have too much forgotten that he has a soul to be lost or saved; and that mere military glory, or the mere devotedness of patriotism, can avail the naked spirit nothing when it comes to stand in the presence of its God.
It is high time that this illusion should be done away; that now, when a protracted peace affords time for sober reflection, we should turn a philanthropic eye upon the condition of those who must fight our country's battles, should we have occasion, which Providence avert, to be again engaged in war. The case of the army calls loudly for our sympathising interference. We have shown that it can scarcely be more destitute of the means of spiritual superintendence than it is, and we fervently trust that something may be done to remedy this destitution.
[We are unwillingly compelled to defer the remainder of this article, relating to Naval Chaplains, till our next number.] ED.
ART XI.-The Life of Thomas Burgess, D.D., F.R.S., F.A.S., &c. &c. &c., late Lord Bishop of Salisbury. By JOHN L. HARFORD, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S. London: Longman and Co. 1840. Pp. xvi. 557. 8vo.
THIS well-written memoir is one of the most pleasing, as well as instructive volumes of Christian and Ecclesiastical biography which of late years has issued from the press. The Christian reader will peruse it with delight and gratification, and ecclesiastics of every rank may read it for their guidance and instruction. It presents, in the closing scene of the pious and venerable Bishop's life, a beautiful and practical illustration of Addison's dying remark: "See! in what peace a Christian can die!" At the same time, the elevation of Dr. Burgess to the Episcopate exhibits an additional instance (if further instances were wanting in the present bench of Bishops) that humble origin does not exclude men of learning and piety from the highest dignities of the Anglican Church. Having been honoured with the friendship of the departed Prelate, and entrusted by him with the disposition of his papers and correspondence, Mr. Harford possessed singular advantages for composing an authentic and interesting memoir of his revered friend who (he truly remarks) "to deep and extensive erudi
tion, united a firm and inflexible adherence to his convictions of Christian duty, both in public and in private life, accompanied with deep humility and guileless simplicity of mind and
Dr. Thomas Burgess, late Bishop of Salisbury, was born Nov. 18, 1756, at Ödiham, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire. His father was a respectable grocer of that place; who, together with his mother, early imbued their children with religious principles. Nor were their parental labours thrown away upon them, and least of all upon the subject of Mr. Harford's memoir. The good seed thus early cast into his mind, germinated, by the divine blessing, at a very early period; and through the restraining influence of "the fear of the Lord," so justly denominated by the sacred penman as "the beginning of wisdom," he passed through the dangerous ordeal of a public school and of college, uncontaminated. Having received the rudiments of a classical education at Odiham, he went, in 1768, to Winchester School, under the tuition of Dr. Joseph Warton; and thence, in 1775, he was elected to a scholarship in Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Here he assiduously applied himself to his studies, the fruits of which appeared in no long time, first in his learned and accurate edition of Burton's Pentalogia, published in 1778, while he was yet an undergraduate; and afterwards in his erudite and equally accurate edition of Dawes's Miscellanea Critica, in 1781. The publication of these two works introduced him to many of the most distinguished scholars and critics on the continent, as well as at home; and, among the latter, to the learned Mr. Tyrwhitt, who, in 1780, commenced a generous friendship with Mr. Burgess, which terminated only with his life. In order to enable him to prosecute his studies, Mr. T. prevailed on him to accept pecuniary aid as his "curate" at the University, in a manner equally honourable to both parties. Mr. Harford has enriched this part of his memoir with many of their letters, which must be read with pleasure. In 1780 Mr. Burgess gained the Chancellor's prize-medal for an Essay on the Study of Antiquities, which soon passed into a second edition. Mr. Harford characterizes this essay as "the production of an elegant and ingenious mind, richly stored with classic images, and glowing with sensibility to the sublime and the beautiful in nature and art;" the style of which, though in some parts incorrect, is in general accurate and elegant.
Passing over the interesting literary correspondence of Mr. Burgess with Lord Monboddo, Mr. Tyrwhitt, and the Rev. Dr. Vincent, afterwards Dean of Westminster, we find him ap