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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

THE DISRUPTION: X TALE OF TRYING TIMES. CHAPTER X — continued. “if I happen to be employed to do so. There’s no harm in that surely ?” “ I am no very clear about that. To be sure, if ye be weel paid for’t, and get payment in gude Scotch notes, and no in English goold —which, for ought ye ken, might be blude-stained, ill-gotten money—maybe in that case it might be allowable for ye to teach the caltan, the mair especially as it would gi’e ye opportunities o’ hintin’ to him nob and then what a state o’ utter darkness he has been born and brought up in, and gi’ein’ him some insicht intil the iniquities of the Prelatic harlot.” “ You don’t mean to' say that I should try to undermine the faith in which his father has reared him, during the time I may be paid to teach him the dead languages ?” « Ay, but I div though. The dead languages, I jalouse, are no worth a boddle to onybody, unless they be seasoned wi’ a spice o’ soond doctrine, and ye wadna be doin’ your duty to the callan if ye learnt him naething but a jargon o’ meaningless gibberish.” Stiffrigs was in too animated a key to be willing to part company without further -conversation, and he readily accepted Of an invitation from Mr. Duncanson to take tea with him at his lodgings. Here the farmer found an old acquaintance in the person of Robin Afleck, and passed a very happy evening. It was a happy evening, too, with Mr. Duncanson and Robin; for the letter formerly quoted from Jean Brown, containing the news of Miss Montgomery’s release from domestic thraldom, and a few lines of the most encouraging nature from the young lady herself, had just arrived.

CHAPTER XL We’ll speak of humps ; And were great Doctors Gall and Spurzhelm there, They’d surely find sufficiency of lumps To theorise upon—come clear your hair. And put those visionaries in the dumps. THE CH'll —A POEM. Precisely at the hour appointed, Mr. Duncanson waited on Dr. Crimp and was received very graciously. The Doctor was no prepared to enter on business. He immediately commenced to examine' the student on his qualifications to act as Greek and Latin tuto to Master Theophilus Loftus Jerningham Crimp. The result appeared to be satisfactory, for the Doctor was even more complaisant and complimentary than before. He enlarged on the merits and glory of scholarship, and slid, by the easiest transition imaginable, into a sounding eulogium on the Church of England as the generous nursing mother of learning and piety. In her sheltering bosom, he said, no young man of decided talent w r as allowed to languish for lack of encouragement. All her deserving sons were enriched from her opulence, and removed at once from the harassments of poverty and excessive duty. Her highest offices were open alike to aspirants of all ranks. High merit was the only essential to promotion throughout all her degrees of dignity. And the.effect of such encouragement was just what might be expected. She numbered among her clergy the brightest names in learning which this country or the world had produced. The learning of all other Churches was ignorance compared to the profound erudition of her divines. Then the decency, the magnificence of her rites and ceremonies had an elevating influence on the mind and gratified the reverential feelings proper to man. Even her gradations of office had this effect, for who that felt impressed with respect for the humble curate could fail to venerate a Bishop or Archbishop ? Plied with these appeals to his ambition, Mr. Duncanson felt awkwardly situated, and knew not what to say. At length, when the Doctor made a pause, with the evident purpose of seeing what effect his eloquence had produced, James remarked with as much civility as he could muster —“ I have no doubt the clergy of the Church of England have many advantages, and I don’t wonder that those who have been born and bred within her pale should be greatly attached to her forms and services, which are certainly very imposing.” “ No, not imposing, Mr. Duncanson; by your leave impressive is the w r ord not imposing.” “ I bow to your correction, Doctor. You have expressed my meaning better than I did myself.” “ Oh, yes, the services of our Church are, indeed very impressive, and my wonder is that they only affect those who are Episcopalians by birth and education. I should have expected them to touch the feelings of all rational creatures of whatever creed or training. Just think how

Through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Then how beautiful is the liturgy ! the finest composition extant. And all this, associated with a Church modelled on the primitive plan, a clergy in unbroken succession from the apostles, and doctrines sanctioned by the authority of the most venerable fathers and holiest martyrs, I am astonished that dissent should exist in any form,” Mr. Duncanson now began to recollect the suspicions of his worthy, home-spun friend, Stiffriggs, and to think they might, after all, not be without foundations. His own suspicions were aroused by the tone of propaganflism which pervaded the Doctor’s observations. He felt it incumbent on him to vindicate his Presbyterian principles as far as they seemed to be obliquely reflected on in the Doctor’s panegyric on Episcopacy. “ Without intending any personal offence, Doctor, I must say,” remarked tire student, “ that, however highly Episcopalians may value their own Church, the Presbyterian system appears to me, and those who have been instructed as I have been, to be much more consistant v/ith Scripture and reason.” A dark cloud gathered on the Doctor’s brow while this was spoken, and instead of making a direct reply he turned to a table behind him, and lifting an elegantly bound volume, placed it in the student’s hand, saying-—" It you will' be so good as to take this home with you and read it carefully, I am sure you will see Episcopacy and

Presbyterianism too, in a new light. I very much desire you to peruse it with attention, for it contains the marrow of the points in dispute between our Churches.”

“ I am greatly obliged by your kindness, Doctor,” said Mr. Duncanson, “ but I have read this book long ago.” “ And are unconvinced by its arguments —still a Presbyterian.” “ Yes, sir; still a Presbyterian, and likely to remain so.” “ Well Mr. Stephenson—Mr. Duncanson, I mean—l am indeed both sorry and surprised. I didn’t think it possible that any person of ordinary penetration, not to say of superior mind, such as you, could possibly resist the evidences and reasoning of that book. And what is more, sir, I can assure you that some of the greatest men of your own sect —the whole ot them, for anything I know—are open to the conviction which you resist. They privately admit that a mild Episcopacy is the most desirable form of Church government, and would very gladly see it introduced here, were they not too far committed in the struggle they are making for the revival of obsolete Presbyterian principles.” “ Whatever may be the opinion of others, I conscientiously hold that Presbytery is the only system of Church government authorised by Scripture.” “ Authorised by Scripture ! My dear fellow, it has not the shadow of Scripture warrant. It is but of yester<jay_a mere Geneva fabrication—a device of Calvin, and the gang of presumptuous schismatics of which he was the ringleader. Read more on the subject; think more on it; above all, reflect on the tendency and effect of Presbyterian government, rnd I feel assured you will begin to regard it in a very different light. Just consider what it is doing at this moment in Scotland. Rending society to pieces ; undermining the reverence of the people to all ecclesiastical authority; threatening to beggar the clergy; and putting the very principle of an Established Church in jeopardy. And why ? Simply; I tell you, because there is no supreme power in your Church courts; no controlling authority to suppress vain janglings and inconvenient discussions. It may be all very well for those whose consistency is at stake to remain obstinately attached to Presbyterianism, and to speak of the parity, purity, and poverty of their Church in enthusiastic terms, while they know the boasted purity is a piece of fudge, and secretly wish that the parity and poverty had no existence. But for a young man like you, not committed openly to any system, it is folly—l say it in all kindness —egregious folly, to overlook the superior advantages of a connection with the venerable Catholic Episcopalian Church.”

“No further inquiry or any consideration,” replied the student “can ever weaken my attachment to Presbyterian parity in government, or shake my belief in the purity of Presbyterian doctrine. As to the poverty of our Church, it is opulence compared with the temporalities enjoyed by the early preachers of Christianity; and I could very well content myself with such a bare competency as falls to the lot.of a parish minister. And since you have condescended to express your opinion of Presbyterian parity, allow me to tell you what I think of Episcopal rule—l look on it simply as a usurpation on Christian freedom, and never will bow my neck to it while I live.” Mr. Duncanson spoke this with some degree of warmth, regardless of how it might please the Doctor; for he felt nettled at many of his remarks, and withal indignant at the presumption on his own want of principle which was implied in the attempt to sway his mind by mercenary considerations. And it was well that he cared not how his freedom might be taken, for it was not taken in good part. The Doctor hemmed and coughed to show his displeasure, and with a severe countenance and constrained manner, said —“ Well, well, young man, you are wilful and' opinionative, hut it can’t be helped. I have spoken only for your own good. I have no personal interest in setting you right; and I don’t feel in the least offended at your obstinacy, nor even at your injustice to the venerable Church to which I belong ; for I know you have been mistaught. As to the other matter —the tutorship —though I don’t object to you on account of your creed, and have reason to be very well satisfied with your attainments as a scholar, yet we differ so widely in our views, that really on the whole, I think we can hardly come to any comfortable arrangement. I shall, therefore, not require you to give Theophilus any lessons, and hope you will be at no loss to find suitable employment otherwise.”

Mr. Duncanson took his leave without further altercation, feeling disappointed at the issue of this interview, and not a little depressed in spirits, but with a tranquil and approving conscience. When he communicated the result to Robin Afleck, which he did at the next frugal meal they partook of together, Robin ruminated for a few moments in a very abstracted mood, and then plied his spoon a while with diligence, without speaking a word. At length he said, “So the auld curmudgeon disna mean to gi’e ye the teachin’ o’ his son after a?” “ No ; he changed his mind on that subject when he found I was not disposed to change my religion. He drew back because I would not be driven from my principles.”

“ He’s been intendin’ to mak’ an Episcopaulian o’ ye, then ?” “ It appears so.” "Stiffriggs has been richt in the main, and maybe ye did weel to staun yer grund, seeing ye’re a kind o’ half minister already. But do ye think Dr. Crimp wad grab at the like o’ me ?” "O, I don't know but he might. The English clergy of the higher orders are generally keen sportsmen, and a horse-doctor must be very serviceable among them; you may try him.” " Dog on’t ! I dinna mean in the veterinary way, man. Do ye no think he wad tak’ me as a kind o’ ’prentice to the Bishop trade ?” “ What! would you become an Episcopalian ?” “ Ou, I don’t know but I micht, if I had gude encouragement.” “ Then your Presbyterian principles sit very loose on you, it seems ?”

“ Presbyterian principles ! I ha’e naething o the kind. The fack is, I never could see weel the meaning o’ what ye ca’ principles. To be shure I am a Presbyterian in a sense, but it’s maybe jist because I ken nae better. I see ye’re dead set in slickin’ by the auld Scotch set o’ preachin’, and like eneuch ye’re richt. Ye’re richt to stick till’t at ony rate noo, since ye’ve made a kind.o’ beginnin’ in that way. Keep up your threep like a game cock. But the case is a’thegither different wi’ me. I canna say I prefer ae Kirk by anither except by chance like, and maybe, for ought I ken, the richest ane may be best in every way, if a body could just see’t. Sliffriggs, nae doot, splores awa’ aboot the Kirk o’ Scotland, as if there ne’er had been sutch a Kirk in the work, and he abuses the English Kirk wi’ as mony ill names as he can stick on ane anither. But then he’s a headstrong fule when he tak’s a notion, and gangs clean owre the score on baith sides. Everything w T i’ him is jist the vera warst or the vera best, so I dinna heed muckle what he says.” “ But have you really serious thoughts of trying the clerical profession in connection with any church ? ”

“ Serious thochts ! no; It’s jist a kind o’ notion that’s come intil my mind since ye tell’t me o’ the great prospecks Dr. Crimp held oot to ye.” “ But you have mistaken the matter altogether, if you think he is here beating up for raw recruits. The Church of England is swarming already with a far greater number of clergy than can find the means of living with any degree of comfort. Many of her curates don’t get above forty or fifty pounds a-year, and many of her licentiates cannot obtain even such miserable curacies. So her dignitaries have no inducement to beat up for recruits, nor is there any temptation, in a mercenary point of view, for those who have any other means of earning a livelihood, to enter her service. {To be continued—■commenced on July 26. )

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Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 142, 21 August 1880

Word Count
2,431

THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 142, 21 August 1880

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