On this page
- Text (2)
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The text has not been manually corrected and should not be relied on to be an accurate representation of the item.
Additionally, when viewing full transcripts, extracted text may not be in the same order as the original document.
Sib , August 16 , 1821 . WHEN I first glanced upon the communication of your respectable correspondent Mr . Cornish , in the last Repository , ( p . 390 , ) and saw that it was introduced with the venerable name of Mr . Howe , I was led , by an immediate association , to expect
some very useful and benevolent proposals . In this expectation , however , I was greatly disappointed , and I suspect the same disappointment was experienced by most of your readers .
That the condition of Dissenting Ministers in general , is unfavourable to matrimonial engagements , etfen to the degree represented by your correspondent , is a truth which , unfortunately , I cannot question ; but in what manner the remarks of Mr . Cornish
are calculated to ameliorate that condition , it is impossible to perceive . Are our congregations and wealthy individuals at present so very liberal to their ministers , that they need to be publicly furnished with authorities und arguments for checking the overflowings of their benevolence ? Mr . Cornish recommends that ministers
should exercise that restraint which the present state of society requires . If any man has , or flatters himself that he has exercised such restraint , from prudent and virtuous motives , it is not for me to question the merit of his conduct . But is it even just that ministers should be constrained
to make such a sacrifice of comfort and happiness , and be precluded by poverty from forming a connexion which religion sanctions , and which is , perhaps , highly favourable to virtue ?
This , I think , will hardly be maintained for a moment . If . it be unjust , then , would not the pages of the Repository be better occupied with plans and recommendations , in the spirit of " our dear and lamented brother
Howe , " assisting the needy families of those ministers who may chance to be unfortunate , than with hints and anecdotes which , with whatever good intentions they may have been written , can have no other tendency than to enervate the efforts of charity ?
Mr . Cornish relates , with apparent approbation , the conduct of an acquaintance , who , when applied to for the elief of a minister ' s widow and eight children , refused , —because young A was about to-marry Miss B ,
and such imprudencie * should be di $ ~ couraged . Now , Sir , after considering and re-considering this conduct with the help of all the candour which I could summon to my breast , I
cannot possibly discover in what manner it redounds to the honour of Mr . Cornish ' s acquaintance . Supposing that young A was about to form a connexion imprudently , were the widow
and eight poor orphans of a departed and eight poor orphans of a departed minister to suffer on that account ? I never , for my life , could avoid a slight degree of suspicion , when persons in affluence turn a deaf ear to the
immediate calls of charity , from such very comprehensive views . If the principle of this conduct can be justified , I do not see why the subscribers to the " Fund for the Relief of the
Widows and Orphans of Dissenting Ministers , " should not immediately withdraw their subscriptions . By shewing , as the friends of that most excellent institution now do , that they
are generously inclined to assist the families of faithful ministers , when they are gone to receive their reward in a better life , there is certainly a possibility that they may encourage some to commit the sin of marriage .
Dissenting Ministers , as all other men , are to be censured for imprudencies , but if they are bound to lead a solitary life until they are certain that their income will enable them to leave their families in a state of
independence , they must usually wait , a long time indeed . If , in addition , to the narrow circumstances of a Dissenting Minister , his home , to which from his retired and studious habits he must be almost constantly confined , is always to be a home of mere brick and
mortar , where he may vainly g * aze around him , till his eye and heart ache , for objects of domestic affection ; then it is clear to me , Sir , that any man of refined and social feelings , who chooses this profession , makesa sacrifice very little short of martyrdom . The
character of Mr . Cornish is a satisfactory pledge that j his intentions were good , but the tendency of his paper has appeared to me to justify these remarks . If you can give them insertion in your next , you will oblige a constant reader and A MINISTER .
648 Marriages of Dissenting Ministers .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Nov. 2, 1821, page 648, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2506/page/16/