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would be sanctioned by some of his brethren on the bench, which would tend to undo all that he and others had been zealously striving to accomplish!
What a gross breach of faith is this, as regards those munificent persons who have either built, or given money for the erection of churches, on the express condition that they should be altogether free ; and thus that Christ's fold should be enlarged by admitting the poor of His flock! These rents may be applied for the benefit of the clergyman himself
, or for building him a house ; so that the poor will consider themselves robbed by the Church Commissioners for the benefit of their clergyman. Will this insure peace and harmony in a parish, or increase respect for the pastor ? And is there no other mode of adding to a clergyman's income? Has not the Church her offertory? In ancient times one-fourth of the offerings was allotted to the clergy. What is still read from the altar? “Do ye not know that they who minister about holy things live of the sacrifice?" “Let him that is taught in the word, minister unto him that teacheth."
• I was never disposed to “stir up strife," and my object in writing this letter is “ to prevent the beginning of strife,” for such will unquestionably be the fruits of this bill.
May God grant success to every effort which shall be made to arrest it in its progress!
• I am, Sir, your obedient and faithful Servant, Bath, June 23, 1851.
"J, H. MARKLAND.' A private letter, also, to the writer of the above, and with reference to it, has been kindly sent for our perusal, as containing the opinion of a clergyman in a populous neighbourhood, well entitled to respect from the amount of his experience :
‘I was very glad to see, in the Guardian of last week but one, a letter from you, calling attention to the act of gross injustice, which, if Churchmen be not vigilant, may be perpetrated by parliament in the matter of free sittings. I quite agree with you, that a large majority of the poor would not prefer paying even a nominal sum, to receive a sitting which they can call their own. This is the case with some who have been brought up under the pew system, but it is not true of the mass, who are ready to avail themselves of Church privileges as soon as the odious distinction between rich and poor shall be generally obliterated from our churches. The iniquities of the pew system have alienated so many, that time alone will do away with the prejudices which tend to keep some persons from church, even in cases where that horrid system is abolished.'
But, it is often said, there is accommodation for the poor : so many seats are allotted to them. Now there is much absolute deception in the statistics of Church Building Societies. An imposing proportion of free seats is put before the public, but on examination this is found sometimes to include some out-ofthe-way corner- under the tower, for instance, fitted up with minute benches for the school children. The law is said to be satisfied by that arrangement, and a grant, accordingly, is obtained, on the supposition of benefiting the poor by giving free seats. We heard, on one occasion, a few facts of this kind brought before a meeting of the Church Building Society, which sadly disturbed that quiet self-satisfied composure with which the Bishop in the chair, the Archdeacon and others on the platform, were, according to custom, praising the immense liberality bestowed on the poor. The disturbing influence' stated, in an honest and straightforward manner, that the number of seats sounded well, but he feared nobody ever occupied them, which really could hardly be wondered at, considering the sort of accommodation they were. The unfortunate individual who had ventured thus far, began now to perceive the awful mistake he was making by such unpleasant allusions. Dead silence and uncomfortable looks greeted such ill-omened words, till the impression was conveyed to him, that really it was uncourteous to the Bishop to ruffle the tranquillity of his lordship’s mind, and that an apology was due for perverting so amicable an assembly, to the discussion of subjects little designed for it.
We have not, as yet, noticed Mr. Stuart's Sermon, the title of which we placed at the head of our article; nor is it necessary that we should repeat what he there says on these pages ;indeed, since our first perusal of it, we have avoided any further reference to it, and for this reason. That Sermon and Appendix, with the noble example of its teaching set by the author himself in the Church of S. Mary Magdalene, are so open to all who take interest in the subject—that is, we should hope, to all Churchmen—that it is most advantageous to our present purpose simply to adduce the author, his words and works, in confirmation of all we have said. We feel that he and ourselves are aiming at one and the same object; and as our wish, at present, is not to commence an interchange of compliments between fellow-labourers, but rather to promote a certain cause, we have desired to take our own line, without any reduplication of his arguments, and in perfect independence of them.
At the commencement of our article, we pictured, as it were, certain primæval ideas of Christian worship, in order that our readers might look at all which followed through a free and natural atmosphere. It remained for us to survey the question in a practical manner, and consider how those essentials which nature and Christian morals require in our religious worship, may best be complied with under existing circumstances. Availing ourselves of the kind help of friendly experience and friendly suggestions, we have accordingly brought forward many facts and general remarks on the whole subject, which now it is becoming that we should sum up by some reflections that may seem to arise from them.
Freedom and openness to baptized members of the Church for her services and offices is an essential of Church arrangements, for otherwise there cannot be proper stress laid on the duty of Christian worship. When a congregation is assembled together, there are many great advantages in producing that NO. LXXVII.-N.S,
sensation in cach individual's mind, which makes his service a free and voluntary act, prompted by his belief in certain spiritual benefits to be derived by it, and his desire to obtain them. Each member present should therefore feel, that what is going on is his own, that he is a component part as it were of the transaction ; that the Clergy are exercising certain functions for him, and that the building itself is all his, by a common participation in it with others. One part of the church he ought to feel as much his own as another. Objects of interest may be dispersed throughout the church,-painted windows, fine and touching pieces of sculpture, corners suited for retirement, or meditations of a specific character, and other suggestive details, in which the general effect and sublimity of the Church and her services may be more gloriously contemplated. Now, each member of the Church should feel that all these are his in their turn, and that he need not be confined to one or a few of them, but that he may walk about free and open in the courts of the house of his God, and dwell on the beauty of holiness with some foretaste of celestial exemption from the barriers which earth and matter elsewhere place before him. But such considerations as these bring us at once to the general use of a church, for there are many theories on this subject, to some of which our remarks would not be applicable. That theory which places each household in a box, (we know an instance of a little child on returning from church, saying she had been in a box,) and ignores anything but the voice of the reader or preacher, is right so far as it makes the functions of the Clergy the natural focus of the building; but it is wrong in its comprehension of the nature of those functions, for it does not recognise that sacramental union which flows from them, and which makes all who come within their influence members one of another, as well as recipients of instruction from the clerical office for their individual profit; for the true grace of the Church's ministrations makes the whole building a type of a more immediate Divine presence that will be hereafter. The material building of the Church may, by another theory, be raised to be the first consideration, the Clergy being looked upon as ministers in the Church, rather than the Church, as but the veil and protection of clerical ministration,-holy because they are holy, consecrated by them. The consecration of churches is no charm apart from other and regular offices of religion: it has become a distinct office, because the general sanctity of all places of Christian worship is so established a rule, that it is represented in an express manner when a new church is built, as if to impart to the new comer the overflowing sanctity of its fellows, to welcome it by anticipation with the fruits of its own future ministrations, in common with those of the whole Church Catholic. The consecration of churches arose from the typical character of Christian worship, producing a true and impressive sentiment of attachment, for that part of the material world, which is honoured with serving to heavenly purposes. The powers of art were resorted to, to carry out this idea, by making the building itself to speak of heaven and heavenly thoughts. These considerations were also seen to be in conformity with the whole type of Divine worship recorded in the Old Testament, and therefore the holiness of the place itself is thoroughly engrafted into the Church system. The holiness of Christian offices, by this means, seems to linger in the accustomed place of their performance, and not to be restricted altogether to the actual periods in which they are done. They create an abiding sanctity, a holy atmosphere in the building.
Taking therefore, what seems to us, the true view of Christian worship; that the clerical functions are the central objects of attraction, while the holiness of the building is most true and profitable, but arises out of the former, and is therefore secondary; holding these two considerations together for mutual explanation, we shall arrive at a clear insight into the proper arrangement of a church, which may best carry out the object for which it was built.
The idea of family worship in a square pew does not make the clerical functions the centre of attention any further than prompting or teaching is concerned, and its gross violation of reverence to the altar destroys every principle of the holiness of consecrated places, as it forbids any common right of enjoyment in the whole church hy each member of it; it gives each family so much space and no more, and consequently so much feeling of the communion of Christian people as one family suggests, and no more. This theory therefore we notice no further. Next let us consider the somewhat better plan,-of all being placed toward the altar and the ministering Clergy, yet in closed pews. This is so far better, that the congregation looks to one centre of united worship; but still there is the want of freedom we so long for: doors shut in and shut out, give a confined sensation to some, and an excluded one to others. They prevent those present from coming close round what they wish to see and hear, and produce many evils we have been all along attributing to them. Let our readers have pity for those clergymen who have to stretch their voices over a blank space of the church, in order to reach the distant congregation. Not only is power of voice needlessly used in this, so common a case, but the comfortable feeling of addressing a company of listeners gathered round you, is lost in the cold abstraction of merely preaching a sermon from a pulpit.
Surely, then, it is a far higher type of Christian worship which is at once suggested by the absence of doors. It is to them that we owe all the distinctive marks of many evils we are now complaining of. We know a clergyman who has long been so impressed with this, that, for years, he has been on the watch to take one door away after another, from the old pews as he could persuade persons to allow him, even at the risk of a very motley appearance in the church. He was unable to restore the church according to a better system of architectural effect, yet he felt that a principle was involved in the doors, which came before any mere considerations of effect. We may also say that his success was very encouraging.
Without doors we may easily imagine a parochial congregation assembling together in perfect freedom, as in the exercise of a common privilege. Take the case of a country parish, where no great hindrances exist, such as must require special provisions to meet, a subject we shall presently consider. This is the highest type of Christian worship; the parochial family all come and join together in the services of their Church, with a real feeling of being therefore pledged to each other, as well as united under one head. Each one feels a property in the use of the whole church, and is only connected with one seat in particular, for the sake of order and propriety in the settling down of the congregation. He may always sit in the same place, or he may
. not, but from want of a door he attaches no peculiar or indi. vidual right to that one place as his own, beyond the preference of habit at the most. This makes a real and a legal difference,
a the effect of which we may depend on. In Mr. Oliphant's 'Law of Pews,' we find this important passage :
• The fact of a pew having formerly been open would operate very strongly against any claim to a prescription, because the difference between an open and a closed pew is so strong, that the probability is, that, so soon as the party had ascertained his rights, he would enclose; therefore, Mr. Justice Parke was of opinion that the fact of the seat having formerly been open, destroys the prescription.'
In the freedom of the parochial family thus gathering together, as we now picture it, there is no disorder from the fact that each one feels the whole church his own; the result is rather otherwise, for all, in consequence of this feeling, assemble together in the most natural manner, and scope is given for the exercise of all the courtesies of life, which are indeed so far the rule of the place, that the parochial officers watch with zealous eye any rude infringers of them. When the whole parish in one place meet together for common worship, the natural law is for individuals to be sorted together into classes, young men and young women together, old men and old women the same, while