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mothers naturally take charge of their little daughters and fathers of their boys, unless schools absorb the children under a peculiar charge. This natural sorting into the classes which life itself points out, is more obvious among the poor than, according to present manners, among the rich; but as the former are the majority, we may surely take their manners as the standard ; and where a great advantage is seen to result from them, it is a graceful concession on the part of others to adopt the same practice for the sake of uniformity, though absolute sameness and imperative uniformity on a minor point is not essential even to establish the principle as a general rule. Let it then be a matter of courtesy to place the aged near the clergyman, and to suffer all others to dispose themselves in a free and natural order, curtailing any extravagance on the part of individuals by that authority which the general sense and wisdom of the Church commit to its officers. A regular division of the sexes will naturally follow, as the legitimate mode of authoritatively settling the most natural arrangement of the congregation, as far as the more set and public services of religion are concerned, when all the parish is supposed to be present. To keep this division up at all other times would often be needlessly rigid, and tend to preserve an unwillingness which is often seen to use a part of the church, as, for instance, an aisle or transept, for minor services. In our churches, indeed, where there is but one altar, and that in the chancel, it seems hardly wise to suggest that services should be conducted in the aisles, or smaller parts of the church; for as this one chancel is the natural position of the Clergy in the performance of their offices, it follows that the congregation will always prefer being in front of it, i.e. in the nave, if there is room for them. Still there may be catechising of the young, or instruction to the old; in which it would be difficult to adhere to the common places allotted to the sexes, though the same general rule might be adopted, making use, for the time being, of whatever the place might be, to carry out on a small scale what the whole church was on a large one, as we observed to be done in S. Mary Magdalene, where the aisle is for both sexes, north and south of the passage, in the same way as the body.
What we have described as the parochial family assembling together for common prayer and the principal offices of religion, is the Elizabethan type of the Church. Every member of the parish was supposed to be there, on pain of being mulcted to the amount of a shilling. Now where the parish is small, and all are really bound together like a family by mutual compacts of daily life; and also where there is only one clergyman, and he, perhaps, in charge of more churches than one, from the poverty
of means, and therefore compelled to appoint his time, and then and there to go through a combination of services; under these circumstances, this theory seems all that can be aimed at; barring the fine, each parishioner must be expected to come to his church at these services, and then, of course, from the sameness of the congregation on every occasion of public worship, each one will have, as it were, his stall, like the members of a corporate body, where he will go as naturally as he occupies his own house when at home, for there will never be any reason for going to a different place.
This theory, however, though exceedingly good as far as it goes, and where it is applicable, yet is obviously not all our Church contemplates, and much of her practical stiffness seems to arise from forcing this one idea down all parishes, with no correction of its evils and deficiencies, even where circumstances do not in the least render them necessary; and still worse, with no allowance for other circumstances, which do not allow its beauties really to develop. The evils and deficiencies we refer to this theory are the paucity of the services, chiefly confined to the Sunday.combination,' arising from the few Clergy. Where, however, there are more Clergy, who can with perfect convenience have frequent services, it seems an unnecessary hindrance to have a system which implies few services for the whole parish to be present at; which, in fact, does not recognise the utility of service unless the whole surrounding population are supposed to be then and there assembled. The Church has frequent offices, and daily prayers morning and evening, but she does not imagine that all can go on each occasion: yet pews seem to act on this supposition: once however imagine different congregations, it obviously follows that if they place themselves naturally, for whatever service they are present at, their places will not always be the same, but will vary according to many accidental circumstances. The hindrances, again, which militate against the development of the more rural picture we bave described, are the result of the fact, that in a district of 10,000 it is impossible to have a place for each individual, whether present or absent, and therefore that there must be a system which allows of the most easy arrangement of those present, without waste of room in allowing for those that are absent. The appropriation system of reserved seats is, therefore, in such a place, directly to the injury of all who have not the same privilege; for, to whatever extent it is carried, so far is a portion of the church abstracted from what undoubtedly is the plan most adapted to the general good. Frequent services, for each of which the whole church is free and open, will thus make the same building far more available to a large population,
than the rigid idea represented by our present manner of conducting public worship; and open seats are necessary to foster such a plan, for otherwise our frequent services will not have the change of congregation they are designed for. The many plans for what is called dividing the service,' do not come within the province of our present subject, further than the general recommendation we have already expressed; but we wish to commend what seems to us a simple and easy method for commencing an improved system in this respect; and it gave us great pleasure the other day to observe that, in the arrangements announced for the chapel of St. Peter, Pimlico, our ideas were to some extent carried out. In the first place, it is desirable not altogether to throw out the fixed habits of churchgoers by disarranging everything, though, with a view to counteract acknowledged evils, it is perfectly fair to ask of them some moderate concessions. Now early services on Sunday are independent of the habits thus to be considered, and therefore may be commenced with perfect safety. There must be many in London, who, on that their only holyday, might wish to combine their presence at the services of the Church with the relaxation of a little country air. These might attend the early or late services, and still have a long day; whereas at present churchgoing is the day's work, and nothing else can be done. Suppose then early morning prayer at half-past seven, to suit purposes of this kind; and early communion, a short quiet service at half-past eight, adapted for invalids and frequent communicants generally, as well as for those just mentioned ; in this case a great number will have gone through their devotions, --will, as it were, have made their use of the church before the larger congregation assembled, leaving also a sufficient interval for weddings and other like offices. The point, however, we are chiefly commending is that of leaving the present order of our services, that is, the Morning Prayer, Litany, and Communion Office, with Sermon, so far the same, that persons may, if they wish, remain through them all ; but to make such a distinct break that persons may go out or come in. For this purpose there should be a definite time arranged for the commencement of each, and the bell should sound as the immediate signal of the change in the service within the church. Morning Prayer may be announced for half-past 10, Litany for il, Communion Service for half-past 11. Any interval may well be occupied either by private contemplation or in hymns. The afternoon and evening may be employed in a succession of catechisings, baptisms, &c., and sermons, making each of such ministrations available, as much as possibly, singly by itself, and the appointed ritual of Evening Prayer either once or twice. Private use of
churches is thus seen to follow from the free system we have been tracing through its various stages; and it is this general freedom of churches, both for public and private devotion, which we feel sure is the only way of making the same building serve for a large population, and adapt itself to the various classes of age, sex, and position, which make up its numbers.
We have now but a very few words to say, and we have done. If the Church feels any practical difficulties, she naturally looks to her constituted authorities for help in reforming them. On many points it is said that Bishops and Archdeacons can do nothing, if they would; but with the pew system it is not so. The Bishop is the origin of the Churchwardens' power, as well as the ecclesiastical ruler of the Clergy. Surely, then, they may do much in teaching and encouraging Church wardens to do their duty. Let them point out some plain rules by which they should act, and give them the whole weight of their personal and official authority in carrying them out. It is not to be expected that, in the face of complicated rights, an unassisted Churchwarden can do much, unless of peculiar energy and power; but supported by the Bishop, how quickly would many defenders of selfish claims disappear, and how easy, in comparison, would be the work in each parish, of restoration to a better system! Let Bishops and Archdeacons suggest and urge the correction of pew abuses; let them make all inquiries they can previous to visitation, and enlarge on the subject in their Charges ; let them not flinch from fears of unpopularity with the middle classes, for it is their peculiar province to face any prevalent evil, with regard to the Church, from whatever class it comes. Their high position enables them, with peculiar force, to overwhelm vain and grasping claims, to confront absurd or ill-founded prejudices.
Art. IV.—The Record Newspaper.- Report of the Meeting of
the British and Foreign Bible Society, in Exeter Hall, on
Wednesday, May 5. We shall ask our readers to give their attention for a short time to a very remarkable violation of a very common rule of morals. We do not view it with surprise; that is not our feeling; but only as a complete and exact instance of such a violation. A philosopher would regard it with admiration as a specimen. We cannot afford to be so indifferent, but must, in accordance with Christian feeling, express our sorrow that any one who stands before the public as a champion of religious interests, the improver of public morals, and the promoter of benevolent and useful schemes, should be the guilty person in the case. The rule we mean is that which is expressed in the third and fourth verses of the seventh chapter of S. Matthew's Gospel —
Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, and considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in tħine own eye?”)
On the 5th of May last, Lord Shaftesbury presided at a Meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society, in Exeter Hall, and made a speech from which we extract the following passage:
• There could be no doubt that in the present day infidelity was assuming a speciousness of form and a cunning of action that had scarcely ever been known in antecedent periods in this or any other country. It rarely happened now, in comparison with former times, that infidelity was propounded, either in speaking or writing, in the same language of coarseness and obscenity, or the same repulsive and disgusting form, as of old. It was now insinuated in a far more dexterous manner.
Doubts were very cleverly dropped, and left to fester and rankle in the minds of the hearer. Every kind of sleight-of-hand, every species of adroitness was resorted to, and hundreds and thousands were entrapped by these arts, and became victims of this specious, vile, and diabolical system. In additiou to that, they were beset by another danger, by that foul enemy which he would not scruple to name-Tractarianism. Of all the “isms” that ever existed, that was in his mind the most offensive, and, in many respects, the most deceitful and hypocritical. It was singular to remark the tenderness with which Infidelity looked upon Tractarianism, and the tenderness with which Tractarianism looked upon Infidelity; and how they had a common feeling, and a bond of union when set in opposition to Evangelical sentiments, which they looked upon as the great bane of society-the great pest of the present day—simply and solely because it was the only thing that stood in irreconcileable antagonism to that detestable union. No wonder, then, that they exchanged compliments-no wonder, then, that, although they might be careful not to speak in direct approbation of each other, yet, reversing