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visitorship of one of these convents, which was offered him by the 'mother superior.' He clearly foresaw that the first time he found it necessary to animadvert on a failure in sense or propriety on the part of his fair devotees, he would be reduced to the dilemma of compromising either his authority in the convent or his credit with the public. The tendency of all such associations is to accumulate external forms and ceremonial rites and to fill up the blank of an insulated existence by the pride of controversial bigotry and the indulgence of a heated fancy. Their inmates bave a Romish model before them, to which their eyes become daily more familiar, and their approximation insensibly closer. Not long ago the papers of the day contained an account of a distressing scene which occurred at Lewes on occasion of the funeral of a young lady belonging to one of these sisterhoods, which was so conducted by the warden' of the establishment as to create a “No Popery' riot in the town; and who can say for how many years the cause of Church extension has been put back in that neighbourhood by this one act of indiscretion ? * After all, when every experiment has been tried and every effort exhausted, the admirers of these institutions will be forced to acknowledge they are but bubbles raised to the surface by the effervescence of the moment, and destined soon to burst. Without the vow they cannot be kept together-without enforced obedience they cannot be conducted.

To commence the work of Home Missions, the Committee of the Lower House make the following proposal, which is backed by a similar suggestion on the part of the Upper House :

• Our attention has been given to the means of rendering occasional help of a special kind to the parochial clergy, not only in the metropolis and other populous districts, but likewise wherever the occasion seems to require. We would recommend that in each diocese provision should be made for the appointment of a body of preachers licensed by the Bishop-an institution not unknown at the Reformation—who might, on the application of the incumbent, visit his parish for a fixed period, assist in delivering courses of sermons on appointed subjects, in house to house visitation, or in attendance on the schools, according to their various gifts or abilities.'

The institution' was certainly not unknown at the time of the Reformation, for by it the Reformation was mainly effected. Preaching at that time was no necessary part of the duty of the

* The details of this painful event were a subject of controversy in the newspapers. It inatters not for our argument what was the exact truth: no doubt the conduct of the mob at Lewes was disgraceful, and their brutality in assaulting an unarmed priest and a few helpless young women quite inexcusable. We quote the story merely to prove how apt such institutions are to injure rather than promote the cause of the Church.



parochial clergy, who, as a body, were but poor theologians, not very deeply learned in the Romish doctrines, and still less in those of the Reformation. Preachers were appointed by the bishops to make the tour of each diocese, and spread by this means the new light in all directions. Perhaps the Committee desire to secure to the Church a support such as Rome created for herself by the institution of the Preaching Friars. But we doubt whether the measure is adapted to the present wants of the people, or justified by the resources of the Church. To say nothing of the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient supply of men so far above the usual average of talent, and the still greater difficulty of supporting them, is it certain that to form them thus into an army of reserve would be the best way of turning their services to account at a time when the forces of the Church actually in the field are so inadequate to the demands of her ordinary warfare? What purpose would it serve to bring these great guns occasionally to fire a few rounds at some obstinate citadel of vice and infidelity, when to reduce the place a long siege will obviously be necessary ?

What if the rector not only makes no application, but objects to this clerical invasion of his parish? What if he argues that these exotic ministrations, if inferior to his own, are superfluous, if superior will only make his flock discontented with their ordinary pastor and more than usually negligent and inattentive in their ordinary church attendance ?

It is doubtless with the view of giving regular employment to this garde mobile of the establishment that the Committee recommend that our cathedral establishments might be made more available for the spiritual needs of the people, and we would respectfully suggest that the deans and chapters might advantageously throw open the naves and choirs of their cathedrals, wherever practicable, for the purpose of suitable additional services.' They also think that special services with courses of lectures delivered on a week-day at particular seasons, as Advent or Lent, would be attended with great benefit.'

In the report of the Upper House also there is an attempt to solve the problem which is so often proposed of providing

short attractive services ’ for those who live in habitual disregard of the rites of the Church. But alas! what form of worship can be attractive to those who own no master but their own will? What service can be short to those who are wont to absent themselves from all services whatever ? However, at all events, the suggestion that a sermon should form the principal part of such service is wise. Preaching is the chief instrument of conversion, and nothing is so likely as a sermon to attract those who can by any means be attracted within the walls of a church.


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We wait in hope the experiment in Westminster Abbey, which is now being tried. From the week-day services proposed by the Lower House there is less reason to augur good, for few of the classes whom it is most desired to reach can attend. In the works before us there is a marked preference for what are called social ministrations. We do not deny their many advantages, but as the means of conversion in large cities they are insufficient. In large and over-populous towns there is an extensive, and in the worldly sense not disreputable, class, of whom the worst are doing something to maintain themselves, and the best are leading industrious lives, and yet they habitually live without any religious observance. For these self-excommunicated men the Scripture-reader, the missionary, the tract-distributer, are needed, to find them at their homes, to accost them in places of public resort, and thus, if possible, to awaken their consciences and bring them to the church.* That we must consult, in the first instance, the habits, the temper, the convenience of those whom we desire to influence, would seem a truth too obvious to need enforcing; yet none is so frequently neglected. The recent experiment of giving services in Exeter Hall was viewed with jealousy by Churchmen who could not reconcile themselves to the idea of a service in any but a consecrated building. But the object was to obtain a hearing for the Gospel-message from those who never could

One day last spring, strangers who passed through the town of Bilston were surprised to see the shops closed, the manufactories emptied, and an unusual concourse in the streets. The town had not presented so solemn an aspect even on the fast-day when the cholera was decimating its inhabitants. The people, the magistrates, the clergy of all denominations, were attending a funeral, -and of whom?-a petty tradesman, whose humble dwelling was pointed out at the corner of St. Leonard's churchyard, the same in which he had been born, and in which he died. There he kept a small hardware shop, and sold frying-pans, bibles, and kettles, and maps, spelling-books, marbles, spinning-tops, and tracts. His personal expenses were limited to some 98. or 108. a-week. The rest of his small earnings, and the whole of his spare time during a long life, he devoted to the service of others. He was the general counsellor, the general peacemaker, the general comforter. During divine service he used to go about the streets and accost the loiterers whom he met, with an inquiry why they were not at church? In answer to the usual excuses, he would take them by the arm and lead them to the nearest church, and there, having secured them a comfortable seat, leave them to look for others. He would speak roundly and plainly to those whose consciences he desired to awaken, yet never met an insulting word in reply; and it is said that many an idler who was lounging in the sun, with his dog and his pipe, would slink out of the way if he saw the redoubtable

old man approach, as swiftly as if he had seen the policeman with a warrant. There may have been some eccen. tricity in portions of his conduct, but the excellence of his judgment not less than the sincerity of his zeal, is proved by the love and respect of the public, in whose daily sight his long life had been spent, and who followed him a father to the grave. We have pleasure in recording the name of John ETHERIDGE. We are not aware that as yet he has found a biographer, and we regret that our notice of him must be so brief.


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be induced to enter the doors of a church; and there is strong reason for believing that they, on their part, felt how much the Church was sacrificing of her conventional proprieties—how much she was going out of her way to seek them.

The result of this experiment confronts us at once with an obstacle which the attentive reader must feel has opposed our progress more or less sensibly at every stage of this discussion. The very idea of Home Missions' is antagonistic to the leading principle of our ecclesiastical polity,—the Parochial system. The parochial system establishes a relation between the incumbent and his parish, which prevents the intrusion of missionary agencies. Home Missions' imply the necessity of extraordinary and irregular exertions, which are incompatible with the parochial system. We could wish that the Committees of both Houses had given us the benefit of their abilities and experience to untie a knot, which we should be not less unwilling than themselves to see forcibly cut. But on this subject the Upper House are totally silent; the Lower House express themselves as follows:

We anxious to express our high sense of that parochial organization which we have received from our forefathers, whereby it was designed that the ordinances of religion should be offered to every individual throughout the land. We believe that these ancient parochial limits are highly regarded by great numbers among our people, and that they should not be lightly disturbed. We therefore think that, though in certain cases, beyond what has been thus far effected, it may be still necessary to subdivide some of the old parishes, on account of their vast extent or overgrown population, in others, and probably the greater number, the interests of religion would be more effectually provided for by retaining the ancient boundaries, and multiplying the agencies within their limits in subordination to the incumbent.

Now, fully admitting the value of the parochial system and the necessity of maintaining it, we cannot deny that it wants flexibility and power of self-adjustment. If the incumbent has not more to do than he can manage, if he is able and faithful, all goes well. But what if he is overworked, slothful, or incompetent? It is true a zealous and able man does not fear being eclipsed by his assistants; a humble and pious one does not resent it. But it would be delusion to overlook the many secret springs of action which are at work in the heart to impede the adoption of any help that may be offered. How many have a supine aversion to change-how many an active terror of innovation ? One man dislikes the measures for the sake of their promoters, who belong to a party he distrusts—another is averse to cant' generally, and


he calls cant' whatever deranges the ordinary routine of his ideas and occupations. Many believe that no good can be done which they themselves have failed to do. Many, and these, too (alas for humanity !), among the good and zealous, will suffer no good but what is done by themselves. The enumeration would be endless of all the unacknowledged impulses which make up what many a well intentioned man, in all the sincerity of self deception, calls his conscience. Some men will always be found who are averse to all aid or interference whatever.

In the great manufacturing towns, and especially in London, the parochial system breaks down altogether. The rector of many a large metropolitan parish presides over a small oasis of church-going inhabitants, in the midst of a desert of dissent, indifference, and infidelity. To reclaim these deserts, vast missionary efforts are needed, and many have already been made, some (by necessity rather than choice) independently of the incumbent, others (such as the scheme for district visiting) with a direct tendency to bring him into his proper relation with his parish. Every remedy proposed by the Committee of the Lower House is accompanied by a salvo in favour of the parochial system, and yet it involves, if not a violation, at least a voluntary surrender.

But what if there is neither co-operation nor surrender? The experiment at Exeter Hall was made with the consent of the rector of the parish, but when it was proposed to renew the services in the beginning of last November, he revoked that consent, and issued a formal inhibition, alleging as his motive, that “the experiment had failed.' Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Panmure assure the House of Lords that it had eminently succeeded. Undoubtedly the evidence on this point is contradictory, as might be expected in a case where men see through the spectacles of their prejudices, and their judgment of success or failure will be qualified by their previous expectations. But let the facts speak for themselves. The Hall, which contains upwards of five thousand persons, was overflowing. That a great mass of the working classes were present is undeniable, and of the many well dressed men who were seen amongst them, it is by no means certain (we wish it were) that even the majority were members of regular congregations. Contrary to the usual statistics of church attendance the men greatly outnumbered the women.

We wish the reverend incumbent had paused to calculate how small a per centage of persons seriously affected among the vast multitude assembled would constitute a great success.

But interesting as is the question of success and much as it will influence men's


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