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Now that every possible encouragement should be held out to those whose munificent piety is disposed to contribute towards the supply of that miserable want of means for the public worship of God, under which the Church of England, in the present state of vastly increased population, labours, we are entirely of opinion. But there is an omission in the clause just cited, which, it appears to us, could never have been intended by the framers of the Act, and must have passed unnoticed by the legislature,-we mean the absence of any provision for pastoral care. This is the more surprising, as the attention to this great point throughout the Acts which regulate the proceedings of the Churchbuilding Commissioners, is uniformly solicitous : constant provision being made in them for the attachment of districts, of one kind or another, to the places of worship to be built under their authority. That a chapel, if it be but adequately endowed, (for this is all that the clause before us secures,) may be placed in any part of any parish, no definite field for pastoral labour being assigned to its minister, nor any superintendence from the incumbent of the parish provided for; nothing in short being aimed at beyond the assembling of a congregation from whencesoever it may happen, is, in our judgment, as contrary to the tenor of the particular Acts, to which we have referred, as it is to the general spirit of the Church of England. That such chapels already exist, we are well aware ; but this, we conceive, has been the effect rather of accident than choice. The formal recognition of such a principle we deprecate ; and we earnestly hope that the defect to which we have thus freely adverted, will not be long permitted to prevent the salutary effects wbich the clause in question is otherwise calculated to produce.
It is impossible to read without great pain the Bishop's statements, (p. 11.) with regard to the grievous want of glebe-houses in the diocese, and to the consequent non-residence of the clergy: out of two hundred and thirty-four parishes, only one hundred having glebehouses, and many even of this number being unfit for residence, and no fewer than one hundred and thirty-seven cures being without " the advantage of clergy, incumbents, or curates, actually resident." Still more painful is the account which we now transcribe, together with the impressive and heart-stirring admonition by which it is accompanied.
The returns with which I have been furnished, (observes the Bishop) present, in too many instances, painful reports of the smallness of the congregations in this diocese. The examples I am about to give are not taken from the mining districts, but from places where the church accommodation is confessedly adequate to the extent of the population. In three parishes, whose united population amounted, at the census in 1821, to nine hundred and thirty-six souls, there are in all only twentytwo communicants, and fifty attendants at church, or about one in twenty on the whole population. In two other parishes, containing one thousand six hundred and forty-six souls, there are only fourteen communicants, and sixty attendants at church, being about one twenty-seventh of the whole population. In five parishes of larger size, containing together above ten thousand individuals, the
deficiency is still more deplorable; the united number of communicants averaging only eighty-two, and of attendants at church two hundred and sixty; or about one in thirty-eight on the whole population. In the whole diocese, the gross number of communicants is stated to amount to four thousand one hundred and thirty-four, and of attendants at church to nineteen thousand one hundred and sixty-nine, on a population exceeding, in 1821, one hundred and fifty thousand individuals of all ages.
Of the accuracy of the returns on which these calculations are founded, the clergy who have transmitted them are the best judges; but, on the supposition that any thing like this statement be a true representation of the condition of the Established Church in these parts, it is indeed a subject calling for serious reflection on the causes which have led to it, for deep humiliation on account of this spiritual desert, and for unceasing and fervent prayer for a more abundant measure of divine favour on the parochial ministry. In reply to the circular query respecting the probable cause of the deficiency, it is attributed, in some few instances, to the want of a resident clergyman, to the negligence of a former pastor, or to the distance of the church from the bulk of the population; but in the greater number of answers, it is ascribed either to the activity of the dissenters, or to the indifference of the people to all religion. If it be meant that the dissenters are more active than the Established Church, in promoting the cause of religious truth, according to their own view of it, it follows, that we have been unmindful of our solemn promise to " be ready with all faithful diligence to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word," and have not done all that lieth in us, according to our bounden duty, to bring all such as are committed to our charge “unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among us, either for error in religion, or for viciousness in life." In such case, it behoves us to call to mind the solemn admonition of our church-" If it shall happen the same church, or any member thereof, to take any hurt or hindrance by reason of your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the horrible punishment that will ensue.", Nay, if it could be indeed believed that the examples of ministerial activity were to be found only in the ranks of dissent, the friends of religion might well be excused for adopting the words of the apostle, until a portion of the same zealous and energetic spirit were infused into the ministrations of the members of our own communion. “ What then, notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice."* If, on the other hand, the true source of the evil be the indifference of the people to all religion, has their apathy led to a corresponding exertion of zeal on our part, that if they perish for lack of knowledge, their souls be not required of us at least, as unfaithful watchmen over the sheep of Christ,“ bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood ?" Like the apostle, whose labours in season and out of season should be the pattern of our ministry, can we protest, as in the presence of God, that we have not ceased to warn every one," whether he would hear, or whether he would forbear, “ both night and day, with tears," and have taught them “publicly, and from house to house;" calling them all to witness, that we are “pure from the blood of all men ?”
My reverend brethren-God alone, who is the searcher of hearts, is conscious of the truth or falsehood, of the integrity or infidelity manifested in our observance of those solemn vows which are upon us as ministers and stewards of Christ's mysteries. It may be that he has not yet seen fit, in trial of our faith, to set his seal to our ministry; or he may withhold his blessing for a time, lest men should attribute their success to a wrong cause, should " sacrifice unto their own net,” and “burn incense unto their own drag.” Or it may be that our usefulness has been counteracted by the operation of other causes more dependent on ourselves; by a deficiency of zeal; by a wrong direction of
labour; by a partial or imperfect distribution of the divine word; by remissness in securing the affection of our people; or by other still more obvious reasons, to which I am unwilling so much as to allude. But, however these things may be, our future duty is plain. We are to humble ourselves before Him who alone giveth the increase, that he may be pleased to make us more fruitful labourers in his vineyard, and to multiply our “crowns of rejoicing." And, whether he bless or not, we are still to continue to “ cast our bread upon the waters" without Ceasing, in a spirit of fervent prayer, of redoubled earnestness, of unwearied and patient vigilance, like those who wait the stirring of the waters, and watch over the souls of others, as men who must give account.-P. 14–17.
We can do no more than refer our readers to the remedies, which the Bishop, with great force and feeling, recommends to be applied to “ this sad deficiency." And, as we have said before, we must pass over in silence many other interesting and important observations (particularly on the subject of education) which have struck us in the Charge. We ROW take our leave of its author, heartily thanking him for his labours, and earnestly begging a blessing upon them in the new field which is about to call them forth. That he should have quitted the diocese of Llandaff almost in the outset of his course of doing good, cannot but be a matter of regret; but we rejoice that he has not quitted it, without leaving behind him, in the Charge which we have been reviewing, a lasting memorial of his zeal, and ability, and usefulness. We rejoice too in the assurance, which we derive from the known talents and tried worth of his successor, that though the worker be changed, the work of piety will, under the divine blessing, still go on and prosper.
Art. III.- Roman Catholic Directories for Clergy and Laity, for the
Year 1828. Keating and Brown, London. We have now before us two curious publications; the one entitled Ordo Recitandi officii divini et Missæ celebrandæ; the other, The Laity's Directory to the Church Service. They form a kind of universal almanack and register of information relating to Roman Catholic affairs in this country. On the cover is printed the formal sanction of the late William Poynter, Bishop of Halia, Vic. ap. Lond. The former contains also a patent from the same authority to E. Collison for making and selling wafers for the mass, "qui solus in hoc districtu, ad panes pro altari conficiendos, post diligens examen, a nobis approbatus est, et approbatur." Then follows, in Latin, the order for divine service throughout the year; with an account of the beginning and end of each period of Indulgences, and of the colour of the vestments to be worn on each particular day ;-occupying in all twenty-four pages.
The Laity's Directory is little more than a translation of so much of this as it concerns the laity to be acquainted with; to which is added a statement of the conditions attached to each Indulgence, and a sermon on Rom. v. 1, 2; entitled, “ A New Year's Gift."
The rest of the matter is the same in both works, consisting of the following particulars : · 1. A list of 126 French clergymen, who have authority from the Vic. Apost. Lond. to officiate in the London district.
2. A report of the “ London Mission Fund.” 3. An enumeration of the chapels existing in England, Wales, and Scotland. 4. An account of different charitable institutions. 5. Of the colleges. 6. Of the schools for young gentlemen. 7. Of ladies' schools and communities. 8. The concordat between the Pope and the King of the Netherlands. 9. An obituary. 10. A variety of advertisements from Roman Catholic tradesmen.
Thus, for the small sum of one shilling, may be procured an account very carefully got up of the Roman Catholic establishments in Great Britain.
We proceed to make a few extracts from some of these several heads, by way of illustrating the style, state, and condition of their institutions, their religion, and themselves.
London Mission Fund. This is expended in the education of future priests, the erection of chapels, and “ any work that might promote the interests of religion.”—P. 3.
As an inducement to contribute to it, the following motive is held out:
Each person becoming a member, enjoys the benefit of having the holy sacrifice offered up for him, the first Sunday in every month, at Virginia-street chapel; and he also participates in the benefit of four masses that are celebrated every week in the Bishop's college, for its members and benefactors. Such are the advantages, and such are the objects that are aimed at by this institution ; objects that should induce every Catholic, who is sincerely attached to the faith of his ancestors, to seize with gladness this opportunity of propitiating the favour of the Almighty, and laying up for himself immortal treasures in heaven.
In the same strain we have the following recommendation of the chapel of St. Mary's, Moorfields:
N.B. There are spacious vaults under the chapel, and a burial ground well secured adjoining it. Annually, on the 5th of November, a solemn high mass is offered up for the repose of the souls of all those whose remains are interred in the vaults, or in the burial ground; and on the Sunday within the octave of the assumption of the B. V. Mary, for the benefactors to the chapel.-P.5.
Here we are also reminded that
The charitable subscriptions and donations of the faithful, are earnestly requested towards liquidating the heavy debt which has been incurred by the building, and by its expensive decorations. A person will be daily in attendance in the entrance room of the chapel house to receive contributions.
The same humiliating system of mendicity is pursued in behalf of very many of the chapels recounted in this volume; and it appears
from the whole, that the Roman Catholics have fallen into the practice too common with some bodies of our dissenters, to build their chapels before they know how they shall pay for them. See page 13, where those who have helped in building a chapel at Manchester, are assured that they " have a share in the prayers offered in the holy sacrifice of the mass,” the building being still unfinished, and a heavy debt incurred. In the same page, occurs a similar statement and corresponding motive in behalf of Carlisle chapel. See also pages, 14, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 29.
In support of the urgent claims of Tottenham chapel on the alms of " the Catholic public,” it is added, p. 10,
Tottenham is extremely airy and healthful, and is a convenient place where respectable families might reside with advantage.
This species of invitation seems rather unfair to the pastors of other congregations.
Of Chepstow, we are told in the same tone, that a handsome and commodious chapel has been built, Which will not only prove a great convenience to the congregation, but an accommodation to the numerous visitors to Tintern Abbey, and the splendid scenery of the banks of the Wye.
Under the head of Bloxwich, Staffordshire, occurs the following mysterious advertisement :
N. B. At this chapel there is a society for the dead, with a perpetual obligation mass each month for the members of the society, established with the approbation of the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District. For particulars apply to the Chaplain at the chapel.-P. 24.
At the head of the chapter on Charitable Institutions, occurs the following motto from the Apocrypha:
Alms deliver from sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. Tobias iv. 11.
The Obituary is ornamented with a sentiment from the same source: It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead.
We abstain from giving further extracts, having already sufficiently illustrated the character of these publications, and of the body whose condition they very faithfully represent. It is evident from the whole account, that their numbers are increasing, but whether in a greater ratio than the population in general, is more than can be easily ascertained. They have several very great aids in their favourite work of proselytism. Their system contains within itself the most perfect power of adaptation to existing circumstances. Doctrines which are independent of a written record, may be represented in any light which the church thinks most serviceable for the time being. In their present state of depression, every thing monstrous is extenuated, every
VOL. X. NO. I.