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swallow up all the rest? We would only plead, and plead humbly, that the preacher of sermons may not be allowed to claim a prescriptive right to the whole of that territory in which the Catechesis had an original and legitimate share. Let him look at the state of things under Archbishop Whitgift,* (remembering that, at that date, catechising on every Sunday and boliday was enforced,) and be content with the modern pulpit's prosperous estate.
Nor would we be understood to imply that, in modern times, this had been unfairly acquired; though it was clearly an irregularity and encroachment (carried on chiefly by the Puritan engine of afternoon lectureships) during the times to which our quotations carry us back. Unhappily, as the zeal for preaching grew, that of those who ought to have maintained catechising pari passu with it seems to have decayed. The ground was in a great measure abandoned and empty, and it was engrossed by sermons.
Evelyn (quoted by Mr. Ley, p. 17) says, On Sunday afternoon I frequently stayed at home to catechise and instruct my family; those exercises universally ceasing in the parishchurches: so as people had no principles, and grew very ignorant of even the common points of Christianity; all devotion being now placed in hearing sermons and discourses of speculative and notional things.' And the transition is indicated in two anecdotes of Bishop Ken's life (to be found in Mr. Round's excellent edition of his prose works, pp. 8, 208); one of which proves that the itching ear had already taken to itself a congenial partner in the irreverent spirit.
But, by whatever means effected, the result is clear. Catechising has been generally, if not universally, abandoned; for can language less strong be used, even though it be true that there is a periodical resuscitation of it for perhaps one Sunday in the year, when the children of a parish appear in their gayest attire, and those who seldom enter the church at other times go to hear them repeat-merely repeat—the Church Catechism ? This is not catechising, but the mummy of it: the same sort of memorial of what has been and is not, which is furnished in some of our colleges by the appearance of an old wooden trencher, to give the signal for grace after meat. And yet it is more than a mummy. As in all the old forms, which seem so lifeless in the eyes of the children of this generation, there is a providence in its
* Item. Every licensed preacher shall yearly, in propria persona, preach twelve sermons at the least, within every diocese where his benefice doth ly. Of the which twelve, eight at the least shal be in his own cure. But if the said licensed preacher have two benefices, then he shal preach eight sermons at each of his benefices every year at least.'— Strype's Whitgift, Appendix of Records, B. iii. $ 32.
preservation. It is not dead, but sleepeth ; and it may encourage us to hope that a day will come when our hearts shall wake from their slumber, to realise the waking spirit of the forms which we have retained. But in the mean season we must confess and deplore that catechising, as an engine of the Church, has been tacitly abandoned.
And what sort of a time was it which beheld this abandonment without interfering? It was the time of the dead palsy—an age whose soberness was latitudinarian, and whose zeal was schismatical. Who can wonder at the success of those who possessed life and energy in an age of death, though it were but a spasmodic life-a jerking, paralytic energy? And thus not only were souls lost to the Church, in the generation that then was, but the seed was sown everywhere of that anomaly, hereditary schism, by which the very first principles of Church feeling were enlisted against the Church herself. Does she now appeal to the simple evidence of that which has been transmitted to us ?She is met by the allegation of a contrary tradition! Does she demand submission to authority ?-Alas! to uneducated minds, an authority of a century's standing seems as awfully primitive as that of her eighteen hundred years. And further, unless extreme caution and wisdom be shown, there is danger even in the recovery of such schismatics to the Church. For if the pastor begins by shaking the deepest natural foundations of their faith—faith in the religion of parents, in the instructions of infancy, in all the associations of youth and nurture—what manner of Churchmen are his neophytes likely to become? The roots of the tree will have been cut in transplanting it. The converts, having yielded up all this to one man's argument or persuasion, must, upon principle, be the readier to listen to another's.
Such is the disadvantage at which the ministers of the Church are placed, in contending with enemies who have, as it were, stolen the defensive armour of Church feeling, while wielding all the offensive weapons of schism. And it is not unadvisedly that we ascribe all this, originally, to the decay of the catechetic discipline. Proximately, the undoubted cause is the general ignorance; which, in spite of all the efforts which have been and are made to remedy it, is as deplorable in itself as it is likely to be fearful in its consequences. The indications of an impending Jacquerie are, alas! not obscure. This is a melancholy admission; but one which brings no shame, for themselves at least, to the present generation of churchmen, whose glorious reproach it is that they claim to interfere too much instead of too little in education. And the truth is plain, that if, through the hostility
of many and the coldness of more, the efforts of the Church are inadequate, all others are futile. If she can do but littlethanks to those who would have her do less-others can do nothing, either to remove the present evil or to avert that which threatens us. Nay, if ever so much were done otherwise than in her paths, the evil would be increased, not lessened. For what is teaching without a rule of life?--what is the communication of knowledge without the inculcation of duty ? It is but to light a candle and put it into the child's hand before you turn him loose in a powder-magazine. Let politicians look to it; for theirs are the combustibles which are in danger. And if they will educate people without precautions against their turning out anarchists and infidels, they will have furnished Chartism and Socialism with able leaders. It is not knowledge, but principles, which are to be imparted—not the intellect, but the character, which must be formed—whether we look to men as good citizens on earth, or as partakers of a heavenly citizenship. This the lati. tudinarian scheme cannot effect-scarcely, indeed, professes to attempt or to wish. The Church attempts it, and in the most thorough way, by teaching the duty of the Christian, as such knowing that in this the citizen's training is included.
It is true that the members of the Church, lay and clerical, have in time past been supine; and the clergy, who as a body are not supine, have to bear the taunts, and struggle against the evil of it all. They find continually the labouring classes unable to send their children to school after eight or nine years They have to struggle, very often with little effect, to make those who are themselves uneducated appreciate the importance of education. So that, in a great number of instances, the Sunday school, which perhaps is rather better attended, cannot be devoted to the purposes of the holy day, to religious instruction and study under the pastor's eye, as a relief from the work of the daily school, but must be much occupied with the preparatory process of reading and spelling. Again, country farmers (“O dura messorum ilia !") are frequently unwilling that their apprentices, &c., should attend regularly; or at least, which comes to the same thing, they let it be seen that they care nothing about it. They think it much to make them come to church : the school's claim seems utterly unreasonable. On the ignorance which results from this state of things the reckless schismatic builds his structure, with all the instinctive confidence of his own congenial ignorance.
The knowledge of the truth will not be sufficient to secure men from error: for we know that there must be heresies, like * Philipp. iii. 20, where our version has conversation.
other evils, in the world, for the trial of mankind. But is it
possible that such teaching as many of our sectarians deal in could bave been listened to, had the catechetic discipline been systematically maintained; had the flock had the Scriptural doctrines of the Church Catechism, e. g., repentance, faith, obedience, prayer, and the sacraments, inculcated, expounded, fixed in the memory and engrafted on the understanding by the process of such teaching ? Could they have been led to believe, for instance, that schism was a nullity, and the one Catholic and A postolic Church a phantom, if they had been instructed in all the articles of the Creed in their due order and proportions ? We cannot resist the temptation to quote, from Dr. Pusey's letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the remarkable words of the late Mr. Sikes of Guilsborough
't seem to think I can tell you something which you, who are young, may probably live to see, but which I, who shall soon be called away, shall not.
Wherever I go, I see amongst the clergy a number of very amiable and estimable men, many of them much in earnest, and wishing to do good. But I have observed one universal want in their teaching; the uniform suppression of one great truth. There is no account given anywhere, so far as I see, of the one Holy Catholic Church. I think that the causes of this have been mainly two :— the Church has been kept out of sight, partly in consequence of the civil establishment of the branch of it which is in this country, and partly out of false charity to dissent. Now, this great truth is an article of the Creed ; and if so, to teach the rest of the Creed to its exclusion, must be to destroy "the analogy” or proportion of the faith. This cannot be done without the most serious consequences.
The doctrine is of the last importance, and the principle it involves of immense power; and some day, not far distant, it will judicially have its reprisals; and whereas the other articles of the Creed seem now to have thrown it into the shade, it will then seem to swallow up the rest. We now hear not a breath about the Church: by and by, those who live to see it will hear of nothing else ; and just in proportion, perhaps, to its present suppression will be its future development. Our confusion now-a-days is chiefly owing to the want of it: but there will be yet more confusion attending its revival. The effects of it I even dread to contemplate, especially if it come suddenly; and woe betide those, whoever they are, who shall have, in the course of Providence, to bring it forward! It ought, especially of all others, to be matter of catechetical teaching and training. The doctrine of the Church Catholic and the privileges of Church membership cannot be explained from pulpits; and those who will have to explain it will hardly know where they are, or which way they are to turn themselves. They will be endlessly misunderstood and misinterpreted. There will be one great outcry of Popery from one end of the country to the other; it will be thrust upon minds unprepared, and upon an uncatechised Church : some will take it up and admire it as a beautiful pic
ture ; others will be frightened and run away and reject it; and all will want a guidance which one hardly knows where they shall find. How the doctrine may be first thrown forward we know not, but the powers of the world may any day turn their backs upon us, and this will probably lead to those effects I have described.'-pp. 33, 34.
But it may be said that these doctrines (that of the Church, however, excepted) have been continually handled, if not in catechising, at least in the pulpit: so that only the vehicle has been changed. Again let it be acknowledged, that where catechising had fallen into disuse, those who supplied its place with sermons did the best that they knew how to do, under the circumstances. We blame no one-God forbid !—for being zealous to preach the Word in sermons : ‘these things ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone :' the blame rests on their exclusive devotion to one style of preaching it, and that not the one of primary necessity. Men should bave observed the order of the exhortation at the end of the Baptismal Service :-" Ye shall call on the child to hear sermons; and chiefly ye shall provide that he may learn the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments,' &c.
Sermons are to be heard ; but, chiefly, the Catechism is to be taught. Nor was this change of views brought about without many solemn warnings. The distinction of style between sermons and catechising, their separate objects, their comparative utility, were continually set forth, long before the evil came to a head. To illustrate this, we had marked several passages from Mr. Ley's tract : but time and space can as little be extended as they can be annihilated ; and it must suffice to refer especially to the citations from Abbot, Ussher, Wren, Hall, Fuller, and More.
And, as the Bishop of Exeter says, has not experience also spoken; and is not its testimony on the same side? And does
sense speak in like manner? Is a boy taught to write, or to mend shoes, or any other accomplishment, by a course of lectures only ? Such attempts have indeed been heard of; but we need not dwell on the results. It is the preaching conference,' to use the happy designation of Bishop Hall, which gives the due degree of variety to keep up attention, and familiarity to create an interest; which enlists the catechumens themselves in the business in hand. The very tone of the clergyman's voice and his colloquial manner-so different from that of the pulpithave their important results. He is not shooting over their hearls. It is a difference similar in kind to that which is observable when one sits by a person who is reading or talkiny. In the former case it has often been remarked that it is difficult to keep the attention from wandering : in the latter, not less difficult to abstract it.