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As to the removal of monuments, &c. or bodies buried. If a churchwarden should give orders to remove a monument or a body, without a faculty, he may be sued in the ecclesiastical courts. (Hutchins v. Denziloe and Loveland. Hagg. C. R. i., p. 172.)
To level a churchyard, and to lay flat upright head and foot stones, with a clause that no expense shall fall on individuals. The court will grant a faculty for the above purposes. (Sharpe and Sangster v. Hansard. Hagg. R. iii. p. 335.)
As to erecting monuments, tombs, &c. in churches &c. The churchyard, as well as the church, is the freehold of the minister, subject to the rights of the parishioners for interment. Ancient custom often annexes fees for erecting a stone, or any thing else, by which the grave may be protected, and the memory of the person interred preserved. It is no general law right; but custom will interpose, and when it is shewn to be customary, such practice will be supported. As to buildings of height, the authority is reserved to the ordinary; and permission ought not to be granted without his authority in some manner interposed. The proper mode, strictly speaking, is to apply to the ordinary for a faculty, who calls upon all persons having a right, to shew cause why it should not be done, and hears and determines on the force of any objections that may be made against it. The third institute leaves the matter at large; but all commentators say that the ordinary is to judge of the convenience of allowing tombs or monuments to be erected, and that, if done without his consent, he has sufficient authority to decree the removal. This is the rule laid down in Gibson, (Gib. Cod., p. 454) and, therefore, the court has only to see how it has been observed ; for, although no particular inconvenience may have been sustained, if á general rule has been infringed, it will be sufficient to found the censure of the court, since it is not necessary that a special inconvenience should be proved in any particular instance. (Bardin and Edwards v. Calcott. Hagg. C. R. i. p. 14-5.)
The taking down a monument would be an offence for which the party would be liable to a prosecution; since, when once erected, it cannot be removed without the sanction of the ordinary. (Maidman v. Malpas. Hagg. C. R. i. p. 208.)
Generally, “no practice can absolutely legalise the erection of a monument without a faculty.” (In note, Seager v. Bowle. Add. R. i.
The lay rector is not entitled, as of right, to make a vault or affix tablets in the chancel, without leave of the ordinary ; nor is he entitled to a faculty for such purposes, without laying before the ordinary such particulars as will afford the vicar and parishioners an opportunity of judging of it, and satisfying the ordinary that such vaults or tablets will not interrupt the parishioners in the use and enjoyment of the chancel : nor has the vicar an absolute veto, though he may shew cause against the grant of a faculty. Semble, that the consent of the lay rector must precede the leave of the ordinary, for the construction of a vault, or the erection of tablets in the chancel. (Rich v. Bushnell. Hagg. R. iv. p. 165.)
FEES. It is only by custom that an incumbent can support a claim to any fees for the discharge of such functions as devolve
the ordinary ministrations of his parochial duties. By the general ecclesiastical law, for instance, every person has a right to burial in the churchyard of his own parish, and to have his children christened within the parish church, and it is custom only which can sanction the minister's insisting upon a fee for the performance of either rite. The minister has no legal power, with without the consent of the churchwardens, to deviate from the custom of the parish, or to vary the rate of fees hitherto payable. A table of fees can only be legally established by the majority of the inhabitants, duly assembled in vestry, the consent of the patron and incumbent, and a subsequent confirmation by the ecclesiastical court. The practice of twenty years, though continuous, cannot have the effect in law of establishing the validity of any
such fees. Time and usage are essential parts of a custom, and therefore no custom is allowable but such as hath been used by prescription, that is, time out of mind. (Bacon's Abridg. p. 232, Art.“ Customs.")
Much difference of opinion exists amongst the clergy as to the propriety of using what are termed the “occasional services," viz. the forms of prayer “ for the 5th November,” “the 30th January,” “the 29th May," and “the 20th June.” There is no doubt as to the observance of these days, that being determined by Act of Parliament; but many have scrupled to use the forms of prayer,” as being unauthorized, and consequently a violation of the “Act of. Uniformity." It is rather remarkable that though the various Acts of Parliament “appoint these days, (except the 20th June), to be solemnly observed, and both suffer and enact that proper prayers and praises shall be used on those days, yet not one of them provides for, or establishes any office for the use of either one or other of the said days; nor have our kings, by whose authority and direction alone these several offices are printed and annexed to the book of Common Prayer, any power or authority invested in them, by king Charles II's Act of Uniformity, to establish or enjoin any other form than what is provided in the book of Common Prayer; or to do anything else in relation to that book, than to alter and change from time to time, the names of the king, queen, or royal progeny." (Wheatley, Com. Pray. p. 550.)
In the “sealed Prayer Book,” in the University Library, Cambridge, collated with the original, December 13, 1662, at the end of the service for the consecration of bishops is the following note, written,—“The forms of prayer for V. of November, the XXX. of January, and the XXIX. of May, are to be printed at the end of this book.” Convocation has however never provided any services. “So that it might be very well questioned, whether these, or any other occasional offices put out by the same order, could safely be used, were it not for the general connivance, or rather concurrence of the two other parts of the legislative authority, the Lords and Commons, who, if sitting, are always present at the performance of such offices, and frequently address the king to order them.” (Wheatley, ut Supra.) But connivance or concurrence is no proof of legality. The safest way appears to be to keep the day, but to reject the form. It is a well known fact that other violations of the Act of Uniformity occur in both houses of Parliament.
Those who desire further information on this subject may consult “ Johnson's case of occasional days and prayers."
DISTRICT VISITING SOCIETY.
In populous parishes, and parishes of large extent, it is impossible for ministers, themselves, to do all that is required for the spiritual and eternal interests of the flock committed to their charge. Hence it will be found necessary to associate with them those, from among their people, on whose piety and judgment they can rely, as “fellow-helpers to the truth.” This indeed is highly desirable, whatever may be the size of the parish. It is well to train up those who have experienced a real change of heart, and know the value of religion, to become useful to others. And there are many ways in which such characters may very materially assist a minister in his “work of faith and labour of love." As Sunday school teachers, tract distributors, and district visitors, as bible and missionary collectors, and similar employments, most useful and efficient aid may be given.
Each parish should be divided into small districts, comprising twenty or thirty houses in each, which should be under the special charge of a visitor, whose office it should be to call at each house every week, enter into conversation with the parties whom they may find at home, and where practicable read a small portion of Scripture and conclude
When persons do not feel able to make remarks upon the portion of Scripture read, they may receive great assistance from the use of a work which, for this purpose, cannot be too highly recommended, “Jowett's Christian Visitor, or Scripture readings, with expositions and prayers :" published in four neat little pocket volumes, by Seeley and Burnside, London.
The simple reading of the Scriptures, without any note or comment, has been found exceedingly useful.
The following observations on DISTRICT VISITING SOCIETIES are well worthy the attention and prayerful consideration of every minister who has the charge of a parish.
“The system of DISTRICT SOCIETIES cannot be too strongly recommended, as the most likely means of effecting extensive spiritual good among masses of immortal beings, that could not otherwise be reached. The nucleus of the system is a Christian congregation, and the strength of it Christian visitors, who will laboriously go through the work in all its duties of patience, compassion, and self-denial. The DISTRICT VISITING SOCIETY in London has entered upon the work with a well-organised
system of operation, and in a truly Christian spirit of perseverance. They thus forcibly state the necessity for their labours, in language of general application to extensive spheres,—“Some parishes have gradually become so thickly peopled, that an acquaintance, either personal, or through the medium of his clerical assistants, with the majority of his parishioners is beyond the reach of the most active and laborious incumbent. With the utmost zeal on his part, thousands may yet be left comparatively to themselves, without even the moral restraint, which in a smaller parish the frequent intercourse between the clergyman and his people often imposes on the most careless and unconcerned. Extensive districts are to be found, where a mass of ignorance, vice, and superstition, is untouched, or nearly so, by the ordinary and prescribed means of preventing error in religion, and viciousness in life. Their inhabitants live in the undisturbed practice of ungodliness, by the force of mutual example confirming each other in the disregard of every religious duty. Places of worship are unfrequented by them. They will not go in search of the means of spiritual instruction, these means must be brought home to them. If an impression is to be made they must be invited, nay, compelled to attend to their eternal interests, by the earnest, persevering, long-suffering labours of individuals, willing to penetrate the abodes of misery and vice, to go from door to door, and to encounter frequent disappointments in their benevolent object."
The following PLAN OF OPERATION has been given :.“ Communication with the clergy.—The central committee, feeling the importance of having the sanction and co-operation of the parochial clergy, make it a preliminary step to the establishment of any local society, that a communication shall be held with the clergyman of the parish where its formation is contemplated. It is, however, to be distinctly understood, that even should the sanction of the clergyman be withheld, a society may still be formed where circumstances render it expedient.
“Selection of a district and committee.-In selecting a district for the operations of a society, care should be taken to define its limits with accuracy, whether it include the whole or only part of a parish ; and in the formation of a local committee, to carry into effect these operations, the assistance of as many residents within the limits of the district as are willing to unite in carrying into effect the operations of the general society should be procured ; of these one should be chosen to act as secretary, to conduct the correspondence, and be in continued communication with the visitors. A committee thus formed, and adopting the general plan of the institution, remains free and uncontrolled in the collection and disposal of its funds, as well as in all its internal arrangements ; the central committee maintaining only such a union as is calculated to afford mutual advantage, and promote regularity in the proceedings of the local committee.
“Survey of the district.—The district having been selected, and the committee formed, the next step, which seems almost indispensable in order to commence with effect, is to obtain a moral map of the district;
or, in other words, an account of the names, employment, number of children, and other particulars of the poor. To obtain this information in London, agents are employed and paid by the general society. By the help of this moral survey, the district is easily divided into sections, each section containing not more than thirty poor families, and often a less number, being proportioned to the time the several visitors may have to spare for their work. There is no point which the central committee more strongly urge on local committees, than that of confining their visitors' exertions within a practicable compass. A small section effectually visited is infinitely preferable to a large one only partially occupied. Extracts from the preliminary survey, relating to the section of each visitor, should be given him in his register, as the foundation of his future labours.
“ Appointment of visitors.-Unless the poor can be brought seriously to think, and to have some sense of their duty to God, as well as towards society, little permanent improvement can be expected. If the idle, the thoughtless, and the profligate, receive temporal relief, without at the same time having their minds forcibly drawn to the consideration of the wickedness of their lives, and the awful consequences of continuing in such a course, the result to be expected is an increase rather than a decrease of vice and misery.
“ The choice of visitors becomes, therefore, of the highest importance. They may be chosen from different ranks of society, but it is essential that they should themselves be deeply impressed with divine truth, persons anxiously desirous to lead their fellow-creatures into the paths of true religion, and who will interest themselves, not only to administer to the temporal wants, but to the eternal interests of all whom they undertake to visit. In cases where females offer themselves as visitors, it is desirable that two should act together in the same section; and when gentlemen are unaccustomed to the work, the appointment of two to a section may for a time be necessary.
Registers, journals containing instructions to visitors, and monthly reports, carefully arranged for the use of the visitors, are supplied to the local societies in London at the expense of the general society, not only in the first instance, but from time to time as they are required ; and to societies in the country at the cost prices.
Tracts.—The selection of tracts for circulation by the visitors, rests wholly with the different committees. The visitors should be supplied before they commence their labours, as a tract will, in many cases, become the medium of an introduction to the poor, and afford a subject of conversation at future visits. The tracts should be distributed on loan, and regularly exchanged at each visit. The visitors should also be informed how they may obtain bibles or prayer books for the poor in their respective sections.
“ Temporal relief.—The nature and extent of the temporal assistance to be afforded, must be determined by the local committees on a view of the state of the poor in their district, and the funds they are enabled to raise, and instructions should be given at each monthly meeting to the visitors on this subject. Relief should, however, be seldom given in money; but the visitors should be provided with tickets, entitling the bearer to obtain of some tradesman in the district a supply of bread,