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with no room or provision for kneeling in an orderly manner; or if, as I have sometimes seen, they are allowed or even required to sit during the whole service, because it is considered that in that attitude they are more easily seen and kept in order, how is it to be expected that they should ever learn the idea that they are part of a congregation engaged in the worship of Almighty God? I know few things more deserving the attention of a clergyman than to endeavour to obtain in his church good and convenient space and accommodation for the children of his school; and such an arrangement of benches and means of kneeling, as may best conduce to form a habit of that only fitting attitude in prayer, in the use of which our congregations in general are so sadly deficient, and the neglect of which so greatly tends to carelessness and irreverence in prayer itself.—Ibid.
EARLY AGE AT WHICH CHILDREN LEAVE SCHOOL.
But whatever may be the pains taken in our schools, and should they even become, as regards teachers and means of instruction, all that we could desire, we must still sorrowfully confess that the education they can impart will be sadly defective. What should we say ourselves, if we were told that the education of our own children must terminate at eight, nine, or even ten years of age? You all agree in stating that this is as late as boys can be retained at school in our agricultural parishes, though girls may perhaps remain a year or two later. It is useless to lament this, however much we may regret the pressure of that poverty which is its cause. It is useless to strive against it, or to blame parents for it, as if they were indifferent to the education of their children, because they are constrained by urgent necessity to avail themselves of whatever trifling assistance even little hands can give in providing a scanty supply for their bodily wants.
Such a state of things, however, seems to suggest the duty of more carefully considering in what manner any influence can be retained over children after they have left our daily schools, and how any further process of education can be carried on.-Ibid.
My attention has been particularly directed to the means of carrying on education beyond the age at which the children of the labouring class commonly quit the daily school; and I have received from many of you much information on the three points about which I made inquiry, viz., Sunday schools, evening schools, and public catechising. I have little to say about the first of these. Sunday schools are now all but universal, and need no recommendation from me.
And it is generally felt, that where there is a daily school, the value of the Sunday school greatly depends upon the degree
which it is made the means of retaining under instruction older children, if possible, up to the period of confirmation. This may sometimes be done more successfully, if they are not mixed up with those who are still daily scholars; but are formed into a separate class, consisting altogether of those under the same circumstances. In cases in which the aid of voluntary teachers is called in, (and without these no large Sunday school is likely to be effectively conducted,) it is very important that the clergyman should exercise a close and careful superintendence over the instruction they give. This office is frequently undertaken, and necessarily must be, by persons whose own education has been very imperfect. Such persons are very apt to fall into a style of vague exhortation, very unsuited for children, rather than to give that sound catechetical instruction which should be aimed at. It is an excellent plan when the clergyman meets the teachers of his school on some evening in the week, and goes over with them the lesson which they are to give on the Lord's day. Such a practice greatly assists the teachers. It strengthens the connexion between them and
the clergyman, and tends to an uniformity of tone and spirit in the school, which, where there are many persons employed, will otherwise not always be preserved.—Ibid.
I referred to evening schools in my charge three years ago, and expressed my hope that they might be made the means of inuch usefulness. I am obliged to say, that though there does not appear to have been any indisposition on the part of the clergy to try the experiment, the result cannot be described as satisfactory or encouraging.
It seems that not much fewer than one hundred clergy in this diocese either now have, or within no great period of time have had, evening schools in their parishes; but the very great majority of these have not found them succeed. In some cases the attendance is said to be good, but in general even this has fallen off after a little while; and there are extremely few instances indeed in which such schools appear to be made the means of effective religious influence. In some places in which the clergyman himself acts as schoolmaster to a limited class on one or two nights in the week, he is able to report favourably of the result; and there are cases in which a master of a superior kind carries on an evening school successfully. But on the whole it must, I am afraid, be allowed, that under existing circumstances it is not to be hoped that evening schools can generally be made a means of completing the work which the daily school in our parishes fails to effect, of training up the young members of the Church in a manner suitable to their profession.—Ibid.
PUBLIC CATECHISING ON THE LORD'S DAY. In connexion with Sunday and evening schools, and as bearing on the same object, I referred to public catechising on the Lord's day. On this head I have received a good deal of information, and the expression of some variety of opinion ; but the result of the whole is such as greatly to encourage me in recommending the subject to your best consideration, and in expressing my opinion that the practice in question may be productive of much advantage, if considerately introduced and efficiently followed up.
It would, perhaps, be difficult to name any other subject on which a greater concurrence of high authority may be adduced than this, as any person will see at once, by referring to the “ Documents and Authorities on Public Catechising,” collected and published by the Rev. I. Ley. He will there find the most eminent divines of our Church, some by their practice upholding this duty, others lamenting its disuse, and enjoining its revival, and ascribing the imperfect knowledge and vagueness of views on religions subjects so common among the members of the Church, in no small degree to the discontinuance of this exercise. But it would be unwise to overlook the fact, that the very general disuse of a practice so obviously good in itself, expressly directed by the rule of our Church, and enforced by such high authority, cannot but result from the existence of some considerable obstacles to its universal adoption. And I wish you fully to understand, that I do not desire to urge upon you the resumption of this practice as a matter of obligation, in compliance with the letter of the rule of the Church, and in disregard of these obstacles, but to invite you to consider in what manner and how far any attempt may best be made towards attaining the advantages which the Church had in view in enjoining public catechising.
I find that at present there are about eighty parishes in my diocese in which in some degree or other, and in some manner or other, something of this kind is carried on. But I should rather infer, from the answers I have received, that there are hardly so many as half of these places in which the exercise is conducted so as to be really profitable. Some clergy again state that they have
discontinued it after trial, not finding any advantage from it. Others, that they did think it advantageous, but that it was distasteful to their congregations. On the other hand, it has been satisfactory to me to observe, that in several cases, and those the very ones in which the exercise is performed in the manner most likely to be useful, the clergy state that their congregations in general are much pleased with it, and are sensible of the advantage they derive from it.
In order that this may be the case, it is clear that the catechising must not consist in the mere formal repetition of the words of the catechism, but of a detailed and varied explanation and illustration of some small portion of it. A very few of the questions of the catechism itself having been put and answered, a single one, or at most two or three, will supply materials for the whole examination, and a subject for development in a familiar practical lecture at the close. There are cases in which this is stated to be done with much advantage every Sunday for half an hour before the afternoon service, the adult members of the congregation being invited and encouraged to attend. Many are said to do so, and to evince much interest. One clergyman states, that in this manner he goes regularly through the catechism once in the course of the year. In other places certain times are fixed, as at the seasons of Advent Lent, or one Sunday in each month, for catechising in the presence of the whole congregation, either after the second lesson or at the close of the service. One or other mode
may be preferable, according to the circumstances of different places. I do not think that it would any where be found expedient to introduce catechising after the second lesson every Sunday, there being also a sermon. Nor would it probably prove advantageous in large parishes to replace the afternoon sermon altogether by catechising. But the extent of its introduction might rightly be measured by the degree in which it was found, in each particular case, to tend to edification, with reference not only to the catechumens, but to the congregation at large.
It must, however, be borne in mind, that the success of such an experiinent would probably in great measure depend upon the manner in which the exercise was performed. And the office of catechist is not to be discharged efficiently without forethought and preparation. It is not indeed the case, as is frequently said, that it requires a peculiar gift. But it does require that previous consideration of the subject which will secure a lucid and simple order of questions, adapted to the capacity and information of those who are to answer them, and giving scope to the catechist himself for such explanation and practical application of the matter in hand as may edify all. Much help in this exercise may, of course, be derived from books. Mr. Allen, in his recent report, says, that in questioning on the catechism, he has found assistance from Bishop Nicholson's, Bishop Ken's, Bishop Wilson's, and Bishop Beveridge's expositions of it. Of more recent publications, a Charge, hy Archdeacon Bather, entitled, “Hints on Scriptural Education and Instruction by Catechising," contains the practical advice of one who has himself proved in his own experience the utility of what he recommends, while Bevan's Help to Catechising," and Archdeacon Sinclair's “ Questions on the Church Catechism,” have been found useful in suggesting a course of detailed examination.-Ibid.
ADDITIONAL CLERGYMEN AND LAY READERS.
*** The following correspondence has passed between Lord Sandon, Sir R. Inglis, and Mr. Kingscote, as the representatives of a numerous body of petitioners, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the subject of a large increase in the effective force of the clergy, as well as the employment of an auxiliary force in the shape of lay scripture readers :
ADDRESS TO THE PRIMATE.
My Lord Archbishop,—We have the honour herewith to transmit very respectfully the accompanying address to your Grace, signed by many noble, influential, and respectable persons, who concur with us in the hope that your Grace and the other members of the episcopal bench will be pleased to take the wh subject of the same into your earnest and early consideration, with a view to the adoption, if not of the precise means therein suggested, at least of some means towards removing the crying and growing evil of a church inadequate to the wants of a rapidly increasing population.
We are, my Lord Archbishop,
HENRY KINGSCOTE. May it please your Grace,- The period during which it has pleased Almighty God to continue to the Church of England the mild and paternal superintendence of your Grace, in the discharge of her highest ecclesiastical functions, has been marked by great and important changes in our social, moral, and political circumstances.
A lengthened interval of peace, the advancement of literature, the arts, sciences, and civilization, and above all, the rapid increase of our population, have produced an alteration in the relative position of the several orders in society, which demands the grave consideration of every one who desires to promote the well-being of the nation, but more especially of those who are the appointed guardians of her religious institutions and the pastors of her people.
Under these circumstances, and impelled by a heartfelt attachment to the scriptural principles of our established church, and by an earnest desire that its efficiency should be increased, and the interests of true religion more effectually promoted through its agency, we, the undersigned, lay members of that church, venture with all respect to bring under the consideration of your Grace, some means by which, we trust, under the divine blessing, these great objects may be attained.
Admirably as our parochial system seems calculated to meet the wants of the country, and to bring the ministrations of the clergy within the reach of all classes, still the increase of our population, and its unequal distribution, render it impossible that they should extend their pastoral care to the great majority of their flocks in large towns and populous districts. We do not forget the attempts made by the legislature, by voluntary associations, and by individuals, to remedy this defect; but we are convinced that further measures are required to reach the full extent of the evil. We believe that the efficiency and usefulness of the national church might be very greatly increased by arrangements, which, without introducing any organic changes, should bring into active operation the powers and capacities now lying dormant in her existing institutions.
To effect this, we believe, that two important objects must be accomplished, -Ist, the clergy must be increased in number, and 2nd, provisions must be made for a more systematic employment of laymen, in the exercise of functions which do not belong exclusively to the clergy. For the attainment of these objects, we would respectfully request your Grace and the other members of the episcopal bench to take into your consideration:
1. The expediency of increasing largely the numbers of the third order of our clergy-the deacons. And we venture to suggest that this may be effected by admitting, on such conditions as will maintain the order and discipline of our church, persons who have not the means or opportunity of proceeding to a university degree, but who are found competently trained for the service of the sanctuary—their advancement to the higher order of the ministry being made
contingent upon a faithful discharge during a lengthened period of the office of a deacon; or upon such other circumstances as your Grace and the other members of the episcopal bench may think fit.
2. The propriety of sanctioning and encouraging the employment of a class of laymen, who, without altogether abandoning their worldly callings, might be set apart, under episcopal authority, to act as visitors of the sick, scripture readers, catechists, and the like, in parishes where their introduction should be approved of by the parochial clergy.
The system of district visiting, and the appointment of lay scripture readers, under clerical superintendence, have already been adopted, we believe, with much success in many populous parishes; but the present state of society requires that both these means of usefulness should be greatly extended, and bronght into more immediate connexion with our ecclesiastical arrangements, for we are fully persuaded, that the true strength of our church can never be completely known, until, by some such means, her lay members are enabled, under direct sanction and control, to take part in the discharge of all those offices which are not by her constitution restricted to the three orders of the ministry.
To provide the necessary funds (which should be administered by a board, made up by a well-considered union of the clergy and laity) contributions may, we have little doubt, be extensively called forth, in offerings and collections made for this specific object, at such periods and under such regulations as may be found desirable; and we venture to hope, that an object, so viirectly affecting the efficiency of the church, would attract the sympathies and obtain the support of all classes within her communion.
In venturing to urge upon your Grace the adoption of these measures, which would supply a link much needed between the parochial clergy and the community at large, we are far from desiring to make any innovation in our ecclesiastical polity; we only seek to restore to full vigour and efficiency one of the orders in our church, and to promote the appointment of officers already recognised by ecclesiastical authority, and for which at no period since the Reformation has the position of the church more imperatively called. (Signed) Name.
REPLY OF THE PRIMATE.
My dear Lord, I have submitted to the consideration of such bishops as could be conveniently assembled in town the memorial which was presented to ine in January last by your lordship, Sir Robert Inglis, and Mr. Kingscote, suggesting the expediency of meeting the great and immediate wants of the church-Ist, by multiplying the number of deacons ; 2nd, by sanctioning the systematic employment of a class of laymen, who, without altogether abandoning their worldly callings, might assist the clergy in the discharge of all such affairs as are not restricted by the church to the three orders of the ministry.
It is, I trust, needless to say, that these proposals have been considered by us with the attention which is due, as well to the vast importance of the subject, as to the opinions and wishes of the very numerous and highly respectable body of laymen, who, by affixing their signatures to this memorial, have testified their attachment to the church, and their concern for the spiritual welfare of multitudes, who are now in a great measure prevented by circumstances from benefitting by its teaching and ordinances. In respect to the desirableness of adding to the number of the clergy, and adopting other safe and legitimate methods of increasing the efficiency of the church in populous towns and districts, there is not, nor indeed could there be, any difference of opinion amongst
As regards the mode of proceeding best calculated to promote the beneficial objects which the memorialists have in view, I have been' requested to