« PreviousContinue »
of the Church, an Act of Parliament was made, ordering it to be so. Then a Committee of Bishops and other learned Divines was appointed to compose an uniform order of Communion, according to the Rules of Scripture, and the use of the Primitive Church." This they did, and the order was brought into use next year. The same persons, having a new Commission for the purpose, then finished the whole Liturgy, by drawing up public offices, not only for Sundays and Holidays, but for Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Burial of the dead, and other special occasions. In this, the above named office for the Holy Communion was inserted with many alterations and amendments. This Book, thus framed, was set forth by the common agreement and full assent both of the Parliament and Convocations Provincial that is, the Convocations of the Provinces of Canterbury and York.
The Committee appointed to compose this Liturgy, consisted of seven Bishops, and five Doctors, with one Archdeacon, and among the Bishops it included Cranmer and Ridley, both Martyrs for the reformation of the Church in Queen Mary's reign. About the year 1550 this book was reviewed with the assistance of two foreign Reformers, Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr. It was on this occasion that the sentences, exhortation, confession, and absolution were added at the beginning of the Morning and Evening Services, which in the first Common Prayer Book had begun with the Lord's Prayer. The authority which Parliament gave to this Liturgy, or Book of Common Prayers, was of course repealed when the Romish superstition revived under Queen Mary. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, however, several learned Divines were appointed to examine once more the Liturgies of King Edward's time, and to frame from them a Book for the use of the Church of England. They adopted the second of these with a very few alterations. On King James I. coming to the throne, this was brought under the consideration of a conference of Bishops, and of certain Divines disposed to Presbyterian principles. The most important issue of this, was the addition to the Catechisim of the Explanation of the Sacraments. In the reign of Charles II. a like conference was held to consider the objections brought against the Liturgy, and to make any reasonable and necessary alteration. The rule laid down on this revision, was, that they were to proceed by “ comparing the Book of Common Prayer with the most ancient Liturgies that had been used in the Church in the most Primitive and purest times.” A few additions were made on this occasion, but no
important alteration; and the Liturgy was brought to that state in which it now stands, and was unanimously subscribed by both Houses of Convocation, (the Bishops and the inferior Clergy,) in both Provinces, Dec. 20th, 1661. The Parliament then enacted it by law, exactly as it was sanctioned by the Convocation. This may not only be viewed as a distinct act of the Civil Power, but also as an act of acceptance by the Laity of the Church of what was done in their behalf by the Clergy. Thus the Prayer Book, as we now have it-being as it is in close agreement with Holy Scripture, and after the model of Primitive Christian worshiphas the authority of the whole Church of this nation.
THE PILLOW OF DEATH.
Oh smooth my hair, and fold my hands, and close my tranquil eye;
I will rest me in the chamber, where last my sleep reposed,
The sward shall grow above my head and the Sabbath chimes shall ring,
I know not where my soul will be, when I rest beneath the sod,
But I shall not hear the sound of strife abroad upon the earth,
There are warnings in the sky, and earth is shaking 'neath our feet,
And Oh! if now the time be come, when sinfulness and pride
Oh ! better far, if so He will, to rest us in the grave,
It cannot come too soon, Oh Lord ! when our souls are fit for heaven,
SEWELL'S SACRED THOUGHTS.
ON THE NECESSITY FOR ADDITIONAL BISHOPS
The abstract of the Population Returns in 1831, the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into Ecclesiastical Revenues, the various Reports of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, together with Gilbert's Clerical Guide, and the Clergy List for 184], supply a number of data, from which some notion may be formed of our present wants in respect of clergy.
The usual basis which has been taken in estimating the extent of religious destitution-namely, the amount of church accomodation, is, perhaps, not exactly that which ought to have been adopted. The number of clergy would seem to be a more correct standard in general. A parish church might contain 2000 sittings, and be sufficiently large for a parish containing 6000 people ; but
it might be served by only one clergyman, who would be wholly unequal to the care of so large a population. A parish, then, with sufficient church-room, might be comparatively destitute of spiritual aid. On the other hand, a parish with inadequate church accommodation, may be effectually guided and influenced by a clergyman, who enabled by the size of his cure to communicate personally with all his parishioners.
Speaking from experience, and from consultation with others, I should say, that the care of 1000 souls on an average, would be amply sufficient for the full employment of each clergyman. This, then, may be assumed as the basis of our calculations, which will be conducted under several forms.
The population of England and Wales is, in 1841, about 10,000,000, which, according to our assumed basis, would require 16,000 clergy.
Now, it appears from Gilbert's Clerical Guide, that the 10,718 benefices of England and Wales, are held by 7565 individuals. It also appears by a Return made by the Archbishops and Bishops to her Majesty's Privy Council in 1838, that there are 4811 curates. Adding together the number of incumbents and curates, we obtain 12,376 as the total number of the parochial clergy. But this exceeds the truth; because two curacies are not unfrequently held by the same person, and the incumbent of one parish is sometimes the curate of another. So that, on the whole, there is reason to believe that the number of parochial clergy does not exceed 12,000, which shows a deficiency of 4000 clergy at present.
Our deficiency is, however, still greater than this; for it must be remembered that many of our parishes contain very small populations. Judging from a rough estimate, it would seem that about 3000 parishes contain less than 300 inhabitants each, affording perhaps about 200 upon an average, or a total population of not more than 600,000. Thus 3000 clergy are engaged in the care of 600,000 souls, while the remaining 9000 clergy are entrusted with the care of 15,400,000; showing a total deficiency of 6400 clergy, for the care of 6,400,000 people.
This result is of such a nature that I should have hesitated to make it public, had it not been substantially confirmed by various examinations instituted with a view to test its general correctness.
Another mode by which we may approximate to a knowledge of the deficiency now existing, is to compare the populations of cities, towns, and populous districts, with the number of clergy employed in them.
It appears from a Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners,
that thirty-four parishes in London and its suburbs, with a population exceeding 10,000 each, contained, according to the census of 1831, a population of 1,137,000, with only 139 parochial clergymen. According to our basis, this alone shows a deficiency of clergy for 994,000 people. But there were, by the same census, forty other parishes in London and its suburbs, with populations varying from 3000 to 10,000, making a total of 235,266, and served by only eighty-two clergymen. This shows a further deficiency of clergy, for about 153,000 souls; which, added to the former deficiency, presents a total of 1,151,000 people deprived of spiritual instruction in 1831. If we add twenty per cent, to represent the increase of the last ten years, (which would not, I believe, exceed the truth,) we have now in the above parishes of London and its suburbs a population of 1,646,400 under the spiritual care of 221 clergy, leaving in the metropolis alone, the enormous number of 1,425,000 people unprovided with spiritual aid, and requiring for their care upwards of 1400 clergy in addition to the present ecclesiastical force of the metropolis. If, in short, the clergy of London were multiplied sevenfold at this moment, they would all have full and ample occupation.
I have pursued the same mode of calculation throughout the country generally, and the result is that, in 118 of the cities, towns, and parishes, with a population exceeding 10,000, there were, in 1831, about 3,308,657 souls under the care of 667 clergymen, showing 2,641,655 souls unprovided for by the Church. It also appeared that in parishes containing between 2000 and 10,000, there were, on the whole, about 1,360,000 souls without clerical aid. Adding twenty per cent, to represent the increase in population since 1831, we obtain the following result:
Destitute Population, 1841.
3,307,000 Lesser Towns, &c.
Total....... 6,364,400 With a view to test still further the correctness of these results, a third mode of computation was resorted to. Having under consideration the population of each parish, according to the census of 1831, I commenced by calculating the number of new parishes, with a population of 2000 each, which would be requisite in existing parishes containing more than 4000 people; and the additional number which would be produced by dividing into