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ment without any hope or expectation that such measures will become law, but merely to stir up public opinion. In the debates in Parliament public opinion is too often appealed to in Church matters, but the growing interest taken in the deliberations of Convocation shows that it speaks with an authority to English Churchmen, that Parliament can never possess, and will be heard with respect, even by enemies.*
Political and religious meetings are held and resolutions passed for the enunciation of an opinion or sentiment. If the objectors to the deliberations of Convocation are consistent, they must refrain from propagating their opinions by means of such selfconstituted assemblies.
The next objection touches the subject matter of the petition, viz., the Weekly Offertory; and it will be scarcely credited that it is objected to on the ground that it is an interference with charity. We are not in a position to say whether the objector has what are called "charity sermons," or ever appeals to the benevolence of his people for any specific objects; but this much we may venture to assert, that the offerings of his people, except on celebration days, are never sanctified by being placed on the altar. There were country churches in which there was no Offertory even at such times, we are therefore by no means certain that in his case, private charity is so far interfered with. What would become of our various religious societies *Copied into the Clerical Journal.
if they were to have no advocates, and never to be commended to the kindly feelings of the benevolent? But the Offertory does far more than this: it makes the giving of alms a part of praise and worship, and, through the Church, our alms are offered to GOD; a habit of giving is acquired, and the power of the pence developed.
Another strange objection takes the form of a defence of the pew-system, a very unpopular line of argument at the present time. It is said the pew-system has many advantages, and we should improve them. The only advantage we believe, ever attributed to pews was that they screened the drowsy from observation, and prevented the misbehaviour of others from becoming a bad example: are these the advantages to be improved? A volume might be written on their disadvantages, but one fact is conclusive-during the reign of pews the Church declined and Dissent flourished ; the Church of England was the church of the exclusive and not of the people, and the exclusive built no churches, but suffered those they had to go to ruin.
It is further said that the pew-system exists and is lawful, and that the open system does not exist and is unlawful. The first proposition is partly true, the second wholly false. As to the first, it is true the pewsystem exists, if a lingering death can be so called ; and is permitted by law, that is, the law-the secular law-permits pews to be let to eke out a paltry income for the clergy in certain cases where there is no endow
ment; and there are not wanting those who pay simoniacal pew-rents for spiritual advantages, nor on the other hand those who willingly receive them. But in this legality there is nothing to boast of. For the clergyman who depends upon pew-rents must look well to them, and refuse his ministrations to those who will not pay in advance, otherwise he will find the law a frail staff if he attempts to recover arrears from any perverse occupier. The second proposition is simply untrue; the open system not only exists, but flourishes, and its lawfulness has been repeatedly declared; in fact in no other way is it possible in towns to seat the people according to law.
The last excuse, and in this instance the least valid, is no doubt a very common one-"I cannot see my way, by all means let others adopt the Offertory if they can." This seems fair until, upon further examination, we find that not seeing the way means want of faith. "It is incurring the risk of losing present income by introducing a scheme which has not been sufficiently tested;" no one should sign the petition till he has tried the plan for five years, and the result is a larger income." If this advice were literally acted upon, what would become of the Offertory-of the Scriptural and only Church way of raising money for pious works-all would be given up through a niggardly fear of present loss. The feelings of those who can act upon such paltry excuses are not to be envied.
from any increase in the number of Services.
indeed hinted that a Service might be interpolated between the afternoon and evening Services on Sundays, but the advantage of such a Service is considered questionable. The multiplication of evening Services, with the Protestant device or conceit of evening Communions, is not what is now wanted to stem the tide of infidelity and ungodliness. The worship of Almighty GOD is not a matter for an evening's amusement, when the day is over: to have life and reality it must be the first and chief work of the day. We are quite ready to allow that mid-day Services are not the most convenient for the poor; but whatever the objections or hinderances may be with regard to them, they do not apply to Services at an early hour. If the poor do not make use of early Services, it is because they have not yet learnt the value of them. It may
require time to introduce a habit of going to an early Service; but surely it will be better, even though the process seems slow, to train up a people to better habits, than to lower the Church's Services to suit vulgar tastes and inclinations. Theatre-preachings and glare of gas-lights make a show, but is the world made more godly, or religion more worldly? Men will devote the best part of the day to that on which they set their minds, and give the evening to relaxation; if, therefore, they occupy themselves with their own affairs all the day, and only go to church in the evening, we may conclude they go there because they