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redolent of stale orange peel, to the velvet-cushioned boxes of the west-end church. To make ourselves better understood we must quote Messrs. Shaftesbury and Company's advertisement which we copy from the Times:
SPECIAL RELIGIOUS SERVICES FOR THE POOR.-President, Earl of Shaftesbury. These services are now resumed at four theatres, and are conducted only by clergymen of the Established Church and Non-Conforming ministers. During the last year, upwards of 270,000 persons were brought under the influence of the Gospel, by means of these services, at a cost little exceeding one penny per individual, &c.
Christianity preached at a penny a-head is certainly a new feature in the religious mercantile world, and it forcibly reminds us of the old nursery rhyme— "Tommy Twopenny turned Turk for twopence," and was dear at the price; and certainly this theatrepreaching is dear even at the lowest figure, though sometimes justly characterized as "cheap and nasty." What the mongrel stuff is made of may be readily guessed, when the performances are conducted by clergymen of the Established Church and Non-Conforming ministers. We beg pardon-it is "only by clergymen of the Established Church and Non-Conforming ministers,"-only by these, and therefore, quite exclusive. But who are the excluded? We can understand "only" by clergymen, or "only" by NonConforming ministers; but what is the meaning of an expression which is tantamount to only by everybody. Or, perhaps, only refers to those clergy who pride
themselves in belonging to an Establishment-Erastians who consider the Church a creature of the State, and not a divine institution-who believe in Shaftesbury-made dignities, and not in Apostolic succession. If this is what is intended, it needs no prophet to tell us who are excluded.
To count too nicely the cost in things pertaining to God is the mark of a worldly and niggardly mind, and we rather wonder at these Shaftesburyites making a boast of such meanness. Where will they find Scripture for their calculations? Certainly not in the widow's mite, for she gave her all; nor in the costly box of ointment. Scripture and the example of our pious forefathers will teach us to count how much, not how little, we can spend in serving GOD. The principle of theatre-preachings is, of course, that anything is good enough for GOD; but this is the very first time that we have seen a direct appeal for them founded on cheapness: we thought the professed object was to get hold of the irreligious masses at any price. Is it because these theatricals have, in this respect, proved a failure, that it is now considered necessary to make the excuse that, after all, the experiment was not a very costly one? Irreverence is the characteristic of the Shaftesbury school, or they would not have so grossly mixed up sacred and profane by putting the Gospel on the stage; but they have outdone themselves in advertising it at a penny a-head, Common decency would have restrained men
who make less profession, from counting souls at a penny each. Are we, by and bye, to be disgusted with tales of cheap conversions, and of the joy among the Angels in heaven, when a man repents at the cost of a penny? It is shocking to think of the natural deduction of such an application of intense worldliness to things divine; but the uneducated, and possibly some others, who estimate the value of a thing by its cost, will arrive at the conclusion that all that we associate with holiness is not worth more than a penny.
['Union,' March 8, 1861.]
S advocates for the free, unfettered and real action of the Church of England, as represented in Convocation, we cannot but express our unfeigned regret that the deliberations of that body are of such a nature as to gain the confidence of no party in the Church. We allude especially to the debate on Canon XXIX., and the vague and worse than useless attempts of various members to tinker up something which may mean anything or nothing. It would, at any rate, be a more straight forward course to abolish sponsors altogether. For, if it is really such a difficult matter to find sponsors, will the number be increased by admitting parents to that office? Will there be more parents in the world then than now; and will the number of persons fitted to act as sponsors be numerically greater? It is well known that the poor are ever ready to reciprocate acts of kindness and friendship. Therefore we deny the utility of making any alteration. We agree with
Wheatley, that "the parents are already engaged under such strict bonds, both by nature and religion, to take care of their children's education, that the Church does not think she can lay them under greater; but still makes provision that if, notwithstanding these obligations, the parents should be negligent or if it should please GOD to take them to Himself before their children be grown up-there yet may be others upon whom it shall lie to see that the children do not want due instruction, by means of such carelessness, or by the death of their parents."
Those safeguards, which have existed throughout Christendom from the earliest times, are now to be swept away from the English Church, and that, too, in the face of the expressed opinions of some of our ablest lawyers, and without any real advantage to be gained either on the side of necessity or expediency. The only effect of the alteration will be to discountenance the interchange of Christian offices, and keep each separate household more independent and distinct. The suggestion of two members of the Lower House, that it was the Latin original of 1603 with which they had to deal, was a severe commentary on the hasty resolution of the Upper House.
The same day that the Upper House, with such unbecoming haste, passed a resolution to repeal the English translation of Canon XXIX, the Lower House, with like speed, came to the determination to do nothing with regard to the "Essays and Reviews."