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expedient; for were daily schools immediately established in every parish in the kingdom, there would still be a considerable number of children engaged in a variety of employments, especially manufactures,who would not,or could not, be allowed by their parents or masters to devote the days of secular business to the purposes of education. But Sunday Schools are not liable to this inconvenience, for the day is, or ought to be, one of rest from worldly employments; and it is the duty of the public guardians to see that it is not made, so far as wholesome regulations can prevent such an effect, a day of indolence and immorality. Where, however, a Sunday School and Daily School are combined, the effect is the most salutary and powerful; and even in manufacturing towns, the children, in addition to the Sunday's instruction, might often be permitted to attend school one or two evenings in the week, either together or in rotation, without much inconvenience to any party.
. But were the difficulties in the way of the general education of the infant poor, and especially through the simple and popular medium of Sunday Schools, much greater than they are; still, who that considers the vast importance of their instruction for the civil and religious benefit of the community, but must feel anxious to see the experiment
fairly tried, which it never yet has been, and never is likely to be but by a well-planned legislative enactment.
iv. Religious Instruction for Adults. A fourth means mentioned, by which the laity may powerfully assist in effecting the great objects under consideration, was by securing adequate means of spiritual instruction for the adult population. Two only of these means will be noticed in the present summary -namely, 1. Providing sufficient accommodation for their attendance on Divine worship ; and, 2. Furnishing them with suitable materials for their private reading and meditation. Various other useful plans might be specified ; but these seem to be among those which the existing state of things most pressingly requires.
1. That it is the duty of a nation to provide requisite means for the whole of its population to attend the public service of God, surely demands no proof. To insist upon the injunctions of Scripture in favour of public worship generally, or to demonstrate the Divine appointment and eminent utility of preaching, which under the Christian dispensation constitutes a very important part of that worship, would be equally superfluous. It is very justly urged by a powerful modern ad
vocate for increasing the facilities for public worship, that the opinion of the early church on this subject is “most interestingly and fully proved by the well-attested fact that no interdiction of hostile power, not the severest punishments, notconfiscation, torture, and death, could deter the first Christians from assembling for the purposes of public worship, public prayer and praise, and the reading and expounding of the sacred Scripture ;-a most undeniable evi. dence this, that they considered the assemblies of the church as absolutely essential and vitally necessary to the existence of their religion *.'
Yet, mournful to relate, notwithstanding the acknowledged necessity and indispensable importance of public worship, large districts may be found in many parts of this Christian country, in which there is nothing like adequate provision for this purpose. While, in some of our ancient towns and villages, the competent supply provided by our forefathers has become in a great measure superfluous by the reduction or dispersion of the population; in others, of modern date, a dense and 'rapidly increasing multitude has sprung up, of whom a very small proportion only can be accommodated in the edifices which furnished an ample space for their
* Dr. Yates's“ “ Basis of National Welfare," p. 48
predecessors. To all practical purposes, the poor of such districts live as it were under a malediction similar to that pronounced against the children of Israel, that they should “abide many days without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.” Of these nominal members of the Established Church very many attend no place of worship whatever. It is true that in some parishes, and particularly in the West end of London, there are Episcopal Chapels; but these, far from being sufficient for the accommodation of the poor, who are seldom seen within the portals of such edifices, are by no means adequate to the wants even of their richer neigh bours. Nor is this the whole, or perhaps, in the end, the worst part of the case; for even where “ chapels of ease” exist most abundantly, their constitution is in general so different from that of parish churches, that the congregations who assemble in them for public worship are still deprived of many considerable benefits which result from the institution of a parochial ministry. They select their chapel, they defray the rent of their pew, they are personally attached to their minister, and perhaps occa, sionally enjoy his private ministrations and advice; but of the salutary effects which are often witnessed in a small country parish blessed
with a faithful pastor, who devotes himself to the duties of his sacred calling, they practically know little or nothing. The eril consequences of this deprivation ke shall perceive more folly when we come to consider the benefits which a resident clergy bare it in their power, under God's blessing, to conser upon the people committed to their pastoral charge.
As an illustration of the extent of the deficiency of churches and chapels, it may be stated, on the authority of the late parliamentary returns, that there are (or lately were) one hundred and sixty-three parishes, containing a population of two million three hundred and seventy-three thousand souls (we use the word souls not merely in its statistic sense) in which the capacity of the churches and chapels is computed to be only equal to the accommodation of about three hundred thousand persons; leaving more than two millions wholly unprovided with church room.
It must however be allowed, that this is an extreme view of the case ; and that, taking an average of the country at largé, the statement is much more favourable. The following cal. culations have been made by Dr. Yates on the subject. Looking at the counties within a hun. dred miles round the metropolis, the average is 110 houses and 640 individuals to each parish