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would be difficult in any other way to impress so widely the conviction, that to be a churchman is a real privilege; that it is not merely to attend a certain place of worship, but to belong to a definite and organized society; a society invested with the highest gifts in virtue of a charter from the King of kings. It was this feeling which induced men of old to prefer the blessing of Church-communion to all that this world can bestow; and it is a craving for something of this kind which our Church, as at present administered, does not offer, which drives multitudes into different dissenting establishments, and many into the communion of Rome.
The sacred order of deacons, finally, might be employed for many important functions, if the principle of the Church, which assigns to them an office wholly subordinate to that of the priest, were carried into effect.
It is a strange anomaly in our practice, that a minister, unauthorized to perform some essential functions, and expressly charged with a secondary duty',
1 "The Bishop. It appertaineth to the office of a deacon, in the church where he shall be appointed to serve, to assist the priest in divine service, and specially when he ministereth the holy Communion, and to help him on the distribution thereof, and to read holy Scriptures and Homilies in the church, and to instruct the youth in the catechism; in the absence of the priest to baptize infants, and to preach, if he be admitted thereto by the bishop. And furthermore, it is his office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, poor, and impotent people of the parish, and to intimate their estates, names,
should so often be intrusted with the sole care of a parish. It would be a most obvious and important reform to carry out the principle which forbids that any deacon should hold a benefice, by providing that he should never be charged with a cure where his superior is not resident. The deacons would then find their place as assistant ministers.
The measures already suggested, be it observed, are all in our own power. The bishops of the English Church, with the co-operation of the clergy and laity, have full power to put them into immediate operation. We require no legislative authority; we need wait for no political change. We want only' Christian liberality and self-denial, with a spirit of unity and order. And how might the moral condition of our land be changed.
Our parochial system once restored to efficiency, the Church would arise like one raised
paralysis, whose every limb is once more instinct with life and energy. Her blessings and privileges being offered to all, none would be alien
and places where they dwell, unto the curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved with the alms of the parishioners or others. Will you do this gladly and willingly ? Answer.— I will do so by the help of God.” Service for the Ordering of Deacons. It could hardly be intended that the majority of those who are taught to answer thus should be sent the next day to undertake the care of a parish without any priest over them, charged with the performance of the whole of the weekly duty, and required to preach twice every Sunday.
ated but by his own free and deliberate choice. The openly irreligious and profane, who “fear not God nor regard man,” and who neither desire to serve Him nor even affect the desire; these would stand aloof from her. But all others would seek and desire her communion, except such as were dissenters on principle. How few of the more orderly and peaceable of the existing dissenting body can be classed under this head! How
have become dissenters almost of necessity; have been allured to the meeting not from the Church, but from the streets and the alehouse, and remain there partly from habit, partly because the claims of Christ's Church, and the blessedness of her children, have never been set before them. Let our parochial system be made universally efficient, and we may hope that we shall soon find them among us.
Who can estimate the dignity with which Religion might then raise her head; or the blessings which might be called down on our Church and nation by the continual prayers of thousands who are now aliens from GOD, “sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.” Surely we might expect that the very face of our land would wear a brightness hitherto unknown. Even the secular and worldly condition of our poor would be changed. From the beginning, the Church relieved her own poor, and in parishes of due dimensions she might do so again. We begin a wrong course when we
in Christ to the fortuitous exercise of benevolence, and to the dole of a legal pittance. The benevolence of Christians should be wise, well-ordered, discriminating, and bountiful. Such are the alms of the Church, ennobling the giver, but not debasing the receiver; because the love of Christ towards men becomes the effectual source and motive, the model and example, of the love of men toward their brethren. We are bound indeed to do good to all men, but there are those who have a special claim—the poor members of our Lord's body. He who has promised that to those who seek first His kingdom and righteousness all other things shall be added, and who does not see fit to work by miracle, has appointed the richer members of His Church as His stewards, to fulfil His promise by clothing and feeding His poorer brethren. True it is, that if we refuse He will still work for them, but we meanwhile shall lose our high privilege—the privilege of lending to the Lord, of spending our worldly substance for Him. For while worldly liberality gives to relieve the natural sensation of compassion, the beneficence of a Christian looks farther and higher. “In Christ's poor members faith sees her Lord, and love ministers to His necessities." He who died for us still suffers hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness. He pines with sickness and is oppressed with sorrow, that we may have the blessed portion of feeding and clothing,
of visiting and ministering to Him; and beyond a doubt, in proportion as our land becomes truly Christian, an antidote will be supplied to every ill even of this world.
Meanwhile the Church being once more loved and valued, as she deserves, by the mass of our population, we should no longer be distracted with perpetual assaults; with measures introduced and forwarded, not for any benefit (real or imagined), but only because by harassing and annoying the clergy, by undermining their influence or invading their property, the interests of some political party may be advanced, and a certain measure of popular support obtained. With a few honourable exceptions, statesmen are too prone to care for none of these things; they do not love the Church of Christ for the sake of her Lord, neither in general are they decidedly hostile to her, save when some holy rule interferes with their own selfish purposes. The assaults made upon her have been for political and party ends; and if her influence were so far restored, that they would serve these purposes no longer, we “ should be left in peace to husband our strength for God, not to spend it in the wretched turmoil of secular strife;" we should be “ left alone with our parishes, to follow our ministerial calling, without the agitation of perpetual change and rumours of change.” For the same men, who now for political purposes assail the Church, would then be ready to honour her,