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diness with which the higher ranks in this country contribute their time, their personal exertions and their pecuniary aid, whenever a just claim is made upon public benevolence, is indeed a distinguishing feature of the present times-one great and consolatory consideration in an age which abounds with evil signs. For any great purpose of foreign or domestic charity,—for the relief of countries which have been laid waste by war,-for the widows and orphans of our defenders who have fallen in battle and in victory,— for assisting the poor in seasons of unusual pressure,-for spreading the blessings of national education,-for diffusing the Scriptures and the light of the Gospel over the whole world, and now for building churches to provide for our religious wants at home, our princes, our statesmen, our nobles, our clergy and our gentry have taxed, and are continually taxing themselves, with a liberality always equal to the urgency of the call. In no other age and no other country can any parallel to these things be found in no other age and no other country have there ever been seen such desires on the part of the government, and such exertions on the part of the higher ranks for bettering the condition of the people.
It has been asked, and in no amicable spirit towards the establishment, whether we can build church-ministers as well as churches? whether, while new places of worship are provided, we can provide also a due supply of persons properly qualified and disposed to perform the duties of their sacred office? In reply it may safely be affirmed, that at no time since the foundation of the English Church, have men been more diligently trained for holy orders than in these, our days; nor has promotion in the church been ever so generally bestowed according to desert. Such scandals as were pointed out by Eachard and Stackhouse in their days, have long since ceased to exist. The causes of the inefficiency of the clergy (in as far as they are inefficient) are to be found not in the characters of individuals, but in the history of the Reformation, in the decay of discipline, (for which their predecessors must have to answer,) or in circumstances arising from the present state of society, which, requiring more than any other in which men have hitherto been placed the restraining and correcting and healing influences of religion, places them less within its reach. The erection of new churches and the division of parishes is the first step toward a correction of this evil. For an evil of an opposite kind, the want of proper ministers in the remoter and poorer parts of the country, remedies are at this time in progress. The Bishop of St. David has formed an establishment in his diocese, where students may be qualified at a moderate expense for the ministry in Wales. And a similar institution is flourishing in the North of
England, through the zeal of the Bishop of Chester and the liberality of the Earl of Lonsdale.*
This island appears with peculiar distinction in ecclesiastical history, both legendary and authentic, modern and ancient. St. Paul's is the most splendid cathedral which has ever been erected by a Protestant people; and there are not wanting grave authorities who affirm hat the first Christian church in the world was erected in Britain. Cressy would fain persuade his readers, upon the authority of the monk St. Augustine, that Joseph of Arimathea and his disciples, when they arrived in the isle of Avalon, found this church already existing there, not built by the skill of man, but prepared by God, and fitted for human salvation-a fable, for the support of which, a magnanimous lie has been forged and fathered upon St. David. But the edifice might well have been constructed by human hands, and the proportion which, as Fuller says, it beareth to time and place, is good presumption for its antiquity, as well as proof of its human origin. 'It had in length,' says that delightful writer, whose fancy never flagged over his most laborious works, sixty foot, aud twenty-six in breadth, made of rods wattled or interwoven, where, at one view,
*When the utility of establishing such a seminary for persons who could not incur the expense of an education at Oxford or Cambridge was represented to that beneficent nobleman, he offered to assist the plan by giving to the person who might be chosen to conduct it, the living of any place in his patronage that should be thought best adapted for the purpose. And he proposed Hensingham, (a church which he had himself endowed with a stipendiary payment of 100l. a year out of his Whitehaven estates, and to which he had also given a good official residence,) or that of St. Bees, which was at that time vacant, and which was preferred. No place could be better adapted than this little quiet secluded village, to which the Abbey Church, and the school of Archbishop Grindall's foundation, gave something of a venerable and scholastic character. As the number of students increased, more accommodation was required than could be found in the village, and Lord Lonsdale then fitted up the ruined chancel of the Abbey in a manner at once commodious, and harmonizing in the best manner with the general appearance of that ancient building. He gave also land enough for the site of a parsonage, (there being none before,) gardens, &c. to entitle the living to a grant from the Commissioners of Queen Anne's bounty, in the usual proportion, clearing away the buildings that were upon the site, and replacing them for his tenant in another situation, at a considerable cost. A gentleman, in all respects fully qualified, was found to conduct the institution. The expenses of tuition are ten pounds per annum; two guineas are required at entrance in aid of a fund for the general purposes of the establishment, and such board and lodging as the village affords (a clean, frugal, flourishing place) may be obtained for about thirty pounds a year. The vacations are two months in summer, and one at Christmas. The students go there from the age of eighteen to twenty, with the stock of Latin and Greek which they have acquired at school, and they remain till they can be reported qualified to undergo an examination for holy orders. This useful institution could not have been placed in its present respectable state without the liberal aid of Lord Lonsdale; but the interest which he has taken in its success, and the unremitting attention which he has bestowed upon it, have been not less beneficial than his pecuniary assistance. Let us hope that the example may be followed where it is needed; and let us again express a wish, that the statute of Mortmain, of which the only possible effect now is that it may stand in the way of much good, may be speedily repealed.
we may behold the simplicity of primitive devotion, and the native fashion of British buildings in that age, and some hundred years after. For we find that Hoel Dha, king of Wales, made himself a palace of hurdle-work, called Tyguyn, or the White House, because, for distinction sake, the rods whereof it was made were unbarked, having the rind stripped off, which was then counted gay and glorious, as white-limed houses exceed those which are only rough-cast. In this small oratory Joseph with his companions watched, prayed, fasted, preached; having high meditations under a low roof, and large hearts betwixt narrow walls. If credit may be given to those authors, this church, without competition, was senior to all Christian churches in the world. Let not then stately modern churches disdain to stoop with their highest steeples, reverently doing homage to this poor structure, as their first platform and precedent; and let their chequered pavements no more disdain this oratory's plain floor, than her thatched covering doth envy their leaden roofs. And although now it is meet that church buildings, as well as private houses, partaking of the peace and pros perity of our age, should be both in their cost and cunning increased, (far be that pride and profaneness from any, to account nothing, either too fair for man, or too foul for God!); yet it will not be amiss to desire that our judgments may be so much the clearer in matters of truth, and our lives so much the purer in conversation, by how much our churches are more light, and our buildings more beautiful than theirs were.'
Such, according to authorities which, upon this point, there can be no valid reason for disputing, was that edifice which, if not the first Christian church in the world, was assuredly the first in England. The first Saxon Churches were all built of wood.* 'Then,' says old Trevisa, ' had ye wooden churches, and wooden chalices, and golden priests; but now golden chalices, and wooden priests.' In the course of a few centuries the land was filled with cathedrals, monasteries, and village churches; the former vying with, and the latter exceeding any similar edifices in any part of Christendom. Nothing indeed of the kind can be more beautiful, nor more beau
* As late as the seventh century, the Scotch (it is of the Scotch, and not the Irish, that Bede is speaking here) are known to have built their churches of oak, and thatched them with reeds. The episcopal church of Lindisfarn, which afterwards became so beautiful a structure, was originally built after this fashion by St. Finan, who came from Iona. One of his successors removed the thatch, and cased the whole building with lead. The reader may be pleased with having before him the original authority for these curious facts in the history of our church architecture. Interea Aidano Episcopo de hac vitâ sublato, Finan pro illo gradum Episcopatus a Scotis ordinatus ac missus acceperat: qui in insulá Lindisfarnensi fecit ecclesiam Episcopi sede congruam. Quam tamen more Scotorum non de lapide, sed de robore secto totam composuit, atque arundine texit. Quam tempore sequente reverendissimus Archiepiscopus Theodorus in honorem B. Petri Apostoli dedicavit. Sed et Episcopus loci ipsius Eadberht, ablatá arundine, plumbi laminis eam totam, hoc est, et tectum et ipsos quoque parietes ejus cooperire curavit.'— Bade, 1. iii. c. 25.
tifully appropriate to their design, than the best of our parish churches, those of Somersetshire for instance, with their gothic towers, which were erected in the best age of religious architecture, and those of Lincolnshire, with their fretted spires, seen far and wide over a country which contains no other objects either of beauty or sublimity. The Quakers have a mortal objection to the steeple; and in their orthodox phraseology they never call a church by any other name than a steeple-house-a hatred conceived in the same unlucky spirit which made them proscribe sweet sounds, gay colours, graceful apparel, and good English. The other dissenters have no such prejudices; but of the numerous places of worship which they have erected, there is not one which has the slightest pretensions to architectural merit, even among those in the construction of which economy has not been the first consideration. Heaven be praised, that our forefathers had a truer sense of the beauty of holiness, and built churches and cathedrals for us instead of meetinghouses! We hope and trust that this proud and visible distinction will be preserved on the present occasion; that the new churches may all be steeple-houses;' and that the good old fashion, sanctified by the practice of so many ages, and the feelings of so many generations, may in no instance be departed from on considerations of expense-motives so temporary in their action and effect should have no operation on works intended to last for posterity:-let us remember what Erasmus said of Canterbury Cathedral,―tantá majestate sese erigit in cœlum, ut procul etiam intuentibus religionem incutiat.'
It is worthy of notice that when the plan of a new Post Office was laid before Parliament, a member, remarkable for his zeal for economy, objected to a noble portico, because, of the expense; the portico was rejected accordingly, and a public building, which is to stand for ages, is to be erected, not upon the most convenient and appropriate and beautiful, but upon the most economical plan, for the sake of saving a sum in the year's expenditure, which, if equally apportioned upon the inhabitants of Great Britain, would not amount to a poll-tax of half a farthing! These are things which make an Englishman, who feels for the honour of his country, groan in spirit when he thinks of them. 'Our King Henry VII.' says Stavely, built a ship, and he built a chapel, and both these, as it is said, at an equal charge. His ship remains not, ne tabella quidem, not so much as a plank of it. But his chapel stands to this day, and is likely to stand till the last, a lasting monument of the founder's piety and devotion.'
Let us remember,' says a clergyman whose pamphlet lies before us, that when we cease to have a VISIBLE CHURCH, we not only endanger our very existence as a professional body, but the character of the middle and lower classes of society becomes proportionably dete
riorated or debased. The common people cannot philosophize themselves into religion. There must be outward, visible and tangible evidence of the services of our Maker, and our towers and spires should continue to raise and point to Heaven, if we wish to preserve the morals of the community from relapsing into a morbid state."
Upon this subject the great moral and philosophical poet of the
Of ancient Minster, lifted above the cloud
An air and mien of dignified pursuit ;
Our pews have often been objected to by foreigners as deforming the churches, and marking far too strongly the distinction of ranks in a place where that distinction ought, as far as possible, to be forgotten. The custom, however, has been too long established, and is too closely united with our domestic habits to be laid aside, even if these objections were altogether valid. That a church, considered simply with regard to its architectural effect, appears to more advantage when its area is clear, than when it is encumbered with pews, cannot be denied; but that consideration is perfectly inadmissible: what will be most convenient when the edifice is full, is the point to be regarded, not what will be most picturesque when it is empty. And whether our English system be not preferable to that of the Catholic churches on the continent, where dirty women during the service ply with dirty chairs to be let