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tematized themselves into a niggardly view of what they ought to have received in "the length thereof and the breadth thereof?"
AN UNLEARNED CHRISTIAN.
PLAN FOR PAROCHIAL COMMUNION
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In your Number for January last, I read with much pleasure, your remarks on the Bishop of Chester's admirable and apostolic charge. My purpose in bringing this charge again before your readers is to revive in the minds of your clerical subscribers who have not yet adopted his Lordship's suggestions, those weighty arguments by which his remarks are supported, and particularly to urge upon them the advantages to be derived, both to minister and people, from a well-regulated system of lay agency. I fear but few clergymen have fairly tried the effect of such a system, yet wherever it has been attempted God has honoured the means used by an abundant outpouring of his Holy Spirit; and, in some instances, the moral aspect of a whole parish has undergone such a change, that places notoriously wicked have become as remarkable for piety and orderly conduct; while the minister has found his influence greatly strengthened, and his public ministations better appreciated and understood; and has witnessed a growing attachment to the forms of the Established Church, arising not from blind prejudice or superstition, but from a feeling of their spiritual worth and scriptural purity. The people of this country are not generally Dissenters from choice, but from what appears to them to be necessity: they have no quarrel with the doctrines of our beloved church, as set forth in her Articles and Homilies, but they become Dissenters because they
consider they can thus enjoy more religious communion and pastoral attention. But wherever the pastoral duties are conscientiously attended to, and well organized layagency introduced into the parish, under the auspices of the clergyman, Dissent is not only arrested in its progress, but rapidly declines, so that the pious prelate before alluded to may well say, "I feel convinced that whoever is anxious to promote the glory of God, to assert the most important interests of his fellow. creatures, to confirm the security of his country, or maintain the stability of his church, can answer none of those great objects more effectually than by means like these. Without them, in some of our crowded districts, the church is lost sight of; parochial distinctions are obliterated, and the reciprocal character and duties of the pastor and the flock are forgotten by the people, because it is physically impossible that they should be satisfactorily discharged."
When by the blessed influences of God's Holy Spirit on the heart, a man is really made to feel himself a sinner, and deserving the righteous infliction of Divine justice, and is brought to true contrition for his state of alienation from God, he begins earnestly to inquire the way of salvation, and feels greatly the need of spiritual counsel. It is not enough for him that the doctrines of the Gospel are faithfully delivered from the pulpit: he needs individual instruction, and caution, and comfort; but if there be no church-fellowship, he knows not to whom he can apply for help; for he is perhaps too timid to make a direct application to his minister, especially if no public encouragement has been held out for him so to do; and thus he goes on mourning and uttering the lamentation, " No man careth for my soul." What wonder is it if a person thus circumstanced should associate himself with those of another communion, where he
Christ, he cannot long discharge the duties delegated to him. Thus a powerful incentive is added to personal piety, and the acquirement of scriptural knowledge.
It behoves us to learn wisdom from the experience of others. How is it that the Wesleyan Methodists have been able to establish themselves in such strength and respectability throughout the kingdom, and to raise the immense funds necessary to carry on their expensive machinery? Simply by using such means as some of those recommended by the bishop, and which might have been used to much greater effect in the church. Every man who joins their society finds some occupation suitable to his talent, however humble, and immediately becomes a working man for the community. Why should not this be the case in the Church of England? It has been objected, that the respectability of the Chris
can be taken by the hand and instructed more perfectly in the way of the Lord, and thus become united to them, but lost to the church. The negligence, in this particular, of the clergy, or, in large parishes, the lamentable necessities of the case, has been one chief cause of dissent. But have we not more opportunities for the operation of moral machinery in the Established Church, than is possessed in any other quarter? Truly we have; and wherever such a system as that recommended by the Bishop of Chester is adopted, the spiritual interests of the people will be better attended to than can possibly be the case among the members of any sect whatsoever. The people also will be sensible of this advantage, and will value their privileges, and strive to uphold the church, from a consciousness of the blessings they derive from its wise institutions. In such a parish there will be some work for every Christian man, and Christian ministry would be injured: but tian woman also, to do; the minister appointing every one his station, and watching his flock with a vigilant eye, while they will work together with him, and each other bearing one another's burthens, and thus fulfilling the law of Christ. Where such means are adopted, we may expect to see much blessed fruit resulting from them; for although it is God who giveth the increase," yet commonly he works by means, and blesses man through
There is another important light in which the subject should be viewed. Every person selected by the minister, to aid him in his pastoral studies, feels that the eyes of his neigbours are upon him, and that in consequence of his office he has a public character to maintain; for unless his general deportment be consistent with his Christian profession, and it is evident to those around him that he is actuated by sound Christian principles, and an ardent zeal for the glory of God in the extension of the kingdom of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 347.
it can by no means be proved that this has been the case in any instance where the plan has been brought into operation on the contrary, the affections of the people have been powerfully enlisted in favour of the pastor, and the personal respect paid to him much enhanced. If we look also to the Wesleyan community, it is notorious that the people are closely attached to their preachers, and are powerfully influenced by them; although many of them are men of no great natural talent, and destitute of learning. I can see no reason why every thing which has been found really advantageous in the experience of that numerous body of Christians, might not be prac tised with much greater success in the Church of England, under the diligent inspection and controul of the clergy, while the learning and character of the ministry in the Establishment would be a guarantee against the introduction of what is disorderly or enthusiastical. A friend of mine has adopted in his 4 R
parish very nearly the plan of the Wesleyans, and with such success that great numbers have been brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ, and to repentance and newness of life; and have at the same time imbibed a reverence for the services of the church, which was not likely to have been produced by any other measures. Such, indeed, is the conviction in the parish of the spiritual benefits derived from the system under such an administration, that a large portion of the Dissenters have returned to the bosom of the church. I subjoin a sketch of my friend's plan; which may be new to some of your readers, and may assist others who are willing to exert themselves for the benefit of their flocks, but who, from circumstances, may not be acquainted with the most effectual manner of proceeding. It is as follows. It may not perfectly correspond with the plan advised by the Bishop of Chester.
1. A society is formed, composed of those who either are decidedly pious, or are under serious concern for their spiritual safety, and earnestly desire the knowledge of the truth.
2. The members meet weekly, being divided into such companies as may be manageable: after singing and prayer, and a short comment on a portion of Scripture, they are individually conversed with, and suitable admonition, reproof, or consolation administered, as the state of mind of each may appear to require. This is done by the minister himself, so far as he has opportunity; but when the members become too numerous for him to attend to each, he delegates some of the most pious and elderly members of his flock to assist him.
3. All the members are examined as to their character once a quarter; when those who are approved receive a ticket, for which those who are able pay sixpence, which goes to form a fund for the relief of sick and indigent members. This ticket
admits the receiver to any of the meetings of the society.
4. Persons wishing to become members, must be properly recommended as of fit character, and are requested to subscribe certain rules, binding them to honesty, and the manifestation of a temper and behaviour such as becomes the Gospel of Christ.
5. Properly qualified persons of known piety are selected to conduct prayer-meetings, and to read the Scriptures in the distant parts of the parish, in the cottages of the poor, to visit the sick (where too numerous for the minister to see them all himself), to distribute tracts, &c. &c.
The sole management rests in the minister, who, besides two full services in the church on Sunday, and a lecture in the school-room on Sunday morning, has almost every evening in the week a lecture in the houses of the poor, in some of the hamlets within the bounds of his parish. B. C.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In compliance with the exhortation of the Bishop of Chester, in a letter addressed to the clergy of his diocese, on the important but much neglected duty of instructing the young of both sexes, from the age of fourteen or fifteen upwards, till they are settled in life," I commenced about three months ago, on Sunday evenings, in our Sunday school-room, catechising the younger members of our flock in the Holy Scriptures and as I am anxious to begin and conclude the instruction with singing and prayer, I should feel obliged if some of your correspondents would furnish me, through the medium of the Christian Observer, with two appropriate hymns and prayers for such an occasion. And as I consider catechising the young in the Holy
Scriptures one of the most effectual means which a Christian minister can employ for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and for preventing his people from lapsing into Popery, Socinianism, and other errors, a suggestion from any of
your numerous correspondents, as to the best mode of conducting this most useful but difficult part of ministerial duty, will be esteemed a favour.
ORIGINAL MEMORANDA OF CALVIN, FAREL, VIRET, AND BEZA.
For the Christian Observer.
WE lately mentioned some incidental notices respecting Calvin, Farel, Viret, and Beza, which occur in the registers of the council of state of Geneva, and which we promised to present to our readers. have disappointed us in the perusal, being more meagre and detached than we had hoped for; yet as some of them are interesting and tend to throw a pleasing light upon the personal character of those eminent Reformers, we shall devote a few pages to their insertion. The homeliness of those details which the dignity of history passes by exhibit strikingly the simplicity of the habits of the age and country. Most delightful is it to witness the estimation in which these venerable men were held for their works' sake; as well as the religious discipline and high tone of scriptural doctrine (for we readily overlook some peculiarities of sentiment) which pervaded Geneva under their influence. Would that a city once so eminent for piety and zeal might be raised from the grievous heterodoxy into which it has of late years lapsed, partly, perhaps, for want of fixed formularies, such as those which in the Church of England we have the happiness of enjoying, and which furnish, both to pastor and people, a perpetual commentary on the Sacred Text.
March 11, 12.-The preachers, particularly Farel and Calvin, are forbidden to meddle with politics.
The congregation will no longer meet at St. Pierre, but at the house of Calvin.
April.-A decree was made to exclude Calvin from the pulpit, if he should refuse to administer the Lord's Supper as they do at Berne.
23d.-Farel and Calvin are ordered to leave the city within three days, since they will not obey the magistrates: and they answer, "Be it so; we must obey God rather than man."
Oct. 20th.-In order to the furtherance and progress of the word of God, it has been resolved to send to Strasburg for Master John Calvin, who is a very learned man, to be our minister in this city.
Sept. 13, 20.-Calvin is entreated to continue always here, and a cloth gown is given to him.
Oct. 4th. A large salary is given to M. Calvin, on account of his great learning, and because the journeys cost him a great deal. He was desired, by the 21st of November, with three counsellors, to compile laws for the government of the people.
him ten crowns, which he hesitated Jan. 19th.-The commissioners to receive. named in the Basle matter ordered to confer with Calvin and Doctor Fabri, whom the city is accustomed to consult on important occasions.
May 15th. Messrs. Claude, Roset, Calvin, and Doctor Fabri d'Evian are ordered to draw out the political edicts.
Nov. 17th.-A cask of old wine awarded to Calvin for the trouble which he takes for the city.
April 25th. A gratuity awarded to William Farel, on account of the severe persecution which he suffered at Metz in Lorraine.
June 1st. The minister, Peter Blanchet, having died at the fever hospital, the ministers are directed to send another; but they are forbidden to choose Calvin, because of the great need which the church and state have of him.
Nov. 26th.-Mr. W. Farel having come into the city with very shabby clothes, new ones were given him. 1544.
Dec. 19th.-Christmas-day will be celebrated as usual; although Calvin has represented to the council, that we might very well get rid of this festival, as well as of the
June 8th.-A collection for the poor made, upon the remonstrances of Calvin, which produced 76 fl.
Calvin declares that he has very strong reasons for never consenting to the reception of De Troilet into the ministry.
Aug. 31st.-Calvin being rather unwell, the council has granted him a secretary at the public expense.
Dec. 12th.-M. Calvin caused a woman to be liberated who had been imprisoned for having spoken of him as a bad man.
Jan. 25th-The council, having learnt that M. Calvin had fallen ill, and that he needed assistance, sent
On the 29th of December, 1547, they presented him with all the furniture of his house, which belonged to the public. He refused, on the 5th of June, 1553, two crowns of gold sol. which the council wished to give to him on account of his labours for the state at Berne. The council having sent him some fire-wood, the 28th of December, he brought the money for it, which they would not accept. The council sent him, on the 14th of May, 1560, a hogshead of the best wine they could procure, because he had none good. He made great difficulties in receiving twentyfive crowns, to discharge the expenses of his illness; and earnestly entreated the council to take them back again the 22d of June, 1563.
Jan. 27th.-Peter Ameaulx was accused of having said that M. Calvin preached false doctrine, was a very wicked man, and that he was only a Picard.
March 17th.-All the ministers and elders assembled in council, on account of the accusations of Ameaulx against Calvin, bear their unanimous testimony to the piety of Calvin (who was not present), to his charity, to his pure and Christian conduct, and to his doctrine, in every respect conformable to the word of God, and in the profession of which they were determined to live and die, not having any sect among them.
Aug. 3d.-Ant. Calvin received the freedom of the city gratuitously, in consideration of the services of J. Calvin, his brother.
Oct. 11th.-M. Calvin complains of the licentiousness of the youth: nothing being more common than licentiousness and adultery. 1548.
July 9th-Calvin having denounced from the pulpit certain disorders with too great warmth, and another minister having said that the youth of Geneva wished to