The Parochial System (Wilberforce, 1838)/Section 1


THE PAROCHIAL SYSTEM,

&c.




SECTION I.


THE PAROCHIAL SYSTEM IN THEORY AND IN PRACTICE.


The great and pressing evil which exists in the moral and spiritual destitution of a large portion of our countrymen, is too certain, and too generally confessed, to require proof. Nor is it denied by any man who calls himself Christian, that some remedy on a large and effective scale must immediately be devised. What that remedy should be, is a question of greater difficulty; on which it is the object of the following pages to suggest some considerations.

And first, it becomes us to inquire what measures will best harmonize with the ancient and tried principles of the Church. True reformations are not effected by an hasty remodelling of existing institutions, on every call of expediency real or fancied, and without regard to the principles on which they were framed, as the architects of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries improved our great national edifices in the taste of their own times. Such a spirit, shallow and unphilosophical when applied to civil and political institutions, cannot without actual profaneness intrude into the sanctuary, where of late it has been but too busy. We must not introduce new principles, but recur to old ones; to those by which the ancient Church originally leavened the whole mass of national heathenism, and afterwards provided against the gradual increase of a neglected and demoralized population in the very heart of Christendom. These things were effected by means of that system which apportioned every part of the Church to diocesan bishops[1] and parochial priests, and in its further development accordingly we must seek a remedy for the evils of our own day.

In truth, when men have once grasped the idea that the destiny of the Christian faith is nothing short of universal dominion, some such system seems of necessity to be required; otherwise the ambassadors of the Gospel would be precluded by the very laws of nature from that close and individual application of its principles to the heart and home of every man, which becomes the servants of Him "who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." To attend, alike and at the same time, to things great and small, to regulate the fate of churches and nations without overlooking the minute and separate concerns of any individual, is an incomprehensible and probably an incommunicable attribute of the Almighty. We may without presumption infer from the hints contained in several passages of Holy Scripture, that He "who has appointed the services of angels and men in a wonderful order," has assigned even to the heavenly host, those angels of his who excel in power, their several places upon earth[2], wherein to watch over its nations and churches, and over every member thereof: and whatever may be thought on this subject, it is at least manifest that if any number of mortal men were entrusted with the undivided spiritual care even of a single populous city, many of their charge must of necessity escape unnoticed in the crowd; that the more docile, the more willing, the more zealous, the more forward, would occupy the pastor's attention; while the obdurate would be unwarned, the reluctant uninvited, the lukewarm would be left to grow cold, the modest and retiring would be overlooked.

From the earliest periods, accordingly, the Gospel field has been locally divided among the labourers. Not to mention the divine mission of one apostle to the circumcision, and of another to the Gentiles; we learn from Scripture, that from the very foundation of churches, apostolic men were charged with the episcopal care of separate and defined districts; and history informs us, that as the promise of Christ was more and more fulfilled, and the leaven worked in secrecy and silence through the whole lump, and the great cities began to number a multitude of converts too large to meet in one place and live under the same immediate inspection; these primitive episcopal parishes were subdivided, and their several portions entrusted to the charge of parochial priests. At Rome something of this nature existed within one hundred years after the ascension of our Lord, and the precedent seems to have been generally followed[3]. In succeeding ages again, as all men thronged into the Church, and these earliest parishes became too populous for separate superintendence, they were farther subdivided by the same episcopal authority from which they had originated.

The division of labour, and the concentration of responsibility, is therefore a principle entwined with the original constitution of the Church. Every one of Christ's flock has his appointed shepherd, who must give account for his soul. The bishop is bound[4], either by himself or by those commissioned by him, to oversee every inhabitant of his diocese, the parish priest each of his parishioners. Nor are the services of the laity unappropriated: for, while all are bound together as members of the same Lord, they are more especially united who are committed to the superintendence of the same bishop, and yet more of the same pastor; and the efforts of Christian benevolence in the alleviation of bodily suffering, the education of youth, and the edification of all, are no longer dispersed over a desultory and uncertain range, but are united and concentrated, that with a wise and well-ordered alacrity we may "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ[5]."

And this principle of the Catholic Church is strongly maintained in the rules and canons of our own branch of it, and in those ancient laws of England of which we boast that "Christianity is part and parcel." Our land is divided into dioceses, and every diocese into parishes; and while these divisions are recognised by law, and their limits annually defined and continually retraced, so that every man may always be assigned to his own; it is a recognised principle, that the bishop is put in charge of the whole population of his diocese, and that under him the priests have the care of all within their several parishes. Hence they are solemnly charged at their ordination not only as men intrusted with the ministry of Christ's Church, but also as those who are about to undertake the care of a certain defined portion thereof: "See that you never cease your labour, your care, and diligence, until you have done all that lieth in you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as are or shall be committed to your charge, unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among you either for error in religion, or for viciousness of life." The ceremonial of institution and collation again impress the same lesson; and the canons and rubrics fill up the description of a parish priest as the pastor of the whole flock within its limits; requiring that he shall know and report to his diocesan their peculiar sins and temptations, and the local evils to which they are exposed[6]. They imply that he is to be acquainted with all by name and face, for he is to distinguish those who avail themselves of the means of grace, and those who neglect them, those who are at peace or at variance with each other, those who are an example or a scandal to the flock. His pervading influence is to hallow every joy and sorrow of their lives; he is to bless every wedded pair, to receive every infant into the communion of the Church, to superintend the religious education of every child within his bounds, to attend and minister at every sick bed, and finally to commit to rest in the church's shade the mortal remains of every member of her holy brotherhood. Such are the laws by which it is provided, that no dark corner of our land shall ever be found where Satan may muster his forces, and reign unmolested by the ministers and ambassadors of Christ; that there shall never be any one of our population, whether old or young, rich or poor, to whom life and light and liberty are not offered; that every man among us shall be numbered either with Christ's faithful and obedient children and servants, or else with those who wilfully and perversely neglect Him, and will not have Him to reign over them; to whom His Gospel is a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death.

And now, how are these provisions of the Church realized in her practical working? It is not too much to say, that in our metropolis and other great cities they are wholly obsolete. These pages, perhaps, may meet the eyes of some, who scarcely know even the name of the parochial minister, to whom, as we have seen, the Church has solemnly entrusted the care of their souls, and of very many whose acquaintance with him extends little further. And such is not only the case of irreligious persons or of those who are ill-affected towards the Church; nor is it the result of their own choice; but it is of necessity the condition of great numbers of sincere, devout, and conscientious churchmen. Our actual condition, therefore, presents this startling inconsistency; that while we maintain the importance, and even the necessity, of the parochial system, and while in name we retain it, we have suffered the inhabitants of our cities, in many respects the most important part of our population, to be wholly deprived of its blessings.

This effect has resulted from the combined action of several causes, but chiefly from the rapid and momentous change, which during the last century has passed upon the condition of society in England. From an agricultural, we have become, in great measure, a commercial and manufacturing people. In many districts, villages have swelled into towns, and towns into mighty cities. The population of several counties has increased with a rapidity unexampled probably in the history of the world, certainly without parallel in any long settled and civilized country. In Lancashire, which contained in the year 1700 one hundred and sixty-six thousand souls, there are now one million three hundred and thirty-six thousand eight hundred and fifty-four. The population, therefore, has been multiplied more than eight times. In the West Riding of Yorkshire again, in parts of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and several other counties, the process has been and is proceeding with no less rapidity. The metropolis too, has wholly changed its character within the same period. The cities of London and Westminster it is well known, at no distant period, were separated by fields and gardens, and connected chiefly by the Thames. The population swarmed about the great marts of commerce, on the north bank of the river, in parishes astonishingly numerous and subdivided, now abandoned chiefly to warehouses and offices. A little to the west of Temple Bar were the pleasant gardens and houses of the nobility, extending along the Strand of the river, then no crowded street; and in many respects answering to those which may now be seen in the neighbourhood of Brentford and Twickenham. And this is the space which now teems with immortal beings, and which we have neglected to subdivide into new ecclesiastical districts as occasion arose, and as ancient example, and indeed the principle of the parochial system, required. And now the overgrown parishes, which on every side surround the city of London, witness by their rural names against the remissness of a generation, which in so many cases has left under the care of a single pastor a district, which, when sprinkled with villas and cottages, gave him full occupation, and in which every cellar and garret is now the abode of families, whose numbers, by precluding all attempt at due pastoral superintendence, do practically destroy all pastoral responsibility. The parish of "St. Giles in the Fields" contains 36,432 immortal souls; that of "Bethnal Green," 62,018, and yet the former is still entrusted to the care of three, and the latter of four parochial clergymen. Nor are these solitary cases: in St. George's in the East there are 38,505, with two clergymen; in St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, 33,000, with two; in Stepney, 51,000, with three; in St. Luke's, 46,642, with two; in St. Mary's, Whitechapel, 31,100, with one[7]. And taking an average of thirty-four parishes, we find the proportion of pastors to their flocks to be one to 15,100. Such is the condition of our metropolis. Many of the manufacturing and commercial towns are not much less destitute. In two parishes in Liverpool there are but four clergymen to 34,000 souls; in Macclesfield, three to 23,000; in Oldham, four to 32,000; in Leeds, nine to 71,000; in Sheffield, the same number to 73,000. In other instances we find large districts (not towns, and therefore called villages), where, from the discovery of coal, and other causes, a scattered population has rapidly accumulated; and a flock of ten or fifteen thousand dispersed over a surface many miles in extent, are still entrusted to a single pastor.

In all these cases our parochial system is little more than a delusion; we retain the name and the form, we call the incumbents the pastors of the whole flock, they are charged by the bishop with the spiritual care of the whole; but in the sight of God and man they are not, and cannot be, responsible for the performance of impossibilities. They are the ministers of their own churches—they are the heads too of a sort of mission, bound to labour according to their power for the spiritual good of the multitudes around them; but to require that they should penetrate the mass, and become personally acquainted with the thousands who compose it, that they should distinguish the several characters of those committed to their care, should warn the careless, should reprove the gainsayers, should build up the weak, should direct the inexperienced,—in short, that they should duly exercise the pastoral care,—would be extravagant. The people accordingly do not, and cannot, regard them as their appointed pastors. They feel themselves to be as sheep without a shepherd, and have generally no other notion of the very nature of a parish, than that it is a district relieving its own poor.

This state of things is obviously inconsistent with the rules of the Church, and with our professions as her members. But it may be asked in default of the parochial system, what other provisions have been made for the spiritual welfare of the people? These have been, until very recently, only the erection of proprietary chapels, and the labours of pious individuals and societies. That a considerable amount of good has resulted from these means is unquestionable; without them our state would have been worse than it is; but they are palliatives not remedies of a disease, which, if not radically cured, must in the end be fatal. If we suffer ourselves to account them an effectual cure, we do but deceive ourselves to our ruin, and change them from a good into an evil. They can but be palliatives, because, from the necessity of the case, they have been directed by an imperfect principle. Chapels have been erected, indeed, and congregations gathered, but no account has been taken of those who remain behind. We have seen only what is done, not what remains undone; and the result has been, that one here and another there has been snatched from the surrounding mass of ignorance and profaneness, but the mass itself has remained unleavened. It could not be otherwise. And what has been the consequence? First, that there are thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, who, although baptized with us into the same body, are not only, as we have seen, without any parochial ministry, and so are not invited to the house of God, and as the Lord commanded, "compelled to come in from the high ways and hedges;" but for whom, moreover, there is no room, should they desire to come: they cannot, if they would, assemble with their brethren, where Christ has promised that He will be in the midst and will grant their requests; they are aliens of necessity from His Church.

What number of our fellow-subjects are thus excluded from the common blessings of Englishmen and churchmen, it is as yet impossible to calculate. That they are many hundreds of thousands is certain and notorious. In the absence of accurate statistical information with regard to many parts of England, we may safely infer something from the facts which have been ascertained and made public by the most meritorious labours of the Glasgow Church Building Society, and especially of their secretary, Mr. Collins. Of the population of Glasgow, which amounts to about 240,000, there are (it appears) above 90,000 who from age and circumstances might attend church, but for whom no accommodation could be found in any place of worship whatever, although all, both of the papists and of all Protestant sects, Socinians included, and even of the Jews, should be thronged to the utmost. In this city, therefore, ninety churches at least, for one thousand persons each, would be requisite, in order to offer access to all[8].

Such is the state of one district, where inquiries have been made. Have we any reason to believe that the spiritual wants of our own manufacturers are more fully provided? We find that in and round Birmingham there are 101,292 immortal beings, who could not, if they would, attend the house of God. At Leeds, only 14,393 out of 123,393 can find room in the churches. At Manchester, about the same proportion; at Sheffield, one-ninth; at Wolverhampton, one-fifth; and this seems about the average of the great manufacturing towns. In London, meanwhile, there are 34 parishes, in which alone there are 756,754 beyond the capabilities of the existing churches; and, if we calculate that one-half of a city population ought to attend church (an estimate very low in the opinion of those who have most accurately inquired into the habits of a town population[9]), we need church room for 378,477, or more than 378 new churches, for 1000 each, in order to supply the deficiency.

We have as yet considered only the proportion of the whole population which is invited to the house of God and the means of grace. Another most important question remains behind. How are the existing privileges of the Church distributed? Looking as before to the great towns, it is not too much to say, that they are almost exclusively confined to the higher and middle ranks of society, whom, by a most unchristian abuse of language, we have learned to call "the respectable classes." When the Son of God would give proof of His divine mission, He said, "to the poor the Gospel is preached;" but in our overgrown parishes the order is reversed. A church is erected among a population of many thousands; and immediately those who have received the greatest advantages of education, and whose circumstances are the easiest, even if they do not attend it as a duty and a privilege, yet unless alienated by infidelity, and indifferent to shame, are attracted thither by a sense of decency and propriety, and by the influence of public opinion. To the more wealthy the Lord's day is one of leisure, which often hangs heavy on their hands; they are naturally inclined to follow the general example of their equals, and they have children and servants whom they would gladly see governed by religious principles. A congregation is at once secured, which comprises almost every shade of moral and religious character. Its members differ widely in the motives and the regularity of their attendance, but in one thing they are alike. Nearly all belong to those classes of society which are above the pressure of want and the necessity of manual labour. And where are the remainder? They are excluded. The poor are naturally reluctant to mingle themselves with the rich; they are unwilling to exhibit poverty and rags in contrast with wealth and splendour. The very act, therefore, of attending the house of God, requires in them something of an effort; and they are moreover continually and importunately tempted to withdraw themselves: for their life is one of labour, and the Lord's day is inviting as a season of amusement; their families clamour for bread, and its sacred hours are invaded by the pursuit of gain. Such are the difficulties which they have to overcome; and we have proof accordingly, that abject and increasing poverty, has of itself caused many families to forsake the public worship of God, who once regularly frequented it. In fact, we may without much doubt assume that, without some measure of a sense of duty, a very poor man (especially in a large town) will scarcely be a regular worshipper in the house of God. But whence is this sense of duty to arise? How is it to be fostered among the neglected portion of our town population? The due discharge, indeed, of the pastoral care, as prescribed by the rules of the church, would (under God's blessing) produce it; but this, as we have seen, is precluded, and what have they to supply its place? They have been born and bred amid an habitual neglect of the sacred day of rest, and its blessed offices. They are but following the example of their parents, and accompanying the mass of their friends and companions when they neglect it—and they do neglect it; and are from habit unconscious of the neglect.

And yet after all that barrier has not yet been mentioned, by which the poor of our cities are most effectually excluded from the house of prayer. For if any considerable number of them should overcome all their natural and excusable reluctance, and should throng thither (as we may say, uninvited), how are they to be received? The consecrated area is partitioned, and almost every inch appropriated. We have carried the rights of property into the very sanctuary of our God. Some parts belong to houses, others are let to individuals, and were any considerable mass of the labouring poor to seek for admission, they would not even be offered the alternative reprobated by St. James, "stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool." They are excluded not only by their own circumstances, and by their natural feelings, but by law and by the rights of others.

It is difficult to estimate the true magnitude of this evil. Were the rich excluded from our parish churches, it would be in comparison a slight thing; they could and would provide others for themselves. But to the mass of the poorest class, exclusion from the existing churches is practically total exclusion from the house of God, from all the means of grace, and from all the privileges of Christianity. And to this condition it is (we cannot too often repeat it), that hundreds of thousands of our countrymen are now reduced. How their lives are spent, and what is the comfort of their dying beds, who shall say? It can hardly be, but that numbers among them are altogether in a condition more wretched than that of their heathen ancestors, or of the unsophisticated savages of the American forests. Knowing nothing of civilization, but the heavy pressure of its laws and restrictions; of property, nothing but the invidious fences which ward off their intrusions on that of others; of religion, nothing but a dark and gloomy dread of something beyond the grave. And on what hope do they lean, among the sorrows and anxieties of "life, which to every one that breathes is full of care," and to none more than to them? or how do they appease that restless and eager craving after "some good[10]", which the Creator has implanted in man to attract him to Himself? Man was not made to be like some machine, whose object is to produce the greatest amount of manufactures, to work through the day, and rest during the night, until, worn out at last, it is past aside to make room for another. Something more his nature requires; and where do these men find it? Let our gin-palaces, our prisons, and our court-houses reply. In drunkenness and excess, in crime and violence, are expended those human energies which God has given for Himself, which by His blessing we may direct; but which, do what we may, we cannot extinguish.

The condition of our manufacturing and metropolitan population is an evil so overwhelming, so enormous, that it naturally demands our first attention; and yet there are others, for whom provision is urgently required in our national Church. Many of our country towns, even in the agricultural districts, have been very considerably augmented[11], and are insufficiently supplied with churches and ministers. Their wants, indeed, are less urgent than those which have been detailed, and yet, if custom had not reconciled us to these and worse things, we should surely feel them to be deeply impressive. We have become familiarized with awful facts, and we can speak of the spiritual destitution, of hundreds, or thousands, or millions, with as little emotion as a conqueror who numbers his army, and regards them not as so many individual responsible immortal beings, but as counters in the great game which he is playing. Let us divest ourselves of these habits of thought, and estimate, by the standard of God's word, the worth of a single soul. Let us consider how great it seems to us even now, in the chamber of death, or by the side of the grave, and then let us attempt to realize something of that value which it will assume in the great and dreadful day of judgment. These are the units of which our account is made up. It is of such interests that we speak, when we estimate the number of our countrymen, who live and die in habitual forgetfulness of God, and neglect of His gospel. If they could be told by hundreds, by tens, or by units, it were no light evil when weighed in the balance of the sanctuary.

And what is the case in the larger towns of our agricultural districts. They seem in general to afford church-room for about one-third of the whole population; very often for less. An exception, however, must be made, in favour of the cathedral towns, which are commonly better supplied. Thus, Bath has church-room for 10,000 out of 38,033; Southampton, for 7,140 out of 20,900; Oxford, Reading, Maidstone, Shrewsbury, and a great number of other towns, present a proportion nearly the same. Here, however, as before, we are far from estimating the real amount of spiritual destitution, when we have ascertained the proportion of church-room to the whole population. For the rights of pews form an insuperable bar to the attendance of the poor, in many places where it might otherwise be possible. It is stated for example by the Lord Bishop of Chichester[12], that the unappropriated church-room in six towns of that wholly agricultural diocese, will accommodate less than three thousand out of a population of 26,697. And this is far from an extreme case. In one of these very towns the proportion is but twenty to 4000. In a parish of another agricultural diocese[13], "containing 8,083 souls, there is no accommodation for the poor except in the aisles." When we reflect how reluctantly any man, whether rich or poor, will subject himself to the risk of being ejected as an intruder; we may, in some measure, estimate the degree to which our churches are emptied, by this most unbrotherly and unchristian appropriation.

In the country villages, these evils, although by no means unknown, are comparatively rare; and here, accordingly, the parochial system still sheds its unnumbered benefits. Assailed and reviled as it is, and compassed by ten thousand foes, we may surely point to the villages of England, as a sign that God of a truth is still with His Church among us. Who can estimate the numbers, who in the great day shall give Him thanks for the blessings she has here dispensed? And yet, even here, much remains to be done. The agricultural population are very commonly deprived of their Church privileges; not indeed by the pressure of numbers, but by remoteness of situation. In the diocese of Winchester alone, no less than sixty hamlets have been reported to the bishop as needing new churches from this cause; all of these contain a population of more than 200, while 25 of them range between 500 and 1200, and their distance from church varies from two to six miles. Such is the state of the counties of Hampshire and Surrey; districts probably more favourably situated, than the average of the country.

On this hasty survey of the existing condition of the English Church, the question naturally arises; how did such evils grow up among us, unsuspected apparently by any man; and why was the ancient custom discontinued (a custom coeval with the parochial system, and almost a necessary part of it), so that our old parishes were not subdivided, and new churches erected, as occasion required? And surely we can but reply, while men slept, the enemy came, and sowed tares among the wheat; the evil grew up gradually and silently; men's attention was engrossed by other subjects; and the growing wants of our population were unobserved and unconsidered. Men knew that every parish had its church; that the supply had once been amply sufficient; and they did not even suspect that it was becoming defective. That our church-room was not generally deficient a century and a half ago, is indicated by the rareness of consecrations; especially as the general attention which they excited, could hardly have failed to direct to the subject, the thoughts of pious and munificent men, if any considerable want had existed[14]. That no suspicion of its existence did actually prevail, seems certain from the language of the great divines, who flourished under the Stuart dynasty. The want or remoteness of churches seems never to have occurred to them as favouring the cause of dissent; and in recommending deeds of Christian munificence, the erecting of them is not enumerated, even when they speak of strictly religious charities, as "erecting schools, maintaining lectures of divinity, erecting colleges of religion, and retirement from the noise, and more frequent temptations of the world[15]." In their eyes the parochial system of the Church appeared to be a victory already gained, a strong hold already set up. It remained to avail ourselves of it, not to complete it. And such probably was the state of the case. Accordingly the laws no longer offered inducements to church building. There had been a time when the subdivision of parishes was easy, and the founder became the patron of his own endowment; but the need was gone by, and the opportunity was no longer offered. Provision was already made for the continual repair of the existing houses of prayer, and nothing more was required. And this sense of security once produced, naturally continued undisturbed. During the first half of the eighteenth century, political faction glowed at the heart of the English nation, and twice burst forth into the flames of civil war. Meanwhile, the dominant party, for many years after the accession of the house of Hanover, regarded with jealous and bitter animosity, the influence of the clergy, whom they suspected (not unreasonably) of being the secret adherents of the exiled family. Any measure[16] which tended to augment that influence, was for that very tendency unacceptable; and at one time serious designs appear to have been formed, even against the endowments of the universities. When a better feeling was at length restored, a period of war succeeded, first for our colonies abroad, then for our national existence; wherein we stood, with God's help, singly against the world. During such times, it could hardly be expected that any state authority should propose the erection of new churches, and the subdivision of parishes. From the clerical body such a proposal could hardly come; for early in the period in question, they were deprived of their constitutional mode of expressing their desires and sentiments. One cause more, and that a painful one, cannot be suppressed. It was a day of reproach for the English Church. From causes into which it is needless to inquire, clergy and laity alike seem for a season to have slumbered and slept. The golden opportunity passed unimproved, and they have left to their children the more arduous task of repairing the evil, which seasonable exertions might have prevented.

  1. Shortly before the death of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, bishop of Neo-Cæsarea, "Il fit," says Tillemont, (vol. iv.) "une exacte revue de toute la ville et de toute la campagne, pour voir s'il n'y restoit plus aucun payen comme il le souhaitoit extremement. Il en trouva néanmoins dixsept, et levant les yeux au ciel, il témoigna à Dieu sa douleur de ce que son désir n'estoit pas entièrement accompli. Mais il luy rendit grâces en mesme temps, de ce que n'ayant trouvé que dixsept Chrétiens à son entrée dans cette Eglise il n'y laissoit en la quittant que dixsept payens. Il demanda à Dieu la conversion de ces dixsept payens et l'augmentation de ses grâces sur les fidèles; et puis il mourut en défendant d'acheter aucune place pour l'enterrer, parcequ'il ne vouloit pas posséder un pouce de terre ni devant ni après sa mort, mais mourir et estre enterré comme un étranger qui n'a rien à lui."
  2. Dan. x. 13. St. Matth. xviii. 10, &c.
  3. See Jer. Taylor, "Episcopacy asserted," ch. xliii. (vol. vii. Heber.) In inquiring into the origin of parishes, we must distinguish between territorial divisions for the pastoral cure, and distinct parochial endowments. Those authors (as Bingham) who have represented the institution of parishes as commencing in the reign of Theodosius, or even later, have referred to the latter; but it is certain that parish churches existed long before a separate maintenance was provided for their incumbents, who with the bishop shared a common stock. The establishment at Hippo, in the time of St. Austin, seems to have been of this nature.
  4. See Wilson's Sacra Privata; Andrews's Devotions, &c,
  5. See Acts vi. It may be observed, that the state poor laws, a most inadequate substitute for the bounty of the Church, yet still recognise the connexion existing between fellow parishioners; and under all changes of the law, in proportion as the poor depend less on a legal provision, they ought to find a more plentiful supply in the alms of the Church.
  6. See especially the rubrics appended to the Visitation of the Sick, to the Catechism, and to the Holy Communion.
  7. The facts stated above are drawn chiefly from the documents which have appeared in different numbers of the British Magazine, and from the statements published by the Lord Bishop of London, and by the committee of the "Metropolis Churches Fund."
  8. The author of course cites the case of Glasgow, merely as illustrating the actual defect of church room, by no means as adopting the liberal theory, which would represent the Scotch establishment as substantially the same with the Church of England.
  9. Dr. Chalmers calculates, that accommodation should be provided in country parishes for one-half; in towns, for five-eighths of the population. Collins, in his Glasgow statistics, takes the proportion at three-fifths.—Bishop of Winchester's Charge, 1837.
  10. Psalm iv. 6. "There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us." St. Augustine explains men's restless wishes. "Quia fecisti nos ad Te et inquietum cor nostrum donec requiescat in Te." Conf. 1. 1.
  11. Sussex has increased in population 80 per cent. in twenty years. See Address of the Lord Bishop, p. 6.
  12. Address to the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Chichester, 1838.
  13. Statement of the Lord Bishop of Winchester. Dec. 1836.
  14. Especially the consecration of Jesus Chapel (in the parish of St. Mary, Southampton), by Bishop Andrews, on which occasion a full account of all the proceedings was published in a small volume.
  15. Taylor's Holy Living, chap. iv. § 8. It seems hardly possible that so obvious a work as church building, if there had been any real need for it, should have been omitted here by one who had so large experience in different parts of the country, and whose practical advices are so much founded on his own experience. The same remark applies to Law's "Serious Call."
  16. E. g. the establishment of Episcopacy in the American colonies, even without the demand of any fund for its support.