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selves back in the day of battle," it can hardly be doubted that, with the blessing of the Lord of hosts, her cause will prosper, her position. will be strengthened, her influence enlarged, and she will continue as the pledge of God's presence amongst us, and the channel of his grace to our country.
Her friends, however, must not relapse again into slumber, for the hostile party is ever on the alert. They must be ready to avail themselves of every legitimate means of inculcating her principles, and of conciliating towards her the intelligent attachment of the people generally, and especially of the rising generation.
Now, as one mode of effecting this object, I would suggest a return to some of the " good old ways" of the Church, from a desertion of which incalculable mischief has originated. Out of several that might be named, I will specify one, viz. the Administration of Holy Baptism at the time required by the Rubric. The revival of this practice might be made, I conceive, productive of most salutary effects. In this opinion I am borne out, I believe, by the experience of those clergymen who have conformed to the injunctions of the Church, by receiving her infant members into her bosom, when the whole congregation can unite in petitions for their welfare.
The restoration of the custom cannot of course be immediately accomplished. Time is required to prepare the minds of men for it; since, such has been the miserable consequence of long desuetude, that many would now regard as an interruption one of the most affecting services of the Church-a service calculated, when duly felt, to awaken the tenderest sympathies, and to give birth to the most wholesome reflections. Whereas, were the nature, the benefits, and the obligations of Baptism prominently set forth from the pulpit, and were the value of the prayers of the people duly insisted on, the duty would speedily be recognised by the well-affected and devout part of every congregation; and the way being thus prepared, the administration of this sacrament might be introduced monthly, if a more frequent solemnization were deemed inexpedient.
In the rural districts the impediments would be comparatively small, as the people, when rightly instructed, would generally fall in with the wishes of their pastor; and I would hope that, after a season, the obstacles that now obtain in towns might be removed, and that a uniform system might be acted on.
To many clergymen the administration of Baptism is the most painful part of their duty, owing to the ignorance, apathy, and indifference, which they have to encounter at the font. Whereas, were things as they ought to be, the very reverse would hold good, and the introduction of little children into the "ark of Christ's Church" would be an occasion of sacred joy.
One means of ensuring a more decent attention to the ordinance, would be the requirement, in every case, that the sponsors should be communicants. This injunction of the Church (see Canon 29) is perfectly reasonable, for surely they are disqualified for entering into the sponsorial engagements, who are living in the neglect of the other sacrament. The systematic disregard of one duty is an ill-omened
security for the performance of another. Indeed, they who are not in communion with the Church, are morally unfit to undertake the office of sureties, since they cannot, without gross hypocrisy, make the vows and promises required. While habitually omitting a plain and positive duty, how can they engage to make God's holy word the arbiter of their faith and practice?
I humbly conceive that, were this holy sacrament properly attended to, the following advantages, none of them trivial, might be expected :1. Baptism would be looked upon as a religious ordinance, instead of being regarded, as it frequently is, in the light of a mere ceremony, to which it is needful to submit, in order that the child's name may be inserted in the parish register.
2. Due respect would be paid to this institution of Christ, which is "not only a sign of profession and mark of difference, whereby christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but is also a sign of regeneration, or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly, are grafted into the Church," &c. Art. 27.
3. The infant would enjoy the benefit of the united prayers of the congregation.
4. The people would be put in mind of their own baptism, and of "the solemn vow, promise, and profession," by which they are bound "to lead a godly and a christian life."
5. They would form a more adequate conception of their duties, as members of Christ's visible church; of the unity of that body into which they have been baptized; and of the danger of rending the same by needless schisms and divisions.
6. Obedience would be rendered to the order of the Church, a compliance with which is a matter of christian duty.
7. The greater solemnity introduced into the administration of this initiatory ordinance, would afford a stronger guarantee for the religious education of the infant, and thus, in this way, tend to the general edification of the Church.
WHY HAS THE FREQUENT CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER BEEN DISCONTINUED IN THE CHURCH? AND WHY IS IT NOT REVIVED?
SIR, Should this brief inquiry find place in the pages of your journal, its readers will not, I trust, slur over the subject because it is common, or imagine that the querist is dissatisfied with the church to which he belongs, because he may notice her defective practices, or complain of her ministers when they fail in what (he thinks) might justly be expected from the principles they hold.
I conceive that my own case may be analogous to that of many gentlemen, who have passed through College, and moved about in the world. The first distinct impressions which I remember to have received respecting the Lord's Supper, were during my residence in the
house of a private tutor. I was about seventeen years of age. might, if I pleased, have attended that ordinance. Some slight encouragement was offered me to do so by my pastor. But my early prejudices were unfavourable to the performance of the duty, and the notion of enjoying it as a privilege had scarcely ever entered my head. This disinclination was unhappily augmented by, 1. the infrequency of the ordinance, and, 2. the manner in which it was celebrated.
1. The Lord's Supper was administered four times a year. At Christmas and at Midsummer I was certain to be away, and, I generally was absent at Easter. What a system to be followed up in the educating of young men, by a minister of Christ!-and many of those young men intended for the ministry themselves! I might, doubtless, have found opportunities of communicating in the parish of my relations; but how little does this possibility or probability affect the nature of the guidance in the ways of piety which I and others received! And how fearful is the consideration that clergymen, with small remote parishes, are the only class of ministers who can, with propriety, take private pupils. Those who are burdened with the charge of large populations are every way disqualified for the work by the very nature of that charge. Yet the small parishes are the places in which the Lord's Supper is very seldom administered above four times a year. Can we wonder if the gentry of the country go up to the universities, and from the universities go out into the world, with very faint impressions as to the duty and benefit of this act of communion; or I should rather say, may we not reasonably expect that their feelings, generally, as to the doctrine of grace, will be defective and erroneous ?
2. The manner in which the Lord's Supper was administered in the case I refer to was, perhaps, peculiar. The chancels in that part of the country are all separated by large glass windows, sometimes by more solid partitions, from the body of the church. They are large, and the communion-table stands in an elevated position, at the east end. The congregation is scarcely ever invited to go into them, except when the Lord's Supper is administered, and the commonest conclusion which may be drawn from the circumstance is this, viz. the people feel that there must be something of a strange and awful nature in a service which is conducted in a separate place, and at which only the élite of the flock are ever known to attend. I have acknowledged, in my own case, that I was disinclined to the service from the first; and if this plea had not suggested itself to me, some other, no doubt, would have been found out. Nevertheless, it did appear like sound reasoning, according to the views which I then entertained, to say, "This part of the worship is peculiar and different from the rest; others feel it to be so as well as I. I will not decide against it, but, for the present, I shall defer the act of communicating." Admitting the insufficiency of this plea; allowing, as every teachable christian must allow, that the fact I pleaded was an argument only for inquiry, and not for delay; yet I hold that it is needless and improper to raise up even an imaginary barrier in the way of performing a duty so plain and profitable as this. And it is, I think, manifest, that if the special cause of peculiarity to which I have referred be done away, yet the mere fact of a sacrament four, and only four
times a year is calculated to produce a false impression upon the minds of any congregation. It seems difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile such a system, with that which existed in primitive times, when the apostles were engaged, day by day, in breaking bread from house to house. If it be said, those were days of extraordinary trial, when the spirit of the disciples required extraordinary support, it may be asked, is the Christian in less danger from the enemies of his soul, when the sword of the persecutor is sheathed; Does he not need "strengthening and refreshing" to enable him to acquit himself well in his conflict with "the world, the flesh, and the devil?"
My testimony on this subject does not proceed merely from the recollections of early feelings, or a comparison of them with such as have been obtained in after life. The matter has been again forced upon my attention, in recent years. The system of sacraments "few and far between," was persevered in at college, (we had the Lord's Supper at Trinity College once in a term, notwithstanding the Rubric specially relating to cathedral and collegiate churches and colleges) and my own irreligious propensities with those of my associates, were followed up without that moral restraint which a frequent invitation to the Lord's Table would have interposed. My lot, however, was afterwards cast in the metropolis. A combination of circumstances, and the overruling providence and grace of God, led me to a different view of this subject. The Communion, for nearly twenty years of my life, if it has not been my daily bread, has at least given a savour and relish to my ordinary spiritual food. During much the larger portion of this period, I have regularly attended the Lord's Supper at the least twice a month. This sacred ordinance has checked the pride of success in my pursuits; it has brought sins to my recollection, which had been lost and forgotten, until the act of self-dedication was renewed; it has kept before me an exalted standard of perfection, as the mark to which I strove to attain; it has cheered and consoled me in moments of depression; and it has strengthened and refreshed me amidst arduous labours, in a manner and to an extent which I never experienced from the ordinary prayers of the Church. At the same time, it has infused into those prayers, and into every act of worship, a life and spirituality which they did not possess or impart to me before. But, within a very recent period, I have returned once more to reside in the country. The frequent opportunities for repeating this delightful act of worship were immediately placed beyond my reach. It seemed as if there were a famine in the land, and as if one must journey to a distance to seek the means of comforting and refreshing the heart.
I have inquired of many clergymen the cause of this destitution of spiritual things. I have asked, why we have not those stores in abundance which are to be had without money and without price? Their answers appear to me altogether irrelevant ;- One said, "the people would not attend, if the times of administering this Sacrament were multiplied." To this there seems a ready answer,- "Let them be tried; let them taste often of this heavenly food, and the desire and love of it will increase, and be settled in the heart." Another told me, "He had already augmented the number of administrations from three
to four, and that, if he did more, he should merely destroy the wholesome awe and fear with which the service is at present regarded." But is there not an obvious mistake in supposing that feelings of terror or of dread in any form should be the predominant emotions of mind, when we come to partake of the greatest blessing which the most merciful of Beings has ordained? I fear that such replies are a specimen only of a very general feeling which prevails among the clergy of the land. I had been conversing on the subject, when my attention was directed to some questions circulated previous to a visitation, in which the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was thus referred to;—“Is the Holy Communion administered, so that the parishioners may receive at least three times in the year, whereof Easter is one?" These words, I am aware, are taken from the Rubric, and necessarily imply a more frequent commemoration of the Redeemer's death, than that which obtains in the rural districts. For as an opportunity is to he afforded to all the parishioners of attending "three times a year at least," and as it rarely happens that all could avail themselves of the privilege, if there were only three or four administrations, it follows that the design of the Church, as intimated in the aforesaid rubric, is, that her children should often be called upon to frequent the table of their Lord.
It is needless that I should quote a multitude of texts, to show that the practice of the apostles, in conformity with their habitual teaching, encourages us to feed continually by faith on the Son of God, as well as to call unceasingly upon his ever blessed name; and that, consistently with such sacred authority, it is supposed in the formularies of our Church, according to the actual practice of some of the cathedrals and churches also, that there will be a communion every Lord's Day, and more frequently in seasons of special rejoicing, for the mercies we have received through the Redeemer's death.
I forbear from any laboured proof of well-known facts. I have stated nothing but what I have known and experienced myself; and this I have only been induced to do, with the hope of awakening attention to the grievous infrequency of the Lord's Supper in our churches, and with earnest desire of effecting a revival of primitive customs, or a nearer approach to the standard of apostolical practices, and the theory of our beloved Church.
ON THE APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL SCHOOLMASTERS. SIR, My attention having been called to the subject of National Education, by the late exertions to promote model schools, to train masters, and to inspect pupils, I am led to inform you of a new plan of appointing a school-mistress, which has been most successfully adopted by a Clergyman in my neighbourhood. He advertised for candidates, who were on a certain day to submit to an examination : twenty-three offered themselves; these were reduced to ten by a comparison of their testimonials, ages, &c.: of these ten, three only stood the test of an examination. It consisted of questions upon the Old and New Testament, in the Church Catechism, and in arithmetic, which were answered in writing. Marks were agreed upon by the examiners (who were three Clergymen), as to the relative value of the questions that were truly answered. These marks were summed up, after several